Second Semester; Chapter 11

The Man Who Built Ochre

The Stranger walks, unhurried, through Ochre, admiring all that he sees.He reaches out with his magic, and the mass of the various student’s souls that pass him by doesn’t correspond to what he is seeing. One boy, a boy with scars on his face, an eye-patch and dark skin has the soulmass of something infinitely much more larger. It reminds him of a member of the Flight….

A girl with pale skin and raven hair has less soulmass than she should. Curious, he muses. One of the teachers at his school, a large bearded man of perpetual scowls possesses a slightly altered soulmass which marks him as something inhuman. But what?


He puts his hand in his pocket and fishes out one of the inventions of this new and technological age. Cellphones– that’s what they’re called. If someone had told him in his youth that the knowledge of the ages could be contained in an item the size of his palm, he’d laughed at that person. But in this age mankind has made the world so much smaller with a form of technology that almost seems magical.


He ‘unlocks’ the phone and searches for a word one of the students used earlier. The memories of the body he is occupying are spotty at best, and his transition from solid, unchanging stone to everchanging permutable flesh was….. hectic. A ‘video’ plays. The Stranger still experiences a sense of wonder at this for him new-fanged technology. A way to record an event for eternity– why, the applications are practically limitless!


On the video the Stranger watches a young woman gyrate in what seems to be similar to the dance of a Turkish belly-dancer. ‘Twerking’ it is called. The Stranger shakes his head. Then again, was the youth of his time any better?

His walk takes him to the library of Ochre. Although he praised the cellphones, at heart, books speak to him. He grabs the book he’s been reading ever since he awoke. This very book is a book on science, and science has certainly marched on in the time that he slept inside the red walls of Ochre! Electricity to keep the darkness at bay and to power the devices that man has built. Guns to make humans equals to vampires and werewolves. And the medicine! The concept of ‘vaccinations’ is simply ingenious, ingenious!


He rereads the chapter on nuclear forces and marvel at what his fellow man has achieved. A weapon that makes the fire of an old member of the Flight look pale. Of course there are things that bother him. In his time people knew their place. You knew where the person next to you stood on the social rung. But now? Now students adress him by the first name of this body, and you’re not even aloud to hit children! Oh well. The price of civilsation appears to be steep.

He searches the book for a specific chapter, the chapter on the force of gravity, which is of special interest to him. The scientists don’t know what exactly gravity is, but they can jot down its applications, as did he three centuries ago. The speculative notion of a black hole is especially interesting; could he generate one? But then again, such a thing would absorb light itself according to the book he is reading and a weapon that eats the world is liable to eat its own maker, and that will not do.

Another interesting feature that he memorizes is that gravity is slightly weaker in some places, such as mountains and ridges. Could he permanently change the gravity of an area?


Another interesting feature is density. Could he change the mass of an object, and make it denser? His magic works well at a distance, but a close fight will not favour him. That is why he ended up inside Ochre at the first place. It was a mistake, a failing that he will not repeat.

The Stranger closes the book and exits the library. One thing he has tried to change in the months passed since his awakening is his manner and the bearing of his walk. Put simply, he is too old fashioned, his back too straight and his speech too articulated. He will not stoop to adapt the slovenly manner which young men have affected, but his speech must change.Already, several students and two of teachers have asked him if he is ‘role-playing’ whatever that means. He tries to use the less formal Swedish ‘you’ rather than the ‘you’ employed by the more old-fashioned lawyers,journalists and judges.

The word sticks in his throat, oily and unclean. “You”, he says out loud, drawing a confused look from a nearby student.

“You”, he repeats, glancing around to make sure that nobody is watching. “Yes you”, he repeats once again.

“Damnable language”, he mutters and enter his office, or rather the office of the person whose body he is inhabitating. The Stranger would feel bad about the body-theft if it weren’t for the fact that the poor soul had already died. And waste not, want not.


The memories…. the incomplete memories left inside his skull by its previous occupant doesn’t leave The Stranger much to go on, but he feels that Jan Hass wasted his life. Mediocre in school, a job as student-councilor which he didn’t particularly enjoy and an addiction to opiates that he wanted to overcome, but lacked the strength to do so… yes, Jan Hass wasted his life and he wished for a second chance.



Which is quite ironic seeing as the Stranger who lives in Jan Hass’ body knows about second chances. He traveled the world, mastered his magic and built Ochre, only to be betrayed in the end by someone he trusted. And as he died, he thought to himself ‘ had I had a second chance, I would have done things differently’. And now, Esaia Eldridge who has returned from the dead, plans to do things differently. Oh yes. Very, very different.

