Monday, June 13, 2011

Chapter 85: Mariel Has The One Thing To Say

Tues December 8, 2074 10:08 pm: 3387 Blackhorn Cr., Yitzenburg, Alpinloch


The door closed and locked as though by its own volition. The faes amongst them never confirmed which was the gatekeeper to their proceedings and everyone happily assumed that it was Ahriman. Being in the dark about the safety measures in place made Mariel nervous. Whoever enchanted that door knew the guest list and kept tally of the arrivals. This person had the authority to bar the exit or leave the entrance open to intruders. Not knowing the identity of that person was a dangerous thing for such a small and clandestine organization.

Tonight's meeting was somewhat privileged. Mariel's siblings and eldest nephew were there but the spouses were absent. Fae lords like Odin Rys and Anshar Davenport were there but royalty like Sarada Summerdream were not. None of Cade's people were there. Mariel was having difficulty piecing together what message could not be conveyed to her absent comrades and this made her nervous too.

Her mother was as rash of a decision-maker as Ahriman was cautious. These qualities might turn out to be a boon in the long run but for now, the organization was treading water. There would be a split if no progress was made, and Mariel's absent comrades would most likely rally behind Ahriman.

Then there was the question of Selket Redding, whose voice was beginning to carry farther than just Ahriman's ear. Mariel would not be surprised if Selket became the center of a third faction that operated under Ahriman's wing and without his sanction.


As for Mariel herself, her ideology was more closely linked to Ahriman's. She did not want to choose between what she knew in her heart to be just and her fealty to her mother if the organization were to split. More than that, she was certain that the resistance could not survive being cleaved in half and what then? Theirs was important work-- the most important work-- and if not these people then who? Who would step up to take on the most powerful man in the world? They were done waiting for divine intervention.

The Magister Templi raised his hand in silence and the room fell still. In his gentle way, he remained as monumental and arresting a figure as Mariel's mother. When he spoke, his voice rumbled with the toppling force of an earthquake.


"Welcome comrades and thank you. Forgive me if I do not take the time to introduce tonight's agenda but there is much ground to cover and little time to do so. Mahadeva Kvornan Tricou was last seen on November 25th at a cafe in downtown Pleasantview. As far as we know, he has not yet returned to the palace. If he is in contact with the Ib, as is believed, then it is no longer advantageous for us to attempt to identify and sequester her. She will be brought to Ethelden, perhaps within the month. Her estimated date of arrival is unknown. This council has determined that our best course of action would be to shift our focus away from the Ib and towards compromising the Sheut. This stage of our operation will not be simple. There is no prison that can bind him, no weapon that can hinder him.

According to his 1998 testimony before the Magi, Deus Rex continues to task him and will not allow him to rest until his tasks are accomplished. Most notably, he must continue the magical propigation of the fae race. As far as this council is aware, the Sheut has not reproduced since the death of Maheshvara Fricorith. The Sheut is consorted and it may only be a matter of time before the birth of a second child."

The room broke out into murmuring. Mariel watched her mother's face carefully. None of this was news to Thea Masters. Consorted? Mariel wrinkled her nose at the thought. She wondered what woman would dare.

Ahriman raised his hand for quiet as he continued, deepening the timbre of his voice.

"In the meantime, we must prepare our defenses. The Sheut can be compromised but only if he is vulnerable to the point of psychological instability. This will mean making some very powerful enemies. So if any of you have the least reservation about moving forward, then you have been a good comrade and thank you for your service. Please see yourself to the door."


No one stirred. Towards the front of the room, Mariel's father bowed his head in thought. To Mariel's left, her brother licked his lips and smiled. Mariel's mother lifted her head to address the assembly.


"This is not a decision to be made without due consideration," she said. "Some of you are very young. Most of you have families. Comrades, understand that what we make here is a declaration of war. We will strike those closest to him. Our first target is to be Jareth Alexei Garrison."

The room erupted but Mariel did not have the presence of mind to listen in on the individual conversations. Squeezing her eyes shut, she prayed that her corner seat and general insignificance erased her from the radar of anyone who might be watching. Only her sister Hannah knew about Alexei. She wondered briefly what Hannah's reaction had been but she could not turn. Even with her eyes closed, the room was spinning. Mariel's mother shouted to be heard over the din.

"Antoine has betrayed us. Cade Muenda is likewise an enemy. Make no mistake-- There can be no neutral parties. We are uncertain of the whereabouts of our target. We may even err in believing that his sacrifice would have any adverse effect on the Vampire Sheut. It is a calculated risk and one that will not end well for most, if not everyone sitting in this room."

