Xandra is a senior member of TARP.
She is always armed with several knives strapped to her side and is proficient in the use of them. She also carries a 11" Poplar wood, dragon-heart string core wand and has a wide variety of spells in her arsenal.
One of her closest friends is a black hippogriff named Hypersthene whom she befriended while at the Winter Palace.
She loves to read and is also the Assistant Headkeeper of Dreams on the 853 floor of the magical library known only as Xyzzy Library.
She tends to be a bit of a loner at times, but is ready and willing to defend those she calls friends no matter the cost. Her strengths include a courageous spirit, a cheerful
attitude, a quick mind, determination, a sharp memory, and fierce loyalty. Her faults include stubbornness to the point of insanity, a sharp tongue, a sense of unquenchable curiosity that often gets her into trouble (she is known to be drawn towards pressing any bright red button she can find), egotistical tendencies, a strong habit of lying when she feels it "necessary", a bizarre obsession with stickers, and the ability to be intensely annoying.
Xandra is a talented witch with an affinity towards charms. As a daughter of Hypnos, she also seems to have a certain power over sleep, dreams, and visions. Her mother, Sybil Trelawney is known to be a descendant of the Seer Cassandra Trelawney. This relation makes Xandra the great-great-great granddaughter of Cassandra and the blood of a powerful Seer combined with the Greek god of sleep seems to cause Xandra to be even more susceptible to dreams and visions that affect most demigods. She will frequently have confusing visions and sometimes can even glimpse clear scenes of the future while asleep, though she generally keeps these dreams to herself, not fully trusting their reliability.
Xandra is also a master of the talent of hypnokinesis, or the ability to manipulate sleep patterns and, by extension, dreams. This can be used to induce instantaneous sleep on biotic subjects, or to induce perpetual insomnia (which in a few days can kill a subject). One with this ability can remove the need to sleep from any biotic subject, or make them dreadfully tired all the time. One can also cause the subject to sleep forever in a comatose-like state and can even determine how deep a sleep or how long an individual has. As a small child this unharnessed ability caused several incidents, resulting in accidental deaths and injuries. Since then she has learned to harness this talent and now has almost complete control over it, though she rarely uses it for she feels it to be an unfair advantage over her opponents and prefers to fight honorably.
She is a deadly force with a knife in her hand and also dabbles occasionally in the use of poisonous and/or explosive chemical concoctions.
She is quite tall and slightly clumsy with thick, jet black, long hair which she has chopped hastily into hundreds of layers and lengths with one of her knives while bored, and sloppily braided to one side with a single white feather twisted into the mess. Fair skinned with a spattering of freckles across her nose, she is thin, strong, and usually grinning slyly from ear to ear; her only really notable features are a pair of icy blue eyes and a strange symbol on the side of her neck, a painful memento from an encounter with the "Sleazeball Sissies of Suicidal Stupidity" (Xandra's less-than-flattering title for the Guardian Sisters of Suicide). She is usually outfitted in a black jacket with a bit of ornate, silver design twisting around the sleeves and ending aprox. around the elbow, black jeans, and a dark gray shirt. She has a dark canvas belt with several utility pouches hung on it, and two knives (one throwing and one large saxe-like) are strapped to one of her legs. Her wand is tucked into her jacket, and the only piece of jewelry she wears is a leather corded bracelet that wraps around her wrist several times and has a small chunk of turquoise dangling from it as well.
She also loves her black combat boots and is never seen without them.
I am Xandra Circe Trelawney, the half-blood daughter of Hypnos, the Greek god of sleep, dreams, and visions, and Professor Sybill Trelawney. Daughter to a god, sister to one, a friend to few, and an enemy to many.
