Chosen One, 83

Truth Often Pays Greater Dividends than Secrecy

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“There you are,” Isaac said, when Seth appeared beside him on the lift in the main tower. “Haven’t seen you in a few days.”

Seth nodded. He looked, in Isaac’s opinion, a little embarrassed. “I’ve been, you know. Doing stuff.”

Isaac took his hand. “It wasn’t an accusation. I don’t expect you to spend all your time here.”

“I know, but I don’t want you thinking I used you to get back into the world and then fucked off to do whatever I wanted.”

“I don’t own you, Seth. You can do off and fuck whoever you want.”

Seth snorted a laugh at that as the lift moved up. He looked down at Isaac’s hand in his. “You know, you’ve really gotten back to normal pretty fast.”

Isaac shrugged. “Having a dick again—and a place for other dicks to go—really did wonders for my temperament. Not to mention my sense of humour.”

“No kidding.” Seth was quiet for a second, watching the walls move as the lift rose. “So…you had fun the other day, I guess?”

It wasn’t hard to imagine what Seth must be talking about. “You mean at the gangbang? Were you watching?”

“No, I wasn’t there.” Seth was blushing. “I, uh. Felt it.”

“You felt it?”

Seth nodded. “Remember when you pulled us back through the Web? You grabbed yourself to do it.”

“Yeah.” It had been a somewhat memorable moment in Isaac’s life. One he was pretty proud of, too.

“You grabbed yourself on the dick.”

Isaac nodded, then paused. The lift had reached the floor Isaac wanted, but he didn’t open the door yet. “Wait. You’re not seriously about to tell me that means you’re connected to my dick?”

Seth shrugged. “All I know is that I also had fun the other day. I wasn’t, like, feeling everything you were feeling. I assume. But I sure was feeling…harder than usual. So…sorry about that.”

“Why are you apologizing?” Isaac opened the door, took Seth into the hallway. “I’m the one who attached you to my slightly higher than average sex drive without asking.”

“Slightly.” Seth rolled his eyes. “I just feel bad that you basically don’t have a choice but to have me at least distantly included whenever you have sex.”

Still holding Seth’s hand, Isaac gave him a kiss on the cheek. “You are always invited to be included in sex at any distance. I just feel bad that…”

“Don’t feel bad. I liked it just fine, and it’s not like it was too distracting or anything. I was still spying on people just fine.” Seth smiled. “I just wanted you to know.”

“Well now I know. Maybe next time I’m having a gangbang, you’ll come?”


“Good, because I’m thinking of having an orgy soon to celebrate my return.”

“What was the orgy the other day, then?”

“That was a gangbang, and it was a welcome back party. Very different.” Isaac patted Seth’s cheek. “You’ll get the hang of it the longer you know me.” They’d reached Yancy’s door, and Isaac knocked on it.

“You’re going to tell him about Klaus, aren’t you?”

“Come in,” Yancy called.

“I was trying to think about who I trust the most,” Isaac said. “And I could only think of two people.” Isaac opened the door.

The study was exactly how it always was, Yancy sitting at the head of his table, writing. Oliver was there too, pouring over a book. “Hey,” said Oliver as Isaac came in.

“Hey,” Isaac said, smiling. He went over and gave Oliver a hug. Oliver had been in to see him a few times when he’d been in the infirmary, but Isaac hadn’t seen him since he’d been let out. “You look very studious, reading books and all that.”

“Oliver is working very hard on his main project,” Yancy told Isaac, gesturing for him to take a seat at the table.

“The one about the Vault, right?” Isaac asked as he sat. It looked like Yancy was grading essays, so Isaac tried not to look at those.

“The very same,” Yancy agreed. “Oliver has some remarkable ideas about its defences and how to shore up specific weaknesses in them.”

“Good.” Oliver’s book had a big diagram of the Vault and a lot of small text that Isaac couldn’t have read if he’d tried, because it didn’t look like it was in Daolo. “Diana told me it got broken into again while I was asleep.”

“Ah,” Yancy said, setting down his quill and getting up to put his kettle on. “Alas, I regret that you had to find out while you were still unwell, but I suppose it was for the best. Come in, young man, take a seat if you like.” Seth was still kind of standing there in the doorway.

“I’m actually quite a great deal older than you, sir,” Seth said, but he did come in, sitting in the chair near the door.

“That scarcely matters,” Yancy assured him. “Would you like some tea?”

“I can’t drink anything, sorry.”

“No need to apologize,” Yancy said lightly, making the tea. “We are not responsible for our own circumstances.”

“No, most of us aren’t.” Seth gave a long sigh, which was very dramatic for someone who didn’t need to breathe. “I’d like to put out there that I’d rather Isaac didn’t tell you what he’s about to tell you.”

“I see,” said Yancy, pouring the boiling water into the teapot. “May I presume it is one of the things you said you’d rather not speak of when we were talking previously?”

“It is.”

