Friday, March 30, 2007

Episode 37

"Where's Yuki?" Alec asked. Taylor looked around the white chamber and was pleased to see him missing.

He'll have no gifts - a weaker man, Taylor told himself. What did Alec see in him?

It was his turn - Kyioshi held out the seak and looked him in the eye. It was a look Taylor couldn't make out - somewhat between worry, deep thought and appraisal.

He shrugged it off and grabbed the Janus with both hands.

It was as if lightning struck him - his hair was swept up, his pulse skyrocketed and his palms started shaking, suddenly awash with sweat.

Taylor screamed and let go. Kyioshi raised an eyebrow.

"Hmm." he said, thoughtfully.

Taylor was kneeling on the floor, catching his breath. Beside him he heard Jean gasping as she touched the Janus, but nothing more. Was he weaker? He still felt the tingling in his arms, and an extra something coursing through his veins.

I have to be the most powerful in this group, he told himself, enjoying the sensation of newly gained strength. I must have the best gifts.

Chong Fen draped one huge arm over the seal. His face contorted in pain and he yelled, falling backwards. Taylor saw a vein throbbing in his neck.

I'm not the weakest now, am I?

The first vibrations struck as Kyioshi continued with Alec. They all threw each other worried looks, and he sped up.

Taylor looked out at the walls. How long could the academy last? They had a good chance of winning, and Taylor felt certain he could grab Callie and run off away from the fights. Then they'd be together, and he'd have a free reign in pursuing more seals.

Should he help defend the academy? Taylor let his gaze settle on Alec and he thought of Yuki. Weak love birds. Willing to sacrifice possible greatness by defending an institution no longer of worth to them. The clever and the strong would realize that the academy was just a place to learn, and its usefulness in their lives was lost with the breaking of the truce. And the country? The war would never stop, so why should he even try?

"You okay?" Jean asked, noticing the slightly hungry look on Taylor's face.

Taylor smiled, his blonde locks framing his face. "No, nothing at all."

Their conversation was cut short with a blood curdling shout. As one, the two of them spun to find Ceri shaking on the ground, his mouth open and the scream coming from a rapidly foaming mouth.

"Ceri!" Sabriye yelled, and Ross scrambled to the ground, checking his pulse. "Weak." he said, pale. "Heart attack?"

Kyioshi took the Janus and placed it back on the pedestal. "That happens. We have to leave quickly and defend the school - Ceri will live."

Ross looked horrified, cradling his friends head and stuttering. Sabriye had just the opposite reaction.

"What in blazes do you think you're doing?! He's your own teammate and he saved you! You little, ungrateful, completely pathe-"

Happy that he had less competition, Taylor slipped through the entrance and back into the school.

Sabriye's blog extract
My world has stopped moving. There is a pulse, yes, but Kyioshi is right. That professional idiot is saying we can't get Ceri to a medic due to the attack, and the bloody fool is correct, as usual.

I hate him. If Ceri dies I will kill him.

Ross's blog extract

I wondered, detached, who my first personal loss would be in war. It is like one of those school exams - you know it is coming but you don't want to admit it. The few seconds when Ceri collapsed made me think that was the time. If I remember correctly, my first thought wasL 'not even in battle!'

Chong Fen's blog extract
My uncle used to say I have an intuitive sense of danger. I did not show any pleasure at his words, and he did not show any pleasure in telling me. He was the usual neutral self we have trained to be. I do not know if he was even right.

However, me touching the Janus with only one hand was excruciatingly horrible. I had this sense of foreboding when my fingers connected with the surface - it was as if the seal was asking me: "Are you sure only one?"

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Episode 36

The whole school seemed to be in an organized uproar. Everyone was tense, on the verge of panic, even, making their way to bunkers, summoning chambers and dorms. Ceri numbly followed Kyioshi as he led them to the dojo.

"Gillian will be briefing the rest of the Centauri. I believe he will meet us there - the seal must be with the Broker."

At an intersection near the school walls Jason, Kylie and Milo left them, diving into some bushes which Ceri knew led to small storage cambers. They were suiting up, preparing to fight. This gave Ceri a prickling feeling he couldn't place - hovering between fear and pride, bordering on anxiety.

Am I going to see them again? he asked the sky. The drones of planes answered him. For some reason Tsae's face appeared in his mind's eye - Ceri shoved it out and bit his lip.

They had reached the dojo now: Kyioshi stopped to bow at the entrance. A small Asian woman appeared, took one look and bowed back, beckoning them forwards. As Ceri passed through the entrance the dojo rippled in front of them and changed into a plain, white room.

Directly in the middle, encased in what appeared to be ice was a small metal box. It rested innocently on a plain stone slab, looking very much unable to give any form of heart disease.

"When do we get to touch it?" Taylor asked immediately.

Kyioshi didn't answer. He walked up to the Janus and reached into the ice. It swallowed his hand whole, distorting it into orange chinks that played over the surface.

"Wouldn't you receive additional abiities?" Taylor asked again, eagerly.

dared to try. There's been cases where you lose certain main organs if you don't follow standard procedure."No." Kyioshi chuckled. "One time only. I hear it's possible with a different seal - but nobody's"

"Organs such as?"

"Skin. An eye or two. Grow horns. Lose your balls - literally."

He plucked it up and removed it from the pedestal.

"Who first?"


All prefects with summons had been called to the main gate. Driving pictures of medieval sieges out of his mind, Warren made his way through a building courtyard with Jera in tow.

He never made it to the main gate.

A copter sliced the air above the courtyard, sending the crowd screaming as five suited operatives roped down and started killing the nearest students. There was lightning, there were knives. The few that tried martial arts were blasted into oblivion. Warren reacted quickly, making a spell as he sent Jera to scout. An instant later the barrier came into being, encasing the five assasins.

"Anukh." he whispered.

A girl was next to him before he even completed the sentence. She looked at the five men and a frown creased her features.

"I'm supposed to take them down, am I?"

Warren nodded mutely. The barrier was giving way as one of the men started beating against it, unraveling the magic Warren was maintaining. A bead of sweat slid down his cheek.

"You'd better scarper." Anukh said, throwing him an unconcerned look. This lasted only a few seconds - as Warren watched, her eyes became reptilian and she leapt for the Nobu.

The barrier broke at the exact instance the dragon landed.

Up a curving flight of stairs, Warren had enough time to see how the fght was progressing. The first Oragi threw a lightning bolt at Anukh; she picked him up and toasted him on the spot. the second was more intelligent - he or she conjured knives that aimed true. These impaled themselves into her hide - or tried to, for the most part. Only a katana managed to sink in and it caused far more pain than the lightning. Anukh roared and speared the Nobu with her claws.

Warren had seen enough. Panting heavily, he continued running up and away from his familiar.

"Just where the hell do you think you're going?"

Warren looked up - and straight at a furious Calypso.

Yuki's blog extract
Run run run. They must not know.