Author Topic: Meeting the Grandmaster  (Read 737 times)

Duncan Devereux

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Meeting the Grandmaster
« on: August 01, 2019, 08:19:30 PM »
It took a moment for Amaris to orientate herself, but she had the advantage of a sharp nose that picked up the traces of incense. "That way," she said confidently, leading Dev along the corridors of the Temple to where the space opened out into what was obviously the place of worship. Unfortunately the lad was nowhere to be seen, but a small giggle drew their attention to a golden-haired toddler. The little boy was standing between the pews, hunched as though he was hiding, and giggling to himself cheerfully as he did so.

Amaris bit down a grin at the sight. "I guess his parents must be around here somewhere."

"Hmm, I could be wrong, but my guess is he's playing a version of Hide and Seek," Dev deduced, though it wasn't hard to figure out. The question was who was he hiding from? A parent or someone else? He didn't have to wonder very long, as they were quickly joined by a tall, slender man with a head of blond hair, similar to the boy's.

"Tristan?" he man called. "Oh, where can he be?" he said, tossing a wink toward Dev and Amaris and touching his finger to his lips so that they wouldn't let on that he knew very well where the little boy was hiding.

The giggling got louder, but the toddler didn't make a move to show himself until his father was walking right past the pew where he was hidden. Then he leaped out, throwing his arms around the man's leg. "I got!"

Amaris bit back a strangled laugh. She had never seen anyone play Hide & Seek in a place of worship before.

Zach feigned a surprised gasp, laughing as he scooped the little boy up into his arms. "You got me! Such a good hider. I had no idea where to find you!" he praised the boy, ruffling his hair with one hand, while he easily balanced him against one hip. He affectionately smooched the little boy's cheek before turning to greet the couple who'd joined them. "You must be Duncan and Amaris," he said, apparently already expecting them.

With the little boy grinning in his arms, this new man who seemed to know who they were wasn't as intimidating as he might have been alone. Amaris let her smile show.

"Uh, yeah, we are," she nodded. "Although, he prefers Dev over Duncan. Did the Lady tell you about us?"

"In a manner of speaking," the former angel replied with a benevolent smile. "You'll be looking for the Grandmaster," he said, as if he knew this already. "As it happens, I'm on my way there, if you wish to come along."

"And ... you are?" Amaris asked, though any confusion in her query was masked by the ridiculous face she was making for the benefit of the small boy regarding them cheerfully. "I know you're Tristan's dad, but that's all I know!"

"I'm Zachariel," the tall man replied, without hesitation. He didn't bother to say what his business was with the Grandmaster or why he was going to the library, deeming his name was enough for now.

"The Lady told us to see the Grandmaster," Dev interjected, though that seemed hardly necessary.

"Uh, all right." Amaris looked up at Dev. "I don't think anyone here is going to try and hurt us or get us into trouble," she said. "If he's going to the library, that's where we want to go as well, right?"

Zach smiled again. "There's nothing that can harm you here. The Lady wouldn't allow it," he explained, without really explaining again. It was all so simple to him, he rarely felt the need to explain, unless they were to ask.

Dev shrugged, as much at a loss as Amaris. "If that's where we'll find the Grandmaster, then we might as well follow."

"All right, then." Squeezing Dev's hand, Amaris looked back to Zach with a smile. "Thank you very much, we'd love to tag along."

The little boy on Zach's hip opened his hand in a pseudo wave. "Gon' see Lionman."

Zach chuckled at his son's statement. "Lion-el," he corrected, eyes glinting with amusement. "He always calls him Lionman, don't you, you little imp?" he said, tickling his fingers against the boy's side. "Thankfully, the Grandmaster has a sense of humor."

"Pardon me for asking, but just what is he Grandmaster of?" Dev asked, just one of the questions that had been preying on his mind.

Under the sound of Tristan cackling with laughter, Amaris explained to Dev. "He's the head of the Order of the Knights of the Temple of Avalon," she explained. "Like the Templars on Earth, you know? But the order is much older than the Christian version that was wiped out."

"Of course he is," Dev said with a sigh. Why hadn't he figured that out already? This place was like a Ren Faire for Arthurian aficionados. "And just how does one become a Knight?" he asked, unsure if that was different from being a Guardian.

