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Posted 9/1/11 , edited 9/1/11
“I don’t think we do,” She said confidently. “Arthur visits all the time and he is in Four.”

"That is a relief then."

Ziel was the first to notice the familiar faces of the Ringmasters surrounding them. This struck him as odd, and so he mentioned it to Priya, who was talking up a storm with her new acquaintances. She twirled in a circle to look at the faces, and agreed with Ziel that is was indeed odd.

None of these Ringmasters originate from this Circus building. He noted.

No they do not. She waved to Ringmaster/Guardian pair she saw frequently at emergency meetings. There here too... She smiled at another duo she was familiar with. This really must be serious.

Priya removed her notebook and pen from the purse she carried over her shoulder. It was bound in leather and looked at least 100 years old. It wasn't though. Only a year, but it was worn from excessive usage. She flipped to a clean page and began drawing different size circles. Inside the circles she placed more circles, though each had a varying amounts. Looking around at the Ringmaster's faces she began crossing out certain circles.

I don't like this at all. Not in the least bit. Ziel frowned and his brows crinkled together. We shouldn't be here. This is bigger than us. We could get hurt. Or worse.

Oh stop it. Priya laughed out loud. Whatever the problem is we are more than capable of fixing it. I'm sure we've dealt with worse before!

I never so many of us together before. "Us" referred to the Ringmasters and Guardians called by headmasters under special circumstances. Usually there was two or three, who specialized in the area of concern. There was more than three this time, and all working in different zones. Ziel was beginning to feel sick. None of this was okay.

Stop worrying. She sighed. Everything will be fine. It always is.
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Posted 9/1/11
claire + aldor


Aldor took mental notes of some blood splatter on the wooden walls of the shack.
"A messy Lucifer we have on our hands." He follows the blood, some footprints led away from the shack to the woods.
"I'm guessing the Lucifer took the soul of the man here in this shack then proceeded to hide in the woods." Aldor says to Claire as she walks inside the shack.
"Good work Aldor. I just spoke with the women working the cows. Apparently, this Lucifer is active at night. The ladies leave early before dusk." Claire reports.
Aldor takes a closer look at the blood. "This is pretty fresh splatter if the attack was.. what'd she say? Two weeks ago."
"That's what the mayor said."
Aldor continues. "And why would they put a notice so late after an attack?"
"Maybe it got lost in the mail so it was late getting posted on the bulletins."
"No, that's never happened. Our mail system is pretty organized. The post would never be more than a day late."
"What are you saying Aldor? That the mayor was.. lying?"
"That's exactly what I'm saying."
Claire's conscience questions Aldor's words because they contradict with the sweet mayor's disposition.
"Why would she lie at all?"
"To protect someone."
OK, now Claire was sure Aldor had the wrong idea.
"Really, Aldor? Who then?"
"Her nephew."

Aldor attempts to reason with Claire telepathically when a boulder smashes through the shack's window.
Glass shatters everywhere. "Claire!" Aldor shouts just as Claire grabs his arm as he turns into a shield, blocking the glass shards.
Her vision is cleared as the dust and rubble settle. A shadow runs into the forest.
Claire chases after it, tossing the shield to her right. "You're more faster as a fox."
With that, Aldor morphs from shield to fox in a blink of an eye.

The shadowed figure cuts sharply to the left, almost losing its footing. Claire takes this opportunity.
"It's slowed a bit Aldor!" Claire is suddenly swinging around a long link of metal chains. When she closes in on the shadow, she throws the chain like a lasso and it latches on around the shadow's neck. Claire holds down her stance and pulls down on the chain. A scream of agony.
'Woah there Aldor. Not too tight.' Claire loosens her grip on the chain and slowly walks towards the shadow.
Claire gets a closer look at the figure. A man, judging by his built. He's wearing a dark cloak. Claire takes out a knife from her holster belt. She puts the knife to his neck and then pulls back the cloak revealing his face.

A young man's face. Probably 18. He's unconscious due to being knocked down and having the air choked out of him by Aldor.
Claire, still with the knife to the boy's neck, lifts one of his eyelids. The whites of his eye darkened like a black sky and the iris yellow.
"He's consumed by the Lucifer. We found him Aldor." Claire loosens the chains around the boy's neck and puts the chains in a pile. Aldor morphs from chains back to a fox.
"The only question is whom did the Lucifer consume?"
"Come on Claire. Isn't it obvious? It's Jack."
Claire knew it already but she didn't want to admit it. He had the same brownish curly hair as the mayor herself.
It's always a sad thing for someone to be consumed by a Lucifer.
Aldor knew how she was feeling. "Just.. do it already Claire."
"No regrets Jack?" were the last words Claire said to the Lucifer-consumed boy before cutting his throat, ridding the body of the Lucifer.

