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DKUSAN16B hurt him When smiled hungrily


DARKSIDE: USAN; "The Charge Keepers, Part 2."

[Version Control: Original.]

[Disclaimer: This text is intended for adult audiences, if you
are not of age to view it, be somewhere else. This series of
stories explores the darker aspects of the human experience, if
that might offend you, then you were warned, and it isn't my
problem. -- KTM]

Anything can happen in the Multiverse. Even a world that is
much like ours, but which somehow... isn't. A world that is a
magnet for the blackness in the dreams and souls of humankind. A
world known as: The Darkside.

The World's economic system depends on a delicate
interlocking system of mutual trust and financial debt. When
those bonds shattered, the governments and monetary institutions
crumbled. Even the most idealistic civil servants left their
jobs when their families were gripped with hunger. The Survivors
of the Chaos would come to call their nation the United States of
Chapter 16b. "The Charge Keepers, Part 2." (Story) -- by KTM.
Hyacinth Storm was locking up the 'Endless Dreams', her New
Age bookstore, the night she was taken. She became so sleepy
that she sank down on the sidewalk in front of the door, so she
could rest. It seemed very important that she rest right then.
She awoke in what she learned was called the House of the
St. Ives Clan. When she stirred on the bed, two men entered the
room. "You'll come with us," one of them said gruffly.
"Like hell I will," she said. She didn't know where she
was, but it didn't look like she safe. Her dad had taught her
passive resistence was the best defensive tactic. So, she went
limp when they grabbed her, becoming a dead weight. One pulled
on her silver hair, while the other pulled a taser from his
pocket and made it spark. She stood, and let them pull her out
of the room. It wouldn't be worth the pain, dad, she thought.
She saw heavy bracelets without clasps on her wrists as they
led her through the house. She was brought to a grand room with
medieval style trappings. She disliked the expressions on the
faces of the people in the room. They were hostile, and
predatory. One scruffy looking man's stare made her skin crawl.
He sat with his own guardsmen, and his wrist's bore bracelets
similar to hers. No one else here wore them. She guessed they
were some kind of restraint device.
"Welcome home, Miss Storm," said a man, dressed in 'old-
wealth' type clothes of a dated style. He was seated in an
ornate wooden chair reminiscent of a throne. "My name is Justin
St. Ives, and this is my household. You weren't aware of it
until today, but you are a distant cousin to most of my Clan.
We've gone to great lengths to find you, because your family needs you."
"MY family lives in Monterey," she said, "and I want to go
back, right now."
"That won't be possible," he said. "Your duty to the Clan
outweighs anything. All the Clans need you, but as your kin, I
have charge of you." His eyes lingered on her body.
"If you think I'm staying here..." Hyacinth sputtered.
Coolly, he said, "The walls are ten feet high, and the gates
are guarded. If you get within five feet of them, the bracelets
you're wearing will cause you pain. Your cousin Bruno has
already found out about this." One of the men by the scruffy man picked up Bruno's wrist, showing the bandages under the solid
Justin gestured, and her attendants pushed her to chair.
"Now for the reason you are here," he said, holding up a jeweled
globe. It looked expensive. "This is a rare artifact from the
ancient times, called a mana battery. It has taken the Clans a
month to fill it. I shall now discharge it into you."
Hyacinth was puzzled. As far as she could tell, he was
talking about magic. Not stage magic, and not the subtle karmic
forces of the New Age, but real sword-and-sorcery 'Merlin the
Magician' type magic. And he believed it! She wasn't sure if he
was insane, but the situation was so strange, she wouldn't be
He held up the globe. "Pay attention to this, my dear, you
must learn this the first time. Next, you will learn to gather
the energy by yourself." He took the cap off the globe and
pointed it at her. She could feel the swirl of arcane energy as
it curled toward her. Reflexively, she somehow reached for the
energy, and drew it inside of her before it could leak away.