Zach furrowed his brows as he considered that question. "That, I believe, is a question for the Grandmaster."

"What do you do at the library, Zachariel?" Amaris asked as they walked down to the border of the Temple grounds and out onto the path that lead down into the valley and the town that awaited them. "This doesn't seem like a place that needs librarians so much."

"The function of wisdom is to discriminate between good and evil."

- Marcus Tullius Cicero

Duncan Devereux

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Re: Meeting the Grandmaster
« Reply #1 on: August 01, 2019, 08:19:52 PM »
"No," Zach agreed before changing his mind. "Well, the library is quite extensive," he explained. That was putting it mildly, but they'd see for themselves soon enough. "I am the Archivist." Not one of the archivists, but the Archivist, though he did have help.

"Oh." Eyes widening in surprise that someone with such a high-ranking job was prepared to be a tour guide, however briefly, Amaris cast around for something else to say. Her gaze lit upon something that made her blink. "Um ... are there trees growing through the roof of that building?"

Zach grinned at her question. "Yes, quite amazing, isn't it?" he asked, though he wasn't expecting an answer. "Come, I will let the Grandmaster know you are here," he said, leading them both inside.

Stepping in through the wide, carven oak doorway, Amaris barely even noticed Zachariel and Tristan leaving their side. The library was enormous, walls covered with shelves containing books and scrolls. Two staircases wound up to the next two levels on either side of the door they had just walked through, and across the floor were set tables where men and women were studying. In the center of the space were seven trees - indeed, the trees she had seen growing through the roof - and though they seemed to be an inconvenience, no one walked through them, always veering around.

"Whoa."

"Extensive is a bit of an understatement," Dev murmured quietly, so his voice wouldn't carry past Amaris. There had to be thousands, perhaps millions, of books and scrolls stored on those shelves, and none of them seemed to be deteriorating. "I wonder how old ..." he mused aloud, not finishing his statement.

"The first work was brought to this library more than five thousand years ago, young man," a well-appointed voice boomed cheerfully from above. Turning, they found a bearded man with bright eyes walking down to join them, dressed in a blue velvet robe that bore an equal armed cross embroidered in gold. He seemed larger than life, in a way, moving with confidence toward the couple. "And you would be?"

Though it seemed Zachariel had known who they were, this man did not. Either that, or he simply wanted to hear it from them.

"I'm Dev and this is Amaris," Dev replied, indicating his companion with a wave of one hand. "We are looking for the Grandmaster."

"Ah, the new Guardians." The man nodded, thrusting out a strong hand to shake both of them firmly before he continued on. "It's been a long time since Avalon had a female Alpha to rely on. I hear tell the ladies are always easier to handle than the men."

Amaris stuttered, not entirely sure how to respond to that.

Dev actually snorted in amusement at the man's remark. He wasn't sure if he should help the guy out or let Amaris handle him. "You've never heard of the Women's Fight for Equality, have you?"

The man eyed him in equal amusement. "Young man, I live on the Summer Isle, where women are rather more equal than men," he pointed out. "I meant no disrespect. Merely that female Alphas are apparently more inclined to negotiate and talk, rather than deliver ultimatums."

Dev didn't really consider himself to be a "young man", though he supposed to someone who was practically immortal by comparison, he was little more than a child. "Well, that's certainly not a bad thing," he said, with a wink at Amaris.

Amaris was forced to concede that point. "Yeah, okay, I get that," she agreed ruefully. "I'm sorry, you are?"

The man chuckled, a full-bellied sound that was warmer than it mocked. "Ah, of course, introductions," he declared, flourishing an outrageous bow. "Allow me to introduce myself - I am Sir Lionel Cavendish, Grandmaster of the Order of the Temple."

"Ah, the Lionman," Dev said, still looking amused. There was just something about this man that seemed to put him at ease, for some reason. Perhaps it was the jovial grin or outrageous bow. Whatever it was, he'd had a feeling this was the man they'd been looking for before he'd introduced himself.

"Ah." Lionel laughed a little more gently this time. "I see young Tristan has been filling your head with stories already. He will be a fine Grandmaster when he grows up."

Amaris looked shocked. "Wait ... you're already planning his life for him?"

