A Kiss of Shadows – Chapter 32: In faerie, you’re only a whore if the plot calls for it

Chapter 32 begins with Merry tripping over her own fucking feet as they walked into the throne room. Luckily, two of her guards were able to catch her before she did anything other than twist her ankle, but they force of her fall caused her and her two guards, Galen and Doyle, to fall into a heap on the floor. 

In. Front. Of. Everyone.

How embarrassing. While they’re all down in a pile of losers, they determine that the force of Merry’s fall wasn’t natural – it had to have been a spell, something that had the guards not been there to catch Merry, would have caused her to, at the very least, break her legs, or worse, her neck. 

Frosts picks Merry up and walks her across the floor to the royal dais, where Andais and Cel are already seated. The dais was set so Andais towered over them, with her consort Eamon by her side. On a lower level beneath her were two chairs to each side. Cel was seated at one of them, with his first in command, Siobhan, and his second in command, Rozenwyn. Rozenwyn was one of the three who had challenged Merry to a duel three years prior, before she fled the court. Rozenwyn was basically like an easter basket – her hair was cotton candy pink and her skin was lilac colored, with golden eyes. Merry had always thought Rozenwyn was the most beautiful of the sidhe, until Rozenwyn had tried to kill her, that is. 

As Frost is about to set Merry down onto her seat, Cel stands up and throws a fucking crybaby fit. “Mother you CANNOT DO THIS” he whines like a child. Andais shuts him down quick, because she rules and doesn’t put up with Cel’s tantrums in public. “Have you forgotten that I am still queen here?” she asks, and Cel responds with “I know who rules here now. What I am concerned with is who shall rule after.”

Andais uses this to announce to the court that she has her concerns as well – firstly, she is concerned with who could have set such a powerful spell inside her throne room without anyone noticing it. She gazes around the large room to take in the face of each sidhe and the heads of their families. After she’s done staring them down, she announces that Merry is now her heir, and there’s a collective gasp across the room.

Andais also announces to the room that Merry has finally come into her hand of power, the hand of flesh. Cel challenges this announcement because of course he does. He smugly cries out that in order for Merry to have come into her hand of power, she had to have used it in combat with at least two sidhe witnesses. 

So our hero, fair Sholto, stands from his chair, surrounded by his hags and nightflyers, and announces that he was one of the witnesses who saw Merry use her hand of power. Andais orders him to tell the court of that night, and he does so. 

After Sholto finishes his retelling of the events, Andais proclaims that Merry is now equal to her son Cel, that they are her co-heirs, and that whoever conceives a child first will become the ruler. The have three years to accomplish this. She also announces that she has lifted her geas of celibacy for her guards for Merry only. Merry glances around to the guards behind Andais, and she realizes some seem happy, as if they are already full of lust, and some seemed very unhappy at this announcement. Andais tells Merry that she has free reign to choose any of her guard to sleep with, and orders Merry to have the ones she’s already selected stand at her side. 

Merry uses this to announce to Andais, as well as the full court, that she has formed an alliance with Kurag, King of the Goblins, and introduces Kitto. Kitto cowers at her feet like a beaten puppy. Andais orders Kitto to stand aside so that Fflur, her healer, can attend to Merry’s injured ankle. Fflur tells Merry that in order for her to begin her healing work on the ankle, Merry must remove her nylon stocking (NO DOUBT A THIGH HIGH) and fucking Galen does the smooth-move “Allow me.” and drops to his knees in front of Merry to fucking rip the stocking off with his teeth. 

Well, okay, not with his teeth, but he makes it this huge sexual thing, almost bringing Merry to orgasm with his touch in front of the whole fucking court. After Galen finishes, some rando sidhe, Conri, stands up and whines to Andais that “they were given the promise of flesh while another claims that prize.” Conri, apparently, was a supporter of Cel and never a fan of Merry, and now here he is, all lusty-eyed, whining that he wants to fuck Merry. Ugh. He immediately challenges Galen to a duel. Merry asks him what the fuck he’s doing, what he hopes to gain from Galen’s death. Conri apparently thinks that if he kills Galen, Merry will accept him at her side in Galen’s place. 

Merry starts laughing at this, which super pisses Conri off. He asks if Galen is a coward, and Merry laughs harder. Conri asks why she’s laughing, and she lays it out for him. They are not friends, they have never been friends, and they will never be friends, and Conri is a fucking knob if he thinks he’ll ever get to sleep with her. Merry tells the court she does not sleep with people she doesn’t like, or people who dislike her, and announces to the court that if anyone kills any of her men hoping to take their place, they are very mistaken. 

Conri becomes very embarrassed, as he did not expect this at all, but still tries to hold to his challenge. If he cannot sleep with Merry, he does not want Galen to either. Because Galen’s death will bring Merry pain. Merry thinks of something, and tells Conri that he cannot challenge a royal consort to a duel. Because she is actively trying to conceive a child with Galen, with any of her guards, no one can challenge them to a duel, as there is no way for her to know at this exact moment if she is with child. You know, despite not actually fucking Galen yet. But, the court doesn’t know this, and that’s the important thing. 

