Issue #86 – Those Not Forgotten

This entry is part 2 of 12 in the series The Descendants Vol 8: The Weaver's Web

Those Not Forgotten (Part 5)

She’d switched to her street clothes before totally breaking down. Laurel had to give Alexis that much credit. The rest of the scene just made her want to cry.

There was her best friend, sitting hunched under the shade of a willow tree, staring listlessly out over the drainage pond.

“Oh, Lexy…” she murmured as she approached. It had been a miracle that no one had noticed some of the battle. The kitsune had been using nothing but illusions, but Alexis had cut the tops out of at least a dozen trees. Some state workers would be deeply confused the next time they sent a drone out to overfly the pond.

Alexis glanced up and the slightest hint of a smile touched her lips. “I knew you’d come.” she said quietly.

“Headed right for the jet the second you didn’t answer. Kicked it up to full speed when you started acting as if you couldn’t hear me.” Laurel sat down beside her, painfully aware of how she’d just gone through this moment in England. “I heard the whole thing too. Everything she said to you.”

“You care about me too much to admit how much of that tough love you agree with?” Alexis guessed.

She started to deny it, but then Laurel decided her friend needed to hear it. “I was going to let you stay on this path of atonement thing a few more months because I thought it would help you if you took an active role in things then realized on your own that you don’t need it.”

Her friend looked at her with a shocked expression. “Don’t need it? Laurel, I let this happen… keep happening at least. I taught at the Academy, I gave them detailed reports from the results of my classes. I was too scared to save Dana… and too much of a self-centered bitch to even look into things when Melissa disappeared.”

Leaning back against the tree, Laurel looked up at the sky. It was overcast with small patches of blue sky breaking through. “I chose not to look to deeply into Melissa ‘leaving’ too. And I’m the one who couldn’t find any other Tome facilities once we knew what was going on. Do you think I need to beat myself up over it too? Or over Tamara Daye giving both us and Tome the slip the other week?

“Or for how I can’t find Morganna or Warpstar, or even Simon Talbot? I’m supposed to be the genius, right? I’m the one that has thirty million dollars in computing equipment and data-sifting tech that makes the NSA jealous and I’ve been missing far more often than I’ve been hitting, right? You’re not the sole leader of the team, yes? I’m part of it in there somewhere, right?”

Alexis scrubbed a hand through her hair. “I know I shouldn’t react like this. And looking back, I know how stupid I was being—the fox told me as much. Dana’s in WitSec fr god’s sake! And there’s no reason I couldn’t have just asked Masters or General Pratt to make the pitch for the Institute for me. I just… I just…”

“Care.” Laurel said quietly. “You care about these kids. You care especially about Dana because she was special for a number of reasons. I was personal for you, and because it was personal for you, it was personal for me, and that’s why I didn’t even think to stop you.”

That answered the next question alexis would have asked, so they lapsed into silence for a long while until Alexis came up with another. “L, you’re the most compassionate person I know. Way more than I am. How do you keep from screwing up the way I keep doing? Is… it a hypercog thing?”

Laurel shook her head and failed to hide a little smile. “It’s not something you have to be a genius to get. You just have to… happen across it. Alex, your problem is, you hate to lose. You take it personally, and really, that just means you’re so wrapped up in what you didn’t do, you miss all the wins.”

A raised eyebrow told Laurel she was right and would have to provide examples.

“Okay, so it’s a loss that we haven’t caught Morganna. But at the same time, she has never succeeded in any of her plans. We foiled her attempts to depower all descendants, we beat Inexorable, sent the Knights packing, and you personally destroyed her tower and kept her from claiming her old body. She might be free, but any one of those could have cost countless lives.”

She shifted so she was sitting up. “And as for Dana, if you had tried to save her on your own that day, you might have saved her then, but Tome would have realized you were planning on freeing all the kids and put a higher priority on evacuating the stasis cells instead of keeping tabs on where you went. If that ws the case, we might not have gotten the kids out. But because we did, we ended up doing far more good in this world than we would have otherwise.”

Her smile grew as she bumped Alexis with her shoulder. “Cynicism will just leave you mired in the what ifs and supposed failures instead of the things that are, the good and the bad.”

Alexis heaved a sigh. “I guess you’re right, but how am I supposed to change that?”

