- Descendants 106 – The Away Team – Chapter 02
- Descendants #105 – Gal Gallium – Chapter 10
- Descendants #105 – Gal Gallium – Chapter 07
- The Descendants 96 – Kill Hope
- The Descendants 97 – Heir of Hyrilius
- The Descendants 98 – The Precocious Prodigy
- The Descendants 99 – Huddled Masses
- The Descendants 100 – Paradigm Shift
- The Descendants 101 – The Battle of Freeland House
- Descendants Special #9 – Outted
- The Descendants 102 – Tales of Consequence
- The Descendants 103 – VIRAL
- The Descendants 104 – Hardcore Fans
- Descendants #105 – Gal Gallium – Chapter 01
- Descendants #105 – Gal Gallium – Chapter 02
- Descendants #105 – Gal Gallium – Chapter 03
- Descendants #105 – Gal Gallium – Chapter 04
- Descendants #105 – Gal Gallium – Chapter 05
- Descendants #105 – Gal Gallium – Chapter 06
- Descendants #105 – Gal Gallium — Chapter 08
- Descendants #105 – Gal Gallium Epilogue
- Descendants 106 – The Away Team – Chapter 01
- Descendants #105 – Gal Gallium – Chapter 09
- Descendants 106 – The Away Team – Chapter 03
The gentle rasp of metal-on metal was the only sound in the room as Isp continually turned a crank that kept a dozen bar magnets rotating inside copper coils. A slow, steady current of electricity flowed through wires from the crude generators to a handmade frame holding spare batteries for Tink’s tablet and Warrick’s ‘Alloy’ palmtop.
Said palmtop was on the floor near the generators, wrapped gently in the coils of Osp, who was steadily tapping away, playing one of the default games that came on the device.
Warrick was on the other side of the room, tending to what passed for a Faerie stove: a long, tall oven with racks for terracotta and other clay cookware with a stubby attached counter set with a red stone, which, once turned, would cause the counter top to become very hot so food could be cooked directly on it.
Faerie cooking featured a lot of bakes and casseroles, mostly with meat, cheese, greens and grain, as there were only a precious few local varieties of vegetables and fruits being safe to both harvest and eat. He’d tried his hand at making pasta from memory, but after sampling the results, he’d decided not to subject his fellow humans to such a thing. Bread was easier, of more coarse than they were used to, so sandwiches were their most common foods.
Today, he was experimenting again, after Cohl brought them up some of those rare vegetables: something like a red zucchini and a thing that looked like a puffball mushroom but smelled fruity and sweet. Armed with these, some meat whose origin he was smart enough not to ask after, and a thin, orange sauce that they’d all deemed close enough to soy sauce, he was trying to make a stir fry for lunch.
Two problems were quickly making themselves known in the form of a lot of smoke.
First, the cooking surface had no heat control. One turned it on and it got hot, then when one turned it off and it stopped being hot. Apparently the Faerie peoples didn’t simmer.
Second, it was a bad idea to try and cook fey vegetables on high heat. They had such a high sugar content that they burned like flash paper thrown into the sun. The slices of the zucchini thing didn’t just char into a gooey mess like a burnt Earth veggie, they became ash.
Warrick fanned the air frantically, backing away from the cloud of acidic-smelling smoke and muffling coughs into the crook of his elbow.
“Is everything alright in here?” He hadn’t heard Tink come in, but she was quickly by his side, also being forced to cover her nose and mouth against the resulted from his most recent attempt was experimenting.
“Yeah,” he gagged, “Lunch is just going to be a little late due to failure at enchanted cooking.”
Moving to wall beside the ‘stove’, Tink turned a wheel set into the wall, slowly cranking the window open and allowing a fresh and welcome breeze into the room. “I think we’re all just fine with sandwiches. Though now I’m curious as to how a single forest fire doesn’t annihilate every plant on the planet if they’re all like this.”
“Probably magic,” said Warrick, using a towel to wave more smoke out the window. Once the air started to clear, both settled down, moving to the corner of the room dominated by piles of cushions in various sizes. The cushions were the most sensible fey furniture they’d encountered. Given the vast disparities in size and body type of the various people in a large city like Passion Gate, it was much more simple to allow guests to build their own comfortable little nest to sit in.
The two world-lost heroes flopped down on the cushions and shared a quick kiss.
“So how’re your projects coming along?” Warrick finally asked after a long, comfortable silence.
Tink rested her head on his shoulder. “Today’s main has been translation. I’ve been relying on Chilani or Gabraed-via-Dana to read me all the books I asked for, but it’s becoming more and more obvious that if I could read them on my own, this would be going much faster.”
“Granted I’m not a big languages guy… but one aren’t you not a big languages gal yourself and two, don’t we have like two weeks at most? I’m not even sure Miss Brant could figure out how to translate an alien language in a week.”
