Characters in this post
View character profile for: Erin Aisling Thorne
View character profile for: Jemma Evilian
View character profile for: Callum Thorne
View character profile for: Elenwen Grove
View character profile for: Luke MacTiernan
View character profile for: Emlen Grove
View character profile for: Branwen Thorne
View character profile for: Kaylara Eldsteen
View character profile for: Ragnar Lothbrook
View character profile for: Thomas Mcallister
View character profile for: Cerulea Mistral Galva
View character profile for: Myrine
View character profile for: Conall Blye
Wartime - 7 Dec 2015, Various Locations
"Welcome back, Erin." He looked at her a long moment, hearing the solemnity in her voice. "You did well taking that bastard down, though the cost was high."
Again Erin felt a small, sad smile touch her lips. She glanced at the Nord, her eyes sorrowful. "It was the highest cost I've ever paid."
Sitting up, Kaylara groaned. "You still smell of Gaia's mana. I suppose she visited you before you woke. Next time tell her to take it easy. She very nearly killed you and about a billion people with her raging mana."
The druidess shrugged. "Gaia is primordial, she won't know the effect she has on others. In any case she hopefully won't be so active again for a long while, since the only things that really rouse her are demons and druids who break their oaths."
Erin glanced to the still form beside her, the dark brown hair, the freckled skin, the closed eyelids that she knew hid a pair of the most silvery blue irises she'd ever seen. Almost without realizing it the woman reached out cautiously and clasped her brother's cool, calloused hand in her own. The silver charm bracelets on his wrist jingled in the movement, sounding solemn and sorrowful to her ears.
She glanced at the others and a melancholy seemed to dwell in her eyes. "In druidic beliefs when a person...dies, they are taken to Mag Mell under the care of Manannan and are given the choice to remain or be reborn. Cal and I promised each other that if that ever happened we'd choose rebirth. So I know eventually I'll find him again." Her voice cracked but as yet tears had not formed in her eyes.
Luke looked up. "Does that mean Círdan can--"
Erin shook her head. "Death took his soul to Hell. He won't be coming back any time soon."
"Uh....well, it's not from Ragnar, but the Senior Huntsman on duty just submitted a semi-final casualty count. Over 150 dead across the region. Including...." He took a breath, not wanting to share the news, but unable to hide it. "Including Callum Thorne, Druid and ally of the Hunters." He looked up at the girls, unsure of what their reaction might be.
The grapes fell from my hands to the floor and landed with the faintest of thuds. I stared at Thomas. "You're sure?"
Cerulea looked between us. I tried to ignore her.
Sliding off the counter I picked up the grapes and tossed them into the garbage, then crossed the kitchen to the door. "I'mma go grab my things. See you at the training grounds with Myrine."
The climb up to my bedroom seemed longer than it had last night. Thoughts, suspicions and fears about what had happened in Czech swirled around in my head and filled my gut with anxiety. Callum was dead. Erin would at the very least be injured but also messed up emotionally. They'd been together since the Iron Age - what would it be to lose someone after nearly three thousand years of spending your lives together?
Having reached my room I snatched up Amara and strapped it on in more agitated movements than I normally would've made, pulling my boots on in a hurry to escape my thoughts. My knife was already tucked in a pocket sheath I'd been sure to include in my jeans when the wardrobe made them this morning. Then I thundered down the stairs again and raced out to the training grounds, the cold air helping to clear my head.
Lea stared after the pink-haired teenager for a moment before turning to Thomas. "What did that mean?"
He shrugged. "I don't know. But she was right about Myrine."
Serpopards are my new second least favorite creature, closely following the Set animal. They're just really stupid. And annoying.
Having almost fully recovered from the venom I headed out from the Infirmary to explore the Hunter's Camp. And the first thing I discovered was that it was huge and very easily to get lost in. After gaining directions from a Hunter somewhat over his prime I eventually found Branwen in the stables scaring the horses by screaming. She stopped when I came in and hopped down from the rafters to my feet.
"Good to see you well, Emlen," she squawked.
I nodded. "Where is everyone?"
She cocked her head, thinking for a moment. "The Nord, the Old One, your sister, the warlock and my children are in Czech. Jemma is here."
Hey, can you do me a favor?
Conall rolled his eyes and took a long swig of his drink. Luckily the pub he was in was very crowded. "What?"
Can you go to America?
"No bloomin' way."
By now Conall had started to gain some attention. He downed the last bit of his ale and tossed some coins on the counter then left before people started realizing he was talking to himself.
Conall, you're being irrational.
Conall laughed gruffly as he cranked his truck. "Irrational. The most irrational of the two of us is you, Set."
Look, I may have had some eccentricities in the past...
"The chicken certainly comes to mind."
You promised never to mention that again.
The magician shrugged. "I forget."
Anyway, this time it's not just me who needs the favor.
Conall snorted. "You not being selfish? Now that's a first."
Set didn't reply.
"So who else exactly needs the favor?"
Have you ever heard of the Hunters?
Conall nearly slammed on the brakes. "The Hunters? Who in the Old World hasn't heard of the Hunters? And what in hell is the favor you and the Hunters both need?"
Does the name Círdan Ó Gealbháin ring a bell?
"No, should it?" He turned into the old stone neighborhood that was also home to the 12th Nome.
Maybe not. But this Círdan had alliances in the Illuminati and some other Organizations. And the Hunters declared war on them.
The magician whistled. "Last time the Hunters declared war-"
A lot of people died. Yes, I know. Anyway, originally I was gonna send you to check up on this witch kid who got bitten by a serpopard-
"Set, I will never understand why you made those."
-nor will I. Anyway, I'm now asking you to help out the Hunters in wiping out Círdan's people. Is that an acceptable favor to ask?
Conall turned off the ignition and exited his truck, tucking the keys into the pocket of his jeans. "Well, it certainly sounds interesting." He entered the Twelfth Nome.
A small, unassuming stone-walled house on the outside, the inside of the Nome was expansive. In the main center room a giant fireplace roared in one wall, a few magicians lounging on the couch in front of it. The doors to other various rooms were flung wide open and held that way with a combination of mundane and magical means. Magicians came and went, some scattered through the room. Several were sedentary on the bench beneath the giant Thoth statue. Shabti also shuffled to and fro with a sense of urgency to complete their alloted tasks.
Briallan Teague waved a greeting to Conall as she came out of the library holding several scrolls. She gave one to him as she walked by, the daily progress reports. He glanced at them briefly on the way to his room. Nothing terribly exiting. Prague's 18th Nome reported some shenanigans of other Organizations but nothing really concerning them.
So... are you interested?
Conall sighed. Usually he enjoyed being on the Path of Set and the rules it allowed him to bend by using chaos magic. But the pestering of Set was something he was less fond about. "I'll pack my things. Do you know how I can contact them?"
One moment please.
Several minutes passed as Conall began packing. The way a typical human being would pack was probably to simply put their luggage into a suitcase and drag that along with them. Not so for magicians. Conall picked the clothes he felt would be suitable for America's slightly warmer and drier weather and placed them carefully into a small pocket of the Du'at where he could later remove them as needed.
Okay, so Thoth just lent me the phone number for the Hunters' receptionist guy. Call quick, I'mma forget it in a second. Here it is:
Conall dialed the number.