Chapter 7 : Squadron 17

After I had explained to my friends the conversation I had with the man, who still remained unnamed, leaving out of course all the details about the Aquamirror, I was left alone again, in the gloomy hospital room, bare except for the single bed, a small table on which stood a lamp and the window, looking into the garden.

It was already night, I noticed. The moon hung high in the sky, the net of the dome covering the outside of the Sanctuary Of Heroes cast a criss-crossing scar on the face of the midnight sun. Under the moonlight thousands of critters danced in the midst of the flower arrangement. The wind blew softly and whispered a gentle melody to those who would listen and made the grass sway to its rhythm. For a moment, I just stared on, enchanted, until I heard a slow tap on my door.

"Come in." I tried to say, but my throat was dry since no one thought about giving me anything to drink since I had fainted. Before I could try again the door creaked open to reveal the shadow of a girl, I couldn't see her face, but by the way she shyly waved her hello, I knew it had to be Teresa.

"Beautiful night, isn't it?" She spoke softly, her voice barely audible despite the surrounding silence. "I know you were admiring the Moondancers outside, you always stare at nature when something is troubling you. It calms you."

"And you would know this how?" I enquired, cocking an eyebrow.

"Oh, come on, we've known each other for ages, don't tell me you expected that this was a secret."

I only chuckled, still facing the window. For a moment, we both stared, I felt her creep up beside me and sit down on the bed. It dipped slightly to one side. She sighed.

"Won't you tell me what's on your mind Theo?" She breathed in my ear, the concern in her voice almost painful to hear. Of course I couldn't tell her, even if she was my closest friend, and even though she may be more than that to me. I shook my head, both to clear it and refuse her question.

"You know I'm here for you" ,she continued, "just as you have been for me". I bit my lip, because of course this was true. We never held secrets from each other. We never had.

Sensing that she wouldn't get anything out of me she squeezed my arm. Got up and went to the door. Just before closing it, she said: "Be up early tomorrow, we are passing the branding, you better not be late, the doctor said you could participate, if you don't push yourself too hard." She looked at me for a moment, before the door clicked shut. I wanted to tell her to stay with me for a while but the words got caught in my throat.

I sighed as I plopped back against my pillow. Part of the reason I wouldn't talk to her was because I was scared that she might find the scar and bring about whatever it was that cursed me. Staring down my shirt, I looked at the mark. It glowered faintly, a deep blue, like the heartbeat of the entire ocean. It complimented perfectly the white of the moon. I remained mesmerized by it until I fell asleep. Not wanting to imagine Reese' wounded face, that she no doubt wore as she closed the door on me for the night.

Bright and early next morning, I woke up to the sound of clattering in the hall, I barely had time to get dressed before a spirited group came crashing into my room. Reese looked like she hadn't slept a wink.

"Hey buddy!" Cass said slapping me on the back. "Can't seem to keep out of harm's way huh?" He laughed. "You're just a trouble magnet." He added, laughing even more.

Annoyed that I was though, it actually made me feel a little better.

"Yeah we were really worried about you!" Levi chipped in. "You better take good care of that body of yours! Quite a lot of your fan girls would be awfully upset if you got a nasty scar across that pretty-boy face." She teased playfully.

"What fan girls?" I said before opening the door.

Only to come face to face with several dozen females. None of which I recognized. "What the?" I started before getting squished in a pile of human flesh. In any other situation it would have just been embarrassing. But since I was still rather weak, it was quite painful too. Luckily a helping hand was offered and I was pulled out of the pile-up by none other than Reese.

"Come on!" She said, trying to conceal a giggle behind her free hand "We're going to be late if we don't get out of here soon."

Nothing much happened during the 'branding' so to speak, it was just a briefing on the events of the upcoming week. We were told to make up squadrons of four, so naturally we decided to all get together. Since we were one of the first to get to the assignment table, we were also one of the first ones to face the Oracle again. We were instructed that one of us hold our hand out toward the sphere. Cass nudged me towards it snickering something about me being rejected by it the first time, so I ought to try again.

I rolled my eyes and ignored the comment. Once again the Oracle of Beginnings engulfed me in its peaceful aura. I felt the sea breeze and the current of the water rush through me and in the depths saw a single curved shape without thinking I touched it in my ethereal state and was once again catapulted into reality.

In my hands I now held the same fang that I saw in the Oracle. The walls of the magical ball now displayed:

Squadron 17: Leviathans Fang

Great Leviathan of the sea,

Power that it grants to thee,

But elsewhere hidden lays its worth,

Power given to change the Earth.

The four of us pondered this message as we were informed that our sleeping quarters would now be in the tower of Leviathan. We all got settled comfortably in the two bedroom suite, after having sorted out who slept where. A few set of clothes and a map to the tower were given to us by a communal butler. We whispered our thanks but before anything else could be said, the bell rang, announcing the breakfast hour. Just in time too because we were starving. Little did we know that this bell also announced the secret beginning of the Initiation.

(ok so I finally seem to have figured out the pace at which I will be releasing new chapters: totally random… but the good news is that I think that this fic will contain a fair amount of romance but I will have none of the drama/tragedy stuff. Also I will be adding more vivid descriptions cuz you know it's not a movie so it could get hard to imagine, especially with some of the creatures that I am going to introduce -like the Moondancers but since Theo wasn't up close, it wasn't really possible this chapter…)

Oh yeah I almost forgot, if there is anything you guys want to see in this fic don't be afraid to propose anything (it's not like you're getting married to me geez!).

"I like work, It fascinates me! I can sit and look at it for hours." -unknown (but seriously writers block is a pain in the a-). Keep on keeping on!

the4thera