The summer nights are hot, so they they hold their meeting outdoors, in the Hawksquills' backyard.
"The location Suchandra says Misrakesi is being held is not a laboratory," Pearl says, "It's the Landgraab Estate in Brooklyn Heights. And, it's currently unoccupied. The Landgraab family haven't used that house as their primary residence in decades. The only people going in and out of that house are housekeeping services, and security."
"Why would they be keeping Misrakesi in an unoccupied estate?" Farrell asks, "Wouldn't they be running tests on her, or whatever they do? What is she exactly?"
"Misrakesi is the cloud who rains joy, she is the dance of light on the river, the perfume of the lotus, the song of the waterfall. When she shakes her hips, even the greatest ascetics feel the burning in their loins..." Suchandra answers.
"Not to interrupt," Farrell interrupts, "But I was hoping for something less poetic and more informative."
Ariel chuckles lightly, "He was being informative, in his way," he says, "He's telling you his wife is an apsara. Just as the gandharva are celestial musicians, the apsaras are celestial dancers, a kind of water nymph, known for tempting ascetics from their meditations."
"The water spirits are especially fond of using seduction to being mortal men to their doom," Noelle adds.
"If she had appeared in her true form to them, the mortals who took us would have fallen to their knees before her beauty," Suchandra says, "But I was engaged in battle when the weakness got hold of me, and the strange mortals brought me to their white prison. Misrakesi had taken the form of the notes of my lyre strings, to sing battle songs to me as I fought. In the white prison, we had no power against the mortals, nor could she reveal her true form. And so, she is trapped in my lyre, which they took from me. I have not seen it, or her, these many year, but I hear her song, calling for me."
"The estate as been fitted with the same alloy they use in their labs, to weaken and fae who come near it," Pearl says, "So if they brought the lyre there. Misrakesi would still be trapped inside, and MorcuCorp may not even realize what they have."
"So they might just have this instrument on display in the house?" Farrell asks, "That would certainly make getting it easier, with the estate unoccupied."
As they confer over how to break into the estate, they are joined by a man who appears in their group in a column of light.
"You!" Ariel exclaims, jumping from his chair, "I thought you were dead?"
"I've spent more years amongst the dead than I have in the world of the living. But I've only truly died once," the newcomer says, "I had great difficulty coming here, the wards have been strengthened."
"If you've come here now, you must know what we protect," Ariel says, frowning as he realizes he'll have to do some major editing of the history his family keeps. "Your wife still lives?" he asks.
"Yes, of course, but I haven't come to correct your records, Keeper," the man laughs.
"I've come to see for myself this other relic of the past, the last of my sister's line," he continues, turning toward Aouregan, "You were already gone when I came back," he says, "And it saddened me greatly when I was told our line was lost. Yet here you are, back amongst the living."
"Who are you?" Aouregan asks, trying to make sense of hi speech, "I know of no other kin than my brother, and our parents..."
"No, you wouldn't know me, my time was long before yours. And then, my time came again after you had been taken. But fate has brought us together again, here and now. I am Kvornan. You mean to break into the Landgraab Estate in Brooklyn Heights, yes? But it's not the house itself you must infiltrate. Below the ground, they have a cellar, full of things. Magical things. That's where you need to go."
"A storage facility, shielded by their anti-fae alloy," Farrell muses. Someday, he's going to discover a way to counter-act that. But in the meantime, "Aouregan and I aren't fae, we can get in."
"I can take you there, as far as their gates," Kvornan says, "But I can go no further. I'm no fairy, but they've put up very powerful wards against me in particular. And that's why I must ask you to retrieve something for me, something the Landgraabs took from me."
"A golden key?" Aouregan asks, thinking of the turtle in her dream.
"I suppose it is a key, in a way," Kvornan says with an odd smile, "It's my grimoire, and it holds many secrets, the key to great power, for those who have the power to use it. I left in my family's care when we last...disappeared...for my descendants. But the traitor Cecilia somehow got it from them, and it's been in Landgraab hands ever since. If she had known how to make use of it, she could have done much more damage than she actually did. But as she did not, it became another forgotten treasure, one of the many the Landgraabs keep locked up in their cellar."
Just as he had appeared out of nowhere, Kvornan was able to transport Aouregan, Farrell and Suchandra right to the front of the Landgraab Estate in Brooklyn Heights in a matter of seconds.
"This is as far as I can go, the wards prevent me from stepping any closer to their lands," Kvornan says.
"For me as well," Suchandra says, "I fell the ill effect of their weakening spell even this close; any closer and I will be drained of all power."
"So, it's up to you two, now," Kvornan continues, "In their garden you'll find a well; dive into it and you'll surface inside their hidden cellar. You'll know my grimoire easily once you come close enough to it, it's magic will speak to you, my kin."
"Misrakesi still sings her song, she cannot stop until she is released," Suchandra says, "You'll know my lyre when she sings to you."
Farrell and Aouregan run to the back of the grand estate, and find the well just as Kvornan described.
"Just like my dream," Aouregan observes.
"I'll go first," Farrell, "Kiss me for luck."
"Is it good luck to kiss a witch?" Aouregan asks.
