Shadowhunter

Discussion in 'Original Stories' started by Sturmritter, May 27, 2017.

?

Hi all, are you guys stil interested in this story? Should I continue?

Poll closed Jun 11, 2017.
  1. Yes

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  2. Meh

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  3. No

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  4. OMG! STOP ALREADY! SHEESH

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  1. Sturmritter

    Sturmritter Member

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    Chapter 41: The Scorpion and The Frog

    Keija looked at Teyna with a gleam in her eye, “Hehe. Freedom for at least seven hours. Now to find some way to get back at Lars for ordering me around earlier today,” Her eyes flashed with a violet storm of possibilities.

    “So what did Lars do to you that deserves this level of retribution?” Teyna asked with an amused smile.

    “You heard him when we got off the transport, ordering me about like a warehouse flunkie, and calling me a 'rookie'. Ha! I'm at least as old as he is, if not two hundred years older!”

    “Two h-hundred years?” Teyna looked astounded.

    “It may very well be even more,” Keija replied with a satisfactory nod, “We don't age so much as we mature in our realm. The nine realms of the world tree, Yggdrasil, are ageless, and we achieved a virtual immortality when the Synod was convocated granting us access to Asgard's Apples of Idun. Those fruits we call 'Epli'. Our sense of time is thus necessarily a bit distorted, as we live a timeless, yet changing realm."

    “You're immortal?” Teyna blinked in amazement.

    “Well, as long as I don't get physically pummeled into a gooey paste, or get my head blown off, I can usually recover from most physical injuries. Also, we tend to not get any sickness, and we retain our vigor even when our appearance seems to mature. Even then, we can partake of an Epli to restore our youth.”

    “That's amazing!” Teyna stood there dumbfounded by the manner in which Keija made this startling revelation seem no big deal.

    “Eh?” Keija blinked in confusion. “You do realize that you have an immortal soul yourself, don't you?”

    “What?” Teyna didn't think too much about religious or spiritual matters during her time at Daedalus.

    “Human beings are really immortal souls, housed in temporary meat puppets,” Keija explained matter-of-factly, “Your time in the mortal world is temporary, but your eidos remains even after your body withers away.”

    Teyna held up her hands for a moment, “Ok, your starting to talk about stuff I've never ever heard about now. Meat Puppets? Eidos? What the heck is that?”

    “For you humans, the Eidos is basically your soul. For spirits, it's the sum total of our existence: our personality, our intellect, our will, our emotions, our presence. As for term 'meat puppets', don't you think that's a bit self explanatory?”

    “Isn't that a bit crude for a description of the human body though? Still, it seems I've got a lot to learn about the secret world,” Teyna murmured.

    “Yep, and there will be plenty of time for that later on,” Keija interjected, “For now, we have a mission to get back at Lars.”

    “We?” Teyna feigned ignorance, “What do I have to do with you and Lars having a spat?”

    Keija pouted even as her eyes gleamed, “Awwww. Don't treat me like that Teyna! It's a way you can get to know everyone.”

    “Oh? So this would be a mission to get back at Lars while simultaneously introducing me to your co-conspirators?”

    Keija paused and cocked her head while holding her chin thoughtfully, “Um, yeah, sure. Why not?”

    Teyna started to giggle, “Are you always this way, Keija?”

    “Well, sort of I suppose. It's in my nature to pull tricks and play jokes on people,” Keija offered as a way of explanation.

    “Yes, but shouldn't those tricks and jokes be played on your opponents, rather than your team-mates?” Teyna offered with common sense.

    “What?!?” Keija exclaimed with a response as if she had an epiphany. “You mean jokes and pranks are a means to an end, and not an end in themselves? That's just plain crazy!” She winked.

    Teyna laughed out loud, “Now I'm starting to think you've been pulling my leg all this time!”

    Keija smiled, “Even if unintentional, it's still in my nature.”

    “At least you aren't a scorpion, from that story the scorpion and the frog,” Teyna offered tentatively.

    “Who says I'm not?” Keija flashed her eyes for effect, “Just kidding!”

    “Well, now I'm not so sure,” Teyna frowned.

    “Aw, sorry,” Keija apologized, “Even so, Although I might be a scorpion to my enemies, I don't sting my friends, even if I like to play jokes on them.”

    “But what if you were somehow compelled?” Teyna questioned. She might not be spiritually knowledgeable in general, but she had a few occult experiences growing up in Southeast Asia, and knew from some of her acquaintances that spiritual forces could be compelled by dark magicians.

