Death Of A Dimension - Part 8

Death Of A Dimension - Part 8

[This story has been co-authored with DawnCharger. Again I would also like to Thank Myrios “Malak” LeJeans player for allowing us to use his RP hub (The Rift) as the centre of many of these stories and for his input to the roleplay.

To recap: The Rift has become the last safe haven as the encroaching filth washes over Cork. The scent of honey and a small bead of light suggests at least one bee has managed to escape before the door closed permanently.

This is the last in the Death Of A Dimension series. I hope you have enjoyed the story.]

Part 8

+++ The aftermath +++

+++ Alpharius +++

Gods fv<king damn it, THAT HURT!

For some reason, visions of a white unicorn singing about dressmaking stitch by stitch flicker through Alpharius’ brain as life returns to him–leftovers from the pony show Joanne and Tasha loved and would doubtlessly get Alexandra hooked on before long. He definitely feels it, muscle by muscle, gene by gene, telomere by telomere. His Bee worked at lightning speed to recreate his body in the well within the Rift, and as the memories caught up with him, he was eternally grateful to realize he’d escaped the O’Niel’s’ suicide run.

His eardrums reform in time to hear the conversation between the trio. Thankfully Ainy talks some sense into her brother before Al has to try to intervene. His head still feels like it has a hole in it, and it would be another minute before he could do more than heroically collapse to Myrios’ defence. A second later, he realizes that that’s because his head does still have a hole in it. (What ■■■■■■■ put that th–oh, right…) It seems that protecting his mind from the broken reality of the unleashed Dreamers strained his Bee to a breaking point. He briefly wonders if he should switch from scotch to mead for a bit to reward the tireless thing.

Thankfully, the hole seals and his body is restored milliseconds later, though the phantom migraine will probably linger for a while yet. He accepts the offer of tea (green, hot, with ginseng and honey) and sighs.

So … Now what?

Assessment: we now have three time-displaced kids instead of two. Instead of assuming their home’s lost, they now know it. All three are here to stay.

Complication: the parents they knew and wanted to get back to are, at best, dead along with their world. Their dumb choice, but grief isn’t always rational.

Outcome: Aath will want to stab him for this. (Oh hey, a day ending in ‘y’ again?) Atreus’ surviving siblings are safe, and they have their here-parents’ resources to fall back on to rebuild their lives.

He nods to Myrios, both for the tea and for waiting long enough for him to escape. The latter was probably more luck than intent, but you still thank your pilot for a lucky evac when things go pear-shaped. “Appreciate your help with all this. If it’s all the same to you, I’d like to go home.”

+++ Ceara +++

Ceara follows the scent of honey, watching as the bee does its work. A wave of the mixed feelings of joy and grief wash over her as the bee performs its miracle and the all too familiar form of Alpharius begins to take shape. The small smile that had started to form rapidly fades as Alpharius’ reformation completes and the bees fail to undertake any further work.

She looks down, emotions conflicted, uncertainly asking “What happened? … Mum, Da?”

Faolán looks up and nods, conceding the truth of Áinfean and Ceara’s assessment. Looking over to Myrios with a half-smile and nod of apology. When Ceara comments about the scent of honey, he looks over to where the bee has almost completed its work. His brow furrowing a little at his sister’s reaction, his consciousness not yet completely catching up with the significance of the cessation of the Bees activities.

Taking a slightly shuddery breath while still watching the well expectantly adds, “Are you okay Uncle.”

+++ Áinfean +++

Áinfean looks from the door to follow the speeding bee. She had watched the scene developing outside until the windows had become too dark to see anything through. The last thing she did see were the flashes of her parents’ magic. Then all there was to witness was the cacophony of automatic weapon fire mixed with the roar of magic and the primal sounds issued by her parents in combat. Finally, there was a deafening silence when the door completely closed.

As she comforts Faolán and explains Myrios’ blamelessness in the part he played, she watches as Alpharius is reconstituted.

He had been behind her parents. How was it that he fell, and his bee managed to get out and theirs didn’t … he must have fallen first and the rest just timing. Good for him, bad for her parents.

What had her mother said to the man just before their final stand?

What had transpired between when the window went dark, and the Bee flew through the crack?

All she knew of Alpharius was tainted by the Alpharius from her world. She too was conflicted by what she knew about her Alpharius and the fact that both her siblings had vouched for this one.

A brow raises with the title Ceara addresses the man. Trying to keep her voice neutral but the magnitude of recent events allow suspicion to oil her voice a little, “Yes … What happened?”

+++ Alpharius +++

Alpharius takes another sip of tea, in part to save off his lingering headache, but also to give himself time to think. What was he even supposed to say? He’d never been good at this shit–outside of a select handful of people, only two of whom were still alive, the ‘connecting with people’ thing had never really clicked. Facts were easy–feelings…

Find that connection. He could do that. Hell, he had done that, it’s the only reason he was here at all. Here were Atreus’ sisters; here was his brother, Astra’s fiancé (note for sanity: save the mental gymnastics behind that for later); Roxana’s stepkids.

