When do you celebrate the birthday of a tree? What point counts as the birth? Is it when the first tiny shoot emerges from the seed-casing? Is it when the tiny leaves, cotyledons I think, if I remember my biology classes from school, first emerge through the dirt and leaf-litter on the forest floor? It’s a somewhat nebulous concept, and in the case of this particular tree, we have no way of knowing anyway, for he was already a seedling, a six-inch high miniature tree-let in a pot when we first met him. For it is Ardan of which I speak. We had a party in the Summerlands, as a celebration for Ardan. I’m still not entirely sure what anniversary we were celebrating – the day that old Hat-Rack gave him to Aoibheann, the day he was planted in Jasper Cove, the day he was replanted by the river in Ashmourne, or even the day he was replanted in the Summerlands. The latter I think is unlikely, since he has only been there a short while.
But celebrate we did. There was no cake, much to my disappointment, as I had been looking forward to seeing Ardan blow out the candles with a well-directed personal tornado. But then, who knows how old he is, so the number of candles would have been speculative at best.
The Tenacious Trinity were there, of course, and for a while, it was just the three of us, plus Ardan. I described Aoibheann and Gwyn as being among my brightest blessings and got admonished for not including Ardan. I keep forgetting that Aoibheann regards Ardan as a person. Maybe he is, maybe he talks to her when we aren’t around. I must admit I was somewhat astonished when Aoibheann arrived, as she had clearly let the fae dress her. While what she wore was perfectly normal among the fae, for Aoibheann, it was, for want of a better word, revealing. I complimented her anyway because she did look stunning. She tried to chide me for it, but, for once, it seemed she was actually pleased.
Ket’lyn and Helene turned up for a while, and they seemed to be quite cosy with each other, which can only be a good thing, as I know how much Helene misses intimacy.
Janus was there when I arrived, but disappeared shortly after, having business elsewhere. We greeted each other with a certain familiarity and intimacy, if a kiss on the forehead is intimate. I find my reactions to him somewhat disconcerting, as each time we meet; there is a stirring of the wyld in me, and a matching one in him. I do not know if that is just our natures reacting to each other, a genuine attraction, or if what we are feeling is an echo from that part of me which is Faermorn. I do not quite yet know. The attraction is very different from that which I felt for Greyson, which stemmed from a likeness of minds rather than any physical desires, whereas with Janus, it is more primal. I have spent enough time among the fae to be aware of the dangers of being elf-struck, so I do not think it is that. Part, I am sure, is me trying to ensure that things are not awkward because of our shared love for Gwyn, but even there, I am not quite sure how Gwyn feels about that. The spirit of Faermorn is definitely a part of it, that much we both recognise. Each time we meet, we acknowledge that she is still with us, but we have yet to explore that further.
Something else was up, regarding Janus. Gwyn clearly had something to discuss with him, and she seemed a little uncertain when we embraced and kissed, as though there was something on her mind. She did not mention anything, and I chose not to disturb the atmosphere by asking.
Gwyn made an official appointment, giving Aoibheann the formal title of Mother of Trees, and a position in Court. Aoibheann wasn’t too sure about that, wondering if Aerodine had to be consulted first, but since we hadn’t seen her since the incident with the sea-monster, we decided it was probably ok.
It was a strange day, and after a while, we relocated to Gwyn’s residence for food and drink. Aoibheann was a little reluctant to leave Ardan, but relented when she realised what a good view we had of him from the residence. The evening passed in pleasant sociability, and all seemed well, but I still wonder what it was that Gwyn had on her mind.
So that was it, a party for a tree. Am I becoming jaded that this does not even seem the littlest bit strange? I wonder what mother would make of it.