Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Chapter 62: Kvornan Wonders What Rituals

Mon November 30, 2074 10:15 am- 88 Wilkins Ave., Camden, Pleasantview




March 13, 2062 8:23 am- 9234 Grant St., Millhaven, Pleasantview (Twelve Years earlier)


Kvornan wiped his fingers down the length of his face, mopping away the remnants of his shower. He felt transformed, awakened and yet for the life of him, he wanted his misery back. The harsh familiarity of it was missing and had been for some time. He was only just discovering his loss.

He wished too that he could feel guilty for Alexei, who lay listless in the next room. Alexei had spent the previous night vomiting and shivering while Kvornan sat at the foot of his bed composing an endless strand assurances and oaths that would come to nothing. We’ve made the right decision. It’s all for the best. If we could trade places, I would do it. Never again, I swear.


Kvornan inspected his palms. They stung scarlet with heat. He marveled at the normalcy of it. The blood that pressed against the surface of his skin was nearly alien to him and yet it looked no different, felt no different. Held beneath scalding water, his hands still burned. And he along with them.


He was a liar. The life the coursed through him was gotten under false pretenses. He told Alexei that it was for Elise’s protection—that once Kvornan was dead and gone she would need Alexei to help her suffer through the separation. This was only partially true. Alexei’s unique brand of innocence and vivacity in the face of hardship might go a long way towards healing Elise’s grief but the exchange of blood had not been a prerequisite to that effect. In all likelihood, Elise would not cling to Alexei for his newly acquired metaphysical resemblance to Kvornan. It just didn’t work that way. She needed Kvornan, not someone who sort of resembled him.


Kvornan should have felt unspeakable but he didn’t. He had incited the dearest person in the world to him to do something that was both sacred and profane. He had used Elise’s name to do it. But if Alexei had known the real reason, he might never have agreed or hesitated too long in his acceptance. It was a decision that should have taken at least a decade to make considering the risks, the changes, the eternal ramifications. But he hadn’t told Alexei about too many of those. You’ll have magic, he said. And you’ll feel the lack of me when I’m not around for more than a day or two. Nothing more.


Kvornan made a choice on his own, one that they should have made together. His will was perfect and infallible. Alexei’s was not. He had a right to lie. He had a right to act on any impulse and this was ever so much more than an impulse. He felt its necessity from the surface of his skin to the marrow in his bones. By mixing their energies, Kvornan had ensured that they would not be separated by death as they would have been otherwise. In eternity they would be twins, attached at the soul.


Kvornan heard the rustling of bed sheets in the next room. Alexei’s sleep was still fitful but he would eventually mend. Kvornan had.

He ran his fingers through his hair. It had almost reached his ears now. When his father died, his mother cut her hair to the scalp. Kvornan did not know much about the rituals of women but his mother had explained hair rending to him this way: When we have nothing left but our bodies, we shed those too. He plucked her sentiment from the air and anchored it to his own image with every swipe of the razor. He wondered what rituals women had for rebirth.


Kvornan reached for the scissors but his hand was caught. He pulled away, alarmed. Alexei was awake. He had slipped into the bathroom without Kvornan noticing and for that, Kvornan warmed with pride. They were each of them still themselves but marbled with bits of one another. Alexei's energy vibrated at the frequency of everything in the room from the mirror, to the sink, to Kvornan's own heart.


"Let it grow." Alexei's voice was gentle but it rasped, betraying a throat that had been cut to ribbons by vomiting. Kvornan allowed his hands to slide away from the utensils on the basin.

"Why?" he said. Really, he aught to have been asking himself that question. Why did he still perform a gesture that had lost its meaning for him? He hadn't forgotten the past. Far from it. But he was happy. Alexei patted Kvornan's cheek with a freezing cold hand.

"Because I asked you to, hm?"


With that, he walked away. Kvornan wondered at Alexei's pallor and frigidity.

"Are you feeling okay?" Kvornan shouted. There was no response. Alexei was already gone.