"That little boy is going to be Grandmaster someday?" Dev echoed Amaris' thoughts. How could they already know that when the boy couldn't be little more than three years old?

"If he chooses to be," Lionel conceded, gesturing for them to come with him as he mounted the steps once again to the first landing, where a table and cushioned chairs were set out. "We would not force him into the position if he does not desire it, but it would seem that he, or one of his brothers, will wear this robe in future."

"He won't follow in his father's footsteps as Archivist, then?" Dev asked, as he followed the Grandmaster and pulled out a chair for Amaris before settling into one himself.

"That is another possibility, though it is rare for duties to be hereditary here," Lionel said easily, thumping down into a chair of his own with all the gusto of a man who has spent a lifetime in armor and loves not having to wear it anymore. "Such titles are given on merit."

Amaris sat down, smiling gratefully to Dev.

"I see," Dev replied thoughtfully. It didn't seem he'd be receiving any fancy titles anytime soon, since he'd done very little to earn them ... yet. "I assume you know why we're here," he said, perhaps sounding a little too much like a Federal Agent.

"Well, I know why this beautiful young lady is here to see me," Lionel said, casting a twinkly-eyed look over at Amaris. She rolled her eyes at the flirting, which made his chuckle again. "I would hazard a guess that you have questions, Dev. I will attempt to answer them, if I can."

Dev wasn't sure what he thought of the flirtation. First of all, the guy was not only old enough to be her grandfather, but probably her great, great who knew how many grandfather. He only cleared his throat though, as if to remind the man that he and Amaris weren't alone.
"The function of wisdom is to discriminate between good and evil."

- Marcus Tullius Cicero

Duncan Devereux

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Re: Meeting the Grandmaster
« Reply #2 on: August 01, 2019, 08:20:15 PM »
"I do. Quite a few, actually," he admitted, though he hadn't actually asked one yet.

"I should take advantage of having the Grandmaster's full attention, then," Lionel encouraged him, leaning back comfortably in his chair. "Someone is bound to come at some point with a desperate issue only I can solve. Such is the life of seeming leisure here."

"Um ..." Dev started uncertainly. "I hope we aren't taking you away from anything important," he said, though it didn't seem that way. If anything, this place seemed peaceful and serene. He couldn't imagine there being many problems to deal with here.

"Not at all," the Grandmaster assured him. "I spend most of my time in here. Since I no longer wield a sword, I am forced to wield a pen, and my office in the Templar buildings is too confined for me."

"Why do the Shaw Alphas have to present themselves to you?" Amaris asked suddenly. "If they've already seen the Lady."

Lionel smiled, apparently approving of the query. "A good question, young lady," he said, nodding as he considered his response. "The short answer is that you don't have to. The longer answer is that, as Grandmaster, I oversee all operatives on Earth, and as such, I should at least know the face and voice of the Shaw Alpha at any given time."

"All operatives?" Dev asked, sounding a little like a broken record the way he was echoing back everything that was said to him. "As I understand it, as a Guardian, I would report to the Champion, who I assume reports to you, then?"

"Ah." Lionel shook his head, chuckling once more. "No, the Champion stands above me, and above all but the Lady, as does the Priestess, though they are gracious enough to treat me as an equal," he explained. "If the Lady states as such, you may be given over to the Champion's command. Indeed, I believe you may even request such a thing. Only the Lady can overrule him."

Dev frowned at the man's response, a serious look on his face. "To be honest, I haven't decided yet if I want to accept the Lady's offer. I suppose that's why we're here. So you can better explain what's involved. All she said is that I would be expected to come to Avalon's aid, if I were ever asked, but I'm not even sure what that means exactly."

"Ah, you require solid examples as demonstration." The Grandmaster nodded in understanding. "Shows a good mind, that. Well, then, my boy ... what is it that you do on your Earth?"

"I, uh ..." Dev started, furrowing his brows as he realized the man was unlikely to understand what a Federal Agent was or what the job entailed. "I'm a special agent," he said, unsure if that would help explain himself. "I investigate crimes of a supernatural nature."

"I see. Something in a similar vein to the Sparrowhawk, yes?" the older man asked, more curious than anything.

"Yes, exactly the same," Dev replied, relieved the man understood that anyway. "We work together actually. That's how-how I got involved in all this." He wondered why he hadn't thought to mention it before.