Second Semester; Chapter 10

Fire And…. Pancakes

I breathe in once. I breathe in twice. On my third breath I pull my neck back, teeth bared and I exhale really hard. /No fire./ I grit my teeth. You’re not exactly helping here, Verde./ You can’t breathe fire because you lack the proper…. visual aid, yes, visual aid is the word./

I remove the beanie from my head and scratch at the fabric. Explain./ You describe the magic you take from me as ‘strains’, but you do realize that there are no strains? No spoon, so to speak. That ‘strains’ is just a way for your mind to interprete the magic, to render something abnormal and weird more normal and less weird./



I dissemble what Verde just said. You’re saying… it’s like a crutch. As a person with one leg can only walk through the help of a crutch, so must a supernatural employ some kind of visual representation because…. /Because magic in its purest form would drive you insane./ I make a note to gather together my other notes. I know that magic has to with mass, density, healing, the unconscious templates that supernaturals adhere to and other attributes, but I need a more factual overview.


I open my coat a centimeter or two, and look at the tattoo that inches up. The gleipnir. The prison that holds Verde inside my body, the necklace that is a necklace at the same time as it is a tattoo. Representation. Alright, a metaphor for fire.

I will be opening my mouth…. and the atoms and the molecules will spew forth. They will be spewing forth… like a waterfall, a cascade, like vomit. The fire will be orange, orange like a sunset, like carrots, like traffic cones.


I pull two strains from Verde and I breathe. No burst of fire. No melted snow. Not even a little surplus heat. /That was anticlimactic./ Like you could do better./But I can. May I?/ Oh, go ahead. Even expecting it, I still experience a certain amount of fear as Verde takes control of my body.


Verde operates my mouth, and without the effort that I used, white fire erupts from a point about a twenty centimetres from my mouth. And just like that, I am in control of my body. I stare, sullen, as the white fire fizzles out, but not before melting large chunk of snow. The wind brings the rapidly cooling steam against my body, and I sigh./I am sure you will get the hang of it./ Sure.

I try three strains without result.

Four strains, and as I close my mouth, I think I see something pass through the air. A faint haze, like the heatwaves that Nevena can make. I remove one of my gloves and drag it through the air. I can’t be certain that the air is hotter.



Eh, screw this. I drag ten strains, everything I can take from Verde and let it loose. Traffic-cones and waterfalls, traffic-cones and waterfalls. A small gout of flame, the size of a apple flickers and patters out before even reaching the snow. I did it! Did you see that, Verde! /Congratulations, my boy. Now, try to make it larger…./





An hour later I stand in my kitchen, having managed to consistenly being able to produce a burst of flame, yet no bigger than a fruit. Ah well, that’s a task for another day. I glance at my wooden kitchen-table, bought from one of Hermann friends, where my laptop displays several search-tabs about pancakes.

I glance from the table to the oven. Right. I can do this. I mean, I am sixteen. People used to be married at that age, fought wars, grow chesthair and so on. Just because my parents, and later on Hermann have cooked for me all the time, and just because I don’t even know how to boil an egg, well that shouldn’t stop from trying. I look back at the recipe. Flour. Baking powder. Milk. Eggs. A second bag of flour– whole wheat.


Riight. I pour two deciliters of ordinary white flour in a bowl. I add a deciliter of whole-wheat. An egg. Two spoons of baking powder. And I freeze. According to the recipe, I am supposed to add milk ‘at my leisure’. What does that even mean!? I scroll down. It says that the mix should be smooth and flowing. Alright, less is more seems to be the approach here. I grab a whisk and start to stir it.

I frown. My mix isn’t smooth; it’s closer to a paste than the smooth flow the recipe ordains. I add a timble more milk and whip the whisker frantically. My mix becomes smoother and now I start to worry. What if it gets too smooth? Flipping the pancakes would become impossible.

I stop when the consistency of the mix is not quite water, not quite paste. I swipe some sweat from my brow, and start the timer on my oven. I put a frying pan on top of one of the panes wait. I hold one hand over the pan, and when I feel that there is enough heat I grab my pancake-mix and I halt. Whopps. Almost forgot oil.

A minor application of oil and I pour down some pancake-mix. I have checked various search-engines, and I have come to the conclusion that the pancake should spend between thirty to sixty seconds on each side. I grab my phone and start an alarm. At the forty-fifth second I attempt to flip the pancake over, only to fail. At the fiftieth second, I try again, only to fail once more. Third time’s the charm, huh. At the fifty-eight second I manage to flip the pancake over, but I am standing too close, and hot oil spatters my arms.


