A Caress of Twilight – Chapter 39, 40, 41: Wait, the bad guy is… actually the bad guy? SURPRISE.

A Caress of Twilight – Chapter 39


Chapter 39 begins with the gang arriving at the hospital to go interview this fey survivor. They apparently are going in guns ablazing, because? Anyway, they get to the room with the fey survivor, and it’s some tiny male thing. He creeps Merry out.
I am Unseelie Court and I call many shapes right, pleasant, but something about this one made the hair on the back of my neck crawl. It made me want to look away, as if he was hideous, though he wasn’t.
I dunno, that’s basically the definition of finding something hideous.
Basically all the guards are having a hard time looking at the fey in the bed. Except Doyle because he’s the perfect stoic man, or something. Finally, Nicca steps forward, recognizing the fey in the bed.
“Oh, Bucca, what has become of thee?”
The tiny figure on the bed remained immobile at first. Then, slowly, he raised one small hand on an arm so thin it was like a thick string. He laid that tiny pale brown hand against Nicca’s strong brown one.
Kitto turned a face shining with tears up to the lights. “Bucca-Dhu, Bucca-Dhu, what are you here?”
Wait, what? “What are you here?” LKH tries to explain this away in the dumbest of fashions.
I thought at first Kitto had left out a word of two; then I realized he hadn’t. He’d asked exactly what he wished to know.
So, he wanted to know what Bucca is? I guess I understand that Kitto is asking “what happened to you” but this was just the dumbest way to go about it. Just have Kitto ask this normally. This is so stupid.
Anyway, everyone realizes that Nicca and Kitto know this fey in the bed, and then both Nicca and Kitto begin speaking rapidly in Gaelic or Welsh or some mix of various languages to the man in the bed. Doyle starts translating for everyone. Nicca apparently knew Bucca in the form he currently is in, but when Kitto knew him, he was a full blown sidhe.
I looked at the man with a renewed fit of horror, for now I could suddenly see it. It was as if someone had taken one of the sidhe and compressed him down into something the size of a large rabbit. I had no words for the horror that lay nearly lost in that hospital bed. And no thought to how he could have come to that form.
Bucca tells the room that what happened to him was his own fault, no one else’s. He tells them he refused to give up any of his power, and he clung to his power and his worshippers, and it eventually turned him into what they all saw in the bed. He then sees Kitto and wonders what has changed about the goblin. Nicca tells Bucca that Kitto is now a sidhe, and Bucca laughs.
“You see, I fought so hard for so many centuries to keep our blood pure, to mix with no one. I considered you an unclean thing once, Nicca.”
Nicca kept patting the other man’s hand. “That was long ago, Bucca.”
“I would not let any of our pure Bucca-Dhu line go out among the other sidhe. Now all that is left of my line is those like you are were not pure.” He turned his head and it looked like it took effort. “And all that is left of the Bucca-Gwidden is you, goblin.”
“There are others among the goblins, Bucca-Dhu. And you see the moonlight skin on these sidhe? The Bucca-Gwidden are remembered.”
Again, LKH throwing out some things that were never introduced before without any explanation, like we’re just supposed to understand.
They continue talking about how Bucca always thought it was wrong for the fey to mix blood blah blah and eventually Detective Tate interrupts and asks what the fuck is going on. Merry tells her that she’s just as confused, and Galen agrees with them. Kitto finally turns to them all and actually explains things. Sorta.
“Goblins were not all one people any more than the sidhe were merely two separate courts. We were all more than this once. I was a Cornish goblin, because my sidhe mother was a Bucca-Gwidden, a Cornish sidhe, before she joined the Seelie Court. When she saw the form her babe had taken, she knew where to lay her burden down and left me among the snakes of Cornwall.”
“There are nests of snakes everywhere in the Isles,” Bucca said in a thick voice. “Even in Ireland, no matter what the followers of Padrig want you to believe.”
Ugh. Tate is feeling the same way, apparently, and tells them all to fucking explain themselves.
“I cannae die, you understand that, Nicca, I cannae die. I was the king of my people and I cannae even fade like some did. But I am fadin’.” He raised one piteously thin arm. “I am fadin’ like this, like some giant hand is squeezin’ me down.”
“Bucca, please, tell us how you came to be attacked by the hungry ghosts,” Nicca said in his soft voice.
“When this flesh I am still clingin’ to fades, I’ll be one of ‘em. I’ll be one of the Starvin’ Ones.”
“No, Bucca.”
He held out that thin, thin arm “No, Nicca, that is what happened to most of the others who were strong. We cannae die, but we cannae live, so we be betwixt and between.”
“Not good enough for heaven,” Doyle said, “nor bad enough for hell.”
Bucca looked at him. “Yes.”
Tate again says she can’t follow along with this, and asks him to get to the point. Bucca tells them that when the elder ghosts came upon him, he wasn’t strong enough to handle them, and they fed on him. Rhys then realizes that it was Bucca who had raised the elder ghosts.
“Aye,” Bucca said.
“Why?” I asked.
“It was part of the price I had to pay to rejoin the faerie courts.”
That stopped us all. For a second, it seemed to make sense. Andais had done it, or had it done. That was why no one could track it back to her. It explained why none of her people had known about it. She hadn’t used any of her people.
Right, Andais did it. She totally had a reason to do it, right?
Doyle asks Bucca who he would be paying the price to, and the chapter ends with Bucca responding “Taranis, o’ course.”
I don’t even understand the reasoning behind immediately thinking Andais ordered Bucca to do it. Like, she was the one to warn them about the Nameless being let loose. She had tortured many in her court to find out of anyone in her court was responsible. Of course it had to be Taranis who did it – he had plenty of reasons to have the elder god ghosts let loose, namely Maeve fucking Reed. Who, JUST THE OTHER CHAPTER Merry warned that the ghosts were after her. So why the fuck immediately assume it was Andais?
Because LKH needed some stupid drama because she can’t tell a fucking story, that’s why. 

