Swallowing Darkness – Chapter 31: An Uncomfortable, Boring Drive

Chapter 31 begins with Merry whining about how uncomfortable the Humvee is to ride in because it “was made for war” and not for comfort. Cool, this chapter is off to a great start. I may be extra bitter about it because I’m already annoyed with it after one sentence, I couldn’t sleep last night, and the coffee hasn’t yet kicked in. Hope you enjoy this post!

Our driver had hair so short from behind that you thought “male”, but when she’d turned and looked a question at Specialist Gregorio, there’d been no mistaking Corporal Lance for anything but female. She made me look not as well-endowed. Maybe that was why she did the very masculine haircut, to try to look more like one of the guys. I didn’t say it, but I thought that nature had made being one of the guys impossible for her.

First of all, fuck you. How about she just likes short hair? How about she doesn’t need to do anything to her looks or worry about her ‘well-endowed’ body to be one of the guys?

Also “looked a question”. What?

Merry then whines about how her clothing is meant more for a ball than fitting into military vehicles, and how it was so uncomfortable and awkward to fit inside the vehicle.

Rhys then starts probing Merry about what happened while he and Galen were away, taking Gran’s body. home. He finds out that faerie itself married Merry and Sholto and gets all upset about it.

Rhys’s face fell; such sorrow came over him that he suddenly looked old. Not old the way a human will, for he would always be boyishly handsome, but as if every day he had lived, every hard ounce of experience was suddenly etched into his face, spilling into his one blue eye.
He nodded again, biting his lower lip, and took his hand back from mine. “Then it is true.”
I took his hand back into both of mine, cradling his in my lap. “I have already had this talk with Sholto. I am not monogamous, Rhys. All the fathers of my children are dear to me, and that is not going to change, no matter how many crowns I wear.”
Rhys looked not at me but at Doyle. The big man nodded. “I was there for her talk with the king of the sluagh. He did make noises about her being his queen alone, but our Merry was very…firm with him.” There was the faintest hint of humor to that last.

And again, Merry’s men go over what she has said, only listening to the other man’s version of events.

They then start talking about Prince Cel, and the fact that he has started to behave more calmly in open. This worries the group, because they think it means he is planning something that will not come back to him if it ends up killing Meredith.

“Onilwyn would not have tried to kill me or Mistral without orders from Cel,” I said.
“The prince is blaming the Seelie traitors that you all killed. He says that they must have offered Onilwyn a return to the Golden Court.”
“The prince lies,” I said.

I THOUGHT THE SIDHE COULDN’T LIE.

They then begin discussing how, when Galen and Rhys were taking Gran’s body back to her home, they were joined by a bunch of sidhe, lesser fey, magic horses, hounds, etc… This is apparently a faerie radhe, which has never happened on American soil since they fey moved there. News that Merry has begun bringing fey back to their full powers has spread throughout faerie, and Galen and Rhys were joined by fey eager to be returned to power. So, Merry’s influence over faerie is spreading.

“Every brownie on American soil came out to receive Hettie. They took her from us, and keened for her.”
“I should have been there,” I said.
Rhys hugged me close. “Your aunt Meg asked where you were. Galen told her that you were hunting down the people responsible for your Gran’s death. Meg was content with that, and so were the other brownies. She asked only if the murderer was sidhe.”
Rhys did kiss the side of my face then. “We said yes.”
Doyle reached out and touched the other man, squeezing his arm, as if he too heard the pain in Rhys’s voice. Rhys continued. “Another brownie who I don’t know by name asked, ‘The princess will kill a sidhe for the murder of a brownie?’ Galen said yes. That really pleased them, Merry.”
“She was my grandmother. She raised me. Brownie or sidhe or goblin, I would have sought vengeance for her.”
He kissed my cheek every so gently. “I know that, but the lesser folk are not used to being thought of as equal to the sidhe, not in any way.”
“I think that is about to change,” I said.

Just then, they’re told that a group of sidhe are blocking their route forward and the Humvees cannot move without running them over. It’s Prince Cel and his people. Then there’s this confusing exchange which I think a good editor should have caught:

“Galen Greenhair says one is Prince Cel and the other is the captain of his guard, Siobhan.”
“Not good,” Rhys said.
“I don’t know,” Doyle said. “I’ve wanted to kill Siobhan for years.”
I said. “I am the queen’s assassin, and a warrior of many battles, Meredith. I did not become one of the greatest killers of our court because I didn’t enjoy my job.”

Huh? I’m assuming the “I said” bit is an accidental oversight, but this sort of shit happens really frequently throughout these books. LKH’s dialogue is always super confusing to me.

Anyway the chapter ends with Merry thinking about how even if Doyle is a sociopathic killer, he’s her sociopathic killer, and I really, really hate these books so much.

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