Chapter 6 a/n yay! we're getting moving :)
"WHERE IS KARIKUS' STONE?"
Damien blinked, surprised. He, Skye and Ser stood in front of the council, Karikus in a bag in front of them. They had remedied a problem facing the local Anderran populations cover, and hadn't actually killed him themselves. The council was impressed and wanted to meet the bait that had killed him in the future, but would be content if only Izyan met the Gaian. They kept commenting on how impressive it was. It was code for "we don't believe you and if you didn't have his grandkid with you we'd be annoyed" They'd been assured, however, that they'd be paid and more work would be waiting for them without delay. It seemed pretty obvious that they'd paid attention to their rules and regulations and where actually pretty upbeat now that their least favorite high ranker was out of commission. Still, one council member was not satisfied; Marcus, the newest and least liked councilman had walked down to survey the body himself. After some ruffling, he had barked something about the stone.
"The red one he liked to stroke? We gave it as payment to the Gaian. No danger in that, but Izyan will determine that when he meets the Bait. Is there a problem?" Damien was taking back the situation quickly, and even saw a few members smile at this weird outburst from Marcus.
"Any power containing Crystal should be returned to the Council immediately, or did you miss the fact that Karikus was only high ranking because of that Crystal?"
"Only registered crystals are required to come back here. Otherwise it is a free for all if the owner dies. Or at least that was my impression when I was doing my homework for this job."
"It contains power, you can't just do what you want all the time Half-breed" Marcus spat.
"That is enough. I'll give my official decision on the Crystal when they present the Bait to me." Izyan scolded lightly. The rest of the council looked slightly conflicted between having the same stance against Damien and Skye as Marcus did, and hating Marcus. Damien stared at the ground afraid that his annoyance might show if he didn't.
He and Skye were the children of two different Anderran peoples. Because of the extreme diversity in Anderran races it was better to refer to them as different breeds. Any mixing was looked down on harshly, as was evident from the council's attitudes towards the twins. Younger generations that had grown up in a time where so long as you were Anderran it made you their friend where not so prejudiced, but they weren't the ones that determined if you were able to get housing or a job. The only reason they'd been able to get this one was because of Ser's family and even then it had been iffy.
Damien sighed, and bowed. "We'll have the Gaian brought to you by the end of the week Master Izyan" His stomach tightened however. In a weird way, he was dreading meeting Alex again after what had happened.
Alex jumped as a man snapped his bible shut. It was strange, everything felt like a joke. The smell of wet dirt, people standing huddled around. Alex standing soaked to the bone next to Denver Rae who looked very somber, an odd look for a woman who was usually so upbeat. Looking across the grave, Alex clenched her jaw at the sight of Julie comforting Dillon's mother. How badly she wanted to jump over there and strangle her, punch her, at least do something. But that wouldn't be ok, and she was already the black sheep here. Unwanted, suspected of having had something to do with Dillon's death. No one said a word, but eyes had been looking at her briefly throughout the service. She shut her eyes for a moment, tears welling up in her eyes, anger and sorrow falling in waves. Thoughts that tormented her for the last few days came back and she tried hard to shut them up. Her mind flipped through scenes, the Train Station roof, the moon and Damien, the church with dead bodies. The stone now tied around her neck began to warm, soon it would burn she knew. Holding it in her left hand she tried hard to calm down.
Malich put his arm on her shoulder and broke her from her trance. Most everyone had already left and it wouldn't be quite right for her to stay much longer. Dillon's mother had tried to forbid Alex from even coming to the funeral. Somehow everyone knew a story that after a scuffle with Dillon, they'd fallen off, perhaps she'd pushed him off and been dragged with him, and that she'd caught the edge of the roof, running away suspiciously afterwards. She didn't know how they got that sort of story, and it made her scared and angry. The best she could tell the girl must have pretended to be her and Damien must have flown with the train so no one would see. Did that mean they planned everything? She was most angry with them at the moment, but didn't want to bother with them. She was too sad to bother.
"I suppose that you don't want to go to the supper that they are having?" Malich asked as they walked away. Shaking her head, Alex thought that she probably couldn't have stomached watching Julie pretend to be sorry, the tragic victim of a suicide of someone so very dear to her, while everyone suspected that it was Alex's fault and not hers. He smiled and led her on a little longer detour through the graveyard. Soon she found that she was looking at old graves. Ones she knew. A tiny smile crept up on her lips when she saw a Porter grave. Malich put his hands in his pockets and stayed silent. He looked behind to see if Denver was keeping up. Alex took that moment to kneel down and pull out a permanent marker "I'm afraid they got her last name wrong."
"Not at the time that grave was placed. My mother cried even more than Dillon's when we decided to do this for my little sister." Alex stopped and felt a few tears well up. Malich hadn't questioned why she'd tried doing something so lighthearted. He knew that this had the potential of making Alex a little less sad for a moment. It was interesting that he'd gotten to know how she dealt with things so well when he'd known her only a few years. Still, it was his house she'd been sent to first after her parents died and again when Shadow and Hazel had left…
"C'mon, we both know your sister isn't dead. It always bugged me that this was here." She needed to make this seem less serious.
"Haze...wanted to be dead to this world. Disconnect us from her; make us stop being a target. Ten years went by fast, and I suppose it wouldn't be upsetting to her if we got rid of it. Still, I like having something to visit."
Denver had finally caught up, extremely ungraceful in her heels. "Hey Hon. You want to skip the dinner I'm guessing?"
"You guys can go if you really want, but…"
"But you don't want to be surrounded by those fakers, right? Do whatever you feel is necessary Alex. We'll be around." Alex looked up, trying once again not to cry. She was forever grateful to these two, even if she didn't say it. The people who didn't bring things up unnecessarily. Who understood that Alex needed space, and gave it when she needed it. But people who also tried to give her parents if ever she needed some. A shoulder to cry on and a voice speaking up for her when she came home under such suspicious circumstances, a boy dead and her at the scene with him. People had come knocking moments after Alex had gotten home so utterly distraught that Denver had had to help her up to her room. She'd heard Malich quickly defend Alex's innocence, and put down any investigation on whether it could be her fault. That idea had been dropped the moment he'd said it was impossible, and it had never come up as a question afterwards. He had never for a moment questioned her.
They knew didn't they, what her job had been while she was with Shadow?
A black feather fluttered down in front of her and Alex caught in her hand, looking down at it as a flock of birds flew overhead. "Damien..." She couldn't help whispering it, his name. He'd held the chance to save the boy whose remains had just been lowered into the ground. He'd held that life in his hands. And yet, that bastard only caught me...
Had they honestly planned to set her up for all this? It frustrated her thinking in circles, they'd warned her, but caught her and set up an "escaping Alex", and then given her to that Demon who had tried to kill her. They must have been determined to keep the secret of their being here if they'd really tried to make a failsafe plan like that to get her either killed or imprisoned. She determined to find them soon, knowing that it might end up terribly.
a/n short but sweet. story is now officially set up. yay! wanted to make this one longer, but didn't have the heart to add any more scenes when it felt so finished.