tagSci-Fi & FantasyLife as a New Hire Ch. 17

Life as a New Hire Ch. 17


*This story plays fast and loose with Ancient History and Linguistics; be warned*

*You may outrun your sins, but never forget that someone will pay the toll*

*Reader-editors yet again, and quite a few. The faults remain mine*

(Later Friday)

"Having a bad day?" Pamela stopped our lesson.

"I apologize. I am having trouble focusing on the lesson today," I sighed.

"Let us see if we can handle this dilemma," Pamela took two steps back, signaling the end of this round of physical training. "In my experience, most internal issues can be resolved within five minutes."

"This should be fun then," I smirked. Pamela smirked as well. "I was confirmed at this morning's emergency Council meeting to be the sole heir, thus leader, of House Ishara." With a slight dip of the head, Pamela acknowledged I'd surprised her. "I chose to stand for House Ishara – literally. I will not take the seat, or vote. I will hold the place for my first daughter of the Host."

"That last bit was your decision and your decision alone?" Pamela queried. I nodded. "Good, you gave up nothing you could hold onto while gaining honor for the practical choice, Cáel. What are your numbers now?"

"Three," I answered. Pamela's look demanded an explanation.

"I immediately brought Buffy and Helena into the House. Katrina has advised me to be cautious about adding too many too fast," I stated.

"Katrina's agenda and yours are not the same, Cáel," Pamela warned me. "You are the leader of a First House now. Katrina is responsible for the harmony of the Council and Havenstone. These are not the same thing."

"A woman in Katrina's position has no friends. She cannot afford them," Pamela told me.

"I asked her to set up a commission to help select proper candidates for Ishara. She picks nine members and I have Helena representing us," I informed her. Pamela shook her head.

"You concede too much," Pamela frowned.

"Set an absolute date with a designated number of candidates. Make the date soon – a month – and the number 20. Keep the heat on the others. Don't let them constrain you," Pamela lectured. "That is not the Amazon way. You have made concessions to them. Now they must make concessions to you. You gain little by mollifying them."

"I am not sure that a pissing off Katrina and Hayden will increase my survivability," I countered.

"Irrelevant," Pamela slapped the wall. "You are House Ishara now. What matters to you is House Ishara and its relationship to the Host. Tell me how being weak helps either."

"It doesn't," I bowed my head. My confusion dissipated and we got back to the lesson.

Three more things completed my day. Pamela hung around me. I didn't ask her to and I couldn't figure a good way to tell her to leave. Secondly, I tried to see Hayden. She was busy. Katrina was out of the office. I knew the score. Finally, Buffy knew Havenstone's HQ better than anyone. Together with Helena we gathered at a blind spot in their security and exchanged notes.

We didn't talk because our echoes could be picked up. My message to Helena and Buffy was clear: I wanted a list of twenty 'Runner' names by Monday morning. If Katrina and Hayden were stone-walling my process, we would induct twenty every three days until they relented, or something broke. Miraculously to me, Buffy and Helena didn't bat an eye over this skullduggery.

Katrina showed up for our 'end of day' meeting, with my valise. The meeting was brief and perfunctory. I didn't think Katrina, or one of her agents, had overheard my secret House plotting. She knew something was up because she knew me. We were on a collision course. There was no stopping it. We hated half-measures. No words were exchanged.

On the way out, I learned I had a Security Detail assigned for my well-being. From what, I had no idea. Was I on Santa's Naughty List – Robot Santa (à la Futurama), that is?

Constanza and Naomi, I recognized. The other two I had seen briefly. Constanza looked like she'd rather be force-fed leeches than be anywhere close to me.

"A moment please," I requested from the group around me. Buffy was uneasy. Pamela was ignoring me, thus not giving me space.

"Constanza, you hate me. I hate you. It was this way at six this morning and nothing a room-full of old ladies says alters that," I said quietly. "I don't expect you to respect me, tolerate me, or ignore my gender status because of what transpired. I do expect you to respect House Ishara. When I must stand for this House, honor it. Neither of us has a choice in that matter."

"I give you permission for nothing because I can't dictate to your heart. It is yours and even this male understands yours is the heart of a true Amazon. My words will not change how you feel. I am okay with that because I have no choice. You are who you are. I request that you draw a line between me, Cáel, the unwelcome invader and the Head of House Ishara," I asked.

