What Have I Gotten Myself Into? Part Two

Dear Traci, Terri, Patti, Amy, Mary, Janie, Cousin Emmy and Kim,

I’m soooo sorry! I know, I know, I know – I promised everyone I’d write individually but I’m crazy busy right now. I’ll spacer.gifspacer.gifwrite properly first chance I get, I promise.

I know what you’re thinking, cousin Emmy – I can’t be that busy, right? Well, I am. Take last night for instance. I had two tests to study for and just put down my history book when I got a call to go to this big powwow at Jack’s parent’s place. You remember Jack, he’s the new slayer I met up here. Anyway, it was like nine o’clock when I got there and it took like totally forever. That came out bad. It was important and even interesting. Turns out his building really is a sanctuary! Anyway, it took a couple hours just to get started good. Oh, that reminds me, they have the most divine rocky road ice cream up here. I’ll send you a link to the company, Mary – you’ll love it!

Where was I? Oh yeah. So it’s like eleven o’clock when we start getting serious. Tresmayne agreed to take a letter to Montgomery and Jack had to write it. He had a bunch of questions for the Mistress. Nyota – oh, I didn’t tell you yet! She came to visit and is staying a few months! We’re gonna try to come down after finals. Mine come a week before yours so I can probably catch y’all all at Ol’ Miss if you want.

Anyway, Nyota told Jack to ask something none of us had thought of – how to get better at controlling his command abilities. I mean, seriously, so obvious but we’ve been so caught up in trying to figure out why every creature in a five hundred mile radius shows up at his house – even weirder, knowing it’s a sanctuary – that we hadn’t thought about asking her that. I did tell him to ask about why the werewolves had eaten the cats (sorry, Terri – I would have saved them if I could have). I mean, that’s just strange, you know?

Yes, Traci, I realize any conversation with me about slaying is ‘strange’ – but this is stranger than the normal strange, you know?

Well, Tresmayne left a little after one and I was helping clean up when Jack gets a call from Mr Colin. One in the morning! Even slayers shouldn’t get calls that time of night except from the emergency room, you know? Jack’s mom got on the phone and you would not believe the chewing out she gave him! I’ll tell y’all about that once I’m sure it’s okay but it was really funny, I’m telling you! Of course, it took another twenty minutes before Jack gets the phone back to find out what was wrong. Get this, the guy living with Jack was afraid to call himself so he’d called Mr Colin because he’d found something important (and that was who Jack told him to call if he couldn’t reach Jack – Jack’s kinda cool about thinking of things like that).

Anyway, we left Jack’s mom and went to Jack’s apartment to talk to Thompson – he’s the guy that called Mr Colin. Nyota went to sleep on the sofa. Jack’s brother Tim was on the recliner already – I felt bad when I found out that most of the family was sleeping on sofas and stuff around the building because they didn’t want to disturb us. I was trying to stay awake while Thompson explained it all.

Why do guys have to give you every freaking detail? Who the heck cares how you back hacked the guys IP address and how many fake ID’s you had to go through to get to the real one? Get to the point, Dude! Especially at nearly two in the morning! Jack actually encouraged him – he was asking questions. I so wanted to poke him for that.

Finally, he got around to the point. I won’t tell you all that – it’s not really public, you know. But it was a big, big break – I just wish it could have come at two pm instead of two am.

So, I get home just after two and have to write a supplemental and study for my logic test! I was up til five. I thought I could get like a couple hours sleep but noooo. I no sooner hit the hay than I feel a vampire nearby. I got up and had gone out after it but Jack got to it first. Only it wants to deliver a message so I don’t get to go home until after six thirty. No way I can get any sleep now.

I got an A on the history and a B+ on the logic – which I am so incredibly proud of I could scream! Anyway, I caught up on my sleep this afternoon when I got home. I have to finish my homework then go have supper at Jack’s and yet another meeting after that. I tell you, I never get to stop!

Anyway, I hope y’all are all well. I miss you guys soooo much! I really wanna get together over Christmas. Let me know if y’all want me to come to your campus or wait ’til y’all get home.

Love you!

Crystal

What Have I Gotten Myself Into? Part One

I’ll tell you this much – that man better NEVER try commanding me again or he won’t be able to count the number of bumps on his head once I’m done. Of all the nerve!

