Thought I would bring everyone up to date, as there is so much going on in the Heir Of Nostalgia universe, even I forget at times.
They say lightning never strikes twice. I hate to tell you this, but it does. The thing is, sometimes it takes years for just the right moment, when everything is in alignment, when the conditions are just right, for it to strike. And when it does, it can change everything.
Probably the most amazing news in the Valerian Saga- that Book One (A Gathering Darkness) and Book Two (Kaelynn’s Tale) are in the process of becoming audio books on Audible. I have attached both Audition files for your listening please at the bottom of this post.
The second most amazing opportunity, is just how many languages the books are being translated into. (Seems the International community loves them some Valerian!)
A Gathering Darkness (Italian) Published in 2016
A Gathering Darkness (Spanish) Soon to be Published
A Gathering Darkness (Portuguese) Soon to be Published
So there it is, my constant readers, everything you need to know about the Valerian Cycle, and what all has been going on in the background all this time. And just so you know, it has been a long time coming, but there is other news as well… and it has to do with the concluding volume in this series… a little sneak peak! (Please excuse the following, as it is a work in progress, but rapidly nearing completion. Enjoy!)
And like that, we were back together- as a family, and something more.
Upon reaching Dads apartment, the doorman let us in with little more than a glance and mumbled ‘Hello’, even as he strained to look south, back towards the epicenter of all the mayhem and madness.
“Any idea what’s going on,” he asked, neck on a swivel.
We ignored him. He wouldn’t have listened anyway, wasn’t listening even as we passed in. Regardless, he didn’t need to ask what was going on; all he had to do was lean out a bit further and see; 42nd still burned as bright as a funeral pyre- partly from the explosion and collapse of Leo’s, as well as half the block around it, but mostly from what appeared to be the entire New York Police and Fire Departments all lined up down the street waiting to arrive on scene. Matter of fact, emergency crews still scrambled through mounds of wreckage and debris, looking for survivors, putting out stubborn fires, and the occasional re-flare.
I felt my throat tighten; wondering if Nancy made it out alive, but knowing she probably didn’t. No one deserved to die like that- burned alive! It gave me shivers.
As for the carnage in Central Park, one could only imagine. To put it mildly, much had been lost in the aftermath of the world’s first and only violent magical terrorist attack.
Arriving at their floor, and upon exiting the elevator, Kaelynn stopped to glance towards Aaron’s apartment, tears in her eyes. I wanted to ask her why she was so sad, but already knew the answer. Aaron had been a good man. A good soldier.
My Dad’s protector while he was here in this time and place, much like Maggie was mine.
I guess it’s true what they say- ‘only the good die young.’
Dad’s apartment was as dark as sin, and as stuffy as a tomb. Because of this Maggie went in first, her eyes the best by far, for seeing at night- that and she still carried the otherworldly glow from the fight in the park. Dad went in next because he’s Dad, and no one fights his battles, then me, then Kaelynn.
Even here, with all the shadowed reminders of another’s life- the lie my Dad had lived for nearly three years thanks to Lycan, the outside world seemed to be on fire. Sirens wailed like a million angels mourning, while choppers chopped the night sky, and ambulances careened below. It was the absolute definition of chaos, if you ask me, and I should know. My life has been nothing but chaos the last two- going on three- years. The thing was, the closer one went towards Central Park, the epicenter of tonight’s events, the more chaotic and crowded the world became. While here, all we had to deal with was darkness.
Dad told us to leave the lights off, just in case.
‘In case of what?’ We’d pretty much killed everyone and everything coming after us- didn’t we?
Needless to say, the trek back had been interesting, with Kaelynn telling Dad and the rest of us all that had occurred to her since her trip to the British Museum of Antiquities and Art. Lycan’s part in all of that didn’t surprise me a bit- he had always been a bit of a show-off. I’m just glad his ego hadn’t prevented him from saving Kaelynn.
My new mom!
By the time we arrived, it was well past three in the AM, of a very long and event filled day and night- granted, not nearly as eventful as Dads and Kaelynn’s- Dad had died upon Umpire Rock, stabbed through the heart by a piece of crap named Blair- some low-life Courtly nothing whose head had been filled with delusions of grandeur- now dead. Kaelynn, on the other hand, seemed to have fallen down a proverbial rabbit hole.
Kaelynn closed and dead-bolted the door behind us. “Finally,” she said, voice quivering. “We made it.” As she slowly slid down to her rump. Sometimes it’s not how you get there, it’s what ‘there’ feels like when you reach it. To Kaelynn, this place was home, hence the collapse. To me, on the other hand, this was not home, merely a bump in the road along the way.
My eyes swept the place, slowly adjusting to the dark. I was surprised to see the game controllers from the other night, still setting out on the coffee table, in front of the TV. How I longed for those times. If only we’d known, right?
