"You really need to start carrying an umbrella with you." Skyril smiled as she tossed him a towel.
He snatched it without difficulty then whipped it at Sarthacus who ducked out of the way. The towel landed softly on the floor.
"Who needs umbrellas? It's just a little rain! It won't kill anyone. But Sarthacus might need one!" He teased.
Sarthacus only smiled as he moved farther into the room. Evangeline who did bring an umbrella closed hers up in a fluid motion before coming in any further. Then they got down to business.
A specialized group of agents, those present were often called upon by the Sanctuary for cases such as these.
Uneasy, Kallista moved back to the window she had been by before and looked out. A gathering wind was picking up speed, a fore warning of an early winter. Kallista watched through the heavy paned windows as the wind whipped through the rain, tearing up the fallen leaves in it's path. She was glad for the partial garage Kenspeckle had set up for vehicles such as hers. But now even that was barely able to protect her ninja cycle from the wrath of the weather. Dragona's own vehicle was a special one: able to endure anything and go anywhere no matter what the season or weather. She looked on with envy , as it sat there still managing to shine despite the wind and rain. Soon she wouldn't be able to even ride her Ninja cycle anymore! Life just wasn't fair to a sixteen year old, sometimes! , she turned her back on the car as if to snub it. She straitened her already poised figure and gathered her thoughts on the information Dragona, Evangeline, and Sarthacus had brought with them. As she listened to what they where saying she was able to piece together the details and understand the problem.Haughtily
The town of Hidden Brier had been experiencing strange occurrences and disappearances lately of it's citizens. Understandably, the town was shook up and bewildered by these unexplained events and becoming quite frightened. The Sanctuary had caught wind of this and had suspected that dark magic was behind it. Skulduggery had been the one requested to take care of the problem. But he was tied up with another important matter, one that was a mystery to the rest of them. Skulduggery had passed it on to his co-worker and friend, Israel Elysium. Acting quickly Israel then had explained the situation to several of his close friends who were with him at the time. He then had sent Dragona, Sarthacus, and Evangeline ahead of him to warn the others. Which brought them to this point in time.
"My guess is that Vampires are involved." Mary Hiashi spoke smoothly in a light English accent. Dressed in a black ninja style outfit she posed a formidable presence. Her long onyx black hair hung smoothly down her slender back and her crimson eyes flashed at the mere thought of a vampire.
"Vampires? I was thinking Remnents" Bridget Whiplash spoke up with steel in her smile. One of the few vampires that was employed by the Sanctuary, she moved with impossible grace, edging around Leo Sparks to stand before Mary.
"Hello Bridget." Mary nodded to her comrade.
"Right back at ya." She said evenly.
"Could be both." Jodi threw out from her corner of the room. She was focused on her laptop and had not bothered to get of her chair to join the rest of them.
"I think the towns haunted by ghosts!" Florence said dramatically with big eyes.
"There's no such thing as ghosts." Leo remarked, rolling his eyes.
"There is too, ya old coot!" She shot back at him, pouting. "Don't make me mad, 'cause I'll curse you and make you bald!"
"Yeah, OK. " He laughed easily. He reached out and rubbed her head affectionately. "Kids! You got to love 'em!"
Another argument began only to be interrupted by the Arrival of Israel, Darkane, Nicolette, and Skylara.
"Let's make this brief!" Israel began briskly as he went to the long meeting table in the center of the room. "We don't have any time to wast!"
"We believe it to be Dusk who is behind this." Nicolette continued without missing a beat. "One of our agents who is there, believes that Dusk is in league with a band of Remnents."
"Of course!"Leo rolled his eyes. "It's always Dusk!"
"We think that Dusk has made a deal with the Remnents over the people of Hidden Ridge." Darkane said.
"You mean like, 'he gets some and they get some,' sort of thing? Splitting people down the middle?" Skyril asked, appalled.
"Gross!" Florence yelled! "That's just sick! I wanna kick his @$$!"
"You'll get your chance." Israel assured her.
Necros and Lillivale where already half way done packing. While everyone else had been speaking, the two men had been inspecting their weapons and readying them for battle. Necros' eyes gleamed in anticipation. Lillivale couldn't keep the smile off his face. How he hated vampires and Remnents! Well, all except for Bridget Whiplash. Evan Dragona liked her despite his deep hatred of vampires.
As everyone gathered around the table to discuss the situation, Kallista hung back and wrestled with her thoughts. Like ghosts, the past rose up and haunted her memories. She looked outside again at the stormy gray scenery, shivering at the sound of the howling wind. It was a good day to be inside. Elegantly, but as nondescript as she could be, she moved towards the massive fireplace trying to quell the chill her memories brought on.
Two years back, in the dark woods. She leaned her head gently against the mantle, dizzy all of a sudden. She closed her lovely eyes in horror.
Something sinister had been there that night. Something besides her and Eli; her teacher and captor. It had happened during a time of rare calm and peace between the two of them. With only a fire to warm them and light their surroundings, they had sat in silence eating a meager meal that cool Autumn evening.
