Secrets Behind the Chapter Titles - The Annals of Fear Part Two
by MRS Jeevas

Why 'The Annals of Fear Pt 2'?

The Annals of Fear Pt 2 Chapter 01 - Pride and Prejudice

'Pride and Prejudice' is a novel by Jane Austen. The title of this chapter by inspired by the fact that Mello para-phrases its opening lines, as the opening lines to the present novel.

However, the whole reunion is marred by people contemplating each other with prejudice, while often being too proud to give an inch.

The Annals of Fear Pt 2 Chapter 02 - Good Fight

In gaming parlance, 'good fight' is spoken by the victor to the vanquished at the end of a challenge. This chapter has a couple of such clashes.

The title, though, was mainly suggested by Mello's final retort, "And I believe that the correct phraseology here is: good fight, It Matters."

The Annals of Fear Pt 2 Chapter 03 - Trumpets

This was named after the Waterboys song, 'Trumpets', which I played on repeat whilst writing the finale of this chapter.

I imagined the song from Mello's POV. He's obviously singing to Matt. This song, to me, encapsulates Mello's feelings at the time when he has Matt up the wall and is telling him that he has gorgeous eyes.

The Annals of Fear Pt 2 Chapter 04 - Exposure

There are several instances of people being exposed in this chapter, in all senses of the word

Kiana is exposed (introduced) to the competitiveness of Wammy's House alumni towards each other; everyone feels exposed (unprotected) as Mello and Fenian clash; Matt feels exposed (naked) with his face uncovered; Deontic, then Mello feel exposed (revealed) as losers, over the 'tenable' debate; Fenian's Wammy's House protective shield of agression is exposed (uncovered) as false by Kiana; finally Mello feels exposed (watched), as he is told that his grandmother has been following him around since childhood. The grandmother could also have been exposed, insofar as her presense is revealed.

The Annals of Fear Pt 2 Chapter 05 - Heterogeneous

Heterogeneous is an adjective used to describe an object or system consisting of multiple items having a large number of structural variations.

Matt's system, being set up in this chapter, is heterogeneous; however, so is Mello's emotional range. Matt shows his dexterity with hetergeneous systems, by first installing his monitoring equipment and then sorting out Mello's feelings.

The Annals of Fear Pt 2 Chapter 06 - Leaders in their Field

All Wammy's House alumni are leaders in the field of detection. Also on show here is Matt's technological leadership.

However, the big one is who is going to literally lead this field trip? Century or Mello?

The Annals of Fear Pt 2 Chapter 07 - Waltz for Mello and Matt

No deep reason here other than I was listening to 'Waltz for Eva and Che', from the 'Evita' soundtrack, on repeat whilst writing it. I actually wanted to listen to Madonna, as Mello adopted his diva persona, but 'Evita' is all I have.

However, I did like the notion that Mello and Matt are dancing around each other; because they are. It's not a dance to music, nor one of those twirling around the floor doing fancy moves type dance. It's them mentally and physically dancing around each other's personalities and desires. There's no real discussion here of what each of them really wants. It's them reacting to what they think the other wants; or else the best way to manipulate the other into providing what a personal desire.

The Annals of Fear Pt 2 Chapter 08 - Pure Morning

The title comes from the Placebo song, 'Pure Morning'. You need to switch the references to a female companion into a male one, for it to nearly work in the context of this chapter.

The Annals of Fear Pt 2 Chapter 09 - Returning to the Scene

Mello and Matt have physically returned to the Manor House. This was the location of their previous experiences, which they are all now gathered to investigate.

There is a second scene to be revisited though, when Kiana quizzes Mello on his motivations towards Fenian, when they were children at Wammy's House.

The Annals of Fear Pt 2 Chapter 10 - Secret Knowledge

The actual secret knowledge is that imparted by Deontic to Matt; that Kiana has a strand of Mello's hair. This knowledge is expanded by Matt researching the link between hair and witchcraft.

But, as Mello points out in the chapter, the Latin for 'secret knowledge' is 'occult'. Mello and Matt spend much of this chapter discussing things commonly categorised as occult.

The Annals of Fear Pt 2 Chapter 11 - The Drums of War

There has been trouble brewing between Mello and Fenian since they were children. It's been especially in evidence recently, while they've been together in Wales. Hal and Deontic are afraid that this is going to result in a full scale Wammy's House civil war.

Many countries signal the start of a war with drums. Before standing armies, the drums called the men to arms. The beat on the battle-drum used to be the rhythm to which the armies marched into position. However, it was a very specific drum that I had in mind here. The Irish bodhrán is what was in my head, mainly because of Fenian's involvement.

The Annals of Fear Pt 2 Chapter 12 - The Beyond Birthday Route

Beyond Birthday is a canon Wammy House resident, who became a serial killer in his bid to beat L. This was the first Wammy's House civil war and lessons were learned, by L and Mr Wammy, from it. They became vigilant for signs that their young geniuses were becoming murderous. They also instilled a ruling that no child has won, in the Watari rankings, if they couldn't do it academically or as the better detective. Just killing each other was a moral failure.

Mello is arguing that Matt is emulating Beyond Birthday here, rather than playing by the rules to win.

The Annals of Fear Pt 2 Chapter 13 - Wrong Notes

Mello says, in this chapter, 'There's something got between us, Mail, that's causing us to keep hitting the wrong note with each other.' That was the inspiration for this chapter title.

The Annals of Fear Pt 2 Chapter 14 - Alpha Males

There's a three way battle for dominance between three men in this chapter. Nominally it's a fight over who leads the case, but everyone watching can tell that it's a general struggle for supremacy. Century is supposed to be the leader of this case, but he hasn't the personality to enforce it. There are snide comments and repeated statements that he's in control. However it's obvious early on that if Century rules at all, it's as a figurehead; and only for as long as it takes for a proper alpha male to emerge.

The real power struggle is between Mello and Fenian. It's blatant enough to elicit comments from the women watching on, including Deontic's exasperated call for peace,

Deontic stood, leaning on the table with rigid arms and clenched fists. "Was there not an agreement between you not two hours ago? Mello risked being blown up to protect you and Kiana! Yet here you are encircling each other like," she fumbled and grasped the analogy already given, "yes! Like chimpanzees. So very apt! But some of us are serious investigators, so can you hurry up with the tearing each others jaw bones off, or whatever primates do these days, to show each other who's boss! So the rest of us can get on with the blasted case!"

The Annals of Fear Pt 2 Chapter 15 - Dangerous Information

There are several pieces of potentially dangerous information imparted in this chapter.
  • Hal slips up and lets Matt know that she and Mello have been discussing their relationship. This could inflame Matt against her or Mello.
  • Hal also comes right out with the information, dangerous to Matt, that there has been an official complaint against him. This could result in him being incarcerated for the protection of the other Wammy alumni or, at least, given a psychiatric evaluation.
  • That same information could be dangerous for Fenian, or anyone else in their way, if Mello and Matt decide to resist or retaliate.
  • Matt twice signals to Mello that he knows something of Mello and Hal's conversation. This could set Mello against Hal.
  • The ghosts of the house play 'The Banshee'. How this affects its victims is information that they have been trying to discover for months. However, Mello and Matt are about to find out in very dangerous circumstances.

