"Chaine, I need to talk to you." Kit finally cornered Chaine in the front yard. If he didn't know better, Kit would have thought that Chaine was avoiding him.
"Okay, Kit, what do you need to talk to me about?"
Chaine sighed. "Your father?"
"Yes. I already know all that my mother knows about him. It is precious little. He kept a lot to himself, but I have been thinking, you grew up with him. You would know a lot of things about him. I want to know who he was, what he was like. I want to know about his parents. My grandparents. Does he have any siblings other than Ari? Where did he grow up? I have a lot of questions, but not many answers. Mom has been searching all this time, but all of her leads have turned into dead ends. It's almost like he didn't exist. Yet, I'm here, and so is Layla, so obviously he existed."
Chaine glanced around the yard. "We cannot have this conversation here. I know the perfect spot for this little talk. Follow me."
Chaine headed next door, to his old house, and Kit followed behind him. While Chaine had moved in with Kei and her family a long time ago, he had never sold his house, but left it empty. He led Kit to the back yard. He stopped in front of a large tree, and dropped to his knees. He stuck his hand into a deep hole, and then to Kit's amazed eyes, a staircase suddenly appeared, where one had not been before. Chaine stood up, and began to head for the stairs.
"What is this place?"
"My study." Chaine replied. "A little something for someone to find, if they ever figure out the staircase. It is best to give them something to find, so they don't dig deeper."
"Are you some sort of Mad Scientist?" Kit asked him, staring at a bunch of vials of potions and other things sitting on a wooden table. He didn't want to know what the other things were.
Chaine was looking through some books that were stacked on a huge bookcase. "All part of the illusion."
"Now where did I.....?" Chaine was muttering to himself at the same time as Kit asked, "Illusion?" and then they both heard a click. "Eureka! All of this..." Chaine waved his arm around to encompass the room they were standing in, "Is here just to protect this." With that Chaine slid part of the bookcase back, and a secret door was revealed. Chaine stepped through the doorway, and Kit followed closely behind him.
Kit looked around the room, and he saw a several books and papers haphazardly tucked into corners, and a great many drawers filled to busting with even more papers. "What is this place?"
"My real study." Chaine explained. "All of my research, genealogies, important documents, it is all here. Along with the Great book, that your father entrusted to my keeping." Kit's eyes zeroed in on the book he thought Chaine was speaking of.
"A book of Spells?" he asked incredulously.
"No!" Chaine laughed. "No, not a book of Spells. Something greater. It is a book of Codes, to a wonderous machine that your father can use to open a Portal."
"Your father came to me, a few weeks before he died, and he told me that he had dreamed of the Raven. That is an omen to our people, it means that death is stalking you. Ethan, your dad, knew he did not have much longer to live. He did not know the hows of it, or the exact whens, only that the Raven was seeking his life.
He told me all about your mother, and Layla, and you, Kit. He loved your mother very much, but he also knew her temperament well. He told me, "Now Chaine, when Kei shows up on your doorstep, and she will, since I am going to send my family to you so you can watch over them, tell her nothing. She is brave and impetuous, headstrong and stubborn. She will jump into the hornets nest without a thought, and then all will be lost.""
Kit smiled. "Yeah, she is a shoot first, ask later type of person." Then he frowned, "What would be lost?"
"He said, " Chaine continued, ""I have had a great many dreams lately, and much has been revealed, while a lot is still shrouded in mists. My son, Kit, it has been revealed to me that he has the Gifting, and that it will be stronger in him, then even in me. He will have his part to play in this Prophecy, for my part is nearly done.""
"You give me more riddles and questions than answers." Kit said irritably. "Gifting and Prophecy...."
Chaine smiled at him fondly. "Have a seat Kit, and I will tell you a tale. A long tale, the tale of how you came to be."
"Not a fairy tale, I hope." Kit said as he chose a chair to sit in. Once seated, he turned and faced Chaine, who was seated across from him.
"There is great truth in many fairy tales, myths, and legends." Chaine told him. "This tale starts though, not in a different time, but in a different when. An alternate When, that runs parallel to this one."
"A parallel universe?" Kit asked skeptically.
"Of a sort. You see, your father, and even I, we are from that When. We lived in the lands of Camulodunum, in specific, the Blessed Isle herself." Chaine laughed, "Your face Kit! You do not believe a word I am saying, now do you?" Chaine got up and ruffled through some papers, grabbing a few, and grabbing the Code book, which he then handed the whole bit to Kit. "There, you look through this, while I continue with my tale!" Kit took the papers and the book, and he began to leaf through them, glancing up at Chaine every once in a while.
