Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Chapter 46: Kvornan Is A Marionette

Thurs, November 19, 2074 10:49 pm: Arbormoor Forest- Arbormoor, Pleasantview


The gravedigger's lips were dry and white like newly fallen snow. He was not going to make it. Kvornan carefully lowered the man onto the ground as he began to go into convulsions. In the distance, Kvornan could hear traffic picking up on the highway. The truck carrying the remaining bodies was in transit. He bit his thumb hard enough to draw blood and wiped it over the wound on the gravedigger's neck. Kvornan closed the gravediggger's eyes and stood.


He and Rainelle had not been friends for very long but she had been a light for him at a time when all other lights were smothered.

They would bury her here, cloaking her body in the dirt and mire that had been the cause of her death. There was nothing that Kvornan could feasibly do. He rubbed his eyes with the flats of his hands. There were certain guilts that never washed away regardless of how many years he spent begging unseen forces for forgiveness.


November 15, 1998 1:10 am: The House of Fallen Trees- Gothier, Pleasantview (Seventy-Six Years earlier)


The night that Jennail was found dead in her room at the asylum, Kvornan made his way to a downtown pawnshop. He purchased a low-caliber revolver and a handful of bullets. He loaded it just outside of the shop door, placed it at his temple and fired. But the gun jammed. He must have spent a good half hour fiddling with the trigger until he finally gave up and tossed the thing onto the curb. It landed hammer-first on the cement, discharging instantly and striking an old tomcat in the ear. The hapless creature took off down the alley faster than a bullet and wailing like an air-raid siren. That had been Kvornan's first clue.

His future attempts at suicide all yielded similar results. Poisons would never stay down. Hangings ended with him lying on the ground in a great puddle of frayed rope. Drownings never took place without a heroic rescue. His one and only car crash was spectacular to behold but also a failure. Propelled by a rocky slope, the car flipped onto its side and struck an old beech tree, causing the entire hood to fold in upon itself. Kvornan limped away from the wreck under the disbelieving gaze of several onlookers, a little worse for wear but insufferably alive.

He understood now that the end of his tenure on Earth would not be forthcoming. The keys to eternity were being held for ransom and he knew what the Gatekeepers wanted in exchange but he could not, would not ever again.


On the morning of November 14th, several weeks after he'd abandoned flirting with death, he awoke thinking that he'd found a loophole. If he did not shed his physical body then he could not ascend into heaven. If he could not ascend into heaven, then there would be no Sheut. Everything would end with him.

Fuck it. The ball was in his court now and he was tired of playing by the other team's rules. Either Deus Rex would grant him death or they would grant him immortality. And they could not afford to do the latter.

Kvornan strode through the garden gate, a marionette pulled on invisible strings. The gore in his hair and on his skin was seeping into his eyes but no matter how hard he concentrated, he could not force his hands to rub it away. The world shimmered before him, distorted like the view through a sheet of beveled glass. He was more than half-blind and sick enough to wretch. His muscles cried out in a fatigue that bordered on agony. He could barely distinguish the ground from the sky. Maybe he was dead. Maybe he had left his body lying on the floor of Jon Smith's laboratory. Maybe he was a ghost.

Sounds were growing more acute, scents more pungent. When the back of his hand brushed against the hedge, he could have sworn to feeling every vein in every leaf.
Oh, God. He was not dead nor was he dying. He was coming to life.


His vision cleared slowly as though a fog was being lifted from the center of his gaze, outwards towards his peripherals. He could now just see the silhouette of a woman at the back of the garden, asleep with her head on the table. A twig snapped beneath his foot and the woman sat up with a jolt. Kvornan could make out her black hair now, her full lips, her enormous blue eyes. His palms were sweating. His head was reeling. His stomach contracted. He needed her. What was in Jennicor had chosen Kvornan for a host. And it hungered.

