Dyisi is a treasure! She brought me a bag of mint imperials, just when I was almost out of the meagre store I had. I always loved them and since I became what I am, they have been a tasty supplement to dental hygiene. Not a replacement, by any means. When my diet was mostly blood, dental hygiene took on a whole new level of importance, and the mints helped freshen the mouth (not the breath, for I did not breathe in those days). Since regaining the ability to eat solid food, I have to be even more careful, since that invariably means eating things that are bad for my teeth (and yes, I’ll admit, the mints probably come into that category). With the addition of the occasional moth to my diet, I definitely need them, since moth is not a pleasant taste once I switch back to my normal shape.
I found a small gathering on the green, Maric, Aoibheann, Wren, Hadley and Dyisi. That’s when she gave me the mints. She also brought some books for Aoibheann to read. I do not know them, so they perhaps happened after my time. Peter Pan I had heard of before, from Wren and Hadley, as the source for their adopted surname. Winnie the Pooh, which I later gathered was about a bear, was new to me, as what I was told was a racy novel about vampires. I am not sure this is such a good idea. She has enough misconceptions about us as it is. There were also, apparently, chocolates.
Conversation ranged around the difficulties of cooking and eating dinosaurs, the reality of stories, and the problems and paradoxes of time travel. This latter was prompted by Maric’s perhaps incautious mention of the spatial and temporal aspects of the Shadow Roads, which led to Wren asking about them. I told her they were the realm of the Cait and that they were a dangerous place to go, mentioning, without naming her, the eating habits of the local goddess there. Maric at least echoed my sentiment that people should not go there. I told Wren that I would tell her about it later.
On the matter of being in books, I ventured that I had always wanted to visit the Arthurian court, since they had been my favourite books growing up, and were largely responsible for my holding, so far as I could, to the ideas of chivalry. I admitted that the real knights might well have been dirty, smelly soldiers who drank and womanised too much. Dyisi said that she had experienced the Wonderland portrayed in the Lewis Caroll books.
Given the various gifts that Dyisi had brought, Maric spoke of the possibility of trade and suggested that I should draw up a list of things we needed, subject, of course, to the carrying capability of Dyisi’s pouch. Wren gave Aoibheann a bracelet she had made, much like the one she made me, except the beads either side of the initial letter were fashioned to look like acorns – for Ardan – she said. Aoibheann, in turn, gave Wren what she called a letter of commendation, though she did not disclose for what.
Orie turned up, looking somehow more relaxed and seeming younger than before. He and Dyisi appear to be fond of one another, which is a good thing. We exchanged greetings and enquiries after each others’ health and he seemed more amenable to me, perhaps as a result of our conversation the other day. He commented that he was not yet advanced on his quest, which I could not respond to as I had not yet managed to find Faermorn in my dreams.
Maric and I had a side conversation in silence. I asked about his ‘experiment’ and he said that it had failed. They had gone to restore Vedis, but the mission had failed because Lucifer himself intervened, and now Vedis was banished, which likely applied to Galyanna and Kitori too. This latter was a surprise – Kitori had apparently been working with Galyanna all along. Galyanna had insisted in strict secrecy, which was why he had not been able to tell me about the mission in advance, but she had kept the news about Kitori even from him.
What happens now, he did not know, save that Vedis, Galyanna and Kitori are unlikely to be able to return to Hell. He was fairly hopeful that retribution would not follow them here, but was worried about the vaults, because of their connection to Hell through the mirror. I suggested that we should, as a matter of urgency, make contingency plans for any attack.
He also asked me to speak to the children about the relationship with the fae courts, and in particular, about the choice of courts that may be someday forced upon them. He felt that would better come from me, with my greater experience. I told him I would do so, as well as teaching them about the Shadowroads and other things they should know about.
He had to leave then; there was a sense of instability from the castle, somewhere in the vaults. To me, it felt like toothache. Maric said he had to go and investigate, but charged me to take care of the village, as I always do.
I left the gathering too, as I had duties in the castle. There was much to think about, but at least I can do so with fresh breath.