Eidolon (Chapter 40)
Friday, February 15, 2013

Clouds were blossoming in the distance, promising rain for the city later. The crew of Serenity and the badlands around Eavesdown Docks to the south would probably see only a harsh windstorm. Two different worlds, she mused, caught between them. (Deliverance)


The waves were a moving mosaic, an impressionistic mirror for the city of Demeter against a green hillside. She flew the shuttle in low over the bay, circling around for a landing. The thrusters whipped up a fine spray around the platform as she touched down, like a fan of droplets from a swan alighting on a lake. For a moment she could imagine she was on just another engagement among the commercial towers of the city financial and administrative district at the base of the foothills.

Inara glimpsed her reflection in the viewscreen over the controls. She contemplated Mal's parting gift resting next to the almost-hidden star burst scar over her heart, then the empty shuttle behind her. Hard to believe only a month ago she was recovering from a bullet wound, preparing to leave. Time to be on her way again.

She tucked the chain down her white dress and pulled the blue chiffon of her stole closer around her shoulders, then slid the airlock aside, gazing out over the harbor and breathing the unprocessed air. Clouds were blossoming in the distance, promising rain for the city later. The crew of Serenity and the badlands around Eavesdown Docks to the south would probably see only a harsh windstorm. Two different worlds, she mused, caught between them.

A light voice broke through her reverie. "Inara? Are you all right?"

She pushed aside her wistful thoughts for the sake of her guild sisters. "Sheydra," she smiled. Her friend returned the gesture and helped her down from the shuttle.

"You didn't answer my question," she admonished. The priestess of the abandoned Burnet training house was blonde, beautiful, gentle, and refined, showing off her excellent taste in an aquamarine dress. Her wisdom to matched her years and she was keenly observant. When Inara had worked with her as a teacher, Sheydra teased her mercilessly about the spirit of adventure and pirate lovers. "Do you miss him yet?"

Oh no, she was blushing already. This didn't bode well for the rest of the conversation. "I'm ignoring you now," Inara said primly, as Sheydra, delighted by her all-too-obvious reaction, walked with her over to the other companions. "Rodberta!" she called.

The former companion had an unmatched zest for life. She was easy with a laugh and partial to playful and exotic prints, her wild hair tamed only by delicate accessories. She was an excellent choice for guildmother of Persephone, even without any established houses on the world. Guild presence in the border worlds and on the rim had always been sparse, though not for lack of trying. A student was standing nearby, an apprentice observing in much the same concept as geisha training on Earth-That-Was.

The first time Inara had arrived on-world, anxious and uncertain about her prospects, Rodberta had arranged a meeting with all the other practicing companions in the quadrant. The conversation had been light and enjoyable, and Inara had plenty of advice, recommendations, a full client list, and several new acquaintances by the end of the negotiations.

Rodberta herself had been the perfect hostess, and hadn't changed at all. "Oh my dear," she exclaimed as Inara joined them, light kisses to each cheek. "It's been too long. I last saw you almost two years ago, not since that dreadful Atherton Wing made himself into a spectacle."

She knew Sheydra was already intrigued. There had actually been a swordfight, brought on by Mal's stubborn-minded ways and a jealous client. The captain, a gunfighter who could barely find the hilt of the blade without cutting his hand, against a skilled fencer. The memory pained her still. He had nearly been killed without her intervention, and he'd never really let her forget the incident.

Atherton was once one of her regulars on Persephone - seemingly amiable and sweet, attentive eventually to the point of obsession. Underneath his superficial charm was something sinister and controlling. Like many of her clients he had a less savoury side and wrongheaded notions about ownership and entitlement she'd noticed right away, but nothing she'd never handled before. He'd invited her to a lavish social with the upper class of Demeter at the Telesterion Municipal Hall and asked her to become his personal companion under the lovely decor of the Anaktoron Dome. Just to make her life difficult, Mal almost magically appeared, with Kaylee in a princess gown and tickets he could not have acquired legitimately. The captain noticed her, immediately suspected Atherton's intentions, and to get her away from him, Mal asked her to dance. More incredible, he actually knew the steps.