"Kvornan?" Rainelle stood, her beloved mouth gaping.
No, no, no. This isn't happening. Stop walking! Stop walking! Turn around! Find someone else.


Picking up her skirts, she ran towards him. He could feel her body heat radiating from several feet away. She was young and healthy. There was so much life in her. Not her. Not her. Anyone else. Please not her.

"What happened? Are you alright? Kvornan? Kvornan, talk to me." She reached one satin-gloved hand towards his face but paused before her fingertips reached his cheek. "Dear God, your eyes," she whispered.

He wanted to shout for her to run but there was no command that his body would respond to.


His hands snatched her up by the collar. The gesture was so quick that before he'd had the opportunity to mentally process his actions, he'd felt her chest pressed firmly against his own. Her heartbeat thundered in his ears. The vampire in him was going to take her and there was nothing that he could do.


Rainelle struggled, pushing his head away from her as though she knew what he intended. He lodged his leg between hers and bent her far enough backwards that she lost her balance. Distantly, he could hear her pleading, trying to remind him of who she was. But now, even his conscious mind was consumed with desire for her. He pushed her head to the side.


This was nothing like drinking from Jennicor. That had been a messy, sordid, nauseous affair. Rainelle burned as she went down, igniting his senses and causing his mind to go perfectly blank. He stroked her hair and groaned in harmony with her strangled screams. She was his darling, his lover, his lotus. Her body went limp in his arms. Kvornan involuntarily spat a large chunk of her flesh out onto the ground. This is not happening.


By measures, he was regaining command of his faculties. He dropped her desiccated corpse. All of lust and intensity that he'd felt only moments before was subsiding. He blinked three times. He balled his hands into fists.


"Rain?" Bile rose in Kvornan's throat with no puppeteer to keep it down. His knees gave way and a pool of congealed blood rushed forth from his mouth. She was dead. He knew that she was dead. He heard the silence where her heartbeat had once been.


Hot tears slipped down his face and landed on her corset. The flowers that bloomed around her were glistening with frost. They too were thriving on stolen life. A frigid wind blew the hair from Rainelle's eyes and suddenly, Kvornan sensed that they were no longer alone.


"You've put us in a very difficult position, Mr. Tricou." The voice was coming from every direction. Kvornan clumsily pulled himself to his feet, trepidation sending violent shivers up his spine and through his extremities.


He had always known his office in a theoretical sense. He knew that someday, he would be the Minister of Silence, Servant to the Destroyer, the specter of death. But it was one thing to know that he was a puppet and something else entirely for his master to emerge from behind the curtain, looking him in the eye. Kvornan shook his head in disbelief, high-pitched choking sounds escaping his throat like drops of water being squeezed from a stone. Samael, the Sheut of Deus Rex smirked serenely.


"This was a reasonably clever attempt on your part but we are not at all amused. We made no provisions for an immortal Sheut."

"Then why don't you kill me?"

"Your duties on Earth are not yet complete."

"You took my son from me."


"He was permeable. We could not risk him passing it to future generations of fae." Kvornan grabbed at his hair and pulled to keep himself from screaming. He had known all along that this was the reason but to hear it aloud tore fresh lacerations in the fabric of his grief. His son died for reasons of quality control.

"And Gvaudoin?"

"She had the opportunity to escape. She chose death." Samael folded his arms over his chest, seeming to examine Kvornan from beneath his bulky hood.


"Your losses were considerable but I prefer to deal with the matter at hand. You will live until we have no more use for you here. Your Ib will be born in about eighty years time to a descendant of Jon Smith. I daresay that you will still be roaming the Earth then. Your task will be to safeguard the Ib. And in doing so, you will have to keep your distance. Never before have two members of Proximus Deus met in the physical world. We cannot predict the outcome of such a meeting, particularly regarding your condition."

"I... That's fine. Whatever."

"And you are of course, still charged with the task of providing us with children. The fae race will not survive into the next aeon without your contribution." Kvornan shook his head defiantly.

