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~:: A Proper Schooling - Chapter II ::~
Now it was morning and Cale was still sleeping soundly as Az slid
silently from the bed and shuffled to the kitchen to prepare breakfast.
Once it was well under way, she had awakened Adara, who dogged her
every footstep as she insisted on helping her mother with the morning
As they made the final preparations, Azazela called to Zakai. “Wake up, sleepy head.”
His eyes glowed white for a moment, as he stirred awake. Adara knew
better than to take it upon herself to awaken him, but now that someone
else had, she was prepared to take full advantage of the situation. She
fairly pounced on him as he sat rubbing the sleep from his eyes. “Good
morning, Aunt Az. Good morning, Miss Adara. I see you are wide awake
Adara bounced excitedly next to him on the old sofa. “Mommy is taking
me to enroll in school today!” she beamed. “I am going to be a student,
just like you!”
Zakai laughed as he pulled the girl onto his lap and hugged her tight.
“And I just know you are going to excel at your studies. You will love
“Just like you!” she echoed, with a huge grin.
“Just like me,” he answered, laughing. “But,” he lowered his voice to a
whisper, “if we don't be quiet we will wake your father up. I think he
is still sleeping.”
“He needs to wake up,” Az answered. “Adara, please go tell your father that breakfast is ready.”
She did not have to be told twice. She leapt from the couch and flew down the hallway, her feet barely touching the floor.
Zakai shook his head with a chuckle as he helped his aunt set the
table. “She will be flying before you know it. She's very advanced for
Azazela nodded quietly. “Sometimes I can barely keep up with her.”
A few minutes later, a disheveled looking Warshade arrived at the
table, being towed by the enthusiastic child. Azazela poured him a cup
of tea and set the plate of pancakes in the center of the table. Adara
dragged a chair nearly on top of her father. Her mother shot her a look
“Adara, your father needs a little room to breathe. You cannot have your breakfast sitting in his lap.”
“Of course she can,” he laughed, pushing his hair back out of his
glowing blue eyes. He patted his lap. The girl needed no further
encouragement as she leapt from her chair into his arms.
He smiled as Azazela shook her head with a sigh. She finished putting
breakfast on the table and poured her daughter a tall glass of icy
milk. Lifting it in both her tiny hands, the child took a huge draught,
wiped her lips with the sleeve of her pajamas, and looked up into her
father's eyes. “Daddy, are you going to the school with us?”
“Of course I am, sweetheart,” he answered between bites of pancake.
She cocked her head to one side and scowled. “What if they don't let me in?”
“Trust me, they will let you in. I know they will,” he answered, confidently.
Azazela looked at him curiously. Adara was a bit younger than they
usually required children to be for admission, but she was very
advanced for her age. The headmistress had suggested that Azazela bring
the child along to be tested, and said they would base the decision to
enroll her upon the results.
She returned to quiet contemplation as she fixed Adara's plate. She was
not about to question him in front of their daughter. She would save
her query until Adara was safely ensconced in the bathtub.
Zakai looked up from his plate to smile at Cale across the table. Cale
found the boy slightly unnerving. The part of him that had once been
Balregu held no lost love for the self-righteous hunters known as
Peacebringers. Azazela herself had once held reservations about the
strange being that shared the human shell that had been born as the
first son of her sister. However, Zakai had grown up to become a
wonderful young man who harbored no ill will towards the Warshade. The
child was kind and intelligent, with a insatiable appetite for
knowledge. He spent most of his time with his nose buried in either
some scientific textbook, or an ancient mystical tome. Az was not sure
how much of his personality was part of his human development, and how
much was that of the alien being he hosted. Since Zakai had not yet
taken his first breath when the fusion took place, that was a question
even he might not be able to answer.
“Mr. Westmarch,” Zakai bowed his head slightly in respectful deference
to the more experienced hero, “did you ever attend a university?”
Cale looked up at the boy with a hard swallow that almost caused him to
choke on the piece of bacon he had been masticating. “No. My father was
a world-class Necromancer. I studied the arcane arts at his hand.”