A Caress of Twilight – Chapter 40

Chapter 40 begins with Merry basically going “WHAT, NO, NOT TARANIS” like it’s a fucking surprise that Taranis ordered those ghosts let loose. THIS ENTIRE BOOK HAS LAID OUT PERFECTLY VALID REASONS FOR WHY TARANIS WOULD DO SOMETHING LIKE THIS. YOUR “SURPRISE” IS TOTALLY MISPLACED HERE!
So Detective Tate asks why Taranis would want these ghosts let loose. He tells her that it is because he wanted Maeve Reed killed, and Tate wonders why.
“I don’t know why,” Bucca said, “and I didna care. Taranis promised to give me enough power to recover some of what I’d lost. I was finally willing to join the Seelie Court. But he promised it to me on condition of Maeve’s death, and that I could control the Starving Ones. Many o’ them were friends of old. I thought they were like me and would welcome a chance to return, but they are no longer Bucca, or sidhe, or even fey. They are dead things, dead monsters.”
Cool, so now Detective Tate knows that Taranis was the one who ordered the elder ghosts loosed, so what’s she going to do about it?
Oh cool, nothing! She instead asks him why he didn’t tell any of this to the sidhe ambassador or social worker, because that is what matters! Doyle finally asks how they can be stopped, and Bucca tells them that even though he raised the ghosts, he’s not strong enough to lay them down. He instead tells them how they can lay the ghosts down, but he does not think anyone is strong enough to do this.
Immediately after Bucca finishes telling them how to lay the ghosts down, Merry asks him, quite bluntly, I might add, if he was the one hiding the Nameless from the Unseelie Court.
                “Girl, have ya not been payin’ attention? Taranis is hiding it.”
“You raised that for him, too?” I couldn’t keep the surprise out of my voice.
WHY ARE YOU SO SUDDENLY SURPRISED THAT TARANIS IS PULLING THE STRINGS BEHIND THIS SHIT? WHY. There’s absolutely no surprise behind this. I knew after Maeve Reed was introduced that Taranis would do anything to stop her/them from talking to her. This is the weakest fucking twist ever.
Bucca tells them that he only raised the ghosts, and that Taranis had raised the Nameless himself. Galen asks if Taranis is still controlling it.
“Nay, lad, do not ya un’erstand yet? Taranis freed it, gave it orders to kill this Maeve, but he no more controls it than I do the Starvin’ Ones. He hid what he had done, but it is the thing itself that is hiding it now. Taranis was not half-panicked when he realized that, I tell you. He was scared, and he should be.”
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“When I tried to send the Starvin’ Ones through Maeve’s wards, they couldna reach her. They turned on me, and found other prey. I saw the thing that you call the Nameless. It will breach her wards, and once it has killed her, then what will it do?”
So, Taranis freed the Namess, then immediately lost control of it. It has one order – to kill Maeve Reed, and once it has completed that, it will be free to do whatever it wants. Got it.
Tate asks what they can do. She’s not sure she can convince Lieutenant Peterson that there’s ancient fey magic about to destroy L.A.. Merry tells her that they’re going to try to keep Maeve Reed safe BY CONVINCING MAEVE TO GO TAKE OFF TO EUROPE. Because that’s super safe, right? Merry takes Tate’s cell phone to call and warn Maeve, when Maeve’s assistant answers the phone screaming. Julian takes the phone and tells them that something is attacking, something huge, trying to get through Maeve’s wards.


So the chapter ends with them all running out of the hospital to get to Maeve’s ASAP to stop the Nameless. Elder ghosts completely forgotten. 

