Giles: Yes, let's not jump to any conclusions.
Buffy: I didn't jump. I took a tiny step, and there conclusions were.
-Buffy the Vampire Slayer, "Phases"
So, when last we spoke, we'd just found out that Summer had been poisoned, and then Marigold had left for reasons unknown.
Summer is doing a lot better now. Doctor M says she can probably go home Thursday or Friday unless she takes an unexpected turn for the worse.
Marigold is still gone. It's late now, and was snowing. We're worried about her. And frankly, we don't know what to think. We don't think she had anything to do with the poisoning - she loves Summer and wouldn't hurt her - but we're afraid she'll think we blame her for it. Maybe that's why she ran. It's dangerous out there, though, and we miss her.
When Doctor M had relayed the news about Summer and then left to continue her rounds, we all took a moment to absorb it. Then Gia quietly spoke up. "I don't mean to leap to conclusions," she said.
We all looked over at her. Although we weren't planning to leap, we were interested to see what conclusions she might think could potentially be leaped to.
"The doctor said it was Nerium poisoning," Gia went on hesitantly. "What people usually refer to as oleander."
"I don't think that grows in Upstate New York," Felicity said.
Gia nodded that Felicity was right. "It requires a warmer climate. I learned about it as a child; in my home country we used the flowers at funerals, and in the past it was sometimes used to poison rats. But my childhood memories aren't what I meant about leaping to conclusions. What I meant was... it was the favourite poison used by The Elders, when they needed to get rid of someone in a way that didn't scream that they were vampires."
We exchanged another look, this time of the concerned and uncomfortable variety.
The Elders were our enemies for months, and they seriously made us worry for our lives. Eventually we had to confront them, and we won with the help of an army of fairy folk. Only three Elders are left, and they agreed to make peace with us under terms we set. They weren't too happy about it, and we assume still aren't. (Gia's on our side now, but she knows stuff about them because she used to work for them.)
"There's one thing I don't understand," Inna finally said. "I wouldn't put it past them from a moral standpoint. If it was really them, though, what do they hope to gain by it? I don't see a logical motive."
"To kill Summer," Molly replied immediately.
"Alright," Inna said doubtfully. "But how does killing Summer actually benefit them? She's only one person in an exceptionally strong family. There are only three Elders left. Killing Summer wouldn't even the odds significantly, and attacking any of us would break their truce with us. They'd trigger another battle that they're in no position to win. Why would they do that?"
Why indeed? The Elders have an understandable grudge against all of us, but as far as I know they had nothing against Summer in particular. Why would they risk reigniting a conflict that they agreed to end because they knew they would inevitably lose? The remaining Elders joined our vampire council, so we know pretty well what they're doing and how strong they are - their current position isn't noticeably better than when we defeated them. So how does this make sense?
It's too early for accusations. We need to think this through more, and try to get more information. In the meantime, we're taking turns staying with Summer and going out to look for Marigold.
Marigold, if you're reading this, we don't think you did it. Please come home! It is your home now, if you want it to be, no matter what secrets you're hiding.