Posts Tagged ‘Spirit Train’

Shield of the Ishim 7

April 11, 2016

Ishim Shield

Maya woke up on her unsteady feet and suddenly rubbing her eyes. She had no idea where they were but the sisters were standing there too. Luckily their bags had also arrived. Maya leaned down and picked up her messenger bag and hugged it tight before slinging the strap over her shoulder. The weight was about right but she would have to check it when they were not out in the open.

Everybody was shivering a little and Maya still had no idea where they were. She realized they were on the side of a dirt road bordered on both sides by forest in what looked like the middle of nowhere. There was an old truck rattling down the road maybe a mile away. Maybe that was the vehicle that dropped them off. It was hard to tell how long they had been standing there. It was hard to tell how they had been standing there while they were unconscious.

“Where are we?” China asked.

“Council headquarters, I suppose,” Ivy said. She bent down to pick up her own bag and her guitar. Straps went over shoulders and she was good to go.

“Yeah but where is that?” China asked. She waved her hand above her bag and it levitated up into her arms. She pulled out a cell phone before she got a sour look from Ivy. “What?” She asked of her sister.

“I think that she thinks you are going to check a GPS program,” Maya said with a smile. Ivy tapped her nose and pointed at Maya and also smiled brightly.

“That’s not what I was going to do,” China said. She looked indignantly at her sister.

“It wouldn’t work anyway. There’s probably an anti-technology field around this whole area. I imagine they’re covering all of their bases because they are the Council. Additionally, we might still be under a whammy from the ticket. Also, it’s rude.” Ivy said, her voice was a little raised in full-on teacher mode. China quietly slipped her phone back into her bag.

“Most of us don’t carry cell phones or stuff like that, at least not in my experience,” Maya said. She was looking at China in particular. There were so many magical means of communication that cell phones were far too limited in comparison. Also, magic and technology did not always play nice and devices often ended up overloaded or broken.

“I don’t know. It’s come in handy a few times,” China said. “Like looking up arcane symbols or remembering what monsters look like.”

“She uses it to check our Twitter feed,” Ivy said casually.

“What do you have a Twitter feed for?” Robin asked. She had reconnected with the Internet after Coyote had graduated her. So she knew the basics which meant that she knew what Twitter was.

“It’s how people contact us with missions in between the missions we get from the Ishim,” China said.

“What do you mean? Other missions?” Maya asked.

“We get bored between calls to fight monsters. It can be a long time in between Ishim orders sometimes. We use that time to save people or just help people out,” Ivy said with a smile.

“Oh,” Maya said.

“Why? What do you do with that time?” China asked.

“I help people too actually but I do it by patrolling. By letting the universe guide me. I’ve never received missions from anyone but the Ishim,” Maya said.

“Our method is way easier,” China said. “When this is over, I’ll help set you up.”

“Thanks,” Maya said.

A tall man stepped out of the woods in front of them. All three of them reached for implements of defense or offense.

“Hold. I am here to lead you to Ishim Hall,” the man said and held up the Ishim sigil. All three of them relaxed. Ishim was still a pretty secret word among the public and using it was as good as a membership card. Besides, Maya was beginning to trust the sisters and if they trusted this man, she supposed she could too. “Please follow me.” Then he started to walk back through the woods he had come out of. They started to follow the man through the woods as quickly as they could. Ivy made sure the younger girls went first so Maya ended up in front.

They walked for miles through the woods. There were no paths that could be seen anywhere. Still, the man’s steps did not falter and he confidently walked in one direction. Obviously, he knew where he was going so the navigation waypoints he was using were probably so well hidden. It was either that or he innately knew their destination. Eventually, they walked along a stream and after a while, Maya realized that there were no wildlife sounds. The stream led into the gaping mouth of a cave and the man stopped and stood aside.

“You three are to go on from here.” The man said.

“What’s your name?” Ivy asked.

“I do not have one,” The man said.

“Then what do we call you if we need your help again?” Maya asked.

“I wouldn’t worry about it,” The man said. “I’m not even real.” Before they could question that he started to fade away like milk mixing into coffee. After a quick moment, he was gone as if he had never been there at all.

“Um. That was strange,” Maya said.

“I don’t know, I like a flair for the dramatic.,” China said.

“So do I but I don’t like standing around and talking about it. Let’s go into the cave,” Ivy said.

