The Lioness (Warhammer High)
A story relating to Lyra from the Warhammer High universe. Filled with fighting, drama and hopefully a couple laughs.
- 1 Part One
- 2 Part Two
- 3 Part Three: Prep
- 4 Part 4: The Date
- 5 Epilogue
Lyra stood alone in a forest. For a split second, she believed it to be the forest around her house, but it was different. It was much more... primal. She soon realized where she really was. This was Caliban. But it was different. However, she couldn't really tell what was wrong.
There was a darkness in the trees. She could feel it, an evil pulsing from within. And even if she couldn't see or hear anyone, she knew that she wasn't truly alone. Something was stalking her. She could sense it as clear the wind against her neck.
She turned her head quick enough to see the attacker as it leaped through the air. The beast was large, with muscles that could crush gravcars and claws that seemed thicker then her own torso. The beast was overkill for the teenage girl, and she could only gasp as it opened its maw and stared into oblivion.
Lyra jolted upwards. She had apparently been sleeping in class, but no one had noticed. It was history class and a slide show of notes was all it took for her to fall asleep. She was breathing heavily and had a massive headache. She barely noticed that everyone was standing up and packing their things. Class had ended, but she didn’t feel like moving just yet.
She looked down and noticed a wet pool on her desk. She hurriedly wiped the drool away from her mouth, looking around to see if anyone had noticed. Seemed like people were more in a hurry to leave school then take note of her current distress. Sweat dripped down her neck, and her personal Watcher was packing books and notes, only pausing once to look at her.
She looked down at him, picked up a heavy book it was trying to move and smiled, somewhat forced. “Don't worry, I'm fine,” she lied. ”And what have I told you about doing my work for me?” The watcher relinquished hold of the book and let her finish packing, standing to the side and waiting for her mistress to finish.
The class was almost empty and Lyra was still at her desk, unsure of how to proceed. She still felt very hot, and must have been blushing as well. Grabbing a mirror from her bag, she quickly confirmed her suspicions, as well as noting her hair was a bit of a mess. The headache wasn’t going away either. She closed her eyes and began doing a breathing exercise, trying to calm herself down before leaving. The meditation trick usually worked, but it did little to ease her pounding head.
She jumped in her seat, slowly turning to the source of the voice. Freya stood behind her.
“W-what?” she mumbled, a bit unsure of how to proceed. Freya stared at her, as if something was off.
“What's with you? You alright?”
“Uh, yeah. Just tired. And have a headache.”
“Hah, you and me both. Ahriman can make an Ork fall asleep with his tales of the Imperium's glory” the tall girl said. “No offense, I know your dad was in charge of that campaign, but I think he went into too much planning. My dad would have just charged in and done it way easier. Plus, you must have heard it like a thousand times from him.”
“Uh, yeah” Lyra agreed, unsure of what the lecture was about in the first place. Her mind was still distracted with her dream, and trying to hide her uncomfortableness from her friend was proving to be difficult. Her watcher jumped into a small pocket of her bag, one she had specifically asked to have made, before she slung the bag unto her back, making it easy for him to stay by her throughout the day.
“You sure you okay?” Freya asked again, nothing that there might be more than she initially thought.
“Yeah, I just had a weird dream.” Lyra regretted saying that, and hopped she didn't ask about it further.
“Ah, alright.” Freya took the hint, not pushing the subject any longer. For that, Lyra was glad. She knew her childhood friend had long since understood not to try to discern her inner workings. Most of her cousins understood this as well, knowing full well that the El’Jonson's had many secrets to keep, and even being family didn't make them easy to tell.
The duo silently left the empty classroom and walked to their lockers. Lyra noted that she had seriously blanked out for a while there in class. The hallway was nearly empty, except for a few stragglers like themselves. One individual stood by her locker, and it only took a moment for Lyra to remember who it was. She had forgotten that she was giving Remilia a lift back home after school on a regular basis. The blond girl smiled at them as they walked closer, and didn't seem to care that they were slightly late.
“Hey guys!” she said, seemingly happy as always.
“Rem, how are you always so happy?” Freya asked.
“Easy. I don't hang around Kelly all the time.” Freya began laughing loudly at that, nearly buckling over. Lyra could only smirk, knowing full well that it was quite possibly true. her headache began to subside, and she thought it would completely disappear when she got some fresh air. She grabbed her bike helmet and jacket from her locker before leaving school, walking towards the inner parking lot.
“So, I got a question for both of you” Rem asked as they entered the multi-level parking structure. They both looked over at her, waiting patiently for her to continue. “What’s with your dads and the fights?” she asked, and Freya smiled at that.
“Not sure.” the daughter of Russ responded. “Been doing that since I was a baby I think. Maybe since the crusade with grandpa. What do you think Lyra? Your dad ever give you a reason?”
She spotted her jetbike in the distance, and turned it on remotely with a switch as they walked towards it. “I don't know really. As Freya said, they have been doing it since before we were born. However...” she paused before continuing, choosing her words carefully. “I did ask my father once, and from what I gathered, he said your father started it.”
“Oh yeah, coming from your dad.” Freya quickly retorted.
They were a few steps from her bike, but Lyra froze and glared at her friend. She should have let it go, but her honor didn't let her do so. Also, her headache began to return. “Whats that supposed to mean?” she asked.
Freya shrugged, chuckling to herself. “Come on Lyra. It’s Russ and Lion. They fight just because they can. You can’t tell me that something that happened centuries ago will have any meaning for them now, but yet they still have their brawls. They still fight because a part of them enjoys it.”
“I don’t believe it” Lyra responded. “My Father is better than that.”
“Mine isn’t?” Freya said jokingly, hoping to get a laugh from Lyra. She didn’t. Suddenly realizing she actually believed that, Freya wanted to show how stupid her statement was. “What makes your father better than mine?”
“You tell me. I know my father would not start a fight for no reason. He would only fight one of his brothers to defend his honor. Russ probably did something that put that into question, and keeps bringing it up.”
“Lyra, our dads are best friends. Why would my dad do that? Russ cares about his honor as much as Lion does.” Freya was getting slightly annoyed, but kept herself under control. However it didn’t help that Lyra scoffed at her response. Remilia suddenly began to regret asking the question in the first place, but did nothing as the argument escalated.
“Please Freya. Russ just likes to fight, honor or not. Lion was raised by an order of knights. It is in his blood to be honorable. I know my father, Freya. You don’t.”
“I don’t? Lyra, we grew up together. I know how he is as much-”
“You don’t know my father!” Lyra yelled, stunning the two other girls. The parking lot was instantly quiet, as the trio just stared at each other. Lyra seemed furious, making it obvious how much the conversation was annoying her. “You don’t know my father” she stated again, this time frigidly. “Don’t ever assume you know anything about my father. You don’t know anything. I do.”
It was only then that Remilia noticed that there was something wrong with this whole situation. She never seen Lyra like this. Sure she could be annoyed or aggravated, but never full blown angry like she currently was. Something had recently gotten under her skin, and she was now taking it out on her best friend.
“Lyra, you’re getting angry over nothing” Freya proclaimed, but this did little to ease the growing tension.
“I’m getting angry because you keep lying to protect your image. Maybe if you told the truth and admitted that it is more likely for your father to start a fight over anything than my dad is to fight one of his brothers. He probably did something idiotic and is just hiding the reasons from you so he won't be embarrassed. Maybe you do know and you won’t tell me since you don’t want to look like a fool. Which is it then?”
Lyra’s accusations had a visible effect on Freya, was trying her best to keep herself in control of her emotions and not be baited by her cousin. Remilia watched the two girls. She needed to defuse the situation before it got any worse.
“Girls, please” she pleaded, holding her arms out in protest. “This isn’t necessary. You don’t need to fight.” Freya nodded slowly.
“She’s right. Lyra, I am trying my best to remain calm here, but you are seriously pushing my buttons. This know-it-all attitude of yours is going to cause you to get hurt. I suggest you stop before things get ugly” she growled.
Unfortunately, Lyra took that as a threat. As if accepting her challenge, she dropped her bag to the side and stared her down. Her watcher had at this point noticed the conflict, and had moved to Remilia’s side, not wanting to get in the way.
“You want to fight? Bring it. I doubt you will. You’re more like a pup then a wolf. All bark and no bite.” Remilia looked shocked by the proclamation.
“Lyra, you want to fight me?” Freya asked. “Are you being serious right now?”
“I knew it. You are such a coward at times.” Lyra no longer noticed her behaviour as anger began to cloud her judgement. Her headache was worse then ever and she seemed to talk without thinking of the repercussions.
Her taunting nearly did it. Nearly. Freya was ready to pounce and rip her to shreds. Freya clenched her fists, clearly wanting to do nothing more then smash Lyra’s face in, but she knew better. Some part of her still said this was her friend, for better or for worse. “You know what? Fuck you.” With that, she turned around and walked away. Remilia thought that was the end of it, but she was wrong.
Lyra ran up behind Freya. “Don’t you dare turn away from me!” She grabbed her by the shoulder, but the larger girl shrugged her off, her walk unhaltered. Lyra herself growled and pushed her in the back.
Freya spun around, now visibly angry and sounded more like a beast than human. “What’s your problem?” she growled loudly at her, but Lyra seemed unfazed.
“That I was ever your friend. You are nothing more then some jackal. A lowlife bitch that just brought me down. Why anyone likes you is beyond me. Pitiful.” She spat the words at her, and Freya could no longer sit idle.
The dam broke as Freya’s anger flowed through her. She roared and swung her arm forward, connecting with Lyra's jaw. For a normal human, that would have ended it there, but Freya was the child of a Primarch, one who was known for his beastly strength. Lyra flew backwards and slammed into her bike so hard that it sent it tipping over, impacting unto the pavement with a large thud. Lyra staggered to her feet somewhat dazed, before noting what just happened.
She looked at her bike with a blank stare, pausing at this event who to the other two daughters thought nothing much of it. For them it was just a bike. For her, it was something special. That was a gift from Lord Cypher, a childhood friend and mentor. He had been a second father to her since her birth. So for her, anything from him was precious. And she got that bike as a birthday present. Hell, he even taught her how to drive the damn thing, even convinced her father to let her use it. To her, the bike held a very special place in her heart, almost as much as Hana loved her bike as well. Now, it lay on its side, scratched, damaged, and maybe even broken.
Lyra had never felt this much anger in her entire life. She was so furious, she didn't notice she was in pain, let alone bleeding from her mouth. Her headache intensified to the point that she should have fainted, but somehow she managed to stay awake. Lyra turned around and roared in anger as she ran towards Freya, swing back at her. She might not have been as physically strong as her friend, but Lyra wasn't a weakling. Her father taught her how to fence, and kept her in shape doing so. So when her punch connected with Freya's face, it was a total surprise with the amount of force behind it making the larger girl stumble backwards and be stunned for a moment.
Lyra didn't stop there, as she stepped forward with her momentum and this time struck at the girl's stomach, making her buckle over and stagger as she tried to keep standing form the onslaught. Lyra continued her attack as she tackled her cousin to the ground, pinning her unto the pavement with her on top as she began to unleash an fury of punches to her head. For a split second, she thought she was going to win.
What she didn’t notice was the fact that every punch she inflicted only made Freya angrier. She growled under the attacks until she lashed out, striking Lyra so quickly that it sent her tumbling backwards, freeing Freya from her pinned position. She got up at once and wasted no time as she walked over to Lyra, clearly still wanting a fight.
The smaller girl was trying to get up, stumbling from the sudden attack. Freya helped her along as she grabbed her by the throat with both hands and lifted her up, off her feet. Instantly, Lyra began to choke as the larger girl continued to tighten her grip. Freya’s anger disregarded the fact that she was actually starting to kill her.
She could feel Remilia behind her trying to stop the fight. She was screaming, telling her to let go but she didn’t listen. She tried to break her grip with her own strength, but Freya’s grip was strong. Even Lyra scratched at her hands, trying to free herself with no avail. She gritted her teeth as her breath ran out slowly, and Freya could only smile wickedly.
Suddenly realizing what she was about to do, Freya let go and stumbled back, feeling very much disgusted with herself. Lyra fell to the floor, landing on her feet as she grabbed her throat and entered a coughing fit. Instantly Remilia was at her side, holding her in place from falling over.
