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   Chapter 22 Epilogue

The Curse of Kalaan By Linda Saint Jalmes Characters: 21482

Updated: 2018-05-18 10:32

Vidocq, the illustrious and charismatic chief of the Parisian police force, had taken almost no time at all to respond to Kalaan's message. He came to the isle in person, at the end of the month of January, accompanied by five of his most trusted men.

When he arrived, his goals were to investigate the events and interrogate Darius Borgas pushing him as far as possible and, with a little luck, make him confess his crimes. For, without any evidence incriminating the maniac, it would be difficult, if not impossible, to put him behind bars. However on his arrival Vidocq had no idea of the events that had come to pass in this place surrounded by the Mor Breizh1, after Kalaan had sent his missive.

The chief of the police couldn't hide his astonishment when the count of Croz explained what had occurred; especially when he learned Borgas had tried to kill Kalaan as well as Virginie de Macy, both of whom, thanks to Georges Maltinard, now had written statements about his horrible misdeeds and his planned coup d'état against His Majesty Charles X.

Vidocq's surprise turned to cold rage as he read the pages written by his murdered friend. In them Georges revealed all of Darius Borgas' lugubrious projects, supported by the infamous Poisoners' Guild and gave the names of several of its members.

The interview took place in the study at the Croz family castle where Vidocq and Kalaan were seated by the fire trying to keep warm.

"All of this is most enlightening." Vidocq said, running his large hand through his curly graying hair. He frowned before speaking again.

"Despite everything Georges wrote, without any real proof we won't be able to question him nor the named members of the guild."

Kalaan fidgeted in his chair before clearing his throat and getting up to pour a glass of whisky. How was he going to announce that Darius was dead?

"Read Maltinard's last sentence, " he advised, "The one just at the bottom of the last page."

The policeman followed Kalaan's suggestion and whistled in stupefaction. "How could I have missed that?"

"The same way I did, " Kalaan smiled before taking a sip of his drink. "His revelations took all my attention and it was only on rereading his letter later on that I noticed the enigma. It is an enigma, am I right? It resembles the ones I used for my secret correspondence with coded sentences when I was an officer in the king's service."

"Yes, " confirmed Vidocq, before reading the enigma aloud. "May the spirit of Abel, the twenty eighth in his dark abode near the Father, deliver you the truth hidden under the canes of the dumb."

"Translation?" Kalaan asked, happy to see the police chief grin from ear to ear.

"Good old Georges! Not only was he an excellent friend, but he was also one of my best agents. Here is what the riddle means: "Tomb of a certain Abel2, division 28 in the Père-Lachaise3 cemetery, buried under plants called dumb canes4.There we will certainly find all the evidence Georges collected."

"I certainly hope so for all our sakes, " Kalaan agreed.

Then he froze when Vidocq asked, "Would you be so kind as to take me to your prisoner?"

"Do you mean Darius?"

"Who else, my friend?" Vidocq guffawed.

Kalaan let out a heavy sigh of concern and slowly turned around to face the policeman."I must tell you that there isn't much left of him and that we were lucky to recover the few pieces we did in our fishing nets. There's a charred arm as well as his hand with his signet ring burned into his skin. Will those do for you?"

Vidocq remained speechless for a few minutes before asking for an explanation. But what could Kalaan say? That Darius had been transformed into a human torch by magic thanks to Dorian Saint-Clare, child of the gods? That he'd then fallen off the cliff onto the rocks below, to be carried off by the turbulent waters?

"Never mind, don't say a thing, " Vidocq snapped. "The damnable creature paid for his crimes. I suppose it was legitimate defense?"

"But, of course!"

"In that case, I will return to Paris immediately and will keep you informed as the investigation progresses. Give me the… pieces you've collected anyway."

"With great pleasure!" Kalaan was happy to be rid of Darius' remains which were being kept in a cold box.

And so Vidocq returned to Paris, where the affair was promptly handled. He did indeed find enough evidence at Père-Lachaise to put several people in chains and charge them with crimes against the kingdom. However, the whole story was kept secret. There were several well-known members of the aristocracy in the group and some were close to Charles X. This was not the right time to revive the revolutionary spirit in the general population.

They also had to catch members of the Poisoners' Guild. They'd only managed to arrest a handful, while others managed to disappear into thin air. Vidocq swore to pursue them relentlessly to the ends of the earth, until the day he dies. The king wanted to express his gratitude to Kalaan, by offering him more titles, more land, anything his heart desired. But the young count only asked for two things — the right to marry Virginie de Macy soon, without having to publish the bans and the right to hold their civil ceremony aboard his frigate rather than at the horrible town hall on his land at Kerkalon, near Saint-Brieuc5. Both requests were granted of course, with His Majesty's blessing. The couple also received, as a wedding present, a small chest filled with precious stones and gold.

