Binara: Fate’s Door

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That silence was broken soon after we reached a bus stop.

“Damn,” Ami said, checking her phone after we were waiting for a bit.

I tilted my head, curious at what would cause her to cry out like that.

Glancing over at me, she powered her phone off and replaced it in her purse. “We missed the last bus from this stop, and it’ll be hours before the next one. Stupid weekend schedules.”

“That is concerning,” I said. I knew fair well that Ami’s apartment was quite a distance from where we were, and walking the entire way would not bode well for her legs.

“Couldn’t you just, I dunno, manifest and fly both of us home?”

“I don’t manifest unless it’s absolutely necessary. Not only does it take a toll on me and restrain my power, if I am too careless with it, things…happen.”

“What the hell are you talking about?”

“It’s something I have noticed as I have been in my Netjeru’s service. As I have grown in power and have been promoted to my current position, certain oddities happen within the area I manifest in, particularly if it is in rapid succession. I had mentioned this to Lady Nit and Lord Shu at one point, and they both said that it is one of the limitations they deal with when entering saq, or ritual possession, but that they know how to mitigate it for themselves, and the people they work through are properly trained for it for the short periods of time they do work through them.”

“And that means?”

“I am not a god, nor am I intensive, so I cannot mitigate these things. Somewhere in the area of a manifest considered one too many, something will happen. Last time it was a hurricane on Rendova Five when I had to work there. I would prefer to not have that happen here.” I crossed my arms.

Ami looked as if she was considering something, pulled out her phone again and tapped away.

A breeze kicked up as I remembered the islands and their inhabitants getting pounded hard by the storm. I did what I could, but the override I needed to have it completely miss them was from their local gods, and it came too late to be of much use. A wet chill formed in the air when…

“Hey,” Ami said and broke me from my thoughts. “I found the nearest stop that has a decent run to my place.”

I blinked, a brief thought of my sister passing my mind’s eye.

“It’s over off of Franklin Street. Not too far of a walk, considering.”

I nodded, and then we were walking again.

Half an hour later, we were standing at the entrance to Franklin Street’s historic district once again. It had changed little, save the day and time we were here, and the crowd.

“The next one’s due to come in roughly an hour, but damn better than what the place we were at was,” Ami said before putting her phone away.

“At least the air here is less choked with iron…” I said. “I don’t know how those goblins can cope with it.”

“Wait, what?”

I sighed. “Must I explain my people’s loathing of it to you?”

“No, that not what I meant—”

The screams from the square behind us and more than one person passing through me cut off Ami’s sentiment.

I shuddered in disgust and turned to see what was causing all the panic in the air.

A man dressed in a too small for him black shirt and pants, with stubble for a haircut was brandishing a knife and was roaring belligerently at the crowd to face him.

Out of the corner of my eye, Ami ducked into the nearest covered shop to get out of the way of the stampeding crowd.

I kicked off, happy to not be phased through by panicked humans, and got closer to assess the threat level.

“C’mon, does no one want to have a go at me?!” the man said, waving the knife around. “Am I too rowdy for you, eh? Weak-ass pussies, all of ya!”

I could smell the alcohol from him as he stumbled.

He then picked up one of the decorative river rocks, tossed it in the air, and as soon as it started to fall, an orange glow encompassed it. The stone shot off to hit a sign behind me. “Take that, Old Man Peters!”

Hmm, he was a threat, but far below my normal actionable level. I was glad that Ami was hiding out at the candy shop at the corner…

It was then that I spotted Ami dragging one of the injured out of the firing line as the drunk got closer.

“And what do you think you’re doing, taking the glory from the Skulker? I should rip you open like a fish!” The man charged at a running bystander and shot off a rock at the support that was over Ami’s head, collapsing it.

That took my concern up to actionable level, even if she was wearing her protective collar.

I called to my pocket, pulled out my Wind Bow and felt the weight of my quiver coalesce on my left hip. Releasing the catch, I knocked an arrow and checked my aim before manifesting.

Ami pulled the injured man into a nearby restaurant’s patio.

“Wink’aana, obia’te, moushu!” I said to the arrow and released it, sending it flying towards the man. At the last second, he turned and my arrow hit the fountain, splashing the water into a small spout. I cursed my luck as the arrow reappeared in my quiver. They were still sleepy from being tied up in pocket space since my last intensive.

“The hell?!” Skulker said at the splash and then looked up to see me hovering over the path. The silver in my wings’ veins must have been reflecting the light from the street lamps, as he shaded his eyes.

I quickly took stock of the situation. There were too many injured and people still running to get into a projectile fight with him. Shi’ha, I would have to get into melee and knock him out with my own power instead of my items. I dislike that kind of expenditure at this level.

“Stop assaulting these people!” I called and replaced my bow in its pocket, but left the arrows out as a counterbalance. I knew that I’d only get one shot at this before having to make it bloody.

“Like hell I will!” he said and shot rocks at me. One grazed my arm and stung like Chokoris’ pumice shots.

“Wink’aana oshou maka! Mieto moriphase fo’ra!” a ball of super-condensed air formed in my hand as I dodged many further river rocks and a piece of a bench. “Ata mishou farai!”

I landed, gathering the speed from the spell and launched myself forward at him and drove the air sphere into his gut, launching him into the sprayer part of the fountain and knocking him out. The sphere then expanded to bind him as an extra precaution.

“Don’t mess with my liaison,” I said and dismissed my quiver.

Just then, I saw flashing lights and Ami running over to me.

“Are you okay?” she asked.

“I should ask you that. And what about the man you were rescuing?”

“The collar protected us both with some sort of force field. The debris just bounced off. The staff of the eatery are looking after him. Skulker got him pretty good.”

“I hope he pulls through.”

A flurry of footsteps heading in our direction and the glint of black metal out of the corner of my eye told me the cavalry had arrived.

“Chapell Hill PD, hands in the air!” a male officer said while drawing close.

I sighed as Ami put her hands up. “Must we always do this? I have the man who caused this bound and will release him to you, but I need my hands free.”

The cop regarded me, then squeezed a device on his shoulder. “Hey dispatch, I got the Tinkerbell here. Is she dangerous?”

A mumbling sound came from the device.

“Ten four, not a threat to personnel. Yeah, I got the form in my car.” He waved to the other officer and they both holstered their metal objects. One went to the man in the fountain, while the other came up to us.

I nodded and made the releasing gesture. The cop dragged the man out of the fountain and cuffed him after making sure he was breathing.

“All right, what happened here?” the short officer asked as the wheeled bed people rushed to the restaurant.

Ami summarized the situation and added some terms I wasn’t familiar with. After a few minutes, the average sized cop had woken up the instigator and lead him back to the patrol vehicle before coming back with what I would assume was paperwork for my statement.

“Barbara said that your first actionable was over ninety days ago, but that none of us have seen you around since then, so we gotta be nice and give you a chance to fill out the form. We’ll be by to pick it up after we finish making statement rounds.” He placed the stiff board with the paperwork and a pen in my hands and walked over to one of the customers of the bar.

“Just wave us over if you have any questions,” the short one said and followed his partner.

I scanned the document in the light of the square and immediately had a distaste for it.

“SRA registration,” Ami said as she peered over my shoulder. “They probably think you’re a superhero starting out.”

“I have no intention of entering into a contract like this,” I said, placed the whole set up on the fountain bench, and stepped sideways. “Do they not know that I’m bound by an authority higher than their own?”

“Most don’t believe in the gods you serve,” Ami said, walking towards the bus stop. “Some believe in a god, while even more still just pay lip service and hurt others in service to such.”

“Still, offering me the irons of a contract without discussing the terms at length beforehand is rude at best.”

“I could put looking into the SRA’s language a bit further up in my priority list after I’ve secured my spring internship.”

“Yes, please. I want to know why they want me to sign that contract.”

“All right,” Ami said and got on the awaiting bus, “time to go home.”

I nodded and stretched, then felt a warming sensation in my pocket. I pulled out the parchment, and it glowed.

“I’ll meet you back at your place after a while,” I said.

“What, why?”

I smiled. “They’re ready.”

Ami nodded and waved me off.

I went over to the park across the street from the scene, made sure it was clear, and made the jump to Tir. The worlds resisted the connection, but I knew it was healthier for them than using the daggers. Slowly they relented and I stepped upon Reyvel’s doorstep once more.

Binara: Draw Pass

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My checking in with Lady Nit and sending out feelers for Konk does not constitute staring at an object blankly. It is simply a way for me to communicate via the air that is part of who I am.

With that little bit of misunderstanding out of the way, I shall return to where we were before it came about.

The next day, Ami’s classes went on for the usual time, and the logic spirits had wandered through several of them. One of them had a discussion that reminded me of when my father would take me to council meetings and try to get me to pay attention. It was then that I took my leave to stretch my legs and wings for the remainder of the period. I hadn’t had that kind of downtime to dance with the leaves in quite a while, as my lady prefers me focused on my task.

Alas, Ami’s classes were over for the day once she came out of class, and after spotting her, we entered the campus domain of Lady Seshat-Nit-Netbthet and Lord Djehuty: the library. There were a great many books and attendant spirits to them and students around, but we did not head for the shelves. A great glut of those kind of machines that Ami had at home stood before us in a wide open area with a few comfortable chairs around small tables, ringing the rows of desks that they stood upon. She went to one of them and stayed at it for hours, scratching down notes and occasionally using a copy making machine at the end of one of the rows. I was wondering if this would be another downtime moment when…

“Aha!” Ami said in that forcibly quiet tone libraries prefer.

I stumbled back, my wing suddenly feeling odd as I caught myself on a desk, followed by the man at the desk looking a bit panicked. I turned my head to find that my wing had gone through the device he was looking at, which was off. I pushed off the desk and stood next to Ami, who gave me one of her incredulous looks.

