Friday, October 18, 2013

Jayden Slander: Garnet's Return

God. His head was pounding. He pushed himself to his hands and knees with a dry groan. Water. He needed water. He had never been so thirsty before in his life. Also his hair was loose, which irritated him. He gave a cough into his fist and crawled across the filthy ground, one leg not supporting him, dragging behind uselessly. He felt dizzy. There was a tap thing in the corner. He clamped his lips around the tap and drank greedily before he heard a shift in the darkness. He drank a little longer before breaking away and wiping his mouth, trying to peer through the darkness. His eye stung. One of his contacts was out of place. He turned away from whoever was out there and tried to fix it. Very few knew he was visually impaired. Not even Jayden did. Another thing Jayden didn't know was that Mortis still believed in the tooth fairy. That fairy would never come visit him in here. Once the contact was in place, he turned round and found himself face-to-face with someone oddly familiar and with very bad breath.
"Richard..." He mumbled, frowning. He was shirtless and shivering, bordering on hypothermic. His hair was longer and unkempt, he had lost a lot of weight. He reached out a shaking hand and touched Mortis' face.
"You look sick..."
"Probably am..."
He shook his head and squirmed over to the bars. His leg was agony. Definitely dislocated. He clung onto the bars and took a breather, coughing a little. The tooth was gone from his throat, but it still felt funny. He didn't notice Ricky come any closer but felt him shift his bad leg. He let out a cry of pain. "Ricky, please!"
"Dislocated hip..." He muttered, continuing to twist the leg in his grip. "Normally people have painkillers when they get bones relocated."
"I...can see...why..."
Neither of them spoke while Ricky worked. Mortis broke the silence with his shouts. He was sure people were staring, but he really didn't care. He was in pain, and the more Ricky messed with his leg and hip, the worse it got. "Mortis, the least I can tell you is you won't be able to walk properly for a while." He shifted away with a sigh and Mort just lay there, groaning. "How're your eyes?" Ricky was the only one who knew about the impairment as far as he knew. "Look, I'm sorry I couldn't sedate you for that...I really am..."
He shook his head. "I hate you so much, Sloth..."
"Would you like a tissue? You're crying."
"What the hell do you expect?"
"I expected a hell of a lot more screaming." He replied honestly with a shrug. God, he was shivering. It was almost pitiful to watch. Mortis pushed away from the bars and gave him a hug.
"Thanks, Ricky..."
"You have any more injuries?" He asked with a chuckle.
"Of course I do. You're so cold..."
"Bloody Australian Garnet nicked my coat...and then I actually got mugged, can you believe it?"
"Bad luck for you."
Richard pushed him off. "What happened to you?"
"Serpine's daughter...Gar's old girlfriend." He shuddered. "Caught me unawares. Was distracted by Jayden."
Sloth shook his head, with a smirk. "Thought you'd be brought down someday. You're lucky I'm always there to help you out."
Mort smirked, patting his side. "Yeah, thanks for the liver."
"You're welcome. Feel sorry for the poor blighter we nicked it off of, though."
"I don't." He brought his good leg up to his chest, wincing slightly. His hip still hurt like hell. "How long have you been here?"
"Three months, maybe?"
"Oh..." He looked around, brushing his hair out of his face. "We have to get out of here..."
"I know that..."
"You need to see the light, Ricky. You're dying here. You're freezing to death..."
"Moderate Hypothermia, Mort, I know." He shrugged, still shivering. "Not to sound creepy, but you're warm, can you hug me again? It'll help..."
The murderous Necromancer just gave him a look, but finally opened his arms out. "As much as I don't exactly like you, I'm not letting you die. Especially since you just fixed my leg."
"Thanks, man...thought I was doomed when the hypothermia set in..."
"Hell no. You're not getting felled by cold." He heard the sound of feet on the cold, hard floor and couldn't suppress a shudder. He had to admit, he had never been in the prisoner's shoes, and it actually scared him. He tightened his hold on Ricky, which unfortunately had the healer picking up on his fear.
"Mort, don't worry..."
The footsteps stopped at their cell and it was unlocked. "Ricky..." He whimpered.

"What do you mean you won't help?" Jayden yelled, outraged. Franz ignored him and Ursa flipped him off. They both went inside and suddenly the Child of the Spider felt completely hopeless. Who actually liked Mortis? Well, there was Garnet, who was dead, and Ricky, who was sort of untraceable...perhaps the sanctuary could help, but realistically, Jayden had no clue what they wanted with his lover for. He sat down and tried to think, jumping when the front door opened, almost hitting him in the face. There stood Millie Firestone, the clairaudient girl.
"Thought I heard your voice...your friend wants to have a word with you."
Jay arched an eyebrow. "Garnet?"
"Yeah, him."
He crossed his arms and Millie gave a grunt, making a face like she was in pain. Her voice changed and her accent deepened. "Woah..." She muttered, her voice now that of a man. "Am I actually in control of this thing? Oh, Jayden! Hey!"
Jayden made a face. "Garnet?"
"Uh, yeah...this is confusing...where's Mort?"
"B-J got him..."
Millie, or Garnet, frowned. "What do you mean?"
"Her and some fat guy kidnapped him. I think Maleficent's changed sides."
"Bullshit, man." Garnet snapped. The voice wasn't even coming from Firestone's throat. It was coming from her amulet. The body just spoke along. He could hear Millie's voice very faintly beneath.
"Dude, he was screaming. They beat him up. He did not go quietly. I don't even know if they took him to Mevolent's stinky castle or what."


Austin liked the room he was given. He had a sneaking suspicion it was Belle's room, and sometimes got a little disturbed by the idea of his dead sister. Even so, it was comfy, the colour scheme was nice, and there was this one night. It was dark, the heating was on full blast and Austin couldn't sleep. He was sat upright, playing with the flintlock pistol. His curtains were drawn, he wore only his underwear, but had a pink blanket tied round his neck like he was wearing a cape. He let out a slight gasp when someone knocked at his door. The door opened and there stood Daemon. "Are you awake?"
"Well, I'm sitting up..."
She came over and sat beside him in the darkness. "Look, it's about-"
"The kiss? You claiming to be my girlfriend?"
"Uh, yeah."
"Don't worry, I get it, it meant nothing."
"No, Ozzy, listen. There was this awful moment when I thought I was going to lose you. You had were dying and I just thought I'd been nasty to you our whole time being around each other..."
"Don't." He said firmly.
"And I had to admit, you've got a lot going for you, you're a wonderful person, and really hot..."
He laughed. "That's what you think, is it?"
"It might well be."
He wrapped an arm around her shoulders and planted a kiss on her cheek. "I'm worried this could be seen as my rebound."
"You've had plenty of time to get over Katharine."
"And besides, it's not like I told you to sleep with me."
"I'm sort-of beginning to wish you had..."


