Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Chapter 65: Cave of Bones

"Bare feet? Interesting choice," Kvornan says.

It's the cave, Fergus notes, from his dream. "I threw on a shirt, but I didn't think I'd be needing shoes," he answers, struggling to think back to--this afternoon? Fergus can't quite remember now, where he was or why he came here. "Do I need shoes?"

Kvornan shrugs, a small laugh escaping his lips, "Need shoes? I walked thousands of miles barefoot, back in the day. I still prefer to have the skin of my feet in contact with the earth. When it's not paved over--that's just uncomfortable. But I doubt you'll be encountering any pavement here. Monsters from your subconscious, maybe, but no pavement."

"This is a dream," Fergus decides, looking at Kvornan for answers, "Is this a dream?"

"No," Kvornan replies, "You opened a portal, something not many humans can do. Just me, actually. I used to think I'd be meeting your father here one day, but his explorations only took him so far. I've been expecting you to come here since you were born."

"I don't understand," Fergus says, "I think--I'm sure I meant to go somewhere else. MorcuCorp, they tried to take Tasha, our baby. I wanted to go--to find--" Fergus frowns, struggling to remember real events that feel like a dream, to grasp at his purpose and hold onto it.

"It's disorienting at first," Kvornan says, reaching a comforting hand to Fergus' shoulder, "Especially since you haven't taken any real spirit journeys yet."

"Is that why I'm here?" Frergus asks, "At this cave? My father said this is where he came for his first spirit journey."

"There's a key difference you're missing," Kvornan explains, "Your father came here in spirit only. His body was back on his floor at home, cradled in your mother's arms. You are here physically. This is no spirit journey. But, in some ways, it is. For you, anyway."

"For me? Why?"

"You know why, Fergus. You're special. Your unique combination of abilities, inherited from your ancestors, coupled with your birth on the day when the spirit realm is closest to the realm of the living; you can traverse the spirit realm in your body the way I can. And so, you can take a spirit walk on your real, physical feet."

"My father said, when he entered the cave, he was given a choice," Fergus says, looking into the cave's opening, unable to see anything in there in its darkness.

"It's different for everyone," Kvornan tells him, "But in the end, we all have to make choices. And those choices define us."

Fergus steps toward the cave's opening, glancing back at Kvornan, "Are you coming, too?"

Kvornan shakes his head. "That's my tomb," he says, "My people buried me down there with my mother and father. I think my bones must still lie there. I wrestle enough with my existence here, having to look at my remains is more than I care to contemplate. And, anyway, I cannot guide where you need to go. This is your journey, your spirit. You go alone."

Fergus enters the cave, an ancient tomb where his earliest ancestors, the human ones, anyway, are buried, their bones resting still in niches carved into the caves wall in the days when humans had just begun to use tools. Directed by Kvornan, the neolithic shaman who taught his people to build the stone circles, and who was the first to bury his parents in the the cave tomb he'd had them build. The history of the place comes to Fergus in a rush, and he could spend days just sifting through the images and scenes, but for now, he packs them away in his mental library to deal with what's in front of him.

The spirit of one of his ancestors, one whose body does not lie in this tomb. By the time Sterren of Avendale walked this land, this tomb was long sealed, the stone circle above it was a relic.

She stands now, between him and the bones of Kvornan's father, the first body laid to rest in this tomb.

"You were a lot like him," Fergus muses, the character of both his ancestors shaping in his mind as he remembers them, "Compassionate, dedicatd to service. Shaman, priestess..." Fergus drifts off, a line forming in his mind's eye, a line connecting from Ardax to Sterren, through his grandmother, Aouregan, through his father, Shadow, into himself, a line of ancestors, gifted with the power of magic, healers who served humbly, who sought to never harm in their practice.

That magic is his as well, and Fergus joins his long-dead great grandmother in a harmless display of the power he inherited from her line. His own father took the role of shaman onto himself, dedicating his magic and his very person to service, to helping people, to healing. It's a worthy goal, Fergus thinks.

"But all your magic, all your service and all your love couldn't protect you or your family," Fergus says aloud to the silent ghost. "I need more."

And with his words, Sterren disappears.

