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.

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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.

Binara: Amethyst Reflections

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When I woke up the next morning, Binara was nowhere to be seen.

I was quite sure I hadn’t dreamt her (though I had one about my Nana’s kitchen and eating a bowl of beef stew before my mother grabbed it and threw it in the garbage) but I also wasn’t sure why I was seeing things that weren’t there again.  Whatever, I didn’t have time that day before class to call my psychiatrist and discuss my dosage.  I had an appointment with her the next day anyways, so it would be moot to do anything.  I got ready and headed out the door, yelling at David over the dating chat app for abandoning me as I rode the bus to campus.

By the time I had made it to my favorite spot in the windowless place the university called a classroom, I had summarily taken a screenshot of the dudebro’s asinine commentary, blocked him, and put the photo in my asshole album on speedysnap.  He had been so promising too.  I guess it’s what I get for taking more after my great-grandmother in looks and expecting to get a decent man who isn’t just into me for the “exotic Indian chick” arm candy.  Puh-lease, like my family’s from anywhere near the Indian subcontinent.

Class went as smoothly as one could expect with an instructor that loved to lecture.  I was taking notes on my laptop when I felt it was important and looking through the news articles of yesterday’s attack when it wasn’t.  With all the media coverage of the football game, I thought they would have caught some pics of the carnage outside.  Alas, most of it was afterwards shots of the stadium.  Figures that the media, who is always abuzz when it comes to superhumans, failed to get a shot of that scoreboard flying back towards the stadium, guided by a spontaneous tornado of all things.

There was one article in one of the tiny local supers’ blogs that had a shot of myself and Binara when she was talking about healers, though.  It wasn’t professional from what I could see, but it at least confirmed that her presence there wasn’t just a mass hallucination.  The article seemed to focusing on the usual of whenever a new super steps up to the job of protecting the people; who are they, what’s their costume made from, what other powers do they have besides the ones displayed, are they registered with the SRA, would they go out on a date with me, etc.  Even the comments were similarly styled, save the date ones were in a lot poorer taste.

The rest of the day flowed quite smoothly, even for my internship afternoon, which almost never is that good.  Call me superstitious, but when the boss that normally grumbles about your filing speed is suddenly cheerful, I tend to think the other shoe is going to drop soon.

When I returned home, I felt something chilly as I passed by my neighbor Maria’s door.  I chalked it up to the A/C being on and went on to my own place.  Binara wasn’t there when I returned, so I went about making dinner.

 

I was certainly glad I didn’t have class the next day, as a secondary alarm went off on my phone that morning well before I was ready to roll out of bed.  I blearily looked at the calendar notification and then mentally kicked myself for not realizing this shoe sooner.  I knew I couldn’t cancel my appointment, so I made a reminder to buy some flowers and go down to the reservation that weekend.  I knew I had to do something to commemorate the day, so once I was up officially, I drudged around in my stuff drawer for the old silver hair clip my Nana had given me when I was a child.  I never had the heart to get rid of it when I left for college, though my mother always chided me for keeping it.

It was going to be my choice of accessory for that day, instead of the pearl solitaire necklace my parents had gifted me upon attaining my undergraduate degree.  I played with its feather charm in the lobby of my psychiatrist’s office while awaiting my appointment.  I had arrived early, as I am wont to do when I want to make a good impression.  It had only earned me a quick call up to the receptionist’s window and a copayment.  The magazines had only begun to call to my interest when I was motioned back.

“So, how have you been since we last talked?” Dr. Amanda Hemsworth asked me once the door to her office was shut and I was securely on the couch.

“Pretty good, considering my stress load,” I replied.

She smiled and looked at her notes.  “I see that last time we were talking about your family and how you feel they shaped you.  Do you want to pick up there?  We could talk about another subject though.”

“I’d like to pick up there, but I have a question for when we get to end of session today.”

“Of course.  I believe we were on your father last time.”

“Yeah, Dad.  He never was as affectionate as he could have been, though he did try to make some effort to see my concerts in high school.  Most of his work related stuff kept him from family, though.”

“And you resent him for this?”

“In a way, yes.  It did keep a roof over our heads and food in our bellies, so mom always told me to not complain.  She always told me we could have it worse and still be living on the reservation like my grandparents, who were stuck in their ways.”

“I don’t believe we’ve touched on your mother.  What can you tell me about her?”

