The orange lamps of the harbor gave off an eerie glow which wavered in the wind off the water. The night was cool, but tolerable, and Paralios was still. Andre was the only soul out walking the docks at that late hour. Even the spirits were concentrated elsewhere, as there was no need to patrol the beaches any longer. Their services were required inland.
With his hands shoved deep into the warm pockets of his coat, Andre watched the stationhouse windows from the Phulake landing and waited for Declan. He only half believed that Jora would show as she said. With her father home, it would be hard for her to leave the house without an explanation, and he was certain the captain would not approve of such a venture.
He was, therefore, surprised when the identical forms of both the twins approached out of the dark at a brisk walk. Jora and Svana kept to the shadows along the side of the stationhouse, glancing once or twice over their shoulders and ducking beneath the lower window ledges to keep from being noticed. They quickly descended the stairs and met Andre on the dock beside the row of moored surveillance cruisers.
“Hey,” Jora whispered with a breathless smile. “Declan’s not here yet?” She met his eye with a significant warning not to mention Svana’s presence and to just let it alone. Svana herself carried a scowl dangerous to engage and gave off the impression that she had been dragged against her will, or at best only mildly interested in what they were doing.
Andre wisely left her alone, addressing Jora with a small shake of his head. “Not yet.”
“You don’t think he’s having trouble getting a set of keys, do you?”
“There he is.” Andre nodded back toward the station, and Jora turned as he hurried down the stairs. He had taken the Agabus seriously on the issue of secrecy and wore all black, his blonde-white hair covered in a wool cap with a short, stiff brim pulled down low to shade his eyes. The collar of his coat was pulled up and, like the twins, he glanced nervously around the pier for any unwanted observers.
“Which one?” Andre asked of the row of cruisers so he could begin untying the lines.
Declan did not answer until he had completed the distance between the stairs and where they stood waiting. He kept his voice low like Jora, pulling keys out of his pocket and pointing to the third boat down, “That one.”
“Okay, I said I didn’t want anyone to know we were doing this, but it’s not illegal. We don’t have to whisper.” Andre got to work preparing the boat to leave while Declan jumped in behind the wheel and the girls followed to catch the ropes as Andre tossed them in. Climbing over the side, Andre pushed the cruiser away from the dock as Declan started the engine and put it in gear. With one last glance over his shoulder, Andre checked to make sure the noise of them leaving hadn’t alerted anyone on shore. Declan sped up, and they were soon slicing through the waves, kicking up spray and crossing the bay toward the dark mass of Kaluma in the distance.
Slapping his friend on the back, Andre grinned in appreciation. He was feeling rather exhilarated with his plan, and it felt good to have the three of them with him, even if Svana was less than friendly.
“Meet me at the docks,” he spoke to Velvela when they drew near the small island cove.
“I have watched you coming,” she replied so he knew she was listening.
“No,” she assured him. “I have encouraged them to stay away. Your way is clear.”
Declan pulled up to the nearest dock and killed the engine while Andre jumped out and tied on. He offered a hand to Jora to help her step out, grabbed Declan’s arm, and left Svana to find her own way onto the landing. “This way.” He led them at a brisk pace up the dock to the stairs climbing to higher ground into the small, military village. “Stay with us,” he told the spirit as they passed her at the top of the stairs.
A row of parked ATVs sat in a gravel lot alongside the headquarters building in front of the main road of the base. Andre ran to these and checked several before finding one which still had the keys in the ignition. “Thank you, Velvela.” He jumped into the seat as the others scrambled on and moved the vehicle into reverse before leaving the lot for the landing strip above the village.
The empty runway was well lit with illuminated overhead lamps spaced at intervals down both sides of the strip. Andre avoided the lights and took the same road the captain had driven to get to Costa’s cube on the north side of the island. Andre had not been told where Kylan was being kept, but he had no doubt that was where he would find him. The others did not question his path, hanging on for dear life while he sped around curves and came to an abrupt stop before the row of cellblock compartments.
