“You can call me Kostova. I am the dear and unfortunate successor of a labyrinth of my father’s and mother’s secrets and mysterious fate that is connected to an inconceivable evil hidden in the very depths of history. I am the keeper of letters that link the darkness powers of humanity to a creature believed to be only myth. My journey proves that tales that are told in the secret of the night are actually reality if you are only strong enough to follow the plot line.” Caroline took a shaky breath. “My name is Kostova and I am on a quest, generations of historians before me have attempted to break the code to the mystery, but I alone can prove the myth-ism of reality.”
Caroline stopped talking and looked down at her hands. She had no idea where that speech came from. That is not what she practiced standing in front of her bathroom mirror. ‘If they kick me out soon, I will have time to run by the coffee shop and the ice cream parlor next door.’ She thought as she played with the hem of her jacket. ‘I will get an extra pint for Beacon; he loves cookies and cream. Tomorrow I will go for a run and write a horribly sappy book about a young woman who blew her final chance for recognition and died alone in an apartment where she couldn’t even plug in a curling iron without the whole neighborhood losing power. You know, a feel-good story of what not to be.’
“Welcome Kostova. We look forward to your journey.”
Caroline looked up sharply, eyes narrowing on the man sitting in front of her. Did she really just hear that? Was this beautiful man playing with her emotions? It wouldn’t be the first time.
“You can take your place among your fellow travelers.” He waved her back to her original seat with Tinker Bell and Prince Charming. Caroline got up slowly and looked at Professor McGonagall, aka Emma, who was smiling slightly at her. She walked over to her seat next to the two new friends who were jumping in their seats with delight and waving her back over. Prince Charming held out a mug in his hands.
“You look to be a kind of person who prefers her strong drink mixed with coffee. I thought that this could help.” He handed her the warm drink that smelled of strong expresso and Baileys, and slid over so that Caroline could sit between them and whispered. “Well done. I had all but forgotten about that book! He is always looking for the person who could find themselves in strange and unusual. If I had to hear one more person who identified with the classics, I would have walked out to have a smoke break!”
Isabella grasped Caroline’s free hand and held it in her lap. “I knew that you had it in you love. You looked like you were going to hit him when he asked you to tell your story. We were placing bets on who was going to win the fight.” She looked at Prince Charming with disgust “He put $10.00 on the Master of Ceremonies, but I never doubted you. Hell have no fury like a woman put on the spot.” She concluded with pride.
A shushing sound came from somewhere in the back and all three new friends focused on the new tribute sitting in the chair of agony. The man, with a look of a logger or maybe construction worker, sat with easy strength and knowledge that he was in the right place at the right time. Caroline was jealous of his easy comfort of having all eyes on him.
“I am known as Sydney Carton. You may think of me as lazy, a drunk, cynical, unable to handle a desk job, unworthy of recognition or praise. There is more beneath the layers of dirt and grim. Some would even guess that I place little value on my existence, by the way I dress or the occupation that I have decided to follow. However, I see into the souls of the very people who most would overlook. I have loved deeper than most writers can even begin to put words too. I would willingly sacrifice myself for the greater good of just one person. Some would say that this capability of mine will eventually lead me down a road of redemption and resurrection of my sins.”
“I stand corrected. There is one character from the classics that I would not be overly mad about. I actually feel like he is Sydney Carton.” Prince Charming stated, slightly clapping for the lumber jack awaiting the decision.
“You could have knocked me over with a gin and tonic! And such a looker! It would be a welcome addition- brains and brawns.” Tinker Bell nodded with approval.
“Welcome Sydney. We look forward to your journey. You can take your place among your fellow travelers.” The master of ceremony said in dismissal. Caroline felt strangely excited that he had been chosen, discreetly watching him as he stood from the chair and walked away. As he sat down in a high back chair across the room, the lumber jacked looked at her directly and smiled as if in agreement.
“Oh! Someone has an admirer.” Tinker Bell leaned closer to whisper in her ear. Caroline swatted her away to pay attention to the final person taking their seat in front of the tribunal. She was trying to pay attention to what was happening, but found herself glancing at the man across the room. Why had he chosen such a powerful but lonely person? Granted, Sydney was the main character from Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens, but he died never getting to experience a returned love.
“Welcome Victor. We look forward to your journey. You can take your place among your fellow travelers.” Caroline heard being said, coming back to the events unfolding in front of her. She had missed the whole story, but from the look on her friend’s face, it was a gruesome description.
“I am intrigued.” Prince Charming said as he got up to head back to the bar. “But first I need a drink. This is the first time that I have ever witness all three visitors get invited to stay. I wonder what Eidolon is up too tonight. This will be an interesting dinner.”
“Dinner will be served in 15 minutes. Please get your drinks and join us in the dinning room.” Emma announced from the double doors that led into another room. As she disappeared into the softly lighted room, Caroline took her first real breath of the day. She needed a drink. The first test was done, she made the cut.
“Well, I would have never have guessed that you would be invited. Isn’t the world just full of pleasant surprises.” Anna had walked over and was standing in front of Caroline, wearing what Caroline was sure her best forced smile. “I had thought that the Raven Society took more influential and serious writers, but it looks as though they are extending their reach into the more juvenile realm. Of course, there is always a need for writers that can speak to the younger and unexperienced generations.”
Before Anna could respond, Tinker Bell glided over to stand next to Anna. Her face betraying her distaste for the older women standing in her area. “Oh, dearie! You came! That is wonderful! I was just distraught over how our last meeting went.” She reached out to hold Anna’s arm in a friendly gesture of friendship. “I just know that there is a niche for writers like you in this world. Were you ever able to meet with your agent and find a publisher that would give your latest book the time of day to look over? I know just know that there MUST be an audience that would be interested in…. what was it? The farming techniques of the Dutch during the Industrial Revolution?” Tinker Bell looked over at Caroline “I see that you have meet one of our newest members, her expertise is in exploring…?”
Anna looked highly uncomfortable when she replied, “No, we have not been able to find a publisher, but my agent is feeling highly encouraged by some recent inquires.”
“Yes.” Tinker Bell laughed slightly sending her bracelets softly signing in the movement, “Well, all of us have experienced a slight set back to at least one or two of our books. You just keep typing away and I am sure that you will be able to prove to the group that you are not in fact, a one hit wonder, as that ghastly man said at our last dinner.” Tinker Bell turned to Caroline “Sometimes, writers can be just so nasty to each other. Always competing when there is no competition. We as female writers just have to stick together and be our own support system. Would you not agree?” She asked turning back to Anna.
“Of course.” Anna replied with the look of shooting daggers. “I just came over to show my support to my old friend….”
“Now, now…you know the rules. No introductions until dinner.” Anna tisked. “It is highly unusual that we have two members that knew each other from the outside. Let’s pretend that you don’t, or dinner won’t be as fun.” And with that, the three of them walked into the dinning room together, Anna not to fond of how the conversation went but secretly relived to be not walking into the room alone.