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." 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."