It is then his grandfather, Farrell, who joins him in the cave of his ancestors, appearing not in the form he wore in life, but as a cloud of sparkles.

Farrell's influence on his grandson had been personal and direct; Fergus had grown up with him, in his house, after all, and had learned much from him. The husband of a priestess, father of a shaman, descendant of dragons, fairies and werewolves, Farrell lived surrounded by magic, and though he was forced to accept it, he never put any faith in it, relying on reason and science to understand the world. He had wielded no superhuman powers, and yet had discovered the means to go beyond what ordinary magic can do, traveling through time, making himself invisible, crating a potion that could teleport back home from anywhere in an instant.

With Farrell as an example, Fergus had put aside his own magic when growing up, focusing instead on his studies, on logic and reason.

"You were able to protect your family," Fergus says aloud to the sparkling cloud spirit of his grandfather, "You rescued my grandmother from MorcuCorp's labs, and brought your family to safety." But that's not enough, Fergus thinks, safety in hiding is not enough, "But I need more."

Dismissed, the sparkles dissipate into nothingness.

Fergus is not surprised to see the spirit of his great-grandfather Reinier appear next, slayer of dragons, dressed in his armor. This man's memories had become so much a part of him that he had become a part of his own mind, contributing his opinions like some internal voice.

"I know what I've gotten from Sterren's line, and what I've gotten from my grandfather, but what do you have to offer?" Fergus asks him.

Fergus is surprised when Reinier grasps him by the shoulders and answers, "You are a Landgraab! That is a gift beyond anything the others offer."

"What is so special about being a Landgraab?" Fergus scoffs. 

"Look at your history," Reinier says, "You look to your magic to protect you, but you know magic has never yet stopped a Landgraab. You look to the genius of your grandfather, but you forget who created his mother. A Landgraab. You want the strength to not only protect your family, but to destroy those who would threaten you? You need to be a Landgraab."

"You would help me fight against your own family?" Fergus asks.

"If you want to win, you must let nothing stand in your way. Not blood, not family, nothing," Reinier advises, "It has been too long since a true scion of the Landgraabs has risen. You are my true heir, it is time for you to rise and take what's yours."

"Interesting choice," Kvornan opines whenFergus joins him at the stone circle on the hill above the cave tomb.

"You saw?" Fergus asks.

"I'm aware without seeing," Kvornan corrects him.

"Did I make the right choice?" Fergus asks, kneeling beside the shaman.

"You get to a point where it all becomes gray," Kvornan answers, "Right, wrong don't exist. At least, not until the results are in. Will you get what you're after? Will it be what you expected? Will it be more, less? Better, worse? These things are still up in the air, you have yet to pluck them down into reality. You've chosen to fight fire with fire, as they say. It's better than standing still to be engulfed. Or so you might think. There are some who swear by the cleansing effect of fire..." The shaman drifts off into his trail of thought, and Fergus smiles, reminded of his father.

Kvornan turns his attention back to Fergus, "Did you like them?" he asks.


"Bridgeport Ghost," Kvornan says, "I wrote those for you, to bring you to me. The way the book of fables I wrote brought your father. I'd never done a graphic novel before, though."

"What should we do?" Tasha asks, "Just wait for Fergus or...?"

Before Jilly can answer, the space in front of them, which had only moments ago been occupied by Fergus before he disappeared into nothingness, suddenly begins to glow with a swirling light.

"Maybe it's a portal?" Tasha suggests, drawing on her vast knowledge of science fiction and comic books. "It looks kind of like a portal...not that I've ever seen a portal. But if I were making a movie, that's what I'd make my portal look like..."

"Maybe I should go inside?" Jilly wonders, stepping closer to the maybe portal.

"I wouldn't. We have no idea what's on the other side. It could be, like another planet or something."

"But what if Fergus sent it?" Jilly asks, "I'm going in."

Jilly takes another step forward, and Fergus himself appears, walking towards them through the portal.

The portal closes behind Fergus as he steps completely into the room.

"How long was I gone?" he asks.

"Not even a minute," Jilly answers, "Where did you go?"

Tasha rushes forward to grasp his hand, feel his realness as she presses her forehead to his. It was less than a minute, but it felt so much longer.