The Annals of Fear Pt 2 Chapter 16 - They Became My Family

This is a lyric from Blue October's 'HRSA'. The full segment reads,

Then three angels walked my way
In Spanish tongue they knelt to pray
And said "God keep him safe
From screaming voices"
They became my family
Outstretched their hands are on my head
You know, I can feel them breathing
They actually knelt down and prayed for me
They actually knelt down and prayed for me

'HRSA' by Blue October

It's an acknowledgement of the fact that Kiana, Fenian, Hal and even Century prayed for Mello. Though the 'Spanish tongue' and 'God keep him safe' also echoes Mello's innermost prayer,

"O moj Bože, dopusti mi biti u mogucnosti da ga zaštiti." Mello wept. "Ne dajte im ga uzeti previše."

Translated into English, this is, 'Oh my God, let me be able to protect him. Don't let them take him too.' Or, in other words, let Matt be safe.

The Annals of Fear Pt 2 Chapter 17 - Away With the Faeries

'Away With the Faeries' is a live album (and title song upon it) by Inkubus Sukkubus, that I was listening to whilst writing this chapter.

However, it also fits in with the storyline here. Kiana and Fenian, at least, believe that the whole phenomenon surrounding them has the fairy-folk at its core. Fenian already theorised, at the end of 'Annals of Fear', that the yew tree is at the crossroads of a fairy path. He guessed that some or all of the manor house's buildings were blocking the path. As soon as Kiana and Fenian arrived in Aberystwyth, they were up at the manor house, checking his theory. They found evidence that the stables and one of the outhouse buildings lay over an ancient track. Fenian also discovered that part of that pathway has been destroyed in a past landslide, with the rubble lying down in the river gorge.

In the Irish fairy faith (which is still strong in Ireland, particularly the West, and don't let the Irish tell you it isn't), a blocked fairy path is bad news. The otherworldly beings will pile on ever increasing amounts of chaos and crap, until they get their track back. Therefore, Fenian and Kiana are both convinced that this is the reason that the manor house is plagued by supernatural hostility. They believe that the continued blockage of the fairy path meant that the retribution on the house escalated. The curse spread via the music recorded there, reaching an ever wider circle of destruction.

It wouldn't be lost on either of them that the name of the song is 'Banshee'. Banshee is an Irish entity anyway, but the name is Anglicised. In Gaelic, she's bean-sidhe, which translates as woman of the fairy mounds. If you ever wanted evidence that the fairies aren't always sweetness and light, then take note that the banshee is one of them.

Can you hear their voices singing?
And they were once known as angels from the sky and heaven
But now they are known as devils, demons, alien monsters
Let them fill your dreams with wonder, fever, pain and passion
Let them fill your head with thunder...
She will lead if you will follow
Down the road that leads to sorrow
From the Dreamworld she is calling
Come to me, come running, falling
Come and sip the sacred poison

'Away with the Faeries' by Inkubus Sukkubus

A witch bottle, in folklore, has several uses. All of them are concerned with the protection of the house and its occupants; unless it's used maliciously, in which case it's a curse against the same. One of the major uses of the witch bottle is to pacify and/or restrain the fairies. As Kiana replaces the bottle, it is with both of the latter intentions. She actually names them, in their Welsh incarnation, though she says does so in Gaelic: 'A twyleth teg bennach ar sét, nachar·tair bét'. That translates, roughly, as 'fairy folk, bless our road, that calamity does not befall us'. The Twyleth Teg are Welsh fairies. Although Kiana's trying to get them on side, and petitioning them for assistance, she is also binding them from causing harm. This is both 'away with the faeries', in the sense of conversing with them; and 'sending away the faeries', insofar as stopping their supposed antics.

The Annals of Fear Pt 2 Chapter 18 - Nobody Move, Nobody Get Hurt

This is the title of a song by We Are Scientists. I listened to it on repeat, whilst writing this chapter.

I had Matt in mind at the time. The chorus of 'my body is your body, I won't tell anybody, if you want to use my body, go for it' screams Matt any day of the week. However, Matt's in shut-down mode. Less than an hour ago, he literally wouldn't move; utterly frozen in place in his petrified panic. Now he's just mute, until Mello prises a handful of words out of him. Matt just wants to hide in a static, silent shelter of himself and Mello.

The day you move, I'm probably gonna explode.
It's true, I'm probably gonna explode.
Whoa! You'll pray for proof;
I'm probably making this up.

'Nobody Move, Nobody Get Hurt' by We Are Scientists

Then you get the fact that if Hal moves, then she might get her throat cut with Matt's knife. (Or, considering that it's Hal here, there's a strong possibility that Mello or Matt moving means that she might hurt them.) Plus when Mello moves, ie runs away, Matt is emotionally hurt by that. And when Matt moves in search of him, Mello is hurt by his own anxiety and guilt. So if everyone would just stay put and calm down, everything would be alright.

Or you could go with the fact that this was the first chapter that I wrote post Glastonbury Festival. I'd been watching the coverage and fell in love with this song. I was going to be listening to it on repeat regardless of its relevance to the chapter. :p

The Annals of Fear Pt 2 Chapter 19 - Yes, I Dwell in Hell

It's a lyric from Rage Against the Machine's 'Killing in the Name of...'

A world of violent rage,
But it's one that I can recognise
Having never seen the colour of my father's eyes.
Yes, I dwell in hell, but it's a hell that I can grip;
I tried to grip my family
But I slipped

'Killing in the Name of...' by Rage Against the Machine

Neither Mello or Matt are communicating well with each other in this chapter. They are each other's family. Pick your POV.

The Annals of Fear Pt 2 Chapter 20 - Sister

For most of this story, the Wammy alumni are rivals. This is how they were raised and this is how they behave. There is only one winner and there is no second place prize. Mello, Matt, Deontic, Fenian, Century and Lauren are playing by defined rules, which the rest of those present can only guess at.

But when the circumstances are right, then another aspect of their shared childhood comes to the fore. They are fundamentally foster siblings. As families go, they are downright dysfunctional, but nevertheless they are the closest to family that each other has.

In this chapter, we finally see that. Deontic is the sister of Mello, Matt, Fenian and Century. They are her brothers. It's a rare glimpse of a different dynamic and the one which, perhaps, stalled Mello from shooting Near in canon.

The Annals of Fear Pt 2 Chapter 21 - It's Judgement That Defeats Us

This is from a line from the classic 1979 film, 'Apocalypse Now'. Marlon Brando plays Colonel Kurtz, a man who disappeared into the jungle of Viet Nam during the war. Willard is sent after him to investigate what is happening. He discovers that Kurtz is living like a demi-God, but he is utterly insane.

It feels like a travesty to not quote that whole scene, but the revelant line is:

These men who fought with their hearts, who had families, who had children, who were filled with love... but they had the strength... the strength... to do that. If I had ten divisions of those men, our troubles here would be over very quickly. You have to have men who are moral... and at the same time who are able to utilize their primordial instincts to kill without feeling... without passion... without judgment... without judgment! Because it's judgment that defeats us.

I would have liked to embed the scene, but I can't find a version on YouTube with embedding enabled. Here is the link.

Matt has been quoting Willard and Kurtz throughout this chapter. Even he is worried about how Mello seems at the moment. This was Matt's way of subtly telling Mello that he appears criminally insane and he's frightening them.

Mello nodded slowly. "What did you attempt to say in Croatian, when you were feeling braver?"

Matt's shoulders sagged, as he loudly exhaled. He wrinkled his nose. "I said, 'I don't see any method at all, sir.'"

The Annals of Fear Pt 2 Chapter 22 - I'm Somebody's Mother!

This is what Deontic shouted at her attackers, thus implanting a humanisation in their minds. Linking herself with their own mothers, which isn't what you want, when you're trying to have an erection.

The Annals of Fear Pt 2 Chapter 23 - There Were Rats

This chapter title is just an English translation of something that Matt says in Spanish.