Mariel covered her eyes with her hand, blocking as much of the light as she could. She might draw attention to herself this way but after so many months of harboring her secret affair, it was all that she could do not to scream. Ahriman's voice cut through her self-imposed darkness.


"If I may, Comrade Masters, it should also be noted that Mr. Garrison is currently under RDI investigation. He has been implicated as a suspect in the attack of a fae. It will not long before he is found. Once the RDI has located the target, they will report to me. Comrade Kivetz has agreed to intercept the RDI before Mr. Garrison can be brought in for questioning. If our comrade is unsuccessful, we will strike at Vajra. From there, we will enlist the aide of Comrade Redding. She has some... experience breaking into maximum security prison cells."

Mariel removed her hand from her eyes, planting the heel of it against her forehead. This wasn't real. It could not be.

"Mariel darling, you look as though you have something to say." Her mother's voice. Mariel opened her eyes to find everyone in the room staring at her. She shrank into her chair.


"No, nothing." Mariel hiccuped between no and nothing. Her mother folded her hands upon her knee.

"Are you able to proceed then?"

"Yes comrade, I am." Mariel's mother tilted her majestic head upward to address the room.

"The true test of our commitment, not merely as an organization but as individuals, is yet to come. And when it does, who here will be ready to die for the light?" Mariel's brother Raul stood, almost reflexively.

"I will be ready." His lips curled back from his teeth when he spoke. Anshar stood to the far right of Raul.

"I also," he shouted. Mariel was quickly beginning to sense that the question had been intended less for the more impassioned persons in the room. She stood on wobbling legs. Perspiration beaded at her temples. She would not see Alexei harmed but she knew the price valor. Just the thought of it brought her pulse to the surface of her skin.

If only she could turn back time to a few moments prior, when her mother asked if she had anything to say. Mariel did have something to say, the one thing that was left to be said. She balled her fists at her sides.

"Death to the Vampire Sheut!" A chorus of similar oaths resounded throughout the room in response, like the angry swarming of wasps.


  1. Well, this certainly throws a wrench in their relationship :S

    I imagine Alexei has a few tricks up his sleeve, though. Either that or sheer dumb luck. Or maybe Kvornan's interference.

  2. Yeah, I am pretty sure that they both knew that there would come a time when they would have to choose and neither one of them would be willing to pick each other over where they stand on the Kvornan issue. Naturally, they both realized the inevitability of something like this and they each have their own ideas of how the situation will play out.

  3. I have been lurking this story since FOREVER ago and have not commented because instead what I do after I finish a chapter is go "huh" and scratch my head and haphazardly reread some earlier chapters and then remember whatever it was I was supposed to be doing before I decided to check DBL.

    HOWEVER. This story is fabulous and monstrously confusing and I like it. And I decided to comment because I have finally figured out what specifically I adore so much about this story, which is (aside from the lovely writing and engrossing plot): despite all the supernatural elements and gods and vampires and possible-imminent-world-destruction craziness and whatnot, you manage to keep the story grounded and "human" with two principles that remain throughout, 1) That love can be and often is as powerful as all the magic and scary redheaded vampire alliances in the world (which I realized from rereading Mariel Begs the Question and thinking about Alexei's loyalty to Kvornan) and 2) That one's soul can still be shattered by death and murder and nobody, god/man/other, is above that.

    Tl;dr, I adore this story and I hope your game struggles aren't too struggly and I am awaiting the next update.

  4. Wow, thank you SO MUCH! What you have just described is actually what keeps bringing me back to this story as well.

    And gosh, I know this story is confusing. I am hoping to combat that by having more chapters back to back following the same plot lines-- The idea being that this would force me to spell out anything that I have only hinted at or breezed over completely. It also gives me a chance to explore the characters and their motives more in-depth.

    Thank you for the strugglelessness wishes! I am willing to recreate as much as I can from sight. One does what one must do. The revolution will be simified!

  5. Psssst, Pen. There's a typo in the BBL link. It leads to some weird placeholder site that kind of makes me want to run a virus scan. Just thought I'd let you know ;)

  6. That's what happened!! Thank you, Van. I am on that.

  7. To demystify that message, I mean that I got some crazy pop-up last night and had to force quit my browser.

  8. In a previous comment, I mentioned that there is a poll on the sidebar at Behind Blue Lake that will be running until August about characters that you would like to see. Ay ay ay.