Chapter 16 begins with the group sitting down to dinner, discussing what their plan of action would be on the call with Queen Niceven. Doyle said that the messenger who took his call to Niceven seemed thrilled that they had finally reached out for help, so Doyle believes that Niceven must have a plan, so they must be wary. Galen believes they should not trust the demi-fey because they are no better than animals, but Doyle tells Galen no to underestimate the demi-fey. He tells them all that the demi-fey know how to use their weapons against their enemies, and Rhys responds that the sidhe are not the enemies of the demi-fey.
“The demi-fey, like the goblins, are tolerated, and barely that in our courts. And the wee-fey do not have the goblins’ fierce reputation to protect them from the slings and arrows of mischance.”
For some reason mention of the goblins made it hard not to look at Kitto. He hadn’t sat at the table but had crouched underneath. He’d eaten his stew, then crawled to his oversize doggie bed. He seemed shaken by the afternoon at Maeve Reed’s pool. Too much sun and fresh air for a goblin.
Haha what? Kitto sits and eats under the table, then crawls to his dog bed? Remember how they talked earlier about how they all treat Kitto like a pet? HE DOES IT TO HIMSELF TOO. Fuck Christ, I hate Kitto.
Frost pipes up and says that no one harms the demi-fey, because their magic and their glamour is so powerful no one can tell the difference between a hummingbird or a butterfly and the demi-fey. They are able to disguise themselves with their magic and glamour. Doyle agrees, and adds that before the demi-fey were merely seen as the queen’s spies, they were true allies of the Unseelie Court because they had at one time been equal in power to the sidhe.
Rhys, despite being one of the oldest and most powerful of the sidhe, asks why this is.
I answered, “If the demi-fey leave the Unseelie Court, then what remains of faerie will begin to fade.”
“That is an old wives’ tale,” Rhys said. “Like if the ravens leave the Tower of London, Britain will fall. The British Empire has already fallen, and yet they still clip the poor ravens’ wings and stuff them full of food. The damn things are as big as small turkeys.”
“It is said that where the demi-fey travel, faerie follows,” Doyle said.
“What does that mean?” Rhys asked.
“My father said that the demi-fey are the most closely allied with the rawness that is faerie, the very stuff that makes us different from the humans. The demi-fey are their magic more than any of the rest of us. They cannot be exiled from faerie because it travels with them wherever they go.”
I really wonder what LKH means by the British Empire has fallen. True, they’re not like they once were, with huge colonies all over the world, but they’re still a major player in world politics and such. They’ve hardly fallen. I think the “if the ravens leave the ToL, Britian will fall” is a bit more thorough than just a “oh well they’re not as large as they once were, good chap”. I’m thinking more burnt to the ground and decimated if the ravens leave. Anywho…
Galen mentions that that is not true of all of the smaller fey, like pixies. Most smaller fey are likely to perish if they are exiled from faerie. His father was a pixie, so he feels he is a pixie-expert. Rhys asks Galen if he ever knew what his father did to be exiled from the Seelie Court.
“My uncles tell me that my father seduced one of the king’s mistresses.” His smile faded. Galen had never met his father, because Andais had had him executed for the audacity of seducing one of her ladies-in-waiting. She never would have done it if she’d known there was going to be a child. In fact, the pixie would have been elevated to noble rank and there would have been a marriage. It had happened with stranger mixes. But Andais’s temper made her a little too quick on the death sentence, and thus Galen had never met his father.
But I thought you were an expert on pixies, Galen? Too bad you’ve never actually met one.
Continuing the conversation about what to do with their meeting with Niceven, Doyle tells Merry that when talking to Niceven, she should treat her as an equal, as Niceven would never expect that sort of treatment. Frost disagrees; he doesn’t think Merry should treat Niceven as an equal, because the demi-fey are not equal in rank to sidhe nobles, and not anywhere close to equal to a sidhe royal like Merry. He agrees with Galen and thinks the demi-fey are little better than parasitic animals.
Doyle chides him, telling Frost and Galen that everything in faerie has its purpose and place. He also believes that the demi-fey are the essence of faerie, and that if they were to leave the Unseelie Court would begin fading even more so than it already is. Merry agrees, stating that since her father believed that to be true, so does she, as she has never found anything her father believed and instilled in her to be false.
Galen begins to clear the table and clean up, but Merry tells him that he cooked, he shouldn’t have to clean as well. Galen boo hoos and goes “I’m not good for anything else.” And Merry tells him she will do what she can to have him healed.
“That’s what I’m afraid of,” he said softly. “I don’t want you to put yourself in debt to Niceven, not for me. It’s not a good enough reason to owe that creature anything.”
I frowned and turned to the room at large. “Why call her creature? I don’t remember the demi-fey’s reputation being this bad before I left the court.”
“Niceven’s court has become little more than the queen’s errand runners, or Cel’s. You cannot retain respect if you have been relegated to a threat and nothing more.”
“I don’t understand. What threat? You’ve all been saying that the demi-fey are no threat.”
“I have not said that,” Doyle said, “but what the demi-fey did to Galen was not the first time it has been done, though this time was more … severe. More flesh was taken than I’d seen before.”
