Categories > Games > Soul Calibur > Ivy Valentine: The Ties That Bind


by BHRmasay 0 reviews

Category: Soul Calibur - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Drama - Characters: Ivy - Warnings: [!] [V] - Published: 2008-09-14 - Updated: 2008-09-14 - 3545 words - Complete

Chapter Four

There was brief second where she considered bolting for the room and retrieving the Ivy Blade. Victor turned and looked around almost smelling the air. His eyes were drawn in her direction and she shifted herself so that she could move quickly. Exchanging a few words with the old man, he moved toward her. she began heading for the stairs slowly pacing herself so that she would not appear to be running. However, he held up his hand shaking his head slowly. She relaxed for a second as he stopped in front of her.

Lake had lost track of her when she bolted for the stairs. He caught up with her now. "Ah, Mr. Lake your paper told us you would be attending. Who is this young lady, is she with you?"

"Thank you Mr. Mugson, No Ms Valentine is her own woman."

"Valentine, Surely not Leo Valentine's daughter."

"Isabella" Ivy replied "Ivy to my friends."

"May fortune smile on me that I be allowed to join that exalted group." Smiled the young Lord as he dipped and kissed her hand delicately. "And, your companions. Who are they?"

"Greta Kaster filmmaker and artiste, Rose-Marie her secretary, and you know Robert Lake of the…"

"The Journal I believe, Something of a free spirit." Victor interrupted shaking Lake's hand firmly and warmly. "I was saddened your publisher could not attend."

"He was sorry to miss out."

"Mr. Lake no need to mince words I have told my father on more then one occasion that he can have all the wild parties he wants but there are some that judge you by the company you keep."

"Some, but not all. I think you'll find that I will be more then fair to him."

"Fortunately, that is not necessary. This is my coming out party." His voice dropped to a conspiratorial whisper. "I'm not supposed to say but I am supposed to be introducing myself to the some of these guests so that I can make the connections I need for my run at ministerial office."

"Well then, you have chosen your guests well. Lord and Lady Davenport are on several steering committees. Foredom is an adviser and member of the PM's think tank. Moreover, the father of the Le Prize triplets has been a diplomat adviser and troubleshooter under three Prime Ministers."

Ivy allowed the conversation to flow on with out her and when the opportunity presented, she escaped to the terrace.

How did the others stand being in the presence of each other. The buzz in the back of her head every time Victor looked at her or came near her was annoying. She collected her thoughts and calmed her racing pulse. Thus, she knew when he stepped out on the terrace. As though he sensed her tense posture as a dangerous thing he moved to within arms length and stopped. "Taking the night air, Ms Valentine I hope we are entertaining you."

"I am having a delightful time Victor."

"Surely not the type of entertainment you are used to. Your tastes have expanded beyond the pleasures a simple Lord can provide."

"If you mean my travels around the world. I think you will find the longer you spend away from the home the more pleasures you take in the simple things that await you there."

"When word reached us that you were attending instead of the dearly departed Alex. I must admit to being a little intimidated."

"Surely my reputation cant be that fierce."

"You might be surprised. But, my intimidation stems from the fact that it was your father who introduced mine to many of the people here to night. This night in many ways would never have been if not for your father."

"If he were alive I'm sure he would point out that introducing you to a friend or two and impressing those friends with your personality is two different things."

"Still I feel I owe him and thus you some gratitude. I know things have been hard perhaps there is some help I could be to you."

Ivy smiled grimly "Thank you but no Victor, I am trying to pay off my fathers debts not acquire new ones."

"What debt, this is a gift, a chance for us to reconnect. Had your mother and my father not gotten along so abysmally we could have been childhood friends, perhaps even more. Let me make up for the time that was lost."

Ivy's baser nature was screaming at her to accept the offer, but a deeper part, the part that had been leading her around the world in pursuit of a mad mans dream. That part of her was raging against this foolishness.

Victor could see that he was losing the battle against her pride. So, he stepped back. "At least promise that you will consider it. Our families were close once. I'd like that again."

