Birth of the Aetherverse – Chapter 12 (Finale)


Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4 | Chapter 5 | Chapter 6 | Chapter 7 | Chapter 8 | Chapter 9 | Chapter 10 | Chapter 11 | Chapter 12


Chapter 12: The End of the Beginning

I fully intended to stay in Fay. I knew my leaving would be bad for the realm. Especially if I left at the same time as Randi. After a few hundred years of blissfully ruling my small kingdom and making sure my children were well taken care of, I was visited by a human woman.

The crier introduced her as, “Iman, Guardian of Aether”. The woman who entered was old, fragile looking, but her eyes still glowed with power. 

“Iman!” I said and stood to meet her, “My old friend.”

“Old is right. How have you not aged? Bah.”

I bowed and said, “It’s been less time here than on Earth and I’m immortal, I think. At least, no one has told me different yet.”

“Well, I’m a hundred and twenty-three and I need your help.” She spat the words out as if they hurt her.

“For you, anything.”

She cocked her eyebrow and said, “Oh, you must feel like you owe me. Or I’ve lost my senses.”

Nodding, I said, “Yes, I owe you and the Aether for my violation. I should not have used it as a dumping ground.”

“Fine, fine. I want you to train my grand-daughter. I’m dying and I don’t want her dealing with the same uncertainty I did.”

“I will do my best—” I was cut off by a portal opening and five people walking through. It was the other Guardians. “What’s going on?” I asked, annoyance painting my voice.

“Forgive us, Lord Robin, but we need all seven Guardians. Our universe is under attack,” Merlin looked much too calm for the declaration.

“Mulciber?” I asked, knowing that the great steel serpent would break through eventually.

Merlin wasn’t the person to answer. Instead, it was a man who I didn’t recognize, “No. It’s something much older and much hungrier.” He paused and then added, “Sorry. I’m Clause Johnson, Guardian of Chaos.”

I looked over at Randi and she nodded.

When I followed them into the portal I expected to go to Everworld, the Aether, or someplace else, but we went to Earth. We were in a city and it took me a long time to recognize it. San Francisco had changed over the past hundred years.

“What’s the year?” I asked.

Morgana smirked, but something about her looked younger than before. “It’s 1906. Last time you were here, a few young women disappeared.”

“Fay brides are given a boon for their service and it’s always their choice.”

The ground shook and the world swam as a large tendril of purple energy escaped from the earth. The people screamed and ran, and the battle began.

I don’t remember much, but when it was over and we had won, the city was in ruins and Kishnar and Iman had died.

“She was brave,” said Morgana as I wept over the man I didn’t know and the woman I had briefly known. “They—” She collapsed on the ground. 

Merlin caught her and touched her neck, then her head, “Her pulse is faint. There’s something wrong with her mind. I can’t get in to help.” His words were sad, angry, and impotent. It was hard to see a great wizard looking so helpless. 

I leaned forward and touched her head. I felt resistance as I entered her mind, but pushed through it. Her mind was a glorious place with an overwhelming amount of information. She wasn’t just the Guardian of time, every moment of existence lived inside her mind. Every decision and what-if.

I focused on the smaller details and saw a small cloud of purple. Our enemy had hidden a part of itself inside her. I hunted it down and destroyed it.

As I pulled out of her mind, she grabbed my arms and I saw the futures, all of them. It was horrifying. 

“How can you function with all that in your head?”

She smiled, “How do you function with so little inside yours?” Her laughter was a little wild, but contagious. 

I returned home and my dreams were plagued by what I saw. I saw three great wars and what would happen if I were there.

The first was another Fay Civil War. It would reduce our population to nearly nothing if I were involved and last a century. If I were not, it would last a year with minimal casualties.

The second was the inevitable invasion by Mulciber. If I were there, we’d win with plenty of casualties including myself. If I wasn’t, Mulciber would claim our universe.

The third was a war on Earth fought between great wizards. If I were there, Merlin and Morgana would live. If I weren’t, they would die and all of existence would unravel.

I needed to survive the second war in order to be at the third.

I thought about this and stayed up late until I dreamed of the solution. I needed to increase Fay’s armies and people in order to ensure we had the troops to survive the second war. I needed a hero who could rival me to take my place. Or better yet, a family of them.

