Exalt (Prologues)
#1
"The past is where your death lives. You fall apart based on everything you once were, coming back to let you know the consequences. More often, your stubborn ass doesn't think to accept what mistakes you've made and you're not young enough, fast enough or strong enough any longer to resist or put up the fight necessary to stave it off. It caught up and you're that old bugger too stupid to do anything about it anymore. Just...accept that it is going to happen and maybe enlightenment will reach through and give you an out."

~Gorman the Tusk, Former Akashic, brand spanking new Adept Orphan~

"...Maggie?"

"Mmm-hmm."

"It's three in the morning. This couldn't wait?"

"I wasn't...sure."

"Alright, well I'm here and it's four hours to dawn. What-"

"I picked up something interesting a few hours ago. It took some time to trace it to a source and then, a bit longer to figure out what I was looking at-"

"Maggie. Please. For the love of the divine, just...."

"I wasn't aware you had a Daughter."

He stood on the carpet in her apartment staring. She was dressed in his shirt, one leg over the other, ankle bobbing in that thoughtful way it did when she was enjoying his surprise. And he was. Surprised. 

"It isn't something I've thought to talk about-"

"How odd, given her...obviousness."

"What?"

The flat stare that followed was one he had gotten used too. One he was certain she had practiced in the mirror a few thousand times. Sculpted to perfect 'Are you kidding right now?' levels. He let loose an exasperated sigh which she took to mean 'No, I am not.'

"Martin. She's awake." 

More foot bobbing. More surprise. 

"What? Ho-"

"Quite awake, actually. Wide and wild and obviously awake. I barely scratched your family tree during that last knell and she practically jumped out of the runes at me-"

"You were spying on my bloodlines?"

"Yes, dear. Think of it like old school facebook stalking."

He uttered a confused laugh. There were emotions running around here. Ones he couldn't quite put into the calm state that was his MO. 

"She's awake."

"Yes, Martin. I said that already."

"Huh. Heh.....huh...."

"I don't think I've seen you this inarticulate since my last blowj-"

"Just...tell me where..."

Her foot stopped bobbing and her brow receded from it's arch. She climbed to her feet, a careful and exacting thing and marched across the carpet to him. Hands played along his forearms, gathered up his wrists and turned both over to stare into his palms for a moment. She hummed gently and breathed across the sweaty pads of his fingertips.

"I don't think whatever you believe right now is the best course of action, Martin."

"She's my daughter."

"...and She's awake."

"...She's my daughter, Maggie."

"...and you've been gone for how long now?"

He took his time with his next inhale. 

"...I tell you if I had a chance to see my father? Knowing the things I know now? I doubt there'd be more than a puddle left."

They stood there in silence, waiting as the emotions ran a puzzle across his face. She curled into his chest, head tucked up under his chin and, like reflex, his arms folded around her. She hummed gently, distractedly against one of his pectorals. She listened to his heartbeat and with that rhythm alone knew what he was going to say next.

"She's my daughter."

"...and you have to go."

She pulled back to look up at him, smiling the entire time. 

"Fine, Martin. She's in Denver. Aurora, to be more precise." A hand slapped at his cheek, watching his eyes glaze over in that way when he was already reaching for conclusions. "But if you're not back inside of a month, I'll consider it a break up and level half the county. Wouldn't want that on your Godly conscience would you?"

"Just...try to behave, please?"


She nipped his shoulder. It barely registered. He was already packing and assembly the wards and plans in his head. He had a daughter and she was Awake. 

Martin Travers mentally braced himself for the days to come.
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