Kali drove them in her van. She had a Mercedes as well, but since no one else had a licence, she had to drive everyone in situations like this.
Technically, Mahogany was old enough to get a licence, but she kept failing the driver’s test. Something about drag racing all the time. It was a long drive. But once they got there, Nixion didn’t feel any better. This was the Australian Sanctuary. The place where he had almost died. And, even worse than that, it was close to where he used to live. It was close to where he was kidnapped.
Nixion was ten years old then. That was before he was known as Nixion, and before all of his problems had begun. He had been walking home from school. A black car had pulled up and two people had got out. One was thin, and hunched over. He was wearing a hat that was at an angle, so you couldn’t see his face above his mouth. The second was a middle aged man who was looking at him triumphantly.
“Are you sure he can take it?” the first man asked.
“I’m sure. Now, I want to be paid.” The second man was glaring at the first, and ten year old Nixion was seriously getting scarred.
“La-la-leave me alo-alone,” he couldn’t stop trembling. He wanted to run, but couldn’t.
The first man passed an envelope to the second and walked towards the boy. He opened his mouth to scream, but the man suddenly rushed forward and clamped a cloth over his mouth. Nixion breathed in what he now knew to be chloroform, and passed out.
“Nixion. Come on Nixion.” Someone was gripping his arm, and Nixion suddenly realised that they were at the entrance to the Santuary. He scowled. Mist began the complicated process of opening the door, while Nixion continued scowling at the door.
“Do we have to come here?” he asked.
Mist spared him a glance. “We need the Sanctuary’s resources. And it’s regulation.
Nixion snorted. “Regulation,” he said. “Who cares? We can do this on our own.
“Look, okay? I know you don’t like the Santuary much-.”
“Much? MUCH? Last time I was here, they tried to kill me! You’re damn well right I don’t like the Sanctuary much!”
“Thomas stepped forward “Shut up, both of you. The door’s open, and we’re going inside.”
He glared at Nixion as if daring him to disagree.
He glared right back.
They probably would have started at each other for a couple of more hours, but Kali got impatient.
“Come on,” she said, already walking.
Thomas took an extra five seconds to stare at Nixion, and then he followed her. Mahogany went to.
Nixion realised that only he and Mist was left. They looked at each other.
Nixion took off after the others. Trying to kill him was one thing, staying behind with Mist was a whole other kind of torture.
They looked like an odd group, walking through the Sanctuary. A twenty- two year old, changing her hands in knifes and back. Mahogany was using the air to give herself a few seconds lift every five steps. Thomas had found a piece of metal somewhere, and was folding it like origami. Mist was humming a tune, and Nixion was humming a different tune. They were both trying to hum the loudest, so to everyone else, it sounded like a bad mix.
Eventually, when they got to the Council room, the three elders were waiting for them. They were looking down at them from their thrones, looking like they thought everyone else was scum.
Or maybe Nixion was just holding a grudge.
Mist stepped forward.
“Grande Mage, “he said, drawing the Grand Mage’s attention away from some papers, and towards them. He scanned them all, and only then seemed to notice that Nixion was here.
You,” he spluttered. ‘I remember you.”
Nixion couldn’t resist himself. He raised his hand, and the Grand Mage, and the other two Elders, flinched.
“Hi,” he said brightly, waving his hand.
The Grande Mage lowered his arms from across his face. One of his colleges had attempted to defend himself with a fork, while the other had jumped to the floor and curled up into a ball.
“What is he doing here, “the Grande Mage demanded, trying to keep his voice from trembling.
Nixion guessed they still remembered the time he had tried to kill them.
Mist glanced at him and scowled, and then turned back to the elders. “He was forgiven of all charges. He has every right to be here.”
The Council of Elders looked fearfully at Nixion, but Nixion was to busy glaring at some Cleavers to notice. He still remembered the feeling of the scythe on his neck. He had been half unconscious at the time, but he still remembered
Mist coughed to get their attention, and began to speak.
“As you know, there is a serious problem. A group of sorcerers called Super Happy Fun Time Turtle-“
“Huh?” one of the Elders exclaimed.
“No, I’m serious now; it’s called Live Evil More Often Now. Or Lemon or short-”
“For god’s sake Zathract Mist-”
“The Remaining,” he said. “They’re called the Remaining.”
Right,” the Grand Mage said, his face turning a little less red. “And what do we know about them?”
“Almost nothing,” Mist admitted. “I’ve been investigating odd cases now and then, and I began to notice a pattern. Jail breaks, murders, theft, kidnappings.”
Nixion stomach lurched at the last word, but he didn’t say anything.
“They were done to people involved in the war. The kidnappings and murders were done to old war time leaders, the thefts were done on old war weapons, and the jail breaks were done on old war buddies from the other side.”
One of the Elders leant forward. “And for how long have these… Crimes, been going on.
Mist took a breath. “Over the last eighty years.”
Everyone looked at Mist. Nixion new why they were so worried. Over eighty years, the Remaining would have had plenty of time to get allies, kill enemies’, and have a huge, deadly plan, ready-made to go any time.
“Why weren’t we alerted sooner?!” the Grand Mage asked, his eyes wide.
“Because I only noticed them when I started investigating the break-out of Charles Hamond.” Mist replied, his eyes narrowed
Charles Hamond necromancer on the other side, who was charged with defeating the Australian Sanctuary in the war. He held his power in a sword. He had been feared, and still was, all over Australia.
The Grand Mage took a deep breath. “Alright. We over all of the Sanctuary’s services during this crisis. Fix it, quickly.”
He said it like it was there fault, and they were expected to clean it up.
Outside, they all gathered together.
“Alright, if we have to solve this, then we’ll need help.” Mist had taken the tone of authority, and Nixion didn’t like it
“I know a few people,” Kali said. “They might help.”
“Alright, Kali, Thomas and Mahogany will go as a group,” Mist said. “And Nix and I will go get some friends of our own.
Nixion looked at him. “What?!”
“I’m not happy with it either, but we’re still going.”
“I don’t want to go with you.
“I hate you right now.”
“I feel the same way.”