I made my plan and it was simple. My Fay brides’ boons would apply to their children, and I’d need to find the perfect bride to spawn the perfect champions. I needed someone kind, who was also clever. 

It took a few years, but I found the perfect woman. Denise Lance was a woman with a strong sense of right, a clever mind, and plenty of imagination. When she asked for Luck, I knew my champions would be perfect. I just hoped they’d be enough. As a bonus, I found Kathryn Lami who asked for Power, and Margery Door who asked for Cleverness. The three of them would give me heroes who would be better than I could be.

When they left, the Civil War started, and I knew what I had to do. I had to escape in order to let my people live. I took a hundred thousand of my descendants and hid them in stasis within the heart of Fay.

Then Randi and I entered the Deep Realms and I prepared a test that only a worthy mind and heart could pass. When that happened, I’d be released, just in time for the third war.

Merlin and Morgana are pillars that keep our reality from collapsing and I am going to make sure I save them.

Robin will return in Elizabeth Investigates 4: The Mystery of the Dancing Lights (Fall 2023)


While you wait for the next story, check out the previous serial stories:

Birth of the Aetherverse – Chapter 11 (Serial Story)


Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4 | Chapter 5 | Chapter 6 | Chapter 7 | Chapter 8 | Chapter 9 | Chapter 10 | Chapter 11 | Chapter 12


Chapter 11: Planting trees and travelling the realms

“Be warned,” Randi said as she handed Titania the rainbow glass ring. “Anyone who succeeds in freeing him will take his place.”

Oberon, Titania, Randi and I stood in an offshoot of the Maze Between the Worlds, a creation of Merlin’s that would allow anyone with the will to travel between Everworld, Earth, Fay, and someday Albion.

In the small dead end was an angry tree that used to be Melchior. 

“Maybe someday he’ll have learned his lesson and deserve a return to Fay life.” Titania sounded hopeful.

“What do we do now?” asked Oberon.

I wasn’t sure what he meant, but I replied by saying, “Randi has taught you the ritual to strip powers called the Mireinio. It will turn our children into regular Fay, or if they’re half human, they can choose human. We must each agree to do so by their tenth birthday.”

They all nodded except Oberon who added, “I meant about the rings?”

Randi replied this time, “We keep them secret and safe. No one needs to know.”

“We know. What if one of us gets power hungry and decides to conquer?” Oberon looked at Randi suspiciously.

It took all my self control to not burst into laughter. 

Randi’s brow furrowed but her eyes were filled with the most delightful mischief as she replied, “I swear on Fay itself that I will never try to conquer, coerce, or capture any of the four Fay rings of power of which I have no claim.” Swearing on a Fay is binding, the realm itself would ensure she kept her promise.

Titania and Oberon stood mouths agape, even Melchior the tree was quiet. I repeated the oath myself with ease; I didn’t want to be a king, god, or leader.

It took them a long time, but eventually my siblings followed suit.

“We must help clean up the mess our son created. Fay still needs leadership,” Titania said and looked at me expectantly.

“I think I’d be more interested in visiting Earth and establishing ties with Everworld.”

“Fine. Someday you’ll need to grow up and take responsibility for our world.” 

That was the last time I saw or spoke to my siblings. They went on to rule Fay for generations, setting the framework for the nine kingdoms and then they disappeared. No one can tell me where they went or what happened. One day, they got up and rode into the Deep Realms and never returned.

I took Randi’s hand and she smiled at me sadly. “I can’t travel with you this time.” When I looked confused, she said, “I have to return to the fissure in the Deep Realms and sew it closed.”

“I can go with you,” I offered.

“You are the Guardian of Imagination and one of the original Fay. Your magic wouldn’t work and would disrupt what I need to do.” I knew she was right, her magic was of pure chaos with the flavour of nature. She was the wind that changed, I was the story explaining where the wind came from. My presence would distract and undermine hers as she closed the fissure between our universe and the other.

She was gone that first time for fifty years as I travelled the Earth and met its people. Humans have such capacity for stories and imagination that I found myself falling in love. I never acted on it and I confessed the second night of her return. She laughed at me.

“Of course you love the humans. They are chaos, imagination, and stories all wrapped into flesh. The Fay reflect an aspect of your power, they are your children, but they are too much the same.”

“You don’t resent it?” I asked, surprised.

“Do you still love me beyond all others?”

I answered without hesitation, “Yes!”

