I really wish this chapter started off with Doyle being described as sniffing the air “like a bloodhound”, but alas, he just sniffs the air like a normal fucking idiot. Doyle tells them that it’s Cromm Cruach, which is Rhys’s original name. He’s trying to communicate with the group.
Doyle unsheathes his sword and blood drips off of it, forming a message on the floor: Don’t you carry any nonmagical weapons? Oh ha ha, that Rhys, always humorous and insulting. So Doyle grabs a normal kitchen knife, which they use as a mirror to communicate with Rhys, who had stayed back with the arriving police. They’re all fighting.
Hooray. More cop fights.
Turns out the FBI showed up even though Merry totally didn’t invite them, even though Merry totally called Agent Gillett and let him know about a murder on federal fucking lands. Rhys wants Merry there, and now, because everyone is arguing and they’re now all afraid of Rhys since he had to use a whole bunch of his blood to send Doyle a message anyway.
Couldn’t he have just, I don’t know, maybe sent someone else to go get them? Why use a BLOOD SPELL in front of all these officers to get their attention? At a MURDER SCENE.
Anyway, the chapter ends with them heading off to the cop fight, because why not have a super short chapter that does nothing at all to further the actual story.
Chapter 12 begins with Merry changing into warmer clothes, and then donning a fur coat. She describes it as looking beautiful, but that she wasn’t a fan of fur because “I thought the fur would have looked better on the animal it belonged to. I’d actually tried to argue that I wanted a leather coat, or something out of wool…”
Because, you know, leather isn’t made from animal hide or anything belonging on an animal, right? Anyway, Frost assures Merry that when they kill an animal for fur, they make use of the entire body and consume the meat.
She finds out that it’s actually TROLL FUR. You know, trolls. Fey creatures that have their own culture and language and co-exist among the rest of the fey. Merry equates this to cannibalism and starts an argument about it. Doyle believes that Merry taking issue with a troll fur jacket is a sign of weakness. He’s, like, legit pissed off about this.
Doyle jerked me close to his body, and I felt the creeping line of energy as his power began to unfold. He snarled into my face, “Won’t wear the skins of our honored enemies. The police await us, our men stand in the cold, and you don’t like your coat! Such delicate sensibilities for someone who just fucked a stranger on the floor in front of all of us.”
Which is actually a pretty good synopsis of the entire series. Except then Doyle breaks down into a giant sobbing mess on the floor because Merry had sex with Mistral. Because the ring Merry wears activated when she touched Mistral, and it’s never done that with anyone else.
Merry tries consoling him that the ring is supposed to find her true love, and she doesn’t love Mistral. That if the ring had truly chosen Mistral to be her true love and husband, she would be hopelessly in love with him. But she isn’t.
I looked at the two of them, and for the first time I realized that if it was a choice between the throne or losing these two men, I wasn’t certain what I would choose. I wasn’t certain I was queen enough to sacrifice that much. But as long as Cel lived, he would see me dead. And I could not give the rest of faerie to him, even if he swore to leave me and the ones I loved alive.
I dunno, Merry, sounds pretty much like you’ve made your choice.
Eventually Doyle and Frost tell Merry that a majority of the sidhe didn’t want to live under Cel’s rule. Some of Cel’s personal guard had spoken directly to them about their lives under Cel’s rule, and it was scary and torturous and awful. They won’t tell Merry exactly what Cel has done to his female guards, but they assure her that it was bad, bad, very bad. Oh wait, no, seconds later they give in and tell her anyway!
“He called one of the women guards by your name and swore that if his mother is so determined to have you with child, it will be his seed in your body.”
I looked into that handsome face, and wanted to ask if he were joking, but I knew he was not. It was my turn to shudder. “I would rather die.”
“I’m not certain he would care,” Doyle said softly.
“What do you mean by that?”
“One of the lesser fey died during one of Cel’s rapes.” Doyle sighed again, and a look came into his face I hadn’t seen often – fear. “He liked that she died during the sex. He continued to rape her corpse until her body became quite decayed.”
Such a peach!
Merry starts to comfort her men, but then they realize that, whoops, Rhys had told them to get there ASAP to deal with the cops, so they didn’t have time for ‘true comfort’. Gross. Merry then decides to just wear the fucking jacket and asks them how she looks. This causes a mirror to magically appear on the wall, which means the sithen is starting to respond to Merry’s command. Doyle and Frost are astonished – the sithen hadn’t answered to anyone in many, many years. They then warn her to be more careful when she asks for things inside the sithen, as the sithen is like a monkey’s paw in how it responds to people. So, after this warning, Merry says “we better go!” and a door magically fucking appears in the middle of the wall. Which they then just step through without any second thought, despite having JUST WARNED ABOUT THIS.
And the chapter ends with Merry realizing that a few more women had joined her entourage. Women who held loyalty to Cel. Fun! They finally go to deal with the fucking cops.