Phew, Christmas is coming and my writing time has been significantly impacted. But fear not! I have something you’ve been waiting for.
Today is Chapter Five of Lost Haven.
If you have not read the first four chapters, I have consolidated them here.
For those of you who read the novel Waking Dream: Devlin, you’ll be reading about the strange, dark character known as Xy — personally one of my favorite characters. This post is particularly long, and I hope you enjoy it. The last three chapters will be coming along this week, and there will be a great deal of information, setting up Book II in the series, The Unkindness.
Chapter Five – Xy
“You were very sloppy,” Felan said from the darkness, waking Xy, who shot up in his bed and looked to the shadows.
“Felan. I’m surprised it took you this long to visit me,” he said in his stoic, dark voice. He turned on a light and looked over at the clock; it was 1:44 a.m. Xavier Yeager, or Xy as he preferred, was an albino, however, he had one blue eye and one milky, white eye — his Weird eye.
“As you can imagine,” Felan replied in a similar, emotionless tone, “We’ve been a bit busy. And it’s only just now that I’ve had the chance to travel from Europe to America.” He paused for a moment then continued with a much graver tone. “We need to change the plans.”
“That’s a bit unprecedented, Felan.” Xy said, raising a brow over his Weird eye. “I’ve made too much progress here, and I’ve learned a great deal from these people –”
“And in the process,” Felan cut him off, “you allowed them to begin the Transformation. We sent you here to keep them safe and to keep them from doing something premature. You’ve failed which troubles me.”
Xy flicked a hand in Felan’s direction dismissively. “It couldn’t be avoided. You know that, as well as I do. We’ve both seen it coming.”
“No, it couldn’t be avoided, but it could have been delayed.” Felan said gravely. “Now there is chaos beyond our control”
Felan paused before continuing, focusing on Xy’s reactions. He had to determine whether he was the traitor. Felan felt Xy knew he would come, but he had not tried to hide. This did not exonerate him from suspicion. There were plots within plots — dark machinations of Immortals and men.
“All of the Order, except four of us, have been slain,” Felan continued, gauging Xy’s reaction.
Xy watched him silently from his bed, opening then closing his mouth absorbing the information. He knew all along that he would survive. He could see differently than the others in the Order, not only could he see into the future, he could see the fabric of existence – the Weird – which gave him a unique form of prescience. He knew he would survive, at least until the Transformation was complete, but beyond that point his vision became blurred. The future had become uncertain — or hidden.
“They will return, Felan,” Xy replied emotionless. “You know the way of the Weird as we all do.”
“It won’t be soon enough, unfortunately,” Felan replied. “And that is why I am here. We are going to need to accelerate our plan. Our unknown foe has compromised our haven. They took some of our documents, and destroyed the rest. This unseen opponent, presumably the one who assassinated our brethren, knows our history, our methods, our abilities and our identities. All of it is gone. We can never return. I enacted the final protocol.”
“And you say I am the one who was sloppy?” Xy said darkly. “It seems to me that Ingo was the one who was sloppy.”
Ingo was responsible for maintenance and security of the haven. Felan began to believe that Ingo was the traitor, and if that was true, Felan had just let him slip away.
“He has been duly admonished, yet,” Felan said. “But, you must know that this could only have been accomplished a member of the Order. Someone with a deep knowledge of how we operate, and the location of our haven. I sent Ingo to take the last remaining document for safe keeping to the Librarian in Crete. ”
“Is it possible he was the traitor?” Xy asked. “And you just let him go?”
“Actually,” Felan retorted, “I was more concerned that you were the traitor.”
“Why would you assume it was me?” Xy’s darker half showing itself, his pale skin darkening with his voice.
Felan regarded with his own Weird vision. He knew that Xy’s personality had bifurcated, yet remained attached in a way he’d never seen before.
“That,” Felan said, motioning towards Xy with a hand. “You have a darkness within you which tends to make you unstable. I thought perhaps you had succumbed to it.”
