I write it out in verse

“Is it – would I be allowed to sing something original?” the young man asked, shifting from one foot to the other nervously.

Keenan nodded. What did he care what the artists sang? He was just there to cull out the people who weren’t with the Agency. He wasn’t surprised when Michael nodded as well. After all, he was more concerned with their looks than their sound.

The third judge nodded his approval and the young man counted out his beat. He started singing and a faint smile touched Keenan’s lips. He liked the song more than anything else he’d heard. Perhaps it was because everyone had stuck to the old standards. Perhaps it was the feeling with which the young man performed. Either way, Keenan really enjoyed it.

His laptop chirped as the performance neared its end. Keenan looked down. Ezra Pemberton had been with the Agency for nearly ten years. He’d work for the team they were forming.

Keenan wrote a little note and slid it over to Trenton, his voice for the competition. Trenton read it and flashed him a smile. Then he looked at Ezra. “He wants to know where you came up with the lyrics,” he said.

“I… sometimes I can’t sleep,” Ezra said, flushing slightly. “So, I just close my eyes and let my mind wander – like dreaming while I’m awake. Then, I write it out in verse.”

“Keep it up,” the third judge said, nodding. “I like your sound.”

Past a sign that says “good love town”

Keenan pointed. “He’s just beyond that sign,” he said.

Trenton squinted. He could see Bertram ahead of them on the road, just beond the sign. His brows furrowed at the strange written on the sign. “Can you read that?”

Keenan looked at the sign and shook his head. “No,” he lied. His tone became brisk, as he said, “Let’s hurry and catch up.”

Nothing was ever lost.

Keenan rummaged in his desk drawer one last time. If he didn’t find it this time, he’d give up. His eyes widened as his hand closed on a small hard rectangle. “Ah, ha!” He pulled it out and then grinned.

“Find your identi-card?” Trenton asked.

Grinning, Keenan looked up. The younger agent was standing the doorway. Clipping the card to his shirt, Keenan stood and slammed the drawer shut. “I never lost it to begin with, you hear?”

“Whatever you say,” Trenton said, as Keenan swept by him. He fell into step behind Keenan and added, “Because, you know what happens if we lose our identi-cards, right?”

“I didn’t lose it,” Keenan corrected. “I knew where it was, just not its exact location.”

Nothing ended, nothing begun, nothing resolved

Keenan and Bertram watched with interest as Trenton hung the bulletin board on the wall. He straightened it carefully and then stepped back. “There,” he said. Then he turned back Keenan and Bertram.

There was the sound of tearing paper, then friction of the board against the wall, followed by the dull thud of the board hitting the floor and then slap of it settling into place. Trenton’s eyes widened.

“Well,” Bertram said, adjusting his glasses. “That was…”

“Useless,” Keenan finished.

A fearful hope was all the world contained

Perry frowned at the test page before him. He’d heard that the Agency exam was difficult, but he had no idea what that meant until he’d seen the questions.

His brows furrowed. The only rules, they’d been told at the outset, was that they couldn’t “let Master Bertram catch them cheating” and that Trenton and Rory would “answer whatever questions they could”.

His eyes widened. That had to be the answer! Moments before, Bertram had told them to pay special attention to the wording of “everything”. Perry bit his lip and looked over at Bertram.

He was talking to Trenton. Perry looked away, towards Rory. He checked Bertram again and waved the third proctor over to his desk.

“Yes?” Rory asked, leaning down so that Perry could talk softly enough not to disturb anyone.

Perry knew though, that Bertram had amazing hearing. He couldn’t simply ask for the answer. Then, he’d be caught cheating. A faint smile touched his lips and he pointed at the question.

Rory bit his lip and glanced up at Bertram. Then he took Perry’s pencil and hastily wrote the answer in the blank. “I hope that clarifies things,” he said, handing the pencil back.

“Oh, yes,” Perry said, a sly smile touching his lips. He could do this. It was hard, but not impossible.

Memiors of an amnesiac

Keenan frowned as he read the book. It was meant to be an autobiography, yet it was filled with phrases like, “They say…” and “People tell me…”

He looked over at Trenton and waved the book at him, so that he could see the title and author. “What’s with this book?” he asked.