Mal was gallant, even in an old-fashioned formal suit and cravat that looked like something out of the nineteenth century. Wherever did he get that outfit? Although the pants did look somewhat attractive on him - perhaps a size too small, but tight in flattering places. Kaylee, meanwhile, was simply adorable. She recalled a crowd of men and boys and pink ruffles with some amusement, a rapt audience hanging onto every bolt and rivet as they talked shop.

How quickly her irritation at their usual fights about her clients and her profession evaporated under the floating crystal chandelier and soft lights, as they grinned about Kaylee's enthusiasm and enjoyed the music of the waltz together. Unfortunately, Atherton saw as well. The situation escalated, Atherton insulted her, and Mal struck him to defend her honour. When the morning saw Mal bleeding and fighting for his life, Inara begged Atherton to spare him, and offered herself to the loneliness of that dead-end future for Mal's sake. Mal objected, and overpowered Atherton in his distraction.

Atherton blamed everyone but himself for the outcome, including by extension the guild and every member. His cruelty was as much a threat to any other companion or woman who rejected him as to the rivals he'd gleefully dissected in sanctioned duels.

This was not something she wanted to talk about, and not something she could let Sheydra overhear. She spoke up before her friend could ask for details. "He hasn't bothered anyone else, I hope?" Inara asked. She'd sent a general warning to the guild, but on the more remote worlds girls had to look out for each other.

The student answered her, consulting a datapad. She was tall, with an air of competent sophistication, short-cropped brown-hair swept to the side and lowkey in a black sheathe dress. "According to the credit trace on his account, Atherton Wing hasn't done much but nurse a bad temper and alcohol since his fall from polite society," she said.

Inara blinked. Not a new acolyte then. "Adessi Arman is with the guild protective service," Rodberta clarified. "She's the new security officer for Persephone." Of course. The guild discreetly monitored the credit history of subscribers, watching for warning flags and suspicious purchases, and they could also track the location of anyone in the registry from their last known transaction.

The agent inclined her head respectfully. "Ms. Serra." She tapped the screen again. "As of five minutes ago, your black mark was twenty miles up the coast at the usual country club, running up an astronomical tab with the irritated staff. While that could just be an alibi and he could have hired some local thugs with platinum to abduct you, I doubt the management would be happy with him conducting those interviews on their property, as he doesn't appear to drink himself unconscious anywhere else." She regarded Inara from underneath an elaborate application of eyeliner. "Also, he most likely believes you to be dead."

She was becoming too much like Mal, barely able to step away from Serenity without incident. His constant worrying had her jumping at shadows, her mind full of ambushes. Atherton was just one of many enemies she had to consider, but none of them would be looking for her, at least not until the reports of her demise were contradicted. There would always be risks, she supposed, something that might go wrong vessel-side or planet-side. Like Mal, she couldn't let the danger stop her.

Inara relaxed marginally, and smiled graciously at the officer. "Thank you." She looked over the small welcoming party curiously. "Is the High Priestess here? I thought she wished to speak with me."

Sheydra offered an arm and patted her hand, as though they were just out for a stroll along the shoreline. "She's seeing to some preparations. We'll meet her at the temple gardens," her friend assured her, leading her away from the landing pad and into the local planetary transportation center. Adessi fell into step behind them to keep watch as Rodberta took her other side. The clean white ribbing and girders of the concourse vaulting overhead involuntarily reminded Inara of an Alliance prison ship.

The suspicious timeframe of the messages in Serenity's log, her aunt wanted to see her, but wasn't present for her arrival... Yes, something was wrong. Inara lowered her voice to a whisper. "Sheydra, please. Tell me what's going on."

The other two companions exchanged looks around her. They both knew something. Adessi was the first to answer. "Ariel."

Sheydra squeezed her hand supportively. "Your captain alerted us, although without realizing." Hers again - always that joke. "He left a series of messages with House Madrassa, obviously coaching a girl in cover-alls to ask after you. If you were settled, if you were well. Then a drunken message later, alternately apologizing then asking why you were screening them out and playing games."

