The Alchemists

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    crazycreator
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    The Alchemists

    Post  crazycreator on Mon Apr 16, 2012 9:40 pm

    Names for the story?

    Order of the Alchemists....

    [insert other cheesy suggestions]




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    Re: The Alchemists

    Post  emeraldeyes on Mon Apr 16, 2012 10:04 pm

    Hands hovered over the silvery keys, the numbers printed on them faded away from years and years of use. For the third time that evening Ophira Alves hesitated to make the most important call of her life.

    The streets around her were quiet, with only a few people walking by, or leisurely biking down the side street just off of the main rode. For the most part the little street was silent, besides Ophira's senseless mumbling every now and then.

    "Just type in the number," Ophira spoke to herself through gritted teeth. Her head was cocked to the side to support the plastic phone reciever against her shoulder, one hand occupied with reaching out towards the number keys and the other holding onto a vibrant yellow Post-it note. She looked down at that very piece of paper, examining the number once more. The numbers were faded much like the ones on the key pad, the slip of paper must've gotten wet at some point. The ink had bled together, threatening to make the numbers unreadable. Something, a name perhaps, had been written on the note as well, but that piece of information hadn't been as lucky as the numbers. It was rendered completely unreadable.

    Ophira sighed again and shifted her weight from foot to foot. "This is getting ridiculous!" She told herself. "Come on! Caldwell's depending on you..."

    She glanced around the block once, checking to make sure she was alone. Nothing but the buzzing sound of silence could be heard. Ophira held her breath. This was it. She turned her attention back to the key pad and slowly began punching in the numbers. And then the phone began to ring...
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    Re: The Alchemists

    Post  crazycreator on Mon Apr 16, 2012 10:25 pm

    What woke him up?

    Andreas jerked upright, and brushed his bangs out of his eyes, dragged a hand across the week's growth of stubble on his chin. The radio was blasting Fun and he'd fallen asleep on his typewriter again--he could feel the letter 'o' imprinted on his cheek. Groggy, but instantly tense. He'd been running on caffeine and adrenaline for too long. Where was Halcyon lately?

    His phone rang.

    Ah, his phone. Unfolding himself from his desk, he plucked his cell from underneath his pillow and glanced at the caller ID. Unknown.

    Frowning, he answered, "Kostopoulos."
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    Re: The Alchemists

    Post  emeraldeyes on Mon Apr 16, 2012 10:37 pm

    Ophira opened her mouth to respond to the voice on the other end, but no sound came out. Any words that she had planned to say were stuck in the back of her throat. How was she to approach such a delicate subject? She couldn't just blurt it out there. No, she was going to have to do this gently. What was a gentle way to ask if someone was involved in a possible kidnapping?

    "Hello," Ophira managed to say. It came out slightly brighter than she intended. Or was that a good thing? "My name is Ophira Alves. You probably don't know me, but I was wondering if I could talk to you about something." I was wondering if I could talk to you about something...really, Ophira? You're not discussing the weather with this man! It's just a slightly heavier subject than that! She thought to herself bitterly.

    She began to twirl the metallic cord that was connected to the reciever around her finger. Maybe she had called the wrong person. There was no way this man knew anything about Caldwell's disappearance. But what if he did? Or worse: what if he was behind it? Ophira got the sudden urge to hang up the phone and run, but she didn't. Instead, she stood her ground and waited for some sort of response from this "Kostopoulos" guy, whoever he was.

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    Re: The Alchemists

    Post  crazycreator on Mon Apr 16, 2012 10:50 pm

    Ophira Alves.

    Alves. He mulled the name over, and knew instantly that no, he didn't know her. But should he?

    "You could try," he responded, matching her cryptic delivery. "What exactly is it that needs to be discussed?"

    As soon as he heard the phone ring, he'd wondered if this was an Alchemist Call. It still could be; they certainly had a tendency to list towards the mysterious/hidden agenda. But for some reason, he doubted she was from the Order. Her voice was too bright, with a wistful taint. He wasn't sure how he felt about that. Not suspicious at least; Alchemists usually employed pompous speakers with nasally tones and/or verbose masters of embellished phraseology.
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    Re: The Alchemists

    Post  emeraldeyes on Mon Apr 16, 2012 11:00 pm

    This was it. Ophira sucked in a deep breath. "I was wondering if possibly you could give me some information about something." Wonderful clairty, Ophira! She thought to herself sarcastically. "It's about a certain man by the name of Theodore Caldwell. He was a Philosophy professor at Oxford University. He's gone missing." Ophira paused, letting her words momentarily hang in the air. There was absolutely no turning back now.

