The Paris Awakening: Invocation – Part 12

“Oh this is glorious indeed,” said Bisset, key held aloft and eyes filled with fervour. He looked at Calliope. “As sure as it is my destiny, my right to rule and now Paris, nay all of France, can rejoice in the death not only of our foes but their very gods themselves.”

He waved a hand to pause the gargoyles, who now encircled the group.

“Do you see madam how perfect this is, that not only is the key returned to me, its rightful owner and heir, but the very puissance and power of my country, my kingdom, is displayed for all to see. Do you not see how your death ushers in a new era where France, with Paris at its helm, is the greatest nation on earth and in history?”

As he reached fever pitch, he turned to the circle of gargoyles and seemed about to gesture to them when a puzzled look crossed his face and he collapsed forwarded, the key dropping to the ground. Behind him stood Miss Henderson holding a large piece of wood.

“They always make these big boring speeches,” she said, “and they never pay attention to the maids.”

“Ela!” said Calliope. “Now what do we do?”

They looked at the circle of stationary gargoyles, patiently awaiting instructions. Miss Henderson picked up the key and they all stood to attention.

“Go back!” she said and waved the key at them. They all jumped back a couple of steps in unison. 

“More,” said Miss Henderson, waving the key higher and they jumped up higher.

“I’m not sure I’m the right person for this,” said Miss Henderson.

“Well at least they aren’t attacking,” said Calliope.

“Did I miss anything?” said Morag, sitting up, looking around and then at Calliope. “I guess I did.”

“Morag, are you alright?” said Miss Henderson, crouching down to be with her friend. As she did all the gargoyles crouched too.

“I feel like I’ve been punched in the head by a big fella,” she said. “You were shot? And now you’re up with a troupe of dancing gargoyles. I’m dreaming right?”

“This is reality,” said Calliope.

Morag looked at her in confusion.

“It’s sure has changed a lot recently,” she said. “Are we winning?”

“Do you know how to control an army of gargoyles using this key?” said Miss Henderson to Morag. “You know about this sort of thing.”

“You dinnae fancy knocking me back out do you?” said Morag. “And as for the question, not really, we didn’t cover gargoyle armies in alchemy school.”

“Sabine, Calliope?” said Miss Henderson. “Maybe you should have it.”

Miss Henderson held out the key. The gargoyle army all held their arms out too. Calliope stared intently at it.

“Felicity, I really shouldn’t even touch that thing, magical objects do strange things to magical people.” she said. “Besides, I think it should be a Parisien.”

“Per’aps” said a voice. “I could ‘ave it?”

All three of them turned and stared.

The Paris Awakening: Invocation – Part 11

A large number of gargoyles approached the group. They were perhaps fifty feet away. Sir John gulped and turned to Phlebotomous.

“I don’t suppose you have any anti-gargoyle devices in that coat of yours,” he said.

“I wasn’t really anticipating an attack by gargoyles,” said Phlebotomous.

“Fair enough,” said Sir John. “Well, it’s been a pleasure then Phlebotomous.”

“What has?” said Phlebotomous, looking perplexed.

“Knowing you,” said Sir John. “I’m pretty sure these creatures are here for me. I have a message I want you to pass to…”

“Somethings happening!” said Phlebotomous, “The one at the front, look.”

Sir John looked and indeed the gargoyle at the front seemed to have turned back to face the approaching horde. He seemed to be addressing them. Sir John squinted to see what was happening.

“That’s Albrecht!” he said. “That’s Marie’s friend! I wonder what he’s saying?”

The sack next to Phlebotomous started to rustle and Phlebotomous leaned in.

“Why don’t you let him out?” said Sir John.

“I don’t have a spare day suit,” said Phlebotomous. “But Osvold can understand that gargoyle.”

“What is he saying,” said Sir John.

“He’s saying, even though like you I want nothing more than to tear that human limb from limb as we are instructed, I must ask you to pause,” said Phlebotomous.

“I must have made a good impression then,” said Sir John ruefully.

“He’s now telling them you are married to a powerful witch who will surely hunt them down,” said Phlebotomous. “So they must call off the attack.”

There was a pause, a moment of silence and suddenly the gargoyle horde shouted as one and ran toward Sir John. Phlebotomous leaned in and spoke with Osvold.

“They don’t agree,” said Phlebotomous

“I rather gathered that,” said Sir John. “Can you please pass a message…”

He was interrupted by an old woman jumping in front of him as the gargoyles were within a few feet away.

“EMPECHER!” shouted the woman and the gargoyles all stopped.

