OT: Hatched Plots

on February 25, 2011 in Other Tales

Note: This started life as a story about little Aidan, but what was meant to be a brief prologue about his father took on a life of its own. I liked where it was going, so I just went with it. The planned story with Aidan will be next OT I do.

Aderick Lythander was big for a man.

He stood more than seven feet tall, broad of shoulder and barrel-chested. His outfit looked like it belonged to someone from an earlier age, for the very good reason that it did.

Actually, it looked like it belonged to as many as three people from an earlier age, comprising stout metal plate, striped cotton leggings, and a voluminous cloak of deep blue. On his back hung a sword that was taller than some men. A lap harp was slung on a leather thong hanging off his belt. His left hand clutched a brushed steel staff that was a good eight feet tall, not counting the crystal orb at the top, nor the blue-scaled foot that grasped it in long-dead claws.

He would have stood out in any tavern, even if it hadn’t been empty of all but himself and one other man.

“I’m not sure I understand what you’re asking,” the companion said, shaking his head. “You want Dell and me to look after…”

“No, Danny, I’m not looking for someone to ‘look after’ the boy for a little while,” he said to his companion. “I want you and Dell to raise him, take him as your own. I’ll not ask you to love him…”

“Then I guess you don’t understand what you’re asking,” Dan Harris replied.

“Well, it’s what I would hope for,” Lythander said. “But I know the heart will not be compelled. In any event, I won’t be coming back for him even if I survive… certainly not to claim him, and possibly not at all.”

“Of course,” Dan said. “But you know you’d be welcome to visit him.”

Lythander shook his head.

“I’m not sure I’ll be around,” he said. “This world holds few enough charms for me now… oh, don’t look at me like that. I know more exits than the one you’re thinking of. My mother wasn’t a native of this world, you know.”

“I’d always thought she was human,” Danny said.

“She was, or near enough,” Lythnader said. “There are worlds and worlds besides this one, and I don’t mean planes of existence as you’re thinking of. In some of them the dragons are different, or the elves are, but humans seem to be much the same in all the ones I’ve heard of. Human sages believe that there is some sort of universal constant at work, but I believe we’re just in a cluster of the damned things, or perhaps we’re merely stuck following a thread that connects them but could just as easily find ourselves going from dragon-world to dragon-world if we only just knew how to turn off onto a different path.”

“I think I prefer your theories,” Dan said. “But, if you do happen to be passing through…”

“It wouldn’t do,” Lythander said. “Not while he’s a lad, at least. Wouldn’t be fair. It’s hard enough to give up a child completely. Giving up one halfway? It’s more than I can bear. It wouldn’t be fair to you and Dell, either, and most of all it wouldn’t be fair to him. A boy should know who his folks are, Dan. He should have a father he can look up to, not just towards in the distance.”

“That makes a kind of sense,” Dan said, nodding.

“Then you’ll do it? I hate to put this on you so suddenly, but I do need an answer.”

“If you need it right this minute, I’m afraid the only thing I have in stock is ‘no’,” Dan said. “I couldn’t accept this on my own. Not without talking to Dell.”

“I have a hard time believing you’ve never discussed adoption before.”

“Oh, we’ve considered it,” he said. “But even if we’ve decided between the two us to pursue it, that doesn’t mean I can just turn up with a child. It just doesn’t work that way.”

“I only came to you now because she was away,” Lythander said. “My wish is for the boy to experience the sort of family life he might have known had he truly been born to a different father.”

“If by that you mean you want him to grow up ‘normal’, I think you’re asking the wrong person,” Dan said.

“What I mean is that it was my intent to conceal the truth of the child’s nature from all but you,” Lythander said. “I do not expect you to judge him, obviously, but he deserves a mother’s love as well…”

“I think perhaps you’ll make a stronger case if you avoid the subject of love,” Dan said. “It doesn’t seem to be your strongest suit.”

“You think I haven’t known love?”

