Chapter 16 Somewhere deep in the dark of her dreams, Temperance heard a voice. “Little Weapon, wake up.” Sharp fingers prodded her. “Wake up!” “Stop it!” a tiny voice moaned. It came out of her mouth, but she didn’t recognise it. She licked her lips and tasted blood. Opening her eyes, she saw a beautiful woman looming over her. Her long blonde hair tumbled over bare shoulders. The simple white linen dress she wore clung to her tall frame. She looked like an angel. Temperance crouched down low. Her fingers scraped into the dirt. There was blood on her small hands. “Apologise,” the woman snarled, her teeth flashing. Flecks of spittle flew from her mouth. She hauled Temperance up. Her tiny feet kicking as the woman shook her. She felt a fear unlike anything she had ever experienced before. “Apologise for being alive,” the woman hissed. Temperance was close enough now to see her face. It was perfect, and hideous. The whites of her eyes were almost gone, replaced by massive golden irises. She felt something warm run down her legs. The woman gave a snort of laughter and dropped her to the floor in disgust. “I’m sorry,” Temperance cried. “Freya! Where is the boy?” a man shouted, coming towards them. He stopped in front of Temperance, staring down at her. She leaned up on her hands. “Father I…” The man sniffed at the air. “Has he?” “Soiled himself, yes Heimdall,” Freya laughed. Temperance felt a jolt of shame, she curled in on herself. Fierce thoughts ran through her head. I’ll kill you, I swear... I’ll kill you someday... “Get up!” Heimdall barked. “Get to your feet now or you’ll never stand again! Do you hear me, boy! Get up and learn to fight! You are a Weapon, not a child!” I’m not a person, just a thing... A tittering laugh erupted from her throat. Her head felt like it was spinning. Something cracked and broke inside her. She stumbled to her feet and pushed past them, escaping out of a tent, through a flap of cured animal skin. A massive cavern lay beyond, a city of tents and fires. Fierce looking men glared down at her and huge dogs roamed through the streets. “A Weapon,” she laughed. The dream-world titled around her, twisting on its axis until she was somewhere else. She was in another time; she felt older now. There was a terrible hatred and fury in her heart. Wherever she was, whoever she was; she just wanted to get out, away from the rage. It burned like acid. But she couldn’t wake herself up. She was trapped. The stench of smoke filled her nose and lungs. Fires licked at the red-brick buildings around her. A towering inferno climbed high into the dark cavern above her head. People were screaming. It was the world below Carwick. “They’re coming!” Out of the corner of her eye she saw a child, a young boy covered in blood. It was someone else’s, she was certain. His hands were encrusted with gore and dirt. “Get away while you can,” she told him. He came closer, clutching his hands to his chest in a show of fear that made her stomach roll in disgust. She jerked her head. “Go now,” she barked. He crept forward, tears in his eyes. “Come with me, please.” He spread out his arms to hug her. “Please come; mother has gone already.” A sick feeling spread inside her. She pushed him off, going so far as to hit him. The child stumbled back, clutching at his bloody cheek with shaking fingers. “I said go,” Temperance snapped, baring her teeth. A sudden sadness settled over her. “It’s over.” “You’ll come back?” the boy cried. “Don’t leave me on my own!” She sighed, turning her attention to the men fighting on the streets in the distance. She started to walk down towards them. “Come back, please brother.” She heard the child whisper. The scene around her faded away. Now she was kneeling in front of someone, bound in chains. She was still in the cavern. There was no sky above her head, just the darkness of the cave. The smell of smoke clogged the dank air. The figure pacing in front of her stopped. “Hello old friend,” he mocked, his blue eyes cold. Her stomach dropped. The tall imposing man towered over her. His greying blond hair was matted with ash and dirt. There was a short cut across his cheek, blood dripped down his neck to stain the collar of his ripped white dress shirt. “Sebastian Bloodworth,” she said, baring her teeth at him. “Time to sleep,” the wizard said with a grin. He touched her forehead. It felt like she was on fire. Temperance woke up screaming. Lilith was standing above her, dusting off her hands. It was still dark. Halvard woke and looked up at the red-haired girl. “How did you?” Alastair bolted upright, gasping for air. He stared blindly over at Lilith. “How did you?” Temperance staggered away from them. She stared at Halvard. She’d seen his dreams! He knew