"No. I cannot lose another child. I'll live forever. I'll watch the whole world burn. I don't give a damn."

"You'll feel differently after your Ib is born," Samael said stridently. He gestured towards Rainelle. "If you loved this girl, you will ensure that she did not die in vain."

"She shouldn't have died at all. You should have killed me. Why didn't you kill me?"

"It is not for you to understand our judgement. It is only for you to obey our commands."


"Fine. Then what do I do now?" It was a question that he had not posed to anyone for quite some time. Fricorith died and he no longer cared what he did. Jennail died and he lost the desire to do anything ever again. The Gatekeeper tilted his head to the side thoughtfully.


"Act in compliance with your will, Mr. Tricou. The universe has no plan for you outside of what you choose." It wasn't terribly reassuring but every atom in Kvornan's body knew that it was the truth. He did not have free will like humans and faes did. For him, there was only one path, one possible set of outcomes. Even his decision not to obey was, in some way yet unknown to himself, an act of obedience. Kvornan bowed his head and stared at his trembling hands. He was leashed to his divinity just rigidly as the tide was leashed to the moon.



  1. Aww, poor Kvornan :(

    He's really trapped, isn't he? Hopefully he can find some form of peace after whatever he needs to do with Elise is over with. And hopefully any babies he has with Tara are more fortunate than his son was :(

  2. God, he's such an idiot. Sometimes, I just want to reach through my screen and shake him. I have a lot of trouble feeling sorry for him. It's true that he has been a victim of circumstance but on the other hand, when fate does not intervene, he manages to screw things up by his own accord. And not little things. Big things. When he makes mistakes, people die.

    Also who said anything about children with Tara? *shifty eyes*

  3. Okay, I do feel bad for Kvornan! I mean to try and kill yourself and have every attempt fail? To pray for death with every fiber of your being and be denied because Fate isn't done with you yet?! Gah!

    I'm with Dinuriel! Hopefully he does find some kind of peace before everything is over.

  4. Well, if it's any consolation, he doesn't necessarily want to die anymore. He has Elise now and other than the fact that he cares for her, she gives him a sense of purpose.

    But as you can imagine, yes he is still extraordinarily troubled.

  5. This was some of the best exposition I've read in a long time, Pen. Very tense and spare. You packed so much into this chapter, answered quite a few questions... and managed to fire up a few new ones. :-)

    Very interesting what you're doing with free will here. My angels, they has it. Dante calls it a blessing and a curse, and Kvornan shows us why it can be a blessing. Being unable to die is bad enough, but to be a marionette like that... (Dante does have someone pulling his strings, but still.)

    I am super-interested in what this means about him needing to have children. (That line about "quality control" was heart-rending.) And makes me wonder still more... what's Jack???

    (This is totally unrelated, but I thought you might be interested to know: When I right-clicked on "Kvornan" to add it to my Firefox spell-check dictionary, the four words it proposed to replace it were "ornament", "doornail", "tornado", and "governance". That's an interesting "did you mean?" algorithm right there. :-o Writing Exercise #248: Write a short story using the words "ornament", "doornail", "tornado", and "governance"...)

  6. Oh my gosh Lothere, I LOVE those words. They make me want to write poetry.

    I am almost 100% certain that the names of the Tricou family are completely made-up by Maxis (with the exception of their surname). My way of dealing with that is just to say that they have fae names even though my other faes have names that I didn't make-up. *shrugs*

    Ach, I'm so glad you liked this chapter, Lothere. It was a struggle for me to put myself in his shoes in this instance.

    Myrrdin!! *shakes fist* Why can't he find some other, more accessible, watery tart to stalk and leave Dante alone?

    The Jack mystery is coming up er- Chapter 51? I change things so frequently that I can't say for certain.