Aldor reverts back to his human form.
"They should know what to do with the body." Aldor lifts the fresh corpse over his shoulder.
They walk back to the town, it's dark now. Lights of the people's homes are on. Smoke from chimneys in the air from dinner.
They stand before the mayor's door since her office was also her personal home.
Claire knocks. The mayor answers. They both look at each other with grim faces.
"We found your Lucifer. And as promised, we have rid your town of it. It will no longer be attacking your people."
The mayor nods. Her jolly mood from earlier completely erased from her face. She knows she has lied to a Ringmaster and her Guardian. What will they do to her now? Detain her? Kill her for treason? She puts her head down. "I--"
"Here is the body that the Lucifer consumed." Claire interrupts.

Two of the Mayor's butlers come to doorway to take hold of the body as Aldor lifts it from his shoulders to them.
"If that is all, we shall be taking our leave now. Thank you for your hospitality."
Claire leaves the presence of the mayor and Aldor, going towards the carriage station.
Aldor lets out a sigh, watching Claire leave.
"The Lucifer consumed the guy for too long. We couldn't just extract the Lucifer without damaging the body. He was already a goner."
The mayor nods, tears in her eyes now, says "Thank you." and walks back to her room.
One of the butlers hands Aldor a pouch of coins. "Pay for the mission." the butler says. "Good evening sir."
Aldor nods and the door shuts on him. He runs to the carriage station. Claire is waiting on a bench and looks up to see Aldor. "I've got a carriage coming for us soon."
He sits next to her. "Okay." He decided to tell her about the money later.
"You sure you wanted to just let her go like that?"
"Yeah, I.. just felt sorry for her. But only this once."
"No more mercy next time?"
"No more. I never want to visit this town again."

The carriage arrives, a shorter wait than expected.
Both Claire and Aldor fall asleep on the way back to MHC Headquarters.
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Posted 9/3/11
U R G E N T // U R G E N T // U R G E N T // U R G E N T // U R G E N T


Celeste stepped outside to meet all of the Ringmasters that had been called. A hush fell over all conversations and every pair of eyes landed on her. The girl's face remained blank and emotionless but inside she was buzzing. Something big was coming to the MHC, and she knew it was going to meet them with a bang.

"We, the Elites of the MHC, have called you here today for a special announcement. For many generations, Ringmasters have protected the peace and harmony of Mist Haven. We've faced many trials and tribulations over the years, yet we still remain strong. But a storm is slowly approaching, and our very own foundations are about to be shaken. The Headmaster has gathered you all here today to announce the formation of a very special group. These unique members will be hand picked by us, the Elites, and from here on out they will be our equals. An official announcement regarding the members of this group will be released in exactly three days. Until then, train hard. And as for the storm that is to come... prepare yourselves. That is all."

Celeste left with a hint of a smile, leaving her audience in shock and awe. Things were about to get fun.
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Posted 9/3/11

[ a pretty little thing ]


The train arrived promptly in the town, at dawn.

The sun sat readily upon the horizon. Birds were singing illegibly, and the passengers of the train were making their way out the doors and through the station. James awoke at sun up; his eyes peeling open from the thirteen hour ride from Newcastle, a city of which had him exiled. A true nightmare he would rather not re-live.

As he began to stretch out his sore limbs, he felt a weight on his arm that was Anita or Anne, who was sleeping placating. James timidly brushed the hair from her face, and placed a kiss on her forehead. In any fairy-tale; it would’ve been the kiss to awaken the sleeping princess; however, this wasn’t a fairy-tale and Anita or Anne barely stirred in her rest.

Carefully he removed her head from his shoulder, and promptly stood up. Collecting his baggage, he exited the car, and made his way through the crowds of people.

A pretty little thing she was, that Anita or Anne. He thought solemnly; it would’ve been his pleasure to make her fall…

His thoughts drifted; until he came to a stop in front of a coach. Its driver looked down at him, with uninterested eye. “Need a lift, mate?” He asked. His voice was flourished with a thick accent.

