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Murmansk is part of The Adventures Of Gabriel Celtic series.
December 17, 2000
“Where are you?” Severus asked excitedly.
It was the only verbal indication that he had heard Noon’s exciting news, but the quick inhalation of breath Noon heard when she mentioned the infant told her he was indeed excited at the news.
“Just outside of Nellimo, in
The phone was quiet for a few moments as Severus located her location on a map.
“Make your way to the airport in Ivalo,” he came back suddenly. “I will have a plane there for you within two hours.”
“Make sure you send someone that can handle changing the diapers and feeding the thing,” Noon added quickly.
Severus laughed into her ear. “You feel you are not up to the challenge Lilla?”
Noon was in no mood.
“If that were my only option,” she countered, “But she is your package…she is your need. I would hope that you would want her in the most capable of hands.”
Severus laughed again. “Do not take offense my Lilla; I was only having some fun…something that you should get used to now that you have obtained the unattainable.”
A shiver of joy ran down Noon’s spine. “I should expect full reinstatement?”
“It should be a mere formality at this point,” Severus replied with a smile in his voice. “I can’t of course get into the particulars on the phone…let’s just say you have captured our future.”
Another chill ran through her as joy seeped into her veins. “But I have yet to obtain the book.”
“The book will be found and reclaimed eventually, and any that have read it will be summarily eliminated,” Severus reassured her. “We of course have made copies throughout the centuries to work with…so our only concerns are discovery, as well as the preservation of our history. It is, however, the original text revealed to Agmundr, and as such is considered sacred to many in the Brotherhood…especially within the Clan.”
“While not having the book in our hands is not ideal,” Severus continued, “It is a manageable situation that will take only time to rectify.”
“But I was also the one that lost it…” Noon started.
“Enough!” Severus exclaimed with anger in his voice. “You were on a mission for us…missions sometimes do not end well. This is a fact of life. And yes…you were punished for it…it is the way of these things within the Brotherhood. You of course know there are more severe punishments meted out by us all of the time.”
“Yes sir,” Noon replied contritely.
“I want to hear no more of the book from you,” Severus demanded, “You have more than made up for it with your current actions.”
Once again, Noon’s heart beat wildly in her chest.
She had been forgiven!
She had been reinstated!
“I will speak no more of this over the phone,” Severus ordered, “But I look forward to personally rewarding you when you arrive at the enclave.”
“It will be my honor,” Noon sputtered before the line went dead.
Dropping the phone on the seat, Noon glanced back at the baby again. “I do not know why you are so important little one,” Noon cooed toward the infant, “But our futures are now irrevocably tied together.”
The noise released into the cab of the truck at that moment sounded more like cackling than laughter…but Noon had many, many years of a determined, yet joyless life devoid of that particular action to overcome.
December 17, 2000
Josh had given the all clear a few minutes before we followed the other cars into the lot of the old warehouse.
We watched from the window as the others exited the cars.
“I think we’ll be leaving you now Nick,” I spoke to our adventure-seeking driver.
Nick looked back over the seatback, his face a mix of emotions.
“No more spy shit?” he asked, seeming a little let down.
“No more spy shit,” Preacher answered quickly, offering Nick his hand. “Thank you for coming to our aid Nick, our ass wouldn’t be here now if it weren’t for you.”
Nick beamed as he took Preacher’s hand in his. “The pleasure it is mine to have Mr. Preacher. Is best day I have in long time!”
Preacher nodded before pushing the door open. “Nice to meet you Nick,” added May as she too followed Preacher out the door.
“Can I get your phone number in case something else comes up?” I asked before leaving the car.
“It could be my pleasure,” Nick grinned, pulling a cheap business card out of his shirt pocket and handing it to me. “You need anyting, I be your man…but you do me favor too…yes?”
“I’ll try,” I responded warily, not knowing what to expect.
“My email on card…send me message when get home…let me know how spy shit went down…yes?”
I laughed while pocketing the card, “Yes, we will send you an email.”
Offering him my hand, he took it in his and shook it excitedly. “You really were a life saver to us,” I continued, “I am glad that we met.”
Nick grinned, “I will be telling my children of this day for long time Mr. Gabriel…a long time indeed.”
Smiling with a nod, I slipped out of the seat and closed the door behind me.
As I stood there, watching him turn around in the lot, May came up beside me. “He was extremely interesting,” she said while threading her arm through mine, “Sounds like finding him was a bit of good luck.”
I nodded solemnly, “We had more than our share of good luck since we’ve arrived here May.”
Turning toward the warehouse, we started walking toward the door.
“I just hope it can continue until we find Ya Su.”
When we reached the door, we were met by Josh and Snake dragging something heavy out of the door, wrapped up in a carpet.
“Previous owner,” Snake mentioned when he saw us watching them.