Mortis sat calmly on the chair and let them strap him in. Inside he was having a slight panic. Even so, half that panic wasn't for his own wellbeing. He was so stupid. How could he have even let himself get beaten? Beside him, another man was strapped to a chair, shouting furiously in Czech. He was struggling against his bonds, whereas Mortis just sat there calmly. "Vrestreni, isn't it?"
The Czech elder stopped shouting and stared at him. "Do I know you?"
"I killed Dexter Vex."
"Oh...I think I recognise you now..."
He chuckled. "I think B-J hates me...I could go for a B-J"
"Didn't need to know that."
The door swung open and a skinny, pathetic redhead stumbled in. B-J and Ass Bandit followed behind and the men tied to the chairs shut up. A-B had chocolate in his hand. The only one without some kind of weapon. He felt a shudder go down his back as Maleficent and the redhead approached, and almost instinctively bared his teeth in a snarl. Anxiety was twisting his chest, but at least outwardly he seemed unfazed, furious and fearsome. A smirk curled on the woman's face.
"Bet you're both wondering what I want with you." She began innocently. Judging by her tone of voice, she had finally lost her sanity.
"Pretty much. Also who would win in a fight between you and the tooth fairy."
She gave him an odd look. "Right..." She took out a large pot and placed it below Mortis' wrist. Another shudder coursed through him and she took out a knife. It was his knife. Wilbur. She held the blade to his wrist and made a deep cut, drawing it out and wiggling the blade, doing her best to cause the pain that forced a moan from his throat. Rasputin jerked away, trying to break his bonds. Mort was sure the crazy girl had cut all the way to his bone and watched in dismay as his blood leaked down into the pot. She moved to the Czech ex-elder and clamped her lips over his.
"Listen, Ras, they want you dead, but I can offer you a path out. It won't be pleasant, but it will be worth it in the long run."
"And that man?"
"He's a murderer, has killed millions, a psychopath. He deserves it."

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Madame Mist: A Family Of Hope

Doctor Synechdoche assured the parents that Antonia-Lily was going to be fine. They didn't keep her in the hospital much longer. By the end of the week, she was home. The triplets were coming up to about a year old now.

Erskine was fast asleep at his desk. Ruby tugged at his trouser leg repeatedly, eager for his attention. "Daddy! Daddy! Daddy, look, I made fire!"
Ravel stirred but didn't awaken. Ruby clicked her little fingers and accidentally set fire to something. "Daddy! I made fire!"
He gave a little moan as he awoke. Instantly, he noticed the fire. "Ruby!"
"I made fire."
"I can see that." He muttered angrily as he worked to put it out. "You have to be careful."
With a sigh, he pulled her onto his lap and held his hand in front of him, hovering it over his desk. "Firstly, when you've fire in your hands, keep it away from things that might catch fire."
She looked at him blankly and he sighed again.
"Don't let the fire near...anything, really. When you're older, I'll teach you how to use it properly, okay?"
She nodded. "Down."
"No more fire, okay?"
She nodded again. "Down."
He put her down, looked at the papers on his desk and shook his head. Not today. He just couldn't deal with this stuff right now. Perhaps he could switch jobs with Popularity for a little while.

Two or so months. They passed with no major event. Grievance and Slander were out in public again, walking down a familiar road to them, near to where the Midnight Hotel had been when Jayden had tried to kill Shudder. They were arguing. Their voices sailed over the treetops, frightening a lot of wildlife. They were having something commonly known as a lovers' tiff.
"I'm sick of it!" Mortis roared, pivoting on his heel to face his boyfriend, who shied back slightly. "You don't have to babysit me! I don't need protection!"
"Well pardon me for caring about you!"
"Just step back and give me some room, Jayden!"
Jayden scowled and crossed his arms, no longer walking. "Look where you're going, Mort." He muttered right before Mort walked backwards into a tree. Cursing, he rubbed his head and turned around, walking again.
"I survived long enough before I met you." He growled. "You're just some pathetic tag-along who doesn't even like killing. You only wanted your brother dead because he killed all those people you liked..."
"Don't bring up Regicide!" Jayden shrieked, storming up, grabbing the shorter man's jacket and forcing him round so he could slap him. "You know not to bring that up!" Tears were forming in his eyes.
"Whatever!" He yelled back, pushing Slander away. "Just get out of my sight!" He stormed off, leaving the dark-skinned man stood in the middle of the path in the woods, drying his eyes.

