Aoibheann came to my cottage to ask a question. I think this is the first time she has ever visited me at home. I suppose there is nothing particularly unusual about that really. We see each other enough around the village or in the tavern, and I keep such odd hours compared to most people, so she would rarely have cause to disturb me. She looked like she was on her way somewhere, but I offered her a seat and a drink, both of which she accepted.

Her question was rather odd, though. She wanted to know what I would call a cart that runs on rails. I wasn’t quite sure what to make of that. The only thing I could think of was a steam train, but that was something that was likely outside of her experience, so I had no idea how she would come to ask about such a thing. It was the only thing I could think of, though, so I asked if that was what she meant, describing it in terms she might understand – well, a bunch of carts with seats in, pulled by an engine that was like a giant kettle. I asked why she was asking about it and she told me that she had dreamed about one. Except in her dream, there wasn’t an engine at the front, just a little box on wheels. I had heard Gwyn mention trains driven by electricity, though I was even more at a loss to explain how Aoibheann might have encountered one of those, unless it was something she encountered on one of her trips to the ‘future’ with Alec that she had told me about. She said that it wasn’t scary like a train, which made even less sense. I told her trains were not scary unless you happened to be standing in front of one while it was going fast.

I asked her were she was going on this train, and she told me that it was to a place where everything was made out of wood, even the people. I raised an eyebrow at that, but, since it was a dream, wooden people were perfectly logical. Given some of the strange stuff I have dreamed, who was I to judge hers? She switched subjects then, asking if I had seen Gwyn lately and then saying she needed to go to the sithen to see Blaise to see if he would lift the ban on Lucis, since she was no longer possessed by Umbra.

I had to say that I had not seen Gwyn in some while, what with all my stewarding duties and her being tied up with the census. Somehow this led to a discussion about pergolas and the possibility of growing crops on the roofs of the village buildings. Fortunately, I am used to Aoibheann logic, for the most part, so more or less managed to keep up with her train of thought. Since that led us onto the subject of foraging, I was reminded that I needed to supply a list of foragers to Lady Twilight. I asked if Aoibheann minded waiting a few minutes while I wrote out a copy, which she didn’t. By the time I had finished, I thought I might as well go with her on the off-chance of being able to spend some time with Gwyn. I was really missing her at that point, but I didn’t say so much to Aoibheann, since she is usually embarrassed by such things.

And so to the sithen we went, where we were received graciously enough by Blaise. I asked of Lady Twilight was available, but apparently she was not. I explained about the list of approved foragers and gave it to him, asking if he would pass it on to her. I then asked if there was any chance that Gwyn could get some time off from the census. Not unsurprisingly, he was less enthusiastic about that idea, telling me that she didn’t like to leave a task unfinished, but she was welcome to take time off when she was ready. I did offer my assistance, since my accountancy skills might be if use in analysing census data. He said he would send for me if needed.

Aoibheann presented the case for Lucis to be re-admitted to the sithen. Blaise was not entirely impressed, saying that Umbra had been supremely arrogant on her last visit. If Lucis was truly free of her possession, then the sithen would recognise her as one of its own. However, if she truly desired re-admittance, she would have to come herself and request an audience.

That was the end of our business and so Blaise invited us to partake of some food while we were there, the staff having prepared some wild boar. The idea of wild boar was tempting, as was the possibility that Gwyn might be around during the feast. Sadly, it seems, she was unable to come to table while I was there, so, having partaken of sufficient to be polite, I took my leave and returned to the cottage, feeling somewhat bereft. I know that circumstances are difficult for both of us, but we have not been separated from each other for this long before. I begin to wonder if Blaise has some ulterior motive in keeping her occupied. Maybe that is an unworthy thought, but I can’t help it at times. I miss her so.


 A song by a band called Train…


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