Freya! He swore he’d kill her! She tried to say something, anything, but her mouth wouldn’t work. It all came out in a series of mixed up sounds. Lilith laughed, dancing away from Halvard when he tried to tackle her. Alastair stumbled to his feet, coming over to Temperance. He stretched out his hands to her. “Calm down,” he told her. “Give me the knife.” Temperance stared at him in confusion. She saw his knife in her hands. With a muffled yelp, she tossed it away. The wizard dived for it and twisted around to help Halvard. Lilith held out her hands, stopping them. “I just want to talk! If I wanted to kill you, you’d all be dead by now!” Temperance took a few moments to regain her composure. She stepped back to the fire and slumped down on her knees. “I saw...a...” She pointed at Halvard. “I saw Freya. And Fenrir, as a child!” It wasn’t really what she wanted to say, but her mind was still reeling from Halvard’s dream. The werewolf’s eyes were accusatory, as if she’d revealed an intimate secret he’d only shared with her. “Of course you did,” Lilith said with a frown. She waved at the three of them. “Let me talk. I’ve been awake for an hour now. You know it doesn’t take that long to kill three sleeping people.” The wizard crouched down by the fire. He pointed at the space opposite him. Lilith nodded and sat down. Halvard joined them. Temperance was amazed at how calm they all were. Lilith gave off an air of being composed, but Temperance could see her hands were clenched. When they were asleep she’d been in control, now Alastair was the one with all the power. It seemed to radiate from him. Halvard watched, his eyes lighting up with excitement. Temperance glared at the werewolf. His memories of the clock and the war had been horrific. But it was his cold detachment that had really scared her. She inched closer to Alastair, who glanced at her out of the corner of his eye. “Nice jacket,” he remarked in an offhand way. She didn’t rise to the bait. “Lady Knox does not want to be seen to be involved in this,” Lilith explained, rubbing her chaffed wrists. “If you even try to imply that this conversation took place, I will kill you all without a second thought.” She grinned at Alastair and the wizard smiled back. “Assuming you could,” he said. His fingers flexed around the hilt of his dagger. “Why is she helping us?” “There is a foul plot afoot,” she told him. “After meeting Rosier I’m sure you’re aware of the Levinthal experiment?” Temperance gritted her teeth. “Of course you are.” She stretched out her arms. “My Lady has an interest in the Levinthals.” She turned her attention to Alastair. “Cyprian killed the lupa, Freya. He made it look like you did it. Your knives were used. Your magic was all over her body. Rosier must have told you that much.” Alastair stood up, glaring down at her. “You’re both wrong. Cyprian would never kill a lupa and he would never implicate me!” Temperance didn’t look at him. In her opinion, he was more than capable. Even still, she understood why he didn’t want to believe them. Cyprian was his only family. Lilith snorted. She tossed her hair over her shoulder. “Of course he would Alastair. Cyprian hates you for killing his sister.” “A werewolf killed my mother,” he snapped back at her. Temperance felt uncomfortable. His whole body vibrated with rage. Lilith glanced at Halvard. “Nasty beasts.” “But why would he kill a lupa?” Temperance asked. She felt like she should interrupt before Alastair got too angry. He sat down, his dark eyes trained on Lilith, waiting for her answer. “To stop Halvard Wolfram from coming back,” she told him. Temperance glanced at Halvard. He was watching the flames, his eyebrows furrowed deep in thought. He was taking in everything and fitting it together into his puzzle of memories. She wondered if it made sense to him. “How would that stop Halvard coming back? He’s right there,” Alastair pointed. Lilith levelled her eyes at him. “That’s not entirely true though, is it?” The air around them grew heavy. Wood crackled at the centre of the fire and sparks leapt up in the air. Temperance huddled deeper into the jacket. No one said anything. Halvard’s eyes slowly rose to look at Alastair. “What do you mean?” Temperance whispered. Lilith kept her eyes trained on the wizard’s face. “Have you been having any strange dreams lately?” Temperance jerked her head around to look at Alastair. It had been his dream? “You and Halvard are one and the same, Alastair. Two halves of the same whole, Alric Halvard Wolfram, the legendary leader of the werewolves,” she said. He was shaking his head; he put his palms over his eyes. “Cyprian’s sister was your mother, she died in childbirth. Heimdall Wolfram, the old Alpha, was your father. You were