The security officer continued. "Clearly you weren't on Serenity, so we looked into your possible whereabouts. The guild doctors had you scheduled for your annual appointment, and you never arrived," Adessi explained. "There was no activity on your account and no explanation. You could have forgotten, or perhaps something came up with your transport." She shook her head. "But there was reason to believe you were abducted."

Inara averted her eyes from Rodberta's expression of sympathy and filled in what they hadn't said - there was reason, because someone had already tried to take her on Sihnon years ago. She'd gone to a waiting room in the sprawling complex of Ariel's Capital City General Hospital, and then somehow ended up on that dark floor with ghosts in labcoats drifting around her, paralyzed and unable to scream. She still didn't know what they were doing and why they wanted her. "By whom? Why are they after me?"

The brunette officer frowned. "We don't know. We only have a mode of operation. Guild sisters and trainees have been disappearing from Academies and hospitals on core worlds, along with highly intelligent students, amnesiacs, or individuals without known family connections. Our best guess is a secretive research group with government funding." Oh no. A similar program had taken River, broke the fourteen year old's mind, and trained her to be an assassin. But, it couldn't be. Why would they want companions? Then again, why wouldn't they? Companions were trained to pick up subtle emotional cues, and the guild culture was already steeped in mysticism about empathy. Perhaps that existing training would be easy to augment and build on. Their clients were vulnerable, and likely to offer confidence, and companions would make ideal spies. "We traced you to the hospital, found you on their system, and altered their records to have you transferred to a more secure location. We then intercepted the shipment, and issued a notice of death to stall their recovery attempt."

She couldn't help the feeling of annoyance. "And then you sent me to Mal, of all people. For my safety." Almost a deadly mistake.

The blonde companion was apologetic. "I should have known you would get into trouble with them again," Sheydra admitted. "I also thought they would be able to get you away as well."

"And here you are," Rodberta announced with a flourish, and meant as much the rescue they'd managed as she did their surroundings. Inara considered the truth of both meanings as they passed the customs officials without issue. Adessi hurried her through the imposing arches of Bole's gate into the now-overcast city, where a hovercar was idling. Her friends waved to her from outside as the first sprinkle misted the window, promising they'd be along shortly.

From down by the bay she could see all the charming shops and cafes and flower boxes lining first avenue. A direct line all the way up to the modest temple on the hillside, built in honour of the eclectic mix of early pioneers who had settled the area and worshiped there before it became popular with wealthy families. She watched the scenery change from metropolitan to gardens, and then to the tamed wilderness along the foothills. Quiet lanes branched off from the main road into the woodlands, towards grand estates that still tended to favour the horse and carriage as a show of wealth.

The high priestess was waiting under the pillars of the classical rotunda and the blossoming willows, situated against a rippling terraformed lake created from comet ice. On the opposite side of the headwaters, the peak rose in the east, illuminated by the sun during the day, and lit up at night by a beacon at the pinnacle.

Her aunt was dressed in her robes of office. Regal. The subtle outline of white blossoms embroidered on plum silk - part of the gardens herself. Black and grey strands in an elaborate headdress. Vihara's unreadable face was powdered in the traditional way, and as her aunt's attendants held the door for her and opened an umbrella, Inara curtseyed a formal greeting, folded over, almost sitting on the wet stone of the cobbled walkway.

She wasn't to straighten until the high priestess acknowledged her, and so she was surprised when her aunt lifted her into an informal hug - her aunt who sighed and clucked at her that she was such a handful, so like her mother, and her imperious Dà​ Mā who told her to mind her studies and her reputation. "Come along," she said, releasing her abruptly, and led her into the vestibule under the columns. "There's still much to discuss."

- - - - - He might've plowed himself the surf for all he could see in the downpour, even through the shuttle's rainguard. Seemed to be as much water in the air as below, he'd be none-the-wiser. About as graceful, too, whether flying or swimming - never been a good hand, let alone in a storm like this. But somehow he followed the air traffick route instead of sinking his chances before he even got there, somehow he spotted the landing beacons.

