Thursday, August 13, 2009

Chapter 60: Imina Is Less Than Nothing

Sat November 28, 2074 7:04 pm- Ethe1den Palace, Amhurst, Veronaville


She dreamed of him so often now that she could see him with her waking eyes; a winged and hooded figure charging against the tide. Moonlight wove a jagged white line from the horizon to the shore, black and broken at the hem of his cloak. She could not tell what was real anymore--Whether he was truly there or whether it even mattered if he was.

Her lips stung with the salted air, born of oceans. Her labored pulse drummed out a barely detectable tattoo. She did not know how much longer she could stand to be pacified by phantoms.


It was always this way when he left. The silence relayed her physical exhaustion for miles like a satellite signaling him home. Real or imaginary, she would have been happier to never see him again. But the tiny spark of life that she still called her own pulled towards the life in him.


Absently, she ran her hands over her abdomen. What he thought about her was not her concern, nor had it ever been. Her obligation was the only object of consequence between them. The privation of her life force was secondary at best.

Ten years ago, after the Magister Templi requested that a young person to come forward to be a donor, she dreamed of her coal-black hair fading to chalk. She saw the swamps of Arbormoor blossoming with ripened grapes. She scented her own flesh burning at the center of an inferno. Her duty was clear. Her life was chosen to sustain him.


Standing, she staggered over to the balcony, close to collapsing against the marble balustrade. The cold seeped in through her dress, setting her skin alight. She leaned forward, almost perilously. Earth was an eternity away. Up here, she was much too close to God.

With quaking hands, she pulled a glass bead from the sleeve of her dress. It rested in her palm, anchored only by shadows. She looked on as the bead tumbled far from her reach. It glittered like a morning star until the darkness swallowed it whole. Maybe in twenty years, it would be found by a tall man with sable hair and mercurial eyes. Maybe he would keep it.


Tentatively, she touched the frayed ends of what was left of her hair, still unaccustomed to feeling the autumn creep against her neck. She had shorn her head the night before like a mourner at her own funeral. Tears surfaced in her eyes, deforming her view of the skyline.


Ten years. She was not meant to have survived his need for so long. No one ever had. He was her via dolorosa, her path of cinders. This way to awakening and to death as well.

Mon November 16, 2074 10:43 pm- Ethelden Palace, Amhurst, Veronaville
(Twelve Days Earlier)


"Close the door behind you." Imina's skin prickled with moisture and electricity. She shut the door with both hands, paying undue attention to the gilt pattern on its frame. Kvornan's paintbrush chimed against the inner wall of a jar. Without looking, Imina could see the gray morass of dissolved pigments swirling like the rapid flux of her nervousness. She had not seen him outside of temple in almost a week. And with each passing day, her energy whispered a new syllable of her secret. It would not be not long before Kvornan could assemble the syllables into words, phrases, entire stanzas of abject poetry.

"Do you plan on spending the night over there?" Kvornan reprimanded. Imina did not respond but stood firmly with her forehead pressed against the door, taking slow and even breaths.

"If I must come and collect you, you will regret it." There was laughter in his voice. It was a dangerous sign. Slowly, she turned away from the door. Imina had been practicing her defenses for days. But there was no use in taking careful aim at someone who consistently outdrew her.


"You called for me, Mahadeva?" she said quietly. Kvornan furrowed his brow in annoyance.

"Don't be so--" he paused in his speech after a few cursory glances in her direction. She did not know what had arrested him but she used the opportunity to draw closer, weighing each step in benefits and consequences. Her mind urged her to flee the conservatory with her life but her body knew no other master than this man. He blinked a few times before smiling brightly.


"If nothing else, I am going to miss the way you substitute beauty for confidence," he mused. Imina had not heard him beyond the word 'miss'. She stopped in mid-stride. For an instant, she had forgotten the very dire and unusual circumstances that had intensified her ordinarily formidable dread of him. Her life went where he went.

