Early the next day found Tom and Johnathon out behind the keep practicing a great many things.
Tom was soon amazed to find that Johnathon had indeed more control than he thought good. This will make training him that much easier.
Plus, he thought, he'd be ready far sooner and off the radar of the council. Shaking his head, he'd been hoping that it might skip his generation. Sighing, Tom realized that the clan was never that lucky.
He watched Johnathon blow the hell out of another block of stone. What was going on? Johnathon seemed to be unable to focus . Of course!
Calling Evelyn, (she and Lady Vishnew had returned that night with Lana) he told her his plan. Evelyn agreed except for the fact that the memory wipe wouldn't reverse. She'd never had it happen before. Thinking a moment, Tom thought he knew what was going on.
<Evelyn,> Tom started, <bring Lana to the yard. I believe they think they'll never see each other again. Remember, Lana has a very powerful mind. Trust me, it will work.> Evelyn told Lady Vishnew, and they both flashed out to the yard. At first, they just sat and watched. Looking at Lana, they didn't see any change.
Then suddenly, tears started to fall from her eyes. Finally, she looked up staring at Johnathon. He was about to try the spell again when he heard a gasp behind him. Johnathon was depressed. He figured that he'd never see her again.
He had looked all last night for her but had found nothing. All morning, he and his father had been practicing control, but his depression was winning on all fronts without Lana. He didn't know how he could go on.
Not really able to concentrate at all, Johnathon was just blowing the hell out of everything his father placed in front of him. That was 'til he heard a gasp behind him. Turning he saw Lana standing with his and her mothers. Almost too shocked to move, Johnathon began to slowly advance.
Standing in front of each other, he asked, "Am I dreaming? I searched the entire world for you. I couldn't find you. I thought you were dead." Here he dropped his head, "I thought I was the one that might have ended your life." Lana's surprise at seeing Johnathon had sent shivers to her soul.
The shivers were so deep that she came screaming from the hidden corners of her mind. "My love," she started, "be I dead, I would have surely crawled the heights of hell to reunite with you. NOTHING would have stopped me." Both mothers were in tears. Finally! After almost 300 years!
They were finally confessing their love for each other! Looking back, Lana looked at both women, "I wish to stay and watch Johnathon." Both women nodded then Evelyn waved a hand, and they both vanished.
Holding her close, Johnathon reveled in the feel of her in his arms. "I will never leave you again. Plus, I may have discovered a way that you can be a vampire while we are together." Kissing a surprised Lana, she sank into his arms kissing him back with as much passion as he did. Looking at Johnathon slyly Lana stated, "I will hold you to your first part of that statement my love, the second, well we'll see," she said, smiling up into the face of the man she had loved for centuries. "I saw that you were having trouble, my love.
This is the first time I've ever seen you have a hard time controlling it." Johnathon then told Lana everything that had transpired since he'd been taken: The fight with his father, the destruction of the council hall (with them in it), his Uncle Ben being hurt. Johnathon went on, leaving nothing out, letting her know everything. At first, she was horrified, but then she realized that most of what had happened had been brought on by the council.
Then she sat to watch Johnathon practice. This time, Johnathon found the control easier than he ever had. His father nodded. It was just as he thought. She was a key to his control just as she was a key to him NOT being able to control it. Rubbing his jaw, Tom thought of more advanced exercises that would advance his control more. If Johnathon could do just one today they might actually get done a week quicker.
Tom had Johnathon run through all the exercises that they had the day before. This time, Johnathon passed through the portal with no problems. Taking a big breath, Tom decided it was time to try a more difficult control. "Alright, this time I want you to bring a person here to you using the portal.
I know it's easier to just grab and pull, but you don't always get who you are pulling." Johnathon nodded. He'd had that happen before. Concentrating, Johnathon was about to open a portal when Tom stopped him. "I want you to bring Lana to you, right next to you." When Johnathon screwed up his face, Tom insisted. Lana looked at them both and smiled, nodding to Johnathon. Still unsure, Johnathon concentrated, opened a portal, reached in, and pulled Lana next to him.
