ISBN 9789899734869-18

2043 Words
A young couple holding hands, both with shoulder-length brown hair, stepped forward and waved with their free hands, grinning. 'Bryn Cooper has recently joined us from the States where he worked with the Seventh House of Praxos in New York. He is now looking after Cassie and Elliott where they are staying in a converted loft in Kings Cross.' A tall, muscular man with a crew cut stepped forward and backwards with a brief salute to the group. 'Habika Buhari has worked with Praxos for many years. She originally came from Africa, as you might imagine,' Eleanor said with a smile to a woman wearing traditional African garb whose smile lit up the room. 'Penny and Nisha are under her care. Habika also lives on a houseboat on the Thames. Oksana is mentoring Moira and Imran from Ukraine and her Scottish husband, Brody McGregor.' A very tall and beautiful blonde-haired woman nodded with a smile, as did the fair-haired even taller man next to her. 'Oksana and Brody have a penthouse apartment in Camden Town. And finally, Ava and Rupert are staying with Megan and Rhydian Llewellyn, originally from Wales but have been living in Waterloo, in the capital for the past ten years.' Megan and Rhydian both had beautiful faces, he with short red hair and she with cropped black hair. They both grinned at the group and said hi. 'Now that we all know each other let's continue. Right, we just heard about Lana and Emma's experience that turned out to be something quite alarming. An attack on two innocent young girls by two evil thugs isn't something we take lightly. This is exactly the kind of thing we want to help prevent from happening on the streets of London, and elsewhere. It turns out that Lana and Emma did exactly the right thing by subduing the men. In ordinary circumstances, the victims should have immediately contacted the police. At Praxos, however, we cannot always do that because of our secrecy code. Yes, Moira?' said Eleanor as Moira's hand shot upwards. 'Secrecy code?' 'Yes, because of our unique characteristics, and the true nature of who we are, we cannot let the general public know of our existence. However, we do work in conjunction with certain authorities...' 'So not all police know about us? Then who does?' asked Ava. 'We often work with the British Secret Service...' 'Cool,' added Liam and Rupert who looked across at each other with a laugh. Raising her eyebrows, Eleanor continued, 'the Prime Minister is well aware of our existence, of course. So, in the event of something like this ever happening again, you are to contact me, or your Mentors, immediately so that we can alert the necessary authorities. Due to last night's initiations, it is perfectly understandable that you, Lana and Emma, assumed that it was our doing. You did the right thing. In fact, you worked so well together; I think you deserve a round of applause,' she said with a cheeky smile, small dimples appearing in her wrinkled cheeks. Both girls blushed and laughed as the room exploded with clapping and cries of 'well done'. 'Now, while we're on the subject of Lana and Emma, let's talk about their initiation. Girls, talk us through it. Why don't you start, Emma?' 'Well, it started with being trapped in the tunnels that were, like, seriously dark. All we had was a sealed letter from Praxos, and we couldn't even read it, it was so dark. And then we remembered what happened to me when the tattoo appeared and when I fell in the Thames...' 'You didn't fall, Sis. You threw yourself in,' laughed Lana. 'Oh, yeah, I guess. Whatever. When I was in there, and it was dark and cold and wet...' she laughed nervously, 'I realised my body kind of glowed, giving me a sort of light, letting me see all around. Well, in the tunnels, we decided I should try and make that happen again. Thankfully it worked, and we could see!' she said as the rest of the group clapped. 'Unfortunately, when we opened the letter, it was completely blank...' 'Yeah, that happened to us too,' said Diarmuid. 'And us,' Moira added along with Elliott, Rupert and Nisha. 'So I'm guessing you figured out the water then?' she asked as the others all nodded enthusiastically. 'Anyway, we then...' Emma continued to explain what had happened to them until they arrived at the dilapidated hall where they'd fallen asleep. 'Something weird happened to me in there,' Lana said, recalling her dream-like state. 'It did? You never mentioned it,' Emma whispered. 'Yeah, I did. I told you about it. You know, I thought it was a dream...?' 'You should always question these things during the initiation, and afterwards of course,' interrupted Eleanor, 'Because it is often another skill, or ability whatever you want to call it, revealing itself to you. Tell us what happened, Lana.' 'Well, we were sitting having a break in this dilapidated old hall. It was easy to see that it was once a beautiful and grand place where wealthy people would have dances and stuff. Anyway, Emma had fallen asleep, and I began to hear things, music and voices, feet tapping on the floor as if people were dancing. I could even sense the scents of mingling tobacco, perfume and sweat...' 'Sounds lovely,' cringed Moira with a giggle. Lana smiled, 'Yeah, I know. But it began to feel real, you know? An image popped into my head of all these people having fun. It was kind of surreal, which was why I just figured it was a dream.' 'Can you describe what the music was like, Lana? What the people were wearing?' Nodding, Lana said 'Hm-hm,' before continuing, 'There were sounds from a harp, a violin and erm, oh yeah, a harpsichord,' she closed her eyes for a moment, remembering the images in front of her eyes. 