Side Story Three
Two Years Ago
Waiting was the hardest part, Karen decided as she studied the familiar coloured lines on the wooden floor of the school gym. It really shouldn’t be taking this long to send them on their way. They’d known the Core was calling for them for nearly three weeks, which had been plenty of time for the headmaster at Brierthorne to identify who it was after and arrange supplies. They were supposed to leave today but instead all hell, in the form of Hannah’s mother, had broken loose.
The blonde woman had turned up while they were doing one last check on their supplies, then headed straight over to her daughter and started dragging her towards the door without a word. Headmaster Keefe – who was Karen’s grandfather but didn’t know it – had intervened and she’d started swearing. From where she was sitting at the other end of the gym, Karen could just about make out that she objected to her little girl being used as a soldier.
“Like any of them have any say in the matter,” Jason snorted. He’d walked up behind her and was watching the scene with an amused expression. “At least if they play along we get better supplies.”
“Doesn’t she know that?” Karen asked.
“Probably not. Han’s the first warrior from her family, so no-one knows the itching under the skin we get from not knowing part of ourselves. And Leticia Clitheroe’s a Wild like you, except my family missed her somehow so she had no training and knew nothing of our history at all before she married Professor Clitheroe.” He scowled at the scene. “He should have kept his mouth shut. She didn’t need to know about this. That’s why no one is telling your parents.”
“Hmm,” Karen said noncommittally and looked back at the argument. “I think it might have been Hannah let it slip.”
“Silly girl,” he sighed. “I warned her. Did you know Sean’s asked that we not tell his family at all?” His lip curled slightly at the mention of Tara Laverne’s son. “That’ll be a pain to-” He broke off as Leticia gave an outraged scream and swung at the Headmaster. Her fist didn’t connect but the psychokinetic force behind it did, throwing him into the wall. Before he could recover she had a still struggling Hannah at the gym door. Just then Kyle came in with his backpack. He took in the scene and gave a soft chuckle. “I guess you’ll be joining us later then, Hannah.”
Hannah only had time to nod before her mother snarled, “No she will not!” and dragged her though the doors which slammed behind them with a very final bang.
“Sure she will,” Kyle said softly. “I’d love to be there when you see that…”
Jason headed over to the headmaster, who was still sat on the floor, and offered him a hand. “Come on, Dad. Let the Core deal with gating Hannah. The rest of us need to get moving.”
“I know,” he said. “I’m just worried it’ll drop her somewhere dangerous without support. It has no sense of people needing to find their feet. Matt and Sarah will be here in a few minutes to gate you in and introduce you.”
“At least she’s got her bracelet already,” Jason said. “I’ve heard stories of arriving there without it. I’m more worried about him.” He looked around at where Sean had ducked out from behind the vaulting horse he’d hidden behind when Letitia stormed in. “Can we trust him? He is a Laverne after all.”
The slight unhappy tension in Sean’s shoulders proved that he’d heard that, but he said nothing. Instead he just continued checking through his pack. Karen watched him unhappily. She knew they could; he’d worked out who she was and kept silent, after all. The fact her father hadn’t freaked out very much at that had given Karen a good idea who his spy was. But she couldn’t vouch for Sean without explaining how she knew. She sighed as she saw the headmaster glaring at the boy as well.
“I don’t know, Jay,” he sighed after a long moment. “But he’s a Warrior and the Core’s called him. You’ll have to make do.” He looked over at Kyle who was staring at Sean with an unpleasantly speculative expression. “And if he doesn’t come back I’ll know who to blame, Kyle.”
“I wasn’t seriously considering it,” Kyle said but his aura and expression said otherwise. Karen winced, walked over and took his hand.
“Don’t, we might need him later.” She cast an apologetic look at Sean as she spoke. That he managed to cast her a half-smile no one else saw was testament to his skill.
Don’t worry, Kaz. I’ll finally be able to sort this out later this evening, Sean told her telepathically.
Karen frowned, wondering what he meant by that. Before she could ask, her father and Sarah Tyler finally arrived and they had to move out.