Nanowrimo 2011: Of Places I Don’t Know – Chapter 19

“I can’t believe I’m actually going toLondon,” Storm said, as they waited at the station for their train.

 

Echo started to scowl at him, slightly annoyed he could be so happy when Aiden was still trapped with Mick.

“I mean,” He continued, covering his tracks after seeing her face, “I mean, I wish it could have been for better circumstances, but still, Echo, I’ve barely left Stony Oaks, let alone to go to a real city!”

 

“You’ve left Stony Oaks, you’ve been all over the place.” Echo countered. It was true, he’d been around a bit with Alder, up toScotland, across toWalesonce, and around a lot of the country.

 

“Yeah, but never to a real city before,” He corrected, “And never without Dad.”

 

“Yeah, fair enough,” Echo replied.

 

Before long their train began to pull into the station, and Echo glanced down at the tickets in her hand to see which carriage their seats were in, making their way along to carriage D, before finding seats number 26 and 27, both forward facing. They put their back packs in the overhead storage and sat down, Storm eager to get toLondon, and Echo too, though for different reasons.

 

“Once we’ve found him,” Storm began, “Can you show meLondon? All the big city things? And your uni? And can I meet Sophia?”

 

“Yes, yes, yes and maybe,” Echo responded, amused by his optimism and childish enthusiasm.

 

“Only maybe? But she’s so pretty, those photos on Facebook…” He said, sounding more like a teenage boy than Echo had ever heard him sound before.

 

“Ew, no, you’re a kid!” She laughed.

 

Storm pouted, “I’m 16 y’know,” He protested.

 

“Yeah, exactly!” Echo laughed. She was glad to have Storm with her, without him this train ride would have been unbearable, full of worry and panic and loss and sadness, full of her need for Aiden. And Storm knew. He laughed and joked with her to take her mind off things, hardly mentioning Aiden, and when he did putting a positive spin, saying things like “when we find him” rather than the “if we find him” that Echo felt. As well as being a good distraction for reality, Storm had come with because he thought he knew where Aiden was, the warehouse that Storm himself was kept by Mick and his Alpha those years ago. Mick’s Alpha. Aiden’s father. Echo shuddered at the thought, and at the thought of Aiden really feeling like that was where he belonged to be, to have gone with Mick willingly.

 

“Echo, stop.” Storm said, he always could get into her mind easily, it was a knack siblings seemed to have, though no one knew why really, “We’ll find him, I’m sure I know where he is.”

 

***

 

Storm sat on Echo’s sofa, taking in her living room, drinking the tea she had made for them. It was strange, to him, his sister living somewhere like this. As he looked around, he doubted he would ever live outside of Stony Oaks. It was so busy up here, so many cars, so much traffic, so many people, and so little green space, so little space in general. He wondered how she did it, how she had adjusted, before realising that perhaps she hadn’t so well. He wondered if she’d have stayed had she not met another Apsu, despite what she had said about wanting to live how the Lu lived.

 

Echo was arranging her crystals on the floor, though not for her, for Storm instead. She glanced at the crumpled yellow stained paper on the table, containing her father’s script handwriting. It contained a charm for storm, one to guide him to Mick’s warehouse, it could only guide one back to a place they had been before, but once they had the location, they could work on finding a route. Storm had suggested Becoming in order to get in, but Echo had told him not to be ridiculous, and that she would not allow it, it was not safe. Instead, they were armed with invisibility charms and confusion spells to cast, along with Asarinu spices, to be brewed into a tea and taken with them, drunk as they are said to make one harder to see, though Echo did not believe in them really, thinking of Asarinu more of a children’s game than a real act of magic. But still, Alder had said that they would work, not in making them invisible, but in making there presence seem less of something out of the ordinary, making them harder to pin down as not meant to be there. They also had Masku herbs to be taken, as they had mind reading blocking properties that would work better on the Xul than any spell could, Alder said.

 

“Come on the, are you ready?” Echo asked, standing up from the circle she had made.

 

Storm nodded and walked to the circle, his legs twitched nervously. Though he was trying to be brave, trying to act grown up and manly, the idea of finding Mick, the Xul who held him captive, albeit years ago, scared him more than he could comprehend. He wished it didn’t, and he was going to do it anyway regardless of rather it scared him. He had to, not just because Aiden meant so much to his sister, but also because he couldn’t stand the idea of someone being held like he was.

 

“You don’t have to do this, you know,” Echo said, “I’m sure we can find another way.”

 

Storm just looked at her, with a questioning and slightly sarcastic look on his face, before sitting down cross legged, a map on the floor in front of him and a pencil in hand, and beginning to meditate. Echo sat down on the floor just outside the circle, the yellow paper in her hand, and began to read over it in her mind, sending the charm to Storm to cast.

