First chapter = disclaimers.
This appears to be slow going at the moment. I apologize for this, but I do need to put down some ground work for the future plot lines. Bear with me, please. Oh, and while I'm at it, Gargoyles appears to now be showing on the Family Channel's Sunday morning line up. So if you weren't getting Toon Disney, catch your favorite episodes on the Family Channel.
Beth concentrated very hard on the small ball that sat in front of her. Owen had said that it was supposed to reflect your inner being. It was supposed to show exactly where your talents lied. All it had really done for the past hour is sat and mocked her.
She cast an irritated glance over at Owen. He sat calmly reading some report. His stone fist rested on the small desk he sat at. His ice blue eyes did not waver from the report.
"You aren't concentrating," he chided her without even giving a hint he'd even remotely thought of looking in her direction.
Beth blew out an exasperated breath. She had been training with Owen for two days, and the only thing that had changed was that she had formed the opinion that Owen Burnett had to be one of the creepiest men she had ever met. Sure, Xanatos was sneaky, underhanded and morally dubious, but Own seemed to know everything. It was far more unsettling, at least in her opinion, to be around Owen than it was to be around Xanatos.
On the other hand, Owen fascinated Beth to no end. He seemed to be a total contradiction. His almost insanely neat clothing and obsessive loyalty to Xanatos were indicators of a very straight laced and excessively conservative man, yet the depth of his knowledge in mystical arts belayed that perception. Then there was the matter of the stone hand.
The hand fascinated Beth. It had since the moment she had laid eyes on it in a magazine somewhere. The official story was that Mr. Burnett had lost his hand and part of his forearm when a box crushed his appendage in a warehousing accident. He had opted for a highly unusual replacement instead of the typical false hand. The press had left it at that.
But, Beth had seen Owen's arm the first day they had started training. He had taken off his suit jacket and rolled up his sleeves in order to properly coat his arms up to his elbows in some magical solution before he handled an artifact. There had been no seam, no lump where he could remove the stump of his arm from the false appendage. The stone was firmly adhered to his body as if it was actually his own arm.
"Good," Owen's voice interrupted Beth's thoughts, "You seem to be highly inquisitive."
Beth looked over at the ball to see it glowing a bright pink. "Pink is inquisitive?"
"No, white means you are inquisitive. Red means something else entirely," Owen responded.
"So the red and the white are mixing to show pink?"
Beth fidgeted a moment before she spoke again, "What does the red mean?"
"The red indicates something that you are not yet ready to deal with," Owen responded.
Beth's temper flared. "This is my life. I think I deserve to know what the red means."
Owen glanced up from his report to look at her a small smirk crossed his lips. "I just told you what it meant. You aren't ready to deal with something. The red covers that. I cannot tell you more than that because I do not know what it is that you are denying."
Beth looked down at the floor. "Oh. I'm sorry."
"No you aren't. Never apologize for being suspicious. If you said that you trusted me, then I would have to be suspicious of you."
Beth looked back at the ball. The white had begun to separate out of the pink and the red was beginning to darken and settle into the bottom while the white streak stayed on the top. "What does the separating mean?"
"As you are ready to deal with certain aspects of your abilities, they will separate out of the bottom. They will create bands of color throughout the ball indicating your abilities and the potential for those abilities. Inquisitiveness is actually quite rare as far as a magical ability goes. The fact that it came out first indicates a playful nature."
Beth tilted her head to the side. "Aren't most people inquisitive?"
"Yes, but magical ability is not necessarily often based in that. It tends to be unstable. Those who have it tend to be flighty and easily become bored without proper stimulation."
"So I'm not going to excel at this whole thing?"
Owen shook his head negatively. "It came out first. It is very likely that you will have a deeper anchor for your power. All the inquisitiveness shows is that you have a proclivity towards being a bit of a trickster."
"A trickster? Like Coyote?" Beth asked,
"Not exactly as you are human and not a Fey, but you would appear to have the makings of the human equivalent."
Beth sighed and moved away from the ball. "So I'm not very powerful."
Owen's face showed a bit of surprise at that. "Why would you think that?"
"Nobody ever quakes in fear because a trickster is coming. They might get annoyed, and maybe they get scared later. But they really don't have much power."