Those watching her, gasped. Suffused with the energy, she
could sense it now, even see it. The bonds on her wrists glowed
dully, and the jeweled globe shone more brightly. Except herself
and Bruno, everyone had a dimly glowing nexus just below their
heart, mostly dark. When she looked down at herself, she had
fibers of light all through her body. Bruno had very faint
fibers through him.
Justin forced her to look at him. "Don't let the magic go.
That's very good." He smiled wolfishly. He held the empty globe
to her. "Fill it back up, now."
She glared at him. She didn't want to part with it. The
taser behind her sparked again, making her jump. Frowning, she
looked into dark opening of the artifact, willing the power to
fill it again. It swirled from her readily in shining strands,
and poured into the battery. Suddenly it sprayed out around his
hands, as the globe's capacity was reached, and exceeded.
"Not too much!" he snapped, quickly putting the cap back
into place on the precious heirloom. Then he looked at her with
a cold smile. "Now get more magic," he said.
"From where?" she said.
"From all around you," he said. "You can do this, and by
all the Gods, you will!"
She felt bereft without the energy, she realized. But she'd
sent more magic than the globe had given her. She could get
more! She closed her eyes, and drew it in. To the mage's
senses, fairy motes of light from all around entered the room,
and flew to her, sinking into her skin, imparting their radiance
to her.
It wasn't long before she surpassed all other magic sources
in the room, and was still building. Justin watched her
carefully, but she showed no signs of drawing from the mages, or
from established magic patterns, like the bracelets. The energy
within her remained neutral, and wasn't refining itself into more
complex patterns.
Batteries that could shape the magic were dangerous. The
Lords forbade that ability, doing their best to eliminate it. He
was satisfied she was safe. Though she was too valuable to be
killed for having a forbidden ability, she would be stripped of
her active gift, so they could try again with her children. The
Batteries weren't permitted to rebel.
The motes flowing to her slowed, then stopped. "She's
double, nearly triple Elias's capacity at his prime, my lord,"
one of the mages said. "We have ourselves a new Battery!"
"Battery?" she said, feeling confused.
"More like a capacitor," he said. "You provide the power
that we utilize. Look at me; like the artifact, I'm nearly empty
inside. Touch my hands and fill me."
He reached out, and glared at her until she took his hands.
He was like a void inside. Reluctantly, she let the power flow
to him. She held more than he could take, by far, but she
couldn't seem to 'overflow' him.
Justin stepped back, spreading his arms. His followers came
to touch his hands, arms, or face; drawing until they were sated.
They had much less capacity to hold the power than he. She
slowing drew in again, as she watched.
He turned to the men guarding her, "Take her to the guest
quarters," he said gruffly. "Tonight she will learn the rest of
her duties to the Clan." Despite herself, she shuddered.
She didn't like the smirks on their faces as they shoved her
into a sumptuous bedroom, and closed the door firmly. When
Justin St. Ives entered the room, he said imperiously, "Attend
"Up yours," she said.
He gestured, and her wrist bands began to burn, like a hot
iron laid on her skin. "Come, and it will stop," he said.
Cursing, she went. "Such language! You will fill me again. I
have empowered my Clan, as is my duty, so you must empower me."
Her expression was rebellious. "Or do you want the burning to
She took his hands and filled him again, fast and rough,
trying to hurt him. When he smiled hungrily at her, she realized
her mistake. She had merely succeeded in arousing him.
"I can use the magic that will forever elude you," he
gloated. "You are my servant, and slave to the needs of the
Clans." He caressed her face before she could draw away. "It's
a good thing you're so pretty. Fucking you is going to be very
There was no escaping him. She figured that he could have
bent her will to his, but instead he made himself strong. He
held her, and stripped her naked. Throwing her on the bed, he
was on her immediately. Quickly lashing her to the frame, he
moved back and began to undress.
He was a large man below the belt, not in length, but in
thickness. He lay down beside her, playing with her body. "If I
use magic," he said, "refill me immediately, or be punished."