“She was a very religious woman, having grown up Catholic.  She was the main force behind me being kept away from my grandmother when I was in high school.  She absolutely hated my Nana, though she would put on a veneer of civility during holidays.  I just…I just…”  My eyes began to well up as I reached for the tissue box on the oak side table.

“Did something happen during those years?”

I nodded, the painful memories flowing back.  “I just wish I could have been at my Nana’s side when she passed.  She was precious to me, and I didn’t find out she’d gone until my Uncle Joseph called me to see if mom had passed along the day and time of the funeral.  That bitch was planning on not having me show up at the funeral!  She tried to play it off as me needing to study for my LSATs, but I knew it was because she didn’t want me to see Nana until she was in the ground.”

“It seems like you have a lot of resentment towards both your parents.”

I dabbed my eyes and uncrossed my legs.  “I guess you could say that.  Mom was genuinely surprised when I came up the aisle of the funeral parlor right before they closed Nana’s casket and placed an owl feather charm in with her.  The real fireworks didn’t happen until after the wake was already going.  The bitch struck me for siding with Nana and disobeying her.  I told her that since I no longer lived under their roof, their damn rules didn’t apply.  When she went to slap me again, I got a few in myself before my cousins restrained us both.  Part of the reason why I’m studying up here instead of closer to their place is so I don’t have to deal with their bullshit.”

Amanda nodded.  “Since you have come to me, you seem to have come out of your shell some.”

“Well, I did have a therapist down there ever since I was in high school.  He seemed more enamored with my parents and their way of doing things though.  I didn’t want to have to keep on making the trek to see him, so that’s why I looked you up.”

“And it’s always a good thing to be able to find help closer to where you live.  I want to reiterate that none of what you tell me goes beyond us, unless it is something that I’m required to report.”

I thought for a moment.  The memory had come flooding up along with the funeral, but should I tell her?  “Today is Nana’s birthday.  I miss her, like really miss her when this day comes around.”

“Are you going to go visit her?”

I nodded.  “Not today, but later.  Listen, I–I’ve only said one of the many things mom did.  I’m not quite ready to bring the other things up, but I’m glad that you won’t report back to them like he did.”

Amanda raised an eyebrow.  “Did this happen even after you became an adult?”

I nodded, gripping the leather arm of the couch.

She scrawled in her notebook.  “I’m sure the board would want to hear about that.”  A beeping sound came from the arm of her chair.  “Ah, we’re getting close to time.  Now what was the question you wanted to ask?’

“I was wanting to ask if you could adjust my schizophrenia meds.  I think I was starting to have some sort of afterimages and seeing a person that wasn’t there.”

She looked through one of her file folders.  “When was the last time you were evaluated for it?  I see you were diagnosed when you were seventeen, but there’s no mention on your record that Dr. O’Brier went back and updated it at regular intervals.”

“He never did do any sort of tests after I was diagnosed, which was just the way mom wanted it.”

She looked from the file to me.  “It’s been long enough that you’re more than overdue for one.  I’m going to have you go to the specialist I work with and set up an appointment with them.  Until I get the results from them, your meds will remain the same.”  She showed me out to the receptionist’s desk and had them hand me the information, setting my next appointment with her for next month and my appointment with the diagnostic clinic in two weeks.  I took the appointment cards and left the office behind.

A bit of news

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I know it has been quite a while since I posted something on here, fiction or otherwise. As usual, school has used up my time for the most part. In doing so, it has also spurred me to write more on Lapis’ origin story, make a nice little side story for Marcus with how he played a part in Psycat’s origin, and in general start to flesh Ami out more so I won’t be as stuck as I have been on her part of the current story on the blog. It also has kept me quite sleep deprived with how much keeps on coming at me all at once.

I do have some news regarding school, though. If those readers that look at my news posts remember, I’ve been in my lead-up courses to my portfolio. I got it in and waited a few weeks to hear back. I got the email on Friday that I was accepted to the concentration! I’m ecstatic that I got in and it takes one worry off my mind about school.