“Which one,” he spoke out loud to Velvela, leaving the ATV and walking toward the building.
It was darker on that side of the island, but each door into each cell had a light shining brightly above it, and the prophet stopped at number five and pushed a button on the keypad beneath the surveillance screen. A visual look inside the room showed Kylan lying on his pad in the middle of the floor, seemingly asleep. Jora and Svana moved in for a better look while Declan leaned against the wall nearby, watching Andre push several numbers rapidly on the keypad.
“Got a personal prophet access code?” He raised an eyebrow.
“I saw Barow type in hers,” Andre said as the door buzzed, releasing the lock and allowing them entrance.
“The photographic memory of the Agabus.” Declan shook his head and followed the others as they pulled open the door and peered cautiously inside.
A low wattage of light suddenly filled the room with the opening of the door, and Kylan looked up from the bed, squinting against the glare as he turned to look at who was entering his cube. He was not alone in the room, and Andre voiced a command for Velvela to contain a slimy, pathetic Daimon and keep him from interfering while they were there. She checked the hissing beast against the wall with the gleaming edge of her sword pressed sharply under its chin and held it there.
“Don’t let that door close,” Andre shot over his shoulder at Declan before the lock could realign and trap them inside. Declan stopped it with his foot and ducked his head back outside, finding a rock and placing it in the doorframe to keep the heavy door from closing.
“What’s going on?” Kylan sat up in confusion with the help of his sisters who hugged him quickly and looked distressed by the state of their brother. Kylan appeared dazed, his hair standing on end, several days of growth on his face, and ominous scars on his arms which appeared to be fingernail marks. He was dressed in a similar gown to what Costa had worn during his stay there, except it was fresh white and immaculately clean compared to the komer’s. “Why did you bring them here, Agabus?” He did not appear thrilled to see his sisters.
“I need a word with you,” Andre explained, kneeling down in front of the bed at Kylan’s level. “It was their choice to come along.”
“Han var ikke kommer til å se deg alene,” Svana told him stiffly.
“I can understand Norwegian.” Andre didn’t care for her negativity.
“I know,” she shot back with a glare to match his.
“Pappa said you weren’t eating or sleeping,” Jora broke them up and moved on.
Kylan rubbed his bloodshot eyes in annoyance. “You can tell pappa to stay away and mind his own business.”
“Kylan!” Jora was disappointed with his attitude.
“This doesn’t have anything to do with him,” he insisted. “He doesn’t know what he’s doing.”
“It’s all of our business,” she responded. “You concern all of us.”
“More importantly, what you’ve done,” Andre interjected, ignoring Svana’s look of loathing. “I need to know how you let him in,” he insisted despite the effect it had on Kylan to bring it up. The young man looked away in distress and appeared ready to refuse when Velvela tightened her hold on the Daimon and raised the blade of the sword to a more convincing position.
Kylan looked back at the prophet and released a heavy, slow breath with an uncomfortable glance at his sisters sitting on either side of him.
“Do you want them to leave?”
“No, he does not,” Svana answered for him, and Kylan couldn’t help but smile.
“Guess not,” he accepted it despite his reservations. “But, for the record, I never wanted you to know.” He looked at them both seriously. “So try not to think worse of me when you do.”
Jora frowned, but neither she nor Svana made a move from the bed, and Kylan steeled himself to say what he had to say.
“Jeg er så lei meg, Agabus.” He shook his head with his eyes on the ceiling in shame. “I should have told you in the beginning. I should have told everyone.” It took him a moment to gather his thoughts and even longer to get them out in tangible words. “May Beth’s Daimon wasn’t hers.” He met Andre’s eye for the first time. “It was mine.”
The girls looked uncomfortable, but Andre remained stoic. It wasn’t news to him, it was only confirmation, and he wanted Kylan to get on with it and explain how he had gotten involved with a Daimon and why.