"You can't do this," she cried, struggling.
"But I can," he said, still reveling in the enforced
intimacy. "Since the Clan lords rebelled against the Batteries
they've been our servants. I have every right to use you as I
see fit, and since your body arouses me, I'll use you in bed."
He cast a spell on her. She filled him before she knew what
he'd done. She suddenly noticed her cunt was wet, undoubtedly
for his convenience.
"Suck me," he said, as he kneeled by her head, thrusting
himself at her face. She hesitated a moment, and he gave a yank
on her silver hair. Unwillingly she opened her mouth to him. He
filled her mouth, and he began to brusquely stroke in it. She
found that she was able to take his full size, and that the taste
was more appealing than she'd ever known before. Another spell,
she guessed. With a groan, he came in her mouth, but he didn't
get soft.
He climbed between her legs, aimed his cock at her opening,
and sank in with one stroke. He showed no concern for her
enjoyment. Thrusting himself in her at his own pace, he seemed
to delight in changing his rhythm whenever she showed signs of
responding to him. He pumped hard in her just before he came,
leaving her still frustrated.
"That was an object lesson," he said. "You are here for my
pleasure, not yours. The mundane world has taken women's rights
too far. You think men owe you pleasure, but we don't. You'll
He cleaned himself with a small spell, then he put on a
robe, clapping his hands. The scruffy man was brought in, also
in a robe. "Bruno is your second cousin, Hyacinth. He has a
latent talent for what you can do. You must perpetuate your
line, and he's here to 'assist' you. Fair warning, he was taken
from a federal prison. I think his conviction had something to
do with sex crimes."
The big man threw off his robe, and leered at her bound
form. While he rubbed his jutting erection, she could see that
he was covered with scars and gang tattoos.
"Remember, Bruno," St. Ives said from the doorway. "You can
play rough with her, but you can't really hurt her. You know the
penalty if you do." Bruno nodded never taking his eyes off her
sweat covered body.
As the door closed, he leaped at her with a growl. In the
hallway, St. Ives responded to her muffled screams with a frosty
smile, as he strode away from his guest room.

The days that followed blurred, one into another. From the
mystic portals that linked the Houses together, other lords came
to St. Ives to partake of the power. She was told who to be
generous with, and who to shortchange, claiming fatigue.
Limiting the power available to rival Houses was a perk of the
Hosting lord. The other leaders seemed so grateful to have
access to the magic again, they didn't complain, but that would
change soon.
When she wasn't being tormented, or giving power to the
Clans, Hyacinth was left pretty much alone. She found some
comfort sitting in the beautiful garden of the House. After
several days, an old gardener woman handed her some plants and a
spade. "If you're going to look at it so much," she said, "you
can help me keep it pretty.".
Hyacinth loved to garden, and she gladly helped Marge work
with the plants. She'd seen other domestics around the House,
and told about the lesser families they came from. Marge looked
to be about sixty or so, and like the others, she was much nicer
to Hyacinth than the mages were.
While they worked, Marge would tell her stories about the
Clans. About when the power givers were benevolent rulers who
sacrificed their magic to empower their brethren. Of how they
were called Charge Keepers, before the lords revolted.
"I heard a rumor," Marge said one day, "of the last Keeper.
That he'd learned to absorb spells before they could take hold of
him. It's something that you might be able to learn with
practice. Your best ally is patience."
A small miracle she enjoyed was Bruno's inability to
impregnate her. St. Ives was becoming dissatisfied with the
brutal convict's lack of results. He queried Mallien for news on
the second son's line. They would need another stud for his
prize mare.
Mallien responded with a call for a clan meeting. He had
finished his research, and wanted to share it with the council.

"There is another Battery," Edwin said. "And I claim his
"Mallien has never been a Host," Medford snapped. "Besides,
I have recent experience."
"Then it's about time my Clan did," the archivist said.