He began to walk back to the French doors that opened on the party. Ivy turned and spoke to him. "Victor, when did you find out about Alex's death it was not widely known when I left to come here."

"Yes, a real tragedy. Word reached us about the same time you did. Were the two of you able to speak before he passed I understand he had hoped to meet with you." Ivy nodded solemnly

"I glad then that his final act was to help bring us together that can only mean one thing. Fate means for the Valentine's And Mugsons to be united." With that he turned and walked inside.

Ivy turned back and sought refuge from the cold feeling racing down her spine. The Gentleman was the only one who knew she had been to see Tripcott. If Mugson knew as well, then either he was the most perceptive man in the British Empire or he had knowledge of her movements that could only have come from the persons who had ended the life of Alex Tripcott.

It was dark in the mansion. The party had wound to a halt shortly after midnight with the older attendees heading for their rooms to rest for tomorrow when Victor and his father promised them all a tour of the vast property the house sat on. They extended all the way to the county line bordered by the train tracks that cut through the countryside. Ivy was impressed when Carter informed them that the train actually ran through Mugson holdings and property.

She had retired to her room retrieving her sword and waited for an attack that did not come. This was itself unnerving. Destined ones were drawn to combat like moths to flame. Brush wars, sieges, full blown charges and trench warfare all had played host to their share of battles between those that sought and fought for the Souledge. It felt unnatural to be close to someone who's destiny was entwined to the blade and not be fighting them for possession of a fragment. or for the chance to go after the twisted warrior, Nightmare. As the hours passed and the house quieted the only sound she made was the relentless scrape of a whetting stone against the edge of the Ivy blade.

She focused on the sensations she was getting as soul after soul drifted into sleep and dreaming. There on the edges of her perception was the bright pulse of Victor's soul. She guarded herself from him. Could he sense her as she could him? If so, he would know when she drifted off to sleep. Would he come for her then, in the night? There was nothing in the rules of the game that demanded pitched combat. It was just that rarely could anyone catch a destined one completely unaware.

Her vigil was finally rewarded when she sensed someone moving down the hallway toward her room. Not Victor he was still far away. So, he was sending someone to soften her up leaving her vulnerable to his attack. Well his agent would discover there was a price to be paid for coming after her. She tightened her grip on her sword, moved to a spot near the door, and waited. The presence paused. The handle on the door began to turn imperceptibly. She tensed as the door opened gently. She reached out and punched the intruder hard in the stomach. The person doubled over, she used the momentum of the move to hurl the man head over heels to crash on the floor. She swung her sword to stop just inches away from his bared throat. "Don’t kill me." Lake screamed.

"Robert, god, what are you doing sneaking in to my room at this hour."

"Learning that sneaking into your room is a really, really bad thing to do I assure you." She helped him to his feet and dusted him off. He was back to looking at her as if she was going to kill him again. In light of the last few seconds, that was probably a valid concern.

"I was expecting someone else."

"Well if I were a betting man, I would say pity the fool whoever they are. Where did you learn it do that anyway."

"A woman has to know how to know how to look after herself. What did you want in my room"

"I wanted you, you and Victor were getting along so well, thick as thieves I thought you might help me with something."


"I want to take a look around If I'm on my own I am prying and being nosy but if I have you with me then I'm sure we can make something up. Pretend that we are sneaking off for an erotic interlude."

Ivy looked at the small man "Why Robert If I didn't know better I would have thought you were looking for an excuse to come on to me."

Lake rubbed his chest where she had hit him "Something tells me that there are safer things to do in this life, wrestling tigers come to mind."

"Don’t be such a big baby. That shot would only have paralyzed you for a second. If I wanted to kill you I would have." She did a fancy blade spin grabbing the hilt half way through the maneuver sheathing her sword with a well-practiced single movement. .

"Impressive do you normally carry weapons to social occasions."

"The kind of social occasions I engage in, it is standard practice."

