Sometimes I have to remind myself to look at the positive, but right now everything is a jumble.
As I sit here, listening to the sound of my husband snoring in the chair next to me and the sound of the monitors as they report their findings and signal all is well, I try and remind myself that all is… if not well, than at least better than expected.
Jonathan , Case and Nathan had pretty much worked out the next most likely places for the sacrifice to occur, if it was to occur in the city. All tolled there were three likely and two passable secondary sites.
They figured this out about the same time I had and had already begun working out the best place to be to interrupt the ceremony if not before it began then before it finished.
I wanted to be there, but of course that would totally defeat playing keeping away with the blood mages. Case couldn't go for the same reason and we were left having to rely on the others to do something that wasn't really their problem.
Well, that's wrong, as Nathan and Jonathan were quick to point out. It was a family problem, and when I objected they argued in no uncertain terms that someone trying to use their sister as a living power source was a family concern, and while they appreciated my situation and my feelings on the matter… well… they made a good point.
Between the two of them and the lodge they found the ceremony as it began. According to Jonathan they didn't even bother to mask the ritual-they wanted them to come… and join the sacrifice.
They underestimated the combined powers of a Poltergeist Shaman and a Thunderbird Shaman when family is threatened. I'm also pretty sure that if Tabs hadn't taken a liking to my trouble bound little brother, Nathan would be in the hospital as well…
Like I said… it's all a jumble right now. I'll write more when I'm a little more coherent and have gotten better details than Nathan's terse, "We found them, we stopped them…"
Tomorrrow. For now I think I'm going to see if my snoring can indeed wake the dead as my husband lovingly teases.
Today was an interesting reunion at best.
Alan tried to slip out while Case and I were sleeping but Jonathan was standing watch outside the room. I awoke to a debate on the merits of sticking around vs. leaving.. I'm pretty sure the 'discussion' was leading towards a knock down drag out fight before Mom Walker showed up.
Talk about an irresistible force.
Alan didn't stand a chance and it was well past time.
"After everything that young woman has been through, you owe it to her to stay here and talk to her. She is not your enemy, but if you leave after everything we have done to rescue you from those maniacs she will never forgive you."
It was enough to make him think.
It took a while before we were all ready to discuss what had happened but I could tell Alan was chomping at the bit.
I think he would have found a way to leave if Mom and Jonathan hadn't pulled out the big guns on him-or in this case the 8 year old cannon. Let's just say Bri is going to give Mom Walker a run for her money when it comes to being an irresistible force when she's older.
So… the full story:
While Case and Jonathan were using their knowledge of the area, and I was sifting through different case loads, Nathan and Tabs had been tweaking a geographical profiling program, modifying it to include lay lines and areas of magical significance.
Case and I were of course not allowed in on the rescue, but Nathan, Jonathan and Tabs set up shop in one area while Philip assembled his team at another staging area. When the ritual began the blood mages used it as a lure to draw Nathan and Jonathan into a trap.
Well… that was their plan.
They knew us well enough that Jonathan and Nathan mixed things up a little. They expected them and the full backing of the lodge, but they expected Jonathan to be the focus of their power and Nathan would be providing backup.
Fortunately Nathan and Jonathan suspected a trap, especially after they made no effort to hide the ritual. When Nathan and Jonathan 'came to the rescue', their hit team focused on Jonathan seeing him and the lodge as the real threat and Nathan as just the backup.
While they focused on Jonathan, Nathan used the power to assault not only them, but to breach the ritual's shielding.
I've seen what Nathan can do on his own, the idea of him with the full power of the lodge to back him up is indeed a scary thing. Thunderbird is big on electrical attacks, but Poltergeist plays on your fears and is really, really good at throwing things, and while a bullet barrier will block projectiles, it does not protect you against minions being thrown into you with the force of a whirlwind behind him.
From what I've heard only one of them had the presence of mind to aim at Nathan and Tabs was there to make sure he didn't get the shot off.
While Jonathan and Nathan dealt with the ambush, Philip and his people moved in to deal with the blood mages.
All in all it was a good night for our people, even if Alan isn't too happy about it-for now he's staying.
It seems gratitude and civility will only get you so far with my brother. It's been ten years since I saw Alan, but the distance between us is longer and deeper than I thought.
The one good thing I can say is the fact that I didn't fall into some of the old patterns. Things he did and said would have had the old Jess fighting back and sputtering mad, but I'm not the girl he remembers from our childhood, I've moved on.
It was Nathan who pointed out that he had too. He wasn't the man I remembered, and that helped a little bit. He was a stranger and if we were to work together we had to find some common ground.
When he groused at me I reacted with my best bedside manner, which only seemed to tick him off more.
It also didn't help that I was closer to my adopted family than I was to him, and he really didn't like it when Bri asked him if he was an 'uncle' who had dated me or one who was adopted in.
He tried to drag Nathan into it, but Nathan very masterfully avoided the situation.
When I'd had enough I looked at him.
"Alan, these people took me in when I was in need. They protected me from myself, and they have asked nothing in return. They saved you as a favor to me, and to keep me from trying to do it on my own, but I'm done. I'm tired of fighting…
Whether you stay or go, the threat to me is still very real, besides if you leave the island, Knight Errant is waiting for you and trying to figure out a way to lure you off the island.
Now if you can't cope with my people, my friends, my family-that's your loss; your problem., but you should remember that these people face a common foe. They want you, they want me and I'm pretty sure they want Bri.
So, let go of your ego and thinking this is all about you. If it's about anyone it's about your niece and finding Andy's killers."
I'm proud to say I didn't storm out of the room, I didn't yell, I didn't flounce. I walked away.
Today wasn't as bad as yesterday, but it wasn't much better either. Alan was discharged from the hospital and we took him home, to the Walker's place which of course was just another reminder that I had moved on with my life.