“It’s also very important,” Isaac said. “And it’s not something that Seth and I can handle alone.”

“You have my attention,” Yancy assured him.

“Should I go?” asked Oliver.

“No.” Isaac trusted Oliver just as much as Yancy. “There’s a demon named Klaus who possesses people. He’s the one who sent the wraiths to try and kill us on the way here, which I think means he must be the guy who tried to break into the Vault the first time. He’s spying on me and, I guess, a lot of other people with a mind control spell that his victims don’t know they’re under. He’s secretly controlling the Catechism and…probably a bunch of other stuff. And even Seth doesn’t know what he really wants.”

Oliver looked like he’d been hit with a hammer, and Yancy’s expression turned stonier and stonier. “I see,” Yancy said finally. He stood up. “Have you spoken to anyone else about this creature?” he asked, heading over for a shelf.

“No,” Isaac said, looking at his hands. Oliver got up and poured the tea, and put a cup in front of Isaac. “I…I want to tell Lee about it. I think she can help. But I…I wanted to tell you first. I don’t know what to do, Yancy.” He didn’t know if he should tell them about Nicholas or not. What if they expelled him, or took him to a lab and tried to dissect him, or…

Yancy came back from the shelf with a letter in his hand. “Isaac, I’d like you to read this.”

Isaac frowned, took the letter. It had his name on it, but he didn’t recognize the handwriting. “Why?”

“When I was your age, I was…intimate with a young man, a fellow student at the academy. Giles could see the future, Isaac. He instructed me to give this to you when you spoke to me about someone named Klaus.”

Isaac stared at Yancy, who looked completely serious. “Really?”

“I am quite serious, yes. Please, read the letter, Isaac.”

“Okay…” Isaac broke the seal on the back—were those trees? They looked familiar—and read the contents of the letter.

Dear Isaac,

I wish you and I could have met in person. But fate is what we’re dealt, not what we want. As Yancy just told you, my name is Giles, and I have been able to see the future since I was very young. If you need proof of this further than what you’ve already been given, look out the window—a large clump of snow is about to fall.

Isaac looked up, just as a whole whack of snow fell past Yancy’s window. He felt all shaky and weird, and swallowed, looking back down at the letter.

First of all, I want you to know that I’m very proud of you for telling Yancy about Klaus. After what you learned, it must have been exceedingly difficult for you to trust anyone. You made the right decision. You can also safely tell Yancy about Nicholas. He will help without hurting him, I promise.

I know your next step will be to tell Lee about all of this, and that is reasonable. I have a request that I must ask you to pass onto her and Yancy. Please do not tell the archmage about Klaus. He is a good person who will attempt to do the right thing, but it would not end well for Nicholas or you.

Klaus is a very difficult opponent. I know you feel strongly about stopping him and I’m not going to dissuade you, but it will not be easy, Isaac. He is one part of a very large network of problems in which you will unfortunately be involved. I don’t want to overwhelm or scare you, but you need to be prepared to fight more than just one demon. Nicholas isn’t the only person who needs your help.

Something I suspect you never realized, Isaac, is that you sleep in the very same bed that Yancy used to when he was a student. My apologies, of course, if this causes problems for your sex drive. When you next have time, I would like you to look underneath it, and find the panel in the wall that is movable. I put a gift there for you before I left the academy. Do what you think is best with it.

On the back of this letter is a diagram for a spell. You will need help to cast it, but when you do, it will help you see Klaus’s threads when they are present. I cannot, at this point, help you remove them—that power is not yet available to you. But it will be, I promise you that.

I wish to close by giving you two tasks and a warning. First, please go to the library on the night of the next full moon. I ask you to go alone, though I know you will not. You will not be hurt, and I cannot tell you why without influencing you. I’m sorry. Second, next time you see Sam, tell him that you can help him kill the shadow. And your warning: dragons cannot be hurt with magic, so do not try.

I regret that I can’t tell you more right now, but I know that you have difficulty reading too much at a time. Please do me a favour and tell Yancy I love him, and always will. And Isaac, you are the chosen one that he and I have always hoped for. Always remember that, if nothing else.

Your servant,


Hand shaking, Isaac turned the letter over, saw a spell diagram on the back, way more complicated than anything he’d ever learned.

“Isaac, are you okay?” Oliver asked, coming closer. “You’re crying.”

Isaac nodded, wiping his face. “Yeah. Yancy, he wanted me to tell you he’ll always love you.” He handed the letter to Yancy. “And he has a spell that can help us find out who’s being controlled by Klaus.”

Yancy looked at the spell diagram carefully, but handed the letter back to Isaac afterwards. “You’re not going to read it?”

“Giles wrote me many letters, Isaac,” Yancy said with a gentle smile. “That one was for you.”

“What happened to him?”

Yancy put his head down. “He passed away nearly twenty years ago. Cancer of the stomach.”

