Author: Scarlet-SKull PM
When life turns grim, look into the shadows further; there may be a pathway leading to a better future.Rated: Fiction T - English - Adventure/Romance - Chapters: 8 - Words: 23,629 - Reviews: 103 - Favs: 11 - Follows: 16 - Updated: 05-08-13 - Published: 05-24-12 - id: 3025560
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Episode II: Guard Dog
They stepped four decades back as soon as they entered the shop—it was another atmosphere in here. Knick-knacks stocked upon shelves and shelves covered walls to your left and right. It was a cluster of marvelous antiquated designs from flower painted teacups to dome glass floor lamps. Opium incense smothered the air in a faint smoke emitting from the veil before them. The hunched back elder drew them back, sweeping a hand forward, inviting them in. His dirty complexion didn't compliment his flowery aroma. In a broken voice and a cracked smile, he looked up to the two guests with his one open eye. "Right this way…"
He'd exit and shut the door behind them.
There, in the darkness of what seemed to be a basement was a masked man. Dressed in all black, he sat in his throne, center to his candle lit castle. The room felt damp and cold, impaling into his guests a sense of discomfort. But his voice was angelic, calm and pleasant, "Please, have a seat." He waved, his fingers as thin and long as twigs. A coffee table between them carried his copper (old Dutch) aged kettle with two teacups and saucers. "Treat yourselves if you wish." He chuckled.
He lowered his head, folding his hands neatly atop his crossed legs. "My fetcher had promised me clients, but he didn't mention there would be two. How may I be of service to you?"
"Our daughter…she has gone missing…" The woman sobbed into her damp handkerchief as the man sitting by her took her hand.
"Count, we have lost our dear Sophia last night. They will not help us search for her after the sun falls. I'm afraid someone, or something got her. If you please, I beg of you, bring her to us. Find her! We will give you anything you wish of us. We just want our Sophia back!" He could barely form the words from his trembling lips.
"Down payment…your wife…" The count uttered cleanly.
"W-what?" She choked.
"Maria?" He veered to his wife, frightened by his request. "My Maria, no I couldn't, I ca—"
"Then, if you will. Find yourself to the door."
"Wait! George…" Her heartbeat drummed fast, her meek voice almost extinguished. She took his hands into hers, holding them tightly as she locked eyes with him, red swollen from the tears that fail to cease. But, amidst the sorrow a smile crowned her watery cheeks. "I want my baby back…dead or alive…I-I just want her, George. I'll do anything to see her again…please…"
There was a moment of silence, but as he watched the man kiss his wife on her fore, he figured the deal was sealed.
"You shall get what you want, but first, I want to hear how you're going to get our little girl."
"Very well. With what you're paying, I guarantee you…I will get her in your arms." On the end table to his left stood his book of chronicles. He reached for it and fanned through the pages. His black talon for a bookmark stopped at a page, and he'd surface the words with his fingertips. "Have you ever heard of the Legend of Goger? He was the mighty black guardian of Cordosa. Such a wild beast, a hound of sorts, cursed to protect a child of man. He was a vicious rebellious thing, so the goddess had to manipulate his fury somehow. She had a curse placed on him, and now sworn to protect Ikuban, who was the son of Elzbe, he was forever tamed and stabilized as a watcher. Elzbe was a relative of the goddess of chaos. This should hint to you that this book doesn't chronicle the history of Dangathe, but the very opposite…" He paused, lowering his head in meditation. "I will summon Goger, for he will be the one to retrieve your daughter. I need her sample. You brought it with you I hope. Place it on the book as I summon him." George did as told, placing a gold ring on the book above his hand. He immediately retreated to his seat, watching as the words light up and shoot right from the book into the room. The warm orange glow that read the same script from the book traced over the ceiling before it vibrated into the air and danced to the foreign words spewing out of Count's lips. The room quaked, a violent torrent underneath their feet. And suddenly everything was still…
His eyes snapped open emitting a golden beam from the sockets of his mask. "It has begun…"
"Breakfast is ready!" Sophia bellowed from within the contemporary maple kitchen. Julie walked in from her bedroom, still in her red silk night gown. From washing up, she heard pots and pans bouncing against each other, and the smell of pancakes floating through her room. In the kitchen bar, a full breakfast sat—a stack of pancakes, scrambled eggs, toast, a fruit bowl, the whole nine yards. Julie looked up, blank faced at the girl wearing her apron and pancake batter across her cheek. She chuckled to herself, reaching into the cabinet for plates. Sophia dropped the spatula in the deep sink, approaching her with folded hands. "I just wanted to express my thanks to you, Madame. I know I made a little mess, but I'll clean it up!"
