Worlds Collide

Just when I thought my NaNo was finished… I am having fun with this section, though.

**

“This is Alexander Pemberton, on the Lady Sarah,” he said, as he keyed the button to answer the call.

Immediately, a familiar voice came over the comm.  “Hello, Al,” the caller said.  Alexander smiled as a face appeared on the screen in front of him.  Cyrus Greyson gave him a wry smile.  “Just calling to bring you up to speed on some new developments back home.”

“Go ahead,” Alexander said, as he made ready to record the information, so that he could pass it on to the others later.

Cyrus nodded.  “Director Haruko was arrested – turns out he was the mole that your cousin kept going on and on about,” he said, nodding.  When Alexander looked at him in surprise, he gave a weak laugh.  “Yeah.  I don’t think anyone saw that coming, but that left Keenan with a hole to fill.”

“There’s a new deputy director in charge of Special Intelligence?” Alexander said.  When Cyrus nodded, he felt a trickle of dread.  “Do I want to know who that might be?”

“Michael Graves, Junior,” Cyrus said, smirking.  He shrugged and then shook his head.  “He’s the head of an Organization family centered in Ameria.  Keenan said that it’s all kind of foolish that we have this animosity towards all the families.  After all, they were fighting the Berklians, too.”

“So, his solution is to get rid of an Organization mole and… replace them with an Organization Boss?” Alexander said, his voice soft.  He shook his head.  “What’s his game, Cyrus?”

“Graves runs his family on the straight and narrow,” Cyrus said, nodding.  “If he’s going to ease everyone into an era of peace, this is a good start.”

“Right,” Alexander said, although he was a bit doubtful.  After all, he’d been undercover to stop members of the Blair family.  Part of the reason he’d joined the crew of the Lady Sarah in the first place was because he and Robin had a price on their heads.

Changing Feelings…

A little scene that I think shows my characters falling in love. At least, I hope it does…

**

“I’m for bed,” he announced, moving towards one of the bedrooms.

“Sleep well, Cyrus,” Logan said, as he moved to stoke the fire into life.

Cyrus frowned at him. “You’ll get some sleep too, won’t you?” he said, regarding Logan with a worried frown.

“Soon,” Logan said, giving him a weak smile.

Cyrus frowned at him for a moment. As tired as he was, he was hesitant about simply going to be when Logan seemed this tense. Sighing, he stepped close to his partner. “What’s got you so worried, then?” he asked, tilting his head up to look into Logan’s eyes.

“What makes you think I’m worried?” Logan said, his lips quirking into a smile. However, the smile didn’t reach his eyes. They remained hooded – guarded, almost.

“We’ve worked together for over a year, now, haven’t we?” Cyrus said, shaking his head. He frowned. “You’ve not said more than you had to since we arrived in England, have you? You don’t think I’ve learned to read you by now?”

When Logan said nothing, Cyrus persisted. “Logan,” he said, his tone coming out a bit petulant. “We’re partners, aren’t we? I want to help you! Yeah? How can I do that, if you won’t tell me what it is bothering you?”

The forced smile left Logan’s features. “I don’t think you realize the danger you may be in, Cyrus,” he said, his voice soft. He shook his head. “I feel – I’ve placed you in this danger and you seem so… oblivious to it!”

“I’m in the middle of a village surrounded by people cursed with lycanthropy,” Cyrus said, his voice soft. His brow furrowed. “I don’t know who among them – or even if any of them – are as diligent about taking the medicine as you are. Believe me, Logan, I know how dangerous this place might be for me.”

Logan sighed and looked down at the floor. “I’m concerned, Cyrus,” he said. His voice was hardly more than a murmur. Cyrus leaned in close to hear him. They were mere inches apart. “You’re young and, I appreciate that you want to help me, but… maybe I don’t want your help?”

“I think,” Cyrus said, his voice just as soft as Logan’s own, “that you’re scared. Yeah? I think you might have brought me here – three nights before the full moon – hoping it’d scare me off from you.”

There was a soft gasp and Logan lifted his gaze, meeting Cyrus’s eyes once more. He opened his mouth to speak, but Cyrus stopped his words with a finger against his parted lips. “I don’t scare so easy, Logan Rembrandt Starke,” he said, a faint smile touching his lips. “Not near so easy as you do.” Then, he turned away and headed into one of the bedrooms.

Time and again

Logan and Cyrus had met each other before – worked together, even. However, that was years ago and things change with Time.

