The Amethyst Song (Episode Twenty-One)

After what seemed like a decade, Mae woke from her slumber. She turned to see her two companions watching her closely, worried looks on their faces.

“I found her. She’s alive. Next time I know i’ll be able to say something.”

Amity shook her head, “Next time? This time almost killed you. Do you have any idea how long you’ve been out of it?”

Mae waved her hand at her friend, “I’m fine. I just need practice, that’s all. I’ll get better.” She tied to stand up, but her legs gave way, sending her back to the ground. She giggled. “A bit shaky, I guess.” Amity came over, the dog at her heels, and helped lift her up.

Mae looked at Amity, “I’m fine really. Just a couple of kinks to work out.”

“Mmm-hmmm…sure, kinks.” Amity didn’t look convinced, but she had worked out that there was no point arguing.

The three of them snuck back into the factory, and went back to the dormitory. When they got there it seemed like all the current inhabitants were crammed in there, all focusing their attention on one man who was holding court telling tall tales of adventures and impossible things. The man looked up and saw the two girls and the dog enter the room.

“ Aha! The star of our story!”

Everyone in the room turned to see who he was talking about. Mae and Amity both looked startled to suddenly find themselves the centre of all that attention. Missy surveyed the crowd warily, getting on her haunches ready to pounce.

The man stepped forward and took Mae’s hand, bowed over and kissed it.

“M’lady, “ he said with a sweeping gesture, playing up for the benefit of the crowd.

Mae, who was still pale after her recent exertions, added confusion to her look of surprise. The man started pulling her toward the centre where he had been entertaining the crowd. Her two bodyguards following close behind, watching the man with suspicion.

Once they reached the centre of the room, the man turned to the gathered masses and gestured toward the young girl.

“Ladies and gentlemen, may I present, the rightful Queen of Gildamoor. Your Majesty,” he bowed before her, again swept his arm out in a flourish. The was a murmur of voices throughout the room, then all of a sudden every man, woman and child was bent over at the waist, or dipped into a curtsey. The only ones left standing upright were Mae, Amity and the dog.

Turning red, Mae started gesturing at the man, and everyone around the room, trying to get them to stand up.

“Get up. Get up. Stop that. All of you.”

Finally everyone was back up, and staring at her with rapt attention.

She turned to the man, “Who are you? What do you think you’re doing?”

“I might ask the same question.” Hector was standing in the doorway now.

His normally pale, blue eyes were shining a deep, dark blue. The scars on his battered face seemed to be glowing.

“Alex! What the hell are you doing?” He stomped through the crowd toward the group in the centre.

Sir Alex took in his old friend, a bemused smirk on his face.

“You always were one to overreact to things. It’s a family trait I guess.”

Mae looked at them both, then back at Alex, “I’ll ask again who are you?”

“This is Sir Alex Mendelson. He was one of your father’s chief advisers and closest friends.” Hector looked like he was about to tear the man’s head off.

“What does that mean?”

“It means, Your Majesty, that I was your father’s most trusted aid in all things political. You could say that I ran the country for him.”

“Alex,” Hector was talking through gritted teeth now, and gesturing toward the crowd, “we need to talk in private. NOW!”

“Oh Hector!” Alex said. “Plenty of time for that. I just figured it was time these fine people knew why they were about to go to war.”

The crowd, who had been watching the whole exchange in rapt silence, suddenly started to rumble. “War?” “What does he mean?” “What did he say?”

Hector looked around at the crowd.

“What the hell do you think your doing?”

“I’m getting things started Hector old boy. You’ve spent too much time tip toeing and pussy footing around. It’s time for action. The girl is of age, it’s time that we got that brother of yours out of her chair. These people are just the ones to get it done. Am I right?” Alex addressed this last question to the crowd. The murmuring through grew louder.

“People,” it was clear Alex was in his element. “People, it’s time! You are all here because the pretender to the throne, Alistair burnt your village to the ground, destroying your homes, your livelihoods and your lives. Across this country, in towns, villages and cities just like yours he continues to inflict his cruelty. You are not the first to suffer from his wrath. But, if we rise up and fight we can make sure that no one else suffers the way you suffer.”

The noise had subdued, people were listening. Even Hector seemed to have cooled down, and seemed resigned. He looked on at his niece with a thoughtful, and slightly down-hearted.

“Ladies and gentlemen. This girl, who you have seen grow up in your community, who you all knew as a child, she is the hope, she is our future. She is the true heir of one of the greatest dynasties this land has seen. Her Mother and Father, King Frederick and Queen Clarissa were guardians of our country, whose union brought peace, harmony and prosperity to all. Since their deaths in a violent uprising eighteen years ago, the regent Alistair has brought misery and despair. He has ordered and overseen the destruction and torture of any who oppose him. He has ruled with an iron fist.