There was another moment of silence. The woman stared intently at the gargoyles, her head moving around to catch all of their eyes. The gargoyles were paused but seemed to strain as they stood, trying to push forward.

“What just happened there?” said Phlebotomous.

“I don’t know,” said Sir John. He leaned forward toward the woman.

“Madame?” he said. “Madame?”

She muttered something in French without turning back. 

“Do you speak English, peut etre?” said Sir John. There was something familiar about her, but it was hard to tell from behind. He couldn’t think where he might have seen her.

Then the woman muttered again and Osvold said something. Phlebotomous leaned in and then turned to Sir John.

“The woman politely requests that we don’t interrupt her while she is trying to hold a one thousand year old magical army at bay.”

“Ah!” said Sir John and decided his curiosity could wait. He fell silent as Phlebotomous looked puzzled and started to open his mouth, but Sir John put his fingers to his lips. Phlebotomous nodded sagely.

The Paris Awakening: Invocation – Part 10

“Well Mr Bisset,” said Pook merrily, “this all seems to be proceeding very well.”

“Indeed,” said Bisset, “I’m sure your master will be very pleased with your work.”

A small grimace passed over Pook’s face and Bisset smiled discreetly.

Burns, doesn’t it, he thought, when we are ruled by one we think lesser.

“I’m sure he will be too,” said Pook. “I wonder if I can draw your attention to the lady hovering over the lawn over there and heading towards us. Is she also part of the army of Paris?”

Bisset squinted into the distance and saw that Pook was correct. Heading toward them was a woman hovering around six feet above the ground. Bisset didn’t recognise her, but she looked mediterranean.

“Well Mr Pook,” said Bisset, “I have to report the sad fact that I cannot explain this phenomenon, but as she appears to be heading towards us we may soon be able to understand ourselves.”

The woman did indeed seem to be heading toward them at some speed, and a long white dress was billowing behind her. She moved rapidly toward the two men with a fierce look on her face.

“Boss…” said one of the two bodyguards.

“I think I recognise her,” said Pook. “But I can’t say where.”

“Murderer!” said the woman, in a strong accent Bisset couldn’t place. She seemed to be heading toward Pook and descended in front of the men.

“Murderer!” she repeated, staring intently at Pook.

“Madam,” said Bisset. “Please allow me to make introductions, I am Monsieur Bisset and this is Mr Pook.”

“I know who he is,” said the woman. “He killed him, he killed Emile.”

“May I be so bold as to ask your name?” said Bisset.

The woman turned to look at Bisset and he recoiled under her glare.

“I am Sabine Bellevoix… or rather I was,” she said.

“The woman in the picture,” said Pook, clicking his fingers. “Now I place you, although you seem… different somehow. Darker hair and more airborne.”

The woman lurched forward and grabbed Pook by the lapels. He flinched a little.

“Bellevoix… French for good voice… Calliope in Greek,” she said. “My true name. I am the daughter of Zeus, muse of poetry, and lover… and lover of the man you murdered.”

“I see, well perhaps you can inspire us all to write a nice ode to him,” said Pook smirking.

Calliope’s eyes flared and light poured out of them into Pook. He spasmed in her grip and made a terrible moaning sound. When she stopped he stared at her, appalled.

“Those were the powers you were given by someone,” said Calliope. “I have taken them, little creature of the woodlands.”

“It wasn’t me,” said Pook with a look of horror on his face. “It was Clackprattle, I killed Clackprattle. We’re on the same side.”

Light flared once more from Calliope’s eyes and Pook spasmed. Bisset approached the two.

“Please, madam, please,” he said. “There is no need for this. I beg you to stop.”

Bisset got down on his knees as if to emphasise this point.

“You killed my friend,” said Calliope nodding to where Miss Henderson lay. “Your turn will come.”

Bisset ran back in horror and Calliope turned to Pook, now limp in her hands.

“And those were the powers you were born with. Now you are broken, powerless and mine to destroy,” said Calliope.

“Sabine?” said Miss Henderson, weakly.

Calliope dropped Pook and looked at Miss Henderson.

“You’re… alive,” she said.

“Thank god for whalebone corsets,” said Miss Henderson pulling herself up. “Kicks like a donkey when you’re shot but no long term harm done. You look different, you’ve changed your hair. And your skin.”

“Get her!’ said Bisset. Calliope looked at the bodyguards and they both ran away.

“Wise move,” said Calliope.

“Thank you,” said Bisset.

Calliope looked confused for a moment and then saw what Bisset meant. He held the key to the army of Paris aloft. A large number of gargoyles approached the group.