Branded Chapter 3
I swam in a blissful blackness for a while.
But sadly, I was not allowed to stay there.
The real world slowly resolved itself around me, and I realized I was on a bed in Doyle.
“Oh good, you’re awake” a nurse said.
“I’m not sure about that.” I replied, trying to pull things into focus.
“Well, you better get awake, boy. You got work to do and only two hours to do it.” said another voice, one I recognized as one of the self-defence instructors for the school.
Before I really knew what I was doing, I was dressed in a sleeveless shirt and shorts and in the dojo with the instructor.
First, he had me focus on my heart rate and breathing, and then slowly to begin exercising every part of my body. As he led me in the exercises, he also gave me lessons in biology, walking me through the systems of my body one at a time.
By the time he reached the reproductive systems, I was in such a focused state that I could listen without any of the baggage I had normally attached to my now male equipment. It was helped by the fact that he didnt lecture, but instead seemed to be telling me a story about my body. By the time he was done, for the first time, I felt better about being a guy now, and I started talking about my attraction to Faith, and he both encouraged me to wait without making me feel like it was “dirty” to feel this way.
He then sent me for a shower, and afterward I felt cleaner, not just physically but emotionally.
Outside the change room, I found a note telling me to go back to my temporary dorm room and change into “a proper suit” which would be waiting for me, and then to go to Mrs. Carson’s office.
I had never worn a suit since my transformation into a boy, and looking at the results when I was finished, I could see why some girls appreciate a man in a nice suit. I only hoped it would give me enough confidence to deal with whatever was going to happen.
I walked toward Mrs. Carson’s office, and was told by her secretary that “a legal representative from the aggrieved party” would be joining us in a moment or two.
“Great, a lawyer from Hell” I muttered, looking down at the floor.
“Hades, not hell” a voice said, and I looked up.
The woman standing in front of me looked like she was close to six feet tall, and rather muscular without looking at all unfeminine.
“Jen Walters” She said with a smile, and offered me her hand.
“Brand Carter” I said, and shook her hand.
“Let’s go into my office.” Mrs Carson said, as she stepped into the room.
A few moments later, Mrs. Walters had a briefcase open on Mrs. Carson’s desk, and was asking me about the three-headed dog that Faith had named “Fido”.
“To be honest, Mrs. Walters, a lot of what I did while possessed by Vendetta is a little ... vague to me. I don’t know how he found Fido, or how he took control of the creature. But Faith has him now, so maybe she can return him?” I said.
“I dont believe that will be possible, Brand. I’ve asked our magical staff, and Fido is now bonded to Faith in a way that cannot be broken.” Mrs. Carson said.
My shoulders slumped hearing that, but I asked Mrs. Walters, “What now?”
‘My client recognizes diminished capacity, so has decided against formal charges against you.” Mrs. Walters replied, “However, he believes there should still be a certain amount of restitution made.”
“What would that entail?” Mrs. Carson asked.
“That on Brand’s first break from school here, and every winter and summer break thereafter for two years, he works for me at my office.” Mrs. Walters replied.
“I gotta go to Hades?” I said, shakingly.
“No, my office is in New York City.” She said with a smile. “You’d be a gopher for me, maybe even learn a thing or two about law in the process.”
I looked at both women in shock. “Instead of going to jail, or worse, I’d be working for a lawyer?” I asked.
“Well, like I said, my client recognizes you weren’t in control of your actions. Plus, he has a healthy respect for what your kind did during the great war against the GOO, and for Vantier in particular. So he is willing to offer this idea - a lesson, rather than a punishment.” Mrs. Walters replied, smiling.
“Than ... thank you.” I stammered.
Mrs. Walters gathered her papers and put them back into her briefcase. Then she shook Mrs. Carson’s hand, shook my hand, and then left Mrs. Carson’s office.
Mrs Carson then picked up the receiver for her desk phone, and said, “Talia, would you please notify Faith she can come in now?”
Moments later, Faith came in, and Mrs Carson said, “it’s settled, Faith. Other than some work experience at a law firm, there will be no other consequences for Brand for taking Fido.”
“That’s fantastic!” Faith exclaimed, and hugged me.
As when we had flown together, I felt a physical connection to Faith, but this time it was more nuanced. It felt less like the driving need to procreate than a pairbond, a closeness on every possible level.
And I knew she felt it too.
We excused ourselves from Mrs Carson’s office, and went over to Crystal Hall and got some food, as it finally hit me how long it had been since I had last ate.
After we ate, Faith asked me to try the dreamwalk again, and I agreed.
We went to Faith’s room, and entered her (now ours, I realized) dreamscape. For the second time, I met Fido, Ava, and Faith’s mother. And Ava showed me the Book of the People that Vendetta had sought after, and I realized that even if he had found it, it would have done him no good.
The Book had absorbed much of the knowledge, wisdom, and even souls of its guardians, to the point it was a sentient being, who would have resisted being used by an unworthy person such as Vendetta was.
But as I looked, I realized it now considered me forgiven.
Just as Vantier did, and Fido, and Ava, and Mrs. Carson.
And especially Faith.
Then the Book “spoke” in a chorus of voices, and declared me Co-Guardian, along with Faith, something that apparently had never happened before. And as a sign of my status, it was going to create for me a weapon to replace the sword of Vendetta.
I wanted to refuse, but I felt the urgency of the situation - Vendetta still existed, and would continue to try and find a way to find and subdue the Book, and there could be other threats, both the the Book and to the world at large so I would need to be armed.
So it created for me a hammer.
No, not the kind of hammer you might find in a toolbox, but something much more powerful.
The hammer was a little odd shaped, with one head bigger than the other, kind of a mix of the old post hammers and the newer sledge hammers in one. It was new with all crisp lines, and noe of the dirt and dents of a used hammer. It was light enough to carry easily by its mysterious feeling wood and steel handle that was short but hefty.
The top had this design around where the handle comes through, that looked like two winged people reaching towards each other but also cocooning the egg shaped center.
We exited the dreamscape, and Faith pointed to my right arm, where I now had a tattoo of the hammer just as she had a tattoo of her staff.
Despite the temptation to er ... celebrate with Faith, we parted, and I made my way to my own room.
Thanks to my exhausted state, despite the conflicting emotions running through me, I managed to get to sleep.
Which turned out to be a good thing, as in the morning my full introduction to life at Whately was to begin ....
To be continued ...
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