Tales of Glenhaven is a series of mini stories involving the knights of the Glenhaven Garrison and set during the span of Gods From the Machine. It is to gap some of the side events that took place during the first novel involving the main cast as well as other characters. It is completely exclusive content which cannot be found anywhere else. They're companion pieces which add to a richer experience and understanding of the underlying characters.
*CAUTION: SPOILERS AHEAD*
The President's Son
The three of them sat around the marble table in the strategy room. It was him, President Evans, and Supreme Commander Peter. The room was filled with an air of discomfort and uncertainty. What was the point of this meeting again? Right, it was another excuse for his father to strut around and flex his authority, no doubt. President Evans had been coming to the Glenhaven Garrison more frequently to visit his son, but they were always unwelcome.
Sitting in front of his superior with his father was embarrassing enough, like a toddler that was being defended for being too stupid to realize the repercussions of his actions like knocking over a glass vase, or whatever boneheaded mistakes children were thought to make. There was no mistake; however, he had deliberately wanted to start a brawl to put that impudent sack of meat called Nicholas Emberson in his place. Unfortunately, he had underestimated his ability and now he and his friends were put on probation.
Of course, his father had to step in. Nothing could put a blemish on the reputation of the Evans family.
"This is unacceptable, Peter! I did not send my son to Glenhaven for him to get treated like a common thug," President Evans said. He was standing now, shaking in frustration. His perfectly pressed suit and award-winning smile that won him the presidency were gone. There was no sign of a politician, only the anger of an overly concerned father.
"Please don't talk about one of my soldiers that way. Nicholas Emberson is a valued asset to our organization," Peter said. He was calm, but there was a twinge of ire in his voice.
"Well, you better have a talk with him. Paul could be running for office one day, and I don't want any some punk to ruin that."
Paul sighed. "Father, please. it was nothing."
"With all due respect, I don't appreciate your tone, Adam. A minor bruise or scratch should be miniscule. In fact, as your previous commander it shouldn't come to surprise that these things happen. What I would like to understand is why you felt the need to come into my Garrison and lecture me on how to teach my soldiers."
President Evans sat back down, his anger subsiding. "I'm sorry Peter, I meant no offense. Ever since those rumors came about I've just been a little on edge. Paul's my only son and I just can't think of what might happen if another uprising occurs."
"The Second Coming was a long time ago, Adam. Your worry is misplaced. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have things to do. I’m sure you can find the way out.” Peter walked out briskly, leaving the father and son alone.
“Was that necessary?” Paul asked. “I’m not made of glass, you know. I am a knight. The last time I checked, I was the son of one as well.”
“Son, I want you to think about coming back home to Hyperion with me.”
"The Evans family is one of the founding fathers of the Garrisons and I will not turn away from my birthright. Just because you believe in diplomacy doesn't mean it's effective. There's nothing any demon can do when I lay down my blade. Our skills are what separate us from the monsters. You forgot that when you decided to run for office."
"That kind of thinking is the reason why you are still just a boy. There’s more to life than war and strife, Paul. Perhaps you can understand that someday. The world needs a leader more than it needs a soldier. If you change your mind, let me know."
With that, President Evans left, leaving Paul alone. "Don’t hold your breath," he muttered.
Gabriel strolled into the training room to find that Nick there working over a punching bag. He couldn't help but chuckle at the kid’s dedication. He took the mission quite seriously, despite it being nothing more than a test by their leader, Peter. It might strike some as odd to send two people to pick up an abandoned sword, but it seemed to pay off, as Nick was none the wiser. He had no idea the true purpose of his mission.
"Tired of beating a bag into a pulp?" Gabriel asked.
Nick stopped and wiped the sweat off his forehead. "Gabriel, I was just warming up for the mission tomorrow."
"I can tell. Pete's sending you outside the shield to find a trinket. How does that make you feel?"
The kid went back to pounding the bag. "How do you think?"
Gabriel could see that this wasn't exactly the greatest adventure for a young soldier, but still it would be the most action he'd see since the incident...
"How about a sparring session?"
Nick stopped to consider it. "With you? You're an archangel I'd get my head knocked off within the first five minutes!"
Gabriel chuckled. "Listen, a title is a title. It is something that is earned through years of skill honing and perseverance. If you want Peter and the others to take you seriously, then you're going to have to take yourself seriously. Now are you going to beat yourself up, or are you going to fight against those odds?"
