Why Elain is Not Going Anywhere
I frequently see posts where the authors mull the idea of Elain leaving the Night Court for a variety of reasons: to ‘find’ herself, to be with Lucien, to return to the human lands because she can’t stand being Fae, to put some distance between her and her sisters, etc.
So this post (and it’s fairly long) is why I think that none of this will happen. This is not about love-triangles, mating bonds, or any romantic entanglements between any characters.This is about politics.
We know that Rhys is a sly and wily politician, who’s gone to insane lengths to keep Velaris and its people hidden during Amarantha’s reign and who would continue doing the same. The problem with Rhys, as Eris wisely put it is that ‘he is blind to those he loves’. Hence, Rhys makes dumb decisions. The dumbest of those was the ‘mutually assured destruction’ pact that he made with Feyre.
So let’s take a look at the breakdown of what power looks like in the Night Court at this time:
Rhys and Feyre--High Lord and Lady, with immense power. However, if either one dies, the other dies as well. They also have an infant, who is their priority and who’d become an orphan should either one die. Should they both die, there is a power vacuum, because obviously Nyx is too young to do anything. Power may be transferred to Amren in interim or to Mor. Regardless, the NC would be extremely weakened politically and would be up for grabs to an ambitious power.
Amren--wise and knowledgeable, but obviously with no blood connection to the NC. No longer in possession of any meaningful power. Also prone to making questionable decisions.
Mor--blood relation, with what we assume is considerable power, but we don’t know what it is.
Cassian and Azriel - military and intelligence apparatus. No blood relation, no HL-level power (though it might be debatable, but that’s another post)
Nesta--Cauldron-made, once possessed of immense power, no longer, though some remains.
Elain--Cauldron-made, probably possesses immense power, which is unexplored, but has been hinted at by Amren, Rhys and Elain herself, who knows that she has it.
In Aziel’s POV, Rhys’s main objection to Azriel/Elain relationship is all based on politics. How such a relationship may affect relations with multiple courts, as well as the human alliances.
But it is curious that we are not aware of Rhys ever encouraging Elain to pursue a relationship with Lucien. Yes, it can be chucked off to Rhys’s promise to have her make her own decisions, and not force her into anything, but I feel that it’s also a political decision. (Because let’s face it, Rhys is a fool for a bond).
Because politically, the only thing that makes sense for Rhys is to keep Elain in the NC. Essentially, she is a weapon to wield, and therefore, he is no hurry to have her marry/mate Lucien.
Why? Because if Elain is mated, Rhys knows that he gives up the last Cauldron-made power that’s currently in service of the NC. Even if he is not actively using Elain in any way, he knows that it lies dormant inside of her, and could be unleashed if needed. Just like with Nesta, who scried, and who volunteered to take on Hybern to buy time for the armies during the last battle.He is well aware that Elain is a Seer, but what else is she?
If Elain accepts the bond and moves on with Lucien, we could assume that her allegiance would transfer to her mate. Her power goes where Elain goes. Therefore, Lucien suddenly becomes very, very powerful. Lucien is heir-presumptive to Day Court, he is the brother of Eris, who we assume will become the HL of Autumn Court. So, we suddenly have 2 brothers, who may become HLs of two Courts AND have a Cauldron-made ‘weapon’, who is also a Seer, at their disposal. That weakens the NC dramatically. Rhys, the only person, besides Feyre, who is aware that Lucien is potentially Helion’s son MUST understand the political ramifications of Lucien and Elain’s mating.
Meanwhile, Rhys has a rumbling, perpetually unhappy Illyrians at his disposal, and Kier’s Darkbringers for whose use he has to beg Kier every time. Rhys can’t really participate in any direct confrontations himself, because he may kill his mate and himself, and all he has left is a virtually powerless Second.
I think that Rhys is not the only one who realises how precarious the position of his Court currently is. Therefore, encouraging Elain to accept the bond is not in his interest. Since Helion is alive (and may he be so for another 10,000 years), if Elain does mate with Lucien, then she will probably go back to the Human Lands. Which opens up a whole new can of worms. Koschei, or any other powers at play, would probably LOVE to get their hands on a Cauldron-made being, who is also immortal. So if she is, for example, kidnapped, she could be used as a very hefty bargaining chip against Rhys/NC/Lucien. So releasing her back to the Human Lands makes no strategic sense.
