The cracked ceiling of the abandoned hostel stared down on the smooth pale face of Sophie Newman. The beautiful twenty-five year old rapidly batted her eyes trying to fend off the nights sleep. As she lay listening to her favorite playlist, she couldn't help but think about her twin, Josh.
It had been twenty-seven hours since she'd last heard from Josh, and he normally checked in every twenty-four like clockwork. Sophie knew, on Josh's orders, she wasn't allowed to contact him unless he'd been out of contact for at least twenty-eight hours.
"Just an hour to go" she thought to herself.
Just then she heard very light, but rapid footsteps coming down the hall. She sprang from her back and sat up as the door burst open. "I've just heard from the Shadow" the figure silhouetted by the hall light shouted in a whimsical voice.
"Great! Now he can't scream at me for breaking the rules" Sophie said, with a heavy sarcastic tone accompanying the last word.
As she pulled the headphones from her ears and rose to her feet, Sophie grabbed the small mobile phone from the bed and followed the slightly shorter figure from the room. Down the dark hallway and to the left was what Josh referred to as Status Quo (or SQ), across from there was Josh's seldom used bedroom.
SQ consisted of many computers and tracking equipment that was used in collecting information on the Dark Elders latest movements. Josh claimed he'd named the command center to reflect their battle to keep the balance between the Light and Dark Elders. Sophie never bought that story; she'd always suspected that he'd named it after an 80's British band that Flamel had once recommended to him. He had them on his ipod then, all those many years ago, back in San Francisco.... before their world was changed forever.
At the head of SQ was a dazzling elf named Knemlocke. The elf had joined Josh and Sophie six years ago when they saved him from imprisonment in a dark shadowrealm. Once they realized how intelligent Knemlocke was, they recruited him to run all the logistics and communications for the operations. Normally, elves have nothing but contempt for humani, but the Elvin race also prides themselves on repaying what would be considered a life debt. Knemlocke has been bound to the twins ever since.
The elf swiftly slid into the chair and cast his long snow white hair back in a pony tail, revealing the points of his ears.
"What did she say?" Sophie asked emphatically.
"I'm not quite sure..." the elf paused thoughtfully, then continued "The message was in a tongue of which I'm not familiar." The voice of the elf seemed to catch the air and float as he spoke.
"Call him" Sophie demanded.
The elf spun in his chair and hurriedly began typing on one of eight keyboards. "He won't like being interrupted" Knemlocke said as he glanced up to Sophie, a slightly worried look in his solid silver eyes. The elf was bouncing the call off of several overseas servers before sending it to Josh. "It's ringing" said the elf.
"Report" the answering voice demanded.
"We've had word from her" Knemlocke said timidly. The elf clearly feared Josh, but Sophie could never remember a time where she'd seen Josh give him a reason too.
"Stay put, I'll be back shortly" Josh said hurriedly, then the line was cut off.
"And just where does he think we're going to go?" Sophie added questioningly as she crossed her arms and let out a long huffing breath. In that moment she realized that she was doing exactly what her mom used to do when her dad forgot to take out the garbage. She quickly snapped her arms to her side and turned on her heel, strolling out of the room. "Wake me when he gets here, will you!" she threw over her shoulder, a command not a question.