The Guardians of London: Third Echelon CHAPTER THREE [6 Slots Open]

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Harper shook his head in mock disgust and worry: "Fellas, we'll be out of a job soon... If it becomes this easy to do our jobs: just give kids candy - it'll be done by creepy men with creepy moustaches operating from vans..."

Jeffery grinned, " I don't know. I don't much care for liars." He turned to Harper, "Spoken like someone without any children of their own."

"Hey, I'm 25: I've got my life ahead of me. And, at least, I don't know if I've got any kids. Might do, most girlfriends don't last long around me, wonder why..."

"I know the moment that I am going to die, Hadrian. Do you envy me that?" said Zjar'q, smiling.

Bastian took a deep breath of the summer air. Wherever Grand Moon was, he hoped it was just as lovely. The child was feisty and strong-willed, much like he himself had been as a child. He smiled, knowingly and said, as they walked. "I can prove we mean you no harm, I carry something that I am sure you recognize." he produced a small, shiny gold shield shape which bore the symbol of The Light and an inscription "Semper Patiens" and his name "Sebastian Chevalier Wyre"
"I serve the Light and fight on its side, and no idle creature of darkness can touch that without burning and cringing. I'm sure your mother has told you about what the Avengers were like, long ago."
Some stories told to Bastian back in the Guardians, when he was becoming a Guardian, by an older Fae about the Avengers. The elite Fae warriors of the light who brandished shining shields and blades, cutting through evil wherever it appeared. Always female, these warriors were harsh and true to their faith. They fell to protect the Fae, their last breaths given to weaken the dark force that had driven their from their ancestral homeland. Only one city stood, fighting back...even after the ancient warriors who had once defended their lands had perished and most had fled. They stayed, resolute and strong. Their faith bolstered by the noble sacrifice of the Avengers, plunging their blades into the soil and trapping the dark force it its lands never to leave itself. Only those Fae it could corrupt could strike out beyond the barrier, but they could not touch the blades that made up the barrier itself. To touch one was to embrace the sun itself, no darkness could stand being within a mile of it without cringing.
The little Fae would, hopefully, know of the Avengers and trust them a little more. There was only so much trust some sweetbread could buy them. And whoever led these Fae would be disinclined to take sweetbread as a symbol of their benevolence.

Bastian knew little of the Fae, this Fae seemed more like the Fae of old. Down to the horn on its head, like the ancient ancestors of the Faeries. Bastian kicked himself for forgetting to bring an old ring given to an ancient Guardian, a ring of fire only a true Faerie could craft. Only a true Faerie who had given it freely could have given the ring, and it would have been easier. Could'a, should's, would'a though Bastian as they walked.

Rena was more than surprised by the shield that the man had produced. It was an authentic Avengers shield! She almost wanted to touch it, but the young Fae innocently thought that her little pranks had put her a little away from the side of good, despite her pure heart. Smiling, she said. "I've definitely heard of the Avengers! They're the greatest of the great! Slaying darkness wherever it spawned!" She made it seem like she was swinging a sword heroically as she talked. "All evil perished at the hands of the Avengers!" She then frowned and said. "Though..that was until SHE came..The Dark Skull..T-they fought so hard and yet they still fell. Now there's almost none left, if any. I want to be an Avenger myself! Then I'll defeat all of the evils in this world, including the Dark Skull!" There was a pain in her eyes which showed that she truly wanted to avenge her fallen heroes. Trying not to think about it though, she started to bite on some of the sweet bread. Squeaking in happiness, she seemed to float with happiness, but if one were to feel the winds, she was actually manipulating the wind to allow herself to float in the air.

Bastian smiled, following the little girl. The ground crunching underfoot, he felt safe here. Whatever this Dark Skull was, it was bad...probably the Shadow Lord released by the Necromancers so long ago.

Lurker, being the shadow he was, walked behind Bastian and was very quiet...no one had noticed him yet but they knew he was among them. Lurker didn't need to speak, he was busy thinking.
They paused near a small body of water, allowing Bastian a chance to try something Faustus had given him before he had left, something he thought he needed more. Bastian tipped the tiny glass vial into the body of water, a small crystal clear lake and whispered "Water, hear my words. I call to me a master of your domain, may her name be sung through the deeps. I call Breaker, Guardian of the Light." out of the water, she formed. The vampire was off-duty and had been awaiting a new assignment, thought the long journey to Faerie through the void took only seconds for her but for the rest they slowly watched the water form into her feminine shape. Bastian wasn't as impressed as the rest of the men, though.
"Finally, something to do. How can I help..." asked Breaker.
"Breaker, welcome. We're here to defeat a Shadow Lord and we need your help...do you think anyone else can come?"
"No...it's busy back home. I'll help however I can, though."

