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Check, mate!

From as quiet an inner space as the back of the mission van would give up, Rhiannon struggled to maintain a firm hold on her reflective calm.  Chepi, like a caged tiger, was showing signs of restlessness; Ezra was on his laptop, in contact with Donatella and Galen — other members of Vito’s crew — while his bodyguards, Anezka and Ondrej, perched in shotgun and the driver’s seat, respectively, awaiting instructions.  When the job went sideways, they’d holed up in this parking garage for rendezvous with Vito, Fehed, and Tala, but it was starting to look like nobody was coming.  No one had heard word one from that half of the gang since the police crashed the party, and the radio silence made the time tick by like Chinese water torture, dripping away at everyone’s patience.

They also weren’t sure what to do with the mage they had captured in the gunfight, now bound and gagged on the floor of the van.  Thomas had taken off as soon as the shooting started, but neither Vito, Anezka, or Ondrej seemed too worried about it, nor even, for that matter, to care much at all.

Rhiannon was startled from her failed attempts at meditation as the uncomfortable silence was broken by a call to the driver’s cell.  There were a few positive and negative grunts in response to the other end of the line, then he hung up, gave a heavy sigh, and turned over the van’s ignition.


    “What are you doing?” Rhiannon exclaimed, alarmed by the jolt of the engine.

               “Thomas just called me,” Ondrej growled. “Vito and the others got pinched.  They’re in custody.  Im taking us back to Vito’s refuge to stand by for further orders.”

Rhiannon’s heart sank.  Captured!  This was certainly not part of the plan... she had no clue how to move forward from here.  Having no clue was unfamiliar territory to Rhiannon, and there had been entirely too much of it going around of late for her taste.  She hoped the fact her team members were with Vito would simply get them branded as common criminals, and perhaps they could be released through some back channels, or more likely, Vito’s army of high powered lawyers.  She found herself surprised to realize she was actually grateful in that moment for Vito’s checkered past — more specifically, for the resources it opened up.  She resigned herself to wait for news from his representatives and go from there.


                     “So, what, we’re just supposed to sit around with our thumbs in our tails while our people are incarcerated?” Chepi fumed.

Rhiannon sighed. 


    “As of right now, there’s not much else we can do.”

Rhiannon hoped she was not going to have a problem with Chepi.  Having never worked with her before,  she had no idea what to expect from this mage in the event of unforeseen circumstances such as these.  Ezra, at least, she could count on simply going along with whatever she came up with... there were some advantages to family connections.  But Chepi was an unknown element, and this was hardly the time or place for any more unnecessary surprises.


                     “Fine,” Chepi grumbled, her arms folded over her chest.  “You are point on this mission, Ill follow your lead,” she pouted, reluctantly, then added... “But don’t think for a moment I’m happy about it.”

Rhiannon let out a slow breath of relief, and they continued on to Vito’s West Englewood hideout in silence.

_____


They had been at Vito’s underground office for about 20 minutes when Ezra got a call.


          “Um, Rhiannon...?”   Ezra looked perplexed as he walked his phone over to his cousin.  “I’ve got a call for you here...”

       “Who is it?” Rhiannon questioned, puzzled over the look on Ezra’s face and the way he was acting.

          “...Uncle Alden,” Ezra answered, with just the barest hint of sheepish hesitation.

Rhiannon’s glare reflected the intolerance she felt creeping up the back of her throat, but she kept her cool.


       “We really do not have time for personal calls right now, Ezra.”

          “I know that!,” her cousin asserted, indignant.  “But... Vito, Fehed, and Tala are with him.”

       “Oh, no.”  Rhiannon’s face dropped.  “Give me the phone,” she motioned quickly.

             “I wish this was a social call, A leanbh*,” came the familiar voice on the line.  “But I have a gangster in holding cell throwing your name around, and two therianthropes that won’t even say boo to me... any idea what this is all about?”
                                                        *(uh-LAN-uv) Gaelic term of endearment: means “my child”

    “Aye Uncail, I too wish it were a social call,” Rhiannon began.  “Yes, unfortunately, I do know something about this... Vito is working with me, along with the other two... they are Ndakinnian agents.”

             “Well then, I’m afraid we have a problem,” Alden drawled.  “They were involved in a shootout in my district, and I can’t really sweep that under the rug, darlin’.”

The wheels in Rhiannon’s head were spinning.


    “Well... we have a mage here we would be willing to trade,” she offered.

             “One mage is not much of trade...” came the reply, after a long pause.  “Do you think you can give me anything else?”