    “Oh? So you know about that, huh?” Keija looked at Teyna with newfound appreciation, “Well, to be honest, it's quite possible for a spirit to be compelled by a talented Onmyouji or spiritualist. If you want to know more about that, you could ask Melissa or her brother Martin. Though both Uzume and myself have undertaken steps to reduce the possibility. In this location, with our integration as well as our friends here, we are quite safe.”

    “Still more to learn it seems,” Teyna sighed plaintively.

    “Education never ends, and it's never a waste,” Keija smiled warmly in response.

    “Well, then, start educating me, and take me on a tour of this place I may yet call home,” Teyna said resolutely, “You can worry about what to do with Lars later.”

    Keija nodded happily, and began to give Teyna a tour of the facility. They started at the dining facility, which looked like a large cafeteria but with a rustic country farmhouse feeling to it. The décor was colonial Victorian, warm and friendly. From there, Keija led Teyna to the library, where Richard Lowen worked in his office.

    Keija re-introduced Teyna to Richard, remarking (for Richard's sake) that they had briefly met at lunch in the dining hall. Richard nodded succinctly, gave a curt, sufficiently polite reply and returned to his archivist work.

    Teyna, after returning to the main library from Richard's office remarked, “Well, he's kind of a wet rag, isn't he?”

    “He's purely professional,” Keija offered a weak defense of his character, “He's not what I would call a social butterfly. But if you ever need to know something obscure, he's the man to go to. From what I've heard from Melissa and Martin, his knowledge on occult matters is truly encyclopedic.”

    Keija and Teyna continued down the hallway, and Keija pointed out the Forensics lab, where the mechanical bug invasion occurred before they had met in Singapore.

    “Oh? These were Daedalus creations?” Teyna was intrigued, “Do you happen to have any scrap left from the invasion?”
     
  2. Sturmritter

    Sturmritter Member

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    Chapter 42: Norse Ninjutsu and Eastern Weapons

    Keija pondered that question for a moment, “Let me ask Astrid if she or Sam have any parts that were left for analysis. One sec!” And she flashed away faster than Teyna could blink.

    'Holy Smokes!' Teyna thought to herself, she had never seen anyone move that fast before.

    In the time it took Keija to move, ask her questions of Astrid and Samuel, and return, Teyna had only shaken her head and turned around in the hallway to figure out where Keija had gone. She was startled to see Keija standing before her once again, only this time with a wrecked mechanical bug in her hands.

    “Astrid assures me this one has been scrubbed of any spells and tracking devices, so if you can add anything, that'd be great!” Keija spoke out enthusiastically.

    Teyna examined the wrecked bug, and nodded when she recognized the characteristic of arthropod articulation in Daedalus robot designs.

    “This one is definitely a Daedalus design,” she confirmed, “But I don't recognize the model, and it's much smaller than our typical commercial robots. I'm sorry I can't help much more with that, since I'm no engineer, unfortunately.”

    Keija shrugged her shoulders, “Well, it was a longshot, but at least you confirmed Daedalus involvement in the attack. Perhaps Edgar can help connect all the clues we've uncovered, later tonight at dinner.” Keija took back the mechanical bug, and flashed away at unbelievable speed only to return to where Teyna stood dumbfounded, this time empty handed.

    “How do you move so fast?” Teyna asked slack-jawed.

    “Well, I'm a Swartalfheimer with Synod training,” Keija replied with obvious pride, “It's a technique developed from the eastern cosmology, called Shunpo. We fey spirits of the northern cosmology were already well renowned for our stealth and agility, but when we started to receive training from the eastern cosmology under Synod guidance, in the art of Ninjutsu and Taijutsu, our capabilities increased dramatically.”

    “So what? You're some sort of dark elf ninja?” Teyna giggled.

    “Well, yes, I suppose so,” Keija grinned back, “But I prefer the term Swartalfheimer to dark elf. We may live in seclusion from sunlight, but our temperament isn't as dark as the tales suggest. But don't call me 'elf' or even worse, 'elfy', Daniel does that, and it drives me nutty.”

    “Seems like you and this Daniel fellow have a bit of a history,” Teyna stated cautiously.

    “Well, considering he almost started a war in Hel, and I just happened to be there to stop him in time, it was a bad start to say the least.”