"Oh, hello again!" Harper grinned, "now we just need to get a few more people here and it's the whole gang..."

Hadrian elbowed Harper to get his attention. "So, who exactly is she?"

Pyotr was in the midst of wringing out his soaked jacket when the violent outburst of Jeffery's occured and was seemingly defused. Fucking Christ, I've been a Chronomancer for many years ahead of him, and I'm not nearly that unstable. Running his hands through his drenched hair, he considered an important fact, Not all minds are the same, not all are as strong. Chronomancy is not for everyone...

"Ha! You can say that again..." the Russian said to himself as he withdrew a half-empty bottle of vodka, the very last he had, from his pack and took a large swig. After gulping down the strong drink, he stored the remainder in his pack before speaking up to the little, floating Fae that introduced herself as Rena. "Excuse me, króshka," he addressed with a polite and sincere smile. "There would not happen to be somewhere where I may be able to purchase a few bottles of vodka, would there? I appear to be running short in that supply."

Jeffery waved hello at Breaker unintrested, he had his wife who was all he needed to pay attention to in matters of attractiveness, and went back to musing on certain topics in his head. He did some number crunching in his head before he realized something. He knew how old he was. This wouldn't have been a big deal to most people but for Jeffery it was. His temporal-vision had clouded most things resulting in Jeffery loosing track of time, literally. He turned to Harper and Hadrian and placed a hand on each of their shoulders. "I remember... I remember my age! I'm 50!"

Hadrian snickered at this and gently removed the hand that was on his shoulder. "Jeffery, have you taken your pills?" He asked jokingly. "It looks like you took too much again."

Jeffery gave Hadrian a look of mock surprise. "Such uppity kids. I guess I'll have to tell you to get off my lawn and have you sit in the corner." He imitated having a walker to support him.

Hadrian chuckled. "I always thought you were younger than that." He shrugged and crossed his arms. "Must have been the trench coat."
"Anyway, do you happen to know who that is over there?" He gestured to Breaker, who was still standing at the head of the pond and conversing with Bastian.

"She's a vampire, member of some house or another. She was helping out when we apprehended the Golden Skull. Breaker's har name, she's an aqua-mancer."

Hadrian bristled at the word "vampire."
"Huh... So that's why my nose was itching like crazy." He muttered. "It'd probably be best if I avoided her."

"DOn't worry, I'm sure you'll get on fine! Maybe. I dunno..."

Hadrian grunted, still eying her. "I doubt that. Our kind don't get along very well with each other." He bit his lip anxiously. "I learned that the hard way."
He stayed silent for a moment before shaking his head. "I'm probably getting worked up for nothing. It was only one time, and one guy."

Rena was happy to take a break and giggled as she went over to the lake to get a drink, unaware of what Bastian was doing. Suddenly, the water seemed to morph and a new person was shaping out of the water. Squeaking in surprise, she hurried out and hid behind a tree before peeking out and watching what was going on. It seemed the woman was a friend of theirs, and she thought it would be nice to have another female in the group, but she didn't know anything about the woman.

It was about this time when one of the males came over to her, smelling kind of funny, and asked if they had something called 'vodka' at Grand Moon. Confused a little bit, she said. "I don't know what you're talking about. I've never heard of that kinda stuff before."

Hadrian moved over beside Rena. "Let me see if I could help you out here." He put a hand to his chin. "Have you ever seen someone wander out of a small building with a bottle in hand, while ranting or mumbling about his problems and insecurities to him or herself?"

Rena tried to think about a situation like that in her past, but she shook her head and said. "No, I can't say that I have. I've seen others walking around with water flasks, and everyone mumbles about their problems every now and then, but together..I don't think so."

"Okay..." his brows furrowed. "How about people complaining about "hangovers"? Or people acting out of character and smelling funny?"

