Friday, July 6, 2012

Part VI: The Link

  "Ahh, Ireland!" Gepard stretched, being the first one off the plane, and feeling much more at home just standing on Irish dirt. The four of them had taken a private jet to get there, since you couldn't sneak weapons past an airport so easily these days. It cost a little more than a bundle, but he figured what had to be done, had to be done. Especially when Israel was paying.
  At that moment, Israel trudged up next to him dragging two large suitcases, three hat boxes, and the shoulder bag of he own. He grunted. "Why must woman bring so many clothes?" 
Gepard glanced at him and laughed. "I take it Raven and Kallista got you to be their bell boy?"
He groaned, "You weren't supposed to disappear so quickly, you know. You left me back there with the two of them." He sighed, said, "here," and thrust one of the suitcases into Gep's hands. "They said- and I quote-" Israel began mimicking a sarcastic female's voice, "'What? Do you expect us to carry our bags? You're the gentleman! Now go be gentlemanly and carry them for us!' Then the two of them ran off giggling." He sighed. "I think they said something about meeting us in the gift shop, but there is no gift shop. We took a private jet for goodness' sake!" He sighed whole-heartedly, "Honestly, they could be anywhere."
  "Actually!" Kallista chirped from behind Israel, "we're right behind you." Israel's eyes closed for a second before he turned around to see Kal's grinning face.
"What ever happened to the meeting in the gift shop idea?" he inquired innocently.
"Well," replied Raven, walking up from the other side, "we found out there isn't an actual gift shop, no thanks from you! There's just a little store that sells tamales. Don't get me wrong, they're delicious, but what I really wanted was one of those little keychains that says 'I went to Dublin!' so that I could pretend to be a tourist." She frowned.
"But you are a tourist," Gepard said quizzically. "You're from America... Aren't you?"
"Yes, but I'm still not a tourist. Everybody knows tourists wear flowery shirts and shorts. This way, I could be a tourist without having to wear those things..."
  "But the good news is," Kallista spoke up, "we came across your contact in there and thought we ought to introduce you to her."
"Wait, Israel's contact?" Gepard asked hastily, "Which one?" he glanced around, slightly nervous. Kallista's eyes narrowed.
"Ok, not your contact." Raven informed, "She's technically my contact, but now she's our contact. Speaking of contacts," Raven tilted her head, "do you think I would look good with contacts?"
"Your contact? You have a contact?"
"Well, yeah, of course. Doesn't everybody these days?" Raven grinned. "Her name is NJ Marverick. I called her up before we came here, thinking she might be able to help us locate Skyril. She's waiting over there, by the way."
  Gepard sighed, realieved that is wasn't one of Israel's contacts- the one who liked machetes- whom he had once gotten on the bad side of. He glanced over where Raven was pointing and saw a tall, slim woman with brown hair to her shoulders. She was wearing a knee-length black jacket, white shirt, vest, jeans and boots, and she was leaning against a small building called, "Tommy's Tamales". There was a sleek, black car parked beside her.
  "Hmm," Israel muttered, "NJ Maverick, you say? I've heard of her. She's a sigil user, isn't she? Student to China. Yes, she ought to be helpful."
Raven grinned, "I thought so too. Now let's go!"

  "So, let's get the obvious stuff out of the way first." Israel began their miniature conference at the hotel, having done introductions at the airport and driven here, where they checked in and rested for an hour, "Skyril Oblivion was hunting Ominous Ebony, a thief and con artist here in Dublin, Ireland. Skyril then went missing, captured by the Nightmare itself. Whether this was Ominous's doing remains unknown. Skyril, having been hurt and possibly tortured by this Nightmare, was able to send a message to Kallista in her dream to inform her of what had happened. How she sent this message is unknown." Israel started pacing as he recited the facts. "The Nightmare was locked away years ago in a bracelet, and as such, kept from further harming the world but for the ripple affect caused by past happenings. How, exactly it was trapped and kept sealed in the bracelet remains unknown. However, if the Nightmare was so released as we think, it will run around causing general havoc and horrors upon its victims until there's no one left. The Nightmare is said to be able to transform into or navigate through anything, such as air. Therefore, how to- if it's even possible- track it remains unknown.... I think that covers all the bases."
  Raven stood up, "Yes," she said, "almost, anyway. You see, I had been thinking about how we were going to track it down, and that's when I thought of NJ here," she gestured to where Miss Maverick sat. "She's uses sigils as China does, and she can also track someone very well. Unfortunately, she needs something extremely important as a link to the person she's tracking, and I'm not sure if we have anything good enough. I looked through the room Skyril occasionally uses at Elysium Asylum, but there wasn't anything good enough." She shrugged slightly, "So I'm not sure if we can take that route after all or not."
  "Wait a second," Kallista commented "I know where she lives. We can go there. I mean, we'll have to get through the loads of security, but surely we bunch of friendly, magical thieves can figure something out." She grinned.

