I am still no closer to working out what happened to bring Wren to us. Something bad happened, and that is all I know. At least it seems that Alec and Isabella are unlikely to come looking for her, at least, not here. We did, however, have a nice long chat and established a mutual trust.

In other news, Aoibheann has finally flipped, disguising herself as a gal from the Deep South of America and calling herself Evangeline. I had no idea why at the time, but I gathered since that the demifae have been having a go at her since the incident with Ardan, so perhaps she thought the disguise would fool them.

It was Aoibheann who triggered the talk with Wren. She came knocking at my door, somewhat worried that she had somehow upset Wren and that now the girl had disappeared. All she could tell me was that she had been trying to tell Wren that she wasn’t a bad person, and that Wren had said something about having done something terrible before running off.

I sighed and connected my senses to the castle. I could not sense Wren anywhere in the castle, but was sure she hadn’t gone far. I assured Aoibheann that Wren was sensible, and that I had told her not to leave the village, so she couldn’t be far. I put my book away and offered to go look for her. She thought it best if I went without her, in case Wren was still upset with her.

Once outside, I summoned Royce and asked him to enlist the aid of his cait brethren in searching for Wren. I did so quite loudly, and it had the desired effect, for Wren revealed herself to be hiding in a tree in the clearing. I told Royce never mind and asked Wren if she wanted to go for a walk. We talked about climbing trees as we walked, and I told her how I hadn’t been very good at it because my mother was always trying to get me to commune with the trees and how I should respect them. She told me that she would never climb a tree if it didn’t want her to. She said that trees didn’t talk like animals did, but you could tell. I thought briefly about Aerodine, but didn’t say anything, as it would only confuse matters. I was intrigued by her comment about animals talking, and relieved that she understood about communing with trees. I told her that I didn’t know it then, but I had learned a few things since.

By now, we had left the village and reached the river bank across the water from Ardan’s island. I pointed out the tree to her and asked if she recognised it. She didn’t, and asked what kind of tree it was. I told her that it was a Mallorn Tree, a special magical type of tree, and that it was now the Throne Tree of the faerie realm. I said that she had seen it before, in Jasper Cove – that it was Ardan.

She didn’t believe me at first, wondering how he got so big. I told her that he was more at home here in Faerie and that was probably what helped him grow. I then started to tell her a little about how things had changed. I told her how I had discovered that I was 1/8th fae through my mother. That had been why she had always been keen to get me to talk to trees, trying to see if my fae nature was coming through. I also told her how Gwyn was full fae, but had been adopted by humans, and she didn’t really come into her full fae nature until she had come here.

Wren wondered if that was what she had thought was different about me and then asked why somebody would give up Gwyn. I said I didn’t know and told her what little we did know about her mother. I then told her that I was different, and not just because of being part fae. I told her I was also a vampire, which is all I had been when she had known me in Jasper Cove. Since I had come here, the former fae queen had brought more of my fae side forward. I jokingly added that she was quite safe; I wasn’t going to bite her.

She took it well, and it looked as if she had wondered if there was something different about me. She acted relieved about not being bitten, claiming that she had been worried. I told her that it was something that wasn’t generally known. The people who needed to know knew, and if other people needed to know, then I would tell them. I said I was putting a great deal of trust in her by telling her and asked if she knew why.

She asked if it was because we were friends, which pleased me, but I said it was also because I wanted to build trust between us. She said that she did trust me, because I didn’t’ appear to lie a lot, and was never mean or evil. I laughed and said that I tried to avoid being evil if I could. I then told her why I had come looking for her, and asked what it was that Aoibheann had said that had upset her.

She started to explain that Aoibheann hadn’t really upset her, it was just things that had been said about Alec and Isabella, and how they had been bad. We didn’t get any further, because we were interrupted by a woman dressed as some sort of pirate and carrying a book. She looked to be heading up towards Ardan, but stopped and asked us, in a thick southern drawl, how we were all doing, saying she was Evangeline.

I had to choke back the laughter. It was so obviously Aoibheann trying on some ridiculous disguise, for whatever reason. I thought maybe she had decided to follow us to see what Wren was going to say, but she seemed intent on going to the tree. Wren was also having trouble not laughing, covering it up with a cough and faked sneeze, which she blamed on allergies. I told this newcomer that we were having a private chat, to which Wren added that we were also looking at the tree. Evangeline told us that she was going to wander over to the tree and sit in its shade to read her book. The accent was dreadful, and wandering all over the place, including some places that probably weren’t even places. I told her it was a mighty fine idea and told her to treat the tree with respect.

I waited until she was out of earshot before collapsing with laughter, opining that she had finally flipped. Wren looked confused, and I can hardly blame her, but I was unable to offer any explanation for Aoibheann’s bizarre behaviour.

I got back to the matter in hand. I explained that for various reasons, Aoibheann’s feelings about Alec and Isabella might have been coloured by recent events. I explained that while I still loved them, I did not agree with their actions, and particularly thought that their response to the visit from Hadley was far worse than was justified. It was for that reason that formal relations with them were somewhat frosty. Which frostiness, I hastened to add, did not apply to her.

We spoke about how Alec and Isabella often did things that they shouldn’t, especially stealing a part of Ardan. I then told her that she as safe here, that I was her friend, no matter what, but for the sake of the village, I had to know her story, why she had come here, or, at least, know if I should expect any comeback from Alec and Isabella because of her arrival here.

She was somewhat hesitant to explain. She didn’t think there would be any sort of explosion, she said. She had been at a summer camp of some sort, for the whole of the summer. Something had happened and she had left, going to some other places before she ended up here. It was possible they didn’t know she was gone unless they had contacted the camp. There was clearly more to this than she was letting on, especially given that Aoibheann told me that she had said that something terrible had happened. I decided not to pursue it for now. I reasoned that if she had been other places, the trail might not lead here immediately, and if it did, well, we would have to deal with it then. I said that when she was ready, she could tell me about what happened at camp, friend to friend. She still hesitated and said that maybe, some day she could, but not now.

I told her that I was there, whenever she was ready, and I that I would listen. It was getting on for dinner time by then, so I suggested that we should return to the castle and have something to eat. And that is what we did.





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