As Mr Dickens put it – “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…” On the one hand, I helped to reunite Faermorn and Valene, which was a great joy, and I was privileged to be part of that, but on the downside, Faermorn made it sound like a farewell, saying she was soon to join with the Mother, which sounded to me as if she was going to depart for the west, or whatever it is that the fae do instead of dying. And, oddly, I find myself greatly saddened, more so than I would have thought. I find myself and regretting that I had not made more time to visit, and get to know, this woman who became a queen. And now, she is a part of me in a way that I do not yet understand.
On my last visit, I had promised Faermorn that I would bring Valene to her as soon as I could. I sent word via my Cait companion and waited for Valene’s response. Soon, Royce informed me that she was waiting for me by the faerie bridge and was ready to be taken to Faermorn. I joined her there, and after a brief conversation with Orie, who was heading to the demon isle, wishing no part of any plan that involved being near Nemaine, we called out for the ravens to take us to Faermorn’s grove.
I had planned on entering first and telling Faermorn that I had brought her a gift, but we had barely touched ground when Valene ripped off the blindfold and bolted into the chambers with an excited meowing sound. By the time I caught up with her, she had attached herself to Faermorn like a limpet, and was still meowing happily. I bowed and knelt close by and said my line about bringing the queen a present anyway. She barely acknowledged me, so taken up as she was with the arrival of Valene, nuzzling with her and whispering how she had missed her, but she still managed a smile and a welcome for me. Valene was wrapping herself around her queen and likewise talking of how much she had missed her and how she had not been able to find her, not even through the roads. The sight of them both so happy was a great joy to my heart. I told them that this had made my day worthwhile and prepared to leave, saying my work was done and that I was sure that they had some catching up to do.
Faermorn bade me to stay, because they needed my help to re-establish the bond between them. She was snuggling closely with Valene, apologising to her for the breaking of the bond and explaining why she had had to break it, because it had become too dangerous. With all that was happening, she feared that the connection would bring Valene and Padishar down with her and she did not want there to be any more suffering on her behalf. Valene acknowledged that with a nod, but said that she could not bear to lose her again. She had barely held on to her sanity while they were apart, she said. The shadows that swirled around her reached out to me. She asked me to stay, as I was her touchstone, her only bond, and she needed my assistance. I could not deny her. I could not deny either of them now. I stepped away so that I could take off my sword and then squatted down close to them, saying I was at their service. Faermorn bade me hold Valene, so that she could give back to her love, that which had been broken.
To Valene, she spoke softly, of her love for her. She would give her the light she needed. Taking Valene’s face in both hands, she moved closer, and I could see the beginnings of tears, even in the glowing light of her eyes. She said that she would always be with her, that her light would never fade from Valene’s heart, if she accepted her now. “I will live on in you, my sweet, sweet Cait,” she said, softly. Being so close, I could feel the emotions, complex and intermingled, and they seemed reflected in the way the light around her mingled with Valene’s shadows, spirals of dark and light, intertwining.
Valene’s hand tightened on my arm. The sorrow was palpable, and the tears flowed as she mewed in protest, begging Faermorn to stay, to not leave her again. She told her that she loved her, had loved her before she was lost and more when she was found. “You are mine,” she said, “my blood to yours, my breath to yours, my heart to yours.” The sorrow and pain in her almost broke my heart, and I tried my best to comfort her. I held her tight, nuzzling my face into her hair. I thought of all the happy times, all the good memories, going back to when we first got to know each other, the time she sang to me in the old church, all the love and joy that we had shared, and tried to project those feelings into her, and all I could say was to whisper “love is all” over and over again.
Faermorn smiled now, smiled through her tears, smiled with a fierce love that shone so brightly, and I could see why Valene loved her so. She kissed away the tears from Valene’s small face and everything about her blossomed with that joy and passion, her aura becoming dazzling and alluring with the combined passions that there were between them, maybe, even mixed in with my own love for Valene. That was when she said that she would be going to the Mother of us all, so that we could all live free. She told Valene how much she would be loved, that she would always be loved by those that held her close. She said that she would always be there, shining in her heart. She leaned down to kiss her beloved, heat and light surrounding us with that incessant, living energy that I had come to know as fae magic. With the kiss came a great outpouring of passion, love, of her essence, renewing the bond between them, so much that even I could feel it. “All there is of mine, to yours, to be yours, for all time, my love.” Those were her words and again, I felt that shift of energies, as though those words sealed the bond.