    “Oh my God!” Teyna looked incredulous, “Are you serious? A war in Hell?” She practically started to cry from how crazy that sounded.

    “I don't think it's the same Hel you're thinking of, “Keija corrected, then before Teyna could ask for details she continued, “It's not a long story, but one that I'd rather not tell again. Just suffice to say it ended well enough for me and Daniel to not kill each other on sight. And lately, he's been acting a lot more civil towards me...” She trailed off thinking of the compliment Daniel gave her on the eve of Edgar's plight after she help to save his life.

    “Maybe it was all just a misunderstanding from the beginning?” Teyna offered as Keija seemed to be contemplating something deeply profound.

    “Hmmm, perhaps. Speaking of Daniel, perhaps we should swing by the dormitory rooms and I can introduce you while keeping him safely at bay from your innocence,” Keija winked as she said this last part.

    “That would be nice. I'd like to meet all of the 'home crew' you told me about on the airplane. So far, It's only been that wet rag, Richard,” Teyna agreed.

    Keija led Teyna over to the dormitory rooms, pointing out her own room, and several other of the females residences, then turning the corner to another hallway, she pointed out a lot of the men's dorm rooms, finally ending up at Daniel's room. Knocking at the door, Keija waited for a response, but there was none.

    “He doesn't seem to be in his room at the moment,” Keija slumped for an instant, before realizing that it was probably a good thing to avoid Daniel for the time being.

    He needed to be caught in a situation where others would require him to be on his best behavior, so Keija mentioned that it would probably be best to have others present when they met. And so they continued on their way, towards the Armory, where Samuel Golding was busy taking inventory of the equipment checked in from Singapore mission.

    “Oh, hello there, Teyna was it?” Sam smiled warmly as he recognized the new guest member of the facility along with Keija, “Come to show her where all the goodies are kept, Keija?”

    Keija nodded happily, “Of course!”

    Sam led both of them into the armory, and gave Teyna a basic tour, pointing out the various types of equipment and weapons that they kept on hand for various types of operations.

    “Speaking of equipment, Keija, I finished the Bagh Nakh you requested,” Sam said as he pulled a case out from a shelf and laid on one of the workbench tables, “They even have the Nordic runes you requested as well, so they should be quite dependable.”

    Keija looked on with anticipation as Sam carefully opened the lid to reveal an impressive set of Tiger Claw gauntlets.

    Sam gave an explanation of the smithing process used to create the claws, “They were made of composite carbon-steel that had been case hardened and quenched, then tempered and coated with a titanium carbide coating. In other words, these bad boys have a hardened wear resistant shell, but have a tough ductile core that is able to absorb shock and resist shattering. The runes were inscribed according to Richard's instructions, and then each blade was polished and fitted to the gauntlets. I also included some Hebraic zayin as decorative runes to help increase the sharpness.”

    Keija was speechless for a moment, mesmerized by the melding of modern technology and Norse magic into a set of weapons that could only be described as amazing.

    “Sam,” Keija breathlessly paused for a moment, “You are a genius.”

    Teyna looked at these gauntlets as a work of art fit for a museum. “They're beautiful!” She gaped in awe.

    “You'll still need to integrate your eidos with the runes to power them up,” Sam reminded, “I suspect it will take quite a while to get them powered up sufficiently for operational use.”

    “I'm looking forward to it,” Keija turned towards Sam, her eyes tearing up from joy.

    “Tomorrow at the earliest,” Sam reminded her, “We've still got that meeting after dinner tonight.”

    Keija pouted for a moment, but she could be patient too, even if she was impulsive by nature. Waving goodbye to Sam for the time being, Keija turned to Teyna and said, “Well, I guess we're done here for now, let's continue the tour?”
     
  3. Sturmritter

    Sturmritter Member

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    Chapter 43: Wrapping Up the Tour

    Teyna nodded in agreement, and followed after Keija, bowing politely to Samuel as she left the armory. A few hours were spent familiarizing Teyna with the other facilities of the compound, including the lacrosse field, the swimming pool, the tactical lanes, and the shooting range (which had both indoor and outdoor targets.) There was one area that Keija pointed out that was the new underground facility, but Sam hadn't given the authorization to open it up yet, since Mr. Mallory had some sort of Ceremony planned for the next day.

    “Seems like military or police training facilities,” Teyna remarked after emerging from the indoor shooting range.

    “I suppose in a way we are a peacekeeping force,” Keija nodded, and then added, “but the things we deal with tend to go outside the boundaries of mere political differences between nation states.”