May sucked in a breath as she brought her hand to her mouth, watching them sadly as they drug the carpet out into the yard and stashed it behind the skeleton of an old truck.
“Good guy?” I asked her when I noticed her reaction. Shaking her head, she looked up at me.
“Not really…it’s just that…we barely got out of here before that woman arrived…”
I pulled her to me, wrapping my arms around her to comfort her. It was not lost on either of us that the same woman that had killed this man now had our granddaughter.
“Let’s go in,” I coaxed, turning her toward the door and laying my hand lightly on her back.
When we entered the room, we found everyone spaced out in little groups. Raven and Preacher were off to one side talking in low tones. Abby was on the other side of the room, sitting by herself on a stack of pallets and staring forlornly off into space.
Ahead of us, McGruder and Michael Montana were having a discussion with Joe Bright and Beth Montoya…who’s hand still held little Juliana’s.
Seeing me enter, McGruder and Michael broke away from the others and walked toward me.
“I’m going to check on Abby,” May said before squeezing my hand and moving away from me.
I nodded in response, but my eyes held on the facial expressions of the approaching men…and it didn’t look good.
“Gabriel,” McGruder spoke as he got near, “How are you holding up?”
I shrugged, “I’m still numb I guess.”
McGruder nodded in understanding but said nothing else.
“Gabe,” Michael spoke next, “I know this is bad timing…but we’ve got to go.”
My eyes slowly moved toward Michael, but there was no comprehension in them.
“I don’t understand,” I replied suddenly, anger building within me, “She still has my granddaughter!”
A pained look crossed Michael’s face before he spoke again. “And I sympathize, but Joe and I have an op that we’ve been working on for a year. It’s set to begin next week and we still have a ton of stuff to finish up on it.”
“And Juliana’s been away from her family for over ten days now,” McGruder added soothingly, “Someone needs to take her home.”
Once again I had forgotten about little Juliana, and once again I felt terrible about it. I wasn’t even sure why I was so upset about Michael Montana leaving. He seemed competent enough, but I didn’t really know him, having only met him a few hours ago.
I blew out a nervous breath, nodding. “Sorry, I guess I overreacted…Juliana definitely needs to get home.”
I looked up at Michael then, “It sounds like you’ve been here for awhile looking for us anyway. I appreciate everything you’ve done.”
Offering my hand to him, he took it graciously, a stiff smile on his lips.
“I’ll leave Beth here to help for as long as you need her,” he offered then. “And now that I’ve seen you guys in action, I’m fairly certain that this Noon Byrk will have her hands full.”
“Once we’ve located Ya Su,” McGruder added confidently, “
Montana has any number of well-trained operatives he can send back if we need additional manpower.”
Michael nodded enthusiastically, “Besides, you have a secret weapon in Abby,” Michael added, “I’ve seen her in action a couple of times now…and to tell you the truth, I’d offer her a job anytime she wanted it.”
All three of us glanced over toward Abby. Josh had returned sometime in the last few minutes and was now trying to comfort her…with little success.
“She’s not on her ‘A’ game at the moment I’m afraid,” I replied in a low voice.
Turning to face the men again, “But she’ll end up working harder than any of us…as soon as she gets over the shock.”
“I have no doubt,” McGruder nodded, “She is an extraordinary individual.”
“We need to get back to
Murmansk and gather our equipment,” Michael Montana spoke again, “Then Beth and Patrick can bring the car back here when they return.”
“I’m going with you!”
I was shocked to see Abby now suddenly standing beside me.
“I was going to bring the computer back with me if that’s what you’re worried about,” McGruder offered.
Abby shook her head emphatically. “I need the book…it’s got something to do with all of this.”
We all glanced at one another before I turned back toward Abby. “What book?”
“It’s an ancient manuscript written in runes,” McGruder offered quickly. “I originally obtained it from Noon on a previous mission…she had demanded its return as part of the ransom for your freedom.”
“It’s more than that,” Abby added quickly, her eyes suddenly intent on me. “It holds predictions…you were in it Gabe.”
Michael rolled his eyes, “Not this mystical shit again.”
I was sufficiently stunned to remain speechless.
“There’s something about the page I was on yesterday before we left,” Abby continued, her eyes seeing something far off, “Something that kept bothering me all the way out here. I didn’t even know what it was talking about…until a few minutes ago…”
“The book talked about our battle?” McGruder asked in confusion.
“Not a battle,” Abby mumbled, her eyes focusing as they turned toward McGruder.
“It talked about a person…specifically…an infant.”
Gasps sounded from behind me. I turned to find that May and Raven had at some point also joined our group, and their faces now shown with fear.
“It really didn’t make sense to me at the time,” Abby continued, a single tear making its way down her cheek. “Of course I had no idea that Ya Su was here at the time.”
