Lord Mornoth came to visit for the first time today. Although I have seen him quite a few times, it has always been in the faerie realms with Maric or with Gwyneth. This is the first time I have seen him on my home ground, and, come to that, the first time I have seen him on my own. It was a most interesting meeting. And he seems a most interesting person. With just the two of us, discussing mutually beneficial business, he was quite civilised and charming, seemingly lacking in any of the taint of madness and cruelty that so defined Gwythyr. Perhaps, this is the old-school, what the Unseelie should be, different, but in their own ways, honourable and civilised beings.
I received him in the main hall, which I felt was more comfortable than my office. He was amenable to this, provided I was happy that out discussions would remain confidential. I assured him that the servants were quite discreet. Mabel served wine and he favoured her with a faint smile, which I think fascinated and terrified her in equal measure. I cannot say I blame her, for Mornoth does in many ways resemble that late and unlamented former King of the Unseelie.
After I dismissed Mabel and the other servants, he remarked on the fact that she, and others, had been touched by darkness and offered aid if he could. I admitted that we had not yet completely cleansed the castle and its people of the taint of the late king; for all that I had boiled the bastard’s brains, removed his head and dropped it in a volcano. That got a flicker of amusement, I fancy, from Mornoth. Not one for excessive displays of emotion, this seneschal, at least, not in front of the likes of me. Perhaps among his own kind at their festivals, he is another man entirely. I told him that we were dealing with the taint as best we could, and that I would remember his kind offer should we have need of such aid.
We moved on to the business for which he came; the matter of the rogue demi-fae queen, Desiree and the sithen rose that she controls. She escaped her confinement, that much I knew, and had found herself a refuge. He wished to retrieve her before she could gather enough strength to strike back. Having heard of my status among the Cait, he enquired if I would be willing to ask passage of them, for Mornoth and his men, through the Shadow Roads to the place where Desiree had hidden herself, in order to retrieve her.
I explained my position among the Cait, as Sigil to Queen Valene, which I said was somewhat similar to that of Rook among his kind, in case he was not familiar with the term. I also told him of my past association with Valene and that after Gwyneth, she was my dearest friend. The Cait had been cooperative during our last battles, so I saw no reason that they would not be this time. I told him that I would ask Sebastian, and furthermore, offered myself as guide, since I was adept at navigating the Roads myself. The only problem I could foresee was Nemaine. I told Mornoth that she and I had some sort of understanding, without admitting that I wasn’t entirely sure that I knew what that understanding was save that it related to the affection between Valene and myself. I said that it was likely that her price, should she demand one, would be first choice of any casualties of the encounter, and if she demanded more, then I would have to deal with that.
He said he knew of the Carrion Crow and would not wish her tender mercies on anyone, neither would he wish to place me under further obligation to her. He remarked that some of the minions with Desiree might prefer a fate at the claws of Nemaine to their current existence. He would be glad of my assistance, and offered a great boon from himself and his people for this service.
I told him that he would not be placing me under any further obligation to Nemaine. As Sigil to her daughter, all obligations regarding the Cait were mine anyway. That was the way of things and he should not concern himself on that account.
We would need to formulate a plan for the extraction and confinement of the demi-fae queen, which matter I would leave in his hands. Dyisi would be responsible for locating her, and the Cait and I would guide Mornoth’s men through the roads. I also mentioned my skill with the Myst Roses, offering that this may be of some use in dealing with the Sithen rose. He said that they were distant relations and while the techniques for dealing with them were similar, the comparison was somewhat like that between a mouse and a tiger. A matter for another time, he suggested.
I addressed the matter of the boon. I would rather regard such things as a matter of cooperation between our peoples for our mutual benefit, I told him, rather than tying ourselves to formal obligations. That he accepted with good grace and made ready to take his leave. I was to send word via a wisp once I had made arrangements with the Cait and then we would coordinate our efforts to capture the demi-fae queen. He left then, seeming pleased with our arrangements, and with promises to talk of wine and communing with plants at a later date.
I must confess, from previous occasions, I had been suspicious of Mornoth, but this meeting had been very civilised, almost pleasant. Perhaps I have misjudged him. We will have to wait and see. In the meanwhile, I need to go and see Sebastian. I do not look forward to this. Sebastian is a good friend, and it will be good to be among the Cait again, but it will be hard to go there and not see Valene. Still, these things cannot be helped. She has her reasons for being in seclusion and I have to respect that. I must attend to my obligations, as she must to hers. Time enough for other things later.