“I do. I’m headed for the Mist Haven Circus.”

The driver nodded, “I can take you there.”

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Posted 9/9/11 , edited 9/10/11
3 Years Earlier
“This mission is the most difficult you have faced yet… Do you understand?” An aged woman addressed a paint soiled Ringmaster and Guardian pair. The two nodded enthusiastically while trying to stifle their giggles. “You can’t mess around like you do on your other missions.” She motioned to their dirty clothes with annoyance. “We are putting a lot of faith in the both you. I’m well aware you don’t usually go out on missions, but you are the only two suitable in this case.” A laugh escaped the Guardian’s mouth which he immediately covered with his hands.
The Ringmaster assured the women, “Of course Headmaster, we won't disappoint you.”
~~~
Echoes of laughter could be heard throughout the ravaged mansion. Priya searched through one section of the house while Ziel investigated the other. A thick layer of dust covered the whole house. From time to time one would hear the other sneeze and they would fall into a fit of laughter over and over again.

Didn’t the Headmaster say not to split up?

Yeah, but we will be done faster this way. I don’t want to miss the events tonight.
Priya snickered as she turned over an old picture frame. I don’t know what she was talking about, this is our easiest mission yet.

It is only a big deal because high officials are involved.

Who would have thought a Headmaster would become a Lucifer?


Ziel stopped in his tracts and sighed loudly. This cases is years old! How are we supposed to know where the man went? That woman in ridiculous, even we aren’t that good.

Hey! That man holds with him thousands of Ringmaster secrets! Those can’t get in the wrong hands! Priya shouted, sounding serious.
Again howling laughter moved through the house, at response to Priya's being "serious".
The two continued chatting and laughing while exploring. Priya rummaged around the third living room for the fourth time. There was a bookcase ceiling high against two of the walls. She had been avoiding this room, knowing how time consuming it would be. Flipping through each book she began looking for clues. While skimming through her 485th book she noticed underlined print.

I’ve found something! She alerted Ziel to her discovery straight away.

What?

I’m not sure yet…
Priya pulled out her journal and began copying in the words. Random words were underlined and having them all placed in front of her made their secreted meaning clearer. She began organizing them into sentences.

Ziel I’ve got it! He- Priya’s voice stopped mid-sentence.

He what? Ziel waited for her response but there was nothing.
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Posted 9/10/11 , edited 9/12/11
claire + aldor

Aldor awoke, feeling like he'd been drugged. Their carriage arrived around 3 or 4 in the morning and the two immediately knocked out in bed. He was still in his same clothes. He looked underneath his bunk (they sleep on a bunk bed; Aldor on top, Claire on bottom) to see that Claire, still asleep, had not changed out of her clothes either.
He scanned the rest of the dorm to see that everyone had gone. "Oops, we overslept... again." Aldor let out a small laugh before taking his fingers to rub his left temple. 'Damn headaches.'
Aldor sat up in bed, continuing to slowly rub. 'Hey, this is working.'
Suddenly, someone burst through the door.. loudly. Aldor accidently bit his cheek at the shock and Claire screamed then flailed out of bed, rolled up in her covers looking like a distraught catepillar.

A boyish laugh. Must be Nate. He walked in the room with a bright face as he was satisfied to have ruined any chance of sleep for Claire. "Mooorniiingg Claaairre~!" he said in a sing-song voice. A hawk flew in then, Nate's guardian, Cam. He perched on the railing on Aldor's bunk. The hawk looked apolegetically at Aldor, who was rubbing his newly stinging cheek. Even Nate's guardian was male. Such a manly person he was, but the despicable kind of man.
Claire gave Nate an angry look. You'd think this be hard for her, with Nate being pretty darn good-looking but she had long seen past those rugged-yet-had-that-boyish-charm looks only for it to be completely a waste when he had such an ego.
"Oh, look Cam. It's Claire's glare. Hah! Get it? Claire's.. Glare! I rhymed, see?" Nate walked to Claire and lifted her by the shoulders so she'd be standing. She was still in her cuccoon state.
Claire would usually say something like 'Don't touch me you *highly profane language*' but she was too exhausted to start a fight so she just looked away, hoping he would lost interest and leave.

"What? Won't you acknowledge me? Fox got... your tongue!? HAHAHA!" Nate guffawed. "Get it 'cuz Aldor's your fox." Nate nodded at Aldor who returned Nate's nod with a weak smile.