Amongst your number, there are those who have worked in secret, preparing for the day we would take out country back. Who know the truth. People who have not listened to the lies spread by his puppet press or been swayed by the lure of power and fortune that he has bestowed on a mere handful.

Alistair is a traitor to this country. He orchestrated the palace coup that lead to the death of his brother, and we have reason to believe that he killed his brother and sister-in-law with his own hand.

He needs the Amethyst Song to confirm him as King, but the Song is more powerful than the wishes of any mere man. It knows and sees all. It will only acknowledge the true heir when they sit on the throne. Without the Amethyst Song no coronation can go ahead, and so long as the heir is living he can not make any claim. Thanks to the good lady Beatrice, the woman you all know as Bea, she ensured that the King and Queens infant daughter- born that fateful night was kept safe and hidden so that her uncle could bring her no harm.

But, now, the child has grown into this fine woman you see before you. She is destined to be the greatest Queen this land has ever seen, surpassing even her parents and grandparents. Her reign will bring in a golden age for us all. But, first we need to help her. We need to rise up, remove the imposture and lift her onto her rightful place on the throne.

It won’t be easy. Alistair won’t go without a fight, and he will fight dirty. Many of you will not live to see the end. But, all of us need to forget about ourselves and stand strong to ensure a better future for our children and our children’s children. We need to do this because it’s right!

Who’s with me?”

The crowd stayed silent. Stunned.

“I said. Who’s with me?” First one, then two then everyone in the room started cheering, and clapping. “I’m in. “We’re in.” “What can we do?’

Alex turned toward Mae,

“My Queen, it’s time for you to address your people.”

Mae went pale, looking out at the crowd.

“No wonder your Dad put him in charge, “ Amity muttered under her breath.

Mae, stepped forward,

“Um, friends, um, all of you, um, I don’t know what to say.” She looked at her friend, then her uncle who by now was just simply concerned. He just smiled at her and nodded.

“I am still coming to terms with all of this. I have know idea how to be a Queen, much less how to lead a revolution. All of you in this room I consider to be my true family. Talk of Kings and Queens and magic, these are all new and strange, it is all of you that are real for me. Knowing that because of me, you have all lost so much, gives me pain. But, if being Queen helps restore your lives in anyway, I will happily take up my place. I will be your Queen.”

The crowd broke into spontaneous applause. Yelling and cheering. A chime was heard in the air, and all of a sudden Mae began to glow a faint mauve. The light formed a halo around her head.

Awash with the glow of the Song, her mind opened of its own accord. She felt the love of the whole world in that instant. But then she heard a crash, and her mind was filled with a cry of pain. She recognised the cry, the cry was her mother.

She turned to her friend.

“I think I just found her again.”

 

The Amethyst Song (Episode Twenty)

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! “

“Sir Alex!”

“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.”

“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.

The Amethyst Song (Episode Nineteen)

Tobin was exhausted. He had just pulled a ten hour shift on the printing presses. They ran day and night now. His job was to collect the finished bundles and carry them to the loading dock, where someone, he didn’t know who, would take them who knew where. He was too tired to care. It had been six months since he and his mother, along with the rest of the town of Murpodompous, had come here seeking refuge. Some refuge, it seemed all they had done since they got here was work. He collapsed on the nearest bunk bed, ready to fall immediately to sleep, or he would have if he weren’t being kept awake by the conversation in the bunk above him.

“You can’t.” Amity whispered.

“Why can’t I?” Mae was lying on her back beside her friend.

Over the past six months the two had become inseparable, often found whispering in corners. Mae had been getting some limited instruction in how to use The Song from Hector, or rather Gordon. The novelty of having real, honest to god family around, instead of the fake, pretend family she had grown up with hadn’t worn off yet. She still couldn’t quite believe it. He was a good teacher, patient and kind. But, she sensed that they were already reaching the limits of what he could show her. He had admitted from the start that while he, like his brothers had inherited the gift, his skills and talent were limited. It was a rather cruel irony that the one person whose powers came close to her own, and who could have shown her how to use them, was also the person who wanted her dead.

“The Boss won’t like it.”

“Since when have YOU worried about what he said?” Mae sat up, looking down at Amity.

“Ok, then, I don’t like it. You could ruin everything.”

“Not if I’m careful.”

Amity gave her a look that told Mae exactly what she thought of that.

“I will! Besides I have to do something. She’s out there. Who knows where, and it’s all my fault. No one seems to care about finding her.”

“That’s not fair! Yow know that everyone is just as worried as you, but if we go blundering ahead, we could bring this whole thing on top of us. More than just your Ma could get killed.”