Then, an unexpected blast of wind with the force of a truck had abruptly blown her off her seat, high into the air. She had landed hard some distance away; far from the flames of the campfire. Stunned, she could not move. Lying flat on her back all she could see were the stars above. In the background of her senses, she could hear intense screaming, echoing around the forest for a long time. Fear had held her down like a cold prison as she had realized in shock, it had been Eli screaming so horribly. Eli Lonestar, skilled in the Ninja arts and the Samurai way, member of the magical community, was weeping and screaming in pain. A tortured soul. Something beyond even his skill was doing this! As she had lain there on the hard forest floor, a descending wave of powerlessness had fallen across her, rendering her helpless and weak. Eli had died by something evil that night, but Kallista had been spared. She didn't know why.
With effort she brought up her hand then, striking herself in the face to release the hold the past had on her. Pale and shaken she forced herself to return to the present. She had forgotten that night up till now. But something about the events of Hidden Brier and of that of the night in the woods, struck a cord of familiarity within her.
Looking up, she hoped no one noticed the slip in her reserve; that she hadn't joined them. But Evangeline was glancing over at her repeatedly, something unreadable in her expression. With narrowed eyes she realized it had nothing to do with her thoughts just now. Something else was up and it made Kallista feel even more unsettled. She found it hard to concentrate on what was being planned for Hidden Brier.
It wasn't till later when Evangeline pulled her aside that she found out what it was.
"Sorry to be the one to tell you this." Evangeline begun. "But it's been noted that that fellow who is after you: what's his name? .....Detective Simmons? Well, he's here in Ireland. It seems as if he has found you."
"Not yet he hasn't." Kallista replied coldly in her perfect voice. "He has no jurisdiction here."
Dragona overheard as he passed by.
"Kallista. Israel and I looked into it and have found out that he has joined with Interpol." He said quietly. "He does have jurisdiction, now."
"The Sanctuary is very concerned. " Evangeline continued, glaring at Dragona for interrupting. "They don't want a confrontation between the International police and themselves. The magical community cannot be discovered!"
"I'll take care of it." She replied calmly, her Mona-Lisa smile in place "It is my problem after all."
Dragona and Evangeline exchanged glances as she walked off. As one of the newer members of their league, she had proven to be invaluable to them. But she also had more growing to do; both physical and magical. And while she was a good team member, she had a habit a being aloof. They needed her and she needed them. The only trouble was that she didn't always realize this yet.
The next day proved to be a drastic change over the day before. Even though it was still cool, the sun blazed brightly from above in the blue sky. They all had arrived in Hidden Brier.
Kallista's part in it the plan was simple. She was to locate a place to trap the Remnents. After that she was to place wards to keep away the non magical folks. Her instincts then led her to the Cafe Habana.
It was a nice cafe. Brightly lit with natural sunlight filtering through the large window in the front. Several smaller arched windows were along both sides of the old building. It was everything Kallista hoped a Cafe to be. Lovingly restored, the brick building was a mixture of urban vibe and exotic decor. The good people here served a variety of teas along with their coffees, lattes, cappuccinos and delicious confections. The smells these items left was simply divine. It really was a perfect place to relax and hang out. To bad it wouldn't remain so.
Kallista sat alone drinking chamomile tea and holding a folded newspaper delicately in her hand as if reading: as if she was an ordinary customer. But she wasn't. The regulars who came there and the employees who worked there found themselves with a strange and strong desire to climb trees in the the park across town.
Her sharp eyes, though hidden beneath her hat were watchful. She noted the positions of the gang posted inside the Cafe. Nicolette and Evangeline sat together to her right, chatting calmly like friends usually do. Darkane, Mary Hiashi, and Israel sat by the Coffee bar in the center, posing as young business colleges having a mini meeting. Behind the bar stood Skylara, Skyril, and Leo Sparks, posing as the baristas. To her left, appearing to be working on their laptops sat Alex Night and Aquila Felis.
All the rest stayed hidden on the outside. It was time. Kallista could smell them coming. Remnents. The smell of rotting souls getting stronger by the moment. Kallista sent a bit of magic in the earth by taping her foot. The magic was connected to each of her colleges and used to signal them. The Remnents were here! Then, the front doors opened with a ring. Two Remnets walked in wearing the bodies of what used to be a middle aged couple.
"Oooohhh. Fresh meat!" One said softly as it eyed Skylara and Skyril. "Perfect for Dusk."
"Quiet you fool!" The other one hissed in a whisper. "Mustn't alarm anyone....at least not yet!"
The two Remnents laughed nastily under their breaths as they looked around.
"Well, this whole place is perfect for Dusk!" The first one sneered.
"Who cares about Dusk! Let's ditch these bodies and get a couple of those!" It pointed at Nicolette and Evangeline.
"Ewwww!" Evangeline spat in disgust, standing to her feet. "As if I'd let you near my body!"
She drew her sword.
Nicolette sighed and shook her bent head as Evangeline rushed the ambush.
"What is this!" The first Remnent cried out in surprise.
"It's an ambush, you idiot!" The other one screamed. "Let's get out of here!"
Suddenly the front window shattered in a million pieces! Two muscle bound men leaped through with ease, landing with power in the center of the room sending shock waves throughout. Freaked out, the Remnents looked from the two grinning men to the roomful of occupants, all of them carrying weapons. Calmly from behind Necros and Lillivale stepped Bridget, Sarthacus, Florence, Dragona, and Jodi Harte.
"So," Necros said happily. "Now that we are all here, do ya wanna play?"