    Should she mention what she knew about alchemists? No, that would be far too dangerous. Caldwell always told her that she wasn't supposed to know anything about them, and if they knew that she knew about them, she would be in serious trouble. No, she wouldn't mention that little bit of information unless it was absolutely vital. She certainly didn't want to be next on the list of people to go missing. An involuntary shiver ran down her spine.

    "Please," Ophira was stunned by just how desperate she sounded. "If you know anything, absolutely anything that could help me find him, I would be forever thankful."
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    Re: The Alchemists

    Post  crazycreator on Mon Apr 16, 2012 11:17 pm

    Andreas listened coolly at first, then intently. Gradually, the alarms in his head gave way to his methodical reason. Immediately, almost intuitively, he knew this was a dangerous conversation, knew the possibilities that would create this very situation.

    Caldwell. He had been an honorary uncle in their family since the dawn of time. His sister had liked him, maybe loved him, with her it was hard to tell. Andreas had never warmed to the man; anyone who could even remotely stand his father would never have a chance with him.


    "You do realize," he responded slowly. "That if indeed I do happen to know of this man, and of his being missing, that I could be the very person you would want to avoid making contact with?"

    Who was this girl? Ah, but did he care? He knew she was nervous, but determined. She cared about Caldwell. A lot. It was quite apparent.


    "Before I divulge any information--if in fact I do know anything about this...Caldwell did you say?", (for he did not put it above the Alchemists to listen to his calls, specifically he did not put it above his father to bug his phone) "may I inquire as to your field of study?" -- this was a common sleight of hand among the Alchemists; it tended to reveal who was and was not in the order, or in the know.

    Since their organization was one kept mostly to the blood, with rarely few initiates, it helped to memorize the surnames of all the members. Which was impossible. Even for him. He knew the names of the oldest families, but theirs was an expansive society.
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    Re: The Alchemists

    Post  emeraldeyes on Mon Apr 16, 2012 11:32 pm

    Ophira's grip tightened ever so slightly on the phone reciever. The man had a point. Maybe it wasn't a good idea to contact this man to discuss Caldwell's disappearance. But then, why would Caldwell have his number tucked away in his desk, written on a secret piece of paper? "I have a degree in both psychology and philosophy." Ophira said almost reluctantly. Why would this man care about her studies? Why was that important?

    "And yes, I did say Caldwell." She could tell by his voice that he recognized the name. Just by the ways that he was dancing around her questions told her that he had to know at least something. But why would he be so reluctant to share that information? This man had to be somehow connected to that secret society somehow.

    Ophira glanced around the block again. Still, no one was around. Good. She could just sense that she was getting into a very, very dangerous phone call.
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    Re: The Alchemists

    Post  crazycreator on Mon Apr 16, 2012 11:50 pm

    "Psychology?" Andreas resisted the urge to laugh, mainly due to his respect for philosophy. You would think him true to his Grecian roots, but no, he loved the French philosophers of the Revolution.

    Not an Alchemist then. But did she know of them at all?

    And, much to his chagrin, Caldwell's sudden disappearance deeply disturbed him. Did the other Alchemists know? Or was he the first of the society to be in possession of this information? Had Miss Alves contacted anyone else? He had too many questions.

    "Brighton, England. Little town on the coast. Meet me Friday at Five-o-clock on the beach near the wharfs. Do or bring whatever you need to assure yourself of your safety in my presence. You'll need to come up with a way to signal me. Right now. What will you do?" He waited for her response, then cut her off when he was satisfied. "That will do. I'll approach you first.

    "Now, if you can't make it...well, try to make it."

    He almost hung up.

    "Oh, and one more thing, don't--" he stopped mid-sentence as the sound of his door slamming open sounded from the front lobby/kitchen. "Don't mention Caldwell to anyone else. My name is Andres Kostopoulos. Make sure it's me in Brighton, and not some random bloke that you're giving this information too."

    He hung up, and removed the knife in the bottom drawer of his desk.
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    Re: The Alchemists

    Post  emeraldeyes on Tue Apr 17, 2012 12:13 am

    Ophira's mouth hung open, unable to get a word in as the man rattled off orders for her to meet him. Thankfully she knew where Brighton was, and had actually been there a few times before. At least she'd be somewhat comfortable in the area.

    Do or bring whatever you need to assure yourself of your safety... Those words haunted her for some reason. This obviously wasn't going to be some relaxing date to brunch. Ophira was never the type to bring means of safety around with her, but that was because she never needed it. She just wasn't the type to put herself in unnecessary danger. But this was completely necessary. She had to do it for Caldwell.