Tink stopped moving for a moment and stared briefly into space. “Huh. When you put it like that, maybe I shouldn’t be complaining about my rate of progress…” She bit her lips, then quickly continued, “But it’s not like Faerie is so far removed. English has twenty-six letters that combine to make all the words while High Soder has thirty-five excluding accent marks. It’s just a matter or parsing the grammar and learning which words mean what, right? And I do have two native speakers helping.”
“But it’s only been three days,” Warrick pointed out, then frowned. “Hey, if those nanites improve your strength and reflexes, right?”
“Right. And reflexes involve nerve conduction to the brain. I think we’re both thinking the same thing…”
“…that maybe they’re not just making your stronger and faster…. but smarter,” Warrick said almost under his breath. “And maybe other things too. You never mentioned testing anything else.”
Tink tapped the side of her glasses. “And yet they can’t fix my eyesight?” She sighed. “This is really big; something we really should test. Only we’ve got far more important issues on our plate than my powers, not even accounting for Lisa learning how to unlock Hyrilius’s seals. Finding out where Faerie really is in the universe, digging through histories for accounts of humans arriving on Faerie, learning more about who Maeve’s forces are and what they can do… in a way we’ve been granted an unbelievable opportunity by being dumped here.”
“But?” Warrick put his arm around her.
He shook his head. “I know you, Tink. Your tone right there? There’s a ‘but’. Something more is bothering you and you don’t want to say it.”
Tink took a second to gather herself. She’d been caught holding back and there was no reason for her to continue the charade. “The reason I skipped it is… well it’s not exactly logical or scientific of me. Honestly, it sounds crazy even in my head.” She shifted so she could look him in the eye and knew her boyfriend wasn’t going to let her get away with making excuses.
“Okay. It’s just that… When you saw the future, did you hear anything about this? Mention of Maeve, and invasion, anything?”
He thought a moment, then shook his head. “As close as I can tell, what happened on Avalon went way worse in that timeline. From what I can tell, Miss Keyes died but came back or something and Mr. Smythe blamed himself for it or something.”
“But nothing about what happened after?” Tink asked, “Or maybe that George guy might have mentioned? Nothing about Armigal or Lisa being the Heir of Hyrilius?”
“A lot of it’s still hazy, but it usually clears up when I run into something related. Talking about Maeve’s never triggered any new memories. Neither did meeting Armigal and I’m pretty damn sure that would have triggered something. And George… well I wish he warned us about this stuff but…”
He trailed off as Osp suddenly stopped playing its game and directed its attention to him. More specifically, it directed its memory at him. It was something they’d done before, usually replaying the Descendants’ most epic battles to glorify themselves, but it didn’t often come up as useful because they were literally attached to him.
Only now, he realized something important: their memories were crystal clear where he couldn’t have possibly been expected to remember every word George had said to him where they were in his observation room more than a year ago.
“I’ve seen good people die dozens of different ways… innocents killed, enslaved… or worse. I’ve even seen my own death. Looking at all the myriad ways is an ugly business sometimes.” He’d said. “Don’t take it that hard, son: I mention all of the bad I see, but there’s good too. The Descendants have stopped more instances of death and destruction than you can imagine. And there are good futures; the ones we hope to reach. In those, I’ve seen new eras of peace and prosperity, not just here in the states, or even just on Earth. There are golden ages out there where people like the Descendants aren’t alone: there are hundreds of heroes, all working for the good of all.”
Innocents… enslaved. Eras of peace… not even just on Earth.
“Oh son of a bitch,” he muttered.
“What?” Tink asked, searching his face for an explanation.
Warrick shook his head. “I was so worried and freaked out about my future vision, I never even caught it when he originally said it, or I would have maybe asked the right questions! George told me that some of those ‘golden ages’ he’d seen weren’t just on Earth. He said that he’d seen futures where people were enslaved. He knows about Faerie at the very least. When we get back, we need to track him down and make him tell us what he knows.”
At this proclamation, Tink pursed her lips. “I’m more concerned with why he decided not to warn you about the time in the future where an other-worldly despot set her eyes on Earth.”
“What worries me,” Warrick replied, “is that to him, that might have been exactly the warning he intended to give me.”
“Now that you understand the structure of what you must do, what is left is to learn to access and channel the energies necessary to unlock Hyrilius’s barriers. No mere mage can do such a thing: any thinking being can perform rituals on worlds where magic is present and call themselves a mage. As the Heir, you are no doubt a sorceress, possessed of magic of your own and with the potential to use that to manipulate greater power than an entire circle of magi.”
Cohl’s words reached Lisa via a complicated game of telephone where Gabraed translated them and told Dana, who acted as his voice. It was the best they could do at the moment. Obviously none of the humans could go out alone into Passion Gate to scour the shops and private collections for books to help with Tink’s many projects and Gabraed lacked the hands to bring those back, so that cause fell to Chilani.