Logan felt a bit nervous as he moved down the corridor. It was one thing to be assigned to one of the intelligence teams. He’d been expecting the call for years now. Ever since he’d contracted the curse, he’d known the day would come. He’d never expected to be assigned to the administrative team, though. What did that even mean?

He looked up as he reached the door. Frowning, he touched the Greek letter that was emblazoned on the crazed glass. A theta – the symbol for their team. He sighed and was about to push the door opened. It fell back, away from him, and he stepped back with a stifled gasp.

The first thing he saw were wide, hazel eyes. “Oh,” a soft voice said. Logan blinked and he looked at the person in front of him more keenly. He took in all the details: the untidy red-brown hair, the careless way he wore his uniform and, there on his shoulder, the symbol marking him as…

“You’re the team’s second?” Logan blurted. He shook his head. “You’re hardly more than – than a child!”

“I’m plenty old enough, Starke,” the other snapped. His brows furrowed and he bit his lip. Whirling away, he waved an arm at Logan. “Found Starke,” he said. Then, he crossed his arms over his chest and strode back to stand beside a female agent – the team leader.

Tiana Hartfield smiled. “Agent Starke,” she said, waving at the young man beside her. “I believe you’ve worked with Agent Grayson before?”

Logan blinked and looked at the younger agent again. Some things were the same, now that he knew the man’s name. The same eyes, of course. His hair was longer now – messier than when they’d worked together all those years ago. There were other differences, too. Grayson wasn’t a boy now, not really. He was a young man and a rather handsome one.

A faint smile touched Logan’s face. “My apologies,” he said, using his most charming tone. He bowed slightly. “I didn’t recognize you, Time. You’ve… matured. It’s very good to see you again.”

Grayson frowned at him, his expression guarded. Then, he sighed and rolled his eyes. “Whatever,” he said, shaking his head. He finger-combed his hair and smoothed out his uniform. “It’s not as if I don’t get told to smarten up my appearance often enough by Director Haruko.”

“Time you listened,” a low voice said.

Everyone in the room straightened at the sound of their director’s voice – except Grayson. He sighed and rolled his eyes again. “Yes, Uncle,” he said. Only then did he straighten as well. Logan hid a smile. Oh, yes. He remembered Grayson well. That attitude, like his eyes, was the same as always. He looked over at Grayson again, this time with a bit of respect. It would be a pleasure to work with Time again.

“Nice of you to finally join us, Chance,” Haruko said, his tone a bit annoyed.

Logan bowed slightly. “I apologize for my tardiness, sir,” he said. Straightening, he met the director’s eyes. “Full moon last night.” He nearly smiled as the director’s pupils seemed to twitch – the only hint of fear the arrogant man would give.

Staff – Ashwinder’s

I’ll add to this when I’ve worked a bit more of the details out.

Alyssa Gardener – elderly headmistress; matronly sort of woman; seldom seen, except during meals or emergencies; closer to the faculty and staff than she is to the students; formerly of Contantine House; silver hair, gray eyes

Eustace Foster – senior wizard; deputy headmaster, Professor of Abjurations (also called Offensive Magic, especially skilled with curses, hexes and jinxes); very particular about how things should be done; controlling and manipulative; has an eye out for young men, has targeted Cyrus in the past; formerly of Eidolon House; brown hair, hazel eyes, glass, scar on right cheek

Myron Lorember – elderly groundskeeper; has worked at the school longer than nearly any of the professors; frequently scolds Cyrus; skilled only in low level spells; formerly of Candidan House; gray hair, blue eyes

Alistair “Cyrus” Ezekial Grayson – young caretaker; seems shy, quiet and bumbling; actually an agent with Shynian Intelligence, top undercover agent called Time; very poor hand with magic, tends to break things (too powerful for him to control); afflicted (unable to recharge without the aid of an energy sink, which he has hidden in a white teddy bear); very skilled with taming magical beasts, natural gift with herbology, animagus that becomes a rainbow swallow; was not trained in magic at Ashwinder’s Academy; red-brown hair, red-brown eyes, glasses; 20 years old at start of story

Danae Silversparrow – senior school nurse; serious and business-like, while still being caring and gentle; acts motherly towards Cyrus; very skilled in potions and healing spells; formerly of Kindarin House; graying black hair, brown eyes

Larissa Redfinch – young librarian; intelligent, quiet and bookish; skilled only with low level magic spells; formerly of Contantine House; blond hair, gray eyes

Unexpected Turn of Events – 3

Then, Cyrus drops the bombshell…

**

“So, then,” he said, giving Cyrus a wan smile. “Shall you read me in on our mission here? I’m assuming it’s to do with the attack on Professor Gildheim.”