Mae sighed, “I know. You’re right, but I was such a bitch to her, and now…I just want to get her back. I hate to think what he’s doing to her. Just one little spell, just to check that she is still alive. How can that hurt?”

“Alright. I can see I’m not going to change your mind.” Amity sat up, swung her legs over the edge and jumped to the ground. “Come on! If your going to do it, let’s go.”

Mae smiled. “Coming.” She followed her friend jumping down with a thud. “ I think I know just the place to do it.”

The girls ran out of the dormitory.

Tobin lay on his back, thinking. He wondered what they were talking about. Ever since that strange man came to town, life had certainly become more interesting, even if a little confusing. What surprised him most, was that apparently, Mae the shy girl from the seamstress shop, was somehow important or something. He remembered her, a little, they had been in a few classes together at school. He had always thought she was pretty, but her mother was so protective, and let’s face it a little scary that he, and most of the other people his age mostly left her alone.

He had tried asking his mother about it. But, she had only really given him vague answers. He continued thinking about it until, finally, he drifted off to sleep.

Meanwhile, down in the loading dock a large E.L.E.P.H.A.N.T. was being unloaded. Hector was overseeing the delivery himself. Large metal crates were being stacked on a huge trolley, each stamped with DANGER in red letters on the side.

“Careful with those fellas.” Hector called out to the men moving the boxes around. “ You need to get all of those down to the basement. Come on I’ll show you.”

He lead the way toward a large, industrial lift. Once the doors opened the trolley was wheeled in. Hector turned to the console, he inserted a card, and typed in a code on the keypad. A panel opened with an additional button, saying BASEMENT. He pressed it. The doors closed and the lift began its journey.

When they reached the bottom, the doors opened and the trolleys were wheeled out. He lead them down a wide corridor. The floor of the corridor was covered in white linoleum, and the walls, were covered in white tiles from about half way up to the ceiling. Bright fluorescent lights shone above them making the area seem both incredibly bright, and slightly depressing all at once.

The passed a number of locked, reinforced doors until they reached the end of the corridor. There they found a great, big, solid, steel door. There was a metal plate in the wall beside it. Hector placed his hand on it and hummed. There was a click, and a clank and the massive, thick door swung open.

Hector indicate that the men with the trolley should wheel it in and stack the boxes on shelves that were inside. The men saw that the room was the size of an aircraft hanger, and filled with shelves, many already holding other similar boxes.

He watched silently, and the men fulfilled their instructions. He then followed the men back to the loading dock. He watched as they climbed into the E.L.E.P.H.A.N.T. and drove away. He was closing the roller door when a young girl, Prancine, came running over, clutching a piece of paper.

“Mr. I mean, sir, I mean..”

Hector held out his hand and took the paper. “For me? Thank you Prancine. You can run along now.”

“But, umm, they said you need to come now.”

“Yes. I gathered that. I’m on my way. Not to worry.” He smiled. Although it didn’t reach his eyes. It had been a long while since he had felt much like smiling, for real, in the past six months. The time spent with his niece was one of the few joys he had these days, and even that was overshadowed by worry. Worry for her. Worry for the mission. Worry for Bea. He tried to put on a brave face for everyone, especially Mae, but he knew his brother, and if she was still alive, he hated to think what he might be doing to her.

He looked at the piece of paper in his hand. COME TO THE CONTROL ROOM. URGENT MESSAGE.

He started making his way to the control room. One of their spies must have found out something important, they didn’t make contact otherwise. As he walked, his head filled with speculating about what the message might be, he passed Mae and Amity going the other way.

“Hi girls. Staying out of trouble?”

“Yes, Uncle.”

“Yes, Boss.”

The girls ran past, giggling. Hector shook his head. He was glad that mae had a friend, but he did worry about what they got up to when no one was watching. He sighed, he didn’t have time to worry about that now. He reached the control room, when he entered a stranger stood before him.

The Amethyst Song (Episode Eighteen)

Hector led the two girls through a series of tunnels. The tunnels were all lit by the same strange, purple torches as before. Mae tried to keep a sense of there direction, but lost it fairly soon. She could swear that at times they went in a circle. Occasionally the tunnel passed through the basement of one building or another. Hector was always careful to unlock and re-lock the passage doors as they moved through. They never saw anyone, the basements mainly filled with old boxes and discarded furniture. There was one wine cellar though, and Mae noticed with some bemusement that Hector helped himself to a couple of bottles. When he saw her watching, he winked at her and said, “We might get thirsty later.”

The had been moving for what felt like days, but had in fact only been a couple of hours. Mae turned to Amity, “Do you have any idea where we’re going?”

“Nuh! Fun isn’t it.” Her new friend grinned at her and almost skipped ahead of her.

