Explanation: (Cal you can skip this part you were there)
Okay, here goes.
So: This is in the Lady/Sword timeline after Cya releases Carew and Leo releases Jeska (in late spring/early summer). Cya doesn’t Keep someone – a very notable even – because she has Plans.
These Plans are, OOC, part of the merging of the timelines. IC, they’ll show up soon enough.
Luke gets antsy, the way he does when Boom starts doing something different, and comes to visit to ask them about it.
In the course of that visit, Cya gets a little tetchy, and not just the purposeful level of tetchy she was doing to prod Luke (see: plans).
She gets a map of the former US and Finds with her power the five places where Addergoole alum actually need Luke’s intervention. She highlights them and tells him exactly what the map is for.
Luke, of course, is going to go look, because what else do you do when faced with that? Not go try to save the students you taught who might be at risk?
And yes, Cya is up to something. But this is Cya. She is always up to something.
I wonder what she and Xanatos would do if faced with each other?
Luke was paying attention.
He had been paying more and more attention for the last decade, but now he felt like he/ was coming out of a fog. He was looking at students, he was asking them questions and actually getting answers; he was asking other teachers questions and getting some very interesting answers.
Last year he had stopped two cases of potential abuse before they’d gotten that far, and when Regine had argued with him, he had raised his eyebrows and waited, an expression he was pretty sure he’d picked up from Cya.
From the grumbling way that Regine had handled that one – he’d brought Mike in on that, too, because one of the abusers had been one of Mike’s Students – she’d seen a resemblance, too.
He was paying attention, but the map Cynara had handed him had still thrown him for a loop. Those are your five Addergoole alum most in need of your intervention or the intervention of the school as a whole, she’d said, and pointed at a map, one, two, three, four, five.
He looked at the first one. It was around a place he was pretty sure wasn’t a town anymore. The last time he’d been there – had to be at least a generation ago now – it had been a wasteland, a ghost town with half the buildings crumbled, the skeletons of the dead still where they’d fallen.
That first one felt pretty intense, like exclamation points. I’d look at that one first. She’d said it casually. She wielded a power that could find anything like some people wielded minor telekinesis. Luke still wasn’t sure whether he ought to be running away, attacking, or asking for more help.
He looked at the map one more time and took flight. There was someone who needed help, with exclamation points. He was going to go help.
He flew off having left Mike a note as to where he’d gone and why. If he didn’t come back, someone would need to clean up the mess, he supposed. It was a strange thought for him, if he didn’t make it back. Those weren’t thoughts he often – ever! – had. Not in centuries.
It could be a trap. He didn’t think it was. He was pretty sure that traps weren’t Cynara’s style, or, if they were, they wouldn’t come with paper trails.
Cynara, he reminded himself, was Feu Drake’s Student. He’d had more than a few concerns over cy’Drake over the years, and some of them had been justified.
He still didn’t think it was a trap.
He Worked the air and the forces around him, folded his wings tight against his back, and shot through the air quickly. This was too far away. He should have used a teleporter. He should have used a car. Something.
He flew, fast and arrow-like, zooming through the air, not looking at the scenery more than he had to to orient himself.
He landed at sunset, an easy three hours’ normal flight away, strapped himself high up in a tree, ate three of Laurel’s energy bars, and slept until dawn.
The next day he pushed himself, feeling the pressure of Cya’s pretty intense, like exclamation points.
He saw the place come into sight an hour after he started flying. It looked even more of a wasteland than it had the last time he passed it. The roads, such as they were, leading into it had been marked with yellow and orange paint in a skull and crossbones. There were at least three teams that he knew of that did something similar: Warning, this place is dangerous. Sometimes it meant this place hates fae.
He circled out of easy arrow- or gunshot range, looking for something, anything. The place was overgrown with vines, twisting around all the buildings. In some cases, they’d actually pulled the buildings down.
“Here! Help!” The voice was thin, barely audible. It could be a trap. Luke swooped down anyway.
“Here!” A second voice joined the first. Luke homed in on the voices, found them in a broken-roofed former house. He recognized one of the right away. Heraclea. There was no mistaking that height or that magenta hair. .
He perched on the broken edge of the roof and looked down at them. They were both tangled in vines, looking pale and far too thin. Patronus, that was the other one. Of course. If Heraclea was here… He’d been so proud of them, staying together after graduation. “Don’t you have Huamu?” he demanded. Not that either of them looked in any shape to do any Workings right now.
“Don’t let them touch you,” Heraclea warned. “They’re… not exactly Huamu. They’re not exactly they.“
“They’re uh. Some sort of fae. And neither of us are great at the whole flesh thing, but there’s definitely a mind.”
“Where’s the kids?” Luke’s heart was in his throat. Had he taken too long to get here?
“I think- I think there’s a nursery.” Heraclea’s voice was tight. “They’re too little, we think. Too little to be good eating. Luke, if you can’t get us, get them.”
“Where’s the mind?” he demanded. “Is it sensing me, here?”
Patronus muttered a long Working that left him even more ashen and faint-looking. “The mind, it’s in – it’s the Town Hall, I think. And it only knows what it touches. It’s blind, but it can sense wind currents. Luke, it’s huge.”
Luke set his jaw. “Then I’d better surprise it. Hold on, kids. I’ll get you out of there.”
He rose up into the air and circled. There was the Town Hall, and now that he looked, he could see that the vines all got bigger as they went in that direction. there wasn’t a hole in the roof in this one, though. He circled twice before finding a place to land, on the edge of the fountain facing the town hall.
He ate another energy bar, saving the last two for the kids, and stared at the building. He was going to have to do this quickly, not give the thing a chance to react.
He ran over the Workings four times in his head, holding perfectly still, and then shot them off as quietly and as quickly as he had ever spoken. The first one cut off every vine leading out of the building, Destroyed a long stretch of the plant-flesh and froze the outer end of the stumps. The second one found everything that counted as Tlacatl – flesh of makers, humans and fae – in the town. The children were not in the building with the monster; they were several buildings away.
The third one wrapped every Tlacatl being not the monster in a force shield, while the fourth Working ripped through the building the monster’s core was in, pulling every bit of heat out of it and freezing the thing solid.
Luke walked in – strolled in, if he was being honest, and found the being that looked almost human, if bloated, green, gigantic, and frozen – at the heart of it. He took aim with his rowan sword and cut the thing’s head off.
After that, it was a matter of collecting the kids – not just Patronus’ and Heraclea’s three, either; there were seven pre-pubescent children being fed on some sort of plant nectar, freeing Patronus and Heraclea, and burning the rest of the plant-monster until there was nothing but ash left.
Exclamation points, he thought to himself, and took a long hard look at the other four points on Cya’s map.
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