Ir³ – Chapter 3.
Time slowed as Xora and Jeneveve rushed inside the still smoldering remains of this ‘ordinary’ brown building. Thankfully to Xora’s talents, the explosion had been muffled almost entirely. No one in a several block radius was any the wiser about what occurred. Jeneveve couldn’t help but wonder as their feet pounded on the pavement, if Xora had tinkered around with that Tome Spell a little. It was meant only to silence the explosion and reflect the concussive force back IN to the building itself, thus confining the damage, but the more Jeneveve looked around, the more she realized all the people she could see meandering about in the distance were doing so rather… slowly. Oddly so..
It was a momentary reflection however. Everything from the moment they touched down on the sidewalk to their sprint inside felt like they were running through molasses but at breakneck speed. Jeneveve’s mouth was dry as a desert, and all she could hear was the thunderous pounding of her heart in her ears,. With Xora’s hand still tightly clutched within her own, Jeneveve could tell her mate was just as anxious as she was. But this was what they had been planning for months now. They could NOT go back empty handed. They could NOT waste another moment. If they failed now, they might never have a chance to try again.. And even if they could there was no guarantee what would or wouldn’t be in store for them..
Glancing down as her boot crossed over bits of broken glass and splintered wood. The damage done to this place was hardly fathomable, had Xora and Jeneveve not seen it with their own eyes as it happened. There really was nothing left of this place. From front to back, top to bottom, only the skeletal remains survived, along with the back portion of the roof and what looked like a small room in the very back. One couldn’t even tell where tables and chairs might have once been.. Everything was ash and dust now. Were they not in such a hurry, Jeneveve might have liked to survey the scene a little more in depth to admire their handy work, but as it was they had urgent business.
The sound of their boots stepping through the debris seemed like bittersweet music to them, even as they carefully traversed the chaos and closed in on that small room in the back, which had, more or less, survived most of the blast. The facing wall was blackened and singed, but just about intact, save for the door way which was long gone. Two yards away, he mouth still parched, Jeneveve swallowed hard and fingered the hilt of her new dagger.
“Stay a little behind me, Xora.” she murmured,
“Not a chance.” her companion countered, stepping beside her defiantly while brandishing another one of those gentle silver wisps, dancing yet again upon her the tips of her middle and index fingers.
“That’s my girl.” grinned Jeneveve and quickly closed the gap between the room and themselves.
Just as the toe of Jeneveve’s left foot touched the doorway, she spotted him; the man who had entered the building, laying face down on the floor of this room, a large pool of bright crimson blood still pooling beneath his body. It was a rather grisly sight, but it was by far not the worst thing either of them ad ever seen. No… that honor was saved for something else… The black shadow on both their souls that still woke them up in the middle of the night in tears and screams of pain, both physical and emotional.
“I wonder what happened.” Xora murmured as she stepped over the body and moved towards the displaced desk. It was a rather large, solid oak beast of a thing, it hadn’t been easy to bring inside no blast was evidently going to move it.
“There was some kind of mirror on the wall there. When the blast happened he must have been standing roughly where you are and caught a bunch of glass shards to the neck and back. I can still see a couple pieces sticking out of him.” Jeneveve returned almost casually. “Doesn’t seem as though the desk has suffered too much damage..” tilting her head to the right ever so slightly then.
Weird.. Jeneveve thought to herself as her keen eyes moving from the body to the desk her companion was circling around. While Jeneveves initial plan had been to rush in here, slaughter this man if he had to, and tear apart this desk to find what she wanted, even if it meant reducing it to just another pile of splinters and debris like the rest of this place, she now was finding herself caught between the scene here and the scene outside. Any moment a constable could come waltzing along, and no amount or speed of Xora’s talents could stop him from blowing a whistle. Not unless Jeneveve somehow buried her dagger in his throat before he had a chance to draw in a deep breath. But even that couldn’t stop the snowball of events bound to happen in that case..