Matt blinked blearily at his husband. He was in the chalet, in Wales, caked in sweat. It wasn't even dawn yet. He mumbled, "Hay ratas."

However, it could also refer to the main thing worrying Hal by the end of the chapter. There was a human rat in the SPK, who provided information to the Mafia. This allowed the Death Note to be used to kill most of the SPK at the time.

The Annals of Fear Pt 2 Chapter 24 - Visitors

Every time Mello or Matt glance at their door in this chapter, there's someone unexpected standing there. Nothing clever about this one. Just visitors.

The Annals of Fear Pt 2 Chapter 25 - Acts of War

There's a lot of challenge and testing of the waters in this chapter. Tensions are running high enough for Fenian to be talking about war and Mello to be seeking out his peers in diplomacy. Everything that happens is about nudging towards or further away open hostilities - another Wammy's House civil war brewing.

However, the title itself comes from Mello's comment at the end there:

Mello nodded, "Fenian, consider this. I stood up there for a good five minutes, watching you and Kiana playing on the beach. I could have taken you both out. I didn't. I came to reason with you. Remember that, next time your paranoia and fear cause you to want to goad me. It's not self-defence that you're acting in. It's aggression. Provocation. And one day, I might just hear your act of war and not dismiss it as beneath me." He bowed slightly to Kiana. "Have a good life." They weren't stopped, as they returned across the beach.

The Annals of Fear Pt 2 Chapter 26 - Y Gwir yn Erbyn y Byd

The Truth Against the World - it's Welsh and Druidic in origin, the old Bardic cry of awen against all distortions, even unto death. It's also mooted to be the battle cry of both Boudicca and Arthur.

In short, Century uttering it means business. It's either Bardic or battle - the two so often being one and the same for my lovely Cymbrogi compatriots, just look at me sometimes with a pen in my hand. Shit got real.

Century's tone dipped, "I am showing you all what I can do. Y gwir yn erbyn y byd." He cut the connection. Mello was left listening to dead air, with Deontic glowering alongside.

The Annals of Fear Pt 2 Chapter 27 - Taken Back

Me attempting to be clever with many meanings:
  • Century is a historian. He's taking us back in time, with his investigations into the past;
  • Working unilaterally, Century's back was exposed. Mello was able to creep up and take him in it;
  • He's a bit startled and annoyed by this - play on words with 'taken aback';
  • Siân is taken back to the train station, where she'll be taken back to Conwy;
  • Century is taken on his journey in the back of his own car;
  • He's taken back to the chalets.

I said 'attempting' to be clever, not succeeding nor being all that interesting about it.

The Annals of Fear Pt 2 Chapter 28 - Consiglieri

Mello was a consigliere in the Mafia and here we see how that might have worked - with slightly less violence. But the word actually translates from the Italian as 'counsellor' or 'counsel'.

Consiglieri is plural, as he's not the only counsellor there. Matt and Lauren could both be seen as his advisors. Valerie is also present and she's a counsellor in the psychologist sense. Not to mention Hal in her official Watari capacity, and all those Wammys sharing counsel on their investigations and the way forward.

It's pretty much a meeting of the council - consiglieri all - only Mello is much better at it.

The Annals of Fear Pt 2 Chapter 29 - True Watari

'True Watari' is how Chrissie wryly labels the inability of her fellow alumni to resist an investigation and/or solving the puzzle. A mindset fashioned in Wammy's House; a part of the Watari educational system, rather than 'Watari' the position currently occupied by Hal.

This causes comment in such company because it's Fenian exhibiting all the hallmarks of a Wammy House detective. He's nominally supposed to be immune, as he's stepped out of the fold and planning to leave the system entirely. His passion lies elsewhere, yet he's still desperate to be part of the investigative team.

Fenian tore his gaze from Mello to look at Century, then to the window behind, where night had undoubtedly descended. He glanced at Mello again, before taking in the monitor, with its big 'C' still adorning the whole screen. "Can I not persuade you to put off any more investigating until tomorrow?"

Through the speakers, Chrissie snorted, "Spoken like a true Watari boy. You just want to be involved, Fenian."

Upon his character, it looks like indoctrination and that has uneasy implications for those dyed in the wool by the Watari ethos. Hence Chrissie feeling the need to mention something so endemic at all.

It niggles at their collective psyche. Their brainwashed worldview reflected starkly straight back at them. Its very visibility constitutes a slight warning edge, quickly kicked into invisibility again by all four other Wammy kids rejecting, ridiculing or attacking Fenian, each in their own way. (Chrissie snorts her comment, disparaging his transparent eagerness; Mello - with Matt colluding - make him the butt of their sexual innuendo/joke; and Century refuses to wait for him to be free.)

More subtle, there's a secondary note of caution playing out here. Mello and Matt have an alternate context for Watari, unknown and unshared by the others. It's their safe-word during sex. If Watari is truly uttered, then all would/should instantly draw to a halt, while they take stock. Interestingly, Mello's mind immediately switches towards sex, and the denial thereof (albeit with Century). He should be calling stop too.

There's a school of thought which says that Watari was neither a role, a system nor a sexual safe-word, but the pseudonym of a single man. Mr Wammy was the only true Watari, and he lies dead in pursuit of a puzzle's solution. His young charges - now grown - are in this mess accordingly, socialized by the loss of Watari and L into viewing case success as more important than life itself.

Ultimately, the only one to signal stop is Fenian, who's summarily cast out into the cold under the slighting bestowed by his peers. He'd spoken like a true Watari, but Watari in truth is dead.

The Annals of Fear Pt 2 Chapter 30 - The Hour Strikes

It's never stated but implied that sunset is occurring in the backdrop to this chapter. On this day, and in this place, that means it's Nos Galen-gaeof (Night of the Winter, onset of the darkness); to Kiana, it's Samhain; to many in the English speaking world, it's Halloween. All share the same traditions - it's the festival where the veil is thin between this world and the rest; when Others walk abroad and the dead may return.

In short, they're at ground zero in a preternaturally dangerous situation and the wheel of the year just stacked the odds severely against them. Shit got real, while they were too busy raising the stakes in challenging each other to really notice their psychic environment.

Yet instinct quietly strikes its own chords. 'True Watari' themes recur in their conversation, sharpened by Fenian's return to the fold, quietly stepping into place as one of them, unwittingly acting as Wammy House dark mirror. The fatal flaws of the system starkly in full view, as he can't walk away now.

Just look at how many times their conversation encircles the themes of 'Wammy', 'Watari', 'safety', 'futility of conflict', 'fatalism', 'playing games, engendered by the system', 'truth', 'weapons/ammunition', 'death', 'conspiracy', 'danger', 'suicide'. It's not the Manor House which is the most potentially perilous for each of them present, it's Wammy's House, as Deontic so eloquently conflates:

"How can I be safe with you four, when you're so intent on doing each other's heads in? This is nothing to do with the forces at that house. This is our own private brand of suicide."

Mello sighed, "Deontic."

She turned and shrieked at him, "Don't! I remember you in that house. The way you brought Century through. The way you acted like nothing, in this world nor the next, would hurt him, while you stood in the way. Now look at you." She raised her voice even louder. "Look at you!" She shrugged Fenian's arm from her shoulder. "Go home to Galway. You broke your heart enough to get there. You've kept out of it until now. Go home."

The striking hour brings insight keenly to the fore - the Cymric muse's awen - wherein they each almost see what Watari did to them; what they perpetuate for themselves in his name. Deontic's hour has also come. She's been slowly awakening to the reality of Watari for months. Unable now to shy from the evidence of Fenian's very presence, Deontic lays their reality out in uncompromising clarity.

