aldersprig: (Aldersprig Leaves Raining)

After The Cup and The Cup, Part II, and The Cup Part III, and The Cup, Part IV, and The Cup, Part V, The Cup, Part VI, and
The Cup, Part VII, and The Cup, Part VII, in that Order

Cynara was... walking straight up a vertical road.

Pellinore stared at his former Keeper for a moment. This was impossible.

Part of his brain kicked the rest of it. He was looking at a woman who could bend minds and bodies, in a world where gods had destroyed almost everything. Impossible had really lost a great deal of meaning somewhere along the way, and all mere mortals could do was hold on for improbable.

"This is improbable." JohnWayne had grabbed his hand, though, and he was being dragged onto the strange road along with the two of them.

"So're you." His son spared him an exasperated glance. "You complain a lot."

"It's my lot in life." Stepping onto the road felt like getting off a carnival ride; his sinuses tried to fall out of his body for a moment, and then the new gravity of the road asserted itself.

It wasn't a long walk, as such things went, and it was fine until you looked down. Pellinore caught Cya doing it first, twisting to look and then freezing, her face turning ashen, until she could force her feet to move again. Then JohnWayne. Pellinore held off as long as he could, but when he did, the world was a long, long way down.

"Can we survive that? If we fell?" JohnWayne's voice was rather small.

"Yes." Cya's was clipped, and pitched to carry without her having to turn around again. Pellinore just nodded, though neither of them could see him. "But in that 'that's going to suck for a couple centuries' sort of way. Less chit-chat now. We're almost there."

"There," it appeared, was a cottage a mile above the ground, where the road bent back to "flat" to serve as a driveway.
aldersprig: (Aldersprig Leaves Raining)

After The Cup and The Cup, Part II, and The Cup Part III, and The Cup, Part IV, and The Cup, Part V, The Cup, Part VI, and
The Cup, Part VII, in that Order

"This is the way up?"

JohnWayne looked at his Keeper, then back at the road, then back at Cynara, then back at the road. The road bent at a ninety degree angle, straight up into the air. The road they were now standing behind, staring up at.

"No offense, but are your sure your power's working?"

"You let him talk like that?"

"Oh, thanks." He glared at his... at Pellinore, who was glaring right back at him.

"Boys." Cynara sounded mostly amused. Good. JohnWayne wasn't really fond of her angry. "Yes, Pellinore. He's never tried to blow up anything of mine."

"You kidnapped me."

"Dude." Was this guy for real? "She kidnaps everyone."

"Not everyone, JohnWayne."

"Enough people. A guy a year for how long...?"

"And when I accosted your father, the world had not yet ended. I didn't particularly have a reputation for kidnapping people, outside of my own pack. And he was angry."

"...I suppose. But why wouldn't you let me question you?"

"I'm also not in my mid-twenties anymore. We all grow up." She aimed a pointed look at Pellinore. JohnWayne almost pitied his father. Almost. "Most of us, at least. Now. This way." She began walking forward, as if she was going to walk herself right into the road/wall.

"Cya...!" JohnWayne reached for her. She caught his hand and kept walking towards the underside of the road. "Cya, this isn't funny, please don't hurt your... oh." Her body leaned backwards, first at a 45-degree angle to the ground, and then, as she stepped onto the road, at a 90-degree angle. "Oh."
aldersprig: (Aldersprig Leaves Raining)

After The Cup and The Cup, Part II, and The Cup Part III, and The Cup, Part IV, and The Cup, Part V, The Cup, Part VI, in that Order

The road turned upward at a ninety degree angle.

More importantly, it was still doing so in the morning, so it hadn't been some sleep-deprived illusion of some sort. No, the road just went upwards.

The sign at the base said, simply, If you really need to know how to visit me, you'll find a way.

"Isn't this a little obvious?" JohnWayne frowned at the sign. "I mean, massive display of magic and all, isn't that verboten?"

"You live with Boom." His father stared at him in incredulity.