The boy nodded as his voice took on a tone of almost reverential awe.
“How fortunate that must have been for you. It must have been wonderful
being personally tutored by someone with so much knowledge.” He let out
a wistful sigh. “While our professors are skilled, I would not presume
to refer to any of them as 'world-class'. I recently came across an
apocryphal book that was penned by what some people believe might be a
pseudonym of Aleister Crowley. The book departs from the traditional
types of magic that he was reputed to have practiced. In fact, so much
so, that many authorities dismiss it as a fake. However, this book was
rumored to have been written under the direct influence of Lam, an
entity that he was known for summoning during his bizarre rituals. The
interesting thing about this particular volume is that according to
this, the manifestations of the Lam are invoked visitations of the
Watchers, or the Fallen Ones.”
Cale nodded politely. The boy continued, “The really unusual thing is
that the book details rituals that have never been documented before.
They are said to be a gift to humankind to herald the Last Age.”
Azazela raised her head ever so slightly to look Zakai in the eye. “And
as such, I do not recommend using them.” With a visible shudder, she
stood and quietly left the room.
Zakai and Cale met each other with equally startled glances. “I wonder
what got her panties in a bunch?” Cale whispered quietly.
The gentle Peacebringer shook his head. “I feel I must apologize for whatever I said that seems to have upset her.”
Adara, who had been blissfully munching on her pancakes, looked up with
an enigmatic smile. “Don't you know? She does not want to see the end
of this age. They stopped it once. This time things will not go so well
Threads of ice were coursing through his veins, as he gripped his child
gently by the shoulders. In a voice that was probably more forceful
than he meant it to be, he asked, “What did you just say, Adara?”
Suddenly the smile evaporated, leaving the child with a glazed expression. “I didn't say anything, daddy.”
A terrified look passed between the Warshade and Peacebringer. Totally
unrelated to any inherent tensions between their opposing origins, they
simultaneously felt a surge of bile leap into their throats.
Cale lifted the child from his lap, and gently sat her on her own
chair. “Finish your breakfast, sweetheart. I'll be right back.”
Az was kneeling over the ancient claw-footed tub as she prepared
Adara's bath water. She heard him come in and stood to face him. He
struggled to find the proper way to relate the incident that just
occurred at the table. “Cale, what is wrong?” she asked upon seeing his
“Something… happened… a few minutes ago. In the kitchen…”
“What do you mean?” A tone of worry crept into her voice.
“I don't know how to explain it. It was Adara. One minute she was
fine…and then…” He paused as his mind sought for some logical syntax to
relate a totally illogical event. “It was almost as if something else
took over her for a moment.”
Az nearly knocked him down as she flew through the narrow doorway and
down the hall towards the kitchen. She grabbed Adara and lifted her
into the air. She turned to Zakai and yelled, “Summon your mother.”
Zakai started to pull his cell phone from his pocket, catching himself
at the last moment. Closing his eyes, he focused his energies towards
his mother's highly tuned psyche. One message. Come now!
Fifteen long minutes later the family was sitting in a circle in the
living room of the small flat. Dawl explained that her mother reassured
her that the incident had been what is called a 'projection'. Some
entity had used Adara as a channel. As creepy as it might sound, no
real harm had been done. It was a simple trick that demons often used
to relay messages into the human realms without actually having to
manifest themselves personally. Adara was used because as a child she
had no real defenses in place to prevent this channeling.
“That,” Dawl said softly, “is about to change. It is time.”
Cale looked at her with an uneasy glance. It was very seldom that Dawl
could be taken seriously. When she became gravely somber, it meant that
the situation were dire enough to warrant such attention. This could
not possibly be a portent of anything but evil.
Adara sat on her mother's lap as Azazela gripped her tightly. Cale sat
beside them, idly stroking his daughter's baby fine hair out of her
face as she looked up at him with an expression of pure worship and
A rumbling peal of thunder shook the tenement as Dawl produced a small,
very ornate lockbox. The sigils engraved on its surface were obvious to
any arcane practitioner. The box was protected from being opened by
anyone but the owner.