"I am leaving for a month or so. I thought that I would mention it to you first as it concerns you most," he said. This, Imina did not believe. Never before had he bothered to tell her when he was coming or going. He had ulterior motives. Imina clutched the front of his tunic, hauling him forward. He was smiling at her. And no matter how long or how intimately they knew one another, she could not discern his benevolent smiles from his cruel ones.

"Is that all or am I needed?" she asked softly. His smirk lessened. Imina had a sense that she'd been lured into the eye of a storm.

"No, on both counts. I don't drink from pregnant women," he said. His tone was eerily calm, his expression blank as a snowdrift. Imina backed away from him, gaping. He knew.


"I- I'm not-" Kvornan took a step forward, filling the space between them. The front of his tunic brushed against her chest. She could feel the coarse ridges of the fabric through to her own skin. The simple heat of his body permeated hers. Imina clutched her waist protectively, her blood roaring in her head. Both of their destinies were forfeit by this. But it was done.


Kvornan leaned forward until their lips were touching. His breath ran cool across her face.

"One of your scarves was found in the Magister Templi's study. Would you care to explain that to me or am I to make my own inferences?"

"I am not your consort, Lord." The sensation that passed from his lips to hers heightened her adrenaline. Her lungs contracted. Ordinarily, he might have found humor in her audacity. Instead, he cocked his head to the side, considering her.

"Here is my dilemma," he began.


Kvornan grabbed her so quickly that she'd scarcely had time to register the gesture. Her head whipped backwards and she bit down hard on her tongue, drawing blood. With her arms pinned behind her, Imina arched like the curvature of the sky. He would snap her spine. Everything would end here.

"So long as you live, you are mine. And so long as you are mine, I will have no other. That was our pact. This child constitutes another and I may thus have neither you nor it. I don't know which Magus had enough impudence to give you a second glance but this man will lose his eyes and perhaps more depending upon my mood. Now how do you suggest that I solve the greater problem? I could induce a miscarriage but full Fae children are so extraordinarily rare these days that it really isn't an option."


Imina coughed, gasping for air. His proximity was becoming increasingly overwhelming. Her life force careened towards him, begging for release. Had her arms been free, she might have grabbed his head and forced his mouth against her throat. Imina grabbed the leg of the easel, stealing herself.

"You'll just have to kill me after it's born," she choked. Kvornan exhaled through his nose.

"Don't think that I wouldn't. You're nothing to me, you know. Less than nothing." Imina tilted her head until her stare met his. She did not know which one of them he was trying to convince.


"There is something else that you should know," she continued. Her body heat soared. Her vision waned. If he did not release her soon, she was certain to lose consciousness. Imina focused her thoughts. She may have been outdrawn but she was not yet outgunned. "I had a vision of the child when we were in temple the day after it was conceived. It's a boy with black hair, like mine used to be. And silver eyes. Like yours."


Kvornan let go. Imina coughed violently, spraying the blood from her tongue into her hands. When she straightened, she discovered that Kvornan was making no attempt to disguise his shock. It was as though the possibility had never occurred to him. And maybe it hadn't. He could be surprisingly thick at times. Imina shivered as her temperature equalized. The truth was so much more tangible now. It was written in the air between them.

"I slept with Magus Rodin to divert suspicion. I couldn't risk anyone coming to kill you knowing that your task is complete." Imina paused in her speech, studying his frown. Her best interpretation was worry but she would never know for sure.

"God," she scoffed. "The look on your face right now. This is all very ironic, isn't it? For years, everyone has been waiting for you to finish me off. And now it is I who will be the death of you."


  1. Aaannnddd this is the part where I transport you back in time. First, here:

    Chapter 26

    The baby was conceived just a few hours before this conversation.

    Next here:

    Chapter 46

    This is where Samael says "be fruitful and multiply" or something. You will know why soon. But basically, once that's all squared away, Kvornan is free to die.

    Now here:

    Chapter 49

    This was the first mention of Imina. Her pregnancy is common knowledge now but everyone thinks that it is Rodin's. Rodin is Amunet's brother.

