Chapter 4.25: Dear Diary, the Era of Violence

Chapter 4.25: Dear Diary, the Era of Violence

Dear Diary, I write this entry with a heavy heart. I have spent my whole life looking for adventure, whatever it may be. Now, I’m filled with dread as I ponder recent events. Shelly advised me not long ago about a hostile presence she felt around the twins. While she was unable to specify what this entity was or which twin was affected the most, she did say she would attempt to find out.

When I told Xalen about all of this, he seemed surprised because he hadn’t felt anything. I had to admit that was unusual as he’d always been sensitive to this sort of thing. As far as realizing these things myself, all I could mention was the weird dreams I continued to have since our trip.

Every night, it seemed, I was plagued by the deep feeling that I was haphazardly flying through the house, almost the way you might picture a bumblebee zooming about. In these nightmares, I had the realization that I personally wasn’t experiencing this crazy flight, but rather, I was seeing through someone else’s eyes.

As my nightmares continued to haunt me, Holden’s seemed to lessen in their intensity and he was having them less often. They had gotten better not long after Christopher began sharing the children’s room. I was relieved about that, of course, but I couldn’t help but think perhaps we were seeing the calm before some kind of storm.

I was constantly on edge, waiting for the other shoe to drop. Things were pretty good between me and Xalen which helped a great deal. Yet, underneath the smooth surface of our interactions with the team, little annoyances crept in and began to ripple, disturbing my sensibilities.

Shelly seemed certain that our troubles began with the arrival of the urn Xalen and I found in the little elixir shop on our honeymoon. After the crate had arrived at the base, Owen had carefully unpacked it, putting it on a table in our secret control room so it could be studied. If you asked me, it was very ugly and that was the best thing you could say about it.

Distracting me further was the knowledge that Susan and Daniel were inexplicably different toward me. It was subtle and perhaps only a difference a sister would notice. Still, it was there, as if they shared some secret only they were privy to. I tried to press her and even asked her if she was pregnant to which she totally freaked out on me and told me to mind my own business.

One morning in the control room, I did my best to get to the bottom of it. The team was taking a short break so I approached Daniel.

I explained to him how difficult it was for me to corner him the way I was but that I was worried about my sister. Daniel, who was normally level-headed and kind, regarded me with a hardness in his eyes I’d never seen.

“Something did happen while you were away,” he said, his voice curt, “but if Susan wants you to know, she’ll tell you.”

I was so surprised by his manner and what he said that I gulped loudly, my mouth suddenly dry as dirt.

Seeing how I reacted, he added, “All I’m saying is to give her some space. I’m sure she’ll tell you soon.”

Didn’t he care about how apprehensive I was? I was sure he could clearly see I was distressed.

Daniel’s expression softened a little as he watched me. “I’m sorry, Marty. I really don’t get why I’ve been so keyed up lately. I’ll tell Susan she needs to fill you in, okay?”

That did make me feel a little better. “Thanks, Daniel, I would appreciate that.”

“Sure thing,” he said. Before stepping away from me, he lightly touched my arm. “I’m not usually like this, you know. All high-strung, I mean.”

He could say that again. Forcing as reassuring a smile as I could muster, I said, “Don’t worry about it. I think we’ve all been a little jittery lately.”

“It’s that urn, you know. There’s something about it that gets me all nerve-racked. I can’t wait to lock it away somewhere.”

Shelly once described Daniel as being ‘psychic as a glass of orange juice,’ so I was surprised he noticed anything at all. For him to suspect something was up, it had to be a big deal.

Shelly must have overheard our conversation as she settled into a chair at the conference table because she said, “I think we should lock it in the vault downstairs as soon as possible.”

As we joined her at the table, I asked, “So you agree things have been really weird and it’s because of that vase?”

“Absolutely. Owen’s been doing a lot of research into the Era of Violence which is the time period this urn is dated from. Xalen was right to have it sent here but we shouldn’t allow ourselves to be exposed to it for much longer.”

“You know, I don’t think Xalen has been affected at all. When I told him about what you sensed around the kids, he was surprised.”