A happy start came from the man, who another person hushed.

“Find something?” I asked.

Ami nodded. “I’ll tell you at home.”

“You could tell me after we’re out—” I was cut off by a feeling from the air that I needed to listen to.

“What’s wrong?” Ami looked me over.

I blinked for the first time in a few minutes. “Get your stuff together if you are done here and head out the front.”

“What, why?”

“Our contact is here.” I said and started walking.

I spotted Konk outside the library. He was eyeing a woman sitting on a bench underneath a tree, reading.

“I hope you’re still curbing that habit of yours,” I said and crossed my arms once I got close enough.

He jumped at the sound of my voice before turning his slightly trembling attention to me. “Of course, my lady,” he said. “You wanted to speak with me?”

I felt Ami come out into the open air from the library and flitted my wings. “Yes, did you have a chance to get in touch with your friends around the ley line?”

He nodded vivaciously. “They are ready to meet with you when you are. Though, it is worse than I thought…”

“What’s worse?” Ami asked, coming up from behind me.

“It is hard to explain, especially to you, human. It is better if you see for yourself.” He looked at me expectantly.

I glanced to Ami. “Would it cause you undue hardship to go see the line with me now? Or should we set a date and place to start from?”

“You know I have homework and work until Saturday.”

I nodded. “Would Saturday afternoon around two work? I would rather not be without my liaison should we have to navigate human structures.”

He bowed. “It would be well, my lady. I will meet you outside the Burger Duke across the street from Cat’s Cradle at that time. The ley line area is a few minutes walk from there.”

“Thank you. Please let them know we’re coming.”

He nodded, sensing the dismissal and left us, but not before giving the woman another longing look.

“You do know that I’ll still have some homework and chores to do on Saturday, right?”

“I understand that,” I said, watching him until he was around a building. “However, with how long it took me to get the commission in and return, the line has had a chance to deteriorate further than I would have liked. We need to accelerate finding what’s causing its malfunction, and half a day devoted to that shouldn’t stop you from doing your studies.”

“Okay, but I’m not going to sit around while a gaggle of his buddies poke me in the head.”

I couldn’t help but smirk at that. “Of course not.”

When it came time for our meeting with Konk, we met in the parking lot of the building with a ridiculous mascot holding a sort of food item I had seen on Ami’s so-called “cheat days” many a time before. With a nod, he lead us through the town’s main drag, zigzagged us through a few back streets, and into what looked to be an industrial area that had seen better days. The ley line’s presence was palpable to my senses, as was a feeling of sickness as we used a side entrance to a run-down warehouse that was covered loosely by a blue tarp. Ami had a bit of difficulty getting through the door because of the rusty hinges, but she was able to eventually force it open with a metallic squeal. She grimaced at it before stepping in with us.

Inside, the structure was worn but sound, with a hole in the roof at the far end. The goblins had managed to use the old tarps hanging around as a way to partition the space. Various junk pieces layabout, as did several goblins. So this is where the feeling of sickness was coming from.

“Brothers,” Konk said, “I bring you Lady Binara of House Reshanuke and her human liaison. She’s the one who wished to speak with you.”

The more energetic ones looked at me with equal parts awe and fear before one stood to greet me.

He bowed before speaking. “It is such a rare gift to meet one such as yourself, Lady Binara. We are honored to have an audience with you.”

Ah, court pleasantries. Konk must have impressed upon them to be on their best behavior. “Alas, were it under better circumstances. I see your companions are not fairing so well.”

Ami knelt by one of the weaker goblins out of the corner of my eye.

“That they are not,” he said and lead me to a nearby table. “Call me Kicker. I am the interim leader of our little motley while she is sick.”

I nodded and sat sideways on the worn chair.

Kicker struggled to take his seat on the stool across the table. “So, why did you wish an audience with us, milady? Konk said that it had to do with the pulsing probably, but he was drunk on bar patron glamour at the time, and likes to get big with his tales.”

“I am here on business for my lady, Netjeret Nit-Nebthet-Sheshat, about the ley line that thrums close to here. As the closest netjeri residents of the area, you are also the first to feel if anything is going wrong.”

A moan from behind me rung out.

“Stay with me!” Ami said, not thinking of how those words could be twisted.

“As you have seen,” Kicker said and solemnly looked behind me, “our sensitivity to it is causing us illness, and even more are missing or dissipated between when Konk told us of your audience request and when you arrived. Those among us who are strong enough have to glut on human glamour to compensate, and can barely bring back any for those who aren’t without the ravaging. We don’t like doing it, but it’s for survival since the line has pulsed sick.”

I sighed internally. It was that bad already? This definitely wasn’t a simple realignment job. “Have you noticed anything unusual around since the line got sick, like a new netjeri or something else that got close to it?”

Kicker shook his head. “Just the usual birds, animal spirits, and humans that frequent the park it flows through. Unless…”

“Unless?”

“Konk, don’t prank him,” Ami said in a completely different conversation over my shoulder.

“Unless that shadow man has anything to do with it.”

That got my full attention. “And what does this shadow man do?”

“I’ve seen him around the line with some fancy contraptions right on top of the surface level of it. Even chased it down when it did a wiggle. Also have seen him go into the warehouse across the street. Followed him once, and saw a few things that made my nails curl.”

“Is he around now?”

“Nah, haven’t seen him in a few days. Usually comes around the same day as a new wave of sickness washes over us.”

“Hmm…”

“I hate to be upfront my lady, but will you help us with this illness? I don’t want to lose any more of my motley to it.”

“I can’t do much on what has already been wrought, but if it’s a sickness in the line that is getting passed to you, then we are of one goal.”

“Thank you, milady.”

I nodded and looked back to see Ami coming over with a downcast expression.

“Crater’s gone,” she said hushedly.

Kicker nodded with a sad look in his eyes. “Please, leave us to our mourning. I will keep you apprised of when the I see shadow man return.”

“And I will let you know of any major updates.” I stood and looked to Ami, who nodded.

We left the warehouse then. I gave the one that Kicker had indicated a cursory glance, but couldn’t sense more than a dull pain from the line.

“Why aren’t we going in there?” Ami asked as we walked away from the warehouse to the main road.

“If my suspicions are correct, the things that he was talking about would only be replaced if we were to break them,” I said. “I must catch whomever is doing it in the act and get them to stop before the equipment they’re using can be taken care of.”

Ami looked down at her feet before turning her gaze to me. “If you’re going to stop them, then I want to help. I got to talking with the leader while you and Kicker were chatting and she let me know a bit more about the state of the spirits around here. She also liked my hairpin and said it reminded her of when her grandfather walked the woods around here. I think I’m starting to get why I can see both sides, and I hope to make a difference.”

“I am sure you will.” I said and smiled.

We walked in silence down the main road for a while after that.

Binara: Ami’s Struggle

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(Content warning: Schizophrenia is a real mental health issue and should not be taken lightly.  This fiction chapter is not meant to make light of it or demean the individuals who struggle with it or any other mental health issues.  Be sure to visit your mental health care professional for treatment and support.)

I was woken up the next morning from a dream about a black cat and my ethics professor teaching in her underwear by a reminder call from my therapist’s office. They also let me know that my results were in for that testing battery I had to go through. I thanked them and hung up, rubbing the impression that was left on my cheek from my case binder. I’d fallen asleep somewhere between the dissenting opinions of Brown v. Board of Education and the trial notes. I’d stared at the page in my still milky-eyed state and resolved to have some breakfast before poring back into my notes. I had my internship that afternoon and a test the next morning, so studying was paramount, even if I was curious about my results.

The next day after class, I went to see my therapist. The usual song and dance of copay and waiting for Dr. Hemsworth to call me back was all so normal, compared to what I’d experienced with Binara, that it was almost calming. Only the increased amount of other people waiting threw out the semblance of serenity. I picked at an out of date magazine about up and coming registered superheroes while keeping an ear out for my name.

Once I was called back and settled in on the couch, I wanted to begin on the strange month I’d had, but Dr. Hemsworth apologized for running behind, as she’d had a crisis client come in before me.

“If it’s not any trouble, I would like to begin by discussing the test results before we begin our normal session,” she said.

“Uh, sure,” I said, clasping my palms together.

“I have good news on that front.”

“Oh?”

“The results came back, and you are negative for schizophrenia.”

I stared at her, unsure of what to say.

“This means that you were misdiagnosed and what you have said to me before about your previous psychiatrist could be brought up in a case of malpractice against him, should you wish to pursue it.”

“It has been over three years since my initial diagnosis, though.”

“But that doesn’t mean that you can’t still put the complaint in front of the board. Give it some thought later.”

I nodded reluctantly, not wanting to go anywhere near my parents or him while still in law school.

“That said, this means that we must schedule a new round of tests to figure out exactly what you have, and start to reduce your schizophrenic medicine—”

“What, no!” The thought of seeing all those things around me had me in a flash of panic.

“—to have you dosed to your actual condition correctly. Now, Ms. Storm, why do you feel like your current medication, which is damaging your brain chemistry instead of helping it, should be continued?’

“I…I…” I tried to choke out the words.

Amanda waited patiently for me.

“Before I answer you, I need to ask if even when you’re on these meds, can you still see visions or somesuch?”

“Not if they are caused by the condition you were misdiagnosed with.”

“Then, I’d hate to get irrational here, but is seeing spirits an insane thing? Because if it is, I’d like to remain on the meds so I don’t have to see them.”

There was a long pause. “I’m afraid that seeing the other side of reality is not an insane thing. It’s incredibly rare, but no hallucination.”