    When he asked her for some sort of signal, she answered almost immediately. "I'll be carrying a bright pink umbrella. You can't miss it."

    Ophira couldn't get another word in before this "Andreas Kostopoulos" guy hung up on her. He obviously wasn't someone for small talk. Carefully she placed the phone back on the reciever and shoved her hands and the Post-it note in the pockets of her jeans.

    There was absolutely no doubt in her mind: Andreas Kostopoulos was an Alchemist, which meant, according to Caldwell, at least, that he was incredibly dangerous. But he told her not to discuss Caldwell with anyone else, and he sounded deadly serious about that. He was the only chance that she had in finding Caldwell.

    ------------------------

    "Are you sure this will do the trick?" Ophira held a tiny plastic tube in her hand. It was plain and black, without even a sticker on it to reveal its contents.

    "Yep," The salesman at the counter assured her with a smile. "All you need is one blast in the eyes. It'll burn for a good hour."

    "Thanks!" She smiled at the man and passed him some money. She tucked the pepper spray in her pocket and turned to leave.
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    Re: The Alchemists

    Post  crazycreator on Tue Apr 17, 2012 12:32 am

    Andreas had always been good at compartmentalizing; it was what allowed him to concentrate on such diverse majors in university. As he wedged the door open slowly, he forgot all about the conversation he just had and focused solely on the intruder.

    They were noisy, not concerned at all about the terrible racket they were making: the sound of boots on the hardwood, his coat rack crashing into the wall. They thought he wasn't home.

    Slowly and steadily, he moved into the kitchen, so that only a few cupboards concealed his tall frame. The intruder was dressed all in black, their back was to him, and they seemed to be struggling with some kind of heavy bag.

    He had the intruder in a head lock in moments, knife at their throat.

    "You're the worst robber I've ever heard of," he muttered without humor.

    The smell, like the ocean, then the laugh, self-deprecating and taunting at the same time.

    "Hello, little brother."
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    Re: The Alchemists

    Post  emeraldeyes on Tue Apr 17, 2012 12:54 am

    Blindly Ophira flailed her arm across her body to smash it against her ringing alarm clock. When the ear-piercing noise ceased, her eyes slowly peered open. Displayed on her alarm clock was the time in glaring red digits: 6:00 AM. She had just 11 hours before she was to meet Andreas Kostopoulos.

    She stayed in bed for twenty more minutes, simply staring up at the ceiling. She allowed herself to enjoy the comfort of her bed. "Will I ever be in here again?" She spoke to herself. Her voice seemed dreadfully loud in the silence of the room. It was very possible that everything was a trap and she was heading into her death.

    She showered and got dressed, brushed her teeth and combed her short hair. She smoothed out her skirt as she glanced in her mirror. What were you supposed to wear when going out to discuss the disappearance of your Philosophy professor and secret societies? Ophira settled on a business-casual look.

    The rest of her day was very uneventful, with her just wandering around her apartment, too nervous to sit still.

    Just before she ran out the door at 3:30 PM she made sure she grabbed her neon pink umbrella and tucked it under her arm. She checked the pocket in her skirt for her pepper spray for the tenth time in fifteen minutes. She hurried off to her car parked just outside of her apartment and sent one last wistful look at the place she had called home. Perhaps she would never see that place again.
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    Re: The Alchemists

    Post  crazycreator on Tue Apr 17, 2012 1:09 am

    Andreas stared at his sister over the rim of his steaming mug. The kitchen smelled sharply of cinnamon and raw vanilla this morning. It seemed brighter in the apartment, even though the shades were drawn over the windows as usual.

    Just the two of them drinking tea at the table. He could have said it was like old times. But times changed too frequently. He moved too much, but of course she always found him. In a way, they did have a routine. Whenever she arrived spontaneously, she crashed on the couch and made him breakfast the next morning--not breakfast really, simply whatever concoction she was favoring at the moment. They talked, but not really.

    "What did you do to your hair?" he asked, raising a brow.

    "Dyed it. Then cut it. Then dyed it again." Halcyon fiddled with a blonde strand curling at the corner of her lips. "Pixie cut lends itself to disguises. You should see my wig collection."

    "And how many times have you changed your name since I last saw you?" Andreas inquired, pretending indifference. "Four times?"

    "Don't be ridiculous." Halcyon stretched, her t-shirt (his t-shirt--apparently she hadn't stuffed any PJs into that bag) crinkling at the shoulders. "Only two."