    Now here:

    Chapter 57

    I don't think I need to tell you why. :p

  2. Oh! Last note!

    Tentatively, she touched the frayed ends of what was left of her hair, still unaccustomed to feeling the autumn creep against her neck. She had shorn her head the night before like a mourner at her own funeral.

    When a close loved one dies, Fae women cut off their hair in mourning.





  4. Oh wow. That poor girl :(

    Heh. I knew that kid was Kvornan's... but for some reason, I thought he was Gvaudoin's (somehow).

    She seems pretty frail, though. Will she even survive the birth? And er... what's Tara going to think about this when she finds out the truth? I'm guessing from the text that she must have at least a vague idea of Imina being a sort of concubine/blood bank of Kvornan's...

  5. Veron:

    *falls out of chair*

    I think that's called sersetcgrteEFFING ROOF!!!!esreredfgt.

  6. Van:

    Oh wow... That WOULD have been crazy. Like Gvaudoin's postmortem 13-year-old son. Heh. Yeah, she's definitely dead. And for what it's worth, nothing ever happened between her and Kvornan.

    *karma* She probably won't survive the birth. She might not even survive the pregnancy. This has occurred to her but I didn't quite spell it out in the chapter. It normally takes Kvornan 2-3 years before he inadvertently kills his donors. Imina is still alive after 10 AND she was able to conceive a child, which is something that most healthy Fae women can't do. I actually don't know why this is. Perhaps it's just a fluke.

    Tara is not going to be happy. But this kind of pre-dated his relationship with Tara by err... 3 hours. And it may be a while before Tara learns the truth. This is Top Secret to the extreme. Kvornan even plans to keep this from Elise for as long as possible.

    Tara's feelings concern me but it would seem to me that Imina's feelings are probably worse. You sleep with a guy for ten years. You develop a spiritual bond with him that dictates your life. Even if you hate him, it's got to hurt a little when he marries someone else out of the blue one day. I kind of think that, other than the necessity of it, there was a little bit of revenge going on there with Rodin. I also think that though he would never admit to it, Kvornan is jealous.

    Oh and everyone knows that Imina is Kvornan's blood bank. This is an actual position within the palace. The official title is "Subaltern". And it's a volunteer job. Community service and all that jazz.

    But no one knew that they were sleeping together.

  7. Hrm...I'm not sure how I feel about this. Kvornan as a father? I can see him as an honorary uncle or something but as a father?

    And Tara? Yeah, I can understand her feelings but like you said it pre-dated their relationship. Although three hours isn't very much is it?

    Imina. I'm on the fence about her. Like, I want to like her because, hello? she suffered all these years being a blood bank and a sexual vessel and then he turns around and marries someone else. On the other hand I want to shake her for being stupid because she got herself into this situation. Although she did feel the urge so maybe it was her life mission? I don't know.

  8. Worst job ever! Makes some of those crazy polygamist sects sound quite sane. "So long as you are mine I will have no other" wasn't even true, was it? He had Tara.

    Was it ever hinted that Kvornan has this sort of relationship with someone, even if Imina wasn't mentioned by name? This feels out-of-the-blue. (Even if he obviously needs to eat something.) I don't know how to explain exactly... just that the news of the pregnancy is such a shocker that the shocking revelation of Imina's very existence seems to detract from that. It was a little confusing for me.

    The first part was just gorgeously written. *rereads and sighs*

    The second part just leaves me wanting to stab Kvornan. He can be such a bastard at times. I'm totally on one side of the fence about Imina: I pity her utterly. Behold the balled-up Kleenex of God.

  9. Yeah. I don't even know what to say. I'll follow Veron's example then.

    dkjoerje rioerunfieordbnfiaer uenfierdcmsjdrero

  10. Phoenix:

    I don't think he plans on being a father to this child at all. So long as he lives, he'll be happy (happy?) to let the world think that the baby is Rodin's. Other than the obvious- That this situation is dangerous for him, Imina and the baby- Can you imagine playing softball with that guy? Terrifying! He was a decent father when he was young but that ship has sailed.

