Saturday, February 14, 2015

Chapter 53: Hope Will Light the Beacon


     Sterren stands with her daughter before the image of the Lady in their garden, the very spot where'd she'd married Taran. Once, in times ancient almost beyond counting, before the village bore the name of her family, this place had been the center of worship for the people who lived here. Now they have a grander statue with a well tended grove for the Lady's service, and this sculpture is but a relic forgotten by all but the Avendale family. When the priests of the Watcher come to burn the sacred grove in the town, will they spare this private place of worship, or will they destroy even this in their zeal to spread the law of their god?

     No. She must not give into defeat yet, not even in thought. For the sake of the people she serves in the Lady's name, she must believe until her last breath that hope remains, that Morvyn's plan will work, and that they might yet prevail. Hope will light the beacon that guides Sterren on the journey she must take, but duty, grim and solemn, will not let her leave until she's made arrangements for the possibility of failure.

    Hope and faith, the gifts and burdens she must pass on to her daughter. Squaring her shoulders, Sterren looks Aouregan in the eyes as she speaks, "Tomorrow, I will be leaving with our cousin for Odet, and there is a chance I may not return." Aouregan's lips open to protest, but her mother silences her with a slight shake of her head, "I know this is hard for you to hear. But you must listen well now, my daughter. The magic we carry in our blood is a blessing from our Lady, but it brings a grave a duty to her with it. We Avendales have served her since the earliest days. And now, we face an enemy who wishes to end us, erase us from the land and its history."

     Aouregan lifts her jaw defiantly, but her eyes shine with tears unshed. "We won't let that happen," she says, her voice fierce on her trembling lips.

    "No, we won't," Sterren agrees, "You are brave and strong, my child, and you are the last of our line. If we do not succeed in Odet, the Landgraab army will come to Avendale, and they will burn the Lady's grove. Those remaining priests who fled here from the burning in other towns will try to defend our most sacred place, but they will not be able to stand against an army."

     "I am prepared to die with them," Aouregan says.

     Sterren caresses her daughter's cheek, smiling at her courage and determination. "Your death will be the Landgraab's final victory. The grove may burn, child, and I and all the servants of the Lady may perish, but you must live to carry on our service and our line."


     "Sssh, child, and listen to me. If we do not succeed in Odet, Moth will come to you, and take you away from here, somewhere safe. You must go with him, and no matter what happens in Avendale, you must stay with him, out of harm's way. And as long as a Landgraab rules this land, you must reveal yourself to anyone. This is most important, daughter. Reinier Landgraab must never know where you are, or even that you are alive." Sterren breathes in deeply, considering for a moment revealing the truth about Aouregan's parentage, and decides against it. Aouregan has loved Taran as a father, and has cause enough to stay away from Reinier even without knowing the real reason he'd pursue her particularly, above all other servants of the Lady. "The Landgraab means to supplant the Lady entirely with his church, and he knows that as long as an Avendale lives, so the Lady will live on. And he will not rest until every one of us is dead. Do you understand?"

     Aouregan nodes solemnly, "I understand, Mother. I will go with Moth, and I will never let the Landgraab know I live."

     Sterren smiles, a grim, hard smile. Everything she knows may be destroyed, but if her daughter carries on, all may not be lost.


     "Allying ourselves with mortals is a mistake," Paerys growls, not for the first time since Morvyn informed everyone of his intentions. Her dissatisfaction with his plan had been causing him to wonder if including her nest in it might be the true mistake. But, dragons were was needed, and he and Kelyn would be disguised among the humans in Odet. That left him with little choice but to ask for her aid, dangerous as that was. "I do not see why we can't just destroy their town, and not bother with disguises and trickery," she concludes, her eyes flashing with anger.

     Morvyn raises an eyebrow, "How many times have you tried that and failed? Leading your followers to their deaths at the hands of the dragon slayer?" he asks her sharply, "Your way has not worked. It's only made the situation worse."

     "I, for one, think this alliance is a step in the right direction," Jennicor says, "Humans are not monsters to be feared. They are not so different from you dragons, in fact. Many chafe under the rule of this Landgraab, and would make steadfast allies to both our kinds, if we offered our friendship."

     Paerys spits in disgust.

     "Paerys, I need you to stick to your part of this plan," Morvyn warns her, "Our lives may depend on it. You, Brant and Derrell are a distraction only. Keep your distance and refrain from destroying anything."

     "We'll steer clear of it," Brant promises, and Derrell nods in agreement. Paerys fumes, but acquiesces.