"I wouldn't know," Farrell says, "But kissing you is always a good thing for me."
Farrell dives into the well, swims to its bottom and coms out again inside a cellar. It doesn't make sense, he thinks, swimming down and then coming up again in another spot beneath the first well. But he's where he needs to be, that's the important thing. He can try to figure it out later.
Aouregan follows him moments later.
"This is a nectar cellar," Farrell says as she climbs out of the well, "I don't see anything here but bottles."
"Maybe they've hidden the treasures the bottles," Aouregan muses, browsing the racks.
"Or maybe there's a secret entrance to their real storage facility hidden in these walls," Farrell says, tapping on the stones, listening for the tell-tale hollow sound of a secret chamber.
Farrell's search quickly reveals the secret door. "This must not get used much," he groans as he pushes the stubborn stone door, "I should have brought Elliot along..."
Even without his brother's muscle, Farrell gets the door open, revealing a far more industrial corridor, and probably a much newer addition to the estate's old nectar cellar.
Just one door lies at the end of the corridor, and through its window Farrell sees one lone security guard.
"It looks like he's dozed off," Farrell says, "But I don't suppose we can just count on him sleeping through our robbery."
"I have a flask of angry bees," Aouregan whispers as they quietly enter, "That would keep him busy."
"Busy, yes, but also very aware of our presence here. And it would leave injuries that would alert MorcuCorp to the fact that we'd been here. Can you just put some kind of sleeping spell on him so he doesn't wake until we've left?"
"That's a fairy curse," Aouregan answers, "I don't have that kind of power."
"Maybe I could trick him into drinking this flask of Bladder Flow," Farrell muses, "Though that's so powerful he might not make it to the bathroom. That would just be messy, and get us nowhere..."
"Bwuh..." The guard snorts, waking to find the two intruders.
"Hey!" he cries, rising from behind his desk and drawing his tazer.
With no time left for planning, Aouregan casts the first a spell that comes to mind on him.
"Toadifcation," she says to Farrell as they watch the guard transform in front of them, "For the next few hours, he'll have all the awareness of toad. When it wears off, he'll believe he'd had a very strange dream."
"That's probably the coolest power ever," Farrell says, "You better wait to teach that one to the twins until after they've graduated high school, though. Okay, so these terminals are probably some kind of catalog of what they've got here."
"Got it," Farrell says after a few moments searching the system, "Kvornan's grimoire is in the same cell as a something labeled 'The Magic Harp', which may very well be Suchandra's lyre. It's also the only musical instrument catalogued here."
"Clever," Aouregan says, caressing him appreciatively.
Farrell shrugs, "It's just a glorified card catalog. Anyone could use, even a child. Well, our children could, anyway."
"Imagine all the the things they must have down here," Aouregan says, awestruck by the long corridor lined with cages full of relics and treasures.
"It's too bad we don't have time to investigate it more," Farrell agrees, "But we need to get what we came for before the frog prince turns back into man."
"Oh," Aouregan gasps as they pass by a familiar image, "They brought her here, and keep her locked in the darkness."
"I'm sorry," Farrell says quietly, "She's too heavy for us to lift..."
"I know," Aouregan says, turning away, "It's just a statue, after all. The Landgraabs have buried much more than just her image..."
The cell they need is just another few feet away.
"There's the grimoire," Aouregan says, "Kvornan was right, I feel its power, calling to me. Oh, and is that a dragon's tooth?"
"The Landgraabs were known as dragon hunters before they even came to village," Aouregan says, "I'm sure they have more trophies than this."
"That's not creepy," Farrell observes as they come upon a statue of a woman, apparently made of ice, but not cold to the touch, "But there's the lyre."
"That statue is no statue," Aouregan says, "It has an energy, like its alive...maybe I should try to revive her."
"We don't know what it is, and we don't have a lot of time," Farrell says, "Let's get the book and the lyre, and go."
The sun is just starting to rise when they return to Suchandra and Kvornan, waiting for them by the driveway. The song the lyre they carry plays grows more excited as they near the gandharva, and when they finally get out of range the alloys fae-weakening radiation, Misrakesi returns to her natural form, and is at last reunited with her Suchandra.
"Your grimoire," Aouregan says, trying to hand the ancient tome to Kvornan, but he just shakes his head and pushes it back towards her.
"It is yours now, last of my sisters descendants. Take it, and give it to your children."
This chapter makes references to and ties together storylines from both my Roman legacy and my Summerdream story. I actually shot the Landgraab estate scenes in the Landgraab's house in my last Brooklyn Heights save from that legacy. And it was just as laggy as I remember it, lol.
I should be getting back to normal legacy stuff again next chapter, to see what Elliot and the kids are up to.
Since I haven't gone into huge detail about gandharvas and apsaras, I guess I should say something here.
Gandharvas are nature spirits, sometimes appearing in the form of animals like birds or horses. They are celestial musicians and always male. They are also often depicted as warriors, and are frequently engaged in battle in stories.
Their female counterparts are apsaras, the celestial dancers, who are associated with water, and are often appear in stories as temptresses harassing ascetics. They are also shapeshifters and have been known to cast powerful curses at humans who piss them off.