The Amethyst Song (Episode Seventeen)

Then there was an explosion coming from behind the bar. All eyes turned toward the sound. It seemed strange to see a door there. It was as though no one had ever noticed it before.

Without missing a moment, Alistair leapt forward and ran toward the door, almost ripping it off its hinges as he opened it. When he saw the passageway behind the door he screamed a string of expletives. The blast had shaken the passageway so that the walls had begun to crumble, and didn’t look like they would remain standing much longer. Several of the torches lay on the ground where they had fallen, the ones that remained had burnt out. But it didn’t matter, flames from the secret room were spilling out of the door at the end of the passageway. He knew she was gone.

To have been so close to his goal, and to be denied yet again, Alistair’s frustration had reached a new level he had never before experienced. But with Alistair, his anger was not one that manifested in a short burst of rage and fury. No his was a white hot, slow burning, seething anger, to those who didn’t know him, he would appear quite calm, even jovial, but those close to him knew that the when he got very, very quiet it was probably best to be elsewhere.

He lifted his arm and spoke into his wrist band, a bronze and onyx contraption that was the latest gizmo from HLC.

“Get in here,now!” He hissed. He had barely completed the last word when his faithful manservant appeared at his side. Alistair turned and faced the two women, still tied to their chairs. He smiled, a tight, toothless smile.

“Henderson. We seem to have encountered a minor problem.”

“Yes, m’lord?”

“The girl has slipped through my fingers it seems. But I think we might find a way to get her to come to us.”


“Take these two,” he nodded in the direction of the women, “have them sent to the capital. Install them in one of the special guest rooms at the palace.”

“Yes, m’lord. Consider it done.” Henderson began barking orders into his own wristband.

“Oh and Henderson?”

“Yes, m’lord?”

“I think we need to locate my son. I think it’s time we met.”
“It shall be done.”

“That is all. You’re dismissed.”

Melissina’s face had turned grey at the mention of their son. Beatrice noticed her reaction, gradually the realisation of what that meant came to her. She had considered the woman’s behaviour tonight odd, but now she understood. She turned to the woman and smiled a half smile, trying to let the woman know that she empathised with her situation. Melissina nodded and tried to hold back tears.

The next thing armed Guards crashed through the door. Henderson came in behind them. He pointed at the two women, “There you are lads.”

The women were quickly surrounded. When the ropes were cut, they attempted to struggle free, but there were to many, and they were too strong. One of the brutes gave Beatrice a swipe with the back of his hand. The force made her teeth chatter. She wasn’t entirely sure that her jaw wasn’t broken.

The Guards manhandled her out the door, where a prison E.L.E.P.H.A.N.T. was waiting. One of the Guards opened the back door, while the others roughly, shoved them inside. Melissina hit her head on the top edge, leaving a deep cut across her forehead. They were then pushed down on a bench on either side, facing each other, their hands attached to shackles connected to the wall.

Finally, one of the Guards climbed in and sat in a seat behind the driver. He was the biggest of the Guards, with big strong arms and a mean look in his eyes. He faced the back door, and carried a metal club. The women were in no doubt that he would prepared to use it.

The back door was closed, and the sound of the bolt being fastened echoed through their enclosed space with a clank. There was a final thump on the back of the truck. The vehicle lurched back, and then forward causing the women, who despite their shackles were not adequately secured, to be buffeted around in their seats.

Out on the street, Alistair watched the E.L.E.P.H.A.N.T. drive off. A sneer spread across his face. Despite his disappointment at losing the girl, this wasn’t a bad substitute. Henderson stood beside him. Silent. He knew better than to utter a word.

After several moments reflection, Alistair took a deep breath and shook himself. He had things to attend to. Time enough later to enjoy this unexpected pleasure. He turned on his heel and reentered the pub. The spell he had cast earlier hadn’t worn off yet. They were all still under his thrall.

“You lot.” He swept his arm across the room. ‘Go and put that fire out.”
It occurred to him that this was twice now that the girl had left fire in her wake. He couldn’t wait to finally meet her.