    Keija noted the position of the sun that was beginning it's descent into the evening sky, “Looks like it's late afternoon. You probably are tired from jet lag and want to get freshened up before dinner?”

    “I would love to take a bath right about now,” Teyna sighed.

    “Well, you can either use the shower facilities at the pool, and swim for a bit if you like, or I can show you where your room is in relation to the bath house,” Keija offered.

    “Show me to where I'll be staying. I don't have much in the way of luggage as you well know,” Teyna said as she gave a perturbed look.

    “Right, back to the main hall then!” Keija led the way back to the hall where the library and dining facility where located, Along the way, she pointed out the bathhouse and it's relation to the dormatory wing, and noticed Uzume chatting with one of the groundskeepers about repairing some irrigation lines for the lawn.

    “Hey! Uzume!” Keija caught her attention, “When you get a moment, let me know where we can let Teyna stay?”

    “Pfah!” Uzume rolled her eyes, “Already done! She'll be in the ladies wing of the dormitory in the room two doors down from your own towards the end of the hall.”

    “Thanks a bunch!” Keija replied with gratitude, and continued towards her dorm room with Teyna.

    Passing by her own door, she stopped for a moment to grab a small wrapped device from a drawer in her room, and then led Teyna to her new quarters two doors down.

    “What's that thing in your hand?” Teyna wondered out loud.

    “Oh? Step through the door, and you'll find out,” Keija snickered.

    “Now I'm worried again,” Teyna said with a sigh.

    “Aww, don't be that way, trust me!” Keija winked.

    “Ok, but only because I am really wanting a bath,” Teyna reluctantly said as she stepped through the doorway.

    Keija immediately pulled the ends of the wrapped device, and a loud bang sounded through the hallway startling Teyna. It was one of those paper "poppers" that people used during Christmas or other celebrations, only this one was a home-made special of Keija's. Teyna was holding her hand to her heart and giving Keija a pointed look as she recovered from the loud noise.

    “Welcome to your new room, Teyna!” Keija exclaimed as the noise also brought several people's heads to peer out from their own rooms to find out what the commotion was all about.

    Seeing that Keija was leading Teyna into her new quarters, two people popped back into their room to grab some snacks and drinks to make an impromptu room warming party.

    Keija waved over to Astrid and Melissa and looked around for Venka but couldn't find her, “Come and welcome Teyna to her new room!”

    “That's the plan! That popper you made was pretty loud, Keija. I'm surprised it didn't set off any alarms,” Astrid said as she brought some soda and some plastic cups with her.

    Melissa came soon after with a tray of cookies, “Welcome to the nest, Teyna!” She greeted as if she were the host of the party. “I baked these myself after Elijah finished with lunch. They're oatmeal raisin, if that's ok with you?”

    Teyna smiled, “I love cookies, so any type is ok with me! Thank you!”

    “We won't keep you, since it's already been a long day, and everyone is probably feeling a bit of jet lag as well, but we can enjoy a little party before dinner, right?”

    As Teyna turned once again to enter the room, she was immediately impressed with the size and décor of the room. There was a nice double-sized bed and an armoire chest for storing clothes, as well as bookshelf and a walk-in closet for storage.

    Just then Teyna turned a bit pink as she blushed in embarrassment, “I don't have any clothing except this business suit that I'm wearing!”

    Melissa, Astrid and Keija all understood what had been happening these past couple of days, “We already planned to fix that! After all, you're in the US now, the land of shopping centers!” Astrid remarked in her thick eastern European manner.

    Teyna blinked and then shrugged, “Is there a place to shop nearby?”

    Keija, Astrid and Melissa all nodded in unison, “We're about 9 miles....um 15 kilometers, from Salem, and there are other villages and boutiques scattered around the area as well,” Keija added.

    “Oh? So we can make the trip to Salem in time for dinner?” Teyna looked hopeful.

    “I think we can. We just need to request some transportation,” Keija replied, then turning towards Melissa and Astrid, “You want to come along too?”

    “Sure, I've got no plans for the moment,” Melissa smiled in response.

    “Unfortunately for me, I've got some things I need to attend to before dinner tonight, but I wish you all the best!” Astrid said with an apologetic tone.

    After requesting the transport from one of the groundskeepers, Keija, Melissa and Tenya were driven in style to the town of Salem. Several of the locals wondered to themselves if a celebrity had arrived to play tourist. Spending about an hour and a half shopping, they had just enough time to get back home with a load of new clothes and toiletries for Teyna.

