Chapter ten begins with Merry fleeing from the nightflyers. She hides in a doorway, knowing that the nightflyers will not leave the sky to capture her. However, behind her in the doorway was a short man wearing a bright Hawaiian shirt and cap. When he turned to face Merry, he smiled, revealing a mouthful of sharp teeth surrounded by dark black skin. Merry turns to run and finds herself trapped by three black cloaked figures. They rush her, and Merry shoots one of them. It drops, and the other two surround their fallen.
Merry realizes that they are night hags – Nerys the Grey, Segna the Gold, and Black Agnes.
They look like this.
They are part of the sluagh, sent, along with Gethin the goblin-like creature, to stop Merry. They keep Merry distracted enough that she did not notice Sholto had found her. He was sent to bring Merry back home to Faerie to face the justice of her Aunt, the Queen of Air and Darkness.
But, Sholto doesn’t want her dead. He tells her that much has changed in the three years Merry has been away from Faerie. He wants to tell her everything, but he wants to move their chat to a more comfortable location, a room in one of the best hotels in the city. To prove he has no intention of capturing or harming her, he agrees to ride in a taxi to the hotel. Sidhe cannot perform magic while within the confines of a metal car. Too much refined metal interferes with their powers. Merry being part human allows her to use her magic within vehicles.
Merry also knows that Sholto won’t take advantage of her while she’s alone with him, as he’s a part of the Queen’s Guard, which means he has sworn an oath to the queen to never have sex with any sidhe but her. The punishment for breaking this oath is death by torture, and as the queen is a sadist, nothing could be worse than the torture she could lay on someone. The queen would kill not only Sholto but Merry as well if they were to break the oath.
The chapter ends with Merry and Sholto getting into a taxi together to head to the hotel.
That’s it. A simple, short chapter where nothing much happens. This happens quite a bit in LKH novels: chapters that wildly vary in lengths. This chapter could easily have been combined with the previous chapter with nothing lost. Some of the previous chapters I’ve reviewed have been entirely TOO long seeming. Chapter 8, for instance, is like twice the length of this one, with not a whole lot happening. This is another major problem with LKH’s novels, I think. There’s sex scenes that last 60 pages long, but then tiny bits of action that advances the plot get sprinkled over a few sentences in shorter chapter. It makes the book feel so abrupt. It is not very good. This is something that, again, a good editor would probably be able to correct to make the novel feel more cohesive, but a good editor would probably just be pushed aside with lots of “you just don’t get it”s.
Night hags: hags of the sluagh, protectors of Sholto. Nerys, Segna, and Black Agnes.
Gethin: small, black skinned man with razor sharp teeth.
Queen’s Guard oath: sidhe warriors who have sworn to protect and also only have sex with the Queen of Air and Darkness, punishable by death by torture to any that break or assist in breaking the oath.
Sidhe cannot perform magic inside man-made things like vehicles.