The Confrontation At The Glade, Part One
The knowledge about Tam Linn’s impending arrival spread to the general supernatural population. Nobody knows who let it slip, but looking at Verde’s memories, this seem to be the case in other similar situations through history. The Council will set out the word that one of the Seven will shortly arrive in a city meant for Censor, and people will be spooked into running. It makes sense, in a very, very Machiavellian way.
The tension in Fallowfell rise, as it did the last fall when Helena Gravsten orchestrated her murder-spree. As I think the thought, I can’t help but wonder of how many things would be different if she had been stopped. The Bonfire Ball, Elena getting shot and almost dying, the student-body imploding, me gaining magic. Of course, the situation is similar, not exactly the same. Nobody knew the identity of Helena Gravsten; everyone is by far too familiar with Tam Linn’s atrocities. And this tension, unlike that of fall, is only experienced by supernaturals, because who is going to tell the normals?
And once more, I retreat to the forest. There is too much… noise around me! The rebuilding of the student-council where I have to keep track of a thousand documents, supernaturals of 1A who keep jumping at shadows and the suffocating sense that you just can’t escape. I don’t know what it is like to live in a city under a siege, but I imagine that it is something similar to Fallowfell’s situation.
I kick the snow. It’s just that there so many abstractions. I deal with absolutes, and when I cannot deal with absolutes, I make plans. But you can’t make a plan for dealing with one of the Seven, let alone Tam Linn. /Then do not./ Huh?/ If you feel that you have to have a plan, despite Hermann’s urging to stay out of this matter, which urge you to remember, then the plan can be to have no plan./ I mentally stop. The notion isn’t groundbreaking, but I have never thought about it like that before. Yes, the plan is to have no plan.
I wander through the forest around Fallowfell for another hour, careful to make sure that I don’t get lost, again. I stop in a glade and /Rune. I pause. What?/ Do not make any sudden moves. Just take a look around you./ I pan around, slowly. At first I don’t get it. A typical glade, covered in snow, encircled by firs. But the snow glitters like diamonds despite the lack of sunshine, there is no wind despite the altitude and there is an instinct, maybe mine, maybe Verde’s, telling me to keep my ears open.
I feel my pulse speed up. There is someone in the glade. Other than me. I sift through the currents without result. What now? /Try asking?/ I almost feel stupid. Mizu lives in this forest; so there migh be others.
My call echoes. There is a ripping sound, and almost like the unveiling of a curtain at a theater the light ripples and a man steps out. We don’t have homeless people in Fallowfell, but this man looks like the vagrants I have seen in bigger cities. Worn clothes, a white cat perched on his shoulder and a – I freeze. That handprint on his left cheek. /?!?!?!??!?!?!/ Tam Linn. He meets my eyes and–
Hermann buttons a white west. He puts a red handkerchief in a breast-pocket, an affection meant to make it look better. He puts on his trousers and starts to review the order with which he will clean the villa.
Vacuuming the floors comes first. Then to mop them.Does he have enough soap left for the entire- a noise like an avalanche erupts from the direction of the kitchen. Hermann groans; has something broken again?
He enters the kitchen to the sight of water flowing upwards against the ceiling. He frowns. With a pattern formed in his head, he scans the water with his sonar. Magic, obviously, and is that… Mizu?
The water gathers in a puddle against the ceiling and mists over. “Hermann”, Mizu starts with a frantic look. “Rune… Tam Linn has reached Fallowfell… and he has Rune…” Hermann just stares at the ceiling for a moment before his brain analyzes the words. “Where?!” The puddle mists over and shows a clearing, one he reckognizes.
Without a word he strides back to his office and pulls out the shards of Zulfiqar. He kicks open the door to the villa with enough force that several dogs in the neighbourhood starts to bark. His murderous intent floods the air like a thunderstorm on the horizon, and the dogs stop.
He uses his magic hard, becoming unseen, a slippery figure whose form cannot be tracked by eyes and runs on shoeless feet against the forests of Fallowfell.
A bang wakes Greyscale. Following the bang is a feeling of death and destruction, one he is inherently familiar with. It’s Hermann’s signature. He grabs a thick sweater, jeans and shoes. On looking through the window in his kitchen, he can tell that the door to Rune and Hermann’s villa has been destroyed.
He steps out and examines the door. Footprints can be made out against the snow, steps covered in traces of magic, meant to obscure them, but not for someone like Greyscale.
He looks back at the broken door. Whatever makes Hermann that worried has to do with Rune, and while he’d never admit it, the little brat sure has grown on him.
— and I am in the Summer Isles, that place where Verde lives, my inner soul. I look to my left and my panic increases. Because it’s not just me and Verde here now. Tam Linn gazes at the sky, which is stormy, dark and overcast. He takes in the choppy seas, then Verde’s large form, which is scrambling back into the water and then finally me.
Eventually he speaks. His voice is clear, which surprises me. I expected it to be harsh, like the rumors about him. “You’re not a member of the Flight?” I shake my head and on seeing the opportunity for what it is, I then launch into the story about Helena Gravsten and what happened last fall. I make a conscious attempt to not spin things either positively or negatively, just objectively, what I think, what I believe really happened.
How can he be here, in this place?!
Tam Linn nods and closes his eyes. “You cannot be held responsible for the Bonfire Ball. But”, and now he gazes up at Verde through closed eyes,” your lack of control was particularly egregious. It does not bode well.” He opens his eyes and looks at me with those shining orbs that tell a story of madness. He raises a hand and a blade of light forms in it. I swallow. If… if he hurts me in here, what will happen to my body?