Broadening the mind…one step at a time

“Travel broadens the mind.” A well worn idiom that is so over used as to be meaningless. That said nothing could be more true, that is of course if you do it right. Maybe I’m a bit of a snob, but to me going from airport to hotel to tour bus on repeat, with a few photos in front of some famous landmarks is NOT travel. Travel is about immersing in a place and experiencing something new and different from your everyday life. With the right attitude, a trip to the supermarket can qualify if you take the time to slow down, open your eyes and ears, and take notice of what’s going on around you.

But, of course, for most of us, our day-to-day lives are too busy to have time for that kind of indulgence. We need to remove our selves from our lives, even if only temporarily. When we travel, we use all of our senses to the full, it’s tiring but also exhilarating. This is why we are alive.

Followers of my Instagram account (@bookblog76) will have seen pictures taken on my most recent overseas adventure. My intention was to try and convey, through a visual medium, a feel for what I was experiencing. For me, while the usual sights in those places were wonderful, it was more the small details that I loved the most.

The fact is every time I travel all it does is remind me how great the world really is, and how much there is to experience. I’ve been home a couple of weeks now, and already the cogs have started turning planning the next great leap into the unknown. At the same time though, it’s important focus on the here and now. With my senses still open and engaged it is a chance to notice the small, but wonderful things that I take for granted.

I know from experience that this feeling won’t last long. All too soon, the real world will take over and I will be back to being fully immersed in the mundane and the underwhelming. So if you don’t mind, I’m just going to got out into the world for a bit longer, while I can still see it.

The Amethyst Song (Episode Sixteen)

“Hector!” Mae ran forward and hugged the strange man she had met only a few days ago. But, she felt like he was a long lost friend.

“What are you doing here?”

Hector motioned toward an empty chair. “Sit.” He looked toward Amity. “You did good girl.” She beamed at him. He turned back to Mae. “Are you alright? That was quite a show you put on up there.”

“Me? What did I do?”

“The power going out. That was you. You didn’t know?”

“Know what?”

“About the song. You have the power. Didn’t your mother tell you that either?” he paused and looked at her. “Judging by the look on your face, no she didn’t.” He started mumbling under his breath, “Oh Bea.”

He looked around the room, paying particular attention to the door they had just come through.

“Amity. Go stand by the door. Listen and warn us if someone’s coming.”

“Okay boss.” She gave him a mocking salute and grinned. She then went to the door, arms followed and ear to the board.

“Okay Mae. We probably don’t have a lot of time before we need to move; your performance up there will have drawn attention. For all we know the whole goddamn Royal Guard are on there way here.” He took in her startled expression, and placed his hand gently on top of hers. “Don’t worry, it’s nothing we can’t handle. We needed a bit of excitement around here. Heh heh.”

He lent back in his chair. “As I say we don’t have much time, but I think you’ve been kept in the dark long enough. “

Mae’s face started turned resolute, she looked directly at him. “I’m sure I have. Will you finally tell me what the hell is going on.”

“Ok. Do you remember what I told you about the Amethyst Song?”

“Sure. It’s some kind of amulet. Right? A family heirloom belonging to my…my real father.”

“Yes. That’s right. But it’s more than that. The amulet is just a physical embodiment of the great power that is the Amethyst Song. The Song is power, a great energy the connects everything with everything else. Most people have a small amount, but for some that power manifests in the ability to manipulate the world around them.”

“Manipulate the world around them? What like magic?”

“Kind of like magic. But the word magic implies tricks and other such nonsense. The Song isn’t for side shows and carnivals. As I said it is about energy. The energy of life in fact.”

He checked that Mae was following along.

“Anyway as I said most people have it. But for some, the power is so strong that it gives them various…abilities. I know I’m not explaining this very well, there are others who know more about it that can explain it better. As it happens those with Langston blood, are particularly connected and attuned  to the gift.

You remember I told you about your grandparents, Theodore and Evelynne. Well, Evelynne, being a Langston was a particularly gifted practitioner of the Song; and she passed on the gift to her sons. Your father was quite adept with the Song, but your mother, Clarissa who was also a Langston was exceptional. It is a curious aspect of the Amethyst Song that it is particularly strong in the female line.