The Blessed Isle, oh how I miss her!" Chaine sighed sadly. "Only Royalty is allowed to live there, you know. Descendants of the great Uther himself. And while I am not a King, I do have some standing in the Royal family. Ethan's father, your grandfather, Constantine, he is the High King. Constantine's brother, Tavis, is my father. So, we are cousins, your father and I."
"Cousins?" Kit interrupted, he pointed to the page he was looking at. "This is the family tree, here?"
Chaine leaned over. "Yes, that is the tree."
"It says Uther Pendragon on top." Kit said doubtfully. "King Arthur's father? Are you trying to tell me that King Arthur is an ancestor of mine?"
"He is." Chaine affirmed.
"He is a myth, a fairy tale."
"I have told you before Kit, there is some truth to this world's myths and fairy tales."
"If I were to believe this, why does the family tree start with Uther? He had to have had parents. Who were they?"
"Legend says that Uther was born inside of a Rowan Tree. The very tree that sits at the heart of the Blessed Isle."
"Legend says." Kit sighed.
Chaine smiled at Kit. "Yes, a Rowan Tree, revered for its magical powers. Uther's best friend was Merlin, a powerful wizard, as all the Legends tell. But Uther had another close friend as well. He was a man named Gorlois, and he was married to a woman named Igraine, they had a little daughter Morgause. Uther wanted Igraine, for himself, so he arranged for an accidental death of Gorlois, that he might have Igraine for himself."
"Uther makes a terrible friend." Kit commented.
"But for this one fall from Grace, Uther was a man of honor, and respect, and loyalty. A man among men. But meeting Igraine, it set something off in him. And things would never be the same. But I digress, once Igraine was made his wife, they had a son, Arthur. Arthur married Guinevere, and they had a son, Amr. Morgause, Arthur's half sister, began to dabble in dark magic, and she set her mind to seducing her brother, to have a son with pure blood."
"That is disgusting." Kit wrinkled his nose. "Incest! Lovely family, really." Kit was drawn into the tale, despite himself, though he still did not believe all the words that Chaine spoke were truth. The papers and book in his lap, made for some interesting reading. He couldn't wait to delve into them some more, and ferret out any secrets they might hold about his father.
"She achieved her purpose, through the mixing of a potion, that made Arthur believe it was his dear Guinevere that came to him that night. Morgause had her son, by Arthur, and she named him Medraut. When Morgause confessed to Arthur what she had done, he was appalled, and refused to have anything more to do with her, or their son. She was banished from the Blessed Isle, and her son with her. She set a curse on the Pendragon family that day, a Wolf's Blood curse. A powerful curse that continues, even to this day. There is more for the telling, in those tales, but they will have to wait for another day, I will continue with the tale I started.
Amr had two sons, Constantine, the older son, and Tavis, the younger son. My father died, when I was quite young, I really have no memories of him. I am his only child, and I was brought to the High King's court, to be raised with his sons. Your father, Ethan, was not the only son, nor the oldest son. He was, however, the only son of Constantine and his bond mate Syrillia. That made him heir to the Kingdom."
"Right." Kit nodded his head. "My father was a Prince in a When time from the Land of Camulodunum. Sure."
Chaine chuckled. "Oh, you will see the truth of my words soon enough! Constantine is not a good King. He is corrupt, power hungry, and just a little insane."
"Insanity runs in the family, I see."
Chaine ignored Kit's comment. "He is a cruel man, and given to harsh laws, and even harsher judgements. His people rebelled, and in response, Constantine summoned a personal guard, the Nephilium, to restore order to his lands. The Nephilium are not alive, they are held together by spells and curses, and their eyes glow an unearthly red. They murder, rape, pillage, whatever they want in the King's name, to stamp out the Uprising.
Now pay attention here Kit, for this is where I get to you, and your part. There are many different abilities, among our people, and we call these special abilities, Gifting. One such Gifting, is the ability to open Portals into other worlds, other Whens. Those who had such a gift, began to open Portals, and some of our people escaped that way. But when a Portal is opened, it sends a signal, and there are those who can receive this signal, the Nephilium are very good at receiving this type of signal. So as soon as a Portal was opened, the one who opened it, was doomed to a rather nasty death.
Constantine cannot stand the thought of those who escaped, he has vowed to get them all back, and to bring his brand of justice on their heads. He was delighted when your father went through his Testing, and he tested high in a great many Giftings, one of which was the ability to manage Portals. So Constantine hit upon an idea, a way to get his errant people back, and a way to extend his rule through Whens.
His task to Ethan, to make a great many Portals, that Constantine could then send his armies through, including some out of his own personal guard, the Nephilium. He would capture this When, and make those who fled pay. Ari was chosen to go with him, Ari is the son most like his father, and he would be responsible for seeing that Ethan stayed on task. Ethan's maternal grandmother was elected to go, to take care of their menial needs."