Oh yes, I know – he didn’t mean to. I did forgive him but it was just so terrifying. I know the Mistress can command us but she almost never does. She says it’s something for emergencies and doesn’t work all that well on slayers anyway so she rarely bothers. Honestly, I’d never thought much about it – until Jack actually DID it.

I grew up with all this stuff, you know? I don’t guess I ever wondered what creatures thought of being commanded but then again, I’ve only seen the Mistress do it once or twice. And creatures don’t have souls so it’s different. I know, sounds like a cop out, right? Well, it’s not. Creatures lack souls and that’s what can make them so powerfully dangerous. No soul to inhibit the flow of power – or the drive of impulse. The result can be pretty awful – which is why slayers exist in the first place. And it’s not like we go around killing every creature that pokes up its head – creatures exist for a reason, too. But allowed to run unchecked and you end up with blood soaked mayhem – even white creatures can sometimes go mad that way. So we take out the bad ones and ignore – or sometimes work with – the good ones.

But Jack and I had a serious heart to heart about that command thing, believe you me!

Anyway, I’ve still got to finish my logic homework – finals are next week – so I’m just gonna hit the highlights. Jack already told you what all happened. I only have one thing to add to that. I admit, for a guy, Jack’s pretty good at understanding people but on one thing, he’s dead wrong. Thompson. Jack’s convinced the guy just wants to go back to Canada and forget the whole thing. That’s partially true but not quite the whole story. Oh, I haven’t talked to him or anything – at least not in private where I could really ask you know. But a girl knows some things – like when a guy is gaga over another girl. That guy has it bad – for Lisa.

I don’t know what to do about it. First I gotta talk to Thompson and make sure – like 100% instead of the 95% I have now. Then what? Tell Jack? I guess I have to but he’s got so much on him as it is. In one way, he’ll be relieved – he’s really dreading telling Lisa the truth and now that his mom knows, it’s only a matter of time. But Jack dreads it, anyway. He’s a softie like that – he doesn’t want to hurt his sister. And if Thompson really likes her – if he doesn’t I’ll eat Grace’s sheath! – then problem solved, so Jack will think. But it isn’t really, you know, and I hate being the one who has to tell him.

Oh it happens, they say. And certainly some born creatures do interbreed with humans but it’s rare for a couple reasons. They’re still creatures – they are subject to their natures in a way humans really cannot understand. I once saw a vampire turn away from a house full of humans because a kid had told him at the door he couldn’t come in. Traditionals have to be invited – it’s part of their nature – so no invite, no dinner. No human would do something like that – be stopped by a mere condition when there was literally nothing physically stopping them from having a meal. I asked it why and it said it simply could not cross a threshold uninvited anymore than it could go to the beach on a bright summer day – the latter being more likely. You know, I think the poor thing was relieved when I slew it. It had been without a meal for a few weeks and it said that was the fifth time it had been turned away like that. Sad, huh?

Anyway, like I said, they are prisoners of their natures. That’s no different for a born creature. A faoladh is no different. Great protectors of children they are absolutely driven to find and help kids. That’s fine – until you’re trying to live with it. Be like living with Batman – minus the cool cave and mansion.

It gets worse, though. The partnership is uneven. Now, some creatures do achieve but it’s rare. Heck Tresmayne’s been working at it for over 900 years! Can you imagine not knowing whether the person you love even stands a chance at going to Heaven when they die? To accept salvation you must have a soul – you must be human. Creatures aren’t. Humans were given dominion over all the creatures of the Earth – the supernatural included. You aren’t truly partners when the one has dominion over the other. Marriage doesn’t work like that.

If you can somehow manage to live with all that, you then have to deal with the very real possibility your beloved will be slain. I’ve never met one but black slayers do exist. They will preferentially slay white creatures. Mistress said once that two such slayers had spent a month trying to get at one of her wolves and she’s seen them do worse than that. I know, anyone can get hit by a bus but it’s a different kind of fear to know your loved one can be slain with impunity. Creatures leave nothing behind that a court would be interested in – even if you video taped it, the body would dissolve and it would look like it was computer generated. No slayer has ever even been questioned because no one believes even if they see it. Kinda creepy, huh?