    Andreas snorted and set his mug in the sink. "You're welcome to the apartment, for however long you're staying this time."

    "Are you going somewhere?" she asked with mild curiosity. He cast her an exasperated look as he grabbed a light jacket, his messenger bag, and opened the door.

    "You don't give me goodbyes, so why should I return the favor? You pop in and out of existence, Halcyon."

    "Sounds like someone's cranky." Her tone had cooled as well; she didn't like her given name used.

    "Yes, well, help yourself to the food in the cabinets. And don't freak out when Ven comes home. He's my roommate." He'd been away for the past few nights, but was scheduled to return sometimes that day.

    Before she could ask any more questions, he shut the door on her shocked expression and trod down the stairs to the main lobby of the apartment. Exiting onto the street, he made his way to the underground, and to Brighton.


    Last edited by crazycreator on Tue Apr 17, 2012 1:20 am; edited 1 time in total
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    Re: The Alchemists

    Post  emeraldeyes on Tue Apr 17, 2012 1:20 am

    Ophira clutched her annoyingly pink umbrella in her hand until her knuckles turned white. People kept staring at her as they passed by. She just had to have her umbrella on the one sunny day of the year in England. Whenever someone would give her an odd look she hoped that it would be Andreas Kostopoulos, and whenever they would walk away her heart would sink just a little bit farther.

    "Maybe he's not coming." Ophira whispered under her breath. "Can't say I blame him." She wiggled her toes in her heeled shoes. Wearing them on the wharf wasn't one of her brightest ideas.

    It wasn't long before she began pacing along the wharf, no longer being able to stay in one spot. Her nerves were getting the best of her. She shoved her hand in her pocket and felt for her bottle of pepper spray, breathing a sigh of relief when she felt it there.

    "Just a bit longer," she said to herself, "he'll be here any minute now." If her pink umbrella hadn't brought attention to herself, her muttering and pacing definitely did. At least there was no way Andreas Kostopoulos could miss her that way.
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    Re: The Alchemists

    Post  crazycreator on Tue Apr 17, 2012 1:28 am

    Andreas Kostoupolous arrived forty-five minutes before five-o-clock. He was sitting in a shadowed part of the wharf when Ophira Alves arrived. She was unmistakable: her pink umbrella, her mutterings. He didn't notice her right away however; he had been internally guestimating the tensions in the rigging of a sailboat. Written up a report, translated it.

    When he did, he watched her for a while, a good five minutes, to make sure no one was tailing her. He was surprised no one was in fact. She was a tad overt, but perhaps that was why she was so unsuspecting. Then he simply observed her for another five. Interesting woman.

    "Miss Alves?" he called out as he approached.
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    Re: The Alchemists

    Post  JustTheNarrator on Tue Apr 17, 2012 1:36 am

    As Cilviano slid his duffel up the back stairway railing, the jet lag finally began to set in. American alchemists, he thought to himself. None match their tediousness, or love of idle talk. Next time I must convice Andreas to come with me, or at least one of the bearable apprentices. He turned his key in the lock, and was startled out of his three-quarter conciousness by a woman sitting at the table, her back turned to him. Likely an acquaintance of Andreas (as after the last person they'd sent to check on him the Society had promised to let him come to them) but not one he'd seen yet. "Hello," he said tentatively. "Friend of Andreas, I presume?"
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    Re: The Alchemists

    Post  emeraldeyes on Tue Apr 17, 2012 1:36 am

    Ophira's grip tightened on her container of pepper spray. "Yes?" She said in response to her name as she turned around to face who was calling her. She knew that this man had to be Andreas Kostopoulos; she could tell just by his voice.

    Just by looking at him she could tell that he wasn't a cheery sort of fellow, but he wasn't about to attack her, either. She let herself relax just a bit.

    "You must be Andreas Kostopoulos? Thank you so much for meeting me." She flashed him a warm, albeit fake, smile. "I know this probably isn't very easy for you, so I appreciate this." She took her hands out of her pockets and attempted to look more open.
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    Re: The Alchemists

    Post  crazycreator on Tue Apr 17, 2012 1:49 am

    An unexplainable anger suddenly welled up within him.

    "Don't give me my name," he said stiffly. "If I wanted to, I could now assume an identity that is not mine to gain your trust." He exhaled heavily. With conscious effort, he relaxed his furrowed brow and tried to lighten the mood. "Nice umbrella." It came out as more sarcastic really...

    "And don't thank me yet. Neither could this be easy for you. I have a feeling, and think you do too, that you're in deeper than you may want to be already, and there's no turning back from here." He kept his voice low, casually glanced around, not in a suspicious manner, but as if he was simply allowing his gaze to wander.