"2015 Misty Ave. Dublin, Ireland. This is it," Gepard said. The house they were looking at was two stories high with a white picket fence and a doghouse off to the side. There was a big oak tree and clusters of purple and emerald flowers around the house, and on the fence was a sign that read, "Beware of dog." But someone had scribbled in 'invisible' before 'dog'. All the other houses on the road were set back from this one, like they were giving it a wide berth. Gepard didn't have a clue as to why, though. It looked downright quaint in his opinion.
  They got out and walked up to the fence. There was a mailbox by the picket gate that had extra mail about to spill out, and Kallista explained, "Skyril sometimes doesn't visit home much when she's on a case. I'd say she's been gone for... a week?" Israel opened the gate, and began walking up the small path to the door, looking over at the doghouse cautiously. A bark suddenly sounded from it, followed by another with growls and angry mutterings. Israel retreated a few steps, and it stopped. Kallista laughed, "I love watching people do that! " and walked right up to the door, ignoring the sound affects coming from the doghouse.
"A fake dog?" NJ asked, skeptical. Gepard pointed at the "Beware of Dog" sign.
"I guess that's what they meant by 'invisible.'"
"Yeah," Kallista grinned, "come here and see." She pointed to the front door, and everyone walked over to her and saw a sign on the door. It read: I'm actually a cat person. Got'cha!
Raven laughed "That is so like Skyril!"
  "I know, right?" Kallista grinned. "Oh, and by the way? There aren't really any security measures. I was just joking." She stepped back. "There's actually a key under this mat." She nodded towards it, and Gepard lift up the mat, revealing a key laying underneath. His eyebrows raised slightly, thinking this was going to be too easy, but shrugged. He went to the door, stuck the key in and fiddled with it a moment before it turned. Kallista was now several paces back and watching, giggling every now and then. Raven noticed and joined her, "What's going to happen?" She whispered.  Kallista chuckled again.
"Just watch. This is going to be brilliant."
  Gepard placed his hand on the doorknob. He almost didn't open it, his better judgement shouting at him to be more cautious, but he shrugged again and did. With a wild, angry howl, a black creature flew out at him, and he yelped, leaping back, as NJ already pressed her palms together, and Israel took his shotgun in hand. He almost shot it, but stopped seconds before as he looked down at the stuffed kitten on the ground. Gepard put one hand on the wall, and one on his chest, trying to calm his sudden, quick breathing. Israel sighed, looking at Kallista and Raven bent over with laughter three yards back.
"Securety precautions, huh?"