Both Lana and Johnathon were staring at Tom with mouths agape. Then Johnathon shook his head. It had been easier than he thought it would be.
"Alright," Tom said, pleased with the results so far. "I want you to reopen the portal and put her back gently, almost as if she hadn't moved." Tom knew that if Johnathon could achieve this, his control would jump another 20%.
Johnathon took a deep breath looking at Lana. "Try, my love. I have confidence in you." Johnathon felt warmth spread in his chest. Opening the portal, he levitated Lana and then gently pushed her through the portal, sitting her even gentler back on the bench she had been sitting on. Yes! Tom thought. By god, his control was marvelous!
He'd wished he had that much control when he was Johnathon's age. Johnathon looked back at his father chuckling at the shocked look on his face.
Good, he needed a shock once in a while. "Extremely good, Johnathon! Tomorrow, we need to work on longer distances. Of course, you are invited to any and all practices Lana." Tom said, hoping to elicit a positive effect upon Johnathon's control. Plus, it would be good to get in good with her; after all, she was going to be his daughter-in-law.
"Thank you, Mr. Timmings. I was going to ask when you 2 were done, but thank you for sparing me the embarrassing task of trying to ask you sir." Lana said with a wide smile on her face. She truly liked Johnathon's father. At least she did this new one.
This one seemed more caring and feeling like Johnathon which was a welcome change. Johnathon and Lana moved off into the house. Tom had to admit it was a hell of a lot more pleasant with her around. Tom was putting everything away when a unknown younger mage flashed in.
Erecting his shields, Tom awaited either a message or an attack. Bowing low, the mage stepped forward. "I'm looking for Tom Timmings," he said. "You are speaking to him and you are?" Tom asked, his eyebrows raised. This young man was either an idiot, was not caring, or had suffered a recent tragedy and just didn't care.
Reaching out, Tom found he was a bounty hunter for the council. At once on his guard, the younger man opened his mouth to speak. "I am Tyrome Greenstick. I have come to see Johnathon. I heard he was in trouble." Tyrome said. Drawing himself up to his full height, Tom's power bristled. This man was no slough as his power had recently been raised although Tom knew not how. Reaching in, Tom brought his wild magic to the surface.
"If you are here to take Johnathon, you will find it a lot harder than you think." Tom growled. To his credit, the younger mage didn't move. "Huh? Sir, I'm really not sure what you mean," the man sadly said. It was in that moment that Tom could feel the losses the man had: a partner, a woman mage he'd been desperately in love with, and many of the few friends he had. What the hell?!!! This was the mage that had finally put Cedric away?
"I know you are a bounty hunter for the council. If you think to take Johnathon, then it will be over my dead body!" Tom growled even louder. Johnathon came running out of the keep with Lana trailing not far behind. Holy shit! His father was powered up WITH his wild magic. Johnathon had brought his up also thinking they were under attack. Running to his father's side, Johnathon was looking around when he spotted Tyrome. Shocked a moment, Johnathon lowered his power and told his father it was ok.
"Tyrome? Why are you here? After the battle with Cedric, I thought you were in hiding trying to recover." A look of concern was on Johnathon's face. "I was but I can't anymore. I have to get back out there. I have to get Tyler's death out of my mind." Tyrome said. Johnathon's mouth hung open … Tyler was dead? What was going on? Sitting down, Tyrome told Lana and Johnathon everything that happened.
The whole time, his eyes held a haunted look. Lana had only heard of Tyrome a few times. Even the vampire world had heard of the council bounty hunters. "So why are you here?" Johnathon asked.
"I am supposed to report to Ben Timmings, something about reassignment. I heard on the way here that you were in trouble and thought I'd loan you a hand if you want." Tyrome offered. Johnathon thought for a bit and then leaned over and whispered to Tyrome. Lana listened in, her eyes getting huge and then a smile lit up her face. "I know you are in a lot of pain.
