Monday, May 11, 2009

Chapter 53: Kiernan Walks The Wire

Weds, November 25, 2074 1:30pm- Natasha's Cafe: Downtown, Pleasantview

Warning: Brief and Partial Nudity. Werd.


A man slipped through the cafe doors with all the billowing grace of a poisonous vapor. His skin was waxen now and his eyes gleamed like polished slate but there was no mistaking him. Kiernan Tricou folded his hands in his lap, gazing expectantly upwards. For eighty years, they had each managed to evade the other and for eighty years, Kiernan had been waiting.


"Oh, fuck me. I should have known," Kvornan snarled, narrowing his eyes. Kiernan clamped his hands more tightly in his lap, thinking that if he were still enough then maybe the Sheut would sniff him, turn him over with his muzzle and leave him be, mistaking him for dead.

Kvornan gripped on the edge of the table and glided into the booth, a god caked in human clay. There was a decent chance that Kiernan would not survive this encounter and that assessment gave him a certain amount of courage. He'd knowingly pitched his own tightrope by staying with Thea for so many years. By coming to Pleasantview, he had set the ground ablaze beneath him. And now in this downtown cafe, Kiernan's audience had finally arrived. It was time to walk the wire. Kiernan raked his teeth over his bottom lip and sat back on the cushions. Don't look down, he thought.


"I don't know why you're so surprised to see me. Your little boyfriend has known about me for decades. You know the one-- The blond with the voracious appetite. His brother is an acquaintance of mine," Kiernan drawled. Some bottomless emotion that Kiernan could not place rippled through Kvornan at the mention of Alexei. He was a ship battle-hardened by tempests and tipped on its side by a gentle breeze. Kvornan cleared his throat.

"It occurs to me that the only way you could possibly be sitting here today is that you were made by Thea. It also occurs to me that any friend of hers is probably a friend of yours, Antoine Garrison being no exception." Kiernan's eyes widened. He didn't know how much Kvornan knew about Thea but if he had known anything about her, he would have known that Kiernan survived. Maybe he was bluffing.


"Did you know what she was, all those years ago," Kiernan asked. Kvornan hesitated before responding.

"I didn't know what to look for back then. So where have you been?" Kiernan shrugged, leaning to the side.

"Here and there," he said.

"With Thea?"

Kiernan grunted non-commitally. He realized now that the more he talked, the more he implicated himself and Thea. If Kvornan had not known that Thea was a vampire then he certainly hadn't known that she was a Dissenter. He had managed to wean that much from the fact that Kiernan knew Antoine. Kiernan's tightrope caught flame. Kvornan leaned forward on the table and lowered his voice to a rather menacing purr.


"She killed Gvaudoin, you know. She's as much to blame as Jennicor ever was," he said. Kiernan closed his eyes and shook his head. The very sound of Kvornan's voice was taking him back to long forgotten afternoons in music-filled halls, to a black-haired little girl more beautiful than any before or since.

"Enough," Kiernan whispered.

"She wanted you for herself and she let our children burn so that she could have you."

"I said, enough," Kiernan barked, forcing himself out of his reverie. What pained Kiernan more than Kvornan's accusations and the memories that they induced were the details that he could not recall. The scent of her hair, the sound of her laughter, even the color of her eyes... The dead were dead. "Honestly, we could go tit for tat all day. Thea killed our kids. You killed your wife--"

"Say it again. I dare you." Kvornan's tone was casual, almost playful. Kiernan swallowed hard. His pulse quickened in a way that a vampire's pulse did not often do.


"You don't frighten me," Kiernan breathed, though nothing could be further from the truth. Kvornan leaned back but the space between them felt no less intimate.

"No, I don't believe that I do," he said. "I could liquefy your insides with a glance but you aren't afraid of dying and particularly not afraid of dying for what you believe in. The person that you should really be afraid of-- and I'm being perfectly honest with you here-- Is the Ib. If any harm comes to me, your suffering will be legendary, my friend. She'll begin with those you love most. Now correct me if I'm wrong but is that baby food on your jeans?"