“I’m sure you’ve met love,” Dan said. “Perhaps you’ve spent some grand times together. But it seems if you do know love, you don’t know love well.”

“And perhaps we’ve spent some time together, and yet you don’t know me well enough to say this to me,” Lythander said, drawing himself up to what was, if not his full height, then at least fuller one.

“Which only proves the point,” Dan said, seeming not to notice the way the air crackled around the bristling half-dragon. “In any event, as you didn’t find me in a brass bottle or a ring I think the most you can reasonably expect from me is just the first wish, and even that’s pending the enthusiastic and informed agreement of the other half of my heart.”

Lythander fumed silently for a few moments longer, then seemed to literally deflate as he settled back into himself.

“And how soon can you accomplish that?” he asked.

“No sooner than she’ll let me,” Dan said. “But it’ll be at least a week. She’s off at her father’s estate and won’t be back until then.”

“So long? Time is pressing.”

“It does that,” Dan said. “But you said her absence is the only reason you came now and not some other time, so I expect it isn’t so pressing that you can’t come back again in a week.”

“I suppose not,” Lythander said. He sighed. “How is Lord Robert?”

“Much improved for his change in station.”

“The tax holiday was a deft touch,” Lythander said. “It’s not enough for the man to escape the duties of his original rank. His neighbors would have only hated him more for his good fortune if he hadn’t contrived to remind them that he’d never taken their money on his own behalf. It’s only a pity it took your boon to do so. Your idea, I suppose?”

“Dell’s,” Dan said. “She understands the people. They didn’t care much more for her than they did her father, but they were less wary of grumbling before her.

“But it took your intervention to bring the relief,” Lythander said. “And I’m certain the Unnameable One counted it as two boons, one for the title and one for the holiday, which means you have been rather generous with your reward.”

“Bob’s family. Better he’s taken care of and comfortable in his situation than we’re living the high life while the rest of his house gets carted away,” Dan said. “In any event, it seems as though you know a lot about my situation, especially seeing as I haven’t seen you since I was knee-high to a gnome, ‘Uncle Thander’.”

Lythander laughed

“It’s true, I haven’t,” he admitted. “But you’re quite famous now.”

“There’s many a bigger celebrity you could have turned to in your hour of need,” Dan said. “Exotic adoptions are all the rage, in certain quarters.”

“I don’t want someone who’ll treat the boy as ‘exotic’,” Lythander said. “I want somebody who’ll treat him as a son. Maybe I don’t know you as a man, but I knew your father well. I was with him the first time he made the crossing with you, only an infant. Half-Ton Harris was as good a man as I’ve met. Twenty years ago I’d have gone to him, but in his absence I’ve no qualms about asking the man he raised.”

“I suppose that answers the ‘why me’,” Dan said. “But why anybody? Why not you? Maybe some would say that traveling between worlds is no place for a child, but if humans are so much the same all over then I daresay all of those worlds must have children in them.”

“It’s true,” Lythander said. “But I have some things to take care of before I can wander the worlds, and they may take more than one boy’s childhood to accomplish. They may even take my life.”

“They couldn’t be put off for one boy’s childhood?”

“If you’re trying to talk your way out of this, lad, all you have to say is ‘no’,” Lythander said.

“I’m trying to talk you out of anything you’re apt to regret later,” Dan said.

“I have enough regrets for a number of lifetimes,” Lythander said. “I told you his mother died.”

Dan nodded.

“No one can sympathize more than me… my own mother died in birthing me,” he said.

“Lisette did not die in childbirth,” Lythander said. “My father killed her, to punish me. For ‘weakening our line’ by breeding with a human, supposedly, but in truth it was for defiance. He himself had mated with a human woman, after all, but where he found his mate to be worthy of at least a dalliance he thought my wife was… ordinary, and he forbade the union. Never mind that I could have spent a human lifetime with my bride and still found plenty of time after to mate with someone he found suitable.”