But her appeal for common sense and safety strays directly into Matt's path. 'Peace in our time' for Wammy House alumni isn't part of his personal agenda. He's been playing a very long game, which is silently entering its final phase. His attack upon Deontic - the very epitome of a challenged Wammy House boy - even stuns Mello, whilst scattering the rest. This is Matt's hour and, when he strikes, it destroys any potential for clarity, truth and stability under the auspice of the Watari system.

The Annals of Fear Pt 2 Chapter 31 - Black Mirror

I was listening to 'Black Mirror' by Arcade Fire at the time of writing this chapter. The mood and lyrics fit very well too, particularly the whole being in front of a huge, dark ocean. In this instance, the 'black mirror' is the one who's been consistently (unknowingly) reflecting the Wammy ethos back to the others for the past couple of chapters - Fenian. His persona is increasingly saturating with what he was raised to be and if he can't be turned aside, then who ultimately ever will? He'll ride roughshod over Century, Kiana and common sense in order to solve the puzzle before his rivals. Even if it kills him.

Their names are never spoken
The curse is never broken

The Annals of Fear Pt 2 Chapter 32 - Whom Does the Grail Serve?

Any successful quest for the Holy Grail must begin with the Grail questions:
  • What is it?
  • Whom does it serve?
  • What does it mean?

The questions of Cymric Sovereignty - the Goddess of the Land - asked by those who would champion Her, as challengers battle each other in the bid to be prove their worth as potential consort. Risking self and sanity, Her champion drinks deeply of the muse's cauldron, imbibing heady awen straight from the font; intoxicated beyond all reason by the ninefold breath of truth. The Lady's Champion must be prepared to lose all on a hero's quest. The greatest of them lose all sense of civility, running wild with the beasts in the dark wood, or sinking in hopeless wandering through the deep, despairing blackness of Her subterranean pools. Celyddon calls for gwyllt; while Cerridwen casts ghosts into Annwn, where none can return but must be reborn.

But those who come back do so with a radiant brow, shining white with knowledge and inspiration; connected in body, soul and dreaming to the Earth and all its Mysteries. Bound neither by time or place, nor even form, existing in all and none. They will save Sovereignty's land from becoming the Wasteland. They will heal the Fisher King and clear the mist from the peaks of Caer Sidi.

First though, they must ask the Grail questions, which the Goddess - taking whatever form that Her erstwhile Champion may trust and hear - will have already furnished at the forefront of his mind.

If Century says that the Grail is there, then someone had better have heard what Hal, then Deontic and finally Kiana have been trying to communicate during the past few chapters. They'd better be ready to get the Grail questions asked once the hour has struck, lest their realm be lost beneath the toxic spread of the infertile Waste.

Fenian started the Land Rover and didn't turn it around. "I mean, what does this fucking serve? You're..."

"Guinea pigs, is it?" Century spoke, icily. "This way, he's close enough to the action to influence it, but he can watch from afar, while we open the altar. You'll do it. He's got Kiana."

"And what the fuck are you expecting to be in the altar?" There was silence. Fenian barked. "Century? What are you fucking expecting to be in the altar? It's my fucking life on the line here. My fucking woman held hostage in the back there. Afford me the common fucking dignity to..."

Mello sniggered. "He hasn't told you. Excellent."

"You fucking tell me then!" Fenian waited. "You haven't got a fucking clue either, Mello. Your man is bluffing."

I can't believe no-one has ever called me on that. But no reader ever commented to me that Fenian asks the Grail questions - granted with far less poetry and finesse than Gawaine, Galahad or Pedwyr/Parzival ever did - and here's me thinking as I wrote it that I was being so clumsily blatant that it would be spoilers all round.

Don't any of you know your ancient Welsh Bardic lore? Nor even your 15th century Norman rapist and anti-Plantagenet, legendary Arthurian authors? Shame.

The Annals of Fear Pt 2 Chapter 33 - Por Favor

No big song and dance over this one. Matt, in his Mother tongue, pleading from the heart, unable to articulate anything much. A simple, poignant, childlike cry - por favor. 'With favor' or, as it's more usually translated, 'please'.

The Annals of Fear Pt 2 Chapter 34 - In Search of the Holy Grail

The legendary Grail knights go out in droves to begin their quest. Most get killed or get driven into the kind of madness from which there is no Bardic redemption. They'll be the ones who interpret everything according to known reality, thus seeing nothing that isn't supposed to be there.

Poor Century knows his history so well, that he's missing the point. Ranting on about Norman propaganda and Medieval games of thrones, seeking to any all and every question, instead of pausing to ask a few himself.

Chief amongst them being: how come Fenian apparently knows nothing about Arthur, Gwenwhyfar and the Grail Cycle? This avid Irish patriot - who spent their childhood encouraging Century to grasp tightly to and cherish his heroic, heritage tales; and appeared very well versed in Celtic folklore, legends and fairy faith without any prompting two months ago at the end of Annals. It's not like he's named after Arthur's Irish counterpart, nor that there's dozens of interwoven stories concerning Arthur, his warband and the Fenian Cycle. Oh! Hold on...

Fenian keeps up his litany of asking questions, specific and abstract - what are we doing? Why am I opening this altar? What then? What? Yet never once taking on board an answer, except those presented as clues during their quest. The Fool's Journey, not the academic's interpretive analysis. Seeking facilitates the search; quests are made up of questions. Truths will be revealed in their moment to shine.

Like after Fionn mac Cumhaill - the original Fenian - ate the Salmon of Knowledge, the Irish equivalent to drinking from the Holy Grail, and his radiant brow shone with the White Grove's certainty. Thereon to become Sovereignty's heroic champion and later, some believe, the ever wounded Fisher King.

But you knew all this, you've read An Fhiannaíocht and the Arthurian legends of Ulster, haven't you? You must have seen this coming a mile off. :)

The Annals of Fear Pt 2 Chapter 35 - The Screaming

The Wasteland is much better consigned to books, legends and John Boorman novels. In reality, it's a terrifying place in which to cower, disorientated and afraid. So many things, entities, creatures and people are howling, screaming and/or wailing in this chapter, that it seems to emit from all sides at once. The Song of the Earth is a desperate keening; Sovereignty's chant is a lament; Morrighan's foxes are howling, which doesn't bode well for the banshee's cry nor the wail of Y Tylwydd Teg. Who would even hear Gwrach-y-Rhibyn rising over the wall of sound emitting from densely gathered ghosts?

As far as Kiana is concerned, the worst of those ancestral spirits is the only one silent on that Samhain mountainside. Zlata Janakovac's gaze, in defense of her grandson, comes close to unhinging Kiana, turning the screaming inward.

Meanwhile, there's Mello - prone Pellas of this hour, dripping wounds of sanity, not blood - sobbing a very human addition to all the preternatural, bestial and Otherworldly distress. The once and future king, who cannot heal via ordinary means until right questions are asked; the Hallows recovered; and the awen headed Champion dares darkness, oblivion and destruction enough until a consort worthy of ruling is found. Only then may Sovereignty's battle aspect turn from war and the Wasteland, Her blood-drenched demeanour switching, as if viewed in a different light, into the muted scarlet hues of the red-headed Mother. Peace up to the skies; the skies down to Earth; peace in ALL things...

Only those who risk wisdom wrought of realities shattering can wield the Hallows and heal the Fisher King. Only then may the Lady feel secure enough for stability; able to bless the land with fertility, banishing the wide waste; applying balm to all previously seeping poison.