Kiernan shivered. His mouth went suddenly dry. Bile scalded his throat. He was peeking at the ground below the wire.

"What makes you think we will not simply come for you until the Ib is dead," Kiernan rasped. Smirking, Kvornan rolled his eyes.

"Oh don't give me that bullshit. I've seen the Dalton boy. Your clock is ticking." Kvornan slid to the edge of the booth, preparing to leave. "And just so that you know, if we ever meet again, I will kill you."

"You can't be serious," Kiernan murmured.

"Sorry? I don't think I heard you correctly." Kiernan placed his palms flat on his seat and arched his shoulders.


"Jack Dalton is not the Sheut so he cannot be the Sheut. You can't seriously just let that happen." Kiernan's voice cracked. Pressure was building in his head. All of his fears were spilling out onto the table before them, bouncing off of the linoleum surface and cascading onto the floor below. This was not the encounter that he spent eighty years anticipating. Kvornan exhaled deeply.

"I don't intend to."

"Then what do you intend to do, Mahadeva?"

"I intend to follow my will because as you and your kind seem to have forgotten, my will, unlike yours, is infallible."

"Was infallible." Kvornan threaded his fingers through his dark brown fringe.


"Yes, as you can imagine I've heard that one before. I don't buy it. You and Antoine and Thea and all the rest would do well not to get your panties in a knot. Even if my will is corrupt, even if the end of the world is upon us, then it is so because the Creator wills it. And if that is the case, then there is nothing that any of us can do to change it. Now if you'll excuse me, I have things that I would much rather be doing right now."

Kvornan pushed himself out of his seat. Kiernan listened to his shoes squeak against the floor tiles as he exited the cafe. The coffee on the table in front of him was untouched and no doubt frigid. Kiernan pulled his sleeve over his thumb and tried to rub the apricots he'd been feeding to his grandson from his pant leg. How Kvornan knew these stains for baby food was a mystery with the potential to confuse Kiernan for the rest of his unnatural life. Giving up, he buried his head in his hands. He didn't know what to think anymore.


December 3, 1992 10:14 pm- The House of Fallen Trees: Gothier, Pleasantview (Eighty-One years earlier)


"Mother of God," Kiernan swore, rubbing the back of his neck. He'd attended a sufficient number of cocktail parties, masked balls and ice cream socials held by the Tricous to know what to expect from them. But he was still far from being desensitized to any of it. Mary Weiss mounted a nearly nude Thea Lansdown in the center of the room, without provocation. Thea responded by scraping her fingers down Mary's corset and grabbing her behind.

"Please don't blaspheme," Kvornan said under his breath. Kiernan had completely forgotten that anyone else was there in the room.

"Sorry," he said, darting a glance at Kvornan. The girls' mouths separated for an instant and Kiernan caught sight of Thea's tongue. Kvornan and Kiernan simultaneously cocked their heads to the side. "Is this sort of thing... normal in your culture," Kiernan asked slowly. Somewhere towards the middle of his sentence, he had forgotten what he was saying.


"No unless I simply have not been otherwise informed, this sort of thing is not normal in my culture," Kvornan piped up. Kiernan rubbed his beard between his thumb and forefinger.


Thea Lansdown. She was one of the best-looking pieces of ass in Pleasantview, broad where a broad was supposed to be broad. Kiernan had spent not a few nights tossing and turning in bed, tormented by thoughts of doing unspeakable things to the girl. He doubted whether there was a man in that room who hadn't experienced the same thing.


"I think I'm having an existential crisis," Kvornan announced, reaching behind him for his drink. Snickering, Kiernan tore his eyes from the girls on the couch.

"Call it whatever you want, mate," he replied, winking.


Mary got up and began working Thea's underwear down. Kiernan's brow furrowed and his mouth went slack. Kvornan leaned against the bar, propped by his elbows.

"Something's not right about that red-headed bird," Kvornan said low enough that only Kiernan would have heard.

