Chapter 14 begins after the mirror call with the goblins ended. Holly and Ash were scheduled to arrive later that evening, so Merry is fretting over which of her guards is going to stand duty over her while she’s attempting to bring the two to their sidhe-powers. It’s because FEELINGS.
She can’t ask Frost, because Frost doesn’t like sharing Merry with other men. She can’t ask Rhys because he hates the goblins and would consider watching Merry enjoy them torture.
“You enjoy normal sex, right?” Rhys asked.
“Normal is a judgement. The kind of sex I like is just the kind of sex I like, Rhys.”
Then the mirror in the bedroom pops to life and displays the queen’s bedroom.
The queen was covered in blood from about mid-arm to her lower body. It was hard to tell with the black she was wearing, but the cloth seemed to be stuck to her body with the wetness of it. She held the blade in one hand, so covered in blood that I knew it must be slippery.
I didn’t want to look at the bed, but I had to. I stayed in Rhys’s arms and we both looked at the bed, in that slow-motion way you do when you both want to see and never want to see.
It had to be Crystall, but he was just a bloody form in the shape of a man. Only his shoulders and the width of his hips made me sure of the man part. He was still on his stomach, still where we’d last seen him. One arm lay half off the bed, the hand hanging in midair. The hand twitched involuntarily as if something she’d done to him had affected the nerves.
Cool. Wonder why she’s so pissed off she did this this time.
Oh, turns out she wanted to double check that Merry was fucking Rhys, since that was the whole reason that they refused to let Rhys travel back to the sithen to enchant the queen’s fucking mirror.
Rhys reminds Andais that as much as he would love to have sex with her, he reminds her that she bade him to try to get Merry pregnant, so his duty lies with attempting to impregnate Merry. Andais finally relents and stops pressing the issue, and then gives them the real reason for the call: She spoke with Hugh.
“There is talk that Taranis will be forced to be a sacrifice to bring life back to his people. There is talk of regicide, Meredith. Talk that the Seelie Court has suffered under his reign of madness.” There was something about the way she said that last that made my stomach clench.
Frost said, “He was quite mad this morning, my queen.”
“Yes, Killing Frost, yes, you are still there. Still by her side. The Seelie want me to know that they mean no insult by offering you, Meredith, their throne.”
“Is it done then?” Frost said.
“No, not quite, but you have perhaps a day and a night before Hugh’s faction either loses or gains control of enough nobles to bring our princess to their throne. Hugh told me that I still had Cel to bring to my throne. That it wasn’t as if Meredith were my first choice.”
Did Hugh have any idea how much he had endangered me? Andais was not much more stable than Taranis. I had no idea how she would react to such talk from the Seelie Court.
“You look frightened, Meredith,” she said.
“Shouldn’t I be?”
“Why are you not thrilled at the possibility of being queen of the Seelie?”
“Because my heart lies with the Unseelie Court,” I said finally.
You’d think that’d be the end of it, but may I remind you that this is a LKH novel – conversations never end!
Andais becomes yet again enraged by Merry’s comments – she’s mad that Merry bringing magic back to the Unseelie sithen seems to be bringing forth her Seelie side. The magic that is being loosed in the Unseelie sithen is all white and pink and flowers and pretty. She calls Merry’s magic a “cancer”.
“I no longer know how to save my people and my culture. I thought you were the solution, but though you may save faerie, you seem to be destroying the Unseelie way of life. Did the Goddess offer you a choice for how to bring life back to faerie?”
“Yes,” I said softly.
“She offered you blood sacrifice or sex, didn’t she?”
“Yes,” I said. I couldn’t keep the look of astonishment off my face.
“Don’t look so shocked, Meredith. I was not always queen. Once no one ruled here who was not chosen by the Goddess. I chose death and blood to cement my tie to the land. I chose the Unseelie way. What did you choose, child of my brother?”
There was a look in her eyes that made me afraid to tell the truth, but I could not lie, not about this. “Life. I chose life.”
This further angers Andais, and she demands to know who Merry chose to save instead of sacrifice. When Merry tells her that she refused to sacrifice Amatheon, Andais demands to know why him, of all of her lovers. Amatheon was not one of her supporters, at least not then, and he always would torment Merry along with Cel. Merry tells Andais that her father taught her to cherish all life, everyone in faerie has value.
And the chapter ends with Andais telling them that the only reason she would not want Merry to accept the Seelie throne is because killing her would become an act of war.
Also, this is like the 14th chapter in a row where nothing has happened except a bunch of dialogue. Anyone else frustrated by this?