Oh. Oh, now Isaac was going to cry all over. “I’m sorry,” he said, picking up his lukewarm tea and drinking it. “He must have been a really nice person.”

“He was.” Yancy sighed. “He cared very deeply for everyone.”

“You most of all, I bet,” Isaac said. That made Yancy smile a little, and Isaac smiled too. “There’s something else I need to tell you. I wasn’t going to, but…Giles reminded me I could trust you.”

“Isaac, just because someone wrote a letter…”

“It’s okay, Seth,” Isaac said, taking a deep breath. “Nicholas is a homunculus. Klaus made him to spy on me. He’s, he’s a real person and he’s a good person, Yancy. But Klaus…basically owns him. And I don’t know how to help him.” Tears streamed down Isaac’s cheeks as he spoke. Admitting that he couldn’t help Nicholas was hard. It hurt. It hurt so much.

Yancy was quiet for a moment, contemplating. And then he nodded. “Very well. We will find a way to help him. It would be best for now if we did not reveal this information to Nicholas, for it would in turn reveal our plan to Klaus, which we must avoid if at all possible.”

Isaac nodded. “That’s why I didn’t want to tell anyone. Giles…said we could talk to Lee. But he also said not to tell the archmage, because he might try to do something that would hurt Nicholas by accident.”

“Very well. Then we shall not tell the archmage.” It struck Isaac how much Yancy trusted Giles to make that decision so fast. “We must manufacture a reason for us to examine Nicholas carefully.”

“When I go back to class,” Isaac said, swallowing. “I could accidentally cast a spell on him or something? Something where you’d have to check him out after to make sure he was okay?”

“Yes, that’s very clever. In secret, I shall give you a harmless spell you can cast that will cause such an effect,” Yancy said, nodding to himself. He smiled.

“We should get Lee to make Isaac a research assistant or something,” Oliver said. “He’s too young for an apprenticeship, but it’s clear that if he takes one in a few years she won’t let anyone else have him anyway.”

“What?” Isaac had no idea what Oliver was talking about.

“It would be an excuse for you to be in her study a lot. Which is…”

“Just around the corner from here,” Seth said, beside Isaac.

Isaac was trying to keep up, but that made sense. He nodded. “Right.”

“Another thing. You’re going to want to tell Peter and Jacob, right?”

“Yeah,” Isaac said. He had wanted to tell them since before he’d woken up. “I am.” He was scared to.

“Let’s cast this spell of Giles’s and make sure they’re safe to talk to first, okay?”

“Yeah.” Isaac nodded. “Okay.” He trusted Peter and Jacob. But it wasn’t about trust. He trusted Nicholas too.

“Seth,” said Yancy, putting another kettle on. “I must ask you to tell us everything you know about Klaus. It is vital that we be as prepared as possible if we are to combat him.”

“Okay.” Seth still wasn’t convinced, Isaac could tell. It was too late—he couldn’t un-tell Yancy and Oliver. But Seth would see soon. That this had been the right thing to do. He joined them at the main table, folding and unfolding his hands. Isaac put a hand on his shoulder to help calm his nerves. “Okay, well first of all I knew him when he was a little boy…”

Isaac wiped the last of his tears from his face. He felt so much better already. People weren’t made to keep secrets forever. And sharing this one was going to help. It was going to help Nicholas, and him, and thousands of other people.

Klaus’s main weapon was secrecy. So in order to beat him, Isaac’s would be the truth.

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6 thoughts on “Chosen One, 83

  1. How set in stone is the future? Because the bit with the snow suggests that the butterfly effect isn’t a thing that Giles has to worry about, if he can predict even tiny details like that down to the second. Is that because the future is ultimately immutable and his ability amounts to a stable time loop in that it muddies what is cause and what is effect but changes nothing about the events themselves? Or is it more that he can account for any changes that ripple out from his acting on knowledge of the future?


    1. It’s not as set in stone as Giles often makes it seem like it is. It’s solid in parts, but very mutable in others, mostly when there are a lot of people involved in something, because it’s impossible to account for the endless potential variation in human behaviour. So something like the snow falling is pretty set in stone because it’s just a mechanical process, but something involving human action can often be changed–usually when Giles directs someone to do something, it’s because he knows more than one outcome is possible and he’s trying to cause a specific outcome to become real. So it’s more the second thing than the first–but I will say that for all that it might seem that way, Giles isn’t omniscient either. We just haven’t seen a major example of him getting it wrong yet. 🙂



  2. I love the way that Giles is, for all intents and purposes, present and active in the world long after his death. It’s amazing what you can accomplish with a few (hundred) written messages and people who trust your instructions on who should read them and when and where above literally everything else.


    1. I love that about him too! The fact that Giles was able to form a lasting and meaningful relationship with Yancy is really good for everyone for that reason. It goes to show how powerful he was as a seer that he could maintain that presence that makes it feel like he’s not really gone, and how much Yancy inherently trusts him. It’s really something, I think.



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