Kalaan decided to give it all to Dorian, because without him, Kalaan would still be cursed and his wedding could never have taken place. The only problem now was to get the stubborn mule to accept it!

The wedding date for both the civil and religious ceremonies was Saturday February 14th, 1829 and everyone was a state of feverishness. The day began under torrents of rain swept by violent gust of winds, strong enough to blow the hair off a monk's head, which delayed the last minute preparations. It seemed the elements had joined forces against the special event that involved all the islanders. Everyone from the simple fishermen to the lord and master of the castle would be at the party. This was the tradition; on a Croz family member's wedding day, social rank didn't exist.

The sun finally started to shine towards mid-morning as the clouds slowly dissipated and the wind blew its last breath

nded from the whirlwind and anchored itself on the water's surface just at the foot of the cliff. It was emitting a strange sound, a lamentation, and foam formed at its base. At the same time, the knoll where they were standing began to vibrate.

Dorian groaned in pain. The spirit was drinking in his magical powers as she would have with blood. He was getting cold, very cold and his limbs were stiffening. If this didn't stop soon, he would die.

"It's almost finished, " Isabelle, or whatever had taken possession of her, assured him.

"Who are you?" Dorian shouted feebly over the din, his breathing becoming more and more labored.

"My name is Amenty, daughter of the knowledge of Origins…"

Dorian couldn't hear the rest. A thundering noise covered Amenty's words and the earth began to tremble violently. How could they manage to remain standing there as if their feet were nailed to the ground while everything around them was in movement?

Soon the tornado base and the rocks below began to rise from the sea. Five immense stones followed by the plateau on which they were held. Everything rose up to the level of the broken circle and in one last rumbling sound bonded with the knoll on which they were standing.

Dorian, who had almost lost consciousness, was vaguely aware that the cloudy phenomenon and the tornado had disappeared. However what gave him the strength to hold on and remain conscious was his shock at realizing he was now standing in the middle of a complete circle of standing stones.

"The gods have forgiven us!" Jaouen fell to his knees in the center and let his tears of joy flow freely down his cheeks. "The door is rebuilt... Awen9!"

"Awen, " Clovis murmured. The legend of the broken circle came back to him and he turned white as a sheet.

"We must leave, now!" Amenty ordered taking Dorian's hand back in hers.

Before he knew what was happening, another whirlwind rose around them. The light around them was so radiant the young man had to squint, and he tried to pull his hand away to shield his eyes.

"No! You mustn't let go of me under any circumstances, " she shouted, "Or you will be lost in the halls of time forever."

Jaouen and Clovis, transfixed, watched this new phenomenon, powerless to move. But then Dorian and Isabelle's silhouettes began to fade into something otherworldly and the old druid quickly recovered his senses and jumped on the young Saint-Clare.

"Jaouen!" Clovis called after his brother. "Not without me!" He swore and then, gathering strength he jumped into the whirlwind too, and gripped his brother's arm.

A moment later all four had disappeared, right before the horrified eyes of Kalaan and Virginie.

"Isabelle!" Kalaan called out to his sister, running towards the center of the knoll. He stopped in his tracks and, reeling, paced around the inside of the circle. "But... I don't understand. The… circle…"

" whole, " gasping, Virginie finished his sentence. Kalaan remained silent, looking pale and lost.

"What have they done now?" The count asked, somewhat regaining his composure. "I hate magic and its curses!"

"My love, " Virginie said, trying, with difficulty to calm him down while she herself was trembling from head to foot. "There must be an explanation. And the standing stones are reunited, which is certainly the beginning of an answer."

"True, you're probably right. According to the legend, the circle would be complete again the day the gods forgive the people of this land. And if that is the case, then this place is quite simply a portal to the Sidhes!"

"Oh, my Lord, " moaned Virginie. "Then we will never see them again."

"Oh, yes we will!" Kalaan insisted, determined, as he took her hand and strode out of the circle away from the site.

"Where are we going?"

"To the Highlands, of course! To find Dorian's family, and with their help we will get my sister back."

"And Clovis, and Jaouen! We can't forget them!"

"Nor Dorian, " Kalaan added gritting his teeth. "And he'd better give me a good explanation for the fear he has caused us! Damned magic!" he shouted in his baritone voice, frightening the gulls that were perched on the newly emerged stones and eating the mollusks that had made their home on the standing stones.

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