    Heh. No, not long at all! Tara... Tara is a lovely person. She's very sweet and very bright but she's in way over her head with Kvornan. However, she had few illusions about him from the get-go. I think that she went into this with the expectation of being hurt repeatedly and catastrophically.

    Hunh. Interestingly, I too am on the fence about Imina. She has suffered but she did volunteer. She volunteered mainly because of her vision, it's true. But I think that she also LIKES being a martyr. What she is doing is considered noble but by the same token, wrong. When I think about Imina's predicament, I think about the myth of Orestes. Here's the connection (though, like many things in life, this may only make sense to me):

    Orestes killed his mother to avenge the murder of his father. Matricide is frowned upon by the gods. Orestes is punished. But Orestes is still a hero. Why? Because he committed a crime in the face of harsh judgment to achieve noble ends. Through the murder, he took vengeance for his father's death, thereby lifting the curse of the house of Atreus. (Various accounts tell varying stories. In the Oresteia, Orestes goes to trial... But I'm just looking at the raw skeleton of the story now.)

    Imina threw herself headlong into this situation knowing that it would destroy her and with the addition of this pregnancy, Kvornan as well. But it serves the greater good. So long as Kvornan has her for food, he is: 1)Provided for. Which is important because he is still the Sheut. This is a service to Deus Rex. 2) So long as he has Imina, he's not feasting on her family and friends.

    By having this baby, she is ensuring that her people survive (more to come on that later) and she is ensuring Kvornan's mortality. He must die in order to ascend to his rightful place as an aspect of Deus Rex in the next age.

    To Imina's mind, all of this is more than worth her life and her torment and her probable damnation.

  11. Lothere:

    *hahahahaha* He didn't mean sexually. He meant that he wouldn't bite nobody else no way no how. And now she's pregnant. So biting her would mean biting someone else- Their child. Her life force and the baby's life force are circulating around in the same blood. I was wondering if that might be confusing.

    But I am highly inclined to agree with you. Worst job ever. Imina would be better off cleaning septic tanks. Naked. In winter.

    I worried about that as well. The only thing we get is her blood on his mouth in Chapter 26 but that could have been from anyone for all the reader knew. Truth be told, he doesn't spend much time thinking about her particularly when he's away. Or rather, he didn't used to spend that much time thinking about her. Now she's up the spout and that makes a difference.

    The other part of that is just storytelling PHAIL. I didn't forget to mention Imina. I didn't forget about the necessity of a Subaltern. It is only that I just decided a month or two ago that she was the one. Maybe I hit you guys with too much in this one chapter but I wanted to get the ball rolling for other events.

    THE KLEENEX OF GOD! So appropriate. Disgusting but APPROPRIATE.

    Ugh. I hate him now. But I'll hate him worse later if he makes good on his threats. There is a chance that he won't hurt Rodin because Elise will be there and because Rodin is the future father of Kvornan's son. Also, Kvornan is going to have another huge problem on his hands when he gets back to the palace. He might overlook Rodin entirely. And poor Rodin! He's just a weird little spaz who had it bad for Imina from childhood. Not only did she use him but she put him in mortal danger. ARGH! We'll get a short glimpse of him in the next chapter. But yeah. On the fence about Imina.

    Thanks, Lothere!

  12. I'm back. I've been reading this over and over and over and over and over and over and over... and over,



    Penelope, this was amazing. Okay first, your writing woman... unbelievable.

    "And with each passing day, her energy whispered a new syllable of her secret. It would not be not long before Kvornan could assemble the syllables into words, phrases, entire stanzas of abject poetry."


    "She did not know how much longer she could stand to be pacified by phantoms."

    ARE YOU SERIOUS???!?!?! Holy cheesus.