    “You've got about an hour to take a bath, if you like, and then dinner will be ready,” Keija informed Teyna, then picked herself up to leave Teyna on her own to finish settling in.

    “I'll see you at dinner then!” Teyna replied as Keija headed out the door.

    “Don't forget how to get to the dining facility,” Keija teased.

    “Your excellent tour is still fresh in my mind,” Teyna smiled back.
     
  4. Sturmritter

    Sturmritter Member

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    Chapter 44: Spirit Charming

    Teyna closed the door and prepared for her bath as Keija wandered down the hallway with a good feeling about the past few days. For her own part, she'd spend the rest of the time before dinner integrating her eidos and anticipating being able to test those beautiful Bagh Nakh that Samuel had forged for her.

    As she entered her own room, she briefly let down her human guise, and stared at her dark elf reflection in the mirror hanging on the wall beside her bed. She pondered whether or not she should go to dinner like this and just be herself. After a time, she re-applied her human guise and stared at it also for a few moments.

    This guise was as much a part of her now as her original form, she thought wryly. It didn't matter one way or the other to her companions which form she took, they had accepted her for who she was. She lay down on her bed, and began to integrate these feelings, lessons and conclusions of the past few days into her eidos, and then began to integrate her eidos once again with the facility.

    As dinner time approached, Keija felt that her integration had been successful in consolidating her breakthrough from Singapore. She felt more energetic and alert, and this was compounded by the fact that she was growing used to the place and having her eidos almost fully integrated with the location now.

    She got up from her bed, and changed out of her traveling clothes for a more casual outfit, and she changed her guise to her dark elf form. She decided that she'd just go with the flow tonight and be herself. She picked out a nice white crop top and shorts ensemble and a pair of white calf high ugg boots, and then headed out towards the dining facility.

    Skipping down the hallway, in a very fae sort of manner, Keija turned the corner and abruptly stopped as she saw Daniel emerge from his room down the hallway. Immediately her demeanor became more guarded and she thought of turning the corner to avoid the walker, when he caught sight of her and waved congenially.

    “Hey Keija!” Daniel said loudly without regard to anything in particular, as he began to walk towards her. He closed to a polite distance and asked, “Are you heading to dinner? You look great tonight!”

    Keija blinked in disbelief. Here was her nemesis (for all practical purposes) complimenting her on her appearance, and she was in her Dark Elf guise no less.

    Daniel smiled as he saw Keija flummoxed by his compliment, “Was it something I said?” He continued to tease sensing the effect it had on her.

    Keija would have blushed in her human guise, “Oh, I suppose you want me to thank you for the compliment? Well, thanks I guess. I'm not sure why you've decided to be civil all of a sudden, but I can at least return the favor.”

    “Oh? Are you going to compliment my good looks? My charming wit? My....”

    “Enough!” Keija quickly cut him off from self-aggrandizement. “I think I spoke too soon.”

    “Awww, Keija, don't be that way. See I didn't even call you THAT word you don't like,” Daniel said with a mild mocking tone.

    “It's a start,” She looked towards the ceiling in disdain. She decided to reciprocate the barely offered olive branch, however, and relented by sighing and directly addressing Daniel, “So what? You want to escort me to dinner? It's not as if I need a bodyguard...” She trailed off with mild discomfort at the conversation.

    “A man likes to be in the company of a beautiful woman, or even a beautiful Swartalfheimer,” Daniel laid it on thickly knowing that Keija was unaccustomed to such compliments from him.

    Keija's eidos reverberated from the complex emotions going through her at the moment. If she hadn't just previously consolidated her gains from Singapore, she might have lost it all right there!

    “Who says.....who says that you're a man anyways?” She said with embarrassment, even if her face could not show it.

    “Ok, I'll concede that I'm a YOUNG man, who happens to be attracted to a very attractive spirit at the moment. Perhaps this is some spell that you've cast?” Daniel raised his eyebrows suggestively as he continued to torment her with compliments.

    “You've got something underhanded planned!” Keija latched on to her often used accusation against the astral walker.

    Daniel shook his head, “Not this time. I've been thinking a lot since you left for Singapore. I want us to be friends, not rivals.”

    “That might take a while,” Keija demurred, “I can't just shake off the past so easily.”