I grew up in inner city L.A. How I got there still remains a mystery to me, all I know is that for as far back as I could remember I had lived in a little apartment with one little light, one little bed, and one little sister. The bills were mysteriously paid every month and we were left alone. I knew that it was my job to care for her. I scrounged, stole, and fought for every bit of food we could get. It did not even cross my mind that it was strange to be left alone like this, it was all I had ever known. We managed, but barely. She was terrified of the monsters that continually attacked us, and though I was frightened by them as well, I always managed to drag us to safety. Eventually I began to leave her at the apartment when I would leave to find food for monsters never seemed to be able to attack us there. It worked well for a while. When I was 7 and she was 4, everything changed. One rainy autumn night I tucked her into the ratty blankets, told her to keep warm, keep the light turned off and watch for me. "Don't open the door for anyone but my signal," I cautioned her firmly. She nodded ernestly and I turned to leave. I still remember looking back into the room, her little face illuminated softly by the lights of the city, dark hair floating around it like a raven feather halo and cobalt eyes grinning up at me, brimming with trust in my ability to protect her and feed her. I will always remember looking back. When I came back the next evening, she was gone. The apartment was ransacked, blankets ripped to shreds, wallpaper hanging limply torn off of the hole ridden walls, even the precious little light bulb had been yanked out of the ceiling and lay shattered on the floor. I searched for her for weeks, crying, sobbing, and screaming out her name in the streets. When anyone threatened me or approached me something happened that I never understood. I remember I would become incredibly angry and then they would fall in their tracks, passed out and oblivious to the world. Some woke up. Some didn't. I soon gained the reputation of the "The Possessed Child of E. 92nd St.". From then on everyone steered clear of me, and if they didn't, they might not wake up to tell about it. I searched the entire city for a raven haired little girl, but to no avail, No one had seen her, no one had heard of her, and no one even cared. Finally I was forced to the realization that she was gone. I had failed to protect her. Something was never quite right inside after that day and I turned my back on the City of Angels, stowing away on the backs of pick up trucks all the way across the country, trying to get as far away from it as possible. Her name was Isannah. I will always love her.
I stumbled upon Camp Half-Blood through a series of trials at the young age of 9 and there learned the truth of my unusual parentage. I was quickly placed in cabin 11, there not being a cabin designated for my father, and my many questions were answered by the bonfire with Chiron. I learned why I could cause mortals to fall into a deep sleep at will. I loved Camp Halfblood. Though I found that I was not the most skilled and coordinated with most weapon, I did have a natural affinity towards throwing knifes and soon was able to hit any target I set for myself. I made a few friends, Ella from Hermes, Rebeka from Demeter, and a couple from Hephaestus' cabin. My closest friend was Michel Yew, son of Apollo. He showed me kindness and believed in the skittish, scrawny little girl I was. I came to think of him as an older brother, and picked up a sarcastic mouth and a quick sense of wit from him. Over the course of a few tedious months I also learned how to control and channel my powers of sleep until one day I was able to purposely cause even Chiron to fall into a blissful rest. For the first time, I felt like I belonged. But then one day, a terrible accident occurred. I lost control again. Several campers were seriously injured and comatose for days because of my power, and one girl was never to wake again. As I gazed at the horror I had caused, I knew I was a monster, a failure. In the night, I slipped away from Camp Half-Blood, never to return.
I survived alone until one winter day a tawny owl swooped out of the icy sky and deposited a stained letter at my feet. It stated that my estranged mother had been appointed Professor of Divination at a school named Hogwarts and requested that I enroll to learn the art of witchcraft and wizardry. Though I despised my alcoholic mother and her eccentric personality, and hated her for abandoning Isannah and me, I quickly recognized this school as an opportunity to quench my never-ending thirst for knowledge. So I accepted and was placed in Ravenclaw House with a 11" wand in one hand, and a worn-down, beat-up collection of textbooks in the other.
Those were magical days. I loved my classes and threw myself wholeheartedly into them. From morning breakfast until when the candles were extinguished at night, I was lost inside my books. My mind was filled and enriched with glorious tales of dragons, magic, witches, goblins, light, darkness, good, evil and fearless warriors. My stories were really my only friends at Hogwarts, for I pushed people away in fear of hurting them again. I graduated three years early due to my diligent attention to my studies and my natural skill at memorizing very powerful spells, but as I stood on the train station platform, preparing to leave my beloved school for the last time, I realized that the mundane life of a newly graduated witch was not what I desired. So I set off again in search of adventure and knowledge.