Finally, the approached a ladder. Hector climbed up, there was a metal wheel above his head, which he turned, and then pushed, opening up an escape hatch in the ceiling.

“Up we go ladies. Almost there.” He was smiling, despite the apparent danger he was enjoying himself. Climbed through the hatch, and helped pull the girls up behind him. Mae came through last, as she got up and brushed herself off, she looked around. They were in the car park at the back of their hotel. Hector’s old M.U.L.E was still where they parked it, and the D.O.N.K.E.Y. , which apparently belonged to Amity was there too. But the H.O.R.S.E. was gone.

“We really took the long way didn’t we.” Mae commented.

Hector chuckled, “When you’re running for your life, it’s the only way to go. Good the M.U.L.E. is here. Do you know if Bea filled it up at all?”

“I don’t think so.” Mae shook her head.

“No problem. Just need to rethink our travel route. Amity my girl… “

“Yes, boss.” She stood in front of him saluting, and at attention.

“Enough of that! Alistair is the one with toadies, not me.”

“Whatever you say boss!” She stayed at attention, but turned to Mae and winked. Hector shook his head, trying not to laugh.

“Girl! I need you to go inside and rustle up some supplies. If I remember there’s an emergency stash in the cleaning closet.”

“There is? Like how come, I didn’t like know?”

“When was the last time anything was cleaned in that place?”

She grinned, “Good point. I’ll be right back.” With that she dashed inside, leaving Mae and Hector alone.

He put his arm around her. “How are you going Missy? Completely confused yet?”

“I think I passed confused a while ago,” she smiled at him. “Is it strange that I’m kind of having fun?”

“Not at all my girl. It’s the adrenaline kicking in. Where going to be doing this kind of thing for a while I think, so you might as well enjoy it.”

“This kind of thing?”

“Running for our lives. I must admit we’ve got a bit rusty. We’ve been in hiding and laying low for so long, I was starting to worry that when the time came we wouldn’t be up to it. Well, I guess we’re about to find out.”

“Who is we?”

“My god! She told you absolutely nothing did she. I knew she didn’t tell you about your identity, or your powers, but to not mention the rebellion! You know how your Papa died though don’t you?”

“Papa? He died in an accident, at the factory where he worked. The one where you took us. Remember?”

“Oh Bea! No. He did not die in an ‘accident’ he died in a raid by the Royal Guard.”

“What! That’s absurd. Something like that would be common knowledge. “

“You would think so wouldn’t you. Apparently your Mama had those townsfolk well organised, and I guess she didn’t let you out much either.”

“Ok. Pretty much since the night you were born…”

“You mean since my REAL parents were killed.”

“Yes, that too, but I prefer to focus on the good stuff, “ he gently stroked her cheek.

“Anyway, since that night, this country has in effect been in a civil war.”

“What happened that night, when those thugs came into the palace, was effectively a palace coup. What was assumed to be an uprising by some disgruntled hot heads, turned out to be an orchestrated plot by Alistair to seize power from your father.”

“But, wasn’t that his brother?”

He looked sadly at her, “Yes.”

Mae looked thoughtful for a moment. “Did he? Did he kill them?” She whispered.

“It wasn’t clear at the time. But yes, I think he did.”

“But,but, what about the other brother… what was his name?”

“Gordon.”

“Yes that’s it. What about him? “

“He was an idiot. Too naive to see what his brother was really like. He stayed with Alistair, commanding the Royal Guard on his behalf.”

“Bastard! Oh, oops, I shouldn’t have said that.” She covered her mouth with her hands.

Hector chuckled and smirked at her, “I think we can let that one slide. I believe I’ve said more or less the same, and worse over the past eighteen years.”

“So, is he still there.”

“Who?”

“Gordon.”

“No. Eventually he saw his brother for the cruel, sadistic creature he was. But not before carrying out some pretty nasty acts in his name. The raising of the town of Helpernside was the worst. Three hundred and fifty men, women and children slaughtered, because their mayor said publicly that the Prince Regent was not the legitimate ruler of Gildamoor, saying that Frederick and Clarissa’s daughter and heir was alive. The whole town needed to be punished, and they were. “

“How awful.”

“It’s more than awful. It’s a fucking atrocity. They should all be castrated the lot of them” His eyes had started to glow bright blue.

“So what happened then?”

Hector took a deep breath, his eyes returning to normal, “He, that is Gordon, it seems finally woke up, and realised that his brother was a monster. Worse than that, that he was helping him be a monster. So he, put down his weapons, changed his name and joined the rebellion that was beginning to mobilise. He helps out where he can.”

He gave her a meaningful look.

“Hector?” He nodded, smiling at her, sadly.

