xhesika: (Caspius Van Dean)
[personal profile] xhesika
I'm actually quite amused at how the plot for Book One keeps going up and up, I like even more that I know where it drops off.

Chapter Fifty-Seven: Troublemaker


Putting people to sleep was an easy task for someone with the ability to reach into another’s psyche, and Van Dean found it to be even simpler a task when the target was injured on top of being exhausted.

Despite knowing that Artemis would not wake until he drew her out of the slumber, Van Dean still made sure to lock the doors of the room, being careful to include the hidden one that Kamen had intruded through, and made a note to himself to have it properly blocked.

Of all things that had intrigued Van Dean so far that day, the one that had caused him to raise an eyebrow was the spectacle of Pandomé outside his door with her lower lip busted open.

“An acronym. ACP is an acronym.” Pandomé fumed.

“Your initials?” Van Dean managed, slightly off kilter from the spectacle.

“So I thought.” She grimaced, A Clever Prostitute? Crude Clovinian soldiers. Crude human filth.

Van Dean chuckled, he had heard the acronym in the minds of several soldiers before, but had never thought that one of them would dare tell Pandomé about it. Then again, Kamen had begun to stir up trouble, and he needed to be dealt with before any of it got to Nora Sybil. “Clever? Really?”

She gave him an angry look before pulling herself to stand at attention, “You have orders.”

“Delrocco, Asthé if Delrocco is unavailable. Bring her to the room as discreetly as possible, but first, I need you to visit someone with me.”

Kamen pulled his uniform jacket over his shoulders, he had come to the conclusion that he would not remain on his vacation, and the instant he had made the decision he dove into the closet to pull out his High General uniform. He had just placed his hands on the top clasp of the jacket when his attention fell to the dress uniform coat, letting his hands inspect the gold aiguillette that draped over the right shoulder and down the center.

He didn’t turn when the door opened behind him and instead finished the top clasp, pulling at the collar slightly afterwards in an attempt to pull it to a more comfortable position. He linked a finger in the cord of the aiguillette and spoke without looking at the man who sat down or the woman who stood at attention next to the door. “Let me wear my noose across my chest as a testament of my devotion, lest I forget where my loyalties lie.

“Intrinsic. You recite that when you gain an aiguillette, correct?” Van Dean said simply.

Kamen turned to look at the intruder only once before retrieving the rank pins from atop the dresser. Attaching the pins to his collar he glanced at Pandomé, “You were the first woman I ever struck.” He smirked, “Funny. I expected to feel bad about it.”

Pandomé glanced at Van Dean who shook his head, silently giving her the order to remain still.

“For what I said,” Kamen swallowed hard, “My Father would have struck me, my Mother would have wept, and my sister would have called me a brute. They would have had every right.” He shook his head, “Artemis did none of those.”

“High General Covington, you’ve made an attempt on my life as well as threatened the future of Dalia and Clovis.” Van Dean paused, “You’re really very good at your job, and had the Unification not been broken you would be absolutely correct in all of your actions.” He crossed his arms and smiled, “The trouble is the Unification is broken, Artemis is mine, and while you are a valuable piece in this game, you’re also a lot of trouble left unwatched.”

“A game?” The familiar sickened feeling had begun to settle in Kamen’s stomach, “This is all a game to you?”

“I’m afraid I’m going to have to detain you, this is what? The third time this week?” Van Dean shook his head disapprovingly, “Tsk, tsk, tsk. Although I will admit that you are a lot of fun to keep around.”

Van Dean nodded to Pandomé and her voice rang out, unhindered by her obvious dislike of the soldier in the room, “Place your hands on your head, Covington, and surrender your weapon.”

Kamen glanced at Van Dean, not moving his hands from his sides, “Off to Rei’s office again?”

“Not this time,” Van Dean stood, “You’re going to another room, you’ll be watched by Clovinian soldiers, and you’ll stay there until we can reach an agreement concerning your behavior. Rei has been notified.”

“I’ll surrender Necrosis only to my Commander.” Kamen said to Pandomé.

Pandomé opened her mouth to speak, but was cut off by Van Dean, “Very well. You’ll leave it here in any case. I can’t have you using it on anyone, including yourself.”

Kamen swallowed, clenching his fists, “What of Artemis, is she well?”

“She will be.”

