Three On A Match

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There was the scent of rain on the wind, the skies above cloudy and almost a little menacing. Through the occasional break in the cloud cover, the sun peeked through, offering a brief respite from the gloom. Few lingered in the streets, most moving with purpose to their destinations. A few tourists wandered resolutely through the park, one surreptitiously checking whatever Maps app they had on their phone as they navigated the modern landscape of Newton, lacking the same unique landscapes that made Old Town easy to navigate.

Algy observed from the park entrance, just by the steps leading down into the River St. T-station. He leaned up against a lamppost, hands tucked into the warm pockets of his bomber jacket, warm sheepskin offer all the shelter from the wind he needed. A dragon he might've been, fire burning in his very being, but he still enjoyed dressing for the weather even if he rarely felt the cold. His head was bare, the Welshman pulling a hand through it to settle it from the wind rushing through the tall buildings that dominated the Newton skyline.

The weather report promised it would not rain until later, but Algy wasn't too worried. Rain would not ruin his day, and the park had some spots offering cover. The weather would only benefit them, allowing for the lunch hour crowd to huddle inside rather than seek the outside. They might not sit and talk for too long, but it was always difficult to predict how someone might react to what Algy had to say and what questions might come of it.

As the rumble of the subway surged from below, Algy glanced down the steps, seeing just the edge of the platform as the train came to a rumbling stop and deposited some of its passengers. It was not the surge of a rush, but he was glad he was out of the way of any hurrying businesspeople.
Holding the railing above his head, Markus would spend time people watching. The more he watched the city, its inhabitants, the more intrigued he got. From his visit to the Ashford Luxury Hotel, to the various stories and urban legends he learned speaking to Uber drivers, Bartenders, and more the redheaded man was starting to understood what drew his sister to such a place. The city seemed to almost be alive with mystery, and completely unwilling to just give away its secrets.

As the rhymatic bumping of the old town subway tracks changed into a much smoother Newton glide Markus knew his trip was approaching its destination. Quickly, he would glance down to his phone confirming his stop, after hearing the PA system announce that River St. T-Station was next. In all, the commute had been quite pleasant.

Suppressing down the urge to shiver, Markus would step from the train onto the cold subway station, and look around. He would pull his longcoat a little higher around his neck. Quickly seeing signs pointed to his exit. The weather app had stated that it was cloudy, with a chance of rain later in the day. As Markus climbed the steps he would first see the sky matched what he expected, and was overcast. No rain dropped as of yet.

Second then the redhead saw his old colleague looking every bit the part of the airman Markus knew him to be. With a calm smile, Markus would approach the man, and offer him a handshake. “Good to see you again Trevelyan, I appreciate you meeting me despite the strangeness of the request.”
Algy spotted the man as he emerged from the T-station, pushing off the lamppost and straightening as he approached. Eldridge spotted him too, diverting from the small crowd emerging from the T-station and coming up to the dragon with his hand offered out. Algy took it, shaking it firmly as he offered the man a crooked grin.

“Don't mention it, lad. It's good to see you too,” Algy said, letting the handshake drop before he tilted his head to the park. There was a small Starbucks on the corner, right by them, if they were hungry enough to drop by before they got the nitty-gritty details of it. “A coffee and a bite before we get to it, Eldridge?”

Algy's smile was cheerful enough to show he was open to whichever option Eldridge took. He wasn't the man desperately seeking answers, after all.
Markus would look to where the man had gestured, and let out a smile. Starbucks was an excellent stop, seeing as he had no idea what they were here to discuss, or address. The buffer would be nice, giving him time to form what questions he wanted to ask, not that he hadn't been up most of the night contemplating anyways.

“Coffee, and a bite to eat sounds excellent.” Markus would let the man lead them if he wanted to, but otherwise join Trevelyan as they worked their way to the shop. “I must admit, I was surprised to learn you were in town. I actually expected you to be across the pond... This a long term thing, or?” He left the other end of the question open, knowing if it was assignment the older man couldn't answer.
Algy much preferred to walk side-by-side with those he accompanied if able, so he fell into step next to Eldridge as the man accepted the invitation for a spot of food and bev. As they walked the short distance to the Starbucks, the conversation moved on, and Algy allowed himself a crooked grin as he inclined his head in the affirmative to Eldridge's question.