“So you’re after vengeance, then,” Dan said.

“Perhaps,” Lythander said. “Perhaps not. There is something in me that wishes to earn my father’s punishment, by seeking out more of his kind and sending them to the Herald, hastening our descent down the path he fears we tread. I do not know that I will do that… such impulses do not particularly suit me. I do know that I cannot live the rest of my life pinched betwixt a pair of claws. Any vengeance I earn in slaying my father will be incidental to my purpose, which is the freedom to go where I wish and love whom I wish.”

“Do you think you can possibly succeed?” Dan asked. “I mean, I know nothing of your father, in particular, but isn’t he…”

“A greater dragon? Aye,” Lythander said. “One of the greatest, in fact. But even a human may slay a dragon. There is something about the created kinds that dragons do not really understand. Mortals themselves do not often grasp it. I, who have divided a score of decades between both worlds, have only begun to comprehend it.”

“And what is that?”

“I said I’ve only begun to comprehend it, not that I can articulate it,” Lythander said. “But I have seen archwizards weave spells that leave the elemental titans speechless. I have seen devoted priests channel the powers of their gods to work feats that… though they would never admit it… would be beyond the abilities of the gods themselves to achieve in such a fashion. I have seen men who could steal a bit of luck as easily as they’d palm a gold coin, weave the motes of daylight into a song, and hide themselves away in plain sight in an empty room. Mortals are small and weak and fragile by nature, but they are inclined towards a greatness that beggars the heavens.”

“You should have been a poet, Thander,” Dan said.

“I have been. But I sense that you are not convinced.”

“The greatest thing I ever achieved wasn’t because I’m part human,” Dan said. “That’s for certain.”

“Oh? Do you think your infernal father would have dove beneath decks to try to salvage the levitator?” Lythander asked.

“Wouldn’t know, I’ve never met the gentleman,” Dan said. “But I didn’t dive.”

“No, I expect you ran… right towards the only thing on the ship that might have killed you.”

“There were lots of things on the ship that might have killed me,” Dan said.

“But a trip over the railing wasn’t one of them,” Lythander said. “In your heroism, there is the seed of the sort of greatness that approaches the levels written of in the epics of old.”

“Let’s leave off that point for a moment,” Dan said. “If we take this child… is there any reason we shouldn’t be expecting a visit from his grandfather?”

“My kind are leery of interfering in the affairs of your kind,” Lythander said. “Your father’s kind, I should say. In their current incarnation, they are both powerful and new enough to give the oldest dragons pause.”

“‘Leery’ isn’t a very strong word,” Dan said. “It’s not exactly a synonym for ‘won’t’, is it? I mean, is this supposed leeriness anything at all like an actual prohibition?”

“A little, but not much,” Lythander said. “The fact that I’m giving up the boy will be a greater protection. It’s what my father wanted me to do before he was born, in essence. My plan to kill him, should I succeed, will be greater protection still.”

“And if you fail?”

“Then he can do nothing to torment me,” Lythander said. “You must not think he would come after the child on principle. He does nothing on principle.”

“But if you do succeed, and he’s dead… there’s nothing to prevent you from coming back for your son,” Dan said.

“If you’re only interested in renting him for a while, then I’ve come to the wrong place.”

“I’m just making sure of your intentions before I talk to Dell,” Dan said. “Or rather, making sure you’re sure of them.”

“I came here with my mind made up, Danny… I thought I’d need to talk you into it, not the other way around,” Lythander said. “I told you already…”

“I know what you told me,” Dan said. “And maybe you’re telling yourself that you can give him up because you’re staring down the possibility of your very long life being cut very short. Maybe when that’s over and you’re looking at a future that has a future in it again, you’ll change your mind.”

Lythander shook his head.