Trenton frowned. “It seems the author was the sort of wizard who had to give up something in order to work his magic,” he said. He shrugged. “In his case, it was his memories. He wrote that less to be read by others and more to remind himself of all the things he was forgetting.”

“Ouch,” Keenan said, grimacing. He shook his head. “I’m glad I don’t have to worry about that.” Then he looked down at the book and returned to his reading. Understanding why it was written that way went a long way towards helping him understand why it had been published at all.

My Ragnarok is Your Genesis

Trenton smiled faintly at Ezra. “Just do your best,” he said. He hugged his folders closer to his chest and looked at the younger man a bit more intently. “Speak in a firm, clear voice and don’t let them push you around.”

Ezra nodded. He licked his lips nervously and then sighed. “Are you sure you wouldn’t rather keep this post?” he asked.

“No,” Trenton said. “It’s time to pass the torch, so to speak.” He looked a bit wistful and added, “I’ve been at it plenty long enough. You’ll do fine.” Then he turned and headed out of the room. He paused as he passed by the conference room, just as Ezra stepped up to the podium.

“Good morning, everyone,” Ezra said. “If y’all will take your seats, we can begin this morning’s announcements.”

A faint smile touched Trenton’s lips. Yes, Ezra would just fine.

Trenton Lark

Although Trenton was born in North Lake, Shynia, he isn’t actually of Shynian heritage. Technically, he’s not even really a human. Trenton is from a race called Morpheans. His true form is entirely unknown, even to him. He can take the form of any living thing. The constants being that his hair is always orange-red and his eyes are always green. He prefers to take the form of a young middle-aged man with messy hair that falls into his eyes.

Trenton was raised as a ward of the Shynian government. He was trained in music and the fine arts at the Shynian Conservatory. Partially because of his shapeshifting talent, Trenton concentrated his studies in the field of acting. He’s had a long and distinguished acting career, which started when he was only seven years old. Currently, he plays a human private investigator who is living in a city of elves. When he’s not acting, he is one of the Agency’s most talented undercover agents.

Several years ago, Trenton met his birth parents for the first time. He also traveled to Morphea, where he met the woman to whom he is currently engaged. He lives on the island of Everlund, home of the elves of Kaigan, where his present television production is being filmed.

Those who put passion in the place of reason

“So, you’re saying he wasn’t thinking clearly?” Alistair said, his brows furrowing.

Bertram grimaced. “No, sir,” he said, shaking his head. “Keenan knew exactly what he was doing. He just… wasn’t thinking. He was reaction – going with what felt right.”

Trenton shrugged and ran a hand through his bangs. “It’s how he does everything, Director Blackstone,” he said. He smirked. “Are you really that surprised?”

“The only thing that surprises me is that Bertram went with him,” Alistair said, sighing heavily. He looked at Bertram. “Just what were you thinking?”

“That someone needed to keep Keenan in line?”

Trenton laughed. “Bertram,” he said, sounding thoroughly amused, “How long have you worked with Keenan?”

“Just over a year,” Bertram said, his brows twitched. He looked chagrined and added, “Long enough to know that Keenan’s like a force of nature.”

“You can’t hope to stop him once he gets going,” Trenton agreed. “Just batten down the hatches and hope the destruction isn’t too great.”

all their confidence is mere presumption

“You’re so sure of yourself,” Trenton said, glaring up at the noble who had imprisoned him. He let out a mirthless chuckle and shook his head. “I almost feel bad for you, my lord. You sit there, thinking you’ve nearly won and you don’t even realize that you’ve already lost.”

The noble surged to his feet, his hands clenching into fists. “You!” he roared. “So arrogant! So certain that you know better than everyone!” He laughed and turned in a circle, his arms out to the sides. “Where are your friends now, little agent? I don’t see them.” He turned back to Trenton. “How do you know they’re even coming?”

“Because we don’t leave people behind,” a new voice said.

The noble gasped and turned to face the interloper. He was a tiny man with a dark bob of hair. His dark eyes twinkled with mischief and a sly smile split his face, seeming all the brighter for the deep tan of his skin. “Who are you?” he said.

The man grinned then, his eyes squinting and his head tilting to one side as if the noble had asked a foolish question. “His friend,” he said, pointing at Trenton.

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