“Yes, I'd say it's long term. I run a flight school and an airfield just outside of town,” the Welshman informed the man, continuing to add, “We've been in operation for just over a year now.”
Markus would make a sound of affirmation, and understanding as the older man confirmed that this was in-fact a long term deal, somewhat surprised to hear that he had chosen Easthaven, though the thought of the other man running a flight school was of no surprise to him.

“Interesting, I might have to check it out one of these days,” Markus would say with a smile, as the two walked. “I have always wanted to learn how to fly, but never had the time. Seemed like a useful, and enjoyable skill. Plus... I enjoy travel.” It was interesting that they had been running for so long, and Markus had not heard anything about it. He usually made a point to keep track of people he knew...Then again he had been pretty busy, so much so that he had even missed his sisters death.

As the two arrived at the Starbucks, Markus would be quick with his order. Getting a coffee, and selecting one of the various foods they had on display. The redhead would then step out of the line, and check in with his companion. “Are we eating here? Or did you have other plans?” He would gesture that he would join the other man in either option. As much as Markus wanted to get to the crux of why he was here, he was a patient man, and knew a public coffee shop was probably not ideal for their conversation.
Algy sorted out his own drink after Eldridge, settling on a London Fog and added a danish for something to nibble on. Eldridge's question came as the dragon positioned himself to wait alongside the other man for their names to be called out, redirecting the Welshman's attention from offering the man an introductory lesson to the immediate matter at hand.

“Ah, I suggest we find somewhere in the park. The weather hasn't turned ghastly yet, so we have time to get some fresh air.” Algy had picked up that there was no urgency in Eldridge over the matter–drive to see it through, of course, but he was not rushing towards it–so the dragon matched his energy. He continued, returning briefly to the topic of the airfield to offer a proper invitation. “And if you drop by the airfield, I can certainly show you a few things about flying.”
Markus would nod as the other man suggested they head to the park, he would agree, and was always a fan of fresh air. As the two took off, the redhead would cock his head at the offer. “Once all of this is settled, I might just take you up on that.” He would say, his mind half preoccupied by the questions he had for the man.

Once they found themselves somewhere secluded, and only after Markus had a bit of his food, and giving the other man the same opportunity, would he finally speak. His tone serious, and questioning. “Trevelyan... You mentioned on the phone that you might know where I could learn more, spoke about something that would... Change my life.”

He would pause for a moment, contemplating what he needed to say. He knew, in his current endeavor information was paramount, so he would not rush the other man. But, he couldn't wait any longer. “I will not go in uniformed, so... please, hold nothing back. You said there were things you needed to explain?”
The baristas were quick with the orders, their ordered drinks and food arriving near enough at the same time. It allowed them to grab and go, the wait five minutes or fewer. They'd missed the lunch rush, either arriving before or after it, so it spared them a long wait.

Algy led the way out the door, bringing his London Fog up for a sip as he led them onto the sidewalk and then across the road back to where he'd stood. It was a quiet traversal to the park, the dragon content with the silence and assuming Eldridge was contemplating either his beverage or what was to come. The park in front of them was still relatively empty, anyone wandering through there marching with the intent of someone trying to get somewhere. No one was idling. It was private enough for their purposes, at least.

Eldridge was the first to break the silence. He started directly, which would've had an indulgent smile creeping up Algy's face if it hadn't been for the tragedy bringing them there. Out of deference for grief, however unsaid, the dragon only allowed himself a mild quirk of his mouth at the situation he found himself in. Refreshingly, there was unlikely to be outright panic if Eldridge was still the same man Algy had known.

“Yes, although perhaps it defies explanation in its truest form,” Algy mused, but shook his head and continued on. “It is simply said, like the bard once wrote, that there is more between heaven and earth than we could dream of. There is a world next to mundane human existence, not hidden, but obscured by a human tendency to doubt and disbelieve.”

