Chapter 5: Trust

She looked at the dressing and the stitches with a careful eye. She had infused a healing & regeneration spell into the stitches themselves. The oily concoction made the stitches glisten in the florescent light. Luther Kine’s hand had been torn off past the wrist which was good. Had it been at the wrist – there would have been more complications as the bones in the wrist would be trickier to reform properly. It would take a few days to reform and it would be slightly painful – but it would be whole again. “Tell me Luther – are you looking to donate any more body parts to the Night Watch in the future? I just want to make sure I have enough stitches on available,” she asked in a condescending tone. She never liked Magicians. She thought they were always too confident and full of themselves.

Her name was Kimberly Moore and she was both a trained EMT and a Witch. Not a Witch in the same way a twenty something believes they create spells and charms from a book off of Amazon. No – Kim was a trained Witch in the old world sense – sans making pacts with devils and hovering over a bubbling cauldron. She looked like she was in her early 40s but she had been born in Boston a decade before they started dumping tea into the harbor as a protest. She had arrived earlier in the year after the previous on call “physician” transferred out to the east coast to be near family. It was odd to think of a werewolf getting homesick.

Luther looked up from chair, “The bitch had my son and I would have given both hands to protect him if I could.”

“Technically she was a lioness and not a dog or a wolf so ‘bitch’ is the wrong term,” said someone from the doorway. Luther did not bother to turn his head. He knew the voice well enough. The head of the Day Watch was young looking man with black slicked hair. He was fashionably dressed with a few bits of silver jewelry adorning his hands and wrists. His name on paper was Jackson Everett. To the Day Watch he was simply Phineas. No one knew quiet how old he was. Many had their suspicions but nothing that was ever said aloud. He was both feared and respected as complexity of his cunning was only matched by his cruelty. To top it all off, he was also considered a “Magician Beyond Classification”.

Luther Kine regarded his superior with a certain sense of disdain. He was a 2nd level Magician and maintained a level of suspicion when it came to Phineas. Gray – the original Day Watch Section Head – “retired” to a life without the Watches in late 1800s. No one knew why except that Phineas was there one day and immediately dictated changes on how things were run. For all he knew – Gray could have taken up painting as the rumor suggested and simply been done with the game. The smug look on Phineas’ face always seemed to say otherwise.

Pulling a chair up and taking a seat across from Luther, “So tell me about your step son Luther. How long did you know before he was going to manifest himself as an Other?”

So that is the game he was playing Luther thought.

“About a month ago I no….” but he did not complete the sentence. Phineas was slowly turning a silver bracelet on his wrist. A topaz stone sat in the center and gave off a faint red glow as he paused in the slow turn. Each centimeter of movement caused the pain in the stub of his arm to burn in waves of pain.

“A month and you said nothing? You know the current state of our numbers. Hiding such valuable information could be cause for insubordination. We all know you don’t like me. So tell me…honestly, were you purposely trying to sabotage our foothold?” He paused and smiled. “Were you prepping him to join the Night Watch? Come on Luther…you can tell me. Are you working for them in some fashion? Was he part of some deal off to the side and you’re trying to work it off? Hell, maybe you have a secret crush on ‘Chief Mankiller’?” he asked with slight amount of mirth. The questions seemed ridiculous and bizarre but it didn’t stop the accusatory look on Phineas’ face.

Luther screamed as Phineas began to turn the bracelet more. All Luther could do was shake his head as the pain was overriding his ability to speak. Had it not been Witch’s spell that kept his body still during the stitching, he would have thrashed himself onto the floor. Instead all he could do was move his head and scream. It seemed like an eternity before Phineas retracted the turn on the bracelet. Sweat had already begun to bead up on Luther’s forehead. “There – that should loosen you right up,” he said as patted Luther’s leg. “So tell me why your step son was not brought in a month ago.”

“I…I…I wanted to induct him myself. I wanted him to explore his nature without having to deal with the Treaty and rules all at once.” He forced a foul look at Phineas, “I didn’t want him to deal with your shitty scare tactics you snot nosed little sh….” And then he screamed again as Phineas turned the dial a full inch forward. Blood began trickle out of Luther’s nose. “Oh come on Luther,” said Phineas as he stood up and held Luther’s jaw, “Do you really expect me to believe your paternal nature overrode your common sense? Seriously! Not only do you lose a possible asset, but your hand as well? The whole thing sounds like a bad set up. The lioness wasn’t your equal by any means – and yet she took your hand? Sacrificial offering is probably a better word for it. You have to look at it from my side. Why would a seasoned veteran agent of Day Watch valiantly sacrifice his own life and limbs to save a stupid child that isn’t even his? He wouldn’t unless he is trying to cover something up. Do you take us as fools? Do you take me for an idiot?” He began to turn the bracelet more and more and with an unearthly rage he screamed at Luther, “TELL-ME-THE-DEAL-YOU-MADE!”

