The Players Of The Great Game
Erim Yazar cradles the phone between his shoulder and left chin, a neccessary precaution as he jots down musical notations on a sheet of paper. “Yes, I am fine”, he responds, lying through his teeth. Aristomache Soaliokos, Branch-Leader of Pier 7, responsible for the supernaturals of the province Norrland grunts a “ah-huh”, back.
“So you didn’t help Rune Fallowfell with a plan to improve control of his abilities, and Sara Eksjö didn’t venture in at the Hangar, where you were attempting this… lunacy, and you didn’t have to incapacitate her?” Erim stops breathing. Ice. It feels as if someone has filled his stomach with shards of ice.
How could she possibly know?! A spy, logic tells him. Pier 7 must have a spy in Fallowfell, and one close by- to have observed their failed attempt. “You haven’t answered my question”, Aristomache continues to say,” and in lieu of an response, I will take your silence as an admission of guilt.” Erim gulps down air. He is here in Fallowfell on a probation of sorts. Should he break it… he attacked a Branch-Leader, thus giving her jurisdiction over him.
And theirs is not a human court. She could have him killed, and nobody would care twice. Or 1A might care. It’s funny, when he arrived in Fallowfell, he despised them. Born with silver spoons in their mouths, never knowing what it’s like to starve, to feel that gut-ache, to know true desperation. But like mold between your toes, like sweat ingrained into your skin – the perfume of an adolscent that hasn’t had the opportunity to shower regularly, which he knows all too well, they’ve grown on him.
“… and of course, we know about Rune Fallowfell’s plan to kill Tam Linn.” A pause and Erim’s brain translates the string of words into something resembling meaning.” And we, the the Branch-Leaders, approve.” Dull, gibbering panic. Then understaning, and rage.
Because the only people who knows about the Plan? All members of 1A. And one of them is a spy.
Elena sits in the darkness and munches on a apple. She is missing lunch for this, missing fajiitas for the sake of watching Rune and the rest of the drama-class act out the rehearsal of their play.
Five plum-purple seats away and one row up, Sara Ekjsjö does the same. Watching Rune that is, not eating. And while Sara watches Rune, Elena watches Sara, or more specifically the faint link between the two of them.
Calling on her magic, she attempts to reach that link. And she fails, just like she has failed for the last three days. Frustration makes her grit her teeth, producing a sharp noise.
There has to be a way to do it
– to a reach inside Rune’s soul. They’ve done some experimenting; doing it like Tam Linn did, through Rune’s eyes doesn’t work for Elena. Barring that, she has tried to use that link. But their link has more to do with their minds, than their souls, according to Verde’s analysis.
Soul. The eyes and the bond doesn’t work. How can- the rehearsal of the play grinds to an halt as Rune’s ermine cloak slips, causing havoc on the stage. Elena spots something pink on his shoulder. A tattoo. What was the name of it….? Ah. The gleipnir.
She finishes off her apple. What was it Rune told her about that tattoo. It chains Verde’s soulfragment and Rune’s soul together? Yes something like that. Hmm. Interesting.
Tam Linn peers through the walls of the warehouse, watching as Nidar Greyscale forges a shield of Greek-make. Yowl, sitting on his shoulder, yawns. “You’re right. This is quite boring”, he summarizes.
For days he has watched Nidar Greyscale, watched him eat his soba-noodles, drinking inordinate amounts of beer, screwing some middle-aged women. But no signs of him having a connection to a place of power.
Nidar Greyscale is either an consummate liar the likes of which Tam Linn hasn’t encountered in four centuries or he is innocent. Yet the kappa lied for some reason, despite the fact that his presence frightened her.
Yowl yawns, again. “A foxhunt”, Tam Linn says out loud, making the thought concrete. “I need to flush him out”, he mutters to himself. The thought gains traction in the cornerns of his mind and he strides through Fallowfell, soon finding what he is looking for; a bookshop. He buys several sheets of paper, a pen with green ink and a envelope.
On the envelope he writes; to Nidar Greyscale, brother of Fafnir, member of the Flight. Who should he write as the addressee? From someone who despises the Council, Linn writes, smiling at the truth of it.
He starts to write.
Nidar Greyscale, you do not know me. But I know you. I know the secret that you have kept, that which made you come to Fallowfell. And I tell you, Greycale, that he is onto you. You know who I mean. But there is time still. He watches you like a hawk, but there are ways to hide it.
He nods to himself. Vague on the particulars, yet hinting at some obscure truth relevant only to the reader. He places the envelope in the mailbox and settles down. All that is left now is to wait and exploit any chink in Greyscale’s defense.
Outside of Stockholm, Sweden’s capital, at a certain pier, a being renowned in the lore and mythologies of a dozen pre-Christian cultures stand, gazing up on a grey sky. The color of the sky is poignant; grey is her mood and grey is her morals.
She arches her back, stretching, and from one angle you might think her to be an ordinary woman, a CEO of some upscale company, dressed in a type of suit that hasn’t been fashionable for a century, but looked upon from another angle, and one can make out wings on her back.
She has a name of course, but most denizens of the supernatural world refer to her as the Lightkeeper, the boss of the Pier 7.
The sound of a classic melody wakes her from her somber mood. She watches the caller-id. Ah, one of her spies. She answers.
“No let them try their plan. It might just work.”
The Lightkeeper remembers a promise to a great man, to keep Sweden great. “To assauge your fears I will…. detail three, no four Branch-Leaders, ready to go to Fallowfell should the worst occur.”