"Don't be scared," Fergus whispers, "I've got you."

"What about Julian?" Jilly asks, interrupting the touching reunion, "Did you find out where he is?"

"MorcuCorp has him, so I'm not going to be able to find him with magic. We're going to have to infiltrate them more directly," Fergus answers, "First, I need to get Tasha to a safe place. Back to Drake's Hollow. Once she's with my parents, you and I will take care of MorcuCorp."


  1. And so the coup to take over MorcuCorp has begun.
    Interesting visitors Fergus had. Hm. A true scion huh? Hm...
    I'm glad they're getting Tasha safe first. I hope they can come back to get her later too.

    1. Yeah, things are getting going.
      I'm not sure Geiffrey planned this exactly, but his interference in the Brannon family tree, including get the Landgraab line in their through Aouregan resulted in someone that Reinier approves of, very much.
      Tasha should be safe with Fergus' family. Fergus will certainly be determined to get her back.

    2. Whoa, wait a min. I just reread a bit. Don't let anything stand in his way including blood? So says the dragon slayer before his scion goes back to his dragon cousin?!

    3. I wouldn't make too much of the dragonslayer/dragon thing; Fergus has as much dragon ancestry as Jilly does, though the dragon does seem to manifest more in Elliot's descendants than Farrell's.
      Reinier was referring more to a Landgraab v. Landgraab showdown, with Fergus accepting his Landgraab heritage and taking down the Landgraabs currently in charge.
      But, yes, you may have just maybe picked up on a bit of foreshadowing there. Which is all I'll say about that until we get to that bridge.

  2. I like Kvornan! I hope Fergus' methods turn out to be sound but I'm definitely worried about how this will end up.

    1. Thanks, I like Kvornan too.
      Fergus' choice here is pretty worrisome. He believs he's doing what he has to end the MorcuCorp threat to his family forever. But it's a very dangerous move.

  3. OMG MORE!!!!

    No, really... DRAMA!!!!

    Oh I'm so excited.

    So... Reinier things Fergus is his true heir? Well, that took a while... Only like, a couple of thousand years or so late. And Fergus chose to fight fire with fire, so I'm kinda guessing he's teaming up with Reinier. Uhoh. I have a feeling that isn't the greatest idea.

    This was an amazing chapter, by the way. Really. You've left me wanting, though! ARGH!
    And, no, I don't really know what to say. Can you tell?

    1. The ay this is shaping up, it will be a huge drama before it's over. I'm pretty excited about it too. But I still have a bunch of loose threads to tighten. I mostly know how it's going to play out but I have to work on the details.

      LOL, yeah it has been along time since Reiner died. But, since his daughter, Aouregan, got taken from her time to this one, Fergus is actually more closely related to Reinier than any living Landgraab. They are omly a few generations apart.
      Fergus has decided to take Reinier as kind of a spirit guide, yeah, believing he will need that influence to take down MorcuCorp. I guess we'll have to see if it's a good idea or if it goes tits up on him. =D
      Thanks so much! Next chapter should be lots of fun. Though the shooting will be a bitch, lol.

  4. Yay! Kvornan! So.Yummy. So wise. *sigh. <3

    Wow. So we're not just going to raid Morcucorp this time? We're taking them down? Really? That's something I can't wait to see! Especially with Geoffrey not wanting to release Julian from his mind. And can you blame him? Though I truly wonder if Tasha would really be happy with Fergus at the reins of such an... gosh. They're so much more than a 'corporation.' What exactly would you classify that as? Conglomerate? I can't come up with the word. Tasha has a good grounding in the realms outside of the rooted corporate structure with a healthy dose of distrust of such a company. And just what would Fergus do with the Fembots?

    Oh I hope they get to this soon! I need to know!

    1. I remembered you put in a request for Kvornan. =D And having there to talk to Fergus worked pretty well, I think.

      Fergus wants to take MorcuCorp down yeah. The Geoffrey/Julian conflict will feature heavy in all this, of course. As will the 'fembots', lol.
      Tasha is one of the loose threads I need to work on. She was never a planned part of the story, I had to work her in when SP got her and Fergus together and got her pregnant. Having MorcuCorp come after his pregnant girlfriend became a better reason for Fergus to set his sights on MorcuCprp, so that worked in that way, but I still haven't figured Tasha's role going into the end of this drama.
      That's a tough one, for the reasons you mentioned.

