: Barinthus’ InterludeRating
: political grousingNotes
: This is a POV interlude for Barinthus, falling immediately after Chapter Four- Making an Entrance for Lifting the Veil. It gives a bit of perspective for those not familiar with the character of Barinthus, the sea god, and his role in Meredith’s life. While he’s not physically present yet in Cordelia’s story, he becomes integral at a later point. I chose to place his interlude now to help clue in readers unfamiliar with the Merry Gentry series as to other players in Meredith’s life besides her rotating bed partners at Maeve’s mansion.~~~Barinthus’ Interlude~~~
They think I want to be king. They, the faceless masses of the Unseelie court. They plot and connive and fear for the day I sweep in and take the consort’s throne for my own. They don’t understand, though. Who would want to be a king when you used to be a god? What worth is the dominion over mere sidhe, fey, when you used to have the worship of the masses at your fingertips? I could command the seas to my bidding, wrap the very lifeblood of the world around my whim. What is the command over petty, restless immortals compared to that?
No, I don’t want to be king.
For I wouldn’t be king on my own merit, merely the sidhe that supplied the desperately wanted seed for Meredith’s salvation. I would be relegated to a secondary position, once again, stripped of what little dignity I have left. I am no longer Manannan mac Lir, but the shadow of him remains, haunting me for the rest of my eternity, struggling to understand his diminished place in the world.
This doesn’t mean I don’t support the princess, I do, but I wouldn’t become a contender for her consort if I could help it. She doesn’t need me, not like that. I will do whatever she needs to survive in the Unseelie court, honor my friendship with her father, my friendship with her, but not that, not now. The queen would force me if she knew the ring liked me as well, not just the men she has at her call in LA. But that is our secret, Merry’s and mine. Our reasons for keeping that secret aren’t the same, of course, but reasons none the less. So I respect that and try to make her world a little friendlier when she returns. I know she worries for my life, as well she should, but I will survive. I always do. One does not last thousands of years without learning a trick or two, with or without magic.
I may not be able to summon a fog or a mystical army to protect my lands but I can still protect what needs to be protected. She is precious, a vessel for all our hope, but she is still vulnerable. Too many wish her ill, both Cel’s supporters and other sidhe. She has the strength of the goblin army at her back, but only temporarily. King Kurag will drive entirely too hard a bargain to keep their support, one I am not sure Meredith should accept. Queen Niceven’s demi-fey spy for my princess, but the same information goes to Queen Andais, as well as my queen’s ability to pluck words and phrases from the very night air. Andais has set this all in motion, but there is no guarantee she won’t strike against Meredith should her ever-changing moods dictate that Andais seek Meredith’s blood. So I sit and I plot and I evade the assassination attempts all with an eye for the future and an ear to the whispers.
Barinthus Queenmaker they call me, the one behind the throne. I negotiate court politics day after day, maneuver the strings of intrigue so that Meredith has a chance of success. She could be the savior of us all, but if she was to become pregnant and the time was not right, or the path not set, then all would come to naught.
It is not only the court I hear, the soft hiss of conspiracy: the waters whisper to me as they have done since the beginning of my time. The gentle babble of a brook, the roar of the surf, the soft still sigh of a lake. Within the voice of the water that murmurs in the back of my mind are the words of careless beings, spoken too close to fluid surfaces. Language over choppy ocean waves is too distorted for much information to come my way, not of any real use, but what is said in the still places…yes, what is said there reverberates through the strains of magic still binding me to this world and I listen.
There is new magic awake in this world, borne by a strange fey princess, a creature from another land. She speaks of fantastical things, twisting her life story to Meredith and her guards, and still I listen, words washed in minute waves from the reflecting dish in the sitting room of Merry’s new abode. Fantastical, true, but a new breath of hope we all need. The proof that the Lord and Lady have not abandoned us all to a withering fate; that they look over us as children gone astray. They removed their gifts from us long ago, even before we diminished ourselves. But they no longer wish us ill, and that gives these old bones hope.
Meredith isn’t as alone as I feared, for now a new companion has shown up on her door. Even though my gifts have waned, some remain to me. Other fey forget this, choosing to see the shadow I have become rather than the glory I was, and so they turn a deaf ear. But some know, some like the Darkness, so I do not believe that I come by this information in error.
She is intriguing, this Princess Cordelia. A study in contrast, wit and gravity, a young woman who can both fight and laugh. She finds amusement in Merry’s situation, a breath of fresh air to be sure, and I believe that the two shall be good for each other. Though under Cordelia’s light banter, there is a wound, something taken from her never to be regained. I hope, for her sake, that she finds a measure of peace her amongst us, the unlooked for brethren.
Merry needs someone to keep her in touch with the reality outside of the courts, now that her job is suspended. Maeve Reed, the Seelie sidhe whose home they have as sanctuary, is too much like her former self, a fertility deity, the embodiment of springtime regeneration: a woman used to adoration, for Meredith to find a kindred soul. Maeve has lost herself, and that makes her dangerous, whether she wounds from fear or insecurity.
But that is of no matter. The court spins its webs regardless of the flow out the human world. All too soon Cel will be released from his prison, and Meredith will face more dangerous enemies than a sidhe in mourning for a lost love. Meredith is not yet with child, and our time grows short. Whether Cordelia’s presence tips the balance remains to be seen, but with the Lord and Lady’s intervention, Meredith cannot help but survive. ~~~End Barinthus’ Interlude~~~