A Caress of Twilight – Chapter 41

Chapter 41 begins with Merry and Co and a bunch of police officers arriving at Maeve Reed’s mansion. The place is surrounded with police cars, SWAT vehicles, ambulances, etc. They had put up a barrier around the mansion and guns were drawn on it. As they arrive, Merry seems a lady decked out in full SWAT attire standing in the middle of a pentagram, performing some sort of spell.
Before they arrived, they had apparently stopped over at Merry’s apartment to pick up extra sidhe-weapons, because they knew that until they break the Nameless’s glamour, bullets can’t touch it. So, they pick up all these extra weapons, and get to Maeve’s. As they arrive, the SWAT witch releases a spell which doesn’t exactly break the glamour, but lets the more magically inclined police know where the Nameless currently is attacking.
So then Tate asks if they can start shooting it, and Frost tells her yes. What? You JUST EXPLAINED TO US that the bullets would be useless until they break the glamour, and then you tell them it’s just fine to waste bullets shooting it when the glamour isn’t even broken yet?
The bullets passed through the shimmering almost-form like it wasn’t there. I began to wonder where all those bullets would end up, because they’d keep going until they found some target. Then men were yelling, “Stop firing, cease fire,” all up and down the line.
The sudden silence range in my ears. The shimmering form just kept pushing at the wall, or rather the wardings in the wall. It didn’t seem to have noticed the bullets or the police.
“What just happened?” Lucy asked.
“It is in a time between this time and the next,” Doyle said. He had walked back to us while we were watching them throw bullets at the thing “It is a type of glamour that allows the fey to hide themselves from mortal eyes.”
Lucy looked at me, “Can you do that?”
“No,” I said.
“Nor can the rest of the sidhe,” Doyle said. “We gave up that ability when we made the Nameless.”
“I’ve never been able to do anything like that,” I said.
Merry constantly does shit like this. They’ll be talking about something and Merry always tries to bring it back to her being some sort of special snowflake. Or she inputs her totally uneducated opinion when they’re talking about something she doesn’t quite understand. See: when they were talking about the elder ghosts earlier.
Anyway, Frost and Doyle then decide that they’re going to try to strip the Nameless of its glamour (“glamoury”?) and Merry is all “Whoa no, we decided we’re just going to get Maeve out of here!” which they never actually decided. Your plan is stupid, Merry. Why would they follow your stupid plan when they have a chance to end the Nameless here and now?
Doyle and Frost then decide they’re going to go ahead with their smarter, much better plan, totally overriding Merry’s decision as their “ruler”. They decide they’re going to try to wound it, which should help to strip the Nameless’s magic away, allowing the police to use their weapons against it. Merry asks how they plan on wounding it. Frost answers her:
“A weapon of power would be able to wound it, if the warrior were skilled enough.”
I held on to his arm tighter. “What do you mean, skilled enough?”
“Skilled enough not to get killed doing it,” Rhys said.
Both Frost and Doyle gave him unfriendly looks. “Look, we don’t have time to play around here. One of us with a weapon of power and enough skill to do it has to draw blood,” Rhys said.
I kept my grip on Frost’s arm but looked at Doyle. “Who’s on the list of skilled enough?”
Do… do you not know your guards well yet, Merry? What have you even been doing the past few months?
                “Now that’s just insulting,” Rhys said. “Doyle and Frost aren’t the only people standing here.”

They gave him another unfriendly look.
Why? Why are the guards dick waving over who’s powerful enough to wound the Nameless? They should be fucking attacking it already. Why can’t those with weapons of power just go and do it? Why does everything have to be a fight with these characters, EXCEPT WHEN THERE ACTUALLY NEEDS TO BE A PHYSICAL FIGHT?
So Frost, Doyle and Rhys are the only three with weapons of power. While they’re trying to decide who’s going to attack, the Nameless bursts through Maeve’s physical wall. It didn’t need to break through the magical wards – it just had to break whatever the wards were attached to, which in this case was an actual wall.
How. Fucking. Stupid.
So Doyle, Frost and Rhys all rush in to attack. Well, Doyle rushes in. Frost then tries to leave Merry, but she’s all “kiss me first” because that’s what’s important here, right? Frost FUCKING TELLS HER NO and runs off to join Doyle, which is hilarious and amazing. Rhys, however, rushes to Merry and sweeps her off of her feet to plant a kiss on her before rushing into battle.
So they’re all just standing there as the only guards worth a damn are battling this thing for their lives, and Galen is just like “Um… how about we go evacuate Maeve from the mansion?” BECAUSE THEY DIDN’T EVEN BOTHER DOING THAT BEFORE THE THING BROKE THROUGH THE PHYSICAL GUARD. GOOD LORD.
So they all run in to get Maeve out. Galen tries to demand Merry wait outside, under protection of some of the cops, but she demands that she go with. Actually, the chapter ends with Merry winning that argument, because “all the men that could have argued me down were inside the broken wall facing off against the thing we’d come to destroy”.


Uh, no, Merry. You should not be letting your “men” argue you down on anything. You’re the ruler, not them, remember? You spent a lot of the beginning of the book trying to justify that position, but every time it comes time for you to actually, you know, make decisions, you lean on Doyle. Or Frost. Or whoever. Because you’re not a ruler. You’re an awful idiot and I wish you were dead. 

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