More from the meeting…

Continuing right where I left off..

**

Johannes nodded and then looked around at the group.  “You aren’t the only group that’s got splitting happening, though,” he said, shaking his head.  “It’s happening in the Haven communities too.”

When Ryan frowned, Konrad said, “He’s right.  Our parents left their home community because they were against marriage between Defenders and Crosses – even other Defenders.  You were expected to marry someone from among the Haven families, but not someone that held their family’s gifts.”

Frieda blinked and then looked at Konrad.  “The elders where we live don’t mind,” she said.

“No, they don’t,” Konrad agreed.  Looking at David, he said, “They even encourage it, since it makes those with the gifts in the next generation that much stronger.”

The Thurman Lance sighed and shook his head.  “When will it end?” he asked.  “Why can’t we have disagreements without it leading to splits that… we’ve considered each other enemies.  My cousins want to kidnap your Cross to punish him for stopping our Sword when… they were in the wrong from the start.”

“Why did they open a portal in Opa’s garden in the first place?” Liesel asked, shaking her head.  Her brows furrowed.  “Were they after us or Opa or Tevas or… was it just something they felt compelled to do?”

It was Ryan who answered.  “Someone found a map that contained the doorways,” he said.  He looked over at Liesel.  “You saw the one that was near the park?  There are others and each one leads to another part or level of the Otherworld, where the spirits dwell.”

“All right,” Markus said, frowning.  “What’s that got to do with opening portals?”

“If they open the right portal,” Ryan said, “they believe it will lead to the level of the Otherworld where the Snow Queen can be found.”  While they stared at him in shock, he nodded. “The problem is that the map only has the portals marked on it.  It doesn’t show any of the physical landmarks.”

“So, they don’t really know which portal to open,” Konrad said, his voice soft.  “They open a portal where the map shows one and try to figure out where it leads… to try to get their bearings.”

“Because the Cross families have closed enough of the doorways on the map that we can’t find enough of them to use as landmarks,” the Thurman Lance murmured.

Johannes frowned at Ryan and said, “I’ve got a question about that song you were singing.”

“The Power Disruption Song,” he said, his voice soft.  “It makes you feel the way it does because it changes the oscillations of your aura and disrupts your magic.”

For a moment, Johannes just stared at Ryan, blinking.  He looked over at Konrad and his brows furrowed.  Frieda knew exactly why, too.  Their Elders were very firm in the fact that they did not work magic.  They barely tolerated the songs being called spells.  They corrected anyone who made the mistake of calling it magic almost obsessively.

As Johannes turned back to Ryan, he said, “It’s magic?”

“What did you think it was?” David asked, frowning.  “Just singing doesn’t do very much, you know?  It’s the specific sequence of notes and tempo that make the spells work.  That’s magic.”

“Our Elders don’t allow us to call it magic,” Konrad said, shrugging.  “It’s an ability and a gift of the Great Father, but… they’re really adamant about it not be magic.”

“That’s because of how the wizards have treated us,” the Thurman Lance murmured.  He looked at Johannes and shook his head.  “What were you going to ask?”

“That’s the language the Singers use,” Johannes said, shaking his head.  “How do you all know it?  Is it related to the reason why our singing bothers you the way that theirs does us?”

“It’s the language of the spirits,” Ryan said, blinking.  His brows furrowed.  “All of our spell songs are in that language.  You mean yours aren’t?”

“The words don’t matter,” Johannes said, shaking his head.  “It’s the melody that’s important.”  He looked at the empty air and said, “Is that the language you speak at home, Michael?”

Frieda couldn’t hear or see Michael, but it was obvious to her that both Ryan and David could, because they reacted to Michael’s answer with shock.  Ryan gasped and covered his mouth.  David covered his face with both hands and shook his head.

Johannes looked up at her and shook his head.  “Michael said that they only use that language in the Valley of Shadows,” he said.  “They feed on darkness and it corrupts them.”  He looked at David and Ryan.  “They aren’t evil, any more than the other Thurmans are.  They just aren’t nice.”

“It would take a child to see the distinction,” someone murmured.

Frowning, Johannes closed his eyes and hummed the tune that Ryan had been singing when they arrived.  After a moment, he began singing it as well, however, he was making up his own words, in the same language he’d used for years.  It was a made-up language that no one could understand, except for him.

Konrad blinked and then tried to summon his sword.  However, nothing happened.  He nodded slowly.  “That’s enough, Hans,” he said.  When Johannes stopped singing, he looked at David and Ryan.  “It scares us because of the language, not the effect,” he said, his voice soft.

“That means the other Thurmans were definitely corrupted,” the Thurman Lance said, his voice soft.  “When?  Why wasn’t I effected?”

“They opened themselves to it… somehow,” Liesel said, shrugging.  She patted his shoulder.  “It’s not your fault.  We just have to free them.”

“How?” the Thurman Lance asked, shaking his head.  “We don’t even know how it happened in the first place.  Why wasn’t I affected?  I thought that if our Star was tainted then we all were.”

“Maybe your Star isn’t tainted,” Frieda said, her voice soft.  She shrugged.  “Maybe they just were doing what their Sword, Hammer and Staff said to do.  I mean… if they’re younger than the others and you go by seniority…” she trailed off.

David nodded and looked at the Thurman Lance.  “Frieda’s got a point, Malcolm,” he said.  “Kelly might just have been following orders, like you were.”

The Thurman Lance frowned.  “If that’s the case,” he said, his voice soft.  “I think that a rescue mission might be in order.”  He looked over at Konrad and then at David.  “We need to get her away from them before she is tainted.”

“Your father isn’t going to be too happy to hear about this when I tell him,” Opa said, his voice soft.  When Konrad grimaced, Opa shrugged.  “Unfortunately, he’s working a case right now, so… well, it will probably all be over when I finally get hold of him.”

Liesel cackled and looked at the Thurman Lance.  “Let’s rescue your Star!” she said, grinning.  “I want to try out my new-found super powers!”

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