"You are nothing," Constanza seethed. "Your words mean nothing. You are what you have always been – an abomination."

"Listen carefully," Pamela said casually. "Talk like that again and you are dead. You are not dead because I can easily kill you. You are dead because you have brought shame to your House."

"You have called a member of the Council an abomination. This implies that all the other Council members are blind, fools, or corrupt. What will they do to you for making such an open, blanket accusation?" Pamela sounded bored. "You refuse to see that the Ancestors have spoken and this is their decision. Defy the Ancestors and you deny your heritage."

"Your name will be stricken from the rolls, you will be butchered like a sheep and your body burned. You will never see the cliffs in this life or the next. Despite you being a twisted mockery of all things Amazon - Cáel doesn't know the true Amazon heart – he is trying to save your life. It is the person he is. He loves more than he hates. It is why he is winning."

"Who are you to speak to me this way?" Constanza spat at Pamela. Pamela was unfazed.

"I am a 'cliff walker'," Pamela replied. "I teach knife classes every day at three. I am a mother and grandmother. I am on a quest for my ancestors and I am looking for the six-fingered man."

"That...that is insane," Constanza stammered.

"Was it the kitten juggling, or the obstacle course for marshmallows?" I looked to Pamela.

"No, it was the spot-checking for freckles in Rio de Janeiro," Pamela regarded me seriously.

"Do areolas count as freckles?" I looked hopeful.

"You are both diseased," Constanza shouted.

I was still dealing with the wrongness of Constanza's words when I experienced the sensation of Pamela moving beside me. St. Marie may have been faster, but I wouldn't swear to it. Constanza was pretty good too. Her mistake was knife-fighting 101 – know your range. Constanza went for her pistol when we were all less than a meter apart.

Pamela's right hand sprouted her nasty little knife and scooped out Constanza's left eye. Her left hand wrenched Constanza's pistol from her grasp. Constanza stumbled backwards then fell, screaming all the way. Her left hand covered the gushing ruin of her left eye socket. The other members of the SD group had their guns pointed at us – Pamela and I.

"No," Pamela mused, "I don't think areolas count since everyone has them." Pamela wiped the blood and ocular bits off her blade on Constanza's still thrashing covered calf. I picked up on her clues. I pulled out my phone and calmly called Medical, informing them that someone had insulted House Ishara and graciously only been robbed of their left eye.

"She is coming with us," Naomi informed me as her buddies closed in.

"Pamela – gun," I demanded. Pamela handed it over. For a second, everyone thought the situation was resolved. After making sure the safety was engaged, "Buffy," and I tossed Buffy the gun. "No," I met Naomi's gaze. "I will not allow it."

"Cáel, this is not something you can deny." Naomi was trying to be patient.

"If I was Madi and Constanza called her diseased, and an abomination, we wouldn't be having this conversation," I stared at her intently. "And if the next words your of your mouth are 'you are a male,' I'll personally order Elsa to cut out your eyes for compounding Constanza's insult with this one."

"Cáel, I cannot let this pass," Naomi insisted.

"I'll be okay," Pamela touched my arm and tried to move past me. I stopped her.

"I sincerely doubt my ancestor crawled back into the Greek camp thinking he'd save some of his sisters, leaving others to their fate. When I start abandoning any, I am no longer worthy of my blood. Stay put, Pamela."

"Naomi, let us pass, prepare to be attacked, or shoot me," I met Naomi's stare, "because here I come." We pushed our way through the packed group into the elevator Dora had been holding. They even brought a sniffling, scowling Constanza along. Medical was first. The second the SD could hand their wounded comrade to the staff, they climbed back onboard.

Elsa and five friends were waiting for us.

"St. Marie would like a word with you," Elsa informed me. Since St. Marie, the Golden Mare, was on the Council, I thought it wise to obey. She showed up looking really steamed.

"Take the woman," St. Marie pointed to Pamela. "The rest can leave."

"I can't allow that," I stepped up. St. Marie glared.

"This is not an issue you can intervene on," St. Marie snapped. "She is not of your House."

"She is bound to me by the will of the Ancestors," I proclaimed. Pretty much every woman was ready to tear my head off for that.

"St. Marie – Elsa, for the little amount of time you have known me, I have joked, been irreverent and even mocking of you and your ways. Look at me. Trust your instincts. Pamela is bound to me by the will of the ancestors," I pledged.

