Chapter 11 begins with Sholto realizing that Merry hadn’t actually come to gawk and stare at his wounds. He tells them that it was the Seelie court who had caused his injuries. Sholto said he needed to test them, to see if Andais had anything to do with the attack, and by Merry’s (and her men’s) reactions, he could tell the Unseelie court had nothing to do with it.
“Lady Clarisse offered to meet with me. She sent a note saying that she had glimpsed me without my shirt, and had not been able to stop fantasizing about it. I leapt at the chance, not stopping to question. I wanted to much to be with another sidhe, even if it was only for a night.”
I didn’t feel guilty very often – few in faerie do – but in that moment I knew that if I had taken him to my bed, he wouldn’t have been vulnerable to the Seelie’s trick. Or maybe he would have been more vulnerable – we’d never know.
“Lady Clarisse,” Sholto continued, “took me inside the Seelie sithen. She led me cloaked through back ways to her room. Then she told me that although the tentacles fascinated her, she also feared them. She said she could not bear to have the tentacles touch her while we made love. Here I was truly a fool – I let her tie me up, so I would not accidentally brush her with the parts she feared, and said she craved.” He wouldn’t meet anyone’s eyes again. I watched his face redden even through the strands of his white hair. He burned with embarrassment. “When I was helpless, other sidhe slipped into the room. They did to me what you see.”
They believe that King Taranis had ordered Sholto to be injured as a way to remove him as an ally of the Unseelie, as without her allies, it would be easier to wage war. They spend a few pages going back and forth as to “oh Andais must know!” “but no, Andais can’t know!” and this whole time Merry feels immense guilt because if only she had fucked him.
Eventually Merry starts weeping because she wants so badly to prove to Sholto that he’s beautiful and deserving of love just as he is, and this causes the other night-hag, Segna, to attack.
Suddenly there was movement behind me, and in front of me. All the guards moved at once, but Sholto was closest. He used his own body to shield me, so Segna’s razor claws sliced his own white skin. He took the brunt of the blow meant for me, and even what was left of that strike staggered me backward, numbing my arm from shoulder to elbow. It didn’t hurt, because I couldn’t feel it.
So Sholto pushes Merry into Doyle’s arms, and the chapter ends with him dropping Segna into the dead lake. Some fucking guard she is, attacking Merry because Sholto happened to show desire on her. Pfff
Chapter 12 begins with Segna laying in the lake, impaled by the bones of her ancestors. Sholto orders his two male guards to go retrieve her, but they refuse, and instead say that Agnes is not trusted alone with Sholto, so she should go. Agnes uses this moment to threaten Sholto, saying that in his weakened state, he would be no match against her, and it’s all because he was nice to Merry. Anyway, Sholto finally convinces her to go, and once she reaches Segna in the lake, she lets out a wail of despair. Thinking Segna had perished, Sholto pushes Merry away. “Every time I am with you, someone I care about dies, Meredith.” Maybe you should stop caring about shitty fucking people, Sholto. I very rarely take Merry’s side in this series, but you can’t keep blaming her for your poor choices, dude.
Well, and Segna isn’t dead, yet. She’s dying, that’s for sure, and begging to be healed. Oh except the magical bones are actually EVIL BONES and she’s too close to death to heal. So now they’re all arguing about who gets to kill Segna. Is it Sholto’s alone, since Segna was one of his? Is it Merry’s because Segna had tried to attack her? Is it both Sholto and Merry’s for reasons? Merry doesn’t really want to kill her, since she’s “mortal” and will “need a dose of antibiotics after this.” Merry, we’re pretty sure you’re not mortal at this point in the story, stop using that as an excuse. Either way, they all pretty much decide for Merry that she either has to kill Segna or she’ll never be truly accepted as a queen.
Except Merry is still whining about not wanting to kill Segna. It’s not out of mercy or anything, it’s that “I did not want to climb down into that stinking hole and wade through razor-sharp bones and dirty water to kill someone I hadn’t meant to even hurt.” Yep, she doesn’t want to get dirty. Isn’t she already covered in mud?
Well, and then Merry sees Sholto struggling with Segna’s death, so she offers to kill Segna with him, helping him, so even after all the whining, the chapter ends with Merry and Sholto climbing into the gross water to go kill her anyway.
Wow, it’s been a long time since I’ve combined three chapters into one review. It’s honestly because not a whole lot has happened in this book so far, and though the chapters have all been a fairly consistent length, they’re mostly full of straight up bitching or whining and not enough plot to drive the story forward. That’s another of my big problems with LKH as a writer: she comes up with all these wonderful plot ideas, but they get bogged down by constant dialogue that takes away from the actual plot of the story, or her ideas just end up going nowhere or are forgotten. At this point she should just come up with ideas and James Patterson her way into a bestseller.
Anyway, Chapter 13 begins with Merry very slowly and carefully making her way toward Sholto, Agnes and the dying Segna. The water is up to her shoulders, which makes me wonder just how she’s going to be of any use in this death. Agnes starts threatening Merry because she’s taking so long, and so Sholto makes her swear a vow that she will never harm Merry. Agnes cannot. It takes a while to get her to swear any sort of vow, but they finally settle on Agnes cannot harm Merry while they’re standing in the sluagh’s evil garden. Meanwhile, they’re also whining that it’s taking forever and Segna won’t last long enough for them to… kill her? Ugh.
Merry finally makes it close and the water is nearly over her head, so Frost and Doyle start holding her up, and Agnes makes a huge deal about how Merry must make the kill on her own two feet, otherwise it doesn’t count. So Frost and Doyle set her down, and she has to keep her chin tilted backward or else she’d be swallowing the dirty lake water.
How ridiculous must this look. Are they incapable of bringing Segna closer to Merry for this to happen? Is she still impaled on the bones? Then why the fuck even bother with this stupid scene. Let the bones kill her and be done.
Anyway, no one thought to bring along any sort of immortal-killing weapon on this jaunt through the Many Evil Gardens of Faerie, but Merry brightly suggests USING THE BONES TO KILL HER.
THE BONES SHE’S ALREADY IMPALED ON.
Oh wait, I’m mistaken. She’s NOT impaled on the bones any longer, because the next thing we get is Segna begging for one last kiss from Sholto and so they MOVE HER CLOSER TO SHOLTO for the kiss.
As Sholto bends over to kiss her, the two guards holding Segna release her, and she starts sinking below the water. Merry, who remember is standing in water that essentially is covering her face at this moment, moves forward to catch Segna, but and the chapter ends as Merry grabs onto Segna’s body and is pulled forcibly under the water with Segna’s last remaining strength.