"I'm collared by Boom." Despite what he'd said to his father the night before, sometimes it still startled him how easily the words rolled off his tongue. "That doesn't mean that I'm in on their policy decisions. Besides, Boom doesn't do anything this big on their home territory."

"Okay, that I can believe. Still..."

"Still, this is ostentatious. Be ready for battle." Cya's clipped words were underlined by the hawthorn blade she was sheathing in her boot. "JohnWayne, lock the bus down, and then we'll go."

The orders didn't feel like yanks on his strings anymore, but it was interesting to watch his father's face, and the way he moved like he was being ordered. You take well to the collar, Cya had told JohnWayne once. He was beginning to understand the ways that one could take badly to it.

He locked down the bus, triggering the Workings Cya kept hanging for that purpose. Meanwhile, however, Pellinore was pacing around in circles, muttering Workings. JohnWayne tried to ignore his father so he could do his own work. The words kept popping up, however, and finally he had to ask. "What..."



"You don't remember the world before the war at all, do you?"

JohnWayne shook his head. "I remember preschool, a little. I remember Mom. But that's about it."

"Remember..." Pellinore's fists clutched, and then, much to JohnWayne's surprise, he reached out as if to hug.

Cya saved him from that awkward horribleness. "Come on, boys. I've found our route."

Of course she had. What had taken her so long?
aldersprig: (Aldersprig Leaves Raining)

After The Cup and The Cup, Part II, and The Cup Part III, and The Cup, Part IV, and, The Cup, Part V, in that Order

They drove on. There were other holes in the road, of course, but none were as bad as the one that had nearly swallowed the van.

They wore themselves out, Cya and Pellinore, muttering Words under their breath to make the dirt, to shape the road, to give themselves the paved surface where no road crew had been in generations.

And then, when they were both panting from the effort, Pellinore's son wiggled up into the front, perching on the console between them. "I can...?"

He made it a question, which made Pellinore want to punch something. This was his son. His son, not some woman's...

"Hey." The boy thumped him in the arm with a fist. "You're getting that face."

Pellinore coughed. "What face?" The boy was a stranger, he couldn't know...

"The Luke face. I mean, Luke gets it a lot; he doesn't like the idea of collars at all, I think. Ambrus got it once or twice, but if your name is really Pellinore, I always figured that explained it."

"That..." Pellinore was lost.

"Anyway, relax. I like being under her collar. It's a lot better than anything I've had before. And anyway, I can take over for the Workings for a bit and let you two guys rest."

"I think we'd better stop the van." Cya was already matching actions to words and putting the brakes on. "Because..."

She didn't need to finish that sentence. Because the road ends would have been close, but the road didn't so much end as turn straight upwards in a gravity-defying right angle.

And in front of the right-turn there was a sign.

"Well." Pellinore coughed. "I bet this is our first stop."
aldersprig: (Aldersprig Leaves Raining)

After The Cup and The Cup, Part II, and The Cup Part III, and The Cup, Part IV, in that Order

They drove North.

The drove quickly out of the immediate reach of Boom - the Ranch; the shantytown that had built up around it and, slowly but efficiently, turned into a small city; the two the Ranch had originally been built near.

It got bigger every time Pellinore visited; when he'd first come by, soon after the end of the world, it had looked like nothing more than a sad collection of terrified refugees, and Boom trying to hold them all together. Now it could be a nation-state, if Boom had interest in ruling anything at all.

In Boom's immediate reach, the roads were smooth and likely in better repair than they had been before the Gods War. Pellinore knew the minute they passed out of the territory, because the highway became one solid pothole from shoulder to shoulder.

"Can the van..." He shut up halfway through the sentence. For one, it risked him biting his tongue off. For another, it was Cynara's van. It could handle potholes.

"Yes." She answered anyway. She had a habit of doing that.

"Good." He braced himself a little better in his seat.

He couldn't help glancing back at his son. His son, and a complete stranger to him.

John-Wayne shrugged back at him, as if saying she does that. Like the only thing they had in common was Cynara.

Well, it kind of was. Pellinore looked back at the road...