"You think the power flows well now? Considering he's never
drawn in, this young man is estimated at least twice her
capacity. There will be plenty of magic for all, if we get him
working for the Clans. He's living a normal life right now, and
I won't ruin that for him unless if I have the Hosting. That
way, I can ensure that he's treated right."
"Very well, Edwin," Durst said. "We'll put it to a vote."
It pleased the balding lord that there would be a second source
of power, because he was at odds with St. Ives at the present.
"I object," Justin shouted. "I was granted Host of the girl because she's my kin. I should have this one as well. What
better mate for her than another full Battery?"
"I agree," Edwin said. "But he can be Hosted elsewhere the
rest of the time."
St. Ives was outraged when the vote went against him. For
so new a Host, he'd been very heavy handed in his politics. He
had only himself to blame, but he didn't have to like it.
"He's Joshua Cross, and an unknown quantity," Edwin said.
"His father is Jonas, your exiled son, Lady Willingston. Jonas
was stripped of his power and memories, but his gifts were
strong. He'd have been drawn to a latent power giver, like the
boy's mother. I've seen Joshua he's like nothing we've ever come
across before."
"Haven't you an inch of spine, Edwin?" Justin sneered. "We
shall simply take him, as we took the girl, and damn the
"I will be his Host, and I will be the one to get him!"
Edwin roared in outrage. "You libidinous worm! Don't think I
haven't smelled your sex on the girl when you presented her for
the power giving? Your hosting can be revoked if you continue to
manage her so poorly."
"Don't presume to threaten me," St. Ives growled.
"Stay out of this," Edwin said. "The council's vote is
final. It's my call."

Joshua Cross was a hard young man, who'd had a hard life.
It was no wonder that his hair turned silver early. His dad was
a psychotic, subject to violent rages, and his mom turned to
substance abuse because she had trouble dealing with reality.
He'd gotten help early from a youth center, and from the
folks of a friend of his. They'd gotten a foster care license
just to help take care of him. Despite their help, he'd been
thrown out of regular high school for fighting, and was in his
second year of continuation as a senior.
He was tired of school, but his foster folks wanted him to
stick it out. He was eighteen, and wanted to get a GED and just
be done with it. They were nice folks, but he couldn't stand to
stay. He went to the Chicago job show to look around. With a
job he could strike out on his own. If he could just get a
break, he knew he could turn his life all around again.
At the job show the high technology companies interested him
the most, but no one wanted a hoodlum dropout. He turned to
leave, when one man caught his eye, gesturing for him to come
His name tag said Edwin, and he watched Joshua closely. He
had a long black ponytail, and silver shades. The modest sign at
his table said 'Mallien Information Systems: Exploring the magic
of computing.' The man stood and offered to shake his hand.
"How are you doing..." Edwin looked down at the boy's name tag,
"Joshua? I'm pleased to meet you."
"Why?" the boy said, his gray eyes betraying his bitterness.
"I don't have a diploma or even a transcript. All I'm good for
is diggin' ditches, I guess."
"I don't care about all that," Edwin said. "A Power doesn't
need an education to be valuable. You have a gift, son. One I'm
looking for."
"Right," drawled Joshua, with a natural streetwise
"Here," Edwin said, passing the boy his shades. "These
glasses can see the gift I'm looking for. Look at me, see the
glow? Notice how hardly anyone else has even a spark?" Joshua
nodded, fascinated by the auras. "I'm done today. Give me my
glasses and I'll say goodbye to you. If you want to learn more,
you'll have to come with me to lunch. I'm buying."
"You've got a deal," Joshua said. He helped the man pack up
his carefully neutral brochures and they went to a restaurant
across the street. When plates had been put in front of them,
Edwin continued.
"The glasses are interesting, aren't they?" he said,
watching the boy look around with them. "Look down at your
hands; see yourself as I saw you. You glow like a star."
"What is it?" Joshua asked.