Wait, there was more than one side to reality and whatever spiritual thing that happened to me a few months ago? Were my parents, as far away as they were now, still influencing me? “I…I…have been seeing a spirit through my meds for at few months now. They usually block other ones from my sight, but not her.”

“Is she harming or threatening you?”

“No…”

“Then let me take a step back from my role as your counselor to my role as a confidant for a while,” she said and relaxed back into her chair slightly. “Much of my own journey of studying the field of psychiatry comes from my own ability to see spirits. I realized shortly after my clinical work that what I saw was not of the mind. I do, however, prefer to keep my work and spiritual sides separate, as most do not need counseling from me about the other side.”

“I…never knew there were others.”

She gave me an understanding look. “Now you do. It’s considered a superpower by some circles, but I can’t claim veracity to it being so.”

I nodded. “My meds block the sight of most spirits, that’s why I want to continue on them.”

“While I can understand that, I cannot condone damaging your brain chemistry any further.”

“But…I don’t want it to happen again.” My hands were shaking, the memories of that time bubbling up once more.

“And what would that be?”

“Remember how I told you that something happened between me and my mother?”

She looked at her notes. “I believe we touched on that.”

“It wasn’t the funeral I was talking about. That was after I had left the house. This…this was right before I was told I was schizophrenic. You see, I’m still coming to terms with the spirit stuff again, as I can remember seeing them when I was a kid. But then…”

“It’s all right if you don’t want to push yourself.”

“I have to get it out, else it will terrorize me more,” I said, feeling as if I was gently being given courage. “I told you that my mom is religious, and that she hated my Nana. That hatred extended to seeing spirits. I had kept it quiet for years, but then when I felt a high school friend was trustworthy and told her. She told my parents about it, the bitch. It was like if homophobic people found out their daughter was gay and shoved them into conversion therapy. That wasn’t the worst part. They brought in a priest to do an exorcism on me. I could see dark things around them during that ceremony, and I don’t want to have to go through that horrible time again, being their doll, especially since I finally was able to get outside of their reach!”

There was a scratching of pencil on paper as the tears overflowed. I grabbed for a tissue and wiped my eyes.

“You aren’t their doll any more,” I heard a male voice say. “And I’ll slap my son’s head silly for doing that to you!”

A sob stalled in my throat. “…Papa?”

“We’re here for ya, my little tsila. All you gotta do is ask.”

I nodded, a fresh wave of tears flowing.

It was then that I noticed Amanda’s gaze looking over at the empty high-backed chair off to the side. She nodded, and as she turned her attention to me, I swore I could see Papa’s translucent form smile at me before he faded like an afterimage on an old TV.

“I think now I may have an idea of your specific condition, but I want to have it confirmed with a clinical battery,” Amanda said. “I’d like to bring a colleague of mine in on this to help, with your consent.”

I nodded, glad to have seen my grandpapa in spirit for the first time since my schizo meds were first prescribed.

“We’ll schedule it for in two weeks,” she said and rubbed her eyes before writing down the appointment in her calendar. “Once we get the results back from that, if you still wish to not see spirits, we can try some medicines that would both treat your condition and block some of them. Not everything will be perfect, but it will at least be properly suited and helping, instead of damaging you. Now, is there anything else you want to talk about before our time is up?”

Several hours and pints of tears later, I was on a mental health break from studying and analyzing what was said in session. I could see then that a lot more of my learned behaviors had stuck around from my “doll days” than I originally had thought. Another reason to verbally skewer my mother at the next big holiday gathering I was forced to attend.

Before I took another dive into tears, I pulled up Ahmad Shamon’s company web page. Shatech, as it was called, had a professional website, and was a sizable technology firm from the public records I could find. Their projects page mentioned a new alternative energy project, but I was blocked from details from home. While I have done research for my internships before, something about this guy didn’t sit right with me, especially after today’s session. I was flattered at the offer to use his contacts, but what Medhi had said about that was digging at me.

Sigh, I would have to use the university’s resources after class. I got up from my computer, determined to find leftover tacos in the fridge, when I felt a rumble go through the building. A few minutes later and Binara walked through my front door after knocking. Though phased might be more apt than a leisurely step in from the hallway.

“That was a lot longer than last time,” I said, setting the rice container on the counter.

“Well, it does take time to make the commission and the jump,” she said, doing what I assumed was the sylph version of a heebie-jeebies shake. “Tir is not close to this universe by a margin.”

I sighed and put the container of refried beans in the microwave.

“I was able to get them to complete this piece before being issued a claim check for the other two works,” she said and held up a leather satchel as translucent to the backdrop of reality as she was. “I would have waited for all three, but a stupid summer courtier put in a rush job on a platoon’s worth of weapons. Reyvel knows to keep on their good side, so the check will let me know when they’re ready.”

I looked at her, not understanding a good chunk of the faerie stuff, but empathizing on the getting bumped for a custom order. “It’s a bag,” I said.

“The bag is only to hold it for transport and storage. It’s what in it that’s the piece.”

“Sure…” I said and the microwave beeped as she placed the satchel in my hands, but did not fall through them.

“Untie it and it will manifest as if it were an item native to the Seen, and remain so until it is your time to leave to the afterlife.”

I hit clear on the microwave and then undid the knot on the bag. Suddenly, the spiritual weight it had became real and I could feel the beading through the leather. I reached in and pulled out a four row style collar with a small silver medallion as the focal point. Inlaid in the medallion was a protective stone and etching with the Cherokee words for protect, stalwart, and defender. The back clasp was a traditional tie and toggle, and it was perfectly sized for my neck.

“Thank you, it’s beautiful,” I said, putting it on, feeling the weight of its beads and my heritage.

“It will protect you even when I’m not able to reach you,” she said. “There should also be a note in there in English on how to charge it.”

Sure enough, another feel around the satchel and I brushed parchment against my fingers. “Place it in the sun for a couple of hours, then under the full moon for about the same if it starts to feel too light and ask my ancestors to help me figure out the rest.” I gave her a confused look.

“There should be enough of an initial charge to last several months, but that’s at minimal daily use. Reyvel isn’t always as clear with his instructions as his grandfather was, but he also doesn’t know as many cultures’ magic types either. As long as you don’t run headlong into trouble repeatedly, it should be fine. If you are more active when I’m not around, however, the charges will be more frequent, likely once a month to once a week at most.”

I shrug and put the note back in the bag. “Well, you’re in time for leftover tacos and something odd I found, but I need to do research on it up at school tomorrow after class.”

“Oh? Did Konk contact you while I was away?”

I shook my head and switched out the beans for the meat. “Something on the human side of things. A situation that doesn’t add up and my gut isn’t letting me set it aside.”

She leaned on the counter and swirled her hand. “Listen to it, but as you can. That said, I’d like to come up with you to school so we can deal with Konk after your research is done.”

“Fair enough.”

With that, I got to chowing on my plate of tacos and Binara stared intensely at my ottoman for several hours.

Binara: Ami’s Enigma

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While she did tell me about her going somewhere, Binara’s leaving still caused a flash that I could have sworn would be seen by my neighbors. It certainly upset a few of the spirits I saw as my meds were wearing off.

But that didn’t matter to me as time marched forward, and my classes continued their progression. I was able to visit Nana’s grave on the reservation after a surprisingly easy paper was turned in, and spent some time cleaning the area of leaves and trash that someone had littered from the nearby road. I didn’t feel her spirit around like I always hoped when I go out there, but maybe that meant she was happy in the afterlife. At least I didn’t have to clean any graffiti off of the headstone like I did my senior year of undergrad.

It had been nearly two weeks since Binara had left when I felt something push me while I was on my way out of class to the student center, and almost knocked over a woman in a copper hijab. She spilled the armful of textbooks she was carrying and I faceplanted into the grass. Not my most graceful moment, I know. Once I’d gotten my feet back under me and dusted off, I helped her regain control of her stack.

“Sorry about that,” I said as I picked up a chemistry book and placed it in her open backpack. “The pavement can be a bit finicky with dress shoes.”

“Don’t I know it? I swear, I was wearing my heels to a symposium and tripped on the stairs to the auditorium,” she said with an Arabic accent and shuffled more of the books into her arms.

I reached for another book, and our eyes met. She looked familiar, like…

“Wait, aren’t you the woman who saved me from those muggers down on the south side of town?”

I swam through my memories, until a few seconds of the gunman and the woman in front of me snapped into place. Had that only been a couple of months ago?

“Yeah, though I wasn’t the one on the offensive,” I said, handing her the book.

Her eyes lit up. “I never got to thank you! It’s been on my mind ever since a few days after the incident.”

“You don’t have to thank me—”

“I’m Medhi Faruq, and I’m a pharmacy undergrad here,” she said and nodded in place of a handshake.

“I’m Ami Storm, law student,” I said and smiled uneasily as I handed her the last of her books.

“Good to finally know your name. Words cannot express my gratitude, seeing as a life debt is too great for them.”

I didn’t have the heart to say it was a coincidence. “It was really no trouble…”

“Still, at least let me treat you to a late lunch off of campus. The halal options here are scarce.”

“There is the deli.”

“True, but I’ve already eaten there a couple of times this week. And my ride will be annoyed. Do you have any classes later? I don’t wish to be inconsiderate in that regard.”

I shook my head, glad that I had the day off from my internship, and then my stomach rumbled. That bowl of granola had worn off an hour ago, and lunch did sound good. “Fine, but my bus line stops running around nine.”

“That’s ok, I’m sure Hakim won’t mind dropping you off after.”

I smiled and followed her to the Uber pick up point, where a sleek gray BMW was waiting for her. She leaned in the passenger window, said something in Arabic, and then put her books in the popped trunk.

“I told Hakim you’d be coming with us to lunch,” she said and motioned for me to get in the back seat.

