Descendant 108 – Lost Angels – Chapter 03

This entry is part 35 of 39 in the series Current

How… did you know I’m the Heir?” Lisa asked, following the stranger inside. The room just past the door was a cozy living room. A mismatched sofa and loveseat combo dominated, the former upholstered with some kind of rough knit material while the later was cherrywood and quilted red leather. They were arranged to face a brick mantle upon which was mounted a television. A bookcase stood in the corner, overfull with paperbacks with yellowing pages, and just beside it, an open arch led to a kitchen.

You’ve been the Orrery of Worlds,” the man said, gesturing to the seats as he himself moved toward the kitchen. “It leaves a certain kind of feel about a person. And it’s almost impossible to reach the Orrery without being connected to Hyrillius in some way. At least not when they’re from the Blue or the Green.”

Lisa glanced aside at Icthiani, who returned with only a blank stare as their host disappeared into the kitchen. After weighing the relative risks of closing the door and being impolite to someone so clearly versed in high magical secrets, she closed the door. “Um… I’m Lisa Ortega by the way. And your name is?”

You may call me Wenceslao,” came his voice from the kitchen, accompanied by the clank of plastic and an electric hum. “Wenceslao Marin. He returned through the arch holding two mugs of coffee. He pressed one, bearing a NASA logo into Lisa’s hand and the other, with a kitten rearing up on its haunches, paws outstretched, to Icthiani.

The daoine woman sniffed once and sipped at the drink without trepidation.

Wenceslao reached around the corner and came back with a third mug, this one with the words ‘Potion of Productivity’ printed on it, and took a sip of his own before moving to sit on the loveseat. “At least that’s what I’ve gone by for the past while.”

Not your true name then.” Icthiani observed flatly.

He smirked over the rim of his mug. “We humans don’t have True Names. And when you live as long as I have, you have to abandon names to avoid suspicion.” He must have seen some subtle change in her expression or stance that lisa missed, because he then added, “Humans aren’t expected to live hundreds of years. If the same man lives in the same house for longer than a person is meant to live, they ask questions; make accusations. Either you’re a thief who stole someone’s identity, or a witch doing unnatural things. Neither one is a person who gets left to their own devices.”

Icthiani nodded, seemingly satisfied, but made no move to sit.

Lisa took the sofa and sipped at her own coffee. She didn’t know a lot about the nuances of the drink but it was plenty strong; no sugar or milk or any other attempt at flavoring. “Would it be rude if I asked…”

Shaking his head, Wenceslao placed his mug on the low table between the seats. “You could, but I can’t be exact. I might not look it, but I am still an old man. The first few centuries run together a bit—except for the parts he made sure to preserve.”

He being Hyrilius,” Lisa surmised.

Wenceslao nodded.

Then you worked with him?”

He laughed. “’With’ to the extent that any of us worked ‘with’ him. You’re the last link in the chain—feel blessed that you are and likely won’t be meeting him.”

That got a reaction from Icthiani that Lisa noticed this time. “Meet him? Maeve’s Bane lives? Then why does he have an Heir?”

Wenceslao scratched his beard. “And that is where the mess comes in. The Heir has become a legend. The Legacy that will defeat Maeve and save three worlds. People think the Heir is the culmination of centuries of planning; a perfectly trained magical warrior armed with all of Hyrilus’s knowledge and the weapons he made.”

Icthiani’s eyes narrowed. “I take it by your tone this is not the case.”

No,” he said, sounding tired, “The truth is, the man might have been a magical genius, but the truth is, he was panicked, grasping for every option he could find to try and fight Maeve. You see, Earth’s magic has never been very strong. So when Hyrilius discovered Faerie, some of the least of them were like gods to him. And then he found out that they had been utterly subjugated by Maeve—a god above gods.

Everything that happened after that? It was his attempts to find something that could defeat her. He traveled to all the worlds of the orrery, every continent on Earth, and even found ways to cheat time to gather resources, knowledge… companions.”

He picked up his cup and took another sip. “I’m not the only one he sought out and took as an apprentice over the years. Few of us actually overlapped, but we didn’t always overlap with him properly. I know to at least a few he ended up meeting out of order thanks to his meddling with time—there’s a few who thought for a time he aged backwards.”

For a moment, he sat, contemplating his coffee. “That’s what your legacy is. The disparate attempts of a few dozen of Hyrilius’s self-made angels desperately pulling together what we could to prepare whatever sorcerer he might find in the end for the fight he saw coming; when Maeve found a way back to Earth.”