“Lyra! Lyra are you alright?” she asked, and all the other girl could do was cough. Remilia looked over to Freya with fear in her eyes. She didn’t blame her.
Freya looked down at her hands and realized she had nearly killed her. Killed her best friend. She could scarcely believe she had nearly done it, and could only look back at Remilia with a shocked looked on her face. She looked over to Lyra, worried that she had caused some permanent damage. However, all she saw was a blur of movement.
Before Freya knew what was happening, Lyra unleashed all her strength into a single punch. Caught off guard, the fist slammed into her cheek with such force that it knocked the larger girl off her feet. She fell backwards onto the pavement with a loud thud, right beside a parked car. Freya groaned in pain on the floor, and didn’t bother getting up.
Lyra stood victorious over her cousin, breathing heavily as she took a moment to enjoy the taste of victory. She looked down at her larger friend with seething hate. She wasn’t sure what she would do next, but for now she had won, and that was what mattered.
Remilia ran over to Freya now, kneeling down to see if the impact had caused any damage. Unlikely she thought, as the daughter of Russ was as thick skinned as they got. She turned to Lyra, unsure of what to make at her. She matched her gaze, cold eyes staring back at her with no emotion to what had just happened.
And then they both noted the sound. The high pitched noise that filled the parking lot in the silence that had followed since the battle. It was growing louder, making it pretty easy to identify the source quite easily. Lyra turned to her bike as it was releasing some gas from within. It took a moment to realize that it was probably from the power source. Which meant that it was releasing volatile coolant. The bike was still turned on.
“Oh shit” was all she managed to say before the bike exploded in a thousand pieces. Blue fire erupted from within, and although Remilia and Freya were shielded behind one of the cars, Lyra was left exposed as the force of the explosion sent her flying. A shadow crossed her vision, coming right at her, and she could only think about how badly this was going to end. The thought didn’t go far as she slammed into a car’s windshield.
Lions of Caliban
Lyra awoke, gasping for air as she suddenly realized what had just happened. The explosion had slammed into her, but she felt no pain. The only pain she felt was a head ache which made it tough for her to focus at first, but began to subside and disappear. She was laying down on the ground and immediately knew something was wrong.
She could feel grass between her fingertips, and a cool breeze that flowed over her. She sat up, opening her eyes as she began to note her surroundings. She was in the middle of a forest, and she could feel the sunlight that pierced through the leaves. It took her a moment, but she began to recognize where she really was. She was no longer in the parking lot, but back on Caliban. She was dreaming.
Usually though, when she knew that she was dreaming, she would awaken soon. But as she paused for a sudden rush of reality, it did not come. She stared at her environment, noting that this was indeed Caliban. She could not forget her home planet.
She paused to admire the primal landscape surrounding her. She had spent several of her childhood summers on Caliban, and remembered how different it was from Terra. Most of the planet had been preserved, leaving its majestic forests untouched from the arrival of the Imperium, so few cities doted the landscape. She couldn’t count the number of times she had stared off at a sunset after a long day, only to wake up in time to watch it rise again.
She was so caught up in her memories that she noticed the large shape looming behind her. Indeed, for all her memories, she had forgotten one thing: Caliban was still a death world. It wasn’t until she heard the twig behind her that she spun around, clearly surprised. Surprised at first, terrified soon after.
Behind her was the creature of her dreams, and now she got a good look of it. At least ten feet tall and twenty feet long, the large beast was even bigger than space marines in power armor. Large muscles flexed under thick skin as the beast paraded itself around her. Its mane of razor sharp spikes flared and tensed as it eyed her cautiously. She began to recognize what she was looking at but had only seen it in ancient books: a Calibanite Lion. One of the creatures that had nearly killed her father in his youth.
She knew that this was a dream and that she shouldn’t be worried, but all her senses were telling her otherwise. She could smell the beast’s vile breath, could hear it breathing through its snout, could feel the ground shake with every step he took.
“You can’t be real” she whispered to herself as the beast continued to eye her curiously.
The new voice startled the young girl. When she turned to where the sound had come from, she saw nothing. But as her eyes adjusted, she started making out shapes. Watchers. Several of them, just on the edges of the shadow, hidden by the forest. They all looked like WD, but they were taller, and their robes seemed more worn out. They chanted her name, their voices blending together into a strange chorus. It reminded her of when Angela would speak to her with her powers, as if there was really no sound but what she was hearing inside her head.
“Who are you?” she asked, standing up. They continued to chant, ignoring her question. The beast beside her laid down, staring at her as if expecting her to do something. She was completely confused as she stared at the lion, then back to the watchers. One of them stepped forward as they continued to chant her name.
“You aren’t real” she declared and hoped she would wake up from this dream. She could hear growling from the beast behind her, but ignored it for the time being.
“We are as real as the lion is, Lyra” the watcher said to her. She shook her head.
“Calibanite lions are extinct.” She turned to the lion to make her point, but she stopped and stared. The beast was growling at the watchers, clearly displeased with them as much as she was. She looked into its reptilian eyes and saw her reflection.
“But Lyra, as long as you live, the lion is real.”
Lyra woke for a second time, and this time she did feel pain. Lots of it. Her entire body felt bruised, and she could only groan and shift in place. She could feel glass cracking under her, and wasn’t quite sure what had happening around her. Her eyes hurt as she tried to force them open, making it hard to focus. All she heard from around her was high pitched ringing, which she assumed was from the explosion damaging her ears. She thought it couldn’t get any worse, but then felt a steady stream of water droplets fall on her. Each drop reminding her of how much pain she was in.
As her senses began to return to her, she felt a hands grabbing her shirt and arms, pulling her upward. One strong pair of hands held her in place and she recognized Freya’s strong scent. She made no move to stop her if she wanted to fight, but no blows came. She thought she heard someone speaking around her, but the ringing in her ears were still too loud. Her eyes began to focus as she spoke to them.
“Ringing... loud...” she muttered. She took a look around and saw both his cousins around her, a worried look on their faces. Remilia nodded, and pointed at her chest. She looked down and noticed she was clutching something. Somehow, WD had ended up in her arms. The tiny brown robed figure seemed so alien for a moment after her dream. Still, she tightened her grip on him. He didn’t move.
“WD...” Lyra murmured, but no response. She suddenly began to panic, thinking the worse. “WD” she said, a bit louder, but still no response. The ringing was beginning to subside, and her hearing was returning to her slowly.
“Whats wrong with him?” Freya asked to her side, and she really didn’t know.
“WD!” she shouted, her strength returning to her. She shook the tiny body with her hands, but it did not move. “He’s...” she started, a tear forming at her eye. Remilia and Freya stared at her, suddenly wondering if the worse had come to pass. “He’s...” Lyra began to sob, unable to finish the sentence. She squeezed him, hoping for any response. And then she heard it.
“He’s asleep” she said flatly. Lyra made an annoyed face at WD, and her cousins could only stare in confusion.
“He’s what?” they both said in unison. Lyra nodded.
“Listen” she said, and they tried their best with the sound of the fire sprinkler system still on. But they heard it. Tiny amounts of snoring came from WD. They simply stared, unsure of what to make of it.
It was then when Lyra looked around her, suddenly realizing what had happened when she was knocked out. The explosion had demolished her bike, and she could note several of its parts scatter around the area. At the epicenter of the explosion was a black scorch mark, the floor underneath seemingly unfazed from the explosion. Nearby cars had been struck by shrapnel, including some larger pieces of her bike.
And when she looked at herself, she was untouched. Not a scratch on her from the explosion. Her uniform had been ripped up a bit in the fighting, but she was otherwise clean. She looked behind her and noted the same thing. In every direction the explosion had left its mark, but not around her.
“What happened...” she mumbled, clutching her head. The headache was there, but minuscule to what it once had been.
“All I saw was you flying backwards and the blue flames following,” Remilia stated. ”Then WD had jumped in front of you and I looked away from the fire. A second later, I looked back and saw you were on the car with him in your arms.” Silence followed as the trio tried to understand what happened. It was Lyra who eventually said what they found too silly to be the answer.
“Did WD save me?” she asked, looking at the tiny creature. Remilia was about to say something, but noise behind them stopped her. It seemed that the authorities had finally arrived to the scene as several emergency crews ran at them.
“Not sure how we are going to explain this one” Remilia muttered.
“Don’t worry,” Freya stated grimly, “It was my fault. I’ll take responsibility.”
“What are you saying? I started the fight. It’s my fault.” Lyra had stepped up beside Freya, and both stared each other down. Neither side budged as they began to argue again. Remilia looked worrisome on the side, unsure if this would escalate again.
“I punched you. I made you tip the bike over, which then exploded. My fault.”
“I taunted you into punching me. I even pushed you. I forced your hand. The blame is mine.”
“And I almost killed you!” she shouted, but this did not faze Lyra in the slightest.
“The stuff I said Freya... it’s inexcusable. I am so ashamed of myself. I have no idea why I said the things I did. I started this, I’m going to live up to my mistakes.”
Before Freya could respond, the emergency crews had finally arrived, inspecting the wreckage. Their leader, an old man with a bionic eye walked over to the trio as the rest of the crew fanned out to stop any lingering fires and check on the damage.
“Ladies, are you alright?” he asked.
In unison, the duo turned to him and shouted. “It’s my fault!”
The week after the accident had been interesting for Lyra, but not in the way she had expected. Initially, she had thought the press would swarm in like vultures after them, spreading rumors of infighting between the cousins, but that was not the case. Strangely enough, the interest the accident had caused did not come from why it happened, but how.
As the story broke out, rumors began to spread on the usage of outdated model of jetbikes, the flaws of commercial duplicates and how the Imperial Army was beginning to phase out the fleet for more standard wheel bikes. The topic gained publicity as tech priests, politicians and commanders began to argue and discuss if jetbikes were too dangerous to use in these times without further safety protocols being installed.
As none of the three had been injured and the explosion blamed on a simple accident, the press almost entirely dropped their names from their stories as the topic evolved on the future of Jetbikes, referring to them only if needing a recap of the story . She wondered if it had been done on purpose or by sheer luck, but didn’t think much of it. Her mind was already worried about other issues.
One such issue came hours after the accident as her mother stared her down, displeased with her in general. Lyra had been released from medical care as there was no injuries other than some bruising, which had been blamed from the explosion. Few doctors wondered why the bruising was more akin to a fist punch than from an explosion. These few were silenced quickly as Leman Russ was the first to arrive at the hospital. In his own words, he said that unless they needed more medical attention, he wasn’t going to leave his daughter and nieces with some “fangless medicae vultures” to conduct more tests on. Within a few minutes of his arrival, they were released as there was no longer any opposition with the Primarch in the room.
Neither Lion and Dorn could arrive as both had been preoccupied offworld, on mission to the eastern fringes of the Galaxy and were planned to return within two weeks. The car ride home was generally silent as Russ simply stared the three down unrelentingly, making them all uneasy. WD laid on her lap, still asleep from the accident hours ago. She stroked his head gently, hoping he would wake up, but he didn’t.
Remilia was the first to drop off, and simply waved as they left her at her house. Russ had deemed her to be innocent from the whole accident and knew who the culprits were the minute he had walked into the hospital. As they moved away from the Dorn household, Russ finally spoke to them.
“So who threw the first punch?” he asked. Neither girl said a word, choosing silence than incriminate one another. Russ nodded, understanding how it would be. “I see. How noble. Too bad this isn’t the legal system. I don’t need any proof to pass judgement. Freya you are grounded until the end of the year.” Freya was about to object but Lyra cut her off.
“It was my fault uncle, Uncle Russ,” she confessed.
“No, I did it,” Freya blurted right after, and they both stared at each other, unwilling to back off from their confessions.
Russ chuckled. “I know you are both at fault girls. That is why you both will be punished. Unfortunately Lyra, I am not your father. But when your father returns, he will make sure it is the same.”
“But I did it, Dad. Lyra didn’t do anything” Freya insisted.
“Possibly. But until I know the full story, neither of you are exempt.” Silence followed, as neither wanted to say what had really happened. “I thought as much.” Russ mumbled as they finally arrived to the Jonson estate. The door opened and Lyra stepped out of the gravcar, WD in hand as she walked to her house. Her mother stood by the door, and she could see her angry look.
