Chapter Seventy-Five: Next Thing You Tell Me…

Cairbre was chewing his mouse when the two people in TALLREDONE’s room started talking.

“What have you come for now?  Haven’t you done enough damage?”

“Yes, yes I have, and I want to try and do something about it.”

“I need a chaperone.  I can’t fight you off if you try something.”

“Who do you want me to call?”

“Whoever.  I’m at your mercy, remember?”

“I hardly think so.  Do you think I could attack you around this?”

The person who had come to see Irian removed the blanket covering their shoulders to show the fact that they were very pregnant.  “Does this suffice as insurance?”

“After what you did to your father?”

“Point taken.  Who do you want?”

“Get James.  This is his field as well.”

“Very well, since you’re scared of me…”

“What did you expect of me?”

“You do have a point.”

The panel in her hand lit up.  “This is Dzheims, what is it?”  He was obviously not happy.

“Irian says he needs a chaperone.  He requested you.”

“Elanor, what are you doing up?  You were ordered to bed rest!”

“And I’ll go back to my bed and rest when I help Irian get his limbs back.  It’s the least I can do.”

James grunted assent and turned off the screen.  “So, while he’s getting here, I guess you wanna know why I did it.”

“I’m to ill to escape, so sure, why did you do it?”  Irian’s face was drawn in pain.  The drugs were wearing off, as was the alcohol.  It was all he could do to sit in the chair he had been parked in by Namid earlier.  He was still way too uneasy about this.

“Well, it’s complicated.  Do you know what the Harvest are?”  She sat on the edge of the desk, though not without some effort.  “What they really are, and not what the stories make them out to be?”

Irian thought for a minute.  “Well, I know about a lot of their fallen units.  About the controllers, not much, though your father was trying to tell me something about them while we worked.”

“The old man never could come right out and say anything that wasn’t ‘I’m better than you.'”  She crossed herself.  “I know I shouldn’t speak ill of the dead, but he was always like that.  Insufferable growing up.  All the way until I beat him at his own game.”

Irian was puzzled.  “Beat him at his own game?”

“I made his wings.  Not him.”

“Well that explains a lot.  No, really it does.”  Irian had the faintest hint of a smile on his face.  “Your father knew a lot, but he was better as a motivator than an inventor, right?”

“That was my father, all right.  He could get anyone to do anything.  Except me, of course.”

“So why did you do it?”

“I didn’t, remember?  I asked for a way out.  I didn’t know he’d kill him.”

“Ah, Hariel.  The other half of the people trying to kill me.”

“Now, now, he’s better.  Besides, I think I can keep him in line.”  She patted her belly.  “I still don’t understand why he did what he did.”

“I think I know why.  Hariel worships The Green Man, right?”

“Yes, though I can’t say I know anything about him.  Is that important?”

Yes, yes it is.  The Green Man hates the Harvest for upsetting the natural order.  As a follower, Hariel is beholden to destroy the Harvest.  Your dad looked an awful lot like one of them in the last battle.  Hariel likely misinterpreted your cry for help as ‘this guy is Harvest and will murder your forest’ and that ended that.”

“How does anyone ‘know’ the Green Man hates the Harvest?”

“Simple-he tells them.”

“But he can’t be real, can he?”

“Next thing you know, you’ll tell me dragons don’t exist as well.”

“They don’t.”

“Do a thermal scan twenty miles due south of Sanctuary, in the cave system.”

Elanor complied.  This was getting too interesting.  “What is that?  I’ve never seen a signature like it!”

“A dragon.  It’s been there as long as I’ve been alive, and as long as my father, and his father, and his father…”

“Nothing lives that long!”

“Dragons do. That long and longer.  There aren’t many awake, but the ones that are would eat Harvest creatures for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  I think I got that expression right.”

“You did.  English isn’t your first language, is it?”

“No.  I believe you refer to it as Gaelic.  I’m not as comfortable in Englic.  But I manage.  It is a lot better for science, after all.”

“One day, you’ll have to tell me more about dragons.  As I was saying, you know about the Harvest, but not what they are, correct?”

“Correct.  Will you refill this for me?”

“Irian, this must be straight ethanol!”

“No, it’s poitin.  Why, do you want some?”

“No, it’ll hurt the baby.  Hell, it might kill it.  I’m surprised it hasn’t killed you.”

“Pah, we grow up on this stuff.  I just got a little better at making it than average.  Dulls the pain.”

“I’m sure they would give you painkillers if you asked for them.”

“No, they’d knock me out again.  This is different.  It works.”

Elanor refilled the cup.  “Then again, you might need this for what I’m gonna tell you.  Irian, we are the Harvest.”

Irian drank deeply, started to speak, thought better of it, and drank again.  “That’s not the strangest thing I’ve ever heard.  In fact, it kind of makes sense.”

“So you believe me?”

“Kinda.  Your coloring is all wrong though, if you have blue blood.”

“It’s only blue when exposed to air.  It’s actually clear.”

“So you really do, then?”

Elanor grabbed a sharp implement off the table and pricked her finger.  A clear drop of fluid beaded up, and then suffused blue.  “You tell me.”

“But why?  It makes no sense that you would have it.  Aren’t these all made creatures?”

“Yes and no.  The why of it is a long story.”

“I’m mired in a wheelchair.  I can’t really run away from you.”

“Well, if you insist…”

Irian belched his reply.

Published in: on June 22, 2011 at 2:04 am  Leave a Comment  

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