She pressed the words do ut facias silently into the mind of the child.
Though Adara had no understanding of the meaning, she held out her open
hands. The parcel levitated and began to spin slowly above her
outstretched palm. The top bisected along a scalloped edge in its
pattern and lifted open to reveal a magenta glow.
The child's eyes opened wide as she peered into the utter blackness of the box at the glowing gem suspended in its center.
“The amulet,” Az whispered, breathlessly.
Cale turned to her. “What amulet?”
“This stone was a gift to DeLara, err, Dawl from her mother. Her mother
is human, but is one who is gifted of the Creator. She remains Ageless
and has the Second Sight. The amulet contains mystical powers of
protection and also traces of the Second Sight. It was at one time
split in two. Dawl had half, and she gave half to me. The power of
protection is so strong within this gem that it can be used to free
those who are mystically bound. The minions of our father sought to use
this in order to free him so that he might once again take the reins of
his legions in order to vanquish the humans and the Host of the
“So, someone found some really strong Super Glue, I take it?” the Warshade said with a slight edge of sarcasm.
Azazela shook her head. “The stones were fused by the Dark One himself.
He was very close to having freed our father, at that time. The results
would have been…” she paused as her gaze dropped to the floor,
Dawl fell strangely silent as she remembered that dark day that now seemed like it had been so long ago.
“So now our child has this magic bauble. What is the point?” he asked her.
“It has the power to protect her,” Az said in a sober tone. “And I have a very strong feeling that she is going to need it.”
Cale looked down at the precocious child sitting in her mother's lap.
She held the gem as though it were something very delicate as she gazed
upon it in unabashed awe.
Azazela left the room quietly and returned moments later with a small
buckle that resembled an empty frame. Silently she handed it to her
child, who gingerly touched the stone against it. With a crackle of
energy and a bright glow, the stone fused itself into the metal
housing. “Now, we must find you a suitable belt,” her mother smiled.
Dawl suddenly jerked her head up from where she knelt on the floor to
look at Cale. “Mary called me first thing this morning to make sure we
hadn't forgotten about today.”
Cale's face went pale as he stole a glance at Az. Her eyebrows raised
slightly as she looked from her partner, to her sister, and back again.
“Mary?” she asked in a suspicious tone.
Dawl smiled sheepishly. “Well…” she turned to Cale. “You didn't tell her, did you?”
Cale's face burned crimson. “Umm. Not yet. I meant to, I really did.”
Azazela's eyes narrowed as she pinned him with a glare. “What is it that you failed to tell me?”
He felt like an insect must feel when pinned down by its wings under a microscope.
”It was me.” Dawl gave her sister a pleading gaze. “Please don't be
upset with him. I wanted to make sure Adara was accepted into the
academy, so I pulled a few strings with my friends in the Cabal, who
are actually the ones who truly run the place.”
Az rolled her eyes.
“Don't be mad, Az. I just wanted to make sure there were no snags
getting her in. I know how important this is to you, and to Cale. I
only want the best for my little niece.”
Azazela drew a long, slow breath and shook her head slowly. “It does not matter.”
Adara looked up at her mother. “Who is Mary, mommy?”
“Never you mind, my daughter. You shall meet her soon enough.”
“She's a friend of mine,” Dawl interjected. “You will like her, and I am sure she will love you.”
She stood and reached out to Adara, taking the girl in her arms. “Come
with Aunt Dawl, and let's leave Mommy and Daddy to get ready to travel
to Salamanca.” She carried the smiling girl down the hallway to the
door. “Let's go over to the sand lot and practice taking off and
landing,” she grinned.
“Yay! I get FLY!” Adara screamed.
“Hover,” Dawl corrected. “You have to learn to get airborne and stay
airborne before we work on actually flying around, okay?” She turned to
Zakai. “Come on, baby. You can come along with us and hover behind her
to keep an eye on her.”
The gentle Peacebringer smiled and nodded as he followed them out into the bright sunshine.