Chapter 24 begins with Ash demanding Merry fuck him. Yep, no one cares that she just went through a bunch of traumatic shit, losing one of her lovers and learning that she’s pregnant by not one but four different men. Ash is pissssed, but Holly seems fine with everything.
“The sex was so she’d bring us into our powers. She’s brought us power.”
“Not sidhe-sided power,” Ash said, coming to stand in front of his brother.
“I would rather be goblin,” Holly said.
“I would rather be king of the sidhe,” Ash said.
“The princess has told you that she is with child,” Doyle said.
“You’ve come too late to the party,” Rhys said.
So Merry tells them that Kurag is overjoyed by the new power Merry brought to the goblins. I’m not sure how she knows this; I don’t believe she ever spoke to him, and no one has told her this. It’s cool when characters just know something like this.
Ash isn’t happy at all, though. He tells them that kings are fragile things, and that if Kurag does, the treaty between them dies as well.
I laughed, and it was an unpleasant laugh. The kind of laugh you make because you can’t cry yet.
The sound startled Ash. It made him take a step backward from me. No anger would have gotten such a reaction, but laughter, he didn’t understand it.
“Think before you threaten, goblin. If Kurag dies, then we are honor bound to avenge him,” I said.
“The Unseelie Court is forbidden to interfere directly in the line of succession of its subsidiary courts,” Ash said.
“That is a bargain that the Queen of Air and Darkness made. I am not my aunt. I have made no such agreement to limit my powers.”
So Ash and Holly then question if Merry will send her Darkness to assassinate them. Merry uses that to say that Doyle is no longer just her Darkness, but now he will be king. Ash says that doesn’t make any sense. How can Merry have three separate fathers of her children? Merry tells them Frost is the fourth father.
“You can’t have four fathers for two children,” Ash insisted, but he had calmed a little. It was almost as if he saw my pain for the first time. I didn’t think he cared that I was in pain, but it made him more cautious.
“You’re too young to remember Clothra,” Rhys said.
“I’ve heard the story, we’ve all heard the story, but that was just a story,” Ash said.
“No,” Rhys said, “it was not. She had a single child by all of her brothers. He was marked by each of them. The boy became high king. He was called Lugaid Riab nDerg, of the red stripes.”
God, WHAT is LKH’s obsession with incest? If someone knows Celtic mythology better than me (and I hardly know it), is the legend of this Clothra real? Or is it some incestuous bullshit that LKH made up for this story?
Doyle announces that Merry will have two children, and they will have three fathers each.
THREE FUCKING FATHERS EACH
Mistral and Sholto being the remaining fathers. Turns out, they all had sex with Merry the night of the hunt (Mistral in the sithen, Sholto in the sluagh gardens, then the rest of them after they returned to LA that night which was, thankfully, off screen), when faerie magic was riding them all hard. This is how Galen was able to impregnate her through only oral sex. This is how Merry’s children could be fathered by so many different men.
So Merry announces that she needs some air, and Doyle agrees to let her go on her own so he can finish the the talk with the goblins. The talk Merry should be having, considering SHE’S the eventual ruler, not Doyle. Merry heads off on her own, but then hears someone following her. It’s Jonty and the other Red Caps. When she sees them, they all go down on one knee. Merry reminds them that she is not their queen yet, but they remind her that “once rulers were chosen by the gods”.
And the chapter ends with Merry walking farther into the new faerie land that Merry’s magic created, with just her dogs as companions.