Issue #89 – All That Glitters

This entry is part 5 of 12 in the series The Descendants Vol 8: The Weaver's Web

All That Glitters (Part 3)

The room was mostly lit by the afternoon sun streaming through the floor-to-ceiling windows of the office. Thanks to the lighter colors of the furniture and walls and the relatively open floor plan meant that was all it really needed and that anything brighter would have hurt the eyes.

The couch was comfortable, even if it made Alexis feel like a stereotype. Though at least Dr. Patricia Masters wasn’t sitting directly beside her in a chair. No, she was just out of her line of sight, at her desk.

“So you told me you called to inquire about the man in the coma every week. How did this week’s call go?” There was a clear difference between her normal speaking voice and her ‘with a patient’ voice, Alexis noticed. For now, she sounded softer, without judgment or calculation.

“Still not change,” Alexis admitted. “He’s stable, but just like last time, they can’t say if he’ll come out of it, let alone when. The other Adriel who were arrested still refuse to identify him though, and his fingerprints and dental records aren’t in any databases in the US or UK, so if he has family, they can’t be contacted. He doesn’t have anyone—not even the people he was fighting beside.”

There was a quiet tapping sound—Dr. Masters’s tablet keyboard no doubt—then, “But he does have you looking out for him until then.”

“He might not appreciate that. If not because I’m the ‘enemy’, then because I’m a ‘godless heathen’. As if I haven’t had enough of that lately.”

“Oh? Someone else called you that?”

Alexis shook her head. “Not directly. It’s just wedding stuff though. We set a date and we’re looking for venues but…” she sighed, “I can tell it bothers Ian that we can’t get married at St. Drausinus. The ‘no marrying non-Catholics’ thing.”

“What makes you think it bothers him?”

Adjusting her position on the couch, Alexis tried to catch a glimpse of Dr. Masters, hoping to catch some expression. She couldn’t quite see. “How could he not? He’s over there three days a week and I know the people at the church know he’s engaged, so they have to be wondering why we’re not getting married in the church.”

“Has he said anything?”


More tapping. Alexis frowned and decided to change the subject. “I had something specific to talk with you about today though.”


The therapists on television always seemed more helpful in Alexis’s mind. They would ask questions to provoke answers and sudden breakthroughs that fixed everything. That’s what she’d been hoping to get from the start. No, Dr. Masters seemed to say just enough to keep her talking and then give advice she imagined Laurel might. No breakthroughs. No revelations.

“I’ve been telling you about the dreams I’ve been having. The ones where I go out of control and kill everyone.” It wasn’t a question, so when she paused to gather her thoughts, Dr. Masters remained silent. “They’ve changed. Since that faerie fox messed with me. I’m not sure if it’s something she did or just from the experience.”

More tapping, then, “What are the new dreams like?”

“Like training. I’m back at the Academy—back when I was a student—and I’m in the same room where I learned bojutsu. Laurel is my teach, but instead of martial arts, she’s teaching me spells.”

“Spells?” Dr. Masters prompted. She and the ROCIC had been alerted to the concept of magic, but none of the specifics. Given the fallout still happening over Braddock Island, no one on the team wanted to hand over usable knowledge of magic to the government and through them, possibly to Tome or another enemy.

Alexis nodded again, if only to buy time to calm herself after just thinking about the dream. “When the Fallen Angel possessed me, it used spells to augment my powers. In the dream, Laurel is teaching me those spells: Black Drill, Dark Phenomenon…”

She trailed off, cleared her throat, then continued. “What really bothers me is that I remember every one of these dreams perfectly. Have you ever had a dream you remember like that? Because I haven’t.”

“I can’t say I have,” said Dr. Masters amid more tapping. “But the concept of lucid dreaming is well-documented. I can give you links to good, scientifically sound information on it if you’d like.”

“Thank you, but I’m not sure this is natural—that’s it’s coming from me.”

Dr. Masters thought a moment before asking, “Where else might they come from?”

“I don’t know. Maybe the Angel left something. Or the kitsune did something to me. I’m afraid that I’m being manipulated into something… something… dangerous.”