Screaming at his superior, “I don’t care what you think!” he replied through tears and blood, “The truth is easier than a lie.”

The pain came to an abrupt end.

Luther looked over at Phineas. His superior was staring him in the eyes holding Luther’s now reformed hand. “The truth is always better than a lie because it can be more damning in the long run.” His voice lacked the usual mirth and glee and seemed to echo wisdom beyond his physical years. “You were within your rights to initiate the boy as your own charge and it is within the rights of the Day Watch Agent to dictate when an initiate is ready to accept our world. A knowledgeable asset is always better than an ignorant Other. If the boy has been initiated as a Light Other without your consent as family – there is nothing I can do. However, you could petition the Inquisition to look into this to see if the Day Watch is due any recompense based on the actions of both sides.”

This was the dangerous part of Phineas. He could be the calm sage whose mood and concern could flip instantly to that of a sadistic child. Modern medicine would say that he was an extreme case of Manic Depression or being Bipolar. Luther simply nodded and said nothing.

“Good,” said Phineas as he pulled out a pen and placed it in the newly grown hand. Taking out a folded piece of paper from his jacket pocket, “I took the liberty of typing it up for you. Just sign at the bottom and seal your mark in it and I will make sure it goes out with all due haste. Oh and,” he made a motion over the spell holding him down and felt it shatter, “make sure you read it all. I’d hate to have you misrepresented you.”

With that Phineas turned and headed towards the door. Pausing in the threshold, “Oh…I have to ask – why the Red Lotus on the were-girl.”

Luther looked at the paper and then back at Phineas, “It wasn’t meant for her.”

Phineas was silent for a moment, he turned back looking at Luther then smiled. He nodded his head and went down the hallway whistling tune and odd tune.

Luther finished reading through the letter and signed it. Phineas had covered all the possible bases and loop holes in the request. The Night Watch was going to have to pay in some sort of reparations, but it would not change the destiny of his son. He hated Phineas, but in that hate was respect for his craft and cunning. He had accelerated the regrowth of the hand faster than what the enchantment would have done. The price was pain and it had been the most physical pain he had ever experienced in his life. Utilizing it in part of his interrogation was a shrewd move but effective. He never hid his disdain for his superior but he always had his loyalty to the Day Watch which was Phineas’ primary concern. The modern age had so many things mixed up in a quagmire of influences and interpretations that it was hard to define an individual by the shade of their aura. California had become a hot bed of political intrigue. Both Luther and Phineas were in quiet agreement that such madness could not and would not happen in Valley of the Sun.

Walking into his office, he took a seat at the laptop. Next to it was a picture of his late wife and Jonathan. Yes – he was not his blood – but he was his son. He helped raise the boy since he was two.

He held up picture and stared at his son.

Kim had watched the scene played out in the infirmary. She knew Phineas was going to come in but she hadn’t expected the interrogation to go as it did. She was horrified and awe-stuck as Phineas had taken her spell and twisted it forward. Either the bracelet he wore propagated the growth or accelerated the time table. In either case, it would be a trick worth trading for if it was within the realm of learning.

She never understood Phineas’ cruelty toward the men within the Day Watch – at least the human males. He tended not to show the same toward the female members. It could have simply been a form of old chivalry which would give an idea of age, but even then it was still a wide door of time. She had been playing her cards close as she wanted to figure out his faulting point. He showed no interest in flesh or vice – at least nothing that was ever seen by members of the Day Watch. His secretive nature was bolstered by the fear he created. None dared to see what he was up to. Up to this point, she could not see anything exploitable outside of his perceived “instability”. In fact – Luther proved an excellent test case as she was the one pointed out to the attachment to his step son. She ‘noted’ how a cunning opponent could have used it as a fulcrum to turn a Magician in any direction they chose. She didn’t have any solid accusations of course, but by being able to plant a seed of doubt was enough. From there – it was Phineas’ need for control over the Day Watch that took over. He was possibly a paranoid psychotic who was a whirling dervish of sadistic pain. With ability to plant seeds of doubt in him, she could garner and harvest the trust necessary to remove any obstacles or rivals in the long run. She smiled to herself at how well it played out.

She finished cleaning the room and turned toward the door. Phineas looked at her with disappointment. She had never noticed him come in or how long he had been there. Stepping into the room, he closed the door.

He cleaned his hands using a wet-nap as he studied the wooden door of the infirmary. The door normally held an enchantment that prevented the sounds of screaming to be heard out into the hall. The hall was largely vacant as night fall had come and most of the staff was upstairs working or home. Reaching forward, he removed the infirmary sign. With a movement of his hand – the door disappeared leaving nothing but a blank wall. Turning to the opposite wall across the way, another door formed.

Opening the newly formed door, he looked inside. There was another clean and fully stocked infirmary for all the Day Watch’s medical needs. Probably the best free healthcare in the North American continent. He smiled and placed the sign in door slot.

He was going to have to put in a request for a new medic, at least for this next decade.

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