January 1st, 1619.
“So…” Alec began as he sat down across from his sister, Chery. “You feel like talking about what you found in the library yet?”
All traces of new year cheer faded from his younger sister’s face as she was forced to remember why she’d faked her own death and come running to live with her older brother on one of Mystryal’s two islands.
“…Do I have to?” She asked, glancing away, and staring at a window, not out through it, but just at it. Her mind began pondering the very concept of windows, trying to distract herself from having to think about–
“Chery, I haven’t pressed it because I know it upset you…” Alec derailed that train of thought rather quickly. “But if it’s this bad that it made you run away- pretend that you died- I need to know.”
Chery took a breath, then sighed. He was right, she knew. She had to tell him… “I don’t want to, but… I will.” Chery turned her head back to meet her brother’s eyes.
“So, what did you find?” Alec asked.
“It’s…” Chery chewed at her lower lip for a moment- ears flexing in dismay. “It’s bad, Alec. Really bad. You remember that journal Grandpa Shawn used to keep with him at all times? How he was supposed to be burred with it?”
“Yeah,” Alec nodded, recalling his secretive grandfather- once a member of the Mages Guild who had to stop due to old age beginning to affect his memories.
“Well, you remember how in my letters I was telling you he was getting really, really forgetful? I found his Journal in the library. He must have gotten it mixed up with one of the other books in the Library, or something. So I read it and it’s…” Chery took a stabilizing breath, “Alec, The Mages Guild are trying to research ways to break the Barrier around the world and have been since they were first formed.”
“The barrier?” Alec frowned. “You mean like-?”
“Like the thing Creators put in place to keep Kyiahlnah from escaping into the multiverse once the Cataclysm War started,” Chery nodded. “That Barrier.”
“Okay… what’s so bad about that?” Alec asked, frowning.
“It’s not that they’re researching it so much as why they’re researching it,” Chery explained. “They’re Kyiahlnah Cultists.”
“…Run that by me again?” Alec asked, “I’m not sure I heard you right.”
“The Mages Guild was founded by a splinter group of Kyiahlnah Cultists, Grandpa Shawn wrote as much in his journal,” Chery explained. “They’re researching the barrier so they can take it Down. And they’re getting really close.”
“Which would let Kyiahlnah out into the world again if she ever escaped,” Alec nodded. “But she’s not. So why is it that bad?”
“Because she’s Free.” Chery said, which Alec wasn’t quite sure he believed. “One of grandpa’s last entries was that he’d received word that one of their summoning teams had pulled it off. They’d returned her to the world, and she’d made contact with them by possessing one of their own cultists. Some girl name Me-”
“Chery-” Alec interrupted. “How sure are you that this is all real and that it’s not just Grandpa losing it in his old age?”
“The journal goes back to when he was my age, Alec,” Chery scowled at her brother. “It’s pretty damning evidence.”
“So where’s the Journal now?” Alec asked.
“I hid it somewhere safe,” Chery answered. “It’s buried just sort of next to the grave of the Lycan girl I dug up for her bones. Sort of between that grave and the next one over. Nobody will find it even if they dig up the grave I messed with again.”
Alec resisted the urge to face palm. Of course his little sister would do something extremely morbid like that. Still… “Okay, let’s say I believe you for now.” Alec sighed, not really sure if he did or not. “What do you expect me to do with this information, Cher?”
“I don’t want you to do anything!” Chery whined, eyes watering, tears flattening. “If you go confronting our family about it they’re gonna do horrible things to you! The stuff I read in that journal… it’s not right, Al!”
Alec didn’t say anything stupid like “There’s more?” Of course there would be more. Just being cultists and searching for a way to break the Barrier wasn’t enough to scare Chery. Instead, he said, “So you- what- expect me to sit on my ass and not tell anyone that Cultists freed the Traitor Princess??”
“I don’t want you to do anything that could get you killed!” was Chery’s response, and…
Alec could respect that.
January 22nd, 1619.
Alec Purchit hated funerals.