    AND SHE'S PREGGERS. Now, I want to feel sorry for her, but somehow... I don't... I think it is because she doesn't appear to feel sorry for herself. And this was a volunteer job. At the same time, their relationship is cuhrazy. You were not joking when you said this would be a slippery slope... well that's something of a paraphrase of what you said but this is one slippery frickin' slope. WHAT WILL KVORNAN DO! Clearly he's going to let her have the child (IS HE???) but, won't he need a new donor now? Won't that break the pact? Is he really cool with another man raising his kid? WON'T IT BE OBVIOUS THAT THE KID IS HIS? DOES IMINA EVEN WANT THIS CHILD?

    I'm a bit in love with Imina now, by the way.

    I don't think I'm done. I'll probably be back.

  13. I'm back.


    oh, capslock. sorry.

  14. Bear Run:

    I shall go backwards and work my way up:

    Kvornan is curious about why Imina is still around but I don't think he's particularly worried, per se. She is younger than his previous donors (19 when this whole thing started). And her survival is convenient for him. He doesn't have to worry about constantly getting new donors. His old one is still work'n fine. Other than that, he may have developed a suppressed emotional attachment towards Imina. He doesn't have any inherent spiritual attachment to her. The reason why she feels that pull towards him is because her life force wants to repair its self and be whole again. He certainly is possessive of her though. Kvornan is a riddle wrapped in an enigma, wrapped in a vest (to quote Lisa Simpson).

    What will Kvornan do? I know but I can't tell you! Suffice it to say that he does not know what he will do. Presently, it is his will to let the baby live. What comes next is anyone's guess.

    If he requested a new donor, the Magister Templi would just tell him that the contract is magically binding and that Kvornan's just going to have to go cold turkey until Imina either loses the baby (as many a pregnant Fae woman seems to be doing these days) or until it is born.
    And lo, Kvornan has gone back to hunting, which is bending the rules.

    I don't think he is particularly happy about Rodin raising his son but what choice does he have? He's having to proceed with caution here.

    Heh. In matters of appearance, it won't be obvious that he's Kvornan's. He looks too much like Imina. But after a certain amount of time, it will be clear that he's not Rodin's. Rodin is very fair and waifish. Like his sister.

    In terms of the boy's energy, there will be speculation. But it will be just that. The thing is, Jack will be knocking about and only a very small handful of people will know what the balls he is. If a human could be born that way, why not the son of a Magus and a woman who was supposed to die ages ago?

    *hehehe* Thank you for the holy cheesus. I shall treasure it in days to come.

  15. Oh wait! I forgot a khwestian!

    I don't think that it has quite hit Imina yet that she is going to be a mother. Right now, she sees her baby as less of a baby and more of a concept. You'll notice she's not picking out names or knitting booties or reading Early Childhood Development: A Beginner's Guide. She never imagined herself in this position. But when it does hit her, I think she may want it for its own sake.

  16. If I were Imina I would be totally knitting the booties. Ten years of her life -- verily her life itself -- sacrificed to this guy, for no reward except the satisfaction of that... and suddenly this giant SOMETHING, this living manifestation of their relationship. Once it hits her I think she is going to be very attached to this kid. But is she even going to survive that long? That was how I understood her seeming lack of attachment.

    I was a little suspicious that Imina was a recent innovation in your story. I have done the same sort of thing so many times. (Leofric HIMSELF was an "oops I forgot to mention" character, and now the whole premise of the story is based on him.) It's one of the hazards of the publish-as-you-go writing method. Fortunately we have the comments, allowing us to link back and fill in info we "forgot to mention". :-)

    On the other hand, it is not out of character for Kvornan to have this dinner/dessert combo in his life for ten years and have her be so unimportant to him that she simply never came up.

  17. Imina doesn't have too much confidence that she'll survive this pregnancy, it's true. But then again, Imina wakes up every morning surprised that she lasted the night. It would stand to reason that this is what's influencing her detachment from the baby. Consider also that this is a woman plagued by phantoms. There isn't much in life that doesn't feel ephemeral to her.