“Fuuuuck, aaaah”, I roar, oddly satisfied at having managed to flip the pancake over, and yet irritated at the scalding. The next pancake goes easier, and the next after that, I begin to develop a rythm, a rythm that I lose myself in.



And before I know it, I am done. A full plate, stacked, my very own tower of Babel. Yes, I did it, I- RIIIIING.

I look at the fire-alarm, that is screeching. Nooo, what did I do wrong?

Second Semester; Chapter 9

The Murdered Mother

The white shewolf stalks along the upper reaches of the mountains that surround Fallowfell, her ears attuned to the sounds of the forest. Her white coloring is a disadvantage three out of the four seasons of the year, but for now she blends in, a white ghost in a white world.

She spots a brown sparrow on a branch of a nearby tree, and with the determination of a apex-predator, she decides to pursue it. She quietly trots up to a log, where she stops to survey her next move. She could move around the tree and trust in her natural camoflauge. She could jump over the log and rely on her speed to close the distance. Or she could just leave it be.

Eating in her second form has a tendency to be messy, and you don’t know what irritation is until you’ve tried to remove bird-feathers from between your teeth. Yes, she reasons, no birds.

Finding no point in hiding anymore, she opens her mouth and howls, a cry that shakes the mountains. The sparrow takes flight in a mad scramble for freedom. An owl hoots, worried.A couple of squirrels skitter up a tree.


“Are you done scaring away the local wildfire?” The shewolf huffs a white cloud of breath at the lithe girl who moves gracefully through the forest, the girl who seems to know where she should step, as not. Chiyo Sawamura smiles. “I will take that as a yes then. Shall we run?” The shewolf tilts her head, as if pondering the question and then bounds away, hoping that she will be able to outpace Chiyo.


Werewolves don’t run alone, she thinks, looking back at Chiyo who is doing her best impression of a juggernaut; everything in her path gets torn or thrown away in front of a run that can be likened to that of a train. No, werewolves don’t run alone. There isn’t some magical reason for it– it’s a social construct that grown to be a part of their lifestyle over long centuries, yet this construct is neccessary evil. There are very few werewolves who can go longer periods without succumbing to moon-madness, a viscious mental-rot that cannot be cured.


Her grandfather once told her that the stories about Grendel and Beowulf had a real-life basis, but when she asked him the specifics, he wouldn’t tell her more, simply saying that old history is sometimes best left forgotten. And her grandfather…. And now he sits in a prison people never escape.But, she muses, what if he did escape? They’d send either one of the Seven or a Branch-Leader of Pier 7 after him and who could tell the outcome of that meeting…..
A large noise startles her, and she misses a step in her run. She sees blue sky for a split-second before her tumble reorients her on her back, looking in the direction of Chiyo, who has left a human-shaped hole in a large oak, like something out of a cartoon. She yips at Chiyo, wishing she was skilled enough in shapeshifting to manipulate the inner workings of her throat, but one day she will be.


“Well”, Chiyo says, inspecting the hole she just made,” you were getting moody. I had to get your attention somehow”, she offers, pointing a finger up. The shewolf follows her line of sight, and finds herself looking up into a waning moon. Of course. Some werewolves, she being one of them, are especially sensitive to the turnings of the moon. Yeah, it’s not enough that her body bleeds once every month in an attempt to kill her, she has got to keep track of the friggin lunar-cycle.


A snap of fingers, and her attention is back at Chiyo. “Look, I feel like this isn’t going anywhere. Can we please just go home, start a movie or two, and eat copious amounts of chocolate?”


The shewolf tilts her head, once more. She already knows the answer.




Amanda extends her arms above her head and stretches, not just physically, but mentally too. The headspace of a wolf is not like the headspace of a girl. This might seem obvious, but you cannot understand the difference before you have experienced it, something young werewolves are told at an early age, but never believe. Or atleast she didn’t believe it.


Chiyo puts a bowl of sake next to a bowl of dark chocolate. Amanda eyes the Japanese rice-wine with suspicion. “I am sorry, but it’s made from rice. I mean, how does that even work?”


Chiyo ignores her question and fills a small cup with the translucent liquid. She sips lightly from it, smacking her lips in appreciation. She pours another cup and offers it to Amanda with a form of courtesy that is as polite as it is unyielding; Amanda has no choice but to accept.