“I’m afraid so. Can you ever forgive me for not protecting you or your parents better?”

Without warning, Mae wrapped her arms around the big man in an enormous hug. After the initial surprise, he hugged her back.

Amity came skipping out of the back door, she had a large canvas bag slung over one shoulder. It was bulging with food and medical supplies.

“Is this it boss?”

Hector let his niece go, and looked over, “I said don’t call me that, and yes.”

“You, girl. You take your D.O.N.K.E.Y. and follow us. We’ll take the M.U.L.E. It won’t hurt to have two vehicles in our inventory. Come on Missy, lets go.”

He and Mae climbed into the M.U.L.E., it took a moment to get started but soon, they were off and on their way through the darkened streets with only their headlights shining for any kind of light; followed closing by Amity in her D.O.N.K.EY. Before long they were out of the city and away.

As they passed the front of the hotel, they didn’t notice the H.O.R.S.E. that had been there earlier, pull out of the shadows on the other side of the building, and follow them, quietly with its headlights off.

 

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.”

“M’lord?”

“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.

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.

 

The Amethyst Song (Episode Fifteen)

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.

“You there.”

“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,

“You two,”

“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.

Alistair sighed.

“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.

The Amethyst Song (Episode Fourteen)

Mae stood on the darkened stage, not sure what to do. Except for the stage lights, the space hadn’t been all that well lit in the first place. Now it was pitch dark. Before she knew what was happening a hand grabbed her arm and pulled her. She tried to struggle but the hand had a firm grip and she couldn’t get away. She was dragged through the crowd, which was still milling around the room in a state of confusion. People were asking each other what had just happened, but no one knew.

She was dragged out into the bar where they had first come in. The room wasn’t quite so dark, as the frosted glass in the windows allowed some light in. But, it didn’t help much. If anything it made everything more frightening somehow, shapes of different sizes were everywhere, some human, some not, and the confusion that had been in the back bar, was very much in evidence here.

Whoever the person was, dragged her behind the bar, and through another door. She found herself in a passageway, lit by torches shining some kind of strange violet light. They looked like flames but there was no heat. It took a moment for Mae’s eye to adjust to being able to see again. Finally she was able to see who was pulling her. Her first thought was to wonder how the orange hair didn’t somehow glow in the dark.

Amity turned around. She grinned, “Come on girl!”

“Where are you taking me? Wait. Why are you taking me?”

“Like chill okay. You’re like with friends. We like just couldn’t stay up there.”

They reached the end on the passageway which appeared to be boarded up. The board was covered in graffiti. In the middle of the artwork a man in a top hat stood grinning, while holding a playing card, the five of diamonds. Amity placed the palm of her hand on the middle diamond. There was a slight rumbling sound, and then the board slid open, revealing an extraordinary lit room.

In the middle of the room, was a rickety old kitchen table, and a number of mismatched chairs were all around it. Seated around the table were the two blonde giants from behind the bar, and Hector.

 

Back at the hotel, Beatrice and Melusina surveyed the obviously empty room. Despite the blackout, there was enough light coming from the window to allow them to see. Frantic, Beatrice went into the bathroom, hoping to find her daughter there. But she was gone. Where was she? Had someone taken her? She glanced toward to TV cabinet. Even in her state of near panic she recalled leaving the room keys there. They were gone. Would someone coming to kidnap Mae bother to take the keys with them? She decided that was unlikely. It appeared that whatever happened since, Mae left of her own volition. She was so relieved that she wasn’t even mad that her daughter had disobeyed her. Not very mad anyway.

She turned toward Melusina, who she was surprised to see was even more concerned than she was. She and Melusina had never been all that close. Even back in their days at the Institute, although they had all hung together as a group, Beatrice had always felt like an outsider. Her dear friend Clarissa was her only reason for spending time with them at all, and then later when Frederick realised that they were as close as sisters, he was always kind to her. But Melusina had only ever really just tolerated her. So to see her so upset made her think that she had misjudged the woman for all these years.

Melusina’s face had drained of all it’s colour. She looked around the room.

“She’s not here?” Her voice was slightly panicked.

“Clearly not.” It was strange, seeing this woman’s almost over the top reaction to finding her daughter gone, helped to calm her down. “It looks like she’s gone out.”

“But, but, you said she was here.”

“Yes, I did. I told her to stay here, but she’s a wilful young woman, I guess I shouldn’t be that surprised that she’s taken off.”

“But, it’s not safe!”

Beatrice sighed. “I know that, and you know that. I thought she understood that, but I don’t think I’ve handled this very well. She didn’t take it very well when I told her about herself, and about her parents.”

“Well what are we going to do now? We have to find her!”

“We will. We will.”