Nodding, Cyrus stood. Slowly, pacing around the room as he spoke, he outlined exactly what he’d learned so far, which was precious little. “That’s why you were brought in,” he said. “As school caretaker, I’m free to explore the grounds, but… as a professor – one who’s come in to take his place – you’ll be in a position to find out exactly what happened.”

“Why doesn’t someone just ask him?” Logan asked, shaking his head. “Was he so badly injured, then?”

Grimacing, Cyrus nodded. “You might say that,” he replied. He hesitated for a moment and then, he looked out the window and over the school grounds, towards the place where the attack had taken place.

“Cyrus?” Logan said, his voice soft.

Cyrus looked back at his partner and spoke in a soft voice. “Contrary to what Professor Gardener told everyone at supper – contrary to what the healers have told Professor Williams, Professor Gildheim won’t recover from his wounds. The truth is this: he was killed that night. Whatever attacked him – whatever it is that we’re trying to capture – tore him limb from limb.”

Unexpected Turn of Events – 2

Then, Cyrus gets a surprise.

**

Logan heaved a sigh and closed his eyes. He could still imagine the feelings he’d had as he’d held Cyrus’s hand in his own. It was lust, he knew. However, the fact that they were partners complicated things. Before, he would have been within his rights to proposition the younger man. Now…

He shook the thought away. Glancing at the mirror, he straightened his own glasses, smoothed his hair and headed out of the room. Cyrus had said that Professor Gardener would want them to arrive for dinner promptly. It wouldn’t do to be late his first day on campus.

Thanks to the tour Cyrus had given him earlier, he was able to find the Great Hall rather easily. As he stepped into the large room, he saw that there were five long rows of empty tables. These tables, he knew, would be filled with students tomorrow evening.

As he swept between them, he noticed Cyrus sitting at the end of the large table at the head of the room, where the staff and faculty had their formal meals. He caught the younger man’s eyes and made the sign for partner. A smile touched his features when Cyrus blinked in surprise. It was good, somehow, to know that he wasn’t the only one surprised by the things had worked out.

Lessons in Magic

The interplay between these two is so sweet!

**

“Let’s say I help you a bit and then, you’ll be free to give me that tour. Would that suit you, Master Grayson?”

“But… how can you help me, if – if you’re a mundane?” Cyrus asked.

Starke chuckled and strode out of the room. As he passed Cyrus, he caught him by the hand. Drawing him back towards the corridor with the trophies, he said, “I’m a professor of theoretical magic, Master Grayson. I can explain almost any spell. I just can’t do magic myself.”

Cyrus bit his lip and nodded. He wanted to protest that he’d had the standard cleansing spells explained to him several times. It just never made sense to him. However, he was so surprised that Starke was holding his hand, he couldn’t seem to speak.

It wasn’t until they’d reached the display case that Cyrus had been working at before he’d heard the singing that Starke let him go. Then, Cyrus found his voice. “I – I don’t know about this, Professor,” he said, his nervousness making his voice tremble slightly. “I tend to break things when I use magic and – and Professor Foster is so particular!”

“You probably put too much force behind your spells,” Starke said, his tone gentle. “Take a steadying breath or two.” He waited until Cyrus had taken several breaths, before he said, “Now, the standard cleansing spell will remove dust and oils. It’s just what you want for these trophies.”

Cyrus nodding. He swallowed thickly and then took a few more calming breaths. Finally, he said, “A-all right. I – I know the spell words, but… it doesn’t seem to help any.”

Starke set a hand on his shoulder and said the spell word. After Cyrus had repeated it, he nodded. “Now, just point your wand at the first trophy and – softly, now – say the word.”

Nodding again, Cyrus drew out his wand. He bit his lip and took a few more steadying breaths. Then, in a soft voice, he spoke the spell words. A thin layer of foam covered the trophy, then it dissipated, leaving a shining and clean metal surface behind. Cyrus blinked and then bit off a laugh.

“Nothing broke,” he said, his voice cracking.

Starke slapped his shoulder and nodded. “As I said, Master Grayson,” he said. “It’s a simple matter of you putting far too much into your spells. Just relax and ease off a bit. Speaking softly will help that.”