“Lyra” she heard behind her, and she turned to see Freya run up behind her. She stopped a foot short and stood there. “I just wanted to say... sorry.”
Lyra nodded. “Yeah, me too. I’m sorry Freya.” They shared a smile and Freya backed off.
“I’ll see you at school tomorrow” she stated and walked back to the car. Lyra nodded as she left, turned back to her house and finished the journey to the door. Russ’ limo moved off as she reached her mother.
Florence El’Jonson stared at her daughter and Lyra could not look her mother in the eye. Like all typical Calibanian woman, Florence was tall and lean. She had long black hair and bright green eyes, both made her look more imposing than she really was. She simply stared her daughter down for a few moments, wondering if she would crack under the pressure. She knew Lyra wouldn’t. She was as stubborn as her father.
“Go to your room and change your clothes. I’ll be there soon after.” Without a word, Lyra walked into her house and made her way up the winding staircase. A sense of relief flooded her as she was finally home. The familiar smell of Caliban pine wood calmed her down even further as she arrived at her room’s door.
She walked in and turned on the lights, feeling like she hadn’t been there in ages. She moved over to her bed and laid WD down. She stared at him for a few moments as he slept, wondering what had really happened. She knew she wouldn’t get the answers any time soon, so she decided she better just keep going until she figured stuff out.
Moving to her mirror she took a good look at herself and grumbled. Her school uniform was a complete mess. It was ripped, dirtied, doused and somewhat burned. She removed all her clothing and threw it in a pile, seeing if she could salvage any of it later. She paused and took a look at her half naked self in the mirror. Her face had most of the damage, including a black eye and some bruising around the cheeks. Her throat was red and it hurt to move her neck. Her body in general was in pain. She looked at her hands and noticed that her knuckles had also been bruised from the fight. She sighed as she put a t-shirt and some sweatpants on. Her mother walked in minutes later as she sat beside WD, staring at him.
“What’s wrong with him?” she asked and Lyra shook her head.
“I don’t know. He’s asleep” she whispered, her voice sore from the fight.
Florence walked over to her daughter and handed her an ice pack. “Put that against your eye, it’ll help with the swelling. Now lay down on the bed.”
Lyra did as her mother told, and a second later she felt her mother’s warm hands on her neck, applying some sort of muscle cream. It instantly felt good as she dug her hands into her neck, easing tension and letting the blood flow. Hopefully the cream would help her along the road to recovery as well, but she really didn’t have any doubts. Her mother had studied and practiced medicine on Caliban, and was actually in charge of the Officio Medicae on the planet before she met Lion.
“I spoke with Leman” she said while still massaging her. “He was quite adamant that Freya and yourself were both at fault. And I know he is right. It was obvious the moment you stepped out of the car.” Lyra knew what she was going to say.
“I guess I’m grounded as well?”
“Not yet, no.” This surprised her.
“What? Why?” she asked.
“You wouldn’t get into a physical fight like this unless there was a damn good reason. You might be stubborn like your father, but that also means you aren’t an idiot. Plus, you lost the bike, so I already determined you won’t be going out on your own for a while.” She was right. Lyra had no other modes of transport, so once she got home, she was stuck.
“You going to tell me what happened?” she asked. Lyra didn’t know how to answer that.
“I don’t even know what happened,” Lyra mumbled, telling the truth. She wasn’t sure why she had acted the way she did and it was beginning to annoy her.
“Well, when you feel you can tell me, I’m ready to listen. I doubt your father will be as responsive.”
Lyra wasn’t looking forward to that conversation. “I’ll get back to you later.”
Florence paused and inspected the bruises she had, shaking her head. “Are you and Freya okay now?” she asked.
“Maybe. I think both of us are confused with what happened really.”
Florence nodded. “That’s unfortunate. I hate to see you two drift apart. I also hope this redness around her neck won’t affect your singing.Your voice sounds a bit sore.” Lyra didn’t care at that point about her singing, her head turned and watching WD’s still body. Her mother followed her gaze. “I’ve never seen him sleep before.”
“He does, every once in awhile. Like once or twice a year. I rarely catch him doing it. He gets back up after a couple hours and is back to his normal self.” She paused as a whimper crept into her voice. “Mom, I’m worried about him. This time... I don’t know. I’m afraid he won’t wake up.”
“Give it time, I’m sure he’s fine.” Florence got up from the bed, done applying the muscle cream. “Now, go to sleep. You are going to school tomorrow young lady, accident or not.” Lyra didn’t expect anything different. Her mother left the room, leaving her staring at her sleeping companion with an ice pack on her eye. She was physically exhausted, but her mental state made it so that it was many hours till she did fall asleep.
Her school day went as she had expected. All her cousins, even the twins, had asked if she was alright. She offered them no explanation on the events, and said if they wanted one they should go ask Freya. She knew they would get nowhere with her either, but at least they were off her heels. Otherwise, her day was quiet as most of the other students didn’t want to get involved in any Royal drama. She didn’t blame them.
Thus, school went as well as she had expected, which was good. The first day back was usually one of the hardest, and it went by without any incident. Classes had ended and she was walking to the exit when a familiar voice called out to her.
She thought she was a bit premature with her success as she turned and faced a familiar face. “Freya. I wanted to talk to you today.”
Like herself, Freya’s face was bruised and in the process of healing. She nodded. “Yeah me too. But it is hard with all that happened and-”
Lyra stopped her by putting her hand over her mouth. She looked around to see if anyone was listening in, then motioned into the nearby classroom. Once inside, she locked the door and closed the shades.
“Lyra, are you alright?” Freya asked, a bit confused by her behavior.
“Just making sure that we can talk in privacy.” Lyra walked over by her cousin and took a deep breath.
“Why would you- oof!”
Half way through her sentence, Lyra moved in and embraced her cousin, giving her one of the strongest hugs she could muster. Freya took a moment, and returned the gesture, chuckling to herself as she began to understand why. As they broke off, she smiled at her as the ice began to melt.
“Hiding your emotions from the rest of the world I see.”
“They would only use it to their advantage” Lyra claimed defensively, her hard exterior returning. “Freya, I want to apologize. I’m sorry about what happened yesterday. I don’t know what came over me.”
“Same. We both screwed up and lost control. And I almost killed you.” Freya said that last part with disgust, and Lyra knew it wasn’t directed to her.
“Well, I kinda had it coming. I said some very, very horrible things. And I want you to know I didn’t mean a word of it.”
“I know.” She paused and looked at her. “Just so we are clear. These mood swings. Does it have to do with some biological clock of yours or...” Lyra gave her the strangest stare and she shut up very quickly. “Guess not.”
“No, I...” Lyra paused, rubbing her eyes. “I don’t know what happened. But I have an idea. Remember when I said I had a dream?” Freya nodded, and Lyra went on to explain what she had actually seen. If anyone needed to know about them, it was Freya. She owed her that much. Several minutes later, Freya just stared in silence, taking it all in before speaking.
“So you think these dreams had something to do with it?” she asked and Lyra shrugged in response.
“Maybe. Not sure. It doesn’t matter anymore. It’s not important.” She looked at her. “What did your father say when I left?”
“He’s pissed. I’m grounded forever. I didn’t tell him anything. I don’t know what to tell him anyway. That I nearly killed you? That I let the beast out? He would be so angry, I’d probably be sent to Fenris after school’s done, isolated for years to come. What about you?”
“Mom’s angry, but wants to understand. I didn’t tell her anything either. Truthfully, I don’t understand. It won’t get better for me though. When dad gets back, he is going to be angry, especially since the bike exploded.”
“What about WD?” Lyra shook her head.
“At home sleeping. I’m going to give it time. Maybe whatever he did to save me just made him really tired. Hopefully he will wake up soon.” She looked at her watch and swore loudly. “We better get going. My mom sent a car to pick me up since I no longer have a bike.” As they both made their way out of the school, Lyra could finally say she had one less issue to worry about.
Taking a peek
The rest of the week went as expected for Lyra. With plenty of free time between school work and sleeping, she turned to her passion for music to keep her mind otherwise occupied. It wasn’t strange for her to spend hours every day after school singing in a private studio at her house till her voice hurt. She primarily practiced many different types of genres of music, but lately her mood dictated slow and somber songs. It didn’t help that every time she went to practice, all she could think about was WD.
The strange xeno’s condition had not improved. Every time she walked into her room, she wondered if he was hungry or thirsty. She usually saw him eating, but wondered if he really needed it or he faked it to fit in. The xeno was highly secretive of his inner workings. Even Lion didn’t know how Watchers really worked. Or he didn’t tell her.
In the end, all this speculation only made her more worried. She had to do something instead of standing around like this, but her options were limited. She doubted any doctors on Terra would know anything about Watchers. Even her mother didn’t know anything about them other then they existed. And she was sure WD wasn’t hurt physically, since there was barely a scratch on him. It had to be a mental problem.
Unfortunately, she knew what that meant and wasn’t glad on what needed to be done. There were few psykers she would approach that she called friends. Her father had never brought any of the chapter’s librarians to Terra. Uncle Magnus and Professor Ahriman came to mind, but she wasn’t sure if it would be best to talk to them about a problem they can blow way out of proportions. Miranda was also out of the question since she could easily tell her father everything that would transpire.
Thankfully, there was another psyker that Lyra could approach with relative ease: Angela. Although her powers were not as developed as Miranda, her abilities were quite refined. It also helped that she was actually friendly towards her and the feeling was mutual. Like all her cousins, she enjoyed the winged girl’s company because of her friendly demeanor.
It wasn’t hard to find Angela. There was rarely a time where she wouldn’t be on school’s highest balcony with Cora. Lyra was careful as she opened the door that Friday morning before class as the blinding sunlight made it difficult to see initially. Her eyes adjusted, and sure enough she saw her two cousins sitting near the railing. They both turned to look at her as Lyra waved.
“Lyra! Hey!” shouted Angela seemingly pleased to see her. Cora also smiled and waved as she made her way forward. “You doing better?” she asked.
“Hey. Much better, thank you. Angela, I need your help.” She glanced at Cora. “I rather this not get around, not even among our cousins, alright?” Cora nodded, making a zipper motion over her mouth. She knew that this was the best choice, as asking her to leave could only spread more rumors of something being wrong.
“What can I do for you?” Angela asked curiously. Lyra paused, making sure they were alone, and then removed WD from her bag’s pocket. The tiny alien was still asleep as she showed her cousins.
“He alright?” Cora asked.
“I’m not sure. That’s why I am here. I don’t know if you can, but I need you to read his mind.” Angela looked very unsure as she stared at the tiny alien.
“Uh, well,” she stuttered, “I don’t know if I can. He’s a xeno right? This could be more then I can handle. Did you ask Miranda?”
Lyra frowned, but tried her best to be encouraging to her cousin. “I can’t go to her. Angela, you are the only one who I can trust with this. I wouldn’t have come to you like this unless I had no choice. Please, at least try.”
Angela sighed and then shrugged. “Yeah, alright. What could go wrong?” she said her as she positioned herself by the alien. Lyra kept him steady as her cousin’s hands hovered around the xeno’s head. “I guess we should try to find his skull in there, right?” Angela didn’t wait for an answer, and Lyra suddenly wished she had as she tried to warn her. It was too late as she dipped her fingers into the black hood and shrieked loudly. Instantly she jumped back and began rubbing her hands together furiously.
“What wrong?” Cora asked, looking concerned at her winged cousin.
“I dipped my hands into the hood and I felt incredibly cold. I think I also got shocked while I was in there.” Lyra nodded, knowing full well the experience.
“I tried to warn you but you kinda rushed ahead. I’ve done it a couple times and it always does that. Kinda like a protective field.”
“But the feeling...” Angela muttered, and Lyra was suddenly very interested. “I’ve read minds before, but this is different. It doesn’t feel like the Warp, but something else entirely. It’s... weird.”
“Lets try from the outside, alright?” Lyra proposed, and her cousin nodded. This time positioning her fingers on the outer edges of the hood, she began to concentrate her skills. Closing her eyes, she began to feel her way into the alien’s mind, trying to understand this new sensation that was so totally different from what she was used to.
