This Strange New Age
Fenrir ventures inside the store of white, the store with the logo of an apple above its doors, a store that had started to become famous by the time of his incarceration. The scents of plastic, minute traces of metals and the sweat of young men assault him. He wrinkles his nose. Say what you want of the Bastille, but atleast it was clean.
A young man with brown hair and blue eyes sidles up to him with a smile that merchants have employed for centuries. “Can I help you with anything, sir?” The young man asks him. Twenty years spent in a prison isn’t that long, but the markers and intonation of speech has changed in subtle ways, not helped by the fact that the prisoners of the Bastille often measure their years in millenias.
“A phone, young man”, Fenrir responds. The young man, with a label that says Karl on his chest, frowns somewhat at the adress, but motions Fenrir to come up to the counter. Karl points behind him, where a encased cabinette in glass holds several phones.
“Now”, the young man begins with the air a well-rehearsed script,” phones come in a great variety. Size, memory, internet-surf, cameras just to name a few factors. If you could tell me more about what you’re looking for…?”
Fenrir sighs. Before the Branch-Chiefs brought him to the Bastille, phones had neither internet nor cameras. “Just give me a phone that is not too expensive nor too cheap. A phone I could use to look things up on the internet, take photos that needn’t be perfect. Something in the middle range.”
Karls disappears only to reappear with three phones, one in silver, one in grey and one in black.”Now, this one”, Karls says, holding up the grey phone,” is a S-” Fenrir points. “The silver one”, he says musing at the irony of that particular color. “I want the silver one”, he adds with a touch of his old authority.
Karl pauses, not too sure if he should argue with the customer, but eventually he shrugs his shoulders.
“An excellent choice, sir. Will you pay cash or credit?” Fenrir hands Karls several bills. The young seller gives the bills an odd glance, one that Fenrir is unable to decipher before he is out of the store with his purchase. Age. Modern bills have changed due the demands of the Digital Age, used less and in greater currencies. Fenrir’s bills are older and not in much use anymore.
He finds a park and a bench in the small no-name city that is located some odd hundred kilometers away from Fallowfell. The box that contains his new phone also contains a guide. He reads it once, twice and on the third time he decides to try out his phone.
He pulls up the internet and a search-engine he has heard good things about. The search engines of his own time were slow and dull things, in contrast to this one, which shows him multiple paths to Fallowfell and landmarks in the vicinity merely by searching for the city.
He types in her name. Amanda Skog. A dozen links show up. He clicks on the uppermost one. A video begins to play. It’s a Saint Lucy’s Day celebration; several young girls in white shrouds walk in a line, led by a girl with raven hair and a metal-crown whose four cardinal points are filled with burning candles. The lead girl gives the person behind the camera a murderous stare.
He clicks on an ‘x’ in the corner and the video disappears. It’s her. She has her father’s looks, but that look… Erika could do the same. A low keening sound erupts from Fenrir’s throat and several passerby shy away from him.
He shakes his head, feeling the need to get his act together. It’s just that when he last saw her, she was this little thing that hid behind his son’s legs, and now she is almost grown up. His hands are shaking, in either fury or disbelief, fury for what he has lost, disbelief for he can’t truly believe it.
But confronted with that video he has no choice, not in the end. He is too old to delude himself, knows better. “What have I missed, lilla barnbarn“, he mutters, leaning back against the bench, enjoying the feel of the elements of winter against his face.
He resumes searching, this time focusing on other individuals. Ochre, the school in Fallowfell, has often employed supernaturals as teachers, a neccessary feature when so many of its pupils are more than human.
He whistles to himself, on finding a picture of the current rooster of teachers. Perenelle Flamel, that one he’d better watch out. Alchemists make dangerous enemies and especially her. Fenrir can remember how the Plague swept through Gothenburg and Stockholm and countless hamlets.
Richard Corazon. The Old King. Him and his legendary blade combined with the beast he carries and he’d be an opponent to watch. A beast, Fenrir muses, not entirely unlike his own.
Jonathan Gomagog. Last of his kind, a man who was a king in his own right, a long, long time ago. Fenrir has never fought a giant, but it took the early humans centuries to vanquish them, even with the help of the then newly-formed Council.
Merith. An unknown of sorts. But a magic-user doesn’t achieve agelessness without ability, and manage to remain alive for a span four times as long as Fenrir has been alive without true power.
He makes of note of their appearances, and not to antagonize them, not needlessly.
“Good morning sir”, a police officer says, having quietly sneaked up on Fenrir. He stands up and shakes his head. To think that he let a human take him unaware. This will not do, not in Fallowfell, not with that many powerful supernaturals and especially not with Tam Linn in the vicinity.
“I’ll be on my way”, Fenrir answers, in response to the unasked question of what a suspicious-looking man is doing in a park next to a kindergarten.
No, he thinks to himself. This will not do. He needs to be the old Fenrir. Fenrir Suneater, who will end the world.