“It’s most likely because as soon as he felt what the urn was all about, while you were in the shop, he closed himself off. It was wise of him to do that.”

Well, that was interesting. I decided right then I needed to learn how to do that. Maybe we could teach the kids to do that, too, since they were so heavily influenced as well.

I heard soft steps coming down the third-floor staircase and looked up to see my husband on the second-floor balcony. (I’m still in jaw-dropping awe when I look up at this three-story library.)

“I’ll join you in a moment, there is one more book I need to look up.”

“This might take a while,” Shelly laughed, shaking her head as she rose from her chair.

Glancing at the urn again to my right, I rolled my eyes. There were already piles and piles of old tomes all over the floor, and some scrolls, too. I can appreciate books with the best of them, but there were some things that could be looked up rather quickly on google.

Xalen was a technophobe which meant there was nothing I could do to convince him how great the internet was. I could count myself lucky he tolerated his cellphone.

Suddenly, I had to blink my eyes a few times… I could have sworn I saw little sparkles around the vase. After a moment, they were gone and I wasn’t at all certain I’d actually seen them.

Xalen glanced down at me with a smirk and I was sure he knew what my eye-roll was all about.

“There you are!” he exclaimed at the bookshelf.

As Xalen headed down the stairs, we all sat at the conference table again.

“You already know I’ve been keeping a close eye on the twins,” Shelly began. “I still feel the presence but the children’s terror isn’t as all-consuming as it was before. Either they are getting used to this presence or it’s not focused on them anymore.”

“But it’s not gone, I take it?” Owen asked.

“No, it’s definitely here.”

“Have you been able to contact it?” Xalen quietly asked, his eyes reflecting the concern I also felt.

She shook her head. “No, it hasn’t revealed itself to me, I can only sense it. Whatever it is, it’s full of hate. In fact, that’s how I first became aware of it. I was holding little Holden before his birthday and I felt this overwhelming anger coming from him. But he seemed perfectly content and you wouldn’t think contempt like that could be felt by a baby.”

I shivered at the thought that something like that was in such close proximity to my child. “We didn’t even have the vase then.”

“Yes… yes, it was,” Owen said. We all turned to look at him. “It arrived here while the twins and your parents were still here.”

My eyes grew huge as I considered this. “Oh my – I didn’t realize.” Then I had another thought. “Could that stupid urn be the reason my parents were fighting?” I’d been so worried about them, too, because at grandpa’s funeral, they didn’t even speak to each other and that wasn’t like my lovey-dovey folks at all.

“Not, the vase itself, Marty, but what was inside it,” Shelly said.

“And what was that?” I demanded.

Again, all attention turned toward our research guy, Owen. As if on cue, he cleared his throat and dove in.

“As you know, the urn dates back to the Era of Violence -”

“- Look,” Daniel interrupted, “I’m just the pilot and gun guy. What was the Era of Violence and what was this vase used for?”

“It marked the end of a prosperous time for the Grisjit people. Until then, they were a thriving civilization. But when the Knights of Liaphra arrived by boat, they were determined to conquer the area, thus began a war that lasted for generations. In the end, the Grisjits were overtaken and most of them were slaughtered. Their remains were put in urns like the one we have.”

I shivered as prickles went down the back of my neck. The urn was still on that table but now, it almost felt like some hulking eavesdropper, listening in on our conversation and plotting ways to hurt us.

“That’s a great story, Owen, but what is in that vase now?”

“That, I don’t know,” he answered, “other than to say it must have carried the ashes of a Grisjits. A really pissed off Grisjit.”

“Think of the urn as you would a turtle and its shell. This … thing… was sealed in the urn, somehow, was released and now uses it only as a house of sorts. I am certain the entity can come and go. My question is, what happens to it if the vase is destroyed?” Xalen said.

My stomach felt like it had a brick in it. “Would it be forced to leave? Or would it be stuck here with nowhere else to go?”

Xalen’s eyes met mine and I didn’t like the disquiet I saw.

“What are we going to do? We can’t let anything happen to the kids.”