But for now, Matt's Camero only adds, in motorized, mechanical, tyre spinning shrieking, to the general malaise. He emerges, reunited with his man, but the red-head is still bloody. Until he feels safe enough to risk peace, the war rages on and the realm remains entrenched in stagnant toxicity.

Everything from the depths of the Earth to the darkened skies above is screaming this Samhain. Their house needs to be put in order, then all may finally begin to grow again.

Only poor Kiana can discern it in all its dread decay; only the distress has her too disorientated to recall her calling. Fian lost his Aisling. Cymru's Dark Lady ever did sever safety ropes; life-lines cut to force the interwoven threads web across time, space and dimension. A leap of faith bringing madness or awen; soaring gwyllt or crushing guilt; death or direction, carried in perfect trust upon the great, sacred waters of the Welsh Mother Goddess.

Trust Dee to deliver Her hero home safe and sound again.

The Annals of Fear Pt 2 Chapter 36 - Thistle and Weeds

'Thistle and Weeds' is a song by Mumford and Sons. I don't think I was listening to it while I was writing, but I definitely thought of it when I came to stick a title on this. It feels like a very Matt POV song around now.

I'm down on my knees
And your faith in shreds, it seems

It's pretty much Matt accepting the fact that Mello has lost it and, therefore, getting out of this alive rests on Matt's shoulders. Mello doesn't necessarily share this view. But until Matt feels safe again, that is their situation. Thistles and weeds drowning beneath floods and acid rain - flowering gardens and future growth can come when their surroundings are secured. Until then, this is war and Matt will lay waste anything which threatens him and his man. Nothing personal, just defense and the instinct which says stay on your safe spot. But if you must take on the boss, then fight with no holds barred and win whatever it takes.

If Mello sought to disagree - retaining all semblance of command and an overt position of dominance - then he shouldn't have brought Matt so deeply into a strange protocol situation, then freaked the fuck out.

The Annals of Fear Pt 2 Chapter 37 - The Dying of the Light

This returns to the Dylan Thomas poem Do Not Go Gentle..., which had such an airing in chapter 48 of Annals of Fear Pt 1. Check it out there for the information about it, plus a reading of the fabulous poem itself.

The Annals of Fear Pt 2 Chapter 38 - Awfully Real

This title comes from a line of dialogue within the chapter.

Matt stared coldly at him. "In the meantime, you tell me where your head is. You might have been tapping away telling me that it's all an act to con the soft-hearted lady, but it sounded awfully real from where I was sitting."

There's much that's very real about the situation that they're in. But there's also a lot which could be open to interpretation, not to mention downright hallucinatory. Was all that Matt perceived real? If so, then 'awful' was how it was experienced.

Naturally - given the Cymric context - there's a triple meaning here. 'Awfully' in the sense of being rather large and overwhelming; 'awful', as in not at all nice; and the original meaning of the word - 'full of awe', which in itself comes from 'awen', the Welsh muse's breath, the droplets from Cerridwen's cauldron, the great insight of the living Earth. People encountering awen generally come away either poets or insane. Like there was ever a difference.

The Annals of Fear Pt 2 Chapter 39 - The Lost Boys

J.M. Barrie's Peter Pan introduced us to the concept of the Lost Boys. They were the children who went to Neverland and never came home, each of them losing touch with reality in order to live isolated in their dream world. They never grew up. They played games, fought pirates and had adventures forever and ever.

Watching over them for a brief time was Wendy - who grew up one day sooner than all the other children - before she returned to the real world and left the Lost Boys behind. Maybe Wendy is Deontic here; maybe she's Hal. Only one thing we can be sure about - Mello and Matt are the Lost Boys too busy trolling to truly grasp the real and present danger.

The Annals of Fear Pt 2 Chapter 40 - The Rock of Ages

One of the most famous Welsh hymns of all time - Cwm Rhondda - has a refrain which goes 'Bread of Heaven, Bread of Heaven, feed me 'til I want no more; feed me 'til I want no more'. But I've heard a variant whereby they sing, 'Rock of Ages, Rock of Ages, lift me up forevermore; raise me up forevermore.' Or something like that. I swear I have. I was playing it when I named this chapter, but do you think I can find it now?

The more famous Rock of Ages hymn (the 18th century American one) is everywhere. Cwm Rhondda is everywhere too, but every version of it tunefully going on about bread. Perhaps insanity has finally struck. I don't know.

This chapter title was intended to be a little bit clever. It's a famous Welsh hymn, but its about the Rock of Ages. Could be St Peter. Could be the kind of rock over which Kiana is currently dangling. Could be the history embedded into the very bedrock of Wales.

Here's Cwm Rhondda. I'll even give you the English version.

And here's a version in Welsh (with English subtitles) from the movie 'How Green was my Valley'.

The Annals of Fear Pt 2 Chapter 41 - Katabasis

In Classical Greek mythology, katabasis is the hero's journey into the Underworld. Think Orpheus going in after Eurydice. Think Fenian going into the vast, dark depths of the unknown. Katabasis could well be entering Hades itself, so they don't often come back alive.

The Annals of Fear Pt 2 Chapter 42 - A Guilty Conscience Grows

It's a lyric from Muse's Sunburn, the song played by Century on piano. But there are words and sentiments here which take on a different hue when considered within the context of Wammy's House. I see 'her' as being that code of conduct engendered there - that need to win and solve the puzzle, even if you die in the process. A dark Sovereignty to cast its erstwhile heroes into the pit, and Century unable to step fully away, even while history calls much more loudly than other detective work. Not even Fenian can surrender an opportunity to shine, even as he thought he was getting away.

The Annals of Fear Pt 2 Chapter 43 - The Cavalry Comes

The cavalry coming generally means a moment of redemption or salvation. A break-through in the stalemate. Daf and his bicycle luggage carrier, guided into the fray by Valerie, is that for Deontic and all those up on the mountainside.

The Annals of Fear Pt 2 Chapter 44 - A Leader of Men

This comes from a line of dialogue in the chapter. Mello is speaking:

"I wanted to take the leadership, because I am a leader of men." Mello's peripheral vision took in Hal, Valerie, Lauren and Kiana. They were all blankly surveying him, though Lauren gave a little nod of encouragement. Mello inclined his head. "I do not claim to be a leader of women. How can a mere man be that?" There was a discernible relaxing of shoulders. Hal gave an ironic laugh, which caused Valerie to smile. Kiana actually turned back from the door, looking trapped. "Which is why I'd rather Kiana guided us; while Century receives the medical attention that he has been so sorely needing."

There are always power struggles wherever Wammy kids clash, but this scene has it all more ostentatious than usual. They need to sort out some sort of leadership because there's a very real chance that people aren't going to survive.

The Annals of Fear Pt 2 Chapter 45 - They Will Find You

Lots of meanings in this one. 'They' could be the Wammy ladies in the hub, who find Fenian. Or the Wammys (plus Kiana, Hal, Valerie and Daf) at the manor house, who Deontic promises will track Fenian down, if he just comes back to the chalet. Or the statement might pertain to They - the forces at large messing with heads, lives and reality. Or preternatural entities much closer to home. They could very well be other Wammy's, presumed already lost, now finding their living temporaries with increasing fervour.

The Annals of Fear Pt 2 Chapter 46 - Black-Out

Kiana blacks out, as in faints; the whole region has a black out, insofar as there's a power cut; and then there's the older sense of black out - locking out the light from homes with black out curtains - plus every other source of light too - in order to render whole cities invisible to bombers in times of war. Matt does state that he and Mello are fighting a war on too many fronts right now.

The Annals of Fear Pt 2 Chapter 47 - A Vote of No Confidence

Finally, Mello fully perceives that Matt's issued a vote of no confidence in his husband's decision making. Thus proving himself very capable of over-riding Mello's orders and assuming command himself, if he believes that the situation warrants it.

