Monday, December 12, 2011

Chapter 45: A Complicated Glamour

It has been generations since Cecilia Landgraab 'died', long enough that anyone who ever knew her is long dead. Now that she's found her Harris reborn again in one of his clones, Cecilia decides that the time is right to come out of hiding and take her place as the bride of the next Landgraab heir, to live in the open in the Landgraab manor in Brooklyn Heights. She's even confident enough to host a gala charity event here in the city where she was born and is supposedly buried beside her late husband.

The plan is simple enough. Rory, disguised as one of the catering company's employees, will get inside the mansion and disable the security. Then, Sage will break into the secret underground office, and Joffrey will hack into their computer and download all the files on their secret labs, trying to locate where they have Summerdream locked up.

Aymeri and Ico are disguised as party guests. Ico's job is to create a glamour, making the guards and other security personnel believe that everything is as planned and not to investigate any noises or follow up on any suspicions that arise. Her glamour also extends over herself and Aymeri, making their hosts and other guests believe they are a well known couple of wealthy philanthropists, invited to this party by the Landgraabs. No one will question their presence here, everyone expects them to be there. Even Cecilia, who has already proven herself as susceptible to glamours as any human, despite her fae background.

Aymeri's job is simply to chat with any party guests who decide to interact with the well known pair of philanthropists. Ico can create powerful illusions, but that doesn't mean she can handle small talk with humans.

"That was my great-grandson," Aymeri remarks to Ico when the young man moves off to the dance floor after a brief conversation, "He's the image of my son. He's even named after him."

"I could lift the glamour enough for him to recognize you," Ico offers, "So you might speak to him as his kin."

Aymeri shakes his head, "He wouldn't recognize me even without the glamour. My descendants all believe me long dead. If I am anything to him, it's just a name."

"But you are immortal. How do your kin believe you dead?"

"Only one of our four children was ever told about my true nature," Aymeri explains, "Our daughter Tearney, because she was a dragon herself. The others...we decided it was better that they didn't know."

"Four children?" Ico asks, her brows knitted, "You overcame your grief over our daughter's fate quickly, then."

"Is that what you think?" Aymeri asks, "When our Lusinea fell to the corruption, I was devastated. I did not want to believe it, even when she joined the enemy and fought against us. I watched her kill several of us in battle and I did not move against her. She killed her own lover, Ico, in front of my eyes. I had to stop her. If I had acted sooner, those she killed might have survived that day, and their blood is on my hands as much as on hers. And after this battle where I was forced to cut down my own child, I came to you for comfort, and you turned me away, blaming me for what the corruption did to Lusinea. You cut me in half that day, Ico. Do not accuse me of overcoming it so easily."

"You never showed the slightest sign of grief," Ico protests, "The next day saw you in battle again, as though Lusinea's death hadn't touched you at all. The songs all tell of your victories, your heroism."

Aymeri takes a deep breath, "Oh, aye, I threw myself right back into battle, Ico. I wanted vengeance and I sought my own glorious death. Vengeance I got, in battle after battle, but it did my heart no good, knowing the enemy were just like Lusinea, sick, polluted, no longer who they were once were. And my own death continued to elude me, no matter how recklessly I fought. When Tania brought Thierry Tricou to me and asked me to make him a warrior, I believed I would finally meet my end fighting beside this untrained halfling. He trusted me, and spoke to me often of the wife and children he had to leave behind, and his deep regret at not being with them. He never wanted any part of the fae, and was made to fight a war he had no stake in because of a deal he made with Tania. Despite that, he gave himself to our cause, fought as though it was his own home he was defending. He shamed me, and gave me the will to carry on the fight, even though my daughter was lost to it, and I had lost you."

"It was his daughter you married," Ico says, her eyes lowered and her voice soft.

"Allyriane," Aymeri sighs, wistfully, "Her father sent me to bring her a gift. By then, he had risen to the highest ranks and could not get away from the fighting as easily as I could. She was so pure, so earnest. And she loved me with that bright, human intensity. She made me whole again. For a time at least."

"Meri," she breathes his name through a suppressed sob, and a large tear rolls down her cheek.

"Not here," he says, wiping her tear way with an affectionate caress, "You have a complicated glamour to maintain. This is a conversation for another time."

From the dance floor, an Archer descendant watches the exhange. She's not fooled by the glamour, and while she doesn't know who they really are, she knows these two are not what they appear to be. Still, she has no love of the Landgraabs and is more than willing to pretend she's as taken in as the rest of the party.

While the party gets underway, Sage works on the hidden door to the underground office. The Landgraabs used ancient technology similar to that used in the many tombs she's raided to conceal the entrance, and her skills come in handy in finding it out. Joffrey, wearing his 'clone uniform' as instructed by Rory, keeps watch while she feels around for the right place to apply pressure on the seemingly solid wall.

Hidden in the hollow of the wall is a staircase to the underground office.

Joffrey had often seen reference to this place in MorcuCorp's files, but he'd never seen it with his own eyes.

Now comes Joffrey's part in the plan. Hacking through MorcuCorp's password protection is easy for him, he's been doing this since they gave him his first laptop. He finds the locations and schematics of all MorcuCorp's secret labs and safehouses, all heavily encrypted. He downloads them all to his drive, planning to work on the encryption when he gets the files home.


  1. Okay breathing now. I dunno, there's just something about Aymeri and Joffrey that takes my breathe away. Adding Rory to that mix and fae backstory and I had no chance in heck. I think I stopped breathing around the time Aymeri wiped away Ico's tear.

    In other words: Stop being so awesome.

    Sage's tomb breaking skills is all kinds of awesome, and she looks great in that outfit. *Eyebrow wiggle* (Oh god I'm sorry. I couldn't help it)

  2. Lol, at the one elfling not being fooled. I'm going to have to have a not-hybrid show up in my story sometime. There's just never been a good excuse.

    *pokes Joff* Be careful... they know your specialties and how well they trained you, don't they?

    I hope everything works out! D=

  3. Also... so sad, Lusinea killing even her love. =(

  4. Oh dear god Melissa, I rolled Adventurer next gen and there officially is NO way I'm ever going to be able to top this.

    I love Ico/Aymeri's long lost romance. I too, felt incredibly touched by their conversation. Bravo!

  5. Ok, this has turned into a full fledged novel! I'm totally hooked!!!

  6. I'm on the edge of my seat here Melissa! Great update!

  7. Oh wow, that back story is so awesome!

  8. *nods*

    *nods again*

    *nods even more*

    agrees with all the above!! i was holding my breath, i love how your described the past of Aymeri and Ico, i'm falling in love with Ico as well btw!! I so hope well be seeing more of her!!


    (yes i'm female, and yes i'm happily married.....yes to a guy......)

  9. Thanks, guys!

    Becky....either we think a lot alike, or you just have a direct line into my brain. Either way, <3

  10. Gah! I'm on the edge of my seat here, Melissa.

    The conversation between Ico/Aymeri was cute (really not the right word, but I'll keep it for now).

    Since I'm too lazy to add another response on the thread, I like Aymeri's hair whether short or long: but if I had to pick one, I love the braid. LOVE.IT. ; )