 

“Guide my mind, so it can see, the place that I need to be. Through the land, across the sky, allow it to find, where he does lie.” It was not her father’s best work as far as charms went, Echo thought, but she knew it would do. Any charm with the blessing of a Zagmi was going to work, regardless of the specifics, as long as ones mind was it the right place while it was being written and while it was being cast.

 

She felt her mind inside of Storm’s, not controlled by it, or controlling it, but just fused slightly, as she sent the magic to his meditation for him to cast the charm. Once she heard him begin to mumble the words aloud she stopped sending them, content that the charm was safe within Storm’s mind, and stood up to go over to the sofa until the charm was cast. She lit a joss stick to cleanse the air in the hope it would help the magic in the air. She picked up the bag of Asarinu spice and it into the kitchen, setting the kettle on and taking a flask out of the cupboard to brew it so it was ready for when they left, which she hoped was soon. She grabbed the Masku herbs as the kettle was boiling to but them in her bag. She looked at them, undoing the hessian wrap that they were in. She had never seen Masku before now, it was so rare to come across as it could only be cultivated by Apsu, what with it needing magic as well as sunlight and water to grow.  She took out a piece, a tiny green leaf, that looked half dried, with purple tinges surrounding the edges, and what appeared to be pink specks of dust coating the surface. She looked at it in awe, before holding it to her nose to smell it. Her nose wrinkled in disgust at the smell, in such contrast to its pretty appearance, the pungent aroma made it clear why Masku was not used particularly often, in favour of charms and spells. She tied it back up and put it in her bag for later, hoping it would taste better than it smelt, before going back to brewing the Asarinu.

 

“Echo, Echo I’ve got it! I know the way!” Storm screamed from the living room, despite the fact he was only a few meters away and the walls of the building were quite thin. Hoping her neighbours hadn’t heard, she walked through to join him. He was standing in the middle of the now-broken circle, holding up the map triumphantly, a street just north ofLondoncircled with the pencil.

 

“Are you sure?” Echo asked, wanting to make certain.

 

“Yes I’m bloody sure, I saw him there, Echo, come on, we have to go, now!” He snapped, urgency and aggression in his voice. Echo looked at him slightly shocked.

 

“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean… It’s just, well,” He thought of the best way to phrase what he had seen that wouldn’t panic his sister too much, “If you’d seen what I did you’d want to go quickly too, that’s all.” He concluded, his voice lowering at the end.

 

Echo did not need to hear more. She dashed into the kitchen to get the brewed Asarinu, did the lid up and stuck it in her bag with the Masku herbs. She shoved he shoes on and grabbed her coat, before getting Aiden’s clothes to bring with too, thinking he would need them for the journey back if he’d been in his Other Form his whole time with the Xul. Finally she picked up one more thing from the table, another charm, written in her father’s script. This one, though, was not so much a charm as a curse, paralysis of an enemy, to make them loose their abilities, and the use of their body for a limited amount of time. Of course there were other attacking spells, permanent paralysis, loss of limbs, even death curses, but neither Echo nor Storm nor Aiden nor the three of them combined possessed anywhere near the amount of power that would be required of them to do anything like that.

 

Echo looked over at Storm, his shoes were on and he was ready to leave. She grabbed her keys and locked the door behind them, looking at the map to try to figure out where to go in order to get Aiden back.

 

***

 

They sat on the train, Echo practically shaking in anticipation to get to where Aiden was. She kept trying to sense him, but it was harder than she thought. She imagined the warehouse would have some sort of blocking spell around it to shield its location. In fact she knew it did, it was most likely the same shielding spell that prevented both Storm and Alder to remember where this warehouse was without the help of a spell even though they had both been there before.

 

The train stopped and Storm and Echo leaped off, Echo now running as fast as she could though the station. Not far now, not far now. Once they were outside, she slowed down for a second to look at the map, trying to get her baring, before taking off down a side street.

 

“Echo, Echo wait up!” Storm shouted at her, panting as he tried to keep up. Though his other form, his hugeAkitadog, would have had no trouble keeping up, his slightly scrawny, skinny teenage body had it’s limitations with running distances of any sort. Echo slowed down slightly, getting another look at the map as she did,

 

“Storm, it’s the next street over, hurry up!” She shouted back, as she jogged to a halt to wait for him. She took out the brewed Asarinu spices and swigged from the flask, her face scrunching up at the taste before she swallowed it. She passed it to Storm, now stood next to her, panting.

 

“Urgh, why can’t they make magic that tastes nice?” Storm said as he sipped the spices, his face scrunching as Echo’s had done. Echo rolled her eyes and shook her head, before taking out the Masku, putting a small piece of it in her mouth, before reaching back for the spices to swallow it.

 

“I don’t know, but the Asarinu tastes loads better than the Masku does,” She said, passing the flask back to him to help him with the Masku. Echo did the flask back up, before continuing to run to the next road over, now as protected as she could be, trying in her head to come up with some sort of plan as to what to do now, it seemed far too easy to just be able to step right in and take him back, even with the help of magic.

 

 

 

 

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