Beatrice moved to the window. She looked out the city. It was strange seeing the city without all the lights. She looked up, it was clear night, and she could see the stars. She mused that it has probably been a long time since anybody in this place had been able to do that. She lent her face against the glass, her eyes went wide, coming through the glass she could feel power. Only faint but it was there. It was a bit like the smell of gunpowder after it’s gone off. Except this wasn’t a smell, it was more like an overwhelming sense of calm and well being.

She motioned to Melusina. “Come and sand here.”

Sceptical, Melusina stood at the window. “Now what?”

“You need to touch the glass.”

She reached out a hand and put her index finger on the glass. She immediately jumped back shaking her finger like she’d burnt it. “The power!”

“I think we might be able to find her. Don’t you.” Beatrice was already moving to the door.

“Yes. I think so.”

“Of course, that means he can too. So we’d better hurry. Come on.” The two women left the hotel.

 

 

Above the city Alistair was on the phone barking orders.

“Bring the H.O.R.S.E. around now! We’re going to the old city.”

He hung up. He then grabbed a pistol from his desk. Tonight it would be over, and he would finally be able to crown himself king. There would be no dispute. The power would be all his.

He got into the lift, and went down to the basement and to the H.O.R.S.E. waiting for him. Henderson held the door open. He eased into the back seat. He smiled.

Not since his mother died had he felt such power. The feeling of contentment that enveloped him was extraordinary. He almost felt sorry that she had to die. To extinguish such a talent seemed such a waste. But, he would get over it, he was sure.

The H.O.R.S.E. sped through the darkened city. People had begun to spill out of the building, coming out to investigate the cause of the black out. Only a few would ever know the true reason. Alistair directed Henderson where he needed to go. As he got closer, the feeling inside him had become one of pure ecstasy and joy.

Eventually, they pulled up outside The Local Tavern. As soon as he saw it he knew that this was the place. He knew that she must have been drawn here, almost like he was. He got out of the car, Henderson came around and stood beside him.

“M’lord? Do you need me to order reinforcements?”

“That won’t be necessary. I’m going to do this myself, and it’s going to feel good.”

He walked into the bar.

The Amethyst Song (Episode Thirteen)

High above the city, on the top floor of the HLC building, Alastair took in the view. Belbarbiton really was the most stunning city in the world. He looked on with the satisfaction of knowing that all before him had been created by him. Through his intellect and his gift for innovation he had transformed this place from a sleepy little backwater, to the thriving metropolis it was now.

The first time he came here had been for his education. Just like his brothers, and his mother, they had been given instruction in the ways of the Amethyst Song by the Crone herself. The Crone, in those days had lived up to the name, unlike the current occupant of the chair.

He smiled when he thought of his most recent interview with that woman. He knew that the interfering wench Beatrice would eventually seek aid from the Crone for the girl. When he arrived back after his brief sojourn into the country he made it his business to pay a visit to his alma mater.

When he arrived the woman gave the impression of being displeased to see him. Yet, he recalled days past when he, Melusina, Frederick, Clarissa, and of course that meddlesome bitch used to pal around during their school days. He reminded her of that time, and how back then he had been somewhat of a favourite of hers.  He told her that on occasion, he regretted that he had mostly ignored her. Back then his interest mainly lay with the lovely Clarissa. However, he never stood a chance with her, not beside his brother who was better looking, not to mention the heir to the throne. So, he had admired her from afar.

There was one time though, he told Melusina, when he thought he may win her affection after all. It was during the great freeze of that year. The roads were all but impassable. His brother, had earlier been called away by their father on some matter of state, and was then unable to return. Melusina was buried in her books as always, oblivious to all. Which left he, Clarissa and Beatrice. The last one too, was occupied with something or other. He and Clarissa spent the days together talking, and laughing. It was one of the happiest times of his life. But then his brother returned and he was all but forgotten.

Spending time with Melusina in that office brought it all back. He paced the office, talking about those days while the woman had sat, nervously in her chair. She should be nervous too, he knew that she had been involved with the forces working against him. Working to remove him from power. Working to take his toys away. Most importantly working to keep the girl and the stone hidden from him.

He kept talking. He talked about his frustration of always being second to his brother. His brother who wasn’t as talented, or as clever as he was. Who simply by the luck of being born first was given everything, while he had to settle for the crumbs. Even now, his brother long dead, it seemed he had to make way for some invisible child.

As he approached her desk he noticed a photograph of a young man in a frame. The man looked to be about twenty something. He looked strangely familiar. He picked it up and brought it over to Melusina.

“Who’s this handsome young man? A bit young for you isn’t he?”

Melusina’s face had drained of colour, and her eyes were wide, she whispered, “That’s my son.”