“I will never let anything happen to the children,” he sternly said.

“Maybe we should send them to Winchester for a while or something?” I asked.

Shelly shook her head. “It followed the children when they joined you on your holiday, so it stands to reason it could also follow them to Winchester.”

“Holden and Rosetta have Olivia looking after them at all times and she has not mentioned anything unusual,” Xalen said. “We just have to do what we do and figure out how to be rid of this. In the meantime, we will continue to keep a close eye on the twins.”

After our team meeting, I intended on visiting with the kids but instead, I found myself absorbed in doing my own research on the Era of Violence. I thought perhaps I would come across something Owen hadn’t. All I knew for sure was that I needed to do everything I could to protect my children. And now, Christopher, too. What had I done, bringing another child here?

It wasn’t until near bedtime that I finally joined Olivia and the children in the nursery’s playroom. Exhausted, I dropped heavily onto the chair at the little tea table opposite Olivia.

“How’s it going?”

Olivia smiled softly as the kids gathered around us. “Just fine, just fine.”

“You always say that,” I laughed.

“Well, it’s true. Holden and Rosetta had a very good school session today. Rosetta is ahead of her reading level, as you know. If I could get these rowdy boys to settle down more, I’m sure they could catch up.”

“Girls are smart,” Rosetta said, implying the opposite of boys.

“Now, now, Rosie,” Olivia tsked at her. “What did I tell you about thinking we’re better than others? The boys are smart, they just need to focus.”

“I’m better at math than you.” Right after he said it, Christopher’s expression became one of regret but I laughed.

“Math is very important,” I said. “I’m glad you understand it because it took me a long time to figure out what I needed to know.”

Very slowly, as I spoke, his face lit up with a smile and I couldn’t help but smile back at him.

“And what about you, Holden?”

His pale cheeks flamed bright red and he said, “I’m good at eating lunch.”


I laughed. “Well, I reckon that’s a nice thing to be good at, too.”

“Mother, I would very much like to attend dance class more than twice a week. I’ve nearly got my recital number down but I can’t perfect it if I can’t practice with the teacher.”

Looking down at my daughter, I began to wonder if this little perfectionist resembled Xalen as a child. Of course, she did. Somehow, no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t even picture Xalen as a kid. Had he always seemed old like Rosetta does?

“And, I would very much like to quit going to dance class,” Holden piped in.

Again, I couldn’t help but grin at him. “Well, no one’s quitting anything just yet, okay? But maybe you can go less and Rosetta can go more?”

This seemed to satisfy them both for the moment.

“Actually,” Olivia said, “if I might take us back to the school subject, Holden is a very curious child. I imagine he might be good at science since he likes the little experiments we do here.”

“Is that right, Holden?”

He looked up at me and smiled a little sheepishly. “Yes, I do like the experiments. We made an erupting rainbow with vinegar and … and…”

“Baking soda,” Olivia said when his voice trailed off.

“Yes! Baking soda. It was really cool! And I got to wear real glasses so I wouldn’t get anything in my eyes. Oh! And I spilled food coloring and my hand turned purple!”

“Oh dear,” I said with a giggle.

“Yeah, and you know what? Miss Olivia rubbed more vinegar on the stain and got it out!”

“Wow, she really knows what to do in an emergency! Aren’t we lucky?”

“We sure are!” he agreed.

It was late and Xalen still hadn’t retired to our room. I knew if I needed him, I could find him in his study but I saw no reason to bother him just yet, especially since, he was so absorbed in finding a way to get rid of the presence.

I’d just pulled my nightgown on when I heard a knock. When I answered, it was Susan.

“I’m so glad you’re here, Sis,” I said, trying to sound pleasant.

“You might not be after I talk to you.”

My pulse immediately quickened and my stomach tightened, bringing the brick back. “Is something wrong?”

After a pause, she blurted, “There’s no way to do this except to just tell you. Daniel and I … we eloped while you were on your honeymoon!”

After I picked my jaw up off the floor, I unnecessarily said, “You’re married. To Daniel.”

