Bloodmaiden: Part 11

The women in her head agreed. He wasn’t descended from the Elders. He’d existed before they’d come through the portal to Earth. The first Bloodmaiden knew him then. Her voice echoed in Amy’s mind. “We only thought he was a mercenary, but when the gilfangs of Korandur’s Deep crawled up to the surface, it became obvious that he was more than simply a man. He didn’t wear his current shape then, but he liked those swords.”

The other Bloodmaidens whispered, and Amy caught glimpses of their memories. Whatever he was, he was dangerous and so powerfully magical that he didn’t even appear to be connected to magic.

In his favor, he terrified the Harcourts. This was someone she needed to know better.

In a flash of red, she let the Bloodmaiden form fall away. She gave a small bow which Captain Lee matched, and she said, “The first Bloodmaiden remembers you as do many of the others. I can’t speak for all of them, but many are glad to see you.”

Captain Lee smiled. “Many, eh? That’s better than I might expect. Could be that it’s been so long since they’ve been embodied that they’ve lowered their standards.”

Amy sensed amusement from more than one of those inside her at that.

Then Captain Lee nodded. “The first Bloodmaiden, eh? Gilfangs and winter wolves if I remember.”

Amy felt approval from within her, and she said, “Yes, that’s it.”

Lee’s swords disappeared from his hands. It wasn’t flashy. They were there and then they weren’t. “Well,” he said, “I could stay and reminisce about very, very old times, but there are a few other things that need my attention. I expect that I’ll see you in the future one way or another. Until then, be well.”

He nodded to her as he walked out, waved to Nick’s grandfather, and grinned at the Harcourts.

The Harcourts moved out of his way, and he walked through the door.

When he’d left, Joe walked around the copter wing to stand next to Nick and Amy. “Unless the two of you ate while you were out, you’ll want to come to the dining room. Giles’ staff made dinner. On the way down, we’ll want to talk about what happened out there.”

Nick and Amy explained what had happened, interrupted by questions from Nick’s grandfather, and sometimes William and Agnus Harcourt.

As they talked, Amy noticed that this was the only floor she’d seen so far that didn’t look like an inventor’s laboratory or a warehouse. This level had white, plaster walls, black wood near the ceiling and running along the floor, and black and white tile covering the floor.

It looked like a place that a person might want to live in.

The dining room had a balcony and window that looked out over the city. The long table in the middle of the room was covered with a tablecloth, and blue and white decorated plates. A man and woman in dark red and white uniforms stood next to the door. The woman’s uniform included an apron.

Both on the servants’ uniforms showed a coat of arms that had a bolt of lightning on the shield. Amy noted it for future reference.

William Harcourt stared at it. “Is there any way,” he asked as they all sat at the table, “of moving up Hardwick’s arrival time? Their misadventure this afternoon shows that it’s only a matter of time before the Council’s assassins attack here.”

Joe shook his head. “There’s no way they can get here more quickly. They’re taking a dirigible overnight, and they’ll be here tomorrow morning. In the meantime, we’ve taken precautions against blood magic. Captain Lee is only the most obvious of them.”

Harcourt glowered. “I’m a master practitioner of blood magic, and I’ve seen no sign of anything that could prevent my entrance.”

Joe picked up a roll and began to butter it. “We know practitioners from many magical disciplines. Consider the fact that you can’t detect our defenses a mark of their quality. Remember that you were captured when you broke in.”

Harcourt’s mouth tightened. “I never encountered hostile magic.”

Joe nodded. “That you know of, yes.”

Harcourt opened his mouth to continue the argument, but Agnus put her hand on his arm. “Either it will work or it won’t. We can take our own precautions.”

Joe gave her a small smile. “You may, but please only within your own rooms. I’m told that working magic in the halls could be dangerous.”

The rest of the meal was calmer. Amy and Nick talked mostly with each other. Joe appeared to know a number of people in common with the Harcourts, and they talked about them for the rest of dinner and some time into the evening.

When they all went to bed, Amy found herself alone in a bedroom that if smaller than hers at home looked to be more comfortable than a blimp’s stateroom. It had a wide bed and rugs that covered most of the floor.

With nothing more to do, she opened up one of her suitcases and began to look for her nightclothes.

A soft knock came from the door of what she’d thought was a closet. Nick’s voice came from inside. “I hope you’re still dressed. My grandfather wanted to give you the final say on where you go.”

18 thoughts on “Bloodmaiden: Part 11”

  1. Were you planning on keeping the arc going beyond them stepping through the portal? I believe that would be the natural stopping point.

    1. Oddly enough, in the original plan for the story, it was mostly going to be “post-portal,” but I had too many ideas for what happened before she stepped through. Basically, the world was too interesting to throw away after one thousand words. As of this moment, I’m thinking that it will end about one thousand words post-portal–maybe two thousand. There are a couple things that need to appear that can’t appear before she steps through.

      1. I was wondering about that – when Nick showed Amy their version of the “star plate”, part of me felt like the plan was to whisk her away and show the ramifications, instead of the exploring of the city. No idea why I got the sense that the portal wouldn’t end things though.

        Incidentally, I know it was probably a secret passage ending this part, but I can’t get the image out of my head of Amy opening the door of her “closet”, and looking stunned as Nick stands in a snowy forest saying, “Oh, yeah, we converted this wardrobe into a portal to some place called Narnia. Didn’t I mention that?”

  2. I feel like Joe should be… sicker, I guess? Or at least more fragile. Assuming that he corresponds roughly to the Joe in the main world, he’s going to be dead within only a couple of years. Amy doesn’t seem to perceive him as a man who is within his last years of life. I mean, I suppose even a seemingly strong and vital man could drop dead of a heart attack or something, but Joe ought to be very old.

    1. Magic appears to be very common in this world. If this Joe has been using magical healing and prevention instead of the mundane sort, it could be that he will live much longer than the Joe from the main timeline. This Joe’s agreement with Lee might have also been slightly different, though it seems as if it did include martial training for Nick of this timeline.

  3. A very nice update, I love how Lee is perceived by the ancient Bloodmaidens and I wonder how things went between them, but what caught my eye the most is the mention of the”Elders”arriving on thois Earth through a portal, I wonder who they are and where they come from, very very interessting stuff.

    As for how Joe is still as vital as he seems to be here I was thinking this reality’s version of Giles Hardwick was no just capable of weather magic but versed into magical alchemy and other kinds of Potion making and shared the products of his labors with his friends, among said product might be a Magical version of the immortality process we have seen on the Alternate league rachel encountered in the infinite city or hell perhaps even the same process.

    As for this arc’s length,well I would enjoy to have as much time as possible spent with those characters because I really happen to enjoy this part of the story, I love the world and the Background you made for Amy whom I already liked as a character.

  4. This section “Amy noticed that not only was this the only floor she’d so far seen that didn’t look like ” doesn’t seem to read right. Like a “but” section following on has been edited out maybe?

  5. It appears that Joe is moving around with some sort of mechanical assistance at least some of the time. In the last chapter Amy thought she heard “the clacking of gears as he took a step”.

    I was voting on top web fic and noticed that LoN is actually number # for stories tagged as sci-fi and/or young adult. I guess I’m just a kid at heart ’cause it’s my favorite of all listed 🙂

    Everyone please vote!: http://topwebfiction.com/vote.php?for=the-legion-of-nothing

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