Chapter 6 Of men lost to oblivion.
As Anira and Ailu walked out of the Free Agencies headquarters discussing ways to maximise the expenses as a way to get even with the people they had to thank for their task they passed a colleague of them they did not know. Hardly anyone knew Aveonato Korson. He passed the two women who had just burst out it laughter seemingly discussing transportation. Aveonato smiled and nodded. Being polite never cost anything. He had also found out during his time in the Free Agency that good manners where both a perfect cloak to hide behind as well as a key opening many doors. The two women past him hardly noticing him, although the taller one of the two did notice his greeting and winked at him. He loved this moments when to strangers for a short moment shared a friendly connection. For Aveonato life was a large startling net full of contacts that carried in them almost infinite potential. It was this sense of wonder that made him such a good agent.
Aveonato Korson was not like most other agents an agent of the Day but one of the select few who were called to be agents of the Night. Where there were three ranks in the Department of the Day there was only one in the Department of the Night. Midnight. Most things were different for the Agents of the Midnight Circle. They were very closely monitored. Briefed and trained extensively when preparing for their missions, debriefed and tested rigorously after it and in between they were kept under constant training and mental evaluation. The Midnight Circle was the one who was called in for assassinations and sabotage. Only the most trusted clients of the Free Agency even knew that the Night Circle even existed and those that did could not simply call for their services as every mission had to be cleared by the Ethics Committee to see if such an act of force was justified. If it wasn't or if it was deemed that equal results could be achieved by the agents of the Day, the request was rejected.
And yet agent Korson had almost constantly been in active service since he had finished his training. He noticed that he had not given much attention to his surrounding a luxury which he could only indulge in the valley of the Free Agency, but one that had to wait until he was through debriefing. For now it was important to prepare his mind for the final step of his mission. He looked around. He was just exiting the enormous main entrance hall into a side corridor which held a broad selection of lifts that lead to almost every level of the building apart from the one Aveonato was going. He looked at the people waiting in front of the many lift doors making a mental snapshot of the moment. Taking in the heated discussion between a short man and a stone faced thing female agent. The way a group of agents was talking to each other, with one of them turning away from the conversation ever so often to push with mounting aggression the call crystal for the lift. The way a piece of paper fell out of a folder gently swaying to the floor.
That should be enough. Aveonato walked past all the people not paying any attention to them, feeling a deep, slightly guilty pleasure in doing so.
At the end of the corridor was a heavy cast iron door marked with fire consuming sigil and cleverly hidden signs of repulsion which where placed there to give visitors a strong urge to rather take another door. Not that such kind of security was really necessary as the biggest field of repulsion was hidden right behind the heavy door. After Aveonato had passed the door he stood in front of the stairs, the least popular means of transportation in the entire valley. Hardly anyone ever took the stairs. Something Aveonato never quite understood. He loved the physicality of them. He also appreciated not being caught in a room floated by magic to life threatening heights which were often enough full of strangers. It was incredibly hard to be polite to a pack of strangers so Aveonato always felt incredibly awkward in their presence. He could do small groups and individuals but large anonymous crowds gave him the creeps.
He took a final look around. Looked upwards following the familiar form of winding stair case up until it he could not look further up without leaning back. He tilted his head a bit to give the final picture a bit more variation. Once he was sure that he had internalized the picture before him he sealed it with the typical smell of the stair case and the muffled sounds from beyond the steel door. He then descended down the stairs to the second basement level. Here his eyes picked up the faint blue shimmering line flouting in the air swaying very gently in the natural ebb and flow of the essence of the world. Only Midnight Circle agents could see this guideline. During their training many parts of their bodies had been altered so that they could better perform their work, among the many alterations was one to the eyes that gave them the ability to see the signs that the Agency had hidden for them in plain sight. In this case it led him through the labyrinthine knots of corridors that wound their way under the headquarters. They all looked them same grey colour with walls that were decorated with unmarked doors in regular intervals. This deep the corridors did also descend and ascend forming a complex three dimensional structure.
As the blue line in front of him started to pulsate slightly Aveonato stretched out his left hand, touching the wall lightly letting a bit of his life-force leak into the wall. As he followed the blue guiding line he started to leave a trail behind him that would eventually form a magical seal opening a gateway for him to pass. On his way he crossed several places where very strong, cleverly hidden seals of repulsion were hidden. The Night Circle took no chances. It took a while, as always, until he reached his destination. The blue line suddenly faded into nothingness. Aveonato turned left and walked right through the wall into the corridor leading to his evaluation room. He loved this last stretch of his journey. As he moved along the length of the corridor increased, what had looked like a short walk in the end took around 5 minutes. He had been told that this special trick was another measure of security that would reveal even the craftiest of shape-changers as well as reverse possible cases of possession or mental domination.
Finally he had reached the red perfectly polished door at the end of the corridor.
"I am Aveonato Korson. Agent of the Midnight Circle. I have accomplished my mission. Let me pass."
The door started pulsating and became incorporeal. Aveonato walked through the now open door pushing against the slight resistance left by the door. Beyonf was a large round room with a big chair in the middle. It was made of dark composite wood and metal with bunches of opal covered obsidian wire hanging out of it like thick shining hair. Beyond that chair was small metal desk behind which sat two figures one male one female waiting for him. These two people were his handlers. As it was custom they wore the dark blue robes of midnight covering their faces with featureless masks. On their heads rested the steel circlets that synchronized their minds. This, they had explained to Aveonato during his training as a child, was to impede any thoughts of treason to appear.
Aveonato sat down in his seat. The gem-stone wires jerked to life twitching their way over his body invading his skin filling him with the pleasure of the interface. Once he had completely relaxed with a serene smile on his face the main wires made contact with the two crystals implanted deeply within the base of his skull.
"Mother, father, I am ready for my debriefing."