Going Under Ch, 24 Devil's Gambit, a short story by HarrySaintcrow. Date added: 2011-06-07. Times viewed: 1921.
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- Intro: Given tim's recent actions, Victor Mathis forces Lance to HUnt down Tim and bring Ricters body back. With Holly also on the trail all eyes are on Tim's next move.
Audrey and Everado were already at Lance’s side by the time he finally stood. His shoulders gave away the tension he held at bay and before long he let his rage out on one of the pillars dotting the hallway. He pounded the stone for five minutes until large chunks fell from the structure and his knuckles were bleeding from the rough stone under the seal.
“I see I am not the only one in a rage over timothy’s actions.” Victor said. His sudden appearance made both Everado and Audrey jump but lance was still facing the pillar.
“Fuck off, Mathis.” Lance said.
“I have a new assignment for you.” The Mathis said without any indication he had heard lance. He turned from the stone to look him in the eye before he spoke.
“I’m not hunting Tim down for you.” He said.
“I believe we should talk about this first.” Victor said. “There are private quarters in the upper balconies, we should adjourn to them.”
“I’m not going anywhere with you.” Lance said.
“I’m afraid I must insist.” Victor said. With a wave of his hand, three hunters came up from around the corner. There guns were not aimed but there hands were in place nonetheless.
“You know I can take these guys out just as easily as Tim did.” Lance said.
“Of course, but can they?” Victor asked indicating Audrey and Everado. Lance only took a second to make up his mind then.
“Fine, let’s talk.” He said and he pushed past the hunters towards the hallway with Audrey and Everado close behind him.
The quarters were set down another hallway leading up a flight of stairs ending at a large door. The door was a deep mahogany wood with brushed gold fittings holding it in place. Victor had disappeared and one of the hunters had taken the lead while the others followed behind them. He reached the door first and opened it for them. The three of them walked in while the hunters remained outside behind the closed door. The room itself was a large room with a heavy table of mahogany in the center with a chair at either end and five chairs on either side. One of the walls was completely transparent and looked out over the arena and the stands below that. The rest of the room followed the same color scheme of gold and mahogany mixed with touches of rich leather. Jonathan Abernathy was standing next to the head chair away from the door. He was leaning over the table and the look on his face was one of anger and frustration. His wife was sitting in the chair to his right side. She was sitting comfortably and seemed neither the worse for ware out of the two. The look on her face was almost of boredom. Victor appeared behind them a moment later and went to stand on the other side of the table.
“Good, now that we are here. We can proceed.” Victor said.
“And exactly what is your plan for retrieving my son?” Jonathan asked in a spiteful tone.
“I have brought one of the best hunter’s we have to track him down and retrieve Richter’s body.”
“That’s not good enough. I want retribution. I want him to suffer for what he’s done.” Jonathan said.
“I think that’s already happened. Your boy already saw to that.” Lance said.
“You will hold your tongue in the presence of your betters unless you are spoken too, boy.” Jonathan said as if noticing him for the first time.
“I’d like to see you come and make me asshole.” Lance said. Jonathan was already on the move as he came walking around the table and was stopped only by his wife grabbing the sleeve of his jacket.
“We do not have time for these squabbles beloved.” Her voice was thick with excess and spoke volumes of what she could do behind closed doors. Jonathan seemed to calm himself and went back to where he was standing.
“Fine and how would you be able to find Rayne?” Jonathan asked in a practiced manner akin to a business man.
“I don’t” Lance said and the apparent surprise on Jonathan’s face made it apparent this was not what he had expected. “I won’t because I will not hunt down my best friend for someone who I believe got exactly what he deserved.”
“You’re the only one who can right now. All other hunters are around the world on other tasks. I would prefer to send Keselbrock but I have him on something more important.” Mathis said.
“Keselbrock couldn’t track Tim even if you sent him.” Lance said.
“It’s not hard to search a scorched valley.” Mathis said.
If Tim and Lance were the Covenants hidden threat then Keselbrock was there public threat. The general of all witch hunters was a man of little patience when it came to matters of collateral damage or mortal lives. He wouldn’t hesitate to level any town in his way to get to his target and then there wasn’t much he wouldn’t do to kill it.
“That man’s a slaughter waiting to happen. You put him against Tim in the state of mind he’s in; you might have an incident big enough that you won’t be able to hide it.” Lance said.
“Hence why you are going.” Mathis said.
“I told you I’m not playing your fuckin game.” Lance said. He turned to walk away when Victor caught his attention.
“Walk out that door and I will consider you rogue as well.” Mathis said. Lance turned slowly and the anger he kept in check was ready to explode. The windows of the room were beginning to bow from an unseen pressure and his fists were clenched tight enough to draw blood from where his nails dug in.