Algy angled a shrewd look towards Eldridge as he spoke, reading the man's reaction as he began to only lightly scratch the surface of a vast world that lay beyond simple human ken.
Markus had followed the other man as he lead them to the park. It was an easy walk, and unsurprising to the red-head the park was empty. Markus was watching the man intently as the spoke, and as he had expected the man gave very little away, but what really threw him off was the context of what was said.

Markus wouldn't be able to hide his raised eyebrow as the man quoted Hamlet. It absolutely was not an answer, to any questions Markus had. Instead it was an avenue for so much more. Markus immediately though that meant his sister had gotten involved in something dangerous, local terrorist, a gang, some nutty order of the flying spaghettis monster. But, none of that fit the bits and pieces Markus had acquired. Nor did it fit the way at which they had met.

If they were talking about a local terrorist cell, or a gang, Markus' internet sleuthing would have turned up results. And, the police wouldn't be the ones handling her case... That thought however spired an epiphany in the red-head, what if they were not handling the case, and their stonewalling was to hide that they had no information to give him. With that thought in mind, Markus' had more questions.

“What your saying is, there is more involved than it looks like on the surface...” Markus had seen enough in his line of work to know there were strange things in the world, and though he had never been invited to the meetings, he absolutely believed somewhere, and in some way, there were private rooms discussing whatever the government knew about aliens. Though, he doubted that is what the older man meant, it would certainly be far from mundane.

“What was she involved in? Let's take the quote at face value, are you telling me aliens are in-fact among us, and she was involved” The truth was, though he said the final comment in half jest, it was far more likely and far easier for Markus to believe than anything more outlandish. Markus also said it in such a way that showed he was skeptic and would need more.
Algy shook his head, already seeing Eldridge was losing track of what he was trying to tell the man. Perhaps it was the focus on his sister's death that made the man jump to a conspiracy–which may be a reasonable assumption, but not one Algy had any knowledge of. It wasn't that conspiracy Algy referred to.

“I do not know what your sister encountered, Eldridge,” Algy pointed out, thinking that they would do well to look away from the sister altogether until the Exchange could be given a chance to investigate. Eldridge's sceptisim was not promising, but it wasn't as if Algy hadn't come to this meeting well aware it would be present. “I only know a possibility. Some may call it alien, if that is the nomenclature most comfortable to you. It gets rather hairy if one attempts to define it all in one go, considering every single world culture has taken a crack at making sense of it.”

Algy had grown up knowing it as Annwn, knowing beings came from that Otherworld and seeded those creatures such as himself in the world. He'd known the ritualists around him drew power from that place, offering their gifts to be granted it. “The Otherworld has many names and natures, and some know how to ask the right questions. That is how I think you may get to the bottom of this.”
Markus was watching the man as he spoke. Paying attention to his manors, his responses, his reactions. The first thing that became apparent to the red-head was that, this was nothing to make light about. As such, he would take in a deep breath as the older man responded, and really take a moment to think before talking this time.

Markus liked to believe he had an open mind. He had tried a stint of Paganism in his youth, and even spent a lot of time with various people learning their beliefs, and feelings, and understandings. Markus knew Victoria had always believed in ghosts, ever since they were kids. Although Markus had dismissed such things, he never did fault her for her beliefs.

“Alright, so less... Extra Terrestrial, and more... Occult? Paranormal?...” The wording the other man used did not help Markus get a grasp on what they were talking about. The Otherworld had a lot of connotations in the young mans mind, and most of them were born from popular forms of media. Something he felt would not help in this case.