Setting the bones of Artemis’ hand back into place was an easy task for Doctor Asthé, but the fact that the Dauphine was left unconscious by Van Dean to allow an easier undertaking was unnerving to the medic. After hearing about the broken unification and true relationship between Artemis and Kamen from her superior, Monfre couldn’t help but feel awkward in the presence of Van Dean.

The wrist was easier than the hand to heal, a simple bandage and anti-scarring salve, but what would prove to be difficult were the ribs. Monfre only shook her head, “They’re broken, looks like there could be some internal bleeding, I won’t know unless I get some visuals. I’m more worried about her heart and lungs. The damage is too close for comfort.”

Van Dean shook his head, “Can you heal the ribs, or should I have a go?”

“Sir, I don’t think you understand. I can heal the ribs, but her heart and lungs…this isn’t damage your parlor tricks can heal. It’s like a time-bomb.” She swallowed hard, “As a medic….” She looked closely at Artemis’ waist, “I need to know. Is she…pregnant?”

He paused for a moment, “What?”

“She has the glow.” Monfre swallowed the lump in her throat, “The same as Valerie did, and Nora.”

Van Dean closed his eyes for a second, and then opened them blinking few times before shaking his head, “She isn’t.”

Van Dean pressed a hand to Artemis’ shoulder once Asthé had left. Taking a deep breath, Artemis opened her eyes and sat up to look at the quickly falling night outside the window, “How long was I asleep?”

“Long enough.” Van Dean said slowly.

“Where is Kamen?” She shot her attention back to Van Dean.

“Solitary confinement.”

Artemis’ eyes widened, “He’s done nothing wrong.”

“He’s trouble.” Van Dean shook his head, “If you don’t want him killed he’s going to have to stay out of my way, but he won’t do that on his own.” He offered her a weak smile, “I did make you a promise, and I’m keeping it the best I can.”

“I understand.” Artemis tested out her fingers, making sure that they were all back in working order.

“I want you to stay in your room for the next few days.” Van Dean said slowly.

She was confused for a moment, “I don’t understand.”

“I want to keep an eye on you.”

“Wouldn’t I be better taken care of in the presence of Avery or Monfre?” She looked at her cleanly bandaged wrist, and breathed a sigh of relief that the stabbing pain in her sides had diminished. “Besides you have things to attend to, don’t you?”

“You take precedence.” He ran a finger along the cut of her nightgown; Monfre had been suspicious about Artemis being in Van Dean’s bed, but had been too fearful to express concern for her virtue. “Bad dream?”

She didn’t have to tell him the answer to that question; her nightmares were becoming more and more troublesome the more time went on, “I want to see Kamen.”

“He’s already been moved into a new room. He can be more easily guarded if you don’t know where he is.” Van Dean paused for a moment, recalling the events of the morning before he had sent Monfre to check on his fiancée, “The man was a wreck.”

The bright-eyed woman felt her spirits sink, “Oh, please don’t tell me that.”

Van Dean watched closely as Artemis put her face in her hands, “Love….”

“Ah sweet Celeste, what have I done?”

“I wish you would blame me a little more.”

Kamen was ready for Rei when Van Dean and Pandomé deposited him in the temporary room. This time his vacation was meant as a solitary confinement and although he was certain that this room had a connection to the passages, it would take time and all of his knowledge of them to find the entrance.

Instead of entering and slamming the door behind him, Rei only poked his head in and offered a smile, “Hungry?”

The question itself brought a curious glare to Kamen’s face, “A little?”

“Good! I got cookies.” Rei pushed the door open and closed it behind him, lugging a sack over his shoulder and placing it on the small table in the room before pulling various items out of it.

Kamen slowly stood from his chair and approached the table, “You’re not…” He stopped as Rei pushed a small green bottle in front of his face. Accepting it, he carefully inspected it, “What’s this?”

Rei opened one of the bottles and took a drink before tearing apart a cookie, “Taccas.”

Kamen was floored, “Alcohol? I just tried to kill Van Dean and you’re going to have a drink with me?”

Rei gave him a sour look, “If you don’t want it I’ll drink it.”

“Aren’t we still on duty?” He asked wide-eyed.

“I asked Nora the same thing the first time she opened one with me.” Rei reclined into a chair.

“…Nora Sybil drank taccas with you…” Kamen managed in disbelief, still eyeing the drink in his hand.

“On several occasions.” Rei pulled the bottle from his friend’s hands and opened it, passing it back to him, “It’s because you tried to kill Van Dean, even if all you could do was try.”

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August 2012

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