tagSci-Fi & FantasyLife as a New Hire Ch. 47

Life as a New Hire Ch. 47


*Editing magic performed by KJ24 and Shyqash, plus contributions by the regular gang of brigands and neer-do-wells. A special 'thank you' to Mike this time around*

*Although Love is both fire and shadow, we often forget to take comfort from the coolness of the memories when the burning flames are absent*



"Now aren't you glad we tagged along?" Pamela said loudly enough to draw attention from the onlookers. She was still beating me up for sending Juanita away and for running off with an avatar-Goddess of the Cult of the Jaguar. But we would have been drawing attention anyway.

See, I was in my least-favorite place to get beat up: the Full-blooded gym at Havenstone. Oh, the Amazons knew me by now. They knew Pamela too. It was my other four 'guests' which were drawing the attention/ire. Three were 'outsider' women:

FBI Special Agent Virginia Maddox was known to a few of the Security Services and the Security Detail Amazons, who quickly spread the word about who she was. If they hadn't ... well her grey workout attire with yellow FBI lettering on it would have helped clarify any confusion.

The other two were New York Police officers Nikita Kutuzov and her mother, Larisa (aka 'The Desk Sergeant'). Those two were with me because Larisa had been insistent on coming and Pamela had publically announced it was a 'capital idea', there-by vacating my veto.

"I thought you were a bigwig?" Larisa Kutuzov had accused me.

"I am, but she scares everyone," I'd shrugged helplessly. Larisa then looked to Pamela, who shrugged as if she couldn't understand why ANYONE would be afraid of her. So those two, dressed in navy blue workout attire labeled NYPD with golden lettering, were also accompanying me into Pain Central.

Had those three outsiders not been with me, it wouldn't really have mattered in the 'attention getting' department because my fourth guest was Chaz. Yeah, Chaz. Mind you, Chaz hadn't wanted to come either, but Pamela insisted I might need help before all this shit sorted itself out.

Chaz wasn't as 'pretty' as me, but compensated by possessing the aura of a professional elite warrior ~ calm, detached and unflappable in a crisis such as calmly walking into a room where 200 women wanted to kill you:

... a third of them wanted to rape you, then kill you,

... another third wanted to kill you by raping you (Chaz was awfully 'manly' after all),

... and the balance just wanted to kill you and move on to whatever was next.

Now, what the fuck was I doing in the Full-blooded gym? I had promised to meet Oneida to discuss our hastily revealed 'Warrior's Love' during this morning's council session ... right before Rhada attacked her. But why was Oneida meeting me in the gym?

As I scanned about upon entry, I saw Oneida and my heart sank. My bad day clearly was not getting better. A portion of the sparring mats closest to me had been cleared out for a circular meeting of kneeling Amazons, who were most certainly waiting for 'Yours Truly'. Thirteen Amazons were waiting for me. I knew them all ... five intimately. Closest to my left were three members of House Zorja: House Head Jana, her Apprentice Marlene and my old buddy Elsa.

To their left were Shawnee and Oneida of House Arinniti. Opposite me was the Keeper of Records, Krasimira, with the augur Tadêfi and their guardians; Sikia and the persistently with Krasimira whose name I'd never gotten. Beside them were Mahdi and Rhada. Closing the circle were the Head and Apprentice of House Bendis: Klavdiya and Gale.

The moment I saw Tadêfi, any half-assed plan I was cobbling together flew out the window. Sikia was holding Tadêfi's hand which she clenched when she caught sight of me. I hadn't believed I would ever see the augur alive again, yet here she was. Fuck it all. I was vaguely aware of Pamela telling Chaz and Virginia to 'clear the road'.

"Ishara," the Apprentice of House Maeve, Rhonwenn, decided to make a protest in front of the onlookers, "these strangers are not welcome." She moved toward me. By the five companions she was bringing along, she expected some level of resistance. Fortunately, she was addressing me/us in Old Kingdom Hittite, which meant only Pamela and I understood what the heck she was saying.

"Rhonwenn," I turned on her with teary eyes, "the Mother of my first born daughter is here when it was prophesied I would never hold her again this side of the cliffs. If I hug her, I can hug them both and show them I share my love," I led with my heart's song.

"First born?" Rhonwenn frowned.

"Yes. By Ishara's command, the augur Tadêfi was the first to have her destiny twisted by the Goddess. The price will be her life to bring the first Isharan daughter to her first breath. In a dream, I was told I would never see her again," I moved past her.

"What of the strangers?" she followed along.

"Leave this to me," Pamela grabbed Rhonwenn's arm and pulled her aside. The old witch had arranged things so Nikita and Mamma peeled off to support her, leaving Virginia to cover our back and Chaz to watch my other flank.

I stepped between Elsa and Klavdiya Bendis, vaguely asking for their pardon as I passed them. Tadêfi seemed sullen, so I boomed subsonic rumblings from deep within my diaphragm. It was a wordless message to her. Murmurs of 'Cael' and 'Ishara' floated around. I wanted to hug Tadêfi; I fell to my knees before her. My hands flew to her hips as she reached out, determined to find me despite her blindness.

Her fingers brushed along my chest. I was dead set on showering her face with kisses. Tadêfi's right hand danced to my lips while her left hand's fingertips traced along my tear tracks. She started to weep too.

"You are crying," Tadêfi needlessly pointed out.

"I thought I would never see you again," I breathed over her fingers.

"The Goddesses often show us what might be, not what must be," her words lilted harmonically. "Perhaps you bear such grief, you have recast the Weave itself, my Cáel."