"Why were you chosen to go?" Kit asked curiously.
"Because Ethan requested it." Chaine said simply. "We were best of friends, and Ethan did not want to leave me behind. Portals are notoriously unbalanced, and at best only a Centenium or so can get through before it collapses on itself, so our party was kept small, just the four of us. The better to stay undetected as well. We arrived in this new When, and things went according to plan at first. But there was two things that Constantine did not count on."
"What two things?"
"First, Ethan was no longer under his direct influence. His grandmother, did not care for Constantine, and begin to talk to Ethan, to persuade him that their mission was in the wrong. Always she did so in secret, when Ari was not around. She bought the house, that we are living in, and told him if he should ever need a safe house, he would have one. Shortly thereafter, Ethan found her neck split wide open, blood poring from her wounds. Ari would only say that she was a Traitor, and unworthy of her task. Ethan sent me away, after that. I did not want to go, but Ethan said he'd had a dream, and I was needed at another time. Ethan could not vouch for my safety, when he was not around, for Ari is unpredictable at best. He also knew that Ari would not kill him, because it was Ethan's Gifting that was needed."
"And the Second thing?" Kit asked, fascinated.
"Your mother, Kei. No one bargained on her crashing into his life, and the Bonding chose her for his mate. Constantine had forbidden all marriages outside of the Pack Clans, because with our Curse, we also have a Prophecy. That a half breed will one day break the Curse that steeps our lands in Darkness, and set us free. Constantine does not want us free."
Kit smiled. "My mother. She is a force to be reckoned with! You said something about my part?"
"Indeed I did! Your part is to finish what your Father started, for you have the Gifting as he did. Even stronger than he did, is what he believed. Your father switched sides, Kit. He knew the dangers of it, but he did so, because it was the right thing to do. He said nothing of this to your mother, because if she were ever caught, well, it would not be pleasant, and they would stop at nothing to get what was in her brain. One of the Nephilium's Giftings is the ability to tear into minds, and read what is in there. Your father hoped that by knowing nothing, they would ignore your mother.
Our people are scattered in these lands, and in slavery in Camulodunum lands. We must free them, break the Curse that holds the Darkness over us."
"Break the Curse?" Kit was shaking his head. "I don't even believe in curses."
"It doesn't matter what you believe Kit, the Truth is the Truth, no matter what you choose to believe. As you grow older and your Giftings become more apparent, you will have the Nephilium on your tail, because they are trained hunters. As a child, you were safe enough, for the Giftings only begin to show up, but there is not enough power behind them yet, to bring them to the attention of the Nephilium." Chaine paused for a moment, and then said softly, "There is one other small matter besides your Grandfather and the Nephilium to deal with."
"And what would that be?"
"Medraut. He is a powerful wizard in his own right, and has kept himself alive through inhuman ways. He leads the Nephilium. He is even more evil than his mother."
"Terrific. So, if I were to believe this mad tale, I have an insane grandfather, High King over a land called Camulodunum, bent on vengeance and destruction, and he wants to conquer other lands, other Whens, and on his side is a gang of murderous rapists with a thirst for blood, glowing red eyes, that hunts down people who dared to run away or defy the High King, and they are led by Medraut, an Evil Wizard, born from an incestuous relationship between a brother and sister. And I am supposed to somehow lead some sort of Uprising and save everyone."
"Pretty good recap." Chaine complimented Kit. "But you forgot to add, that they know you exist, courtesy of Ari. They know Ethan has left an heir. Once they discover you have the Gifting, they will double, triple, their efforts to find you."
"Even better." Kit said sourly. "I was seeking information about my father, not a story about Myths and Legends, and hokey stuff."
Chaine chuckled. "It is a bit overwhelming for you, I'll grant you that. I wish Ethan were here to teach you, but you only have me. Ethan was my King, my Brother, and I served him faithfully. I pledge to serve his son, in the same manner. Read those documents Kit, and read that book. I will show you my little prototype of a Portal, I do not have the Gifting, and as such can not make an actual Portal. But it will show you what one looks like. Your Father left you his plans as well, perhaps with some study, you can make a Portal yourself."
"And if what you said is true, that will bring the Nephilium to my very doorstep."
"That is correct. So we must have a plan of action, before you attempt to open a Portal."
"If all of what you say is true, and I am not saying I believe it is true, then what really happened to my father?"
"That I do not know, but I know who does. Your Uncle, Ari. But you are not ready to face him yet, indeed it would be disastrous to face him now. No, I have much to teach you, to prepare you for the upcoming challenges."
Next: Chapter 21: Kona Finds A Girlfriend