"He saved my life," Amaris told Lionel quietly. "And he helped my pack put down a rogue Alpha that was causing problems."

The Grandmaster nodded, glancing between them thoughtfully. "Well, Dev, if Avalon were to ask you to come to her aid, it would be to protect the secret of Avalon itself," he said carefully. "In your case, it would probably be a request to change a witness statement, or falsify a record, to not arrest one of our other agents, that sort of thing."

Dev shrugged as if it was nothing, but reached for Amaris' hand, not to claim her for his own so much as to remind her - or remind himself - what was at stake here. "I only did what needed to be done," he told her quietly, as if it had been nothing. He arched a brow at Lionel's explanation though. "You'd be asking me to break the oath I made to the organization," he said, or more accurately, to stretch the truth. He had no intentions of putting Avalon in his report, after all. As a matter of face, he had no intentions of reporting any of it.

"We would," Lionel agreed with a nod. "But it is not something that we ask lightly, and it is not something that we ask often. Rest assured that when Avalon calls upon you, it is because every other avenue has been exhausted."

Dev nodded his understanding. So long as no one was hurt doing whatever it was they might ask him, he thought there was no harm done. There was a greater good here, and he did not want to jeopardize Avalon or the people living here. "Fair enough," he replied. "Is there anything else I should know?"

"Should you encounter any object that seems supernatural in nature, we would ask that you bring it to Avalon," Lionel told him. "That is a great deal of what our agents do on Earth - locating such powerful objects from across time. However, if it is difficult for you obtain it, or to do so would put you in danger, I would recommend you tell the Champion. That's his job."

"Any object?" There went that echo again, but he needed to understand what the man meant. "You mean like, oh, I don't know ... the Holy Grail?" he asked, just throwing that out there.

Lionel chuckled. "Or the Spear of Destiny," he agreed. "The Grail has been on Avalon for around two thousand years or so. The Lady's son retrieved it and brought it to us - the only man ever to have managed the task, though many had tried it before it. Many at the time saw that as a sign that the Lady would be a legend."

"Two thousand years?" Dev asked, eyes widening incredulously. That meant he had to rethink everything he'd ever learned about history. "Are we talking about Galahad here?" he asked, uncertainly. He didn't have nearly as much knowledge about Arthurian legend as Ian, but he knew the basics.

"Indeed we are." Lionel nodded to one of the stained glass windows that let in the sunshine. It bore the image of a golden-haired man on his knees, holding aloft a simple cup. "Of all the people who have touched Avalon, he is the one I should most liked to have met. Alas he died long before I was born."

"If you don't mind my asking, how long have you been here?" Dev asked, which was just a more polite way of asking the man's age, since he assumed the man had been born there.
"The function of wisdom is to discriminate between good and evil."

- Marcus Tullius Cicero

Duncan Devereux

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Re: Meeting the Grandmaster
« Reply #3 on: August 01, 2019, 08:23:01 PM »
"All my life, young man, just like almost everyone else who lives here," Lionel said with moderate cheer, his eyes sparkling with amusement. "You are, however, asking me if I am immortal, I assume, to which the answer is ... no. No one is immortal, and only two people on this Isle have lived more than a standard lifetime. I am close to my sixtieth year, myself."

"I see," Dev said thoughtfully. He knew the Lady was one of those who'd lived an extraordinarily long life here, but he had no idea who the other was, and he didn't think this was the time to ask. "I have another question," he said, pausing a moment before putting it into words. "As Alpha I assume Amaris will be welcome to return here, but I will not." And therein, lied the crux of his problem.

"Regular visits to Avalon are denied to all who have not drunk from the Grail," Lionel told him solemnly. "That is not to say that the pair of you will never be invited back, but it is not something you should expect to happen. Your lives are on Earth, though Avalon will always watch over you."

"Right," Dev said, remembering what the Lady had told them. So, he assumed Amaris would not be regularly visiting Avalon without him then. He wasn't sure if that gave him comfort or not. "It is certainly an intriguing place," he said, letting his gaze wander once again over the vastness of the library and all its many tomes.

"I suppose, to one who has lived in the modern era of Earth, Avalon must seem very strange in some ways," Lionel mused cheerfully. "We have a simple way of life, augmented by the magic of the Isle. Yet as far as I know, no one has ever chosen to leave Avalon since the mists took it from the world."

