Nyx: Holy shit it's been a while.
Maaji: Hey guys! We haven't forgotten about this story, we just had some RL issues to resolve.
Nyx: *points at Maaji* She got kidnapped.
Maaji: On with the story.
Nyx: We don't own Twilight, blah blah, happy reading!
Two months later . . .
The sound of a bell in a church not far from here brought me back to the present while I sat perched on the Juliet outside the little apartment Charles and I lived in now. The family spellbook was spread across my lap, the Incantus's weight was a bit of an anchor. An anchor to home. Below, children rushed home from school, dressed in their uniforms, laughing and playing amongst themselves.
Charles said that making friends was dangerous, forging connections was a risk we couldn't take. And he grew more anxious by the day, meaning that we would soon have to pack up and move to another city. So far we had stayed within the French borders, but we never stayed anywhere longer than two weeks, being first in Paris, before making our way to Calais and then Marseilles after that. Charles was worried that the usurper's assassins would find me and cut me to ribbons.
And I honestly didn't blame him for his paranoia, but I was worried that he'd take it a bit too far and end up moving us every few days.
Mom had told us to head for the Haven; and where that was I wasn't even sure. Charles refused to even mention it, saying that the Haven was our last option, our last resort only, and he wouldn't say anything more on the subject. I rarely went outside, keeping to the confines of whatever Charles rented or bought so I would stay out of sight and thus make it harder to track me.
I dug the heels of my hands into my eyes, tired of staring at the aged pages of the Incantus and studying the spells until they were practically on repeat in my head. I started dreaming in spells, the dialogue being nothing but random blurbs in Latin and odd things happening as a result.
I hadn't slept right since we left home and Charles knew that. He worried about me more with each passing day knowing that I wasn't coping very well, that I wasn't adapting to the changes.
Be safe, my mother had told me. How could I be safe? Teodore had resources at his fingertips, resources that posed a danger to myself and Charles. I sighed and looked down at the Incantus in my lap and attempted to focus. But trying to read the words on the page was like trying to find a needle in a haystack.
The door opened and closed, Charles obviously having arrived home with the groceries. I gave up on trying to study and closed the Incantus, carrying the heavy tome back inside the apartment and shutting the door against the heavy tolls of the bell. Charles was dragging his fingers through the scruff on his jaw that could already be classified as a beard. It was weird to see him with one, since all my life he'd been clean shaven. "Charles?" I asked.
"Dinner will be cold," he said, "we leave tomorrow by noon." I sighed.
"Charles, we've only been here a week," I told him, "we can afford another-"
"No," Charles said, "I'll relax once we're out of France. We've lingered here too long, and it's only a matter of time before his knives enter the city. Go pack." I complied even though I was tempted to stamp my foot and demand he listen to me, but I trusted him with my life, and so had my mother. I wasn't Queen yet, maybe I wouldn't ever be, for right now I was a scared little girl and Charles was all I had left.
I shoved my Incantus into my bag, and checked to make sure I had all of my essentials, including the dagger Charles had given me.
Dinner was ham and cheese sandwiches, and some chilled wine that I didn't like very much. It was too bitter, sour almost instead of the fruity tang I was used to. "How did your studying go?" he said in an attempt to make conversation. I shrugged and traced the rim of my glass with my finger.
"It went, I could barely concentrate," I muttered.
"You'll have a chance on the road," Charles told me, I pursed my lips, biting down on my tongue to keep it from letting me say the things I truly wanted to say. I wanted to scream my frustration, to hit him over the head and tell him that my mom wasn't coming back, that we were all that was left. I had no home, my parents were gone and Charles was the only link I had to my world.
And I just had to pray to the goddess that we survived. And the next morning we prepared to leave, Charles of course, preferred to be a few hours ahead of schedule and it was a good thing he did. A dark presence invaded our senses, tainted and ugly. It sent chills down my spine and I met Charles's eyes, "Go. Now," he said urgently. I took the stairs two and a time, my heart beginning to race and I felt my thoughts scramble as my panic began to mount.
My bag swung against my side, the weight of the Incantus making me take a mental knee and the fog of panic began to clear. I climbed into the car just as two gollems swathed in black, came lumbering along, sniffing the air for us. Charles started the car, whipping it out the parking lot and attracting their attention. Within moments they'd hopped on top of the vehicle and began smashing at it with heavy fists.