“Okay, there is nothing weirder than stepping through a mirror in the back of the hall closet door at dad’s house to travel across the whole damn country.” Issac looked behind him just in time to see the front hall of the house fade and be replaced by his own reflection. “The guys in the comics get teleporters and crap and the real heroes get the Alice in Wonderland treatment.”

“Complain all you want, but I just saved you almost a grand in airfare,” Ian said, standing in the vaulted door to the arrival room.

Issac held up his hands. “No complaints, it’s just really, really weird.” He crossed the rest of the room and clapped a hand on Ian’s shoulder. “So how’ve you been, Little Brother? I heard someone got a good video of that Metal X guy almost kicking your ass. Any lasting damage?”

“None, thank to Melissa,” said Ian, giving him a glare. They left the room and he took the time pushing the door closed, letting it lock itself anew. “So I meant to ask when we were on the phone: have you started patrolling?”

Letting Ian take the lead as to where they were headed, Issac fell into step beside and a little behind him. “Not that it amounted to much. Paradise is… paradise. Six patrols in the past month and I’ve got a carjacker and some guy who tried to kidnap his own kids because he didn’t agree with the visitation schedule. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad I was around to make sure both things came out with no one getting hurt, but…”

“It doesn’t stand up to the powerhouse excitement you read about my life being?”

“Sort of. I don’t know. Maybe I’m an adrenaline junkie and never realized it until now. Not that I wish for bad things to happen in my home town, mind you.”

Ian led them down a corridor that ended in two free-swinging doors and pushed them open, revealing what had been the cafeteria in the HQ’s original incarnation. Without a large staff on hand, the kitchen area was shuttered, but there was a large pantry and refrigerator along with the means to cook anything there arranged near the main doors to create a faux break room.

“No, I get it. Mayfield’s a big city, but sometimes there’s a quiet day while I’m on patrol and it drives me nuts waiting from something to do besides fly around.” He gestured for Issac to take a seat at one of the tables nearest the break area. “Beer?”

“You have beer in your superhero head quarters?”

“I try not to get drunk before going out to save lives if that’s what you’re thinking. But sometimes, like when some wormy geek with a swarm of nanites—”

Issac raised his hand. “Hate to tell you, but you are a wormy nerd.”

“X is wormier. Anyway, after stuff like that, I need to kick back with a beer.”

“Sure, I’ll have one.”

Pulling a face at his brother, Ian went to the fridge and retrieved the drinks. “Anything to eat?”

“No thanks.” Issac sat back in his chair and looked up at the ceiling. “Let’s get down to business though: Bachelor party. You know, you haven’t officially asked me to be your best man yet.”

“You were expecting competition?” Coming back to the table, Ian set a beer down across from his brother. “This is some seriously good stuff, by the way: Dog-ear Books’s Summer Special Micro-brew.”

Issac shrugged and pulled the bottle to himself. “You didn’t consider Warrick?”

“He’s a good kid, but he’s not my brother. Trust me, it’s you. Didn’t even think I had to ask.” Ian produced a multitool, flicked out the bottle opener and opened his beer before sliding it across the table to Issac. “Do I?”

“It’d be nice.” Issac smirked as he opened his own beer. He took a drink and nodded thoughtfully. “That’s pretty good.”

“A guy that volunteers at St. Drausinus pointed me in their direction. Who knew people running a used book store would know beer?” He glared when he looked up to find Issac giving him an expectant look. “Oh come on. Seriously?”

A sly grin came to Issac’s face. “How am I supposed to start planning a bachelor bash if I don’t know I’m the best man? And how am I supposed to know I’m best man if a certain dunder-headed groom doesn’t ask me officially. I’m starting to think you don’t have any faith in me coming up with a good party.”

“You’re an ass, you know that?”

“An ass that’s giving you a guilt trip, and who still hasn’t been asked.”

Ian made a show of grinding his teeth. “Issac, will you be my best man?”

Slapping his hand to his chest, Issac feigned shock. “My goodness, this is so unexpected! Of course I’ll be your best man! I will also have to start planning a crazy bachelor party, the stuff of buddy comedy movies!”