The Turning Point
I lived on the streets of New York City for several years. They were dark months, filled with a daily struggle for survival. Over these years I became very skilled in the art of fighting and took some difficult assassination jobs under the pseudonym "Lethe" for a couple of street gangs to help pay for the tiny room I was staying in. I kept my successes low key, and only used magic in the direst of situations, otherwise sticking to muggle methods to avoid detection. This paid well enough, but I saved most of the money I acquired for another day.
When the Battle of Manhattan occurred, I was determined to keep to the alleys, not wishing my fellow camp mates to recognize me, but I could not resist following Michael Yew and his group of the Apollo cabin to the Williamsburg Bridge. As I watched them battle from the shadows I quietly helped by causing their demigod opponents to feel drowsy and weak and placing several minor hexes and curses on them. Things were just starting to turn in the campers' favor, when the wave came. It rose up, massive and dark against the sky, and I knew that we would not survive. Right as it crashed against the bridge, wiping out a tremendous section and stopping Kronos' halt into the city, I managed to grab a thick steel cable and tie myself to a supporting trestle. The wave smashed past me, narrowly missing my beam and hurling demigods, concrete, and celestial bronze weapons into the East River below. I held on until the horror was over, and then shakily climbed down to find myself utterly alone on the wreckage of the bridge. I tripped on a twisted piece of wood, only to realize it was all that was left of Michael's bow. Sobbing, I threw it back to the ground and ran away. From that day on, I have hated Percy Jackson with a passion for sending that wave and have never forgiven him for Michael's death. I left New York, searching for a new life and a fresh start. As I hitchhiked across America, something inside told something inside told me I had to keep moving. I was no longer surprised by magic. Monsters no longer terrified me. The impossible was expected. Nothing could be taken for granted, and I learned to never to trust anyone. Eventually I found myself in Fresno, California, almost right back where I had started.
Hunting The Annoying Role Players
Welcome to Fresno the sign read cheerfully. As I leapt off of the rusted bed of the old Toyota that had carried to this hauntingly familiar land, I surveyed the city with a mix of dread and hope. What I hoped to find here, I did not know, but somehow I knew it was time to stay put for a while. So I did what every normal teenager does.
I got a job.
Working at a tiny bakery tucked away in the middle of Central California was a totally new experience for me. I turned my back on the violent life of a mercenary and as I iced the donuts and mixed the cookie batter, I figured out two things about myself. First, that baking my troubles away with sugar, flour, and tears was a process of redemption for me. My hurt and sadness over Michael's death, the accident I had caused at the Camp, the rejection I had felt all my life by my parents, the disappearance of my little sister, it all melted away like butter on toast.
The second thing I learned was that I was terrible at baking. I eventually quit, since I was burning everything to a crisp anyway, and took to the streets again.
Blueberry Pies and a Bree
Sitting behind a dumpster eating a smashed blueberry pie on my 15th birthday, that was how she found me. I almost knifed her in surprise, but she smiled quietly and said simply, "Hey. I'm Bree. You look lonely. Wanna come with me? There is someone who would like to meet you." I had nothing to lose and so I followed her into the darkness.
Through grimy alleyways and over chain-linked fences I followed her slight form. She moved faster and faster until I was practically sprinting to keep up. Finally we halted at a gnarled willow tree on growing on a windswept hill the on the outskirts of the city. At the base of the roots there was a small hole. Something did not feel right about the whole situation, and I warily drew one of my knives and turned to face my guide, but she was gone. I searched around for a little while, calling her name, but she seemed to have vanished like smoke into the crisp California night.
Great. I thought bitterly. All of this for a stupid prank. Can't believe I left a perfectly good blueberry pie for this. And I turned to go, taking one last glance at the little hole. Suddenly something white caught my eye. As I leaned in for a closer look, something or someone gave me a mighty shove and I toppled towards the dirt, expecting to slam my head painfully into the roots of the tree any second. To my shock and amazement, the hole opened up and seemed to swallow me into the ground. The next thing I knew was the strange tingling sensation of falling into inky darkness.