Andais realizes that what Merry says could be true, and thus she does not allow the duel to come to fruition. Cel whines about this, saying that there is no way that Merry could have slept with Galen yet, due to the demi-fey punishment. Andais then throws out in front of the entire court that there was a lust spell placed on Merry and Galen while in the black coach, so she has no idea what could have occurred in that car due to the spell. At mention of the spell, Conri’s face drains and Merry realizes that the spell was Conri’s doing – after all, they had found a C-engraved cufflink in the coach. 

Everyone realizes that Andais is uber pissed off, and so the guards go stand by who they are loyal to – Siobhan stands near Cel, Rozenwyn stayed near Cel but did not move to him. Doyle, who should have moved to stand near the queen, continues to stand near Merry, protecting her. Andais realizes that Doyle did not leave Merry’s side and this pisses her off even more, however now she’s more jealous than angry. She tells Merry that Merry better be thankful that they are blood relatives, because she would have Merry slain for that slight. Merry then realizes that Doyle, who before had told her he would protect the queen first above all, was now loyal to Merry first. 

Merry announces to the court that all the guards around her – Doyle, Frost, Galen, Rhys, and now Kitto, are all her royal consorts, which gets a huge rise out of the crowd. Many react in disbelief, shouting “You could not have slept with all of them already!” and another screams out “Whore!”

Which is just fucking stupid. So stupid. We’ve been told throughout the book that the sidhe have very few morals surrounding sex. Sex is natural and should be enjoyed by all, and the Unseelie sidhe ESPECIALLY do not judge where sex is concerned. We’re told that Andais would regularly have public sex shows in front of the entire court, that she would regularly sleep with multiple men, etc… And because Merry says she is sleeping with all her guards, after Adais has TOLD THE ENTIRE CROWD that Merry is now in a race to conceive a child and gain the throne, one of them yells “Whore!” at her? No, LKH, you don’t get to play this game. That’s not how this works. You don’t get to spend an entire fucking 32 chapters of a 37 chapter book making a huge deal of how sex is NO BIG THANG to these people, only to have one call Merry a whore out of fucking nowhere. 

Anyway, Conri still gets all up in arms about Galen being one of Merry’s consorts. Cel tells him not to worry, that if Merry is pregnant by Galen it will be his last child, knowing full well that Niceven was to destroy his manhood during his punishment by the demi-fey. Merry lets Cel know that she bargained with Niceven to stop the punishment before Galen was truly ruined, that he will heal. Siobhan asks what will happen if Merry becomes pregnant from Kitto, the goblin, and Andais tells her that if that happens, a goblin will be king. Conri tells Andais that the court would never serve a goblin king, which angers Andais. She orders Conri off to the Hallway of Mortality, the court’s torture chambers. Before he is taken away, Sholto, our lord and savior, demands Conri tell the court who ordered him to place the lust spell in the black coach. 

Andais stops Conri from answering, however, knowing full well that Conri is Cel’s man, through and through, and Cel had most certainly ordered him to place the spell. While Andais will not stand for Cel’s tantrums publicly, privately, she dotes on her son and will protect him from anything. Shoto then asks, very loudly to the court, who ordered him to find and kill Merry in LA. Andais again tries to get out of answering this, which brings Doyle to inquire who provided the mortal with Branwyn’s Tears, allowing the mortal to use the Tears against fey. 

The crowd gasps at this, totally unaware that Branwyn’s Tears had been loosed amongst the mortals to use against fey. Merry is about to explain to the crowd what had occurred in LA when Andais grabs her arm and pulls her close. She begs of Merry not to tell them about the Tears, not to tell them about Cel’s mortal worshippers – Merry realizes that Andais had known about it all along, and that by protecting Cel is she is breaking many laws of court as well as some of the earliest laws set by President Jefferson when the sidhe first came to America. If they are found to have set themselves up for mortal worship, they would be exiled from the US, and they had exhausted the countries where they were allowed. 

Merry tells Andais that she will not tell anyone about Cel, but that the worshipping must end, and that Cel must be punished. Andais agrees to punish Cel for giving the Branwyn’s Tears to a mortal. The punishment for this is to be covered in the Tears and left alone for months, six months, precisely. This would drive Cel mad, and the queen knows this. Andais leverages for three months, telling Merry that she knows Cel is not strong enough to last the full span. Merry tells Andais that she will agree to three months ONLY IF she and her guards are not threatened or injured at all by Cel’s people during this time. Andais agrees, and Cel is dragged off to the Hallway of Mortality. 

The chapter ends with the feast beginning after all the drama ends. As Merry and her men are eating, the queen leans down to Merry and orders her to fuck one of the men tonight, else she would be joining Cel in the Hallway to be punished. 

Characters Introduced:

Rozenwyn: one of Cel’s guards and supporters. Beautiful, with cotton candy pink hair and lilac skin. Had won a duel against Merry but had not killed her. 

Conri: one of Cel’s men and the queen’s guard. Hates Merry but desires to break his geas of celibacy and sleep with her. Challenges Galen to a duel to try to gain position at Merry’s side, but is unsuccessful. Sent off to the Hallway of Mortality for punishment for placing the lust spell in the coach with Merry and Galen before they arrived in Faerie.

Themes Introduced:

Merry is named co-heir of the Unseelie court, and would take over as queen of the court if she becomes pregnant before Cel. Plot device for Merry to have ALL THE SEX.

Hallway of Mortality – the court’s torture chamber, where they serve out any punishments ordered by the queen.

Sex: YOUS A WHORE NOW, MERRY.

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