“You want to run that by me again?” Lance said with a voice barely concealing his anger.
“You’ve done quite a few things that could have you executed a hundred times over. You refuse to hunt timothy down and I will release your record and have you executed where you stand and rest assure; I won’t make the same mistake I’ve made with Rayne.” Mathis said.
“Then if I do this, you will clear my record.” Lance said.
“You’re not in a position to bargain.” Mathis said.
“Fuck you old man, either you clear my record for bringing him in or you can try and kill me now.” He said. Victor gave the ultimatum a moment of thought before he spoke again.
“Agreed; you will bring Timothy Rayne in to face our justice.” Mathis said.
“What about Richter?” Lance asked.
“What Rayne has taken is only a shell; A body with no soul. It’s alive but there is no one inside. We need him brought back alive so we can work on replacing his soul.” Mathis said.
“Will he be the same when it’s replaced?” Jonathan asked after being silent for so long.
“There is no real way to know for sure. This hasn’t happened in over two hundred years that we know of.” Victor said.
“This is unacceptable. If I can’t have my son back the way he was then I want Rayne’s head on a plate.” Jonathan said.
“That can be arranged.” Victor said.
Before anyone could say anything the doors opened again. Two people were standing in the entry way, one a hunter, and draped leaning on him with an arm across his shoulders was Holly. She limped along side the hunter as they walked in and he placed her in one of the side chairs. Blood was drying from numerous cuts she had and her torn shirt revealed the bruised abdomen from the shotgun blast.
“I want another shot at Rayne.” She said.
“You’re to return to headquarters for reassignment.” Victor said.
“But I can take him. I made the mistake of thinking I could talk him down, I won’t make it a second time.” She said.
“I doubt truthfully that you could live through another assault from timothy. You’re barely able to stand let alone fight.” Victor said.
“I can fight him. Let me have another chance, it’s all I need.” She pleaded. Victor seemed to survey her for a moment before he nodded his head.
“Fine, take a squad with you and take him down, bring Richter back alive.” Victor said. Holly almost leapt from the chair but she winced in pain from the bruising in her abdomen and Audrey could guess other places as well. She limped out of the room and the doors closed behind her.
“She’s going to get hurt or worse, you know that.” Lance said.
“At the most she’ll do your job for you; at the least she’ll flush Rayne out where you can find him.” Victor said.
“At the expense of the people around the area; What if he goes home? What about the people living there? They could wind up fighting in the center of town.” Lance said.
“There are a lot of kids living there too.” Audrey chimed in.
“Not to mention the people that have lived there for a while.” Everado said.
“The lives of a few mortals are none of our concern.” Jonathan said.
“They damn well better be. These are people’s lives we’re dealing with.” Audrey said.
“I would suggest you keep your dog on its leash Gearson before something happens to her.” Jonathan said. Lance slammed his fists into the wooden table and a crack split it half. The windows exploded outward as Lance’s eyes became a deep watery blue.
“Shut your mouth or I’ll make you drown in your blood.” Lance said through gritted teeth. Jonathan said nothing as he had taken a step back from the broken table. His face was a mask hiding his emotions but beneath it all, lance could sense the fear. It was faint, but it was there. “We’re leaving.” Audrey said as she grabbed Lance’s arm. It was almost a physical effort to keep from shivering because she could feel his power rolling off of him in pulsing waves. Her skin felt like thousands of needle points were lightly poking her off and on. She pulled slightly harder before lance finally submitted and followed her lead. Everado followed behind but he maintained a slight distance. He couldn’t feel anything but he knew Lance could take a turn for the worse at any moment. Amanda had gotten up from her seat when the table split and she now stood beside her husband with the same slightly amused look on her face. Call it woman’s intuition, but Audrey got the feeling that Amanda held the real power of the couple. She remained cool and even offered a slight wave as they left the room.
The hunters guarding the door were no where to be found as they left, probably gone with Holly. Lance had now come back into himself and was walking at a pace that both Audrey and Everado had to jog slightly to keep up with him.
“So what’s the plan?” Everado asked. His tone spoke volumes now. The time for jokes had passed now; it was time to get down to business.
“Get on the phone, call Kira and make sure she’s alright.” Lance said. “That’ll most likely be his first move. He’ll want to get her with him to avoid anyone using her against him.”
“Makes sense.” Everado said.
“Do you really think Holly would do that?” Audrey asked.
“Not unless she didn’t have a better option, and given her condition and the amount of men she’s got, it’ll be on her short list.” Lance said.
“Okay, we pick up Kira then what?” Audrey asked.
“I head to the house and suit up.” Lance said.
“Do you really think you’ll have to fight him?” Audrey asked. Everado hung up his phone and clicked it shut.