'There was a woman in front of me, her skin was all white, and she had a black beauty spot just above her lip. Decorated with feathers, her hair was piled high on her head and looked like it had been powdered white. She wore a long azure blue silk dress which pulled her waist in so much it must have been difficult to breathe, and then it fanned outwards at the sides and back. It was cut so low that her cleavage was well on display, with a bundle of little pink roses pinned to one side of her top. She was flirting with two men who sat beside her...' Lana seemed to have zoned out and was talking, barely taking a breath while the others sat silently listening in fascination. She could hear the same music, chattering and people dancing. As she watched the scene unfold before her, she continued to describe all that she saw in real-time. 'The woman is standing up. She's walking to the nearest window. It's a door. She pushes it open and walks outside to get some air. She's fanning herself with a pretty pink fan made of feathers. She's leaning over a railing; there's a staircase below her. A man walks up to her. He's not someone I noticed before. She turns to him and smiles. She's kissing him passionately and, oh,' Lana stopped abruptly, her eyes shooting open in absolute shock. 'What happened?' asked those surrounding her, 'Lana, what happened?' 'It's quite all right, Lana. I'll finish for you. The man pushed her down the stairs, didn't he?' Lana sat bolt upright and nodded, 'H... how do you know?' she breathed while Wilbur suddenly appeared by her side with a cup of tea. 'It will make you feel better. It's sweet, for the shock,' he added. She took it gratefully as Eleanor continued. 'What you've just described is the murder of Countess Dolly Van der Bergen in 1754. Unfortunately, there were no witnesses to the actual event, and so it was deemed to be an accident. I had my doubts, of course. I always suspected it was her husband who pushed her.' 'Did you know her, Eleanor?' asked a suitably impressed Nisha. 'No, not personally, but I knew of her. She was quite well known in London at that time. It was very sad. Her husband was killed in an accident some years later; a horse-riding accident, I believe. But that's by the by.' 'But how come Lana was able to describe the event?' asked Emma. 'I do believe that the initiation helped establish one of her other abilities. Lana can visualise things that have happened in the past, whether it be yesterday, a year ago, ten years ago or a hundred years ago. Certain things will trigger images, sounds, smells all to overcome her, allowing her to see the whole event, almost in a movie-like sense, I believe. Is that right, Lana? Did you see it as if you were watching a movie?' Lana nodded, 'It started that way but then it was like I was actually there. I could see everything around me. It was weird.' 'Carry on Lana, continue with what happened during the rest of your initiation.' As she spoke of what they experienced for the rest of the evening, the group listened intently until she'd finished. 'Thank you. Does anyone have any questions? Anything they'd like to add?' asked Eleanor. Penny's hand shot up into the air. 'Yes, Penny?' 'Earlier on, Lana and Emma said that something kicked in and they turned into a*s-kicking ninja chicks...' The group laughed. 'Well, how come that didn't happen to Nisha or me? I want to be able to do that.' Eleanor smiled. 'Unfortunately, not everyone will develop the same skills...' an audible sigh filled the room before she continued, 'however, we will train you so that you can fight. But I'll get on to that bit later. If there are no other questions for Lana or Emma, we can move on to the next group?' 'When you were swimming in the Thames... didn't you get covered in sewage?' asked Rupert, who kept his face completely serious. 'That's enough Rupert,' Eleanor scolded as she tried not to laugh. Emma shook her head while Rupert pinched his nose and pretended there was a bad smell in the room. Declan stepped forward and gave him a gentle slap on the back of the head as the group giggled. 'Right then Rupert, seen as you seemed to have gotten everyone's attention, let's hear about yours and Ava's initiation.' 'Oh, okay then Miss...' 'Please don't call me that, Rupert. My name is Eleanor, not Miss. Well, it's Eleanor when I'm like this, but you can call me Ellie when I'm young if you like,' she smiled with her eyebrows raised. 'Continue.' 'Okay Eleanor,' he said, sounding her name out slowly for added effect. 'Well, Ava and I began our initiation in the centre of the Thames, on a little boat. Like you, we just had the blank letter for information....' and he continued to tell the group about how his and Ava's ability led them slowly and inevitably back to Praxos, where they were greeted by the same thing the girls had been confronted with: Wilbur in his more unusual state. Rupert's special abilities not only include him being able to see through solid walls, but he can also walk through them whereas Ava can hear things from miles around and can focus on specific sounds far in the distance. She can also make herself be heard in people's minds who are miles away. After a few questions, it was Cassie and Elliott's turn. Cassie confidently stood up and explained how they'd been plunged into darkness in the tunnels beneath the city. Elliott was able to use his fingers like a lighter, making small amounts of fire from his fingertips, which helped to light the way, while she could move at the speed of light. With Elliott holding on to her, they were able to move beneath the city quicker than anybody else. But when they were faced with a massive wall of ice which they couldn't break through, Elliott's gift was accentuated so that he could create a constant source of fire to melt it. Imran shyly stood up when it was his turn to speak. 'I can play with time,' he smiled cheekily, 'and I was able to stop, rewind or fast forward time, giving us an added advantage of extra time to fulfil our duties. As long as Moira held on to me, she came along for the ride.'
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