Placing a hand against the roof of the car, I frowned in concentration, feeling the steady rise of energy from my feet and carefully channeling it out through my fingers, and the gollems fell apart, globs of dirt stuck to the windows and slid down the windshield as I took away the magic holding together the usurper's lackeys. Charles remained silent as he jumped onto the interstate, wiping away the evidence at a petrol station before we left the city limits.
We had been on the road out of France for several hours when I finally spoke again, my hands curled into each other on my lap. Reality was certainly taking its sweet time while I anxiously waited for the moment that it would come up and deliver a sucker punch to the jaw. "Where will we go now?" I asked quietly, keeping my eyes downcast.
"For now we'll head East," he said, "once we find a place to settle we'll make plans from there." I bit my lip, holding back the questions that welled within me concerning the spies the usurper undoubtedly had.
Putting my faith in Charles was my best bet for our current circumstances, despite all my reservations and the sometimes completely random but insistent urge to suck my thumb and cry for my mother. This was my life now. Waiting it out and building my magic.
We arrived in Germany several days later, finding a place in Leipzig to stay for a little while. Though I could tell that Charles was anxious to keep moving. Now that the first attack had happened, and he had a confirmation that we were being hunted he was overcome with itchy feet. We scouted our surroundings mapping out the city in a thirty mile radius from our apartment so we wouldn't end up stranded like idiots, though Charles had a pretty good sense of direction.
If another attack happened, instead of heading on through Poland into Russia, we'd double back instead. I could tell that he was avoiding going to the states, keeping it as a last resort instead of immediately making for the solace of American soil.
Charles was adamant to test our chances in Europe, and I wouldn't be surprised if he wanted to make for Asia next. I sat in the recliner in the front room of our new apartment, the Incantus spread once again on my lap as I made yet another attempt to study, while Charles paced back and forth muttering to himself, too low for me to hear.
"Any news from home?" I asked, I knew the answer of course but it was better than stewing in the tension, though what I really wanted to say was 'any news about mother?'.
"You know we can't communicate with anyone from the Vale," he said then he shot me a look, and as if he could read my mind, he added, "she'll be fine." I bit my tongue, though I wanted so desperately to ask how could be so one-hundred-percent that she was okay. Or better yet, if he really was that delusional.
I wouldn't be positively satisfied until my mother was in front of me, so I could see her with my own two eyes, whole and healthy. I could tell that Charles was still stressed out, to predict the Usurper's next move, guesstimate just how long we'd be able to stay this time.
So I kept my mouth shut, knowing that my nagging at him wouldn't help. Still, I put the Incantus in my bag and sighed, my attempt to study just as much a failure as the last one. Charles caught my actions, "Keep trying," he said, "I've never known you to give up before, and now wouldn't be a good time to start."
"You always say that," I said with a sigh, getting up to make myself another sandwich, though it was only to keep myself busy, after all I still didn't have much of an appetite.
A very pregnant pause, filled with awkward tension and, once again, I took it upon myself to break it, "What's our next move?" I asked, "You know...if they come back?"
"Not if," Charles corrected, "when. When they come back." he rubbed at the dark hair that covered the lower half of his face, his nails audibly scraping against the thick facial hair. "I'm undecided as of late, but I'll know soon." I left it at that, going to the little room I'd designated as mine for the duration of our stay, which wouldn't be that long if I could take a guess.
Charles's stress was rubbing off on me apparently, 'cause I realized just how tense I was. The muscles in my neck were stiff and I ached all over, particularly in my upper back. I settled for a hot shower to get rid of the tension in my body, rifling through my bag to get something clean to wear to bed. I waited until the water was scalding, goosebumps initially rising on my skin at the sudden change in temperature before I really felt the heat.
The water pounded along my spine like a massage, working almost as well as magic and succeeding in melting away the stress. Reluctant to leave the warm haven my shower had created I settled on washing my hair, and I finally emerged from the bathroom, pink and smelling of coconut.
I climbed into bed with a book, but had only gotten a few paragraphs in when my mind began to wander. I wondered why Charles was avoiding the United States, such a big concentration of people in one place, and a majority of them human had to be ideal for hiding two pretty nondescript Witches didn't it?
And the Haven? I'd never heard of it.
It was never mentioned in the books I had used to study Magic History, nor had my mother ever told me about it. I began to nod off, my body thoroughly relaxed from my shower, and I dozed off, dreaming of home.