Going after Accark proved to be more a game of waiting than action. Ogalic managed to get three more men to join the plan and they were all now sleeping in various positions all over the living room area, toys pushed aside or legs wrapped over each others. Aniue was cautious and would do nothing before every little detail was thought through and every creature in the group knew what was expected of them and had sworn they would not risk their lives for anything bigger than they could chew.
They would go in tomorrow early before dawn. So that’s how Ogalic set the alarm, but that did nothing to help Gale sleep. He should try at least, rest his body horizontally on the bed, but after watching the moon from the window for about four hours, he had enough and climbed back down, sitting behind the kitchen table and resting his head on his hands, waited for the next two hours to through. He made as little sound as he possibly could, knowing the gargoyles were not far from where he sat, but the bedroom upstairs was driving his mind crazy. He didn’t want to spend any more time in a large bed that made his heart ache for things he could not have, making his mind restless with yearnings he had no name for. Or, rather, didn’t want to name.
Aniue moved in his sleep, sighing loud before shaking his wings slightly and succumbing back to sleep. Gale waited, holding his breath. He didn’t want to disturb them. Maybe he should have stayed upstairs instead…
Emgar’s head rose from the blanket and pillows Ogalic had set on the floor for them. It wasn’t very comfortable looking, but they didn’t seem to mind it at all. He pushed himself up slowly, untangling from Aniue’s leg that had rested on his knees. It was unnerving to watch, how this dark shadow rose with almost no sound from the darkness and very slowly came to his full height. His wings rose higher to avoid brushing against anything, and he expertly stepped over Aniue before looking up and the pair of silver eyes settled on his slumbering heap behind the kitchen table.
He came quietly over, raised up the chair and set it down far enough to accompany his big shape and just sat there with him in complete silence for about five minutes until it became almost unbearable.
“There are only two clans that have dedicated themselves for security works and lending out bodyguards.” Emgar said after a while and leaned closer so his voice, which wasn’t much above whisper, could be heard easily. “Your clan -”
“I told you already, I do not consider myself part of them any more.” Gale said it louder than he expected and coughed quickly, eyes darting from one sleeper to another, searching signs of them stirring.
“Yet you carry their name?” Emgar’s voice was even, not accusing. He’d have to keep it in mind before attacking.
He turned his eyes to Emgar’s silvery shiners. “Aniue didn’t even have to ask before knowing. What’s the point of changing my name?”
Emgar nodded and a shy smile made his jaw twitch. True enough.
“As I was saying, there are only two clans. So if you’re not part of us, then Thorwald took you in?”
Gale frowned, puzzled. Was he digging information for Aniue about Bishops? Why? Bishops were public nest – you could sit on the tree across their terrace and just watch your heart’s delight. Not that they would have taken it easily someone spying on them so openly, but still, you needn’t dig around.
“No, I’m on my own.” He didn’t know what to make of the disappointment on Emgar’s face. “They moved in the house I lived in about a year ago.” The small sparkle of curiosity returned in Emgar’s eyes. Maybe it wasn’t for his clan at all, but personal search?
“Were they…” Emgar’s eyes fell on his hands and he gulped, suddenly looking shy and scared. “Are they doing well?”
Gale nodded, his eyes not leaving the dark face. For a while he asked nothing else, but Gale could see he was debating what he could pull out of Gale that didn’t seem spying before he closed down. Now that he thought about it, there was one that was darker than others. Not as dark as Emgar, but he had never seen anyone this deep in the shadows, but close enough. The way they both donned bright pearls in their hair, the way the strands of hair were settled on their chest, the nose. A marriage thread.
“Aki is doing well, she’s busy right now with the new brood.” He assured the male, realizing he was talking to her cousin at least.
Emgar smiled. “You have eye for detail. I’m glad sister is doing well.” Then the smile faded a bit and the trouble was back.
Gale was growing restless. Quick glance at the clock said they didn’t have long before others would wake and with the speed he was going, he would walk away without sating his thirst for info. Still, he couldn’t push him.
“Is there, uh…” Emgar diverted his gaze to something in the kitchen, frowning. “Is Ray still with them?”
