Morbolfr held the gaze of the man who had his hand in the death of Akai. While the boy had done something stupid in using their explosives for a senseless act of revenge for his brother, Morbolfr understood the notion of punishing the hand that struck him and his people.
He studied the expression of Ramiel Roice. He could see clear disdain labor into the glare of the man. Morbolfr put on a wolfish grin. “Mr. Roice as I understand it you saved Deputy Briar’s life. I am sure, many would commend you for this noble deed.”
The corner of Ramiel’s mouth twitched, his short chin beard following the fast muscle movement making it more expressive. Ramiel stood slightly lower on the hill and while Morbolfr was currently having the man look just a hair up at him he knew they were the same height.
“Many, but not you. I understand of course. It is hard for me to offer my sincere condolences. After all, their end was somewhat self-inflicted, but for whatever it is worth I’d rather have seen them brought before a judge. Burying men alive is so much more satisfying than seeing them escape to the dirt.”
His fist balled up. “How considerate of you. I’ll make sure to let their father know of your heartfelt condolences. But I must warn you. Grief is something that makes monsters out of otherwise good men.”
Morbolfr had never met a man who’d so openly mock and verbally spit in his face. It filled him with rage.
Ramiel made a step toward him and Morbolfr didn’t retreat. They now stood nose to nose. ”It would wound me if the father would blame a bystander helping a man, about to be murdered, for what happened to his sons because of their actions. Do you need a war with me over this? Consider the damage Akai would have done to your family if this explosion had been more successful. They would have buried you. Be glad he is dead. That way the police close the case and don’t look further into his connections. Imagine how good men like you would look if they felt you were involved.”
Baring his teeth the lawyer said. “Careful, better men than you have choked on their insinuations. None of us had any idea this was going to happen or else we would have prevented such a tragedy.” He walked past Ramiel bumping into his shoulder while passing. “Feuds aren’t a healthy pastime, you should not start them so eagerly.”
Ravela let the man bump into her and allow him to push her aside a bit. She felt so much better after putting salt in this man’s wound. “I wish you a good day, Mr.?” She kicked after him with the hint that he was an absolute nobody to her one last time.
The tattooed man turned around his face now red with anger. “My name is Morbolfr Krone and you must be out of your mind.”
Ravela smiled broadly. “You seem so well informed about my name and the events that transpired, yet I sense you haven’t learned much about me. I have lost my memory, so I indeed have no concept of whom I talking to, but don’t worry, I learn faster. Faster than you may think.”
His nose wrinkled and Ravela finally found a project she wanted to tackle. It seemed that crime and its institutions would become Ravela’s pet project for some time. She watched with satisfaction as Mr. Krone walked away. She saw the disdain in the crowd as Morbolfr passed by them.
Ravela’s attitude had changed. She was ready to push back and stand her ground in this world and her ire had just found a very fitting target.
She didn’t care if they came after him. Ravela hoped she would get to break some of their bones. All the incidents so far now became a clearer picture. These families or clans that had already reared their ugly heads in La Heumö were active everywhere, and she had just made it her mission to give them some serious grief. Once she had all her ducks in a row there would be some vigilantism.
A drop fell on her cheek. She looked to the sky as a downpour from the heavens washed over the town. Ravela was tempted to form an umbrella for herself with her powers but instead allowed the water to engulf her.
She walked down the hill into town, and the rain drowned out the noises of the crowd. Passing the Safe House, Ravela stopped.
It was deserted. The entire town was still dispersing slowly from the cemetery. She walked straight toward the front, to the altar. Again studying the figure depicted. People with powers that had manifested after their own beliefs in a religion sought to strengthen the bonds of humans between one another. Teaching compassion, temperance, and responsibility while walking among men with powers that lend themselves to abuse.
Her thoughts were interrupted when a stranger’s voice, not for the first time today, approached her from behind. “Blessed day, how may I help you?”