Reluctantly I slid into the back seat, my hunger warring with every stranger danger video I watched in elementary. The car was a posh one, and once both of us were strapped in, the driver took off.

Medhi quickly texted someone before putting her phone away. “I hope you like Syrian food.”

“It’s been a while since I’ve had anything resembling a falafel, with how much my classes have me at the grindstone,” I said and kept an eye out for which way we were going.

“Rasha’s has delicious falafel! Most of their food reminds me of home.”

“You’re an international student?”

She nodded. “My family’s from Damascus, and I’m staying with my uncle until I finish my education. After that, I want to evaluate if I stay in America and look for work here, or go back home and start a pharmacy.”

I smiled. The rest of the car ride was small talk about how we each were faring in our classes, favorite TV shows, tastes in music, and the like.

When we pulled up to the drop off, I thought that it was some mistake. The exterior looked like the Four Seasons, not a hole in the wall restaurant. Still, Medhi lead me through the lobby and up to the signature restaurant, Rasha’s. There, an upscale Syrian motif surrounded us as we were seated at a table for four and given menus to pore over.

I cringed internally. Even the hummus and pita bread was more than I could afford on my own. I was thanking my ancestors that it wasn’t my bill when Medhi interrupted my thoughts.

“Oh, I should let you know, my uncle is going to be joining us,” she said. “He’s the one who suggested the restaurant this week.”

I nodded. “So what is his profession?”

“He’s an entrepreneur in the IT field. So, anyways, about that djinn…”

I was thinking of a way to deflect, when a middle aged Syrian man in a navy blue suit came up to the table.

“Uncle Ahmad!” Medhi said and stood to give the man a hug. “How was work?”

“Same as ever,” he said, returning the gesture before looking at me. “Is this the young lady you were telling me about?”

Medhi nodded. “Yes, she’s the one who saved me a few months ago.”

He extended his hand. “Ahmad Shamon.”

I shook his hand and felt a little off. “Ami Storm.”

He and Medhi sat down. “I must thank you for saving my niece that day. She wasn’t paying attention and the curs took advantage.”

So I was to get the credit from both family members, great. Would Binara be jealous? “I just happened to be in the right place at the right time.”

“Providence then,” Mr. Shamon said and smiled. “Still, lunch is on me.”

The waitress came by and took our orders and menus.

“Ami goes to my university,” Medhi said after the waitress left.

“Ah, what are you studying?”

“I’m a second year law student.”

“Law is a good subject to go into, much like medicine or business,” he said and nodded. “Tell me, do you have your internship lined up?”

I shook my head. “Not for this coming summer. I was going to start applying to a few firms once it got closer to winter break. Why do you ask?”

“As head of my own successful company, I, of course, have some dealings with several prestigious firms around the state. As my way of thanks for helping my dear Medhi, I could see that your resume ends up on the short list for their internship programs.”

“Would that include Mr. Reynolds?”

“Yes. In fact, he was saying something just the other day about it almost being consideration season again.”

“That is very generous of you, sir.” Even I knew about Tom Reynolds, the top lawyer in the state.

“It is a trifle compared to the rescue, I’m sure. Now, if you do wish to take me up on my offer, send Medhi your resume and cover letter and she’ll make sure to get it to me so that they get distributed in the right email boxes.”

I nodded, then smelled the kebabs and shawarma coming out of the kitchen. Our food was there, and we were too busy devouring it to speak much more on the matter.

Once we were full and the bill settled, Medhi and I bid her uncle goodbye and went back to the car. Something about the man, though generous and a bit too friendly, put me on my guard more than a seedy bar.

“He seems nice,” I said, trying to break the silence as Hakim brought around the car.

“He is,” Medhi said. “Though he doesn’t normally offer uses of his connections that readily.”

“I see,” I said and looked at my shoes. “Can I ask you a question?”

“Sure.”

“Right now we’re studying people’s tells in my courtroom class, and you were throwing some of them. Do you know your assailants?”

“Why would you think that?”

“You looked away when your uncle was calling them curs. It’s a classic tell, when it’s not from an autistic person.”

“I don’t know them personally,” she said, looking a bit defeated, “but my uncle has a lot of rivals that would do anything to make him suffer. I’ve been worried that I would be a target eventually. Though I’m not sure exactly who it might be.”

The lawyer in me wanted to press the subject, but I could see that I was making her uncomfortable. I told that part to hush for now, and to wait until when I wasn’t depending on a ride back to my apartment.

“So, about the subject I was talking about before Uncle Ahmad joined us…” she said and slid into the car.

“Yeah, what about it?” I asked and hopped in, closing the door behind me. I gave the driver the address of the gym down the street from my apartment. I needed to walk off some of the lunch and make sure they didn’t know which of the complexes on the street mine was.

“That djinn seemed like they knew you.”

I looked at her like I’d been caught unprepared for a cross-examination.

“While I might study for a medical degree, I’ve loved stories about djinn and adventure since I was a little girl. I knew they couldn’t exist, but when I saw that one appear and shield us, I had a flame rekindled that I thought died a long time ago. Do you know anything about them? I’ve always wanted to meet one.”

It was my turn to give the truth avoidance tells. “I only know a little bit. She’s not a djinn, per se, but an Irish faerie who is good with air. I’ve seen her around the area a couple of times, but I don’t know her personally.”

Medhi’s eyes sparkled. “I never thought she was a foreign one, not with the silvery veins in her wings. I guess I should look into the folklore on them!”

“Yeah, you do that.” My stop was nearing, and I was eager to get home.

We exchanged emails as to facilitate the resume sending and made a half-hearted promise to hang out one day we both had off before I shut the door and they drove off. I felt as if I’d been dragged into a bigger than life mystery and needed to get my feet about me for the case. I resolved that, as I walked, I would look into this in what spare time I had.

But first, it was time to relax for a while then study.

Binara: Sylph About Town

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The larger than what was necessary store that Ami took us to for her ink not only had the supplies and human customers browsing, but a few netjeri and spirits of boredom pacing about the aisles. I was wondering why they hadn’t taken Nerull-7’s route of replicators for such things when an unusual spirit turned the corner in front of us. Ami didn’t say anything as a spirit of writing in a bird form with a pen in its beak crossed her path on the way to the register. Either she was trying hard to ignore it or the medication she said she took was in effect.

I shook my head at her, but noted the blessing as we finished in the store and boarded a bus to Franklin Street.

“I would have taken you to the art museum, but it’s a bit late for that,” Ami said as she looked at her datapad-like device. “And you’ve seen some of campus already. Best to just walk around the most touristy spot in town to get a feel for it.”

“It will certainly help me to navigate after I talk to the local air,” I said, descending the bus’ stairs to the pedestrian walkway.

Ami looked at me like I had said something off. “What do you mean?”

“I am a sylph, a Danannian made of air. I communicate with my element to know the area’s likes and dislikes, to gather glamour energy, and to cast glamours through it,” I said, surprised she hadn’t the knowledge on my kind. “It is how I can affect the mortal world without needing to be manifested.”

“Then why do you need me?” Ami snapped as we turned a corner and found ourselves in an open air older part of town that was yet to be filled to the brim with people.

“As I have said before, there is a limit to what I can do on my own when in a world. The casts of glamour take time to come into effect when bridging the veil, which is critical in many situations, like when I rescued you. Had I relied on the bridging method, you would have been dead before the tornado descended. Then I would have to both deal with your angry soul, the paperwork, and most likely a scolding by Lady Nit. Your presence, therefore, will help me navigate this area better than I can alone.”

Ami looked disturbed at the thought. “You couldn’t prepare beforehand?”

I shook my head and stepped to avoid an awning post. “I do not have the magic of clairvoyance, and cannot manipulate time. That is Chokoris’ specialty, the irritating djinn.”

She gave me a trying look as we passed through a crowd. “Is this djinn as irritating as seeing spirits when you don’t want to?”

I glared at her. “Do not disparage your gift. The protector of yours I talked to when I went to negotiate said your gift is inherited and the bloodline has it for a reason. They would not tell me more, and said to speak to you about why you dislike seeing.”

She huffed and sat down on a bench near a fountain. “If I tell you, you must tell me a bit more about yourself.”

“Very well, but you will not be getting my true name out of this,” I said, my habit of dodging that question showing.

Ami nodded. “What do you mean by true name?”

“Everything and everyone has a true name that the gods have given them. It is their essence, and while some come to learn it, like the King of Kemet and my people once they reach adulthood, many do not. In a way, it may be safer for them.” I sat upon the flowerbed wall. “A question for a question. How come you dislike your gift so much?”

“I could see spirits since I was a child, you know,” she said and looked at her lap. “I was bullied for it, and even my parents hated it. Then I was diagnosed with schizophrenia after…something horrible. I don’t want to think of that night.”

I could sense the traumatic emotions flowing off of her. “It is alright if you don’t want to go into detail.”

“The appointment I went into today was a reevaluation of my diagnosis, since it has been nearly a decade. I see my therapist in two weeks for the results.” She shifted her gaze to look at me. “So who is Chokoris?”

“He is a djinn, and one of my coworkers,” I said and crossed my arms. That hothead always tried to rile me up when we weren’t on a mission. “There are three of us at the rank I am at, and if you ever see either of them with me, you should know that all of this universe is in jeopardy. Especially if it is all three of us.”

Ami’s eyes went wide.

“Now my turn for a question. Why do you study to uphold the law?’

“I want to make the world a better place for those who are underprivileged,” she said, regaining her composure. “The best way to do that is to gain knowledge of the law, practice it for a while, then try and run for senate or another political office when I’m old enough. Who is this Lady Nit you mentioned earlier?”

