9.8 Scary Chalk Circle

by Matt P.

“Well…” Walter said, as he looked at the brick wall in the top of the High School, “I was right.” He finished, with a weight to his voice.

“You were?” Siobhan asked.

“I have to ask…why do you let us keep coming to crime scenes?” Antigone asked as well, as they came in to the room.

“Yes, I was right. It is a scary chalk circle.” Walter confirmed with a nod as he looked to it, and then sighed as his eyes flicked back to his daughters. “Right now you’re in this about up to your chins, so we might as well keep you along. I reserve the right to hide you from any murders.” He said, before he thought of the scene that they had carted people away from in the gym before Tania had woken the students up. “Any more murders.” He sighed, looking down for a moment. Once again he looked like there was more he wanted to say, but he just looked up and focued on the chalk circle. “So besides looking like a low-rent Stargate, what is it?”

“Uh…” Morgan exchanged a look with Tania. “It’s a low rent Stargate.”

That drew the whole party up to stop, and stare first at the chalk circle and then at the two women. “Really?” Andre asked, considering it. “We can go to Mars with that thing?”

Siobhan shook her head. “The Stargate didn’t go to Mars, it went to specific points in space with matching Stargates.” She explained with great patience.

“Nerd.” Antigone pointed out helpfully.

“Enthusiast.” Siobhan corrected. “So where do they go?”

“Well now I’m going to look stupid, because I forgot that Stargates couldn’t go anywhere.” Morgan confessed with a little bit of a sheepish grin. “But it is a portal. It can go to one specific place in Faerie that it is bound to. Because of the way magic works—shut up, Walter,” She offered pointedly, glancing at him before he could protest, “It creates a doorway. If you know how to open it, it is literally connected for that moment to the destination.”

Tania approached it, close but still giving it a respectful distance. She held up her hand carefully, as if feeling at something that the rest of them couldn’t see. The newspaper mogul closed her eyes and carefully probed at whatever it was she was sensing. “It’s clever, too. It only connects when the person opens it, so it gets around the time restrictions.”

Before anyone could bother asking, Morgan explained. “No magic is infinite. Even the most powerful artifacts, which are among the longest lasting things you can make with magic, will wear out and fade away in time. Only the most legendary curses or compulsions last forever—and very few people have ever seen those.”

Tania nodded, stepping back and looking over to Morgan. “Your turn, tell me where you think it goes.” She said. The dark haired sister stepped up now, and held out a hand. Morgan didn’t close her eyes, instead staring intently at the chalk sigils. But it was with a far-off stare, as if she was looking through the chalk portal to whatever lay beyond. Walter swore for a moment he felt a cool breeze, and saw Morgan’s hair rustle slightly, before it was gone—and he wondered if he had actually felt it.

“Winter.” She said, with a raised eyebrow back to Tania, who nodded. Morgan nodded again at the confirmation, and then looked to the others. “This portal goes to somewhere deep into the Winter lands of Faerie. Home.” She gave a little bit of a smirk at her sister. “So clearly I’ll be paying a visit to wherever this goes.”

“Why?” Andre asked as Leia came forward. She too put out her hand and then stopped it at just about the same spot that Morgan and Tania had, and wiggle her fingers a little bit. Neither Morgan nor Tania looked surprised, and that drew raised eyebrows all around the group.

“Some day,” Walter said dryly as he watched Leah wiggling her fingers, “We’re all going to have to talk about what we know and how long we’ve known it. And there is going to be beer, because we are going to need to not be angry, and we want a nice buzz.”

No one paid the comment much mind, as Tania instead looked to Andre. “Sidhe, and sidhe blooded people, are aligned with the Summer or Winter court. There are places within Faerie that are strongly aligned with the courts, and each of the courts has holdings that are tied to it. You’re weaker when you’re in your opposite territory. So if this goes deep in to the Winter lands, I’ll be mostly useless. And probably holding down the home fort.” She did not look particularly thrilled by that revelation. “Winter is the best for hiding conspiracies.” She sniffed, with a look over to her sister.

“You all sound pretty sure that we’re going.” Walter said, pointing to it. “Who says we want to go in there? If they know the attack failed, and we have to assume that they do since a bunch of guys didn’t come back, then they’ll knw and be waiting for us.”

Andre and Alexander nodded, and Alexander spoke. “If I knew that a door had been compromised, I’d make sure that it was pretty heavily guarded rather than leaving it open. Or close it, if I could.”

Morgan nodded, considering that. “The fact that they drew it here means that it will have the possibility to connect, even if they get rid of the door on their side. We could force it, and with enough push we could also move the door a bit. Try to get in on the side or behind whatever trapps they put up. Because they will have put up traps.”

Walter looked to Gabriel Shepherd, who had been silent since they came up in to the school. “There anything you want to add?”

“It’s trapped.” Shepherd replied with a shrug. “I don’t know how. This is beyond my knowledge, except that I need to go to make it work.”

Walter looked back to Morgan, and she sighed. “It is probably trapped. But it’s also our best chance to try to get back at these people. Weren’t you the one saying that we have to take the initiative?” She asked.

Walter sighed, and looked to Alexander. “We’ll have to plan it. If they think they can keep it open, we have time to get our ducks ina row and make sure this is something that can actually work. I don’t want to get anyone killed.”

Walter nodded, and then shrugged. “Alright…when do we go through the scary chalk circle?”