Actions

Work Header

What Both Will Be And Is

Work Text:

To: cokeefe@me.com

From: drpolly@me.com

Chuck,

I scanned and sent the relevant parts your way, and an e-book of Horn of Joy; I don’t remember if you have a copy but you should, it’s fantastic. Anyway, I hope this e-mail sends with all these attachments, and that you and Lucy are well. Take care of yourselves. Don’t be afraid to reach out. I’ll do everything I can.

- P

--

All will be well. When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee; when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. For the fire is roses, roses, and the sight of blue eyes can change what both will be and is. Matthew Maddox, The Horn of Joy, 1868.

The Private Papers of Charles Wallace Murry, Journal I

What follows are what will seem to most to be science fiction, the scribblings of a madman, or possibly both. This is why I ask that any who find these journals to only read them or speak of them in times of great need or threat. Time, space, and the delicate web of life are not to be taken lightly. Everything you read from this point on is true, as hard as that might be to believe.

I ask that these journals not be published, even after my death. Murrys, O’Keefes, any other family, must know that no good or profit will come of it.

State secrets also lie within. If revealed, they and all the other secrets herein will be taken, put into a box, and be used for one government’s purpose. If it must be, then it will be. I’m inclined to think our family will continue to need these little secrets, passed down from forebears many centuries before you or I took our first breaths.

Let’s begin.

--

Everything is connected. This is not just a religious tenet or a political theory. All things, from the smallest farandolae to stars binding planets together in the arc of time with an irresistible pull, are connected in ways that are almost too simple to believe.

Consider Matthew Maddox’s The Horn of Joy. The universe is wild and inexplicable, and moves in ways few can comprehend. The past can interact with the future, and the future the past, and the present is a mere formality. The events of this book are true. The events leading up to it, with a boy and his sister and a friend fighting for each other and those they love, with love, for love, are true.

--

Excerpts from The Horn of Joy, by Matthew Maddox, 1868.

Chapter 1: The Essential Things

The forces in our universe that shape our lives are not as simple as good or evil. Good and evil are unhelpful and indistinct terms. All of us could name evil people, but truly good people are much harder to come by, and therefore invalidate the idea of a strict binary in this sense. We may be able to name good people, but are we able to name people who have never done things that might generally be considered evil? What good, then, does the concept of “good” do us?

It’s simpler to consider that there’s a broader scheme at play. Things are not so clear-cut. We’re not driven by what we are (that is to say, in our core and in essence, good or evil) but instead by where we came from, from whom and what came before us, and the potential fates awaiting us. We are a product of the interaction of the universe around us and within us.

Our lives are a series of choices. We are the decisions we make; the decision to give or to take, to create or to destroy, to accept what must be done and grow from there or to take a path paved over the backs of others and become someone unrecognizable.

This is the story of Madoc and Gwydyr of Gwynedd.

--

Pg 5

Madoc came from the Welsh kingdom of Gwynedd, one of many princes, whose brothers fought in a desperate bid to gain Owain Gwynedd’s throne. He and his brother Gwydyr fled across the ocean, across rivers and lakes, until they found a place of beauty, peace, and joy.

There dwelt two tribes of natives. There were the kind People of the Wind, whose gods of the elements and priests and priestesses of sorts reminded Madoc of druids he left behind in Wales. There were the People Across the Lake, whose gods requested blood and sacrifice, who also reminded him of druids. Things were no simpler among what many would call savage folk, it seemed.

They were beautiful. They were free from ambition. Blood was not shed. Family was cherished and love was fostered wherever it was found. They weren’t perfect people; they were limited and as full of failings as anyone across the ocean, in every kingdom he had ever heard of. But there was a light in their eyes and in their eyes that Madoc had not seen since the innocence of childhood, if ever.

He embraced both tribes, heart and soul, though a prisoner of one and a god to the other. He listened to their lore. He worried about Gwydyr’s fear, until it got him killed.

The People of the Wind did what they could to mend him.

“There is sickness in your heart,” Zyll whispered to him in the night, as he stared across the lake to where his brother had been killed. “I wish we could heal it.”

“We can try,” Madoc told her, and clasped her warm hands in his.

--

Pg 9

The drums began again, at first distant, easily mistaken for a heartbeat and rushing blood in one’s ears, then more insistent, approaching, and the outline of dugout canoes became clear against the dark of the sky and the lake.

There Gwydyr stood, all fair and gold and alive, and it was as though a song burst inside of Madoc, a song of pure joy blown by a horn made by the Lords of wind themselves.

He moved from the wedding celebration, rushed to offer an embrace to his brother, but his eyes were cold and blue, a stark contrast to the golden circlet around his head; there was nothing of the Gwydyr he knew there.

In that moment, in his heart, he knew what had happened. Gwydyr had always been a fearful person, what the People of the Wind called a “stormy one,” turbulent, mercurial, and dangerous. Now he was like ice, unyielding and unbreakable.

A king.

--

Pg 12

As the flowers smoldered amongst the flames, a fragrant smoke arose, and Gwydyr’s face did not change.

Madoc knew he could not save his brother from himself. As his brother, it was still his duty to try.

They fought for hours, matched in different ways, but Gwydyr fought to kill and Madoc fought with kindness and mercy to spare. Through the reflection in the water the scry told Madoc he had done all he could. The rest would be left to others.