“I think Laurel has the market cornered on ‘hilariously overdone’. She’s hired some guy named ‘Count Pecula’ for Alexis’s party.”

“Well damn, there goes my plan.”


“No, pecs.” Issac barked a laugh. “But seriously, strippers or a bar crawl are that standard bases for a bachelor party. If that’s all L’s got, then she’s going to get blown out of the water. I’ve actually been thinking up ideas for this since you told me you were engaged. I just need the guest list.

Ian took a long pull of his beer, then laughed nervously. “Well that’s part of the why I called you to discuss this…”

“You are not cutting Dad out of this. Did he ever tell you about his party? It was probably a war crime.”

“It’s not that,” said Ian. “Also… ew. But no, it’s just that… well: you, Dad, Warrick and JC… that’s pretty much the guest list.”

Issac’s eyebrows rose. “What? You don’t have any fellow volunteers at the church you want to invite?”

“No one within fifteen years of my age. I guess I could invite them, but I don’t know if they’d be comfortable hanging out with ‘the kid’.”

“What about the other engineers from back in Washington?”

Turning the bottle slowly in his hands, Ian shook his head. “You know those movies with the ‘mean girls’ in high school? That’s how the engineers were in my division, except there was markedly less boyfriend stealing and much, much more stealing of designs and patents. Everyone wanted to play Edison and everyone wanted to be authentic about it.”

“Yech,” said Issac. “Okay, old friends from high school?”

“Do you think it’s a good idea to show people who knew me as ‘Chaos’ in high school to know I live in Mayfield where I work as the superhero, Chaos?”

For a moment, the siblings stared at each other. “Point,” said Issac finally. “God, that’s incredibly sad, Ian: you’ve got all of three friends and family? No wonder most people don’t become superheroes.”

Ian grunted and pinched the bridge of his nose. “No, this is another reason people need jobs and hobbies. I seriously need both. I thought I was being smart keeping myself freed up in case Tome pulled something while everyone else was busy during the day, but look how that’s turned out.”

After another drink of beer, Issac looked thoughtful for a while. “So what you’re saying is, you need a social life before we can even think of discussing a bachelor party. Well that shouldn’t be that big a problem: Mayfield is Machine City, after all.” He pulled out his palmtop and started to pull up a website. “It’s full of tech-heads like you—and you can’t expect all of them be loners, do you? Ah. Here we go. You don’t have a patrol or anything tonight, right?”

“Not really.”

“Perfect. Because the best brother in the universe just got us tickets to the skybox at the Mayfield Colossi home game tonight. Come on, kid: let’s get social.”


The town car pulled up to Angelica Sweet, one of Mayfield’s most premium ice cream parlors, and Javier took Perdita in and sat her down in a secluded booth with a menu.

Not even the one hundred and eight flavors, fifty toppings and many, many specialty items could distract Perdita from all the questions that had been rolling around in her head since her Grandfather had cut them off to announce to her mother that he was taking her out for ice cream. Before she could even pick one to ask, however, Javier beat her to it.

“This power of yours… how long have you had it? How did you discover you had it?”

Fidgeting in her seat, Perdita kept her gaze fixed on the menu. “A couple of months ago. We can’t keep have pets at the new apartment, so Aunt Maddie keeps Raggles for me. I was over there playing with him when he saw the spaniel across the street and went crazy barking at him, trying to get at him. I-I told him to stop… really wanted him to stop—and he froze. Just completely froze.”

Her grandfather made a sympathetic noise, encouraging her to go on. “I freaked out—I thought he died or something, but he was still breathing. That didn’t make it still scary though, so I just kept, you know, freaking. I just picked him up and kept hugging him and hoping he’d move again and suddenly he was better.”

Javier quirked an eyebrow. “You can reverse the effects?”

She nodded. “I have to be close to them to do it though, so I just leave it on people most of the time.”

“Interesting.” he steepled his fingers in front of him. “And when did you decide to become more… enterprising… with your powers.”

Still staring at the menu, Perdita shrugged. “It just came to me one day. I couldn’t get nice clothes or anything nice really anymore because of Mom’s stupid job and one day I was walking past this store and I thought, ‘what if I used my powers on the clerks and the guards’?”