"You've got to stop calling me that. I'm not that old. Here. Bring these plates to the dining room table. Set it up for five. You've made more than enough food, so we can share it with our guests."
"Ah! Guests? Is it Michel? I have to clean myself up a little. My hair's a mess, and this outfit won't do, and I—"
'No. It's Jeremy and his fur balls." She cradled the plates in Sophia's arms. "I'll set the rest of the stuff for you to use on the counter."
"Yes Mada—I mean, miss!" She scurried off, preparing the table as ordered while Julie went back into her room.
It was early, but not too early. As she brought the plates over to the table, she noticed their means of chairs. Cushions? Julie had an interesting taste. Her apartment didn't have a speck of bright color anywhere. It wasn't like her pink bedroom at all. Settling the last dish in place, she heard a noise emitting from the front door. Someone was fumbling with keys, jerking the lock. Sophia waited patiently outside of the kitchen holding a pitcher of OJ. Julie told her Michel wasn't to arrive, but she could always hope.
"Honey, I'm home!" He turned out of the corridor, and Sohpia's eyes widened. Despite the seemingly identical uniform, he wasn't a monk. "Oh, hello there little one!"
Sophia was speechless. He was in a burgundy hooded full-length robe with a caped collar. The stranger had thick-framed glasses and long blonde hair…he was a pretty boy! Eye brows long and cleanly sharpened, elfin earrings dangling in grace against his neck…this couldn't be Julie's boyfriend, could it? She admired his duo side snake bite lip piercing though. They suited him well. Her face flushed. The man was obviously flamboyant; he could just be a friend of Julie's. But Sophia didn't like to pre-judge.
"She is in her room at the moment. But she is expecting you. Think she may be freshening up a bit. You can wa—"
"FOOD! I smell food!" Boing—a small furry tall eared creature popped up from behind Jeremy's shoulders. Sophia jumped, gasping out in shock.
"Where?" The other one hopped off of Jeremy's shoulder to Sophia's, scurrying over to the plate of pancakes.
"Hey, wait up! I saw it first!" The other one was in hot pursuit as they both gathered around the food like little ravaging wild animals.
"Don't be alarmed. They are harmless."
"Jeremy…" Julie uttered, veering her glaring eyes to the little monsters on her table. "Those seats are there for a reason. Keep your dirty little paws off the table." The dark grey bunny followed the white blue striped tiger with a full flapjack between his tiny fangs. He looked at him with his green yellowish eyes, "Are you gonna' finish that?"
"How's your grandmother?" They gathered around the table for a late breakfast. Sophia watched and listened as they conversed, but was distracted by the cute furry animals sitting near her. The bunny gazed into her eyes; both of them confused yet intrigued.
"I don't understand it Julie. The man doesn't care for family. He hasn't visited his own mother in ages. I'm glad Roena has at least one person who cares enough to give her the attention she really needs. You should see the facility she's in." He sighed, "I wish I could help her, but she fights me every time. A proud woman she is."
"Roena?" Sophia butted into their conversation. "I have a grandmother named Roena too. She's in a nursing home, called…Oaklore, I think."
Jeremy arched a brow, lowering his fork. "That's funny. That's where my grandmother resides. Tell me, does she have a son by the name of George Lohan?"
"George Lohan is my father…so that would mean that—"
"Sophia Mae?" With much amazement he jumped up, pulling out his wallet where the baby picture of his sister was tucked in. "My grandmother told me about her granddaughter, George's little girl nearly two decades ago. She gave me one of your baby pictures to keep. You might not remember me, but I held you when I was six. I didn't hear much from my father after you were born." He walked over to her, handing her the picture. Sophia recognized it. Her father carries a copy around with him every day. She was his pride and joy. Before she could utter a word, Jeremy gave her a warm hug. Her father never told her she had a brother.