They broke. Madoc sent his brother away like a bird sends its growing chick from the nest.

The fall or the flight will always be dependent on one’s own willingness to spread one’s wings and follow the wind.

--

Excerpt from Alexander Murry’s lecture to the United States Government on the phenomenon of tesseracts

Time travel has mainly been focused on the merits of technology and astrophysics. I myself have dabbled in such pursuits. These efforts have not proved entirely fruitless, and are easier to quantify using the scientific method than the mostly theoretical concept of the tesseract.

Let me be clear; tesseracts are a proven way to travel in both space and time. They are also not as clear-cut as a machine one might climb into like that in H.G. Wells’s novels. It is, in essence, a mental exercise, in which one must both grasp the mathematical dimensions of the concept and open themselves both mentally and psychologically up to the forces of the universe.

I will pause to let you consider that notion, and wonder if I belong in a state asylum. You wouldn’t be the first.

Tesseracts can happen on accident. They can take hold in small ways and seize you on an adventure, not to be heard from for a decade. They are largely a mystery, and that is why I want you to consider allowing us further funding to learn as much as we can, and also ask you to be cautious in suggesting or implementing any indelicate or short-sighted uses for a dangerous method of space-time travel.

This is not a weaponizable project; nor is it an intelligible one, in many ways. But one day, our descendants will benefit from all that we learn from this phenomenon, and travel to places and times we could not possibly imagine.

--

The Private Papers of Charles Wallace Murry: Journal II

I suppose if you’ve read this far I haven’t strained your credulity overmuch. Let me further describe the nature of tessering, means of communication throughout space-time, and those who can guide us on these ways.

The events of The Horn of Joy, from prince versus prince one thousand years ago to a boy with blue eyes from a far-flung future on a stallion who can ride between worlds, are all true, as I’ve asserted before. Tesseracts are something of a family inheritance. I will not be in the slightest surprised if these papers are used by descendants (or forebears) of any sort to further understand what they’ve exactly gotten into.

There is plenty of danger in being in a tesseract. There is also much to be gained. I have friends and understanding I might not have ever found without being involved in situations with stakes so high and so many lives at risk. I don’t involve myself out of pride or desire for fame. I simply know, as I have always known, that everything is connected, by lines of love or desires for love, and we remain the agents of our own fate, no matter where or when we are. We are always surrounded by those we love and those who love us, no matter where or when we are, and we can always reach out to them.

Some might call it prayer. Some might call it zen, or mindfulness. Some call it kything. All we have to do is be sensitive to life and love, open ourselves to the love in the universe, name ourselves what we wish to be, and name others what they are. We must do this, or risk losing ourselves to the sort of shadow, the sort of enemy, Echthroi, that works to keep us hidden and distant from all those we might know and love, and turn cold and howling and hopeless ourselves.

This isn’t an easy task. But no one said it would be.

I had a discussion with a  friend of mine, Gaudior (not in so many, or any, words) as follows:

G: So many species and planets are concerned about their Wheres. They don’t feel they are Where they should be, that they would be happier someWhere else, where someone else is, where something else is, and that this would solve every desire and urge within them. The Echthroi take hold of this. They feed Projections [ed: of distorted timelines that hateful paths could lead down] into the minds of those weakened by this notion.

C: We were raised to think only of Wheres, Gaudior. We aren’t used to the idea of Whens, beyond thinking about the past or hoping for the future. It’s the only way we know how to conceptualize time.

G: You know that’s not how it works. Others must.

C: Like Meg, like Calvin, like Father, yes. We’re the rare exceptions. Tell me about how unicorns are raised. Tell me what that foal is learning.

G: That foal is well on her way to grown. Let’s not quibble on details. Where is an abstract to us. You know that Wheres are far more difficult for us. Even you on Earth have an easier time traveling through When than Where, even if it’s only one way. The universe is so vast, and the wind knows When things must happen. Where doesn’t matter, so long as it’s done.

C: Didn’t it matter that it was me, and you, to do what had to be done with Madoc and Gwydyr’s lines?

G: It matters insofar as it was done. All was as the wind hoped it would be.

C: Who directs the wind, Gaudior?

G: I don’t see why that matters, either.

C: I suppose it’s not an important question.

G: What you asked… the wind only knows. But there isn’t anything we can do to change a Where. Not truly. We can change a When. That’s what matters. That's what we can do.

--

Scribbled on the last page of the journals:

Remember the rune:

I place in Heaven with all its power

And the sun with its brightness,

And the snow with its whiteness,

And the fire with all the strength it hath,

And the lightning with its rapid wrath,

And the winds with the swiftness along their path,

And the sea with its deepness,

And the rocks with their steepness,

And the earth with its starkness,

All these I place

By God’s almighty help and grace

Between myself and the powers of darkness

Remember love before all things.

Remember yourself.

--

“Did you find anything?” Lucy Murry asks her cousin anxiously, peering into his room where he’s hunched in front of the computer with a pile of books and printed paper.

Chuck looks up at her. Then he sets the books aside and pulls her into a hug. “I love you, Lu,” he whispers to her.

She hugs him close, alarmed, but comfortable in the rare embrace. “I love you, too,” she whispers back.