  5. That was very interesting, but I hope Fergus doesn't allow himself to be seduced by power having chosen the Landgraab side of himself...

    1. Fergus believes he's doing what needs to be done, but it was a dangerous choice for his psyche, to take Reinier as a guide of sorts. Thanks, Ali!

  6. I think these chapters just keep getting more and more interesting! It was great to see Kvornan again, and I loved that he commented on creating the graphic novels. I'm not sure about teaming up with Reiner, but I think it's really the only choice available (oh, the power of threes).

    Per everyone else, I want more!! :) Can't wait.

    1. Thanks, AyB!
      Yes, the power of threes. I love fairy tales, and everything in fairy tales comes in threes. It also worked out for fErgus because he had three ancestors who could symbolize the different paths he could choose. He did pick the most dangerous one, but he did feel it waas the best option for success.

  7. Uh oh...when has tangling with MorcuCorp ever gone well? And siding with the man who may or may not have killed your however-many-greats-grandmother? Fergus you're in some deep crap now. Good thing Kvornan and his cuteness is here to save the day!

    Jilly's gonna kick some serious butt to get her Julian back. I just hope she gets there in time.

    1. Tanglng with MorcuCorp is always dangerous. But that's why Fergus wants to get them out of their lives forever. Fergus is very aware of Reinier has done, and he does know taking him as a sprit guide, if you will, is a dangerous choice. But he believed what Reinier said, that he needs to engage his inner Landgraab to fight the Landgraab run company.

      Jilly is itching to get to the butt kicking portion of this story. Waiting is not her strong suit. But she needs to know where, exactly, Julian is before she can bust down the doors and save him.

  8. Interesting choice, out of the three. I thought for a moment that he was going to combine both magic and reason, but no, he went with the Landgraab option.

    I loled at "I'd never done a graphic novel before." How did he do that, I wonder? Appearing to the authors in dreams?

    Yes, time to go take down MorcuCorp! I approve. I hope they're careful, but Jillian has to get her Julian back. :(

    1. Fergus will still have his magic and his reason to draw from, but he's chosen to take Reinier as his primary influence. It may end up being not a good plan, but then, maybe Reinier was right and it's the only way to win. We'll see.

      Kvornan physically wrote the the graphic novels himself. He probably even had an office, lol. He's physically's complicated, and I have not yet gotten to the part in Summerdream where he comes back from the dead. But he has a physical existence and has become immortal somewhere along the line.

      Fergus has already taken one huge risk in his plan to overthrow MorcuCorp. I'm pretty sure 'careful' isn't Jillyan's middle name, either...but she is determined to get Julian back. Very much.

  9. What a great chapter, loved it. =D I always love how a Landgraab goes on and on about their successes, but doesn't seem to remember their epic *fails* Who totally destroys their own lives and those around them? A Landgraab! lol Nope, Reinier doesn't mention that all. Well, I like Fergus, and he seems to have a good head on his shoulders, and he did spend an awful lot of time with Farrell, so I'm crossing my fingers that when the time comes, he makes the right decision. A guide is a guide, Fergus makes the choice.

    I loved Kvornan, he's so calm like, and when Fergus comes out, all he says is, interesting choice, lol

    I can't wait to see what happens next, as Fergus and Jilly storm the castle and take on MorcuCorp, the fembots, maybe even Geoffrey/Julian himself! =)

    1. Thanks, Nirar!
      Ha, exactly, I kept thinking that while I was writing Reinier's dialogue. like, you cocky bastard, you screwed your own life so badly, no one would want to be you. But, he was a success at some things, like fighting battles and slaying dragons, and that's what Fergus is looking for in his guide. Hopefully he won't take any relationship advice from Reinier though. >.>
      And, yes, Fergus hasn't handed over the reins to Reinier, all his decisions will be his. For good or ill.

      Kvornan is very calm and not judgmental at all. He's seen a lot in his very long life, and he's put himself in more of an observer position.

