Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Riders - Missing (Chapter 2 - The Meeting) cont 2...

With the continuation of the chapter we meet two more Riders – Demeter and Cycnus.  My main aim in this Chapter is to slowly introduce the major characters in my book.  Hopefully, you will be able to get a bit of an understanding of who they are and what their characters are like.  I have their pictures in my head but I am not sure if these pictures are being portrayed or if I am missing it completely.  Comments as usual would be appreciated.

‘You haven’t started,’ said Cycnus loudly looking around the room, ‘I told Deimos to start the meeting.’
Deimos looked up nervously, quickly closing his email page.
‘We decided to wait,’ said Thanatos calmly stretching his long legs out under the table, ‘I too have just arrived and was enjoying my coffee.’
‘Well, let us begin,’ demanded Cycnus looking agitatedly at Thanatos who was positioned at the head of the table.  ‘I have work to do.’
‘But of course, Cycnus, don’t we all,’ muttered Thanatos. ‘But, now that we are all present, shall we begin with Matters Arising from the Previous Meeting.’
Cycnus and Demeter sat facing their two trainees and after pushing the start button on the recording device, Khaos took up a seat next to Thanatos on his right.   The new electronic recording device negated the need for a clerk to be present at the meeting for minute taking.  This recording would be transcribed later during normal office working hours.  For some reason the atmosphere in the meeting room felt like it was charged with electricity, an atmosphere that seemed to get thicker at each weekly meeting, creating tension and a very unpleasant working environment.
Thanatos frowned; this unrest among them was not good.  Yes a certain amount of tension was inevitable, but this constant power struggle was becoming a grave concern.  He wondered if the Head’s should be notified, but then what would he say?  All he had was feelings and suspicions, suspicions of what he did not know.  Perhaps he was being overly sensitive. Sighing quietly he concentrated on the procedures of the meeting at hand.
After all the Angelos present confirmed that all the Matters Arising had been finalised, the next items on the Agenda were covered by each individual. 
Cycnus confirmed that there were still fourteen disputes taking place with a total ongoing estimated death toll of 7,277,214 to date.  Thanatos checked his calculations and much to Cycnus’ annoyance corrected the total to 7,277,224.  In addition to these ongoing fractions Cycnus’ reported of a suicide bomber in Afghanistan which and encouraged a lengthy gun battle to erupt.  Smiling smugly, he commented that the al Qaeda were an easily influenced bunch.  Both Deimos and Enyo agreed heartily with Cycnus’s comments which again disturbed Thanatos greatly, there total devotion to and desire to please him was not healthy.
Khaos then went on to report on the recent rioting in India after a Sikh Sect leader was mysteriously murdered in an Austrian temple.  The confusion had lasted a number of days until the local police had gained control.
As usual, Demeter had nothing to report, but Enyo commented that there  would be developments in the near future as with the current financial crisis taking place not many countries would be in a position to give aid to the starving countries.  Demeter should monitor the situation closely.  Cycnus congratulated him on his excellent observation, making Enyo smirk at Demeter and for Demeter to become sullen.
Thanatos followed, explaining that it had been an extremely busy week.  The increasing severity and return of the latest Swine Flu epidemic was attacking the young, old and sick.  The numbers of infected were rising daily.  Unsure as to his reasoning, he decided not to explain what had happened earlier today, when he had missed a collection.  This was a matter he would rather discuss with Khaos first outside the meeting.  He did not feel the others would understand his concern and would most likely try and place the error on him.
With individual items finalised they turned to the General item.  Cycnus had obviously not read the full Agenda prior to the meeting, because as Thanatos read he jumped up suddenly sending his chair crashing to the floor.  Both trainees jumped in surprise at the sudden movement and Demeter let out a small cry of alarm.
‘Who put this on the Agenda?’ he blustered agitatedly. ‘Was it you Thanatos.’