An Unearthly Audience
When I woke up, I was laying on a couch and being fed something marvelous, something I had not tasted in many many years. Ambrosia. The girl who was feeding me was eerily beautiful, and when she looked at me skeptically and helped me stand from the couch I felt plain and stupid as mud. She led me through many twisting, vine covered terraces and tunnels, past gardens and bubbling fountains and finally stopped at a small entourage of two equally beautiful girls attending to a withered old woman. The old woman directed me to sit on the side of a large fountain and began to explain that she was Atropos, the oldest and harshest of the Fates, and she had brought me here to ask me to accomplish something for her. I asked why she needed me, and she explained that since I was a drifter; one who floated in between lives, groups, and magic; and an already talented assassin, I was prime for the task at hand. "Besides," she added. "You are not important. If your thread is prematurely severed, it will mean nothing in the great tapestry of life. I do not personally believe you are up to the task; I hope you prove me wrong." This angered me, but out of curiosity I kept my tongue at rest. She went on to lay out my mission. I was to keep an eye on a raggedy band of misfits and drifters like myself, watching their moves and actions at every step and reporting back to her bimonthly. When I asked why she could not see everything herself, being a goddess and all that jazz, she vaguely replied something about "the confused veil" surrounding this group of vagabonds. She warned me about the danger of this group, that they were quick and crafty, pure evil and of the most dangerous sort. I was to ignore any semblance of reason they may portray and avoid contact, only watching them from a far lest they influence me into dangerous waters. When I asked how a group of hobo teenagers could be a threat to an age-old goddess, her eyes seemed to see past my flesh and to my soul; I could almost feel them sorting, weighing and agreeing with the day and manner I would pass into the afterlife. "They are unnatural. Even time itself cannot contain them. The ability to cheat death and openly flaunt such...unusual magic is for the gods alone, not mere mortals and half-breeds," she stated coldly. I bristled at her words, but once again restrained my emotions. "If we cannot contain, we cannot control," she added quietly. The beautiful girls; whom I had learned were the three Horae, minor goddesses of the hours of the day and the seasons of the year; began to clear away the bowls of fruit and it was clear my audience with Atropos was over. She handed me a small ring, with the image of shears engraved on the front piece and explained that every two months I was to slowly twist the top dial three times and would be lead to a meeting with her to report my findings. If I succeed, I would be given an extension of life equaling exactly 30 years from when I was fated to die. If I failed, the opposite would occur. I would lose 30 years of life from my fated appointment with destiny. The stakes were high and the boss was insane. I took the job. As I turned to leave, I asked an obvious question How would I find this dangerous group of tramps? And what is their name? Atropos gave me a thin smile. "They have a knack for finding loners like yourself. They will most likely find you. And they call themselves the most ridiculous name: 'Tarp.'" And with a swirl of color, the sound of bubbling water and the smell of ambrosia, I was suddenly back on the windswept hill overlooking the lights of Fresno, California without a gnarled willow tree, dark hole, or Bree in sight and the words of an ancient goddess still ringing in my ears.
If we cannot contain, we cannot control.
Stalking the Vagabonds
So for almost 6 months I watched these strange teens. Three meetings with Atropos passed and I still did not understand why these raggedy misfits were such a threat. I watched them fight monsters, followed them into Narnia, staked them through time portals, observed their strangely entertaining conversations, and even laughed along with their "private" jokes. I became the shadowsketcher of TARP, always present, always recording their every move, drawing descriptions for Atropos of their various adventures and scribbling down their battle tactics. Looking back I realize now that as time went on, I wasn't recording these things for Atropos. I was recording them for myself. Around the time of my third meeting with the withered goddess, she sensed that something was amiss. "Remember your task, girl. You are not observing them for your own personal pleasure, but for mine," she rasped. "They are extremely dangerous and never should be trusted. Don't let their carefully crafted facade of innocence cause you to lose sight of the greater truth. If you do not begin to correct your attitude towards these rebels," she leaned in closely and stared into my soul, piercing and tearing away at it with her flinty eyes, "I will consider it a failure on your part. And our deal will be over and sealed. Do you understand?" I pulled away and slowly nodded my consent. "I...understand." She leaned back against the fountain and raised an eyebrow. "See that you do. Oh," she added as I rose to leave. "and if you ever betray me, if you ever get it in that pitiful little mind of yours to break our deal," she smiled thinly, "let us just say that Hades itself would shudder at your fate." With those words I was swirled back to the mortal world with a heavy feeling in my chest and a glowing spark of mutiny in my heart.