“Rayford?” He corrected, thinking on the older male that was part of Bishop’s advisers. He was responsible for training the youths that were sent to them, but that was all he knew aside that Rayford wasn’t genetically Bishop either. “Yeah, he is still there.” He enjoyed the annoyed look Emgar gave him, wetting his lips unconsciously, it clearly wasn’t enough to satisfy his curiosity. He forgot himself for a moment and Gale nearly smirked on the yearning he unconsciously displayed. “Did he train you?” He asked, trying to figure out the relationship between the two.
The alarm went off and Emgar’s lips were sealed. He leaned back, annoyed as hell and Gale felt bad leaving him hanging like that.
Aniue was first to be up and he turned his eyes immediately on the pair behind the table. Emgar avoided his gaze, but Aniue said nothing. He was aware of their story, what had gotten his eldest up so early to pry for information, and he didn’t approve it one bit. Yet it was important enough to get him up and try.
“Come on, you lot, get up!”
Ogalic was already coming downstairs and headed straight to the kitchen to revive the embers and setting the water up. The tea mix he poured into the red iron kettle looked weirdly normal though all the company present already knew the vile taste it had. But the taste was mild thing compared the sharpness that followed almost instantly, waking them up faster than anything else they’d experienced.
He got the kids up as well and got them downstairs, where he served them the same tea, although with a bit more water than for grownups. Gale watched how easily they shuttled through the feet of grownups and with what ease both the lizards and gargoyles accepted it. It didn’t come naturally for those without kids, but all the men here payed no attention nor managed to step on them. Family men, everybody here had someone to protect. Except him.
No, that would be wrong. He had his brother. And now Accark, who… He frowned, shaking his head gently to get the image of him curled up in that cell out of his head. He wasn’t protecting him, not in the sense as they were.
A cookie was pushed into his face by the girl. He took it, thanking for it, and held it for a while, watching as others ate them silently. He bit down in it. It was round, whirls of dark and light dough swirling towards the center. It was tasty and soft. The dark brown seemed to be spiced while the white was crumbly and he soon found himself brushing off the crumbs form his chest. But if to sip the tea over it, it sure helped to tone down the taste of the foul tea.
When he had finished the last bite, he looked up to see Aniue watching him. He stiffened, putting his cup down and rose from his chair. It signaled others to follow his example and he suddenly knew they had been waiting him to finish his breakfast, as meager as it was, before Aniue nodded that it was time and they all fell out of the front door in one long row with children in the middle. Gale was walking right behind the children while Aniue and Emgar lead the procession.
The streets were empty aside two men, who were preparing to go fishing. They stared at them for a moment before one of them, a cat-like man, reached his hand out and caught the children’s shoulders saying he’ll care for them. The children waved goodbye to their uncle while they quietly turned towards Valbis’ nest.
They stopped two streets away and the men spread out in silence as they had been instructed the night before. The gargoyles fell behind and waited for a moment, then knelt low and pushed up, taking wind under their wings and reaching soon high enough to see what went on the streets below.
There was a different wolf with red fur sitting outside, dozing off with his snout resting on his chest. Emgar separated from them and smoothly sank in front of him. The wolf had less than a blink of an eye to notice the massive shadow in front of him before Emgar’s right arm locked him against the wall behind him, dragging him higher, scraping the wolf’s fur off his back before Emgar’s other hand palmed the creature’s face and with one pull yanked it to his left, snapping his neck.
Gale’s eyes widened. It seemed so cold, even to him, and he was not unfamiliar to killing.
“He’s good.” He said without emotions, when he caught Aniue watching his reaction. The older gargoyle nodded with pride.
He saw Aniue’s hand flip past his view from the corner of his eye and he nodded, following him to the roof Emgar had used for watch. He landed there with a quiet thud and Aniue floated over to Valbis’ roof. He came to the edge of it and with his gun directed down, he waited until Gale landed in front of the door, where Emgar was already waiting for him. Then he went to offer backup on the roof.
Gale pulled out his gun and fixed it on the door, stepping back to get better view.
It was still too dark, the just raising sun flared back from the window, making it impossible to see inside. Emgar knocked quietly. Silence.