Saturday, January 28, 2006

Episode 19

Horean wasn't unlike Freeport. Vendors sold snacks along the cobbled road, which was favoured in the centre square over modern paving methods; flocks of pigeons, some real, some machines, fluttered all over the place. A solitary statue, missing an arm, was gazing serenely over the civilians lounging about on benches or grass. The only sign of a past war was a covered up crater at the other end of the square, and probably the missing stone arm of the statue.

Alec sat on a stone bench next to Yuki, both of them eating hotdogs. Directly opposite them was a tall building, eight storeys high, with the wods INTERNAL emblazoned over the steel entrance. It was where the sacrificial beacon came from.

"Where do you think they're kept?" Alec asked quietly.

Yuki raked his eyes over the structure. "Either very high, or underground. This looks more administrative than security conscious."

Alec gritted her teeth. "They'll be moved away tomorrow."

Yuki didn't answer, opting instead to chew contentedly on his hotdog. Several pigeons edged closer to them, some eyeing the crumbs with interest.

"Concrete structure." Alec said, "At least its next to a decently high building. We can make our escape through that."

Yuki stared at the Alcott departmental store and then gave her a confused look. "You can't be serious."

"Oh, i am. It'll be a lot safer than trying to get out through Internal."

Yuki found an excuse not to reply by sprinkling more crumbs on the ground around him. Pigeons had flocked around the bench, pecking.

Alec bit her lip as a policeman opened a fire hydrant, letting loose a spray of water for kids to play in.

"Let's hope it won't be this busy at night." She muttered, under her breath.

The main doors of Internal opened, and two boys and a girl came out. The girl had been crying, and reporting to them how their house had been torched by rebels. Alec knew this only because she had told Sabriye exactly what to say. She only hoped Ceri and Ross were observant enough to record the little details that would be useful to their mission.

"We have to go now," Yuki said, rather suddenly.


"Chong Fen and Jean's back from City Hall, and there's a Toskan van coming up."

Alec turned to see a black van, all heavy armour and tinted windows, pull up by Internal. A garage door opened from the left side of the building, and the vehicle cruised in. Alec got up. Toskan special units weren't something to mess with.

"Yes." She said, "Let's."


They were in a chalet Taylor had rented, some 20 minutes drive from the city square, and in a forest reserve. Thankfully Gillian had provided them with enough Black Moon currency to last awhile, but Alec had no plans to stay in the country for more than a day or two due to the tense political situation.

All they could piece together from the propaganda printed in Black Moon newspapers were that both countries had placed heavy troop reinforcements near the borders, and that the Black Moon authorities were confident of winning.

Well of course they were, Alec thought bitterly, war without support is political suicide.
Her grandfather was killed in battle, but not before he ordered a tactical missile strike on one of their largest calvary divisions. With a huge loss of tanks, the Black Moon army had no choice but to use hit and run attacks before calling a truce.

They didn't expect a strike while they were moving, Alec thought, took a strategic genius to predict where they were going.

And now it was her turn to prove her worth. Flexing her fingers, she looked at the items spread all over the table. Blueprints from City Hall, notes Ross and Ceri had taken on what they had observed, various smoke bombs, a vaporizer normally used to create fog for a getaway, incindiary bombs, a tub of plastic explosives that looked like paint, a med kit, Jean's array of poisons and the stealth suits, which by themselves contained a selection of darts, grapplin hooks and explosives. It looked impressive on the table, but Alec knew a lot of it was grabbed on the go, with no specialized equipment whatsoever. What they had was puny compared to what the Toskan and Nobu could bring.

She needed a plan that made full use of their equipment, with the highest possible rate of success. Quietly, with door close and blinds drawn, Alec began to wok. She wasted an hour writing and thinking, and came out of the room with a headache and a few sheets of paper. The team turned to look at her.

"Guys," she said, "This is what we're going to do."

  • Next Episode

  • Wednesday, January 25, 2006

    Episode 18

    Calypso was discussing Centauri removal methods with Warren when a knock came from the boardroom door.

    "Go get it," she said, not bothering to look up from her charts.

    Warren opened the door. And screamed.

    A burst of magic; the crack as it rebounded, and Warren was thrown through the air, hitting the far wall and crashing through a bookshelf. Callie turned to see eight figures, all covered from head to toe in some rubber material that had been tempered magically. Probably bullet proof, she thought.

    "What do you want?"

    The foremost figure spoke. "We need your help." (- Calypso noticed at this moment that the voice was female -) " War is breaking loose, and we need a ride to Horean."

    Calypso regarded them critically and released Vera. He materialized in front of her, shielding her from them.

    "We mean you no harm!" Another figure, bulky and muscular, said.

    Calypso ignored him. "This might be a ruse, Vera. Watch them carefully."

