Chapter 42: Apotheosis

“I made another promise,” Valois continued. “One of truth. A Veil promise lasts for the lifetimes of those entering into it. If one dies before the other, that other wanders the earth in a grief you cannot imagine until they, too, die. Most often, the one left behind begs the Veil to bring them to it because they cannot bear the loneliness. But us, my darling boy; we are different.”

“We won’t die,” Gunther whispered.

Valois nodded. “Our promise will be eternal. I am ready to make it, but you must be certain that you are, also.”

“I’m never going to do anything more important than this, am I?”

Valois’s smile for him then was tender. “No, you are not. Fatherhood, marriage, mortal love; all those earthly things pale into insignificance beside this. No matter how significant they are to you right now, in a thousand years they will be but fond memories.”

Read the chapter here, then please return to this post if you have feedback.

20 responses

  1. I don’t know if this counts as feedback, it’s more of a comment/opinion but I want to say it anyway.

    I love when Valois shows emotions. Those rare moments when he lets Gunther comfort him. Like the time on the plane when he gratefully held Gunther’s hand.

    Yes he is the master the one supposed to protect Gunther but I love that he doesn’t feel the need to be strong ALL the time and seeks comfort in his submissive. That rather than trying to be stronger in front of him, Gunther is who he does seek comfort in. It makes the relationship more give and take than far to many writers tend to paint dom-sub relationships. It also makes the term ‘mine’ seem more loving, rather than just possessive. It’s not just “I’m the only one that can have you” but also “your the only one I want” which is again a much nicer depiction of a healthy dom-sub relationship.

    Overall, I’m still ticked about Valois lie of omission but I have lots of happy romantic feels for the ending of this chapter.

    • Absolutely it counts as feedback, so thank you! :)

      What Valois wants from his relationship with Gunther is pretty much what you said: a loving submissive boy who he can talk to as an equal when he wishes to, and in whom he can find comfort when he needs it. That he’s showing emotion here and there only shows how desperately he loves and needs Gunther. Prior to meeting him, Valois had all-but closed himself off, having been rejected by so many lovers who wanted only the positive part of his gifts. Gunther is the first lover who has accepted all of him, and slowly—like a thaw in spring—Valois is melting and allowing his true, lonely self to show through.

      The lie of omission… ahh, yes. Even he recognises that now, in hindsight. ‘Regret’ doesn’t even come close :(

  2. Oh dear, in some ways Valois is just sooo stupid; basing an eternal relationship on lies? He didn’t dodge a bullet, he shot himself in the foot! It’s going to be a dealbreaker for Gunther when he finds out about his daughter. At least it was good to see some emotion coming from Valois. Up until now I have questioned wether Valois actually loves Gunther. I guess he does, but in an unhealthy and weird possessive kind of way. I wish he could be ‘the loving boyfriend’ all the time… but I suppose that would make the story kind of boring, huh? ;-)
    Also, Gunther; how stupid are YOU?! Valois just lied his ass off to you and you make an eternal bond? You couldn’t at least thought about it for a week? Sigh… this is getting more and more complicated…

    Still an enchanting story and still scaring the crap out of me. Good job Ms Author :-) (sorry about that, but I don’t know your real name :-P)

    • Valois is incredibly foolish, yes. And—despite all his years—he’s incredibly naive as well. He really isn’t going to understand it until it all comes crashing down (which, of course, it will at some point). The narration is after that point, but it’s before he goes back to try the second chance that he mentions here. He thinks that’s going to be easy, but oh boy… he should know his writer by now ;)

      Yes, he truly does love Gunther; desperately so, in fact. He’s slowly coming around to the knowledge that he doesn’t need to lie and twist things in order to keep Gunther with him, but at the back of his mind he not only has the huge secret about Gunther’s daughter, but also his entire history of betrayal by other lovers. Valois is actually very, very damaged and can’t yet be that loving boyfriend all the time (which, yes, wouldn’t result in much of a story!)

      Gunther, ah cut the poor boy some slack ;) He’s blinded by love and the Veil and not a little desperation himself (remember how Cornelia always ran roughshod over him; he’s tough at work but very easily-led in his personal life). He’s so needy that he believes Valois’s promise to never lie again. All will not end well, as is to be expected when I’m writing it (but there will be a HEA at the very end).