This is frustrating, annoying and all that, but it's also fuel for self-doubt. No matter how much you believe the judgement against you to be wrong, a vote of no confidence is a strike against self-confidence. Particularly if you otherwise value your judge's opinion. We all gage ourselves in relation to those around us. This has got to be eating away at Mello's trust in his own worldview. It's like a tiny seed might soon grow into a vote of no self-confidence.

Plus how do you force someone to return command to you, when you have to prove sanity first. Sound mental health is a matter of societal consensus at the best of times, and there is no consensus there amongst any of them.

The unsettling notion for Mello is his husband's blithe (and possibly inadvertent) demonstration here that Mello rules ordinarily because Matt lets him. On one hand, it's not a total shock. Mello's long since openly observed that much of his dominance over Matt never originated with himself. The redhead habitually submitted to a whole raft of things which he'd put upon himself in lieu of Mello actually coming up with any of them. Often the Slav retrospectively enforces them, because it patently keeps Matt happy and turns him on. It was cute and empowering, right up until the moment that they all disappear and it feels a bit like play-acting all along.

Matt was third in line to be L. They both know that he could have been higher (or not, they'll never know) and that his intelligence is at least equal to Mello's. He had a good deal more highly intensive, top quality, challenging academic education too - three extra years in a Wammy House classroom, while Mello was out immersing himself in street smarts and Mafioso specialisms. Mello is only ever guaranteed to win in a power struggle between them, if is Matt equally determined to lose; or else Mello very carefully selects the arena for their hypothetical clash, stacking the odds abnormally in his own favour.

He doesn't want to go head to head with Matt as true rivals for supremacy. He might come second, then spend the rest of their married lives together with that as a point for Matt's high anxiety, never to be buried nor erased for as long as they both shall live. It's not just a moment's loss of pride at stake here and Mello knows it. Plus it's a dangerous situation that they're currently in, so Mello wants control over himself AND his husband.

A unilateral Matt can be a wildly chaotic, perilous one. Which complicates things greatly in an already potentially deadly, paranoia laden, unstable case.

The Annals of Fear Pt 2 Chapter 48 - Stones Taught Me to Fly

This is a lyric from Damien Rice's song Cannonball - not only a very Fenian song for me, but the one which I use as his trigger. In short, it's the most Fenian song I know. It's how I assume his personality enough to write him. And this chapter's storyline matches the song's lyrics more closely than normal. Bless him.

The Annals of Fear Pt 2 Chapter 49 - The Last Resort

The last resort is an old favourite strategy - blowing shit up.
"Food. Rest. Warmth." Mello countered. He wheeled the motorbike into the hallway of the farmhouse, then returned to Matt's side. His husband had lifted out two metal cases from under the seat. He was reaching in for the third. "Right." Mello picked them up, but didn't move inside. "We're talking about this first. This was the last resort."

The couple have obviously discussed a loose kind of strategy before leaving home in the New Forest to enter Wales. These bombs have been pre-packed and primed, requiring the minimum amount of assembly before they're good to go. But they haven't been mentioned to anyone else in their party, whilst telling each other that exploding buildings was 'the last resort'.

Whether any more tactics were planned and dismissed isn't mentioned - beyond the computer hub apparatus, tracking devices etc, plus the advice to their fellow investigators to bring someone along to keep them sane. However, I doubt that too much was set into stone in advance. They needed to consult with the others regarding their specialisations, collect some empirical data from their monitoring of the house, and generally get the lie of the land.

They've got that now. So bloody shit up it is.

The Annals of Fear Pt 2 Chapter 50 - Anabasis

This is the antonym of chapter 41's title, Katabasis. That involved the Hero's Descent into the Underworld, going underneath. Anabasis takes us into the opposite direction. It's to march onwards in an upwards direction - to scale the summit, advance or to step away from a coastline into an island's interior.

This is the chapter wherein Fenian tells the others of the events in Katabasis, so there's that flipside scenario going on. He was below and now he's above and back on the coastline. However, it's also mentioned that Mello and Matt have fled 'up the hill' on the now working motorcycle. That's certainly in the right direction for Anabasis.

Anabasis is most famously the seven volume memoirs of Xenophon, a professional soldier in Ancient Greece. The moment of actual Anabasis came when he joined a huge expedition of Greek mercenaries, known to history as the Ten Thousand. (Go on, guess how many roughly were there... did I hear you say 10,400? No, it was 6,000. Sorry. Mind you, it really does depend when we check in on them. For example, there's none now.) Anabasis describes their epic march from the Black Sea into practically the centre of Ancient Persia. Whereupon their leader was killed, thus negating the need for them to be there.

This massive army was now stranded miles within enemy territory without adequate supplies, and with no-one planning the logistics of mobilizing over 10,000 men in a homeward direction. Eventually Xenophon was elected as ad hoc leader - a position which he accepted only after consulting the Oracle of Delphi. He later also took counsel from Socrates, described in a brief but charming little cameo by the philosopher.

The Oracle of Delphi inspired the greatest tenets of Socratic understanding, simply by calling Socrates the wisest man in Greece. This confused the philosopher, as he was in the habit of telling everyone that he knew nothing. But he also knew that the divine Pneuma - breath, air, wind, awen - inspiring the Pythia couldn't express a falsehood. Socrates visited the Oracle to discover why she considered him so wise, when he knew nothing. Pythia merely reiterated that he was currently the wisest man in Greece. Upon the wall beside her doorway, he read the legend, Know Thyself.

Socrates concluded that it was all a puzzle. That the Oracle of Delphi had set out a riddle to be solved. Hence he undertook a long journey across Greece to find someone, anyone, whom he considered wiser than himself. He found none. It wasn't that he knew more than anyone else, but that he admitted it when he knew less. Most people lie in artifice; pretending to comprehend more than they ever could, presenting falsehoods in misdirection, propaganda towards boosting perceived self-worth and generally lying through their teeth to seem so much better than everyone else.

Socrates took the Fool's way - a heroic Fool's Journey, wherein he realised finally why Know Thyself is such an important bit of advice. It's in Anabasis that we hear how Socrates now carried this understanding out into the world. He stood for truth - even if it highlighted ignorance; even if its appearance was humiliating, awkward and of no use in winning friends and influencing people - and he set truth in motion by exposing falsehood wherever he found it. The Truth Against the World.

Which is why the Greek authorities eventually sentenced him to retract his seditious speech or drink hemlock and die slowly freezing into stone from the feet upwards. Socrates choose to drink the hemlock. He knew himself and understood the value perpetually asking the question 'why?' in any given situation. He couldn't fail, while he played the questing Fool in motion, and those truths were worth dying to defend. Socrates drank the hemlock - a sacrifice which planted a seed to bring down a corrupt system - and Plato took his baton and ran with Socratic ideals.

The Annals of Fear Pt 2 Chapter 51 - Herwgipio

This translates as 'Kidnapping', which is the chapter that introduces us to Mafia!Mello, in canon. Here he is, reprising his role as a kidnapping Mafioso. He's doing it in Wales this time, hence the title is in Welsh.

The Annals of Fear Pt 2 Chapter 52 - Generation

They are the fourth generation. The ones who will change everything with their Constitution, now signed and sent out into the post-boxes of all alumni. They are also the generation who could well now solve the haunting phenomena at the Manor House.