    The Familiar extended his claws and snarled. A few of the eight took a step backwards instinctively, some going into defensive stances.

    "Why should I trust you?" She asked.

    "Why shouldn't you? You'd be sending us to Horean - we won't be a threat to anyone there."

    "Unlikely." Calypso sneered, "Probably betraying the country. I'm not an idiot, you kno-"

    "What a waste of time! Let me tell her face to face!" said another.

    "NO!" a few others shouted back.

    But Calypso had recognized the voice - they had talked long and hard the night before, and kissed ...

    "Taylor?" she asked, stunned.

    The boy turned his masked face to her, "Honey, we need to talk -"

    A crackle of energy interrupted them. As one, the eight and Calypso, Vera included, turned to see Warren on his feet, purplish arcs of plasma dancing in his hand.

    He has a familiar! Calypso thought, shocked, He broke the rules!

    Warren frowned.

    The arcs of plasma leapt out, expanding into a huge billowing wave of devastating energy, devouring the room table by table. The eight ducked; Vera grabbed Calypso and deployed a low level barrier before the wave hit them all, roaring outwards like a starving beast and disintegrating walls.


    Ceri felt his skin thrum with the force of the magic, even though his suit was protecting him from any real damage. He put his face to the ground, waiting -

    The wave roared on, and then was shut out by the howling of air rushing into the room from the disintegrated wall behind Ceri.

    "You're an amateur, aren't you?"

    Ceri looked up. A girl was frowning at the mess, arms folded and not the least affected by the magic.

    "I'm still your master! Knock the rest of them out!"

    The girl cast a critical eye over the room once more. "You wasted quite a bit of my magic. You could've just released me to take care of them, instead of playing action hero ..."

    The eight were getting up, completely unhurt, suits intact. Ceri spotted Calypso lying on the ground a few feet away. She was okay, apart from a few small bruises.

    "Oh," said the girl, drawing Ceri's attention back to the current problem, "Hello! Dropping by for tea?"

    "Anukh! Neutralize them!"

    "Can't." She said, "I'd need a high density magical explosion just to get through the suits. It isn't hard to conjure, but this is a school, isn't it?"

    She turned and smiled sweetly at Warren.

    "Just uncharm them then!"

    "Not enough mana. Who asked you to deploy a useless cleansing charge?"

    Alec stepped forward. Ceri could only tell from the sign painted on the back of her suit.

    "Can you help us now?" she asked, irritably. "We're wasting time here."

    Warren and Anukh exchanged glances. "What help?" he asked, slowly.

    "We need a teleport to Horean." Alec explained, exasperated. "A few of our friends have been captured and we need to get them back before -"

    The words hung in the air, unpleasantly. Anukh folded her arms and stared pointedly at Warren.

    He bit his lip. "How do i know you're telling the truth?"

    Alec sighed and took off her mask. "Fine. You get to know who i am. And then you can tell your petty little prefect friends who we are. I don't care! Somebody is being tortured out there!"

    "Alec." A boy said quietly, so that Warren couldn't hear, "That was a bad tactical move, i think." He took her mask and put it back on.

    Warren didn't answer. Ceri shuffled his feet uncertainly, not sure if he should be negotiating or preparing to fight.

    Anukh folded her arms and tapped a foot. "So? You want me to conjure them away or not?"

    He now had a cornered look, flitting his eyes at each of them with his brow creased. "I don't have much of a choice, do i?" he asked wearily.

    "No," said Alec, "Not good ones, certainly."

    He nodded. "I thought so. Anukh, take them away."

    Ross's blog extract
    Eight freshies in enemy territory. Not good.

  • Next Episode

  • Saturday, January 14, 2006

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    Tuesday, January 10, 2006

    Its been fixed!

    Thanks to the guys at the Blogger Forum, the sidebar problem has been fixed. So those IE dudes out there, no need to exodus to Firefox just to read this series. =D

    Sunday, January 08, 2006

    Episode 17

    At exactly 6.00 the next morning, both Ceri's and Ross's alarm clocks went off.

    These weren't any ordinary gadget you found in cheap discount stores - it was about the size of a peapod, and was inserted in the pillow on which Ceri as putting his head on. On signal, the alarm was activated, causing a terribly annoying buzz to emanate from the depths of your comfy headrest.

    Ceri woke up blearily.

    Something was different. The alarm wasn't the continuous ring he usually heard when he set off the clock - it was a series of loud beeps. Ceri struggled to remember what that meant.


    He got up, pulled back the covers and quickly changed into outdoor clothes. He grabbed a hanger and lobbed it at Ross's head, waking him up even though the alarm was screaming through his pillow.

    "What?" Ross groaned. "Emergency?"

    "Yes," Ceri said, reaching into the fake bottom of his desk and tossing him a Centauri pass card. "Recognize the beep?"