“Your son? I didn’t know you had a…wait how old is he?”

“Twenty-five.”

Alistair tilted his head to one side thinking. A smile spreading across his face.

“The night of the Amethyst Ball…he’s mine?”

Still whispering, “Yes.”

“Well, how about that. Hmm.”

He turned to her staring directly into her eyes. “Tell me where the girl is, or I will find him and gut him like a fish.”

She swallowed, taking a moment to assess the threat. She knew him well enough to know what he was capable of.

“She’s in a small village, Murpodompous. Down on the coast.”

He looked at her intently, gripping her arm tightly, “Hmm… I think you might even be telling the truth. Apparently they haven’t come her yet.”

“Come? Here?”

“Yes, yes.” He let go of her arm, and started pacing again. “I already found your little hideaway. I must say it was pretty good, such an inconsequential little place it almost doesn’t exist. Not good enough though, I still found it, and they’ve been dealt with. But it seems she got away. My guess is they’ll come here. She’s eighteen you know.”

For a brief moment relief passed over her, hearing that the girl got away. “Has it been that long?”

“You know it has. Now, here’s what you’re going to do. When this girl contacts you, you will call me and tell me exactly where she is. If you do that, I MAY just forget I have a son, and that you kept him from me. But,” he leaned back in so their faces were inches from each other, “If I find that she has been warned off, or that you have interfered in anyway to stop me getting what I want, well…”

He straightened up. “Well, it’s been wonderful catching up hasn’t it. So good reminiscing with old friends. We must do this again.” He moved to the door, as he was about to leave he turned and said, “How soon we repeat this is entirely up to you my dear.” Then he left.

Now he was waiting. He didn’t like waiting. Just to be sure that she did the right thing, he had placed one of his junior staffers at the Institute to keep an eye on her. He was a promising young lad, a bit timid perhaps, but there was something to be said for the timid. They were much more amenable to doing as they were told.

It had been a few days though. He was beginning to wonder if he had miscalculated. Some people often turned out to be more brave, and therefore foolish, than he anticipated. It was a huge problem, but it would mean extra work. It was always preferable when the people simply responded to the threat of violence, rather than him having to go to ll the trouble of carrying it out.

He was watching the tiny vehicles below when the phone rang. He answered.

“Yes?”

“She’s here.”

“Here? Where here?”

“Bea is with me now. She’s got her stashed in a hotel, somewhere in the city.”

“You’d better go with her then. Let me know when you have the exact location. And remember, no funny business.”

The phone went silent.

Well, this was turning out beautifully. By the end of this evening he would have what he wanted. His eighteen year search would be over. He poured himself a drink, and sat in his leather armchair, admiring the lights across the city.

He started humming to himself, idly creating patterns in the air.

Then the power went out.

 

The Amethyst Song- Episode Twelve

After leaving Mae at the hotel, Beatrice moved quickly through the streets on Belbarbiton. She was on foot, allowing her to make use of the many alleyways and semi-hidden passages that crisscrossed the city. She was already taking a risk going to see the Crone, but she knew she must, so stealth was imperative.

Finally, she reached her destination. To anyone else, it would appear that nothing was out of the ordinary. The street was lined with tall, glass and steel buildings, all alike except maybe for the choice of colour. But, the building the Beatrice approached had one tiny difference, it was a hologram.  Beatrice stood in front and whistled. Just three short notes, barely audible to anyone who might pass by.

The edifice of the building transformed. In place of the sleek, modern shard of glass, stood a huge building made of brick and stone. It was only three stories tall, but it was wide, and even from the street you could see it was deep. On each level, a ridge ran around the building decorated by statues depicting all kinds of strange creatures. The building was old, it looked like it had been standing in this spot for many centuries, which it had.

Above the door, a sign written in an elaborate cursive script read, Belbarbiton Institute. Beatrice pushed on the door, a great big, heavy, wooden door, and entered into a huge foyer. The floor was tiled in black and light grey marble, and the walls were all panelled with deep, dark, reddish, brown wood. The walls were filled with portraits of stern looking people, mostly women, glaring at the world with violet eyes.

Beatrice approached a directory, listing all the current occupants of the institute. She found what she wanted, and swept past the reception desk toward the lifts. There was a young man at the desk. He was sitting bolt upright and wearing a suit that was two sizes too big for him. His eyes were wide, with what looked like terror. He called out to Beatrice, quietly so she could barely hear him,

“Excuse me. I said excuse me.”

She turned, impatient, “Yes.”

“You can’t just go back there. I need to announce you.”

She looked at him, one eyebrow raised. “That’s alright , I know where I’m going, and trust me the person I’m looking for will definately see me.” She kept walking.