Alden re-lit a half-smoked cigar and waited for the response.  Rhiannon had an idea, but she was going to have to rely on Vito’s people to make it work.


    “I feel it would be better for us to meet in person, uncle...” she stalled.  “Is it alright for me and my people to come to your offices?”

A few more details were exchanged to sort out the particulars before the call was wrapped up.


       “Goodbye, Uncail...” Rhiannon declared as they were ringing off.  “We’ll see you soon.”

Rhiannon hung up the phone and summoned Vito’s crew to her.  Galen and Donatella came in with Ondrej and Anezka.  Rhiannon inquired whether they might know of a way to help spring Vito and the others.  Galen tried not to look smug, but couldn’t keep the smirk off his face as he made his confession to Rhiannon... Vito had been keeping patsies on hold to replace any of them if need be.  For weeks, they’d been carrying out his plan, already in place, rounding up random street thugs the authorities would be happy to exchange for them.  Laying it all out was the first time he felt the work had been any more than apish drudgery.

Rhiannon nodded, realizing Vito had been aware of her familial relationship before the mission started... perhaps even before they’d ever made an association of their own.  She almost half-wondered if she should be concerned, but knowing nothing could be undone about it now, she dismissively determined it was better to have Vittorio Gagliardi working with her, rather than against her.

After some discussion, a plan of action was decided upon, and they left for Alden’s office.

_____


Alden had set the meet at his personal offices instead of the psych squad headquarters.  He had arranged for the latest round of prisoners to be transferred there, too.   Too in-the-know to have fallen for Vittorio’s façade as the hapless, unwitting human in the wrong place at the wrong time, he had all three of them brought to him in collars, much to Vito’s dismay.  The guardian parked behind his desk while they waited, scanning the lot.  Tala and Fehed kept a wary eye on their captor.  The vampire hunkered gloomily in handcuffs and collar, just staring blankly at the ground.  It was such a departure from his generally pompous gangster demeanor, that Alden found — despite himself he particularly took relish in the old man’s discomfort.

When Rhiannon showed up with her team and their detainee in tow, Alden noticed their prisoner was not wearing a collar, just cuffs, though he was sure they were magical cuffs.  Rhiannon reacted with disgust and dismay at the collars around her colleague’s necks.


       “I cannot believe you are using those horrid things on my allies!,” she balked.

             “You must understand, A leanbh...” Alden clucked.  “Procedures and precautions, my pet... I don’t know your friends, except, of course, for Vittorio, here, and regrettably, I know him all too well... so there was no way I wasn’t going to collar him.”

The guardian sat back in his chair and snapped his fingers.  The collars rattled loose and came crashing to floor.


       “Thank you Uncail,” Rhiannon exhaled.  “Vito’s man, Thomas, is bringing two others to stand in for Tala and Feheda couple of common criminals I imagine had already made your radar... I’m sure we’ll be more than happy to turn these goons over to your custody.”

She motioned for the mage they had taken prisoner at the warehouse.  It was obvious he could not speak, and the sly sneer on Chepi’s face flaunted it was because of her that he could not.


    “...and I figure this one can take Vito’s place,” she added, shoving the captive over toward her uncle.

Alden cut his eyes sideways at his niece.


             “I’ll be glad to make a trade for these two,” he gestured at the therianthropes.  “...since they are foreign agents, and I’d really rather not have to deal with that headache, but Vittorio is another story.”

Vito suddenly began chuckling quietly as he looked up from the floor.  At first, it began low — a soft, hushed snicker, and then got louder, until he was outright laughing — a strange, maniacal sound, and the tones of his amusement filled the room, as the light returned to his eyes.  Alden, startled, did a double-take at his hostage’s formerly submissive disposition.  This was more like the vampire he was accustomed to.  Instinctively, he rested a finger on his wand.


                     “For the same reason you are letting them go,” Vittorio crowed.  “You will also be letting me go.  After all, I, too, am a foreign agent working on behalf on Ndakinna.”

Rhiannon turned to look at Vito, and then at Chepi.  But Chepi just shook her head and shrugged, looking baffled herself.


                     “Chepi, my dear, since my hands are cuffed, would you do me the favor?,” Vito entreated of his companion.  “I will need you to take the chain from around my neck to verify my claim.”

He was still beaming.  Chepi came forward and lifted the gold chain Vito was wearing on his neck and the lapis lazuli emblem hanging from it, then sucked in her breath.


                     “Vito is telling the truth,” she blurted, excitedly.  “He IS an agent of Ndakinna... otherwise he would not have this!”