    After she gets over the initial shock and Kvornan gets closer to home (Camden, Pleasantview and Amhurst, Veronaville being about the distance from Seattle to Miami) maybe it will dawn on her that perhaps something good for her personally has come out of all of this.

    I know! The retroactive prophesies! Ah well. I think that there is the hazard of "oh by the way" but also there is the benefit of, "WAIT! I have a better idea!"

    As it happens, Kvornan's feelings are a little difficult. He treats her like crap habitually, which I am sure that you have gathered. But he doesn't do it just to be cruel. He does it to convince himself that she's worthless. It's the only way for him to feel ok with their whole blood donor situation. Same goes for the sex. It's more about achieving submission from her than anything else.

  18. Hehehe, you remembered your sentence.

    I'm back again. I'm going to try not to make it a habit of clogging your comment section, but I had to come back and read again.

    Okay, so she's still conceptualizing her pregnancy and not actualizing it. But she has to have some true awareness of it and its consequences because she went out of her way to make everyone think someone else impregnated her. I can get the whole womanly instinct to love a child and to be very intune with a pregnancy which may play into the whole thing once it smacks her upside the head. BUT THAT MAN, well, he's not really a man anymore, THAT ASS has treated her like dirt for ten years. Why would she want his child? Like willingly keep and raise it. And not be freaked the hell out when she's having visions about him.

    Outside of her connection with him. Outside of her body sensing it's own essence within him. Outside of all that... she's grieving for herself. SHE'S GRIEVING FOR HERSELF. Why open herself to this living breathing helpless reminder of everything she's had to be? Is this like... her reward? Of doing her job well? Or an indirect means to reach Kvornan in a manner outside of being possessed? Which wouldn't even make sense since she was trying to hide it. It's hurting my brain. Why does she want this baby.

    All this said. I still want Kvornan all over my chest.

  19. AND this is me assuming that human Kvornan and vampire Kvornan would sire completely different types of babies, because JACK is coming to mind, but I'm trying to leave him separate because he'll bias the hell out of this quesion. BUT is no one else going "hmmmmmm". And by 'no one else' I mean Kvornan. THERE ARE VISIONS HAPPENING. People are having VISIONS. And he saw this boy when he went to rescue my little sweetheart from scary mustache man. I'm inclined to believe that this child is sending creepy messages from the womb, that he is going to be something to reckon with. Is Kvornan going to just let that slide?

    AND ELISE!!!

    Ugh, I gotta take a walk.

  20. Oh geez I never would have thought that boy was Kvornan's. My first reaction was that the boy WAS Kvornan.

    AND I never saw Kvornan being the father of the child coming either. I had to read it a few times over and sure enough, the signs were there.

    Beautiful writing...really pulled me into her pain. This is quite the sticky situationn isn't it...

  21. The writing is so incredible I can hardly focus on the actual events. The moment when Imina drops the glass bead over the edge of the balcony and forsees/thinks about/imagines how it might be found, and by whom, 20 years in the future, is an image so stunning it will stay with me a long, long time.

    Kvornan seems truly shocked (SHOCKED?)that the baby is his. And less aware of the consequences than Imina. I adore her final words to him. Ironic indeed.

    And I have to add that these are some of the most gorgeous, perfect shots I have ever seen.

  22. ACH! I'm sorry that it's taken me so long to get to everyone's comments. But I am presently going to answer all of your questions. And THANK YOU for the thoughtful feedback.

  23. Veron:

    *hehe* Oh no! You can clog anything of mine that you like. My comments section. My kitchen sink. My arteries.

    And here is what I mean about Imina not quite actualizing her pregnancy- Right now, being pregnant is at the forefront of her thoughts but not in terms of bringing a little person into the world, caring for and nurturing that person. Right now, she only sees the giant signposts that say things like, "SHEUT'S! BABY! DANGER! PROCEED WITH CAUTION!" Her only plans have been for steering a clear course for herself and this baby and for Kvornan. Because the baby MUST be born. It is the will of God (that is, the collective wills of Deus Rex, the Creator and the Destroyer). However, personally, I don't understand her instinct to protect Kvornan. She has given up ten years to this guy and that may be clouding her judgement (along with the spiritual link). But if the roles were somehow reversed, Kvornan wouldn't protect her.

