Alistair walked into the bar.
He stood there for what seemed like weeks. Time had slowed down. He surveyed the front bar. Despite the dark, the power that was contained in the room was so intense that he was able to see all around him with perfect clarity. He could see that the patrons of the bar were still milling around, confused. Many of the tables had been overturned.
He closed his eyes. He breathed in deeply. The power filled his lungs and spread through his body. He had never felt so powerful. He felt like he could do anything. The feeling was unbelievable. He opened his eyes, and looked back around he spotted the lamps hanging from the ceiling.
He focused, and began humming under his breath. I soft, lilting tune. Slowly, one by one, each lamp came to life. They emanated a soft, muted light. But it was enough to transform the room, and allow everyone else to see. The patrons of the bar stopped wherever they were standing. Slowly, one by one they turned toward.
Seeing the Prince Regent standing before them, with a violet glow surrounding him, the people one by one bowed down in front of him. On any other occasion, seeing such a spontaneous display of devotion toward him would have been pleasing. But, as he surveyed the crowd and saw that she wasn’t there, his frustration grew. He was so close, he knew it. He could feel it. But, where?
While the power had drawn him here, and shown him where she was within the city, now it was so intense and filled the space so completely he could no longer use it to find her.
Beatrice and Melusina moved quickly down the footpath. They had to move carefully though. With all the street lights out, people were wandering aimlessly everywhere they went. Also, the traffic lights were off all over the city, and the ever present traffic had turned into a free for all. Horns were sounding everywhere in a cacophony of noise and impatience. People were shouting. In some places, people had got out of their cars to remonstrate over who had right of way.
As they moved through the throng, the women were drawn forward by the feeling of power. It was like a long thread had come and wrapped around them and was now pulling them. Eventually, they found themselves outside The Local Tavern. They were about to enter, when they saw a H.O.R.S.E. coming toward them. Despite the chaos elsewhere, the H.O.R.S.E. was moving unhindered, everything and everyone seemed to miraculously move out of its path.
The H.O.R.S.E. could only have belonged to one person. Melusina, whose face had already lost all its colour now turned grey. Thinking quickly she grabbed Beatrice by the arm and started pulling her toward an alley that ran down the side of the building.
“Quick, that’s him. Hide.”
Beatrice tried to pull back toward the door.
“We need to stop him. If she’s in there, we can’t let he get to her.”
“We will. Just…just not here. We’re no match for him, you know that. We aren’t any good to her dead.”
“I know…but,” Beatrice knew that Melusina was right. At the Institute, Alistair had always been the most powerful and the most skilled. Even Melusina, whose rank as Crone marked her as being enormously powerful in her own right, was never a match for him; and she, Beatrice had only the faintest hint of ability.
Her daughter was in there. She might be powerful, it seemed she may be the most powerful Songstress in an age. But, she was untrained, making her virtually helpless before her uncle. If she needed to give her life to enable her to escape, she was prepared to do it. She knew though, that they needed to bide their time and wait for the right opportunity. They may only get one.
So she stopped struggling. The two women lent against the wall, where the could see but remain unseen. They watched the H.O.R.S.E. pull up in front of the tavern, and held their breath. Two men got out of the car. Alistair and his man. The servant spoke to him, but they saw Alistair shake his head. The man stood back, as Alistair entered the bar. Then he returned to the H.O.R.S.E. getting into the driver’s seat. He appeared to have a clear view of the door. They wouldn’t get in that way.
I was pitch black in the alley, however they could just make out the frosted glass windows. They stretched up, and peered through the glass. The room was cast in shadow, they could see assorted figures and forms moving about, but then they looked toward the door. Rather than being cloaked in the gloom that enveloped the room, he stood glowing violet. He stood not moving, just breathing in and out, the glow surrounding him intensifying with each breath. Finally, he turned and began to hum. The women could hear the song through the glass. As the lights came on, they watched as the people in the pub bowed before their master. This wasn’t good. At the back of their mind, they had thought they might call on the assistance of the bar patrons in their struggle. This tavern was known to be frequented by loyal members of the resistance. But, clearly these people had fallen under the man’s thrall.
Melusina reached out with her hand and put a finger to the glass. She let out a gasp, a zap of electricity sending out a spark. She fell backwards, landing on the collection of rubbish bins that were suddenly visible thanks to the light coming from the window. The noise caused by her fall seemed to be the loudest sound the women had ever heard. They held their breath. Waiting, not daring to move.
In the bar, Alistair was looking around trying to spot where the girl might have gone to hide, when he heard a gasp, a zap and a crash outside. His head whipped toward the window. From where he stood, he could see that the window looked out on an alley. He turned toward one of the bar patrons, a skinny, pimple faced young man. His face turned up toward him in supplication.
“Me? My Lord.” The youth bowed down even further, reaching out to kiss his feet.
“Yes, yes. Enough of that. Get up, get up.” The young man stood up. His eyes glittering.
“Go over and see who’s at the window.”
“You favour me My Lord.” The boy went to the window and looked out. “There’s two ladies. Wow! That one is hot!”
Alistair grabbed two other people,
“Yes, My Lord?” they said in unison.
“Go out and bring them in here.”
They left. He listened to the sounds of a struggle outside the window. Finally, though the door opened, and his two volunteers came in dragging the women with them. A gash on Beatrice’s forehead was beginning to bleed.
“Put them over there.” He pointed toward two chairs. Possibly the only chairs that had remained upright in the earlier commotion. “Secure them.”
Seemingly from nowhere, rope was produced. The people in the bar swarmed around the two women. When the crowd parted again, Beatrice and Melusina were tied to their respective chairs.
“Beatrice, I should have known you would be here. Meddling where no one wants you. Do you ever get tired of being in the way? And, Melusina,” he gave her a meaningful look, “I must say this is a surprise.”
He moved toward them and started walking around them.
“What to do, what to do?”
Then there was an explosion coming from behind the bar.