144 A Tracking Charm*
The next morning, Rassa called Sharli, Kit, Iah, Aegin and Ebony to one of the spare rooms. The five individuals sat tensely on newly acquired furniture as Rassa rose from behind the desk and rounded it to place six charms on the table before them, one for each of them.
"I haven't seen this run before," Ebony stated as she picked one up to inspect it, "What is it?"
Kit picked up another, "It's not one rune, it's...five?"
Rassa nodded with a smile, he was impressed by Kit's progress. The young shadow magician was picking up the art of runes rather quickly.
"The first rune is the rune for Location or Locate, or even Track. Essential a beacon," Rassa stated, "The second rune indication connection, that it is one of many in a sequence, the third rune designates that sequence, in this case, Moonshadow is the sequence".
The others nodded, though only Kit seemed to understand.
"I didn't realise you could place more than one rune on a charm," Ebony stated.
"It depends on how specific you want that charm's job to be," Rassa replied, "Some things can be conveyed through a single rune, though it leaves more room for the mist to interpret as it pleases, as Kit will tell you, there are many layers to the meaning of each rune. The more runes you place on a charm, the more specific its instructions, and the less the Mist can interfere in interpretation".
"What are the fourth and fifth runes?" asked Aegin, "You said their were five".
"Yes, the fourth rune is to designate a single individual as the wielder of the charm through blood, and the fifth that the charm will always return to the possession of the wielder, no matter if it is dropped, stolen or lost," Rassa stated, "My intention is to give each of you one of these charms, so that should the need arise, we can find one another. When activated, they will provide indications to the wielder where the other charms in the sequence are located, and considering the return rune, the wielder will always be able to locate the original holder unless that charm is removed from the sequence, which can only be done in the presence of the other charms, or if the condition of the wielder's blood changes".
"Then, if we wish to hide from the others...?"
"This is why I am making it your decision as to whether or not you choose to enter this agreement. Because that is essentially what it is," Rassa warned, "We will not be able to hide from one another one the charms are activated".
"Why?" asked Iah.
"Because I-" Rassa then turned to Aegin and Ebony, "We, don't know how long we'll be gone. With no way to contact one another or check on your progress...I'm afraid we will only know when we return. But if something was to occur, something you couldn't fight against alone, you can use these to find us".
They all thought for a moment, looking to each other, then Sharli picked up one of the stones and looked at it closely as she spoke.
"Then, in a way, this is a way of you inviting us into your, what did you call it? Moonshadow family?" she asked with a smile, "Why not give one to everyone?" asked Sharli.
"They are still young, children, I will not force them into anything and give them to freedom to leave should they wish," Rassa stated, "After all, they will earn their own wages and be free to learn their own skills ones the business picks up".
"They what about us and Kit? Do we have no choice?" asked Sharli.
"This is your choice," Ebony frowned, "Don't make it sound so awful. I'm certainly willing".
Aegin said nothing, but it was clear that he concurred. Sharli and Iah turned to each other, then to Kit. He seemed deep in thought, but was smiling.
"I've learned more from Mr Moonshadow in the last few days than I've learned in the last few years. He is not forcing me to leave my home, nor do anything I don't want to. He is leaving me to be myself through my own devices, even giving me new routes with which to explore that I only partially understood before. Of course I won't say no".
Rassa sighed with a roll of his eyes, "I told you to call me Rassa, Mr Moonshadow makes me seem so old".
"You're not exactly your average eighteen year old either, Mr Moonshadow," Ebony smirked.
Rassa turned to look at Iah and Sharli, who after a moment, nodded in agreement.
"Very well," Rassa took out a seventh charm, this one with a feignt red centre, and placed it amongst the others, putting a sixth charm back in his pocket, "Just prick your fingers and place a drop of your blood on the surface of your charm".
"Who is the other one for?" asked Ebony suspiciously.
Rassa said nothing.
"You were thinking of giving it to Falla, weren't you?" asked Ebony.
"I will let you decide whether or not we offer her that tonight," Rassa replied, "After all, you're all coming with me to dinner".
"All of us?" asked Sharli.
"Yes," Rassa replied.
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"I thought you said it was at the Blue Jade Restaurant," Iah stated.
"And, that place is...well we don't have anything suitable to wear there," said Sharli.
Rassa turned to Ebony.
"I'll help you out with that," Ebony smiled, taking a needle and pricking her finger before cleaning the needle and passing it to Aegin as she swiped a drop of blood over one of the charms. It gave a red flash, then it appeared clear with a red spot in the centre like Rassa's. The process was followed by each individual around the table before they all had their charms activated.
One day in the future, this day would become signficant in the telling of the stories of Rassa Moonshadow and his closest council. The day that the first vampire sealed the fate of his future empire.