    Ross shook out of his blanket and rolled onto the floor. Then he looked at the passcard - only to be used at extreme cases. He looked up at Ceri.

    "What happened?"


    Seconds later they were hurtling through a metal chute, coming out at the central briefing room.

    "Woke up yet, sleepyheads?" a voice asked.

    Six people were staring at them. Sabriye, who had spoken, smirked, sitting next to Alec and Yuki. Jean, Chong Fen and Taylor were at the opposite end of the table. The seventh person was facing the projector screen on the wall. It was Gillian.

    "Sit down." he said.

    They took their seats silently. All turned back to the screen.

    "At exactly 0230 hours this morning, we received this message," Gillian hit a button and Kyioshi's voice crackled through the laptop speakers.

    "Aborting mission. We -" (-this was followed by a weird swishing sound and static-) "- tracking us. Re -" (-more static-) "help ASAP."

    "What does this mean?" Taylor asked, fingers steepled.

    "The message was warped by a high density barrier surrounding Horean. The entire city is cloaked. No electronic message, even as highly protected as ours, can get through without being messed with."

    "Intercepted?" Sabriye asked.

    "Even if it was, the encryption handled by our Intelligence Agency should prove hard to crack. Maybe in a few months."

    And you received this -?" Alec said.

    "An hour ago. The message had only just been decrypted by the IA. They were quite busy with something else."

    A few of them shot him puzzled looks.

    "Troop movements. The Black Moon war machine is on the move, and the IA doesn't want us to be caught by surprise."

    "Why are you telling us this?"

    Gillian kept quiet. He tapped a few keys and a map of Horean was thrown onto the screen.

    "This was their emergency beacon's movements."

    As he spoke, four red dots began moving down the city square, heading downtown. They stuck to alleyways and small passages, and then sped up. Two veered left to a dead end. These lasted awhile before the dots vanished. The other two entered a building. Erratic movements from within, and then the two dots disappeared.

    "We were lucky," Gillian said, "To be having these feeds. A surveillance drone in the shape of a pigeon - one of ours - was inside the barrier picking up stray broadcasts when it intercepted this one. The IA immediately sent a flock to swarm the city. It picked up one last broadcast - here."

    A solitary red dot appeared in a building slightly north of the city square, glowing brightly before fading away.

    Sacrificial beacon, Ceri thought. A one-use gadget as a last measure.

    "So what's up with us?" Ross asked.

    "Extract them, before war breaks out and frontlines are established."

    "But it'll take days to reach there - "

    "They could be moved -"

    "We're not trained -"

    "SILENCE!" Gillian shouted. "You have to understand what i'm asking of you. I know the risks - we all do, but senior Centauri members must remain to protect the school."

    This shut them up.

    "Another thing you must know." Gillian said, tapping at the keyboard. "There exists magister equivalent abilities amongst Black Moon academy graduates."

    They all stared at him. "Excuse me?" Alec said, disbelieving.

    Gillian hit enter and a black and white photograph appeared on-screen. Ceri frowned, squinting at the scene splayed on the wall. A platoon of White Sun tanks lay burnt, some on the side, some thrown upside down. But what was eye-catching was the tank on fire in midair, with a figure below.

    "The appropriate term would be oragi. This picture was taken a month ago, when a stray tank division went over the border. That person over there -" he jabbed a finger at the silhouette "-was part of a five man Nobu assassination unit deployed to get rid of the tanks. The Nobu is their equivalent to us."

    "Then why send the juniors?" Ross said, sounding slightly off-pitch. "We don't have anything like th- "

    "But the four shinobi you're about to save do." Gillian said. "Ever seen Kyioshi darken a place instantly? Ever seen Kierra poison a person from afar? Don't you feel anything if your team leaders get killed?!"

    Alec was quiet. Ceri thought back to the past op. Kyioshi made the staffroom pitch black to save him. And it wasn't just the electricity - the Watchers couldn't see a thing either.

    "Alec's team leader. But you have one problem." Gillian announced, slicing his thoughts in half.

    "What?" Alec asked.

    "How to get these in time - only magisters can teleport." snapped Taylor. "I thought that was pretty obvious."

    Gillian glanced at Taylor, and then at Alec. "Take care of it. Suit up and leave by 7." he said, not showing any emotion. He left and shut the door.

    All eyes were on Alec now. She bit her lip for a moment, her brain going into overdrive. Then she cleared her throat.

    And stared straight at Taylor, "Well," she said, "We need to get ourselves a magister now, don't we?"

    Taylor's blog extract
    No. Way.

  • Next Episode

  • Janus doesn't load properly in IE!

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    Friday, January 06, 2006

    Episode 16

    The fountain spray was like a mist, clinging around Alec as her body shook. The pain, the shock - she couldn't believe she fell for a textbook cliche.

    A hand stroked her hair back.