Marrying a creature – it’s not for everyone. I get the impression Thompson isn’t wanting to ask Lisa anyway. Oh, he’s crazy for her – don’t doubt it. But he’s probably been warned since he was a baby to stay away from humans – no good comes of such relationships. Nyota told me once that she’s known a shaman who married a local were-type (meerkat, I think she said) and it went okay but of course, the shaman grew old and died, leaving the creature to mourn. It asked Nyota to be slain but she’d already sworn not to (the shaman had asked). She says she sees it occasionally, just sitting in the house where it had lived with its human mate. No humans can see it any longer – its begun to fade from existence. I don’t think that’s what Thompson is afraid of but it’s the sort of thing Lisa has to know – I wouldn’t want to leave someone behind like that.

Thompson’s probably more afraid of the danger. Creatures often have violent sides that can be triggered by the most bizarre stuff. Faodalh are Twilights – they are kin to the fairykind which are Day creatures. You think vampires are weird, try fairies! They are so danged easy to annoy it’s not even funny. Faodalh aren’t as bad but I’m sure they have those streaks too – all creatures do. A perfectly safe creature one minute – deadly the next. It happens and since Thompson loves Lisa, I’m sure he doesn’t want it happening to her.

Sigh, listen to me prattle. I still need to study. I feel for them both, Thompson and Lisa but I feel even worse for Jack. He’s the kind that needs to make things better but there isn’t a good way to do that here. I guess I better talk to Thompson and get it over with. I hate to be the bearer of bad news – Jack’s got enough as it is. Not that he’s complaining. I guess that’s one of the things I like about him – he just gets on with it rather than griping all the time. Still…

Oh, right, this was supposed to be my supplemental. Oh well, not much else on my end. I was pretty surprised to find that Jack’s mom had been a slayer. I dunno – I mean, I knew the house was a sanctuary but it’d never dawned on me to tell Jack. Before you laugh, I also didn’t tell him it’s a five story building (counting the basement) – for the same reason. It’s so freaking obvious! I mean, how could he not know? But his mom’s explanation about him not noticing that she was a slayer probably explains this too – he’s grown up there. He’s always been around it – instead of that feeling meaning ‘sanctuary’ to him, it probably just means ‘home’.

I just emailed him. I suggested we get together after finals and go over all the slayer stuff. I don’t think there’s anything else I just haven’t mentioned but I just don’t know. To me, this is all old hat – except the commander type thing, of course. But I’m just used to being a slayer and I don’t think about what he must be wondering because I was so young when I emerged that I don’t really remember all the questions I asked – I just got used to knowing the answers.

ACK! Speaking of knowing the answers, I have got to get busy on my logic homework. I think this supplemental is complete enough for now. I can’t think of anything else, anyway.

Oh yeah, I hadn’t even asked Jack how he felt about everything. Some guys is out to kill him and he seemed really freaked out about his mom. Another thing I need to talk to him about…

AFTER logic!!!! I AM going to pass this thing!!!

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Some Guys Have All the Luck, Part Eighteen

I sighed as a scratched my head. I was right back where I started – this was about me after all. But that confirmation was all I really had. An unseen enemy that knew entirely too much about me and had another six and a half years or so to get it right. Oh, yeah, I finally got the whole ‘hit and miss’ thing that had been going on – the guy, Vinnie Anderson or whoever he was – didn’t dare get close enough to really supervise his own operation. Touching each other was evidently a bad idea and there was no way to know how close might be too close. He had to have had some sense of my existence to even start looking, let alone find mespacer.gifspacer.gif; it stood to reason that in time I’d be able to sense him as well but the time table would be anyone’s guess. If he wanted to stay healthy getting close to me wasn’t the way to do it.

But vampires, werewolves and the like are a willful bunch – and often stupid on top of it. Those most obedient at a distance would likely be least able to think for themselves if the situation demanded it. It dawned on me that the first vampire probably hadn’t been after anyone at all; it was trying to draw me out. But I couldn’t sense it and it didn’t have clear instructions so it did what came unnaturally to it while waiting for me to take the bait. It did nothing to improve my humor when I realized the damned thing probably thought it was doing something smart, killing Old Man Jenkins. Instead, it made getting at me much more difficult since I not only emerged but emerged with a danged good reason to be more wary. I promised myself silently that at some point, I was going to find that thing and end it.

"Did you hear me, Jackie Boy?" Momma asked.

I shook my head, partially in answer and partially to get myself out of my reveille. "No, Ma’am, sorry. I was thinking."