The question I most often got from the people around me was what does this mean. When I heard my parents ask me this, I was caught off-guard. Now, though, not so much. For me it means that I can continue training to become an even better writer and finish my degree. What it means for Confessions is that I’m still in school and will post when I have the time, energy, and attention span to dedicate to it. I am also planning on heavily revising some of my pieces and trying to get them traditionally published. So, small yay. 🙂

Also, this new post creator of WordPress’ is an annoying thing and deliberately misses keystrokes repeatedly. D:<

Siwy

Psycat’s blurbs: State of the Pin

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Ok, I have a bit of a rant that I need to let off since I’ve been seeing way too much of this on patrol the past few days.  I’m sure you all know by now what has happened in the USA, but for those of you who have been away from the media for the past week or so, let me fill you in.  This past Tuesday was election day, and a man named Charles Dampher was elected President of the USA in an upset by the electoral college while the popular vote went to Lara Flinters.  This man, whom I have pejoratively called the Toupinator to my colleagues and Marcus, beat out a woman who was more qualified than him by standing on a platform of hatred of minorities and generally anyone that isn’t white, straight, and/or male.

What does this have to do with my patrols, you may ask?  First off, the man is an SRA apologist who wants to make the current system stronger and put heftier sentences on operating without registering, but that’s not the biggest thing at the moment.  (I know, Psycat not seeing the SRA as the bigger thing?  Some big turds have to be going on)  The biggest thing of the moment is that I’m seeing a rise in hate crimes while I’m out on patrol from both normal and superpowered people on said minorities.

These jerks have taken the election results as a free pass to do whatever they want to those who are different from them.  It doesn’t matter to them that there are laws in place, cops around, and supers patrolling, they just go for it.  Earlier today when I was down off of Montrose helping the gayborhood’s new super get to know the layout of the roads, a truck full of dudebros was harassing a lesbian couple just walking on their way to one of the restaurants.  We both had our eyes on the scene as they pulled into the couple’s path, a few of the guys hopped out of the car, and started to try to physically assault them.  Obviously Red Jade and I weren’t about to let that happen in front of our faces and not do anything about it.  They ignored both our warnings (and one of the assholes flipped me the bird) and went for the smaller of the two’s genitalia.  That’s when Red Jade rushed the closest guy as I gave the groper a massive migraine, then yelled at the couple to run and call the cops.  I’ve never seen women in stiletto heels run so fast.  While I was admiring their skill in heels, one of the jackholes decided that I was a punching bag and knocked me to the ground with a right cross.  That fucking hurt, even with the psychokinetic net softening the blow and then translating some of it to a headache.  This is why I say I don’t take punches too well, because I was on my back for what felt like hours nursing my hurting jaw.

The puncher got up to me and straddled me, crowing about it being Dampher’s country now and they could do what they want.  He was starting to go for my cheongsam blouse when I kicked him in the nuts with my steel toed boots and shoved him off of me as he cradled his junk in his hands.  I scrambled to my feet to see Red Jade duking it out with the driver of the truck and one of the guys he’d dealt with getting up with a pistol in his hands.  I wasn’t about to have that, so I telepathically grabbed a hold of the gun, hit the guy in the face with the slide several times as I was shaking it loose from his grip, dropped the clip, then ejected the chamber round without firing it and tossed it into a nearby storm drain.  There was a quip about fighting fair I was working up, but I had to migraine the nutbusted guy before he could grab me.  Eventually Red Jade and I had knocked out and/or bloodied the jerks and were in the process of tying the bastards up in the bed of their truck when the police and the SRA showed up to take them off our hands.

The problem with the police having the SRA there is that they’re more dogged about pursuing unregistered supers like myself and Red Jade than they are about hate crimes.  I guess I’ve earned a reputation with the local SRA office as one of the more infuriating supers to attempt to bring in for registration and prosecution that as soon as the sergeant taking our statements went to put them into his computer, they were attempting to stun me with tasers.  Naturally Red Jade, an already twitchy martial artist from the Austin area originally, knocked the taser pistol out of the agent’s hand before running.  This gave me time to flick open the Psydisk from tail form and hop on before the agent could grab his gun and start shooting at me.

I got about to the HCC Downtown building before their chopper caught up with me.  I ended up having to bob and weave through the skyline and medical districts and then duck into a tunnel to completely lose the chopper.  I’ve never had to hide in the Houston underground so long before, and I don’t care to again.  I still can’t believe that Marcus had told me the steel toed boots weren’t worth their weight when I got them last month.  Shows him.