“She is one of my masters, a goddess of Kemet. I think I heard the land called Egypt at one point. The other is Master Shu. I should think there is some record of who they are out there, since I have seen at least one human pass by with a sen necklace. I was not originally in their service when I became an adult, and I do not wish to talk about how I came to them.”

“All right, I won’t ask on that.”

We sat in tense silence for what felt like hours. I wondered if I should broach the subject now, instead of waiting until we arrived back at the apartment.

“If you’re not gonna ask another one, I’ll go again,” Ami said. “Why do you show up, even after my meds have kicked in?”

“I honestly do not know. I have been meaning to ask—”

“Where did you go when you left for days? Couldn’t you see what was going on and be there sooner?”

I felt as if that question wasn’t just for me. “As a Danannian, I have to do formal contract work whenever I forge a deal with a new liaison. It requires me to travel to the middle Unseen to meet your guardians and akhu so that they are aware of it and have their own say in it. I cannot see into the physical world when there, nor can I protect you when I am away from the world.”

“Why are you telling me all this? You could have left out all the details, like those folklore faerie.”

“You did ask, and I am inclined to be truthful. I do not want you to get hurt.”

“I was lucky that my ancestor pulled me into the spirit world for a moment, otherwise I would be dead.” Anguish burned in her eyes as some passersby stared at her. “How is that upholding your end of the contract?”

“If you would let me finish my earlier thought, I have been meaning to discuss that with you. It is a stipulation one of your guardians has made in regard to the contract, and I want to make sure the protection is there, even when I am not.”

Ami looked at me quizzically.

I took a cleansing breath, talking to the local air as I did so. “I have connections back home where I can have a set of protective items made for you personally and where they are manifest stable and do not require to be placed back in the near Unseen or elsewhere once you have them. A possible prayer at dawn might be required, but I will work those details out with the smith. Would you wish for these items to become reality?”

“What exactly do you have in mind?” Ami asked as she started to make her way back towards the bus stop.

“Nothing as crude as some of the arcane items I have seen, but something that would not be out of place for you. I would need measurements and an approval for them all.”

“Yeah, sure, whatever,” she said. “Will I owe you my soul for them or something?”

“I am not a crass devil! No, this is part of the contract that has already been made. My funds should be more than enough to commission the smith. He does fine magical work.”

Ami rolled her eyes.

“I am serious, his family has made many of my weapons and my bracelet.”

“…No bracelets, I dislike things on my wrist.”

I nodded. “Noted.”

We rode in silence for the rest of the way back to the apartment. The city was strange and wonderful, not at all like the megaopolises of Hattara-9 or the Earth of my last visit. It felt as if it lay in some sort of transition phase, and a choice would soon be before it. While I could discuss this with Nit and Chokoris after the mission, I needed to focus. I had gotten to talk to more of the local air while the bus moved through town and confirmed the disturbance in the ley lines from it. Hopefully Konk would be forthcoming with connecting with his friends sooner rather than later.

After a bit of rest at the apartment, I let Ami know that I was going to be out of contact for a while, and warned her to keep an eye on her surroundings. After she acknowledged it, I stepped out of the apartment and onto the nearest big green space, and made the jump to Tir to put in the commission with Grandmaster Lazarus’ grandson, Reyvel.

Author Update and Reality Check Up

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Hey all.  It’s been a long time since I’ve posted here.  I apologize for falling off the blog bandwagon, but so much has happened since the last post that it’s hard to keep things straight.  Let me clue ya’ll into what has gone down.  There’s a lot, so please bear with me.

In chronological order, after mom passed and her funeral happened, we got her ashes back home.  One of her final wishes was that she be scattered off the coast of Key Largo, FL.  Unfortunately, my family isn’t of means, so it will take a massive amount of flawless saving to even get the chance to do so.  Next, my dad went and had a whole drama with another woman before the rest of the family was ready for it, and my brother and I (with support from my aunt and uncle) started to live on our own after they did not renew the lease he had with them.  He moved in with his woman, and though she was nice and all, I felt like we were shoving her into family drama with a catch-22 situation.

After that happened, what was left was a very messy house and wondering how we’d survive without my dad.  There was a lot of cleaning done (and still quite a bit to do in more detailed work) and the house looks a lot better than when I was growing up.  I started my final semester in the Fall of 2018, and with it, a completely new piece that was in a genre I was unfamiliar with.  Said piece was straining against the page limit I was given, and once class finished, I was going to give it the room it wanted to breathe.  This is my current project, and the mental scaffolding for the current bit of summary takes up several chapters worth of pulling into scene.  Tragedy struck us again in September, as Snickers, the youngest of the kitties, had to be put down due to liver failure.  Also, right after Thanksgiving, I received a phone call from dad’s woman and then dad the day after about something happening.  She kicked him out once he was stable and the family had to scramble to find him a place to live, because he can’t stay with us.  Later, the doctor suspected he had a mini-stroke during that episode, and he’s trying to pay on those medical bills.

I completed the semester and earned my bachelor’s in English, in which I had the family bring mom’s picture with us so, in a way, she could be there to see me walk.  I had to fight to keep my composure during the walk itself, but I did hear my family and friends cheering me on up on that stage.  As the first generation of my family, especially on my mom’s side, I think she’d be proud that I finished my bachelor’s.

Alas, the pride of graduation turned to panic about student loans and finding a job to pay them off with, and while I received many interviews, none of the companies I met with extended an offer.  I’m still working on the search, but at this point, the health things that have struck me recently take priority in my mind to interviews.  I’ve also been really stressed out with trying to keep the household up to par and Angie (my cat) has been dealing with health stuff of her own.  Looking forward, I have a procedure in the first part of May that I’m anxious about, as I haven’t been under general anesthesia in decades.  I do have a short-term editing gig starting soon, so hopefully that’ll help with some bills.

Now, what’s this mean for the blog?  Since I have a lot on my plate right now, it is mostly back burner until the current project is done or I finally get some mental scaffolding towards Binara and Ami’s story in a break from said project.  I’ve also been thinking about typing up the blog posts on a word doc beforehand so I can catch any spelling and grammar errors and give a bit of polish to it so it isn’t as rough.  I noticed several errors in Senet-Ra’s origin story after I pulled the text into a doc, and while I have corrected them there, I’d rather not have zero draft quality rolling out here.

So basically, please be patient with me as I figure out how to keep all the plates spinning without being too stressed out.

Siwy

Binara: Precluded Thoughts

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I am not proud of falling asleep like I did that first time I stayed at Ami’s dwelling.  Normally I have enough energy to last weeks of this world’s time when on a mission.  It must have been all the jumps and paperwork I was subject to, plus the glamour usage in those fights.  Ami’s squirming around on the way back didn’t help any, either.

Over the next few days, I took it upon myself to both recuperate as best I could, taking some glamour from the strong emotions in Ami’s practicum class when they were talking about racism, and using a few of my legacy titles to strengthen the spiritual wards to her residence, which were laughably weak.  I was unsure as to why the glamour from this class tasted like both passion and near-rage, but didn’t ask Ami while she was studying.

When I did, she gave me a pointed look as we walked down the street towards what she called a “bus stop”.

“It’s a touchy subject for most people that are aware of it,” She said as she searched in her bag for something.  “Generally it is the systemic oppression of those that are of different colored skin than the white European colonizers that came here in the 1600s and never left.  Most overt oppression isn’t as common as it was in the 1960s, but it still happens and the news doesn’t even cover it unless there’s a cop and a death involved.”

I digested this for a moment.  “It doesn’t make sense to treat others of the same species unfavorably,” I said as we stood at a sign with a bench beside the road.  “Even worlds where there are multiple sentient species have some form of egalitarianism to them.”

Ami looked mildly shocked that I told her there was more life out there than humanity.  She took a few minutes before she spoke again.  “There are some people that extend the definition to how superhumans have been treated since the passing of the Superhuman Registration Act.  I can see where they are coming from, but I want to make my own conclusions once I have read the entire law with notes first.”

A stranger on the bus gave Ami a questioning look before sticking their head into a print publication.

“I think I understand now,” I said, trying to keep to an open chair where my wings wouldn’t need to pass through solid matter in the near Unseen.  I dislike that feeling.  “Humanity here hasn’t yet reached a point where they consider others different from themselves as valid and equal, and it is one of their active struggles to do so.  Well then, I would wish them to go down the path of ma’at if I were allowed to, but it is not my active mission.”

“What is your active mission, anyways?”

“Now that you have become my liaison to this world, you have a right to know at least some of the details.  I am to find out who or what is disturbing the energy flow in the area and stop them, using force if I have to.”  I felt the pommel of my sword and watched an order spirit float by as we sat at a traffic control stop.

We sat in silence for the rest of the ride to where Ami had an appointment.  She bade me to stay in the waiting room while she went into a different part of the office.  Since I was supposed to see the city with her afterwards, I was inclined to oblige.  There were more people around the clean and stark white walls, sitting in what looked to be mildly comfortable chairs around the room as the early afternoon light streamed in from the partially open blinds on a window on the far side from the entrance.  There were a few small tables that held glossy print reading material a few years out of date smattered among the chairs.

Many of the people that sat in that waiting room had some strange phenomena around them in the near Unseen.  A few had their heads’ energy fragmented, some were pierced with an ethereal screw of their own auras, one’s khu, or protective energy field, was torn nearly in half and the sides were arguing, and then there were the two that shouldn’t have been there.  One was a netjeri of the world who kept on poking the head of a man and laughing when he reacted, and the other was a human male in his near middle years almost encased in shadow.

I knew what the shadow meant, but I wasn’t here for it.  I have to be given orders for most of my duties, otherwise I wouldn’t be allowed to interfere.  I did note its signature for later to give to Alex, one of my coworkers, and have their people assess it once I was done here.