“Come now”, Chiyo muses. “What is it that troubles you?” “Nothing troubles me”, Amanda retorts. Chiyo drinks from her cup and stares at her. And she stares at her. Then she stares some more.”It’s just the season”, Amanda offers, eventually. Chiyo nods, and waves her on.


“The cold, the waning moon, that shifty-eyed orc-” “No, that’s not it”, Chiyo interupts. “Oh”, she continues,” those things certainly have an effect on you. But there is something else, isn’t there?”


Amanda rotates so that her face is turned slighly away from Chiyo. She grabs her cup of sake and downs it all in one take, protests be damned.”Agh, that smarts”, she comments. ” How… how much do you know about my family?”
“I am aware of your grandfather, of course. And your father is certainly known to me”, Chiyo recites. “Hah, that doesn’t surprise me. Fenrir and Garm have played importants roles, and they will play important roles in the future. The Council keep a prophecy or two if I remember correctly. But what about my mother?”


Chiyo frowns. “Some say-” “They’re wrong”, Amanda interupts. She grows claws and severs the upper part of the sake-bottle. With a deft move she empties the contents of the bottle down her throat. “They’re all wrong”, she repeats. She grabs some of the dark chocolate, and munches on it.


“She was murdered”, she adds, feeling a bitter taste in her mouth. “Murdered”.

Second Semester; Chapter 8

The Old Wolf’s Feelings


Fenrir eyes the chicken-breast on his plate. The dish is complemented by asparagus and rice, but no sauce, despite his twenty-years of lobbing. The reason given? Lack of funds. The Bastille has half a dozen state of the art systems, enough magic-users to start a proper scholomance and the Telemancer sports a different outfit every day, but no, there isn’t enough funds left for curry-sauce. He can live without beer, without a lack of a proper forest, but that lack of proper curry devastates him.


Circe pats him on his left shoulder, and as he looks to the left, she kisses him on his right cheek. “Morning”, she offers in a warm voice. Unofficially, the government’s stance on…. fraternization between inmates is that it shouldn’t exist. Then again the Maitre told him that he could ‘fuck whoever you want, just don’t come crying to me when your heart gets broken’. And with her black braids and piercing intelligent eyes, Circe is most certainly a heartbreaker.



“Morning”, he offers back, despairing.


Circe rolls her eyes and sprinkles something at his dish. He tries it. Pauses. Then glares at her. “You could have done that anytime, couldn’t you?” She shrugs. “Maybe”, she says, smiling conspirationally. “Twenty years without curry”, he growls, tears forming around his eyes. She pats him again with reassurance.


When he feels that he has collected himself, he poses a question to answer the conundrum that his senses have revealed. “And what”, he starts,” has got you all fired up?” “What makes you think that there is anything on my mind?” He gives her a droll look. Werewolves, ordinary werewolves that is, use their sense of smell to accquire more information about the world. But Fenrir is no ordinary werewolf, and he has more than a sense of smell to help him navigate the dangers of the world.


They lock eyes in a contest of wills; wolf-blue to earthen-brown. Circe’s stare might unnerve a mortal, even a lesser supernatural of the immortal variety, but Fenrir’s father…. eyes of yellow fills the world. She starts to tap the white table they’re sitting at with her short nails.


“What… what if I told you that I had a way out?” Fenrir starts to laugh. The inmates and the wardens stare at him; his laugh bounces against the walls of their little cafeteria and then returns, higher with multiple pitches. Tears form at the corners of his eyes for a second time, but of mirth this time. “Good one”, he says and makes a motion as to leave the table. “Wait”, she clamors, desperation coloring her voice. “I have something for you, something… something my benefactor wanted you to have… as proof of her ability”, Circe says in a machine-gun pace.


She grabs his left hand and puts a small square sheet in it. A photograph. He gives it a brief look, already intending to dismiss her ridiculous claim when he realizes who it is he is looking at. She has his son’s eyes, and her mother’s frank outlook. And the colors of the photograph are so vivid… without meaning to, like a young pup, he starts to change. The bones below his knees bend and crack, his nose grows longer like a snout and his blue eyes turn bluer, closer to lightning than a ocean.


The inmates, powerful that they are, know better than to trifle with a demigod in the throes of powerful emotion and the wardens close rank around him. He raises a hand, and with a titanic effort of will, becomes humanoid again, except the nose. There was a time when that was easier, but age will not mellow the savage nature of the beast, but rather, enhance it.

“It’s time for you to go back to your respective cells”, the Telemancer says in the sudden silence, eliciting surprise and fear from both wardens and inmates alike. Fenrir nods, not trusting himself to speak. The Telemancer can do that; showing up where you least expect it… and fighting him? Unconsciously Fenrir rubs his jaw as the wardens lead him back to his cell, the jaw the Telemancer shattered when Fenrir first tried to escape.