    "Oh, Sabriye ... " she wept, turned, and buried her face into the person's shoulder. It was only after a few seconds did she realize the body was harder than Sabriye's.

    Alec looked at up, straight at black hair, black eyes and a worried expression. The person shrank back a little, as if uncertain of what she would do.

    "Yuki," she spluttered. "F-fancy you cat-catching me like this."

    Yuki stared at her, as if calculating something tedious in his head. Then his features cleared, and he leant forward, sifting his hand through the hair plastered to her wet face and tucking it behind her ears.

    "What happened?" he asked.

    Alec nearly frowned. Could she trust him? Nobody knew him well, so she guessed he wouldn't splurge anything out.

    "Ta-Taylor." she said, body shaking as she spoke.

    "He did something bad to you?" he asked.

    "He ch-cheated on me,"


    The question took Alec by surprise. Surely Yuki couldn't be that ignorant? And yet there those black eyes bored into hers, questioning.

    "A g-girl," she whispered. "He asked a g-girl out af-after ag-agreeing to g-go with me."

    Yuki frowned. "That doesn't feel right." he declared, after giving it some thought. "It's unfair to you. Both of you had already arranged a time. It was very unhonourable for him to backstab."

    Alec managed a laugh. "Y-yeah," she said. "It kinda sucks."

    Silence by the fountain. Yuki had a brow furrowed, thinking hard.

    "Can i comfort you?" he asked.

    "Urm," she said, looking confused, "Okay."

    Some more silence. A cloud drifted over the moon, blocking it out.


    This time Alec looked at him, questioning.

    "I've never been faced with such a situation before." he admitted, hand up.

    "Y-you can start by putting your arm around me?" she suggested, for jest more than anything else.

    Yuki wrapped an arm around her body, extremely stiff, as if scared to touch her.

    "Relax." Alec said.

    He did so, and Alec moved closer beside him, leaning her head on his shoulder. They stayed like that, Alec drying her eyes.

    "Your hair feels nice. Is this supposed to feel nice?"

    Alec nodded from his shoulder. "It usually is."

    The moon came out from behind the clouds, bathing them once again in silver.


    The dance wore on, Ceri being there just as a wallflower. He had been asked to dance by some very drunk girls, probably a result of the beer Ross had 'accidentally' spilled into the punch bowl. Ceri stuck to soda. Ross had gone back to sleep. One by one the singles flitted away into the night, to sleep, and to fantasize about other people's dates.

    Soon, only Ceri and Sabriye sat together, out of the way of the sea of couples swaying to music.

    "Still looking for Alec?" he asked.


    They both looked out at the tranquility of the hall. It seemed so peaceful, as if the truce really was rock solid. Only the drone of a faraway scout plane reminded them they were still clinging to a dream - a period between wars.

    "How long before we start fighting again?" Ceri asked, sighing.

    "Not now, hopefully."

    "No, i don't mean us. How long before we start fighting in a war again?"

    "Oh," Sabriye turned and studied his face.

    "The truce's lasted for a decade. Maybe it'll last for another?" she suggested.

    "You think?" Ceri said. Their ops were increasingly more dangerous, as if Gillian was keen to speed up their training. News of distant technological marvels, and the scent of powerful magic carried by the wind from Black Moon were all increasingly worrisome signs that something big was about to happen.

    "No," she said, looking down. "It won't last."

    This depressing thought made them continue to look out at the happy couples. All of us here have been affected by this stupid war one way or another, Ceri thought. When will it ever stop?

    A slow number came on. Ceri caught sight of Taylor and a snobbish looking girl leaving the hall.

    "Shall we dance?" Sabriye asked, looking nervous.

    Ceri raised an eyebrow. "You took too much punch?"

    Sabriye smiled. "You wish. i'm doing you a favour."

    "Nobody asked you to dance, that's why."

    "The girls that asked you were all drunk!"



    They looked away. But Ceri quickly turned back at her.

    "You sure about wanting to dance?

    "If you dance as bad as you spar - yeah, why not?"

    Ceri frowned and held out his hand. Sabriye took it.

    Taylor's blog extract
    On the way back to Callie's room, i saw Yuki and Alec together at a fountain. I stared at Callie, who hadn't noticed, and then at them. Something felt wrong.


    Sabriye's blog extract
    Something is wrong with the world tonight. I asked him for a dance. And although the dance was horrible, what he said (very little) about war wasn't. Is there more to him than the idiot he is?

    Ceri's blog extract
    I don't like her.

  • Next Episode

  • Tuesday, January 03, 2006

    Episode 15

    Alec waited at the entrance to the hall, wearing her gown and fingering the silver pendant she wore for luck. Sabriye wasn't there - she had left to pass up a Medical essay to a teacher, and had left Alec by the huge oak doors, standing against the flow of couples.