“I am sorry Trevelyan, but I just do not understand... Which means I can't even decide what questions to ask, let alone what the rights ones will be... And...” Markus would stop talking, and take a serious look around them. He didn't believe the older man was one to trick him, or pull practical jokes, but even Markus was starting to wonder where the camera's were hidden. When he continued, he would lean in and speak softer, even if they were alone, “The 'Otherworld' sounds a lot like your trying to tell me fairies and pixie dust exists...” Even Markus couldn't help but scoff a bit at the idea.
Cantrip (Fire)

“You misunderstand me, Eldridge. Here, you aren't the one with the right questions. Precisely because you do not understand,” Algy said reasonably, his voice as level as it had been through the entire conversation. It was always a bit of a chore to open another's eyes, but Algy had done it a fair few times to know the process of doubt and denial. “As demonstrated with you scoffing at the seelie and unseelie, who aren't to be trifled with.” Here, Algy allowed himself a bit of a grin, crooked as always, answering Eldridge's scoffed question and allowing the fey more respect than the other had offered.

Still, something of a practical demonstration was needed, so Algy lifted one hand to hold it between them. “Watch closely, but keep in mind that this is simply a fraction of the possible. A simple trick compared to what others can accomplish. Make note of how my hand is empty, as well as my sleeve, with nothing coating my fingers.” Algy showed the man as much, splaying his hand between them, pulling back his sleeve and making it abundantly clear that nothing was rigged.

When he was sure Eldridge was looking at his hand and not distracted, Algy snapped his fingers. Immediately, flame flared up, larger than a candle flame, but not by much. It only waved in the surrounding breeze, but did not flicker where it perched in the cradle of Algy's thumb and forefinger. It floated there, not touching his skin–and thus, not fuelled by some flammable substance he'd smeared his fingers in, as one doubter had claimed.

A soft introduction to the magical, at best, but it would be better to get Eldridge across this hurdle before he spoke to someone like Crowhurst or another of the Englishman's agents. The tolerance for ignorance was low in the offices where they dealt with magic and the supernatural daily.
Markus would eye the other man seriously as he talked, and raise an eyebrow as the other man spoke of the Seelie, and Unseelie, the names sounded familiar, perhaps from folklore, or a dungeon and dragons campaign he played in college. Honestly, probably both. But, as the other man talked Markus became very much away of how much Trevelyan believed what he was saying.

Biting his tongue, and resolving to remain open minded, he would watch closely as instructed, very much looking for any signs of foul play. His eyes would go to Trevelyan's for a moment, looking for any hints of deceit, before returning to the mans hand. There was nothing that could have convinced him faster than a practical demonstration. Even so, Markus could not believe what he was seeing.

“How...” Markus would watch the flame, and look about where they stood, if the man did not resist Markus would ask for his hands, just to once more prove that there was nothing amiss. When Markus did speak up again, it was much quitter his mind reeling at the possibilities, his curiosity battling his caution, “This is Magic? How does it work... How is it hidden from the world? These people you want to introduce me to... Just who are they?”
Algy allowed Eldridge to inspect his hand, although he transferred the flame to his other before he did so, snuffing it out with a twist of his thumb and forefinger. He did not want to keep it up for too long, lest they catch any undue attention for playing with fire in the middle of a park.

“Magic defies explanation, but for me, it simply is. Others need to construct it. But it is hidden because magic fades into the background as any other science, unless you see it undeniably. Even you sought evidence that it was a trick, and this is standard for the mundanes,” Algy explained, focusing on the first few of Eldridge's rapid-fire questions, taking his hand back to tuck it into his pocket. “To disbelieve, to explain away, that's the first instinct. Which is why no one will believe you should you pass this on, they'll call you mental, and I'll deny having anything to do with you, of course–” the Welshman gave the American a significant look, “–but it is a hassle to deal with tattlers, so it is important to keep mum if we're to continue on, here. Do you understand?”
Markus would listen carefully as the other man spoke, and release his hand as he was satisficed. Of all the possibilities Markus had come to this meeting prepared for, this was certainly not one of them, and because of that he found himself lost in ways he was not expecting. As Trevelyan spoke he would nod along, truly contemplating his next words.