“I’ll help you.” Laurel said. “For now, let me handle recruitment for the Institute. You have more important things to think about… a certain wedding coming up in a few months perhaps? You’ve got a lot of planning you’ve been putting off, you know.”

“Masters thinks I’m putting it off because I’m afraid of commitment.” Alexis said, a bit of her old spirit returning to her voice. “I’m really putting it off because I really don’t look forward to the minutia of picking napkin rings and bridesmaids dresses and all the other things I’m supposed to become obsessive about.”

Laurel laughed lightly. “It doesn’t have to be that way—as much as the kids get too much information from pop culture, you’re pretty bad yourself sometimes.”

They both shared a laugh, then grew quiet. With the immediate crisis averted (or at least delayed), there was an elephant in the room they both knew needed to be addressed but didn’t know how to broach.

Eventually, Alexis spoke. “So. You heard everything, right?” Laurel nodded. “The kitsune said she was serving a lord. From the sound of it, someone who doesn’t like Maeve any more than Armigal or the Fallen Angel did. And like both of them, they’re perfectly fine with collateral damage in their war with her.”

She reached up and massaged her shoulder with one hand. “She put… something in my eye. She said it was a ‘reward’, but then… Faerie. I don’t know much about European—or Japanese I guess—folklore, but I do know that’s not usually a good thing.”

“I’ll check out the Books.” Laurel promised, “But in the meantime, I wouldn’t use that command phrase if I were you. Who knows what their idea of a prize is, or even if something that would be beneficial for a Faerie would be good for a human.”

Alexis nodded. She’d already come to that conclusion, but it was good to have Laurel backing her up on it. “It would be stupid of me, after all this, to say this was another piece of unfinished business, wouldn’t it?”

“Pretty much. But it is another mystery. Maybe even another win should we need another ally against Maeve.”


“Kindeer.” The Errolking said as the kitsune entered the hall. None of the others there looked up: they only saw and heard what he wanted him to see. Mortal enemies sat side-by-side drinking together and never noticed if the Errolking wished for peace in his hall.

The kitsune, Kindeer, once more cloaked and wearing the grinning fox mask, went to stand to her lord’s left hand. “Was it satisfactory, my lord?”

Green haze misted out of the vents in the Errolking’s face plate. “You allowed her to pass.” There was no accusation there, no recrimination. He merely said what was.

“She is not alone. By herself, she is flawed, insecure. That makes her weak. But what is inside her and those who stand around her: those make her mighty. If she can outsmart me, however temporarily, Maeve will never be able to adjust. She and those around her are exactly what we need.”

There was silence that stretched on long past the point that Kindeer could take any comfort in it, before the Errolking nodded, the plates of his armor scraping together. “There is a reason why these duties fall to you, Good Kindeer. You do not think merely in terms of what I ask, but what I want.”

Once more, the plates scraped and Kindeer found herself staring into the eye slits of her lord’s visor. She averted her eyes before they made contact with his. More powerful faeries than her had gone mad doing that.

“However. A center is still required. There must be one who leads the battle when the time comes and the veil between the worlds falls.”

Still not looking back at him, Kindeer asked, “But you have already taken care of that, have you not, my lord? Was I not both test and detraction?”

“Deterrent.” said the Errolking and spared her the temptation to meet his gaze by facing forward once more. Green haze billowed from his face plate. “And yes. If no one close to the Chosen of Reason comes in contact with the one I sent, the Book will find no reason to give any clues to his existence. Grooming the new general will fall to him now.”


Dana ‘Parrish’ (as was her WitSec name) idly scratched at the place where her right shoulder met her neck. Like all the places Tome installed implants to make her into a controllable power source, they itched like crazy. She had a surgery scheduled in a few weeks to remove another round of implants, but that wasn’t making her feel better in the interim as she sat on the back porch and tried to play Sandwich Blasters on her tablet.

She could feel the wig of pin-straight black hair slipping, but she didn’t care enough to straighten it. Her hair wasn’t growing back and no one could tell her why. If it wasn’t for the still-visible ports and their FBI (at least she thought he was FBI) liaison insisting she wans’t allowed to draw attention to herself, she woud have just gone around bald.

Yeah, she was getting pretty tired of the whole thing: the doctor’s visits, the lying about who she was, the prohibition on using her powers, and the constant phantom pains. Not to mention being almost three years out of date on everything.