The netjeri, however, was another case entirely.

I gave him a withering gaze.  “Could you not torment one of Netjer’s children?” I asked.  “It is hard enough for them to be mortal as is without being prodded by pranks.”

The goblin-like netjeri turned and sneered at me.  “And who are you to be liking humans, huh?  You should be joining in on the fun, not berating me for it!”

“I do not enjoy harming humans.  In fact, my employer would be annoyed with me if I were to sink that low.”

“Sounds like your employer is a no-fun yuppie.”  He went back to poking the human on the head.

“My employers are Lady Nit-Nebthet-Seshat and Master Shu, you low-bred ingrate!  Have you never even heard of them?!”  My wings flitted fast and the trees outside shook in the breeze.

“Nope, I would have if they had power here.”

I growled.  No one gets away with insulting me without paying a price.  “I’m warning you, for the sake of those I have protected, even went intensive for, stop or you will force my hand.”

“Make me, bitch!”

I brought my hand to my necklace.  “Oh noble House of Reshanuke, hear my cry!  A commoner has defied the law of which I have laid down.  Hear the blood of my veins and the air of which I am borne and help me to enforce the law that has been set forth of which is to not harm one of Netjer’s children for personal gain!”

He looked back at me as I felt the necklace warm and my forehead mark start to hum.  “Bl-blood?!”  He jumped off the man’s lap and hid behind a table.  “S-s-stop please!  I won’t do it again!”

“And there the commoner weeps, the force of name applied stalls his hands from the break and the sword from his neck.  Know, Reshanuke, that I calm thee now, but keep eyes for his misdeeds for a year and a day.  If he breaks his vow, he shall know the full incant.”  The necklace cooled and my forehead mark went inert, acknowledging the deferment of sentence by one of my legacy titles.

He breathed a sighed of relief.  “I thought you were some messenger sylph!”

“I am the first daughter of the main line of House Reshanuke, out on my given duty by the Netjeru themselves.  They are gods, and they have power here.”

“Shit…I apologize Lady Reshanuke.  I haven’t been to Dannania or Tir in some time, but even I know not to mess with that name.”

I sighed and shook my head.  There are times I wish I could get away with not using my noble heritage in the multiverse, but fate and stubborn faerie folk deem my titles be used, in spite of what I have become.  “You and I both.  My work keeps me from there most of the time, anyways.”

“Wait, you mean you’re THAT one?”  He looked at me strangely.

Before I could muster up the words to answer, the shadow enveloped human started squirming and yelling.  His normal companion tried to ask them what was wrong, but was pushed aside as it got up out of his chair and started to swing at me.  It gave me the feeling of what Ami would call goosebumps or the freezies, where it tingles like when Alex and I spar and they get a hit in with an electric spell, but cold as it passed through my arm and shoulder.

I regarded it with a disinterest as the companion went to get the office staff.  It couldn’t hurt me in the slightest unless it wanted to disembark from the human it was possessing, and what creature of that type would give up a ride, anyways?  I rolled my eyes at it as it said garbled nonsense with the next swing.

A few of the office staff in blue uniforms came through the inner door that Ami had went into and hooked their arms into his, restraining him.  He fights against them to break free in vain, flips me a universally insulting sign, and talks garbled more.  At this point, I wondered if the shadow was trying to get a rise out of me, when the netjeri took to hiding again.

He struggled against his captors and finally slipped them as he bit one of them and swung at me again.  The rest of the people in the room seem terrified at this man, but to them, he was just attacking an empty space in the middle of the waiting room.

“It…will…destroy,” The hoarse voice of the man said before being grappled once more by the staff.

I furrowed my brow.  I did not want to hear the nonsense this shadow had to say.

Just then, I felt a glare of dazzling light behind me and the sound of wings as I knew something had come through.  In the fading gleam, I spotted the female companion to the possessed man had her hands clasped together and her eyes closed while uttering something.

That meant one thing to me: trouble.

In one fluid movement, I stepped to the side, kept my wings closed and felt the rush of aetheric air as a small bird-winged humanoid rushed past me in a chain shirt towards the possessed man.

“For His glory,” I heard the winged humanoid say as he swung a mace of silver at the man and knocked the shadow out of him.  The man went limp as the shadow crashed into the far wall and the office staff looked bewildered at where the man’s fight went.

It takes the sickly shadow thing a second, but it starts to panic as it sees the body it had been riding out cold with the bird-winged humanoid standing near it.  It started to look around the room for a vulnerable person to hop into.

It spotted the khu split individual after a few shove offs from some fields around a couple.  I reached down onto my sword scabbard, flipped open the catch on the auxiliary sheath and withdrew one of my daggers.

It leapt, but I intercepted it before the winged humanoid could turn its head and slashed its shoulder.

“Ish’ta mo souri!  Daggers of the multiverse, send the marked to the Lake of Fire that deals with his kind! Kheperu, Nekhtet!” I said and a rip opened up not inches from the legs of the khu split woman and sucked the shadow into it before closing cleanly.

The bird winged humanoid scanned the room for its next target before its unfeeling eyes landed on the netjeri.

The netjeri was cowering behind the table.  “Please, I didn’t do anything wrong to that guy!  Spare me!”

It started to cross the room towards the netjeri, as from the corner of my gaze, I saw a flutter of a small human headed bird race past my wing towards the unconscious man’s body, as if guided by a rope being reeled in.

“Enough!” I said to it.  “You’ve answered her prayer and taken out that foul shadow from her companion’s body.  There doesn’t need to be any innocent destruction today.”

It turned its head towards me and twirled its mace.  “You took the glory of the kill from Him.  He should punish you.”

“I am not one of that god’s brood, nor was I ever.  He does not hold dominion over me.  If that one has a complaint, they should bring it up with my Master and Lady, and if they want to kill that shadow so badly, they should directly speak to Wepwawet-Yienpu.  For now, though, let us have peace.”

The netjeri nodded.  “I’m not going to harm him.  Look, his conscious spirit has almost regained control!”

My eyes flicked to the man, and saw a warm glow radiating from his abdomen as the office staff had him on his back and were trying to revive him.  He took a big gulp of air and his eyes fluttered open.

Suddenly, it was within melee range and swinging its mace at me.  I raised my dagger and caught the mace head with the flat of my blade.

“You are too powerful to not be in His service,” It said, white wings outspread.  “You shall bow down to Him.”

“I refuse to bow down to one who hates my kind and doesn’t give his own servants free will,” I growled and shifted, bringing his forward movement headlong into the window.  “Not to mention the atrocities that I have seen committed in that one’s name!  Return whence you came, your deed is done!”

It gave me a look of mild annoyance, then hooked into the light and was gone.

After I wiped the shadow’s viscera from the blade, I returned the dagger to its sheath and secured it, then wiped my brow.  “I hate angelics.”

Once it had returned to being passably peaceful in the near unseen, the netjeri sprung from its hiding place.  “Thank you Lady Reshanuke!  Thank you for saving me!”

“It was nothing,” I said and walked over to the man, who was still woozy and on the floor.  “I do not wish for us to have a sword fallen on our necks simply for existing in the same room as what was their action.”  I squatted over him as the staff used a datapad-like device to see how his airflow was doing.  I did a little incant to help his healing speed along as his khu started to reform from the shreds the shadow had left when I felt a glare on me.

“How could you?!” I heard Ami say under her breath as she stomped towards me.  “I leave you alone for ninety minutes and you’ve gone and hurt an innocent man!”

I finished the incant and snapped my fingers to initiate it before standing.  “I was not the one who did this–”

“Save your excuses, I don’t want to hear them!”

“I am not making excuses!”

“Lady Reshanuke is right,” the netjeri said and drew Ami’s attention.  “I saw the whole thing.  She saved my life, and that guy’s after the angelic knocked a really bad possessor out of him.  Probably would have lost his life after consuming his internal energy so his soul wouldn’t have anything to come home to.”

Ami looked to both of us.  “But she was standing over him…and who are you anyways?”

“Call me Konk,” the netjeri said.  “It’s rare these days to have a human notice us on this side of the veil.”

“So I’ve noticed,” Ami said and gave me a cautious look.

“I was only helping his healing process along,” I said.  “Possession can be quite taxing on a mortal’s body, even to those who are trained.  A near total shutting out of a person’s conscious soul for however long he was controlled for has eaten many years from his life, but stimulating the healing process will help get some of that time back.  This is much like the work on the ley lines I was sent to do, but obviously smaller.”  I dusted the front of my sky blue dress off.  “Usually Alex takes care of the possessors and other things of personal evil.”

Ami looked like she was going to ask a question, but was interrupted by Konk.

“You said ley lines?  I know where the main one is around here.  I can take you there,” He said.

I smiled slightly.  “Would you happen to know of any disturbances in the flow of it, and what the source of those disturbances are?”

“I don’t know about any disturbances, but my friends that live in the area might.  I can negotiate for information about that from them as thanks for saving me from that angelic.”

I nodded.  “That would be helpful, thank you.”

“I could take you today if you want.”

Ami shook her head.  “I still need to get some ink from the store for my printer.”

“It would be better if you got in touch with your friends so that we will be expected first,” I said.  “That way it won’t be seen as rude.  Meet us at the university in front of their library once you’ve finished the arrangements.  We will discuss then what day we will be able to visit.”

Konk nodded.  “I hope I can find them, I’ve lost contact with a couple over the past few human weeks.  Surely they’re just pulling my chain, like they usually do.”  He looked to Ami.  “It’s been decades since I’ve pestered someone who can see me…”

Ami snorted before she started for the exit, to the relief of the rest of the people in the office.  “No way in hell am I going to have you bother me, especially when I have class tomorrow.”