I can't really do that much right now even with your heightened power. Although mom is a very experienced healer, and she could help you." Johnathon suggested. Again, Tyrome sadly nodded.
Crap, Johnathon thought, this is really eating him up. Tom had been listening the whole time. This mage knew Ben? Hmmm, many of the things Johnathon had suggested made a lot of sense.
Tom stepped away and called Ben. A moment later, he appeared. "How go things with the council?" Tom asked. "They're like a bunch of doddering old women. They seem to be trying to stick their noses into everything. How goes the training?" Ben asked. "I believe he may be ready sooner than we thought.
By the way, we have a visitor. He said he was looking to report to you." Tom said, showing Ben the man talking to Johnathon and Lana. Ben hissed, "Do you know who that is! He's by far the greatest bounty hunter of the council! He's also the trickiest I have ever seen. Hell, even I have a hard time against him. I heard the council started an enforcer school being taught by the best of the last group of enforcers. Tom, we can't let him take Johnathon!" "It's alright, Johnathon and Tyrome are friends.
Apparently, they were in school together." Tom explained. "WHAT!!!???" Ben shouted drawing the attention of the three on the bench. Johnathon looked up and smiled speaking to Tyrome.
They all three rose and walked to the two men. Tyrome walked ahead and extended his hand to Ben. "Commander Timmings, Tyrome Greenstick. I was ordered to report to you.
Sir, I was unaware you were related to John." Here Johnathon sighed as a little smirk appeared on Tyrome's face. "I guess I am going to have to kick your ass, too! You know I hate being called that!" Johnathon growled.
Tyrome threw him another smirk, as if! Johnathon could see Tyrome's pain ease a little, but it was still there. They really needed to see his mom and soon.
"Uncle Ben, Dad, I'm going to take him to mom. I am hoping she can help him as he's in a lot of pain." "Alright, but I need to talk to him as soon as I can." Ben said to their retreating backs. Sighing, Ben turned back to Tom. "I am getting a foreboding about this. He was the best which is why he was chosen for the enforcer school.
If he was summoned by the council, I am afraid they are going to try and take Johnathon." "I know you have been busy for centuries with the council business, but have you actually read the law about the wild magic?" Tom asked Ben. "No.
I have tried a few times, but was always sent out on assignment when I did." Ben stated. Tom waved his hand making a huge book appear in his hand. "Read to me what the law says about the use of the wild magic." Ben waved his hand over the book, and it opened to the page he wanted.
Sighing Ben shook his head and started reading. "Magic law 5000 … It is hereby the decision of the council that the unskilled and wanton use of wild magic is outlawed. The said use of wild magic will be punishable by death, the execution to take place immediately under the watchful eyes of a sub-council male member of the Timmings family." Ben's mouth dropped agape. "Just how long were you going to hide this, you Ass!
I should slug your face a few thousand times! All this time!" Ben was starting to get hysterical. "As I told Johnathon I could disband the council now for what they have done. By the time another was chosen, we would be clear. It's bad enough this council was just chosen a few years ago, after most of it was decimated by the Cedric event." Tom told Ben trying to calm him.
Ben took a big breath. This let Tom know that Ben wasn't through, not by a long shot. "You should do it! You." "No. Dismissing them now would be admitting that we were wrong and Johnathon should die.
I am NOT ready to give up on Johnathon. Not now, not EVER!" Tom yelled, knocking Ben off his feet. About time, Ben thought. His nephew had been a cold fish for so long he wasn't sure he was even human anymore. "So what are we to do?" Ben asked "As I said, that young mage is one of the best bounty hunters in many a century. He is also a good friend of Johnathon's. Besides, you are his boss. You can send him away to where ever you want." Tom told him. "Yeah, within reason. Remember, the council still has a say in which assignments and hunters I send out." Ben advised him.