"Well," the Russian started as he pulled the quarter-full bottle of Stolichnaya vodka and held it up for Rena to see. "It looks something like this." The bottle was clear with large sticker, having a black-and-white drawing of Hotel Moskva with 'Stolichnaya vodka' in gold, cursive lettering over it. The drawing and lettering was boxed in by a thick, gold border. Above and below the bordering were red boxes, the top encasing 'STOLICHNAYA' in white, boxy print and the bottom encasing 'RUSSIAN VODKA' in the same fashion.

Rena thought about that scenario before nodding her head and saying. "I think I've heard some of the ol..I mean, other adults my age, talking about something like that after they've had some spirits." She was talking of the alcoholic kind of spirits, and not the ghosty scary kind.

"Well, it looks like you're in luck Pyotr." He gave him a pat on the back. "Well, maybe. I doubt that they have vodka over here. But hey, better than nothing, I suppose."

"This is Breaker, she's an aquamancer and an ally. We'll be needing her help, for some of the vague rumors I've heard there is a lot of snow and ice we have to cross and an aquamancer would make the trip quick and, obviously, her other skills." said Bastian.
Breaker's eyes narrowed and Bastian said "She's a skilled diplomat, boys. Don't get in a twist."

"Where am I?" asked Breaker to Bastian as she walked across the surface towards him.
"Faerie. You know, where Fae come from..."
"I know what Faerie is but why me?"
"I'm not the best diplomat....and the rest of the sausage fest are....not inclined to that area. We need your skills."
"I'll try my best..."

"The little girl over there is our guide. Maybe you can find out stuff we can't..." said Bastian, spinning out some fate threads idly.
"I'll introduce myself..." said the Vampire.
She walked up to Hadrian and Pytor and introduced herself to the little Fae girl, Rena.
"Hi, I'm Breaker. I'm from their world and they called me here to help. I'm good at talking to people and being nice, unlike these buffoons who only know how to grunt and break things." she said with a wink at the boys.

Rena giggled happily when Breaker made a joke about the others. She instantly decided that she liked this person, and smiled happily before saying. "My name's Rena, nice to meet you Miss Breaker! I'll bring you all to Grand Moon with no problems at all, though it's true that there are some pretty tricky areas with snow and ice. I usually just fly over them using my aeromancy but if you can help too that would be great!" She offered her unbitten sweet bread as a token of friendship before saying. "Want some? It's really good and sweet!"

Hadrian eyes twitched as he forced a smile. "It's nice to meet you too, Breaker." He said in the same sweet tone she used to greet them.
'Oh I'll break something alright. Damn vampires.'

Breaker took the bit of bread and ate it. "Mmmm...good! Thank you..."

They started walking again, crossing from the forest into the plains where a cool wind blew. Breaker and Hadrian eyed each other with narrowed eyes as they all walked, with Bastian whistling a tune.

Hadrian was the first to speak, getting tired of the little "staring contest" going on between them.
"What are you looking at, bloodsucker?" He growled. His teeth were bared, making his canines more prominent.

"Oh nothing, puppy-dog....I haven't seen such a fine example of wolf-flesh in a long time." and here she smiled, showing her teeth.

His eyes flashed angrily. "Don't get any ideas you leech," Hadrian snapped. "Or your next meal will be my boot."

Rena blinked as she looked between the two of them. They seemed to really dislike each other, but they didn't know one another did they? Pouting a bit, she said. "Hey how come you're fighting? You should be friends! We're all in the same group after all!" She smiled and then said. "Besides, you know what they say about a guy and a girl that fight. They actually care about each other veeery much! So kiss and make up and quit fighting!" She giggled happily at that last part.

"Kiss and make up?" Hadrian scoffed, looking a bit red in the face. "Rena, I'd sooner throw myself in a vat of boiling oil than be romantically involved with..." He pointed a finger at Breaker. "...with that."

Harper tried to supress a laugh as Rena, Breaker and Hadiran conversed: "Her, Hadrian: it's Her. Same as you are he."

"I'd rather brush my teeth with nettles than kiss that hairy beast..." she said, crossing her arms and looking away.

"Both of you, quit it before I just so happen to charm both of your tongues into silence..." said Bastian, irritated. Werewolves and Vampires never, ever got along. Like sullen teenagers fighting over the last fag in the packet.
Both of them huffed and ignored one another, but out of Bastian's sight Breaker stuck her tongue out at Hadrian.

~~~

After a long walk, before them the plains were suddenly coated in a thick layer of snow and a bank of clouds sat there as though held by some power.
"I assume that whatever destroyed the Fae's homelands is responsible for the random snow?" asked Bastian.

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