Retcon Heir

There are few things worse than a loved one gone missing. At least one of those is not knowing if there was anyone to miss in the first place.

This is a tale of tales. Of gods, memories, mythtellers, a Muse, an Author, and the friend She seeks in the world She helped knit into Being.

http://archiveofourown.org/works/974474?view_full_work=true

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5. Chapter 3

Sure, you could keep on going. More seeking myths, more attempts to puzzle out what real life event these story-tellers had cheerfully warped to near-oblivion, more edits. But what good would it really do? There’s an entire world of nephilim who are believing less and less in an Heir of Breath out there.

 

An entire world of nephilim, and at least one human.

 

Because that’s the one thing that’s been lurking behind your ear this whole time, insidious and whispering. The thing you feared this entire time wasn’t being able to find him, it was realizing there was no ‘him’ to find in the first place.

 

A boy with no name. A boy with no face. A boy with no trace, save for occasional mentions in stories of dubious citation.

 

It would make sense, wouldn’t it? In all those stories you’ve found that mention the two of you, he was the one who was always your friend. Always supporting you, always caring for you, even in your worst moments. To hope that such a person could exist outside of the realm of fiction would be straining suspension of disbelief to its snapping point.

 

Maybe you weren’t trying to find that boy. Maybe you just wanted to believe that someone like that existed.

 

...You suddenly become aware that it has begun to rain.

 

Both time and space wandered away from you quietly. You’ve been walking, and walking, and walking for hours with not even a glimmer of foresight to give so much as a half-coughed hint. You left the outskirts of the last town hours ago, and are currently in the middle of some isolated field. No dwellings, no lights. There is only grass below and a rapidly swelling storm above.

 

You are completely alone.

 

???: What are you doing standing out in the cold?

 

You look around to see a familiar face. A short nephil stands by your side, a wild tangle of dark hair poking out from from their mask.

 

ROSE: What...who are you?

LAGO: I am Lago, and YOU are standing in my backyard.

 

Blinking, you look around.  A ways behind the little nephil sits a squat dwelling with a lopsided, yet prominent spire. It seems your supposedly random wandering has deposited you right on the doorstep of a mythteller’s temple.

 

ROSE: How convenient.

LAGO: What?

ROSE: It’s nothing.

LAGO: ...Well come inside at least. You’ll catch your death out here.

 

~ ※ ~

 

It looks as small inside as it does out, but it’s warm and rather cozy. A tiny fire burns in the corner, green and crackling. Hands warmed by a cup of tea, your eyes wander around the walls, skimming past the familiar sigils, Space’s spiral, Time’s gear, your own sun, and...

 

LAGO: Honestly, what were you doing so far away from a town? You’re not on one of those pilgrimages, are you? I know this is an isolated temple, but that doesn’t make it important or anything. Really, I just like my privacy.

 

ROSE: That sigil-

 

Your voice shakes more than it should as you point. Lago looks at you with bemusement.

LAGO: The...sigil of Breath? What about it?

 

Your heart stops.

 

LAGO: Does it...look wrong? I could never get the sigils right, Muse , they always say Breath is the easiest but it’s harder than it looks-

ROSE: You know who bears it?

LAGO: ...What do you think I am, stupid? The sigil of Breath is borne by Our Heir of Breath, you don’t have to be a mythteller to know that.

 

The room feels like it’s shrinking.

 

ROSE: ...I have been on a journey. I’ve gone from city to city, trying to find tales about the Heir of Breath. But it seems like nobody else remembers him...it’s like he’s been slowly disappearing from their stories.

LAGO: What?? That’s impossible--the Heir of Breath is one of the most key players in all the old stories-- maybe the MOST key! Muse , what has been happening out there?

ROSE: You have no knowledge of the Heir being censored from the texts?

LAGO: Don’t be ridiculous, our texts don’t get censored. I haven’t heard anything about this, I mean, I’m out of the way from most everyone...it almost sounds like they’ve forgotten him.

 

The surface of your tea begins to quake as Lago tuts.

 

LAGO: Honestly, every sweep gets a little worse. Mythtellers forget things, warp things...maybe they siphoned him out for more room for other deities. Muse ! I bet that’s it, those airheads. Heirless heads. I swear, if I had a boonbuck for every time I heard some new addition to The Sorrows of The Knight of Time--

ROSE: Please, tell me one.

LAGO: Are you kidding?! Those are all fake, they’re not even good!

ROSE: No, the Heir. Tell me a story about the Heir.

 

The magic words. Lago straightens up immediately.

 

LAGO: Heheheheh...

 

The nephil jumps to sit down in front of you, cross-legged, and clears their throat.

 

LAGO: By breath, by light

LAGO: by space, by time...

 

As you hear the now familiar invocation your pulse pounds. For the first time in a while, a sense of hope begins to simmer in your blood.

 

LAGO: ...Receive,

LAGO: reflect,

LAGO: remember.

Let’s hope so.

 

~ ※ ~

 

The Creation

 

At long last, the Trials were over. Batterwitch and Jerklord placed into their respective graves, the Slayer finally slain, and Our Beloved Muse rescued from beyond the Veil, The Vanguards and The Nobles could finally lay down their arms.

 

A lengthy and arduous journey it had been, but there was still much work left to be done. Under the careful eye of the Witch of Space, the session's frog had grown to take its rightful form of our universe. The seed of Afterus planted, our world was ready to begin its careful cultivation under the loving eyes of our Vanguards.