    “Well, at least allow me the pleasure of escorting you to dinner. Even if you don't need a bodyguard, I might!” He winked slyly as he said this.

    Keija groaned audibly and conceded in her mind that this stubborn fool probably could use a bodyguard, since she wanted to strangle him at the moment, “Whatever!” She huffed, and let Daniel lead the way down the hall towards the dining room.

    As they walked, Daniel inquired about Teyna, “So who is this new person I've heard rumors about? She's from Singapore I take it?”

    Keija looked quizzically at Daniel, “You were there at lunch and saw her. Didn't you go up and talk to her at all?”

    Daniel shook his head, “I was still out of sorts from the astral walk and from your surprise party announcement. I'm also kind of shy towards certain people.”

    “I don't believe you for a minute,” Keija scoffed at that remark, “You? Shy? Ha! Don't make me laugh.”

    Daniel feigned a hurt look, “Seriously! I didn't introduce myself at lunch, so tell me about her from what you know. I would like a spirit's perspective on this person.”

    Keija stopped a few meters away from the entrance to the dining room, “Look, we're almost here, why don't I just introduce you to her at dinner when she arrives?”

    “Fine, fine,” Daniel relented and gestured politely for Keija to enter, as he opened the door in a gentlemanly fashion for her.

    Keija entered the dining room with Daniel following after and they both took their regular seats when Teyna walked in a few minutes later, looking quite refreshed and sharp in her new clothes. Teyna wore a simple blouse with a pleated skirt, and a small waistcoat, stockings and pumps.

    The look was casual and elegant at the same time, and Keija thought that it must be the corporate sensibility in fashion that allowed Teyna to show it off right. As Teyna scanned the room for those she was most familiar with, her eyes landed on Keija's figure and grew wide in recognition.

    Smiling immediately, Teyna quickly hurried over to where Keija and Daniel were seated.

    “Do I get to sit anywhere?” She asked as she arrived, “Or is there a seating arrangement that I need to familiarize myself with?”
     
  5. Sturmritter

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    Chapter 45: Dinner and a Meeting

    “You can sit here if you like, there's really no reserved seating for meals.”

    Daniel looked expectantly at Keija, who sighed and then made a hurried introduction, “Teyna, let me introduce you to Daniel Grey, the person I spoke to you earlier about.”

    “Daniel? This is Teyna Caulfield, our guest from Singapore.”

    Daniel immediately got up from his chair and bowed in greeting to Teyna, who was looking quizzically at Keija for confirmation that this was the same person she had warned her about.

    Keija nodded subtly, and shrugged her shoulders as if to confirm that he was not acting normally.

    “Very pleased to meet you, Teyna. I hope you find yourself at home while you are here,” He said graciously, “I do hope that you'll choose to sit here with us for dinner. I'd like to learn what you think of Keija, and how she made your acquaintance.”

    Was this the same Daniel Grey that tried to barge into the gates of Hel?!?!?! Keija blinked several times in astonishment at Daniel's polite behavior. No snarky phony lines, no air of superiority, no callous disregard for decorum?

    Something was fishy, but she didn't sense any exterior influences in the area or on Daniel himself. Just what the heck was going on?

    Teyna took a look at Keija, who was fidgeting mightily, and a look at Daniel, who was putting on his best behavior, and started to giggle, but she stifled it for Keija's sake.

    There was obviously more to these two than Keija let on previously, she thought to herself as she took the proffered chair and sat down with the two, just as Anthony Mallory and his uncle Edgar entered the room.

    The Old Man's arrival set into motion several of the seated agents and administrative personal to begin serving dinner. Keija and Daniel excused themselves to help as well.

    “Should I come too?” Teyna inquired politely.

    “You're still technically a guest, so please, enjoy your free time. If you do decide to become part of the organization, you'll be doing this quite a bit, so there is no hurry for now,” Daniel explained.

    Normally, who was on kitchen duty was determined by a schedule that revolved between all of the agents, but since the Singapore crew had just arrived, the duty fell on the home crew for today. Still, everyone lent a hand, so that dinner was served in short order.

    The meal was a sumptuous roast turkey with mashed potatoes and gravy, a green bean casserole and stuffing. It could have almost doubled as an American Thanksgiving Day feast, except that it was merely mid October now.

    Edgar DeMolay seemed to have recovered much of his strength since early this morning when he awoke from his coma. His physical condition was also much improved, thanks to Uzume spending a part of the afternoon using healing spells to speed his recovery. He chatted with Anthony and Uzume about current events, and mentioned no business at all during the meal itself.