"It's a special kind of energy," Edwin said truthfully, but
evasively. "I can put it into patterns. You can only store it,
as a generator of the energy. That makes what you can do
valuable, and worth good money. Let me show you how it works..."
Edwin brought out some mana batteries, and in a manner of minutes
taught the boy how to draw in and transfer the energy.
Joshua grinned. He'd given the glasses back. He didn't
need them anymore. He'd analyzed the pattern and figured out how
to duplicate the ability by himself. He could do this, and it
felt so good to do! "How much money is it worth?" he asked.
"How about a thousand, no, fifteen hundred dollars a month
to start? Free room and board, and full medical?"
Joshua shut his mouth. His momma didn't raise no fools.
'If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.' As badly as
he wanted to accept, he needed time. "I'll have to think about
it, and I need to talk to my family. Do you have a card with a
number I can reach you at?"
"Yes, I do, Joshua," the man said, giving it to him. "I'll
tell you now, the ability to detect your gift is very rare, and
those who need it are almost as rare. I can just about guarantee
you'll never get a better offer. Take my card and think it over.
I'll be in town for a week."
Joshua nodded. He shook Edwin's hand and walked away.
Before he went home, he discovered that Mallien was right. The
local Imperial Adjunct couldn't detect what his gift was, but
they did tell him he had an unknown ability. He waited at home
for his foster parents, to talk it over with them.

"You fool," Justin said to Edwin as the archivist entered
his hotel room. "You had him, and then let him get away. When
the council finds out how you bungled this, your grant will be
"You're the fool, St. Ives," Edwin said. "The way I've
handled it, the boy will come to me of his own will. Keep your
heavy-handed tactics out of this."
"Too late, Edwin," Justin smiled. "The hunt is on, and I'll
be the one to take home the prize. Thanks for all your help, now
I won't have to train him." He began casting a spell.
"I'll see you broken for this!" Edwin said, while he worked
to counter the magic.
"We'll see," Justin said, "history is written by the
victors." Edwin noticed then, that there were several St. Ives
nearby casting in unison with their leader. He could feel
himself falling, slipping under. St. Ives gave a swift kick to
the upstart lord, now lying in a deathlike coma. "Let's go,
boys," said St. Ives.

Joshua was telling his foster mother about the fantastic
offer he'd gotten, and promising he'd go to night school to make
up his education. She was a little skeptical, and when they
tried to call the handwritten hotel phone number on the back of
the business card, it went unanswered. "Maybe he's out to
dinner," Joshua said.
His skin tingled as energy flooded the room. He analyzed
the structure and turned it away from him. With a moan, his
foster mom collapsed. "Mom?" he said, checking her pulse. She
seemed to be deeply asleep. "Mom!"
The back door splintered and two men came into the room.
They stopped short when they saw Joshua awake. "Get him, cast it
again!" the smaller one said.
"It could kill her," the taller one said, beginning to cast.
"What do we care?" the first one said, "she's only a
"No!" Joshua shouted. He watched the spell form, and as the
matrix flew toward him, he sucked away the magic that formed it,
causing the spell's structure to collapse.
"Damn it!" the second one said, pulling his taser.
Joshua bolted. They only wanted him, it seemed. He had to
lead them away from the house. They followed him, not giving the
woman a second glance. Once outside, he could see a dark van and
other bad guys waiting for him. The van was a problem, it could
outrace him on the streets, even if he knew them better. He took
off across the street, beside the opposite house, and vaulted
over the fence. The van couldn't follow him this way. He knew
that he could lose the men in a chase through the alleys his
His thoughts raced as he worked his way through the
residential area. Who the hell were these guys? He suspected
that they had something to do with his mysterious gift. Mallien
said that Joshua wouldn't get a better offer. Was this what he
meant? What Mallien would pay him for, others would try and
take? At least he had youth and strength on his side. Those
dudes were old. They couldn't keep up with him.
But he kept hearing them coming up behind. How were they
tracking him? He stood panting in a dark corner downtown, and
made the visual switch from normal sight to the magic gradients.