"Leave?" Dev said, brows arching upwards again. "Why would anyone want to leave? We may have modern conveniences, but we also have over-population, pollution, crime, war, disease," he pointed out, just to name a few. "No, it may not have our technological advances, but it's peaceful here." He chuckled at a sudden thought. "Not sure how I'd feel about beating my clothes against a rock though."

"Oh, we have slightly less back-breaking methods," the Grandmaster told him with a grin. "It's like churning butter, I'm told."

Amaris snorted with laughter. "And that's less back-breaking than beating clothes on a rock?"

"At least when you churn butter, you get rewarded with butter," Dev said, chuckling again at the Grandmaster's remark. He had to admit there were some advantages to modern living.

"You think clean clothing isn't a reward?" Lionel let out another of his loud laughs that seemed to reverberate around the library. "My dear boy, when you have spent the entire winter wearing one wool tunic, then you can tell me clean clothing is not a reward for hard work."

Dev grimaced. "You've made your point," he said, glad they'd had time to shower and change before making their way through the mists. "You know what you need? Laundry service," he told the older man, with a teasing grin.

Lionel snorted, shaking his head in amusement. "Yes, I'm sure Elaine would delight in being asked to open the mists so an entire island's worth of laundry could pass back and forth," he said with warm sarcasm, forgetting that the name he had uttered would mean nothing to the two before him.

Dev wasn't very learned in Arthurian legend, and the reference to Elaine was lost on him, but it wasn't too hard putting two and two together.

"You mean, the Lady of Avalon," he said, assuming she was the only one there with the power or authority to open the mists to another time and place.

"I do." Lionel shifted awkwardly, glancing away for a moment. "I should not use her name in conversation. Forgive my lapse."

Amaris' head tilted as she watched the man, her eyes narrowing with curiosity, but she held her tongue. She had a feeling she knew why that name was so easy on the man's lips.

Dev smiled. It was to their credit that the man trusted them enough to let the Lady's name slip into conversation. Dev waved the remark away, as if he'd already forgotten, though he was far shrewder than that.

"No need to worry. If I don't agree to take a vow of secrecy, my memory is going to be scrubbed anyway," he said, chuckling with irony.

"Ah, but you will take that vow of secrecy," Lionel said, turning his eyes back to the younger man. "I know the look of one who has decided as such. You have a compelling reason to do so." He didn't so much as glance at Amaris, yet it seemed clear she was who he was talking about.

"I suppose you are right," Dev said, turning serious. He didn't need to look at Amaris to know what - or rather who - Lionel was referencing. He gave her hand a gentle squeeze as if to reassure her that he, indeed, had made that decision. "The only real question now is who will I report to - you or the Champion?"

"The pack reports to the Champion," Amaris volunteered, "but we can be called on by the Grandmaster as well."

Lionel nodded in agreement. "Rhys often runs such things past me before he sends out the call, in any case," he offered. "In this case, I believe you may choose whom you would rather have the most direct contact with."

"Well, it's not like you're going to call me on the phone," Dev remarked, smirking in amusement. He wasn't sure how he felt about reporting to the hunter, but then, if Adam trusted Rhys, he didn't see any reason why he shouldn't do the same.

"Avalon has her ways of making sure we can contact you," Lionel assured him with a grin. "Now then, do you have any other questions for me?"

"No," Dev replied. "No, I think you have answered all my questions for now," he admitted, that serious expression back on his face. He may not had voiced his decision just yet, but it seemed in his heart, it had already been made.

"Then I would suggest you seek out your friends on the Isle," Lionel said warmly. "You will learn more of the place and of our operations on Earth by speaking with them, I am sure."

"Does Rhys have a house here, or something?" Amaris asked curiously.
"The function of wisdom is to discriminate between good and evil."

- Marcus Tullius Cicero

Duncan Devereux

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Re: Meeting the Grandmaster
« Reply #4 on: August 01, 2019, 08:23:28 PM »

Lionel nodded, rising to his feet. "Come here to the window, I will point it out to you."