Another gasp alerted the cousins that something was wrong. Lyra and Cora could only watch as their cousin underwent some terrifying changes. Her hair lifted into the air, spreading out as if there was a current running through them. She opened her eyes and they glowed brightly, a white light with no end. She levitated upwards, a few inches off the ground while her mouth was agape as she seemed to stare beyond Lyra into somewhere else entirely.
Lyra reflexively pulled WD away but couldn’t. She was no longer keeping him steady, as it seemed that whatever had happened made a physical bond between the xeno and her cousin. Cora grabbed Angela by the stomach to pull away with no luck either. Then suddenly, the event ended as the link was broken, both participants fell down. Lyra caught WD and stared at him while Cora got a hold of Angela
Angela groaned as she tried to stand up, her cousins at her side helping her. Lyra wondered if she had pushed her cousin too far. Suddenly, Angela lifted her head and smiled. “Woah, that was so cool.”
“Angela, are you alright?” Cora asked her and the winged girl nodded, seemingly back to her normal self. She motioned them to back off as she stood by her own strength. However, the smile didn’t disappear from her face, which made them feel very confused on the situation.
“What happened?” Lyra asked.
“I’m not sure. Wow, that was definitely different.” Her cousins continued to look at her strangely as she explained. “Usually when I feel the Warp, it’s big but its dark. You don’t get to see everything around you. This new place was not as big but lit up like a city. I felt it all at once, a huge rush of information coming at me. There were others, different from your normal soul. I don’t know who they are but they seemed unsure of my presence. Like I didn’t belong there at all. I felt like I had walked in on a private conversation and everyone was just looking at me. But I did feel one soul very clearly.”
“WD?” Lyra asked anxiously, and Angela nodded.
“I think so. He seemed tired. He was waiting for something to happen. I’m not sure what exactly, but I did see your symbol for a brief moment. The wings and sword?” Lyra nodded, considering the information. This news put her in a better mood, but left her with a bigger mystery.
Lyra left the duo alone after making sure that her actions hadn’t hurt her cousins. Angela had made it clear for several minutes afterwards that she was fine, only exhilarated from the experience. She kept describing how different it felt, but Lyra wasn’t sure if she understood entirely. She felt like it was trying to explain the concept of color to the blind. Lyra wondered how it would be like to be a psyker, but dismissed the thought as she had more important things to do.
She had to understand what WD was trying to tell her. It seemed it had to do with the chapter’s icon, but that was such a broad topic that Lyra wasn’t sure where to begin. Did it mean a physical construct of the icon itself? Or something that symbolized the idea of the chapter? Maybe it was a person, like her father or Cypher.
She was so caught up in her thoughts that as she entered the main hallway back from her trip to the school’s balcony, she slammed into another student. She groaned, feeling quite foolish, but felt worse as she looked up and saw who she stumbled into.
It was Felix Severus. Most people knew who Felix was, even among the daughters. Son of a nobleman, Felix was one of the few on the student council not being one of her cousins. He was a natural born politician just like his father, and most expected him to be a great leader in the future. To the point that like herself, he began to accompany his father to diplomatic galas in hopes of getting experienced with such matters. They had met, but barely spoke. In truth, it was because he was the only male student at the school that made Lyra flushed to talk to.
He was tall and had wavy black hair, always neatly-combed back. His eyes were of the color amber, and always seemed to be a point of focus when looking at him. That and his square jaw, giving him a very manly look even if he was only seventeen years old. And unlike the majority of students at the school, he made the uniform look good as if he was modeling for it. He smiled, showcasing his pearly white teeth at her before talking.
“Lyra, are you alright?” he asked with a very proper accent. She nodded, seemingly overtaken by his presence around her. Lyra had always had a crush on him, but never found the courage to go after him. A thousand voices began to cry out in her head on how to proceed to best optimize her chances with him.
“I’m fine.” And then silence, as Lyra’s mouth shut down from the pressure. She somehow managed to keep her composure, but little else agreed to her. He nodded slowly.
“That’s good, I was worried I hit you too hard.” More silence followed as they stared at each other. Felix took the reigns of the conversation, which Lyra happily obliged. “So, how are you? I heard that accident last week was pretty bad.”
“Oh, you know. It happens.” Lyra wanted to smack herself in the face, but she simply smiled at him, which made him laugh.
“I guess so. You alright though? You seem a bit stressed.”
“Oh, I just have a problem lately with some things. A mystery you can say.”
He rubbed his chin with his hand and nodded. “That’s funny you should mention that. There’s a rumor going around that you might have lost something.”
This snapped Lyra out of her trance as she registered the comment. “A rumor? What do you mean?”
“You haven’t heard I take it. Someone in the school found an object, so my sources say. A small pin with your family’s crest on it. Very tiny, but made of solid gold. When I heard about it myself, all I could think of is you. You didn’t happen to lose anything like that in the accident, did you?”
Lyra paused, as her brain began to analyze what he described. It took her a second when she suddenly realized what he was talking about.
“One second!” she said, smiling and turning around. She took her backpack off and took a look at WD. She hadn’t noticed it before because it was such a small detail. She wanted to curse herself for such a massive oversight though. But it seemed that fate had dropped her a lead. She turned around and nodded at him.
“It is mine! Do you have it? Where is it?” she asked, trying her best to be polite but still find out what he knew. Unfortunately for her, he shrugged.
“Well, my sources just told me that they know someone that knows someone that has a contact with a student that has such an object. You know how it is?” He paused and she nodded slowly. “Well, I’m sure I can find out who has it for you if I begin some investigating. If you want, we can talk about it over dinner?”
She looked at him, realizing what he had just asked. “You want to have dinner... with me?” she stated and he nodded.
“Tomorrow maybe? I can probably find out more about the contact till then?”
The thousand voices went silent at once and then suddenly all yelled at her in unison. “Yes!” she shouted, not realizing it was her after a moment. She calmed herself before proceeding. “Yes, we can have dinner tomorrow night.”
“That’s excellent news! I’ll pick you up at seven?” She nodded. “Good, I’ll see you then. Bye!”
And he walked off. Lyra stood there, watching him leave and then staring at nothing in particular. Her brain began to process what just occurred, and joy began to fill her. Not only did she find a lead to waking up WD, but was also on a date with Felix Severus. A smile on her face was all that she allowed from her usual stone cold temperament.
“So was that what I think that was?” Lyra turned around to the familiar voice of Remilia. The blond girl had somehow managed to sneak up on her, but it wasn’t really hard as she had been staring off after Felix for nearly an entire minute. Lyra smirked and nodded.
“Half. He might have a lead for WD. Apparently one of his sources has a friend who has a friend who might have a contact that might lead me to something of WDs, a pin I gave him years ago. It could be what I’m looking for.”
Remilia stared at Lyra after she had finished, a very confused look on her face. “That’s quite a coincidence.”
“That Felix Severus, someone you have been crushing after for the past year, happens to know about a very special object that belongs to WD and that he might have the sources to get into contact with an individual that might have the item now?”
Lyra paused at that, and shook her head. “No, seems pretty normal. Don’t worry Rem.” She looked at her watch and sighed. “I got to go, need to get to class and prepare some of my work.” Lyra walked off with almost a joyful spring in her step.
Remilia was actually very happy for her cousin. Indeed, there wasn’t many times she saw her smile outside of their group. And Remilia knew how much this date meant for Lyra. It wasn’t in her nature to be suspicious, but something about the entire thing didn’t seem right. Asking Felix directly wouldn’t work, and the confrontation would end poorly on her side. It could easily jeopardize Lyra’s chances with him and her cousin would be furious with them for a very long time.
The only way to find out was simple: gossip. If what Lyra had told her was true, then there was rumors circulating of a pin with Lyra’s crest on it. If there was any validity of these rumors, she would let the matter drop. However, if there was nothing, then she knew that Felix wasn’t telling the entire truth to her cousin. She would need to “convince” him if he was hiding something.
Unfortunately, Remilia was not the type of person that was any good on digging up dirt on people. But she knew who was.
She found her target easily enough in the girl’s washroom, applying makeup like she always did every morning before class. Even though she arrived to school prepped and perfect, she still constantly adjusted her look, seeking something more then she could achieve. She was alone as Remilia walked in, and the other girl smiled.
“Hi Remilia! What can I do for you?”
“Victoria, I need a favor.”
Part Three: Prep
At 3 AM, the residents of the El’Jonson household are usually fast asleep. Even Lion himself is rarely awake at this hour, preferring to remain as close to his humanity as he can manage. However, tonight is different as one of the occupants is awake. Lyra stared out her window, looking at the back garden with a blank face. She had awoken 30 minutes earlier and was no longer able to sleep no matter how hard she tried.
She stared at the many trees surrounding her mansion, noting their movement in the winds with barely any moonlight. Their leaves swayed side to side, mesmerizing her with their slow methodical movements. Her eyes began to tire once more, a sign of future sleep when she pried them awake, suddenly looking more intently. Something had moved down below in the trees.. She was sure of it.
Not even putting on any extra clothes then her pajamas, she made her way out of room and down the winding staircase, trying her best not to make any noise to wake her mother. She arrived to the back patio entrance, staring at the trees. She wasn’t sure what she saw, but there was definitely something hiding out there. Her logic told her that nothing could have made it into the grounds but she some part of her wanted to check.
Sliding the patio door open, she walked barefoot outside into her backyard. Although some of her uncles’ houses had created artificial forests and clearings around their households, her father had gone a overboard with his. He had actually planted Caliban’s deathworld trees around the manor, known for their tenacity to grow at a rapid rate. Although they were bound by the spire itself, the trees had done miracles in growing in every direction they possibly could. From the patio door it would take less than 15 feet to reach the trunk of one of the many trees.
She walked towards the forest with typical stubbornness, meeting whatever was hiding in the shadows head on. She disappeared into the mass of trunks, soon not even seeing her own house behind her. After several seconds of walking, she noted that she might be actually lost. Staring around her, all she could do is stare into the shadows, knowing full well she wasn’t alone.
Naturally, her thoughts went back to the visions of Caliban she had only a week ago. Even though it felt like a dream, the details were crystal clear in her mind. Her surroundings eerily reminded her of the exact same scene with the Calibanite lion. She remembered everything, in particular what the watchers had told her.
“I am the lion...” she whispered, thinking it ominous of dangers to come. The legends of Calibanite Lions were told to every child of Caliban. Only two ever existed in the history of the planet, thus adding to their near mythical status. Known for being of the most strongest beasts in Caliban history, they were ruthless killing machines of the people. It was therefore strange to receive a vision of watchers relating her to a beast of near unlimited bloodlust. The more she actually thought about it, the more terrified she became of the idea.
A slight shiver went down her spine as she suddenly felt very alone and cold in the dark shadows of the trees. Turning around to what she thought was the right way, she took steps forward, plowing on in the darkness.
“I am not a beast,” she muttered in defiance, probably to the shadows than anything else. The past week have brought many hurdles she had to overcome because of these visions. They had only brought her pain and suffering. She would be damned if she was going to listen to a bunch of omens dictate who she was. She clenched her fists. “I am Lyra El’Jonson.”
“I hope so.”
She looked up in surprise. She had ended up back at her house and for this she was thankful. Her mother was standing before her, looking worried. Florence was still in a nightgown staring at her daughter, clearly woken up recently.
“Mom, I... Did I wake you?” she asked, trying to get her thoughts together.
“I heard the patio door open. What are you doing out here?”
Lyra paused and turned back to the trees. “I thought I saw something outside. I went to investigate.”
“And it didn’t cross your mind to tell the guards to do so instead?” Lyra wondered to herself why she hadn’t. It was regularly told to all the Primarch’s daughters to never take a chance with their safety, even though some of them blatantly disregarded such a warning. However, Lyra wasn’t one to do so and this made her feel a bit dull. Her mother looked at her, disappointed and more worried than earlier. “Come inside before you get sick in the cold.”
Lyra suddenly realized how cold she really was. She covered her chest with her arms, feeling a bit stupid for walking out barefoot, with nothing but an undershirt and her pajamas. As they walked back into the house, her mother asked the question that everyone seemed to be wondering about this entire week when it came to Lyra.