After extensive reading of the Books of Reason and Passion, Lisa knew the basics of what being a sorcerer meant, but not the importance Cohl was assigning to it. Sitting cross-legged atop a pile of cushions across from her, the yeh-ti (the fact that the species that resembled abominable snowmen called themselves yeh-ti had been of great interest to Tink and her queries on how much crossover had occurred between their two worlds in the past), spoke with a reverence and awe when it came to sorcerers that Lisa wasn’t sure she could match talking about anything.
“Are there many sorcerers in the world?” she asked.
Cohl shook his head and directed his reply to Gabraed. “There are none on Faerie that we know of. Only from the blood of Mankind have such beings arisen. Hyrilius’s companions had several others besides Himself among their number, but I’ve never heard of any others.”
“What happened to them when Hyrilius left Faerie?”
The yeh-ti raised his hands in a plaintive gesture. Via Gabraed and Dana he said, “They were within the confines of the Vault when it was raised. That’s the last our histories tell of them.” His bushy brows rose. “I had hoped to ask the same question of you: is it not know to the Mankinds what became of them?”
Lisa bowed her head. “I… to tell the truth, humanity has all but forgotten or disbelieved most of our magical traditions over the intervening years. According to the Books, it got so bad that Earth’s magic fell dormant for a time and has only begun a resurgence in the past few years.”
Cohl’s face fell and his brows drooped. “Then you are Earth’s only sorcerer?” Gabraed made several rude noises that had Dana groaning before she passed Cohl’s words on.
Curious as to what the graymalkin had to say, Lisa threw a questioning look at Dana, who only looked shamefaced in response and shook her head. She would have to ask later. Instead, she turned her attention to Cohl’s question.
Objectively, she wasn’t qualified to answer that question. She didn’t know how to test for sorcery in a person, nor did she know where just having the potential for such power made you one, or if one needed to be able to use that power. But there was one person she knew who would most definitely qualify: Morganna.
Of course it might not be a good idea to tell the Faeries that the much-revered sorcerers were half comprised of a man-woman who originally planned to kill hundreds thousands of Faeries in order to empower Earth’s magic—and succeeded in the later case.
“I’m the only active sorceress dealing with this sort of thing,” she finally said, making sure not to lie. Not exactly.
Cohl gave her a dubious look that suggested the needed to have a more in-depth talk later, but slowly relaxed once more. Via their translation grape vine, he returned to instructing her. “For any mage—sorcerer or not—extending their power to manipulate outside forces involves making a deeper connection to magic both as a force and as an element.”
He assumed a loose meditative posture. “To do so, you must engage the same reflexes and senses you do when you cast a spell, then summon up a deep emotion. Which emotion is of no consequence; the exercise is meant to make you receptive to the latent magic of the world so your sorcerous heritage may extend into it.”
Lisa tried to copy his pose and relaxed into it.
Summon up a deep emotion. It didn’t seem too hard. Living the life she did, she had lots of memories filled with intense elation, fear, anger, hope and triumph. All she had to do was focus on them and she was sure she’d be in tune with the universe or whatever they were really trying to do in no time.
Only she couldn’t.
As she sat there, eyes closed, trying to dredge up the required memories, other thoughts got in the way. Or rather took advantage of the quiet and calm to catch up to her. For days, she’d repressed them, but now they’d come flooding through.
Some tiny part of her knew—knew—beyond any proof that Tink might discover, that she was so far away from home that her mind couldn’t even comprehend it.
No matter how hard she tried to keep positive that they would get home, that didn’t change the now where she was light years or even light centuries from her parents and her twin brother. Her other teammates too.
Not to mention her best friend, Kay.
And JC. He was an incredible distance from her at the moment too. It actually surprised her how much that hurt to think about.
When they younger and less mature, she remembered asking herself why she cared about the guy. They would argue over the slightest thing and she would use any excuse to break up with him, only to miss him more or less immediately and demand they get back together.
After all they’d been through and all the dangers she’d faced or learned after that fact that he’d faced being in such proximity to so many super heroes, she still couldn’t name just one core reason why she loved him, but she knew for damn sure she did. It wasn’t the stupid teen-aged ‘I would die for you’ stuff. No, she was sure now that if it meant keeping him safe, she would bring her vast array of mystical power to bare on that task—even the spells she feared. Even the spells the Books seemed to hide from her.
Thinking about him not being there, about not having the option to go to him and hold him close… there was an ache.
And she ached for the others left behind too. For her mother and father, for her brother, even though he’d moved far away for college anyway, and for Kay, the best friend, business partner and sidekick she’d ever asked for.
Though she still have friends with her—and had even made new ones of a sort—what overwhelmed her was loneliness. The loneliness a person could only feel when they weren’t sure they’d ever see their loved ones again.
Just as she started to despair, she felt it: like a faucet had been turned on inside her soul. Light and power flowed into her from some nebulous ‘outside’ and they became a warmth and a certainty.
She’d conjured it, manipulated it, and studied it, but for the first time, she felt it. And it was as if she’d discovered a limb she didn’t know she had before. This was something that was innately hers. A birthright few others could ever share.
It was the power that made her the Heir of Hyrilius.
The power she now felt she could use to save the worlds.