    Kvornan thinks like a man and it's very difficult for him to wrap his head around the fact that he has no free will. It is literally impossible for him to do something that does not fall within the realms of what he should be doing in any given situation. Even when he thinks he's rebelling, he's still serving.

  7. If you ever have a "Quotes" section on your site, I nominate this:

    "Kvornan thinks like a man and it's very difficult for him to wrap his head around the fact that he has no free will."

    I LOLed. A sentiment worthy of an Anne Taintor coin purse.

  8. hahahaha Oh boy! I didn't even think about it that way.

  9. Waht? I'm caught up? Now I have to find something else to obsess over.

  10. Oh no! This was like the worst time to catch up too because I decided last night that I'm going on a 1 month hiatus.

    If you're really bored, then you could peek in at the behind-the-scenes blog, which I update like mad.

  11. Ha! I read that already too!

  12. teehee

    Hmmm well, the reading list on my sidebar is jam-packed full of goodies. Might I suggest Ravensworth? After the Calling? Naroni? Electorate? 100 Days? A Dark? Through A Glass Darkly is awesome but I think the author has abandoned it...

  13. Your an amazing writer and your screens are so beautiful. 80)

    I have been reading for a while now, trying to get caught up. Oh poor Kav, sorry I know I spelled his name wrong. What a horrid choice to make, what a horrid ending to his love. He is truly stuck in purgetory. 80)

  14. Hey, thanks Cheripye!

    hehe Kav. I've started calling him "Vorn" in my head so I sympathize with your desire to shorten the name. I've been thinking that there has to be a nickname version of "Kvornan" but I'm not sure that there is one because "Kvornan" is also the Ashkay word for "November" and they don't shorten month names in that way. But I'm babbling now. I'm glad that you're enjoying the story! It will be back and going strong on March 1st.

  15. Ooh... hmm. Interesting. This line in particular reminded me of another character which I'm surprised no one mentioned: "Drownings never took place without a heroic rescue."

    And of course I'm thinking of Jack. :D

  16. You're almost caught up! If only I was almost finished Chapter 49. *grumbles*

    There is a connection between Kvornan's botched suicide and Cully's, just not a direct one. Kvornan attempted suicide because he was destined to fail colossally and repeatedly until he was forced to try something very desperate. He was then meant to become a vampire. Or rather, if I'm being fair, that's one school of thought. There does exist a second school of thought surrounding Kvornan and his vampirism. We'll start to get their opinions in the not-too-distant future. But we pretty much hear it straight from the horse's mouth here that Kvornan's will is divine and everything that he does is in service to Deus Rex, the five aspects of God.

    Also, don't stop thinking about Jack. ;) His mystery will begin to unravel in a big way soon.

  17. I have a feeling I'm going to be saying "interesting" in my head a lot much in the voice I imagine Sherlock Holmes would use.

    I can't stop thinking about Jack! Now, is there any connection between Jack and Cully?

    And I finally caught up. So get that next chapter out already. ^__^

  18. Oh boy, I'm working on it! I still don't have a projected release date though. :(

    There is no real connection between Jack and Cully. Some similarities, but no concrete connections (unless of course, their mothers were distantly related which is possible since most Pleasantview Townie families are interrelated).

  19. I just read from the beginning to here, and may I say, I LOVE IT!

    Also, maybe I'm crazy, but I picked up a 'kids with the Ib' vibe from the story. Yes? No?

    Again, I love the story, it's so long though...

  20. Hi, Bex! Welcome to the story! *confetti* I'm thrilled that you are enjoying it. :)

    I have no clue what "kids with the Ib" is but now I must find out. That is my mission for the day.

    By sim story standards, it is getting to be on the long side and it has quite a ways to go. I don't think that I realized just how long it would be when I started writing but the goal is to finish someday, far off in the mists of time.

  21. I lovelovelove the part about Kvornan's futile attempts at suicide, especially the description of the crash.

  22. You know... He can never really win, that guy.

    Thanks Jasper!