Time WAS of the essence. Her brain and her heart couldn’t- WOULDN’T let her relax of that thought for even an instant. Turning her attention back to the desk, Jeneveve ignored the mans postmortem twitching and instead focused on Xora, whose own head was cocked marginally. Listening for something Jeneveve could only wonder about.
“No wonder it’s survived the blast.” Xora announced at last. Releasing that silver wisp with a slight, delicate flick of her wrist towards the desk. It disappeared upon contact with the wood.
“Why? Magicked?” questioned Jeneveve, clearly antsy.
They. had. to. leave. NOW!
“Aye. Rather well too.. but clumsily. It’s like that old saying goes.” the sounds of several tumblers could be heard turning and then opening inside, causing four drawers to open. Two on the left one on the right, and one IN the top of this desk, beneath a large paper calender. Or what had been one anyway. The paper was too blackened to make out what had been on there before. “The more locks you put on something, the easier it is to crack..”
That sealed it.
Darting over to the desk, Xora and her companion began shifting through various stacks of letters, legal notes, nail files, ink bottles, pens, old papers- far too old to have been native to this building and whatever ‘legal’ purpose it was supposed to have served.
“Where are they?! Where are they?!” Jeneveve whispered frantically. Trying desperately not to lose her cool but evidently failing rather marvelously because she soon found Xora’s hands resting on her own, stilling them and a sudden eerie warmth spreading up her arms and throughout the rest of her body.
“They’re here.. It wouldn’t have been magicked for nothing.. Not even to throw anyone off. They’re here.” Xora assured confidently.
Jeneveve wasn’t entirely sure she shared her companions optimism, but she couldn’t help but smile slightly. If Xora felt sure enough, then she had to just trust in her and her instincts.. They had come too far to abandon this task now.
But time was racing down, and with even more pressure on her to get them to safety before the police and other pesky intruders made their appearance, Jeneveve began to sweat and rather profusely, her trembling hands flying through open drawers and stacks of paper, both blank and used, tossing them at her feet once her eyes had scanned them and determined each article to be useless. On when the process for what felt like hours, when in reality the pair of them had managed to clear through nearly the whole desk in a few seconds.
About to lose hope, Jeneveve had to stifle a sob.. This was proving hopeless. Was it all a trap? Just then their eyes settled on the small hidden drawer on the top of this mammoth desk. One would never have been able to differentiate it from the design of the desk, nor pry it open if they didn’t know what they were looking for and weren’t’ equipped with means to open it. A normal person risked instant death if they HAD somehow managed to find this hidden nook and try to open it. A Weaver like Xora on the other hand… Well, it was another magick worker who had enchanted this damn thing to begin with, so it made perfect sense that another could undo the Ties around it..
Xora and Jeneveve exchanged excited glances as they each dove for the drawer, with Xora using her talents to tear the top right off and send it flying across the room without even touching it, and Jeneeve ripping the contents from inside quickly. It was a small bronze box with silver and gold lettering. There wasn’t enough time to stop and examine it thoroughly yet, so Jeneveve tucked it beneath her arm and dove the other back inside to double check that it was clear. Her hand was pulled back out clutching a thick stack of letters wrapped in twine, one last subsequent search revealed the hidden compartment was indeed finally empty.
“That’s it?” Jeneveve asked in a hushed whisper. Quite relieved then to see Xora give a terse nod.
“I do believe so. I sense nothing else. The heart of the Thing is in your grasp, dearest. It pulses with an energy I’ve not yet felt; though it doesn’t feel dangerous..”
“Not yet, anyway.” Jeneveve countered and quickly reached to take her lovers hand. Getting in was one thing, getting away from the scene before this magick of Xora’s wore off was another.
Kicking aside a small pile of wooden debris, Jeneveve wove her way with Xora back through to the front of the ruined building and with a final deep breath stepped out from it’s relative ‘safety’ back out onto the street..
Where they immediately heard the sharp shrill burst of a whistle from twenty yards away.
“YOU TWO THERE! STOP AT ONCE!”
