((I feel like a dunce and people are agitating emotional illnesses so once again that will slow my updates right down and OH MY GOD IT'S SNOWING!!!))
Sierra swore, trying to keep Arachne and Jack in sight. Very difficult from the given distance. Afton was shadow walking here, there and everywhere and it was hard enough to keep tabs on both of them. Perhaps the Necromancer was keeping up, but she really couldn't tell. Worse still, she was getting breathless and her legs were getting so tired and she took her eyes off the other three for like one second then couldn't relocate any of them. She gave a scream of rage and stormed off, deciding to go back to the temple to talk to Andeep and Daemon.
Belinda had been in the shower.
The phone was ringing on her dressing table and she heard it loud and clear as soon as she shut off the water, playing Tara Strong's 'Take My Hand'. Sighing, she answered. "Hello? I'm a little busy right now, could you call back later please?"
She paused for a moment. "Austin?"
There was a crackle of a sigh. "Number's correct then. I need to ask you a favour-"
"This is why I didn't want you contacting me. It's always favours you come to me for. Money, advice, you try and get me to help you with everything, you need me to get you a job, you need me to-"
"I need you to shut up. Okay, I didn't want my first talk with you in ages to be a request, I wanted to have it as a proper catching up thing with my sister, but Daemon Scaroe's your friend, right?"
"Yeah...? Austin, what's going on?"
"Meet us at Aleron's old temple place thing." He hung up and she sighed. She didn't want to go meet her little brother, but there was a high chance that where Daemon was concerned, she didn't have much of a choice. For safety reasons, she decided to call her boyfriend.
Austin, Aleron, and Gale waited outside the temple. Katharine was taking Gale's horse to this paddocky thing he had permission to use when he needed it and Cadence had taken Maxim away to lock to a tree. They didn't really want him involved, but she had been told to make markers to make sure she didn't forget where she had chained the poor man. It was cold. Every now and then one of them made it clear they were cold by shivering or rubbing their arms or blowing into their hands or stamping their feet. Gale gave a low whistle followed by a wolf whistle as he saw Belinda and Nostradamus approach. Austin felt his hand ball up into a fist but resisted the urge to punch his ginger companion. He gave a smile and a polite nod to his sister which she did not return, but she cast her thin grey eyes over the assembled party, eyes lingering on the new cutlass at Gale's thigh. Pirate boy she thought. "So what's this about, Austin?"
"Your friend's been kidnapped and we thought we could use all the help we could get to get her out. We know they have a sigilist, a warlock and a necromancer, but we're not sure if they have anyone else on their team. Apart from the warlock, who we have captured, they all seem pretty damn good at what they do."
"But as far as we know, we outnumber them. We also have two others to wait for before going inside...only they might be our weakest links..."
"Please tell me Cadence and your stupid girly girlfriend aren't here..."
Gale tilted his head to the side. "Hey, why's your boyfriend wearing make-up?"
Nostradamus glowered. "Because I'm pale and tired, okay?"
"You look like a scary emo."
"It's the only look I can pull off other than ugly and sick."
Cadence returned to the group and smiled. "Bel, is that actually you? You've lost weight."
"I...I'm trying to pay you a compliment...no need to be so rude."
"You sound like you're teasing me."
"Well I'm not. This is my normal voice."
"Oh yeah, I remember how annoying you were..."
She shrugged off the insult with a light laugh. "As charming as ever, Gemma."
"And you, Lynn. Wearing sensible shoes for once, I see."
"One of my heels is in custody after attacking the Irish Elders."
Erskine eased open the window. "That latch has been broken for years. All it takes is one thump and it pops open." He pulled himself through gracefully and then stopped to help her through. "I've come through there hundreds of times to 'borrow' things or freak the hell out of him and he still has no idea how I get in. It's a hazard, I tell ya. One day a real thief will find that broken window latch."
"Especially if you keep using it. If anyone sees you, they instantly have easy illegal access to your friend's house."
"Well...yeah...but that's besides the point, the point is he should get it fixed." Mist rolled her eyes and followed him through to the kitchen.
"And you really feel fine with using his stuff like this without his permission?"
"I can reimburse him." He replied as he took a packet of blackberries out the fridge. "I might call him to tell him we're here though. Might be nice. He's probably annoyed with us already though."
She nodded again as he took out his phone. There was a long silence as she sat down and finally he started speaking. "Hey, Ghastly, thought it'd be fair to warn you we're at your place. You really ought to get that window fixed. Anyone could get in without much effort and steal all your stuff...I'll replace anything we eat or break, I promise. Anyway, we're only here because Mevolent made another move against us, this time in our own house...uh, my own house even...and we needed to get to a relatively safe place...only we couldn't find a safe place so we came here instead. Call me back when you get this message."
He put his phone down and there were a few minutes of silence. "He didn't answer, then?"
Erskine shook his head. "Hopefully he won't shout at me too much when he gets the message."
"You're in trouble, aren't you?"
He shrugged and his phone went off. He jumped and reached for the phone. "Hello?"
The person on the other end of the line sounded out of breath...possibly strained, in pain..."Erskine...You break into my house one more...time, and I make that...photo of you and that dark man public..."
"Get your goddamn window fixed and I won't be able to sneak in like that! I'll show you which window if you really want. Besides, we needed to get somewhere...private and defensible." He looked nervously to the window. "Are you okay? You sound dead."
"If I sounded dead, I wouldn't be talking. Forced to face off a vampire...survived though, which is a plus...considering I was alone...hand on a moment, I'm bleeding over something important..."
"Uh...maybe you need medical attention..."