      Thank you! (Call me Reya *g*)

  3. The deed is done! Hallelujah! :D

    Now, back to the beginning for a moment. I loved hearing Valois’s thoughts and feelings about the night Gunther ran off. Valois hurt Gunther very badly, and he should feel remorse. He needed to understand how wrong he was, so I don’t mind that his feelings were hurt as well. I hadn’t realized that Gunther falling asleep had been orchestrated by the Veil. That’s pretty clever, giving Valois enough time to get himself together so he could tend to Gunther calmly.

    When Gunther got down on the floor and started crawling towards Valois, it looked a little like he was stalking his prey … right up until he knelt beside Valois. ;)

    The pics were beautiful, and I adore their facial expressions, as always. I’m so happy for them. Valois got more emotional after the promise than Gunther did, though I suppose that’s to be expected. He’s been lonely for so long, and he finally has the promise of eternal love with his sweet sub. Very touching scene! Loved it!

    • Valois was truly shocked and upset by Gunther’s frightening distress on seeing him in the Veil. If Gunther hadn’t been pushed into that healing sleep by the Veil, Valois would have just stood there staring at him, stupidly. He simply didn’t know what to say or do, and that’s not a feeling he’s experienced in centuries. It also shows how deeply he feels for Gunther, and with that feeling comes the sinking realisation that he simply has to continue hiding the secret about the baby. That’s never going to leave him; he’ll always have those little sickening moments when he thinks about what would happen if Gunther ever found out what he did. The guilt and the fear about that is growing and growing, believe me.

      Gunther got more emotional after the earthly promise because I think it was where things made sense to him, not to mention his vow there was spoken aloud. The Veil is a strange place to him, and it feels unreal. To Valois, though, the Veil is the place where things make sense. And oh god, yes. He’s been waiting over a thousand years for this moment. Nothing on earth or in the Veil would have stopped those tears.

      *hugs them both tightly*

  4. Every time I read a new chapter or one of your comments there is always a 50% chance you will teach me a new word. Today’s word is “deference.” Anyways, I enjoy it when we see moments where Valois isn’t stoic. Mostly because when he shows such intense emotions it makes for a more heart wrenching scene. Like when he Gunther ran away from him and just broke down.
    Now about this whole ritual, I once saw something somewhere that said “Love is the sudden realization that not only are you no longer alone… but also that you never will be, ever again” which is kind of a scary thought. Especially when the person you are in love with is someone who is literally always inside your head. I don’t think Gunther will ever have another thought all to himself.
    Also, I like seeing Valois carry Gunther. I can’t wait to see what more things like that. I’m still holding out on that spanking he’s gonna get.

    • And there was me thinking that the chapter’s title would be the word that sent people to the dictionary! XD I’ve been in love with ‘apotheosis’ as a word ever since I encountered it in Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite at the tender age of nine.

      I, too, love seeing Valois being emotional. There’s a reason why I keep thinking about the very end of this story (when we eventually get there) and it’s haunting me because I can see in my mind’s eye how he is going to behave. ‘Intense emotions’ and ‘heartwrenching’ won’t even come into it; it’s killing me every time I start to think about it. God know what it’ll be like to write. I fully expect to be an exhausted wreck when I’m done with it :/

      That quote about love is fantastic, and yes it’s scary. When you first look at the qualifier to it, it sounds romantic (“Aww, you’ll never be alone again”) but when you analyse it more closely it’s almost claustrophobic in its intensity. Luckily for Gunther, he’s of a nature (when he’s in submissive mindset) that he accepts Valois in his mind. However, there’s going to come a time when he needs to keep a secret, and he’s going to require outside assistance with that ;)

      You’ll be seeing a lot more of Valois being caring and romantic with Gunther (and yes, at some time that spanking will happen – heh) because we’ll be entering a period of stability in their lives very soon. Things are settling down for them both. Valois can now relax (inasmuch as his knowledge of the secret he’s still carrying around with him will let him relax) because Gunther is tied to him forever. Gunther, meanwhile, is secure in the knowledge that Valois loves him and will never lie to him again (oh boy…). Mortimer is falling in love, Natalie is finding her calling, and everything will be going swimmingly and nicely…

      … for a little while ;)

      • You’re right! The title of the new chapter is what made me decide to say something about you giving me (and probably many others) new vocabulary words and I was going to include deference as a bonus word of the day. I can’t even believe you would remember a word like that from such an age. I don’t remember anything from being nine. I’ve got the American school system to thank for that.