    From afar she saw him. Taylor was dressed in an expensive black suit, a rose in his breast pocket and his hair rumpled, curls getting into his eyes.

    "Taylor!" she called out.

    He didn't hear her. Must've been the thunderous crowd, she thought. Alec ran forward, as fast as she could without tearing her gown. Excited shouts all around her, the fresh smell of roses in the night air. Anybody could forget that they were in a secret government school.

    "Taylor!" she said, breathless and flushed. Taylor turned to look at her. Surprise flitted over his face for a split second, and then - to Alec's consternation - annoyance.

    "What are you doing here?" he asked, sounding so arrogant that if Sabriye had been there she surely would have thrown him.

    "We - we're going to the ball together, aren't we?" Alec asked, wondering what exactly was going on.

    "No." Taylor said. "I never asked you."

    "I asked you!" Alec said, something close to panic erupting in her chest. "You said yes!"

    "When?" Taylor sneered. "You have proof? A tape recording, perhaps? Or maybe one of those MP3 players - i heard some of them can record voices now -"

    "What? What the -" Alex stammered, heart beating, hands sweaty. She realized people were stopping and staring at them.

    Taylor looked to the side suddenly, and Alec followed his gaze. A group of prefects all dressed up for the ball were trudging up a garden path. She flicked her attention back to him.

    "Just what do you think you're doing?" she said, trying to control her voice. It was starting to get harder to do so. "I asked you and you accepted! I -"

    "I suggest you leave now." Taylor said, still looking at the prefect group.


    This time it seemed as if a Freeze charm had been casted at the entrance. People stopped and stared.

    A girl of extraordinary beauty stepped up to Taylor. "Is anything wrong? Taylor dear?" she asked.

    The crowds' muttering instantly became muted, as if someone had decided it was all too loud. Alec looked at the girl, who was rumpling Taylor's hair, moving slowly. She recorded every minute detail in that split second, sudden realization hitting her -

    The crowd volume returned to normal; the girl turned and surveyed Alec.

    "Who exactly," she asked, "- are you?"

    Alec turned to Taylor. "You slimy, cheating, bastard, you little f-"

    She lunged at Taylor, fists out and ready to deliver a blow to the neck; he leant back in surprise, arms coming up in a defensive maneuver; and then someone had grabbed her, and someone had pulled her away -

    "Enough," the girl said, looking horribly angry. "Vera, take this girl away and make sure she doesn't come back to disturb us again."

    Vera nodded, but Alec stared at him until he let go of her hands.

    "I'll take myself out, you useless slut -"

    "Vera!" The girl commanded, and claws sprouted out of Vera's fingers; he launched himself at her, with a snarl.

    It happened too fast for the naked eye to catch - one second Vera was coming down upon Alec, and then the next a crack echoed throughout the entrance courtyard, with Vera on the ground, yelling, and clutching his arm. Alec firmly planted her foot into an indent under the jaw, choking him.

    She looked at the girl. "Do that one more time," she said, "And that'll be you on the floor."

    Alec turned and walked away towards the outer gardens, not looking back. Soon the sounds of the crowd faded away, and she came upon a fountain lit by moonlight.

    Alec sat down, buried her face in her hands, and cried.


    "Go on." Ross urged.

    Chong Fen looked at him, face not showing any emotion. In truth, his heart was thumping hard in his huge frame, and he looked at the punch table.

    Jean was there, beautiful in a flowing silk gown that clung to her like a cloud. He breathed in and sighed.

    "Ross, why are you here?"

    Chong Fen turned and saw Ceri, who gave him a nod and then continued staring at Ross.

    "I thought you said you were too lazy to come?"

    "Just providing moral support," Ross yawned back. "You better approach her now - look, someone's asking for a dance."

    Chong Fen turned so sharply he thought his neck would crack. A boy with flaming red hair was talking to her, hand outstretched. For a few nervous seconds, he thought she would accept, but then the boy retracted his hand and walked away.

    "Jean's hot enough to be a guy magnet." Ross said, arms folded, "Go on, before you lose her forever ..."

    Chong Fen shot Ross a what-are-you-saying look, to which Ross made a funny face and then puckered his lips.

    "Pretend i'm Jean," he said, "Ooh, Chong Fen, you look sooo good in that suit - let's practice kissing -"

    And then Ross tried to wrap his arms around him. Chong Fen backed off hurriedly.

    "Okay, okay, i'll do it. Just don't go turning gay on me." he said, hands up in the air.

    Ross winked and sat down next to Ceri, who was sampling some sandwiches.

    Chong Fen made to go for the punch table, but was blocked almost immediately by Sabriye.

    "Have you seen Alec? I've been looking all over for her. I -"

    "No, Sab," Chong Fen interrupted, a little annoyed, "Try asking Ceri and Ross over there."

    Sabriye took one look and scowled. "Well, if you say so ..." she said, and approached them.

