Running into the outhouse, Elenie proceeded to empty the contents of her stomach several times. Standing up, she wiped her mouth and wondered what had triggered the bout of sickness.
Feeling a little better, she went back into the greenhouse to tend the plants, which were showing signs of neglect from their long absence. Dory joined her and they worked together in an uncomfortable silence.
Once they had finished tending the plants, Elenie realised that she had run out of reasons to avoid something she had been dreading - she needed to visit Ieaun's parents and give them the news. Squaring her shoulders, she set off resolutely and upon arrival, found them waiting for her along with Ieaun's younger brother.
Rhiannon, Ieaun's mother, ushered Elenie into the living room. Elenie was slightly surprised that none of them asked where Ieaun was, but Rhiannon didn't give her a chance to say anything
"I know why you're here dear one. You've come to tell us that Ieaun is dead haven't you? Don't worry child, we already know all about it."
Elenie stared at her in shock.
"But, but, how do you know? Who told you? What do you know? Does everyone know?"
Rhiannon smiled sadly, "You forget my dear, Ieaun wasn't the only one in this family with the Sight, both Bryn and I have it too and more than that."
"More?" Elenie asked, her confusion evident in her face.
"Indeed, as well as the Sight, I have other gifts which crop up from time to time in my family, although some of my ancestors considered this more a curse than a gift. The night a close relative dies, I see their spirit. I saw my boy the night he died and he told me what happened. Don't grieve too much child, he knew walking into that castle that only one of you would leave alive and he chose to sacrifice himself so you would survive. It was a brave choice to make and I'm so proud of him."
Elenie felt tears well up in her eyes "You saw his spirit? Where is he now? Is there any chance that I could see his spirit at some point?"
"I don't know child, usually the only time I see spirits is the night they die, but I have heard of them visiting their loved ones from time to time. Don't live your life waiting for that though, he would want you to be happy again, even if it doesn't feel now as if you ever will be again."
With that Rhiannon held out her arms and Elenie collapsed into them, sobbing into her shoulder. Rhiannon held her close, murmuring reassurances to her as Elenie let herself grieve properly. When she finally straightened, Rhiannon hugged her again "Whatever happens in the future, you've been my daughter since you married Ieaun and that won't change. You'll always be welcome here."
After spending some time with the Glyndwrs, Elenie went home feeling a little less raw. When she got there, the little fox cub came running out to greet her.
Picking her up, Elenie walked round into the garden, cuddling the cub made her feel better, and she stroked her quietly for a few moments. Looking down at the cub a thought struck her; "You don't have a name do you little one? Or at least, I don't know what your name is... I can't just call you cub all your life can I?"
As she crouched down to put the little cub on the ground, the cub barked softly at her and said "Silly faerie! Of course I have a name, do you think my mama wouldn't have given me one before she vanished? I'm Ffion."
"Well then Ffion" Elenie laughed somewhat shakily, "Do you want a treat?"
Ffion barked excitedly "Yes, yes, of course I do" and Elenie carefully threw her a biscuit.
The evening was drawing in by now, so Elenie bent down again to pick Ffion up and take her indoors.
After settling Ffion down in a basket to sleep, she shared another silent meal with her mother. Although her conversation with Rhiannon had bolstered her, she still didn't feel ready to talk to Dory especially when she kept thinking how much more Rhiannon felt like a mother than her own mother!
The following morning, she was just settling down to have breakfast by herself and try to think how she wanted to deal with her mother's presence in the house and her life, when her phone rang unexpectedly.