Long trudge along the dock ahead of him, and all without a coat. The city would be swarming enough with Alliance types, let alone him waving his colours around and running the bulls. He glanced up at the sky - no sign of letting up - and resigned himself to the weather. Mal reached the edge of the platform as he heard voices over the howl of the wind, squinted over and saw some figures running full-tilt towards the shuttle from the depot.

Cèng dèng. Well. Wasn't getting any drier. He turned, took a half-step, and threw himself into the water. The cold shock as he hit almost knocked the wind out of him, but he kept breathing, fighting the waves crashing over him. His lungs burned and his injured shoulder ached as he kicked and struggled his way to shore, tossed around by the swell. He was losing strength fast. The black eating around his vision was almost the same colour as the ocean, as the sky from his bridge - his hand fell onto a broad flat stone, and he dragged himself out of the foam onto the rocks. He coughed up some of the brine he'd swallowed, and pushed himself back up to his feet. Inara might leave, and his pursuit would find him if he dawdled.

They didn't catch up to him again until after some officers seized him trying to sneak through the immigration line then hauled him off to a sound proof room. How they picked him out among a horde of scruffy transients trying their damndest to look inconspicuous beat the odds, but they did give him holy hell for drabbling all over their pristine floor.

The marshals had him tied to an interrogation chair when the rest of the party entered. Three women. Companions. "You never take the easy way, do you?" one of them with dark hair appraised.

Now only his mind had to get to speed. Maybe he was hallucinating, bondage didn't sit well with him. Mal shrugged. His face hurt. "And miss out on all this?" The blonde in the light blue dress and the cheerful bronzed woman beside her looked familiar. "You're Inara's friends," he realized. "She know I'm here?" He quashed that sliver of hope quick, he'd actually rather she didn't. Why couldn't he go anywhere without getting arrested, he wondered, and heard the question spoken in Inara's exasperated scolding.

They nodded to the guard he'd been in a glaring contest with and started on his restraints once scowly was gone. For his part he helped by trying not to react and pull at the straps himself. "Not yet," answered Sheydra - right, that was her name - "We thought you might follow her, so we stayed here until we were notified you landed."

"That's thoughtful," he grunted, and gingerly stood, still sort of woozy. "Thanks." They stared at him with a combination of sympathy and disapproval. "What?"

The taller woman shook her head. "We better get him to the others, let them know he's all right." She glanced over him again. "Relatively speaking."

By the time they reached the temple, the rain stopped, rays of light poking out from the thinning storm clouds just to make an impression and show off the splendor of the lakeside garden and monument. Meanwhile he looked somewhere in the area of muddied and disheveled. Mal stomped across the grass and crossed the temple threshold into a parlour of sorts with stone panels. His crew looked up at him from mats arranged around the tiled floor, dressed in their formals and apparently having a tea party with half of the companion guild. Sheydra and the other two women joined the celebration while he stumbled to a halt. "Wha-?"

Kaylee beamed brightly over at him, bow in her hair and ruffled gown flared out around her like a bride on a wedding cake. "Heya cap'n!" She was nestled between Simon and River in a group of what looked like students, chatting away.

Serenity's first mate raised her usual eyebrow at his rugged appearance. She was wearing a blouse even, some loose silky thing in a deep red with dress pants and her boots. "Appeal to her sense of mercy, sir?"

Jayne snorted at him from where he was huddled off a ways from the group. The mercenary had a hastily donned polo shirt, and was clumsily cradling a tin of something that probably wasn't tea and otherwise none-too-pleased with his involvement. "Couldn't hurt."

His mouth set in a hard line. "Cargo?" he demanded. They'd landed here to work, not play spectator to his personal life.

Zoë shrugged. "Quick and easy. Figured we could use some shore leave." No tea for her either, she was snacking on apple slices. Thinking on her condition most like.

"You knew about this?" he asked.