“Hmm. But your powers would not work on the cameras.”

“I thought of that. But there’s this girl at my school that’s really good at computers and her parents aren’t rich either, so I offered to let her take what she wanted if she helped. And I have a friend with a car—I brought her in too.”

Javier nodded. “Who came up with the glitter as a distraction.”

“Me. I’ve seen all the shows where they catch people with evidence they left behind at the crime scene. So… give them something to look at that means nothing, y’know?”

“Very clever,” Javier said proudly. “With no training, you’ve done very well. But I can teach you how to do better.”

Perdita cautiously glanced up at him. “You keep talking like that. Grandpa… are you some sort of criminal?”

To this, Javier laughed heartily. “Oh, my dear granddaughter. I am the greatest criminal. And now I am able to pass my legacy on to you.”

Series Navigation<< Issue #88 – Tome of BattleIssue #90 – Just Us Sidekicks >>

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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. Typos

    super-focuses Special
    super-focused Special

    Osp, leap back
    Osp, leaped back

    an I swear
    and I swear

    beat back sicne
    beat back since

    brutal clawed slashes
    brutal claw slashes

    more liquidous form
    more liquid form

  2. What kind of a parent names their child “Lost”?

    • In-universe, she’s named after her grandmother who is named after the character from Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale (literally a lost girl).

      Out of universe, she’s named after the Discworld character and also the fact that she’s ‘astray’.

  3. I expect it’s a name passed down in one of her parents’ families. Harold is another old-fashioned name after all – or it could be a name of hispanic origin, I’m not familiar with those. Her grandfather being the only person to pronounce it right fits the latter.


    Kay’s job after all: Jessica was her roommate after all,
    Lose one of the instances of ‘after all’, it doesn’t matter which.

    mirroring here words
    mirroring her words

    will earn from
    will learn from

    Juniper (slapping her back with the guitar in the process.
    Juniper, slapping her back with the guitar in the process,
    Juniper (slapping her back with the guitar in the process.)

    Well that was
    Well, that was

  4. Typos

    “Still not change,”
    “Still no change,”

    Issac as a name seems odd, I’d have expected Isaac. I know he’s appeared before, is this just the first time I remember noticing?

    thank to Melissa,”
    thanks to Melissa,”

    are that standard bases
    are the standard basis

    all of them be loners,
    all of them to be loners,

    most premium ice cream parlors,
    premier ice cream parlors,

    “Who came up with the glitter as a distraction.”
    “Who came up with the glitter as a distraction?”

    • Thanks for those.

      I can assure you Issac is a real accepted spelling of that name because I’ve known and Issac and an Izaac. Yep, with a ‘z’.

  5. “We enjoy each other’s company abd out talks.”

    “…captured and moed to a camp…”
    Moved I guess, though there are jokes I could make about cutifying POWs.

  6. Typos. Just a few today.

    caramel looked up at him.
    caramel she looked up at him.

    she makes ou feel,
    she makes you feel,

    Perdita took moment thing then
    Perdita took a moment thinking

  7. Typos

    a cleared out spaced
    a cleared out space

    “Some of the charged
    “Some of the charges

    “’course not,”
    “’Course not,”

    I having had a drink
    I haven’t had a drink (unless this word choice is reflecting his psychically-induced drunkenness.)

    “’not drunk!”
    “’Not drunk!”

  8. Typos

    If James bond
    If James Bond

    just made her run up
    just made her want to run up (as I understand it, she didn’t actually do that.)

    other adult present.
    other adults present.

    charged might be waived
    charges might be waived

    lawyer in her
    lawyer in here

    Not a typo, but is Vorpal actually seen as Vincent Liedecker’s right hand? She does do some illegal jobs for him but I thought she spent most of her time in her secret identity these days.

    • She’s known as his lieutenant in the underworld. She does the triple shift thing, where she’s Stephanie Carroll by day, Vorpal by night. Most people in the underworld assume Stephanie Carroll is Vorpal because no one could work so closely with Liedecker without being in on things, but have no idea that she’s a false ID.

      Amusingly, and we’ll see this soon, some people thing Laurel is Vorpal for the same reason.

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