Mortis must have walked for miles and hours afterwards. He finally stopped, sitting himself down under a tree. Hungry, exhausted, thirsty, he'd done the overworking himself thing again, hadn't he? He took a deep breath and looked up to the sky, wondering where he could find some water. Jayden had been carrying the canteen, but there was almost certainly a river or stream or some source of running water around here. Heck, he could hear running water from where he sat. He stood and decided to follow his ears, but then he heard a different sound. Someone standing on a twig. He reached up to tighten his ponytail. The mustard ribbon was in today, and he wasn't beyond shedding any innocent blood. It might even mean a bit of food in his belly. Fingers tightened against the handle of his precious athame knife. Someone walked into the clearing and Mortis swung, but stopped himself just in time. Jayden. He looked shocked, then scowled.
"Oh great. Now it's going to look like I followed you. I didn't, before you ask, mate."
"I could have killed you..."
"Yeah, many sound a little hoarse. Need a drink?"
"No! Stop looking out for me!"
Slander rolled his eyes. "Whatever." He went off the way he'd come. Mortis closed his eyes, bowing his head and running his fingers through his greasy hair. He was so stressed. Why was he even stressed? There went another cracking twig. Honestly, Jayden never learnt about stealth, or patience. Wait...that one came from behind him, didn't it? He whirled round, but too late. Just in time to catch an elbow to the jaw, actually. He stumbled and tripped, falling onto his bottom. Something had just gone down his throat the wrong way and he could taste blood. Was he choking on his own tooth? His brain told him to focus on dislodging it. He could breathe fine, but it was irritating, and all he could do when the foot came for his face was widen his eyes. He fell back and even rolled a little, blood pumping from his nose and already in his eyes. Damn it, this was not going well. With a cough, he waved his arm out, catching someone's leg with Wilbur's blade, the shadows following it to hopefully cut more. With a shriek of pain, some guy threw himself at the Necromancer and began raining down punches. Blood was dripping from the man, so at least Mort had done some damage. Okay, legs were pinned, but he could bring his arms up to defend. The guy was getting him in the stomach now. Oh balls. He was so tired. Perhaps he was getting a little too old to do surveillance nights. Depriving himself certainly hadn't done him any good over the years. He gritted his teeth against the pain, trying to bring his knees up. Wilbur wasn't in his hand. He must have dropped it after the swing. Oh jeez, the guy on his legs was so heavy.
"Okay, Ass Bandit, quit it."
Well...that sounded horrific. He opened his eyes to see B-J Maleficent as the punches to his belly ceased. B-J? That meant he was safe, didn't it?
"We need him in good condition for my father.
Oh hell no. He thrashed, desperately trying to get free. He felt something go in his hip. Perhaps his leg even dislocated. One hand grasped desperately for Wilbur, but B-J came forward and kicked it into the trees. Now, perhaps if he had eaten more often, Mort would have had some muscle to back him up, but as it was he was now defenceless, weakened by stupid nature. He just wanted to sleep. And have a sandwich. Last resort. He grabbed her leg, craned his neck and bit into her flesh hard enough to draw blood. She shrieked now, trying to shake him loose. He felt another hard hit to his belly, winding him. He couldn't breathe, his nose was clogged with blood, he had to open his mouth, let Maleficent go. As he sucked in a breath, he sat up, head colliding with the man so oddly named Ass Bandit's. He brought his hands in, clawing with his overgrown nails, biting at the fat man's nose, doing anything to cause him pain and get feeling back into his legs. B-J had hold of his ponytail. Oh hell no. She yanked him back and he yelled indignantly. His legs were freed up, but too numb to use effectively. She crouched down to his level and wrapped her arm around his neck, tightening it until he couldn't breathe. The mix of the three bloods made a foul taste in his mouth, his incisor tooth was still lodged painfully in his hurt more now pressure was being put on it. His body ached, there were tears in his eyes, and Ass Bandit had picked up Wilbur. He gave a few kicks as he clawed inefficiently at B-J's choke hold, and eventually weakened and blacked out. B-J dropped him the moment he went limp. She needed him alive. She heard a nearby rustle and heaved the unconscious Necromancer over her shoulder, wiping her hands on her dress. "Gross, A-B, his hair is absolutely gross. And he smells. Don't think he's ever even heard of soap..."
Bandit laughed and they both used air to throw themselves up when the Child of the Spider ran out at them.
"Mortis!" He shrieked, dismayed. "Bring him back!"

Madame Mist rested a hand on her belly as she looked at the small plastic stick. Another one so soon. She smiled beneath her veil. Erskine's reaction would be priceless. She stooped to pick her two younger daughters up, popping the pregnancy test in the bin, and rested the girls on her knees, reading a book to them.

((Mortis' section...blame Queen. All the ideas, especially Ass Bandit, came to me while listening to Queen on my way home from therapy...and if by some strange anti-miracle you didn't get it, Mort broke up with Jayden, but neither shall die until they're back together again :3 He's safe...for now...*evil laugh*))

Friday, October 4, 2013

Billie-Jinx Maleficent: Siege and Defence

((I recently learnt what BJ is an abbreviation calling her that got all awkward...ah my innocent mind...))

Billie-Jinx sighed, leaning against the side-table on which Ravel's daughter lay. Maleficent gave the girl a quick glance and instantly felt ill. She had left the child with a variety of people, and some had proven to be abusive. She and Arachne Basilisk had tried their best to care for the already quite sickly child. She was lying, eyes slightly open, struggling to breathe as usual. She bit her lip, regretting this plan. Pixie-Twist and his 'friend', Eugene Scribe, stood guard by the door. There was a suspicious noise outside and Scribe went to check it out. Maleficent sighed.
Pixie looked up. "Yes?"
"There's going to be trouble tonight."
"What makes you say that?"
"Their sensitive isn't very subtle..." She turned to look out the window and pointed. "I can see them. My God, they're idiots. Get some people together to protect this room."


Kenelm arched an eyebrow at Banderas as the American mage smiled. "We're in."
Paraplegia rolled his eyes. "Finally."
"You can't rush me. It's awkward, doing it like that. I know where they're keeping the Grand Mage's daughter and all.
Kenelm raised a hand for silence. "We need a plan."
Cyrenaica arched an eyebrow. "Cain, we have a plan."
"A better plan!"
"Shush." Madame Mist urged. She nudged Cyrenaica, who stood and walked towards the castle with a casual air. Double agent. He nodded his hello to the man at the door and walked right on through. It was light out and Luca was crouched low with the others. They watched Rust disappear from sight, his blonde sweep of hair with the sky-blue fringe quickly becoming lost in a crowd of heads thanks to his small stature. Luca gestured and she went round to the side of the building, followed by Kenelm. The other three stayed where they were, Banderas lowering his head as he tried to access memories or something.


Scribe arched an eyebrow as he saw Rust approach, then smiled. "Hey Cyren."
"Eugie." Cyrenaica replied with a nod, offering his friend a cup of coffee. Alarms were going off.
"Cyren, don't you have a duty to perform?"
Cyrenaica's eyes drooped to his arm, which was bound in plaster. "Not exactly, no."
Scribe rolled his eyes, accepting the coffee. "Listen, Rust, you may not have anything to do, but I do. Talk to you later, yeah? Bit busy, man."
"Can't I join you?"
"Cy, you're my best friend, but for your own safety, scrape out."
Cyrenaica made a face and walked off, making it as clear as he could that he was annoyed. Scribe chuckled, then saw a darkness appear at the edges of his vision, began feeling oh so dizzy. Had Cy spiked his drink? That git and his practical j-


Pixie-Twist gave a start when he heard the thump. He left his post and went down the hall, finding nothing, not even the fallen form of Scribe. He just found Eugene's post empty. "Eugene?" He called, angry. He had been assured he would be working with a sensible professional, yet the clod had abandoned his post. Pixie began walking up and down between the two outposts, muttering angrily to himself with his slightly impedimented speech. A laugh sounded, over his shoulder, he thought. He whipped round and stepped forward, and suddenly found he was in the confines of a cloaking sphere. Before him stood a slightly bewildered man. Tall, thin, tanned, black hair with the tips dyed a pinkish colour. "Uh..." he spoke in an American accent. Pix aimed a punch at him, but the man went low and charged, catching Pixie in his open arm and slipping, bringing them both to the floor. "Madame Mist!" He called in a high, pitiful wail. The only response received was silence. The man tried and failed to keep Pixie pinned, but the redhead overturned the American so he was on top, and began raining down punches.