Thinking of a quote he had long ago dismissed, something about Magic just being misunderstood science, the redhead would bite his tongue, resolving to listen, and learn before asking anything else. The other man was right, there was no one Markus could think of who would believe him, if he tried to share what he just learned, and even worse it was entirely possible that he would tell the wrong person, someone who already knew, and that could become dangerous for Markus. A though that immediately brought the redhead back to his entire reason for being here, his sister.

“Okay... I understand. Please, tell me what else I need to know. I believe you, and I will keep this secret.” When Markus spoke, his voice was soft but resolute. This isn't the first time he had kept a major secret, though he was certain nothing he had worked on in the DoD compared to this.
Algy inclined his head, taking Eldridge's word for it. Humans were not bound by oaths, but this was something the dragon was accustomed to, and he wasn't one to bind someone in an oath without thinking it over carefully.

“The people I'm about to introduce you to are the Exchange,” Algy began, introducing them by name. “The city and its environs are their territory to protect and manage in all matters concerning the supernatural.”

Eldridge may have seen or heard the name before, being a relatively prominent organisation in Europe even if what they did was completely in the dark for most. He left the history lesson of the difference between the one is the US and Europe alone, knowing it might not be relevant.
Markus would contemplate for a moment as Trevelyan put a name to their purpose today. The Exchange seemed to tick a familiar bell within his mind, but he could not place where he had heard it before, or why. He knew the other man's team was Force Thoth, but as far as the red-head had been concerned that was where things went when things 'got weird', he had never put any thought into if the operation the Welshman ran had layers.

“So, they are like... Supernatural Police? Were they connected to your organization? Civilian? Military?” Markus would once more ask rapid fire questions, only to understand better who he was dealing with. He had plenty of work with military, civilian, and security individuals, but he knew often times each of them spoke a different language, and needed a different approach. If he was to be prepared, he needed facts. “I am guessing they are more than just Easthaven bound? I feel like I have heard the name before... but I can not place where.”

Markus did not yet ask the question he was desperate to know, and he doubted Trevelyan had an answer... Did his sister know... was she involved... or was she just caught up in the unknown.
Weathering Eldridge's many questions, Algy allowed himself a small smile as the man said his piece. They were in a little overgrown spot with stone half-walls, so the dragon sat on the edge of one to make himself a little more comfortable as they spoke. He ate the last of his pastry quickly, and washed it down with a sip of his drink.

Having swallowed and cleared his throat, Algy dived into a miniature lesson for the man. “The Exchange in North America has its root in the original UK branch, which has since expanded into Europe. A few associated organisations are scattered throughout the world, but they do not all go by the Exchange name.” Some former colonies maintained the Exchange moniker, but plenty others had rebranded and reframed, and those who were not colonies at all had their own again. Some even banded together to cover multiple countries, bound by geography and old tribal territories rather than arbitrary international borders.

“I gather most of them are primarily civilian, but some have close ties to militaries. I hesitate to call them police, as they operate outside the law in many respects, but perhaps something like an Old West sheriff and his deputies, or even a private militia.”

Algy hummed, tilting his head in thought as he lifted his drink for another sip.
As soon as Markus was done with his question, he looked around to realize he was the only one still sitting with food. In his surprise and excitement, he had forgotten entirely about the little breakfast sandwich he had gotten. Taking a moment to breath, and contemplate as Trevelyan answered, the redhead would slow down, finishing his meal as he thought.

If the Exchange was civilian, than that worked in his favor. Victoria was not the biggest fan of authority, even in her youth, meaning if she knew all of this and was apart of this world, she probably did not have much to do directly with them, but that also meant that if they were handling her murder, it should be an easy case to find. The idea of a private supernatural militia did however concern the red-head, as he became very curious to whom watched the watchers. However, he felt that was a conversation for a different time. Obviously, they did their job well to have kept the supernatural world from himself and others.

“Alright... I think I understand. While I have more questions, I do not think they will benefit... So instead,” Markus would pause looking at Trevelyan realizing that he was getting ready to enter something he was woefully unprepared for, and just how much the older man had helped him by even introducing him to this world, rather than letting the red-head stumble across it. “What else do I need to know to be prepared to meet them? What makes you think Victoria's case is connected?”

