Morgan had finally found a way into the wards, and had spent a long, boring and unfruitful Saturday exploring wheatfields and nosing around farmsteads before she found the proper place, a barn that seemed to be wrong, too sturdy and a bit too clean. She took the time to determine that there was no-one inside before taking the back door in, anticipating a concealed barracks or prison of some sort.
The lift she found instead startled her, but, as she contemplated it, she had to admit it made sense. Concealing the facility underground would certainly muffle unpleasant noises.
She dropped down easily from the lift to the level below. If she were setting up a place like this, there would be some sort of warehousing here… yes.
A bright, harsh light flicked on with a heavy thrum, clearly intended to stun her for a moment. She had enough poise not to stagger, but it did take a moment to adjust her eyes, and then four men stood before her. Three men and a Daeva, she corrected herself on closer examination, although she could not, at the moment, determine their sect.
“Hello,” she greeted them calmly.
A short man whose stance and demeanor belied his relatively youthful appearance stepped forward. “Hello,” he replied. “You’ll kindly tell us who you are and what you’re doing here, now.”
Morgan let a heartbeat longer than was polite pass while she considered if she would answer him. “Investigating,” she decided to answer.
“That wasn’t a request,” he said gruffly, folding his arms in front of his chest.
He was probably a Mara, then, or at least with some of the blood of them. She cleared her throat. “I’m Morgan, who Observes the Sprawl. I’m investigating the strange matters I’ve seen around here lately.” She could leave out the rest of her qualifications; they could still be Nedetakaei.
“Luca Hunting Hawk,” he nodded. Apparently that explanation had sufficed; she wondered which of them was the mind reader. Whoever he was, he was rather skilled.
“May I come in and look around further, then?” There was no point in being rude.
“Do you have business here, or is this only a matter of curiosity?”
Morgan could barely hide the bristle at that. “Curiosity is my business.”
“Then we’d prefer if you didn’t come inside at this time. If you’d like to leave a means of contacting you, you may receive an invitation at a later date.”
She swallowed a complaint; she could always wave her credentials around later if she needed to. “Certainly. I have a pager.” She reached into her pocket for her business card.
“Thank you, sa’Observes-the-Sprawl,” he said as he stepped forward to take it. She was momentarily so startled by the old-style form of address that she forgot her manners, making him step all the way to her for the card. Of course, that may have been what he wanted.
She looked over the four Masked Ellehemaei thoughtfully. “I wish you luck with your Dragon problem,” she said, sincerely.
“And good fortune in your endeavors. We may be in touch.” A faint smile crinkled the corners of his lips, not much, but just enough to show that there was indeed something beneath the stern façade. He was acting as guard and protector, here, but was certainly more than just hired muscle. Her earlier guess of Mara was undoubtedly accurate.
She bowed, carefully, and murmured an air Working to lift her back to the barn. A Mara, a Daeva, a skilled mind-worker - probably a Grigori - and another. What were they doing in the middle of nowhere, and how were the young half-breeds involved? How was Aelfgar involved?
As she walked back to the edge of the wards where her camp was set up, she pondered the situation. Aelfgar had never been political, not in all the time she’d known the grizzled half-breed, but he’d never liked working with the full-bloods either. Made his skin itch, he said. She’d been polite enough, at the time, to not mention that it was probably the fleas.
They had to leave once in a while. Modern people didn’t live without supplies, and they had to have a way to feed the half-breeds they were keeping. When they left, they were unlikely to be able to take their wards with them. She might not be able to get into the facility, but that wouldn’t stop her from investigating.
For the summer, Addergoole will return to a Monday and Thursday posting schedule to maintain Lyn's sanity.
Please check out Tales of the Sugar Cat, Lyn's new ebook, including four new Addergoole stories!
Congratulations to Mr. and Mrs. Elasmo on their recent wedding!
Book Nine is looking for a Wonderland-based title regarding the search for normalcy.
Copyright © 2009-2011 Lyn Thorne-Alder with Elasmo. All rights reserved.
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