They talked and planned a bit. Tom knew there was a way around this. He just had to find it soon. They wouldn't be able to put the council off indefinitely. Johnathon watched as Evelyn Timmings worked on Tyrome's head.
She looked at Johnathon with a worried look as soon as she discovered who Tyrome was. After explaining, she started to work on him. "Mr. Greenstick, I cannot remove the memories, but I can hide them 'til such time as your mind is ready to deal with them." She advised him.
Fingering a star pendant in his shirt, he thought and then replied. "That's alright for as I am right now, I can't function and will be dead in a year or 2. I am not caring now about much of anything.
I am hoping this will help me." Tyrome said. Evelyn nodded and then started to delve into his mind. The images she soon saw had tears falling from her eyes. The pain she saw almost threatened to overwhelm her. Pushing, she soon had almost all of it sealed.
"I've done all I can Mr. Greenstick," Evelyn said, wiping the tears from her eyes. A moment later, Ben walked in. "I've been told you have been accepted to the enforcer school. It seems you are the top candidate." "Yes, I was told that also," a now more confident Tyrome said. "I am hoping I survive, been told it isn't easy.
When we are out, we are supposed to be the best. I hope so." Ben nodded, "As your boss, I am hereby removing you from bounty hunter status 'til such time as you complete the school." Tyrome was nodding, and then a light seemed to go off in his head as he smiled. It was a true smile as he saw exactly what Ben had done. Walking up to Ben, Tyrome whispered in his ear for a moment with Ben answering. This went on a few minutes, and then Ben was smiling, slapping Tyrome on the back, and wishing him luck.
Tyrome turning to Johnathon and they embraced. "Oh," Tyrome said as he waved his hand. A small pendant shaped like a tree appeared. "This is for the baby as I am afraid I won't be here when., it is born." Tyrome said, handing it to Lana. Lana took it and looked up at Tyrome.
"It's warm!" "Yes, it's a living talisman keyed for the baby. There is only one other like it. It will provide protection that magic can't." Tyrome said. Lana looked at him questioningly.
"I don't understand. Provide protection that magic can't?" Even Derrick was puzzled.
"I can't really explain. You'll see one day." With that, Tyrome was gone. Sighing, Evelyn looked at Johnathon and Lana holding the Talisman.
Looking closer, Evelyn gasped and pointed at the front of the tree shaped necklace. "Oh my god!" She exclaimed. "Lana, Johnathon do you realize what you have in your hand?" Evelyn asked. They both started at his mother. "I'd say it is a living talisman," Johnathon said. "It is far more than that." Thinking a moment, she looked closer. "Yes, I'm sure. All the originals were destroyed at least a thousand years ago.
This is a work of extreme skill. It took my grandfather 40 years to create one." Johnathon smiled as he knew that Tyrome had a lot of skill and power, and he was a lot smarter than he let on.
"What is so special about it, Mrs. Timmings?" Lana asked. "It won't hurt the baby, will it?" "Very far from it; this, depending on how it was crafted, will provide the possessor with what they need the most to protect them. I mean WHATEVER, or whom ever, to give something like this away." Evelyn stood there with her mouth open. This was truly a gift that would protect the child for a very long time. "I'll be damned," Johnathon said, "I guess I owe him even more, damn he's never going to let me pay him back." Lana could only stare at Johnathon.
"Pay him back? I thought you owed no one anything." "I don't, except him.
That ass, giving us this. Now I'll be another 100 or so years paying him back. Wait! Did he say there were only 2?" Groaning, Johnathon knew he had the other one, plus he knew what it was for. "Are you ok Johnathon?" His mother asked. "I will be, every time I think I have finally paid Tyrome back he does something like this. One of these days, he is going to need help. I have to be there to finally pay him back for his friendship all these centuries." Looking out the window Johnathon thought, one day I just hope I am ready my dear friend.