“Blessed day to you too,” Ravela responded still studying the central piece of art, the altar. “I am waiting for Keeper Namon, I have business with him.”
“Well, you see,” The young man appealed to her for understanding. “The keeper is currently with the families of those victims. But I stand in for him here today. I am happy to help you.”
Ravela hung her head. “I understand that he is quite busy right now. I was at that game too you know.”
“Me too, I traveled here with Keeper Nookis, and while he and Keeper Namon talked I went to watch the game. It was a horrible catastrophe.”
Ravela felt that the young man wouldn’t get off her back and let her just wait for Keeper Namon unless she outright told him that she didn’t want his help.
“Thank you, but I have to wait for Keeper Namon. It is on matters of the well-being of the soul I wish to talk to him.” Ravela finally turned around with an apologetic smile. Reaching out her hand she said, “I am Ramiel, pleased to make your acquaintance.”
They shook hands, but when their eyes met the man completely froze up. He went pale.
Ravela furrowed her brows. “And who might you be?”
The man's mouth moved but he didn’t speak. His eye darted around the room. “I-I see you’re waiting for Keeper Namon. I leave you t-to it.”
Confusion was the best way Ravela could muster. That reaction had been so peculiar and the change in attitude so fast it made her suspicious.
She couldn’t get in everybody's business though. She sat down on a bench and waited for the Keeper.
The rain kept strong for hours and her clothes were slow to dry. The rhythmic drumming on the windows, broken only by the wind sometimes pressing a more substantial wave of rain at the glass, led her to almost fall asleep.
Her stomach growled notifying her for the first time that she missed more than just dinner. The empty Safe House had a weird echo. Just when she got up to leave the main doors opened.
Two men walked her way. Keeper Namon wearing black robes in contrast to his usual colorful wardrobe. The two men were in a quiet conversation and appeared very much friendly with each other.
“Blessed evening, Keeper Namon, and I assume Keeper Nookis?” Ravela greeted the two men.
“Blessed evening to you too, Ramiel,” Keeper Namon responded. “Keeper Nookis, an old friend of mine, and I were just talking about your search for a home. He thinks there would be a property in his county that could be a fit for you, with a willing seller. Well, that is unless you’re a member of a certain country club which you thankfully are not.”
Ravela hesitated, she’d much rather have talked to Namon about what happened. “Is that so?”
Keeper Namon had a look on his face that told her they’d speak of this at a later time, so Ravela just played along.
Laena helped all the girls pack the few things they had brought to her house, yet somehow found their way into every corner of their rooms in just two days.
If she hadn’t been used to Safora as a dorm mate she might have screamed. Girls were so paradoxical at times. The primmest and prettiest had the messiest rooms, except for herself Laena inwardly pardoned the girl in the mirror. Her eyes wandered back to the cheerleaders who once again stopped packing and were just chatting with each other. ‘Ugh.’
Somebody dropped a glass. The sound of it breaking made Laena twitch. She stumbled a little her heart began to pound in her chest. Not for the first time these holidays she found herself pressing up against a wall looking around panicked, and the world was back to flowing like syrup.
Safora sat in silence at the dinner table. School would see them return to Pliada City. The game was supposed to be the crowning end of their summer break.
She glanced over at Markus and then at her parents. They were all in their heads and not trying to have the usual conversations. After she snuck out the night the explosion happened her mother grounded her after not finding her in her room in the morning.
But she had to get out before they went back to school. She had to thank Ramiel for saving her brother and almost everybody at the game. She shuddered when she remembered Raven's player clasping at their chest and shriveling up like a dried tomato.
She didn’t understand what had happened to him at first, but when four more such cases happened each with gruesome outcomes she became convinced that the reason they died was because of the crystals.
Safora felt horrible after she realized that these deaths occurred just because Ramiel used his power in an attempt to save them. Her subsequent realization circled around the fact that this explosion would have killed her brother and most likely nearly all of the spectators, if not for Ramiel’s intervention.