    Chong Fen took a deep breath, and then walked forward and tapped Jean on the shoulder.

    "Hello, princess," he said.

    "Oh, hi, Chong, what's up?" she said.

    Chong Fen looked at her, then stared at his feet.

    "I -"


    "I - i wrote that letter."

    Silence. Chong Fen didn't dare look up. And then he heard the longest bout of laughter he had heard in his entire life.

    Chong Fen looked up -Jean was laughing so hard she was holding on to the table for support. He looked around, people were pointing and staring.

    "Jean, what's wrong?"

    "Of-course- it-was-you!" she gasped, tears streaming down her face. "Eating-soup-with-chopsticks!"

    And she laughed even louder.

    Chong Fen grabbed hold of her and quickly led her away from the crowd. She shook free, still laughing, but getting herself under control now.

    "You were always so inept at expressing yourself." She spluttered, wiping her face and grinning.

    "I - i can go now."

    "No way Chong," she said, and grabbed his arm. "What about the dance?"

    He stared at her. "What dance?"

    "Aren't you going to dance and profess your tortured soul to me?"

    Chong Fen nearly blushed. Second time in a week. Man, that had to be a record.

    "I thought -"

    "I like you too. Doesn't that count for something?"

    He looked at his feet for a moment, just as the music began to play.

    "Well?" Jean asked, face suddenly serious.

    Chong Fen smiled, and still looking at his feet, led her onto the dance floor.

    Sabriye's blog extract
    Idiots. Can't even keep an eye on the crowd. Where the heck is Alec?

  • Next Episode

  • Monday, January 02, 2006

    Blog Announcement

    This blog is frozen as of tomorrow, 3rd January when school starts. The author may or may not publish new episodes, as he is taking a study lift to get ready for the term examinations. If he publishes new episodes, cool. Read on.

    If he doesn't, firmly bookmark Janus (Ctrl D in Firefox), and come back November, where i promise you episodes will start coming thick and fast. Writing will still continue offline, on paper with pencil, and he hopes, I hope, that you'll be there when Janus is revived. Season 1 is all planned out on paper already, and is just waiting for a firm pen hand to place it all down.

    What you'll expect:
    • What come of the ball,
    • What the Janus is,
    • Whether Kyioshi's mission succeeds or fails,
    • And, last of all, how war breaks out again.
    Thank you for reading the first episodes of Janus, season 1.

    Yours Truly,

    The Author

    Episode 14

    The day was over too quickly for Chong Fen. Soon, night had fallen, he had slept. When dawn came, golden tendrils creeping over his blanket, he was no closer to inviting Jean to the dance than the day before.

    Chong Fen changed, brushed his teeth and made out for the gardens. Four students were practising Tai Chi in the stone courtyard, but he ignored them and jogged, breathing in the sweet morning air. "What's up?" a voice said. Chong Fen turned, and to his surprise found Ross catching up with him.

    "Nothing." he mumbled. "Why are you up so early?"

    Ross shrugged. "Was caught in the com labs last night," he said, loooking unhappy. "I was just getting used to this blogging thing. Now i have to do 50 laps as a punishment."

    He jabbed a finger upwards. Chong Fen followed the direction and saw a globe of golden light hovering after them.

    "Wisp." Ross said, "The prefects summoned it to keep track of me. Kinda wish you were a ninja."

    Chong Fen nodded. the only ninja in their class was Jean ... He looked at Ross for awhile.

    "Ross," he said finally. "What if you wanted to ask ... erm, soemone to the dance. What - "

    "Would i do?" Ross finished. "Ask her straight up. Honesty's the best policy."

    Chong Fen frowned. "And if she rejects?"

    "Find a new girl." Ross answered, rather nonchalantly.

    They jogged together in silence, the wisp trailing behind.

    "Okay." Ross said, after a long while, "If you don't dare, at least write her letter. Tell her to meet you somewhere. The hall, for instance. Or that ugly statue of the headmaster outside the hall."

    Chong Fen raised his eyebrows. "Good idea," he said quietly. "Thanks."

    He stayed on to accompany Ross for the rest of the fifty rounds.


    At dawn, the pentacle and metals had been set down, ready for the summon. Gold, silver, bronze, a bottle of mercury and a block of iron to ground the magic. Sunlight streamed into the room, lighting up the wooden floors and revealing dust particles that fluttered about as Jera the nymph scouted around the tower for any incoming teachers.

    Warren looked at a spot some five feet from where the invisible Jera was floating.

    "All clear?" he asked.

    "I'm here, you moron." said Jera, revealing himself. "Yeah, the tower's all clear. Class won't start for another 20 minutes, you said so yourself."

    "Oh. Yes. Right." Warren replied, absent mindedly. He flipped through a book and compared it to his notes on the subject.