"That’s alright, Dear. I said you need to write to the Mistress. She sees parts of the Chronicles we can’t. She may know all about this only one commander type business where I only know the little I’ve read. Tresmayne can take it to her."

Wolff nodded, "I can do that. I don’t know how long it will take. I won’t know where she is until I begin the hunt. If she’s home, a day, no more. If she’s abroad…" He shrugged.

I nodded, "I’ll write it tonight. You think I should include the stuff we’ve got on Vinnie?"

Crystal nodded emphatically, "Yes!"

I sighed, "You want me to include everything, don’t you?"

Nyota chuckled, "You haven’t caught on yet, have you? You need only ask your questions. Any details she needs she will get from the Chronicles."

"What? Really? Already? But I thought someone wrote them." I couldn’t believe it.

"Someone did – you. We all do, it’s instinctive. The narrative you run through your mind is often recorded as the history. Did you not notice how it seemed at times like you were reading the person’s mind? This is why." Nyota told me.

"Everything?" I asked.

She shook her head, "No, only the history. Your most private thoughts – those you would never share or would not share openly – they will never be recorded. Just the history – and then really only that you are willing to share. It even corrects itself – if you change your wish and don’t want something recorded, it disappears."

"But every slayer?" I started.

Crystal headed me off, "No. Some slayers are too uncomfortable with it and they are either never recorded or it erases when the slayer becomes aware and never records again. You have to be willing, even if you aren’t conscious of it."

I nodded. This was just getting too weird even for me. The crazy Chronicles aside, I now had some bizarre command power I didn’t begin to know how to deal with, as a result a maniac was trying to kill me and perfectly willing to mess with my family to do it; in addition, an Irish werewolf was living on my sofa and taking over my den with his computers; not to mention, a house full of slayers and an ancient werewolf; and to top it all off, my Momma was a retired slayer. I tell you, some guys have all the luck.

True Slayers: Some Guys Have All the Luck, Part Seventeen

No one will believe me, I know, but I hadn’t said a word nor moved a muscle when Momma turned to me and said, “None of that, Jackie Boy. Nothing wrong with a boy’s mother knowing a thing or two, is there?”

I shook my head dutifully. Seriously, how the heck does she do that?spacer.gifspacer.gif It’s like she reads minds or something…

Momma motioned for me to join her so I got to my feet and did so. She pointed at the book. At first, the page was blank then writing slowly appeared. For a moment it was gibberish but then I could just read it. The words were a strange combination of letters and pictographs unlike anything I’d ever seen before, but after a moment I could read it as well as any English book I’d ever picked up. Weirdness beyond the normal weirdness I was beginning to grudgingly get used to.

The first bit was a story about a slayer named Allegro in the 1500’s. He’d discovered a pack of werewolves underneath a Benedictine monastery. Hilarity ensued as the poor guy tried to exterminate the werewolves while one of the monks tried to convert him to Catholicism from Protestantism. It ended with the monk following him into the lair and inadvertently exorcising the whole pack.

Allegro dutifully converted – sort of – since the monk had won their bet – accidentally. One of the exorcised werewolves attached himself to the monastery and another attached himself to Allegro. At that point, things got interesting. Both werewolves spoke of a slayer they called ‘Leader’ who had commanded the pack to house themselves under the monastery. Both insisted it wasn’t the Master of the Night (the one that stayed with the monastery swore he’d met the Master on one occasion – one being one too many for him) but that he had been in complete command.

Allegro didn’t think it was possible. But the reason was that he’d met a command type slayer himself and knew that they could only command other slayers, not creatures. To settle the matter, Allegro and his new best friend the ex-werewolf set off to Milan to meet up with that slayer. They didn’t get far before they met Tresmayne and a slayer named Wilhelmina, also going to Milan and also looking for that one slayer. Wilhelmina was herself a command type, but she could command creatures. Evidently, there were two kinds of command type slayers.

The story started to tell itself from Allegro’s point of view. “In the wee hours of the new morning, I started to sense a new presence. I woke M’nor (the ex-werewolf) with my foot. He, seeing my intent, woke the lady. She spoke not a word, but silently nodded to me, once her wits were about her. She too, sensed our new companion. T’was no friendly sensation, I will say. The moon had set and light was dim but such as we needed no light. I gave a low whistle so that Tresmayne might be alerted but of course, ancient as he was, he already knew. He’d not transformed yet, with no Mistress there, he could not, but came into our camp in his fiendish state.

