Chapter 28 begins with Merry entering the queen’s bedroom. Andais is standing in the center of the room looking piiiiiisssssed, but Merry hardly notices because she’s still basically riding high from the magic that happened inside that alcove. Merry realizes that Andais isn’t mad at her, but rather she’s pissed off at her consort, Eamon. Andais had been “playing” with her human toy, and Eamon was trying to get her to stop the torture. The human male that Andais is torturing continues to beg for it, and so Andais is taking offense that Eamon would try to stop her when obviously her toy wants it so much.
“You told me once that you valued him because he could take so much pain. If you kill him, you will not have him to play with, my queen.”
I love how they have to tip toe around Andais and explain things to her like she’s a petulant child. Our queen, everyone!
Merry takes an opportunity to glance around the room, and she sees many of the queen’s guards, all stripped naked and kneeling, heads bowed towards Andais. It makes Merry wonder what has happened since she left with the queen’s strongest men.
Andais takes her whip and lashes it out at Eamon. Eamon just takes it, hardly flinching. This further angers Andais, so she does it again and again, and when he still does not react, she drops the whip onto the ground and flings herself at Eamon. She begins raking at him with her long, sharp fingernails, and she uses her magic to begin almost sucking the oxygen out of the room, using her powers over the air to drown everyone.
Eamon continues to struggle against her, to convince her she should relax, but she isn’t having any of it. She manages to find a knife somehow, and she begins slicing at Eamon’s chest. That’s when Doyle, Rhys and Frost step up to the plate. “I hate having to do this,” Rhys says, and Merry tries to ask them what they will have to do, but Doyle tells her that they do not have the time to explain. The three of them go over to the queen, and Merry tries to follow to stop them, but both Adair and Galen are holding her back. Merry tries to order Galen to let her go, but of course he doesn’t listen to her.
Doyle tells Andais that they have returned, and so she turns her attention on him, beginning to slice up his arm with the knife. Doyle allows Andais to slice at him a few more times before Rhys moves in front of him to now take over the brunt of Andais’s anger. It continues like this, with each guard taking a turn being sliced up by the knife before another steps in to take over. This way, they can heal a little bit between attacks. Merry starts losing her shit and trying to break free, but Galen and Adair continue holding her back.
“Welcome to the world of the guards, Princess,” Adair said. “Welcome to how we keep each other alive. None but the queen and her Ravens have ever witnessed this. You are most privileged.”
Merry then sees one of the kneeling guards staring at her. Merry reads in his grey eyes that he thinks Merry is just another useless royal sidhe, that she allows her men to be brutalized while she just stands there and does nothing.
So the chapter ends with Merry deciding to do something about this. She forces Galen to move out of her way so that she can see what the queen has done to her men.