“I didn’t meet it in Mexico,” he continued. “I picked it up in Copenhagen. It was with us the whole trip.”
Jora frowned, but Svana just watched her brother closely, waiting, like Andre, for him to go on.
“We were only there two nights before our flight to the US. We didn’t have much to do, so we did a lot of sight-seeing and just acclimated, I guess. I’m used to working all the time, so having that much leisure made it hard for me to fall asleep at night. I went walking in the streets a lot and I ended up meeting a girl. She worked in a café which was open late, and I hung out there until closing. We just talked over drinks. She had a really nice laugh,” he remembered fondly.
“She asked if I wanted to see where she lived. I didn’t have anywhere to be, so I went. I know I shouldn’t have, but she knew a lot of things about the world I always wanted to know. She had travelled a lot and we talked about the places my group would be going and what we would see there. She wrote down places she thought I needed to visit if I could, and made me promise to see them. She taught me a lot of things.” He paused and appeared to be recalling it all in greater detail than he was sharing. The Daimon pushed against Velvela’s sword with a satisfied hiss.
“I left her flat the next morning knowing a Daimon was with me,” Kylan continued, “but I thought I could shake it off once I was back with my group. I spent the whole day trying not to think about that night, but when the sun went down and the rest of the missionaries went to bed, I was out in the streets again, walking to the café to meet her.
“The Daimon would not leave me alone after that. Even when I submerged myself in our work, I was plagued by guilt and by thoughts which I couldn’t get out of my head. I just wanted to confide in someone. I had to talk about it or I was going to go insane, and May Beth and I got along really well. She didn’t feel like she fit in with the other girls, and I was too bothered by what I had done to spend much time with the blokes. I thought they might sense the Daimon hanging on me and alert Calloway.
“So May Beth and I hung out a lot whenever we had down time between missions. I ended up telling her about Copenhagen even though I knew I shouldn’t.” There was deep self-loathing and regret in his voice, and Jora’s eyes filled with tears as she listened. “She didn’t need that. What was she supposed to do with that information? It bothered her, a great deal, but I didn’t care because I had someone to talk to.
“She started to get upset whenever I did, and that frustrated me. I realize now, that I didn’t want to talk about it to relieve my guilt but because it gave me a chance to relive it all over again. The Daimon in me wanted more and it began to convince me that May Beth could replace what I had with the girl at the café. I thought that she felt the same way about me, but she didn’t, and I ruined everything just trying to get what I wanted. I took advantage of her friendship and loneliness. I didn’t think about her, or anyone else, and in doing so, I passed the Daimon on to her.
“I knew it immediately that night when I ran into that room. I knew what I had done, and I pleaded with the Daimon to leave her alone and come back to me, anything but cling to her. It listened, and I carried that thing with me the rest of the trip.” Kylan’s fists clenched involuntarily in his hatred for himself and his actions.
“It didn’t help her though. May Beth couldn’t shake it off completely, even though she didn’t remember exactly what had happened. She wouldn’t talk to me anymore, and I had to start burying everything deep so no one would guess what was going on. I got good at lying.” He laughed humorlessly and shook his head shamefully.
“I truly thought I would get rid of the Daimon when we returned to Kaluma. I didn’t tell everything to the Acclimations staff, but I told them that I had seen and done some things I regretted while away. I thought the process would free me of the spirit, and when we passed through the Hupsoma and the air lifted I thought it was because I left it behind. I had no idea that I had released it into Koinonia.” His eyes pleaded with Andre to know he was telling the truth.
The Agabus considered everything he said, and glanced at Velvela briefly before nodding. “How did it get out of the mountain? You didn’t go to the cave entrance.”
“No,” Kylan agreed, bowing his head to avoid Andre’s insightful gaze before admitting the details of Abaddon’s plan. “I didn’t need to go to the cave. It found me in the mines.”