Cain Banderas found himself in a tricky situation. He was unarmed and underneath this lump of a man, having the crap beaten out of him. "Help!" He wailed again, writhing, trying to get free and turn his face away. Pixie grinned, unaware that behind him, the door behind which Maleficent and Antonia-Lily resided was now unguarded and being opened...


Cyrenaica sighed, bringing down a hammer on a very valuable sapphire earring. He watched with an almost curious expression as the Necromancer magic went back to Scribe, then turned the hammer round, took a deep breath and broke his own nose. He would go to great lengths to protect his position here, keep himself working well as a spy.


Cain Kenelm stopped for just a moment to get his breath back. Their job? Cause a distraction, keep others away from Serpine's precious little girl long enough for the others to retrieve Ravel's. Hell, one of his swords was coated in blood. None was his. Losses to Mevolent's side were of no concern to him. He had long since lost sight of Luca, but it wouldn't be long before sunset, it really wouldn't. Cain had to get out of there before she shed her skin. He was back to swinging that sword, but had precious little room now. He was going to do himself a mischief thanks to Paraplegia calling him in in the first place. The sudden shot of light calmed him a little. Paraplegia himself had just joined the fight, and what he lacked in physical mobility he more than made up for in magic skills and power, as well as aim and smarts.


That left just Madame Mist and Popularity to march right up to Maleficent. Banderas was acting as a distraction for Pixie-Twist, and they walked in with no bother to find the woman rocking the crying child, trying to sooth it with songs. Her fists clenched and he cleared his throat. Maleficent looked up with a gasp. "You...You wouldn't fight me, not while I'm holding your baby..."
Mist's eyes took in the bruises on her baby's body. "What have you done to her?" He asked in a cold, quiet voice. B-J wished she had screamed at her instead.
"It wasn't me. I would never hurt an innocent child..." She narrowed her eyes. "Although no child of yours is exactly innocent."
Mist hesitated. "Erskine told me you had a crush on him once. You still do, don't you? That is what this is about."
B-J glowered. "It's more than that!"
"The pressure of staying here, of believing so much that those deadly things are your saviours? I think you're going insane, B-J."
The girl with the short black hair let out a sob. "I wasn't behind the kidnapping, I swear!" She wailed. "I couldn't let anyone else care for this child. You see-" She cut off with a gasp. There were spiders swarming her ankles. Some were Mist's, some...some were Basilisk's. She was sure none had come from Popularity. He would have had to have spat them out, it would have been too obvious. Right now he was just glaring. His eyes widened, however, when B-J suddenly stumbled, arms releasing Antonia-Lily. He threw himself forward, catching the child before either of them hit the floor, and was very careful not to fall on top of her, keeping his arms outstretched. Basilisk's eyes met Mist's across the room.
She smiled. "I scratch your back, you scratch mine." She muttered, gesturing for her and Popularity to follow.

((I feel evil, oh so evil, I feel so evil I'd kill you with eeeeaaaaase, because I kill off all your favourites of my OCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCs))

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Memphis Heatwave: Crash Landing

They slept in the little run-down house over night. Xerxes and Nemo guarded their little shelter in turns, and as dawn broke, Xerxes collapsed onto the little pile of coats he had been using as a makeshift mattress, complaining about the night shifts. Nemo sat up from the table he had been sleeping on and stretched, perfectly awake. Refreshed, even. Memphis and River watched them closely from their little corner as they exchanged witticisms. They seemed quite close as friends. Memphis wondered briefly if Bernard had been like that with them before working at the Sanctuary. He titled his head back slightly, wondering about whether he could befriend them. He had never been especially close to Xerxes and Nemo. Almost everything he knew about them was through Bernard, but he had met Nemo's wife before. He crossed his arms, feeling an awkwardness envelope him. Memphis had never actually felt lonely before, but right now he was certainly getting a taste of that feeling, and he didn't like it. When he was young, he had had his parents, and that was enough for him. Ever since they died, he had had Amadeus there for him, every day of his life up until he kicked it. Amadeus had saved his life on no less than four occasions, possibly more, and Memphis had never been able to repay him for all that. He felt a hand on his shoulder.
"Mem, you okay?"
He replied in Spanish, claiming he didn't feel well. River quickly switched to the same language, thinking her husband didn't want to let the others hear. She asked him what was wrong.
Memphis shrugged. "It's up here." He told her quietly, tapping his temple. "It's thoughts and feelings. You know what I'm like."
"Better than anyone else." She told him softly, wrapping her arms around him. He was tempted to say Amadeus knew him best, but he kept his mouth shut. That would have just been a stupid thing to say. It was kind of true, though. Amadeus knew everything about him, right down to certain self-harm and suicide things that River would never know about.

Nemo left the little house and looked around, smiling. Nice day. Would be nicer without the thing in the distance that looked a horrible lot turned and ran back inside the run-down building. "We have to get out of here, guys."
The others gave him a look. "Why?" asked Memphis exasperatedly.
"Lord Vile. We gotta get away and fast."
Memphis swore. "How the hell are we supposed to get away?" He yelled, trying not to let the others see he was panicking.
Xerxes frowned, rolling off his collection of coats and stomping his way across the ground. "Me and some Hungarian girl used to use this place. I know, a bit far out for us, but desperate times." Suddenly his foot hit something that gave an unpleasant juddering sound. He grinned. "Trap door, Heatwave." He held his hand over the piece that had juddered and it bubbled and dissolved. Xerxes lowered himself down and the others hurried after him.  In the darkness, the sorcerer with the wart did something and the floorboards closed back over them.
"Dark in here..." Memphis muttered, arms out to feel his way through what was effectively pitch darkness. He had felt a sinking feeling as he had entered the hole and already knew his magic was bound.


The Mage with the limp frowned. The things he could hear through the door unnerved him ever so slightly. The elders were discussing with a girl, a Luca. He could hear everything. He really should not have been standing there. The door opened and he didn't have enough time to dart away. Mist nodded to him in greeting. "Paraplegia."
"Elder." He replied, nodding back. The other two elders and the red-haired vampire they had been conversing with followed Mist out and all caught sight of Paraplegia, who bit his lip, sensing something bad was about to happen to him.