“Something the matter?”
She was about to say no like always, but suddenly realized this conversation had to happen even if she didn’t want it to. “Do you...” she started, trying to choose how to say the next line without sounding like she was crazy. “Do you believe in fate?” Her mother was a bit surprised with the question as she widened her eyes just a bit.
“You’ve never been the superstitious kind, Lyra” Florence commented.
“Things have happened this week that just seem so strange, I can’t explain it. Has that ever happened to you?”
She smiled and nodded. “When I met your father for the first time, I was shocked that he wanted to see me. I never imagined the son of the Emperor would be interested in a doctor. And when he asked me to marry him, have you as my daughter, meeting your uncles and coming to Terra... I had to believe that it was fate there for a little while. But then I realized how stupid it was.”
“What made you change your mind?”
“Your grandfather.” Lyra looked a bit surprised as her mother smiled, distantly remembering an old memory. “It was the first time I met him, and I almost couldn’t believe it was him. He did his best to make himself look simple, using his powers to downplay himself to make it more normal for me. We were chatting away when I told him how I couldn't help but feel fate had brought me here. He laughed in my face.
“He told me if he believed in fate, he would still be on Terra fighting a hopeless war while Humanity disappeared from the galaxy. For him, fate is a way for a simple man to explain how lucky or unlucky he is. He believes that every being is in charge of his or her future and there is no guideline on what you can or cannot do. He is living proof of that.”
Lyra stood there, knowing full well that would be something her grandfather would say. She realized that the accident was because of her actions and that everything since then was of her doing. She sighed, feeling a bit worse then before, but understanding she still had the power to change things.
“Thanks mom. I need that.” She realized she hadn’t mentioned her evening plans yet, and felt this was a good times as any. “By the way, I’m going out tonight.”
Her mother’s left eyebrow raised up. “Oh? Aren’t you grounded?”
“You never confirmed that. You said since I don’t have a bike, I won’t be leaving the house much. I am receiving a lift.”
Her mother looked at her, clearly displeased by her daughter’s reasoning, but gave in since she was right. “What could be so important that you are testing my limits?” she asked, and Lyra smiled.
“I have a date with Felix Severus.”
Her mother’s other eyebrow raised, clearly surprised. “Oh. I guess we can let this slide then.”
A long sleek gravlimo rolled into the gates of the El’Jonson residence some hours later. The vehicle slowed down and came to a stop a moment later in front of the main entrance, its engines cooling off in the morning wind upon the spire.
A second passed before the driver’s door opened and out stepped the driver, an middle aged man wearing a black suit and a chauffeur hat. He ran around the large vehicle, making his way to the back passenger door. Pausing once to brush himself off and straighten his tie, he opened the door ceremoniously, bowing at the same time to the occupant.
Out stepped Victoria, smiling to herself as she surveyed the empty lot around her. No one else seemed to be visiting her aunt and cousin this morning.
“Perfect” she purred to herself, only now noticing her driver still bowing by her side. “Thank you Geoffrey, you may wait in the car.” The driver nodded once and closed the door behind her as she walked to the entrance. She suddenly stopped and looked back at the car, sighing. “You nearly had it Geoffrey.”
The driver looked shocked and followed her gaze to his shoe, where there was a spec of dirt on it. He mentally cursed himself for missing such a simple distraction. “My apologies madam. I’ll do better next time.”
She nodded as she continued to the door while Geoffrey leaned down and took out a handkerchief to brush the dirt off his shoes. She walked up to the entrance as the main door swung upon, the servitor butler appearing at the entrance. Like most automated butlers, this one was programmed with external sensors attached to the door, including face recognition software.
“Welcome Lady Victoria. Lady Lyra had not informed me of your visit.”
“That is because I didn’t tell her I was coming. Where is she?”
“Eating in the kitchen, madam. If you could wait I will go fetch her and-”
Victoria didn’t let the servitor finished as she brushed past him, knowing full well her way around the house. Her heels echoed against the hardwood floor as she made her way into the mansion, past the winding staircase and towards the backside. The servitor followed a good distance behind her, trying to find proper procedure in dealing with such behaviour from family.
Victoria made her way into the kitchen, where Lyra sat at a table seemingly enjoying some toast before noting her new guest. “Hi Lyra” she said, waving as she approached her.
“Victoria. What a pleasant surprise.” Lyra seemed a bit shocked by her cousin’s appearance and was already trying to find out why she could possibly be here, but didn’t have to think that hard to figure it out. The servitor came to a pause behind her cousin, still unsure of what he should do. She nodded at him, gaining his attention. “You can leave us.” The servant nodded, happy that the responsibility of the new guest was off his shoulders as he turned around and left them.
Victoria pulled a chair and sat down at the opposite side of the table taking note of her breakfast. “Haven’t I told you yet that carbs can make you fat?”
“You tell me quite a bit Victoria. Maybe you can start by why you are here?”
She shrugged, leaning back into her chair. Victoria wasn’t going to hide anything from Lyra, it was usually impossible to try. The girl had a knack of figuring out people’s intentions with little information. That sort of intuition is why most of the family knew she would be the clear candidate for a politician or diplomat. “I just heard from a yellow bird that you have a date, that’s all.”
Lyra sighed, already having figured out as much as soon as she saw her. “Remilia’s worried over nothing. Felix wants to help me find something I’ve misplaced, alright? It is only a bonus that he is a charming.”
Victoria smirked at that. She knew Felix’s exploits as a council member and felt it would be a right fit for Lyra. Although he was quite good looking, it was a shame he wasn’t Victoria’s type or she would have pursued him herself. Too political for her tastes.
“I just came by to congratulate you for your success. Remilia is just being herself, trying to protect her family from getting hurt. Still, she would like it if I came back to her with an answer on my opinion with the whole thing, so you don’t mind if I did do some investigating on Felix, do you?”
“I do. I don’t want you or Remilia risking my date so you can find out Felix’s private life, understood?”
“I’ll be discreet” Victoria said, a smile on her face. Lyra knew she was going to do the investigation no matter what she said. Hopefully it would go unnoticed by Felix.
“Is there anything else?” she said, aggravated by her cousin’s plans. Victoria shook her head, getting up.
“Don’t worry Lyra. Just a little look, I swear. I doubt I’ll find anything on your crush.” Lyra’s brow furrowed, a bit annoyed it was happening at all but knew she could do nothing to stop her. “I’ll make my way out now. Have fun!”
“Goodbye Victoria” was all she heard as she left. Victoria had a tendency of pestering her cousins with her plans. They usually didn’t like when she did, but that never stopped her. Truth was, like Remilia, she found the entire thing to be strange to begin with. She only needed to judge how deep Lyra had fallen before she continued. As she made her way back to the limo, she took out her vox and went through a list of contacts. “Geoffrey, back home please. I have work to do.”
The day passed quickly after her surprise visitor had left. Lyra had done her chores, completed any remaining homework she had to do, cleaned herself and had picked her dress for the night. And there was still three hours till Felix showed up.
Lyra sat at her desk, staring at her room and wondering if she had missed anything. She was ahead of her planned schedule, and had plenty of time to kill before her date showed up. Her fingers tapped her wooden table repetitively, thinking of what she would do to pass the time. Normally, something would have gone wrong by now, but all was quiet, which made her feel strange.
Her fingers stopped as she eyed the bottom drawer of her table carefully. A part of her told her she shouldn’t but as the minutes went by she gave up on self restraint. Reaching down, she opened it slowly to not make any noise. Removing the trio of large text books that occupied its space, she stared at the empty container, calmly analyzing it before she reached down again.
“How did I do this again...” she whispered to herself, her fingers moving along the edge till she heard a click. “There we go.” The false bottom of the drawer popped upwards. She removed it and eyed the hidden wares with a smirk.
It had taken her some time to acquire, but the bottle of whisky in front of her was well worth the money and time she had invested. The Tallarnian liquor was her favorite brand since she first began drinking some years ago, introduced to the special brand at a diplomatic party she had attended. She enjoyed in particular for its oaken taste and hint of spices the Tallarn love to use. The bottle was currently 13 years old, and had bright blue label covering it to symbolize it was assured of the highest quality.
Grabbing a glass from the drawer as well, she carefully made sure that the door to her room was locked and she wouldn’t be caught by her mother. Although her father cared little if she drank, her mother’s medical experience told her teenagers shouldn't be drinking so early. This did little to de-motivate her as she poured a healthy glass.
She stared at it for a moment, breathing in the heavy smell before she downed it in a single movement. The taste hit her hard as she felt the alcohol burn her insides, all the way down to her stomach. Lyra leaned back and relaxed, enjoying the warm feeling of the alcohol as it filled her chest. She carefully poured a second glass, this time to sip for the next while as she surveyed her room some more.
Her eyes came to rest on her watcher resting on a chair nearby, having not moved since he had arrived. Asleep as always, every day that went by made Lyra feel worse. For the first time, she wondered if this date with Felix was for him or for her. She sipped her drink as a sudden bit of doubt filling her mind about the entire thing.
Like her cousin, Victoria had also been busy since she had left Lyra. Asking her normal sources for any gossip on the jetbike incident, she found little talk about missing gold items with noble family markings. Whoever had it was keeping it a secret to themselves and out of the general gossip rings.
Fine by her, she enjoyed a challenge in her domain of expertise. Many of her special sources were indebted to her in one way or another. All it took was a call or two, reminding them of whom they are grateful for and asking them to start digging. It wouldn’t take long for her to be certain if there was any gossip or not. If there was, then it would be a simple matter of tracking down who has it and making sure Lyra got the information one way or another.
Otherwise, if there wasn’t any gossip on lost jewelry, then Felix would need to start explaining quite a bit. And to make him do that, she would need more information. Good thing she had already begun to collect information on him at the same time she started with the pin. Either way, she would get to the bottom of this no matter what happened.
A plan for every situation. She sat back and smiled, enjoying the perfection she was creating around her. It felt amazing for her, and she shivered in delight as it slowly started coming together.
A new message popped up on her computer and she stared at it for a moment before moving. Seems like there was more to this mystery than a simple date.
“Felix doesn’t have the pin. Why do you want it” she read out loud. The sender was anonymous, but she could still track down who sent it. “Time to get to work” she muttered as she leaned in and began to respond. Her fingers danced across the keyboard, tapping away a response as she began to figure out what was really going on.
Freya almost had a heart attack as her vox went off beside her. She glanced at it for a second, wondering who it was before returning to her current task. Although she trusted Alex to do his best as a spotter, at several hundred pounds of weight he would be able to do little if she managed to let the bar slip out of her fingers and fall on her. She eased the bar back upwards, grunting heavily as she slipped it back onto its rests with her boyfriend’s coordination.
Taking a deep breath, she sat up and reached for her vox which was still ringing furiously beside her. Taking a single look at the name, she instantly picked up and put the phone to her ear. “Hey Lyra, how’s it going?” she said, still a bit breathless from the exercise.
“Uh, nothing. Did I catch you at a bad time?” her cousin responded on the other side.
“No, Alex and I were just-” she began but was immediately cut off.
“Wait, Alex is there? Oh shit, you guys weren’t having sex, were you?”
Freya looked a bit surprised, but decided to play along with it. “Oh yeah, we were totally into it. I don’t think Alex wants to stop either. He is getting behind me and looking at me in a way that...” Alex stared at her blankly, unsure of what she was referring to as she winked at him. On the other side, Lyra could only stutter and mumble incoherently, unsure of what to say. “Lyra, I was joking. We were working out. Just working out.”
“Maybe I should call back at another time.” Lyra sounded unsure of the entire situation, even a bit nervous it seemed. As well, something about her voice sounded strange to Freya’s enhanced hearing. She thought about it a second, wondering if she really did hear her slur or was it just her imagination.
“Lyra, what is it?” Freya asked, a bit more forcefully, knowing something was wrong and had an idea of what it was.
There was a pause before Lyra continued. “How are you?” Diplomatic as ever, Freya played along with her cousins way of doing things. She knew she wouldn't like politicians later in life.
“Fine. I was in the middle of a workout with Alex. I somehow managed to get my father to let him come over to help me train, even when I am grounded. What about you?”
“I have a date with Felix Severus” she proclaimed.
