A train station in Europe.

A lot people were gathered on the station platform in the center of the city that morning. They were all there for a reason. Some of them were there for the simple purpose of travel. Others were there because they have no place else to go. A few were there without knowing why they were there. People were talking to each other. Somewhere there was someone flirting with a girl. It couldn’t be seen if she liked this or not. There were many gathered here on this busy morning.

There was also someone there in the background. He was almost invisible to the people walking around him. His dark coat seemed to hide him in the darkness he had surrounded himself with. He was known as Gabriel to the people like him. He didn’t want to be there. There was something wrong with this place and this situation. The world had changed in the last years, and it was not for the better. He knew that the fact that if he was there, someone would get hurt. A lot of people would probably be killed, and some injured. He had known this since he was a boy. Since he witnessed a car accident when he was ten, he had grown stronger. He didn’t like it. He didn’t want to feed on other’s misery, but there was nothing he could do.

There were others just like him there, at least four that he could see. They were all like him. The feeding could commence. He was getting ready. He stretched his arms out and closed his eyes. The others were also getting ready, that he could feel, but they were not as strong as him. Some of them were probably not born with the gift, or the curse, as he liked to think of it.

He could feel the energy nearing his fingertips. The series of explosions, set of in trains filled with people on their way to work, filled him with power. His soul could feel the cry of pain from the victims. He could feel their anguish, and filled him with terror and sadness. He knew that the victims of this heinous act would be avenged, but that would only feed the never-ending cycle of violence.

Once he was the witness to a murder, which was so gruesome that it filled his soul with the screaming of the victim for over a month. Right after this he had fallen to the floor of his hotel room screaming in agony. This would probably fill him for three years of terror, but he had gotten used to the feeling. He would manage to block out the screams for the time they were in his head.

The chaos was evident on the platform. People were screaming, and some of them were stomped to death by the fleeing people attempting to find an escape from the destruction. These victims were picked up by the less powerful people surrounding the area. Their energy wasn’t what he had come for. It was the event down the track that he put his focus on. The waste of human lives filled him, and he almost screamed out in pain. This was more powerful than he has ever felt before. This was sudden. The last time he had been caught of guard because of his inexperience. This time he was focused. The surrounding people like him weren’t as powerful as those he had dealt with in the past. It was like they didn’t know about this event. He almost thought that he was the most powerful in the area.

He shivered. It was almost over now. He didn’t feel like taking anymore energy. He didn’t want anymore. He didn’t need anymore. The others were still feeding. He could see them clearly. There were five of them. One of them had fallen to the floor because of exhaustion. He had blood coming out of his mouth, and he almost looked dead. The others were slowly stopping. There was one man standing at a far platform, who hadn’t stopped. He was still walking around and picking up the souls of the scattered victims of the fleeing mob.

Gabriel looked at him. He was smiling. For every new victim his smile seemed to grow even bigger. Gabriel remembered that he used to be like that, until he witnessed that murder. He never wanted to take the energy after that, but he felt like he had to. This was his calling. He was a Warlock. Not like the Warlocks one would see on the television set on a late night. The real Warlocks aren’t just evil. They are just like most humans, neither good nor evil. There are of course those who stray from the path, but they are only a minority. Many Warlocks consider themselves the ultimate reflection of humanity, and Gabriel was one of them.

The Warlock on the platform filled Gabriel with disgust. It seemed like he didn’t realize the curse that he bore was something that could destroy his spirit.

He straightened his coat, shivered and walked out of the dark. He had the appearance of a young man in his early thirties. His dark hair and long black beard were his most predominate features. He didn’t have any scars or other characteristic marks on his face. Around his neck was his chaos-symbol hanging from leather string. Other than that he was completely dressed in black. He believed if he dressed in black the Void would not find him. The Void was what the Warlocks called the evil presence in the world. It is what will steal all free will if it can. The Void wants to control humans do its bidding. Gabriel had often felt the presence of the Void. Once he almost was convinced to kill a girl in order have her energy. He believed that it was the Void tugging its strings.

Gabriel continued open the staircase to the streets. Past him policemen, firemen and paramedics ran on their way to save what is left of the survivors down in the chaos he just left. The disbelief in their faces didn’t seem to deter them from reaching the victims on the various platforms. Gabriel found himself admiring them and their ignorance. This wasn’t just an act of humans. It seemed to Gabriel that some other force was involved in this heinous act, which somehow wouldn’t have happened without the help of the Void. He could feel the screams of the victims. The need for something to dull the pain was immense. He needed a drink.

The Warlock Brotherhood usually had a safe-house in every major city in the world, a place where their kind could rest and meet. You could almost call it an old-fashioned tavern. There they could sit down have any sort of beverage they might desire, which usually only includes beer or any other sort of alcohol. Any sort of alcohol was exactly what Gabriel needed, which would dull the pain of the energy passing through his body.