Just as they’re about to close the door on his cell, the Telemancer speaks. “I am letting you keep that picture on the condition that we won’t have another situation, you feel me?” Fenrir nods, and with one last searching glance, the Telemancer closes the door.

Fenrir quickly walks over the silver to his little circle, his little oasis in the center of the cell. He stretches out on his bed and takes out the photograph again. He compares it to the carved relief on the floor. Hmm. He hasn’t got the lines of her face properly, and her hair is longer and of course, the relief is uncolored.
He closes his eyes.


He’s in a hospital now, waiting in a waiting room. A pale doctor with fangs emerge. His son gets into the doctor’s face, unwilling and uncapable of controlling his lesser instincts. “How is she?! The baby?!”

“Calm yourself”, Fenrir breaks in, using his powers as a alpha to curb some of Garm’s tendencies. “It’s better if I show you”, the doctor adds, effectively ending their stand-off. He brings the two of them through a whitewalled room and to a bed, where a woman holds a little blue-eyed baby-girl.


“Erika!” Garm rushes the woman and cradles her. He croons at the baby who screams at him, and two look ever so happy. “She might not make it”, the doctor says, subvocalizing. Fenrir nods, not surprised, yet still hopeful; eight of out ten female werewolves lack the strength of will to go the months required to carry to term. And those who can do it… suppressing one’s magic for nine months ruins the body.


He draws near, and the baby’s eyes track him with precision. He reaches out with one finger, and the baby seizes it with a strong grip. “What”, Fenrir begins, his voice filled with heartfelt sentiment,” will you call her?”


“Amanda”, says Erika, proud if exhausted. “Amanda”, Fenrir reiterates. “Welcome to the world, Amanda”, he declares…..

Second Semester; Chapter 7

A Trucker Named Bertrand

Somewhere In Northern France

Against the backdrop of a starry landscape of infinite darkness on lonely rural road, Tam Linn can almost pretend that this isn’t the modern age. That mighty towers of steel and glass hasn’t replaced towers of stone and brick. That he is a man, not this half-fae creature. That they- no, he tells himself. He won’t go there. Some memories are better left forgotten, untouched, unremembered.


He glances with his supernatural sight three-hundred sixty degrees around himself, and on spotting a car he raises a hand. The driver ignores him.


“Rude”, he mutters, glancing down at Yowl, who is bigger, yet tiring at the pace he has set. He scops her up and places inside his sweater, close to the warmth of his skin. She gives him a meow, as if to say that she doesn’t need to be carried, but its weak, not like her usual protests. He thinks of her little mother, and that last look she gave him. Yes, Tam Linn too knows the burdens of parenthood.


A second vehicle, a truck, snakes up on him. He raises a hand, and this time the truck halts. “Where you going?” The speaker’s French is oddly cultured for a trucker, but there are all kinds, Linn reasons. “North”, he responds. The trucker, an old man with grey sideburns and blue eyes smiles at him, kindly. It is noticeable that the trucker’s eyes doesn’t look at the red handprint on Tam Linn’s face– most mortals, even some immortals, tend to stare.


Taking that smile as his cue, Tam jumps in. “Bertrand”, the man says, while starting the truck once more. “My name is Tam”, Tam responds. If Bertrand is surprised by the lack of a surname, he doesn’t show it. Tam turns his head around, and peers through the metal, spotting the merchandise that Bertrand is transporting; steel beams. “What are you transporting”, he asks, despite knowing the answer. It wouldn’t do to raise suspicion, and a hitchhiker would ask.


“Steel beams for a Belgian company that I have never heard the name of”, Bertrand retorts, his eyes never leaving the road. Tam nods politely. “I take it then that you travel much?” Bertrand laughs out loud at Tam’s question. ” That’s putting it mildly. I have got an old container in a Paris suburb that I have renovated, but the road takes me all across Europe, and well, I rarely get to see home”, Bertrand offers in a self-deprecating voice.


“Ever been to Sweden?”Bertrand nods in the affirmative. “Nice country. Cold in the winter, but the women are atleast pretty. Good roads, very good roads- long and straight with extremly few holes. The language is a bit strange though; to my ears it sounds like they’re always singing. Of course, most of them can speak passable English…”


Tam listens closely as Betrand tells him a story of one of his last trips to a coastal city called Gothenburg, and he compares it with an older trip.