Especially when he had to pretend that his sister was dead as someone else’s corpse was lowered into her grave.
He largely kept silent- ignoring every single member of his family, and shooting them a death glare whenever their eyes met. Hopefully, they would think he was blaming them for Chery’s “Death.” As far as they knew, he was here for the funeral and he had no more reason to interact with any of them with his beloved little sister gone. That was the image he wanted to keep up.
He didn’t want to talk with any of them lest he let slip that Chery was still alive and under his protection.
So, he stayed there at the grave in the Relheim Palace Graveyard, even as the rest of his family left the place, thinking that perhaps he’d stay there until it rained.
As it so happened, he did. He left as soon as it started raining… But that was well after he’d dug three feet down between two certain graves and retrieved an old journal, wrapped up in warded paper sealed within a waterproof bag.
Alec would spend the next few hours alone in his motel room, scanning page after page of his Grandfather Shawn’s journal into an imaging gem, horrified with every word. Once he was done copying the book, he threw it into the motel room’s fireplace, and watched the pages burn.
He didn’t return to Mystryal until there was nothing but ash left in that fire. But once he did, he gave Chery the biggest hug he could.
April 1st, 1619.
Alec Purchit worried as he dashed home to his apartment. He’d largely figured, maybe the whole “Kyiahlnah Reborn” part was just his Grandfather imagining things and writing them down in his journal? So what if he turned out to be a Demon worshiping Cultist? That didn’t mean that they’d actually done it.
…But today, in class, he’d been confronted with her name carved onto a stone that had been used to destroy a library. Ironic, that he would burn a journal, just for someone else to burn a library.
He told Chery that he had a case. It might be something big, but he’d try to solve it as fast as he could. He gave her a hug. They both knew he wasn’t telling her everything.
There was a very real chance that this was the start of something bigger. Grander. More dangerous than either thought possible.
Yaovi ran through the Cat’s Tunnels. Any of Hergie’s cats walking the same paths would dodge to the side upon seeing the Reaper in Green running somewhere. Death, known so well for her calm, slow, deliberate manner, was only very rarely seen in a panic or a rush.
It took a lot to surprise the Reaper, but something clearly had.
That something had been when Hergie had contacted her again just so shortly after getting Kana Mayoi and her team to Mystryal’s hospital, Yaovi had been expecting a “We’ve tracked Kyiahlnah down! Let’s finish this!” and not a remark “One of my cat’s mates just delivered a message from the Yuki girl. She thinks they’re walking into a trap too.”
Yaovi had kept her eyes on those people after they’d tried to stop Kyiahlnah’s return last August. She’d only ever met a few of them personally- Kana Mayoi, Ranagi Kaie, and Tyler Obonz- but she knew that the others directly involved in that event- Mikari Yuki, Ayako Mayoi, Elizabeth Smith, and Tsukia Tsubaki- would all play important roles in the future.
If one of them was requesting aid in escaping a trap? Yaovi could only fear for the worst of what Kyiahlnah had planned.
And so she ran, praying, hoping, that she was not too late once again.
The Reaper emerged from her tunnel just in time to watch Detective Kaie and one of Hergie’s cats running away from a metal sphere that was attempting to trigger a rather large teleportation of spherical space from one place to another… and it was doing it in all the wrong ways.
Yaovi’s realm of expertise was Life and Death- and all that was related there in- not Space. Even so, she could see that whoever had invented this particular device had made a grave mistake somewhere along the way. Instead of grabbing two sections of space and swapping them- well- the device simply acted as a sort of Singularity Generator and tore open a tear in space above the device, sort of like a Way-gate, in a way.
It wouldn’t be open for long, but through it, Yaovi could sense a powerful Ascendant whose powers felt very familiar.
Yaovi cast a spell she had not cast in centuries, and transformed her bright, colorful dress into a dark green robe- placing boots on her bare feet, and gauntlets of blackened bone on her arms.
In her hands she summoned her scythe, and she leaped into the tear.