“Yes, that’s what I’m trying to tell you.”

Slowly, I felt my vital signs returning to normal and I let out a breath I didn’t know I was holding. “Congratulations. Why didn’t you tell me?”

“Oh, I should have told you? Kind of like how you told me about The Inheritance?”

“Y-you know about that?”

“Yes! Because Daniel said if we were getting married, he couldn’t keep that kind of thing from me. You’ve been doing this for how long now and never even told me?”

My head began to throb and I put a hand to my temple. “Please, don’t yell. I was sworn to secrecy. If you know anything about it like you say you do, then you know I couldn’t tell anyone.”

“I’m not anyone!” she spat. “I’m your best friend and sister! Or so I thought!”

An anger started to build in me then, just beneath the surface at a slow boil. Daniel, I thought, could have at least warned me he was going to tell her. Now it looked to her like I didn’t want her to know.

“The whole time, I was wishing I could tell you,” I said, trying to keep my cool. “I was told you couldn’t know unless you were a part of the team.”

“Well, I am part of the team. At least I will be once Daniel has talked to Xalen about it.”

“Doing what? I think you should really consider this more. You have no idea how dangerous it can be.”

“Daniel thinks I would be useful documenting with my photography. And don’t just assume I haven’t given this a lot of thought. You can be so condescending, Marty!”

Could I? Or was this that blasted vase talking because it sure didn’t sound anything like Susan.

Barely had my eyes closed when the worst nightmare of all tormented me…

… It began with Rosetta pushing someone… Who was it? Olivia?

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54 thoughts on “Chapter 4.25: Dear Diary, the Era of Violence”

  • First of all I want to say that I think Xalen’s technophobe trait makes him that much more sexy and alluring really. I’m sure deep down Marty sees it that way too, even though she mentally laughed about it when telling this part of the story.

    Susan’s reaction to the secret made me shake my head. Shows how we allow allow our emotions to rule us instead of our heads. Sisterhood doesn’t trump something as important as what they are doing!

    I’m sitting on the edge of my seat waiting for the shoe to drop with these children! So worried I am! More info RO! More please! and get rid of that urn. Since I edited this chapter for you, I’ve actually had a bad dream that included that urn. So now it’s getting humans out in the real world too!

    • Thank you, Bee. In a strange way, I thought the same thing about Xalen being a technophobe. There’s something endearing about it in him.

      You’re so right about Susan… but perhaps the vase is affecting her in some way? 😀

      Oh, these children! I cannot wait to continue with them so you can really get to know them better. I’m so sorry about your bad dream! :O They’d better figure out what’s going on soon!

  • Oh no! I am so worried.
    What is it inside this vase? I get goosebumps as I try to imagine. Okay, so this…creature is probably the ghost we saw at the end, but still, I need to know what she wants and why she keeps torturing Marty and her family. Ah, if only they hadn’t taken the vase, it would have saved them so much trouble. But Marty and Xalen are both too curious for their own good and The Inheritance…well, it has its pros and cons. Susan, what are you doing? Are you sure you will fit in the team? I can’t be so sure if you will…
    Susan and Daniel eloped? 😮 I never would have expected that! That was quite a shock, but I’m happy for them. Can’t believe I said the word happy in the comment for this chapter. But here my happiness comes to an end for Susan seems to be affected by the vase, too. Xalen closed himself off? How does that work? Can everyone do it? How to get rid of a vase? Can you tell I’m almost panicking? I hope everyone will be okay and they will put an end to it just like they did to the zombie-inducing pendant aka The Blushing Oath Pendant.

    • Thank you, Jowita! 🙂 I’m sorry you’re worried, but I’m glad you’re invested in this family. You’re getting goosebumps even? Wow! Oh, that ghost was Olivia. But there definitely is something torturing Marty and her family. You’re right that they probably shouldn’t have taken the vase. It’s what The Inheritance does, though. You couldn’t be more right about the pros and cons of the society.