  5. I am really, really enjoying this story. I love the sweet buildup between Gunther and Valois, even though it’s only going to make the reveals of Valois lie(s) that much more tragic and heartbreaking. I’m a sucker for tragedy, don’tcha know? :D

    On an unrelated note, what is a way that one could bring back Lolita? I had a plot bunny recently, and am needing her for it. It’d rather not have to go through the whole make-the-revive-potion thing, if I can avoid it. So, how’d you bring her back to life for Sunlight: Things Past?

    • Thank you so much! There’ll be plenty of tragedy in the offing, so you won’t be disappointed there ;) We’re about to enter some happier times (“Thank god!” both my boys cry – lol!) so I’m looking forward to having a bit of a breather before things start to ramp up again.

      With regard to Lolita, I actually went back in time for Sunlight. It’s set way back when Gunther was a young man and Lolita was still alive, so I didn’t have to worry about bringing her back to life. As to how you could get around this for your story… hmm. YMMV but I try to avoid bringing the game’s mechanics into the story, since I prefer to use the game merely to illustrate what I’ve written. Thus, I would avoid going through the game mechanics of having a Sim make the reviving position and I’d see if there was a more story-oriented way of bringing her in. If your story contains supernaturals, could you maybe have a young witchy teen accidentally bringing her back to life when practising with spells in the Goth family cemetery? Or some teens playing around with a ouija board for a laugh (or some other risky supernatural object) and conjuring her out of the grave? There’s also the slightly-clichéd “It was all a bad dream”/”it never really happened”/”twin sister” etc etc plotline (which is pretty hackneyed, but can be plausible if you work at it). Or, if you want to put a quirky slant on it, Gunther could play a game of Rock Paper Scissors with Grimmy and if Grim loses he brings Lolita back to life (God knows what price Gunther would pay if he lost! – that could be quite tense and dramatic, if handled properly.)

      Failing that, did she need to be dead in the first place? If Gunther features in your story with Cornelia and you’ve not yet mentioned that Lolita is actually deceased then maybe she could have been absent from his life for some other reason. Perhaps she was heir to a fortune and a jealous relative managed to get her committed to a sanatorium. Perhaps she called off their relationship after her rival for Gunther’s love (a very young Cornelia Crumplebottom) convinced her that Gunther was only after her money, etc, so she moved away.

      (I’m guessing you were asking that question in a plot sense, not a literal sense. If, by chance, you weren’t sure how I got a ‘live’ version of Lolita: I waited until she haunted one night, then I paused the game and used TestingCheats to edit her in CaS and turn her from ghost to human, then I saved her human version to the bin and started a new save with her.)

  6. For one who has lived for so long, there is still much that Valois does not know or understand about the world and man. It’s interesting. Especially when I feel as though he is talking down to us lesser mortals when he speaks to the audience directly. haha Oh Valois. It was sweet though, how he was so overcome by emotion during this binding. He has been waiting such a long time for this moment and for it to actually, finally be happening…brings a tear to the eye.

    • You’ve hit the nail on the head. Because of his longevity and isolation Valois had studied mankind but he’s not managed to get a handle on humanity’s emotions; only its habits and behaviours. He’s never been able to get close enough to someone (until now) to experience their true emotions. He views his age and lengthy studies as things that raise him a little above ordinary men, so yes he does tend to talk down to the reader when he’s narrating in the direct interview sections. But oh yes, he was completely overcome at the end of this chapter. A thousand years of waiting, finally ended. We get impatient when our favourite TV series ends and we have to wait a few months for the next one; think of poor Valois waiting 1,000 years for his true love to come along!

  7. Oh that’s so romantic, them making their promise in the Veil. I bet Gunther was so appreciative that the Veil wasn’t going to let him be cold, it’s hard to think of light stuff in the cold, let alone making such a deep promise in the cold. The Veil is certainly a very interesting realm, I like it.

    • Thank you! The more I write about the Veil, the more I want to write about it. Its records are my current fascination, and I think of them as something akin to the fabled Akashic Records, but when you access them you can only see everything that’s ever happened along your own timeline.

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