I heard May let out a sob. Noticing this, Abby rushed around me and pulled May and Raven into her arms.
“I’m not blaming you,” Abby whispered to them, “I would have done the same thing…you couldn’t just leave her home.”
Staying like that for a few moments, Abby finally pulled away and wiped her face with the sleeve of her coat. “Besides,” she continued, taking a deep breath to calm down, “It was mostly just some mystic mumbo-jumbo…nothing that made any sense until now.”
“What was it?” I coaxed, pulling her gently to me. “What did it say that makes sense now?”
Taking another breath, Abby looked at the floor before continuing.
“I think it was saying,” she started while working to reign in her emotions, “And I could be wrong…I hope I’m wrong…” Sniffing some more, “It indicated that an infant…the offspring of someone powerful…would be the Brotherhood’s savior.”
As tears sprang once again from her eyes, Abby looked up at me defeatedly. “It points to them raising her within the Brotherhood…ultimately to be the leader that will move them to the greatness they seek in the 21st century!”
December 18, 2000
Noon slid out of bed, turning to gaze at her companion.
Although now much older than the last time she had slept with him, Noon marveled at Severus’ still-lithe body.
Last night had been the epitome of all that her dedication had wrought, and the homecoming she had worked toward for years. Add to that the bedding of Severus again, and she now had the culmination of her every fantasy.
Wrapping a soft, terrycloth robe around her, she cinched up the belt and moved toward the window at the side of the room. Although bathed in cold darkness, the grounds below were her domain…the place where she had been raised. To her it seemed now a somewhat idyllic childhood, although she had little else in her life to base such feelings on. Happiness and contentment weren’t things that were treasured or taught in Die Bruderschaft.
Nevertheless, it was the only childhood that she could call her own, and it definitely wasn’t the worst place she had ever lived.
As she looked out the window, her thoughts moved back to her arrival the day before. Exiting the plane within the Brotherhood’s private hanger, she had been taken aback by the scene below her.
Every member of the Clan had assembled in the hanger to meet the plane!
Dressed in white robes, six to a side, the Clan members had lined the red carpet laid out on the floor from the gangway. At the end of the carpet, Severus stood also clad in white, smiling at her as she moved down the stairs. Following the runner, Noon had been more than surprised when every member of the Clan bowed curtly to her as she passed.
Returning each bow with a nod, she continued making her way toward Severus, once again surprised when upon arriving before him he took her hand and kissed it for all to see.
Public displays of affection were seldom exhibited within the society.
But it was what happened next that surprised her the most!
As the woman who had been brought to Noon to handle the child’s needs started down the gangway carrying the infant, all of the clan dropped to one knee…staying in this position until the baby had passed each of their positions.
Seeing Severus also drop to his knee in the presence of the baby, Noon had felt compelled to also lower herself…even though it went against every fiber of her being.
Although she had reclaimed the respect of the Clan, the unabashed worship that had been heaped upon a mere baby by the venerated members had nearly sickened her.
Not to mention the fact that her own value to the society had seemed suddenly diminished somehow!
Severus had been disinclined to share the meaning of it all with her last night, saying all would be revealed soon. Instead, he had revealed his own revived interest of being with her, whisking her away to his bedroom as soon as the celebration was over.
She of course hadn’t objected…she had always known she belonged with Severus. Sitting there now however, her objectivity was clouded by an unfamiliar emotion.
Jealousy over an infant!
Closing her eyes, she shook her head in frustration at the ridiculousness of her thoughts. She had reclaimed her rightful place in the Brotherhood by doing the impossible! She had also reclaimed her lover in the process…showing him above all others her value to the society.
So why was she feeling so vulnerable?
Noon looked once more out at the darkness of her past, searching for an answer to her conflicted emotions.
The answer when it came was not a sudden thing, but instead slowly enveloped her in a mist of realization. And with that meandering realization came the return of the iron-will that had driven her for years.
She knew not of the baby’s power over the fools of the Clan, but she instinctively knew that it could easily overshadow her own value to the Brotherhood.
Shaking with the realization, Noon’s fists clamped together tightly.
This can not happen! She hissed quietly to herself.
If this small being was to be a threat to her standing in the Brotherhood, then she would treat her as such!
And those who offered threats to Noon didn’t live long!
Taking a deep breath to calm herself, she looked over at the sleeping Severus.
She realized that she would need to bide her time. The deed, if and when it could be arranged, would have to be done covertly so as not to affect her standing within the Brotherhood.
A sneer formed on her face…the sneer that always formed when she had a plan of action. She would not let anything stand in her way of living out her remaining life right where she now stood!
Slipping the robe off her shoulders, she strode once again toward the bed.
Time for Severus to get another reminder of what he had been missing all of these years…
Copyright 2015 J.T. Lewis
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