by AB

Chapter 9

Stones, Runes and Meanings

"You going to kill me, Ingrid?" He looked at her. She did not see fear, only acceptance.

"Why not? One of your rune stones was found next to someone I loved hours after you had visited George." She accused him, fierceness in her eyes.

"The only mortals I've killed have been soldiers during warfare and I have not left a rune stone near a body since…well since long before you were even born." He replied.

"My name's not Ingrid anymore and that rune was in some form of…" Andreas interrupted her.

"And why do you think they are mine?" He followed the edge of her sword to one of the runes on the center of his swords.

"What does that mean?"

"Death…or die with honour."

Using her free hand, she withdrew something and threw it between his knees. Picking it up he saw it to be a part of a bone, probably a rib. Carved on it was the same rune symbol.

"I did not kill your lover or place this by his body or had any reason to." She saw the sincerity in his voice.

"You had exchanged blows the night before, in the tavern." Her voice sounded less convinced than before.

"If I went around killing every drunk idiot I've had blows or words with in taverns I'd have easily been the most prolific serial killer in humanity's history. It was the medieval ages, we were drunk, and we had a fist fight and then we bought each other a mead and laughed at the women of the place." Feeling her relaxed he grabbed her sword pushing it aside while at the same time rising to his feet and pulling a sword at her neck.

"Leave, I do not wish to harm you, I've known you too long let someone else be the one to have your neck. I don't wish it on my conscience."

"Why not? I drew you into a trap."

"I don't kill for no reason, come for my head challenge me and I'll fight you. Until then you are George's friend from old." He shrugged and turned to leave.

"Triton…come out I know you are never far, the Watchers have a lot to learn from you…then again I don't try to lose you too hard." He chuckled when a few seconds later Triton appeared from behind some rubble.

They left.

Two days later he lay on his bed with Triton lying next to him almost upright, using his knees to support the tablet. "I am glad I switched to digital, I would have spent a lot on text pads otherwise." He laughed softly. They had just finished going through all the details down to 1852 AD, Triton was writing stuff down and Andreas was reading an online newspaper on his mobile.

His eye fell on a head tittle. "Murder Victim's head severed from body."

He clicked on the article and started reading it.

"What is it?" Asked Triton, hearing his deep sigh.

"Dead body…it's Eva, she was found headless in a factory in the north of Athens." Replied Andreas, sad.

"How do they…you know? If she's…well headless?" Triton looked at him.

"Sketch, asking for whoever knows her." Andreas turned the mobile to Triton's view, on it displayed a picture of a sketch of a woman's portrait.

"Will you go? To the police I mean?"

"And tell them what? I've known her since before the Fall of the City?" Andreas chuckled bitterly.

"Fall? City?" Triton saved what he was doing setting the tablet down.

"City of a thousand jewels, Queen of cities…not the point. No, I won't go. But a long time ago she was my friend, so I now have to find out who killed her…" Andreas got up from the bed heading to the living room.

"Good morning." Kendra greeted him.

"Who killed her?" Andreas pointed at Eva's picture on the newspaper she was holding.

"I cannot tell you."

"Why not? What do you care if I kill the motherfucker? Tell me!" Andreas pressured. Triton stood behind him, silent.

"No…it is against Watcher creed for me to tell you."

"Why the fuck are you people so interested in Immortals?" Andreas continued.

"I'm sure you have something you can be doing than talking to me about this." She tried to dismiss him.

"We are going to have to come to an arrangement you and I or I am going to leave and I really don't want to have to do that…" Andreas sighed looking at Triton then Kendra.

"Why's that?" Asked Kendra.

"I like it here…" Andreas left for his room.

Next day at school he and Mathew met up with Triton and Nikos.

Andreas was about to shake Nikos' hand when he shoved the boy out the way before pivoting around avoiding a punch coming his way. Michael and his goons appeared from behind the school's wall.

One of Michael's cronies pushed him up against the wall, trying to hold him there, with his head kissing cement.

Andreas grinned, much to Mathew's and Nikos' surprise. Not resisting the goon's weight, he relaxed his knees while grabbing at the teen's wrist twisting it towards the wall.

The boy screamed right before he impacted the wall. Using the wrist for leverage he walked up the wall making an arching leap backwards landing right behind Michael.

Michael made to turn just as Andreas' punch impacted his ribs. "I hate bullies." Andreas' face a mask of solemnity, turned him around from a grip on his shoulder, further opening him up with the same hand now on his elbow before proceeding to land open hand strikes on his cheek, torso finishing it with a strike behind Michael's knee, and at the same time dealing with one of his two friends. The one who had recovered from being smashed up against the wall.

A minute or two later the two of them lay incapacitated on the floor, the third boy having left.

"That was…how did you do it?" Nikos spoke first.

"Pangratio…mixed with a few other arts." Replied Andreas. "Some of which now long forgotten." He thought that part to himself.

"Teach me..." Nikos mused. "I don't want to fear guys like them. Teach me."

"Me too." Mathew said.

"Me too." Came Triton's reply.

"Fine." Andreas replied, after looking at them, at the resolve in their eyes. "But do not expect me to go easy or soft on you." Andreas turned to leave.

"Where did you learn all of this?" Nikos asked.

Andreas paused, not looking back. "Some of it…from my father and uncle. Some from other teachers along the way.

"Cool. You're really good at this." Nikos chimed.

"Yeah…he's had to defend himself." Triton thought seeing sadness ooze out of Andreas' posture. He said nothing as he resumed his walking.

Some hours later Triton sat on the grass on the park by the sea, under the shadow of a eucalyptus tree, the light breeze making the light dance on their faces. They were waiting for Mathew and Nikos to arrive.

"What's so funny? I can see your smile from over here."

Triton looked at him, "I was just thinking how history has changed for me having met you. You have told me of events, historical events from your point of view…sorry from your live point of view and they are…so different to reading about it in a lifeless book. Some are even different than what's in the books, a little or a lot. Just today we had a history class...this chapter was about the Japanese part of the second world war…I don't know why but having heard you tell me of those years of your life…yes, they were monsters but they were also not and those two A-bombs…I can't feel hatred for the people who died there."

"Everyone's a monster in a war and the victor writes history. Civilians have their part in that too, electing or not resisting a government but at the end no one deserves to die in a nuclear explosion. No one deserves to have their skin melt or to die of radiation poisoning."

"I know, I think the funny part is the teacher, so full of himself thinking he knows history."

"To a large part he does, but history's not simple and part of it is what's written the other part of it is how you read it, how you interpret it. How you chose to understand it regardless of who wrote it or what their agenda was."

Triton nodded. "Humanity does not seem to learn, do we?"

"Short life span and greed…humanity is learning at the pace of a snail carrying weight. "Andreas stood up. "They are here."

Mathew and Nikos approached.

"You are not that good at hiding it, you sensed someone didn't you?"

Andreas chuckled. "Indeed, what gave it away."

"You had no reason to stand up so fast, and while you have your hand always near your bag, it's not always near the hilts of your swords."

Andreas said nothing, he just nodded walking towards Mathew and Nikos.

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