Four hours later, as the sun starts its journey across the celestial vault, Bertrand parks the truck at a small inn. Or do they still call them that? Maybe ‘reststop’ is more modern word, Tam wonders.

“I’ll be right back”, Bertrand says in a sleepy voice,” just going to grab some coffee.” Tam nods and leans back. He too is tired. His eyes- A car playing loud hip-hop music parks at the entrance to the inn. He watches as two young men exits the car and enters the inn. Tam Linn closes his eyes with the indifference of immortality and his eyelids close.


He opens his eyes, startled. Yowl decides this is the moment when she is going to wake up, and she announces this by scratching his chest. “Ow”, he roars, placing her on the seat left vacant by Bertrand. “Stay here”, he says firmly, ignoring her cries of dismay. “I am going to see what has happened with Bertrand..”


The moment he enters the inn, Tam Linn knows something is wrong. Its the scent. Unlike a werewolf or a vampire, he doesn’t have a augmented sense of smell, but that rich, coppery scent is unmistakeable. He strains his eyes, and gazes through the walls. Bertrand lies on the floor, a large gaping hole in his head, and an older woman sits slumped against a wall, her eyes staring at nothing. The two men he saw entering the inn?


They’re cleaning out the register, filling a bag with money. One of the would be thiefs crouches on the floor and removes a wedding band from Bertrand’s hand. Something about that theft, the theft of the dignity a nice old man who helped a random hitchhiker angers Tam Linn.






Jean’s head whips around at the sound of Sebastien’s scream. A hobo holds Sebastien by the throat, a dagger impaling his hand against the wall. The hobo turns to look at him, and he has got to be wearing lenses, because his eyes are like fucking disco-balls!


The thought galvanizes him and he raises the gun the two of them bought. The hobo gestures at him, and there is a burning flash of light. Jean flops around on the floor, screaming; his entire left arm is charred black!



He looks up in time to see the hobo with the red-tattoo on his face  rip out Sebastien’s eyes. “Why…”, he begins. “Why are you doing this to us?!”

The hobo kneels next to him. Up front, those eyes seem otherworldy, alien, arcane. “Because there is no discussing with people like you”, the hobo says in a tired voice. “Death alone will cure you.”


The last thing Jean sees is the end of dagger inching closer. The nothing.








Tam Linn takes a few steps out of the inn. Following his actions is a large noise; the walls of the inn crumple, flames flicker out of windows and the ceiling caves on itself. Nobody is listening, but had someone been listening, they would have heard his soliloquoy for a trucker namned Bertrand.

Second Semester; Chapter 6


Simultaneously As Erim Yazar Is About To Be Threathened


I walk out of Ochre, somewhat relieved that I have survived my first day. I spot Shirin, Amanda and Stella walking with great determination towards the Crimson Bridge. Maybe they’re about to go shopping, or something?


I tug on the lapels of my coat, righten my beanie, and start the trek, and its a trek, not a walk, home. This season, I think, is something of a paradox when it comes to colors. In the middle of the day the sun will shine on the snow, making it almost dangerously bright, while sometime around two or three, the sun will set, casting Fallowfell in gloom and darkness.


“… Rune!” I turn to Elena, who catches up with me at the Crimson Bridge, red spots on her cheeks from the exertion of running through the cold. “Sup?” “Oh nothing”, she says in that tone I know well to distrust. “If you got nothing to say, then why am I still standing still?” The response to my question is a mischevious smile. “Alright, you got me. I want to talk”, she adds, glancing around as if to make sure that nobody is around,” about something… secret.”


“Evers”, I ask. “Evers”, she decides.




Some minutes later, having made the ardouous (yeah, I knows them big words, eh) journey to Evers and equipped ourselves with fika we sit down. Remember, it’s not proper fika if the sugary treat in front of you cannot induce diabetus.


“Rune, do you believe in the supernatural?” “No I don’t”, I answer truthfully. I know that the supernatural is real, albeit not in the sense most people think. That is knowledge, not belief. /That was a very pointed question, yes?/ You’re saying I should change the subject? /That would be wise./ “Hmm, what do you think of the new guy? And what kind of fucking look was that he gave Nevena?”


Elena shrugs. “I didn’t see the look he gave Nevena. And I think it is too early to tell what kind of guy he is, I mean, it’s been one day”, she says, quickly, before continuing, ” I think that people see only the surface of things. It’s like that iceberg-principle. You see the top floating, and you never question what’s beneath the waters”, Elena adds with a flourish. I am beginning to feel uneasy. At first glance, her comment could be seen to refer to Erim, but look at it again, and it can be refered to me, Hermann and supernaturals in general.