“Then don’t worry. Love, but remember Mireinio.” We conceived our first children together that night on top of mount Olympus.

Over the years, I met and loved many humans. I was father, and mother, to more children than I could count. 

It was after I’d left my friend William with a great idea for a play that Randi and I decided Titania was right.

My children and descendants were many and I was tired of not giving them a place to live. Travelling between Earth and Everworld was great, but I needed a home.

My brother and sister’s disappearance had destabilised the Fay kingdoms and from that strife had risen powerful leaders whose magic was more than a regular Fay. They rose to power on their strength and ruled.

Just because they had power didn’t mean they were good rulers and I chose the cruellest lord and settled into his kingdom. I made myself a nice home and with my children. I had a wonderful household. It had been long enough since I’d been back and my siblings disappeared that we’d faded into myth. So much so that it had become a trend to name themselves after one of us. 

It wasn’t long before the Fay lord became angry at my prosperity and declared me an enemy. I made it clear that I would pay fair wages and protection to any that would join me.

The lord found himself with a dozen loyal courtiers and a few soldiers while I took over his kingdom.

The kingdom thrived, as did Fay herself. That’s when I discovered that while I was gone, plagues, pestilence, and marauding creatures from the Goblin Markets had enveloped Fay. It had become a dark and dangerous place. 

The longer I stayed, the better the Realm became, as if my presence was its fuel. That’s when I vowed never to leave Fay again, and I wish I could have kept that vow.

Read Chapter 12


While you wait for the next chapter, check out the previous serial stories:

Making things comfortable

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

Before the pandemic I liked being at home. I had done a lot to make our home comfortable.

I am extremely lucky that my work has been continuous and that I have the privilege to work from home.

Unless my work situation changes, I’m lucky enough to be working from home for the foreseeable future. Because of that, I’ve found things that didn’t bother me before are bothering me now.

I’m proud of the things I’ve done to make my home more comfortable for this new Office/School/Home/Cinema situation.

So far since quarantine I’ve:

  • Cut new shelves for our cups and glasses
  • Measured and listed all our coffee/tea cups
  • Built new organizers
  • Upgraded my work computer screen
  • Re-organized our basement so that it can work as a video conference/recording area as well as gaming and watching tv
  • Rebuilt our Coffee store to include crochet and buttons
  • Organized the kitchen gadgets and put away those that I didn’t use

I also worked on our backyard. I’m not an outdoors person; I’m allergic to bugs and nature. Since we couldn’t take our kids to the park, I got a good deal on a play structure and some deck tiles so that they can play back there.

Then there’s the garden. I’ve been gardening for almost 6 years and frankly I suck at it. I’m doing my best to treat it as a hobby that makes pretty flowers. (Zucchini, pumpkin, and acorn squash have lovely yellow flowers.) So far, we’ve gotten a handful of cherry tomatoes (I thought the plant was supposed to give me full sized) 1 bean and a lot of rhubarb, chives, thyme, rosemary, and dill. My zucchini plants are all but dead. First the squirrels ate them, but then the squash bugs and squash burrowers decimated them. Hopefully the pumpkins will survive.

Next year I should really read a book or watch a tutorial on how to properly garden… maybe buy some chicken wire or something.

What have you done to make your living area more comfortable during quarantine?

Stay safe,

Éric

Covid-19 and Me

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

I’ve been pretty silent about the state of the world the past few weeks. Part of that was being overwhelmed and part of that was being busy.

Ottawa called for people to start self-isolating and working from home starting March 16th. My first day of work after just over eight months of parental leave was the 18th of March. I work for the government in a communications area so I’m considered essential.

I’ve been dealing with going back to work (although I do enjoy working from home), a baby that is teething (AKA not sleeping well), the pandemic, and everything that entails.

My family is in a good place. We have a house, I have a job that will continue to pay me (barring some sort of pheonix crap), and we’re all pretty used to being at home. Our house is filled with movies, games, books, and comfy furniture.

The kids are still too young for school and like I said, I just finished ~8 months of parental leave so we’re all kind of used to being at home. I do miss having people over for D&D, movies, and to chat. I miss going to the cinema, and going for walks with the kids to Walmart or the park. My daughter and wife miss church and we all miss our conventions.

Those are minor inconveniences and I know we are extremely lucky.

My wife asked me to cut her hair. This was right before.