"Comforting thought, look the truth is I really think that Mugson is hiding something from us and I want to have a clue what it is before I have my interview with him in the morning."

"So, you think he has a some darkened alcove where he is keeping a huge tome with the words Master Plan printed on it."

"Well you left out the part where the we find the tome in a room marked clearly that it’s the place where the Master Plan tome is, but in a nut shell, yes that would be right."

"And you expect anyone to believe that you wouldn’t want everyone in the world to know you and I are sneaking off for an erotic interlude."

"I don’t know what to expect anymore. Now will you help me."

She nodded and they slipped quietly into the shadows. They prowled the upper floors until they found what was obviously a study from the size of the room it was Mugson's she tried the door and found it sealed.

"Who locks their study doors?" Lake whispered.

"Someone with a house full of overly curious guests invading their privacy." Ivy supplied earning her dark look from Lake.

"If you want to keep secrets don’t invite an investigative journalist to your home."

"He invited your boss you just snagged the invitation when your publisher refused."

"Not the point, now keep it down and lets keep moving." He turned away not seeing the snide look on Ivy's face.

They passed down stairs sticking to the shadows. Eventually they passed what Curtis had informed them was the Library a light was on inside and two male voices could be heard Carter and another man. Who seemed anxious about something.

"This is impossible. Why did you have to have a gathering now of all times?"

Carter's reedy voice still held the steel of several years ago. "We are having it at this time because I need to have it at this time."

"...and that woman, you of all people should resent that Tripcott involved her."

"My son insisted on having his way in this matter He always wanted her and now that she is here he won't be easy to dissuade."

"I've heard stories, can she be trusted."

Carter laughed "She's probably every bit the cold blooded bitch her mother was. I never understood what Leo saw in her."

"Just as long as everything goes according to plan."

"I assure you old friend, by the end of the week you will be the only man in line to replace the current PM and when that happens."

"I appoint your son to the Home Office. Our power-block will be unstoppable."

The two spies eavesdropped in the shadows. Lake's whisper was barely below normal volume. "My God, what are they planning?" Ivy loudly shushed him which caused the conversation in the room to die down.

Ivy heard footsteps heading toward the door and she immediately grabbed Lake and pulled him away down the hall. She panicked and picked the first door she saw. She pulled it open and yanked the startled Lake into the room after her. She closed the door but left it slightly ajar.

Voices came down the hallway stopping just outside the door. "I heard something, I know I did."

"The house is full of rustling we should just go to bed before we make ourselves crazy."

"Let's check the rooms. Someone wont be in their bed."

"Yes, there is an idea. Let's just alert everyone in the house that dark conspiracy is afoot."

"I just want to be protected."

"Relax, have Victor and I not taken care of you. Doing what you can't do, dealing with those in your way and of course cleaning up the mess afterward."

"Of course Carter, I don’t where I would be without you and Victor."

"Come Old Man, a last drink then we retire. We have alibis to establish and I want an early start on mine, don't you."

The voices moved away. Ivy refocused her senses and felt the two men head upstairs. She turned to let Lake know that they were safe but saw but he was gone. The door she had picked lead to the basement levels she ventured down the stairs there was an eerie glow throughout the cellar. She looked first for torches or the like then realized the glow was coming from the walls. Mugson had used brickwork with its own natural luminescence. Expensive and fairly what she would have expected from the eccentric father and son duo.

As she ventured further into the weirdly lit basement, She saw the reporter standing in the gloom staring at the floor she moved to join him.

Someone had etched arcane symbols into the floor, there was a large circle surrounded at the four directional points with smaller circles also with pattern work. Lake whistled "What is this?"

"A hermetic circle."


"A magical focus, You stand in the centre and do a spell."

"Do I even want to know how you know that." Lake asked warily.

"Travel broadens the mind, Lake." She replied dismissing the question with a wave.

"So why does one of the more influential men in the country have an occult symbol in his basement."

Ivy bent and ran her fingers across the floor. Her fingers became covered in ash. "Here is a better question, why does it look like this thing gets serious use."