A loud crash from out by the garage distracted her from her third round of making plans to run away.

Sincerely hoping it was burglars so the day might be interesting, Dana jumped to her feet and ran around the side of the house to investigate.

As it turned out, the culprit was a gigantic gray tomcat who was, at the moment, tearing open a bag from the garbage cans he’d knocked over with his claws.

“Oh no you don’t kitty.” The trash cans tipped back upward violently, sending the tom leaping back to avoid them and cringing as the lids slammed shut. “I’m not gonna clena it up, so you’re going to have to find food elsewhere, okay?”

The tom regarded her carefully, his muscles tensed as if prepared for a fight. And Dana guessed that he could put up a good one—he was the biggest cat she’d ever seen.

But after some lengthy deliberation, the cat relaxed and sat up in a regal pose of an animal who had just been scrounging for scraps. It’s eyes, like a pair of carved emeralds, met her own.

Hello, Hero. A voice, deep, smooth and resonant echoed inside Dana’s head and she almost jumped back. Instead, she threw out her hands and the lids flew off the trash cans and interposed themselves between herself and the feline.

“W-what the hell?”

There’s nothing to be afraid of, Hero. You have been Chosen. And I, Gabraed of Greymalkins, am your humble guide upon your journey. You power is great, but with my instruction, you will be a force of nature strong enough to cleave through the longest Winter.

End Issue #86

Series Navigation<< Issue #85 – The Ballad of Bad LassIssue #87 – Descendants… In Space >>

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. “This day, upon his throne of granite, in his great hell, The Errolking slept.”
    Hall? Not entirely sure though due to the previous paragraph.

    The text isn’t really clear on whether Dana is in witness protection and her parents merely relocated or if witness protection has been downgraded to simply moving to another city. In any case the program apparently isn’t worth much anymore since Alex, who isn’t even an official government employee, can contact someone in the program just to satisfy her own need of closure.

    • ROCIC connections let her find out where they were sent and under what names.

      • That’s a problem in itself. People who think nothing of abusing their access should not be given access to sensitive data.

        I must say my opinion of Alex has been sliding downhill lately. It seems like power and privilege have gone to her head and she feels entitled to ignore other people’s rights whenever she doesn’t agree with what they’re doing. As seen here and during the dragon incident evacuation.

        • She’s always had the ‘I will do this for your own good’ thing going on, all the way back to Vol 1.

          It’s just that she has focus now.

          But have patience. I’m not unaware of this. That and her growing genre awareness. 😉

  2. Okay, the Errolking is cool. Reminds me a little of The Great Owl from The Secret of NIMH, one of the coolest characters of all time.

    I kinda want to see more of him, but I do worry that overexposure could ruin him, like w/ Hannibal Lector, Darth Vader, or way too many DC and Marvel characters.

  3. Typo time

    SLowly, she started

    she could breath

    or escaped later
    or who escaped later (granted, that’s ordinary speech and it might ignore the correct phrasing)

    rode n the hunt
    rode in

    it brough the

    held up is free
    his free

    The only openings
    The only other openings (you’d just noted that the visor did, in fact, have slits in the previous sentence.)

  4. Typos, nothing but typos.

    ROCIC loner.

    keep my common hand.”
    comm on hand.” (or maybe in hand, to hand, or something similar)

    had been clocked off,

    the loud grew thicker

    the lake’s edged

    several ears of her life

    Tome fearie containment

    but flying using her
    remove ‘but’

  5. & on the non-typo front, I liked the first part where we saw Alexis interacting with people better than the last part where we were told about her thoughts.

    • This was the one I wrote while I was sick. It’s even significantly shorter than my usual stuff. I might rewrite it entirely for the book.

  6. Well, that cloud summoning certainly got the Monkey theme tune stuck in my head.
    Also, sorry to nitpick, but is ‘Miss Sarah’ a Discworld reference, like Laurel’s other nicknames? Was it maybe intended to be ‘Miss Susan’?
    It is fun seeing Laurel playing Q (and getting a sense of all the stuff she’s working on), anyway, and I’m interested to see where this goes.

    • Miss Sarah is the operator from the Andy Griffith show. I forgot that ALL of the others were Discworld. Should change that to Miss Dearheart, since she’s the one that runs the clacks.