Through the building, he could see them coming, their eyes
glowing strangely. Then he saw everything near him was glowing
from his own reflected light. He was a walking beacon! No
wonder he couldn't shake them.
He tried to spin his power to form that sleep pattern he'd
seen, but his hands stumbled through the motions. They were
about to rush him from around the corner. Fuck it! When they
came at him, he threw a jet of wild, unformed magic.
The plume hit one of the men dead on, and he screamed. The
mage's inner energy nexus flared out of control and burst,
audibly. The standing spells the man was keeping on himself
turned inward and burned out his channels. He fell dead,
The two on the edges of the blast clutched their eyes and
cried out in pain, as the side flares scorched them. To them,
the wild magic was like a magnesium flare in the face of a man with night vision goggles. Coolness, Joshua thought, before he
ran away again.
He was able to get some distance from them. They were
scared, and he was no longer helpless. There was one place he
could go, and he went as directly as he could, still trying to
evade the distant pursuit. The local Imperial Adjunct, the one
that couldn't detect what his gift was, stood half a mile away in
the city center.
Both the Mallien and the St. Ives forces were after him now.
Edwin, to take him into protective custody, and Justin, to strip
the dangerous young man of his powers. Their forces boxed in on
either side of the plaza where the black tower stood.
As dusk began to fall, Joshua dashed to the man locking the
doors. "I know what my power is now!" he said breathlessly.
"There's a bunch of guys trying to get to me, and you need to ask
the Empire for help!"
"Now, see here, kid..." the man began, and then stared at
the men and cars rushing into the plaza. The tower was rocked by
an energy blast, and that was enough for the clerk. He rushed
back inside with Joshua, and hit the Legion alert. "Stay inside,
son. I've called the army." The building rocked again.
"I gotta get out there, where I can shoot back!" Joshua
said. He ducked out of the building and began blocking the power
bolts that were heading for the tower.
"Defend yourself, Joshua," Edwin called. "I'm here to
protect you."
"Not a chance, Mallien," Justin shouted. "He's a rogue
Battery and must be stripped."
"Your jealousy has brought disaster on us all, fool," Edwin
The Chicago Legion tried to break up the mages, only to turn
on each other, controlled by spells, or to fall unconscious. The
army pulled back, and dug in. This situation called for the
Power Team. Teke's team warped in with a power item Robert had
given them. It brought the team in, and they immediately found
themselves on the defensive. They had never dealt with this kind
of opponent before.
Lady Web's networking kept the attempts at confusion or
sleep spells from entirely affecting them. Blur was able to
avoid the azure energy bolts, but the others weren't so lucky.
"Call the Emperor," Teke yelled, as he shielded the others behind
a force wall. "This is more than we can handle!"
In a flare of dark, Robert appeared, his Rod in hand. For a
moment every eye in the square turned to him, but the St. Ives
mages continued to fire. They were attacking the soldiers who
were firing back at them from cover. They were shooting at the
Power Team, at Joshua, the other mages, and even at Robert. The
Mallien mages only cast at the St. Ives men, and were trying to
protect the rest.
Edwin said, "Oh shit," when he saw the Dark man flinch from
a blue magical blast. It looked like it hurt him, so five more
came his way in quick succession. Robert made an annoyed face at
first, which changed to a feral grin.
"Everyone, stop!" Robert said, and with a flare of his
power, they did. "Whoever's in charge will come here to me."
Several people came up to him. Justin St. Ives being one of the
first, and Edwin Mallien. Teke and the commander of the local
Legion militia reported to him. The chief clerk of the black
tower came also, dragging Joshua along with him. All of those
who felt in charge of one of the factions present were compelled
to approach him.
Robert looked at those before him, and chose the youngest
first. "Who are you?" he said to the boy the Imperial clerk
presented to him.