The boy started running after her, the slightly panicked look intensifying. He managed to edge ahead of her, and stood in front of the lift.

“I..” he swallowed, “cannot let you up there.” He quickly looked down avoiding eye contact.

Beatrice sighed, “Very well, off you go and announce me.”

Relieved, the young man ran back to the desk. It was only when he got there that he realised he had forgotten to ask who she was, and who she was seeing. He looked up to ask, only to see the lift doors closing, with Beatrice inside.

She got out at the top floor. The hall was carpeted in thick, lavender carpet. The door at the end of the hall was inlaid with stained glass, in a variety of purples, blues and mauves. A plaque next to the door proclaimed that she has reached the Croan’s Office. She knocked on the door, and waited. She could hear rustling behind the door.

The door opened. A tall, strikingly beautiful, woman, with long, lilac hair stood before her. When the woman saw Beatrice standing in front of her, it seemed like her face blanched of all it’s colour. But, it only lasted a second, then her face lit up like a beacon.

“Bea! Dear friend. Come in, come in.” She ushered her unexpected guest into her office.

“To what do I owe this unexpected pleasure?” She motioned for Beatrice to sit on the soft leather couch next to the window. ‘How long has it been? Three, Four years?”

“Eighteen.”

“No! It can’t have been that long?” She sat down, in an armchair opposite. “You look well.”

“Yes, well, I’m afraid this isn’t a social visit.”

“Oh! How silly of me, I forgot to get you tea.” She got up and went to her desk, picking up the phone. “Miranda? Please bring in some tea…Yes, for two…Now, please.”

She sat back down.

“Now, where were we, ah yes, you look well.”

“Thank you Melusina. But, as I said, this isn’t a social visit.”

“No?” Melusina looked toward the door. “Where is that tea?”

“Never mind the tea. I need you to come with me.”

“Come with you?”

“Yes. We need to be quick and quiet too. I don’t know if anyone else knows we’re here.”

“We?”

“I’m here with, her.”

After a pause, Melusina nodded, and sighed. “I should have known you were coming. I had honestly lost track of how long it has been. Eighteen years! My my.”

Beatrice stood. “Perhaps we should get going. I’ve left her on her own, and I’m worried.”

There was a knock, and then a young girl came in carrying a tea tray. She placed it on the small table beside Melusina, and left.

“Oh look! The tea’s here. Shall I be Mother?” She started pouring the tea into the two cups.

“We don’t have time for tea. We need to go.”

“Come now Bea! You always were a stick in the mud. Trust me, there is always time for tea. Now sit.”

Beatrice reluctantly resumed her seat. She left her tea untouched.

“So Bea, how have you been? Keeping well?”

“Yes.”

They sat for what seemed to Beatrice, like an eternity. Neither saying anything.

All of a sudden. Melusina stood up.

“Oh my goodness. I’m such a scatterbrain today. I just have to go and see to something. I won’t be long. Drink your tea.”

With that she left.

Frustrated, Beatrice waited. While she waited she looked around the office. It had been a long time since she had been here. She had sat in this very chair, holding a newborn babe in her arms. She, Melusina and a few trusted others had gathered here to make plans, and decide what to do next. It had been Melusina that had suggested Murpodompous as a good place to hide.

Melusina had been a teacher to all the royal children. She was particularly skilled in the ways of the Amethyst arts and had shown countless others with the gift how to harness and control it. This was why she was here, it was only a matter of time before Mae started to come into her power.

Given that both her mother, father and grandmother all had Langstons blood, not to mention that she was the true heir to the throne, her power would be considerable. Also, it was said that while all Langstons possessed some of the Amethyst power, it ran strongest in the royal line, and stronger still on the female line. Mae could potentially be the most powerful queens in centuries, but only if she knew how to control it. At the moment, she was a ticking timebomb.

Melusina came back into the room. Beaming from ear to ear.

“Okay! That’s that taken care of.” She looked at Beatrice. “Why are you still sitting down? We need to get moving. It’s time I saw that girl of yours. Don’t you think. Come on.”

They moved at lightning speed across the city. It was already twilight, and Beatrice realised she had been gone longer than she thought. They got to the hotel, and entered the lobby. Beatrice saw that that dreadful receptionist was gone. The two women climbed the stairs. Beatrice climbing two at a time.

Once they reached the door to their room, she used the knock she had shown Mae earlier. She waited. But there was no response. She tried again. Still nothing. She pressed her ear to the door, trying to see if she could hear anything. Nothing. Maybe the girl was sleeping.

Melusina came behind her and said, “Allow me.” She very quietly hummed a gentle tune, while placing her hand on the door handle. I small click was heard, and then she opened the door. The two women entered, the clearly empty room.

Then the power went out.