"Got the invitation last night," she answered, off-hand in that way that told him she thought this was entirely hilarious. He supposed that explained her amusement earlier. "Even had a ride come 'round for us." He stared her down a little longer, and she gazed back, placid and immovable.

"So 'Nara won't be mad," Kaylee promised brightly, ever the optimist. "Not unless you get the foot-in-mouth again," she added. "You can go right on and talk to her, no need to dither so."

The captain turned his glare on her, with about as much success, then walked away before they could start trying to give him gorramn courtship advice. River pointed him towards the only possible direction, a heavy double door carved with symbolism from all the major religions, flanked by handmaidens who bobbed on their feet to him as he approached then knocked. After a few seconds there was a response from yonder and the two girls drew both sides open.

He knew something was wrong immediately, but he couldn't really assess the situation. Inara had on her companion face, the one with the practiced smile that could shatter in moments, like a living sculpture. They'd styled her dark curls back and away from her graceful neck with pearl hairpins and flowers. "Captain Reynolds." Inara addressed him formally, but her eyes had a portent in them, something pensive and troubled in those depths. Like black cinders, the fire all under the surface. He almost didn't notice the other woman in the room even though she was dressed like a queen geisha doll. "This is Dà Mā Vihara, High Priestess of the Guild Grand Council." She turned to her matriarch, her head bowed. "Dà Mā, may I have a moment?"

The priestess touched the fingertips of her bejeweled hand to Inara's forehead, then floated by airily as a drifting cloud. The woman took no notice of him, and somehow also seemed to size up his character and glean everything about him in seconds. Vihara paused. "Malcolm Reynolds," she said, as though trying out the name, and deciding whether it fit. "I never knew your father, but I heard he was a good man. You have the look of him."

She almost got him off guard, but he set his jaw at the challenge. "Never knew him either."

Something flickered in her expression like confirmation. "Then beware of those who did. They take the succession very seriously." Didn't have to tell him that. Their bombs surely did. The priestess passed him, and he delayed until the handmaids shut the door behind her.

Then he was alone with Inara except for the awkwardness between them. She hadn't moved at all, and she looked less tense, but her eyes were closed like she was gathering herself for a fight. The companion wasn't there anymore, a frown had overtaken the forced tranquility. She took a breath, and expelled it in frustration. He took that as a suggestion to hurry this along. "I know you don't really want me around - "

"I asked for you," she said, looking over at him. A slight curve touched her lips - too sad and brittle to count as anything pleased, but more genuine than the beatific mask she'd been wearing. She shrugged a shoulder. "Or rather, I asked the crew. You can be difficult." So could his crew, when they were pranking unfortunate captains. "But I'm glad you're here."

Yeah, you're all athrill, he thought at her subdued manner, still trying to suss out what was bothering her. "Good. 'Cause I had to swim part way."

"Bathing? You? We should notify Simon." Almost their usual kind of banter, except, not really the kind of activity she should be discussing with him. Gave him ideas that were too close to the lines she'd drawn for them. Also, too close to home. Her gaze shied away from him. "He mentioned how you helped me. With the cryochamber."

Oh he was in trouble. No wonder she was upset. Play it cool, Reynolds. Would she kill him? Use her special secret companion combat moves on him? Not before he murdered Simon, he vowed. "About that," he started. "I told you then I'd see you through this. Way I see it, I'd be a poor excuse for an officer and rakehell if I broke that promise." When she returned her attention to him, her eyes snapping back his way, he couldn't tell if her expression was astonished or more like he'd just slapped her. Already in for a penny, he supposed, and blundered on against the thought of her dying, no one beside her and no one to mourn her. "I'm leaving the ship to Zoë, and I'd like to go with you back to Sihnon."

If she'd have him. And she wouldn't. What was he even thinking? Of course she'd refuse him. Why had he even asked? She was almost frozen there, except for breathing, and he adjusted his already negligible chances downwards. There were two options, once she recovered her coherent thought from the exposure to his abject stupidity - either she'd laugh at him, or worse, she'd be polite. He braced himself for that look, the one where the girl pitied the poor love sick fool and was about to try to let them down easy, and then he'd crawl away feeling like about the lowest mongrel there ever was.

