TBAM – Chapter Two: C

See the rest of the novel here.

In Helena, Litia’s capital city, there was a morgue reserved for those whose deaths were unusual. Ordinary murder victims did not qualify. Police workers who had their suspicions consulted Dr. Kine, who was the sole person to work in this section of the police department. He was paid very well for this job, mainly because there were not many people who were capable of doing what he did while being willing to complete so much paperwork.

It takes a magician to recognize a magical death, and Dr. Kine had been very persuasive when negotiating his salary. Trained as a healer, he’d hated hospital work from the moment he began, and considered dropping out on numerous occasions. Graduating with passable exam results had been a struggle, but now he had no regrets.

There was only one part of this job he considered unsavoury.

When Keats teleported into the morgue, corpse in tow, Dr. Kine didn’t even look up from the notes on his desk.

“So, which poor soul inspired your wrath today?”

“I missed your sense of humour, this was just an excuse.” Keats replied, deadpan.

He finally glanced at her, only to convey his expression of non-amusement. He noticed that she was bleeding from a wound on her upper arm. He could help her, but he didn’t quite feel like doing so. Besides, she didn’t look especially bothered by it.

“Sonya promised me that I would be seeing less of you from now on. Have you any idea how difficult it is to put the bodies you bring here through the system? Especially when you never fill out the paperwork?”

“Hey, it’s not my fault there isn’t a box you can check which says ‘Got what they deserved.’”

“And remind me why this guy deserved to be killed? Actually, don’t. Write it down on the correct forms instead.”

“Sorry, no can do. I need to find Sonya and inform her about what’s happened,” Keats lied. What she really needed was some rest before Sonya found her. Keats teleported out of the morgue, leaving Rappel’s body on the floor behind her.

Dr. Kine regarded the corpse from behind his desk with exasperation before he continued with his notes. It could wait there a few more minutes while he finished this report.

Taking Back The Crown – Part Fourteen

For months there were arguments about how they should oust the dark magicians from Helena.

 “We should approach from the North and slowly clear everyone out.” Linden advised. “There aren’t enough of us to split into groups. If all the Rutilus come in from the Back Desert, they’ll be able to pick us off, one by one.”

 “No, we need to take them by surprise. If we take Magdalene, the leader, before she can call them in, they might just leave us.”

 “Your highness, I appreciate you are concerned, but I have experience in these matters. You must trust me.”

 Sonya walked out of the room, frustrated.

While the plans were discussed, Sonya spent time teaching new recruits everything she knew about magical combat. She was even taught new things by those who had studied different methods under trainers from other lands. In the end, Sonya had her own style that she was comfortable with, but she never stopped feeling guilty about her incomplete training with Seta.

 She made friends with Orika and, six months after moving to the camp, confided in her about the Training Ground and the circumstances in which she left. She neglected to mention her feelings for Seta, but Orika understood and comforted her.

 “Why not go back and explain properly? He might want to fight with us.” Orika suggested.

 “For a group of magicians who train in combat, they’re very anti-conflict. They don’t get involved with other people’s wars.”

 “Maybe in general, but he might not be.” she pointed out. Sonya was doubtful. It was best to leave Seta and those painful memories behind.

Taking Back The Crown – Part Twelve

Sonya visited Linden’s camp every night while she completed her training with Seta. As time ran only slightly slower in the Sprite World, she survived on very little sleep. Seta noticed her fatigue, but she gave him no hints as to why she was tired. To keep secrets from him, to put this emotional distance between herself and her mentor, saddened her. However, she had many distractions.

 Linden had been correct in his assumption that magicians would be more willing to fight with a member of the Royal Family at their side. The numbers grew quickly, and there was barely enough room for all of the recruits. Eventually, they created a concealed camp on Litia’s outskirts, one that was much larger. This made things much easier for Sonya, as the time difference meant she could get more rest.

 After weeks of patrolling Litia’s outer districts, they had not seen anyone, Rutilus or human. They came closer and closer to Litia’s capital, Helena. Only when they reached the edges of the capital did they come across small groups of Rutilus. Most of the time, they hid. When the time came to attack, they wanted to be prepared and they wanted the element of surprise. On one patrol though, they were seen by a female Rutilus. They captured and restrained her in an abandoned home.