Memories of Ramiel claiming that catching the bus was at the limit of her ability. Safora felt lied to, but after thinking on it more she realized she didn’t exactly behave in a way that would have warranted full disclosure.
The disappointment in herself was even bigger than the fact that Ramiel kept secrets from them. For the first time in their relatively short acquaintance, she vowed to better herself. There was little doubt in her mind that it wouldn’t be easy to regain the trust of the man that had given her powers. Her train of thought halted with a screech. ‘My powers!’ She had seen what could have happened to Laena or even herself, and finally, the full weight of Ramiel’s responsibility and fears came together for her.
He hadn’t lied to them about the dangers. She felt terrible about the situations they had put him in. Her eyes wandered over to Markus. This time her brother looked over at her, and for a second his face began to wither in her imagination. Goosebumps spread over her arms and back, the fear of what one day could happen to her brother because she had instigated things by choosing to ignore Ramiel’s warnings.
She had thoroughly perforated her dinner and not eaten a single bite, Safora realized. It didn’t matter as her non-existent appetite had chosen to become even more non-existent.
After dinner was finally over, Safora catnapped Ms. Fluffles to her room.
The cat, long since, used to getting carried off for cuddles and philosophical or emotional conversation suffered her fate for the evening with an annoyed dignity. As much dignity as a princess could muster when being carried off by some brute over their shoulder.
Ravela and Keeper Namon saw off Keeper Nookis, and once he had left she sighed. The waiting to talk to someone about what happened had been killing her.
For once focusing on her plans to settle down was not at the forefront of her mind. She wished to go over the events with Namon. She felt terrible for the deaths she had caused regardless of the factors that forced her hand.
Keeper Namon waited till the door closed before speaking up. “So, why don’t we go to the confessional booth?”
Ravela agreed wordlessly and followed behind Namon.
The small box had something to it that made her feel safe.
“Ravela, what do you really want to talk about?” Namon greeted her once again.
“The explosion of course, what else could I want to talk about?” Ravela responded very directly.
“I saw some of the dead. They didn’t look like they died from the explosion.” Namon tried to be tactful with his inquiry.
Ravela put her hand on her heart. “That is because they did not.”
Namon swallowed hard before asking the question. “What happened there?”
Ravela shifted in her seat. Explanation or not the guilt she felt was weighing on her. “Every action has a price, Namon. I chose to intervene. I saved people from this explosion, but inadvertently the results of my intervention…you buried today. I can’t explain why the people who died not from the explosion died through my protection.”
The man she considered her friend kept silent for some time before he spoke again. “Would these people have survived the explosion if you hadn’t tried to save them?”
Ravela squirmed. “No. No, I don’t think they would have. But that doesn’t make this easier.”
Her confidentes face popped up behind the grid. “Could you have known it would happen beforehand?”
Looking down at her lap she wrung her hands. Her fingers played nervously with Ramiel’s ring. “Maybe. If I had taken more time after my arrival to think things through there is a chance I could have foreseen.”
Ravela took off the ring. The transformation pealing of her as it usually did. She looked at Namon with her entirely black eyes. “Everything has a price, Namon.”
She could see the keeper's reaction to her black eyes. It pained her to see him recoil like this.
“What happened?” he asked after overcoming his shock.
“I used a lot of power to protect everyone. More power than I remember ever using.” Ravela said looking down at her fingers. “I can’t deny that it felt accelerating in that moment. I could have leveled buildings with the strength I used there. It torments me that my good deed is about to have an aftereffect on the world.”
A low hum came from the other side of the grid. “So, this is just a symptom of you using too much power? It is temporary?”
Ravela looked up at the separation. “In a sense, yes. Are you worried about me, friend?”
Namon coughed. “Of course, I am worried.”
Ravela found the flustered Namon even more likable than his usual confident self. For just a moment she forgot all about her own problems.