His family, if only by blood of the covenant. And they were looking to him for answers.

“I’m fine,” he answers, honestly enough. Áiny, of course, has to push for details, leaving him at a loss. He wants to shrug, look away, maybe spontaneously combust–anything to avoid having this conversation. His gaze softens as his eyes meet Ceara’s.

“They stayed behind. I’m sorry, Pup.”

+++ Ceara +++

Ceara’s head drops as the enormity of that statement hits home, she looks defeated. Putting her face in her hands, she breaks into Gaeilge with a soft keening …

“Anois tá mo mháthair is m’athair ionnta thall 's an bhrat,
an chuid is mó dílis de na trodaithe agus grámhara na dtuismitheoirí.
Ní chluinfidh mo chluasa básmhar a ngáire go deo;
ná roinnfimid an corn fíona órga,
ná a bhfithich ag dul tríd an halla,
ná fuaim a gcos lasmuigh de mo dhoras.
Do chuir bás olc amach na laochra uasal so
Beidh amhrán ag canadh fonnadóirí fáiltiúla Thír na nÓg
Mo thuismitheoirí uasal, a bhí i gcónaí daor do
Anois thar an dorchadas, sa caille faoi iamh.”

(Now my beloved mother and father are beyond the veil,
most loyal of fighters and loving of parents.
Nevermore shall my mortal ears hear their laughter;
nor shall we share the golden wine-cup
nor their ravens wing through the hall,
nor their footfalls sound outside my door.
An evil death has set forth these noble warriors.
A song shall sing the welcoming minstrels of Tír na nÓg.
My noble parents, who always held me dear.
Now beyond the darkness, in the veil enclosed.)

+++ Epilogue +++

Faolán nods when Alpharius says he’s okay. Then Ceara’s keening brings the situation into focus … “Mum, Da …?” He looks back to the Anima Well … Reality bites and after a short moment he joins Ceara’s keening.

Áinfean is looking at Alpharius and slits her eyes a little as he refuses to make eye contact and answers Ceara instead. The answer and the apparent sincerity of his feelings again make her a little conflicted. He was proving a truly difficult man to work out. He certainly had a level of trust from her siblings, so deserved a modicum of benefit.

But … Ceara’s song … It jolts her back from her pondering of this Alpharius. Her voice softly joins those of her sister and brother.

Taking a breath at the end of the song and with a voice a little gentler than the first time, “Alpharius, what happened? Did you see them fall?”

“No.” Al shakes his head, the first time he’s done more than stare past the pups. Their keening brings back way, way too many memories for comfort. “I went down first.”

Áinfean closes her eyes and her head bows at his statement. Silent sobs shake her body and her shoulders slump as tears run freely down her cheeks. The grip on her brother tightens. She repeats quietly, “Oh Gods! … Oh Gods! …”

Faolán finishes the lament he’d shared with his sisters and looks between Alpharius and Áinfean. He’d never seen his eldest sister look so distraught and returned her hug fiercely. Drawing her head to his chest he kisses her hair.

Ceara finishes her song to the lost, she lifts her face from her hands and stares through the storefront and the peaceful vista of Dublin on display. The one that they’d left that short time ago.

Shaking her head, she spins on her heels and looks between Alpharius and her siblings, she desperately pleads, “We have to go back! … They may have fallen, but they have Bees … Al escaped … maybe they did too …?”

Then she catches Myrios’ expression and her face returns to her hands as she moans "Why Da? … Why couldn’t I stand with you too? … I should have stayed! …”

Faolán, hugging a distraught Áinfean, releases an arm and draws Ceara into his embrace. The sisters sobbing into his chest. He is unsure why he doesn’t feel more overwhelmed by this terrible turn of events. The answer to that question is one he’ll have to work out for himself later. For now his sisters need him.

For a moment he closes his eyes and taking a deep shuddering breath before opening them again, “Thank you, but no Mr LeJean. You have already done as much as you could.”

Turning to Alpharius, his voice initially a little unsteady but rapidly becoming stronger.

“Unc …. Uncle … we three need somewhere private to recover, to talk. We can’t go to The Barn yet, Roxana’s cottage is … not appropriate either … maybe your cabin … for a short time?”

Alpharius’ hand pauses halfway to Ceara’s shoulder before patting it, the gesture clumsy and off-centred. Emotions flicker across his face, ending with a wince before he speaks. “The worst thing that can happen to a parent is to outlive your kid, pup. You… They wanted you here.”

Faolán’s question brings up a good point: where to put them? They need time, space, each other, maybe space from each other, and a shit-ton of booze. It was a lot to ask, but for Atreus’ family…

“Yeah, the cabin’s got enough room. C’mon.”

+++ FIN +++

First in this series: The Past Holds The Answer

Next: I’m working on new stories … By working on, I mean there is a germ of “An idea aformin’ in me ‘ead.” :slightly_smiling_face:

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