Dev pushed his chair back and moved to his feet, waiting for Amaris to follow Lionel to the window before joining them, tall enough to easily see past her. The answer didn't really surprise him, as it seemed Rhys and his wife traveled back and forth through the mists as easily as going from one room to the next.

Amaris moved easily with Dev, both of them coming to stand beside Sir Lionel as he pointed to a round tower of three floors, up on the crest of the hill just outside the Temple boundary.

"That is the Champion's tower," he said.

Amaris looked a little closer, and found herself smiling as she recognised the two children rolling around on the grass outside the tower with a pair of big dogs.

Dev rested a hand against Amaris' waist as he stood behind her, looking out on the grounds of Avalon, the gently sloping green hills and the clear blue sky. His gaze shifted to the tower Lionel had pointed out, where he could just make out a couple of figures on the grass he assumed to be the Bristol children.

"It must be strange to grow up in two worlds," he murmured to himself.

"They seem to thrive on it," Lionel commented. "Though, in fairness, most of their time is spent on Earth. They come to Avalon for short visits, when their parents have business with us, or when it is dangerous to remain on Earth for a few days, such as now. With the danger passed, I would assume they will be returning to Earth shortly."

"How do you teach them not to talk about it though?" Dev asked, wondering just how you stopped children from discussing their adventures in Avalon with their friends. It seemed almost impossible, given their ages.

"They talk about going to an island for their holidays," Amaris said with a smile. "I doubt anyone has ever said the word Avalon to them so that it sticks in their mind."

Lionel glanced at her sharply, surprised that she should know something like that. She laughed.

"I own the nursery where Micah spends half his day on Earth," she explained. "Ana used to go there, too."

"So, tell them only what they need to know then," Dev said, mostly to himself. At least, until they were old enough to be able to keep a secret. "What if one of them grows up to decide they don't want to be part of this?" he asked, curiously.

"That ... will be a discussion that will be had when the time comes," Lionel said thoughtfully. "If it comes. But I find it hard to believe such a thing will happen."

"There must have been a time when someone didn't want this life - when someone had rebelled against it," Dev said, merely curious. The answers to all his questions could probably be found in the many books that lines the walls of the library, but it was a lot easier to just ask. "What about Mordred? Wasn't he supposed to be responsible for Arthur's downfall?"

"Ah, if it is the founding and the history you wish to know of, then I would suggest you speak with the Lady, or with the Merlin and the Enchantress," Lionel suggested with a smile. "The Lady lived through it all, and Ian and Aurelia ... they were there for some of it. They were integral to Avalon's removal through the mists."

Dev's brows shot upwards at the last part of what Lionel was telling them. "Wait ... They were here when Avalon was ... moved here?" he asked, clearly not having expected that. Where was here anyway? Through the mists didn't mean much to him. And how could Ian and Aurelia have been here two thousand years in the past?

"It's a complex story," Lionel chuckled. "I could show you the chronicle, written by the Grandmaster of the time, but I think it would be better to learn it from them."

Amaris blinked, rolling her eyes. "This is getting more complicated by the minute."

"Can you just tell me one thing?" Dev said, taking the rest of what the Grandmaster was telling him at face value. He'd seen some strange things in his life and had no reason to disbelieve what he was being told. Some things weren't meant to be entirely understood, but merely taken on faith. "Where is here?" he asked.

"Here?" Lionel considered his answer before giving it. "Avalon exists in a pocket plane created purely for Avalon. There is no way to reach the Isle without crossing the mists, and the Lady is constantly aware of who comes and goes. She keeps out those who would seek to enter without permission."

"So, it's in some dimension that exists just outside of reality," Dev said, trying to wrap his head around the concept. He wasn't a physicist and he didn't understand the science of it, but that was how he comprehended Lionel's explanation.

"Yes. A bubble, if you will." That seemed to be the best way Lionel could think of to explain it. Avalon's existence wasn't questioned by those who lived there. "It is invisible to the powers of Earth, to Heaven and Hell. Angels and demons do not set foot here. There has been only one exception to that rule, and he became human to save his own life at the Lady's hand."

"So, it's a place of refuge," Dev said, realizing this was most likely the case for the hunter and his wife. It was a safe place where they could rest and relax and enjoy their children without having to worry about vampires and demons and whatever other enemies might be looking for them. He furrowed his brows at the mention of an exception though. "An angel?" he asked, as he couldn't possibly imagine the Lady ever allowing a demon to live in this place.

