Nimue, also known as Brigid Wayland, president of Gram, walked past Jacobson’s secretary and opened the doors to his office. There her three main subordinates were already waiting for her. Alicia Corson, head clerk, frowning at her entrance with her right leg in a cast. Curator Samuel Jenkins nervously standing next to Corson’s chair, nervously clenching the seat tightly. And Corey Jacobson, her vice-president, working on paperwork without even noticing he wasn’t the only person in the world, never mind the room. Nimue smiled at the comforting sight then cleared her throat. “Corey dear, could you pay attention for a while please? It’s time to discuss the events from yesterday.”
“Hm?” Jacobson blinked before looking and having a moment of realization. “Ah, miss Wayland. As you wish. Uhm, yesterday… Oh right, we were attacked by Fafnir. Would you like to go first or should I?”
“How about I go first and start with what I know, that should be better as treatment for the impatience of these two. So, what I gathered from the reports is that some of our people noticed they had picked up tails and called them in, allowing us to find out the expected attack had finally arrived. They also quickly took care of losing said tails, allowing us to enter a lockdown without getting our assets trapped as well. Alicia dear, go ahead and interrupt, I can tell you’re dying to,” Nimue said with a simple smile on her face displaying no clear emotion.
After a stunned two seconds, Alicia went off at her boss. “Expected?! You knew this was coming?! Why did you not inform us? We could have pulled people back and prepared better!”
Nimue tipped her head and gave a bright smile to Alicia. “But then they would have expected us to and would have come with far less care. We wanted to lure them out properly, so we could take care of them in one big swoop. That required luring them into our domain without scaring them off. Besides, we had plenty of preparations did we not? The lockdown to prevent our employees from getting harmed, having access to all cameras in Kansas City whenever we desired which allowed us to locate both the tailing detectives and the hidden mercenaries, even a secret entrance for me to enter the Library. What else would we need?”
Alicia glared but remained silent in response, allowing Nimue to continue. “Oh Jenkins, a question. Blumberg is not a magician, correct? But when he was chased he drove his scooter up and down several buildings to make his getaway. How did he do that exactly?” Jenkins blinked for a bit before gathering his words. “Uhm, ah, the scooter has gecko-tips. Allows it to stick to solid surfaces.” “Ooooh, interesting. Did we do that?” “Ah, no, he installed them himself.” “I see, I see.”
As Nimue pondered the opportunities for a second, Alicia quickly spoke up. “What happened in the Vault, miss President? All I know is that Jenkins and I held off our enemies to delay them as long as we could, then chased after them when we had recovered. But what happened in that vault? And what IS that thing anyway?”
“Oh, Camelot? Camelot is an alchera that cannot decide whether it’s real or a mirage. As a result its shape changes as needed and its guardians resurrect from time to time. Quite useful actually.”
Alicia was stunned to silence while Jenkins barely managed to croak a response. “An alchera? A magical disruption crossing over into this world? And you can summon that?”
Nimue looked him straight in the eyes with a faint smile on her face. “Of course. Where else could I keep magical artefacts too dangerous for this world?” Without giving either a chance to response she continued. “Corey, could you do the honours and tell them about our plan?”
“Hm? Plan? Oh, you mean to lure in Fafnir? Ah, yes.” Jacobson straightened himself and put on a regal expression before continuing. “As you know, it is our goal to protect mankind from magical threats by keeping magical artefacts out of the hands of those against its best interests. This means we have competition as well as enemies. Several years back, we caught word of an entity naming itself Fafnir digging around for our namesake. Since anyone knowing of its existence could not be up to any good, we designed a plan to lure them in and eliminate the threat. All we needed for that is for the items of the seal to start rearing their heads.”
Nimue stepped in and cut off the questions the others were about to ask. “The armour and shield are meant for the owner to Gram, designed to only function when the owner is considered worthy and unsealing Gram as well. The scrolls contain the formula to unseal the blade’s full potential and require a constantly-changing sequence to use. This sequence is hidden in several paintings, some of which we had relocated to the local museum.”
“Ah! That is why you sent them to the museum! But couldn’t you have done so yourself?” Alicia nodded along with Jenkins’s question.
“Alas, the sequence is guarded so that I myself cannot read it. As such I had to depend on our people instead. But thanks to that, and them gathering the items despite Camelot’s resistance, I managed to perform the ritual in time. And that helped us lure Fafnir into the trap. See, you may recall that a spirit proved itself worthy of the Armour when we first retrieved it. This was Fafnir’s goal as well, and the reason they brought so many men with them: To draw out the Armour and prove themselves worthy of wearing it.”
Jacobson grinned. “What a fool he was. We never meant for ourselves to prove worthy. All we meant to do was combine the items to a functioning set. The blade itself is worthy of wielding itself, so by performing the ritual with the right tweaks the items will join into a Golem which can fight on its own. All Fafnir did was sacrifice themselves, which your efforts combined bought us enough time to arrange. And of course Camelot’s support to my abilities, allowing me to hold Fafnir off long enough for Gram to take their life.”
After a stunned silence in which Nimue flashed a grin as cruel and vicious as Jacobson’s, it was Alicia who first found her words. “What does Gram do exactly? What makes it this special?”
Nimue had an evil glance in her eyes as she spoke: “It absorbs. By feeding on the magic of those it slays, it grows stronger and stronger so that one day there will be nothing capable of withstanding it… So that when the day comes, it can defeat all that would dare to stand against this world.”
After the others left, Nimue stayed, seating herself on Jacobson’s desk while he continued his paperwork. After a lengthy silence Jacobson spoke up. “You made them believe the Alchera supplied you with countermeasures. But sooner or later some will realize that was all you and there may be consequences.”
“Ah who cares. If some of my secrets get exposed I’ll still have plenty left. Just like you, Corey. We’re quite alike after all, secrets peeled like onions. Same cruel nature too. Even our fathers both died for the sake of this world. The difference is that yours sacrified himself, while mine needed some, ahem, ‘convincing’…”
Jacobson shook his head while the Lady of the Lake, slayer of her progenitor Fafnir, looked at him with sparkling eyes.