“Perhaps I can’t say that I might not feel a pang of regret at some point,” he said. “That, in part, is why I plan on losing myself on the path between worlds for a while. I believe I can keep myself occupied for some sixteen or eighteen years, no matter what happens. If I return after that, it will be to meet a young man as an equal, not to claim a child as my own. He will be your son.”

“That’s the other thing,” Dan said. “Dell and I aren’t exactly a couple of backwoods farm folk. We can’t lie low for a year and show up with a boy, there are too many eyes on us. Even if it’s not public knowledge, this child’s nature is going to be known to high-up sorts of people… and while the emperor’s gracious with his favors, my understanding from our dealings so far is that he’s keen on seeing boons discharged. What I’m getting at is, it’s likely to take my third boon for us to keep this child legally. But you’ve thought of that, haven’t you?”

“Oh, aye, yes,” Lythander said. “It makes you a more suitable candidate, to my mind, that you’d have to give up something dear to take him in. I wouldn’t like to leave him in the care of someone who paid nothing for him, or took him in expecting a reward.”

“Well, there’s a tidy answer to my next question.”

“I know you’ll be able to support him without anything in the way of help from me,” Lythander said. “If I offered you anything from my rather modest hoard as payment, well, then… how would I know that you’re accepting the responsibility, rather than the reward?”

“If you can’t know that anyway, I’m not sure why you’re here,” Dan said. “But I’m not about to argue the point, as I really did intend to make it through life without a pile of dragon-gold, child or no.”

“That’s good,” Lythander said. “Because you won’t see a single penny from me.”

“Should we anticipate any special difficulties?” Dan asked. “Owing to his nature?”

“It is unlikely that he’ll show any facility with shapeshifting or access to other abilities before the onset of puberty…”

“‘Unlikely’,” Dan repeated. “Another word you won’t find in the thesaurus following alongside ‘won’t’.”

“As I was saying, it is unlikely it would happen anyway but I’ve set a compulsion upon him,” Lythander said. “He will not be able to begin to shift before his thirteenth birthday, save in cases where it could save his life.”

“So if we’re careless with him, we might end up with a three-year-old dragon a few years down the line?”

“It wouldn’t be like that,” Lythander said. “It would take him years of practice and likely guidance from an elder for him to assume a full dragon form. But if it is needful, his skin may become scaled in places for a moment, or he may find himself using greater strength than a human of his size should be able to muster. But if you keep him safe from mortal peril, then it should not come up.”

“No mortal peril,” Dan said. “I’ll try to remember that… what do we do if something ‘dragonish’ comes up unexpectedly, though? I think I can be a good father, but I’m not a dragon.”

“I assume you’ll have access to experts,” Lythander said. “Once the emperor gives his leave for you to raise a quarter-dragon, he’d be a fool to leave you without resources. If you really must try to get a hold of me… and I’m not dead… you can try leaving a message at the Inn of the Black Door. I may pop in there from time to time.”

“Where’s that?”

“Anywhere, eventually,” Lythander said. “The elves know it.”

“Elves,” Dan said. “Got it. I suppose all that’s left is for me to talk to Dell. I think we’d like to see the baby first, but I have a funny feeling you’ll have an answer for that.”

“I do,” Lythander said. “Most parents don’t get to meet their child before deciding to have him.”

“Dell might have something to say to that.”

“She’s welcome to say anything that she likes, but if she thinks she can sway a half-dragon as easily as she does a half-demon she’s in for quite the surprise.”

“Oh, yes, she often acts surprised when she gets her way,” Dan said. “Does the boy have a name?”

“We discussed a few,” Lythander said. “We never settled on one. Perhaps that’s for the best.”

“Perhaps,” Dan said. “I’ll leave it up to Dell, I suppose… she has more family to mine for names than I do.”

“A wise decision,” Lythander said. “So, I will contact you again in a week, then.”

“Make it a week and a day,” Dan said. “So I’m not springing all this on her the moment she walks through the door.”

