The Bonfire Ball ( The Stacked Deck Remix)
I spot Kai and Chiyo and I decide to interfere in what looks to be a heated argument.
“… I keep telling you, she shouldn’t…”, whatever it is that Chiyo intends to say- she doesn’t- not as I come closer. If I were an overly suspicious person, I might think that they were talking about me. And because I am that suspicious… didn’t Amanda say something about 1A watching me?
“Hey guys”, I say. Ugh, even to myself, my voice sounds forced. Chiyo nods and gives Kai a look. My red-headed friend nods back to his girlfriend while simultaneously greeting me in an economy of motion. Unlike Amanda’s less conservative dress, Chiyo is wearing a black dress that starts at her knees and which ends at her neck. The dress is complimented by a choker that feels very Spice Girls. Kai is wearing a white suit that has the effect of making his red hair starker.
“Have you seen Gomagog and Perenelle?”
I frown. Chiyo’s question seems a bit out of the blue. “Yes, they seem a bit tense”, Kai answers. “That’s because Helena Gravsten will make her move tonight”, Chiyo says matter-of-factedly. Me and Kai stare at her. ” Where else will she find such a concentration of people, supernaturals as normals?”
“But”, I say, thinking furiously,” she’s always gone for seniors, and the Bonfire Ball is for freshmen.” “That is the thing I don’t understand. But why would else would Perenelle and Gomagog be so tense? And have you noticed that Hermann Schwartz and Richard are outside, forming a perimeter?”
“I didn’t know that”, I answer. From that point on we discuss why Helena Gravsten might be carrying a grudge against a freshman. Maybe someone slighted her. Or there was a freshman present when she was raped. One theory centers on Alexander Gravsten’s suicide, Alexander; Helena’s baby brother. Alexander was a freshman like us, who dated Hannah, and who committted suicide for some reason.
All of this talking has made me thirsty, so I seek out one of the t-shirt wearing waitors. I grab a mimosa of a plate and I as I do, my shoulder bump into the waitor’s. “Oh, I am so so-” I stop. “Is that you Greyscale? And where is your right hand?”
The waitor in question, a tall man wearing black jeans and an equally black t-shirt with the text ‘Bonfire Ball’ stamped on it mutters nervously. He has a fake-mustace glued to his face, and his hair is now black, rather than his usual blonde, but I won’t mistake that smell for anything else. “I don’t know this Greyscale”, he mumbles before making his exit.
What was that about?
Merith walks another circuit around the cafetera. The normals nod to her; after all she’s the one that patches up torn knees and bruised elbows. The reactions of the young supernaturals can be divided into two camps. Those that do not know her abilities, and those who do.
Those who don’t smile at her and wonder what kind of magic-user she is. Those who do know gives her a large berth, fearing that she would steal the one thing that sets them apart from humans.
A walkie-talkie buzzes at her hip. She presses a button. Sighs.
“.. this is Stonewalker, over.”
“Do we really have to do this?”
“I can’t hear you..”
She sighs, once more. “This is Madame. Everything is clear in the cafeteria.”
“You didn’t say over, Madame.”
Outside of the cafeteria, Gomagog stand sentinel.
With every fiber of his being he desires a fight with the barrowman. I am going to smash you to pieces he thinks to himself. He still remembers the wound the barrowman gave him, and nobody keeps a grudge like a giant.
Perenelle Flamel lifts her walkie-talkie. “Nothing in the corridors, over.” She pats her leather-jacket, and its numerous pockets. Some of tinctures she have brought with her will merely put people to sleep, or make them sneeze. Others….
She opens her jacket and brings out a vial containing a milky substance. Wherever she goes, she brings this vial with her. A reminder. Of what she did, and why she did it.
“Have you seen anything in the corridors, Pestilence? Over.”
“No I haven’t, and I resent this codename. I want it changed.”
“No can do, Plaguey. And you didn’t say over.”
Richard slams Hauteclere down into the earth and kneels.
“Forgive me Our Father, hallowed by thy name, sancrosanct your Son, your Spirit on Earth. Today I will take the lives of undead. Although they may be already dead, I still struggle with the notion of killing them. Are they not slaves, doing the bidding of one who seeks death above all?”
“Forgive me Father; but I wonder if this is the right choice. Should we not try to talk it out? Surely there must be a way to solve this with words?”
“Forgive me Father; but why did you give Helena Gravsten the magic to make the dead walk once more?”
Richard receives no answer, like usual, and so he sheaths Hauteclere and stands up, vigilant of what is to come.
“Everything clear, Leo? Over.” Richard smiles at the reference to his former status. “Yes, Stonewalker, everything is clear, over.”
Hermann tosses one of the shards of Zulfiqar into the air. On its path down, he catches it with his fingertips. Really, he shouldn’t be doing it. The shards have the ability to negate magic itself. A wound made by one will heal human-slow. And yet he continues to fling them up and down in the air.
He has his sonar extended all across the island, sacrificing depth for a clearer picture. He can vaguely feel the throng of people moving in the cafeteria, Gomagog’s giant body outside, and Perenelle’s lone form moving around the corridors. The walkie-talkie buzzes at his hip.
“Silent Shadow, this is Stonewalker, over.” He sighs. What is it with these code-names? Gomagog should stop acting like a child.
“This is Silent Shadow, over. Nothing to report, over.”
“Affirmed, Silent Shadow. Stonewalker, over.”
Some metres from the Hermannstadt, the lake that surrounds the nameless island that Ochre High is located at, there is a small puddle of water.
The surface of the puddle shimmers, and a man with blue skin walks out of it, followed promptly by a small teenage girl.
The man nods to the teenage girl, who now concentrates at the waters of the Hermannstadt. Fog rises from the water, a silent barrier that imprisons Ochre.
Ten large, foaming portals of water, realigns behind the man.
From these ten curvatures of spacetime beings emerge. Things that walk. Things that shambles. Things that dance.
“War”, the man breathes in a female voice originating from a male throat.