  1. Author’s Note: Have you ever seen that episode of the Simpsons where Bart discovers his Siamese twin living in the attic and the twin plots to sew them back together? “Look, I made a pigeon-rat!”

    And now that I’ve completely killed the mood, please note that the previously planned Chapter 62 is still all systems go- I just wanted to include this chapter as a bonus. And NB: The present day portion of this chapter takes place at the exact same time as the present day portion of the next chapter. Also, the flashback for this chapter takes place just a few hours after the flashback in the next.

  2. So they exchanged energies? Sort of like when kids slice open their fingers and press them together to become "blood brothers" or whatnot?

    Hmmm. Gotta wonder about Kvornan's motivations here, as well as the further ramifications for Alexei. I'm guessing more will be revealed in Chapter Sixty-Three, though.

  3. Exactly!

    And have I ever mentioned that Alexei didn't used to be out of his mind? *walks away whistling*

  4. Ok finally getting caught up,
    Long breather and all. 80)

    hmmm... So Alexei and Kvornan 8)

  5. Yes, I think there may have been a few tell-tale bits in this chapter that may have answered the whole, "Were they????" question that I am often asked. Bits like Alexei just walking into the bathroom while Kvornan was in there and Kvornan going so far as to coerce Alexei into swapping blood so that even death wouldn't separate them. Kvornan is worried that he's going to die soon and that was what really drove him to this. Elise is almost 2 years old at the time that this flashback takes place and Kvornan doesn't know how long Deus Rex is going to tolerate having him amongst the living at the same time as Elise. The fear is that in death. Kvornan being Deus Rex and Alexei being just Alexei, the two of them would spend eternity on different plains of existence, never to meet again.

    And now for catch-up confetti:


  6. I just found a website dedicated to that episode of the Simpsons I mentioned above. HERE IS A LINK!

    Kvornan is totally Hugo.

  7. So they were?! THEY WERE?!?!?!!?!?!

    Don't answer that. Don't you even look at that question.

    So, was it this particular happening that started Alexei on the path to crazy or was this just one stone in the bucket. AND if Kvornan incited this, why was he so... I don't wanna say willing... why would he leave Alexei? I mean, granted Alex gave him plenty reason, but this appears that their separation would have repurcussions beyond them. If Kvornan did this for Elise's sake then how can he reconcile his dying, should a supernatural cap be popped in his ass, and leaving Elise with current head case Alexei no matter what the intention was. How is he just not dealing with what he is sort of indirectly directly responsible for?

    That was a stream of consciousness question that I hope you can decode, because I can't :P.

    WERE THEY?!!??!?!!

    Don't. Just don't answer. Leave it.

    And Alexei being lesser, fallible... in the sense that he's a vampire but not a deus rex vampire (?) wouldn't that be... bad? Like, a reason NOT to do something like this? I mean, along with the fact that Kvornan isn't telling Alex the whole story. He's a bit selfish, that one.

    AND WAIT. I was thinking this the whole time. Well I was thinking an idea surrounding it, not quite able to form it into a sentence, and still not quite able to, but there is a little bit of influence over Kvornan held by Alexei. Passive voice. Somewhere along the line, I kind of felt like it was the former stringing along the latter. But now... I have this feeling... that although we know kind of where this goes and who does what, and what happened HERE... Alexei has a pretty strong grasp on Kvornan's string. Or is this a back and forth? A mutual power play? A game of tag? An alternating cat and mouse?

    Oh my god, were they? WERE THEY?!?!?

  8. You hit the nail on the head in a number of places, Veron. I'll start from the bottom and work my way up.

    WERE THEY????

    I'm so non-committal but the more I write, the more the details seem to speak for themselves. At the very least, even if they WEREN'T, they still maintained a somewhat obsessive, highly emotional, all-up-in-my-personal-space relationship. The level of intimacy there tends to go beyond what I would consider normal, even for a couple that is romantically involved. And it only got worse after they began feeding from each other. This has meant a number of things for each of them. Alexei will provide his insights in the next chapter. It also ties into why Kvornan would just up and leave Alec with his crazy.