  Skyril's house was -more than anything- comfortable. There was a couch and armchair in the living room with a tv on the wall. There was a stand with pictures on it, and a little cat figurine, and in the kitchen, there were cookbooks and pots and pans and ingredients in the cupboard all organized accordingly. Israel, Kallista, Raven, Gepard, and NJ walked around, looking for something important.  Gepard went from the kitchen, to the garage, to the dining room, before coming into the living room. He looked around, appreciating the fact that the house wasn't for show or luxury, but just simple comfort. He saw Kallista to one side looking at pictures, and walked over to her.
  "Have you found anything yet?" he asked. She was looking down at one particular picture, and Gepard recognized Kallista and the girl he assumed was Skyril smiling up at them, and they were both soaking wet. Kallista's hand ran across her face before she turned around, "No," she said, "Not yet." Her voice was grim, Gepard could tell she had been crying.
"That's a nice photo," he said gently and put his arm around her. She nodded quietly.
"It was taken just a few months ago. Skyril was stuck on this one case, unable to locate somebody, and she was chatting with me absently when I said something that gave her an idea. Together, we tracked him down and arrested him. Right afterwords, it was raining, and we were celebrating. We ran outside, danced in the rain and bought a dozen cupcakes that we ate right then. It was... It was really-" her voice choked up, "fun..."
  Gepard nodded and hugged her. "She sounds really great. I can't wait to meet her. You know we'll find her, right? We'll find something to help NJ track her down, and we'll find her."
Kallista nodded, staring at the carpet at her feet.
"Come on," he said, trying to get her mind off of Skyril, "why don't we check upstairs, see if we see something?"
"Ok..," she muttered. Then she looked up, suddenly having an idea, "I think I know what we can use! In her room there's a photo of someone really important to her- he was basically a father to her. You think that will be good enough for NJ to use?
Gepard grinned, "It might be! Come on, let's go check!"
  They ran upstairs, Kallista leading the way to Skyril's bedroom. Gepard paused outside the door, hesitating "I feel like I'm about to look in someone else's fridge..."
Kallista rolled her eyes, "Oh, come on, it's not like you have to tell Skyril you went in her bedroom when you meet her, you know!" She smiled, back to her old self again.
Gepard nodded, "True, true... It still feels awkward, though... going into some girl's bedroom."  He turned slightly pink.
Kallista laughed, "Besides," she explained, "Even if she does find out, the worst that will happen is a smack in the head with a mallet."
Gepard looked at her, "A... a mallet?"
"Mm-hm. She's quite fond of them." Gepard swallowed hard, and Kallista grabbed his arm and yanked him after her into the bedroom.
  The carpet was lush and soft, and the walls were painted a deep purple. Skyril's bed lay on one side of the room, and on the rest of the walls, aside from windows, there were rows of bookcases stacked with all kinds of books and photographs. Gepard walked around, admiring the collection. "Hey, she has And the Darkness Rained upon Them!" he said. "I've been meaning to read that too... Kal ignored him, and walked straight over to a picture on one of the shelves. It was faded, and somewhat old. It was a picture of an older man with white hair, the greenest eyes Gepard had ever seen, and a smile.
  "Who is it?" he asked.
"This is Vivacious Fog. He was a father to Skyril a long time ago."
"Whatever happened to him?"
"He was murdered."
"... Oh."
She picked up the picture and turned, "We should take this back to NJ."
Gepard nodded, his hand on the spine of And the Darkness Rained upon Them. "Let me just look at this real quick." He pulled the book, and it stuck half way. Suddenly, a rumbling sound came, and one of the bookcase slid over to reveal a rack of knives and few guns with a special stand where a silver mallet was placed. Kallista chuckled, saying "Yeah, Skyril has secret little levers all over the place with things like this. She keeps them hidden for those times when she has to pretend to be a normal person and invite her neighbors over or something.
".. Wow," Gep mumbled, looking over the weapons. Kallista pushed the book back in, and the book shelf slid over once more.
  The two of them walked downstairs, gathering the others as they went. When they reached the living room, Kallista informed them, "Ok, I think we found what we need." Israel, NJ, and Raven watched as Kallista held up the picture frame. "This person was really important to Skyril. She always spoke of him fondly."
Israel glanced at NJ Maverick "Want to give it a shot?"
She nodded, and placed her fingertips on it as she closed her eyes.. Little designs appeared on the backs of her fingers, glowing a gentle blue. After a moment, she opened her eyes and sighed.
"It's not going to work. I can tell that it's really important to her, but it doesn't link to her the way I need it to."
  They all frowned, and Israel sat down on the couch, thinking. "Hmm," he muttered, "we need a link to Skyril, and yet there seems to be nothing here that is extremely valuable to her. Could you describe again what exactly we need, NJ?"
"Well," she said, "it could be anything really, but it has to be some... Oh, how do I describe it? Something that... connects.. Skyril's mind to what matters to her most."
"What matters to her most..." muttered Israel, his hand absently stroking his stubble. Kallista sat beside him, disappointed the picture hadn't work. Israel's head turned slightly towards her. He looked up then, stood, and grinned. "I think I have the answer, NJ. What matters to Skyril the most? Her friends. Not only that, but she formed some kind of... mental or magical bond of some sort when she contacted Kallista in her dream. I'm not sure how she did it, but she did. Can you use Kallista as the link?"
NJ blinked, "Well, yes, people can link to other people too. Let me try it out."
"Wait," Kallista looked up , surprise showing on her face, "you think I'm the link? How could I be the link?"
  NJ ignored her question and placed her fingertips on Kallista's head. Raven laughed, looking at it. "It looks like she's about to read your mind or something."
"In a way, I am," NJ responded, her eyes closed. "I'm searching for the connection between the two of you, two friends connected closely to one another..., but don't worry," she said with a half-smile, "I don't actually hear your thoughts."
Kallista sighed, "Good, because that would be awkwar- Wait! I was just thinking 'Oh no, can she see what I'm thinking?' You are reading my thought, aren't you?"
NJ grinned, opening her eyes. She ignored Kallista's question again, saying "I've got it. The link is there, just like Israel said."
He fist-pumped. "Yes! Admit it, I'm brilliant."


    Once again you have masterfully written a brilliant and exciting story with twists and turns! So much fun!
    *hugs* Thanks for posting another excellent story!

  2. BRILLIANT! I LOVED IT! :D *hugs* I can't wait until the next part :D

    And, surprisingly, this part actually SHOWED UP for me, but I can't see anything before. Chapter 5 is still just a title :P

    Anyway, Brilliant writing, as always :D

    You actually managed to make me more Epic than I already am :P