But none of this is what I meant by 'generation', despite the momentous fact of Mello aggressively forging enough peace that they may now all work together. As long as Deontic can hold the centre long enough to facilitate such things. But as the poet Yeats so wonderfully put it, the second that 'things fall apart; the centre cannot hold. Time for a bit of chaos, as 'mere anarchy' is unleashed upon their world in the form of the Irish Easter Rising. I should have entitled this chapter 'The Centre Cannot Hold'. Is it too late?

"Oh my God." Fenian breathed suddenly, silencing her. He looked stunned. He had their attention. He dropped back down onto his backside, seeming as if someone had punched him. "Oh my fucking God." Kiana froze. Everyone else was very watchful. Fenian just stared into space. "No fucking way." His arms hung slack. His jaw dropped.

"Liam?" Kiana sounded so scared. "What's happened? What have they done to you now?"

Fenian's gaze moved to her, then defocused again. A pulse throbbed in his neck. He slowly shook his head. He spoke, like someone not quite trusting his own words. "We need to solve the case." It was not what anyone was expecting to hear. There were a few pairs of eyes watching the subtle signs of body language and knowing that his shock had nothing to do with the case. "Drop it, Ki. Really drop it now. Solve the case. Go home. Dee says that we're close." His hand moved to his mouth and stayed there. His focus moved gradually, jerkily, over to the kitchenette.

Fenian kept the Fianna flame shining brightly until this chapter. Now people are constantly asking if he is already. He repeatedly tells them, 'I'm fine', and means it in the sense that it seems written. But the word was deliberately chosen by me to ping off Fionn mac Cumhail - those first name, the root of Fenian, is pronounced 'fine'. Only Fenian has just worked something out and inwardly needs to gets things moving; to sort something out, so he can continue on into evaluating a sudden panicked change of plan. We, as readers won't know what it is until partway through the next novel, but we can see the desperate hardening of his aspect and the radiance grown dull. Nothing really here has changed, but Fenian's worldview. No longer asking any questions, he has no quest. He cannot catch his breath. He cannot touch the Grail/awen/Spiritus Mundi/Pythia's Pnuema, even as wonders erupt around him.

At the very moment that he drops the Fianna's baton, he becomes the 'very embodiment' of a Wammy House kid. He's learned again how simply to fear. Turning away from childlike adventuring and the championing of truth. He will force his own interpretations upon all that's experienced or occurred; no persuing awen, just pinning as awful all things. Too scared now to trust in the Fool's Journey, Fenian seeks the anabasis of control. He is transformed or, Yeats again, he is 'changed, changed utterly, a terrible beauty is born.'

"What?" Mello asked, his senses alert. But Fenian wasn't looking at Mello, he was looking at Matt. There was the tiniest smile on Matt's lips. No-one else saw it, but Fenian did. Fenian stared. Misunderstanding his focus, Mello smirked, "I've told you that I won't shag you. It's no good pleading."

Kiana looked from Mello to Fenian. "What's going on?"

"Help me up." Fenian said, shakily, his gaze dropping away. "We need to solve the case."

"Will someone tell me what the fuck is going on?" Kiana demanded. "Liam?"

"I said drop it." Fenian grit his teeth and stood on his own steam. Pain drained the colour from his face, but he didn't even let it catch in his breath. His expression hardened into neutrality. His eyes were blank. There was nothing given away in his body language now, other than the fact that it was most telling in its absence of information. He had learned this in the same classroom as four other people in that room. They knew he had something to hide. In the midst of telling them that he was leaving the system, Fenian had presented himself as its very embodiment.

But quietly, across the room, Matt has silently and without any fuss at just signalled the ceasation of all hostilities with a tiny smile. He's no longer at war. He can happily sit back and let Deontic forge a peace, if she can bear to try with the centre jumping wildly in her grasp. It's Matt who professes to know nothing now, while Fenian is intent upon seeming so intelligent.

Mello nodded. "Could the fault line be causing a concentration of infra-sound?"

"Yes." Fenian nodded. "Surely that was obvious?"

Matt shook his head. "I thought it was the waves on the coast and their impact on the shore; the airflow of wind over the mountain range; the wind turbines up the top of the valley vibrating on the bedrock; the river; the appliances in the house; vehicles on the road; and the rather large television transmitter on the opposite side of the valley." He bit his lip. "I was obviously wrong."

What is generation? It's 'to beget' or 'to create' - to share your ration of genes, if you like. Otherwise to spark life into being; to pump up the energy; to turn the wheel; to bring forth progress, product or progeny. Or, if you just happen to have a doctorate in Computer Science, like Dr Jeevas has, then 'generation' denotes a significant upgrade in the sophisication of your programming language. His just entered a phase known best described as, 'the only way to win is not to play at all'.

The Annals of Fear Pt 2 Chapter 53 - I Chose the Angels

Deontic must be tired. She's not listening to what Mello says with the right degree of distrust. The charming consigliere never lies, just misdirects.
Deontic stared at him. "That house made monsters of us all." They both knew that she didn't mean the manor house. "Did you kill them, Mello?" Their eyes locked for several intense seconds. "I need to know."

Mello slowly shook his head. "Satan was watching me, urging me on. I chose the angels."

He chose 'the angels', which could be rendered in Spanish as 'Los Angeles' - where Mello's Mafia family was based. But Deontic doesn't seem to notice at all. She takes the laurel branch and prepares to sue for peace again.

The Annals of Fear Pt 2 Chapter 54 - Filthy Lucre

There's a D.H.Lawrence short story called 'Filthy Lucre', which is an old slang term for 'dirty money'. Not really in the laundering sense, but profit-making against all considerations of morality. 'Lucre' meaning 'advantage, gain or profit'. 'Filthy' as in soiled or stained.

Mello's out to perform a favour for Fenian, partially to make amends for the past, but mostly to prove to Deontic that he's a loving, caring, compassionate individual, who always tries to err on the side of angels. Not always of a Californian Mafioso hue. ~Then again, he doesn't know that his husband is in the process of letting Fenian fuck himself over far worse than Kiana could.

Filthy lucre has also played a part in their collective past - and quite a few in the present tense too - as we are reminded by the shock emergence of Mr Wammy at the end there. He might have ploughed his riches into the Institution, but they've collectively ploughed much, much more back since. Just because they're all getting on without civil war brewing for ten minutes, it doesn't mean that their childhood exploitation was necessary right and proper. As far as Kiana's concerned, Fenian and his fourth generation cohort were abused by Mr Wammy, and that too was for 'filthy lucre'.

No emotion there from Matt. No need for motion from him now, energy or otherwise. He generated enough in chapters gone by for his vendetta's momentum to keep going indefinitely, triggering the implosion of the Watari system, just as planned.

The Annals of Fear Pt 2 Chapter 55 - Woman of the Fey

They're using their truce to compare notes which might save them all. It's all about Banshee, and her Welsh cousin Gwrach-y-Rhibyn, both of whom have played parts in people being scared to death during this case. Probably about time they received more consideration than who's currently out-ranking who in the Wammy House rivalries. But priorities. Priorities.
Deontic glanced at Century. The teenager sucked on his lollipop. "The fairies."

Deontic nodded. "I don't know why you're being so blase about this, Century. You certainly believed wholeheartedly in the Gwrach-y-Rhibyn, last time we were here. How different is she from these fairies?"

Kiana frowned, "She is one of them. In Ireland, the fey are called the sidhe. Our version of Gwrach-y-Rhibyn is called Bean Sidhe, or banshee, meaning 'woman of the fey'."

As for the translation of Gwrach-y-Rhibyn, in truth nobody really knows. But there are theories - is Gwrach-y-Rhibyn Morrighan in Disguise?

The Annals of Fear Pt 2 Chapter 56 - Who Heals the Wounds?