“No answer from the number and the night desk isn’t answering.” He said. Lance glanced at Audrey before he said anything.
“Right now, I don’t think it’s a thought. I’m pretty sure it’s going to be a reality.” Lance said and then he glanced back at Everado. “Looks like you just might get your wish after all.”
Sleep had come to her fast but the dream like world she always seemed to find her self in had come when she had least expected it. She awoke on the soft grass in front of the tree stump/throne that centered this world. The first thing she felt was the cool air blowing across her skin and she looked to see that it was daylight this time, but dark gray cloud were beginning to roll in and the sound of thunder could be heard far in the distance. The trees swayed slightly in the wind as she surveyed her surrounding and climbed back up into the throne.
“Nice to see the sun now.” Loreana said. She stood a little ways away wearing the same dress as last time.
“Guess it means I’m doing better.” Kira said.
“I doubt that very much, hon.” Loreana said. She walked over to Kira and offered her a hand. “I’m afraid we are running out of time and we must proceed faster than usual.”
“Time? Time for what?” Kira asked.
“Come with me and I will explain as best I can.” She said. Kira took her hand and that same feeling of strength rushed through her arm into her. The shakiness she had been feeling vanished almost immediately.
“You got to teach me that trick.” She said. Loreana smiled as she spoke.
“I’m sure you will learn it and a great deal many more things soon enough.” They continued to walk now down the slight slope of the clearing and towards the line of trees.
“Where are we going?” Kira asked.
“Into the darkness. You are a very bright spirited person, but I’m afraid you have tied yourself to someone who is more at home in the darkness.” Loreana said.
“What happened to you?” Kira asked. Loreana looked at her with a puzzled look and Kira remembered that this was not the actual Loreana Rayne, only a guide using a memory of her. “I mean, what happened to the actual Loreana?”
“Ah, you want to know the circumstances regarding your mates’ conception.” She said. The trees had somehow formed another limb covered path and they were now walking towards the oncoming storm.
“Yes. Why do most witches call him a half breed?” she asked.
“Because supposedly Loreana Rayne was raped by a demon she summoned to this earth. Nine months later, Timothy was born.” They continued walking down the path as the clouds grew darker the further they walked.
“So what does that mean for us?” Kira asked.
“Honestly child, I don’t know; only time will tell.” She said. They finally stopped in front of a door set into a wall of rain washed rock. The door was heavy black iron with silver studs adorning the edges. “Through this door lies your mate’s soul. The knob is missing because he cannot open it to you just yet. Be ready when the time comes because it will be brief. Take care Kira Rayne, I fear we will never see each other again.” Loreana said.
“Wait, how will I know the time?” she asked but the vision began to fade. She felt something jerk through her like a rope being pulled and the world rushed away from her until darkness engulfed her.
She awoke to a darkened room and the moon showing through her window. The heart monitor had been turned off so the room was deathly quiet. She moved off of the bed and tightness crept through her stomach, like the feeling that something wasn’t right or something was coming. She rubbed her stomach near her mark and the room vanished instantly. She was now in a large study, Tim’s desk was before her and the gold box in his drawer was open. A scroll from the inside was unraveled on the desk along with his notes on the text. It was like looking through his eyes but he moved on his own, she was seeing what he was seeing right at this moment. She could sense his unease, his anger, and now a sense of something cold brought to the surface now. She could feel his mind working through some kind of problem but the actual problem was beyond her reach. Tim moved and looked to the door as if sensing someone there. She could hear everything going on in the room and heard him call her name. Then a flash of light and she felt herself driven out.
She was sitting on the bed now with a headache building. She rubbed her temples for a moment wondering what had just happened. She rubbed the mark but now nothing happened. She didn’t know how he was doing it or how she knew, but she knew that he was shutting her out now. She hadn’t even known how she had done it in the first place. She wanted to call him but the sound of arguing from the other side of the door brought her back to the here and now. She walked to the door but listened through it instead. One of the voices she could tell was the doctor that had seen to her wounds but another voice, a woman’s, was talking now as well.
“I’m sorry I can’t explain this matter with you but this woman is leaving with us, one way or another.” The woman said.
“And I don’t care. Until I see some kind of warrant she’s going nowhere; besides her wounds are too extensive for her to be going anywhere right now.” The doctor said. That made Kira think of her back now. She went to the bathroom and flicked the light on. Instantly the room was flooded with bright light and she undid her gown and turned to look at her back in the mirror. Now she understood just what the guide had meant. Her wounds were completely sealed now and only pink scars were running along her back with a few of the smaller cuts she had had missing now. Whatever happening, she knew she had to get to Tim and fast. Whatever this woman wanted it didn’t sound good and she didn’t want to go with her. First thing was first though, she needed to get dressed then she’d figure out how to get lost.
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