    You're getting a little ahead of the story with that observation. :D This was a big part of the arguements that ended their friendship. Kvornan has held for years now that Alexei is (or rather- was) full of shit-- He uses this care-free, happy-go-lucky, the sun is shining, the birds are singing persona to worm his way into gaining people's trust when in essence, he's sociopathic and couldn't care less. Kvornan is to his own mind the one on the leash. Alexei feels the exact opposite way and really, his arguement is a little more compelling when you think about this particular incident. Kvornan aims to get what he wants, doesn't mind the consequences, doesn't clean up his messes.

    The truth is that they're both a couple of jerks with a significant amount of influence over the other and at the end of their friendship, they had each of them reached a place where they subconsciously WANTED to hurt each other. Not only that but they each welcomed the opportunity to be hurt by the other. It was that final rung on the "getting to know you" ladder. (Which also makes me think that they had reached the sex rung several rungs ago.) I hurt you, I discover your reaction. I feel around for just how far I can push you before the fight becomes physical. Later I might press you into a physical fight just to see how that would go. After that, I'll try to push you to the breaking point. Just how much trauma can I inflict before I do something that you'll never forgive me for? And the make-up is half the fun.

    Reasons Not To Do It

    There were oh so many. Alexei not having been born into what he is was a reason not to do it. But Kvornan didn't know that Alexei would crack. He trusted that the Alexei he knew and loved would still be there just with a few new abilities and even more intense dependecy issues. Which brings into question why Kvornan didn't have the same reaction to all of this that Alexei had. ;) For now, I'll say that spiritually there wasn't a whole lot of change for Kvornan. Kvornan's energy is part and partial to everything in the universe, Alexei included. Psychologically, I think there has been a lot of denial and self-righteous justification going on with Kvornan. And even with those bariers, the separation was difficult for him. He experienced the same dependency through his personal jackass filter.

  9. (cont.)

    Alexei's Crazy

    This was 100% the source of Alexei's insanity. Kvornan literally drove him nuts. The exchange was way too much, particularly for someone who was already so attached to Kvornan. In fact, all that saved Kvornan's presence of mind was his jackass filter combined with his Deus Rexness. Alexei was not built for this sort of thing. He found himself wanting more than Kvornan could give on all levels of their relationship and the frustration of it broke his aged brain.

    Porque te vas, Kvornan?

    Kvornan left because the only way to help Alexei (as he saw it) was to put some distance between them. If Kvornan could leave for a while and Alexei could acclimate to the separation, maybe he could almost recover.It was having Kvornan just within reach and not being able to grab him that was killing Alexei. And I tend to think Kvornan's right on that one. Alexei is doing a lot better now (as if that were saying much).

    Then of course there was the freak out factor.

    How can Kvornan leave Elise with THAT?

    He didn't know that would happen! The old Alexei would have been an ideal candidate to take care of Elise. The new Alexei would probably still be a pretty good watch dog but... Yeah, he can't really be trusted. So what is Kvornan going to do about all of this? Kvornan doesn't know. He could never do away with Alexei, even now. But interestingly, fate has solved the Alexei problem for Kvornan.

    The repercussions are far-reaching. As the story progresses, some unexpected worlds are going to collide over all of this. What would you say if I told you that a certain 17-year-old Pleasantview Townie boy and a certain former female Magus will change the world as a very direct result over this? Or that if this never happened, Laurie and Cully might never have met? Kvornan's unborn son would have certainly never been conceived. I could go on and on. :)

  10. This is incredible! I love that long and not entirely self-serving reverie - the excuses and justifications and the strange distractions. It was a 'mix' of energy, an exchange right? Seems like more than blood was exhanged, and it went both ways.

    Alexei definitely seems unsuitable now as a guarddog for Elise. It seems like he'd zone off and get obsessed with something else and maybe forget she was even there, at least long enough to be disastrous.

