The hike to the new camp site was rough – even for me and I’m in shape. We hiked for another four hours. After a quick lunch at the ruined camp we started out again. Dylan called HQ from his satellite phone used for emergencies and told them about the fire and our new plans. All protocol and all. There was no time to set up camp everyone pretty much collapsed where they stood no dinner, no fires, and no tents.

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We get to sleep under the stars. All the boys teeth are chattering but I’m not. My ability is a wonderful tool. No fire needed. I’ll be up early again I’m sure.

Earlier Nate and Chris hunkered down next to me and they both smiled at me when I extended the warmth to them. Chris’ eyes grew wide unaware that I was cheating until that moment. They had come because they were family, not because they knew I was cheating. Both boys have been snoring rather loudly for the past 30 minutes so I doubt the light from my screen is bothering them any.

While we were hiking up here I got a chance to speak with all the boys. Unlike Trent and Dylan I wanted to know the kids. To know how best to help them through it. So I spent some time with each of them – except Nate and Chris who I already know rather well.

James Green is the grandson of Mark Green. He’s a very weak Magnus – NNAe1. He’s 16 and a snob. He pretty much looked down on me despite his several inches shorter than me. He felt he was better than me even at the tender age of 16. I’m not ruling family – little did he know. I should have wrapped him up in air and left him but I’m bigger than that now and I went on to the next kid.

Brock Combs has long red hair and a dull pair of blue prominent eyes but he was built like a truck. He played football. The Academy let the jocks out to play in one of the local school districts to augment their teams. Some of them like swimming they have their own teams, but there isn’t enough boys to put together entire teams. Brock was a linebacker and fairly decent at it according to him. He also had a heavy Texan accent, so he was likely missing home. He had three years left before that was likely to happen.

Matthew Davenport, Matt – he insisted I call him that. He kept looking at me like I was out of one of Sage’s comic books. He was quiet and shy and had the most unusual colored eyes – amber – I’d say almost the color of a wolf’s. I could tell by the way he held himself people picked on him and I could also see the small glimmer that he was checking me out. I made sure not to make any grand overtures but told him if he needed to talk I was there.

Carl Chong was one of the newer recruits at the tender age of 13. HIs eyes were the color of storm clouds and he work a heavy metal t-shirt. His hair was spiked up and had fallen flat in the rain. I forgot to mention it had rained most of the day as I had said it would. Most of the kids were drenched from head to to, but only Carl’s hair looked bad, and I was pretty sure he was still tasting all the goop he’d put in. I was thankful for not styling my own. I would not be doing that for most of our stay out in the woods.

The moment I approached Philip Maclin I regretted it. Talk about a boy who likes to kiss ass. He complimented my hair, my nails. He said sweet things about Drake. At the very least the boy had done his homework. He knew who I was. Who my family was. He knew as much as Nate and Chris did and he even knew things they didn’t. Things that required searching the Archives for. Things I wished he hadn’t – like the fact that I had a twin sister. Apparently that was in the Archives. I think it was about time I looked into my past – see what other mysteries of my birth might linger in the endless reaches of the Venatori paperwork.

Timothy Kitterman and Matt seemed like they should be friends, but yet when the two boys looked at each other I saw anger and passion that could only come from a breakup. Where Matt had been shy Timothy was outgoing and peppy and was no wonder he was a cheerleader. I watched him glide over the rocks that had fallen on our path long ago, and were never removed. Rock climbing being something the boys needed to learn anyway.

Patrick Vaughn was friends with Nate. I’d seen the boy hanging around Iris’ a time or two when I’d stop by for tea with my sister. Other than Nick, she was the only one who really had accepted me as her little brother. Patrick was into computers and video games. He was one of few Venatori who might actually like living in the real world. I would need to tell Dorian about him. Make sure he got the proper education. Maybe even introduce him to Sage. It would be beneficial for the Venatori to start pursuing the computer arts among our own people who actually enjoy it. I was already pressuring Nate to go to NYU and study Computer Science. His mother was not interfering in that, but his father was a different story.

John Stone, like James Green, is one of the ruling families, and thus very high and mighty. He is the grandson of Stephanie Stone, but he at least gave me a few moments of his precious time as I helped him scale over those same rocks Timothy gracefully slide over only moments before. I think if he got away from James, he’d thrive and make new friends.

I know we are going to have a problem with Jerry Mora, but not for any of the social reasons, or any of the physical reasons. The boy never takes his nose out of a book. He literally, almost walked off the edge of a cliff. I commandeered his current book only to have him reading another one an hour later. I took his bag from him, and his book and he grumped at me. Trent decided I was too weak to carry both Jerry’s bage and my own and took the boy’s bag. I guess I’m okay with big macho men doing the heavy lifting but I take offense that I can’t hold my own. I can hold more than he ever dreamed of if push ever came to shove. Just because I have to use my ability doesn’t make me weak.

Michael Cox has long black hair that covers his gorgeous blue eyes – they remind me of Sage’s, though not quite so bright. He’s always looking down, never met my eyes once even though he looked at me through those long black locks. He was your typical goth kid – eyeliner and everything. Though he looked like a member of Kiss with the black mascara running down his face after the rain. I was glad the eyeliner I used was waterproof. No black racoon eyes and dripping makeup for me.

Of the three left, Larry Donohue, was the least likely to do well. He was a self described band geek. He played tuba, flute, guitar and the piano and he was continuously beating against my seat on the bus ride up to Boulder from the airport. Annoying. But he at least paid attention.

Steven Lusby sat at the edge of everything. He was last on the plane, last on the bus, he was last in line on the hike. He didn’t speak to anyone. He didn’t seem shy when I spoke to him. Just didn’t seem to want to be part of anything. It made me wonder if this is what I looked like when I was a boy. Though if I think back on it. I never really let people take their eyes off of me. I hated the center of attention, but if they were looking at the absurd things – like the hair and makeup and the ‘yes I like boys’ they were less likely to see the frightened little boy who was walking around thinking about hurting himself. And once I started the whole pay attention to me, it was hard to stop. I was the class clown, I got in trouble for talking too much, though I was never really talking to anyone around me, just talking.

It’s probably why this whole journal thing works so well for me. I just get to ramble away for no apparent reason and no one has to actually listen to me. But you are right?

Last but not least is Robert York. Now let me tell you about Bob. Yes, I’m calling him Bob. Why, because it pisses him off. Why, do i want to piss him off, because he’s a drama queen. He whines, he is a tattle tale. In the 20 minutes I spent with him I learned that Lusby was crying last night, Matt and Tim had indeed dated and were on the bad end of a breakup, and Philip was a stalker – he’d gotten in trouble several times for following several girls into the girls dorms.

All in all we had a pretty diverse group, with different backgrounds, different interests and it was going to take a lot to get them to work together as a team. There would be three. Dylan had yet to tell us exactly who was heading up which boys. That was for tomorrow’s morning wake up call.

I should go to bed. I will be up in a few hours anyway and probably right back here writing.

Whole Story

My name is Nox Sétanta. I am first and foremost a fictional character escaped from the mind of my creator AJ. In layman's terms I'm a magic wielding monster hunter born to my human mother and my Venatori father.

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