Inara took a step towards him, started and stopped, started and stopped again, and for a moment he thought maybe his idiocy had broken her mind after all. Then she strode right up to him, wrapped her arms around him, and buried her head somewhere in his rib cage. "That a yes?" he asked, stunned himself. She laughed, and it sounded more like a choked sob. Mal could feel her fingernails digging in, clinging for support as she trembled, and the alarms in the back of his head kicked up a notch. "Okay," he said, trying to decide whether to just hold her or attempt to pry her off him. "What's all this about?"

She tilted her head to look up at him, her cheeks wet and her eyes brimming over even as she tried to grin at him. "I'm retiring. No more clients, no more conjugal visits."

He immediately thought he understood. "I'm sorry." To his own surprise, he actually meant that. "You need me to talk to them? My word don't count for much, but I could tell them whatever you're in trouble for was my fault." Most likely be true too, he conceded.

Inara pushed herself away a little, one hand over his heart, wiping at her tears with the other. No make-up, he noticed. "That won't be necessary. This was my decision." She smiled to herself. "I could lock myself away in a tower, pretend nothing is wrong while always looking over my shoulder. Or, I could accept the risks and continue flying with Serenity, and when I thought about it, I realized there's no place I'd rather be."

He didn't believe her for a second. "The core," he reminded her. "The doctors even."

"The doctors were experimenting on me," she whispered, hugging her arms to herself. They were started to approach what really had her upset, and if something managed to shake her up this much, it was going to be serious. "They killed my mother, slowly, over years, and they wanted me, and to protect me, so I'd check in periodically, the guild told me - " Her eyes were half-wild and desperate when she found him again. "I thought I was terminal. I still don't know what happened to me at the hospital for the past month, what they did to me."

Some of her fear started to creep into him. If he was anyone else and hadn't seen what the Alliance was capable of, he might've had his doubts. This was no wild hare story for any of them. "Will they come after you? Like River?" he asked, hushed, a low rumble.

"I don't know," she answered, and then none of that mattered, he was determined they'd never find them. He was matched only by the determination in her own expression as she collected herself. "All I know is, I'm not going back. Ever. And it's -" she cast about for the right word.

"Terrifying?" he offered.

"Hard," she corrected. "But for the best. I don't want to live like I'm dying anymore. I just want to live." There was something in her gaze then, something suggested that warmed the cold chill right out of him, and made his pulse just about triple. "The guild offered me a new position, overseeing distribution of charity they've collected for the rim. A good will ambassador of sorts." They both smiled at the inside joke, his old nickname for her. "There will be lots of travel involved."

He mused, pretending to mull it over. "Think I might know some free-bootin' freighter rats who'll take you on," Mal said. "You'll have to scruff yourself up some though. Captain's bit of a preening obnoxious hún dàn, doesn't like to be shown up fashion-wise. This despite the tendency for lookin' like he's been through a thresher and smellin' like bay water at formal occasions, mind you."

Her amusement shone through her eyes. "I had wondered. Didn't anyone talk to you?" His expression clearly answered her - I have absolutely not a fathom what you're all doing here. "And yet you came to see me anyway?" There was many a lesser man who had been led to ruin by a smile like that. "Hmm," she almost purred, "that's quite a gesture." She brought her hand up to the necklace dipping between her - his dog tags, he suddenly noticed. His dog tags. His eyes quickly flicked back up. Oh, she'd noticed him looking all right. Smug as he'd ever seen her.

Wiles. This was why they were the bane of his existence. He cleared his throat and tried to look stern. "Just tell me," he demanded.

"There's a small ceremony. Guild tradition, very symbolic," she explained, waving towards the other door that he suspected went outside, towards the lake. "You're welcome to join, and it would mean a lot to me. Although my friends might take your participation as something of an overture."

His heart leaped. "Also tradition?"

"More just my friends," she sighed, long-suffering, and for once not at him. "But life goes on."