"Yeah, in a minute...I think the vampire killed Synedoche and I'm not sure how long it's going to take them to find another skilled doctor now that Nye's gone...But Mevolent's been making moves against all the...Sanctuaries...So many of the other elders predicted to die have..."
"Predicted to die?"
"Oh yeah...that meeting I had that didn't involve you...some sensitive saw Mevolent get a bunch of elders killed..."
"I see..." There was a clatter on the other end of the line as Ghastly dropped his phone. "Ghastly? Ghastly?!" He continued muttering 'come on' over and over for about five minutes, getting a little hysterical as time passed until he practically shrieked it down the phone.
"Erskine." He looked at Mist as she stood and placed a calming hand on his shoulder. "What happened?"
He lowered the phone and sighed. "He's...I'm hoping he's not dead..."
Platona Kayotick entered the throne room. She didn't bother bowing. She never did. That really annoyed Cecil sometimes. She thought so much of herself because he let her whisper sweet nothings in his ear. Quite frankly, as time went on, she annoyed him more and more. "Grand Mage Brysio-Blaidd is dead and I think I know exactly where those other resistance members have gone. I know someone who lives near Brisbane and he claims to have seen a group fitting the descriptions of the escapees."
Alison Quirk entered and bowed. She came to stand beside Kayotick, they exchanged looks for a moment and the first, darker-haired girl continued.
"My friend says he believes this resistance to be aware of what is going on at the Sanctuary while nobody else is, and I think they will pose a bigger threat to us than they did before."
"Agreed." Alison continued. "Our informant has tried to get closer and get a proper spying opportunity over them, but he hasn't been able to figure out much. The group are much more secretive and the most interesting thing he's managed to record other than knowing the events in the sanctuary is an argument about washing dark clothes with light ones." Ali and Platz laughed for a moment before the brunette girl composed herself again.
"He has been able to pass on some useful information, but not much. This group appear to have increased their security measures after their last lucky escape, especially since they don't have their precious leader anymore. It's a problem, but they don't seem to have noticed they're being watched, which is a definite plus.
Faine had been staying in the Midnight Hotel for about three months now and Anton was wondering how much longer this would last. She was six and she couldn't even read and write yet, and so she kept begging him to play with her to pass the time. As a result he had actually taken to teaching her to read and write just so that there was the chance it would stop her bugging him when he was trying to work. Or talk to the new guest he really couldn't get out of his head. Faine wasn't independent at all and she had certainly overstayed her welcome. She was sitting at the top of the first flight of stairs that morning, as she did every morning, staring at nothing in particular. She would just wake up and sit there until someone made her breakfast. "Morning." Anton called experimentally, just to see if she would actually reply this time. She didn't even acknowledge his presence or any noise or...anything really. It was kind of creepy. "You're not having a stroke, are you?"
Finally she looked at him, titling her head. "No...I don't know what I'm doing...being weird, I think..."
"Can we read another book today?"
"I don't feel too well. If I get you down a relatively easy book do you think you can tackle it on your own?"
"...Can you please read with me?"
He sighed. "Faine, I really don't have time for this..."
"I'm ill and I have work to do."
He heaved another sigh and chose to ignore her. She hurried down the stairs and followed him, asking 'why' over and over. He started to make scrambled eggs and she started tugging at his trouser leg.
"Aaaaaaaantoooooooon? How come all the other men here have short hair? Is that normal? I'm used to men having long hair, like yours."
"Depends on the bloke."
"You use funny words."
She didn't reply, just went 'exploring' the kitchen. He muttered for her to be careful, grimaced as he heard a large amount of metal somethings fall from a cupboard and tried to keep all his attention on the task at hand. It was easy enough. Sometimes he managed to blot things out. Until they jolted him and made him burn his hand. "Faine!"
"Did you hurt yourself?"
"You pushed my hands into the pan and fire. Thanks for that. That will hurt for a long time."
"...sorry..." She shrunk away and he wanted to apologise for getting angry with her, but he resisted the urge.
"Just...just leave me alone, okay?"
"Okay..." She slunk back some more and he moved to the sink. "Can I play in the room with the-"
"Just go away!...and stay away from my room!"
Andeep moved away from Daemon. "Ooh, are 'ammers painful?" She teased, her hands turning back into hands. They had said she was allowed to wail on the Necromancer as much as she liked. Unfortunately she needed a bathroom break.
Austin led the group. He didn't know why. Somehow they had gone from walking in a shapeless clump to a strange order where he was at the front. He rounded the corner, saw the redhead and tried to back up, stumbling right into Gale. "You were supposed to wait until I said it was safe." He hissed as Gale gave a howl of pain.
Andeep stopped, then sneezed and continued walking.
The group behind her stared in wonder, shadows coiling around them protectively. They began shadow-walking through the walls, trying to locate Daemon. It look longer than they hoped. Aleron was leading now, as he knew his way around better than the others. Soon enough they found their friend curled up on a bed, clearly injured. Gale stepped forward, carefully lifting the girl so as not to hurt her. He decided to use this moment to ensnare her in his power. He always liked to have new groupies, and the symbols would probably have a stronger effect on the injured. They turned to leave, and there stood Andeep. "More new friends." She cooed joyfully. Austin swore.
((I am never allowed to listen to Taylor Swift while thinking about Dexter Vex/Saracen Rue. It makes me imagine Vex in princess dresses while Rue leads him on while wearing a prince outfit...ooh, and approaching fight scene. Not entirely sure where the scene between Shudder and Faine came from, but he still remembers Lilia promised to pick her up sooner...))