The stranger stood with his back to him. There was a woman sitting at the computer, and he was resting one hand on her shoulder, while leaning over and point at something on the screen. Even standing as he was, it was clear that he was a big man. Well over six feet and broad-shouldered and wearing fitted black jeans and t-shirt. It would be a brave soul that would mess with him.
Hector, coughed. The stranger looked around. Seeing Hector he grinned. He came over and the two men hugged. Hitting each other on the back as they did so.
“Hector you old bastard! “
“That’s enough of the Sir thank you, My Prince.”
Hector laughed. “Touche.”
Alex nodded toward the factory. “ You’ve got quite an operation going here.”
“It’s building nicely. Yes. But, we won’t know how well until we’re put to the test.”
“There are rumours that you’re preparing for war.”
“That’s hardly news. Ever since that arse of a brother of mine killed my other brother, we’ve all been at war, one way or another.”
“True. This is different though. This feels, seems more, I don’t know, determined. Like everything before now was just practice for the real thing.”
“You could be right there.”
“What’s changed? Why the sudden ramp up. I haven’t seen you this committed and ready for action since the raid. I had almost thought you had abandoned us, and had decided to see out your days tucked away as a hermit.”
“It’s not so much what has changed? But rather who.”
“She. He found her hideout.”
Alex was temporarily stunned. But he quickly regained his composure.
“So, then we really are headed for a mighty battle.”
“I’m hoping we can avoid that as much as possible.”
“When did you become so naive? You know it’s going to be long, and bloody and brutal. Your brother isn’t just going to give up power because we ask him nicely.”
“I know, I know.”
“I do have one question for you H.”
“Hmm. What’s that?”
“Why the hell didn’t you get me involved before now?” The two men laughed.
“Come I’ll show you around the factory.”
“Lead the way, my liege.” Alex bowed, with a sweeping gesture of his arm. Hector gave his friend a filthy look before leading him on a tour.
The two girls half ran and half skipped through the corridors of the old factory, to one of the back rooms. Only a handful of rooms were used by the gathering rebel army and the refugees from Mae’s home town. The rest was largely empty, and disused. However, here and there, evidence of its former life could be seen. Mae and Amity often came here.
Along the way, Hector’s old dog, Missy had found them and was tagging along for the adventure. Hector often joked that Mae had stolen his dog, the canine rarely far from her side. In fact, Mae was half intrigued to know where she had been. But she couldn’t think about that now. She had to concentrate on find her Mama.
They reached a heavy metal door. It was covered in rust, and difficult to open. It took both of them to get it to budge. Once they got through they were in a small paved area. It was dusk and the diminishing light made the surrounding forest appear like it was alive.
She sat in the middle of the concrete, with her legs crossed, and placed her hands on both her knees. Missy sat next to her while Amity stood back, watching her friend, torn between concern and excitement. Mae wasn’t one hundred percent certain what she was about to do would work. But she had learned enough about her power now to start to understand it, and she felt confident that she knew enough to begin to experiment.
Mae had found that music was more than just sound to her. She was learning that all her senses came to play. She could see music, feel it, taste it and smell it. Her instinct told her that tuning into her different senses was the key to gaining control of her power. Her plan was to use her power to reach out and find her mother. She reasoned that if imagining the light of a candle, and feeling its warmth, could blow up a room, tapping into some other sense would work for this too.
She had decided to focus on smell. Her mother always wore a light, lavender perfume. She concentrated on the memory of the fragrance, and began to sing. She immediately felt safe, warm and loved. She pushed at the memory with her mind, stretching it and making it grow. She could feel it doubling, and tripling in size. Pretty soon it had grown so that she could feel it stretch over the metropolis of Belbarbiton like a blanket. But, it didn’t stop there, it kept growing. Eventually, she felt she had reached a place that felt both strange and familiar all at once. She realised she had reached the Capital, the place she was born.
She started to pay more attention to small details, logic told her she would be here. She felt the impression of a grand, powerful building. The palace. She knew she was close. She made one last push with her mind, lifting her voice to a crescendo. All at once, her mind locked with her mother’s mind. She knew immediately that it was her. The surprise made her lose concentration, and she lost the connection. She opened her eyes to find herself back outside the factory. She was exhausted, but elated. Her first spell had worked. Plus, she now knew her mother was alive. With practice she would be able to make more lasting contact, and maybe even work out how to rescue her.
But right now she needed rest. Not caring where she was at the moment, she lay down and slept. Her two faithful companions, one human and one canine, stood century over her.
Meanwhile, in the nearby forest, two unseen eyes watched.