"Avalon has always been a sanctuary against the world outside," the Grandmaster murmured. "But when the world threatened it, Avalon was moved so that it could remain a sanctuary." He seemed to surface from memories and nodded to Dev. "Yes, an angel. I do not believe the Lady would ever allow a being of evil to set foot here."

There was a lot for him to think about. Dev glanced at Amaris at the further mention of an angel. There was something going on here that he didn't quite grasp yet. He didn't bother to mention that it had been an angel who Rhys had called on to heal Amaris - no, not called on, demanded.

"It's a lot to take in," he murmured.
"The function of wisdom is to discriminate between good and evil."

- Marcus Tullius Cicero

Duncan Devereux

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Re: Meeting the Grandmaster
« Reply #5 on: August 01, 2019, 08:24:10 PM »

"Just because most things that are not human are classed as monsters does not mean we're naturally evil," Amaris said, catching his eye and misinterpreting his look. "I may not particularly like the vampires we met, but I don't think they're evil. Lycans and vampires get on almost exactly like a house on fire."

Lionel snorted with laughter. "Ah, yes," he agreed. "Screaming, burning, bodily harm ..."

Dev had no argument there. If the Lady had deemed Lycans as evil, they would not have been made Guardians of Avalon. As far as vampires were concerned, he wasn't as sure.

"But isn't the main difference between the two that Lycans are born and vampires are made?" he pointed out. Yes, there were wolves who were made, too, but he'd come to understand that they were different from Lycans.

"True, they are," Amaris agreed. "But I don't think anyone knows how vampires began. There are legends about the beginning of lycans, too, but I doubt they tell the whole story."

"I'd bet there's something here that tells the story," Dev said, smiling as he looked around once again at the vast array of books surrounding them.

"Maybe we should find Zachariel and ask him," Amaris suggested with a faint giggle.

Lionel chuckled. "Just listen for the sound of mischief," he suggested cheerfully. "Where Tristan is, Zachariel won't be far away."

"Zachariel," Dev repeated, a thoughtful expression on his face. "That sounds angelic," he said, making a guess. An angel who'd sacrificed his immortality to become human? Was such a thing even possible? It seemed from what Lionel had told them that it was.

"Does it now?" Lionel said, his twinkling eyes giving nothing away. It wasn't his place, after all, to out Zachariel's background. "I've always thought it had a Biblical sound to it."

"Old Testament maybe," Dev replied, grinning. "What should we do now?" he asked, looking to Amaris. They could stay here and ask the Archivist about the origins of Lycans or they could go find the Champion and Priestess. Dev had a feeling there wasn't enough time for all their questions to be answered in a few days.

"Would you mind going to see Rhys and his family?" Amaris asked a little tentatively. "All of this is very ... new and I, uh, I think seeing someone at least vaguely familiar might help a little."

"Of course," Dev replied, understanding completely. All of this was even newer to him, and it was starting to make his brain hurt. "Sir Lionel, it was a pleasure," he said, turning to offer a hand to the other man, unsure if handshakes were even done yet. Bowing seemed more appropriate, but handshakes were old habit.

In place of the handshake he was expecting, Lionel clasped his arm like a warrior of old. "It has been a pleasure meeting you, Dev," he agreed. "And your wife." He bowed to Amaris, who had gone wide-eyed at the assumption.

Dev grinned at that assumption. He didn't doubt that if they continued on the path they were on, that assumption just might become fact before too long. It was too bad they couldn't stay - Avalon was the perfect place for a wedding.

"I'm sure we'll see you again."

"One way or another, I am certain of it." Lionel nodded to him, glancing over his shoulder and letting out a barely perceptible sigh. "Yes, Yves, what is it?"

A rather weedy-looking man wearing the tabard of the Templars along with a pair of thick spectacles and holding an armful of books was mounting the steps with purpose. Amaris bit back a grin at Lionel's obvious resignation on being accosted by a scholar, and gave Dev a gentle tug back toward the steps.

Dev smirked at the interruption. Lionel had warned them, after all, but at least, he'd been able to give them a little of his time to answer most, if not all, their questions.