    Why would she want Kvornan's baby? Ok, if everything else were aside- If say, they were just two ordinary people in a dysfunctional marriage or 10-year relationship, even then it's hard to know. Imina doesn't have much family left- Just her aging mother and estranged halfling brother (and his wife and kids- that Imina's never met). She doesn't really have any friends, unless you count Rodin. Her life centers around Kvornan's comings and goings. This baby is her opportunity to truly love someone and to receive that same love in return. Kvornan is worse than an ass. But if it had been another man's baby, just imagine what would have happened to that man. And if that man had not been Fae, the baby would be dead now too. Also, in hoping to hide the baby from Kvornan, it was just because she was afraid of his reaction. There is a lot about Kvornan that is a total unknown. Him killing her instantly was just as probable of an outcome as any other.

    About the visions- Every Fae woman sees her baby sometime during her pregnancy. In the vision, the child (or children) might appear as any age- When Imina saw her son, he was in his twenties. When Kvornan saw him (which the father never does) he was 13 or so. It is unusual for the kid to pop-up so soon after the conception. And while Imina's baby will be quite the number, the visions (and even the earliness of them) aren't actually indicators of the child's magical strength. Highly, highly unusual for the baby to pop-up like, "Hey, Dad!" though. I think he was just trying to dispel any lingering thoughts that Kvornan may have about the child's paternity. For indeed, he was walking around mentally grumbling a refrain of, "That splay-legged slut. I'm not the only man in the palace with gray eyes. Could be a boy from the kitchens or something."

    Part Deux:

    Ok, I know that when my vampires have children with normal healthy human beings, the kids turn out just as biologically and spiritually normal as a child with two healthy human parents. But Kvornan being what he is, does it make a difference? Where is the key here? Fricorith was uncommonly magically weak and permeable. Imina's baby is bound to be Jack-like in his talent and capabilities. Perhaps even more powerful than Jack. But does Kvornan's vampirism play a role? I don't know. But I'll tell what I do know- Certain spiritual traits can be (and are) inherited from the parents. Kvornan's life force is by enlarge, Imina's. This baby is coming from a couple where there is little spiritual diversity on that level of the parents' energy. So what does that mean for the kid?

    More scary mustache man to come. :D

  24. Gayl:

    *hehe* The element of surprise! Thanks, Gayl! I think I answered all of your questions through email. I thought about providing those questions and responses here as well in the comments for anyone else who might be wondering the same things. And will, if that's ok with you!

  25. Beth! I'm so glad you picked up on that action. It was metaphorical... For something... That might still be a plot spoiler if I talked about it at this point. :p And thank you, so much!

    Kvornan is so shocked that it's almost like he doesn't know where babies come from. He is fully aware of the consequences, and knows things that Imina does not know. Unfortunately, we may never find out what he was thinking at that very instant because we only get Imina's thoughts. His silence just came from shock.

    Thanks, Beth! I had to really fiddle with the lighting in that conservatory. The last time we had a chapter in there, the colors were like a bowl of fruitloops.

  26. Pen, by all means, share what you told me! I am sure I am not the only one who might be curious!

  27. Gayl asked:

    OK, tell me again why Kvornan would die if he had a child...I got too lazy to go back and read.

    I replied:

    All that we know so far is this- Kvornan had been trying very hard for quite some time to kick the bucket. But each of his suicide attempts were increasingly large failures. Finally, he got to something (still left a little vague) that backfired and now he's immortal. When he asked the Sheut of Deus Rex (that is, Death himself) why he could not just be allowed to die, the Sheut said, "We're not done with you yet. We have certain contingency plans that are in action now, etc, etc and they involve you having another child to replace the first one. And you'll stay put until you do as your told." To which Kvornan responded with a hearty, "Screw you."

