The girls have decided on a new surname. Well, Hadley seems to have decided on it and Wren is going along with it. Henceforth, they will be known as Hadley and Wren Darling. Apparently, this is the surname of some children in a book called Peter Pan. I have heard Wren and Gwyn speak of this book before. I seem to recall it involves a boy who never grows up. I wonder if there is any significance to that. For myself, I would rather it commemorated the lighthouse keeper’s daughter, Grace Darling, but I doubt that they have even heard of her. I did suggest that we have some sort of naming ceremony to mark the change that they could celebrate on anniversaries, like Maric had the Naming Day ball. Neither was keen on the idea, but I told them I would record them in the village census under their new name anyway.

Val came briefly to visit, but Royce and Nualla dragged her away pretty quickly, not even letting her stay for a drink and a warm by the fire in the tavern. At least she was there long enough to hug Aoibheann and meet the Darlings. Wren was a little confused by my kissing Valene and asked if Gwyn would be mad. I didn’t want to get into details, but assured her that Gwyn and I loved each other very much, as did Val and I, and nobody was going to get mad.

Senna turned up, apparently in search of a drink. I asked her about Patch and the Metatron. It turns out that Metatron is one of the archangels, the one who has the role of being the heavenly scribe. Now that she mentioned it, I remember vaguely reading about that somewhere. Or it could have been during the after-dinner discussion I had with the Rev. Elverson about angels dancing on pinheads. If I recall, a lot of port was consumed that night. Senna was not at all pleased with the idea of angels being around the place, they and demons being natural enemies of course. She was unsure if he was a threat or not – he had been sent here to observe, but the question remains of what conclusion might be drawn from the observation. On the other hand, it was also still Patch. For the moment, all we could do was, like him, observe, and see what happens.

Wren wasn’t entirely sure what an archangel was, so I dredged up what I could recall of the angelic host – cherubim, seraphim, archangels and suchlike, likening them to ranks in the army. Harder to explain was why the angels were the bad guys, at least, from Senna’s perspective, and, to some extent, from the perspective of our current situation. I didn’t really want to get into a major theological discussion, especially with Aoibheann around who would likely understand it even less than Wren. I left it that Angels were supposedly on the side of humanity, but that their views on that might be coloured by circumstances, e.g. us helping Vedis and co. Generally speaking the best thing to do was stay out of it.

I changed the subject by suggesting we relocated to the cabin for tea and cakes, or in Senna’s case, strong drink. Hadley joined us, trying to sneak up on Wren and poking her from behind. She looked a little dishevelled, possibly because of her adventures, and possibly because nobody was around making her comb her hair or wash or anything. It was likely she hadn’t brought any clothes with her. Aoibheann had clearly come to the same conclusion, since she asked me if she could have an allowance to get some clothes and other essentials for Hadley and Wren. I told her that was fine, and that as lady of the household, she could make decisions about that level of expenditure without asking me first, just so long as she told me about it at some point. She wasn’t entirely sure about that, but I insisted. She then put herself in charge of dealing with Hadley’s hair. Wren made some noises about having to get a job to pay for her things but I would have none of it. They were my responsibility, so I would pay for things until they were in a position to start earning. Maybe when she was a fully paid up member of the guard, she could start paying for herself, but for now, I told her, don’t worry about it.

I left them to it then, telling Hal to put the cakes and drink on my tab. I had other duties that evening, and some sleep to catch up on.



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