For a long time I had been suspecting an attack against this strangely endearing group. The charts and maps could only be used for one thing, plotting interception points. The figures of their weapons, armor and strength would serve the goddess well with how strong an opposition they would be. The sketches would serve as portraits of who their most vital leaders were, those who must be eliminated first and foremost. I had unwittingly given the goddess exactly what she needed to destroy this "threat". Actually, I felt incredibly guilty. So I decided to try and right a little bit of a lot of wrong. I continued to present the facade of innocent adherence to Atropos' wishes for a few meetings more, but in reality began to feed her false informations, deviant maps, and inaccurate figures. Looking back, I know that she must have suspected something, but the suspicion was not strong enough to remove me from my job, end our deal, or carry out her threat. As time went on, I knew that I could not carry on this dangerous game forever and eventually my false intelligence would be questioned and found out. I would have to choose a side. I knew this from the moment I handed her the first inaccurate map. But the problem was that I did not know which side to throw my fate to. If I betrayed Atropos, besides the horrible fate she had threatened, I faced difficult questions: Would TARP even accept me? Would I be good enough for their group? If I chose Atropos' task, everything would be great. Over time, if I pleased her greatly, I could be granted fabulous wealth, age, and possibly even a gift of immortality. What demigod would turn those things down? I knew what my father would want, I knew what Michael would have wanted: I should remain faithful to the gods. Angering them only brings pain and devastation. Was angering a timeless goddess really worth the acceptance of a group I had practically set up as sitting ducks? It was an obvious answer. So why did I still feel like destiny was calling me to this strange, ragamuffin group? As I sat in my garden-shack-converted-to-home-sweet-home and mulled these questions over an imported Butterbeer, I realized what I had to do. It was time to choose a side, and I knew where my allegiance had to lie.
I went back to work for the goddess.
Without question, without complaint, and without haughtiness I dedicated myself to the right side. This was my destiny, and I had to follow it. Maps, sketches, movement tracks, and statistics all were correctly and methodically jotted down and handed over. Atropos seemed quite pleased with my renewed spirit and mentioned that she was considering finding other, more glorious and rewarding jobs for such a loyal one as me. I felt pretty good. My future was in sight, my course was set and my allegiances were straight and clear. I was obedient, good, loyal, honest, and prompt. I was everything anyone could have wanted in an employee. In other words...
...Atropos never even suspected. You see, when I was jotting down those maps and figures, I was not only making one copy. I was making two. One to turn in and perpetuate the facade, and one to pour over in my shack at night. I stayed up until dawn, mapping patterns, movements, and interceptions where I could slip away to the right side away from the sight of Atropos' far reaching grasp.She was planning an ambush, and so was I. I had to figure out her strategy and beat her at her own game, warning TARP in the process. It was a deadly game of Battleship and impractical choice of color, but the challenge made me come alive. I hadn't been so happy as plotting my own doom and reckless tossing of reason to the wind since those wonderful knife throwing and laughter filled days at Camp Half-Blood. I hoped that my father and Michael would forgive me someday, but I knew what was right. And if nothing else, even if I was going to die a horrible, pain-filled, nuclear-goddess induced death, I was going to prove to TARP that I was worthy enough to be apart of their team. Just hopefully, I thought to grimly to myself, it's not a postmortem honor.
I warned the members of this group of the trap, filled them in on the details, and presented my idea of how to best the goddess. At first they were skeptical. Why would they believe a random girl that is telling them that the call for help from Narnia they were following was a decoy? But then one of them, a pretty girl with dark hair and intelligent emerald eyes, stood up. "I believe her. I say we beat the pulp out of this idiotic Fate. Whadda we have to lose?" Some heads began to nod, and she looked straight at me with a bit of a smile. "The name's Meg. Thanks for letting us know." She sat down and thus ensued a staring contest with everyone else in the little circle. Some kind of silent conversation occurred and the next thing I knew I was being pressed in at all sides as they gathered around to look at my notes and charts. They believed me.
