A Kiss of Shadows – Chapter 20: A fucking rat tail

 
Chapter 20 begins with Merry and Doyle exiting the plane onto the concourse and into a throng of people. People lined the room to catch a glimpse of the returning princess. Doyle kept the people from her, until they see one person come closer through the mass of people. He stood tall and dressed in all green to match his hair and skin tone. Galen’s green hair fell in ringlets to just below his ears, except one long thin braid. Dude’s got a green rat-tail.
Sexy.
Merry drops her bag and runs into Galen’s arms, and they kiss. Galen had been one of Merry’s best friends at court. He had been one of the last sidhe born at court, about 70 years before Merry was born, and because he was part pixie he was not one of the politically strongest sidhe, he joined the queen’s guard once he was of age in order to help protect himself. Because he was the youngest of the sidhe until Merry, they pretty much grew up together, as sidhe age and mature at a slower rate than humans.
 
Merry notices that there are a few reporters and photographers in the group, and they’re taking lots of pictures, as pictures of sidhe royalty could always sell for a decent amount. Merry explains that the sidhe go one of two ways when dealing with paparazzi: they either act decorous and give the paparazzi nothing of interest to shoot, or they perform for the paparazzi so that they won’t dig around for any more sensational stuff. Merry and Galen fell into the latter group. Merry knew that they couldn’t do anything to the photographers or reporters, as using magic on them was against the law, the human law, so she’d rather perform an act for the paparazzi to keep them off her back.
 
So, while Merry and Galen are cuddling for the cameras, Merry notices another familiar face coming towards them from the crowd: Barinthus. Where Galen was green-tinted, Barinthus was blue, with hair the color of the oceans, mixed between deep blue, dark turquoise, and stormy grey. His skin was very white and his eyes dark blue with a second membranous eyelid covering them. He stood nearly 7 feet tall, FINALLY AN ACTUAL TALL CHARACTER. Barinthus had been one of Merry’s father’s closest friends and advisers, and he had been a very strong figure in Merry’s early life. Barinthus had at one time been a god, a sea god from cultures long, long ago, and as such he remained quite conservative when out in public.
 
One of the paparazzi butts in and Merry realizes it’s one she’s dealt with before, one she hates: Jenkins. He had acquired pictures of Merry’s father’s mutilated body after his death and sold the pictures to magazines and newspapers outside the US. At her father’s funeral, Jenkins had taken close-ups of Merry crying, which ended up winning awards and acclaim, and Merry took offense to that, because he took advantage of her situation for his own gain.
 
Um, isn’t that what the paparazzi do? They don’t really give two shits what’s going on as long as they can get a shot of it. Sure, Jenkins took advantage of a tragedy to profit off it, but that’s what celebrities deal with, isn’t it? It’s something that Merry seems pretty used to, so her hatred seems a little baseless, I guess.
 
Merry reminds Jenkins that she has a restraining order against him, and that he’s standing much too close. She got the restraining order after the incident with her father’s funeral, as the courts had ruled that he took advantage of a minor, despite the fact that Merry’s father died when she was of legal age, 18. Jenkins moves away from them.

There’s then a long drawn out scene with Merry asking Barinthus’s opinion on the attitude at court. She still doesn’t fully trust that the queen has offered her protection and ordered no one to harm her. Barinthus tries to calm Merry, stating that no one, not even Cel, will harm her or face the queen’s punishment, which is often worse than death. He tells Merry that the queen doesn’t seem very happy with Cel, though no one will speak of why that is, and everyone at court is afraid to anger either the queen or Cel. The attitude at court is quite strange and not at all normal.
 
As they begin to leave the airport, Galen notices Jenkins fiercely staring Merry down. He wonders what exactly has caused Jenkins’s hatred of Merry. Merry avoids the question, but explains to us that years before she was born, the queen had decreed that they could never use their deepest magic in front of the press, but Merry broke that rule against Jenkins. After Merry’s father died, she cornered Jenkins and used her power to force Jenkins to face his deepest, darkest fears. She made him cry and beg for release and left him to deal with his fears on the side of a country rode, alone. After that, he came after Merry with a vengeance. That helped to teach Merry to never merely play with her enemies, the only way to truly be rid of them was to kill them.
 
They make it out to the limo, and Merry realizes the queen sent her own personal car to escort Merry back to Faerie. The black coach, a car with a mind of its own. Barinthus and Galen do a final once over of the car to make sure no one tampered with it while they were inside, however they had faith that the car would protect itself from any wrong-doers. Barinthus gets in front to drive the car, while Galen and Merry get inside the back of the limo as the chapter ends.
 
Characters Introduced:
 
Galen – one of the queen’s sidhe guards and Merry’s best friend at court. The youngest of the sidhe born in the US. Around 6’ tall with very lightly green tinted skin, short curly green hair with one long braided rat-tail (gross) and spring green eyes. Not well suited for politics.
 
Barinthus – one of the queen’s sidhe guards, and Merry’s father’s best friend and advisor. Had at one time been a sea god, and looks like it with pale, pale skin and long multi-hued blue hair. Very tall, around 7’.
 
Jenkins – a reporter who Merry had used her powers against after he invaded her mourning during her father’s funeral. Passionately hates Merry.
 
Themes Introduced:
 
Some of the sidhe were once gods.
 
Sidhe cannot use their powers against the press.
 

Sex: just some casual airport kissing.

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