"How so?" St. Marie studied me.

"I cannot say," I sighed. "Just because the Ancestors want something done doesn't mean they make it easy for us to do. In my limited experience, they are rather obtuse about what they want and how they want that goal accomplished. You will have to take my word that Pamela and I share a bond." There was a stand-off.

"What was in the box the Arinniti showed you?" St. Marie inquired.

"You would have to ask them," I answered.

"I did. Now I'm asking you," she persisted. Think.

"They showed it to you, so you already know," I stared.

"Do you think that connection is possible?" St. Marie posed. She meant 'did I believe I had a tie to man who lived 2694 years ago' to the point we both fought with twin axes.

"I don't want to," I sighed. "I want to live in a sane, scientific world that explains all this."

"Go," St. Marie commanded. Then, "Will Constanza regain the sight in her left eye?"

"No," Pamela shook her head. "She ignored the lesson and the warning. Next time, this will not be an issue." It took my exiting the building to understand what Pamela was saying was 'you won't find the body'. I also realized that Oneida was absent today – groan.

"Cáel, why don't you come home with me tonight?" Daphne offered. She was proffering her house's protection as well.

"I'm okay," I grinned. "I'm going to keep to my old schedule as much as possible."

"Aren't you worried?" Paula asked.

"Worried about what? I don't think any of the other Houses are going to kill me until I really screw up," I snorted.

"He has no idea?" Pamela scoped out the surrounding ladies.

"None," Buffy confirmed.

"Care to enlighten me?" I hoped.

"Have a good weekend, Cáel," Pamela smiled. "Things will become truly interesting on Monday – believe me."

Yeah...like taking over an extinct Amazon 'First' House wasn't interesting enough. Things were going to get better – in the same way radiation burns were 'better' than sunburn. I biked home, brushing a city bus and a BMW getting there. On the landing between the second and third floors I found an Amazon with baleful eyes – waiting.

In front of my door was her psychic twin.

"Can I get you and/or your cohort anything?" I politely inquired. Yesterday – the cold shoulder.

"Thank you for the consideration. We will wait until our itinerary is clarified," she nodded. I went in, catching the abrupt cut off of some 'O' talk.

'O', as in Odette and Oneida. They were on the sofa, half-turned to face each other when I walked in. Oneida stood and gave the standard Amazon respectful nod.

"Oneida was all screwed up inside about last night in the Park, so I was explaining some of the basic tenants of BDSM to her," Odette blithely blathered.

"BDSM? What do you know about BDSM? I barely know about it and I've been having non-stop sex for years," I exclaimed.

"Cáel of Ishara, did you do those things to Rhada in an effort to fulfill her dreams?" Oneida desperately pleaded. Worse, it was spoken in English.

"I can't talk about it," I replied.

"That is 'Cáel' for 'yes'," Odette intruded. "I began reading up on BDSM after you got the suspension rig," was her saucy response to me.

"Would you ever do that to me?" Oneida gave me those big doe-eyes as she sat down.

No, she didn't want a rape fantasy. That kind of submission wasn't her thing. I paced around, stomped into the kitchen then back to the living room.

"No Oneida, I would never do something like that to you," I promised. "I like having sex – a whole bunch. I like the women I'm with to have a great time too."

"That means I figure out what really excites her and provide it because I normally want to have sex with that girl again," I explained, neglecting the 'and again and again and again.'

"Is it over between you two?" Oneida asked. She meant Rhada and me.

"Oneida, did I ask you to come over today?" I countered.

"Have I upset you?" Oneida's lower lip trembled. 'Yes' would make things so much easier.

"No," I lied. "Let's look at this from another angle. How would you feel if Paula showed up at your domicile unannounced? You walked in and there she was."

"Oh," she stood up again. "I apologize." At this moment, saying nothing meant she'd leave. I'm an idiot.

"Do you want to stay for dinner?" I offered. It took a few seconds for Oneida to forgive herself enough to accept my suggestion. Me raping Rhada less than 24 hours ago? We'd deal with that later, or so she promised herself.

"Okay...if it is not too much trouble," Oneida nodded.

In came the doom and gloom duo and we ordered some over-sized sandwiches from an Italian Deli two blocks away. After the two walked through my place (again, I was sure) and the food arrived, the bodyguards relaxed into a close proximity of human beings. The freakishness continued as Odette bonded with the Amazon killers with tales of my sexual exploits.

