April emerges from the Shift back in Venice, at VAVA. She thinks back over what Lady Alvane told her again - to control her powers, she first has to try channelling them through what she does best. Thinking back over all the times that Shifts have appeared, April muses about whether running away is really what she does best, but knows that her painting is the key. She goes back to her easel and her unfinished painting of the cliff in Arcadia. As she works on it, concentrating, a Shift opens up and she appears back at the Mother's nest. The Mother herself is lying in the nest, breathing roughly.
April kneels beside the White of the Kin and asks what is wrong. The Mother says she is dying. April can't believe it - she's the White Dragon, she's immortal...isn't she? The Mother tells her that only the Mother is eternal. She is not, although she asks for April to wait for the egg to hatch so she will see the "new Mother". Before it is too late, she asks April to take her 'jewel eye', the White Jewel. April asks the Mother who she really is, and the Mother replies that April is her daughter.
April asks when the egg will hatch. "When I die and turn to dust," comes the answer. April waits with the Mother until she finally dies. The light that surrounds her goes out and her body fades away. As April cries, a light flashes from within the egg and a tiny white dragon emerges, dancing overhead before flying away. April calls the hatchling "Sister" before opening a Shift to leave. Whether she has the red and green Jewels or not, it's time to face the Vanguard.
April heads to the Newport Docks and meets Burns Flipper again. He has her fake ID Card so she can get onto Grendel Avenue. April gives him the Star Map the Dark People made for her and asks if he can decipher it for her. He's dubious, but says he'll give it a shot - she needs to come back later. April leaves and heads for Grendel Avenue.
Once up on the right level, April tries to take the shuttle to the MTI Building, only to be turned away because she's still wearing her Arcadian garb (which has, by now, seen her through Riverwood, smelly potion-mixing, a soaking in the ocean, the tropical jungle of Alais, and, worst of all, the canals of Venice). Luckily, there's a branch of April's favourite store nearby - she buys a new outfit and uses their customer shower. Borrowing a pizza box from a trash can as a disguise, April gets on the shuttle and heads to the MTI Building.
She gets by the receptionist, Gerold Rosenberg, by pretending to be a streetwise pizza delivery girl, and takes the elevator to Jacob McAllen's office. Everything seems normal enough in there...save for the two Vanguard experiments in the corner of the room, which look like mutated humans growing in tanks. April starts to search McAllen's desk, only to be interrupted when McAllen himself sweeps in.
He's displeased that April has just waltzed into his office when he went to so much trouble to find her. He tells her that her 'friends' - Cortez, the Sentinel, the "bloody Kin" - have all been using her, that she's just a pawn in a vast game. He allowed her to wander around Arcadia, fulfilling prophecies and gaining the pieces of the Stone Disk because she seemed to fit the role. Besides, he also needed the blue and white Jewels, which he couldn't obtain himself - "it's unlikely that the Blue of the Kin and the Mother would submit to me." He has had one of the Stark jewels for "some time", and only recently obtained another. Now he wants everything else.
April has no choice - she gives him the Stone Disk and the jewels she already has. In return she wants to know what he's done with Cortez - McAllen says Gordon Halloway took care of him. Gordon is the linchpin of McAllen's plan. Once he's opened the way to the Guardian's Realm, Gordon will be a puppet Guardian, reigning over the two worlds on McAllen's behalf. April isn't impressed. She thinks this is a rather cliched I-will-rule-the-Earth plan.
McAllen leads the way into his laboratory and puts the items April gave him into a machine. He explains that this lab is used to make Warrior Shifters who will serve McAllen. Secure in his victory, he now wants to know where the entrance to the Guardian's Realm is. April can't tell him because she doesn't know. McAllen doesn't believe her, and leaves the laboratory, saying he's going to introduce her to one of his pets...after which she should be much more cooperative. One of the Vanguard experiments breaks out of its tube and attacks April. She runs out onto the helipad but the monster traps her on the edge.
At the last moment, magical blue light comes out of nowhere and knocks the monster off. Cortez is standing on the helipad. He tells her he only just managed to escape last night. Overjoyed to see him, April nevertheless tells him off for not explaining everything. When he hears that McAllen is nearby, Cortez become deadly serious and tells April he must get her away from the building. As they head back to the laboratory, McAllen himself appears.
He confronts Cortez - there's clearly bad blood between them, though they address each other as 'brother'. McAllen tries to convince Cortez to join his cause, but Cortez scoffs at him. Finally the two brothers fight using their magic - McAllen knocks Cortez off the building, leaving him clinging on by his fingertips. As McAllen stands over him, gloating, Cortez lets go - and pulls McAllen down with him. They fall from the MTI Building, transforming into their true form as the Red and Green of the Kin.
Left on the roof, April can only watch in horror, realising that the pocket watch Brian Westhouse gave her has stopped ticking. She asks why everyone she loves dies - "everyone I...love..." But there's nothing she can do. She retrieves the Stone Disk from McAllen's laboratory and goes to meet Burns Flipper for the Star Map data. But when she arrives at the warehouse, she finds the Flipper is in a bad way. He's been shot by the Vanguard. They promised they could help him walk again if he gave them information about April, but they double-crossed him. They've stolen the Star Map. Fortunately Burns made a copy - he says that the map points to a singularity that can be accessed from the Morning Star space station. The Vanguard are already on their way there, along with a special 'package' - April realises this must be the previous Guardian, Adrian. Burns says he's sorry for what happened, and slumps over in his grav chair, dead.
The only way for April to get to the Morning Star is to sign up as a colonist who has a stop-over there. She heads back to Grendel Avenue and meets the colonial representative there, signing up as quickly as possible. The representative says they'll be departing shortly and April sits down to wait.
Themes & References Edit
As the title suggests, 'Kin' contains several revelations about the Draic Kin and the role April has amongst them. 'Kin' refers not only to the Draic Kin themselves, but to their blood ties, and the responsibilities and obligations they bring.
This chapter sees the death of the Mother and the hatching of her egg, which leads April to realise she is her sister. During the battle on the MTI Building's roof, Jacob McAllen tells his 'brother', Cortez: "You are blood of my blood - Kin of my Kin ... the time of dragons has come." He refers to the gathering on the roof as "Why, if it isn't a family reunion.", although it is unsure if he refers to all three of them, or just Cortez and himself.
McAllen's comment to Cortez's escape is an emended quotation from Revelations 20.2 (the references to Satan are removed): "He seized the dragon[, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan,] and bound him for a thousand years." (NIV)
When he and Cortez fall from the building and disappear, April is left behind, just as she was left when the Mother faded away, possibly symbolising the passing of duties from one generation to the next.