"Does your wide experience tell you what kind of ceremony he was using it for?" Lake asked

Ivy sniffed her fingers. "Spices and herbs, little hard to tell what kind but its obviously something from the eastern regions from the odor."

"Of course." He nodded and watched her move and crouch over one of the cardinal points. She scratched at the floor and sniffed her fingers again then plunged one of the fingers into her mouth.

"What are you doing?"

"It's specially made wax. The candles this came from were custom made. They'd have to be. The ceremonies the eastern magus's practice are very specific."

"They tell you what kind of wax to use?"

They tell you what kind of wax to use, where the candle should be placed, how to burn them. Real old school magic. Not like the kind they practice in this part of the world."

"Its all pagan myths and nonsense to me."

"Lake, there are sects in the east that have been practicing their religious rites since Jesus was in short pants. Their magic is old and powerful and not to be trifled with by the uninformed."

She rose from the floor and passed to the walls there she looked at the stones closely "This whole cavern has been transformed into a cathedral every stone has been placed for maximum effect. Mugson didn't do this himself."

"How do you know?"

"The kind of knowledge that went into the construction of this cavern isn't possessed by the idle rich. This was done to exacting specifications."

"Look, as interesting as all of this sounds; we have to get out of here."

"Indeed it's late and our host grows more intriguing with every passing moment."

"Intriguing, Ivy he was planning some kind of anarchy against the government. Possibly some kind of assassination."

"And the proof we have of that is a whispered conversation between someone whose voice neither of us recognized and Carter Mugson. Victor will just say that his father is growing doddering in his old age and doesn't know who he is speaking with. He as much hinted that when you spoke to him earlier this evening. Plus, the two of them had been drinking. If confronted they will just say it was whiskey talking assuming they admit to anything at all."

"But you are my proof. You heard them."

"I am hardly the best witness in the world and if the authorities dig into my personal life they will find out about Alex Tripcott."

"And the problem with that is…?"

"Tripcott died under suspicious circumstances the police very quickly decided I might have had something to do with it. Only through the intervention of …an associate was the investigation delayed long enough for me to come here."

"Murder is a capital crime who would have the power to make something like that just go away."

Ivy breathed out, looked at Lake, and made the hardest chose of her life. She trusted someone other then herself.

She explained about her talk with Tripcott and the attack at her home. Her meeting with the Gentleman and his offer to make the police inquiry go away if she would attend the party this weekend.

Lake then told her stories as they slipped upstairs. City officials and judges who reversed their rulings made zoning changes. Police investigations that went no where or implicated people who worked against the interests of the Gentleman.

He was not all-powerful but his awesome connections made it seem that way. He found out what you wanted and provided it for you. Then he asked for a favor here or there. The real hook was when he found out you wanted something that society said you should not have, then he provided it and made sure that the fact that he provided it came back to haunt you in some fashion.

They stopped outside her room. "So, you are doing the bidding of the Gentleman."

"I am not doing his bidding, I find myself in a situation and he has provided an out for me."

"You have to wonder what does The Gentleman stand to gain from sending you up against the Mugsons. Maybe he wants to implicate them in some crime that he thinks you will uncover.

"If so he has succeeded beyond his wildest dreams. Mugson is involved in the death of Alex Tripcott the death I'm being sought for. The irony is the only way I can clear my name will be to prove Mugson is a killer.

"Unfortunately, with his friends in high places the only way you can do that is by making it unhealthy for them to be associates of Mugson. Looks like your only chance to escape this web is by stopping Mugson's plot."

Ivy sneered "Fighting to protect The Empire from the plots of conspirators and murderers If Sophitia or Xianghua could see me now they'd be laughing themselves silly at my expense."

"Who are they?"

"More women who could beat you up. Good night, Mr. Lake I trust it is unnecessary to mention that should our activities this night become known our lives will be forfeit. Mugson has already arranged for the death of one man. Who knows how far he might go to cover up whatever scheme he has brewing."
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