Mom did her best to include him in things and Bri bless her tried as well.
Alan was sullen, and to be fair, I think he felt like he was all alone, but he wasn't but he was really trying to make it so he was.
I found Bri outside talking to the geese. She wasn't crying, but she wasn't laughing either. She finally asked me what was wrong and I explained it the only way I could.
"Your uncle is being an old dead crab."
That at least made her laugh.
Now, being sullen with me, folks can deal with that, but when you make Bri sad… well let's just say Uncle Philip had a clue stick with Alan's name on it.
I don't know what he said, but Alan came out later and apologized to Bri. Then he looked at me.
"I'm not an old dead crab," he told me. "Just… act like it sometimes."
It wasn't much, but it was a start. This could be the start of… something.
I think I surprised Alan today. I know I surprised me.
I admit, I wanted to know what they'd been up to all these years, but right now it doesn't matter. What does matter is the situation at hand and I told him as much. I didn't ask him about the past, I spoke only of the current situation and everything that had happened that might have the slightest hint of relativity.
I started with the jaguar paw print and the Coatl feather and went from there. I included the elemental activity, the 'incident' with Knight Errant, the fire elemental showing up at Bri's old school, the bone marrow sample… finding Andy's body and my blood at the scene.
I watched as he took it all in, and as he blanched at the idea that someone was looking for Bri and the idea of the blood mages having my blood agitated him to no end.
I told him everything including the kidnapping attempts and the warnings from my friends.
If he was surprised that an agent of the Tir warned me something was coming he hid it well. He wasn't as good at hiding it when he found out that the Coatl feather wasn't a threat but a friendly warning from a friend of mine who happens to be a Coatl.
What can I say I get around.
It would seem the Brothers Miller had been having a time of their own. There was a lot of data to process but the key was the fact that our friends at ATZ are indeed behind a lot of it.
I'll write more once I've had the chance to process everything. In the mean time, Alan has decided to stay.
Right now I'm not sure if it's good morning, good night or just… Thank God we're alive time. We spent a lot of this morning… yesterday morning… it all kinda looks the same when you haven't been to bed yet… anyway, we spent the time going over what Alan had told us, matching up his timeline to ours.
We had gotten just far enough to paint a rather scary picture when we had an unwelcome visitor in the form of a blood spirit. Not just any blood spirit either… a blood spirit fueled by Andy's death and focused on my blood scent.
I guess if they couldn't get me one way, they'd go for another.
All I know is I ended up at the heart of the lodge as they shielded me and broke the bonds between us. What Mom and Mario had done… has it really been almost a month since they worked on me? Really helped, but it was tequila hangover time all over again.
I don't know… I'm still fuzzy headed and I'm going to have to leave it to the others to explain it all in brick-non-magic language later… when I wake up … for real this time.
Sometimes, even having things broken down into non-magical terms so I can understand them still isn't enough.
Hopefully writing it out will help me understand exactly what happened.
First: We underestimated our enemies. Yes, they used their sacrifice as a trap to capture or hurt people close to me. Yes, we saved Alan and we prevented him being sacrificed.
They still had someone waiting in the wings, an emergency backup sacrifice if you will.
Yes, they had killed my brother Andy in a similar sacrifice, but when Mario and Mom Walker broke my link to the sacrifice, which it turns out was used to lure, control… summon? the meanest pit-bull blood hound spirit out there, a blood spirit… all it really did was break my trail. It couldn't find me directly and there was no way it could break through the shielding on Council Island. I should have been safe.
And while everyone scanned Alan to make sure he wasn't compromised, everyone was looking for direct control, brain washing… anything overt, no one thought about passive controls. It took us a while in the aftermath to figure it all out and verify, but basically whatever Alan saw, the spirit saw. It couldn't breach the walls… but its link to Alan worked as a doorway.
Before any of us knew it, the spirit was there attacking.
Second: We hadn't realized that there was a fourth target on the island.
We knew I was a target, and they've tried to take Bri and well Alan was kind of an obvious target. We forgot about Case. Case was linked to the statue along with the rest of us. While we were busy fighting a secondary attack slipped in through the blood spirit's wake.
The attacker decided to go after Bri, but he could have just as easily chosen Case.
When the attack started, Mom Walker set the major three fronts. Jonathan led the first line of defense while Michael and Philip and his people took Bri further into the island's interior. She and the rest of the lodge half led, half dragged me into the lodge where they could once again hide me from the blood spirit.
I know things didn't look good outside. I hindsight, the signs of the pressure and power being wielded were there, but I was a bit confused, preoccupied and to be honest in pain to notice.
The drumming and the power being wielded on my behalf could only protect me so much since it was tied to me. While the blood spirit couldn't find me it was still drawing power from me.
From my limited view, the battle seemed to rage for hours before the pressure was withdrawn, even though it was less than five minutes. Just as we were starting to breathe a sigh of relief my phone rang.
It was Nathan.
Things had gone from terror to surreal in the span of two minutes. All I could do was look at Mom Walker and say, "it's for you."
The next thing I know, Mom Walker is talking in low tones… talking to Natahn, to Jonathan and finally to me. "Jessica, keep talking on the phone…."
There was a flash of blinding light outside and the phone went dead, but I kept talking, unsure what else to do until Mom took the phone from me. "It's all right dear."
But things were far from all right at that point. At best it was surreal.
I still need to get Philip's take on what happened but the day ended with Alan being tranqed, Nathan and Tabs were coated in… goo, Jonathan was suffering drain and Case was suffering second degree burns.
I'm still trying to get it all figured out but it's a bit hard to get my mind around.
Oh, and I have an awakened daughter.
Copyright 2010 M.T. Decker