"Watch out!" That wasn't a pothole. That was a hole that could swallow a small country, and definitely could eat a large van.

He'd no sooner shouted those words than he remembered he had better words to use, and that he could use them with impunity. He didn't wear her damn collar any more. "Tempero Unutu, Meentik Eperu, Meentik Unutu δρόμος, δρόμος, δρόμος." He spat the Words out, controlling the surface of the road down into something smooth and safe, pushing earth under it to hold it up, and then making more road. "Tempero Unutu δρόμος." More road. Please, more road. "Jasfe Unutu δρόμος."

He lay back in his chair, panting, as the road knit itself back together under the still-moving-forward tires of Cynara's van.

"Good job."

"Thanks." For a moment, he missed the warm rush that the praise would have given him, back when he was hers.
aldersprig: (Aldersprig Leaves Raining)

After The Cup and The Cup, Part II, and The Cup Part III, in that Order

The maps had been studied, and then studied some more. They had transcribed all of Pellinore's notes onto places on the map; John-Wayne had had some surprising insights. She forgot, sometimes, that her Kept were usually very bright young men. It was the young, really, especially now that they were younger than her sons.

The bags had been packed, the wagon loaded with everything they might need (within reason. She was learning to pack within reason; that was an interesting lesson), and the crew had been informed where she was going (as much as she knew) and how long she expected to be gone. She'd kissed Gaheris and Howard and hugged everyone else, and now she stood on the front of the wagon, and pulled.

Her power had evolved over the years, from age and experience and near-constant use. Asking it simply, Where is the elder Grigori called The Archive was almost an insult to its nuance.

But that's what she asked, because that was what she needed at the moment. The Hawthorn Cup itself could not be found with magic, or, at least, not without more information. Her first three tries had found them... well, hawthorn cups. Not quite the same thing at all.

Her power came back with an answer, of course. North. North and Up.

Up? North first, the northern pull was stronger. "We go that way." She pointed the direction, and Pellinore guided the team of horses down the road.

"What if the Grigori doesn't want to talk to us?" John-Wayne was far less into this quest than his father; no big surprise there.

"Then we ask very nicely." Cynara smiled, and noticed that both of the men shuddered.

Well, she supposed, they had reason to know her.
aldersprig: (AldersGrove)
One year ago today.... well, I wasn't writing, or at least not posting anything, so I went back a few more days.

Pellinore has appeared in June Again,, Boom, amd Visit From School, and was referenced in Legacy, where JohnWayne showed up.

After The Cup and The Cup, Part II, in that Order

Year 32 of the Addergoole School - at The Ranch
15 years after the beginning of the end of the world; late 2026

Cynara knew she had a reputation for always expecting everything; she liked that reputation, and her habit of preparing for everything made it an easy one to maintain.

She'd planned for Pellinore showing up; she had plans for "former Kept at the door" and plans for "parent of my current Kept showing up" and juxtaposing them hadn't been hard.

The Grail. That she didn't have a plan for. General Contingency Plan Three would have to do.

"All right." She cleared a place on the kitchen table. "Come on, Pellinore. Give me what you've got, and we'll go from there. JohnWayne, go get the maps."

"...all of them?"

"Ha, no. Get me a blank map of the region, likewise one of the country, one of the continent, and one of the world." She still thought of it as the country. She wondered if she'd ever stop. "You know where they are, right?"

"Top drawer of the map case." The boy darted off, leaving Cya and Pellinore to share a glance.

"Was I ever that young?" He pitched his voice quiet; sometimes in the last couple decades he'd learned tact.

"We all were. Notes?"

"Coming." He dumped his Backpack on a kitchen chair and pulled out a ziplock-bag-encased spiral notebook. "There's a lot of contradictory rumors and whispers, and lot of 'if you ask the elder Grigori so-and-so,' but a lot of the old ones..."

"Yeah. Either died or went into hiding during the war. It's a place to start, at least." She held out her hand for the notebook.

