I’ve decided to combine these two chapters, as they are both rather short and not a whole lot happens. I’ll do that from here on out whenever chapters do not meet LKH standards of superfun.
Chapter 16 begins with Sholto running into the bathroom and Merry screaming at him to stop. She hears them fighting, bodies hitting each other, so she begins crawling to the lightswitch, and flipping it on. Doyle had taken a sword to Sholto’s tentacles, severing one of them, while Sholto tried to keep Doyle away with his arms and tentacle arms. Sholto eventually overcomes Doyle and is about to drive the sword through Doyle’s chest, when Merry throws herself on top of Doyle.She tells Sholto that Doyle is there to save her, not kill her, which makes Sholto question why he was sent to kill Merry if the queen had sent Doyle to rescue her. Sholto drops the sword, and Doyle begins baiting him to continue attacking. Merry puts a stop to that quick, and Doyle notices that Sholto is wearing a magical ring, the ring of Beathalachd. He asks Sholto where he got the ring.
Sholto responds that it was a gift from the queen, to show her blessing for his hunt of Merry. The ring, Beathalachd, steals the wearer’s opponent’s skills in battle and gives the skills to the wearer, which is the only way Sholto would have bested Doyle in a fight. Doyle is the queen’s most feared guard, and there is nothing that could best him in a fight. They eventually find that the queen did not personally tell Sholto to kill Merry and did not personally give Sholto the ring, however Sholto won’t give up who did send him on the mission.
Sholto realizes that the queen really does want Merry to return to court and that she is under the queen’s protection, which bums him out because it means that she would gain nothing from their alliance. Merry tells him that had Sholto’s hags not interrupted, she would likely have had sex with him and formed the alliance. Sholto then tells Doyle about Merry’s hand of power, the Hand of Flesh, the same hand of power Merry’s father possessed. Doyle does not believe this possible as it is very rare for a child to inherit their parents’ hands of power, so they escort Doyle up to Sholto’s room so he can see the inside-out flesh monster Merry created out of Nerys.
On the way to the room, they discuss the traitor who sent Sholto to kill Meredith. While Sholto will not give out the name of the traitor, he tells Merry and Doyle that they can surely guess who was behind it – Merry’s main enemy at court, Prince Cel, the queen’s son. He had been the controlling force behind the three duels Merry fought while at court, and he is the reason Merry fled. Sholto asks Doyle to assist him in ending Nerys’s life, as he valued her and did not want to see her suffer in her inside-out form. While asking for Doyle’s assistance, he calls Doyle by one of his oldest nicknames, Baron Sweet-tongue. Merry, like most fey, guesses that this refers to Doyle’s oral abilities, but Doyle is adamant that it is not about sex.
FINALLY. ONE THING THAT’S NOT ABOUT SEX.
They get to the room, and Doyle seems impressed with Merry’s skill at turning Nerys inside out. He tells her that her father could not even accomplish turning one fully inside-out. This skeeves Merry out a bit, because she’s still not fully comfortable with her Hand of Power’s ability. However, he tells Merry that he will not kill Nerys, that she must be the one to do it because it was her power that turned Nerys this way. He hands the queen’s sword, Mortal Dread, to Merry. She shoves the sword into Nerys’s heart beating on the outside of her body. Nerys’s muffled screams became louder, and Sholto tells her that the sluagh are harder to kill than the sidhe, so Merry withdraws the sword and begins stabbing and slicing at her, cutting Nerys into unrecognizable pieces. Finally, the screaming stops, and Merry rises, covered in blood and guts and gore.
Merry turns and notices both Doyle and Sholto dropped to one knee. They salute her as a true Princess of the sidhe, and she just walks past them into the shower, in shock that she had come to enjoy butchering Nerys.
Prince Cel – the queen’s only son. He was responsible for the attacks on Merry’s life when she was last in Faerie.
Baron Sweet-Tongue: a very, very old nickname for Doyle. Apparently not referencing his sweet tonguing abilities.
The Hand of Flesh – Merry’s Hand of Power, inherited from her father
Sex: not unless you’re turned on by Merry butchering a mound of flesh, which could in itself be a pretty badass euphemism for sex.
A Kiss of Shadows – Chapter 17
A Kiss of Shadows – Chapter 17
Chapter 17 begins with Merry and Doyle arriving back at Merry’s apartment in LA. LKH then describes Merry’s apartment, and it just sounds like the most god-awfully bad decorated place ever. The living room was a pale pink with a mauve, purple and pink colored couch. The curtains were pink and purple. Everything else in the living room was white. It’s as if Barbie drunk puked all over her place.
The bedroom is a totally different scene. Soft grey walls with burgundy and mauve, pink, and white flowered wallpaper trim. The bedroom furniture is all black or dark cherry wood, but her bedspread is again pink and mauve and flowered. Why all the flowers? Gross.
Doyle comments that he is surprised by how the bedroom looks, after all that pink in the living area. Merry snottily remarks that the color of her bedroom shouldn’t matter to him, and Doyle apologizes. Merry realizes that she’s just angry at Doyle for making her kill Nerys. Doyle explains that Merry had to make the final kill because without Nerys’s blood sacrifice, there was a chance Merry’s hand of power could fade or disappear.
They then begin discussing the fact that one of the sidhe had set themselves up to be worshipped by humans – the sidhe Merry saw in the mirror when Norton was attacking her. Sidhe worship is illegal, both for humans to worship the sidhe and for the sidhe to allow humans to worship them. This was one of the only requests the US made when the sidhe came to America from Europe. They want to find out who has set themselves up to be worshipped, and who gave out Branwyn’s Tears. Any sidhe caught to be allowing humans to worship them would be punished by death, and any sidhe caught using Branwyn’s Tears against another fey would be condemned to torture for as long as the queen desires. Doyle tells Merry that he has already informed the queen of their findings in LA, but that he needs to contact the queen again to tell her about Merry’s new hand of power. He excuses himself to Merry’s bathroom (apparently the only bathroom in her apartment is right off her bedroom? Weird apartment setup).
The chapter ends with Merry hearing Doyle raise his voice in anger while talking to the queen.
Merry has terrible taste in interior design.