Raven had been to Sabre many times in the past. Since her father held a very high position in the military, the Acurrions were often guests for parties here. All of Acadia's heavy machinery was processed in Sabre. She didn't even know why she had come to this city. Maybe she could convince Caesar Sevarius, the President, to let her look through the Imperium Archives, but it wasn't likely that she would find anything that related to the piece of the story she had. The parchment said Vesperia. Acadia had once been part of the Vesperian Empire, but that had been over 500 years ago. Noiselessly, Raven walked through the alleys of the city. She felt restless like she needed to do something. She recalled with a smile the time she had fought with a street thief in Cavlon named Phoenix. That had been in an underground alley not much different than the ones she was now walking through. Raven had won that battle, but it had only gained her and Teya a prison cell. It was in that prison that they met Ryne.
She stopped walking as something silver had caught her eye. She looked over and saw that it was the wall itself. Someone had painted a symbol on the alley wall. She traced the silver symbol with her finger. Raven had seen that symbol somewhere. She laid her forehead against the wall trying to remember. A spiral in the shape of a kind of eye with . . . three slashes through it. Her fingers met several indentations embedded in the wall. She traced them out. T. . . H. . . E. . . C. . . L. . . A . . . . . w? What is the Claw? Raven had never heard of an organization by that name, but her confusion was starting to be masked by total frustration. Why should I even care? The Claw, whatever it is, has nothing to do with me! I'm supposed to be looking for my mother's killer and the cause of magical instability! In a wave of frustration, Raven drove her fist into the wall. For a second, she felt nothing. Then, throbbing pain engulfed her hand. She cursed loudly as she clutched her hand. This pain hurt almost as badly as a broken nose. The revelation hit her so hard that the pain seemed to vanish instantly. The symbol! It was on that girl's tattoo! Which means . . . the Claw must be . . . She needed more information, but who would have information like this? Raven doubted that even President Sevarius knew anything about this kind of a thing. She could only think of one person who could possibly tell her about this. The last person that she wanted to see.
The office was dark, lit only by dim moonlight as Raven slid silently in through the window. She crept to the desk, but the General was always the organized type. He never left papers lying around. She had barely opened a drawer when she heard footsteps down the hall. Quickly, but silently, Raven withdrew to hide herself in the darkest shadows of the room. Her black clothing helped conceal her presence. The door slid open as the General walked in. He looked so much older than when Raven had seen him last. In the light, she could see gray strands in his hair. He approached the desk and was about to open the very drawer that Raven had started to open. He laid his hand on the knob, but then removed it. Did he notice the disturbance? He straightened himself up and without turning around, he said, "If you've come to kill me, do it fast." He turned slowly around. After a second, Raven stepped cautiously out of the shadows.
"Why would I kill you?" she asked him. "Were you expecting someone else?" He did not respond to this and simply stared at her.
"Hello Stelmaria," he said tensely.
"Hello father," she replied in an equally heavy voice. General Leon Acurrion had never shown much affection towards her even before Adrina's death. Zephyr had always been the center of his pride probably because they were so much alike.
"Why have you come here?"
"I came . . . for information," she responded. "About the Claw." For a brief second, Raven saw fear flash across Leon's face.
"How do you know that name?" he demanded sharply.
"What is it?" Raven persisted. Leon was commander-in-chief of the Imperium military. He answered directly to the Imperium council. He must have answers.
"A myth," he said bluntly. "The Claw is only a myth."
"A myth of what?" Raven demanded.
"An underground . . . organization, if you will, of mercenaries and assassins, but it does not exist. It never has and never will. You'd best forget about it."
"That's it?" Raven asked in disbelief. "There has to be more. More information."
"Why did you come here, Stelmaria?" he asked her quietly changing the subject all together.
"That is not my name," Raven replied defiantly. His eyes narrowed.
"You're right. My daughter, Stelmaria, is just as dead as my wife. Leave, disgrace of my blood." Crestfallen, Raven walked silently to the doors, but she had only just opened them when she came face to face with her brother, Zephyr. His wavy brown hair had been cut short and he looked taller than when she had last seen him. For a moment, they simply stared at each other both not knowing what to say. Raven walked quickly past him, but not before Zephyr slipped something into her hand. As Raven walked through the long hallways, she looked to see what Zephyr had given her. It was a scrap of parchment and on it were inked only two words:
By the time Raven left the Military Academy, she was feeling incredibly overwhelmed. Her father's reluctant information and Zephyr's note. What does it all mean? Confusion, frustration, and maybe even a touch of loneliness were all churning inside of her. Raven was thirsty, but she didn't want water. For the first time in her life, Raven wanted a serious drink. Quickly, she set out to find a place that would serve her one. As she scouted the streets, she had the strangest feeling that it was going to be a very long night . . .
Teya slept very badly that night. She just couldn't fall asleep because of a weary feeling that loomed over her head. After several hours of lying on her bed, Teya sat up exhausted and switched on the lights. She had never quite adjusted to sleeping thousands of feet in the air aboard the Sky Arc. Teya traced her finger around her Tear as her feelings engulfed her. Raven had left a month ago and still had not returned. She was still unsure why Raven had left, but Raven had always been a complicated person and now was not the time to worry about her. Teya had the strangest feeling that something was brewing in the night. The Gods are holding their breath. Teya had a very bad feeling about what was happening somewhere far off.