4.4.20

Background Information

Morgan came to look over my shoulder. "So you think there's a hidden object or two on this map, do you?"

"Well, it does look that way," I replied. "I mean, why aren't there any stones on some of these islands? You'd think that if they were on most of them..."

"... They'd be on all of them." She finished. "Yeah, We've been wondering about that. It would make a bit of sense given what we have found so far. But with Karl's more... legitimate research being based here on Maui, it hasn't been easy to find the time to go running off in search of answers. Are you trying to find a pattern? Or, perhaps you think you see the pattern already?"

"Maybe. I'm not sure yet. Morgan, I have a question."

"I was never a man."

"Hah. No, I want to ask you about your last name, Lafayette."

She nodded. "Sounds pretty French for a Scot, I know."

"Because it wasn't always Lafayette, was it?"

She nodded again, but now she looked seriously entertained. "Someone in the family line changed it a very long time ago. But I bet you have an idea of what it originally was, don't you, clever boy?"

"I'm going to go out on a limb and say Le Fay."

Morgan threw her hands up in mock submission. "The jig is up. My ancestors weren't very creative with pseudonyms, were they? Between you and me, my bet is they were five drams past knocked down when they cooked up that name. And yes. We're THAT Le Fay. Obviously my parents had a fetish for family arcana."

"I'm not so sure it was a cavalier play."

"Oh, Joe? Am I destined to run a nunnery in a foggy bog?"

I smiled. "You know, 'foggy bog' would be a great name for an ale. Just sayin." I stared at the map again as my mind attempted to work out whether Morgan's lineage was going to be useful. "How much of your family history were you forced to swallow while growing up?"

Morgan rolled her eyes. "Nearly all of it. And what a mess of a tale it is! My gran couldn't even keep most of the details straight. However, I do like to think that we were a fairly respectable clan of healers. Why do you ask?"

"I remembered a bit of Celtic lore my mom told me as a kid. I'm curious if it bled into your family's origin story."

"Didn't I just say my family tree's a bloody bramble patch? I'd be shocked to hear of a Celt who didn't get stuck in it at one point or another." She looked me squarely in the eye. "Now before we continue, I have to ask if this conversation requires a drink stronger than tea to swallow down."

"Well, you did already spike mine. Just saying."

Morgan went into the kitchen and came back with a bottle. After pouring a few fingers of the family brew into her cup, she set it down on the table. Then I looked at the bottle for the first time and laughed.

"The distillery is named Avaleigh."

"Again, not very clever with the pseudonyms, my family," she replied with a grin.

"I assume you have a family seal?"

She nodded. "Of course." She turned the bottle around. "It's right here on the label." Printed near the top of the label was the inked outline of a griffin with wings outstretched, carrying a bunch of milk thistle in its mouth. Its eyes were so closely drawn together that they very nearly resembled the infinity symbol on the Ki. A raven sat upon its back.

"Is the raven supposed to be riding the griffin?"

"I remember asking my dad that as a kid. He said, 'it wasn't riding so much as guiding.' Apparently the raven symbolized our family and riding the griffin was a nod to our mythological ancestors guiding the warriors of Arthurian legend. Now family lore is that this seal was passed down from before the time of coats of arms. We have one of those too, but it's completely different. Speaks of high society, a long journey and the divine through the images. All a bit snobby if you ask me. For all I know, my dad has just been putting one on all of us, but if it's true perhaps the coat of arms was a disguise of sorts."

"Well then I have to ask... Do you believe in the stories of Avalon, Morgan?"

"I tend to stick with the things I can see," she sighed, "but I like to imagine that somewhere that kind of magic is real. After all, there's stuff in the world nobody can rightly explain. I have a hard time blowing off Stonehenge as just a calendar for really tall britons. I've been there. I've felt how the energy changes."

Now we were getting somewhere. "Have you ever felt that sensation anywhere else?"

"Oh sure," she replied. "But I never really know what do with the feeling when it happens. It's not like it's usually timed well, like some sort of premonition or anything."

"It might be a good time to start paying those feelings closer attention," Peter quipped. "Even my spider senses are tingling right now." His unease did not go unnoticed by me.

"Look, maybe it's not such a good idea for you to stay here while we try to figure this out," I began, but Peter waved his hand to cut me off.

"As much as I don't like one bit what's happened today because it sure as shit feels like those... snipers won't be giving up anytime soon, I don't think I could bear you being here without me now that I know there's a fan and somebody's lobbing shit into it."

"He sure knows how to hammer the nail in, doesn't he?" Morgan said.

"In more ways than a gentleman like me would ever admit to," I replied. "But back to these stones. I think we need to enlist some help in learning just how many there are."

"What about that local you met on the plane" Peter asked.

Morgan looked at me. "What local?"

"You mean the flight attendant?" I shrugged. "It couldn't hurt to ask. He seemed trustworthy. I think his name was Ray."

"His name was Spence," Peter corrected. "He wrote his number down on a napkin... because he thought you were cute."

I blushed. "Um, I'm sure that wasn't why. He did say he was a big fan of my books. And if he is, he might have just enough amateur sleuth in him to be a willing aide in this mystery."

"Look, I'm not mad that I married a DILF," Peter said. "But I do have be a pit bull sometimes with the thirsty queens."

"I always thought you were more of a tom cat...in the..."

"Stop, Joe... There are ladies present."

Morgan looked around. "Where? Don't see 'em."

Peter went into our room and came back with the napkin, which he handed to Morgan. "Here's your guy. Maybe he can activate the local ladies' auxiliary and help you track down the other rocks."

"It's worth a shot, I suppose."

"Every Indiana Jones does need a batshit crazy plane pilot," muttered Morgan. "I'll call him first thing in the morning. You, however, still have a grandfather to track down, young man."