In the end… and after meeting both Lythander and the infant in person… Dell acquiesced, and with the emperor’s final boon to smooth out the legal wrinkles the child was khersined as “Aidan Robert Fulton Harris”. Despite Dan’s threats to call him “ARF” for short, he was known as Aidan, as Dell made it clear that she thought it was a fine name in no need of shortening.

A year and a day after the adoption was made official, the family returned home from an appointment with the imperial inspectors attached to Aidan’s case to find the middle of their living room occupied by an immense wooden chest, carved and painted with the likenesses of blue dragons encircling it. Its side panels were four feet high and it was easily twice as long.

“Oh, good,” Dan said, handing the child back to his wife before approaching the chest. “The new footstool’s here.”

“Were you expecting this?” Dell said.

“I had a feeling,” Dan said. There were three locks along the front of the chest, and one on each side. Each one had a key already in it.

“Could it be a trap?”

“If there’s a trap, we walked into it more than a year ago,” Dan said, turning the keys. When the last one clicked open, the top of the chest popped up and a small number of glittering coins slid off the top of the overflowing pile.

Dell said nothing, but carried little Aidan to his room to put him down for his nap. She came back to the room to see Dan holding a single, small coin up to the light. She came closer and saw that it was a single copper piece. The coins on the floor were gold and silver. The contents of the chest were a mixture of the same, and of many different shapes and sizes.

“What’s that you have there?” Dell asked.

“A single penny,” Dan said. “You should never trust a dragon, ignoble or otherwise. The other sort would have filled a chest up with every sort of coin in the world that isn’t called a penny, or put two of them, just so he could say he’d kept to his word as a matter of pride.”

“Or sent nothing and felt perfectly righteous… it isn’t like we need a big box of treasure,” Dell said, picking up some of the scattered coins. She could now see that what she’d taken for silver was platinum. She forced her eyes back into her skull. “We’ve talked about this.”

“Right… so we’ll just be chucking this in the quarry, then?” Dan said.

“In a bank,” Dell said. “A sound dwarven one, I should think. This is Aidan’s trove. He can figure out what to do with it he comes of age. See to it, won’t you? Count out one hundred gold coins to set aside for emergencies, and get someone to take the rest to a vault… and quickly.”

“Yes, dear.”

“I don’t even want to think about what that weight is doing to the carpet.”


Note From The Author:

With my travels and computer troubles, I’ve almost forgotten… I have a novella-sized e-book coming out in March called:

.

You can read the first chapter for free and/or order a copy here.


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51 Responses to “OT: Hatched Plots”

  1. 'Nym-o-maniac says:

    ‘“Oh? Do you think your infernal father would have dove beneath decks to try to salvage the levitator?” Lythander asked.

    “Wouldn’t know, I’ve never met the gentleman,” Dan said.’

    And if I didn’t like Dan already, he’d have just become a favorite right there. Level-headed, witty and open-minded- so much for half-demons being inherently evil. I loved his conversation with Lythander, too- excellent dialogue, and generally good banter.

    Just one thing, though- in “Son of a Creature Man,” didn’t Dell say that Aderick’s mother was the dragon?

    Current score: 2
    • She said “Oh, his mother’s side, I think.”

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      • Nym-o-maniac says:

        And also ““His mother didn’t look like a dragon when she had him. She knew magic to change herself… that magic was in her son. He learned to change himself when he grew. You might do that, too, when you’re older.”, but I guess that could be speculation on her part.

        Current score: 0
        • When I wrote Son of a Creature Man I had been intending that Aderick’s mother be the dragon, and even when I started writing this I had initially planned on keeping that, but I made the decision to change it since we didn’t have more than Dell’s uncertain report to contradict a dragon father.

          I think I might add a few “hedge words” to that part you’re quoting to make it more clear that she’s speculating.

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          • 'Nym-o-maniac says:

            Ah, I see! Thanks for clearing that up.