"Uh, I'm Joshua Cross," he said, "and this guy," he gestured
at the red garbed St. Ives, "is after me. This guy in blue was
trying to help, so he said. He offered to hire me, before the
others started chasing me."
"Why were you chasing him?" Robert said to St. Ives.
"I don't have to answer to you," Justin sneered, and then
cast the strongest beguiling he knew. The big man blinked slowly
for a moment.
"My lord!" Teke said, "they have mind bending powers."
Robert groped his way through the patterns of the energy.
It was like the mind control he'd felt before from Benjamin, and
the magical blasts he'd just analyzed and threw off. Robert
shook his head briskly, and smiled widely at St. Ives. "That
didn't work, and it never will again." The lord gaped at him.
"Call your men to surrender," he commanded St. Ives, and
Justin turned, doing his bidding as if was his own idea. "Tell
your people to cool their heels," he said to Mallien. "We're all
going inside the tower to have a long talk. You're dismissed,
Commander, and you have my thanks. Teke, the Power Team can use
the gateway here in the tower to return to the Palace. I have
things under control now."
Soon the principles were seated around a table in Chicago's
Adjunct. Edwin reluctantly gave a sketchy briefing to the
Emperor about the Mage Clans, and what caused the day's
conflicts. As soon as Robert learned of Hyacinth, he summoned
the girl to the meeting, and on her advice, he called Marge as
Hyacinth told them her story, and then cried, relieved that
she was finally free. Her emotions turned suddenly to anger, as
she realized that her rapist could now be punished. Marge tried
to soothe her.
"Respectfully, sir," Edwin said when she'd done so, "I think
the Clans are none of the Empire's business. We have always been
autonomous of any government. Let us deal with this ourselves."
Robert nodded to himself. "Sorry, Edwin, but I can't allow
a group of people who feel themselves to be above my laws to run
around unchecked in the Empire. I have Towers for Psionics and
Healers, so now I'll have a Blue Tower for Magic. Joshua, I
appoint you and Hyacinth to be joint Ministers, with the Clan
lords to be your council of advisors."
"Won't the lords just enslave them again?" the old woman
"Not with my authority behind them, and with Joshua's
abilities to fight them. If the... Keepers relocate to my
Palace, the lords will have to come to them for the Power. That
way we can regulate and control the mages under our
administration. But, I don't recommend that you allow felons to
hold a seat on the council."
He turned to St. Ives. "You will no doubt have to step down
from your office. If Hyacinth presses charges, and you're
convicted, your position and freedom will be on the line."
Despite Justin's glares, Hyacinth quickly pressed charges, and
the lord was hauled away for trial, wearing anti-magic chains.
"It'll be your job," Robert said to Joshua and Hyacinth, "to
administer the Clans and the lesser families, and judge any
grievances that arise. I suggest the Clans' records be copied to
a cental archive at the Palace, and that you appoint a staff for
magical research and development."
Joshua shook his head. "I'm just a kid, sir. A wannabe
High School dropout. What do I know about all of this?"
"You've got a good start right here, son," Robert said.
"Hyacinth is a business woman, who knows how to manage money."
He smiled at the young woman. "Edwin is an archivist, and Marge
seems to be a wise old lady. Besides, the other Ministers will
help you. I'll want a briefing on the Clans later. You'll
arrange it."
"Hyacinth," Marge said. "I couldn't say this before, but
I'm your great-grandmother, and yours, Joshua. I'm Marjorie St.
Ives, condemned to house servitude for my indiscretion. Our long
lives allowed me to live to see you." Hyacinth hugged her in
delighted surprise.
Joshua politely gave her a kiss, and turned to Robert.
"What does being Minister of Magic pay?"
"I can better Edwin's offer," Robert said. "But first...
you'll have to finish High School."
The room rang with laughter from the chagrined expression on
the boy's face.
To be Continued...

Dec, 1998 -- Darkside: United States of Anarchy, Part 16b of 20.
Continues after #20 in Darkside: Imperial States of America.
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