Story of Archon

In character journals

“The Pole Star Falls”

by Jules

The cafe is a great place to watch people. The only trouble is, sometimes it’s hard to sit back and watch without people coming over to talk to me. Today it’s a man who says his name is Nick. He has some sort of ulterior motives, but I can’t tell what. He offers me a drink, which is strange when it’s coffee instead of alcohol. He’s tall, his hair is dark and messy, the way all the books always describe romantic leads: Handsome, with “Dark, Rumpled Hair”. I can’t tell if he’s my type or not yet, though. I’m a bit picky.

“Are you a student? What do you do?” he asks, all charm. He is somewhat handsome.

“I’m a performer,” I tell him.

“Stage? Where do you work? Can I come to one of your shows?”

“The Magic Circle.”

“Do they do ballet there?”

He has a slight Russian accent. I don’t think most people would notice, but I do.

“No, I’m a magician.”

“Can you read my mind? Tell me my card?” he asks enthusiastically. “You must show me a trick!”

I can’t tell if he’s being genuine or not, but he is very good at this and certainly laying on the charm. I show him a card trick because I need the practice and I’m not one to turn someone away just because he’s being nice. It’s not my best trick. Maybe I’m a little bit distracted.

“Very good! Do you like parties?”

“Uh. Sort of. Not really. No,” I stammer. “Oh, wait, do you mean to perform at a party?”

“Or just dance.”

“I’d love to perform, if you have something going on!”

He says he’ll get in touch with me by dropping by the magic circle. Then he leaves, but not before giving me one last charming smile.

“Maybe next time you’ll steal my heart.”

It’s a pretty cheesy line, but coming from him it sounds kind of cute. I’m left feeling a little uneasy, though. The way he was asking questions, I don’t think he was just trying to make conversation. He seemed a little bit ashamed, under all that guile. Like he was trying to get specific information for something, as much as he could. I wonder if I was wrong to tell him where I worked. I thought it might be good advertising, it is a public place after all. I didn’t tell him that I also live there.

 

There’s nothing for it but to follow him. Just as a precaution.

 

I tuck my notebook under my arm and slip out the cafe door. I manage to follow him without being seen by keeping people between us and ducking out of sight whenever he looks around. He leads me to an alleyway where he gets into a dark 4-door sedan.

License plate number: AW09GFT

 

It drives away and I guess there’s nothing more I can do. I can’t follow a car on foot. I come back to the cafe.

“Does that man who was talking to me come here a lot?” I ask the Barista.

“Not a lot, but he’s been in here a few times,” the Barista answers in a Scottish accent. “With a face like that, hard to forget. Kind of makes you want to punch the guy.”

“And is he usually talking to women?”

“Here to chase some tail? Yeah.”

I thank him and try to make it seem like I’m asking because I want to date him. Really I’m wondering what kind of scheme he might have going on. But I think I’m all out of leads, so I put my costume on and go to do some performing. I’m doing a little better every day. This time I even get a couple of cheers right in my first hour! I’m on point.

 

But as I begin my next set of tricks I feel a rumbling like a freight train coming toward me, and a tingling like static electricity coursing over my whole body. I hear a scream as someone shouts “The Sky!” I can feel panic and turmoil spreading through the crowd around me. I look up. The sky is burning away, like paper, revealing a star-dappled colorful sky, like I’m looking into a nebula, full of auroras. Blazing down towards me is a bright blue shooting star. I reach for my camera to take a picture, and I see the girl who sold me the flowers a couple of days ago. She’s looking right at me. As our eyes lock, she says something. I can hear it, even over the roar of the crowd, somehow.

“The pole star falls.”

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Revelations

by Lea

One day I’m actually going to see this coming. When I got to work today, Ella came over and offered me a cup of tea. Over tea she told me that Frank had asked her to find out if I’m romantically interested in him. I just thought he was being friendly and welcoming! I’m trying not to beat myself up too much over not seeing it, especially when the alternative would be to start assuming that any guy–or girl for that matter–who’s friendly is automatically attracted to me. How are you supposed to know the difference?