"That, Ms. Maza, is one thing you must never believe. Tricksters are the most dangerous of magical users. Were they to devote their entire being to something, the results would be catastrophic. Instead, they need to understand their subjects before doing their magic. If they did not, then they would not be able to show mercy. And for those who do not show mercy, they are likely to become bored of their subjects. It is a safeguard that has most likely saved humanity a great deal of suffering."
Owen nodded, "In the realm of Fey magic there are few more powerful than a trickster. Oberon and Titania are King and Queen. Avalon obeys them and so they are strongest, but there are few others who can best a good trickster. It is much the same with mortals."
Beth laughed. "So I can end the world, but I'd get tired of it after a couple of seconds. Great."
Owen simply flipped the pages of the report closed and stood from his desk. "It is a great gifting. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to take care of young Alexander while Mr. and Mrs. Xanatos go to a benefit dinner."
Beth waved goodbye to Owen as he left. With one more look at the ball, she herself left to go home.
One week after Beth had been hired, Elisa Maza was once again in Xanatos' office.
"Ah, Detective, to what do I owe this great pleasure?" Xanatos asked.
"I came to see how my sister is doing," Elisa replied.
"Oh?" David smirked as he leaned back into his chair.
"Beth hasn't been very talkative about her new job. I thought that I'd see why."
"Perhaps she doesn't care for you messing around in her personal affairs," Xanatos suggested.
Elisa's eyes narrowed dangerously. Xanatos took the hint.
"Truly detective, she has not been doing anything worth talking about. She had a minor disagreement on her first day about a translation. After that, there hasn't been anything more exciting. See for yourself," Xanatos said smugly as he slid Beth's report across his desk to Elisa.
Elisa picked up the report and started flipped through it. "You always keep these kinds of records on your employees?"
"Come now Detective, you know me better than that. We needn't pretend that I'm keeping this close of an eye on her for any other reason than the fact that she is your sister."
Elisa frowned at the report. "This is the whole report?"
Xanatos steepled his fingers together. "I asked Owen the same thing, but he assured me that all of her work information was there. If you want information on her personal life, I suggest you ask her. It isn't my business to know that."
"You mean that you aren't interested in knowing about her personal life," Elisa corrected him.
David gestured his hand to dismiss the statement. "Semantics. She is not the concern to me that you or even your brother are. I don't need to keep close tabs on a woman who translates dusty scrolls for me. I'm rich, but I'm not rich enough to keep track of all of my employees' comings and goings."
"You keep an eye on my personal life?" Elisa asked.
"No more than you keep an eye on mine. Besides, the majority of your personal life resides on my parapets. I have to do something for entertainment, and your life is much more interesting than those soap operas that Fox films down at the Pack Studios."
"You flatter me," Elisa's voice was flat as she spoke.
Xanatos grinned at her, "Actually, I like to flatter myself that I've played a hand in changing your whole life. Before Goliath, I was just another rich man that you suspected. Look at how our relationship has grown from there."
Elisa glared at him. "Was that supposed to be funny?"
"No, dear Detective, that was supposed to be honest. Funny would be the look on your face when you find out what Alex accidentally did during his magic lesson today."
David's face softened as he mentioned his son, and for a moment, Elisa remembered exactly why there was a truce between them. For all that Xanatos had done, if he had never brought the castle over, she would never have met Goliath. Her life would have been dramatically different. Both the good and the bad moments of the past years would never have happened.
Elisa's gaze snapped back to Xanatos' smug face. "What did he do?"
"He zapped all of the gargoyles into clown outfits. Puck would have fixed it after he finished laughing, but there was an emergency down at the shipping port and Owen was needed."
Elisa glanced at the sun which was slowly lowering itself into sunset. "I hope that you got new clothes out."
"Yes, and I took the liberty of taking Fox's cold cream from her vanity. I may wish a good chuckle out of the experience, but I really don't want to have to pay for the damage your boyfriend does when he gets upset. Let alone listen to him bellyaching about 'What sorcery is this' for a few hours."
Elisa sighed. "I suppose I should do the right thing and go keep Goliath from breaking your personal property."
"It would be most appreciated," Xanatos replied as he grabbed two jars of cold cream out of one of his desk drawers.
Elisa grabbed the pile of clothing and headed out to the balcony with Xanatos to await her lover's awakening.