“Felan,” Xy said calming himself, the darkness within receding. “I have been loyal to the Order since I was inducted. I have never faltered in my duty to you or the Hidden One. I assure you I had nothing to do with these terrible deeds.”
Felan watched Xy closely for a few short moments, then nodded. “I believe you. We will learn from these events and adjust as we have throughout the centuries.”
“Is that the only reason you came? To test me?” Xy asked, arching a brow over his Weird eye.
“No, we must get this town under our control,” Felan replied. “And, just beyond Gray Mountain, there is a haven that has long since been abandoned when Count Werner began to build this town.”
“Another haven?” Xy asked, raising the brow over his milky eye once more. “And how will this involve me?”
Felan pulled a tattered scroll from his jacket and laid it on the bedside table between the two men. “This is the only remaining document from our order.”
Xy opened his mouth agape, and then closed it again, looking at the thick scroll – the ritual of Indoctrination.
“As I said, everything has been lost,” Felan continued. “We must make our presence known to the Dreamers so that they might Awaken and embrace the truth.”
“And what makes you think it’ll have any impact on the Dreamer population. From what I understand the Sleepers have been killing Dreamers all over the world.”
“That is true, but it has subsided,” Felan said. “A Transformation progresses in ever-increasing cycles, and like the waves of the ocean, erodes the shores of reality, changing them forever. It will end with a storm, not even the Prime Immortals have seen. But not before a time of great suffering.”
“How do you know this to be true?” Xy asked.
“I have seen it,” Felan said flatly. “For three years, I followed the strands of time through the Spaces Between. The last Great Transformation created a barrier beyond which our sight cannot see. Only the celestial Immortals can see beyond.” He paused, reliving his travels in that moment between worlds; timeless, immortal and absorbing. “This civilization is one of many that have risen and fallen over the life of this planet. But we cannot know for sure.”
“Does it really matter? Can we do anything to stop it?” Xy asked with his tone laced with apathy.
“We must find the Black Heart before someone is stupid enough to activate it,” Felan urged, his tone grim. “I will focus on that aspect; I think I know where it is. Unlike most things of the Weird, the Black Heart is beyond all of our sights, even the Celestial Immortals. ”
“Then how are we to find the Black Heart?” Xy said with confusion.
“We have clues as to its whereabouts.”
“None of this makes any sense, Felan. I have to say I was a bit perturbed I was unable to see the truth behind that ritual. Someone tampered with my sight.”
“No one tampered with your sight,” Felan responded flatly. “However, it is possible that it was misinterpreted. We all make mistakes, and none of us saw anything even hinting at the Halloween Event.”
Felan stood and stuck his head into the living room of Xy’s new home, a shotgun style house. He lived in the left side, and did his research in the right side.
“This,” Felan motioned to Rose as she stepped in, “is Rose. And she’ll be assisting you while I try to ascertain the whereabouts of the Heart.”
Rose stepped forward, almost professionally and offered a thin, fingered hand to Xy.
“Pleasure to meet you, Xy,” Rose said silkily. “I look forward to working with you.”
Xy shook her hand absently, looking at Felan once more. “So the Order has lost faith in my abilities?”
Rose took a step back, looking between the two men, subconsciously taking an offensive stance.
“No,” Felan held up a hand to stay Xy’s visible irritation. “This is a two person job now. You will focus on getting these people and this town under control, using your new stature on the council.”
Felan then motioned to Rose, “And she will work on preparing the Haven for the Order as they return to new bodies from the Spaces Between. It is how it always has been.”
“I’m not sure I see the logic, Felan,” Xy began to protest. “Brief, clandestine meetings are our way. We work independently. I’ve never been good working with others.”
“You’re going to learn,” Felan admonished. “This is not a request, this is a direct order from the Hidden One.”
“What?” Xy said in an unusually exasperated tone. “You’ve talked with the Hidden One?”
“Yes,” Felan responded.
“What else did he say?” Xy asked after waiting for a few moments for Felan to continue, but he did not.
“I have told you what you were meant to know. Anything else that was said was not meant for you or anyone but myself.”
