The Freehold of the Shaded Wing
Jacob's Journal - January 31
I feel like a lot has happened. Too much for two days. Am I even sleeping properly? I can’t wait for life to become something a little more stable. Maybe that’s the thing—maybe life doesn’t get more normal than this.
First, the good news. I’ve got a job, and I’ve got a violin. I had thought about working at the Hot Box ever since I saw Tob and Molly there. They were like a new family to me, in a way. I mean, we weren’t close, and we weren’t spending a ton of time together, but… I have no real home now, and after Molly saved me I kind of saw the Hot Box as a new home. I hope I’m not overstaying my welcome. I came to Molly asking about a job scrubbing floors, but she was a little suspicious about someone from an outside court working there in any capacity. She hired me as in house entertainment, so at least I can make some tips. She even paid for a violin: not much, mind you, but enough to get a working used instrument and some fiddle music that I figure would be well suited to the patrons. At least I can make a little money now.
This was when all this Spring court nonsense started. Between me working at the Hot Box and my actions today it seems that more than one person is concerned about my choice of court. I can see why, but I don’t think they know the state I’m in inside. I’m trying to be reasonable on the outside, I’m trying to be a strong team member, I’m trying to help people. But inside, I’m a mess. The thoughts about the hedge are getting worse, and my curiosity grows with everything I see.
Today we went fetch hunting. It was interesting: I still don’t see the appeal of killing a fetch if it’s not causing much harm. But after meeting Marjan today, it became apparent that maybe they do cause problems.
Marjan is, as far as I can tell, completely untrustworthy. After saving him with Barry, who could use a lesson in Autumn’s subtlety, I feel a need to distance myself from him. He has caused plenty of trouble, and I don’t want the motley to associate me with him. I did my duty, I got him this far. Now he’s none of my concern.
His interaction with Tracy’s fetch was interesting. I learned a lot: fetch’s are more cognitive than I thought, and can even enter the hedge at will. I’m glad we took care of it. I found out Tracy’s real name—"Kathy". At first I was offended when I found out we’d been lied to, but now I feel bad for jumping on the offensive. She’s not Kathy anymore. Whatever she wants to be called is her choice. Is my name even Jacob? We all have trouble in these grey areas and I need to learn to empathize more, which to be honest is not looking great.
I feel like I’m responding on auto-pilot to emotions. I see Tracy cry, and I don’t know why she’s upset, it’s just her fetch. But I know that in my old life I should be helping her. That’s how it always is. People make these faces and have certain tones in their voice, and instead of reacting I’m searching through my memory trying to remember what it means.
I’m glad I shot Tracy’s fetch. I almost didn’t. She was so fascinating. The only thing I wanted more than to take the fetch and study it for months was to see what happened when I shot it. I just wanted to know. I wanted to know how much it bled, how much it screamed, what it was made out of. Now that it’s happened I’m more confused than before. Lady Wax was even more mysterious. She was obviously just there to observe. Her presence unnerved me. Especially since I’ll have to see her again shortly to be accepted into the Autumn court.
I’m trying not to stay up writing all night, because I need some sleep. So much has happened. So many new people I got to know. Barry isn’t as bad as he seems when you spend some time with him. Tracy probably isn’t too happy with me after the way I treated her, even if I did help her kill her fetch. Barrim is as solemn as ever, but looked a lot more eager to help today (maybe because he was sober for once?). Earl seemed content to rack up just as much damage and confusion as Barry, which didn’t seem like something an Autumn court member would do. Right now, everyone else is a blur to me. So many people with so much baggage. We are each incredibly burdened and I’m not surprised that a few of us have trouble opening up. My curiosity drives me to find out more about what everyone has been through, but I know that the time will come to ask questions and I must let it go, for now.