/Act natural./ I laugh, a sound that comes out more like a giggle, than a true laugh. /Natural Rune, natural./ “Next you’re going to tell me that 9/11 was staged by the freaking Illuminati or something”, I state with levity. /This has gone too far. Say that Hermann is calling, make an excuse and leave./ Elena remains silent, staring inscrutably at me. I take up my phone and school my features as in surprise (thanks for the lessons Isocrates). “Huh. Hermann want me to come over”, I say, hurried.


I get up–
— and Elena grips my wrist. “I know, Rune. I know that Greyscale is something larger than a skyskraper. I know that Hermann is a young Arabic man. I know that Fallowfell are filled with impossible being. And…” her voice wavers,” I know that you’re not completely human.”


I sit down, feeling my thought spinning out of control. Verde?/I know what you are thinking and I do not know. Leave now, and she might make a scene. As for telling her… I simply do not know./ Big help there. “I… am not going to deny anything you’ve said, nor am I going confirm. But who told you this?”


“It started when Helena Gravsten shot me…” Elena tells me a story about a place where those that aren’t dead nor alive come to stay, where she spent a long time waiting, and when a Greek woman gave her magic. The last part startles me. I breathe deeply, and I can confirm it. It was there all the time, but I managed to miss it. Elena’s magic… rather than smells, I think of a court, and a judge proclaiming truth. “So your magic…. what, it allows you to see supernaturals as they truly are”, I state a bit incredulous. Elena might not be able to throw a car or shapeshift, but damn if that isn’t a weapon. She nods.


There is a question hanging between us.But… surely the Council can’t fault me for telling a magic-user the truth? And so I tell her about the barrowman. About Helena Gravsten’s quest for revenge that morphed into something else entirely. About black blood, and a big green dragon inside my soul. “So…. let me see if get this straight… you have part of a soul inside you, the part of a great dragon, which grants you powers and make you all scaly?” “Let me see if I get this straight”, I mimick,” you got your powers from a Greek ghost, and all you can do is to see?”


We stare at each other, before our discussion ends in laughter. “I… I thought I was going insane. That just about any time, someone would wake me up, and I’d be in straightjacket”, Elena summarizes in a haunted voice. I can’t imagine what it would be like to have these abilities that I have, without the support of Hermann or Greyscale. Like walking over a milimetre thin bridge, in the black of night, with monsters at each side.

“I have told you what I can do, but what specifically can you do?” I list the things I have discovered; pulling attributes from Verde, the healing, the temporary density of muscles, the heightened senses. “And all I got was sight”, Elena mutters in disgust, in a ironical echo of what I usually say when I see Kai or Stella use their magic. I shake my head, understanding finally setting in. In the right hands…. Elena’s powers could be extremly dangerous.



“Now”, I begin, ” you need to know about the Council and what we can, and more importantly, what we cannot do…”

Second Semester; Chapter 5


The Three Calamities That Befell Erim Yazar On A Cold Monday Morning

Erim Yazar strolls out of the music-room and through Ochre. For someone like him, who is steeped in song and tale, whose magic is rythm and dance, music is easy. He has the teacher eating out of his hands!

Strange though, when Aristomache Soalikos sent him here as a punishment, he expected… more punishment. Sure, Fallowfell is a dingy little shithole of a town which can’t be compared to Luleå, one of the biggest cities in Norrland, but still, there are things here that can be admired.


A couple of hot girls pass Erim by, and he can’t help but give them an appreciating look. Yes, he tells himself, there are good things in Fallowfell. His class for example, is filled with an majority of girls, and some nerds, although one of them seems to be together with that hot Asian chick. Then there is the scarred one, the one with the eye-patch, who glared at him. That one, there is something wrong with his soulsong, Yazar reckons. Each person has one soulsong, well, except some undead and other lesser critters, but that dude has two. I am going to have push his digits and see what happens….

Erim passes around the corner, and he spots a tall woman with legs that just won’t end. As their paths cross, he glances covertly at her ass, creating a fantasy involving it and a very large bottle of lotion. Because he is too busy staring, he doesn’t notice the woman’s hand, nor the powder she throws at his face, not until he’s on the floor, screaming, clutching his eyes.


Sight– he can’t see, everything is dark, with lightning flashing beneath his lids. The pain causes his senses to blanket, and the sound of soulsongs dimnish.