Galen turned away at that and began to busy himself at the sink, rinsing out the bowls, placing them in the dishwasher. He seemed to be making more noise than was necessary, as if he didn’t want to hear the conversation anymore.
“You know that crossing the queen can get you sent to the Hallway of Mortality to be tortured by Ezekiel and his redcaps.”
“Now she will sometimes threaten us with being given to the demi-fey. In effect, Niceven’s court, once a court of faerie with all the respect and ceremonies of any court, has been reduced to nothing more than another boggle to be dragged out of the dark and sent to torment others.”
“The sluagh are not merely boggles,” I said, “and they have been a court with their own customs. They have been one of the greatest threats in the Unseelie arsenal for a thousand years.”
“Much longer than a mere thousand years,” Doyle said.
They go on to describe how the sluagh were originally true Unseelie Court and that it was the sidhe who joined the sluagh to form the Unseelie Court as it is today. Many of the sidhe will not admit to that being the truth, but many also believe that the sluagh are the essence of the Unseelie Court, and not the demi-fey. Frost being one of them.
“The queen would do almost anything to keep the sluagh on her side, and at her beck and call, but wouldn’t the same be said for the demi-fey? If she truly fears that their leaving would make the Unseelie decline even faster than they are already, then wouldn’t she do almost anything to keep them at her court?”
Doyle does agree with that, and adds that Galen and Frost are correct in that Niceven does not react like the sidhe. She is used to following the orders and commands of a queen. Doyle tells Merry that she must make Niceven see her as another queen to give her orders. That they must remind Niceven that Merry is Andais’s heir.
“When Cel contacts the demi-fey, he is his mother’s son. His requests are usually as bloody, or more so than his mother’s. But you are asking for healing, for help. That automatically puts us into a position of weakness, for we ask a boon of Niceven and have little power to offer her in return. … Lounge about on the bed with your men. Drape us around you for the effect just as the queen would do. It is a way of looking powerful, for Niceven envies the queen her bevy of men.”
Merry asks how much of a show must they put on for Niceven, and Galen tells her that he does not want to be included in the show, as he does not even want to see any of the demi-fey. Merry says that makes it tough, as of her men, only Galen and Rhys are comfortable with flirting in public. Doyle and Frost typically do not let their emotions show when in view of the public. Doyle tells them that for tonight, for Merry’s benefit, he will help her to put on a show for Niceven.
Frost pouts and says he will stay on the bed to be in view, but he will not put on a show for Niceven. Doyle tells him that perhaps he should wait in the living room if he is not willing to act in public as Merry’s lover, when he is her lover in private.
Frost narrowed those grey eyes of his. “You held me back today when I would have aided Meredith. Twice you held me back. Now you suggest that I not be in her bed while you play her lover. What’s next, Darkness? Will you finally break your fast, and take my night in her bed for truth and not just playacting?”
“I am within my rights to do so.”
That made me stare at Doyle. His face was blank, neutral. Had he just said he would share my bed tonight, or was he just arguing with Frost?
Frost stood up, looming over the table. Doyle stayed seated, calmly looking up at the other man. “I think we should let Meredith decide who shares her bed tonight.”
“We are not here to make Meredith choose,” Doyle said. “We are here to see her with child. The three of you have had three months and her womb is empty. Would you truly deny her a chance to have a child, to be queen, knowing that if Cel succeed and Meredith fails, he will see her dead?”
Wait, what? I thought we had just discussed how Doyle feels all Merry will do is have sex with her guards to get with child, and not cement her allies in faerie. Now he’s saying all they are there to do is get her pregnant. These books are so confusing. Also, I don’t even remember Doyle holding Frost back at all this day. Was it when he wouldn’t let Frost sit next to Merry on the couch at Maeve Reed’s house? That’s the only possible thing I could think that these lame crybaby characters could even consider a slight. WAAAH DOYLE WON’T LET ME SIT NEXT TO MERRY WAAAH fucking christ, these characters.
These are not men. They are what LKH thinks a ‘true man’ should be, all muscles and long hair and pretty faces and FUCKING THE WORST EMOTIONS EVER. If these are the men LKH desires most, she can have them all. Good lord, I am more of a man than these dudes.
Merry moves to go comfort big whiny Frost, but just then the mirror in her bedroom begins ringing. They have a call to answer. Galen and Kitto move towards the bedroom (but I thought Galen wasn’t going to participate? See? Confusing!)
Frost tells Merry he will go with to answer the call. “I will do for my queen what I would do for no one else.” And the chapter ends with Merry knowing that when Frost said “my queen” he was referring to her, and not to Andais.
Note: Since I’m starting to add more direct quotes from the novel, I’ve realized how absolutely in need of a good editor LKH is. I don’t even understand her use of punctuation half the time, and I have to keep correcting myself for adding commas where they naturally would appear. I’ve never heard LKH speak, but if she writes dialogue the way she speaks, I imagine it’d be the most aggravating vocal pattern ever. SO MANY, COMMAS. HAVE A RANDOM SEMI,-COLON. FULL STOP. It makes my brain bleed. IT MAKES MY, BRAIN BLEED.
But, yes, whenever anything is in italics, it is a direct quote from the novels. Punctiuation and all.