She held up the emblem he was wearing. 
Tala and Fehed’s jaws gaped when they saw it.  Donatella grinned.  Rhiannon raised an eyebrow.  Alden pursed his lips and swore under his breath.

             “Well, then... I guess we have a trade, and Vito is now your problem.  I want him gone when you leave.  He goes with you, understand?”

       “Absolutely!” Rhiannon and Chepi responded in unison.  The two of them began gathering their group together just as Galen brought the van up, and was coming in with his bounty.

The exchange was made quickly, and the gang could not get out of there fast enough.

Posts from This Journal by “omnis terraverse” Tag

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Comments

( 25 comments — Leave a comment )
rayaso
Jan. 8th, 2017 02:52 pm (UTC)
I loved this next installment. For some reason, the line that caught my eye was "One mage is not much of trade" . . . it sounds like baseball cards! I'm looking forward to more.
mamas_minion
Jan. 9th, 2017 08:29 pm (UTC)
Thank you,I'm glad you are enjoying it so far.
m_malcontent
Jan. 9th, 2017 01:21 pm (UTC)
This world is very well constructed and interesting.
mamas_minion
Jan. 9th, 2017 08:31 pm (UTC)
Thank you, I am hoping to have more background setup for it for others to be able to see.. but it I haven't got my notes into a very readable format yet.
penpusher
Jan. 9th, 2017 10:41 pm (UTC)
You're definitely keeping the interest level high as the story progresses. It feels like you're setting up a lot of fireworks that will explode a bit later down the road, so I definitely want to see that!
mamas_minion
Jan. 10th, 2017 12:37 am (UTC)
I hope I can meet your expectations on my stories. I am glad you have enjoyed the ride so far.
eternal_ot
Jan. 10th, 2017 03:12 pm (UTC)
+1
dmousey
Jan. 10th, 2017 03:01 am (UTC)
This installment is just as interesting as the first! Looking forward to the next one! Hug and peace~~~D
mamas_minion
Jan. 10th, 2017 04:34 am (UTC)
Thank you, I appreciate you reading and enjoying my work.
halfshellvenus
Jan. 10th, 2017 06:19 am (UTC)
Remembering that Vito set this all up in a previous installment (including getting himself and his companions captured), I'm wondering what he's really up to.
mamas_minion
Jan. 10th, 2017 08:10 pm (UTC)
No one but Vito knows.
sinnamongirl
Jan. 10th, 2017 08:52 am (UTC)
This is so great!!
mamas_minion
Jan. 10th, 2017 08:10 pm (UTC)
Thank you
eternal_ot
Jan. 10th, 2017 03:13 pm (UTC)
A great read. Has kept me hooked till the end and now waiting for your next instalment. Good Job!
mamas_minion
Jan. 10th, 2017 08:11 pm (UTC)
Thank you
bleodswean
Jan. 10th, 2017 04:10 pm (UTC)
So great to see that you're able to write your installments with use of the prompts! As always, your dialogue flows like water!
mamas_minion
Jan. 10th, 2017 08:12 pm (UTC)
thank you, I have been lucky with the prompts so far as they have fitted into the story I am trying to tell.
my_name_is_jenn
Jan. 10th, 2017 08:42 pm (UTC)
Very well done. :)
mamas_minion
Jan. 10th, 2017 11:39 pm (UTC)
Thank you
kajel
Jan. 10th, 2017 10:45 pm (UTC)
Nice job! I'm with halfshellvenus, wondering about Vito.
mamas_minion
Jan. 10th, 2017 11:41 pm (UTC)
Thank you, Vito is one of my favorite Characters to write.
cheapxdate
Jan. 10th, 2017 11:05 pm (UTC)
I am super impressed with the progression of this story. It's quite a task to take these prompts and create a linear piece so serious kudos for that! You're really building a rich and interesting world and I can feel it ramping up. Looking forward to the next installment for sure!
mamas_minion
Jan. 10th, 2017 11:42 pm (UTC)
Thank you I wasn't sure at first if I was going to be able to do a linear story with the different prompts and the last two stories were filling in from the last season I was in. I am glad you are enjoying it so far.
magazhchi
Jan. 11th, 2017 04:19 am (UTC)
I am enjoying the way this story is shaping up. A good read. Keep writing. Waiting for more.
mamas_minion
Jan. 11th, 2017 09:20 pm (UTC)
Thank you, I am planning on trying to stay in this world.
( 25 comments — Leave a comment )