Soon after a hoard of questions ensued, peppering me with the different ideas of how this could work differently."This way, no wait then this wouldn't happen over here...", "Hey wadda think if Nevah and Evie could flank them right here?" "But then they would be trapped in these woods right here.", "Oh I see what you mean..." etc. etc. Finally we had a plan.
The battle occurred the next evening. My planning actually worked, much to everyone's surprise, and Atropos was caught completely off guard. The enemy was routed, and I actually thought that maybe, just maybe, it would not be revealed that I was the traitor who tipped TARP off and caused their defeat. But then while engaged in hand to hand combat with one of the very last, stubborn trolls, I was discovered. The fight caused me to fall out of the woods where I was concealing myself from Atropos' gaze, and she saw me, dirty, troll blood stained, and definitely NOT on her side. Her face twisted in pure fury and hatred, and I knew I was a gonner. I was prepared to be blasted to smithereens right then and there, but a time-traveling TARP member named Olaf grabbed my hand and created a swirling portal which he jumped through, dragging me along in the nick of time. We ended up briefly in Moscow, Russia in the dead of winter, 1917, but it was better than smithereens. I did get ferociously sick from the vortex, however, and still to this day hate Whitsen's awful portals.
After the battle was finished, I stood awkwardly to the side of the group while they slapped each other on the back and congratulated each other about those "wicked ninja moves on that one werewolf" and the like. Then one kind eyed girl turned to me and smiled. "We couldn't have done it without you. You're a great fighter too, where did you learn that stuff?" I answered that a friend taught me, and explained who my father was. Her face lit up. "Have you ever thought about roaming the universes? You could come with us, we have all sorts of...interesting times," she winked and I pretended to nod studiously. "I don't know, I'd have to consider it." She shrugged. "Suit yourself. Let me know," and turned back to the group. As they all started to walk away, I looked up at the sky, grinned, and grabbed my backpack. Till next time, "Mistress". I could almost feel her cold anger, penetrating the air, and biding its time. With one last sigh, I took off running.
"Wait up Potter! I think I'll take you up on that offer..."
Adventures with TARP
There were too many to count. We slayed ogres in Middle Earth, danced upon the spring green meadows with Satyrs in Narnia, crept around the torch-lit halls of my beloved Hogwarts, solved blood-flecked mysteries with Sherlock Holmes, helped put out the Great Chicago Fire, assisted James Bond, sailed the salty seven seas with Jack Sparrow, leaped through (non-Whitsen) portals, crawled through cracks in time, and waltzed into other worlds' doorways. With the flourish of a hand and a touch of imagination, anything and EVERYTHING was possible. Magic danced at this group's fingertips, and as I grew closer to them and understood more and more about them, I realized something revolutionary. Magic, power and time, these forces did not bend or bow low for these travlers. TARPers held no real "control" over any of them, no secret weapon or magic spell book. No, this group created their own magic, their own rules. They CREATED this remarkable ability, not learned to control it. It was like nothing I had ever seen before. Now I understood what made even an age old goddess fear these "tramps".
"If we cannot contain, we cannot control."
Wasn't that exactly what Atropos had said in that courtyard so many months ago? Now I understand why. The gods, rulers, magicians, mighty warriors, and evil forces of the worlds TARP touched feared those who could accomplish so much with so very little. Sure TARP has time travelers, witches, wizards, royalty and rangers, but it also has something even more powerful: imagination. The ability to create your own magic. And that is the greatest power of all.
It was all going so well. I should have known better. Atropos had seemingly lost interest in me and TARP; I hadn't seen hide or hair of her since that last battle. I thought that maybe something about being with TARP protects me; she had said there was a "confused veil" around this group. Could it be strong enough to prevent her from coming after me? I was conflicted, for I felt I was putting TARP in danger by being with them, but I was worried about leaving. Atropos seemed like a woman with plenty of time on her hands to plot my demise and one who would not easily forgive the shame caused by a puny demi-god foiling her plans. Staying close to TARP seemed the best idea until I could figure out another plan. So I did what was natural to me: I went to the library.