the ultimate weapon of the werewolves; half-wizard, half-werewolf. You were their Alric; it’s a title meaning -” “Regal ruler,” Alastair muttered. Temperance stared between the two men with wide eyes. “They’re the same person?” She reached out to steady herself; she fisted her hand around the twigs and leaves littering the frozen ground. Just when she thought she understood, everything got turned on its head. “Feared and despised, you were something to be used, but never accepted,” Lilith continued. Temperance pressed her lips together. Her description sounded familiar. She glanced at Halvard. “You knew?” “I think... we started to remember,” the werewolf said in a low voice. “Around him I was in control. It was our power.” “It’s my power!” Alastair’s head shot up, he thumped his chest with his fingers. They stared each other down. “It is in this form,” Halvard said, pointing at him. “No...” Alastair said. He shook his head, his eyes were wide. Temperance wondered if he was starting to remember his dream. Freya torturing him as a child, his father calling him a thing; it was horrific. Without realising it, she reached out to touch his shoulder. He froze, but didn’t look up; instead he leaned into her hand. She saw Halvard tense, out of the corner of her eye. “The Seat that the wizards hold belonged to you back then,” Lilith explained. “Everyone knows you can’t kill a Seat holder, so instead Sebastian split you apart. He stuck Halvard in a clock prison, blocked off from the rest of the world below.” “And me...” Alastair mumbled. “Cyprian...” “Your uncle took you back. They warped your memories. Alric Halvard Wolfram died and lived, it was a marvellous loophole. The Assembly did nothing, because no rules had been broken. Sebastian took the Seat, then later stepped down for Cyprian, to partake in a side-project.” Lilith gave Temperance a secret wink that left her cold. The wizard stood up. Temperance pulled back, her hand dropping to her side. He didn’t look at any of them, just stormed away. She got up to follow. “Don’t,” Halvard snapped. “He needs to be alone.” Alric Halvard Wolfram that was who they really were. If they became whole again, she wondered where that would leave her. She swallowed over a lump in her throat. “It’s up to you then,” Lilith told her, drawing her attention. The girl stared at her through the flames. “What are you going to do?” “Me?” Lilith clucked her tongue. “Temperance, you want to go home, don’t you? It’ll be Christmas soon and that spell on your parents isn’t going to last forever. You have to sort things out with the Assembly.” “But…” “You’re in this too. The whole mess is because of your grandfather, Sebastian. He was the one who instigated everything.” Temperance gaped at her. “Her grandfather?” Halvard hissed. Lilith covered her mouth and giggled. “You didn’t know?” She glanced at Temperance. “Awkward.” The werewolf didn’t say a word. He got up and stalked away. He didn’t even look at her, like she was beneath him. She glared daggers at Lilith. “They’re actually very alike, the more you look at it,” she mused. “You’ve known Alastair for years, why didn’t you tell him everything before this?” Temperance snapped. “Lady Knox was the one who knew, not me, and I don’t question my betters,” Lilith warned with an edge to her voice. “What can I do about Sebastian?” “He’s protected as a Seat holder.” Lilith waved her hands. “You can’t kill him, but you can discredit him.” She stood up. “Everything you need to know is in Ted Riddlestone’s office in the town hall.” She gave Temperance a knowing smile. “Who’s Ted Riddlestone?” “The Keeper of the Clock; he maintained Halvard’s prison.” “Why don’t you save us all the trouble and sort this out yourself? You know more than we do,” Temperance accused, her nerves fraying. “My Lady does not want to be seen to be moving against a fellow Seat holder. Consider this our loophole. I’ve been trying to get you all to solve this since it started - remember the university? I led the werewolf to you.” Temperance bowed and rubbed her forehead in frustration. She felt her hair being tousled. She flinched away with a glare. Lilith withdrew her hand, grinning. “Good luck, Temperance. I think you’d better go now; time is running out. Tick-tock, tick-tock!” Her laughter rang in Temperance’s ears. It was still night time. There was no telling how long Halvard and Alastair would be gone or if they would even come back at all. Lilith’s warning made the decision for her. She grabbed a charred stick from the fire and scratched a message into one of the big rocks. She folded Halvard’s jacket and put it on top of the boulder. ‘Gone to the town hall. Ted Riddlestone’s office.’ She hoped they would follow her.
© Copyright 2019