I gave him a sidelong look before we walked out.  “Some netjeri never learn…”

“Netjeri?”

“It’s a catch-all term for non-human and non-god entities like myself.  He is of more common stock, though.”

“I didn’t think that there were levels, just spirits and humans.”

I smiled slightly.  “There’s much you do not seem to know about this side of the veil.”  A thought popped into my head and I tapped it into my red-green crystalnium servitor’s bracelet for later.

“It’s not like my parents taught me about it,” Ami said, looking a bit forlorn.  “They hated anything that didn’t fit their worldview.”

“Well, it is not their perspective that sees me, it is yours.  You will need to know some about the world you see, in order to defend yourself.  Since you are my liaison, I can help you with that.”

“Before that, shopping for ink,” Ami said as we stepped onto the bus.

I nodded and followed suit.  “And seeing the city.”

Then we were off.

An Update Note

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I know my posts on here have been sporadic at best due to school and such, but I believe ya’ll deserve an update as to what has happened these past few months.  A lot of my absence is due to a crazier than what I’m used to school workload, and this is going to continue for next semester.  I was only able to get that partial Psycat piece out because of the stuff from Hurricane Harvey.  I want to continue it, but I also want to finish getting Psycat to her twist in her novellas, get Lapis up to the point where they cross, and then write that story before moving on to the second part of ‘Cane.  I’ve also organized my thoughts on the Confessions world and where everyone finally comes together.

On more life things, I know I hadn’t mentioned it much, but my mom was very sick for the past few years.  That came to a head on December 4th, as she passed away from her heart failure.  The family has taken it hard, but is healing as best we can.  This grief has needed me away from writing for a while, as I have been the only person in my family to do much with the day to day house running.  It still hurts, and having her ashes in their urn-box sitting out in the living room doesn’t help much.  I just hope that we can afford to do the spreading of her ashes where she wanted this year, as finances are going to be bleeding us dry.

Anyways, I have my next section of Binara’s story primed, so please look forward to it in the next few days.

Also, if you want to do something nice in memoriam of my mother, please consider donating to the American Heart Association or the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, as what caused her heart failure was all the chemotherapy she received when she was battling breast cancer back in 2002.

Psycat’s Blurbs: The ‘cane that Clogged the Drain

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Hey ya’ll!  An officially overtired Psycat here with an update from the very wet city of Houston.  Sometimes I wonder why I type these up before I go to bed instead of after I get up, but then I remember that I’m shit at getting ready in the late morning.  My night cat tendencies are probably why I work as a pizza driver and not some office job.  That, and I’ve gotten used to doing light checks on the neighborhoods in my delivery area.  I swear, if I had a dime for every fat joke and call out or fashion sense post that one reporter that keeps a running blog about my patrols throws out there, I’d be able to pay the rent without having to dip into my tips.  Let’s see him try to hand make several cheongsam blouses after your first and overall favorite one gets ripped to smithereens by The Mist’s ice shards with bandages on his hands.

Ah, but ya’ll don’t want to hear my complaining about Nick Meyer, one of Houston’s more “reputable” superhero bloggers that occasionally gets his pieces mentioned on the local news.  Ya’ll probably want the low down on the Hurricane Hugh (currently called Hurricane Spew by Marcus and I) and the efforts of the local and out of town heroes to help those effected by the floods and damage.  Lemme tell ya, it is still an ongoing effort, and a big one at that.  Everyone, from more famous heroes to the little guy, to even some villains on probation, have been helping out with this disaster.

Now, in case you aren’t in the US or have been without internet/media for the past few weeks, Hurricane Hugh was a slow moving tropical storm when it went over the Yucatan.  It almost fizzled, but got over the Gulf and rapidly intensified to be a category four hurricane.  There’s only five categories on the scale.  The last category 5 to hit the Gulf Coast was Rita back in 2005.  With Hugh, it sat out over the water for a few days and then slammed into Rockport like that damn Nazi who slammed into protesters a month or so ago.  Then it proceeded to sit on its ass and weaken to a tropical storm, but dump nearly three feet worth of rainfall on the Houston metroplex.  It took its time, going back out to the Gulf, and is now tormenting East Texas and Louisiana as a tropical depression.

As a Houstonian, hurricanes and tropical storms are nothing new.  I was a teenager when Allison blew through here and I barely had a chance to breathe from the Hippo incident that tore up I45 before Ike blew in.  Bast knows that I tried to keep looters down in my area, but I wasn’t confident in switching gears to search and rescue.  I’d only ever dealt with bad guys and sniffing out a few plots at that point, so I kept a low profile and did volunteer work on a few days off for that storm.  When Hugh threatened to Zora scootch through here, I kept an eye on the weather reports and did my usual business until work got flooded in the early morning hours of Sunday.  Thank gods the owner has flood insurance since the building is within the 500 year floodplain, and knows that our city makes a ruler look lumpy.  I’d probably be out of a job if he didn’t.

So, what did I do with the time I usually reserve for work?  When the water took out work, I knew I needed to hightail it out of my apartment complex for Marcus’ place.  His house sits on higher ground than where I live, so I got a few things, Ibet in her carrier, and took my way of earning a living and crashed there.  With some of my stuff and kitty secure, I took initiative (and a custom made poncho) to do patrol and assess the damage.

The first neighborhood I flew to was already underwater.  I could barely see the edges of the roofs of the one story houses there.  The news had said that the Coast Guard wasn’t flying because of the rain still falling.  I can tell you that most of our city’s heroes care little and less about the rain, and those that do typically run support in times like this.  I think I was the first one on the scene, since most of the efforts had been concentrated around the bayous at that point.

I was going down low to the water to call out to survivors when I heard a coach’s whistle crack the air with its shrill noise to my left.  Shrouded behind a grand oak tree was a couple on their roof, soaked to the bone.  I picked up speed and did a sharp bank to get to them, but got branch slapped in the face.  Shows me for showing off.

“Are ya’ll ok?” I asked after spitting out very woody leaves.

“We were until this morning,” the man in a Rice University T-shirt said.  “The water came up so suddenly, it was all we could do to get up here with a small bag.”

I noticed a hole in the roof off to my right.  His wife held a backpack and fanny pack against her legs.

“Alright, I’m gonna get you two out of here,” I said.  “It’ll be a little more unconventional than the Cajun Navy coming in, but it’s something.”  I pulled a length of the high tensile cable out from its winch on the Psydisk and did my best impression of a foothold knot from my time in Girl Scouts.  I checked it to make sure it would hold before lowering it down.  “I can only hold one at a time.  Who wants to go first?”

“Is there no way we can ride up with you?”  The wife asked.

“Not safely,” I said.  “The deck’s slick and I don’t want ya’ll to get injured by the ankhs or get your feet too close to the emitter.  Plus I may need to bank and I don’t want ya’ll falling.”

The couple considered this for a moment before the wife volunteered to go first.

“How do I…?”

“Just slip a foot into the loop and hold onto the cable as best you can.  The cable can hold a good half ton on its own, and the winch and mount are rated for about the same.”

“What about the contraption?”  The man asked.  “Will it hold?”

I smiled wearily.  “The Psydisk can hold me and another six hundred pounds.  I’ve hauled many less savory people with this rig, but this will be a first for rescues.  Shouldn’t be too much different, save the knot.”

The woman stepped into the loop and grabbed some slack.  “Ready!”

I nodded.  “I’ll be back for you after I drop her off,” I said and raised the Psydisk to where the line was taut and off the roof.  I got up high enough that the power lines wouldn’t bother her and slowly proceeded away from the Addicks reservoir.  It took a few minutes, but I spotted a non-flooded area as we cruised down the stream that was Highway 6.  I dropped her off there and got her husband to the Chase before annoying one of the cops at the street blockade to get them to a shelter.

He begrudgingly called in the transport for them.  “You know, it’s only because of the flooding stretching our manpower so thin that I won’t arrest your butt this time,” He said.

“Hey, we all gotta do our part,” I said.  “Houston’s home, and it isn’t my fault that the federal government screwed up in their dealing with supers.”

The officer shook his head.  “I don’t make the laws, I just enforce them.  Now get out of here before the transport shows.”

I obliged him and got back to searching the neighborhood.

 

After a few more rescues like that, I was beat.  There had to be some quicker way of getting evacuees to staging points.  I posted to the Confessions chat (yes, we have a little chatroom and no, I will not add anyone that I don’t personally know in there) asking for help in the rescue effort before laying down for a nap.  Ibet joined me, and lulled me into a very deep sleep I hadn’t had in ages.

That was shot to shit when I rolled over to see Senet-Ra standing over me.

“What the?!” I bolted upright.

“I was wondering when you’d get your butt up,” She said, tail flicking lazily.

“Huh, wha…?”

“You sleep more soundly than my mom.”

Ibet jumped off the bed.  “I don’t normally get sleep that good nowadays.  What are you doing here?”

“Your post on the group chat ring a bell?  Seriously, your one of Bast’s chosen and you can’t remember that?”

I reached for my glasses.  “Sorry, my memory is foggy when I first wake up.”

Senet gave me an endearing look and patted my shoulder before heading out the door.  “Come on, Edfu is waiting in the living room.”

I grouchily meandered to the couch and saw Marcus playing a game of checkers with a hawk on the coffee table.  The laptop I brought was set aside on an edge of the sectional, still whirring in sleep mode.  I plopped near it and took in the almost humorous sight of Edfu trying to move a piece with his beak.

“King me,” He said after placing the piece down with his too deep for his body voice.

“That’s not even a legal move!” Marcus contested.  “You jumped an empty space to get there!”

“Well, that rulebook you showed me is confusing with all its logic jumps.  I much prefer this move.”