“I heard. You seem very happy with yourself.”
“I am trying to restrain myself,” Lyra admitted. “I’ve been trying to get his attention for a while now. Things turned out to be in my favor for once.”
“Oh I know you had a crush on him. Think most of us did.” She heard Lyra fidget, knowing full well that she never spoke of her crush, but was obvious to anyone who looked. Freya leaned back onto the bench, her back resting against the bar. She smiled at how Lyra was acting on the other end of the line. “So when’s the big date?” she asked.
“Tonight. I can’t wait. To be honest I feel very anxious about the entire thing.”
“I figured. Do you normally get drunk like this before going out?” Again, Lyra began to stutter before a legitimate response could be formed. Freya also heard the sound of glass nearby, knowing full well that she had taken another sip of whatever she was drinking.
“I am not drunk.” Another pause, to which she heard more of the glass moving. “Okay, maybe I am. How did you know?”
“You called me and immediately assumed I was having sex, began to slur and I can hear you moving your glass around. Remember, wolf ears?” There was silence on the line, and she had to check that Lyra hadn’t hung up in embarrassment. “Lyra?”
“To be fair, you did sound out of breath when you answered” Lyra muttered, defending herself just a bit. Freya chuckled at that, but got back on point with the conversation.
“Remilia told me what happened. So should I be worried as she is and freak out or let you have a good night?”
“I just want your opinion on the entire thing, that’s all.”
Freya took a moment before answering her. “I’m happy that you’re actually having fun after last week. But I have to admit that this is all a bit of a coincidence that he wants a date and happens to have what you are looking for. Just saying.”
She could hear Lyra tapping her glass repeatedly before talking once more. “You think he is using the situation to date me?”
“Maybe. I don’t know. We could be just paranoid about the entire thing, but I’d be careful. See if he has what he promised before you do anything alright?”
“Yeah... yeah that makes sense.” Freya slowly began to realized that this was not the cool and confident Lyra she knew quite well. She seemed to be doubting herself and was looking for Freya to help her along.
“You sure you okay with this date?”
Lyra chuckled on the other end. “It’s been a long week Freya. I just want something good to happen for once. And maybe this will be the first step in the road to recovery, you know?”
Freya nodded, her arms clenching as she felt blame for everything that happened. “Listen, if you need my ‘help’ tonight, I can come over, alright?”
She heard Lyra laugh a bit harder, showing the effects of the alcohol as it took a couple of seconds for the giggles to subside. “No, I think I can take care of a single Terran noble.” There was a bit a silence and some more movement of glass before Lyra responded. “Thanks Freya.I needed that. I’ll see you later.” Before Freya could get a word in Lyra hanged up. She sighed as she put the phone to the side, thinking of her cousin for a bit longer before Alex jumped in.
“If you want, I can get behind you and look at your fine-” he started with a smile, but she cut him off quickly, her face frowning from the discussion.
“Not unless you want my dad to chase you out with his chainsword. Now shut up and get back to your spotting position, I got three more sets to complete.”
Part 4: The Date
Breaking the ice
Lyra tensed up for a moment as she heard the manor’s bell ring, proclaiming a visitor had arrived. A second later, she heard the butler open the door as a conversation began at the front entrance. She knew who it was as she checked her watch. “Right on time” she muttered to herself, looking one last time in her mirror to see if she was ready. She had chosen her favorite dress for the date, a dark forest green evening gown with snow white gloves and belt. Appropriate earrings and makeup were also used for the finer details. Hopefully this would be enough so Felix’s eyes never left her tonight.
She heard a knock at her door and knew it was her butler outside come to tell her of her visitor waiting. “Lady Lyra, your guest has arrived” she heard him announce on the other side.
“I’ll be down in a moment.” One last look and she grabbed her purse, making her way out of her room and down the large mansion staircase at the front center of her house. She took her time as she walked down the stairs in her high heels, partly to give Felix a chance to see her coming but also because the alcohol was making her regret choosing these shoes for the night. She had to keep herself entirely focusing on every step so she didn’t trip, but still had a moment or two to glance at her date and see his reaction.
He stood by the front entrance, idling for a moment before noticing her arrival. He was wearing a fine tailor made black suit with a nice white shirt underneath. Very much the standard for formal Terran noble fashion. In his hand was a bouquet of red roses that she immediately knew was for her. Felix just stared at her and she could note a little jaw drop as he began to see her attire. He collected himself as she took the final steps towards him and bowed slightly towards her.
“Lyra, you look beautiful” he said, seeming a bit taken back from her attire. It was the first time she had seen him lose a bit of his charisma as he couldn’t help himself but stare at her. This made Lyra feel even better as she was now in control. Her confidence began to rise steadily as she reached over and placed her hand on his arm.
“Thank you. I like the suit, makes you look very professional.” Felix nodded as he looked down at her hand.
“Oh, these are for you” he said, handing her the bouquet he was holding gently in his left hand. She took the roses from him, bringing it up to her face to take a sniff of the fragrant smell.
“Felix, this is too much. It’s only our first date.”
“But you deserve the best Lyra. I would be ashamed to give you anything less for someone of your stature” he praised. She blushed slightly, enjoying the attention far too much for her own good. Placing the roses on a side table near the entrance, she turned to him and smiled, clearly in a good mood.
“Well, I won’t complain if you continue to do so.”
He nodded and put out his arm to her. “Shall we?” he asked and she nodded, putting her arm around his. They began to walk off together towards the door, but as they left Lyra had a strange feeling for a split second. She turned her head to get a look around her. Sure enough, her mother stood at the top of the stairs staring down at them silently. They made eye contact for a moment, but it was all it took to pass a message.
“Not. Too. Late.” she mouthed to her quickly. Lyra nodded as she kept up beside her date. Felix didn’t notice the exchange, which was for the best. The parent confrontation would need to be for another day.
The night was warm with a slight breeze brushing up against Lyra’s skin. A perfect night to go out she thought to herself. Yet, there was still a part of her that kept thinking of what her cousins had told her. As they approached Felix’s car, Lyra’s doubts began to resurface. For a moment, she thought to ignore them and carry on with the rest of the night. But her normal stubborn self decided it was time to put the rumors to rest.
“Felix, wait.” she said, stopping in place. It wouldn’t matter if he kept walking, as her incredible strength around his arm brought him to a grinding halt. He stared at her,unsure by the sudden change in behaviour. She stared at him coldly before she continued talking.
“Did you find anything about the pin yet?” she asked. For a moment, there was no reaction from him, but then he smiled.
“A bit impatient?” he said jokingly and she fake smiled at him to ease the sudden tension she had brought upon the duo.
“I felt that getting rid of business quickly would be best so I wouldn't need to think about it for the rest of the night” she responded. She also wanted to know if he had been lying to her the entire time or did he actually know about these things. These ideas she kept from him for now.
“Well, I wanted to surprise you later tonight, but I guess I shouldn’t wait. Yes, I did find information. I know who has it.”
Her eyes widened in anticipation. “Go on.”
“Do you know a fellow classmate Isaac Durn?” She shook her head, usually not keeping up with the majority of students that went to Imperator High. “Well, he is a Praetorian with a history of gang membership back on his home planet. His parents sent him here to hopeful straighten him out, but I don’t think it made any difference. My sources tell me he has the ring. If you give me time, I will return it from him easily enough.”
She raised an eyebrow from that. “You are going to return it? Isn’t he dangerous?”
“Very. But I’ll manage. He seems pretty simple minded, you know?”
She shook her head at that, his over confidence with the issue might get him in more trouble than he could imagine. It would be best if she confronted him herself. With Freya as backup, of course.
“Leave him to me. It’s personal, alright?” He reluctantly nodded his head. She smiled at him, in a better mood already. She actually felt that things were finally turning around for her. “Lets get going alright?”
Several minutes later, the duo arrived to their destination: The Golden Grail. The restaurant was well known among the terran nobles for its exceptional cuisine and in house entertainment, including shows and music. One of the most famous of restaurants in the hive, particularly for it being regularly visited by some of the Primarchs.
“Have you ever been here?” Felix asked her as they approached the grand entrance from the parking lot.
She nodded at him. “Plenty of times. My father brought me as a child for dinner and the shows. Although I haven’t been here in a while.”
“It’s amazing, really. Great food and keeps the unwanted out.”
She looked at him strangely at that. “Unwanted?”
“The riff raff” he said casually, thinking that should be enough to explain what he meant but left Lyra with more questions. She was going to ask him further, but as they walked into the building someone had already recognized her.
“Lady Lyra!” a voice exclaimed. At first she thought it was the paparazzi and anger already began to boil through her. They did not want to ruin her evening tonight, not unless they wanted a to spend the night in a prison.
She turned to the voice, stone faced and ready for a picture flash when she suddenly noticed it was an middle aged man smiling at her. It took a second to recognize him, mainly because she hadn’t seen him in years, but a smile did appear on her face.
“Mr. Porteau, its been too long.” He was a short black haired man, balding near the back of his head. A thick moustache covered his entire upper lip and he had very small glasses on the ridge of his nose. Somewhat rotund around the stomach, he wore a white suit tailor made for him. “Felix, this is Mr. Porteau, owner of The Golden Grail.”
“You know the owner?” he said, a bit shocked by the whole event.
“I told you I came here as a kid. Mr. Porteau, this is Felix Severus, my date for the evening.”
“Pleased to meet you young man. Table for two?” the large man asked her. She nodded.
“Yes, in a private location I hope. Don’t want the buzzers to intrude.” Porteau gave her a face that made it seemed that she had almost insulted him by having to ask.
“Of course. I never have those vultures in my restaurant Madame. Although I take it you won’t be able to entertain us tonight with your elegant voice?”
“Not tonight. Maybe some other time, Mr. Porteau” she responded. He personally led them past the main entrance to the ground floor where most of the diners were and instead went to a side door with a large staircase upwards. He led them up to a enclosed balcony area that seemed mainly to be used by private parties. There was a glass wall that looked down to the main room, but it must have been one way as no one seemed to look up as the trio walked above. As always, Mr. Porteau delivered. A table for two was immediately set for the them and as they took their seats, the owner bowed and left the two to themselves.
“Amazing. You have quite the connections” Felix remarked to her.
“Mr. Porteau is more than that. He is a good family friend. My father helped him by funding this restaurant when I was born and since then he has never disappointed in his services or his friendship.”
“Nor should he forget to do so. He understand that without people like you, he is nothing.”
“I guess” she said, not thinking much of it. He was technically right, even if it was a bit simple minded.
“So what did he mean when he said ‘entertain us’?” Felix asked as he looked over the menu.
“Oh. As I said, he feels forever indebted to us. When I started to sing, he gave me the chance to do it in front of the crowd. Even if I wasn’t good at it, he still gave me a shot. Of course, most places would love to have the royal family singing for their customers, but Porteau did it because he wanted me to embrace my talent, not for personal gain on his part.”
“I can’t believe it” Felix said, a bit astonished.
“As I said, Porteau is a good friend.”
“Not that. I don’t get how you can be so generous to these people most of the time. You perform for them when all they do is take from you and your family. It must be tough being in your position, when the mass majority of people you know only want from you and never return the favor.”
“Uh, I...” Lyra stuttered, unsure of how to respond to him. It didn’t matter as he went back to the menu, deep in thought about the choices presented to him. However, Lyra seemed a bit shocked. Did Felix really believe that the majority of people she knew were out to use her? There were always the occasional bad cases that did, but for the most part people treated them fairly and never asked too much, already grateful for what her father, uncles and grandfather had done for the Imperium.
She began to feel the same doubt that had plagued her earlier reappear, reminding her how wrong she was initially about Felix. She must have been over thinking this as well.
“Would you want wine to start?” he asked her and she took a moment before answering. The doubts lingered and she would need something stronger to remove them from her mind.
“No, make it a glass of whiskey on the rocks for me.”
Victoria seemed a bit distressed as she looked over the chat logs once more. Her contact seemed to be telling the truth and that was quite unfortunate for Lyra. As more information about the situation began to flow in, Victoria began to feel that the time for action was now. Still, she waited upon one more piece of information before she had enough to make a move. And she knew that it was mere moments before it came.