    "You sure you want to summon a Familiar?" Jera asked. "They're kinda for real magisters, you know, not 15 year old kids. And you're summoning one with actual power - not that claw wielding idiot your senior has at her service."

    Warren waved him away. "Keep watch. I took partial blame for the fiasco several nights ago, and its not like i could do anything. Basic magic?" - ( here he snorted in disgust) - "What? Dye their hair green? Useless."

    He looked up at Jera. "Those martial artists don't deserve to be included here. Aren't we magisters the backbone of any army? What would the Government be without us and our magic? Huh?!"

    "It's kinda our magic - you just spend mana summoning us." Jera shot back.

    Warren ignored the statement. "You'll work with my Familiar to find them. Now go keep watch."

    Jera vanished again, mumbling, and Warren began the Chain of Command. As he read it out, the iron block began to glow, absorbing extra magic to prevent any explosion.

    Warren felt the well of mana inside him slowly dissapear, being siphoned into the five metals and focused at its centre.

    Swirls of dust were now wafting over the floor, been drawn towards the midpoint of the pentacle. Warren crafted the last links of the summoning spell, attaching the creature as his Familiar, and snapped the book shut.

    "Hello." said the girl. She looked at the circle, the five metals, and Warren. "Where am i?"

    "A magister workshop in the White Sun."

    They stared at each other, letting dust particles continue to swirl around the room. Warren noticed she was rather young looking, slim and with a petite build, with eyes that looked so innocent it hid the fact she wasn't human. She stared back, no fear in her eyes, only looking slightly curious.

    "I'm your Familiar?" she asked, cutting the silence.

    "Yeah." Warren stepped into the circle and held out his hand. "I'm your master, nice to meet you."

    She was staring at the hand. "Do i bite it? What is that hand for?"

    Warren rolled his eyes. "Don't act so blonde, Anukh." he said, "You're not fooling anybody in that form. Show me the second one."

    For a moment, the girl was staring at him, head cocked to one side and curious. A blink of the eye, she was gone, replaced with a dragon, curled up and resplendent with red scales.

    "More like it." Warren said, trying to keep his voice from shaking in terror. He cleared his throat. "As your first task, i'll ask you to bring us down from the tower. Me, you, Jera. Teleportation only."

    The girl was back, and she cast a look over the room. "That nymph?" she asked sweetly, staring at a spot somewhere above Warren's head. "Cool."

    And without any sort of special effect or whizzbang, they were gone.

    Yuki's blog extract
    I'm considered withdrawn from the world. I stay at the sidelines, watching the pace of life with weary eyes. But sometimes something lights up in your head. You realize you can't be alone forever, no matter what they did to you.

    Today is one of those days. Perhaps i'm too careful. Feelings were once a part of my life - and i can't hide forever. It has to stop.

    And her? She doesn't know i exist, along with the whole school. So i'll go to the ball, enjoy the food, the lights, and the music. And to stare at her and her date as they waltz past the rest.

    Some things never change.

    Alec's blog extract
    For some strange reason, i can't find Taylor this whole afternoon. Popped into the com labs, trying to find him, and here i am, blogging. I am weird.

    Sabriye's keeping awfully mum about this - not saying a word other than her critique on my dress. She's complimented it so much i feel like i'm some poster girl everytime i put it on. Thank the stars for a friend like her - people like me are more comfortable with a chessboard or in an op.

    Well, i gotta stop. Taylor has to be somewhere - although i think he's probably just nervous.

    Letter Draft, Chong Fen's Table
    Where are you tonight my love?
    What is it that you do?
    It's true my heart is torn apart
    When I'm not with you
    What enchanted thoughts swim through your head?
    Are any of them of me?
    When, my dear, you go to bed
    Is it my face you see?


    I have loved you for a long time. Is there any worst torture than being with you or seeing you in the hallways, knowing you're not mine? Unconfessed love is worst than trying to eat soup with chopsticks. Meet me tonight at the punch table, please, and release me from this pain.

    Your Secret Admirer

    Okay, okay, its kinda cheesy. And perhaps the poem's the only non-puke-inducing thing in the letter, seeing as i copied it off the internet. But there's not much time left before the ball, and i'm desperate.

    Author's Note: Poem written by Taryn Grace. Taken from this site. Very beautiful piece of writing.

  • Next Episode

  • How To Use This Blog

    Just in case you're too warped to understand how to use this blog (which i highly doubt) I'll be giving a brief outline on the sections listed on the sidebar (as seen from the main page).

    At the very top would be a brief description of Janus, which i might change from time to time to reflect the growing story.

    Next is the Author's Profile (which basically means me, yours truly, the guy that sits in front of a screen to bring you a great story *clears throat and shakes head humbly here*)

    After that (scroll down, scroll down) would be the Remote Control section, which provides easy links to important posts made in the past.