Marcus covered his face in his hands and sighed.  “Try to teach a bird to play games…”

I set the laptop on my lap and woke it up.  There was a few messages from Senet-Ra and a surprising one from The Herald.  It seemed as if Marcus got the details settled while I was asleep.  I closed the lid once more as Senet sat down.

“So, when did ya’ll get in?”

“About an hour ago,” Senet-Ra said.  “Edfu wouldn’t let me ignore the chat after I finished my homework, so we hopped the last flight to Dallas and drove the rest of the way.”

“That city is damn confusing by car,” Edfu said.  “Even Cairo is better.”

I snorted.  “You’re not the only one who thinks that.  Did Anicat contact ya’ll?”

Senet shook her head.  “Kinsuke wasn’t responding.”

“Figures, with how bouncy she is.”

“Lapis and Ami aren’t able to come,” Marcus said.  “It’s too sudden of a shift for them, and Binara’s off world.”

“That’s Lady Binara to you, human,” Edfu said and picked a better move.

Marcus gave him an annoyed look.  “I don’t normally deal with faerie nobility, so besa mi cola, bird breath.”

“Watch it, I saw the remnants of a burrito on the counter earlier,” I said with a smirk.

Senet chuckled.  “I guess we’ll see Herald coming in soon, but do we want to wait for her and possibly Kinsuke, since she’s likely to tag along, or do we want to get the operation started?”

I stretched.  “I think we should hop on it, if ya’ll are ready.”

“Quite,” Edfu said.

“Where should we star–” Marcus’ stomach interrupted Senet.

“Hey, it’s not like I’ve been waiting for Psycat to get up for dinner…”

The awkward silence stretched for several minutes.

“I could use some hunting time, unless you have some meat that agrees with my stomach in the cooling box?” Edfu said.

Several smiles were exchanged, and I got up to start dinner.

 

(To be continued!)

Binara: Amethyst Tides

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You know, it figures that my psychiatrist’s office was the furthest from my apartment.  I had some errands to do closer to home after my appointment, and it was quite a walk to the nearest bus line that got me there.  While I love the whole going green thing, it sucks that the lines never are as concise as they could be.  I was lamenting this as I walked, checking google maps every few minutes and reading the comments on the speedysnap picture I’d posted the day before.

I’d had the sound muted on my phone when I checked it again and saw I’d missed a turn.  I really didn’t want to retrace my steps, so I followed the map’s directions down an alley that was supposed to let out close to my next turn.  I had turned the sound back on to a minimal level and was deeply engrossed in replying to a comment when I heard a muffled voice and a click.

“Drop it,” a male voice said.  I looked up to see that there was a pistol pointed at my face not four feet away, and that the man holding it was wearing a ski mask and a dark clothing.  Farther away was another man holding a woman in a hijab hostage.  I clicked the power button on my phone several times and dropped it, putting my hands in the air.

He grabbed me and pushed me towards the other guy.  “Do as we say and you won’t get hurt.”

Oh that’s utter bullshit, I thought as I was shoved against the wall.

“What do you want from me?” I asked and got slapped in the face for it.

“No talking!”

I gave him a withering glare as he went for my purse.  I kneed his face as he bent down for it.

“That cost you,” The other man said and pointed his gun at me, pulling the trigger.

In the milliseconds before the bullet was to hit, I remember thinking both Oh shit… and I guess I won’t be seeing you on this side, Nana.

Suddenly, I wasn’t in that alleyway anymore.  I was on a beach, facing the ocean at night.  The moon was hanging low over the lapping waves and the world was shades of purple.

“Amethyst…” I heard a voice say.

Confused, I looked around.  No one was there but me.

“Amethyst…” It called again.

When I looked to my left, there was a bluff jutting out into the ocean that wasn’t there before.  A figure, ink black against the palette of violet night, stood at the end.

I moved to it, hoping to get some answers.

It called to me again.

When I got within five feet of the figure, I cleared my throat.  “Excuse me, but where am I?  Just five minutes ago I was standing in an alleyway.”

“It is not your time, Amethyst,” the figure spoke in a gentle man’s voice.  “You have much to do.”

“Wh-wh-what do you mean?  Am I dead?!”  I took a step back.

“Not yet,” He turned to face me.  The moonlight upon him revealed an older man in the traditional garb of my tribe.  “But if you don’t protect yourself, you soon will be.  That spirit you have allied yourself with can only hold up her oath when she is there.”

“This has gotta be a hallucination…”

“It is not.  You are simply out of phase with the material.  It is the only way I could help.”

I guess I looked stumped, because he gave me a pitying smile.

“You are a daughter of this land and theirs,” He said, turning back around.  “Let your fear go and embrace that, for your sake, and my wife’s.  Do not let her sacred duty die with you.  Now, go.”

I was going to ask how in the hell he knew my full first name and what he meant, but a loud bang sounded and I was back in the alley again.  The men were covering their eyes, as if a flash grenade had gone off.

Whatever that was, it had apparently bought me some time to escape.  I lunged for my phone, then saw the hijabi woman frozen in fear.

“Come on!” I said and grabbed her wrist, dragging her with me down the alley.  As we cleared a corner, I heard a gunshot ring out and heard the brick behind us shatter.

We kept going through the twisting and turning alleyway.  On one of the turns we had to double back because we ran straight into a fence.  That’s when I saw the men were chasing us.  I mentally cursed and took the turn I had ignored before.

We were almost to the street when I heard one of them yell and turned my head to see his pistol pointed right at me.  Damn, these guys were persistent for muggers!

Suddenly, I saw a blur of a figure in my peripheral vision racing towards the muggers.  As soon as I blinked, Binara was there, having interjected herself between us and the muggers.

“Winka’ana sho hiugh!” She yelled as she raised her arm.  The shots that followed hit the air in front of her hand like it was made of thick ballistic glass.

“What the…?” I heard one of the muggers say and fire another shot off, which bounced harmlessly off whatever Binara was projecting.

The hijabi woman and I stopped in our tracks, stunned.  I couldn’t recognize part of what she said, but I could understand “a djinn?  Here?” just fine.

Binara looked back to us.  “Are you alright?  One of your guardians chided me for doing a sending to make the record clear.”

“Yeah,” I said and let go of the hijabi woman’s wrist.  “At least physically.”  I looked to the hijabi woman.  “What about you?”

My question seemed to knock her out of her thoughts.  She nodded.

“Then both of you, contact the local town watch while I hold the line.  Given by how they haven’t run off yet, either they are leaden in mind or not petty thieves at all.”

I stared at her, trying to figure out what old timey thing she had said.  The muggers took another few potshots at the projection, which was starting to crack.

…Fuck, she meant the police, didn’t she? I thought and started down the alleyway towards the street again.  The hijabi woman ran past me and towards a gas station.  I looked down to my phone to see that the E911 broadcast had been initiated.  I felt a bit of relief that my advisor had taught me that trick in case I got into another altercation with my mother again.

When I reached where alley met sidewalk, I turned back to see the cracks in the air were widening.

“I already got that covered, they should be here any second now.”

Binara nodded and turned her attention back to the muggers.  I ducked behind one of the buildings that made the alleyway, feeling that I had to stay close so the cops tracking my phone would know where the trouble was.  She dropped her hand while there was a pause in the shots, stuck her silver bangled hand into a wall, and withdrew an ornate sapphire blue staff.

“Aquiaa shie hassah!” She said and started to advance towards them.  “Relent your assault, and answer for it!”

“Like hell!” I heard one of them yell.

Binara fluttered her wings and said something I couldn’t make out, before swinging the staff.  She was nowhere near in range to hit them with it!

“Aquiaa taika’ha hishe! Geyser, Water Staff!”  She called and one of the guys’ shots went wild as he was slammed into the building behind him with a wet pillar that shouldn’t exist.  She closed the gap and went to reach for his hand, but pulled away.

Wait, where’s the other guy? I thought and then looked around.  Damn it, he had just rounded the corner and had his gun pointed at me.

Just then, I heard the unmistakable sirens of a police cruiser.  The man’s eyes widened and he ran.  The cruiser pulled up next to me and a cop got out.

“The guy–he’s running!” I pointed.  The cop nodded and called for dispatch to get another cruiser to chase him.

“Were there any others?” She asked.

I nodded.  “One down that alley.  They’re both armed!  I ran into them as they were doing something with a woman in a hijab.  She ran towards the Chevron.”

The cop nodded and went down the alley with her gun drawn.  Binara still had the guy pinned, but he was struggling to break free.

“Chapel Hill PD!  Drop your weapons!”

“If I do, he will fire at both of us.  I will not harm you, but you need to disarm him before I can.”

The scent of garbage and sweat wafted down the alley as the cop weighed her options.

“Alright, but drop the staff after I do.”  She came up to the very hosed man and took the gun out of his hand.  Binara said something and the gush of water stopped, allowing the man to slide down the wall.  She dropped the staff, and it disappeared into thin air.  The cop had the man handcuffed and was standing him up by the time I walked back down the alley.

“I do not attack those who are the town watch unless I must defend myself,” Binara said and crossed her arms.

“You are lucky that I’ve worked with supers before I transferred here, Miss Tinkerbell,” the cop said.  “Most rookies fresh out of training wouldn’t hesitate to shoot you.”

Binara seemed annoyed.  “Tinkerbell is an insult among my people.  If you must use my form’s name, at least call me Lady Sylph.  It is not my name, though.”

After that, the cop placed the guy in the cruiser, took my statement, and then Binara flew me home, which was a ride in itself, considering I’d never flew in a glider, much less being held by a faerie.  Once we got into my apartment, she went translucent and passed out on the couch.

I can’t say I disagreed with that idea myself, as so much crazy had happened that day that I ate something and went to have some mental health time with my pillow.