This is where you come into it.”

Mae was looking at him, wide eyed.

“As the daughter and granddaughter of too remarkably gifted women, you were always destined to have great power. Add in your father, and the fact that you are the heir to the throne, I should imagine that your power will be extraordinary. I wouldn’t be surprised if you were the most  powerful woman for centuries.”

“So, you’re like saying she has like superpowers.” Amity piped up from her sentry post.

“In a manner of speaking, I suppose so.”

“Wow! That’s like really cool. Way to go sister.” Amity nodded in Mae’s direction. For her own part, Mae who was still been getting used to the idea that she was in fact a princess in hiding, found the idea that she had some kind of magical powers to be absurd.

“OK. So I have powers. What does that mean?”

“It means that you are special. But it also means that you are in some danger. There are people, your  uncle for example, who don’t like the idea that someone else is more powerful than they are. You are only just starting to get your power I gather, but from what we just witnessed you’re going to be huge.”

“What you just witnessed? But I didn’t do anything.”

He raised an eyebrow. “Really? You think so. Did you sing something?”

“Sing something?”

He turned to Amity, “Did she?”

“Only like karaoke.”

“No wonder the whole place went out. You do not need a microphone or amplification.”

“What are you talking about?”

“You haven’t worked it out yet. I thought you were brighter than that. The power is in music. When you sang you released the power. That’s what made the lights go out. It was a pretty strong blast, my guess is the whole city is probably out. It’s impressive. But it also means that you’re very easy to find right now, for anyone who is attuned to the Song.”

“Will that happen every time I sing something?”

“Every time? No, well eventually not every time. You need training, you’ll learn to control it. But for now, I would avoid singing in the shower if I were you.”

Amity started to stir near the door.

“Boss. I think I hear voices upstairs.”

Hector stood next to her. He closed his eyes and started to quietly hum. After a few minutes, he opened his eyes.

“He’s here. There are others too. It’s a bit muffled, the afterglow from your performance makes it hard to work out who they are. They could be friends, but we’re not taking that risk. It’s time to move.”

“Move? Move where?”

“We’re getting you out of here. Out of the city if we can.”

“But…um..what about Mama?”

“She’ll be fine. She’ll be glad you’re safe. Trust me.”

He turned to the two blonde giants, who had been silent the whole time.

“Claus! Lars! Grab the packs.”

The two men stood, they each had to bend slightly to stop from hitting their head on the ceiling. They went to the corner, and hoisted an enormous pack each, onto their back. Each pack was the size of a compact H.O.R.S.E. but the men carried them as though they weighed nothing.

Hector went to an old filing cabinet. It had a combination lock attached. He entered the combination. After a pause of a few second a clang and a click could be heard. Then the cabinet swung out, revealing a hidden passage. He motioned for everyone to pass through, he came through last, closing the door behind him.

Mae saw that on the wall next to it, there was a metal panel with two sets of hand prints. Hector stood next to it, and motioned for her to come over too.

“Okay. I’m going to need you to use your power for me.”

“What? I don’t think…I don’t know how.”

“It’s fine I’ll show you. Just your hands on the plate like this.” He put his hands against one set of hand prints. Mae did the same. Looking at him expectantly.

“Now, I want you to clear your mind of everything.Close your eyes if it helps.”

She closed her eyes, and concentrated on clearing her mind.

“Now picture a flame. Make it small, like you’ve lit a match.”

She followed his instructions. She could almost feel the heat from the flame in her mind.

“Now, I want you to hum, under your breath, the tune of Happy Birthday.”

The two of them started humming. After a few minutes there was an explosion on the other side of the wall. The wall shook with the intensity of it.

“Good girl. You’re a natural. I knew you would be.”

“What was that?”

“Just a little precaution we had set up just in case we need to leave quickly. It’s a bit of a shame, it was a cool hideout, but never mind. Let’s go.”

With that he turned and lead the group through the tunnel.