            Current score: 0
          • The implications are easily that his mother was a dragon in terms of personality if you used the word dragon in the sense of a fiercely vigilant and/or unpleasant woman – it would just be a matter of developing her as that sort of character somewhere down the line as having that sort of personality perhaps. Even though her husband loved her, people in general might not have.

            Further, I think it is possible to read between the lines and conclude that his mother might have learned a magic that allowed her to shape-shift to match her husband for intimacy or reproductive reasons perhaps with some curiosity as well thrown in, and thus the child not only inheriting his father’s abilities but the mother’s as well.

            On a tangent note (my imagination running away – remember folks if you read this do not take it as canon), perhaps if she shifted to yet another form during pregnancy, late enough in gestation or even gave birth in an alternate form, he (Aidan) might have a natural affinity to it as he (Aidan) comes into his powers. I’m running down this trail of thought due to also being in the middle of rereading a book that has the original werewolf population created due to gestation of a child while a humanoid mothers were forced into a wolf form by demons. Those children had been born then with the ability to shift between wolf and human form, thus leading to the advent of werewolves as a created race. Even if she merely took a dragon form while carrying him, potentially could that have influenced his development? Could it mean he’s classifiable as more than a quarter dragon, or simply that he’s more powerful than a normal quarter dragon? Just some thoughts I’m pondering – food for the imagination.

            Current score: 0
  2. Zergonapal says:

    Blue dragons, so he isn’t Embries son?
    I quite liked this story, I am particularly enamored of the idea of multiple worlds, but is Lythander referring to multiple universes or walking between worlds similar to the idea of world corridor of Raymond Fiest’s creation?

    Current score: 0
    • fka_luddite says:

      Embries is still alive.

      Current score: 0
      • Oni says:

        Nothing here that explicably states that Lythander’s father is dead, either. Highly likely, though. I was also wondering about who the full-dragon was, until the “blue” part. Well, I suppose I’m still wondering, I just don’t have any names to guess. Perhaps I’ll just refer to him as Blueberry the Dragon.

        Rather liked this chapter. It says a lot, about the exact characters featured and all of the rest of the story due to the perspective.

        I’ve gotta say: for his sake, I hope Danny is never tracked down by a sister. I don’t think he needs to be tossed into that mess. That, or he’s just what the doctor ordered. Hmmmm….

        Current score: 2
        • beappleby says:

          I don’t know about Danny, but I’ll bet Mack would really love having a big brother. And considering what we know about Danny, he’d probably embrace the relationship as well.

          Current score: 0
          • Oni says:

            What I mean is that getting involved with Mack means getting involved with all the stuff surrounding Mack, which from a realistic and/or literary perspective would almost definitely mean the end of his happy life.

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            • beappleby says:

              That’s true – but Dan doesn’t seem the type to avoid trouble if it means helping out family.

              Current score: 0
            • beappleby says:

              That was phrased oddly – I meant that he’s not going to avoid helping out family just to stay out of trouble’s way.

              Current score: 0
    • Burnsidhe says:

      Walking between worlds is a fairly common feature in fantasy. Fiest is only one author to present the idea. You can also and more famously see the idea in Zelazny’s “Amber” and “Wizard World” books.

      Current score: 0
      • Also Nick O’donohoe’s (sp?) Crossroads series which takes place in a pocket universe that is tangent to [all] many fantasy locations as the space between them where all roads lead hypothetically. Crossroads is a very nice little series though out of print.

        Current score: 0
      • fman0801 says:

        The Narnia books include a forest filled with pools each leadin’ to a different world.

        Current score: 0
    • Cadnawes says:

      I’ll argue that we don’t know either way. Embries had access to the hoard of a deceased blue dragon, after all, and apparently all he wanted out of it really was something that had been stolen from him in the first place. So the presence of some blue dragon related swag could be accounted for, that way. Or on the other hand, that staff makes it look like maybe Lythander could account for the demise of someone blue, himself. All we know is that Lythander’s dad is kind of a jerk, and so’s Embries.

