Conversation: "The Confession of Harrison Greyfalcon"





       Sometime after Fletcher leaves, Cecily will see if she can prop herself into something resembling a sitting position. "What you did, coming after me... that's some sort of necromancy, isn't it?"
       "Ah, well, actually, yes."
       "Here I am, thinking I had you all figured out." She smiles, slightly. "My brother, the necromancer." She shifts, trying to find a comfortable position. "where did you pick up that little talent?"
       He sniffs slightly. "You are not the only one in the family that could lay claim to a misspent youth..."
       "My brother, a juvenile delinquent?" Cecily looks at him with wide eyes. "And here I was sure you'd been born wearing tweed."
       "I was... there was a secret necromancy club at University. I went when I was 14, I think I've told you that... it was hard to fit in, but when I found the club, or rather, they found me... well, I had a place then. We never reanimated the dead for anything other than a lark, you understand. But much as any time an callow youth dabbles in the Dark Arts, there are disastrous consequences."
       Cecily looks at him expectantly.
       He sighs. "Well, look. There was a demon summoner, Algoral di Venico. You've probably read about him in Zolgrav's, since he was known to have brought a Beholder into the world-- was killed by said Beholder, in fact. Not soul-sucked, just killed. He was buried at a crossroads not far from the University, in the traditional manner of those souls that might have a propensity to roam after death-- with a stake through his heart.
       "I don't want to get very abstract on you, but while being buried at a crossroads with a stake through the heart absolutely ensures that the spirit within the body will never roam as either demon or ghost, it is not a very good remedy when there are interfering young boys about."
       She gives her brother a long look. "Let me guess. You pulled the stake, either physically or metaphorically, and brought him back, didn't you?"
       "Oh, it was quite physical. And then, yes, I raised him from the dead. I was already a fairly adept sorcerer, but I wasn't prepared for him in any way, I'm afraid. He blasted me and escaped, and began terrorizing the northern counties with his demons. No one knew how it happened-- the only people who knew it was me were the other boys in the club. Our father was called in to dispatch the demons, and to take out di Venico. Of course, our very thorough father asked di Venico who had brought him back-- and though he didn't know my name, there were enough pieces for Father to put it together. Our parents were great sorcerers, and di Venico's body was not back in the grave ten minutes before Mother had appeared at University and given me the tongue-lashing of my life. She made me leave school for the term, as well, and I spent the next three months enduring an endless round of lectures and devising ways to make atonement to the families whose lives had been disrupted by di Venico's return." He lapses into a morose silence.
       "Wow..." Cecily seems impressed, in an "you screwed up bigger than I EVER did" sort of way. "Come here, Harry." She pats the floor next to her pallet. If he complies, she gives him a hug.
       He returns the hug. "Anyway, I promised Mom I'd never go dabbling in death again. But I think she'd forgive me this one time. I hope so."
        He returns the hug. "Anyway, I promised Mom I'd never go dabbling in death again. But I think she'd forgive me this one time. I hope so."
        "Yeah." She becomes suddenly subdued as the subject turns back to her recent experience.
       "Are you ok?" he asks, looking concerned.
        "I've got to admit," she says slowly, "that this rattled me a little... a lot." She looks at him. "It's one thing to think, 'Wow, I could have died' and it's another thing entirely to think 'Wow, I did'..."
       "Well," Harry says, looking odd. "Yes."
        She gives him a quizzical look, at his expression.
       "Yes, and our father was there, right near the edge of Life, waiting to hold you in place. Odd thing, that."
        "Almost as if he knew, maybe."
       "Yes... and knew that I would come after you, too."
        She shivers slightly. "Dying was creepy enough. I almost don't want to think there could be any more to it."
       "Hm. Yes. Perhaps we should leave well enough alone."
        "Perhaps..." But she looks thoughtful.
       "What is it, Silly?"
        "With everything that's come out recently, about this Amber, about all these people possibly being related to us... maybe it's all connected. Or maybe it has something to do with this sorceror who has an interest in me."
       "Could be Father just felt he died too soon..."
        "You're probably right. I'm likely just making it more complicated than it is." She falls quiet for a moment. "What was he like, Harry?"
       "Tall. Imposing. Serious. Determined. The ice to our mother's fire... much as I am the damp cloth to yours." He smiles as he says this.
        She elbows him gently. "Give yourself some credit, big brother. I do. I wouldn't be as good as I am if it weren't for you."
       He just smiles at that. "You're a good person anyway, dearest. Now, you should rest."
        "Yeah, I guess."



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