Chapter 7 begins with Merry, Abeloec and Mistral standing up after their sexcapade. Merry then realizes that most of her men are missing. Rhys tells them that “the garden took them” and Rhys, Frost and Doyle get super protective of the three. They start leading Merry and co out of the room, but then Doyle notices something amiss in one of the trees. They block Merry’s view for her protection, but this just serves to piss her off, and she orders them to stand down so she can see.
It’s Aisling. Remember him? I sure don’t! Turns out, he was in the last novel – he’s that sidhe man who’s so beautiful it was a curse to look upon him directly. Anyway, he’s been pierced through the chest by a tree branch. Merry worries whether he is alive or dead, but mostly she worries that she has no idea what caused the tree in the evil garden to just up and pierce his chest like that.
It was the sex you just had, Merry.
Chapter 8 begins with them realizing that Aisling is actually dead. I just tried typing “Aisling” twice and both times I instead typed “Abeloec” which juts shows how little I care about Aisling’s death or any of the throwaway one fuck and done characters in this series.
Realizing that Aisling is dead, killed by the magic in the garden, she starts worrying that there are other men who have suffered the same fate somewhere in the gardens. Merry starts frantically questioning what happened to her other men.
“You were holding Galen, and Nicca was with you,” I said. “What happened to them?”
Frost brushed his sodden hair from his face, the silver looking as grey as Mistral’s in the dim light. “Galen was swallowed up by the ground.” His eyes showed pain. “I could not hold on to him. It was as if some great force wrenched him away.”
I was suddenly cold, and the warm rain wasn’t enough to keep it at bay. I said, “When Amatheon did the same thing in my vision, he went willingly. He just sank into the mud. There was no wrenching force.”
The men realized that the others who were taken were taken by their “spheres of influence”, or whatever that means. The ones who were taken were never deities in their own right, so they did not have the power to protect themselves when the magic came hunting.
Doyle then realizes that Rhys now bears both the markes of his godhead. The fish on his arm, from before, and another fish swimming the opposite direction. This means he can both bring death and give life, as he could when he was a god. So they want him to try healing Aisling and bringing him back to life. So, Rhys starts climbing up the tree to get close to him, and Merry makes a short person joke.
From how much of a shit fit Merry threw the last book when Galen was injured, she sure seems totally cool with the fact that he was wrenched into the earth against his wishes.
Rhys is just about to touch Aisling, when Doyle shouts for him to wait. They see the air around Aisling’s body start shimmering, like he’s a Twilight vampire, except instead of sparkles and glitter, he EXPLODES INTO A BUNCH OF BIRDS. And instead of worrying about the fact they just saw a dead body explode into a bunch of birds in front of them, they’re suddenly all astonished by the sheer size of the newly formed gardens. Or, rather, forest.
They’re all happy that Merry and Abeloec and Mistral were able to cause this change. Then there’s a short spiel about how Doyle was jealous of Mistral at first, because in the previous book the magic ring Merry wears flared to life with Mistral’s touch, but then he realized that it was just that Mistral was the first sidhe Merry fucked since returning to the sithen.
Oh, so now LKH remembers that Merry DID fuck Mistral in the last book. So what were the previous chapters about?
Wait, no, just kidding, Doyle totally IS jealous, and he’s being all bratty about it.
He shook his head at me. “For miracles such as this, what is one person’s happiness, Princess?”
I’d almost broken him of calling me princess. I had finally been Meredith, or Merry, to him, but no longer, apparently. I touched his arm. He pulled away from my touch, gently but firmly.
“You give up too easily, my friend.” Frost said.
“There is sky above us, Frost.” Doyle motioned outward with the gun in his hand. “There is forest to walk through.” He raised his face upward, and let the warm rain fall on his closed eyes. “It rains inside the sithen once more.” Doyle opened his eyes and looked at Frost, grabbing his arm, dark against light. “How clear do you need your messages to be, Frost? It seems that Mistral did this.”
But in the midst of his whineathon, Abeloec points out that Doyle’s marks of old have returned as well. No longer is he just a pure black sidhe, but he has red lines across his body. It’s not enough for Doyle, though! You see, he was once the Queen’s Darkness, the most powerful and feared of her guard, and if he isn’t Merry’s true consort, and isn’t the one to help bring life back to faerie, then his entire life has been for nothing!
The Queen then shows up and exclaims that she’s happy to see life returning back to the sithen, but she could have done without the mud. She tortures Merry a little (she licks and then bites her) and then asks what happened to the rest of the men who had accompanied Merry. They then hear some birds singing (I wonder if these are the birds from Aisling’s dead body, which EVERYONE HAS NEVER MENTIONED AGAIN THIS CHAPTER. A DUDE EXPLODED INTO BIRDS. AND NO ONE. CARES.) and the songbirds piss Andais off.
“You will make of the Unseelie Court a pale imitation of the golden court that your uncle rules, Meredith. You will fill the darkness that is our purpose with light and music, and we will die as a people.”
“Once there were many courts,” Abeloec said, “some dark, some light, but all faerie. We did not divide ourselves into good and bad as the Christian’s do for their religion. We were everything at once, as we were meant to be.”
Andais did not bother to respond. Instead she simply said, “You have brought life to the dead gardens. I will not try to pixie on my promise. Come to the Hallway of Mortality and save Nerys’s people if you can. Bring that bright Seelie magic into the other heart of the Unseelie Court and see how long it survives.” With that she was gone.
So they then explain to Merry that once there were things that existed in the Hallway of Mortality too dark and cruel for words. They worry that if Merry brings magic back to faerie fully, that she’ll bring it to the light places (such as this evil, evil garden) and the dark places (such as these monstrous beings) as well. And the chapter ends with Merry and co wondering if Nerys’s people will even care about how much it took for Merry to save their lives.
And NO ONE EVER BROUGHT UP AISLING EXPLODING INTO A THOUSAND BIRBS. NO ONE. WTF.