I cannot but tell what happened next for I faint would not believe myself, had I not the experience to teach me. Never before had wolves crept upon me without my knowledge but in a flash, there they were. Five of the fiends and every one would the lady’s blood partake. M’nor, still possessed of the fiendish strength if not the wolf, struck first, a killing blow to the passing head. I struck another. Tresmayne tore two more with tooth and claw. The lady ran the fifth through herself.

We scarce had time to breathe before three more fell upon us. And so it continued until the sun rose and Tresmayne passed back into his humanity. Fifteen were the number of corpses we buried. Greatly troubled, we continued for Milan.”

Allegro continued his tale. It was very similar to my own, with multiple attacks from nowhere and no enemy presenting himself. They reached Milan but things got worse. Two assassination attempts, one which left Wilhelmina badly wounded and a plague caused by some really nasty vampires. They finally managed to corner and capture a vampire that actually knew something. They went to the location the vampire had given them and got a shock. They found a third command type slayer. He couldn’t command Tresmayne (who was under the Mistress’ command) but could command creatures. At a critical moment, he managed to command Allegro.

That was when Wilhelmina also commanded Allegro, preventing him from carrying out the other slayer’s command. Tresmayne was sent for reinforcements while Allegro and company slaughtered a pack of werewolves and a council of vampires (the term for a group of powerful vampires. Who knew?). Wilhelmina managed to catch the slayer but touching him burned her hand and his arm where she grabbed him. He gloated that he was stronger than she was, since she was still recovering from her wounds, so he would live when the sun rose (yeah, all slayer battles are at night – big surprise, huh?) and she would die.

I’ll let Allegro tell the rest. “I scoffed at the villain. ‘Knave’ said I, ‘how shall you pass we three, for M’nor and Ceasar were with us, to reach her?’ He laughed, ‘Know you not, witling, that two such as we cannot tread the Earth together more than seven year? She herself signed her death warrant when e’re she emerged. For the stronger shall live and the weaker die, so says the Great Book. This is the beginning of the day of her emergence, lo these seven years ago. She is the weaker for the loss of so much blood. Tis enough, her weakness from exsanguination is greater than mine of age’. Indeed, he was great with age and long had it been since color had graced his head.

T’was not enough time to cry alas e’re the dawn came. But the old man had been wrong for it was he, not milady Wilhelmina, that fell dead at the touch of the first rays of the sun. In wonder, we departed.”

It went on to say that the three slayers decided to hold their peace until they saw the Mistress, and that Allegro and Wilhelmina had five sons and two daughters. I stopped reading and looked at Momma.

She nodded, “You’re not a command type – you’re a commander type. It doesn’t happen but once every five or six centuries and usually, only one at a time. There must be another one.”

Some Guys Have All the Luck, Part Sixteen

Once the ice cream had been passed around and everyone was situated, I pulled up a chair between Crystal and Wolff. I turned to Crystal.

"I meant to ask before, what are the Chronicles?" I’ve seen references to them in the books you loaned me but it’s kinda vague."spacer.gifspacer.gif I asked her.

She swallowed a spoonful of her ice cream. "Each Period and Element has its own recorded history. The Chronicles are the interface. They don’t record the history but they let you read about it."

"Oh." I dug into my own bowl.

"What is your mother looking for, Jack?" Wolff asked me.

I shrugged, "No idea. I just live here – and evidently I don’t know anything at all about my own family."

It must have come out more bitterly than I intended. Crystal reached over and squeezed my hand reassuringly, "It can’t be easy, deciding when to tell your child about slaying. I mean, most people spend their kids early childhoods trying to get them to not believe in monsters."

I nodded. It wasn’t at all the problem, but I could see her point. "Yeah, I just have to get used to the idea that my Momma used to kill vampires…"

"I remember a girl from the Herald’s Office that specialized in poltergeists" Wolff offered. "It could have been her…"

I supposed he thought that would improve my opinion so I left it alone. "What’s a herald, anyway?"

"Heralds are messengers. Slayers that relay messages in battle or between nests." He responded absently, still trying to remember Momma, as far as I could tell.

I stifled the urge to sigh really loudly, "Nests?"