Anyways, situations like this have been becoming more commonplace that I’ve started to wear a safety pin on my work uniform and my regular street clothes to let those who are marginalized know that I’m a safe person to talk to if there’s a harasser bothering them.  I know it’s not much of a gesture for most people, but there are several of the supers community that are supporting this, so don’t be surprised if a super calls you by name if you talked to a safe space person earlier in the day.  We do walk among the civilians in plain clothes, going about our day, the same as you do.  We just happen to serve our communities in more than one way.

See ya!

Psycat

School again…

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So as you all have seen, the blog has been on hiatus since around June.  This is because first work got busy, then school started up and made sleep on school nights an exception instead of a rule.  You all should know why this is a bad thing.  I rarely have a weekend anymore with all the work I’m doing.  Some of it is my creative writing work, and that’s not too bad, but literature and the amount of work put upon me has had me scrambling.

Suffice to say that Confessions has to be on hold until after finals.  If I get some work up here during the next few weeks, consider me either slacking on an assignment, needing a break, or I’ve found a rare spot of free time to get ya’ll some content.  My portfolio’s coming up in the spring, and I want to be super prepared for it.  I seriously hope that it impresses the review committee enough to let me into the program.

One of the good things to come out of my creative writing class so far this semester is that I was able to get the latter part of Psycat’s story workshopped.  I seriously needed the feedback and it will help me hone her story more before putting her out there for traditional publication.  Lapis’ story is coming along on its first draft too, when I’ve had time to work on it.  I even had the characters wrest a scene from my hands as I was writing it, which to me means that the emotions are seriously high and it has quite a bit of potential.

For now though, it’s an academic paper, workshop reading and letters for our poetry unit, and reading a novel a week until the end of the semester.  This doesn’t include the LARP and other gaming things I do, along with family stuff.  So, I hope to see ya’ll back here after finals and a week or two of rest for more of the Confessions crew’s stories.

Siwy

Psycat’s blurbs: Interconnectivity

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As those of you who keep an eye on our little community blog here should know, Binara and Ami are starting to contribute.  Ami’s told me that she’s a bit busy with work right now, so she’ll be writing on their posts when she gets the chance.  I respect you for that, sometimes I get assigned to evening shift at work too and it cuts into patrol times and any relaxation I get afterwards.  Ah, sometimes I miss marathoning my favorite long series anime…

Anyways, all this activity has seemed to draw another one of our community member’s attention (as she finally got back to me almost six months after I messaged her about this place), and she will be posting sometime soon.  Rai Kinsuke’s one really weird nekojin.  You heard me right, she’s a cat person.  Not the way that Senet-Ra is, but born that way.  Before I’d met her and Herald a few years ago, I thought most supers were science or magic based.  I almost got my hand shredded trying to pet her ears, but it was so worth it.  I hope you’re looking forward to her posting as much as I am.

I did ask about Herald’s story, but all I got from Rai is that she’s been busy with work.  It’s understandable, I’m sure we’ll hear from her once work lightens up.  Speaking of work, Lapis has been keeping Marcus and I busy recently with some sort of tech analysis for a case she’s working on.  Something about a techie villain calling card written into a ritual item of some sort.

My injury that I got from work is almost completely healed now (thank the gods).  It’s kind of embarrassing really how it happened.  Basically, I threw out my back while on my way back to the car from delivering an order because I slipped on a wet sponge on the guy’s tile porch.  It’s damn good that worker’s comp picked it up or else I wouldn’t be able to afford the meds and diagnostics they had to do.  I’ve been off work for a couple of weeks and Marcus wouldn’t let me go out on patrol for most of it.  I’m eager to get back to work and not let the jerks of the city have the run of the place, either.  Thankfully one of the cross-town heroes has been generous enough to pick up my slack until I am able to get back on my feet.  Heck, I might go see who’s at Comicpalooza this year before I have to return to work.

I know it’s belated, but I hope that all of our readers found time to honor the fallen for Memorial Day.  I treat it as a day for the ancestors.  There are also several of our superhero brethren who have fallen in the line of duty and they deserve that moment of silence as well.  Go West, and be judged in right Razorwhip, Neutronia, Velvet Gem, and Ectarr.  The world was better for you, and will mourn your absence.  And for those who wish to pick up this mantle, think long and hard about it.  It is not a game, but a calling.  Make sure you have your affairs in order should something go awry, and until we have the SRA straightened out, I’ll advise against registering.  Save yourself from the pain that Velvet Gem went through when Lodestone found her on the database, tortured and killed her and her husband.  It still happens, even to those starting out.