    Keija leaned over to Teyna, and pointed out Anthony's uncle Edgar, as the witness she mentioned earlier who had been in the hospital, and explained that's why everyone was so welcoming to him at lunch earlier in the day.

    All the other agents chatted about how they spent their free time during the afternoon, and swapped stories of what had happened here and in Singapore during the past few days.

    Teyna felt as if she were attending a large family reunion. It felt very warm, comfortable, and relaxing to be in the presence of so many people all focused on simply strengthening their bonds of friendship. As dinner was ending, and a small dessert of ice cream was served, the Old Man got up to announce the start of the evening meeting.

    “Once again, I'd like to welcome Teyna to our gathering tonight. I've been caught up to speed on what happened in Singapore, and I would like to express my sympathy for the loss of your employment, but would like for you to consider your future with us as well. I'm sure everything has happened so suddenly, so please, let's discuss everything in detail after we're done here?”

    Teyna nodded her head politely, and continued to let the flow of the evening's events take her wherever she might go.

    Lars and the combat crew all stood up, and welcomed Teyna loudly as well, “You've been such a sport, Miss Caulfield, that we all decided to pitch in and get you a small welcoming gift. So, please, open it when you get the chance.” Lars spoke for the others as he brought forth a small gift wrapped package.

    The Old Man allowed a bit of time for the gift to be handed over and such before he brought the meeting back to order, “Well, then. On to more pressing matters,” He stated with a serious tone.

    “My uncle Edgar has informed me that the Illuminati is responsible for the recent attacks. Coupled with the information garnered from Singapore, it's safe to say that Dr. Faustus is a key member of the Illuminati and has ties to Daedalus as well.

    For those who participated in the Singapore reprisal mission, I also have reports from Dr. Severus concerning a bounty of information obtained from Venka's recovery of a flash drive with Daedalus network information on it,” He paused momentarily to give a nod towards Venka for her part in this.

    “With that information, we've been able to ascertain that this faction of the Illuminati is working closely with Nidavellir to compromise and perhaps unseal some nexus gates. There are 12 nexus gates locations that we are aware of, leading to a long sealed portal to the realm of chaos. The strength of that portal gate depends on how many of the nexus gates have been unsealed. If all 12 nexus gates that we are aware of have their seals removed, it might possibly allow the strongest creatures of chaos to invade our world through the portal gate. Should that disaster occur, we would need to close the gate from inside the realm of chaos to prevent any invaders from reaching our world.”
     
  6. Sturmritter

    Sturmritter Member

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    Chapter 46: The Butterfly Effect

    Everyone who knew anything about the realm of chaos paused with a shudder in their hearts at this revelation. Keija bit her lip thinking about the consequences of such an action, Daniel sucked in his breath having just brushed with a minor chaos leviathan in the astral realm, and Teyna just figured that anything from the realm of chaos wasn't going to be good for the world in general.

    Uzume was the first to pose a question, “If these nexus gates are unsealed, that still doesn't mean the portal to the realm of chaos would be unsealed, though, isn't that correct?”

    “While this is true, it would allow the portal gate to begin drawing spiritual power from each of the nexus gate locations, and weaken any seal that has been placed on it,” Anthony countered with a serious look on his face.

    Keija spoke up at this point as well, “From what the Synod knows of this realm, even should a portal be opened, it's effects cannot be ascertained in advance. There is simply no way of measuring or predicting what effect such an action would have on either realm. It's considered madness to even contemplate opening a portal directly to that realm.”

    The Old Man nodded his head, “The consensus among all Guardian organizations is similar to the Synod's stance on this matter. However, while this potential action may seem madness to us, the Illuminati might have some method to this madness to be able to gain benefit from it.”

    “So what can we do about this that we are not already doing? The Illuminati are most likely already well advanced in their plans, given that they attacked immediately to try and silence Edgar and disrupt our organization,” Lars added to the conversation, “We and all of our branch organizations have responsibility for gates within our ability to protect, but these Nexus gates are something I've just heard about. How are we supposed to protect them from being unsealed?”

    “The nexus gates indeed do not fall under our normal jurisdiction. They are the responsibility of the college of magi, but a lapse on their part for whatever reason, is not justification for us to stand idly by while the world may be put in danger,” The Old Man replied without hesitation, “Additionally, we were targeted by the Illuminati because Edgar uncovered their malicious designs, and that makes it a personal matter to me.”