A lyric from the song 'Tomorrow' by U2. It's a very passionate, emotional cry from the heart kind of song, written by Bono on the day of his own mother's funeral.

Who broke the window, who broke down the door?
Who tore the curtain and who was He for?
Who healed the wounds, who heals the scars?
Open the door, open the door
Won't you come back tomorrow?

So who does heal the wounds? If we're talking about dead mothers, then the implication is Jesus Christ and the consolation encapsulated in faith in Him per se. But does anyone ever really 'heal' from such a loss, however great the Messiah of their church? Plus we weren't really talking about poor deceased Susannah Tighe, until Matt started trolling her son Liam for having the audacity to a) solve a case ahead of Mello and b) have that solution involve fairy faith.

Personally, I see the real and present gaping wounds as twofold - who heals the land in and around the Manor House? And who heals those ensnared in Wammy's House and the Watari system? Fenian's going to try and do both, but those are judgments made through a veneer of fear, without his usual genius. Which is a shame, because he might just have been the one to pull it off.

Hal's trying hard with the latter, as is Ann. The Resolution purports to be what it says on the packet. The majority of surviving fourth generation Wammy alumni think they pondered, debated, wrote and signed it into being to save the fifth generation from the worst excesses of their own youth. All but one.

Or could Matt have called it? Is the best way to salve all hurt the destruction of the place where it occurred, and the ruination of the infrastructure supporting it. Or is that merely a deeply damaged young man lashing out, and ultimately no balm soothes his psyche, no-one was saved?

To heal any injury, first the source must be discerned and understood. No one size can be expected to fit all, when disparate individuals are involved. Wammy's House - for all its faults - remains home for over two dozen people. They do not think nor feel as one. More data is clearly needed.

As for the Manor House, more information is here yielding enough for solutions to its ills to be proposed. It may yet be rendered wholesome, hale and healthy again. But Sovereignty lost Her champion there. The Fianna ride off home again and who will breathe the questions then? What is it? Whom does it serve? What does it mean? And who is the last true Fisher King, awaiting a Grail knight in a Scientific Age?

The Annals of Fear Pt 2 Chapter 57 - Puppets and Puppeteers

I think I just liked the alliteration here, though Century does yell that he's not Mello and Matt's puppet. I don't anyone knows who's truly in charge any more, and there were always too many assuming that they should take the lead. Messes like that risk the wrong strings being cut.

The Annals of Fear Pt 2 Chapter 58 - Descent Into the Underworld

This is katabasis part two, but in English this time and with different personnel. Mello and Matt go beneath the house, exploring the caves and rooms inside the bedrock of the mountainside. More data for their investigations and enough ghosts to fill Annwn, Hades, Heaven, Hell and Tir nA Og several times over.

The Annals of Fear Pt 2 Chapter 59 - Into the Madness

A first outing up to the Manor House for Deontic this session, and it's to uncover the wild raving remnant of her foster brother's cruel craziness. She possibly wishes she stayed away and had a nice cup of tea instead.

The Annals of Fear Pt 2 Chapter 60 - Malevolence

I recall adding this as a title - it was just me playing around with the word. I was enjoying the fact that it's a word which sounds a little like 'mail violence' (actually, it doesn't at all, does it? It merely suggests it in the general consonant configuration), but can mean 'evil', 'hostility', 'Sadistic Personality Disorder' or, in law, 'malice'. I do love ambiguity, don't you?

Seeing as Hal and Deontic just collected the victim of their last bout of sadism up here, it's all rather fresh in our minds. But apparently no longer an actual disorder. It was removed from the psychology books in 1987, possibly because Mello was about to be born and the psychology world wanted to avoid clashing with him.

Yeah, I am making up random shit now. I really was just playing with the word.

Oh! They left the masochist one in, when they removed sadism. And they did the latter in order to facilitate better research. Sounds dodgy.

The Annals of Fear Pt 2 Chapter 61 - Samhain

Samhain runs from sunset on October 31st until sunset on November 1st. It's New Year's Eve, and the cross over point between summer and winter. From now on the Lords of Misrule run riot in darkness and snow. At Samhain, the dead may return without too much effort, as may denizens of the Otherworld.

In Gaelic and Brythonic lore, there are at least three interlinked lands - the one you're probably sitting in now to read this; the Land of the Dead; and the Land of Fairy. Ordinarily travel between all three requires special circumstances, assistance or a tremendous amount of energy. At Samhain, the gates are thrown fully wide. All may return, as they will.

So what do said gates look like? They too numerous to fully iterate here, but a biggie are the Places Between Places and/or the Time Between the Times. If somewhere is neither one thing nor another, then it can't truly be said to be in either, but both simultaneously. Weak spots in the fabric of space, time etc.

  • Mello and Matt are in a place where an underground river bisects their path, they are neither in water, nor fully on land, nor even in the air - threefold veil crossing right there;<
  • Samhain is neither one year nor the next, but the bridge between the two;
  • Nor is it either summer or winter, but the cross-over of both;
  • Sunset/dawn: neither night nor day but both at the same time;
  • On the beach, Kiana is neither on land nor at sea, but on the cusp of their changing condition;
  • Only on Samhain and Beltane (April 30th-May 1st), it midnight actually the middle of the night - the addition of this last one is why this chapter got the title attached. It's a sixth sentiment to add into an already highly volatile place to be.

So why does any of this matter? The Manor House is psychically wide open, if you're an adherent of the Brythonic Mysteries. Now that intensity and ease of passage just got stepped up six-fold. It's like the Other Lands all opened up a highway, railway station and bus stop, one night only special offer, just walk on through, and you'll NEVER guess what they did there!

  • Megalith is a portal - to some theorists - anyway, plus it's inside a house, plus it's over a stream, plus its inside a cavern, plus it's Pagan and Catholic ALL AT THE SAME TIME.

Explains so much, don't you think?

The Annals of Fear Pt 2 Chapter 62 - The Once and Future King

The Once and Future King is traditionally Arthur in the modern telling of Welsh legends. But he never was in the past. That was Cadwallon or Cynan. The Norman/Plantagenet/English monarchs corralled Arthur into the legend of returning, simply so they could dig his bones up at Glastonbury and pretend they'd owned the Welsh according. Say it enough times and it sticks.

But obviously not over the border into Wales. The harp of my country survived.

So who is that fallen king due to return, as referenced by this chapter? I have contenders but no idea. I can't remember what I had in mind, unless it was merely pinging off Century's initial rant re Arthur. My money is on Mello though.

The Annals of Fear Pt 2 Chapter 63 - Dog Eat Dog

Cisco Heras once said he wouldn't die like a dog. Now Matt is screaming similar sentiments.

Then there's Matt's other late father figure - Wammy built a system, which Matt has vowed to destroy. Dog eat dog there too? In the haze of madness and the wide, open gates of Annwn here, it's not like Mr Wammy can't reach him to stop him either.

There was a smile in El señor Wammy's tone, "You always asked the right questions."

And perhaps there's a clue to the aforementioned Once and Future King too.

The Annals of Fear Pt 2 Chapter 64 - Watari

Stop. Nobody's having fun anymore and people are getting hurt. Stop now. Watari. It's also the message which Matt sends to Mello via Lauren.
"Tell him." Matt bowed his head further. "Tell him, 'Watari'."

"Watari?" Lauren frowned, checking that she had heard that correctly.

Matt turned away from her, curling up on the bed with his knees to his chin. He croaked out, "Yes." Then, when she didn't go away, he repeated it. "Watari."

The Annals of Fear Pt 2 Chapter 65 - Epilogue