Psycat

Binara: Amethyst Dreams

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It was fortune that when Ami fainted, one of the healers was looking her direction and went to her aid.  I was a bit concerned for her well-being, but hadn’t recovered enough to manifest again at that point.  Using that much power with the restraints that manifesting puts on me tires me out, so I try to refrain from doing so unless absolutely necessary.  I quickly checked the ley line as the healer’s partner pulled some sort of wheeled bed towards her and placed her upon the bed.

Thankfully, the line would recover on its own after some time from what I assessed, so I returned to Ami’s side as the healers loaded her into a vehicle of some sort and started moving out of the area of the stadium.  I followed them from the air, dodging order spirits and electricity imps, faded memories and the souls of the recently departed on their way to the Judging Grounds.  Luckily humanity of this realm has yet to make this healer’s vehicle have a top speed close to my own, so I was able to keep it in sight as it bobbed and weaved through the streets as I did through the gap in the buildings that made them.  It pulled into a building with a solar cross upon it, and once I was within earshot, they wheeled Ami into the building.

“What happened with her?” I heard a male healer that met them at the door ask.

“She just dropped and hit her head on the pavement,” one of the healers that had rode with Ami said. “Figured it’d be best to bring her in.”

“Take her back, I’ll get the Doctor on duty to look at her.  With all the injured from the Manifesto fight things are pretty hectic here.”

I tried to follow them through the double doors, but was blocked by a barrier.

“Do you have business here?” the barrier spoke as a healer passed through it.

“I’m concerned for the one who was just wheeled through you,” I said, stirring the air a bit in the hallway.

“Concern is not enough, my lady,” It said. “You know the rules, only a death spirit, personal guardian, ancestor, god, or spirit tied to this place can pass a privacy barrier.  Unless, you have a personal invitation, that is.  We can’t have patients being attacked while they are trying to heal in the Seen.”

I looked at it, slightly annoyed.  “Fine, but could you let me know when she comes back into the public part of the building, living or dead?”

“Why would you want to know?”

“She’s a different human, with eyes that see unclouded.  The ravens would be jealous.”

It took him a few minutes to respond.  “Yes, my lady.  She will be known.”

I nodded and turned to return the way I came out of the building and rest upon the awning until she returned to public space.

It was a few hours before I felt her come out of the private space.  She didn’t spot me as she left the building entirely and made her way towards a mass transportation station.  When I landed upon the vehicle she was going to take, I had a thought.  Though mechanical netjeri are not as communicative in the ways that most humans would understand, I know enough that I sat down and held on so that I could rest my wings on the way there.

After several hours’ ride on top of the train, it stopped and I followed Ami in this new city.  I didn’t know if she was oblivious, ignoring me, or could only see spirits, but it was evening by the time she entered a new building and I had to negotiate with a lazier privacy barrier.  All it wanted was a gust of energy and then it was happy to let me pass.  By the time I’d found the energy and given it to them, I had lost sight of Ami.  Thankfully the air in the area let me know her residence number and I proceeded to find the correct door.

While I could have simply slipped into her apartment on my own power, it is considered customary for my folk to at least try to get an invitation into a private domicile before wandering in.  I didn’t want to manifest just to do so, so I gathered what energy was in the hall (which made the lights flicker and a couple of light spirits in the fixtures a bit miffed) and used it to make the knocking sound on Ami’s door.  It didn’t take her long to answer.

She opened the door, and seemed oblivious to me for a second before I lowered the temperature of the air a bit.  “Whoa, I didn’t see you there!  I guess my medicine is wearing off again…” She said.

“There’s medicine that blocks the sight of the near Unseen?” I asked.  “Clearly those healers should know it’s harmful.”

“Well, it’s complicated,” She said and looked both ways down the hallway.  “I’m not supposed to see you, humans aren’t like that.”

“I’ve met many a human in other worlds that have a gift like yours and are prized for it.”

“IT’S NOT PRIZED HERE!” She yelled.  “Why don’t you quit bothering me and go back where you came from?”

“I can’t, not until I complete my mission.  Could you please let me in so we can talk?  I’m usually very civil, unlike that unbalancer that attacked that coliseum.”