     "And I'll stay with Ametair, should the moon's call prove to strong," Riain says. Their wolven kin was not happy about Morvyn's plan to allow the mortals to use their forest as an escape route, but he did agree to not interfere, even if he would not actively help. But the one part of the plan that was not in Morvyn's hands was the timing. The schedule set by their human allies would have them in Odet during the fullness of the moon, and that meant Ametair would change, and would hunt, and only his father would be able to stop him from slaughtering Sterren's people if he got their scent while in his forest.

     "Kelyn, Shayeleigh and I will be in hostile territory, relying on humans we can barely trust," Morvyn says, looking each of them in the eye, "We will be counting on you, each of you, to do your part, and make sure we all get out of their alive."

     "The death of the dragon slayer is finally at hand," Kelyn adds, "And it's only right that we all have our part to play in his end."




  1. My blue haired fox is missing... These almost seem like the second generation, other than Riain and Shayeleigh. Makes me nostalgic. I can't help but have a bad feeling about the plans though. Will the glamour really work with all of the anti-,magic stuff the hunter humans now have? It seems there are so few of the dragons, fairies and wolves, and far too many of the mindless humans that are following a zealot.

    1. Yes, Seirian has gone into the Fae lands with Aymeri.
      This is kind of the second generation's story, now. It was kind of nostalgic for me, too, to have them gather around their council fire and the older characters not being there, apart from Riain and Shayeleigh. Jennicor is also technically first gen, but she was not around as much in the early part of the story, so she feels like one of the new generation, too.

      There are a lot of things that can go wrong with Morvyn's plans, it's true.
      It's been kind of hard for me to explain how the metal works, because the characters wouldn't have the words to describe. But, it's a radioactive metal whose radiation only affect magical creatures, And what it does is prevent them from using any magic when they are under the effect of the radiation, when they are near enough to the metal in large quantities. So the glamour cast on them by wearing an amulet won't be affected. The radiation can't cancel any magic imbued on an object or a spell that has been already cast, it just prevent magic users from being able to cast new magic. And, it weakens dragons as well.

      There are a lot fewer dragons and fairies around now. Any that were left went off into the Fae lands. THe human population is large. And Reinier and his church do have a large following. But there are also a lot of humans who would resist him if they could.

      Thanks for reading, Zhip!

  2. And how will Aouregan's fate change now that she's not tied to the Brannons... I'm quite curious to see. ;)

    1. It will change so much! I think I'm scrapping (almost) everything in the Brannons canon. And I think it will make Aouregan a stronger character.
      I'm looking forward to this, myself, since I decided to break ties with the legacy story.

  3. Hope their plans turn out all right. Good luck everyone!

  4. Hope their plans turn out all right. Good luck everyone!

    1. Thanks! I'm sure they would appreciate the luck. There is certainly a huge risk for them all if things go wrong.

  5. Wow. The directions this could take now are endless. Now I'm all breathless waiting to see what happens to Aouregan and her brother. Also, the potential for disaster to strike the remaining dragons and fairies seems much greater than it was before.

    1. There is a lot of bad things that can happen here, and I've got a lot of long term plans to keep me busy on this. The dragons are putting themselves at considerable risk, just for a chance at getting at the dragon slayer.

  6. Uh oh! There's some foreshadowing in this update! I hope Sterren returns to her daughter!

    It is bittersweet to think of all the first generation that is missing! I am worried that Paerys is going to throw a wrench in the plans with her anger & what's that? An escape route through the forest on a full moon? EEK!

    1. Paerys is definitely a powder keg. Morvyn is right to worry about her sticking to plan. And that's not even the only danger they face. Ametair is also still hostile to pretty much all humanity, and the full moon makes him transform so he's less in control of himself. And of course, Landgraab could do something unexpected that throws everything off, too.
      Sterren hopes she can return to her family, too, but she's preparing for the worst. She doesn't want Reinier to ever get his hands on their daughter.

  7. Another great chapter, Caterpillar! Morvyn is keeping his head cold and I really think he is important to the group! Hopefully their plan will work out.
    Aouregan has quite a burden on her shoulders, and i do hope she goes with moth if necessary. But the youngs are very independent and I could see that might interfere with her destiny. I hope not, I really want The Great Lady to carry on!

    1. Thank you!
      Morvyn is smart and doesn't let anger cloud his thinking. He has very much risen in importance now that the older dragons have mostly gone off to the fae.

      Aouregan is very independent, but hopefully she will heed her mother's words and get to safety with Moth.

  8. Whoa this war is pretty intense, I hope peace can be found soon as their numbers dwindle. I can actually feel the characters worry and concerns but if they don't fight will there be anything left for them...I think not and sometimes unexpected alliances are key to winning a battle.