An hour later he was in a conference room with a team he had called together himself. Curious Paraplegia was known for fighting in the war, as were Cain Kenelm, Cain Banderas and Cyrenaica Rust. The four of them had been a hit-team, in a way. Paraplegia sighed. It had been a long time since he had been into this sort of job. He was also joined by Elders Mist and Popularity. The air was tense and awkward, with the occasional uncomfortable shift or clearing of throat. Luca stood in the corner. There was a plan, a set plan, and it included all seven people in the room. Of course, they had to be secretive, so all you need to know for now, and indeed all I, the humble narrator, knows is that they were going after B-J Maleficent, striving to retrieve the kidnapped daughter of Ravel and Mist.


Elsewhere, a good day and a half after the first section in this chapter, Memphis awoke in some kind of cellar, wrist chained above his head. He was lying flat on the floor, and when he looked to his wrist he found it bound tightly to a radiator with one of his own handcuffs. The last thing he remembered was going down into that hole and trying to make his way through the darkness. Obviously he had been successful at getting through-he could see the hole they had come through from where he lay-but something unnerved him greatly. Possibly because the ginger man above him was pointing a gun at his forehead.

((Here, have a short bridging chapter before more Rist events...RIST, MAN, RIIIIIIST))

Zafira Kerias and Erskine Ravel: Playdate

The following takes place before Freedom's Price and at the same time as Once Could See But Now Am Blind

Zafira looked at the rain cloud. It was raining, in Roarhaven, not so much of a surprise. Alexis was excited.
"Momma how much further?" She asked. Zafira smiled. 
"Close. Come I know the Sanctuary is here." Zafira led her family to the Irish Sanctuary. One thing about Zafira was being in Ireland for a few days she gained part of her Dublin accent from centuries ago.

Madame Mist was inside, laying out a play mat that Ruby and Dextra instantly began to crawl all over. Antonia-Lily was still under hospital care, but mainly as a just in case thing. She would, hopefully, be out by the end of the week.

Erskine waited by the main doors, balancing himself carefully on a set of crutches. He was recovering remarkably quickly from being hit by the car, but for now was still noticeably crippled. He was going to greet Zaf and co and show them where to go, but then doctor's orders were to give his legs a rest. Zafira led them inside and thankfully didn't have to deal with usual stuff. As an Elder she was allowed in. Alexis smiled
"Is that Mr. Ravel?" She asked pointing towards none other then Ravel. Javier nodded. Alexis's face lit up. 
Ravel flashed a wide smile and made his way over. If he could do so, he would have crouched down in front of Alexis and said hello. As it was, he gave her a smile and a nod and wondered whether to address her or not. Instead, he turned his smile to Zafira. "I see you found it okay. Great to see you again, anyway...horrid night. You must be Alexis." He turned back to the child and decided to crack a joke. "I expected you to be taller." Then he made sure he didn't ignore Javier, as there was no point in appearing rude at this juncture, an gave him a smile and a hello, not sure of anything else to be said. 
Zafira smiled, "Was not hard at all. I have been in Roarhaven before." Then Alexis giggled as Ravel spoke to her,
"I'm tall! I'm taller then some of the kids in preschool!" She told the Grand Mage proudly. "And I know some magic!" Javier nodded in greeting to Ravel
"Okay Alexis don't set the Grand Mage on fire. " 
Erskine chuckled and gestured with his head for them to follow him though the halls. "You may want to be a bit gentle with the girls. They don't have magic yet, and they're rather small..." He trailed off. He was slower than the others in his current condition, but at least while inured like this he didn't have to wear his ghastly robes. Finally they reached the right hall and he nodded to the correct door, then leant against a wall, his arms tired. 

As they walked they kept pace with Ravel. Zafira kept hold of Alexis who seemed absolutely mesmerized by Ravel. When they reached the door Alexis smiled,
"I'll be careful! I'm very gentle! We have a puppy at home named Coco so I know gentle!" She went right through to doors. Zafira sighed,
"Sorry about her. She litterally was running the whole way here. And don't worry she knows gentle and I have taught her to not set things on fire...I'm not an Elemental but I do remember some stuff." 
He smiled and nodded. "At least we won't be needing any fire engines." He joked, "She must be excited. Very full of beans."

Ruby looked up when Alexis entered. Dextra seemed to be engrossed with a pink toy car as she put it curiously to her mouth. 

Zafira smirked
"Alexis almost set my Administrator on fire thank god she's an Elemental." She laughed.

Alexis smiled and sat down,
"I'm Alexis." She told Ruby and Dextra. She looked excited to meet them. 

Erskine laughed. "Hope it wasn't too chaotic. I'm actually a bit worried about when the girls start to pick up magic...they'll probably set fire to the curtains or something. And if one of them becomes a Child of the Spider..." He trailed off and shuddered.

Dextra couldn't talk yet but she could wave, which was exactly what she did. As Antonia was still under medical care, she would take a lot longer than the others to learn these basics, but Ruby and Dextra could toddle, and Ruby had a few words to speak. "Hewwo" was all she said so far. It was Madame Mist who introduced each girl. 

"Well just don't bring them to the Sanctuary. At all. And has your uh...wife is a Child of the Spider whichever one is attached to her the most will take after her." Zafira explained shuddering at the thought. She didn't like any of the Children of the Spider.

Alexis waved back to Dextra and smiled. "Hey Ruby." She said and looked around the room and glanced up at Madame Mist. Alexis gave a small smile. It was obvious Alexis didn't know the Irish Elder's magic yet. 
"What are you playing with?" She asked the girls. 

"Honestly? My wife is creepy enough, I don't want one of my kids to start coughing up arachnids left, right and centre." He shuddered. "There are curtains at the house house as well." he pointed out. "And where do we leave them when we're at the Sanctuary?"

"Broom brooms." Ruby replied, using a word for cars she had picked up off of God knows who and showing Alexis the plastic purple car in her little hand. 

Zafira tried to not die of laughter,
"How exactly did you and her...find love for each other?" She asked. Even being used to professional situations Zafira couldn't stop from smirking. Javier nodded,
"Yes well the last Child of the Spider I met I killed." He said calmly looking at the Irish Grand Mage.

Alexis grinned,
"That is an awesome car. I heard stories about Skulduggery Pleasant having a purple car." She said. She looked around and found a mini track and put the track together. 
"Now the broom broom has a motorway!" 