Nick nodded. "I've trained with the best, might as well put what I've learned to some use." They both came to the center ring and with a come hither hand gesture; Gabriel let Nick make the first move.
Nick moved quickly into his space, throwing a flurry of punches at lightning speed. Of course, compared to an archangel, these seemed to move as slow as a snail. The kid couldn't tag him. Gabriel saw the desperation on his face, the look of defeat was already clear across his face. Something was holding him back. If this kid was a demon incarnate, he definitely wasn't showing it. Gabriel kicked him in the chest, which sent Nick clear across the room. He crashed against the wall and fell flat on his face.
"Nick, what's wrong? You're slow and predictable. Show me what you've learned."
Nick picked himself up. "Good one, Gabriel. I'm going to feel that in my spine for weeks."
Gabriel was disappointed? Was that it? Could the prophecy be wrong? How could someone be so easily dispatched? If Nick was the chosen one, when would his true nature show?
Gabriel moved quickly back into range to strike once more, but as his blow was blocked by a sudden involuntary twitch. No normal soldier could stop an attack from an archangel. It was then that he noticed his eyes. Nick's eyes had changed color, transforming from a dull brown to a magnificent crimson red. There was a snarl on his face, like a flash of a demon. Out of reflex Gabriel kicked him again, knocking him out cold.
A few minutes passed before Nick came to. He was shook his head as if coming out of a trance. "What happened?"
"I don't know, kid. I don't know."
It took him a moment to realize how fast his heart was beating. Gabriel caught a glimpse of Agrian and from the sight alone he had confirmed that there was a malevolent power residing within him, one that was more dangerous than they could ever comprehend.
Matt did a barrel roll before he landed the jet with ease. He jumped out the cockpit and threw his helmet into the seat. "How did I do?"
Lucius glanced at the stop watch then back to him and smiled. "A new personal record. I'm impressed."
"There's a reason why I'm part of the Justice Unit, Lucius. I'm the best damn pilot this Garrison has ever seen," Matt said.
"Second," Matt corrected. "After you of course."
Lucius chuckled. "Well, how about I treat you to a drink? Consider it a prize for a job well done."
"How can I refuse?"
Matt and Lucius went to the lounge and sat in a booth. Joni was on a mission and Nick was probably off training. The poor guy's been having a hard time with nightmares and guilt, it'd be hard for him to get out of bed.
"Something on your mind?" Lucius asked, taking a sip of his lemonade.
"I just can't believe he never told me...We tell each other everything."
"You mean Ag--I mean, Nicholas?"
Matt drank some tea. "Yeah. Nick's been in solitary for a while now. I wonder when Pete's going to let him off the hook.”
"I should hope not any time soon."
Matt raised a brow. "Why do you say that?"
"He almost killed my apprentice."
“It was out of his control."
"Even still, what if it had been Joni? Would you be so easily able to turn the other cheek if he had hurt her?”
“He’s not a menace to society, Lucius. He’s vulnerable and confused. No one else knows how it feels to be a demon.”
“And you do?”
Matt shot him a look. “Listen, I’m afraid I don’t like what you’re saying right now.”
Lucius nodded. “I don’t mean to be cruel, but Nicholas has caused damage to the Garrison. Surely as a member of the Justice Unit you can understand where I'm coming from. The arena has been destroyed, and he has insulted his superiors. He embodies everything that we are sworn to destroy. If it were anybody else, you'd be one of the first in line with your Wolfsbane, leading the charge for his head."
"All I know is that he's all alone when it comes to this and I'm not going to turn my back on him."
"But why? What is your stake in all of this?"
Matt closed his eyes and rubbed his eyebrows. He remembered the day he first met Nick.
Matt was playing around the halls with some other young soldiers when he accidentally broke the statue of Yuriel that sat in the Grand Hall. He didn't know it, but at the time Nick was sitting in a corner by himself, which he later admitted was because he was hiding from the torment of Paul and the others. Matt remembered being so scared when Gabriel burst through the door with the other knights, the looks of shock at the broken Herald at their feet. He remembered crying like a baby, blubbering in his fear of the punishment that was to come. But, when Gabriel asked who was responsible for the disaster, it was Nick who stepped forward. All of his other so-called friends had vanished. It was Nick, who had no reason to take the blame, no reason to owe him anything. It was Nick who was the only one standing at his side at the end of the day.
Matt opened his eyes and looked straight at him. "Because he's my best friend."