I read anything and everything I could get my hands on about this miserly, old Fate. She was a "daughter of the night", though no one was quite sure what that meant. She chose the time and cause of death, the clipping of the thread with her abhorrent shears. Everything seemed straight up and maddeningly vague. I was on the verge of despair until one night I found an answer. I was returning a tiny book on rare myths to the shelf. It had been useless and unhelpful information and in frustration I shoved it roughly back into place. Suddenly a slip of parchment fluttered to the ground, having been shaken loose from its resting place in the very back of the bookshelf by my rude maneuver. I picked it up and peeled apart its time-stained pages, finding that it was an old pamphlet on a mysterious group known as the Order of the Guardian Sisters of Suicide. I thought nothing of it and began to fold it up again when something caught my eye. The Sisters were reputed to work for the Fates in recompence for their treacherous actions in life. Usually they acted as assassins for any who Atropos deemed unworthy to live. This news hit me like a bag of bricks. If Atropos deemed me unworthy, would this be how she went about exacting her revenge? I quickly cross referenced the Sisters in Xyzzy's database and began studying them and their "curse". No one could tell much about either, so I slammed the books closed in frustration once again. So far I had an idea of how she would kill me, just not any way to stop them.
I checked out the pamphlet. It seemed to have been checked out last in 1098 A.D., by a "T.O.". I was mainly interested in the existence of a sepulcher where several rare magical items are said to be found, examples being a cloth net that induces visions of the future, a knife that severs one's shadow from his body, and a necklace that cures any ill of the wearer. Just some light intrest reading for the side. Might come in handy one day, who knows?
The Beginning of the End
It was November.
The air was crisp and clean; the Narnian leaves waved happily in the chilling wind, twisting and dancing in their bright new colors. The ground was blanketed with summer's former glory, now cast away to perish at the feet of the trees, a brilliant patchwork quilt of gold, orange, and red. Gold from the birch trees singing overhead. Orange from the sugar maples down by the stream.
Red from the blood pooling out of the dark-haired girl's side.
As I knelt by Potter's head, a feeling of panic began to overtake my senses. It was deep, a wound inflicted by a lucky ax strike by a not-so-lucky dwarf. Potter had been protecting me when she took the blow. After she fell, everything seemed as if it was in slow motion. The band of renegade dark magic users now running for their lives, the grunt of the dwarf as I fell him with a flick of a knife, the murmur of the leaves collapsing to the forest floor below, it all seemed in a haze. She gave a gasping smile as she read the worry and fear written in my face. "Is it really that bad?" she whispered.
It was. I brought her back to the clubhouse as quickly as possible where we patched her up as much as possible, but something wasn't right. The wound wasn't healing, it was getting worse. After a while a painful conclusion was reached. Magic had been used on the blade of the ax. Not even strong, clean, sturdy magic that could be reversed by the skilled magicians of TARP, no the blade had been enchanted with rough, backwoods magic, most likely that of an experimental sort. It was as if a wound had been created by a rusty, infection-laden blade instead of a cleaned and oiled one. Potter got worse and worse, tormented by hallucinations and occasionally her body would shine green light from every pore. TARP was at a loss of what to do and resigned itself to the worst. Then I remembered the pamphlet. The necklace found in that weird sepulchre thing of the Guardian Sisters, it was said to cure any ill. Percy offered to go in my place but I knew that it would be well guarded and only I knew the basic security protocols and passcodes of Atropos and could reason out her twisted mind. A long shot, but I had to try.
It was suicide. I was going to waltz into the very place where my greatest enemy kept her assassins, who were for all I knew out hunting for me right now. But as I watched Potter toss and moan the choice was clear. She had my back in those Narnian woods, and I was going to return the favor, or die trying.