The only thing I could have done differently is out myself to Frank sooner, but the opportunity just hadn’t come up. He knows now and apparently was embarrassed and thought I’d be mad at him for it. Of course I’m not, but now it’s simply a matter of whether he was only being friendly due to liking me or if he actually likes my company. I should probably ask him to have a drink or cup of coffee or something with me tomorrow to make sure he knows I have no hard feelings. 

I’m sure it’s only a matter time before I’m entirely out at work. Word usually travels. My supervisor is the only one who I’m worried about. He seems to be impressed with me the last two days and it’d be so discouraging if something as irrelevant as sexuality would mess with that.

As for the mistaken for an undercover cop situation, a member of the East End Boys was watching the entrance to my work. However, the links between him and the guys I ran into in the alley–race and my paranoia–are insufficient for me to conclude that I’m definitely being stalked by gangsters.

Retelling Stories

by Lea

I love London. After work I was looking for somewhere nearby to go, and I found a Sherlock Holmes themed pub right near my house! I had to go. I got ready and walked over.

It was the perfect decision. I ended up spending the evening with a group of off duty cops!

I couldn’t have met a better group of people. I told them about last night. I couldn’t help it. As soon as I found out that they’re cops I was obviously really amused by that and the only way to not seem utterly rude was to share what I found funny. The girl thought it was even funnier than I do, but the guys were a combination of worried and impressed with my bravery. It was just the thing to do at the time; bravery wasn’t part of the picture. What else could I have done? Let the mysterious Leo-searcher be harassed? Miss out on a story that made a cop double over with laughter? Never!

“She Can’t Get Out of That!

by Jules

Sasha walks in on me when I’m in the shower. I tell her I’ll be done in a minute, and she waits, dropping lots of hints about what a fun night she’s had. When I ask her how her shower was, later, she says she wished there was someone to share it with her. I know she means the chap from last night, but she thinks I think she was flirting with me and now she’s acting strange and awkward. Try to make amends by asking what his name was. She tells me about an Indian named Ranjeet with big dreamy eyes you could just fall into. She says she wants to call him, but she’s worried that he’s not interested.

 

I call him for her and pretend to be Francis, from the bar, interested in a date. He blows me off and says he’s already seeing someone! So that’s all right then.

 

I make 5 times as much money performing on the street today than yesterday, which Mr. Anthonyson says isn’t as impressive as it sounds when you do math with such small numbers, but! There is a show tonight and I’m not being sacked, so it’s all alright! I’ll do better next time.

 

Anthonyson lets me do the pre-show show. By myself! Sort of. I think I don’t do too badly, and my tricks are spot-on. The best part is when Anthonyson asks the audience if “There are any young men out there who want to tie this young woman up.”

 

There are; one ties me up and then another one checks the ties to make sure the first wasn’t a plant. Sometimes the magic circle used to use plants, before they hired me, but I am really good at escapes, so now they don’t have to anymore!

“She can’t get out of that!” the double-checker says, but of course I can.

Mr. Anthonyson is so nice. He gave me an extra big tip for tonight because the man who tied me up pinched my bum.

First Day of Work and Mistaken Identity

by Lea

Who’s Leo and why is Heidi looking for him? Today was my first day of work and as expected I was given errands. While at Scotland Yard dropping off demonstration request forms, I overheard a girl asking a constable about a man named Leo. I was intrigued, but more worried about impressing my supervisor than her search. However, that soon changed.

After work I went to the Bleeding Heart pub with Frank and few other people from work. I had a good time. Everyone was interested in hearing my stories and the beer was good, but it was afterwards that things got interesting. I wanted to feel bright tomorrow, so I left when I was feeling a little buzzed, but certainly hadn’t had enough for a hangover.

On the way home, I heard a girl being given a hard time by two guys. She was asking about Leo, so I intervened. At the end of it the guys seemed convinced that I was an undercover cop. I don’t really know how that happened. I just mentioned that I’d seen her at Scotland Yard, and suddenly I was an undercover cop and they were running away!