Ami looked around again, spotting a neighbor that had poked their head out to see what the commotion was.  “Very well,” she sighed. “but don’t mess with any of my belongings.”

“Fair enough,” I said and walked in past her.  The place was small, but I could spread my wings to full span if I needed to.  I sat down upon the couch as Ami calmed the neighbor before closing the door.

“So, what did you need to talk to me about?” Ami asked and then sat down on a chair at a desk with a strange machine on it.

“It seems to be rare that those with the talent to see the near Unseen are present, at least from what I’ve experienced so far since I’ve come here,” I said.  “It used to not be this way, from the last time I was in this universal group.  Was there anything that had happened since the human Gregorian year of 1503 AD to cause that gods-given gift to become so rare?”

Ami looked at me in what I presumed was shock.  “How old are you?”

“In this world?  Old enough to predate most forms of life, though that might be older or younger depending on the different universal growth rates.”  I could see the disbelief in her eyes. “We faerie are effectively immortal, but our creation date matters little to me and my mission.”

Ami took a bit, then said “We humans don’t live that long…as for that curse you call a ‘gift’, seeing things that aren’t there has been considered insanity since at least the 1800s.”

“And what year is it now?”

“It’s in the 2010s right now.”

So it had been about five centuries since I’d visited this world, no wonder why the humans had changed.  They have such a short lifespan compared to even the other mortal races I’ve encountered with technology that they must make every day count.  I guess that is what draws my kind to theirs, the passion for life.  Even the most remote faerie can smile at their efforts.

I thought long and worded my phrases carefully as I spoke.  “Listen Ami, I do not agree with your assessment that seeing my kind or into the near Unseen is a curse.  However, I am stuck in a world that I know little of its human culture of this era and technology until I can complete my mission here.  I need someone who knows both and can communicate with me while I work unmanifested to conserve energy and to not put a strain on the fabric of the world.  I have done this many a time when I do not know the local cultural layout or it has been many centuries since I have been to a world.  You are the only one I’ve met today that has such a gift to communicate with me in such a way.  Would you be willing to assist me on my mission here in that capacity?”

“What’s in it for me?  And just what is this mission of yours?  Will I be in danger if I help you?”  There was a struggle in Ami’s eyes, between caution and curiosity, and whatever else that she was feeling at that point.

“I would not take you off-planet, as the mission is local to the area.  I may have gated in close to where the disturbance is happening, but that’s as close as I could jump without setting off suspicion and disrupting the ley lines in the area further.  They get quite jumpy when someone of my power level comes in suddenly from the in-between.  I am usually assigned missions of this level if the world and galactic level powers cannot or will not be able to take on the imbalance.  There might be a level of danger present, but I do not know until I can assess the area where the disturbance is if it will be reactive or inert.  If you do agree, I will defend you as best I can if it comes to that point, but even I cannot clone myself.  I would think that a fair trade, no?”

Ami blew a sliver of dark brown hair out of her face.  “And I assume you need a place to stay while here?”

“Only while I’m actively investigating the disturbance,” I said. “I can jump home once it is resolved.  I will not disturb you during your normal routine unless I need your services, and even then I will be discreet.”

Ami thought for a while.  “Fine, I’ll help.  But only because you saved my life and this is a debt I am repaying, got it?”

“Of course.”  I extended my hand to shake hers.  With the alliance sealed, I would have to talk to her personal guardians lurking in the mid Unseen to let them know of the agreement.  They would, of course, have their own demands that I would have to see to, but it was nothing I hadn’t navigated before.  “So, may I ask, what were you doing at that coliseum?  Human gatherings tend to fascinate me.”

“Nothing much, just was on a date with a guy I met online.  He ditched me once Manifesto showed up, the jerk.  After I met you, I passed out, woke up in a hospital and came home once the doctors deemed me fit to travel.”

“Have you eaten yet?  You look a little sullen.”

“I ordered pizza, but it hasn’t gotten here yet.”  The buzzer went off not five minutes after she said that.

The rest of the evening was a lazy one, with Ami promising to teach me the layout of the city while she ate, grumbled about having to go into school the next day, and then finally going to sleep well past her ancestors’ bed time.  I placed a charm on the domicile to protect against evil spirit intrusions before resting a bit myself and then jumping to the mid Unseen to deal with what humans would call “the paperwork”.  This would be the start of a fruitful endeavor, I could tell.