“What the hell did you do to me?! You bitch, you fucking-” His splutter comes to an end when the woman places a heel on his throat, denying him air. “Listen closely to me, Erim Yazar”, she begins in a clear voice,” if I ever find you staring at me or any of the girls here at Ochre the way you just did, I will remove one of your senses. Right now you can’t see. This state of being will not last, but let me assure you”, and now her voice picks up volume,” THAT IF YOU EVER STARE AT A GIRL LIKE SHE IS A PIECE OF MEAT I WILL MAKE SURE THAT YOU NEVER SEE ANYTHING, NEVER FEEL ANYTHING, NEVER HEAR ANYTHING, EVER!”

The sound of heels pounding the red sandstone of Ochre fills his ears, and at the same time he can make out her soulsong’s dimnishing noise, telling him that she is gone. “That fucking bitch”, he mutters, attempting to reorient himself towards one of the bathrooms. “I am going to fucking get her for that”, he growls, moving slowly along the walls, using his hands to steady his walk.




Erim stares into the mirror. Red striations have expanded like a web through his eyes, and his skin is paler than it should be, no thanks to that psycho. She is too old to be a student, and a janitor wouldn’t wear heels, so by process of elimination, she have to be a teacher.

Erim steps out of the bathroom stall, only to be greeted by steel. A blade, impossibly sharp, draws a thin line of blood from his neck. He cranes his head a centimeter or two back to get a better line of sight of his attacker. A one-armed man with deep brown eyes and long blonde hair is looking at him in the same way one might look at an rodent. “I don’t know what is you said to upset Perenelle, but it stops, right here”, the man says.


Perenelle…. Erim deduces the identity of the thrower. The Black Alchemist. The monster who refined the Black Plague in revenge for the death of Nicholas Flamel. She actually touched me. The thought makes him feel disgust, pure and utter disgust.


“…. are you listening?” Erim’s eyes are drawn to not-so-unknown man. If that was Perenelle Flamel, then he must be…Richard Lionheart. In the world of supernaturals, honor has a tendency to wither, to die. Age after all, is the great killer. But not for Lionheart. He’s been a Boy Scout since long before there even was a word for it. And if it’s Lionheart holding the sword, then the sword itself must be Hauteclere. Hauteclere which can cut anything. The skin of an ancient vampire, the hide of a senior member of the Flight and air itself. And that sword is at his neck.

“I am listening”, Erim squeezes out. “And I read you loud and clear. It won’t happen again”, he promises. Lionheart takes his measure with a long look, before resheating Hauteclere so quick that the motion can’t be seen. He nods, and exits the bathroom. Erim kneels on the black bathroom floor. “Insane”, he says out loud in the silent room. “The people here are insane”, he reiterates.




The rest of Erim Yazar’s day passes. Nurse Merith gives him a large band-aid with the word ‘moron’ on it. His next two lessons, Social Studies and German passes by without mention. He sighs, grateful that the day is over. He adds his things into a bag, slings it over his shoulder and makes for one of the exits, slowly.Because he’s on his guard now, listening for nearby soulsongs.

He makes it out of Ochre, across the Crimson Bridge, and having done so, he starts to relax. He walks through an alley—
— and suddenly invisible hands grip him. He tugs on his arm, only to have it bent backwards, at an angle that makes his eyes tear up. Erim becomes aware of two soulsongs atop the ceiling of a nearby building; soulsongs moving closer. Three girls jump down, landing centimeters from him. It’s Shirin Vahedi, Stella Rakaya and Amanda Skog from his class.

The three of them stare at him. “Well what are you waiting for”, he finally asks. “When you looked at Nevena, and said you liked ‘big girls’, what exactly did you mean?” It’s Rakaya who is asking.

“Nothing in particular. Geez, I was just flirting”, he says, irritated. “You have an odd way of flirting”, Shirin says in a small voice. ” Some of the girls in the music-class say that you ogle them like animals”, she adds.

“I would never”, Erim lies, before continuing,” I think alot of people exaggerate…” He stops as Amanda closes the distance between the two of them, her face close enough to kiss. “You lie. I can smell it.” Her soulsong swells, sounding for a moment like a chorus of…. wolves. “It doesn’t matter in the end. Boys lie. I simply had Stella stop you here for another reason.” “Yeah?” He licks his lips.


“Nevena is my friend, and if you hurt her feelings I will tear out your heart and eat it raw”, she promises in a blistering voice. Erim, wisely, keeps his mouth shut and doesn’t contest her claim. His head rings with truth of it.
And more… he realizes that he can’t hear Shirin’s soulsong. The thought gives him shivers. She could be standing at nook of his bed, and he wouldn’t hear her coming.