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Chapter One   Chapter Two   Chapter Three   Chapter Four  

Unsheathing the Past

...and froze. Joan of Arc stood with her sword held high in a battle strike when she realized that the air was suddenly different. She knew Rasputin felt it too for he wasn't looking her but far off into the distance. There was a soft buzzing in the air that was growing as the seconds ticked by. Joan's aura cracked to life for a moment and the room was filled with the scent of lavender as familiar auric energy reacted to hers.

Where had she felt that strange feeling before?

Joan, being a warrior, knew to always take advantage of your enemy's weakness or failing. So, while the sorcerer was still entranced by the buzzing in the air, she brought her sword down hard.

Rasputin ducked out of the way at the last moment, sending ice daggers spiraling towards her. She shocked her aura to life in a protective shield and the ice melted into a puddle at her feet.

The large sword in her hand shifted and twitched as she returned it to pure energy and then back into a large battleaxe. She lunged at him again, only to meet a glassy shield of ice. She smashed it to bits, only to find emptiness behind it.

"Come out, come out, wherever you are!" She called tauntingly. "Don't you want to play, Rasputin?"

She felt the temperature drop a few degrees, her breath visible in the air.

"We're using parlor tricks now, eh?" She teased again. Joan slowly felt fear tingle at the edges of her consciousness as she tasted his power. "Where did you acquire such power? I have only felt that energy from my husband and from a handful of Elders."

"It is elemental magic, my dear. The Magic of Ice," Rasputin called from all around her. She rolled her eyes: More parlor tricks.

"And whom, may I ask; did you glean such power from? I have not heard of any Elder expert in that area of magic."

"I stole the power from the Elder Hel, deep within Niflheim."

"Just like Saint-Germain," She whispered in horror.

"Just like Saint-Germain," Rasputin agreed. "Fire and Ice, we are doomed to be enemies even without our history together."

"I have never heard my husband speak of you," Joan shot back. He was toying with her, but she was going to get as much information from the sorcerer as possible.

"I would believe as much is expected. Your dearly beloved took much from me. It was he who exploited me to the Russian government as a khlysty, which in turn lead to my downfall in Russia."

Joan knew of the deadly cult of the khlysty. They believed that sinning actually made you closer with God. They were seen as witches and spawns of the Devil in Russia and were feared above all others.

"Which I guess I should thank him for, considering it led me to eventually finding the Secret of Ice."

"But I have read of your murder, I have seen the body myself when I was a nurse in Russia, assisting the Romanov's son." Alexis, the only boy in the last dynasty of the Romanov family had a unique disease that could make even a paper cut bleed him to death.

"I had acquired a few minor spells by then, including the glamour, which can make even a total stranger look like your best friend," Rasputin stepped from the shadows in front of Joan, stroking his thick, black beard.

Joan opened her mouth to speak but stopped as the buzzing in the air had begun again. She hadn't realized when it stopped, but the fact that it was beginning again gave her no comfort.

Then it hit her.

Of course! The buzzing resembled the Disir's auras. Except while their auras had been a soft rumbling, this was an angular buzz that reminded her of mosquitoes. With her centuries of knowledge, Joan tried to figure out who was related to the Valkyires...

"But the spell worked quite efficiently for one of my earliest spells," Rasputin continued, unaware of Joan's revelation. "And it obviously even fooled you, a profound woman if I do say so myself."

Joan's eyes grew wide in horror. "Amazons," she whispered incoherently.

"What?"

The tiny Frenchwoman focused on Rasputin's face, "The Amazons." The sorcerer's expression became even more confused. Joan looked from him to the battleaxe and back again. Then, in one fluent motion, thunked him on the side of the head with it. He tumbled to the floor in an unconscious lump of body.

She ran away from him up the stairs and into a large room which had once served as Saint-Germain's music room until he had built the attic. Now it was their library.

A correct library.

Most of the books were from immortal humans, Elders, or Next Generation who had wrote down the real history of the planet and the races before the humani. As a matte of fact, the library only contained one small book on human history, and that had been written by Joan herself in a failed effort to convert historical events of the humani into what really happened. There were just too many faults in how humans recorded their past.

She grabbed a large book titled "Warriors of the World" from a tall shelf and threw it down on a large desk in the middle of the large room. She flipped through it, skipping Bogatyrs, Torc Allta, and even only quickly looking over Disir. Then she found it: Amazons.

She read the book aloud to herself:

"The Amazons were of the Elder Race, and were the sister clan to the Disir, or Valkyries. They did not live among Danu Talis but first traveled to what the humani call "Greece", and conquered the people there. Then they went south through Egypt into the Dry Continent, slaughtering any that stood in their way. They traveled west from there, to the Tropical Land, southwest of Danu Talis, where they remained, killing any who dared to venture into their lands. Their queen was Penthiselea, and when the Disir and their leader, Brynhildr, waged war, the Amazons joined them, and always avenged the death of any of their comrades..."

Joan looked up from the yellowed book, faced pale and horrorstruck. The Amazons were coming for her. They must have felt the immobilization of the Valkyries Sophie Newman had frozen into an ice block and mistaken it for death.

The Amazons were coming to Paris.
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