Their eyes wide, Xora and Jeneveve met each others gaze for a moment before sprinting into a run. The first piece of magic was still in effect, Jeneveve couldn’t fathom how this constable had broken through it.. Until she realized that he had come on his usual rounds and been walking on the unaffected piece of sidewalk. Xora glanced back over her shoulder as they ran, a minor sigh of relief washing through her as she noted the constable had entered the ‘zone’ and slowed to an odd run. He looked as though he were running as hard as he could, but slow as a snail crawled.
“We have some time.” she breathed, noting Jeneveve’s terse nod out of the periphery of her vision.
The pair turned down a side street then, still racing as hard and as fast as their legs could carry them. Down at the end of M’tan Street, there was a waiting cab. Without a second thought, they raced for it and dove in without a moments hesitation. No sooner had the door closed behind them then the carriage, lead by a giant white horse lurched into motion.
“Goddess above!” Jeneveve laughed breathlessly, her chest heaving as she and Xora fought hard to catch their breath; ignoring the beads of sweat rolling down their necks and faces. “I… I can’t believe we did it! Bloody hell and then some!” she giggled, a hand to her side, she toppled over onto the bench and laughed even more until she was truly winded and felt faint.
“Don’t kill yourself after all that!” Xora laughed as well, her porcelain face colored rosy from the job and their sudden sprint to the waiting carriage. Neither of them had been certain it would be there as planned, but evidently it seemed the Goddess favored them that day.
While they worked to catch their breath, they were careful to mind their surroundings. It was clear by the shouting and outright chaos going on now that the magick had waned and everything had returned to normal.. It was best to lie low until outside the city limits, which they were happy to do. It had been a long morning, and an agonizingly long few minutes just now. Jeneveve would have sworn this whole task had taken hours to complete when in reality the sun hadn’t budged an inch from its morning perch..
Ten minutes later and the clatter of the city was slowly dying away, only then did either woman venture to sit up and look around. And it was only then that they let themselves laugh in delight. They had done pulled it off and now they had one more piece of the puzzle in their grasp. Jeneveve couldn’t remember ever feeling so exhilarated before. Save for when she first met Xora, of course.
Just then the little window that separated them from the driver opened and in glanced a wonderfully familiar face.
“Carlisle..” Xora and her mate uttered in unison. Receiving an almost roguish grin from the man on the other side of the divide.
“Tis good to see you both alive and intact.”
“Tis mighty good to be here, as well.” Xora countered softly. Her smiled fading slightly, though she wasn’t sure why.
“Any requests for the heroes of the hour?” asked Carlisle, his soft baritone voice rather soothing after the mornings insanity.
“Just keep driving.” Jeneveve breathed, “I want to get back to the estate and have a bath, and then something hot and spicy to eat; although I’ll settle for hot. Perhaps some porridge with fresh berries on top.”
“Mm.. You make my mouth water at the thought, o’Tha.”
“Ditto.” Jeneveve returned, quickly crossing the carriage to settle on the bench beside her lover, whom she quickly embraced and captured in a deep kiss. “We did it.” she breathed after a moment, brushing the backs of her digits against the side of Xora’s face.
“Aye we did… ‘Veve. Whats in your hand? Did you… You did.. you kept those letters… I thought you had discarded them back there as unimportant?” Xora noted, touching the bundle of old letters Jeneveve still had tightly clutched in her hand.
“I thought I had too.. I wonder whats in them..”
“I’ll guess we’ll find out at the estate.” Xora reasoned, looking at them curiously.
“After our bath.” Jeneveve purred, gliding the finger tips of her right hand down the corresponding side of Xora’s jawline. Happy to see her beloved smile warmly.
“Yes. After.” agreed Xora, helping herself to another kiss as the carriage continued on to their refuge of sorts. There was much to to and a world of new items to inspect. Though after the two had endured, Jeneveve was in no rush.. To get back to work anyway..
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. o O (Hmm. I think that last sentence needs a tweak.. Check back soon..)
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