Planning ahead as always, she grabbed her vox went through her family contacts before she stopped at one in particular. The connection established, Victoria waited patiently for her to pick up. At the same moment, a new message appeared on her screen which she opened enthusiastically. Several pictures appeared and she knew the truth now.
“Victoria?” the voice on the other end of the line said, sounding a bit tired and groggy.
“Sleeping early Remilia?” she said jokingly and could hear a groan on the other side.
“I got a lot of work to do tomorrow morning. So did you only call me to ruin my sleep schedule and make fun of me at the same time?”
“Not entirely. You will unfortunately be glad to hear your hunch was correct. Felix is a scam.”
There was a pause as she heard some shuffling, Remilia clearly getting out of her bed. “What’s going on? Something happen to Lyra?”
“Not yet. But I don’t think she will take what I have to say in good humor. We need to get to her as quickly as possible. Do you know where she went for the date?”
Victoria nearly cursed but stopped herself as perfection demanded it. “Too bad. We can catch her when she gets back home. I’m coming to pick you up in a couple minutes alright?”
Her cousin paused on the line before answering her. “Why are you coming to get me?”
“Because having some muscle around never hurts.”
For Lyra, the rest of dinner went smoothly. Or so she thought. It made it difficult to remember the details after her third glass of whiskey. The alcohol began to clear her mind of doubts entirely by sealing them away in a box made of starship metal alloy. Soon, she could only smile, nod and laugh at his jokes as she sipped on her fourth glass by the end of dinner. She glanced at her watch briefly and sighed, noting how late it was into the night now.
“We probably should be going. I told my mother I wouldn't be late.”
“That’s too bad” Felix muttered as she stood up. The bill seemingly disappeared as Mr. Porteau smiled at them as they left.
“Good night Lady Lyra, Mr. Severus.”
“That’s Lord Severus, Mr. Porteau.” Felix said as he left. Neither of them noticed the stare he gave as he left, clearly feeling displeased with Lyra’s choice of consorts.
As they walked into a parking lot, another couple walked in beside them. Felix turned his head and watched them stroll by before shaking his head. “Riff raff.”
She looked at the couple walking in and could not tell what he was getting at. “What do you mean?” she asked him.
“They don’t belong in that restaurant. Clearly middle class in their behaviour. You can tell with how they walk.” They approached his car as Lyra kept rethinking on how the couple was moving. She didn’t notice what he was on about, but thought it was the alcohol getting to her making her miss key details.
They arrived back at her house ten minutes afterwards, the alcohol’s effect worsening. It didn’t help that she had a couple drinks before the date had started and had continued into the night. As he parked his car by the front entrance, they sat in silence for several seconds before Lyra began to talk.
“It was an amazing night Felix.”
“I hope so. Maybe we can do it again sometime soon?” he asked her and she nodded, turning to look at him. She hadn’t noticed how close he had gotten when he had parked and was only a few inches away from her. She looked into his brown eyes as he got closer to her face. Without any objection from her, he closed the gap and kissed her. It was short but sweet. He pulled away, looking at her for any signs of recognition for what he did.
“Did I go too far?” he asked her. She could only shake her head in disagreement, incapable of actually speaking at how surprised she was. He leaned in again and kissed her once more, this time more forcefully as he pushed her back against the car’s door. She offered no resistance as he continued, beginning to enjoy it herself. His hands pressed against her waist and massaged her upwards. She enjoyed his hands as they moved over her dress and behind her back, reaching for a zipper.
She would look back at this with disgust, thinking how horrible intoxicated she must have been to give in so easily to his advances. Yet at the moment, she could only enjoy the warm feeling of his embrace against her body.
His hand began to slide across to her shoulders, gently pulling the dress downwards and slipping it off her with every passing moment. Her mind began racing with what was happening, but a part of her wanted it to happen. She wanted to have Felix and nothing was going to stop that now.
Up until the car door opened behind him.
“Hey you! Get your damn hands off her!” With that, he was forcefully pulled away from her in a fell swoop. Lyra had no idea what was going on until a knock on the window by her door shifted her gaze upwards. There was Victoria, smiling.
Lyra was furious immediately. She sat up from her seat, fixing her dress before opening the door and walking out. Or attempting to anyway, as she stumbled out and had to use the car for support as she stared Victoria down. She glanced to the other side of the vehicle and noted Felix on the ground, pinned to the floor under Remilia’s sneakers. Her cousin had no trouble keeping him in place with a single foot. Try as he might, he could not struggle his way to freedom.
“Let go of me!” he yelled at her, but Remilia Dorn did not budge.
She looked at Lyra and nodded. “I got this under control.”
“Damn you both!” Lyra shouted, displeased with her family’s interference. “Your stupid game ruined this perfect evening! Let him go Remilia. Don’t make me come over there.”
“I wouldn’t be worried Remilia, she would probably fall over halfway there.” Lyra turned to Victoria, who was smiling smugly behind her back. Lyra’s fists clenched, and she wanted nothing more then to break her perfect nose, but she knew how well things went last time she got into a fight with one of her cousins.
“How dare you” she hissed, standing up tall to confront her. “How could you do this Victoria? You having fun destroying my life? Is this a hobby of yours I have to worry about now, every time I choose to have a fun night out? You said you would stay out of my business. You lied to me. You are nothing more than a snake.”
Victoria chuckled softly, making Lyra even angrier. “My dear Lyra, you know I wouldn’t do this without good reason. And I did come through on my investigations.”
Lyra pressed her palms unto her eyes, hoping this was just a bad dream, but didn’t wake up. “What are you on about! You’ve come to my home, physically assaulted my date and are telling me it was all according to plan?”
“Naturally. I told you I’d get to the bottom of this.”
“Bottom of what?!” Lyra shouted once more. All Victoria did to respond was wave a folder she was holding in front of her and press it into Lyra’s chest.
“Take a look.” Lyra paused before snatching the folder from her cousin. She opened it furiously and stopped as she looked over its contents. Pictures of the pin, with the date being today. “He doesn’t have the ring Lyra.”
“I know that. Isaac Durn, some praetorian has it. He already told me.”
“Oh, you are right. Isaac does have the pin. Because he stole it from Felix.”
Lyra didn’t understand at first, shaking her head as she tried to figure out what she was saying. “What are you talking about? “
“Felix had the pin a day or two after the accident. He found it probably while checking out the scene of the accident, trying to figure out himself what had really happened. You see, Felix has had a crush on you for quite some time. But since you kept away from him in the fear of embarrassing yourself, he kept thinking you weren’t interested. Stop me if I’m wrong Felix.”
He remained quiet under Remilia’s foot, no longer struggling. Victoria continued without pausing. “He probably found the pin near the blast point and picked it up. Recognizing it to be yours, he began to hatch a plan to bring this to you for your attention. But like all politicians, he took his time to find the best moment to confront you. Too long really, as he lost it soon enough. As you can figure, Isaac and him are not the best of friends. Isaac wanted to pull a prank on poor Felix here by going through his locker. Instead, he found a precious pin and took it for himself.”
She walked around the car and approached Felix on the ground, smiling at him the whole way. “But this actually helped Felix along. Thinking he could get rid of two problems at the same time, he would convict Isaac for having the ring and not bringing it to the proper authorities and have you as his girlfriend in one swift motion. No one would question his word against someone with gang history, and Isaac would be expelled soon after. Maybe even sent to prison for a couple years since they could convict him for endangering the Royal Family's reputation.”
Silence fell unto the parking lot as everyone took in what just happened. Victoria smiled triumphantly as she looked down at him. “Almost perfect. Almost.”
Lyra was silent, thinking over the current bombshell that had been dropped. She began to slowly walk over to Felix who was still pinned by her stronger cousin. She mostly leaned on the car on her approach and had to slow down with every step so she didn’t fall over. Stopping in front of Remilia, she eased her off, letting Felix the chance to get up.
“Lyra, you have to understand. I did this to be with you. I’ve always loved you” he told her.
“I know” she responded. Lyra’s voice was barely a whisper although the slurring still remained. “And truth be told, I am impressed with your way of dealing with the situation. Getting rid of a rival and acquiring a prize is an amazing feat to be sure.” Felix smiled, placing his hands on her shoulders to show he cared.
She pushed his arms away lazily. “But this evening has opened my eyes Felix” she continued. “As the evening went on with you, I began to notice some things. Things that I did not particularly enjoy. Things that really showed me who you are.” She took a step back from him, her eyes shining slightly in low light of Luna. “You’re a horrible person Felix. You don’t understand what a position of power is and I doubt you ever will. A position of power over others does not mean you are better, it only shows that they trust you with that power. Instead, you are selfish and egotistical.” She took another step back, stumbling slightly but catching herself as she did.
Felix made a move to stop her, but was immediately yanked back. Remilia had a tight grip on the back of his collar, making him fall backwards onto the pavement. Lyra shook her head. “Don’t talk to me ever again” she muttered.
With that Lyra turned around and walked towards her house. She said nothing else as she made her way to the door, not even pausing as the servitor opened it from the other side. She slipped in quickly before the door was halfway open and it closed immediately after. The trio suddenly felt cold in the night, which was a couple minutes ago plenty warm.
Victoria turned and smiled at Felix. “I would leave right now, before Remilia here makes you.”
Seconds later with his car started, Felix’s gravcar lifted off from the pavement and left in a hurry, leaving Remilia and Victoria in silence.
“You think Lyra is going to be okay?” asked Remilia a minute later. Her cousin nodded.
“Yeah, just needs a bit of time. It’s too bad.” Victoria sorrowfully said.
“Yeah, she really liked him.”
“That and my plan went off perfectly. Yet I don’t feel I did anyone a favor. Let’s get going.”
Lyra threw her heels off and rushed to her room, speeding up the steps, somehow keeping her balance even in her intoxicated state. The alcohol’s effects began to disappear, leaving nothing more than a headache and the truth for her to think about. If her mother was anywhere nearby to see her, she did not notice her at all, nor did she care. She was too busy trying to control her inner emotions, wanting nothing more then to be in the safety of her room so no one would see her cry.
Felix had betrayed her. When she had sought him for some comfort, she found out she was actually in the company of an ork. She felt disgusted, nearly giving up her purity if not for the intervention of her cousins. As she closed the door to her room she felt progressively worse, her headache intensifying and feeling quite cold. Tears streamed down her cheeks, ruining the makeup she had put on hours before. She wiped her eyes with the palms of her hands but did little to stem the tide.
She collapsed on her bed, crying softly as she tried to suppress her tears. She slid up to her pillows where WD was left sleeping. Grabbing him, she pulled him close to her chest, gripping him tightly as if she expected him to leave.
“I’m so sorry. This is all my fault... I should have...” she started whispering to him, but found it hard to speak. As more tears fell unto her pillows, she closed her eyes shut, hoping to wake up from this horrible night.
As she opened her eyes again, she found herself in the same grassy pasture where this entire mess had started only a week ago. This time she was in her dress and she could feel the wetness of her tears on her cheeks from moments ago. Most surprisingly, she was holding WD in her arms, still fast asleep. She clutched her head immediately, her headache seemingly transferred over into this dream of hers. She was no longer sure that this was just the alcohol. It was way too big of a coincidence that these headaches came too often with a dream.
Branches broke behind her, signalling the arrival of the lion. She didn’t bother looking, knowing how this would go. Instead she stared in front of her with WD in her arms.
Sure enough, the other watchers appeared around her. She stared at them, unsure of what to make of the aliens a second time around. All eyes rested on her as the lion finally made its way into the small clearing behind her. Feeling endangered, her grip around WD tightened.
“We mean you no harm” one said to her telepathically.
“And yet this dream seems to be at the center of all my problems,” she responded. One nodded at her.
“Our method of communication is unnatural to the human body. Its side effects could alter your mood dramatically, make you do things that you would not normally do. We apologize for the trouble we have caused you this past while.”
Her eyes narrowed as she eyed them all. “You’ve been watching me?” she said accusingly.
“No, we can feel the anger that burns in your heart. That is why we are here Lyra. You see, watching the threads of time are our ability.”
She shook her head. “I don’t believe in fate,” she said decisively.
“And you are correct to do so. Fate is too finalistic of a term to describe the future. Time is much more open to interpretation. The only thing that will decide the future is the choices you make now. We see all of them before us, even though you haven’t decided what choice to make.”