    The comment about Kvornan growing his hair - I'm sure that wasn't just thrown in there. What is that about?

  11. Precisely - There was an exchange (or rather, many exchanges). You will get to see the longest and most potent exchange in the next chapter. That was really the beginning of the end for the two of them.

    With the mutual blood drinking came the exchange of life energy- This is what maintains a vampire's immortality and youth. Also, when the donor/victim has magical energy (as Kvornan does), this can be passed on too.

    Heh, Alexei does do a lot of zoning out but if he were ever around while Elise was under threat, he would kick into action. He understands her importance and even feels a certain amount of closeness to her, being that Alexei is now part Kvornan who comes from the same mold as Elise. I worry that he will only do her harm by trying to help her one day. It's that old Of Mice And Men, "I loved the mouse too hard and I squashed it" thing. Other than that, Elise's siblings would probably look pretty appetizing to Alexei. *shudders*

    Ah! Let's go back a little ways to Chapter 60. (I knew that if anyone was going to ask about that detail, it was going to be you, Beth. ;) You always seem to pick up on moments like that.) Fae women cut off their hair to mourn the dead. Most Fae women will only do this once or twice in their lives for those closest to them- Parents, spouses, siblings, etc. It is a ritualistic display of grief. Imina cut her hair to mourn herself, as she felt that she had been dead for quite a while now and it was high time that someone mourned her. That was the first time that we were introduced to the idea.

    Kvornan went home to his parents after he killed Jennicor and Rainelle. He stayed with them until they died. His father kicked the bucket first and when that happened, his mother shaved her head. While most Fae women might simply cut their hair short, Kvornan's mother shaved it to the skin. Not only was her husband dead but her son was a monster.

    When Kvornan saw the desperation in the act, he was moved to do the same. He adopted it as a form of self-expression, a visible display of his wretchedness. He never let his hair grow longer than what we see here before he would shave it off again. It was done in memory of his son mainly but also in memory of his wife, his mother, Gvaudoin, Rainelle, his victims and every other source of guilt that he could drum up. His reasons to be miserable were 100 fold.

    Alexei knew the significance of the head-shaving for Kvornan. By stopping him from doing it, it was like saying, "Time to move forward and put that shit behind you." He hasn't shaved his head since.

    Thanks, Beth!!

  12. Very intriguing story you have going here.

    A mixing of energy and essence; that kind of connection would certainly prove interesting.

    And can I just tip my hat off to you. Sixty-Two chapters and counting. I am in complete awe.

  13. Thanks, Carnaxa! And welcome to the story.

    Ach, it should be so much farther along than it is! Chapter 63 is coming soon... Tonight if I can help it.

  14. Well yes I did miss something, something big. Stands to reason I didn't get it in #63. It really sheds new light on the love/hate thing between the two. It also puts Kvornan in a much less attractive light for me. Somehow I could tolerate his other choices but this was so selfish that hiding behind the Deus Rex thing just doesn't make it ok.

  15. And to think, originally I wasn't even going to write this chapter. It was pretty spur of the moment.

    Kvornan spent most of his life in situations where everyone was toadying and deferential towards him. I don't mean to defend him but he is very much a product of the way that he has been treated lo, these past 104 years. He is SO selfish. It's disgusting.

  16. Wow!! Kvornan...dude! What the holy crap? How long has he been thinking about this decision? I mean it doesn't seem as if it was something that happened on the spur of the moment ya know?

    Ya know why did I think Alexei was looked hot in this update? I mean he pretty much just got hit by a mack truck(the ritual) but he looked...calm.

  17. Oh, he had been thinking about this on and off for about six years. He and Alexei had been living together for twelve years now and became close within about a year. When Agatha Mindelsohn announced that she was pregnant with Elise, Kvornan knew that his days were numbered. It then became more urgent. So casual thoughts for about six years and then a year and a half of serious thought.

    Ah, interesting! He felt calm. He trusts Kvornan.