      It’s an interesting thought of Susan being on the team. She is so different from Marty, though. You might just be right that this sort of thing is not a good fit. Perhaps she should just stick to photographing the relics for the Neptune Foundation? lol

      Yes, they eloped while Marty and Xalen were on their trip. :O At least they seem to be really in love.

      As for Susan being affected by the vase, I do believe you’re right. This urn’s influence seems to be influencing everyone but Xalen. Good questions about how he closed himself off. More about that in the future.

      I can feel your panic… deep, cleansing breaths, Jowita. LOL Let’s hope this vase goes the way of the Blushing Oath Pendant.

  • psychic as a glass of orange juice LOL. I enjoyed that, thank you!

    Well! We’re getting somewhere! Glad to see I was right about the source of all the drama. On the *other* matter, hopefully whatever this presence caused to happen to the Larochettes didn’t make any irreparable damage…you’re still on probation.

    • LOL Yes! I was trying to think of something funny to describe how lacking Daniel’s psychic powers were. 😛

      Yes, you called it on the source of the trouble. You called it big time! LOL I think the Larochettes will be all right, but I also think it’s a matter of disposing safely of this urn.

      I’m still on probation? What’s a writer gotta do? hahaha 😛

    • Thank you, Cathy 🙂 I’m glad you liked the chapter and how the plot moved forward. I really love this team and think they work well together. Let’s hope they figure this case out quickly, though.

    • Thank you, Raymond. You couldn’t be more right about this vase and what it’s doing to them. Yes, let’s get rid of that negative vibe, and fast! I think they’ll figure it out, but let’s cross our fingers it happens quickly. lol

  • Oh my!! What is in that vase?!? o.O I can’t even imagine..! I’m positive that the truth will come out eventually, but I really hope it ends well for everyone!
    Daniel seemed… strange in this chapter! I agree with Marty that he could have been more thoughtful and warn her. At this point I’m really not sure if I should feel happy or not that he and Susan are married… I hope I’m wrong and he was just being aloof or something!
    Little Holden and Rosetta bantering makes me laugh, please keep their lines coming! 😁 And if a dream is the right way to judge a character, I’d say little Rosetta is more than capable of handling herself!
    Can’t wait to find out how this all plays out!

    • Thank you, sempreviva 🙂 Yes, you are right, the truth will come out soon. Daniel was not himself, nor was Susan. It seems the vase is having an affect on everyone. :O

      I love the twins, too, and will definitely keep them in the chapters with their banter. haha

      It would seem so regarding Rosetta. 😀

  • OMG. So, Xalen knew what kind of contents could be in the vase and he still brought it into the house? Long sigh… I get it that this is his job, but that sounds so irresponsible.
    Obviously they need to get it out. And maybe wash the thing in holy water, while they are at it!

    • It does sound irresponsible, that’s true, and it will be addressed in the next chapter. I think you’re right about getting it out and the holy water! 😀

  • Oh gosh….the Urn is so evil. I think she is on to something that it is what is causing her sister and parents to act out of character…I was soooo mad at Susan at first, but what she said made sense. Yay for Susan getting married and joining them.

    I just hope they figure it out before it’s too late and someone is hurt.

    • Thank you, Audrey, me, too. It’s a good thing Marty recognized the change in everyone and can attribute it to the urn. You’re right that it’s evil and must go!

  • You are so mean!!! Keeping us in suspense for a week is not a kind thing to do! Are you sure that urn isn’t affecting you?? =P I know, patience will win out. I don’t like the arrival of the grim reaper, and don’t want to lose anyone in the story! Can’t wait until next Saturday, darn it!! I never dreams Susan had gotten married, it never crossed my mind. I was waiting for something drastic to be going on, but one emergency at a time is fine with me! ♥

    • Hahaha! I love that! Yes, Marj, I’m sure the vase is affecting me, too. 😀 😛 Yeah, that whole scene was pretty freaky for me. I had to quit the game without saving. lol Susan getting married was pretty surprising, true. <3

  • That vase sounds like a really bad thing to keep around, but I would rather the Inheritance crack it rather than it being out in the unknowing world. I was like ??? at Daniel and Susan’s behavior, especially when Marty learnt that they had eloped (that’s awesome news?!), so the bad energy thing would really make sense. I am scared but very curious to find out what evil being is in there, and how the Inheritance will deal with it.
    Ahh the ending! I really hope that Marty does not wake up to find Olivia actually dead. It looks like in that dream Rosetta had the power to kill people… oh dear.
    Great chapter <3

    • Thank you, Lila. I think that’s what Xalen’s thinking was when he bought the vase; it was better they had it then it just being out there.