Now, I also think that Elain is just as aware of all of this as well. She may also realise that there might be unpleasant consequences to her rejecting the bond, at least right this moment, when things are still very shaky. She knows that Beron is allied with Koschei. Giving any of them extra incentives to act against the NC is probably not what she wants to do. She’s already been kidnapped once, and almost used as a political pawn, so she knows what that feels like and what position she might be putting the NC in.
I know this post is very prosaic and not at all romantic. It’s not about love or mating. But Elain has an entire arsenal of untapped power, which has been hidden up until now. I personally think that she might also be a bio-weapon, which sounds wild and I don’t want to get into it right now, but think back to the Bone Carver’s prophecy and the ‘fanged beast’ bit.
In conclusion, even if Rhys is a romantic fool, and might be swayed by the tales of bonds and love and all that, I still think that he’d want to keep Elain in the NC at all costs. I also think that Elain is not going to go anywhere, knowing that she’d leave the NC without anyone with Cauldron-gifted power. NC is the only home she has, the only family and friends that she has, and I think she genuinely loves and cares for them (and that’s her feelings for Azriel aside), and hence was ready to scry when asked. Her exact words were ‘by using me’. She knows that the 4th object of the Trove still has to be found and she is probably the only person who can do that. I, also, am not sure that she WANTS to offer her power to Lucien so he can have it at his disposal.
So it seems to be that Lainey is staying put.
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What's your favorite way to imagine Spencer getting brought into the pack in a shifter AU? Does Hotch feel interested right way or does it develop over time?
Gideon brings him in and bypasses Hotch. Gideon, defiant tiger and on the outer edges of the pack Hotch heads because he’s not so much of the pack mindset as the rest tend to be, brings him in and Hotch is positively vexed.
How dare Jason bring another shifter onto the team without his permission? As the alpha, he should have at least been notified! But of course, it’s Gideon and Gideon doesn’t really care about stepping on toes. Hotch is a wolf shifter. He’s very pack oriented, very protective of his team, and having this — this little waste of a sugar glider (because Reid is definitely something small and non-threatening and of course Hotch views him as less because of that) being brought in makes his hackles rise.
Reid, of course, is scared out of his mind being brought into the situation, pushed at the pack this way. He knows statistically that Hotch probably views him as a threat, despite his very non-threatening animal, and he’s absolutely terrified of screwing up and causing the alpha to lash out at him. In the beginning.
And then cases come and go and Hotch... Hotch starts to realize that having a sugar glider genius on his team, maybe even in his pack, one day, might not be such a bad thing. Reid is brilliant, beyond brilliant, and the LDSK case is perhaps his first glimpse of that. When he’s standing over Reid, hoping, praying the younger man understands his message while the crazed cheetah shifter breathes down his back and he’s kicking, degrading the sugar glider and — he’s still somehow surprised when Reid not only catches on but manages a headshot — a headshot, of all things! — and saves their asses.
And then, case after case, Reid is providing facts, statistics, helpful observations that, more often than not, lead to a break in the case and propel them into catching the unsub.
And then with each case, Hotch is reconsidering the truthfulness behind his initial ruling that a sugar glider shifter could be the furthest thing from helpful.
And then suddenly he finds himself considering formally, officially, asking Reid to become part of his pack.
And then, and then—
And then comes Tobias Hankel.
And then Hotch sees Reid die. Sees Reid brought back to life by the man who killed him. Sees Reid tortured and beaten and made to play god with innocent lives, sees Reid choose him and realizes it’s Reid, pulling his own LDSK, trusting Hotch to understand —
And then Hotch is there, in the cemetery, hearing that gunshot, and his wolf howls and he’s never known terror like that — the kind that creeps down his spine, claws at his throat, raw and cold and overwhelming — and he’s stumbling forward, blood rushing in his ears as he approaches the lone figure—
And then Reid is stumbling into his arms and Hotch’s wolf chuffs, chuffs, and he’s pulling Reid close and Reid is trembling but his arms around Hotch are no less strong and he’s mumbling, “I knew you’d understand,” and Hotch—
Hotch finally admits to himself that he may be, and very well is, quite simply, in over his head where this little sugar glider is concerned. This brilliant, little sugar glider that trusts him more than he should and deserves so much and — yeah, he’s definitely in over his head.
But he doesn’t mind one bit.
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