Above the door to the tavern was a sign of a man in a dark coat and a hat. The front was not inviting, just the way that Warlocks liked it. Gabriel stepped into the tavern. The dark and damp atmosphere was tangible. Smoke filled the air. Gabriel didn’t know if it was from cigarettes or from the energy the fully fed Warlocks gave off. There were several other Warlocks there. They too had just come from the tragedy that bestowed the city this morning. Some of them were saddened by it, but there were some who were jolted with energy. They seemed almost ecstatic, and some of them had clearly not taken their curse seriously. That group was laughing and joking, and they were making faces, which were suppose to mimic the dying faces of the victims. Gabriel looked at them with disgust. He thought that they had clearly not learned about the Warlocks’ respect for life. Without life there couldn’t be death, and without death the Warlocks would loose all their powers. It is a delicate balance of power and life, and these Warlocks didn’t seem to get that. Gabriel walked over to an empty table at the back of the tavern. He looked around at the other worn-out Warlocks at the back and some of them looked up at him. He gave them a cautious nod before it was returned by most of them, and then he sat down. A woman walked over to him with a cold beer on a platter. She put the beer in front of Gabriel, and he tried to smile at her, but everything he got out of his face was a bleak and sad look of despair.

“You can’t let this get to you.” The voice came from behind of Gabriel. It was a tall dark Warlock by the name of Azrael. He walked up to the table Gabriel was sitting at and sat down. He looked at Gabriel who barely could look up at him. Gabriel could feel the energy flowing through him. The screams of the victims haunted him, until he took a sip of the beer. The screams seemed to become less painful. “How can I not let this affect me? The people in those trains died in a war they weren’t even fighting.” He looked at Azrael. The energy was under control now. “Look at you! You can’t even control your own powers. You must embrace the place in the world that you have, and the only way to do that is to let go of the guilt.” Azrael leaned over to the waitress. “Could I have a whiskey on the rocks, please?” He looked back at Gabriel. ”You look like shit, my brother. Do you eat properly?” Gabriel looked down into his beer. “The world is at the brink of its own annihilation, and you want to know if I am eating properly?” Azrael smiled a crocked smile. “Well, one cannot save the world on an empty stomach now, can one?” Their eyes met, and Azrael’s eyes seemed to glow with an intense red flame. “Why do you care, Azrael? You have always disagreed with my methods and my way of life.” “I care because you are a brother of our society, and I don’t want you to end up like that raving lunatic, Ramad.” Gabriel raised himself up in anger and pointed an intimidating finger at Azrael. “Hey, Ramad did a lot of good in this world. He started almost all the revolutions in the world that opposed the fat upper class. He should be revered, not disgraced by someone like you.” Azrael tried to calm Gabriel down. “Yes, he was a good man, but all that he did for the downtrodden in society, was for nothing. As soon as he left an area, some Paladin always managed to convince the people leading the revolutions to take power. He had the same concerns as you.” Gabriel sat down and looked at his beer. There was complete silence in the room. Everybody had evidently taken notice to the two sitting in the corner of the tavern. Azrael looked around at all the people in there, and as soon as his eyes met theirs, they let their gaze fall to the floor. He commanded an awesome authority in a society which usually didn’t follow any leader. After a while the conversations continued all over the room.

“I’m nothing like him. I don’t make a difference in the big scheme of things.” Azrael looked at him with a look of disbelief. “Don’t give me that crap. You are one of the most powerful brothers I know. I could feel you draw a lot of the energy out there. You are probably one of the great Warlocks of all time.” The waitress came over to their table with the drink that Azrael ordered. He smiled at the waitress as she leaved the table. “Ever since that incident at the hotel you’ve changed, Gabriel,” said Azrael with concern in his eyes. “I had never seen anybody die directly in front of me like that before. I could always stay a bit away from the deaths, but then I was in the middle of it.” Gabriel shivered as he remembered the horror of seeing someone being raped in front of him and the memory of the knife carefully dissecting the human body. “It’s a part of life, just like we are. You have to remember that, but by all means don’t end up like them.” Azrael pointed at the group of Warlocks sitting laughing around their table. “Why can’t we take their power away?” Azrael smiled. “Because we are a society without rules, and we believe complete free will. Therefore we cannot take their powers away, because then we would be nothing more then The Paladins.” Azrael straightened up. “Besides they have not killed anybody yet, have they? Those simpletons are not a threat to our or other humans’ safety.”

Gabriel took a look at the group. He looked back at Azrael. “They will learn in time.” “There you go! Look at the bright side of things for a change.” Azrael leaned forward towards Gabriel. He had a sadistic smile on his face. “And think about how wonderful that lesson will be for them, if karma is anything to believe in.” Gabriel smiled back at him. “You of all people should know that karma is one of the all-present laws in the universe.” Azrael laughed. He had a big booming laughter. “Well, we all learn from our childhood mistakes.” Azrael used to be the school-bully at the school where Gabriel once was transferred to. Gabriel was his favorite victim, but also the one who saw that Azrael had the same talent, or curse, as he.