 “Your efforts will be in vain!” she hissed. “We are all faithful to Magdalene. If she calls us you’ll have our entire race to contend with!” She spat in Orika’s face, broke her bonds and sent an attack flying across the room. Linden yelled out as it hit him in the face, cutting deeply across his cheek. Sonya quickly reacted, using her magic to trip the Rutilus before she could escape.

 Sonya executed the Rutilus that night. It was the first time she had killed anyone, and was shocked to find it so exhilarating. Having the power to rip someone’s life away was terrifying, but Sonya had no regrets. It needed to be done.

Taking Back The Crown – Part Eleven

Collected my first year results from my university tutor today. After convincing me that getting a 2.1 instead of a 1st was not the end of the world, he asked me what I had planned for the summer. I ended up telling him about NaNoWriMo, and now I’m really looking forward to it.

 “Your highness, I can’t tell you how relieved we are to see you again.”

 Linden Hayber was red-haired, well-dressed and handsome. His dark eyes surveyed Sonya. She met them, and they looked at each other in silence for a few seconds.

 “Is there any news of my mother or grandmother?” she asked.

 “Unfortunately not. I only have bad news. The information we have gathered suggests that both Trin and Naria have been trapped in some kind of netherworld, the entrance of which lies in the Back Desert. We have been told there is very little chance of them escaping.”

 “I have faith in them. They will find a way.” Sonya replied, stubbornly.

 “We have no way of knowing.” Linden stroked his chin. “Where have you been?”

 “Somewhere safe. Trin told me not to leave until she came back for me…” Sonya found herself reluctant to talk about the Natetic training ground.

 “She probably did not envisage these events. She couldn’t have known. You are in the right place now.”

 “How many people are here? What is your plan?” Sonya asked. Starved of information about Litia for the past four years, she was now eager for details.

 “We’ve been trying to gather troops for a long time now,” He gave a short sigh. “About two years, and we have thirty recruits.”

 “Only thirty?” she replied, sharply.

“Things will undoubtedly change now. We had assumed you had been taken by our enemies, along with Trin and Naria. With you here, things are different. People will fight if you are leading them.”

Taking Back The Crown – Part Ten

So, we are half-way through. Hurrah! I’ve increased the number of overall posts to twenty, and am struggling with literally just the last line of the thing. Everything else is written and ready.

 “You seem distracted, are you alright?” Seta asked quietly. He and Sonya were eating their evening meal in the dining room, surrounded by the gentle hum of other people’s conversations. Sonya replied that she was fine, but it didn’t stop Seta from looking concerned. Sonya changed her story.

 “Actually, I have a small headache. May I meditate alone in my room tonight rather than doing our usual exercises?”

 “Of course you may.” Seta was mocking her unusually formal tone.

 Once upstairs, Sonya changed again into her black robe. She warped straight to her old holiday home.

 On the path outside, Sonya shielded her eyes from the dazzling sunrise opposite her. She could hear the sounds of people laughing. The gates to the front of the house were open. She slowly walked up to the doors.

 “Hey! You’re too young to be around here!” A wiry, middle-aged woman walked towards Sonya from the left. Sonya turned and she stopped suddenly, her mouth going slack. Her wrinkled eyes looked Sonya up and down. “It can’t be…”

 “I’m here to see Linden Hayber.” Sonya said, calmly. She hadn’t known what to expect, whether they would even recognize her or if she’d have to convince them of her lineage. There was a pause before the woman complied.

 “Follow me.”

 She opened the doors and led Sonya through familiar hallways, up one set of stairs, and to a door that had been painted white. The laughter and voices of many men and women could be heard through the other walls, but this room seemed silent. She rapped on the door with her knuckles.

“Who is it?” an imperious voice answered.

 “It’s Orika. There’s…” She broke off and looked at Sonya before turning back to the door. “…Someone here to see you.”