      Oh, I'm thinking of that show on the Sims TV, the one with the evil guy and his robots, and the two superheroes who bust into his lair to shut him down. And I think that's how stuff reads in JiIly's mind, too. She is going to kick some fembot ass, pick Julian up in her arms and fly away with him...

  10. A cave...reminds me of Luke's cave journey in Dagobah in The Empire Strikes Back. :D

    I agree, fighting back is an interesting choice. I guess everything else has seemed to fail.

    I love Jilly and Tasha's facial expressions as the portal appears. Beautiful pics!

    I like how Jilly just goes ahead and interrupts their reunion. She's ready to get to the point and take action!

    1. Is that the scene where Luke meets Yoda? I have a pretty dim memory of Star Wars movies. But I did read that Lucas was influenced by Joseph Campbell, who wrote about the persistent themes that run through myths and legends. I'm also heavily influenced by these themes, and I use caves like this because of that.

      So far the Brannons have tried hiding, but that only works for so long. Fergus has decided to fight them.

      Poses. man. I couldn't do this without poses.
      LOL, yeah, Jilly, she's raring to go. I can't blame her. she wants her reunion, too.

  11. I FINALLY CAUGHT UP. *celebratory dance*

    So Iola's vision may come true, just not in the way she anticipated. That's the tricky thing about the future...out of context, visions of the future can be very deceiving. I love everybody so far this generation - Fergus, Jillyan, Tasha, and even Julian! I'm not sure if I hope that Geoffrey gets his memory back or if he somehow makes a permanent switch to the Julian identity. Either way, Jilly's in for a shock if she finds out. Tourmaline seems much more headstrong than Peridot - just goes to show that having the same DNA does not make clones the same.

    So, is Kvornan as spirit, then? It's been awhile since I read Shadow's part of the legacy, so I'm a titch confused. Is he just a more solid-looking spirit? (Farrell's refusal to appear in any form beyond sparkles is pretty hilarious.) His line about never having done a graphic novel before was great.

    1. Yay for catching up!
      Iola is very much aware of the dangers of relying too heavily on her vision, because they are out of context and she doesn't see the whole path that will lead to them coming true.
      Jilly is in for a very big shock, because sooner or later, she's going to learn the truth.
      All the clones are very different in personality, and Tourmaline has her own agenda.

      Kvornan is alive and has a physical body. He's also immortal. He was dead once, but he got better. LOL, No really, he was resurrected. Or, will be resurrected when I get to that part of Summerdream. He was a power shaman before he died, and being dead for so long connected him more deeply to the spirit, so when he was (will be) brought back to life, he was made even more powerful.

      Farrell's spirit form makes me laugh, too. It came from that glitch that happened the first time his ghost came out after he died, and never manifested beyond the sparkle effect. I kept on with that because I thought it suited him. He's less centered on his physical appearance than the other spirits who show up.

  12. Kvornan.... pretty boy... almost as pretty as Fergus. :)
    I think that I don't want to know what choice Fergus made. I think he chose Landgraab. My thought is that he saw that his father didn't completely succeed and his grandfather didn't completely succeed and the Landgraab (it sounds like a curse) is the only choice that none of his family has tried.
    I loved that he went in barefoot. Is he as lost in his thoughts as Farrell always seemed to be? Fergus is definitely very different from his father, and more like his grandfather. Kvornan creating a graphic novel is too funny... :)

    Loved loved it

    1. Thanks so much, Zhip! I love Kvornan, too. I can't wait for him to show up again in Summerdream, but I have to. I got rally sidetracked by the current storyline there.
      Anyway, yeah, Fergus has decided to ally with his inner Landgraab because he felt it was time to be more proactive than his father or grandfather had been in solving the MorcuCorp problem.

      Fergus did not put on shoes before he left on this journey, so he was still barefoot. I thought that was a fun detail. It is kind of a Farrell move though, isn't it?

  13. Such a great chapter! But as always you leave me a bit worried once it's over. What will Fergus' choice mean?

  14. Did I ever tell you...I think you did an awesome job recreating the Tricou family. They look awesome and I love their role in your stories!