      Daniel and Susan definitely were acting out of character; its a good thing Marty could see it was the negative influence of the vase (or its occupant).

      That would be the worst, if Marty’s dream was real. Hopefully, that is something else that gets figured out quickly.

  • So many negative emotions around :/ They really, really need to get rid of that bad spriti soon. Rosetta seems to be more affected than Marty thought. I really like Rosetta a lot, it’s gotta be said – maybe it’s because she’s so much like Xalen, and you already know he’s my favourite ha, ha 😀
    This was a really great and intriguing chapter. I’m eagerly awaiting more!

    • Thank you, Louise. The negativity is really overwhelming right now.

      LOL @ loving Rosetta because she is so much like Xalen. haha It’s cool that through her, we might be able to see what Xalen was like as a child. LOL

  • If I died in the Era of Violence I might be a crancky spirit too. But I wouldn’t torture innocent children either.
    Rosetta is so much like Xalen, I love the fact that she called Marty Mother. Speaking of which, I too have a hard time picturing Xalen as a child. They are both old souls indeed.
    And are we expected to gloss over the fact that Susan eloped?!?!?! I seriously hope her change of attitude is related to the urn.
    There is just bad mojo all around!

    • Right? Especially if the spirit is one of the poor souls slaughtered during that war. And, I agree that going after children is crossing the line.

      I was thinking about Xalen the other day and what he might’ve been like as a child. Then, I realized Rosetta is the example. lol Old souls indeed.

      Bad mojo, yes! Marty is pretty sure it’s all due to the urn. Let’s hope she’s right.

      Susan is married! And Daniel is such a catch. It will be nice to see them getting back to normal. 🙂

  • I thought Holden was going to be the one who can talk to spirits and all that jazz, but it’s Rosetta? Wow. I also love their little arguments, as a person who grew up with 4 siblings, I can say that is completely actuate. This was another fantastic chapter. Can’t wait for the next 😀

    • Thank you so much. 🙂 It might be that both twins have some abilities. We’ll definitely be finding out more about that.

      I’m so glad the sibling arguments ring true to you. I only had 2 siblings myself but I do remember the little competitions and all that. lol

      I’m so glad you enjoyed this chapter. Thank you again for your kind words.

  • Oh. My. Gosh. So many things are happening in this one. I can’t believe I took so long to get to it. I feel for both Marty and Susan in this situation, but something tells me the vase is half the problem. I can’t wait for more!

    • Thank you, Rosie. 🙂 This chapter was crazy. lol I think you’re right that the vase is a huge chunk of the weird character changes in the house.

  • “Shelly once described Daniel as being ‘psychic as a glass of orange juice.'” This made me crack up. xD
    Also this: “there were some things that could be looked up rather quickly on google.” I love Marty, haha.

    I didn’t realize how gorgeous Olivia is until that closeup! Love her freckles!

    Destroying the vase doesn’t sound good. What if the spirit was then floating around and still haunting them? Hiding away doesn’t sound like it would work, either, because it could follow the kids all the way to where Xalen and Marty were honeymooning. But it looks like they need a solution fast. Rosetta may be possessed in Marty’s dream, and that would be terrifying.

    • Thank you, Heather. I’m glad you liked those lines. haha Olivia got those freckles from Keniesha’s genetics. They have the same skin. 😀

      I think you are very right about destroying the vase; it seems like that would not be the best idea for the reason you mentioned. You’re also right about trying to send the children somewhere else as it’s followed them before. I can’t wait for you to read the next chapter. I hope you like their solution. 😀

Thank you for reading and commenting!

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