Erskine met Javier's eyes uncertainly. "Some of them can be rather untrustworthy. That Acacia Adonia woman was one herself." He hesitated and thought about Zaf's question, trying to ignore the laughter. "It just sort of happened. Once you get past the general creepiness of the Children of the Spider...scratch that, you never do, but she's just...nope, I honestly have no clue."

Ruby drew a blank at Skulduggery's name. She had heard it being mentioned before but had heard nothing properly about the man. When Alexis built the motorway, her face lit up. "Dexter!" It was the closest she had gotten to pronouncing her sister's name so far and she never understood the somewhat sad look on her father's face when she pronounced it that way. Dextra made her own car fly over the motorway by throwing it and then rolled onto her back, giggling. Ruby just sat there, looking a little confused. "Motorways are good." She finally said, going to retrieve the car her sister had thrown so they could play with them both. 

Javier nodded,
"I plan to not murder an Elder." He reassured. Zafira rolled her eyes,
"I don't prefer working with them but hey. You found someone which is good and got not one but three kids." 

Alexis giggled and found another car for herself. She nodded to Ruby.
"I live in New York City and we have so many motorways. Momma is Grand Mage of America." She placed her own car on the motorway and let it go. She clapped delighted. Alexis grinned and pushed the air slightly to make her car go faster. 

Erskine nodded trustingly. "I'm sure you do." He told Javier with his usual smile. He thought about the three kids and how he hadn't really wanted one all that much and shrugged, saying nothing.

Ruby smiled. "I seen a motorway, and it was all crammed with broom brooms and Daddy swore at people and Mummy told him off because he was naughty. I can remember some of the words." Mist pulled a hopeless face beneath her veil as Ruby continued, pushing her car back and forth over the road. Dextra was playing with a doll now. "My Mummy and Daddy work here a lot. I have to stay here a lot." 

Javier smiled and put an arm around Zafira. 
"Soon Alexis will have a sibling." He told Ravel grinning. Zafira sighed happily.

"My Mommy swears at people too on the motorway." Alexis giggled. She nodded as Ruby told her about staying here,
"My Mommy is like your Dad. So I go to the Sanctuary in America!" Alexis smiled. 

Erksine smiled back. "Congratulations..." He glanced down at his hands and wondered whether he could shake their hands without dropping a crutch. It was a brief glance before he leaned the less supportive crutch against the wall and held his hand out in a congratulatory fashion.

Ruby giggled. "Grown ups are funny when they get angry on motorways. Sanctaroonies are not fun." 

Zafira shook his hand. Javier nodded. He kept his arm around Zafira protectivly.
"Thank you." She said. "Who tried to kill you?" Zafira asked.

"Grown ups are funny!" Alexis giggled. "I like the Sanctuary because the Administrator gives me candy and sometimes I see the ghost of a former Grand Mage!" 

Erskine looked a little confused for a moment, then looked down at his bad hip and bound leg and chuckled. "Some idiot hit me with a car...although, admittedly, I did run into the road...but someonewas trying to kill me..." He trailed off for a moment and shook his head. "In the end I really don't know."

Ruby's eyes widened and Dextra looked over with interest. "Ghoss!" She called out excitedly. Ruby smiled to her sister, then back  at Alexis. "I want to see a ghost! That sounds good! We don't get  anything." 

Zafira smirked,
"Ah...well cars hurt." She gestured to her face. "Niccol├│ Croatoan had attacked me if you recall a while ago. I still have faint scars." 

"You gots to cone to America! I live there! We got three Sanctuaries cuz that's how we are!" Alexis said excited. She looked up at Madame Mist addressing the Elder,
"Elder Mist." She began respectfully as her mother taught, "Would Dextra and Ruby be able to come to America next time to visit?" 

He picked up his crutch again and nodded. "I know about car pain by...multiple experience." He shrugged and tilted his head, looking closely. "Oh yeah...I heard about that...I was quite worried. Glad you're okay."

Ruby looked a little stunned. "Ooh, thwee..."
Madame Mist looked down at Alexis. "We will have to discuss it, but shall see what we can do. Perhaps next time you shall be able to meet their other sister." 

Javier spoke up,
"Oh trust me. I came home and she was laying on the floor half dead." Javier said quietly. Zafira nodded.
"Well I prefer to not relive that. So you mind giving us a tour?"

"Oh three of you! Okay! That'd be cool!" Alexis grinned and looked at the two that were there
"I'm gonna have a sibling!" She exclaimed happily. Alexis made her car go fast using the air. 

Erskine wasn't sure what to say to Javier, so he turned to Zafira and went back to smiling. "I certainly can try if you don't mind how slow I go." He moved forward carefully, awkwardly, wincing slightly  at a pain in his hip.

Ruby smiled. "Sissies are fun." She looked at the car zooming along and frowned. "How you do that?" 

"It's fine. I understand your condition we can move at your pace." Zafira said. Javier stayed close. Always was.

Alexis grinned proudly,
"Magic." She told Ruby. She clicked her fingers summoning a flame. 
"I bet you have some magic! Try making a flame." 

Erskine smiled, grunting slightly with effort. "Okay, thanks. Come on, there's a lot to's not all interesting and there are leaking things, but there are stuff..."

"...How?" Ruby asked, looking more and more confused. 

"Eh I'm not used to having the whole Council around. In America we have three separate Sanctuaries. Each Elder runs one. I am in charge of the main one though." Zafira explained. She figured at this point the odds of a fellow Grand Mage turning traitor were slim.

Alexis did the motion of summoning a flame again. 
"Do what I did." She said calmly. She was excited to hopefully help Ruby learn magic. 

"I think I've heard that before..." He muttered to himself before attempting a shrug as he moved. "Not sure. Interesting trivia though. I think it's better to share the workload...if I ran a Sanctuary by myself, I'd go nuts."

Ruby frowned. She couldn't click her fingers yet. She wiggled her fingers and thumb together to no avail and looked upset. "I can't do it..." 

"I am insane. Well it's not bad because to me it's normal. And plus America is larger. We need the three Sanctuaries to cover all of the country. I work in New York City which is the east coast. If all of the Elders were just there if we had a problem in California it'd be hard to deal with it efficiently." Zafira explained.

Alexis went over to Ruby and made her fingers do the motion. 
"If you don't get it you can always bug your Daddy into helping you! He's an Elemental." 

Erskine smirked. "You have a point there." He mused. "It'd all be easier if there wasn't so much trouble to start with, but maybe a whole lot less fun..."

Ruby nodded. "Bugging Daddy is fun...he's always really busy and always complains a lot and it's really funny." 