Xy opened his mouth then closed it again, simply nodding.
“Very good,” Felan responded to the gesture. “Now then, I expect you to find suitable lodgings for Rose, and a good cover story until I return to talk with the Elder Council. In the morning, you and she will take the scroll and store it in the lost haven. You will accompany her so that you can assist with its reclamation. And, I needn’t remind you the people of this town must not know of its existence.”
“Since you have two parts to this house,” Rose interrupted. “Why don’t I just take the other side?”
“No,” Xy said quickly and stoically. “You can have this side. The other side is for my own personal studies.”
Felan raised a brow at this, but left it unquestioned. All of the Order had their own pursuits, their own quests towards attaining Immortality or a deeper understanding of the Waking Dream. What lie on the other side of the wall between the two homes was meant for Xy and Xy alone. This he could understand.
“Very well,” Rose replied. “I will give you time to gather your things in private, then I will sleep here this evening. Once you’ve prepared the room.”
Xy nodded, “It won’t take much time.”
Rose left the two men with a nod and strode from the room and out the front door of the house.
“Don’t let your guard down, brother,” Felan said in a grave tone. “We are on the verge of chaos, and we will be the ones who restore order after the dust has settled.”
“What makes you so sure?” Xy asked.
He was unsure that the Order would survive the coming storm. If the Black Heart were activated, all things would be changed beyond memory and a new epoch would begin. He could only imagine the terror realms that faced future Dreamers if they were to fail in their endeavors.
“Even though there is darkness,” Felan said succinctly, “There is always light to banish it. Continue to believe, my friend. This will end as do all things.”
The Order had their rituals which kept them alive – kept them cohesive. And despite the chaos that was spreading across the globe on soft feet and gossamer threads like the silk of a spider’s web, Felan knew that human kind would survive – it would just be different.
“Take care of Rose for me,” Felan said as he turned to leave Xy’s home. “She is a new acolyte, and only just now discovering her abilities. But, she will explain the events of the last few days tomorrow.”
“Are you sure she’s not the traitor?” Xy asked.
“I am certain of it,” Felan retorted, sternly. “And, in my rage over the death of our brethren, I did not bother to examine Ingo to determine if he was the one. I just can’t accept that. But, he will be returning to the haven once he has completed his task.”
“If there are only four of us left,” Xy rebutted, “then one of us is the traitor.”
Felan pursed his lips in frustration, and then let out a sigh. “Yes, this is true. I can clearly see that you are not the traitor, now. It must be Ingo.”
“But for what gain?”
“Perhaps he was coerced in some way,” Felan said in a somber tone. “We can never trust the Prime Immortals. They all have their own aims that never mesh with the lesser Immortals, or the Dreamers. It is they who are responsible for what is occurring. And, that is the other reason I have come. I must speak with the Minoan who just happens to be only a few short hours from here. I believe he has direct knowledge of where the Black Heart is currently.”
“What should I do with Ingo when he returns?” Xy asked, his darkness returning.
“Detain him, respectfully, in one of the prisoner cells in the haven until I return in three days,” Felan said leveling his gaze at Xy. “Detain and that is all. Do not speak of anything we confide in you. There are other players involved, but Rose will have to elaborate that for you. I need to leave now. In the morning, you must provide Rose with normal clothing. The garments of our Order are not meant to be seen by outsiders.”
“Very well,” Xy said. “Travel safely, Felan, the Sleepers are restless.”
“I will see you in three days,” Felan replied with a bow at the waist.
Xy bowed in return with a silent nod.
Felan strode from the room and outside to Rose, who sat hidden in the shadows.
“Before you take Xy to the haven,” Felan said, “make sure you explain to him everything that has happened over the course of the last four days. You can learn a great deal from him, but I want you to watch him carefully.”
Rose nodded, “Of course, Felan. Be careful.”
Felan put his hand on her shoulder, gripping it comfortingly. “You have surpassed my expectations. I will see you in three days.”
“Thank you,” Rose said bowing her head respectfully. When she lifted her head, Felan was gone.