"Safe gathering spots for creatures." Crystal volunteered.

"Is there a glossary somewhere?" I asked wearily.

"I think DuVay’s "Creatures Today" has a glossary. Didn’t I loan it to you?"

I nodded, "Yeah, I just haven’t gotten that far down in the stack."

While we chatted about my progress through the stack of reading material, Wolff vacated his chair and went to speak with Nyota. I wouldn’t call the atmosphere ‘chummy’ but we all managed to find things to talk about while Momma continued pouring over the book. It vaguely bothered me that I wasn’t as bothered as I should be about the fact that my mother was standing there reading from a book that looked like something from a B grade movie – and a bad B at that. It looked completely out of place in my Momma’s very Seventies living room but would have been right at home in a drafty old castle with a irascible monk standing behind it. Weird was becoming normal to me and I didn’t really like that.

More than an hour went by as we chatted, washed up the bowls and chatted some more. I kept glancing at the the door, knowing full well the rest of my family would be waiting by now to get back in. If Momma noticed the passage of time, she didn’t let on. She merely kept reading and turning the occasional page.

I had gone for the water pitcher since Nyota indicated she was thirsty. I’d just finished pouring her glass when Momma finally spoke, "I have it now."

I set the pitcher on the table and took my seat. "What, Momma?"

"I think I know why they’ve been attacking and what they are after." she announced.

"Perfect," I thought to myself bitterly. "all this time and hassle and all I had to do was ask Momma."

Some Guys Have All the Luck, Part Fifteen

spacer.gifspacer.gif"Thank you, Nyota dear." Momma said as she walked around to the open side of the book. "This will take a few minutes. Jackie Boy, there’s some ice cream in the freezer…"

‘Never.’ I thought to myself. ‘The weirdness will never end. May as well get used to it.’ I got up and headed to the freezer. Wordlessly, Crystal joined me and we got busy with dessert.

True Slayers: Some Guys Have all the Luck, Part Fourteen

We finished the dishes in silence while we waited. Not that we had long to wait, Crystal was there in less than five minutes. Tresmayne came in just behind her. Nyota brought up the rear a few minutes later.

Then we waited ten more minutes while Momma got acquainted with Nyota. She didn’t say word one about slayers or creatures or her idiot son’s eventual inheritance. spacer.gifspacer.gifNope, not a thing – but I knew she’d do that when Nyota was invited. It’s how Momma is – she’s gonna get to know the guests no matter what.

Crystal shot me more than a few ‘what the heck is going on’ looks but I kept my mouth shut. Nothing I’d have said wouldn’t have brought up more questions than I could answer. I just sat there nursing my OJ and waiting for Momma to get around to the point. Long and sometimes painful experience had taught me better than to try to hurry along the process – it never works with a normal girl and it backfires big time with Momma. Gritting my teeth and bearing it was the quickest way to get this over with and have some chance of finding out what the heck Momma had meant.

It seemed like forever but only about ten minutes went by before Momma smiled and turned to Tresmayne. For his part, Wolff had sat in the chair farthest from the table and just munched the cookie Momma insisted on giving him. I think it surprised him that she looked his way. What she said next surprised everyone but me.

"I wonder if you remember the Great Hunt of ’89? I was a messenger from the Herald and you were gracious enough to meet me that morning in the little town – what was that name? Garvery? No, Garvet, that was it."

For an ancient werewolf whose name alone could terrify his enemies, at least according to the books, Tresmayne looked remarkably like a kid with his hand in the cookie jar. He stopped eating and just stared at Momma.

"Oh yes, it was such an honor and I’m sure I bored you to tears with my prattling – I was young then – but you were ever so gracious. I knew you didn’t remember me but I could never forget meeting you. It was the closest I ever came to meeting the Mistress, you see. My only regret was that I never had the opportunity. But with so many of us it’s impossible for her to meet all the common slayers, I understand. My friend Janus said he never had the opportunity – remind me, Crystal dear, to tell you about Janus later. He was a sword singer like you. Anyway, I understand that not even all the true slayers get to meet her. A shame really – it means so much to us, you see."

"You… you were a slayer?" Tresmayne managed to squeak.

"Oh yes, in my younger days. I started young so I lost my powers before Jackie Boy was three. I suppose I should have told him – well, we’ll get into all that later. Crystal dear, I need you to do something, please."