Valene took that kiss, like someone starved, melting into her lover, grasping her, holding her, clinging in desperation to her, like one drowning. The energy flowing into her, filled her, surrounded her, her skin warming from its usual chill to almost unbearably hot, glowing like the moon itself. She screamed in agony, her small body going into spasm, and her pain thrashed around us, and I knew that all her Cait would be feeling it too. I wrapped myself around her, my own tears starting now, tears for her loss, tears for my own loss, as I realised how much I had come to care for this faerie queen. I reached down deep into myself; drawing on that well of the true and fierce love I had for her, for Gwyn, for my friends and my family, trying hard to wrap that around her. The intensity of the emotions was almost too much to bear as the two of them clung together, as though trying to consume one another. The bond opened between them like a great tidal flood overwhelming the sea walls, love and passion, but more, so much more; the primal energy that was the land itself, the essence of all life and light, the beginning and end of all that was and could be, everything that powered this realm and for a moment, I saw the true essence of fae magic, fae energies, flowing from Faermorn into Valene, filling her like molten gold. And more so, through my bond with her, through my physical, mental and emotional closeness, some of that energy flowed to me too, wild, unknown, alien, yet familiar too. I knew not what to do with this, and I felt great confusion, until those parts of me that were fae, the heritage from my mother, the pulse that Isabella had given me, the light that Gwyn gives to me, those parts of me recognised it and welcomed it into my being. For a moment, I did not see Valene and Faermorn, only a mass of red hair and an all too familiar smile. “Mother!” I cried out, seeing only her face. I felt her touch, and I felt my soul, my essence touch Valene’s and through her, Faermorn, and the sensations overwhelmed us all as my tears flowed freely.
We three collapsed into a heap, curled up and intermingled – our bodies, our limbs, as much as our emotions, huddled together and bathing in the afterglow of that bonding, of that fire, of that joining and sharing of essence. Exhausted now, Faermorn and Valene had only words of their love for one another, whispered, sweet, soft, gentle words of love, of friendship, of being one for ever. Soft caresses and words of comfort until the exhaustion, physical and emotional was too much, until Faermorn fell silent and unmoving. For a moment, I feared that she had passed from us, but she breathed still, and I could feel her energy, weak and depleted, but still there. Valene kissed her softly, whispering of her love until she could see that Faermorn slept, and then she curled against me, trying to hold on to her emotions, her tears flowing even as she wiped away my own.
I had no words for her. For all that I was normally voluble, loquacious; I had no words of wisdom, no words of comfort. All I could give her was my love, my own warmth and my strength. I held her until she too slept. I was lying there long into the night, contemplating what I had seen, what I had been a part of, struggling to understand and integrate this new part of me, that was a part of Faermorn, letting that new essence settle into me, finding its own way until it too was part of me. Eventually, my mind stopped its churning and I just lay there, listening to the soft breathing of my companions until sleep claimed me too.
I do not know how long I slept, perhaps a few hours, but for all that it was a short sleep, I felt refreshed, revived. I would have stayed, but I had already been away from the village too long and I still had much to do. I looked upon Valene and Faermorn, still sleeping, with a great love in my heart and a soft smile on my face. I disentangled myself from Valene, rolled her over closer to Faermorn, wrapping her arm over her queen. I made sure they were adequately covered with furs, and, pausing only to leave a note for Valene – “My love, I have duties I must attend to in the town. You both looked so peaceful and lovely sleeping that I did not want to wake you, and I am sure you need alone time together. We can talk later when you are ready. Much love, Nate. Xxx” and to kiss each of them on the head, I gathered up my things and left them, letting the raven return me to the village.
A bond has been reforged, and in that reforging, I have become part of something I do not fully understand, and something I do not fully understand has become a part of me. And a great queen, a woman I have only just started to come to know, is going to be leaving us. I hope I will have time to know her more before that time, and I hope that time is yet far off, so that my dear Valene has time to come to terms with that. I do not want to see her grieving so again, yet I fear I will have to. I can only do what I can to help ease that pain, when it comes, and be there for her. What else is there?