At the same time, I romanced Oneida in half a dozen languages. Storming those gates was going to take more time than I normally gave a single sexual encounter. Oneida kissed me. She loved kissing me. She was ecstatic about kissing me. She made it real clear there would be not petting – yet. Penetration wasn't even on the (her) agenda.

This didn't meant I was accepting her marching orders. I was far craftier than that. My plan was one of 'setting an example'. I stood up – we were sitting on the bench press seat, shot Odette a sexy look then went to the kitchenette. We got something – whatever it was wasn't important. The crucial activity was my surrounding Odette in my arms from behind.

I kissed her neck, Odette wiggled her butt against my crotch and murmured happily. More kissing along the neck, ear and jawline ensued. Odette exhaled a happy breath, and twisted around in my grasp until we were face to face. An exhaustive French kiss finishing up with a few light pecks and led to us rubbing noses like Inuit.

"Thanks buddy," I smiled warmly at Odette.

"She blue-balling ya?" Odette snickered.

"Big time," I muttered. Odette squiggled down my body then bit both my nipples through my shirt making me gasp.

"That should do nicely," Odette's eyes were alight and she was super-pleased with herself. She smacked my butt then returned to the living room. I returned to Oneida. After a few seconds,

"Does it disturb you to be treated like that?" Oneida murmured.

"Like what?" I sounded so innocent. Trust me – this is a crucial relationship tool.

"Like – like we would treat one of our males," she looked for my reaction. I laughed.

"The critical difference is that I can say 'no'," I smiled. "Oneida, do you think the original Ash Men spent every moment not in battle, contemplating their place in the Universe?" Clearly, she had. "Believe me, men hunted, worked their crafts and chased female Amazons when they weren't eating, or sleeping."

"Warfare is an emotional undertaking," I had read that somewhere. "You can believe that with the battle safely won, your ancestors and my ancestors fooled around. They sang songs, wrote poetry, and created artwork for the ladies they courted. They wanted the attention of the strongest, bravest and most courageous mates, just like your ancestors did."

"I think I do know something about the Ash Men you don't," I prodded her.

"What? I have studied them for many years," Oneida was now more engaged.

"What can you tell me about Vranus?" I asked. That stumped her.

"I...nothing is written of his exploits," Oneida admitted. "We know he was a young warrior for Ishara."

"Think about this, Oneida; Vranus was only twenty yet a member of the Host," I started. She nodded. "He is shown with twin axes – no shield and no bow. That means he had to be very brave, rushing through the initial exchange of arrow fire and thrown spears to attack his enemy. His House probably directed him to large clumps of opponents, breaking their formations for the Host to exploit."

"That means he fought alone for several seconds until his accompanying Amazons could pick apart his foe," I explained.

"That must have been horrible," Oneida frowned.

"Not at all," I protested. "He was trusted with a crucial task – to hold the enemy's focus so the faster moving Amazons could attack their foe from multiple directions at once."

"The Amazons of House Ishara must have been very proud of him," I fluffed out the fantasy. "From what you saw from my two exhibition with twin axes, it is very tiring. Vranus had to have absolute confidence his sisters were coming for him. They trusted one another, thus fighting as one organic unit. It was a synergy that included the best of both genders."

That last bit confused her.

"Back then, most of the Host would have been of the same genetic stock from the time of the First Betrayal. Short and fast. The males of the region they took over were taller – the local men being even taller than the local women. That means you give men heavier and longer weapons. Your people would have favored bows, light shields and short spears – ranged, or quick in and out tools."

Was any of that true? Not a history major, so I have no clue.

"Many of the Host at the time rode horses yet there are also pictures of them forming battle lines," Oneida enlightened me then her own eyes expanded. "Males are always shown with solid round shields while the Host – women had the oval wicker shields."

"Lacking stirrups, the Amazons may have used the men to grapple with the enemy then rode their horses around the flanks, dismounted and engaged their opponents from the rear – Amazon style," I grinned. It was. Amazons were all about out-maneuvering and confounding their foes. The Amazons hadn't been callous with their males' lives.

At one time, chosen females had held the center line. Over time, as males joined, it was practical to adapt the solid wooden shields of their opponents for their own males and put them in the place where their upper body strength and size were of best effect. The unknown older male with Vranus had probably held his place in the battle line dozens of times.

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