He wanted to hear it from the other man, if Trevelyan though Victoria was somehow intertwined with the supernatural. Even for a case as stonewalled as this one, Markus wondered if it was a jump... But, then again, for all he knew everything was connected to the supernatural, and it only felt disconnected because he had never known anything different.
Algy inclined his head, not surprised there were more questions lurking. Many of them would have to be answered as Eldridge experienced them, as the sum of supernatural knowledge was no small thing to learn with only a few handful of questions.

“I'm not certain if she was involved, but the fogging from the police is certainly indicative of a typical response from such bodies when magic is in the picture,” Algy began, careful to make sure Eldridge understood that Algy had no information specifically related to the man's sister. “If it had been kicked up to the FBI or even the CIA, you would have found something, even if it would've been a curt 'leave it alone.' The Exchange, in an ironic twist, are more likely to be honest with you, and it is the only lead I can give you.”

Eldridge had also had a sense of it himself, or else he would not have come to Algy seeking answers.

“You have what you need to know, her name and a suspicion she may have come afoul of magic. They won't turn you away when seeking simple answers,” Algy smiled grimly, finding it bitterly amusing that an organisation that lived in secrecy could still be more straightforward with their charges. “I can tell you that their Inquisitor is Crowhurst, a Theodore Crowhurst. He's in charge of the whole operation, so you may have better luck asking for him directly.”
Markus would nod, understanding what Trevelyan meant. The other man was giving Markus a chance, but that was all. He couldn't give or promise anything more, and it was something Markus was appreciative of. As he thought more, what the older man said made a lot of sense. Had this been a police matter, kicked up to the Federal Government, or any of the DoD branches, Markus would have gotten much farther in his investigation. While he has officially left the life, he still had many friends, and quite a bit of pull. If nothing else, he would have gotten a confirmation of progress.

“I understand.” He would say curtly, thankful that Trevelyan had given him this much. As the other man continued, Markus would be sure to remember the name he was given. Crowhurst was an uncommon surname, one he had never come across before as far as Markus had known. His title was interesting, Inquisitor lead to a lot of thoughts, most of which were getting Markus to understand entirely what the older man meant when he called the Exchange a militia.

“I think I get it, be honest, frank, and hope for the same back in return from this Theodore Crowhurst... Where can I find the Exchange then?” Markus would ask curtly, already thinking business before something else came to mind. “Is this somewhere you can take me, or would it be better if I kept your name out of it?” Honestly, he wasn't sure how strict these guys were about their secrets, and as such he would completely understand if he was on his own after this meeting.
Smiling into his drink, Algy savoured his sip before he answered Eldridge. The man seemed to have gathered the gist of it, which was what mattered. It was always a benefit when the mundanes were smart enough to drive themselves forward after the introduction.

“No, I'm retired. I have no concerns about being a known quantity to the Exchange,” the dragon reassured, lowering his cup. “You should meet Crowhurst alone, of course, but I can accompany you to their offices. I have someone to meet there myself. It's right up the road.”

Algy indicated in the correct direction, through the park and towards the narrower streets where older buildings still survived in the modern landscape of Newton.
Markus would take another draft of his drink, as the other man talked. Indicating that he would then walk with him in the intended direction. Towards, a series of buildings away from the park.

“Of course, I appreciate the company, and everything you have done. I will be honest, and say I still have a hard time believing... But, I have no reason to believe you would lie to me.” He would add looking towards the other man, as a question started to form in his mind.

“If you do not mind indulging in my curiosity... How does it work? This... Magic. The fire?” He would ask, thinking about the flame, and the way it moved. “Please, forgive me if the question is... rude... but can anyone do that, or are you... different?” Markus would ask, before realizing how the question would sound, not really knowing what actually existed in the world.
With Eldridge's fresh introduction into magic in mind, Algy took the invasive question in stride. It was rude, although Algy understood many did not mind the question under the right circumstances. To him, it was not something to be shared, even among friends. His instrinsic being did not require an explanation, and he had followed that for a century and more.