It had been a generation since she Kept him. They both paused, just for a heartbeat, and then he obeyed the unspoken command.

aldersprig: (AldersGrove)
This is as far as I'm getting tonight. IT's more of a transition than a story.

After this.)

The Thorn Vessel. The Wooden Death. The Hawthorne Cup.

His son.

The boy wearing his former Keeper's collar stood like he was the thing blocking the doorway, like it was him and not the Sanctity of the home keeping Pellinore out. "Are you here for me?"

That was an uncomfortable question. Pellinore decided, against his better nature, to go for the honest answer. "I wasn't. I can be if you want, though."

"You can't rescue me."

"I can't. Not without an army. Do you want me to go get an army?"

He rolled his shoulders. "It's not... bad." The boy shook his head. "So you're not here for me. You're here for her?"

"I need to ask her a favor."

"Hunh. I'll go get her then. Stay here."

Pellinore waited. It was strange, as it was every time. This hadn't been where she Kept him. This place had never been his home. And yet...

"Pellinore. It's been a long time. If you mean me and mine no harm, come on in."

He paused in the doorway. "It's not that I mean you harm, quite. It's that I need to ask you something..."

"And that something might lead to harm. Accepted and come in. What do you need me to find, Pellinore?"

"That transparent?"

"That's why people come to visit me." Her living room had gotten bigger since the last time she visited. Her furniture was still spotless. "So?"

Her Kept was hovering in the doorway. That had always made it uncomfortable. He started talking anyway. He hadn't come all this way to sit squirming like a kid again.

"So. I heard a rumor."

"Oh, Pellinore..."

"Not just one. Not just a rumor. But lots of them. Over years. I waited. I wanted to be sure. I got all the information I could before I came to you."

He pulled his notes out of his coat pocket. Piles and piles of notes. "The Hawthorne Cup."

"That sounds vicious."

"More than that. It's deadly. But it's supposed to have more that the poison. It's the Grail, Cya. It's the fae Grail."

"And, of course, you have to find it. Remind me to punch your father."

"Remember to punch my father." He and JohnWayne said it at the same time.
aldersprig: (tea3)
Early in Year 15, outside the Addergoole School

If there were things Pellinore had expected when he'd gotten shanghaied into a collar right out of school, they hadn't been this.

He hadn't expected being told to get a part-time job, and then, when that one failed, another one - and if he had, he wouldn't have expected to be allowed to keep part of his paycheck. He hadn't expected to be pushed into taking community college courses.

And he had not expected to be standing in an elementary school office.

"I'm here to pick up Yoshi Dayton."

The elderly secretary looked at him over her glasses. "And you are...?"

"Pellinore." He had a legal last name, the sort that didn't start in oro' or sa'. Sometimes it was hard to remember that. "Pellinore Wayne. I should be on the list...?"

"Ah, yes. Miss Dayton is very organized." She flipped the book open. "ID, please?"

He showed his driver's licence - something else Cya had made him get. The secretary looked up at him with a very sharp glance. "And you're her nanny and housekeeper, right?"

"Yes, ma'am." Close enough.

"She has a new one every year, you know."

"Yes, ma'am." Yoshi had told him that. Helpful Yoshi.

"You're cuter than the last one, though. Well, I'll call Yoshi's teacher. Good luck, son."

"Yes, ma'am." Pellinore shifted from foot to foot, waiting, wondering what his life had become.
aldersprig: (AldersGrove)
For [personal profile] inventrix's prompt

Pellinore has appeared in June Again,, Boom, amd Visit From School, and was referenced in Legacy, where JohnWayne showed up.

The rumors had been flying around for years. Pellinore had listened to them all, and tucked them in the back of his mind. The Thorn Vessel. The Wooden Death. The Hawthorne Cup.

The world was a bigger place now than it had been when he was young, bigger and so much smaller all at once, and it took him a long time to gather enough information. He traveled - he got the feeling many of them did. It made it less obvious that they didn't get older, that they never really fit in. The story traveled, too, changing and mutating, but parts of it stayed the same. There was a cup, and it was magic.
Read more... )
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