Taking Back The Crown – Part Nine

Sonya knew she had been in the captain’s London home before. She pictured the street the house was situated on and transported herself there. She was immediately hit with noise and bodies. She found herself being pushed aside by crowds of pedestrians in dark woollen suits. Several did double-takes at her Natetic dress. Sonya knew she should find somewhere to change, but she stared in wonderment at the mass of people and the string of automobiles being driven through the roads. Finally, she walked to an alleyway and changed into an outfit similar to that worn by the ladies she saw walking down the streets.

 She lowered the brim of the hat across her face and walked back around to the tall brick house. Just as she was about to reach the path, two men opened the door and walked down to the street, immersed in their own conversation. Sonya decided to follow them. It might be that the captain had decided to sell the house, and someone else now lived there. Sonya had been missing for twenty years in Litian/Earth time, a lot could have happened since then. She shadowed the men until they reached a small tea room. Once there, she sat at a table near them so that she could listen.

 “I’m sorry, but I won’t do it. I have my family now. I was only a boy when we evacuated. Litia’s gone to the Rutilus. We’ve moved on with our lives.” The man who said this looked to be in his thirties. Sonya’s heart jumped at the mention of her home. The second man was much older, maybe in his fifties. Sonya looked closer. She was sure it was the Captain!

 “I still have scouts who go in and out of the capital. There’s hardly any Rutilus left, they’ve gone back to the Desert because their power isn’t as strong outside it. There’s just a group of dark magicians and a few Rutilus who are faithful to them. If we had a group of strong magicians like yourself-“

 “If we had the Royal Family it would be different. Without them, even if we reclaimed Litia, we’d be forever vulnerable.”

 The Captain shook his head and said, “Litia’s where we belong.” He stood up. “If you change your mind, Linden Hayber is trying to gather recruits in the Sprite World. He’s set up camp in the Royal Family’s second home.”

Friday Fictioneers/Taking Back The Crown – The Captain’s Diary

Image

Copyright – Managua Gunn

I saw the picture this week, and coincidentally, it kind of fit in with today’s scheduled post for Taking Back The Crown, the not-so-mini-series I’m posting. I thought about doing a kind of two-in-one post, but 1. That would be cheating and 2. There were no 100 word segments of the post that made real sense.

I decided to create a diary entry for one of the characters instead.

If you wish to take part in Friday Fictioneers, click here.

29th July 1922

 More disappointment today. I could not convince Dareth Vitch to assist us in the fight to reclaim Litia. I should not be surprised. It has been 20 years since Litia fell and the Royal Family disappeared.  Most people have made new homes and livelihoods. I cannot feel the same way. London will never be where I belong.

Linden’s efforts to gather troops for battle are admirable, but I fear we will never have enough manpower to purge Litia of the demons that possess it.

I continue to hope and pray for the Royal Family.

Captain Lineus Bayford

Taking Back The Crown: Part Six

Sonya landed on her back, in the main room of the training ground, panting. Seta must have already been inside the room. Within seconds he was standing over her, looking at her injury. He yelled to someone outside the room to get the medic.

“Seta?” Sonya’s voice was weak.

“Yes? What happened to you?” Seta was trying to sit her up so he could look at the laceration on her back.

“I don’t think my mother’s coming back.”

“Do you have any other family? A home to go back to?” He was now attempting to stem the blood pouring from her wound. Sonya shook her head.

“It’s not safe.”

When the medic had used his magic to treat Sonya’s wound, she was taken upstairs to a small room with a slightly thicker futon than the one she’d been sleeping on.

“Whose room is this?” Sonya asked.

“It’s yours now.” Seta explained. “You can stay in this training ground and learn our ways. I’ve seen you meditating and doing your exercises, you’re capable of graduating from this school.” He paused. “I… I thought the elders would resist. They don’t like strangers. But… they trust me. And they have a feeling about you, they said.”

Sonya sat, silent, for a few moments before responding. “Thank you. For everything. But why?”

Seta frowned. “You’re just a child. You shouldn’t be on your own.” He told her to get some rest, and then left.