It’s still been hard. I’ve felt like I was on high alert for the past three weeks. I’ve felt terrified while shopping and I’m scared for my friends and family.

I’m starting to calm down but I’m still teary and worried.

This will become normal and when things get better we’ll have hopefully spared much death and heartache.

The implications of what this will change in our world are staggering and a little scary. But that’s another post all together.

Stay home and wash your hands!

Éric

Is Your Coffee Dumb?

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

It seems that smart devices are everywhere. Everything from your fridge to your toilet. (Must fight urge to sing circle of life…)

Why should your coffee be any different?

There are a lot of options they range in price. I’ve done a lot of research and here are my top three recommendations for smart coffee makers.

Behmor Brewer ($373.00 at Amazon Canada)

This is the best possible drip coffee maker on the market.

Pros

  • Temperature control
  • Soak timing
  • Pre-soak
  • App
  • Schedule
  • Smart home integration

Cons

  • Price
  • Only 8 cups

Read more from Kwikey Locksmith Services, INC. about that.

Overall

If you want complete control on your coffee and you want it at a specific time, this is your coffee maker. It’s versatile and from one of the best names in coffee. Unfortunately the price is high.

Gina ($230 USD from Goat Story)

This is truly for the hipster coffee scientist. It combines a Bluetooth-enabled scale and app with the tried and true pour over method of coffee brewing.

Pros

  • Hipster Cred
  • Absolute control
  • Brew coffee like a European Barista
  • Makes spectacular coffee
  • App
  • Easy to clean and maintenance

Cons

  • Price
  • Not really all that smart
  • Use your own hot water
  • Only 25 oz of coffee
  • No smart home integration or schedule

Overall

This is for those that want to take the time to experiment and brew the perfect cup of coffee. It’s simple but time consuming. It’s a lot of work but will make amazing coffee.

Create your own (~$40)

I’ve mentioned before that the best coffee maker is the simplest. The less bells and whistles on the darned thing, the more power there is for the water heater and pump.

What you do is you buy yourself a simple coffee maker. For a 12 cup machine, it’ll cost you around $20; less if you want smaller or get a sale. The only feature that is important is a physical switch, on or off, not a digital button.

The second part is to buy yourself a smart plug. They range from 20 to 100. Make sure it works with your phone/tablet/computer or the smart speaker/hub of your choice.

So now you have them connected, and when the smart switch is on, the coffee maker is on.

Pros

  • Price
  • Any size of machine you like
  • Makes surprisingly good coffee
  • Schedule (Using IFTT or Stringify)
  • Smart home integration

Cons

  • Not fancy
  • No temperature control
  • No pre-soak
  • Simple settings
  • Not as impressive

Overall

This is the option I’ve gone for. It works extremely well. I tell my Google Home in the morning to start the coffee and then hop in the shower.

I could schedule it to wake me with delicious coffee smells if I wanted, but I like the snooze button too much.

This is cheap and easy and will make good coffee.

 

Good Brewing!

Éric

2015 Movie Ranking

Happy Christmas Eve or December 24th,

As I’ve mentioned in the past, I love stories. I love writing them, telling them, dissecting them, and watching them.

Movies can be amazing or absolutely horrible. Below is the list of movies that came out this year that I saw and how I rank them. There are a lot more that I want to see.

My ranking is about how much fun I had and how willing I’d be to re-watch them.

  1. Inside Out
  2. The Man from U.N.C.L.E.
  3. Star Wars: The Force Awakens
  4. The Peanuts Movie
  5. Kingsman: The Secret Service
  6. Jurassic World
  7. San Andreas
  8. Jupiter Ascending (It was a fun, don’t think too hard, space soap-opera.)
  9. Hotel Transylvania 2
  10. The Good Dinosaur
  11. Tomorrowland (It had its issues but it was fun and hopeful.)
  12. Spectre
  13. Ant-Man (Not enough of the Heist aspect)
  14. Avengers: Age of Ultron (Tried to do too much in too little time)
  15. Home
  16. The Intern (Should be in the top 10 but the ending was too abrupt and didn’t resolve enough.)
  17. The Duff
  18. Cinderella
  19. American Ultra
  20. Minions
  21. The Transporter Refueled (It was fun but awkward and forgettable.)
  22. Fantastic Four (A complete mess. The only movie I regret seeing on this list.)

Have yourself some Happy Holidays.

Éric