Claire grabbed at Nate's shirt collar and yanked him down so his eyes were level with her own. He tried to budge, no use since her grip was so tight. Her eyes were bloodshot from lack of sleep. She swore she heard Nate give a small whimper.
Aldor decided to interrupt at this point, Claire's temper was clearly rising.
"Ah- Nate. What'd you come here for anyways? Surely something important since you don't coming running around here all the time. Heard you've been training like crazy trying to get into the Council."
"Y-yeah. You heard right Aldor." Nate broke away from Claire's gaze and she slowly let go. She hiked up the bottoms of her covers like a long dress and went back to lie down in bed. Claire laid in bed but she listened in on the conversation. It was unusual for Nate to be barging into their dorm like that for no apparent reason. Nate talked about how his schedule's been the last few weeks; train, eat, sleep, train, eat, sleep. Yet when it's time to prove himself to the Council, he doesn't make the cut. Probably because of his horrid personality, Claire guesses.

"What I did come here for was kind of serious business, thought it might be worth it to tell Claire."
Claire turns in bed so she is facing Nate. "Tell me what?"
Nate put on a hard look, his tone much more serious. "Rumors about the Head warning there's something big and ominous coming, Claire. I don't know exactly what's going on but Council's involved and I heard even some Division Four are in on this."
That set a gear loose. "WHAT?!" Claire said, her voice pitch verging on the point of shrieking. "Who from Four?" Claire was too distressed to even think if what Nate was saying was actually true or not, all she could think was how she had not been informed of such a monumental thing.

"Hey, I told you all I know." Nate signaled at Cam, who flew out, and then Nate left the dorm too. Probably because he didn't want to have another encounter with the scary side of Claire or maybe he was actually telling her 'Find out for yourself moron.'
Aldor, who had remained silent, dropped his head down to see Claire. "Whatcha gonna do now?"
Claire smoothed out the covers and got up out of bed. "Get more info. Clean yourself up."

After freshening up Claire and Aldor walked around the Division Four dorms, asking around if anyone else had heard about what's been going on with the Head of MHC.
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Posted 9/13/11 , edited 9/15/11
stanfields.

Aria had retreated to the dining hall. With the latest announcement from Celeste, ringmasters and their guardians were rushing to the training rooms and Aria wasn’t eager to join. It wasn’t like she didn’t train, but she knew that the rooms were probably hot and stuffy. Ew. And also, she had just returned from a Council level mission which she classed as training. Nothing like real life experience, eh.

We’re just taking a well deserved break.
Well said Rin, well said.


“I knew I would find you here!” Aria stood up instantly. She recognised the calm, warm voice. “Edgar!” She exclaimed, throwing her arms around him. The middle-aged man grinned, hugging her. “Looks like you got back safely.” He nodded at Rin, who just sort of ‘woofed’ back. "And your brother?”

“Back at his dorm. He’s probably resting.” Aria answered all smiles. She really had missed Master Edgar. He was the father-figure in her life. His wise words and encouraging smile were home for her. She remembered moving out of his house. It was probably one of the hardest things she had ever done. But the fact that he would always watch over her and Arthur was good enough.

“Ahh, I see. Council-level missions always seem to take the energy out of him.” Edgar said. “But it is good that you take him along. It’s great experience for him.” Aria nodded, distracted by the small figure trying to hide behind the master. Edgar smiled and stepped to the side, revealing a child. A boy. In Aria’s opinion ‘weedy looking’, probably around the age of 10. “My new pupil, Eli.” He announced proudly. “Well, a lot of work needs to be done...., as you can see.” Aria laughed, which only seemed to scare Eli. The child didn't seem to have a guardian as of yet. But his Ringmaster mark was clear as crystal on his forehead. She smiled, ruffling Eli's hair. “I’m sure he’ll be fine. He’s got you.” Eli flinched at her touch, which just amused Aria more.

Edgar laughed warmly. “Ahh, you flatter me.” He sat down, and Aria followed sitting opposite him. Eli stood there, probably too scared to move. Edgar patted the seat next to him, reassuring the child with his kind smile. “So, you not doing any training?” He asked. “The thing that Celeste was talking about. You might get chosen for the group.”
Aria raised an eyebrow, “they’d be mad to pick me. Im hardly reliable.”
“That maybe be true, but you are a pretty good ringmaster.”