    Kvornan is characterized by his non-compliance with the Deus Rex. He is the only member of that heavenly body to ever look around and go, "Maybe I WANT to be able to make my own decisions. Maybe I have no desire to serve."

    And now, even after Kvornan thought that he was being careful with a woman who was supposed to be infertile anyway, it looks like he's fulfilled his task. Which means that he can get the death that he tried so hard for so many years ago. It is not convenient to Deus Rex to have Kvornan walking around after he supposedly died many years ago. It is less convenient to have him interacting with Elise (the outcome of which is a total unknown because two members of Deus Rex have never before met in life). It is even less convenient to not have Kvornan take his seat as the Sheut of the next age. Deus Rex wants him dead. And I think Kvornan is kind of reeling right now because somehow, his will (which is controlled by the Destroyer but I'll get more in depth into the mythology later) has lead him to serving after all. Just as it always does.

  28. Gayl:

    All right, yes I remember his attempts at suicide and I know he is a bit of a rogue despite his position and role. And it is seriously intriguing that she could have a child when she should have been infertile so I am anxious to find out what goes down next. Like someone is messing with things as athey should be. And Kvornan's son with her was the boy!! The one in Ermie's head! No wonder I thought it was a younger version of Kvornan.

    Seriously I should go back and re-read more slowly because I pretty much speed read to get caught up and I missed things along the way.


    *hehehehe* Well, there are several theories circulating amongst the characters of the story. There's the theory that everything IS exactly as it should be because Kvornan's will is infallible so even the things he did not mean to do are inherently right. Then there is the theory that Kvornan's will WAS infallible but he was corrupted psychologically by the death of his son and spiritually by his vampirism. So he's just as prone to making mistakes as you or me. And ENORMOUS mistakes at that, because he is a being of considerable power. How to know which side is right? According to Kvornan, it doesn't matter which side is right. If his will is corrupt, it is corrupt because he made it so while he was still theoretically infallible. The decision to be corrupt must have then been the right decision. So either way you look at it, he is still right, even if it leads to End Times.

  29. There is one other thing that you, the reader, should know:

    "You'll just have to kill me after it's born," she choked.

    It was not stated explicitly but here is why Imina said that-

    After going cold turkey for 9 months, Kvornan would require a lot more of Imina's life-force than he would if he was taking it from her in periodical spurts during that same 9 months. It is likely that the blood loss alone would kill her. What remained of her life force would dissipate.

    Kvornan ended up killing that gravedigger so that he would not have to kill Imina a few months down the road. Earl wasn't the most robust fellow in the world, but his life should tide Kvornan over for a good while.

  30. Oh. So this was the child who visited Emengarde.

    Full Fae children are rare? What's happening to the Faes?

    I read the comments, so I'm not that confused now, but this was all very shocking. First, Kvornan has a walking blood bank? Well, sure, it makes sense. Then, three hours after this, the whole thing with Tara happens and... Mm, maybe he was jealous of Imina and this was his way of getting back at her.

    So many things to get into my poor brain!

  31. It's more like what isn't happening to the Faes that is accounting for the low birth rate. Kvornan was meant to have multiple children YEARS ago. He should be a great-great grandfather by now. As it was, he only had Fricorith and Fricorith died. The faes require a certain amount of magical (and also genetic) diversity in order to survive. Many of the full Fae women from Imina's generation onward are completely sterile. Even Titiana, who is significantly older, had a lot of trouble conceiving. Tara and Devi's birth was highly unexpected. This is part of the reason why Kvornan is still knocking around. Magical diversity in Faes comes primarily from Proximus Deus but occasionally from beings like Orion.

    Not quite! The baby was conceived just a few hours before Kvornan first slept with Tara, making Kvornan a pretty busy little bee that night. He slept with Imina, kicked her out of his suite, went down to his conservatory to do some painting and was visited by Tara. This conversation came much later.