"That it does," he agreed. He could sympathize, probably get the same treatment from his crew. Ah, what the hell. He offered her his arm. "Wanna get drinks after this?" She looked skeptical, and remembered the start of her month-long exile. "I mean back on Serenity. Kaylee will probably try to get as much mileage out that dress on the doc as she can. Might even let her pipe waltz music over the intercom."

She beamed at him, some mix of hope and happiness as she leaned into him, and slipped her hands around him. "I'd like that." Inara paused and listened. "Sounds like they're about ready."

The doors opened for them. So they were. "Shall we?" he asked.


Saturday, February 16, 2013 7:30 AM


Mal and Inara back together, could this be for good? Somehow I don't see that rat Atherton Wing staying out of their lives but it doesn't hurt to hope he catches something painful and terminal right quick. AliD :-)
"You can't take the sky from me!"

Saturday, February 16, 2013 7:40 AM


This is the last chapter before a probably short epilogue where I'll deal with the Operative as well as this ceremony and more Mal Inara.

I had all these pretty ideas about this ceremony that didn't make it into this chapter because all the exposition made it explode. This is the longest Eidolon chapter yet.

Atherton Wing is kinda busy drinking himself into irrelevance, but bringing him up here is important because it's one of the many factors that helps Inara make her decision. Ties into Mal's concerns from last chapter - Inara is starting to realize that there are risks on the ship, but whenever she goes to see clients or leaves the ship she could be captured herself or used as bait. Neither choice is safe, but one choice is clearly better.

Sunday, February 17, 2013 2:58 PM


Liked Inara's explanation of Atherton, always appreciate Sheydra teasing Inara over Mal. Mal would swim if he needed to get to Inara, and leave Serenity to Zoe to accompany Inara if she'd have him. I get the sense they are both willing to give up what they both thought they couldn't live without to be together in this chapter. If this was your goal, you met it.

One question: how does the Head Mistress know Mal's father?

Sunday, February 17, 2013 5:06 PM


Things are definitely changing between them.

She doesn't really, since they've never met. But she knows OF him, and said something rather significant that Mal misunderstood. I've been dropping hints about what I think Mal's backstory is, anyone got any ideas? :)


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Eidolon (Epilogue)
Someday, she knew they would visit the graves of Serenity Valley and not hear the howl of the ghosts. Someday, they would walk across the green prairie of a restored world and watch the rain. (Glimpses)

Eidolon (Chapter 40)
Clouds were blossoming in the distance, promising rain for the city later. The crew of Serenity and the badlands around Eavesdown Docks to the south would probably see only a harsh windstorm. Two different worlds, she mused, caught between them. (Deliverance)

Eidolon (Chapter 39)
The question seemed to hit her hard. In the mirrors of her eyes, he saw himself, forced to see her lose more ground every day. Hurt more, because of him. Saw her watching him back as she pulled him out of a nightmare. (Try)

The Gift
They don't have much. But they have each other. (Just a little holiday story from the Firefly verse. Belongs to Joss)

Eidolon (Chapter 38)
The girl processed that response. "He brought the medicine? He saved us?" Inara nodded, considering her own inclusion in the question. (Renewed)

Eidolon (Chapter 37)
A wind clear and sweet stirred the air, humming as a shimmering, ever-shifting blaze of color flashed from one horizon to another. The breeze carried with it a distant song, rising over the hills and through the vales like a soulful hymn from his childhood. (Flight)

Eidolon (Chapter 36)
"I cut the strings. They were never yours anyway.”(Liberation)

Eidolon (Chapter 35)
A few twists of a little turnscrew and the mechanic was stripping wires and rerouting circuits in moments. (Break)

Eidolon (Chapter 34)
Stars scattered in the night, coalesced from the stellar dust from a far away sun and others that came before. A spark, scintillating into a network, a stream, like the lights and streets of a city. (Cascade)

Eidolon (Chapter 33)
"Put me back in that place," River said, "Little bluebird singing in a cage, puppet on broken strings." (Capture)