      And who knows how long this plot would take to accomplish, assuming it was successful?

      Current score: 0
  3. Carrie says:

    @Nym0o-maniac
    Just re-read “Son of a Creature Man,” Dell mentions she thinks that Aiden’s father half dragon was from her mother. She didn’t necessarily sound to sure of the fact.

    Also interesting to see that Dan thinks his mom died in childbirth.

    Current score: 0
    • Nym-o-maniac says:

      Yeah, makes sense. Her referencing his mother not looking like a dragon when she had him made me think there might’ve been a continuity error, but on rereading, it works as her just not knowing.

      Current score: 0
  4. cnic says:

    Not a single penny, ha! I always liked that sort of thing in stories. At first I thought you might have been going for a one penny/several pence thing.

    Current score: 0
  5. Rey d`Tutto says:

    Another Excellent read. Thank you AE.

    I really enjoy the quicker pace, and that you are hitting it more often than missing it, and that the quality is consistently awesome…

    I Thank Thee.

    Current score: 0
  6. Sylvan says:

    “Lythander fumed silently for a mew moments longer, then seemed to literally deflate as settled back into himself.”

    “mew” there looks like it should be few.

    “He would have stood out in any tavern, even if it hadn’t been empty of all but himself and one another man.”

    “another” looks like it should be other.

    Current score: 0
    • Sylvan says:

      Ack, geez, and sorry for missing this the first time, but that first lined quoted also seems to be missing a “he” in the last part of the sentence (“literally as settled back into himself”)

      Current score: 0
    • Chips says:

      Unless it’s a deliberate neko reference! 🙂

      Current score: 0
  7. Sylvan says:

    “nor the blue-scaled foot that grasped it in long-dead claws.”

    Also, I only caught this on the re-read. No errors, but nice touch of detail there! An atypical play on a typical staff design from someone who has good reason to have it, I like this part very much.

    Current score: 0
  8. Zathras IX says:

    In which Lythander
    Is draggin’ his dragon heart
    Around and around

    Current score: 0
  9. drudge says:

    “Oh, good,” Dan said, handing the child back to his wife before approaching the chest. “The new footstool’s here.”

    I burst into laughter there. Dan’s been in the whole of three chapters and he’s already my favorite character.

    Current score: 1
    • Seth Gray says:

      It’s easy to like characters we haven’t seen much. They don’t have as much time to do something we disagree with.

      Current score: 0
    • I have to agree, he’s one of my favorites as well, and that in spite of the fact that we haven’t really learned anything about any flaws he might have.

      For me, the truly endearing things about a character tends to be their character flaws. Unless we count humility as a flaw, which Dan seems to have in spades.

      Current score: 0
  10. bramble says:

    So it appears that MUniverse dragons are divided by species on the lawful/chaotic axis rather than the good/evil axis. I guess we probably should have seen this coming, given Embries.

    Current score: 0
  11. Burnsidhe says:

    Personally, I don’t see AE’s dragons as being “aligned” in the classic sort of way used to in D&D. They seem to be individuals and not, ah, “color coded for our convenience.”

    Current score: 0
  12. p says:

    This was really cute for some reason.

    Current score: 0
  13. readaholic says:

    om nom nom. Also the free sample of the gifter novella.

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  14. Dante says:

    Brilliant dialog. Dan is swiftly becoming my favorite character. He seems to display the subtle characteristics of his father (his father’s kind?), but the preferences of choice of his mother. I’d love to know how Alexandra comes up with such wit. It would be a terrible thing for the rest of us if it’s natural.

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  15. JS says:

    Loved this chapter. Reading Lythander I really felt like I was listening and then noticed how quickly I had popped into his narrative when Dan popped me out of it by speaking!

    And, after three years of reading I have finally managed to donate. Hopefully I’ll remember to do so again when I actually have a job!