The small creature paused as the lion circled around to her vision. It was as large as she remembered it. “Like the lion, you’re hands are as likely to destroy as they can create. Many times from now you will be presented with that choice, and we will watch in the darkness as we always have.”
She sighed as she looked over the giant beast looming in front of her. Maybe she was like it more than she knew.
“Why me?” she asked.
“There was once a time where forces outside of your understanding would target people, like yourself, of great power. They would try to influence them to forward their own plans. Although humanity has been spared of such a fate for now, the threat can grow once more. We wish to avoid this.”
For once in this entire dream sequence, she began to understand a bit of what was going on around her. Her vision began to blur slightly as she could feel the vision coming to an end.
“Wait, what about WD?” she yelled out, but it was too late.
Waking Up From A Nightmare
Sunlight fell unto her face as she suddenly thought she was back in the dream. But as she felt her soft bed underneath her, she could only sigh in relief that the dream was over. Hopefully, once and for all.
As her dreams memories began to rush at her, she suddenly realized what had happened. She laid in bed, thinking over what the watchers had told her. Raising her hands to her eyes, she thought of what he had told her. “The same hands that can create can equally destroy,” she wondered out loud.
Soft paper shuffling came from her desk alerted her of something amiss. Turning her head slowly, she could hardly believe to see the sight with her own eyes. There was WD, putting her desk in order like nothing had happened. She stared at him for several seconds, scarcely believing that he was once more awake. He paused and turned at her, taking a moment before he waved with one of his arms.
She shrieked as she rushed over, gripping him tightly in a bear hug. She felt him frantically struggle under her attack with little avail. She laughed joyfully as she held him back and stared at him.
“You have no idea how happy I am” she whispered to him, this time she was holding back tears of joy. He nodded at her, somehow understanding what had happened this entire week. She embraced him once more, spinning with him in his arms. “I’m serious. Don’t ever do that again!” she said.
Placing him on the table, she began talking to him, quickly recounting the weeks events since he had gone to sleep. Even if he didn’t say a word, he sat on the edge of the table, listening to her every word. She changed out of her dress into some normal clothes to wear inside the house.
“Angela said you guys are different than normal psykers. She couldn’t really explain it all too well, but said it was really cool,” she told him and he nodded at her. A knock at her door paused the story telling.
“Mom!” she said expectantly, opening the door quickly as she had to show her WD. “He’s awake- oh.”
“Hello Lyra,” Lion said, towering over her and clearly a bit annoyed. “I think you and I need to have a chat.”
“I thought you were gone for another week!” Lyra spouted, still shocked to see her father at her door.
“The project ended quicker than expected and the tides were favorable on the way home. Lyra, what happened to the bike?”
Lyra could only stare, unsure of how to answer him. She shrugged, hoping that was good enough of an answer.
“Lyra, this is strange of you to say the least.”
All eyes fell on the seventeen year old as she tried her best to remain calm. It was very difficult to do so with her father and mother giving her concerned looks throughout their entire conversation. She fidgeted under their stares, rarely feeling the heat as she did now. Only two things stopped her from breaking down in front of them.
One sat on her lap, being WD. She glanced at him and immediately felt better about the entire situation. Even though she might be in great amount of trouble, she knew she had done the right things to bring him back. She smiled at him briefly and she could feel him do the same.
The second was Cypher. While her parents were up and about throughout the study as they tried to make sense of the entire thing, he was the only one sitting down beside her. He had been a good friend since her childhood and cared about her as much as her parents did, although she never treated him as such. He was the closest idea she had of a big brother. He was looking at her as she glanced at him. He winked and grinned, calming her down even further to respond.
She looked at her father and shook her head. “I don’t know what to tell you.” He sighed as he began to pace around the study where the El’Jonson family had gathered.
“You must have a reason to get angry enough to start a fight with Freya?” he asked her. “And for the bike to explode and this entire crazy plan you came up with to wake your watcher. This doesn’t sound like my daughter.”
She knew the moment she told them about her dreams, they would think of her as being insane. Yet if she didn’t give them a reason for her actions, they would equally send her to a doctor. “I don’t know what to tell you without looking like a lunatic.”
Cypher’s arm reached around her and pulled her in. She looked at him in surprise and he smiled back at her. “You are not crazy. I’ve been around the galaxy doing some outrageous things, fighting monsters that defy the laws of creation. I have seen crazy. You aren’t it. Nothing you can say will change my opinion about your sanity levels.”
She stared at Cypher, her emotions breaking through her guise as she got teary eyed. She thought she had done enough crying this past week to dry herself out, but this was not the case. Cypher seemed to care enough for her to trust her word, so she might as well try.
“I... I’ve been having these dreams. Vision really. I’m on Caliban and things happen. I woke up stressed out and lost my temper on Freya, hence the fight.”
“Visions?” Lion asked. He seemed a bit shocked as he said the word, looking at her as if she was completely different from before. She stared back at him, feeling even worse as she tried to salvage the situation before she really did sound crazy.
“I guess? I don’t know. There was a Calibanite lion and watchers and-”
“The watchers contacted you?” he gasped, cutting her off in mid sentence.
Cypher chuckled beside her. “Told you. You ain’t crazy.”
“The watchers disappear right before the end of the crusade and now they contact you” Lion muttered, more to himself then to anyone in the room. Lyra looked on, a bit confused at her father.
“You believe me?” marvelled Lyra. Lion stopped mumbling and looked over at her. He nodded, now talking to her as he continued.
“The watchers disappeared a while ago, pretty much right before you were born. At the time they gave me your watcher before I knew you would even be a reality.” She glanced down at WD and suddenly wondered about that. She had never questioned where he came from before, always knowing he had been around and that he had grown attached to her like had. “I had only rarely ever spoken to them in the first place, yet every encounter I remember vividly,” he mused.
Lyra looked at him and knew what to say. “‘Your hands are as likely to destroy as they can create’,” she declared. Her mother and Cypher looked at her strangely.
However, Lion smiled at her and nodded once. “Yes, exactly. The exact words they told me the first time they had contacted me.”
“What’s going on?” her mother finally asked, breaking her silence she had held throughout the entire exchange.
“Our daughter has been given some solid advice from some ‘friends’ I thought had disappeared,” he told her. “Unfortunate circumstances involve a rage inducing headache. Cypher can attest to that.”
Cypher chuckled halfheartedly as he nodded at Lyra. “If you got as angry as he did, I can see how you knocked Freya out.”
As her stress dissipated around her, she eased back into the couch cushion. “My actions hurt her and nearly destroyed our friendship. Now she’s the one being punished while I sit here.”
Her father nodded and moved towards the entrance of the study. “I’ll talk to Russ immediately. He’ll understand.”
“Wouldn’t calling him be quicker?” Florence asked as she stood up and followed him to the door. She already knew why he wanted to go.
“Maybe. But I bet he would like a ‘physical’ conversation than one over a machine” Lion joked as he left with grin. Suddenly remembering the argument she had with Freya a week earlier, she could only look at her father differently as he left, realizing how wrong she had been. Her mother followed him out to see him off, leaving Lyra sitting beside Cypher.
“Feel better?” he asked and she nodded.
“Yeah. This past week has been shit.” She leaned into Cypher’s chest. “Thanks for that support. I need it.”
“Don’t worry about it.” They sat there in silence for a minute, each deep into their own thoughts, until Cypher spoke again. “So what color do you want the new bike?”
As the second week after the accident start, Lyra felt that things had finally come to a close. Almost. Much had happened in the past weekend for her, but Imperator High remained the same. The large structure was as busy as ever as classes ended that Monday afternoon. Thousands of students made their way out of the giant maw that was the entrance to the school, leaving the majority of the building's hallways empty.
Mostly empty, as Lyra remained inside. There was one last piece of business to complete.
“You sure he is going to show up?” Freya asked beside her. She nodded carefully as she looked over at her friend. Freya seemed impatient as they waited by her locker, fidgeting in place several in the past five minutes.
“Stay calm, your father won’t ground you again so soon after lifting the previous punishment.”
“I’m not taking that risk,” said Freya. Lyra chuckled at the idea. “So where is WD? And what about your bike?”
“I wanted WD to stay at home for a bit, get some rest. He doesn’t look like he needs it but I don’t want anything else to happen to him. Cypher is going to have a chat with the chapter’s tech priests and design a safer model for myself, probably from the ground up to be sure that it will be the best they can make for my usage.”
“Handmade jetbike? Aren’t you the lucky one.”
“After this past week, I wouldn’t believe it,” Lyra muttered back. They had a long conversation earlier in the day of what happened to Felix and herself. She had yet to see him once since Saturday night, meaning he was taking the danger very seriously.
Several moments of silence passed between the two before Freya spoke up, seeming a bit nervous as she spoke. “You didn’t mention details about the fight to your dad did you?”
Lyra knew immediately what she was talking about and shook her head. “All I told him is that we began to fight, caught you off guard and knocked you out. Nothing about nearly killing me.”
Freya shrugged. “You didn’t knock me out. I just felt falling backwards put me in a better position.” She smiled at her and Lyra shook her head, not wanting to have this argument years down the line on how the battle had went. Thankfully, her guest had arrived a minute later than he should have.
Freya immediately tensed up as their target came around the corner down the long hallway. Beside him was a large student with short blonde hair. They stood side by side at the other end of the hallway, looking at them as they did the same. Seconds passed as they began to move forward, a move mimicked by Freya and herself. As they closed the gap, she could note Freya’s fist clenching slowly.
“Easy, not looking for a fight,” Lyra whispered to her.
A few feet apart they stopped, face to face for the first time.
“Isaac Durn I take it?” she asked the shorter one of the two. He nodded, moving forward slightly to close the gap even further. Freya immediately stepped in front of Lyra, blocking her from him. The large student beside Isaac also did the same move, and the two bodyguards locked eyes, neither backing down.
“Freya, stop!” Lyra commanded, and her cousin could only growl in response. “Your companion must be brave to challenge someone like Freya.”
Isaac laughed at that, slapping his friend on the back in a friendly gesture. “He’s Mordian. I don’t think he knows the meaning of fear.”
Lyra smiled at that, finally pushing past Freya towards Isaac. He did the same as they were only two feet apart, looking each other over. The bodyguards, seemingly useless, backed off to their original positions and waited patiently for the deal to complete.
He was as tall as herself and had unkempt brown hair. For the most part, he looked as normal as the majority of students that went to Imperator, but something about him stood him apart from the rest. She couldn’t quite tell what it was, but she felt that this was not the violent person she was told he was.
“Lady Lyra, I have something of yours.” He reached into his pocket and produced a small pin. He reached out to her and laid it in the cup of his hand, waiting for her to pick it up. Carefully, she grabbed the gold jewelry and looked it over once. The engraved drawings inside were as she remembered it. It was as real as she could tell without some further verification.
“Why didn’t you bring this to me when you found it?” she asked him. He looked at her for a brief moment and sighed.
“Considering the rumors that follow me of my past, I doubt you would let the issue go at the time.”
She nodded slowly, looking at the pin as she knew it would be true. “Unfortunately true. I am sorry if this has stressed you at all.”
He laughed loudly at that, shaking his head. “You were the one who went on a date with that asshole Felix. I feel sorry for you, really.”
She rolled her eyes at that. “Don’t worry. He got what was coming to him.” He nodded at that. She looked at him over once more. “So are the rumors true? Are you a gang member back on Praetoria?”
He smirked at that, shaking his head. “You think the authorities would let a person with a violent record into this school with some of the most important teenagers in the galaxy?”
Lyra nearly smacked herself, wondering why she hadn’t thought of that herself. “Of course not.”
He paused and took a step back. “I guess since this is done and all...” he started, but she raised a hand, making him pause in place.
“Wait, Isaac. Since we seem indebted into each other, how about we find a way to close this issue once and for all?”
He stared at her for a moment. “Go on.”
“I know this cafe near my district. Would you have a drink with me?”
His expression did not change as he again took his time in answering. Freya and the Mordian seemed shocked, looking at her and then to each other as if they had heard incorrectly. Eventually, Isaac grinned and nodded.
“Sure. Want a ride?”