Azrael suddenly stopped laughing. He looked at the doorway. His teeth clenched up. “Look at what the cat dragged in.” In the doorway there was a young Paladin’s apprentice. He looked a little uncomfortable in this place. It was almost like he had walked into the lion’s den to fetch a whisker. The group of young laughing Warlocks had stopped laughing and looked over at the young apprentice. Two of them got up and walked over at him, blocking his entry into the Warlock’s sanctum. Gabriel looked back at Azrael, who had started to tighten his fist. “What is he doing here?” Azrael almost couldn’t speak, but he managed to squeeze out some decipherable words. “I don’t know, but the nerve of the Paladin who dared to send one of his to us.” Azrael and Gabriel got up and walk over to the young man. The tension was so thick in this room that no form of blade could cut through it.

The poor boy, who couldn’t be older then sixteen, froze up when Azrael walk up to him. Azrael was an enormous man, and when he wanted to he could easily frighten any form of living thing. His mere presence often commanded a strange form of authority. Gabriel for one, had respect for his manipulative powers. Azrael looked down at the young boy. He grinned. He knew that the boy was an inexperienced youngster, and that he would tell him everything he wanted to know. Suddenly the boy took up a shining beacon. He pointed it at the Warlocks.

“I’m looking for one of you dark ones. He goes under the name of Gabriel.” Gabriel looked into his eyes. They seemed to possess both wisdom and innocence. Definitely an apprentice who is ready for his trial, Gabriel thought. The apprentice looked back at him. “What do you want with him?” Azrael was almost boiling at the disgrace of this boy setting foot in their sanctuary. The boy simply took out a letter. “It’s you, isn’t it?” Gabriel didn’t answer and his face didn’t reveal any clue to how he really reacted to the question. “I can sense a great power in your presence. It must be you.” Azrael grabbed the letter. “We don’t answer questions of that kind of detail.” The boy smiled. “I was warned by my mistress about your unusual behavior on that subject.” The boy used words which were rare for his generation, but he seemed like he didn’t belong in his own generation. “So you’re a female paladin’s apprentice? I did not know they let women in their little boys club.” The voice was that of a female Warlock. The Paladins have been for a long time notorious in their backing of a male dominated society. Any system that has a pecking order is fine with them. Warlocks on the other hand, have been big supporters of change and evolution of society. Both of them are powerful allies for leaders of different political movements in our society.

Azrael looked at the apprentice. He cowered a bit when Azrael’s shadow fell upon him. “Now that your business here is done, you can slither your way back to your lady Paladin. And do it quickly, because I don’t know how long I can hold back this pack of wolves.” The boy turned his body around, but kept his eyes interlocked with Gabriel’s. When he was about two meters away from the tavern, he averted his eyes and continued down the streets of Madrid.

“What do the Paladins want with you, Gabriel?” Azrael handed the letter to Gabriel. The letter was sealed with the sign of the Seers. “I don’t know what the Paladins want of me, but this letter is from the Seers.” Azrael looked at him with eyes filled with disbelief. “Why didn’t they give this to you themselves?” “Because they have always wanted seal the rift between us and the Paladins. Their motives are easy to read.” Gabriel’s voice was almost filled with admiration. He had always thought that the honesty in the Seers’ ways of dealing with other humans, deserved respect. He looked down at the letter he had in is right hand. It was made from the ancient parchment that all of the magical clans had used since the dawn of their existence. It felt dry even though his hands were wet from the moisture of the glass he had held just minutes ago. He started walking towards the table. Gradually he opened the letter. Once it was open, he immediately recognized the penmanship. It was the same as a number of letters that he had received during the years. Those letters had guided him, and helped him through the pain he felt after his encounter with the human savagery in a hotel room, but never before had it been sealed with a symbol. There was also another thing that was different, because this it was signed.

Dear Gabriel

You have to come to England. You and others like you are needed there. Even though you will want to travel with your clan, it is important that you come alone. As you have trusted my words of advice in the past, do the same now. I no longer see who I can trust, except you and the others who have received similar letters. You must move with haste. I await you.


Anne Nilsen

Seer and Sage

Gabriel looked at the signature at the bottom of the letter. He knew that he could trust this woman. It felt like he had known her his entire life. Finally knowing her name filled him with a joy he hadn’t felt since his childhood. She was his only true friend and the only thing that had remained constant through his life of moving around where there was chaos. He knew that he had to leave. He looked at Azrael. “I have to leave.” Azrael looked back at him with understanding. “I know.”

JH Lillevik is a writer of sci-fi and fantasy. He writes screenplays, novels and short stories. He also works as a writing consultant for upcoming writers. His specialty is mythology, world building and psychology.

5 Comment on “Gathering the Circle – Chapter 1

  1. Pingback: Gathering the Circle – Chapter 2 | Benign guy

  2. Pingback: Gathering the Circle | Benign guy

  3. Pingback: Ismark: The Marked Boy – Prologue | Benign guy

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