Marcella is quietly impressed by the Court Hall of this freehold. During her imprisonment, it was impossible to imagine such magical splendor in the human world. She had thought that this kind of fae splendor was exclusive to Arcadia, but it appears that here in the mortal world, escaped changelings have reclaimed it and made it their own. She approves wholeheartedly.
The power structures within the court seem fairly clear as they walk up the aisle. The Queen is at the far end, with the rest of the Spring Court gathered around her. Most of the hall seems to be filled with the rest of the changelings of the Freehold.
As she listens to the introductions to the Queen, Marcella is impressed by her diplomacy and tact. The Queen must be used to dealing with new changelings from the Hedge. Marcella relaxes a bit more as she realizes how accepting the freehold is of the … oddities of these new changelings. They truly were not mortal any more, and all of them had been traumatized and tortured in their own ways. This freehold truly was a place of refuge, a safe haven for fae within this now-strange mortal world. Surely there was politicking and intrigue behind the scenes, but bound by the pledges and contracts that held a freehold together, Marcella understands what draws so many Changelings to stay with a freehold after regaining their freedom.
Marcella is a little disturbed to hear the Queen’s answer to Amy, that Changelings almost never rejoin their families. She is still struggling with what to do about her own family. Rationally, she knows she probably shouldn’t even try to contact them. With no report of her own death on the internet, she has probably been replaced with some sort of creature created by the True Fae. Besides, she has no way to explain how she has aged 12 years when only 2 have passed for them. But, surely her brother noticed something was wrong when she was taken … they had been joined at the hip, and Marcus knew her practically better than she knew herself. Why else would his fencing rankings have plummeted, when before he had been even more talented than she?
Marcella listens with interest to the queen’s explanation of Aachen’s “problem.” The “three seasons” statement set off a quiet echo in her brain. Hadn’t one of the True Fae her Keeper hosted mentioned something about how there had been “no good harvest in three seasons”? That couldn’t be a coincidence. She still remembered the feeling of the Hedge snapping closed on her view of Berlin. Why would she have emerged here in Aachen, of all places? And why would people like Amy and Fianna have emerged here, who weren’t even from Germany? She doesn’t feel like she has enough information to figure out what’s going on here, but at some point she should see if others in the freehold or in her group know anything else.
Regardless of why this is happening, Marcella approves of the way the freehold has chosen to handle the problem. Giving new changelings structure and guidance after the horrors of Arcadia seems like the right approach to her. She gladly pledges the oath to the freehold.
Their guide and contact, Faron, seems competent and knowledgable, though Marcella is a little surprised that their guide is so reticent. However, she will reserve judgement until she sees him in action and has interacted with him further.
Iris seems a little jumpy and overwhelmed by the number of people and the oath they just swore. Marcella can understand the jumpiness and distrust of strangers though, and figures she went through a lot in Arcadia. Hopefully in time, this group will be able to earn her trust.
Blue seems to have a lot of common sense, Marcella is glad to see. It seems like he may want to become the leader of the group, but she can’t quite tell if he’s making a push or is just friendly and talkative. She’ll have to make sure not to let everyone assume he’s the leader without a discussion.
Zia seems a little fashion-obsessed, but definitely smart and talented as well. It sounds as though she has some truly amazing crafting abilities. Marcella wonders if she would be able to find out more about her swords, especially the bamboo one. Weapons don’t seem to be her thing, but it wouldn’t hurt to ask.
Amy seems so innocent for a Changeling. Though she doesn’t look especially young now, Marcella wonders how old she was when she was first taken. She doesn’t seem to have a good grip on reality, but she has certainly activated all of Marcella’s protective instincts. Marcella hopes she can keep her safe.
Hulda has been fairly quiet so far, but she seems quite knowledgable about history and myths.
Fianna is quite straightforward and direct, but Marcella is glad to see there is another fighter in their group. They have a good range of talents, but as far as she’s concerned, if they can’t protect themselves from harm first, they won’t be able to complete any of the other tasks the freehold might give to them.
When Faron comes in to tell them about their mission, Marcella feels something like a sense of relief. Finally, something for them to do, a goal to work towards. She has had enough of sitting around, dwelling on what might have been and might yet be. She’ll take action over banqueting any day.