Lisa frowned. “Wait… but Hyrilius didn’t find me. You even said it yourself; I never met him.”

At this, Wenceslao shook his head. “That was the plan—as far as there was a plan. We stopped getting visits from him in the 1920’s. We thought Maeve was about to return—only to find a couple of world wars, nuclear brinkmanship and just plain climate destruction doing her job for her. We thought maybe she didn’t want this world anymore, or otherwise couldn’t get at us.”

He let out a sigh, “But then came the Green Flash. Magic was back, faeries started crossing over, and a mad woman appeared with pieces of the legacy we’d lost track of.”

Morganna,” Lisa observed.

I was worried she might have been the Heir,” Wenceslao confirmed. “Not all of us were the most sane or even good people. I couldn’t put it past him.” His expression brightened, “But then you beat her and took part of the legacy. Then Avalon rose and you went there. Then you found your way to the orrery.”

I thought you only knew I was the Heir because the feeling you got from me going to the orrery. How did you know the rest of it?”

Wenceslao gave her an amused look. “How did I know the exploits of a nationally famous superhero and musician? I saw through your glamor because of your connection with the orrery. I knew who you were because I watch the news.”

Lisa locked eyes with him, trying to consider her next steps. “So if you know who I am and that I’m the Heir… after a fashion, I guess… we need your help. We’re doing exactly what Hyrilius was trying to do—find ways to fight Maeve. We’ve been tracking sites that showed a magical reaction to Avalon rising, and it brought us here.”

Hmm.” Wenceslao cupped his coffee in both hands and took a long drink. “A magical reaction to Avalon, you say? That’s… well that’s new.”

Lisa avoided flinching. “Excuse me? What’s that mean?”

He shrugged. “Exactly what I said: that wasn’t in any of the plans I’m aware of. The folks behind Avalon weren’t… together with the rest of us. Not on the same page, you see? They weren’t just about protecting the Blue from Maeve; they wanted to kill her and if they couldn’t figure out a way to kill her directly, to kill her servants and potential servants. I and a lot of others weren’t in favor of waging war on all the peoples of Faerie, so they weren’t part of any larger plans.”

Icthiani cocked her head, but said nothing. Lisa, however, pulled out her palmtop. “But we saw clear reactions; magical and seismic. We mapped them. Please; have a look.”

Wenceslao accepted the device and looked over the various markers on the map. “Hmm. Now this is strange. What you’re looking at… it doesn’t make sense knowing what I know. Places of power are missing, artifacts of great power are also missing. Some of it matches up with others like me, or devices connected to Hyrilius. Some are just old laboratories.” He frowned, the action creasing his brow in a way that made him look far older than her originally seemed.

Frankly, I don’t know what all of these have in common—or why it led you to me.”

They are not defenses against Maeve’s threat?”

The man shook his head. “Some could be. Some of these will just lead you to old buildings that might not be there anymore, or just plain assholes that son’t be all that helpful.” He handed the palmtop back to Lisa.

She took it, but raised an eyebrow. “But you’ll help us, right? At least share some information?”

He settled back into his chair. “Information is about all I’m good for when it comes to the cause. I was never a fighter, wasn’t that good at developing spells or making devices. I was… in a more administrative position as Hyrilius found others with talents. Kept us in touch once he disappeared too. I can make you a list of places to avoid from your map, and tell you what’s at the others I recognize. Sound good?”

That does sound useful,” Icthiani spoke up before Lisa could, “But your home is full of magic and things from eras long passed. Is there really nothing concrete you can provide to aid against Maeve—or to learn what Hyrilius knew about her?”

Wenceslao picked up his coffee cup. “I hate to disappoint, but not knowing what Maeve was truly capable of was what drove Hyrilius. Learning more about her was one of his great drives—and greater failures.”

Icthiani narrowed her eyes. “What about her armies and servants? What about the sangrelogos?”

If the sudden shift in her attitude phased Wenceslao, he didn’t show it. “I’m assuming that’s something of Faerie? I’m sorry, but my focus was on finding ways to strengthen Earth’s magic or enhance a sorcerer’s magic mostly. I only know the basics of Faerie—I never even set foot on that world.”

Her hands balling up into fists without her notices, the daoine woman stood ramrod straight. “There is nothing of value for me here.”