 

But a world can not grow and thrive without life, and there were still many "seeds" to be "planted."†

 

†Thought to be a direct quote from Our Knight of Time, who was said to receive a rap across the backside of the head from Our Maid of Life for that. Because, dude, come on, that was lame.

 

And so it came that it was time to begin filling Afterus with life. The Nobles retreated to the Land of Our Maid. Our Witch and Knight retreated to their own privacy, with the Knight's hints of what was to come swallowed into echos by the fabric of Spacetime itself.

 

And so it came that Our Seer and Our Heir were left alone together.

 

And thus spoke the Seer: "Well then, I suppose it'd be the appropriate time to ask if you will..."  And so shook her legendary brow with her words: "take my breath away?"

 

And thus responded the Heir: "My lady, I would be..." And so he matched the arc of her brow with a mighty waggle of his own: "deLIGHTed to."

 

And so, the Exchange of Terrible Puns complete, the Heir carried the Seer to his bed of ghosty sheets to begin their ritual. Blue eyes sweeping up and the down her sleek limbs, he caressed her cheek with slender fingers. She returned the favor, tracing lines in his freckles and basking in his scent of nerd and snack food.

 

Purple orbs joined with blue oculars, a blue so blue it blew her mind clean of all things but the throbbing passion joining the two. The Heir's hand linked fingers with hers. Eyeing the fine sheen on his brow, The Seer knew he could not hold himself back a second longer. And so she brought his hand to her lips to press a kiss and a single whispered word:

 

"Come."

 

With a frenzied scream, The Heir's skin erupted into thousands upon thousands of glittering green scales. The Seer cut the air with her own scream, neck stretching an impossible distance as her vocal cords transformed her sound into a ear-splitting screech.

Limbs withering and torsos bending and breaking, The Seer and Heir so did let their true selves into the light. Impossibly mighty and enormous their muscled lengths were, coiled and writhing against each other with tumultuous shrieks and hisses. And so did the Seer sink her magnificent fangs into the throat of the Heir, upon which he-

 

ROSE: Stop, stop, stop!!!

 

Unwittingly you have risen to your feet. Lago looks up, taken aback. Your face is redder than you care to admit.

 

ROSE: What the hell... what the hell IS this dreck?!

LAGO: Excuse me?! This is one of the most important myths of our time, one vital to the canon of our teachings, passed down by the Museherself!

ROSE: It sounds like you ate a bargain bin romance novel and shat it out!!

LAGO: I--! Okay, I don’t really know what a bargain bin is, but I do not like your tone of voice Miss! Muse , is it like this with all hornless??? I mean, first that ass with the blue hood and now this! You kids these days just can’t grasp the delicacy of fine art!

ROSE: You wouldn’t know fine art if it came over and bit you on the-

 

You pause.

 

ROSE: ...ass with the blue hood?

LAGO: Yeah! Some hornless prick waltzed his way over here a few days ago, all wanting to hear Heir stories just like you and when it’s over, you know what he says? “that one’s not even worth touching!” And then he just pops right! Muse forbid he think to show some gratitude-

ROSE: What did he look like?

 

The nephil is surprised to see you standing closer than you should have been.

 

LAGO: What...I don’t know! Tall, dark-skinned, no horns. Had those speckles on your face like you do--is that a hornless thing or what?

ROSE: What color were his eyes?

LAGO: How should I know?? I wasn’t taking a census! And anyways, he had those weird, you know, those eye glass things...

 

Standing dead still, your mind begins racing in a million and one directions.

 

He was here.

 

You don’t know that. It could have been someone else.

 

But if it was him!

 

You can’t get your hopes up.

 

But someone did actually remember him!

 

A someone who thinks that humans turn into snakes as foreplay. Dream on, Lalonde.

 

But-

 

LAGO: ...return?

ROSE: What?

LAGO: You’re from another region, aren’t you going to tell a story in return? Or, oh, I’m sorry, I forgot my story is DRECK. I’m sure you can do so much better!

ROSE: ...That one’s not even worth touching.

LAGO: ARE YOU FUCKING-

ROSE: It didn’t even happen!

LAGO: Oh, yeah, and I’m SO sure you would know! What, were you there taking notes or something?!

 

The rebuke dies on your tongue. Actually, considering your altered memories, you realize that it is entirely possible that something similar to that story...

 

...you decide that you should probably stay away from that train of thought. Far away. The room suddenly feels warmer.

 

LAGO: Fine! If you think you’re too good for my stories, then you can just see yourself out!

 

The nephil grabs your now-cold cup of tea and marches to the back of the dwelling.

 

ROSE: ...I guess I can.

 

Your legs are numb as you walk to the the door. What happens now? You have nothing resembling a lead, and you don’t see anything even close to a new path. All your foresight is telling you to do is open the door.

 

So you do.

 

ROSE:

ROSE: I guess I shouldn’t be surprised.

 

Crowded just outside the door stand Maex, Coyr, all the different nephilim you’ve encountered over the past few days, clutching their robes tight to them and looking totally out of place against the storm brewing behind them. All of them are watching you with huge eyes. But the one who draws your attention is the figure who stands at the forefront, wearing white robes and a smile.

 

Notably, she lacks a mask.

 

LAGO: Are you still there?

LAGO: Muse if you’re not going to leave at least shut the door. You’re letting the hot...air...

 

Behind you Lago’s footsteps slowly stop. You hear a noise that sounds vaguely like a stuck pipe.

 

LAGO: y...you’re the...our...you...

CALLIOPE: pardon the intrUsion!

CALLIOPE: woUld you mind ever so mUch if we came in? nUn

 
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