‘No, Cycnus, you should know as well as I that it was not,’ frowned Thanatos watching Cycnus carefully.  ‘I, like all of us, do not have a say as to what is put on the Agenda.  The Agenda comes directly from the top.’
Cycnus began to pace the room, breathing deeply.  The rise and fall of his massive chest obscured by the large breastplate he insisted on wearing.  It was not long since he had abandoned wearing his full armour of helm, gauntlets, gorget, and greaves and now only wore his prized breastplate.  This item had been specially forged from bronze with an elaborate engraving of a majestic hawk, wings outstretched and head held high.  The breastplate was more ornamental and symbolic than functional as the metal was lighter than required for today’s world.  His other ‘tool’ of identification was his sword and scabbard which hung from his thick leather belt around his waist.  The sword had been passed down from Change to Change and had been used in many battles. The short, stocky man’s fist tightened over the hilt of his sword, the intricate carvings imprinting on his hand. 
After a few trips back and forth across the room he calmed himself slightly, re-righted his chair and sat heavily.
‘As we have all now been reminded,’ continued Thanatos carefully, ‘Gaia is about to turn fifty.  The question we now face is, has she selected a replacement?’
‘Nobody, knows where she is,’ rushed Cycnus, ‘so how do we know if she has a replacement.’
‘I still believe she is travelling the world and having a party,’ said Khaos half heartedly, hoping that this was the truth.  The alternative was too concerning to contemplate.
‘That is what you want to do, Khaos,’ said Cycnus more composed.  ‘I am sure one of us would have seen ... found her if she was.  We have to go on what she wrote in her letter, she was heartbroken and did not want to be reminded of anything or anyone so has gone into seclusion.’
‘Be that as it may,’ stated Thanatos, ‘with her Change happening soon it would be wise for her to return for the occasion.’
‘Well, if she is as like minded as you, Thanatos,’ said Cycnus, ‘we need not worry as she will return soon.  If anybody would know what she will do it should be you, at one time the two of you were inseparable.’
‘I am sure she will return,’ continued Thanatos, not liking the suggestion in Cycnus’s comment, ‘it would not be like her to neglect this duty, no matter what.  I would however suggest that we continue to watch for signs.’
‘Signs,’ said Cycnus quickly looking suspiciously at Thanatos, ‘what signs.’
‘Any sign,’ soothed Thanatos.  ‘We do not want to contemplate the outcome if a transfer is not made.’
‘I agree with you Thanatos,’ said Khaos seriously, ‘she will not let us down.’
‘Well,’ replied Cycnus, ‘we will see who is better at character judgement.’
‘Yes,’ rushed Demeter, battling to get a word in and looking for approval from Cycnus, ‘I think she has been extremely selfish and lazy.’
 Feeling annoyed and with a bitter taste of disapproval, Thanatos decided to end the topic and asked, ‘Is there any other items you wish to raise.’
There was a general shaking of heads and with no further matters the meeting was closed at 21H15.
Rising quickly from the table in a desire to leave, Thanatos tossed his empty coffee cup in the bin and turned to Khaos.
‘You coming for dinner?’ he queried.  ‘Melanie is making oxtail stew, your favourite.’
‘Oxtail stew, I wouldn’t miss it for the world,’ chuckled Khaos rubbing his large stomach.  ‘You are an incredibly lucky man to have such an amazing wife to look after you.’
‘Ahhh, my friend,’ smiled Thanatos, ‘You have had three such wonderful women in your life, if only you kept hold of them.’
‘I try,’ laughed Khaos, ‘I really try.  I am just a deeply misunderstood man.’
Laughing the two turned, said stiff goodbyes to the four standing talking quietly together and left the room and made their way to where their horses were waiting.
‘What is bothering you, Thane?’ queried Khaos again more seriously.
‘Later,’ said Thanatos mounting his horse gracefully and making his way towards the main gates.  A few yards down the road he vanished in a cloud of black smoke.
Shaking his head, Khaos clambered ungainly onto his large motorbike and with a roar of the big engine exited the gate muttered “The dark void of space, Earth Air Water Fire, Proorismos Khaos” and with billowing exhaust fumes disappeared.

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