Lisa did a double take and stood to try and stop her ally. “Wait, we still have…”

I came in the hopes of finding a solution to my curse. That hope no longer lies here.” Icthiani cut her off.

Lisa blinked, but recovered quickly. “That’s something we can still deal with, but if Maeve comes to Earth and we’re not ready, whatever your curse is won’t matter because she’ll either kill or enslave you.”

Icthiani opened her mouth to retort, but only silence ensued. She immediately rounded on Wenceslao, who was holding up a single finger.

Looks like your companions aren’t any more in sync than Hyrilius’s, Miss Ortega.” he said, ignoring the silent curses from Icthiani. “Perhaps I have something more… tangible for your quest after all. Hold on a moment.” With that, he rose form his seat and walked into the kitchen. There was the sound of another door opening and footfalls on wooden stairs.

In his absence, the silence spell failed and Icthiani turned back to Lisa. “Do not trust this one,” she fumed.

Just because he doesn’t have the information you need doesn’t mean he can’t help,” said Lisa, casting an eye toward the kitchen. “It’s clear that he knows others that helped Hyrilius, and those people might have some knowledge about the sangrelogos. We just have to be patient… and avoid insulting him.”

The daoine folded her arms with a huff. “Patience has meaning to those who can afford it.”

Who says I can afford it?” Lisa managed to shout without actually raising her voice. “Maeve could come crashing through some kind of gate on the other side of the world in the next sixty seconds for all we know. But getting mad at someone we didn’t know existed five minutes ago for not knowing everything we need won’t help.”

How do you know he can help? For all you know, we are being lied to. Your map may have led us to the right place, only the enemy got to it first,” Icthiani shot back. “You yourself said it would not be this easy. It already is proving not to be for me, but from your perspective, you freely believe you’ve been given easy assess to deeper knowledge. Do not be naive.”

This gave Lisa pause. “Are you actually being skeptical or are you just angry you didn’t get what you were looking for? Because that’s not an invalid point.”

I have a demon fused to me. Angry flows easily. Perhaps that has something to do with why I am so impatient to be rid of it? Perhaps I have lived with my sangrelogos making every moment of my life difficult for years?”

That… didn’t actually answer the question,” Lisa couldn’t help but point out, “But I understand. I promise I’ll work to find a way to help you. It’s just that Maeve is a threat to everyone—everything. I have to give that priority. For now though, we have to trust Winceslao; he hasn’t given reason for us not to and he could still be a friend.”

Icthiani looked away. “Where I come from, friends are far more rare than Mankinds assume is normal.”

But he’s not from Faerie. He hasn’t even been there,” Lisa offered. She might have said more, but then a buzz filled the air; quiet and barely noticeable at first but growing in volume and intensity until it became so strong it started making the room vibrate in their vision.

Then the world shattered; three dimensions fracturing and flying off into space like so many pieces of glass being broken back down into sand. The ground fell out from beneath them and the followed it, crashing through thick leaves and small branches that cracked on impact.

Pain exploded in Lisa’s shoulder as she rebounded off the root of a tree, her vision swimming even as the buzz subsided. Several years of being a superhero caused her to roll with her momentum until she was on secure footing, crouched low.

When she looked up, she found, framed by the surrounding jungle, a creature she’d never seen or even read about. It was like a man; standing on two legs but covered in metal plates like an insect’s carapace. In the spaces between armor was an inky blackness that leaked smoke, and the head was weird and misshapen, reminding her of some kind of demonic duck with two bills jutting off to the side and somehow melding together up front. More void and smoke filled the space beneath the merged bills.

Beside her, Icthiani glowered from where she’d landed, sprawled on her back. “You were saying?

To Be Continued…

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About Vaal

Landon Porter is the author of The Descendants and Rune Breaker. Follow him on Twitter @ParadoxOmni or sign up for his newsletter. You can also purchase his books from all major platforms from the bookstore
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  1. Thanks for the chapter!

  2. “You’ve been the Orrery of Worlds,”
    “You’ve been to the Orrery of Worlds,”

    “Wenceslao Marin. He
    “Wenceslao Marin.” He

    her originally seemed.
    he originally seemed.

    to the orrery.”
    to the Orrery.”

    with the orrery.
    with the Orrery.
    (You don’t absolutely have to capitalize Orrery, but after having done so above I would.)

    phased Wenceslao,
    fazed Wenceslao,

    “You were saying?
    “You were saying?”

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