Shield of the Ishim 5

February 7, 2016

Ishim Shield

A very average train pulled up next to the platform at Penn Station. The breaks squealed and hissed like a real train. The horn sounded just like a real train. The muddy sounds from the overhead speakers warned people to step back like a real train. Maya was confused. She was completely and utterly confused. Maya and the sisters were holding magical tickets to the Spirit Train which was not a cheerleading term. A Spirit Train ticket was an extra rare magical artifact. Maya kind of expected a secret train platform or at least a secret door or something. Instead here was the same ol Penn Station. Not that there was anything wrong with that. It was just a little disappointing.

“Don’t just stand there. All aboard, Maya!” China called out and reached down from the train and pulled Maya in by her armpit. Ivy was already standing nearby and smiling but China moved so she was blocking the view. “Earth to Maya! Are you with us?” China said.

“I am. Yeah. I thought we were riding the Spirit Train.” Maya mumbled, steadying her self against China and stepping back.

“Aww! Were you expecting a big, colorful magic choo choo?” China asked with a playful flip of her hair and a wicked grin. China was so punchable sometimes. Maya narrowed her eyes and let out an exasperated sigh.

“Take it easy, sis.” Ivy said. “Just because you knew what’s going on doesn’t mean you get to tease her.” She pushed past her sister to give Maya a friendly hug. Ivy had been nice the whole time and Maya really appreciated that. She hugged her back.

“But I don’t know what’s going on. That’s very true. Does somebody want to fill me in?” Maya asked. These sisters obviously had a different magical education and those differences could be annoying. Magic was a wide and varied field of study that was mostly exclusive to people with the natural talent to perform spells. Now that magic was public some without the talent were gaining knowlege but they were miles behind. The fact that the sisters knew how the Spirit Train works put them in strange and important company. Maya wondered about that but more immediate was her need to know how the train worked.

“There’s no time. Here comes the ticket taker already!” China said urgently in a stage whisper. She promptly vanished into thin air. Invisibility was a real neat trick among the adept but Maya knew it often created a rippling and crackling feeling when those spells were activated. There was nothing like that this time.

“Listen, Maya, just focus your will into the ticket. That’s all you have to do. It’s simple.” Ivy said, pressing a ticket into Maya’s palm which Maya nearly dropped but she mangaged to awkwardly grasp it.

“Wait but I usually don’t do that. I was taught never to do that.” Maya tried to mutter.

“Just do it!” Ivy spat and then she vanished into thin air too.

Maya hesitated, looking at the grayish silver ticket and then she looked up at the rapidly approaching, smartly dressed ticket taker. She shut her eyes and focused with everything she had in her and, if she thought about it, she would realize that came from panic. She felt the mental and emotional feeling of her magic flow down her arm and into the ticket. It flowed like a river after a rainstorm and smashed into the ticket.

“Um, you can open your eyes.” China said softly. There was something like concern in her voice.

Maya slowly opened her eyes and was shocked to watch the ticket woman walk through her body. She felt panic spasm her body before she realized what was happening and she started to breathe evenly again. The life of an Ishim was strange and full of surprises. She brushed herself off even though there was nothing to brush off but the tension.

“I’m sorry I snapped at you. You have to learn to trust us, Maya. If we’re working together for now then it’s absolutely necessary.” Ivy said.

“I know it’s just that when Coyote trained me he said to never just channel my magic into an object without knowing how it works. That’s how he lost most of his arm.” Maya said.

“I’m sorry I didn’t explain the ticket, Maya.” Ivy said. “We’re sorry, right?” She looked at her sister.

“Sure.” China said and Maya believed her even though it looked like China was trying to act like it was no big deal. Maya nodded back at them and waved it off.

“It takes a month to weave all of the spells in the ticket. They eventually set in the materials like ink drying and they’re examined for any flaws. The ticket phases the user into another plane of existence very close to our own. It allows us to hitch a ride without paying. That’s important because we don’t actually know where we’re going. At any moment we could disappear from this train and appear in a bus or really anything. We’ll keep switching vehicles until we’re dumped at our destination.” Ivy explained.

“Wow, um, thanks for the explanation.” Maya was grateful to know what exactly was happening but it didn’t make the knowledge less intimidating. That was one hell of a spell.

“Speaking of the ticket. Make sure you don’t drop it. If you do, you might be flung out of a moving vehicle and I bet that’s not pretty.” Ivy said.

Maya reached for the ticket and her fingers were so sure and then she panicked. The ticket was gone. She looked up at the sisters who both looked at her and then at each other.


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