Time passes when there is much to do. Sometimes, it passes so quickly, I have barely enough time for my journal. Such as has been the last couple of weeks. Their Majesties, perhaps assisted by the roses, worked their magic, and we are gone from the Shadow Roads, and safely ensconced in one corner of the Summerlands, not too far from Ardan, but not too close either. I barely had time to warn Maric so that he could gather the villagers to safety in the cellars while the move took place.
The move was not without its problems. Maric’s laboratory was too firmly anchored to the hell-gate, and so part of the vaults did not make the move at the time. We lost Maric to the hell realms for a while as a result of this. Some time was spent in the Hell realms and much occurred there with Vedis and others. At least he managed to feed, possibly by drinking Vedis’ ‘bathwater’. I am not yet entirely clear what passed down there.
Aoibheann was lost for a while too. Apparently, the shade of Padishar decided she should spend time in the vaults too. Maric could not reach her through the link, especially while he was unconscious in the hell realms. I had to learn some location magic, using my blood and some of her hair from a hairbrush. Initially, I tried making a compass, but that was too coarse a tool, so then I tried making a scrying bowl, which directed me to the vaults.
All was resolved eventually, although the entrance to the vaults is now outside, through a secret door in the side of the castle by the orchards.
Oh yes, the orchards. Their Majesties, the roses, or the powers that control magic, whatever, seem to have a sense of humour, as the village is somewhat changed during the move. We now have an orchard behind the castle.
We made some more changes ourselves, now that we have room. Never have I felt more like my father than during the last few weeks. He would be so proud, and probably not a little amazed. I drew up plans and drawings, marshalled the guards and the villagers, and we built. Boy, did we build. More cottages for the villagers, a bigger tavern with plenty of rooms for guests, the town hall, a practice area for the guards, proper workshops for the smith and other artisans. We have room for pigs and sheep and chickens and gardens. One could scarce recognise the village now, but it is good. Even the Islanders seem to have settled in.
There have been less pleasant things. At Maric’s request, I took those that had passed away from the cold store and with Royce’s assistance, took them to the Shadow Roads and left them for Nemaine. Perhaps that will close matters between us. I said a farewell to them in my own way and left a note for Nemaine, to remind her, even if she doesn’t care, that these were people, with names, with families and friends. Perhaps it will mean something to her, but I doubt it. It meant something to me. These were my colleagues, brothers in arms and friends. They deserved better than to be a last meal. My hope is, wherever they are, they can take some satisfaction that this last sacrifice was of benefit to their lord, and the people they had sworn to protect.
There is still much to do, and I have yet to draw up a draft agreement between us and the fae as to expectations of behaviour and such like. Perhaps having such an agreement will ease Aoibheann’s fears concerning the fae, and their fears concerning us. I do not know how much power a piece of paper will have, but given the fae’s feelings about oath-breaking, perhaps it will have some sway.
For now, I can relax somewhat, trusting, for now, that we are free from Nemaine and her demands, and be happy that the villagers have space to live, thrive and survive. Pending the accords between us and the fae, I have instructed my deputy stewards to brief the villagers regarding relations with the fae, and asked that only those who were previously registered foragers should go beyond the perimeter of the village. It is still summer, so the darker fae are less active, but I would rather play safe than be sorry.