"Well she's free to be 'not right' with me anytime she likes," Kiernan said, putting his hands on his hips.


Kvornan drew his jacket up around his neck and turned away while the girls continued to fool around. Kiernan decided that he wouldn't even attempt to understand the inner workings of that man's mind.


  1. Oh. my. wow.

    I am definitely welcoming "bad ass don't fuck with me I'll kill you slowly" Kvornan, althout the situation between him and Kiernan seems beyond threats and brawn at this point. I think they both have too much to lose... although Kiernan is probably the one most in the ditch. I'm kind of feeling bad for him.

    That flashback was some scene Penelope. I was laughing and trying to keep my bottom jaw off the floor at the same time.

    Oh yes, something is definitely not quite right with Thea.

    Penelope, it is three in the morning where I am. I slept all day, so I can't sleep now, and you have no idea how loud I squeed when I saw that you updated. You're an insomniac's dream!

  2. Hmmm...I am confused! Just what did Kvornan sense about Thea that wasn't right?

    I feel bad for Kiernan. Like Van said he has more to lose!

    Those party scenes cracked me up!

  3. *cough* And that was supposed to be Vernon not Van! *slaps forehead!* My bad! One day I'll get it right!

  4. Veron: hahahahaha! Whoah boy. Yeah, it was 3:00am here too, man! I'm on east coast as well. I was determined (DETERMINED) to get that chapter up before I went to bed, even if it meant waking up late for work (which it didn't).

    This was a huge shocker for Kvornan but he played it off pretty well. Kiernan is supposed to be very dead. So is Thea for that matter. And I wouldn't be surprised if Kvornan resents Kiernan simply for surviving the fire that killed his son (even though Kiernan himself couldn't have done anything to help Fricorith and Gvaudoin because he was badly injured and incapacitated).

    Kiernan is definitely on the wrong end of the fight right now. Kvornan is too powerful and his reasoning is fairly accurate. If this is truly the end of the world, then there's nothing that a ragged band of angry vampires and faes can do to stop it.

    hehe Poor Flashback Kvornan. He was so uncomfortable.

  5. Phoenix:

    Kvornan could see that something was abnormal about Thea's life force. He didn't know why at the time but after seeing Kiernan walking around 82 years later, it became abundantly clear to him that she must have been a vampire. That of course is other than the fact that Kvornan simply thought she was strange.

    Kiernan has a large, happy family which is certainly something that Kvornan does not have. But if Kvornan is wrong and he is going to be the cause of end times AND it could still be prevented then everyone loses everything.

    PS. Pssst, Phoenix! Her name is Veron. Not Vernon. :p

  6. And of course I would mess that up too! Gah! I need sleep! Just getting off work but I had an idea so now I'm working on an update...maybe I shouldn't at this point in time! Maybe I should just catch some sleep instead! LOL!!

    My bad VERON! Didn't we discuss this in an email already!? Christ on a crutch!

    *walks off grumbling to self*

  7. Holy crap Phoenix, it's 9am! Go to bed!! This is not a normal time for a person to still be awake!! :D

  8. LOL!! LOL!! At least not normal for me when I work the night shift! I can't! These pics have been up for the last week and I gotta! :P Then I have some errands to run and then I shall sleep!

  9. The deep, dark history between these two is quite intriguing. The Tricou flashbacks are really helping to piece together their unusual, fascinating family dynamic. They certainly throw some wild cocktail parties, though (not that Kiernan minded). I mean, could that have possibly happened at Dina's cocktail party? I doubt it.

    Pre-vampire Kvornan intrigues me. I remember you saying something about him not being born human or a vampire. Was he always the Sheut?

  10. Oh gosh, the Tricou family history is so extraordinarily ugly. I haven't even gotten to the worst bits yet! Kiernan, Nylissit, Jennail and Fricorith were in the dark about everything and consequently, innocent. But the rest of them...

