Chapter 14 begins with Merry apparently having enough time to take a breath before Segna pulls her under water. Convenient! So she’s fighting with Segna when she realizes that Segna is trying with her last big of strength to push Merry onto the deadly evil bones. Merry is pretty certain she’s about to die and starts praying to her Goddess.
I just want to point out that I initially typed ‘preying’ and I thought about leaving it.
Anyway, the Goddess answers and Sholto gets a grip onto Merry, yanking her out of the water. Segna, in her rage, begins attacking Sholto. Once Merry is back above water, she realizes no one else is there. The once shallow, disgusting lake had transformed to a deep, cold lake. Merry starts screaming for her men, and her shouts make Segna stop attacking Sholto. She instead turns her rage back to Merry. Merry sees Sholto sinking to the bottom of the lake, and so she takes a deep breath and dives down toward him.
Except that wily Segna reaches Merry first and instead starts dragging her by the hair to the shore of a small island in the lake. Segna somehow has enough strength to hold Merry down with a knife to her cheek, and Merry starts pleading for Sholto’s life.
“Sholto is drowning.”
“The sluagh cannot die by water. If he is sidhe enough to drown, then let him.”
“He loves you,” I said.
She made a harsh sound that spattered her chin with more blood. “Not as much as he loves the thought of sidhe flesh in his bed.”
Segna then starts mocking Merry’s mortality, saying that Merry isn’t even sidhe enough to stop a dying night-hag.
“I’m only part sidhe.”
“But you’re sidhe enough for him to want you,” she growled. “Glow for me, sidhe! Show me that precious Seelie magic. Show me that magic that makes us follow the sidhe.”
Which causes Merry to finally remember that she carries two hands of power that can KILL AN IMMORTAL. HOW DID YOU FORGET THIS. Merry calls her hand of blood and starts forcing all of Segna’s wounds to bleed out. With her last bit of strength, Segna starts slowly piercing Merry’s throat, and then hesitates and pulls away. Sholto to the rescue! He had arrived on the island with a spear made of bone and drove it into Segna’s throat.
Merry rushes over to comfort Sholto after Segna finally dies, and Sholto tells her that he cannot die from drowning. At the bottom of the lake, he found the spear waiting for him. It is the legendary spear of bone, a weapon of power that everyone had thought was lost. And they’re now kneeling on the Island of Bones, another legendary place that used to exist in the middle of their evil gardens but had been lost to time.
They then notice that the air smells like herbs and roses, and Merry tells Sholto that she had prayed, and this must be the Goddess’s answer. The chalice appears magically in Merry’s hand. Merry explains to Sholto that these magical items thought lost to time have started to appear around her after she dreams of them. She holds the chalice out to Sholto, but he hesitates to touch it.
Which causes the Goddess to appear, and Sholto is convinced to take hold of the chalice. Then the God appears. The God asks Sholto what he would give to bring life back to the sluagh.
“I would give my life to save my people,” Sholto said.
“I do not wish to take it,” I responded, because the Goddess had offered me a similar choice once. Amatheon had bared his neck for a blade, so that life could return to the land of faerie. I had refused, because there were other ways to give life to the land. I was descended from fertility deities, and I knew well that blood was not the only thing that made the grass grow.
“That is not your choice,” she said to me. Was there a note of sorrow in her voice?
Sholto seems totally okay with this plan. A magical bone dagger then appears in front of Sholto, and he reaches out for it. The God continues questioning Sholto.
“Do you remember what the dagger was used for?” said the God. “It was used to slay the old king. To spill his blood on this island,” Sholto replied obediently.
“Why?” the God asked.
“The dagger is the heart of the sluagh, or was once.”
“What does a heart need?”
“Blood, and live,” Sholto answered, as if he were taking a test.
“You spilled blood and life on the island, but it is not alive.”
Sholto realizes that Segna’s death wasn’t enough to bring life to the gardens, so he hands the dagger to the God and asks for his life to be spent instead. The God denies this, though, because a king is needed to take the spear back to his people. Then they all turn their attention toward Merry. She’s royalty, after all…
Sholto will not sacrifice Merry, though. He refuses. Man, the gods in this series are really thirsty for blood, aren’t they? They’re super pissed off that Sholto won’t kill Merry.
Merry counters to the gods that she is helping to bring magic back to faerie, so wouldn’t it be stupid if they killed her? So the gods tell her that joy will also bring life back to the gardens. Why not just say that first? Why you so out for blood, gods??
“If you bring life to this place with joy, then you will change the very heart of the sluagh. Do you understand that, Sholto?” the God asked.
“The heart of the sluagh is based on death, blood, combat, and terror. Laughter, joy, and life will make a different heart for the sluagh.”
Sholto just doesn’t get it though. He keeps begging them to explain this to him, he doesn’t understand, but the gods just fade away leaving Sholto a confused panicked mess. Merry finally has to spell it out plainly for him, in language that he’d understand.
“Sholto,” I said. I had to say it twice more before he looked at me.
His face was stricken. “I don’t know what they want from me. What am I to do? How do I bring the heart of my people back with joy?”
I smiled at him, the mask of blood cracking with it. I had to clean off this mess. “Oh, Sholto, you get your wish.”
“My wish? What wish?”
“Let me clean off some of this blood beforehand.”
I touched his arm. “Sex, Sholto, they mean sex.”
Merry then has to explain to him that because she’s both Unseelie and Seelie, her magic comes with both the darkness and the light. That sometimes she can make an immortal being die from her hand of blood, or sometimes she can change a torture chamber to be filled with a meadow full of bunnies. Sholto has to agree to this, because her sex magic will likely cause a major change to the sluagh.
“If I had taken your life, then the sluagh would have remained what they are: a terrible darkness to sweep all before us. If we use sex to bring life back to my people, then they may become more like the sidhe, or even the Seelie sidhe.”
Oh good, he finally gets it. So, Merry makes him choose whether or not he would want to change the sluagh. Sholto is so sidhe-sex crazed that he doesn’t care, he just wants that magic poon. Merry then goes to wash off some of the blood, and Sholto starts whining about how he wanted their first time to be perfect. Oh boo hoo.
Anyway, the chapter ends with Merry returning from the water back to Sholto’s outstretched arms ready to bang.