“Ha," Aria snorted, "If you say so.”

****

Arthur was sprawled over the Division Four couch, fast asleep. Rhea tutted. Honestly, Arthur didn’t have any sense of space whatsoever. Why not just sleep in your own room? But no. The couch, in the common room. Thankfully there weren’t many Ringmasters about. The announcement had them training like mad people. Maybe they should have gone too. She glanced over at Arthur, who just snored loudly and rolled over. She sighed and shook her head. He deserved the rest, she told herself.

Rhea shifted to her human form at Claire’s entry into the room. Ah, a familiar face. “Hello Claire!" She said cheerfully, waving her over. "I heard you were on a mission too. I presume it went well?”
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Posted 9/14/11 , edited 9/14/11
Ziel and Priya had run into another pair they were familiar with, from numerous special circumstances meetings, that told them about the meeting Celeste had held. Now that they knew why they had been called to this Circus building, Priya's excitement was building. The details on this new “special group” were vague, but Priya knew she had to be a part of it. Whatever the reason this group was being formed, it was sure to be her greatest challenge yet. But Priya was alone in her excitement. Ziel was busy working out a speech to convince her that leaving this Circus building was the smartest thing to do. His train of thought was interpreted though when they ran into another duo they were well acquainted with.

“September!”

Priya marched up to September, excitement glowing in her eyes. “I can’t believe how long it has been!” He had changed drastically since the last time she had seen him. “You’ve grown so much taller!” She got onto her tippy toes and tried to pat the top of his head, “Look at your muscles!” She gripped his firm biceps. He was no longer the lanky boy she had met three years ago. “I heard you are a Council member now?!”

He laughed at her usual abruptness, “Thank you Priya. You look great, much better than the last time we were together. And yes, Dru and I are members of the Council now.”

“That is so amazing. It is simply unbelievable how strong you’ve gotten in these three years. I can hardly recognize you.” She paused, noting the look in his eyes. “Don’t be taking that the wrong way! I’m complementing you September.”

She now turned her attention to the girl at his side. “You must be Dru? It is a pleasure to finally meet you. I adore your human form. Very unique. It matches you and September perfectly.” Dru thanked her for the complements and in return complemented Priya’s outfit.

The four, well really the two, of them continued casual conversations while heading to the Council building. Ziel and Dru stayed on the side lines, keeping as far from each other as possible.

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Posted 9/16/11
claire + aldor

Claire's pace quickened, after speaking with each Ringmaster. Some didn't know, some were just surprised as her.
"Seems like word hasn't quite spread through Division Four yet." says Aldor. "You should be talking to the higher ups, you know, talk with some Council people."
"Aldor, you idiot. Councils won't tell us anything. They think they're above us.
They'd only tell us if there was the chance that'd we be involv--"

Rhea shifted to her human form at Claire’s entry into the room.
Ah, a familiar face. “Hello Claire!" She said cheerfully, waving her over.


Aldor tapped Claire's shoulder for her to turn around. "There, it's Rhea."
"You think Arthur would know anything?" Claire spoke in a hushed tone.
"Wouldn't hurt to ask." Aldor replied.
The two walked over. "Hey Rhea."

"I heard you were on a mission too. I presume it went well?”

"Ah, sure did." Claire put on a grin.
"A typical Lucifer rampaging a town, a usual mission for us. Right Aldor?" She laughed while elbowing him.
"Ow-- yup." Aldor held his side, then noticed Arthur behind Rhea. "What's up with him?"
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Posted 9/17/11
stanfields.


"What's up with him?"

“Arthur?” She looked down at her Ringmaster pitifully. “Aria dragged us on a Council mission as support and he’s just reaping the disadvantages. I’m not even sure how long he’s been out like that.” She sighed, shook her head, and then turned back to the two. “So, how come you guys aren’t train-. “ She paused, studying their faces. “Could it be.., you two don’t know about Celeste’s announcement?

----

“Ed, how much do you know about the announcement?” Aria asked, pouring him a glass of water. Her former teacher grinned. “More than you? Well, I am elite. But there are rules so don’t think I’ll accidently let something slip.”

“You’re a mean one, Ed.” Aria grumbled, snatching the glass of water back.
"And you're still as impatient as ever."
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