    "We should walk along the beach. Let the sound of the waves obscure our words."




    Halcyon turned as the door opened. This would be Ven, then.

    "I wouldn't call us friends, not anymore. Unfortunately he can't shake me either way. You must be Ven."

    Rising, she crossed to shake his hand, offering a friendly smile of greeting.

    "I was just perusing the recent Society reports. Andre likes to keep them hidden, but I know all his hiding places. Where did you go on your trip? If I'm allowed to ask."
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    Re: The Alchemists

    Post  JustTheNarrator on Tue Apr 17, 2012 2:00 am

    "Well, then," Ven said, blinking twice rapidly. "Clearly you know more than you're meant to, but clearly that's inevitable. I'm returning from America, and am actually quite tired, however I doubt sleep is any longer an option." He took a mug from the cabinet and poured the coffee Andreas had left, turning to the guest and leaning against the counter. "Would you like a cup, Miss...?"
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    Re: The Alchemists

    Post  crazycreator on Tue Apr 17, 2012 2:07 am

    "Certainly not. Feel free to sleep off your jet lag." She shook her head at the proffered mug. "I'm fine, thank you. And Miss Kostoupolos. I'm Andre's big sister."

    She smiled, running a hand through her cropped hair.

    "I'm going by Mia at the moment. Alchemist business across the Pond?" she guessed as to his trip.
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    Re: The Alchemists

    Post  JustTheNarrator on Tue Apr 17, 2012 2:28 am

    "No, no, quite fine," he replied. He couldn't sleep with others in the house, even if they were Andreas' blood, and as she was his sister he wasn't about to kick her out. He also refrained from mentioining Andreas never mentioned his own sister, and risk her being upset with him. Her appearance, or what she hadn't altered of it, was proof enough of relation. "And yes, I'm often sent to deal with certain other branches. Also, if you change your name as often as that last statement suggests, I'll just go with 'Miss'."
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    Re: The Alchemists

    Post  crazycreator on Tue Apr 17, 2012 12:34 pm

    Halcyon pursed her lips and shrugged, but they were raised at the corners. "That's rather wise, in both senses." She sauntered over to the couch and plopped herself down, resisting the urge to splay across the cushions and make herself at home.

    Now that he was actually here, she had to face it. Her brother had a roommate. Ven. He seemed like he would get along well with her brother. Same amount of reservation.

    But still, how did that happen? It wasn't like she and Andreas were the closest of brothers and sisters; they talked at most every other month. But was her baby brother really so changed? And this morning, had he come to resent her so much? For being like...

    Her chest constricted in the most uncomfortable way; she grimaced, and tried to ignore it.
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    Re: The Alchemists

    Post  emeraldeyes on Tue Apr 17, 2012 2:46 pm

    Ophira bit the inside of her cheek to stop her retort. He had a point, she'd give him that, but he didn't have to be so prickly about it. But once she saw in his face that he was at least attempting to lighten the mood she let herself relax once more.

    She moved towards the direction of the beach, walking somewhat awkwardly once she stepped onto the sand. Heels were definitely not the best choice in footwear. She gave him a tight-lipped smile. "Thanks," she replied to his sarcastic compliment towards her umbrella.

    "I figured I was in a bit over my head." She said with a shrug. "I don't really have much of a choice, though. I have to do this."
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    Re: The Alchemists

    Post  crazycreator on Tue Apr 17, 2012 4:13 pm

    "You sound as if you c-...care for him deeply." He almost used the past tense, but best not to be presumptuous. Although, when Alchemists went missing, it was usually for one of two reasons, neither of which had good implications.

    "Theodore Caldwell," Andreas sighed softly, taking out a small black box from his messenger bag and flipping a few switches. "The last I recall of that man, he was quoting 'On Crime and Punishment' and convincing my father not to send me to... military school." He scowled, remembering the lean professor stand up to his strong-willed father.

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    Re: The Alchemists

    Post  emeraldeyes on Tue Apr 17, 2012 4:24 pm

    "He's like a father to me." Ophira said with a sad smile. "Ever since my parents died, he's all that I've had." She gave a half-hearted laugh even though she didn't find anything particularly funny. "After all that he's done for me, the least I can do is find him."

    If he's still around to find... The thought flashed through her mind, but she willed it away. Instinctually her hand went to her pocket, where her pepper spray was.

    Ophira raised an eyebrow. "What's that?" She pointed at the black box in Andreas Kostopoulos' hand.

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