So Algy smiled gently, polite and a little amused, as he swirled the remnants in his cardboard cup. “It is very rude, and a tell that you might not know much about the world. It's a weakness some will exploit, and a social faux pas many will not forget easily,” the dragon warned gently. “But it is a world with a myriad of magics and methods. Some learn it from books, others have it in them.”

Then, Algy indicated for them to begin walking, pointing down one of the park paths leading further north, northwest, and began moving in the indicated direction. His cup was deposited in a nearby trash bin, freeing up his hands.
Markus would hold up his hands, and give an apologetic smile. However, he was very careful to note how Trevelyan responded, and reacted. He thought the question would be safe to ask, not because he thought the other man would answer, but because he hoped to get insight into what to expect moving forward, and he assumed the other man wouldn't take the questions personally. He was glad he was right, though he still offered a sincere sorry. “My apologies, I meant no offence.”

He would follow the other man through the park paths, and towards the direction of their destination. His mind a bit lost for some of the journey, as he contemplated what the other man had told him so far, and how he would speak with or ask questions of the Exchange moving forward.

However, something else that was said really peaked his curiosity. “Wait... You said some learn from books, does this mean anyone can learn, or do you have to be born with some of it innate.” Markus would ask, realizing that based on the way the other man had responded to his question, it meant that he was probably less human than Markus had originally assumed. Which opened an entire world of possible interactions the red-head would have to sort through later.
Algy inclined his head at Eldridge's apology, approving of the offering even if there would have been no offence if it hadn't been given. They continued moving, the dragon steering them towards their destination, turning his head when Eldridge spoke again.

“Anyone can learn, yes, with the right books or guidance. Or both,” Algy informed him, giving Eldridge an evaluative look. Was the man interested or was it mere curisoity? The temptation of magic certainly took root in many once they realised it existed and was within reach.
Markus took into consideration the words of the older man. If it were true that magic could be learned, then it would be quite the revelation indeed. He couldn't help but wonder if Victoria knew about it and why she never told him.

Breaking his silence, Markus would speak, “I understand. It is a lot to process.” However, he knew that he needed to focus on more pressing matters at the moment.

Markus then proceeded to inquire about Crowhurst. “Can you give me any information about this Inquisitor? Any tips on how to deal with him? Any precautions I should take before we arrive?” He asked these final questions, aware that they were nearing their destination and bracing himself for what lay ahead.
Algy shook his head as he kept step with Eldridge. “I'm not too familiar with the man, I'm afraid,” he informed, spreading his hands in affected helplessness. “I know of his family, but the man himself is something of a mystery. The judgement of the local community is that he's tough, but fair, from what I've heard.”
As Trevelyan shared the information, Markus listened and nodded his understanding. “I can appreciate, and work with, tough but fair,” he replied, lost in thought as he processed everything he had just learned. The world he was discovering surpassed his initial expectations when he first sought out the guidance of the older man.

Surprisingly, the revelations did not shock Markus as much as one might expect. It seemed to fit seamlessly into his experiences of seeking knowledge and understanding. It also sheds light on the seminars and meetings he had attended at the Department of Defense, and NATO, including the one that led him to meet Trevelyan.

Markus felt about as ready as he could be for what was to come and just joined the other man until they reached their destination.
As Eldridge finally seemed to meet the end of his list of questions, Algy led them over the road and onto the street where the Exchange offices were. He'd brought them nearby because he suspected Eldridge would much rather get to it immediately than wrestle with google maps for a location that was, quite deliberately, hard to stumble across unless you knew who you were looking for.

Turning down the narrow street, older than most of Newton and a location more worthy of Old Town, the brownstone blended in with the surrounding buildings, the broad steps leading up to the double doors well-kept and maintained, but no more remarkable than everything around it. The etched metal sign outside, tasteful and understated, declared that this was "Exchange Private Investigations."

Algy led the way up the steps, intending to wave to the agent at the desk and wander his way up to the floor where he knew Dune held court, leaving Eldridge to his own mission.