"He's not that old, you know," he whispered to Amaris as they made their way back down the stairs. "I mean, he's old enough to be my father, but he's certainly not ancient."

"No, he's not," she whispered back. "So I guess time passes normally for everyone but the Lady, huh?" In a way, that made it worse, in her opinion. "God, how many people has she seen live out their whole lives around her and die?"

Dev frowned. He hadn't thought of it that way. Maybe instead of immortality being a gift, it was more of a curse, in a way, though she technically wasn't immortal, so much as long-lived. "It must be a lonely way to live," he murmured in agreement.

"At least she's got Lionel," Amaris commented, her tone resuming its normal volume as they passed back out of the library and onto the path that would take them up to the tower on the hill.

"Lionel?" Dev questioned, turning a confused look at her. "What do you mean by that? Do you think ..." He trailed off, remembering how the Grandmaster's voice and expression had softened at the mention of the Lady, especially by name. "Oh, Christ ... He's in love with her."

"That's what it seemed like to me," Amaris agreed softly. "I mean, they're obviously not in a relationship, but there's love there. Maybe that helps, I don't know."

"She is beautiful. There's no doubt about that. And there's a certain sadness about her," he admitted. "He said she was married to Lancelot, but if I remember my Camelot correctly, wasn't he in love with Guinevere?"

"Did he say she was married to Lancelot?" Amaris tilted her head curiously. "He said Galahad was her son, but I don't think he said anything about Lancelot. I thought Lancelot was this weird heroic adulterer or whatever."

"Well, he implied it," Dev admitted. "Either way, I believe Galahad was Lancelot's son. It's sad to think she's been alone all this time, but maybe she hasn't," he said with a shrug. What did he know of it anyway? Everything he knew about Avalon he'd learned watching Camelot.

"Maybe Rhys knows more about it." Amaris shrugged. "This is all very ... weird. Not in a bad way, but it's a lot more than I ever thought it would be."
"The function of wisdom is to discriminate between good and evil."

- Marcus Tullius Cicero

Duncan Devereux

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Re: Meeting the Grandmaster
« Reply #6 on: August 01, 2019, 08:24:37 PM »

"Maybe we should try to simplify it, so that we can understand what's important," Dev suggested. "Avalon is a sanctuary of sorts outside of reality, but it also seems to be a repository for vast amounts of historical information and relics. It's a historian's dream really."

"But why wouldn't they share that knowledge with the world outside?" Amaris queried in confusion. "I mean, there are historians and archaeologists all over Earth who keep saying that we've lost all this knowledge over the centuries, and it seems like Avalon's got it all."

"Because in order to do that, they'd have to tell people about Avalon, and that would be too dangerous," he explained. "They're very careful about who they allow to come and go here. If knowledge of this place become known, it wouldn't be long before it was destroyed. Besides, some things are better left a mystery."

"I guess," she conceded reluctantly. "Like keeping the supernatural secret - if people knew just how much went on under their noses, there'd be widespread panic, and then they'd want us all dead."

"Yes, exactly," Dev replied as they started on the path up the hill to the tower house that was the Bristol family's refuge in Avalon. "It's better they don't know."

"Maybe they're waiting for a time when it'll be safe to share their secrets," Amaris wondered, tilting her head up toward the crest of the hill. It was easier to see the Bristol kids playing together from here, and it looked as though Rhys and Natalya were keeping an eye on them from inside the house itself, with the door propped open wide.

"Maybe," Dev grudgingly agreed, but he had his doubts. Humanity as a whole wasn't ready for Avalon and he couldn't foresee a time when it would be. "It's peaceful here," he said, repeating what he'd said earlier. "It would be easy to be happy here."

"But you're also cut off from Earth and everyone on it," she pointed out. "I don't think I could live like that, permanently cut off from my pack, only able to speak to them through mirrors or whatever."

"No, I imagine even Paradise would get boring after a while," he admitted. What was the point of living if there were no challenges in life? "It's a nice place for a visit though," he had to admit. Even if he didn't want to live there.

"It sure is." Her hand snuck into his as they walked, falling silent to enjoy the odd stillness that came with no traffic, no airplanes, no sound of modern life intruding on natural silence.

"The function of wisdom is to discriminate between good and evil."

- Marcus Tullius Cicero