"I deal with a lot of entertaining things." Zafira smirked and caught Javier's eye. Javier winked. 

Alexis grinned,
"My Mommy complains too! Maybe all Grand Mages do that! She complains that her other Council member is in California!" 

"I guess there's never a dull moment in this line of work." His mind flashed back to being told Ghastly had died and he faltered, lost in the thought and almost losing his balance.

Ruby smirked. "My Daddy complains about a lot of things. He complains about the paper work and the people and me crashing toy cars into his toes and the thingies he has to wear and that all his best friends are dead. I don't know what that means." 

"Hey woah you okay, Ravel?" Zafira asked. Javier looked slightly concerned. 

"My mommy complains that I kinda accidently broked her foot! And set someone on fire!" Alexis giggled. She smiled. 

"I'm fine," he muttered, glaring at a spot on the floor, "I just slipped. Come on, I want to show you where we keep the, uh...things..." He said, clearly trying to change the subject.

Ruby giggled as well. "I played with my Daddy's stick thing once and I losted it and he got really unhappy." 

"Right." Zafira nodded allowing him to lead. She looked a  bit unsure.

"Grand Mages are funny!" Alexis giggled and made her toy car race. 

Erskine bit his lip and opened a random door, forgetting where exactly he was and just hoping it had something interesting inside. It didn't, but that was okay. It was a meeting room and he needed a rest, so the abundance of chairs was helpful.

Ruby hummed in agreement, trying to push her car along without actually touching it. "It moved! Lexis, it moved!" 

Zafira noticed how tired he was,
"Guessing getting run over didn't help." She laughed and Javier nodded. 

"You did it!!!" Alexis screamed excited. She looked super excited. 

Erskine smirked. "I must say, it certainly put a downer on that day."

Ruby grinned. "I made it move! I did it! I did magic! I did magic!" She screamed the last sentence over and over a few times. 

From where Zafira stood she heard a mini Irish accent screaming,
"Appears your children are learning magic." She noted to Ravel. Javier cracked a smile.

"Yay!!!" Alexis screamed and hugged Ruby. "You did magic! You did magic!" 

"It would happen eventually." He replied, letting a smile grace his features. "They'll be bugging me about that for weeks on end now."

Ruby hugged back. "I love magic!" 

"Don't worry they'll realize the fun is doing things on their own. Alexis did." Zafira smiled. She took Javier's hand.

"That was Elemental magic like your Dad!" Alexis explained. "I'm learning Elemental magic too." 

"Seriously, Ruby's favourite thing to do is come bug me and try annoy me when I'm trying to work."

"It's so cool! I can push things without touching them!" She pushed at the air again and watched the car move a little more. 

"Alexis did the same but Javier kept her home when she wanted to," 

"You doing good! Air is fun to use!" Alexis moved her car with air. 

"Unfortunately we can't really keep them home, what with both of us working here and stuff." He gave a slight shrug.

"I love air!" Ruby squealed, pushing at the air at random and seeing what moved. 

"I understand, I guess it is best keep then here." Zafira muttered. Then Javier spoke,
"I guess you and Mist got lucky, triplets on first shot." 

"You doing really well!" Alexis praised. She pushed air with Ruby giggling 

Erskine gave a slightly moody shrug. "Yeah, well, I guess that depends on the point of view..."

"What else can I do with air?" 

"You don't like having little ones...that many?" Javier asked.

"Well you can fly but that's hard." 

Erskine gave a slight and silent chuckle. "I haven't slept at all for the past month. Just one kid, I'd be fine. Triplets? So hard to handle."

Ruby thought for a moment. "I can't wait to learn all this stuff more!" 

"I understand. I just have Alexis so..." Zafira trailed off. Alexis was behaved.

"It's fun' soooo fun!" Alexis told Ruby. 

Erskine nodded, smiling. "I'd consider you lucky, with just the one. I don't know how many times I've had to go to a random worker here and ask for a bit of help. You're not supposed to try tackle triplets by yourself, you're supposed to get outside help..."

Ruby gave a big smile. "You know what? We should be friends!" 

"Yeah baaad idea." Zafira laughed. She smiled happily. Poor Ravel. Triplets.

"We should be Ruby!" Alexis said giving Ruby her hand. 

Erskine's smile grew wider. "The main problem seems to be finding the right help at the right time."

Ruby pounced, taking Alexis' hand in both of hers. "Friends forever?" She was clearly quite an excitable child. 

"Yeah you need a knack for that." Zafira smirked. Javier smiled. 

"Friends forever! And ever!" Alexis told Ruby excited. "A knack I just don't seem to have."

"And ever." Ruby responded, wanting to get the last word in. 

"It's hard. You'll get it eventually." Javier said. He looked afraid to address  Ravel.

"Yay! And we can visit each others houses too!" Alexis looked ecstatic. 

Erskine smiled, but his brow creased slightly at the implication of fear from Javier. "Hopefully."

"What's your house like? Mine's old and creaky and the curtains are blue."

A Sanctuary operative limped into the otherwise empty medical bay. It seemed off to him. This place wasn't supposed to be empty, there were supposed to be people monitoring any patients. That was equally odd, no patients. Wasn't the Grand Mage's daughter...? Ah. He hurried out of the room again, panicking slightly. 

"I wonder how you manage three kids." Javier laughed. He took Zafira's hand.

"Mine is two floors and new! And big! My room is big!" Alexis told Ruby. "And we have a doggy named Coco!" 

"With difficulty...although it must be said the youngest hasn't come home yet..."

"My room's big too, and pink... want a doggy..." She turned to her mum. "Can we get a doggy?"
Mist shook her head with a slight sigh.

"Oh. You should check on her." Zafira advised. She looked a bit uneasy. Kids missing. Bad.

"Well if you can come by me yiu can play with Coco too!" Alexis grinned. She glanced up at Mist and back and Ruby. Alexis felt uneasy by the Elder. 

"She's fine." He insisted. "She's got everyone in the medical bay monitoring her until she's well enough to be taken home."

Ruby grinned. "I like doggies." She caught the glance and also looked to her mother as Dextra tripped and the Elder went to tend to her. "My mummy's really fun!" 

"If you insist." Zafira muttered. She let Ravel think what he wants.

"Mine is too!" Alexis glanced at Dextra, "Dextra okay?" 

Ravel smiled and opened his mouth to speak, but that was when the mage with the limp passed the open door, saw them inside, backtracked and leaned heavily against the door frame, trying to get his breath back. Ravel arched an eyebrow at him.