I packed my backpack, said my farewells, and watched the Clubhouse disappear in the distance from the back of Hypersthene. I had told Percy what I was about to do, but decided not to worry the others. They had enough on their minds with Potter as it was. Besides, something deep down inside told me that even if I returned alive from this expedition, things would never be the same again.
At Last My Child
Hypersthene dropped me off about 3.5 miles from where the sepulchre was said to be found. I hiked up the ridge and was greeted with the sight of nothing more than a pile of crumbling stones, columns, and weeds. For a bit I was worried I had followed the map erroneously, but then I discovered a door concealed by the foliage and ruins. I lit a rudimentary torch, not trusting the stability of wand magic in an ancient a place as this, and set off down the dark, musty corridor.
The corridor lead to chambers as massive as a palace. It was literally a cathedral almost 300 feet under the earth. I side stepped a few Indiana Jones style tricks and traps, but the absence of any real security measures concerned me. There was nothing that screamed Atropos, Guardians, or even basic use within the last 500 years down there. I wandered through the empty rooms and chambers, marveling at the beautiful sculptures and blend of cultures. Every room seemed to contain a different and equally lovely style of time. Greek, Victorian, Egyptian, every classical culture's finest architecture was on display. Eventually I found myself in a beautifully lit room that blazed with splendor. Skylights hundreds of feet overhead fed natural sunshine down to where several items were basking in its cold light. One of these items was a dazzling necklace that seemed to drip emeralds and diamonds down the pillar it rested on. Tentatively, I reached out my hand and picked it up. Any other day I would have been captivated by its beauty, but I knew I was racing against time. Potter's time. So I carefully wrapped it and placed it in my satchel, eager to leave.
As I headed out of the door, I felt the chill. The temperature in the room had dropped several degrees in an instant. Every hair on the back of my neck stood alert and at attention and my bones felt as if frozen through the core. I started to run, feeling only abject terror as I blazed through the different rooms and doorways, their beauty suddenly seeming more fitting to a tomb than a cathedral. Whispers filled the sepulchre, beautiful, eerie whispers, incessantly brushing the air and growing louder every second. I was almost to the corridor entrance when the most beautiful laugh I had ever heard rang out behind me. I stopped, transfixed the power, regality, and anguish that was wrapped up in that beautiful laugh. Turning in curious terror to look behind me, I saw her. Standing there, wrapped in violet cloth so fine it looked as if it was the mist of dawn, she smiled with colorless lips and tilted her head as if in thought. Her skin was paler than the snow and her face matched her laughter, but her eyes were terrifyingly vacant and dark, as if she was not really seeing me. When she smiled, all the whispers were extinguished as quickly as they had come. She raised her ghostly hand and beckoned to me. At last my child a voice filled my head, speaking to me in a strange tongue that somehow I perfectly understood. We knew you would come.
I will be honest. I have never been so terrified in my entire life. Every neuron in my brain screamed for me to run, get away from her, but it was if my feet had become frozen to the floor. She stood there, ever beckoning, with that haunting call spreading through my consciousness, filling my mind with numbing chill. Then something clicked. My natural instincts decided they had had enough of my stupid brain and suddenly sent me racing up the corridor. I was fast. Faster than I ever thought humanly possible. As I burst into the forest, I knew she, THEY, were behind me. I could feel their chill seeping into the world, pushing out the sunlight and drowning the warmth from the air. All I remember was running. Through the trees, over bushes, boulders, streams, everything; screaming frantically for Hypersthene, Meg, Olaf, Evie, anyone; feeling the chill brushing my neck and knowing I could never out run, out wit or escape the justice they would bring.
Finally I collapsed to the ground, spent, sobbing, and utterly cold. I braced myself, heard the whispers draw so near they seemed to be brushing my cheeks. Then I heard it. Voices. True, warm, thick, ALIVE voices. They were coming nearer and suddenly the whispers were gone. Before my tunneling vision, two figures I thought I would never see again crashed through the underbrush; squabbling and arguing over a weathered piece of parchment in their hands, and Nevah craning her neck over Meg's slight shoulder for a closer look. With a start, Meg stopped and stared at my crumpled form, then rushed forwards shouting my name. Everything dimmed, swirled, and went black.