    Lars had no counterpoint for these stated reasons, and stood down. Being drawn into a conflict due to another organization failing in their duties was not something he could possibly be happy about, but he stifled his anger and would ensure he did his own duty.

    “Just out of curiosity,” Lars stated as he retook his seat, “How did Edgar uncover these plans?”

    The Old Man turned to his uncle, “Edgar? If you would please explain?”

    Edgar stood up, and adjusted his suit and tie before addressing Lars' concerns, and the other agents listened expectantly as well.

    “I was in Singapore for the Mid-Autumn festival, which happened about a week ago, with a group of friends from the college of magi. We had enjoyed a night on the town and were making our way back to our hotel when we stumbled upon a poor soul being mugged in a back alley,” Edgar spoke with a very gentlemanly English accent, with the air of a member of the Explorer's club.

    “Naturally,” He continued to relate the story, embellishing it with drama, “My friends and I couldn't simply stand by as someone was being mugged, and accosted the perpetrator on the spot!”

    Edgar paused for dramatic effect, “Well, one thing led to another, and chaos ensued as my magi friends used some spells to distract and disarm the attacker, but it turns out he had some knowledge of magic himself, and several of my friends and I were seriously injured. In spite of these injuries, we managed to drive the fiend off and were able to speak with the victim of this crime before he succumbed to his own injuries.”

    “So how did you end up here?” Teyna blurted out without regard to her station as a guest.

    Edgar smiled, “Well, my magi friends knew the information this victim had told us was important to the Shadow Hunters, so they located the nearest ley line to create a temporary portal gate and sent me through to warn Anthony, not realizing that my injury was much more serious than I or they realized. It was only after reaching the outer perimeter of the facility, that the young looking spirit over there found and saved me from the brink of death,” He bowed politely towards Keija.

    Lars shook his head, “This all seems a bit too convenient for my taste. Looking at it in hindsight, couldn't this have all been a set up to distract us? Knowing what we know now about Dr. Faustus, and his penchant for manipulating events, it seems very likely we fell prey to an elaborate plot to distract us from their real purpose.”

    “While that may seem plausible to you, Mr. Olson,” Edgar responded with a bit of English pride, “You were not there at the time. I think it very likely that we simply were in the wrong place at the right time. Why would the Illuminati know of my connection to Anthony, or even his connection to the Shadow Hunters? If they did know of such connections, were our own security precautions so loose as to miss their surveillance completely?” Edgar stared directly at Lars with a withering gaze. “No, I think I'd rather give you the benefit of the doubt, and assume that we stumbled upon this plot by accident.”

    Uzume intervened diplomatically at this point between the two prideful men, “Perhaps there are some other factors at work which drove this fated encounter? There seems to be more to this situation than meets the eye. As we are all well aware, life is not so simple.”

    Astrid chimed in with her knowledge of chaos theory, "It's the butterfly effect. One small thing leads to another, and another, and sets a chain of events in motion."

    “That is indeed a possibility that I had not considered,” Edgar conceded. Lars nodded as well. Any plot that involved unsealing the gate to the realm of chaos was bound to attract the attention of a myriad of factions. Whether or not Edgar's encounter was pre-determined or by chance was not important at this point in time.

    Anthony Mallory spoke up at this point, to focus everyone back to the tasks at hand, “Our focus needs to be on protecting these nexus gates from being unsealed for the time being. As I've said before, these gates are not normally our responsibility, but the college of magi will need to be informed of what we've discovered if they are to fulfill their own responsibilities. To that end, I'll be heading to London within a few days to press the matter myself. Naturally, I'll want Uzume, Venka and Lars to accompany me. Melissa can handle things here at home while we're away.”

    “What will the new people be doing during this time?” Lars asked for their sake.

    “I'll be discussing that after we're finished here in private with them,” Anthony replied succinctly. Teyna glance at Keija to see if she was aware of any plans, but Keija turned to Daniel and Teyna and shrugged her shoulders, not knowing what to expect from the Old Man at this point.

    The Old Man then paused for any other questions before he continued, “Tomorrow, I want all the after action reports delivered to Richard by noon. Training resumes according to scheduled changes that will be posted by Uzume in the morning. Once I return from London with a plan to coordinate with the college of magi, we'll begin to put pressure on the Illuminati and put an end to their scheme once and for all.”
     

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