It had been a rough couple of days with Simon. He seemed to be gathering what few wits he still had left, however I needed a break from his insanity. Father, Mother and I were at the Gate Chandler, I was reading the trade notes over my father’s shoulder when they entered. Three Templars, one of them was an Inquisitor. The leader of the three asked who owned the business and Wulfsig stepped forward. The sergeant started asking questions about witches in the Pit and specifically asked about the Chef, meanwhile the Inquisitor was staring at me with his pale blue eyes.
“She has magic about her. Though… not a witch. A rogue channeler maybe?”
The Sergeant turned to me.
“Are you sure?”
The Inquisitor nodded.
“Who are you?”
“My name is Catherine. I do not know what are you talking about? How could I use magic if I was not a witch? You must be mistaken.”
The Inquisitor just stared at me.
“Look it is probably because I am around artifice a lot, look.”
I drew out the flesh parting knife that we had retrieved from our first delve. The sergeant turned back to the Inquisitor and asked if that was the source of the magic. The Inquisitor paused for a moment and then shook his head.
“It’s faint but there is other magic about her.”
The sergeant nodded.
“Miss, you will need to come with us. It seems as if you have been the target of magic at the very least.”
“Come with you? I do not think so! I heard about what happened to the Warden’s tower, what the Templars did! And for what? A handful of witches? You killed hundreds if not thousands of innocent people!”
“That was… regrettable. However that was another branch, not us. You must come with us.”
I looked at Wulfsig, Iduna and my parents. I could not put them in harm’s way.
“Ok fine, just let me grab something from the back.”
“You will come with us now.”
“But…” I leaned in and said softly, “look, its women issues.”
I had hoped that would throw him off guard enough so I could go to the back room and leave the focus behind.
“We have rags.” He loudly stated.
Blushing I floundered for another reason, if I had to go with them I could not take the focus with me. Father seeing my distress rose to the challenge.
“How dare you accost one of noble blood! To accuse my daughter of such things!”
The Templar was taken back.
“You must have fallen on hard times if you are here in the Pit.”
“We may not have the wealth that we once possessed but the de Alicorn name is an old and strong one with many ties to those of political influence within the Necropolis.”
The Templar stepped back. The sergeant nodded to father and then the Templars took their leave. I stood stunned for a moment then rushed over to father, throwing my arms around him.
“Thank you father. That was very brave of you, I love you. I am afraid now though that you and mother will be in danger. Please be careful.”
Father looked down at me, put his finger under my chin lifting my head to meet his gaze.
“I would do anything for you, you are my daughter and I shall not let you be harmed if I can help it.”
I was back at Simon’s, better to listen to his rants rather than encounter the Templars again. When I told Simon about the encounter he shrugged it off.
“They will come and go, it is the other who is the threat. The Templar’s are nothing.”
I shook my head and tried to explain that if the Templar’s had their way then there would be no one to stop the “other”. He laughed. His eyes cleared then, it seemed as if he was once again the Simon I had met those many years ago. He told me that the other was an ancient being of unfathomable power, one who was seeking to break into our reality.
“If that is the case then how could we stop the other?”
He fell silent. Time passed, one of the beakers softly bubbled.
“You have been wanting to learn more spells, stronger spells right? If you get me an artefact I shall teach you.”
More spells! If I could get more power I could protect everyone! Mother, father, Dain, Cat and even Ash. The ice twins Frost and Rime, sweet Perfidy, and Veil. Hubert, Millie and Barda. All the people in the Pit, in the Necropolis. If I could save them, if I could make a real difference to people’s lives…
“Tell me more about the artefact Simon.”
He explained that the artefact was from the other. It was a crude statue, a conical base with an eye that seemed to stare at you no matter where you looked at it from. He had heard about it from a colleague when he was still at the Lorekeepers. The Durst family from Fulgrim had brought it in to be examined and to discover its secrets. However when the Lorekeepers wanted to keep it they declined and returned back to their estate in Fulgrim. Since then nothing has been heard from them. He cautioned me not to touch it with bare skin or even look at it too long.
I asked how he would protect himself from its influence and he told me not to worry about that, just retrieve the artefact. I didn’t like how cagey he was being about it but I couldn’t pass up this opportunity. I would just need to take precautions and keep close eye on Simon when I returned.
I thanked Simon and told him I would be back soon. I did a quick check on Simon’s “experiments” to make sure that none of them would blow up in my absence and then went to tell Ash, Dain and Catherine.