Sonya buried her head in her pillow. Just a child! If he knew who she was, he wouldn’t say that! She was a Litian heir. She possessed magical power that other magicians could only dream of. No injury could kill her. She felt like a fraud, pretending to be defenceless when in reality she was just a coward who didn’t know where else to go. Ashamed, she cried until she finally fell asleep.

Taking Back The Crown: Part Four

“I saw him chasing you last night through my window. I was surprised when I saw you defend yourself.” Seta began. They were kneeling in front of a wooden table, in the same room she’d woken up in. The futon had been packed away. The walls were very bare and, although Sonya had a cushion, the wooden floor was hard on her knees. Seta poured her some tea, but she didn’t drink it.

 “Females here don’t have magic.” Sonya remembered this from her lessons. It was a strange idea to her, since she came from a family where only the first born female inherits power. However, there were an equal number of male and female magicians across Litia. Her family was unique in its inheritance pattern.

 “No. Where are you from? Litia? The Sprite World?” he asked.

  “Where is this place?” she asked, avoiding his question. If he knew about Litia, then he would probably know about her family, the so-called Litian Royalty.

 “I believe outside worlds call this Natetern.” Sonya had known this from doing her exercises. These people must have really taken pity on her. Natetics were not usually so welcoming of strangers. At least, that’s what she’d been taught. “This area is a training ground for Natetic magicians. Who was the man I killed?”

 “He was someone I knew. I don’t know why he attacked me. I was waiting for my mother.” she answered, truthfully.

 “When did you last see your mother?” Seta gently probed.

 “She brought me here. It’s not safe where I’m from. She told me not to go back without her.” Sonya quickly explained. Surely this information wasn’t dangerous to give him? Seta narrowed his eyes. He looked almost like an elderly man when his eyes wrinkled up, though his stature and normal face suggested he couldn’t be more than twenty five.

“I see. Our elders, the men who run this place, say you may stay here for as long as you need to.”

Taking Back The Crown: Part Three

There was a smell of sweet incense. Sonya awoke on a thin futon, under fresh sheets. Her shirt, coat and boots were next to her, and somebody had treated the wounds on her chest and back while she was unconscious. She sat up quickly and started redressing. She needed to get back to the woods in case Trin was looking for her. There was an open doorway into a courtyard only a few metres away. Sonya could see the clearing she had collapsed in last night. Rather than risk being seen, she teleported to the woods.

When she arrived on the little pathway, startled birds flew away. Sonya turned on the spot. On the ground, the marks created last night by Vyant’s magic were still there. There were no signs of anything else. If Trin had been here, she would have left a message, surely? There had been a lot of Rutilus last night. Maybe it was taking a long time to clear them all out and herd them back to the Back Desert? It didn’t matter, Trin had told her not to go back to the Palace by herself. She knew better than to disobey Trin’s orders.

She waited for hours. She sat beneath the same tree she’d enchanted last night and began to do the exercises she had been taught. She meditated and controlled her breathing. She stretched her senses and counted all the people nearby. She could tell that there were many powerful magicians in the complex she had slept in. They must have saved her from Vyant. Now it was daytime, she could see that the main entrance to the complex was only slightly down the path. The sign had been hidden by overgrown trees. Maybe Trin had meant for her to take refuge there.

 “We wondered where you had gone.” Sonya had become distracted by her thoughts of Trin, Naria, the Rutilus and Vyant. She opened her eyes to see a dark haired man with a stern expression.  He had eyes that were the same colour as the tree trunks and his skin was a deep tan. Though he was frowning, he didn’t seem cold. “I did you a favour last night by protecting you from that guy. It’s rude to run away.”

 “Where is he?” Sonya interrupted. “What did you do to him?”

 “He was vicious and determined to get at you. In the end I had to kill him. You at least owe me an explanation. Who are you?”

 “Sonya.” After speaking, she pushed her lips together. She shouldn’t tell him anything.

 “I’m Seta. I think you should come back inside. It’s obviously not safe for you to be wandering around on your own.” He bent down and offered her his hand. After a moment, she took it and allowed him to help her up. Trin must have brought her here for a reason.