    While I was writing this, I think I had the most fun imagining their ice cream socials. :O I'm sure that those got to be a little *cough* creative. Jennicor Tricou really had a way of bringing the upper class community together. In fact, you can't see it in these pictures (sigh) but you can in one of the outtakes-- Primo Fiorello was at this party. He was on the sofa closest to Kvornan, making out with a girl. It was gross. Be glad I didn't show that one. If only Alexei had been born full caste. He would have had a field day at one of these things.

    hahahaha! Imagine someone trying to pull something like this in the house that Dina built! I'm trying so hard not to LOL at work, Van. So very very hard. Dina... Oh boy, I have some Dina coming up on the scedule soon. She entertains me just as much as Enoch does.

    Oh absolutely he was always the Sheut. He was the Sheut even before he was born. He was the Sheut before recorded history. He will continue to be the Sheut (in some guise or another-- I'll explain later) for the rest of eternity. Likewise, Elise was always the Ib. I plan for them to have a little sit-down-and-chat-about-what-we-are on Elise's birthday coming up. Good question!

  11. Hehehe, this thread cracked me in half. Thanks Penelope! Phoenix, no worries. Van, Vernon, Vernacular, I've been called everything.

    If it helps you remember, my cousin used to tease me as a kid and say: "BEAR! RUN!" whenever he saw me coming.

    ... because "bear run" rhymes with Veron. So if you must... call me Bear Run. You won't forget that.

    And about Elise alwasy being the Ib, for some reason I had that entirely twisted around, and now it makes so. much. fucking. sense. and now. I can't. wait. for. Kvornan. to talk. with her. !!!! BECAUSE ZOMG.

  12. OMG Veron. When I read "Bear Run", clicked on it and found that it was you, I laughed like a crazy person. A crazy person, I tells ya!

    So "Veron" isn't pronounced "ver-AWN" but more like "Vair-Un"? I think I like that pronunciation better than the one that's been floating around in my brain for the past... How long have I been reading ATC??? :O Months and months!

    Hmm, let's crack open the ol' schedule and see what's happening. The big talk is lotted for Chapter 63 right now but I might move it up because a couple of the chapters that proceed it don't necessarily NEED to happen right now. Hmmm... Must work on that.

  13. Hmm, so if Elise will always be the Ib then her relationship with Kvornan is even more fascinating. Will she remember that she was the Ib or does she become various incarnations of the Ib?

    Kiernan gave way more away than he meant to...loved that last bit when he tried to rub the baby food off him absently. Be afraid, Kiernan, be very afraid.

    I adore Kvornan when he is angry and dangerous which is pretty much all the time, the dangerous part. I laughed at his obvious discomfort at the party...and Kiernan rubber-necking to take in the whole thing with obvious interest and fascination!

  14. Ah ha!

    The Ib exists simultaneously as successive living incarnations (Proximus Deus or "the Next God"- which is what Elise and Kvornan are), former/unborn incarnations (both former and unborn are referred to as Deus Otiosus "the Idle God") and the divine aspects that reign over the current age (Deus Rex "God the King"). This goes for all of the other divine aspects as well- the Sheut, the Ren, the Ba and the Ka. So really, there are many Ibs but Elise is the only living one. She and Kvornan will both reign together in a few centuries and that's the basic nature of their connection-- They are 2/5 of a whole god. They think of themselves both as one and as many.

    Elise does not know what she is. She does not remember anything that happened before her birth and neither does Kvornan. It's a sort of defense mechanism. The human brain couldn't really handle omniscience. Or at least that's the theory. So to protect their brains from breaking, they simply remember nothing. Proximus Deus has to be told what they are. Ordinarily, Proximus Deus is raised and instructed amongst the fae (their births are foretold by Deus Rex-- the message is usually delivered to the Magister Templi of the fae but that didn't happen this time-- Kvornan was told of Elise's birth and that is a remarkable fact) but Elise was raised by her parents. Her parents knew what she was because they were told by the fae and by Kvornan himself but they never told Elise. So Kvornan has to be the one to give her the talk. I feel like I'm rambling here. :p Maybe Kvornan will do a better job of explaining.