    And then would be the Links section, in which i display links of sites i deem worthy of your attention.

    The rest, such as Episode List and the Archives, are normal blog fanfare, and should be self explanatory.

    Oh yeah, and comments are instant and for anybody, with or without a Blogger account. So don't forget to critique me, the plot, or any characters you like/love/would like to see dead.

    There you have it. The Dummy's guide to navigating Janus. Hope that wasn't too mind blowing for all of you ... =D

    Yours Truly,

    The Author

    PS: This site is best viewed in Firefox.

    Sunday, January 01, 2006

    Episode 13

    Ross was stretched out on the dorm's battered couch. " No Centauri missions for one whole weekend!" he yawned, "Bliss!"

    Ceir grinned. "It would make a nice change," he admitted, finishing his strategy essay and filing it away. "And Valentine's ball is tomorrow. You going?"

    Ross looked out the window. "No way." he said, "I'll be sleeping. Ball's a complete waste of time."

    Ceri walked over, ignoring the atlas strewn over Ross's table. The sky outside the window was blue, the air fresh. Figures were lounging about, taking their time to go to class.

    "Where did Kyioshi go, huh?" he asked.

    Ross shrugged, "Probably enemy territory."

    Ceri flicked an eye over to the atlas. Black Moon cities were heavily fortified and accepted no White Sun visitors, even in this time of uneasy peace.

    "You think?" he asked, but Ross wasn't paying attention, taking a white jacket and what seemed like a black skirt. He tossed a black cloth belt to Ceri.

    "Yours. Back from the drycleaners. Hurry - ten minutes to martial arts practice."


    The dojo was abuzz with activity when the two boys entered. Karatekas were in one corner, sparring with partners; Aikidokas were in another, doing sword katas. Ross grabbed his blade and hurried over before the Aikido sensei noticed.

    Ceri let his gaze wander: Chong Fen wasn't in the Wushu practice session - there the apprentices were pulling off their patterns, with the master critiquing in low voices. Taylor was doing a break test, kicking blocks of wood, at a different coloured section just for TKD. Probably the most interesting martial art wasn't practiced in the dojo - Ceri knew the ninjas were training in the forest behind the school.

    "Stop dreaming, Ceri!" a voice snapped. "Sensei orders we randori."

    Ceri gave a sigh, turned and faced Sabriye. "Whatever." he said, bowing.

    Sabriye returned the bow, and they both reached out grabbed each other's lapels and sleeves.

    Ceri shifted his centre of balance in time to avoid Sabriyes's half hearted sweep kick.

    "Yuki still not joining?" he asked placidly, defending against a Taiotoshi without blinking.

    "Nope. The Hapkido sensei is leaving him alone. Now he's just sitting in his old corner, watching us as he always does."

    "Ah Ceri said, cut off by Sabriye suddenly going into a spectacular Tomoenage, flinging Ceri over her. Ceri hit the ground with his palms, twisted his body and landed on his feet.

    "Not perfect, but improving." he said, as Sabriye got up, scowling.

    "Why can't you just take ukemi?"

    Ceri shrugged and they grabbed each other's gi again. Sabriye immediately entered Taiotoshi.

    Ceri didn't defend. Instead, he swept his leg over hers, hooked it with his other one, and pushed backwards.

    The counter attack wasn't as effective as he would have liked - Sabriye landed sideways, breakfalling, and then turned the tables by pinning him down.

    "That Kosotogake was a waste, don't you think?" she sneered, sweat on her brow.

    Ceri put on arm over her neck, grabbed the sleeve of his other arm, and pulled, choking her.

    Sabriye twisted her body to attempt an armbar, but Ceri took the opportunity to escape, getting to his feet.

    "Good newaza." he said, wearily.

    They returned to the starting position. "You going with anyone to the ball?" Ceri asked, panting.


    At this point she did an Osotogari, but Ceri dodged.

    "No surprise there, nastiest girl alive." he snapped.

    Sabriye sneered again, "You're the one burying yourself in Judo, not me. I could if i wanted to - you, however - too self-engrossed for any serious relationship."

    Ceri surprised her completely by grabbing both legs and dashing forward. This time Sabriye hit the ground with a satisfactory smack.

    "We all have our weaknesses now, don't we?" he said, lip curled. Then he got up and bowed.

    Ceri's blog extract
    That girl has the foulest mouth in the whole of White Sun. It's a wonder we all don't die from the stench.

    Sabriye's blog extract
    They say when a boy shows all the signs of hating you, he likes you deep inside. But how about the other way around?

    Do i like him? He's aloof, cold, sarcastic, cocky when it comes to practise or his friends. I can't stand him. But why the attraction?

  • Next Episode

  • 2006

    Happy new year everyone, wherever you are, whatever blogs you read.

    Yours truly,

    The Author.