Oops

“The Second Star in a Month”

by Jules

“The world’s going in the toilet,” Mr. Anthonyson says to me over breakfast. He’s my boss. The head magician. When I ask him what he means, he says the terrorist attacks lately might have been Russia and we’ll all be at war within the day. I hope it’s not Russia. Mr. Anthonyson loves to complain about Russia. When I ask him if he’ll cut me in half today, he says he’s sending me to pick up some equipment from Paternoster’s Emporium and gives me a shopping list. I do a lot of odd jobs for The Magic Circle, and hardly ever get to go on stage. But that’s okay! I get to meet lots of nice people.

 

Paternoster is a nice person as well. He’s an older man, kind-face and gray-haired. He seems very gentle and very friendly, but I can see something behind his eyes that speaks to a sterner side. Instead of being alarmed, I find that more comforting. Sometimes with old people you think they might break if you breathe wrong near them, but I can see that he’s strong.

 

His shop is SO CUTE. It’s really narrow, crammed right in between two bigger buildings and it’s full of all sorts of knickknacks for magic. There are bells everywhere.

“Bells are good luck,” he says. “They warn you when evil is coming. Except the bell that rang when you came in.”

He seems to really like me. I hope he won’t stop when I open my mouth, so I just smile and nod enthusiastically. Mr. Anthonyson is ALWAYS telling me I need to smile or people won’t like me.

 

Paternoster seems to still like me by the time we get upstairs, though, because he offers me tea. When I can’t decide between cream or lemon, he gives me lemon. I wait while he gets the supplies ready, sipping my tea.  

 

On the table: Some kind of star chart amid a pile of other papers. He tried to cover it up when he left, but I can’t understand anything about it and I can’t imagine why he’d try to cover it up. I’d never have thought anything of it if he hadn’t tried to hide it.

 

Upon further investigation: A journal entitled “Journal of Ivan Wheland Paternoster volume 241” It only has one entry. “The second star in a month, this is unheard of.”

 

There are other journals on the bookshelf.

 

Paternoster catches me snooping through his journals, but he doesn’t seem mad. I tell him I like the books, I’ve got my own journal, but it’s not as pretty as his. He says he gets them custom-made. A bit out of my price range, I think.

 

“You like Astronomy?” I ask.

“There have been some interesting stars appearing in the sky,” he says.

“New stars?” I ask. He looks surprised, really surprised, but then he realizes I didn’t mean whatever he thought I meant and just says that it’s to do with the changing of seasons. He is hiding something and I’m dying to know what. What could an old man possibly want to hide from me that has to do with astronomy? It all seems so arcane. I ask him to teach me more, but he says another time. I am late.

 

When I get back, Anthonyson sends me out to practice street performing again. He judges my success by how much money I make, but I can’t help giving most of it away to a little girl selling flower broaches “for luck”.

Apartment hunting

by Lea

I have arrived. London is perfect. It’s full of bustle and accents and… Londoniness. I looked at eight flats, as they keep getting called, today. Eight! I’m looking at location over size, of course. My least favorite was the square room with a bed in a corner and a washing machine, sink, fridge, a few cabinets, and two-burner stove on a wall in a cluster. Most were acceptable. They had some charm, but I don’t want to live the whole summer somewhere that feels like a cross between a dorm room and a hotel room. I’m in London! One had a washing machine in the kitchen, but no stove. Is it an English delusion that if you have clean clothes and tea you don’t need to cook other food? I really hope that I get my favorite one. It’s right near Charing Cross Station and Trafalgar Square. It has curved, low ceilings and this entrance through an alleyway. It feels like an underground bunker, and is absolutely perfect.

I’m going to find something to do to keep me awake so I can go to sleep at a normal time and get over jetlag as quickly as possible. It’d be a lot more fun trying to stay up if I’d met someone I really connect with already. So far I’ve mostly met a bunch of travelers at the hostel. There’s a group in the common area I’ll probably go join, but it’s not hard to find people to be around. What I’m hoping for is the harder to find connection, for a whirlwind summer friendship, then email contact afterwards and not-frequent-enough visits.