"My mummy reads stories and uses her hand as aminals and plays games and turns her knee into a horsie! It's so much fun"
Mist held Dextra on her hip and smiled beneath her veil. "She's fine, just a little bump." 

Zafira turned to the mage curious. She didn't know what happened but it probably wasn't good. She was in a Cradle of Magic.

"My Mommy reads to me too when she isnt working or Daddy reads! They make their voices funny." Alexis giggled. 

The mage with the limp took a couple of minutes to muster up enough air to start speaking, deciding he really needed to get a bit more exercise. "There's the medical bay," he gasped out. " missing..."
Erskine frowned, struggling to his feet. "What do you mean...missing?" He grunted out as he stood.
The man looked afraid to say. "It looks like someone's snuck in and taken her...we've got forensics on it now."

Ruby shrugged. "Mine don't do voices. My Daddy does sleepy, if that counts..." 

"Who took her? Wait forget that." Zafira muttered. "Want me to help?" 

"That counts!" Alexis laughed and continued to giggle. 

Ravel slammed a fist on the conference table. "Someone was supposed to be watching over her!"
The man with the limp backed out of the door and wrinkled his nose. Something smelled.
Ravel gave a sigh. "Help with what? What are we supposed to do?" He sounded like he was accepting defeat already.

Ruby let out a giggle of her own. "He's very good at sounding sleepy!" 

Zafira slapped Ravel, 
"Idiot! Do not give up. We will find her. Use the head between your shoulders. Think. Who would kidnap your child. You're Grand mage of Ireland. Who holds a grudge against you?" She questioned already thinking of possible people. She never gave up unless defeat was inevitable.

"My Mommy does the Irish accent really good." Alexis said. She grinned. 

Ow He mouthed at the sting of Zafira's slap. He didn't seem to register what she was saying, then he tilted his head back and thought. "Where do I start?" He asked to himself quietly, making sure he moved ever so slightly out of range of Zaf's arms. "Extremists and terrorists, Children of the Spider, anyone who works with or for Mevolent, that guy I punched one time in Sainsbury's...those two people that killed Vex and...Vex, whoever killed Ghastly, Maleficent's brother and his friends, any enemies my wife's made..."

Ruby giggled again. "My Mummy and Daddy don't try accentses." She replied, taking a Barbie doll from a nearby toybox and fiddling with it. 

"Names. Do a check on all of them who was near or around Roarhaven. She will be found." Zafira promised.

"Ah. Ooh barbie!!" Alexis took one out and played with it. 

Erskine gave a sullen and somewhat subdued nod. "I'll have to be the one to tell her, won't I?" He mumbled quietly, referring to Mist, dreading her reaction.

"My Barbie's a princess who drives a monster truck." Ruby responded with a smile. 

"Take a Cleaver or two." Zafira suggested smirking. She knew what she'd do to Ravel so Mist probably would be violent. 

"Mine is a princess too! She lives on a pretty island!" 

Ravel smirked back, despite the seriousness of the situation. "Good suggestion." he stated before swinging himself off to find his soon to be furious wife.

"My princess lives in a pretty pink castle with a purple roof and dagons! She's friends witht the dagons." 

"She's going to murder him." Javier said quietly. Zafira laughed,
"He will learn never piss off the wife." 

Alexis grinned, 
"Are the dragons there to keep her safe?" 
Ruby nodded. "And also to be her friends ands there are baby dagons and they're so cute!" 
"Will she be able to ride them?" Alexis asked. "Cuz my princess rides on tropical animals like a uhm tiger!" 
"She can't ride the baby ones." Ruby replied, tracing a pattern on the floor with her Barbie's feet. 
"Well yeah because they'd be too small." Alexis grinned. "Like my new sibling when they come!" 
"Or like Antona." Ruby replied. "She's my sissie and she's tiny. But Dexta's all big." 
"She will be big too!" Alexis giggled. "Coco my puppy is tiny too."  
"I want a puppy!" Ruby moaned. There was a knock at the door and Madame Mist went to open it. Ruby watched her go and started twisting her barbie's hair. "Puppies are all fluffy and cute..." 
"So are kittens! We have them running around the backyard. We named them after really famous people! A white kitty we named Skulduggery! Except that kitty is a girl." 
"I has talking to my goddaddy, his name's Anton, and he said he used to have a kitty called Skulduggy. A girl one. Before he met someone of the same name. I don't know anyone called Lulskuddy..." Ruby frowned at her inability to get the name right, then glanced over her shoulder at the sound of angry whispers. Her parents seemed to be arguing in the doorway. Alexis heard the angry whispers. She held back a giggle at the funny Irish accents. "He was a detective." 
"Did he have one of those things that people make..." She got distracted as her parents' voices raised. "Are they fighting?" Alexis nodded,
"I think that they are fighting. Not very good either." Alexis mumbled. She didn't look happy. 
"I don't want them to fight..." Ruby mumbled, looking like she was about to cry. She gave a squeak of fear and started crying when she heard the sharp sound of skin on skin-a slap that certainly sounded painful. Erskine had clearly said the wrong thing in his attempts to calm Mist down, and now he turned his attention to Alexis and Ruby.
"Girls, I'm afraid Alexis has to go home now." 
"AWWW!!!!" Alexis said and hugged Ruby. Zafira came in with Javier,
"We'll set up another day I promise." Zafira said going and picking up Alexis. "What do you say?"
"Thank you Grand Mage Ravel and Elder Mist for inviting me over." Alexis responded politely. 
Ravel gave a curt nod as a response. "Have a nice day, and keep her safe." Ravel told Zaf and Javier, nodding at Alexis when he said 'her'. He then made a move towards Ruby. "Ruby, come here." She did as she was told and Mist gave an apologetic look to the Americans. Javier nodded speaking for both his wife and himself,
"One of you can contact Zafira at the Sanctuary, main American one in New York City." He said and took Zafira's hand. The Necromancer shadow-walked immediately and the family went to their rental car and began driving to Dublin City where they would be staying overnight and leaving for America the next day. Ravel sighed once they were out of sight and picked his daughter up off the floor. He turned to Madame Mist. "I want you to talk to Popularity." He took Dextra from her and looked at the floor. "I'll watch these two."
Mist hesitated, looking like she was going to argue, but nodded and left instead. 

((And now those parting quips Jinxie puts at the end of everything she posts:...Does what I've written here mean Dextra's first word is 'ghosts'?))