Crystal’s Southern manners had kicked in and she wasn’t staring, much. "Ma’am?"

"I need to see the Chronicles. I can’t summon them anymore. It’s important, Dear. Please summon them."

"The Chronicles?" Crystal seemed perplexed.

Nyota broke in, "Crystal hasn’t learned how yet. Mistress wanted to teach her later." she stood up, "I’ll do it."

She stepped away from the table and closed her eyes. She raised her hands, palms upward and said something in another language. In front of her there was a little light and suddenly, a huge book complete with ancient book stand and even a very drippy candle appeared before her.

I wondered to myself if there would ever be an end to all the new weirdness…

True Slayers: Some Guys Have all the Luck, Part Thirteen

"What about him?" Momma asked in her iciest tone, the one she saves for those foolish enough to mess with her kids.

"Well, since you knew about Tresmayne, I assumed… " I popped myself on the head for my own stupidity. "You can’t sense creatures, you already told me that. How’d you know about Tresmayne, though?spacer.gifspacer.gif"

"Even we common slayers know the Mistress’ cadre. I doubt he’d remember me – I only met him the once and he was in human form then, but one doesn’t forget meeting Tresmayne. Really now, what has that mentor been teaching you?"

"We’ve been kinda busy, Momma. I’ve only finished reading two of the books although I did look though most of the ones Crystal lent me."

"I see." she replied in a tone that made it very clear she did not see. "So, what about that young man who wants to take my Lisa from her family?"

Oh yeah, I’d hit a nerve. I vaguely wondered if she could still kill creatures if need be – and realized that in the mood she was in, I might just find out the hard way. It didn’t occur to me to lie – and if it had I wouldn’t have done it. Things were messed up enough as it was.

I took a deep breath and explained Lisa’s ‘boyfriend’, what he was, why he showed up and why he was camping in my living room, to my Momma. I’ve done more pleasant tasks – helping Poppa clean up after the sewer back up in the basement came immediately to mind.

She took it pretty well – at least she didn’t demand that I kill him or decide to try it herself.But she was hopping mad for the next ten minutes. Tim made the mistake of coming in to see if we were finished. One glare from Momma was enough to send him scurrying like a scalded cat. I wanted to go with him.

"My baby girl… How dare…" Momma was still ranting and I was being smart enough to keep my trap shut.

Suddenly, she just stopped. She turned and gaped at me. "A command type – it has to be. Two of them… Oh my gracious… Where did I read that?" She sat back down and faced me, "Have you learned to summon the Chronicles yet?"

"The what?"

"Obviously not. That mentor of yours… Call your Crystal, she’s been slaying long enough to know how. Go on, hurry up."

I got up and went to the wall phone. Now was not the time to tell Momma Crystal wasn’t officially mine. As to what she wanted, I didn’t have a clue. I dialed the number.

True Slayers: Some Guys Have all the Luck, Part Twelve

Momma continued explaining how concealment worked but I only half heard her. Some things made more sense and some made a lot less. I’d always thought I had a weird family – nine kids raised by two hippies doesn’t make for normalcy – but just a little weird. I was having a hard time coming to grips with the idea that nothing had been what I’d thought it was.spacer.gifspacer.gif

I kept trying to make my brain think straight but it seemed determined to just throw random thoughts my way, most of which had nothing to do with anything. I wanted to be angry with Momma for not telling me but the one coherent thought I did have was to remind myself that I hadn’t told her, either. I wouldn’t go so far as to say I agreed with her reasoning but I did understand it. I probably wouldn’t have told me either, had I been in her shoes. But that left me with no one to blame and a brain full of mush and frankly the combo was doing nasty things to my nerves.

Just as I was beginning to make sense of my feelings, a little, at least, a thought crystallized. If Momma knew about Tresmayne then she had to know about Thompson. I hadn’t included the thing with Lisa in my synopsis. I had instinctively left it out. Like mother like son, I guess. But she hadn’t said anything so was this something else she was expecting me to bring up or did she not know? But that made no sense since she knew about Tresmayne…

My remaining sanity went into revolt, insisting that I stop the paranoid wonderings and just ask her. I waited for her to finish telling me how important good concealment was. It took a minute, but finally, I had the chance to speak.

"Momma, what about Thompson?"

Her face clouded over with displeasure. Yeah, she knew about him, all right…