  7. So I’m guessing this would be one of them Japanese-style fox spirits then.

    I wish you ‘murricans would drop those silly Fahrenheits already. They’re confusing. First we have 30 degrees, okay that’s way too hot… No wait it’s fahrenheit. But then it makes no sense that her reaction is so mild, that’s below freezing.

    • Hmmh no wait actually makes sense completely, because she’s delirious due to hypothermia. Nevermind.

  8. Sigh. So Japanese is a fairy language, then.

    • Wait. What?

      If you’re talking about the fact that the name is the same, no. The Book gives the names humans have given the faeries and translations do the same because they’re mostly human created even if we see faeries using them (Hyrilius created the translation spells and might be the inspiration for the Tower of Babel story)

      • Well the creature’s name is ‘fox’ in Japanese, and uses magic words also in Japanese, it leads to thinking that’s their native language. Right?

        • It’s all translation convention, dude. I hate it when stories try to rename an existing folkloric creature and kind of want people to be able to look up these critters and learn more about the stories behind them. The activation phrase is for Alexis’s benefit. It doesn’t make Japanese any more a Faerie language then Maeve’s castle being French, Argmigal communicating in cuneiform, and Amarocca naming her Knights in Latin…in Mesopotamia.

          • I guess that sort of makes sense. Except for the part about folkloric creatures since it’s not a separate creatures at all, the Japanese just have weird beliefs about foxes. Which kind of makes everything weird once you start thinking what you’d call this special fairytale creature if you translated the story into Japanese? Clearly not ‘kitsune’ since it’s not a fox, right?
            So yeah okay I’m being unreasonably neurotic here, but the whole concept of using a foreign word for a thing means you’re talking about a special magic version of the thing just bothers me. It doesn’t help that people here are doing it with foodstuffs to make them sound fancier, such as calling a verkkomeloni a ‘cantaloupe’ or a kesäkurpitsa a ‘zucchini’.

            Nevermind. I’m just being a difficult person who can’t deal with linguistic reappropriation.

          • I did do my due diligence and while there does seem to be a difference between regular foxes and the magic ones (same with tanuki), there’s no special word. Even weirder is that there’s even a set of super-special kitsune who serve Inari that are… still just kitsune. I almost used the name for the Korean version of the foxwife but they don’t get illusion magic. I’m just going to say they’re all based on the same critter in the DU.

            Also a mindscrew: Inari coudl very well be one of the returned gods and she would probably generate her own set of kitsune because all the returned gods are running on belief and can just do that.

  9. Typos (better late than never)

    try and fancy
    any fancy

    Even with as lethargic she felt,
    the lethargy

    strong, but flawed.”
    Lose the closing quote, she’s still talking in the next sentence.

    the think Alexis

    was holding several
    were holding

    rocks and dirty

    frost and ice spread
    ice which spread

    The could alter

    instant messanging:

  10. So Dana becomes a magical girl, standard animal guide included. Will there also be a naked transformation scene? We will have to wait and see… Well no actually we won’t see since it’s a text medium. But you know what I mean.

    “…they only saw and heard what he wanted him to see.”
    What he wanted THEM to see.

  11. I’m trying to remember Dana and failing. Which arc did she come up in?

    Whoever she is, a guide who’s fine with scavenging rubbish bags for scraps should make for an interesting journey.


    in WitSec fr
    in WitSec for (I’m assuming that WitSec is an intentional contraction)

    test and detraction?”
    test and distraction?” (I think)

    not gonna clena
    not gonna clean

    It’s eyes,
    Its eyes, (not a contraction of “It is” so no apostrophe)

    • Dana was in the Descendants Prime teaser and at the end of the arc with Armigal.

      • Actually she isn’t mentioned in the Descendants Prime post, I just checked. Or at least she’s not mentioned by name.

        • A bit of googling found a single mention of Dana Rice-Kelly in ‘Special #7 and nowhere else until #86 chapter 2. The other mentions of Dana are all of another person, Dana Vargas. So she’s a new character & I’m not getting Alzheimers’ just yet.

  12. I was a bit confused starting this chapter until I realized the link took me straight from 2 to 4, skipping chapter 3. At least there’s a very light bit of recapping so I’m not totally confused 🙂

  13. The series navigation link directly after the post. Also, the table of content in the upper right corner as well as the archives ( skip chapter 3.

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