    Kiernan has never been terribly bright, I'm afraid. But he isn't a bad man. Just misinformed. He has made some awful mistakes in the past (I mean hello- he let his wife think that he was dead while he ran off with his mistress) but he isn't malevolent per se. That'll be why Kvornan let him walk this time. But yeah, Kvornan will totally kill him if he ever sees him again.

    hehe I wonder if Kvornan of today would have been uncomfortable. I think he probably would have been. The only difference is that the Kvornan of today would have walked away from the scene instead of standing there. But you have to remember-- Kvornan grew-up in a relatively conservative culture where couples don't even hold hands in public. It's a huge no-no. You can't even be seen hanging out with someone of the opposite gender too often or you will have in essence married them! So he was a little uncomfortable, yes. :p

  15. Another quick note on this chapter:

    Kiernan and Kvornan were speaking Ashkay in the present day half of the chapter. English in the flashback. I don't know if that makes a whole lot of difference but I thought that I'd just throw that in there.

  16. I love the scary Kvornan a lot(darn it, i always fell for those dangerous one). The Ib? Hmm, i'm curious about this 'creature', is she going to be scary as well( i like scary female as well,haha). Kiernan's must be scared shitless by Kvornan now. And you surprised me with that last bits, it was a strange activity indeed even for those upper class people, just what kind of party was that?

  17. The Ib is Elise. And at the moment, she is probably the least scary character in the story. But as Kvornan said, if Kiernan or anyone else ever made good on their threats, Elise would snap. And that would be bad news. Like, the whole world going up in a puff of smoke bad news.

    Kiernan is frightened. But I imagine that he's been looking over his shoulder, waiting for Kvornan to pop out of the shadows for YEARS now. And he isn't afraid so much for himself as he is for his children, his grandchildren and his "wife" of 80 some odd years. Even if Kvornan wasn't a threat, damaging Elise through killing Kvornan could mean terrible things for the world at large. And then of course, there's the horrific retribution that she would seek if something happened to Kvornan. And THEN, even if no one was ever able to get near enough to Kvornan to kill him (which is a highly likely outcome- Kvornan is scary powerful), there is still the threat of- Wait for it- Alexei. Alexei has no moral scruples. He would think nothing of killing children if he believed that it would protect Kvornan and/or Elise. Not only that, but he is not a normal vampire. He's magically gifted. No other vampire but Kvornan has magic. There have been hints in the story about what makes Alexei special but someday, I'll spell it out. There may even be a flashback. I think Van might have figured this particular mystery out, though.

    So yeah, Kiernan is screwed.

    hehe As for the party, this was just the sort of debauchery that went on amongst Pleasantview's high society in the mid 80's to the late 90's. The Tricous weren't the only family holding get-togethers like these. The Fiorellos, the Pleasants and the Bachelors all had similar parties but the Tricous threw the loudest, raunchiest parties of them all. The Fiorellos had the Tricous beat only in matters of liquor. There was also quite a bit of opium floating around the House of Fallen Trees in those days. Imagine the Playboy Mansion with more drugs. The parties died out with the Tricou deaths, the market crash of 1999 and the Fiorello lock-down.

  18. You could have titled this Kiernan's BIG MISTAKE LOL. Kvornan is seriously frightening. Incredible evocation of debauchery juxtaposed against the ticking clock. Fabulous writing!

  19. LOL, Beth! People do seem to be making a lot of mistakes where Kvornan is concerned.Thank you, Beth! Time is no one's friend in the whole Kvornan situation.

  20. Question. Have the three other Proximus Deus been introduced in the story? Or have they not even been born yet?

  21. They simply haven't been born yet! There's usually about 100 years between births, plus or minus up to a decade.

  22. " broad where a broad was supposed to be broad. "

    Best line of this chapter. Not that the rest wasn't intriguing, sexy and awesome, but that line completely stole the show.

  23. That was actually a direct quote from my grandfather. XD

    And what is going on with the text color on this post? I have the figure that out. Blogger! *shakes fist at the sky*

    Thanks, Jasper!!