All the run-in’s, arguments and fights…
Me storming out,
Dad storming in,
Maggie’s kiss of remembrance,
And Death…! Death sucks!
Dad, careful as always, spent the next few moments going through the entire apartment double-checking windows and tugging on doors- even after Maggie had already inspected them. Can’t say I blame him, though, dying has a way of making a person extra-careful, as well as extra paranoid.
It would me, anyway.
“Are you okay?” I was startled to find Maggie standing in front of me trying to get my attention, all signs of her ‘fallen angel’ persona long gone.
“Uh-huh.” Reaching out she gripped my hand- I tried my best to smile back. Like I said, death has a way of changing things. In my mind’s eye, all I could see was Dad dying over and over again, eyes wide as Blair’s dagger plunged again and again–
“Speaking of okay, I should be the one asking you that, not the other way around.” I didn’t want to say anything, but she looked like someone who’d been in a cat fight in the middle of a sticker bush. She was literally covered in scratches and cuts, from head to foot. In fact, flecks of dried blood, not sure whose, still freckled her cheeks and forehead. “After all, it was you who took on… whatever Neit turned out to be, and survived.” Barely… but in this case barely was enough. I ran my thumb across her cheek, over a fresh scar visible there. She had so many scars… road maps of life, she called them.
I leaned in, pressed my forehead against hers. There’s times I really wanted to kiss her. “I’m sorry,” I said.
She could have asked ‘sorry for what?’ but we both already knew.
About that time, Dad came back into the living room- he’d been upstairs this entire time. At the moment he was taking the stairs two at a time, while flashing us a big cheesy grin and a thumbs up.
Even with the darkness, I could still see his shirt, soaked in dried blood, sticking to him in all the places Blair’s dagger had stabbed him- I felt my stomach turn… Any other thought than that, I cried.
“We can’t stay for long,” he said, “I’m sure they’re still looking for us.”
I hated to tell him, but for the last couple of years, they’ve always been looking for us. It’s all we’ve known.
Dad’s eyes flickered towards the door, to the place where Kaelynn still slumped. “I’d like to be gone in less than thirty,” he said. “Grab what you need, leave everything else behind, it’ll only slow us down.”
If it were up to me we’d be gone already!
Kaelynn moaned, “Seriously. I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m done,” she exclaimed. And she looked done. Her skin was the color of old ash.
Dad wanted to say something, I could see it in his eyes. He stopped when he saw Maggie’s glare. “Or… we could stay for a moment…?” He offered.
Maggie’s grin, unmistakable. “Help me,” she said, approaching Kaelynn. As one, she and Dad helped guide the exhausted curator over to the couch, the very same couch I once recovered on, where she all but collapsed. Finished, Maggie then took up station next to the door, arms crossed and back straight, daring anyone to try and get in.
Feeling awkward, and all out of sorts- like most thirteen year olds I presume -I joined the old folks on the divan.
Which brings us full circle to the beginning and everyone wanting to know- “What do we do now…?”
At first Dad seemed hesitant to answer, like he was unsure of what he wanted to say, “Ummm, we go home.”
Bingo! I wanted to say. “No, before that,” I replied. We still needed to find a way, first. Kaelynn had destroyed the only other gate I knew of- our plans only backup.
‘Gotcha!’ he winked. “You’re right, there is the issue of the gate.” He paused then, absently rubbing his chin.
“Can we head back to the Blockhouse, hide out there? After all, we have months of provisions stockpiled.” I supplied.
He shook his head no. “Head back towards the Park, no way,” he said. “Too close to the center of everything that has gone wrong. In the short term, we leave the city. Hit the Queens Tunnel and get the heck out of the Big Apple. I don’t know about you all, but I’ve had more than my fair share of the city that never sleeps.”
With that he got up, and drew Kaelynn to her feet- it was now close to four.
This night was never going to end.
“Kaelynn and I are going to retire upstairs, try and get some sleep. I suggest the two of you do the same. Something tells me that moments such as these, are going to be few and far between.” He chucked me on the shoulder as they left.
I glanced over at Maggie.
“What?” she declared. “Stop looking at me.” By this time Dad and Kaelynn were gone, their bedroom door closing.
“Looks like it’s just you and me, kid!” I exclaimed, eyes still upstairs. I must have been wearing my feelings on my face.
“Your mom deserved more,” Maggie said, as if reading my mind. “Still, they’re adults, and adults are…”
“Stupid!” I added, “Self-absorbed…”
“Complicated…,” Maggie corrected, looking displeased.
A moment longer of staring.
“No matter what happens next, you’re his kid,” Maggie reminded, indicating upstairs. “Heir to the throne, the next King. You have say.”
“If you say so,” I replied, feeling dejected. If mom were here things would be different, very different. The thing was, though, mom wasn’t here. Mom was gone- four hundred years gone to be exact, along with my sister, and all because I failed.
“I had one job to do,” I began… one job!
It only went downhill from there.