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  16. Kaila says:

    I really enjoyed this. If Mackenzie grows up half as stable and secure as her big brother, she’s doing alright. He really is just a good man.

    Also, is it somehow genetic in how persistent/persnickerty they both are? In Dan’s case, he’s quick off the mark and proves his point well. In Mack’s case, she tends to argue things into the ground. Was their Mum as fond of the ‘yes, but…’ rejoinder?

    Could just be Dan getting his point of view across, but in a way it seems a more mature version of the way Mack jumps on everything people say – more clarification and less ‘correcting’.

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    • barnowl says:

      Yes, I could definitely hear Mackenzie in Dan too! Neat touch.

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  17. Potatohead says:

    Has anyone written up a family tree or something similar? It’s been long enough since the last OT tale about Dan Harris/Aiden that I’ve forgotten who is who.

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    • Rethic says:

      Mack and Dan Harris are full blooded siblings with a full demon father and full human mother(with interesting powers of magical perception). Dan Harris was raised completely by adoptive parents. His adoptive father(Half-Ton Harris) was an airshipman so he became an airshipman. Dan and Mack’s grandpa(grandma Blaise’s husband) was also an airshipman so I think he knew Half-Ton. Dan fell from the sky after trying to save a ship as it was going down in the middle of nowhere. A girl whose dad was important in that area found him and nursed him to health. This girl was Dell, his now wife. This story explains how Dan came to be the adoptive parent of Aidan the 1/4 blood dragon. Aidan would be Mack’s adoptive nephew. I hope this clears it up, and if I got anything wrong please comment. 🙂

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      • beappleby says:

        It was actually Dell herself (Ardellia) who found him out in the field. That was in the recent story “Fall to Grace” (link below.)

        http://www.talesofmu.com/story/other/fall-to-grace

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        • Sylvan says:

          “A girl whose dad was important in that area found him and nursed him to health.”

          Re-read this sentence, carefully this time.

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          • beappleby says:

            Oops! I think I read it as saying that her dad found him. Sorry!

            Anyway, the story wasn’t tagged so I wanted to post the reference anyway.

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  18. barnowl says:

    I wish you hadn’t given Mackenzie’s brother and adoptive nephew the same names. It’s quite confusing.
    Besides, it always seems pretty egotistical to me to name your kid after yourself, and “Dan” doesn’t seem that type.

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    • SallieKat says:

      I agree with you on the last two points, but it wouldn’t surprise me at all for Dell to insist on naming the kid after her husband.

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    • Phexar says:

      Actually, it looks like it was Dell that gave little Aidan his name, and Dan wasn’t entirely thrilled about it, so you’re right about him not seeming that type:

      “the child was khersined as “Aidan Robert Fulton Harris”. Despite Dan’s threats to call him “ARF” for short, he was known as Aidan, as Dell made it clear that she thought it was a fine name in no need of shortening.”

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  19. mafidufa says:

    Thanks very much for the mobile version of the site. It has helped me greatly with my non-3G connection. Noticed a bug though, the next/previous chapter links are backwards – next chapter is on the left and previous chapter is on the right.

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  20. Morten G says:

    This OT didn’t show up in the RSS on iGoogle. I don’t know why…

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  21. Mackenzie says:

    I wonder how he is uncle thander? Also I wish Dan had gotten to raise Mack, but I guess then we would not have the story we have.

    I knew lythander would give them money. As soon as he said he wouldn’t give them a single penny, I thought to myself, hes going to give them some money, including a single penny. I think thats good writing, that I thought that.

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    • drudge says:

      Well, I don’t think an eleven year old would have much luck raising a nine year old, for whatever my opinion is worth.

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  22. Krail says:

    My gods…..

    AE, multiple universes… you’ve just validated every self-insertion fanfic someone might write!!

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  23. tijay says:

    I’ve been wondering where I’ve heard of the “Inn of The Black Doors” before and I just realised it was from Skullduggery Pleasant

    Current score: 2