"Mom and dad never mentioned you before."
He released her, sitting by her side with a saddened expression riddled on his face. He sighed, "He left my mother when I was young. You are my half sister, unless there is another George Lohan of Thode who has a mother named Roena Soch. My mother got very ill when I was five, and my father left her to die. He, and the rest of her town believe she was possessed by Black Star, Sessni's power overcoming her body. Sadly, I thought so too…but I didn't leave like he did. I stayed by her side, through her every attempt to get rid of me. I couldn't leave my mother; this lifestyle wasn't her fault. So I found a way to end her suffering by joining Everit, a clan sworn to cast her demons where they belong, and destroy her resting grounds so that the black star over our heads will be no more."
Sophia's astonishment was ineffable. She didn't know much about the demons. Her parents told her that the gods of Dangathe abandoned their world, and a dark force overthrew it. That was the only background they fed her, and it's not like she'd hear anything different at school. "I'm sorry. I cannot agree with what my father did to you and his previous wife, but something good did sprout from all of this, you. A caring, loving son, and an older brother." She smiled, giving him a warm hug. "And to think I was an only child!" She paused, "So, what exactly is that star doing up there? I think the tale my parents told me isn't completely true. Nothing is adding up with what you just said."
"That's a story for another day." Julie interrupted. "Now you know what we are all about, we're going to need you to fit in. I'll bring you up to speed with things. We each have our strong points. I am a sword wielder as well as Michel. Eren is a gunwoman, and your brother here is our sorcerer. Our mi—"
"Hey, you didn't introduce us!" The white tiger asserted.
"Right. Those furry things are Coe, and …Master B."
"That's right!" The bunny, or, Master B affirmed.
She flashed him a smart look, "As I was saying, our mission is to find Sessni's burial ground, retrieve the shattered remnants of her casket seal, and hide them where her cult can't find it. I'm sure Dhampir has a few shards already. If you want to earn your stay, you'll have to work for us. I'll bring you to the manor where we'll teach you some basic defense. You look like the type that'd need it. As for school," She tossed a brochure onto the table, "Lukord High. How'd you like that, it's coed." She smiled. "You'll be transferring there. I'll take care of the paper work. You might as well finish your last year."
Sophia cheered, "Oh thank you! I am very much thankful!" Sophia couldn't really keep up with the other information Julie was tossing at her, but she did understand school.
"I'll inform Eren and Michel we'll be at the manor."
"Michel?" Sophia questioned, "Where is he?"
"On a mission with Eren. Intel searching, and hopefully a bit of interrogation!" Jeremy answered, finishing his plate of cheesy eggs and sausage links.
The June street marketplace—a very crowded area to be in hours before curfew. Eren and Michel were both in casual attire, as casual they could get to blend well with the townspeople. A very grumpy lady with a sun hat watched Eren as she sampled some of the fruit. With a cocky smile, Eren dipped into her pocket and paid the witch. She met up with Michel, who had his eyes on a customer by the fabric store. They continued to walk, bundled up with the rest. It was getting hot fast, and the sun was setting quick. "Think he's our man?" Eren asked, half attentative to eating the green apple.
"I'm getting a strange aura from him. Do you sense it?"
Her pace sped up a bit, "No…I mean, I know demons have that nasty odor, but I'm not picking up anything but sticky human stench. Not you by the way."
"He's pulling out from the crowd. Come on."
Premature darkness hit the town like a plague. The mysterious man led Eren and Michel into a groove, and from the groove, a pathway to an abandoned warehouse was seen. Eren knew not of fear, but she'd swear something fishy was going on, and the fact that an omen was hovering her shoulders like a bad itch was making her a bit uneasy. Heaving out a deep exhale, she turned to Michel, who seemed more than ready to tackle whatever was in that warehouse. Eren was trialing into paranoia. It was way too quiet, and it was way too suspicious that this man hasn't stopped walking for two hours. He didn't mind to look back, didn't stop for a break, nothing! His pace mirrored theirs. Eren looked up to Michel, awfully concerned. It was like he knew something she didn't…
ZIP, the crunching of grass stopped, Eren's silver pistol revolver crashing on the ground beneath her. "Shit."