“Thank you, Professor Starke,” Cyrus said. Now, he’d be done with the task of cleaning the trophies before supper was served. He grinned brightly and said, “I could give you that tour now, if you’d like?”

A Time of New Beginnings

For a moment, Logan was afraid. If he’d hurt someone while he was a wolf, he’d never forgive himself. Shaking the thoughts and fears and doubts away, he opened the door. His eyes widened when he came face to face with a young man, hand raised to knock on the door.

“Hello,” he said, blinking.

The young man flushed and took a step back. Folding his hands behind his back, he released a nervous chuckle. “Morning, Professor Starke,” he said, giving Logan a weak smile. “I – I was sent to wake you? It’s breakfast, if you feel up to it?”

Logan nodded. “You seem to have me at a disadvantage, Master…” he trailed off, as he stepped into the corridor and closed the door firmly behind him. He arched an eyebrow at the young man. “I don’t know your name,” he prompted. “Yet, you seem to know mine.”

“Oh,” the young man said, flushing. He looked around nervously – or perhaps it was shyly – and said, “Master Keenan told me your name when I brought you here last night. I – I’m Cyrus Grayson. I’m the… um, caretaker… for the school.”

On such a night as this…

…anything can happen.

**

Cyrus walked through the silent trees, feeling just a little nervous. The night was still, with the only light coming from a full moon shining high above. He suppressed a shiver. However much he might not like it, fluxweed could only be harvested on nights like this one. Any other night and it would lose its effectiveness.

A howl split the silence of the night. The cry was long and loud. Not only did it seem to echo through the moonlit trees, it went on for several minutes. It was a low, mournful sound. Tears came to Cyrus’s eyes, but he blinked them away. It was silly, really. For all he knew, the wolf was just calling to other members of its pack. There was no reason to think the creature was sad.

Shaking the thoughts away, Cyrus went back to searching for the herbs. A faint glow in the underbrush caught his eyes. “Ah,” he said, “there you are!”

He was just hurrying towards the dim light coming from the phosphorescent plants when he heard a second mournful howl. This time, it was much closer. Far from bringing tears of sadness to Cyrus’s eyes, it brought tears of fright.

Fear is a wolf who dreads himself.

Cyrus sighed softly. He tapped at the door and then tried the knob. It was still locked. “Come on, Remy,” he called through the wood. “Let me in?”

“Still locked in there?”

Glancing over his shoulder, Cyrus saw Tiana. He nodded. “He’s afraid what he might do,” he said, shrugging. He tapped at the door again. “Remy?”

As Tiana headed off down the corridor, the door opened a crack. It was just enough for Cyrus to see Logan’s face. He looked pale and sickly. His eyes were blood-shot and puffy. “Go’way,” he growled.

As he started to shut the door, Cyrus mumbled a spell. The door pushed inward, forcing Logan back. As it did, Cyrus stepped over the threshold. Then, he shut the door. The room looked a wreck, like a wild animal had all-but destroyed it. In a way, it had.

“Feeling any better?” Cyrus asked, as he began tidying.

Logan shook his head and sat down on the bed. “I’m tired,” he said. He drew his knees up to his chest and watched as Cyrus continued to clean the mess around him. “You don’t have to…” he trailed off when Cyrus looked at him.

“I’m a janitor,” Cyrus said.

“Caretaker,” Logan corrected.

Cyrus shrugged. Titles mattered little to him. “It’s my job to clean and I care about you. You’re too tired to clean, so let me. I don’t mind.”

Logan sighed and flopped back against the mattress. “Might change again tonight,” he said, his voice soft and filled with dread. “If you’re here, I might hurt you.”

“You won’t,” Cyrus said, his own voice filled with confidence. He smiled at Logan. “You know my scent, Remy. You might not remember how it is once you’ve changed, but I’ve seen you. You attack anyone who corners you, but you’ve yet to even raise your hackles at me.”

“R-really?” Logan said, tilting his head.

Nodding, Cyrus said, “You don’t even growl at me. You nuzzle up against me, like a great brown dog.” He smiled faintly and add, “Keenan says he’s never seen the like.”

Logan sighed. “I hate this affliction – I dread the full moon and there’s nothing I can do about it. I don’t remember what I do once I’ve changed.”

Cyrus nodded slightly. He settled down on the bed beside Logan and rubbed his shoulder gently. “I won’t let you do anything you’ll regret, Remy. I promise.”

Previous Older Entries