I had to think about that for a second. The Weave operated outside the strictures of Time as we humans saw it. It acting in a compassionate way toward me wasn't something I was seriously entertaining, but perhaps my actions had tripped up a few things. I certainly felt I needed a few extra hugs.

"Could it not be the love of Tadêfi which has altered events?" I turned things around. "You are the first mother-augur I've ever heard of." Yeah, I was ignoring the crowd around us. It was both good and bad. Bad was me showing affection to one lady when I was here for showing affection to too many women (in their opinion.) The good was me paying attention to the one who had the least ... the one whose fate the rest would simply rather not think about.

"I am an augur. I ..." her words trailed off. She was a slave to the Weave; a sacrifice by the Host to the mysticism of the world around them. However an augur ended up casted as an augur, I always had the impression her sisterhood quickly tried to forget them as the individuals they had once been. Well screw that notion. A hand came to rest on my shoulder. It was the guardian, Sikia. Whatever everyone else thought, I was earning serious Brownie points in her book.

"Hey Sikia. Sorry. Didn't mean to ignore you," I gave a sheepish grin.

"I understand, Ishara," she bowed her head slightly. "Tadêfi told me of your visitation." For me it had been a dream. For Tadêfi, it had been a waking moment. Krasimira coughed. I had business to attend to.

"Right-O!" I said as I kissed the augur's fingers. Next, I leaned awkwardly over and gave a full, lusty French kiss to Sikia.

That wasn't what most of the attendees thought I was supposed to be doing, but I still had to be me. I pushed up rapidly to both keep the initiative and to give the impression I was about to topple over backwards. I needed that split-second of uncertainty from a certain someone. I spun, slipped my right hand behind Rhada's neck and planted my lips firmly on hers.

I was standing up, towering over the Indian Princess, so she had to bend her body backwards as I pressed in. The 'oh please fuck me now' moan boiled up from deep within Rhada and couldn't be misunderstood by anyone who had been given an orgasm which took them to the peak of their physical and mental limitations. The person I had to make 'uncertain' wasn't Rhada, it was Mahdi.

In this instant, Rhada needed to know she mattered to me most of all. The rest could be relied on to create emotional-social constructs to explain our chaotic relationship. Rhada and I were too raw. She needed an open and public declaration I wasn't going anywhere or denying there was an 'us'. When I finally pulled away, Rhada's eyes were feverish, her bosom heaved with passion and I'd banished her doubts. Oh ... and Mahdi was furious.

"Mahdi," I bowed in acknowledgment, spun away before her retort spilled forth, took five steps and went to one knee before Oneida. I leaned in awkwardly; Oneida figured out my intentions and met my embrace halfway. Our kiss, while packing in all the accessories, was more sedate and romantic ~ what Oneida deserved. I left her smiling. Better for me, I left with Shawnee giving me a veiled sign of her approval. I hadn't gone to Oneida first, but she recognized I was acting in a diplomatic fashion, which was probably for the best as far as the Host was concerned.

In a maneuver reminiscent of a Cossack, I went knee to knee from Oneida to Gale. Gale recoiled. We'd had sex, not a relationship.

"May I kiss your hand?" I requested. She shot her House Head a worried look.

"Isn't it a little late for that," Klavdiya's words dripped with venom. What I hadn't appreciated was while Klavdiya was the House Head, she also was Gale's 'Big Sister'. Whoops.

I risked it and took Gale's hand anyway.

"For friendship and respect," I planted a firm kiss on her knuckles. "For affection and gratitude," I said as I turned her hand over and planted delicate kisses on her fingertips and finally her palm. It took her a second to play catch-up.

"What are you grateful for?" Gale asked.

"Oh ..." I faux-hesitated. "Well, our love-making was wonderful for me. I hoped ..." and Gale blushed.

"Chaz, do you like seafood?" Pamela asked casually (and in English).

"I'm from an island-nation. It is somewhat of a necessity," he replied deadpan. I kept deep, meaningful eye-contact with Gale, seemingly ignoring the mutterings around us. Implying any woman you've slept with, even as a One Night Stand, had been a completely memorable experience is an indispensable dating skill (i.e., so please ignore the other women presently bearing my children, my fiancée and my other past, current and hopefully future sexual misadventures.)

"Would you let my sister's hand go?" Klavdiya growled (back to OKH). I was on the sparring mat, so force escalation was highly likely. I reluctantly released Gale's hand. She had the ego-boosting effect of sighing as she let my hand slide away from hers.

"So," I looked around as I stood. "Why are we here?"

"The Queen wishes peace," Krasimira began. I felt warm inside. Aya was looking out for me.

"Cool," I beamed. "Where do I sit?"

"Where is the rest of House Ishara?" Krasimira's gaze flickered to the outsiders with me.

"I travel alone. These are Pamela Cotytto's buddies," I lied. That earned a whole series of looks for both me and my entourage.

"Oh," Krasimira accepted my lie at face value. "Pamela, you are not welcome here at this meeting."

"I choose to be rude," Pamela responded.

"This has been long overdue," Elsa stood. I had no idea who would win an Elsa vs. Pamela fight. I wasn't going to find out today because a dozen Amazons looked ready to make this an unfair brawl.

"Okay," I intervened. "I had a fight with my bodyguard earlier today, then a confrontation with the Cult of the Jaguar this afternoon which required Pamela and the rest having to come rescue me. Besides, the rest don't speak our language."

"You are among sisters, Ishara," Krasimira chided me. "Practice the truth."

I didn't scoff. That would have been impolite and highly unwise. "I'll do my best," I bowed my head. "I'll also stand here in the middle, since everyone else seems comfortable." That meant no one would have to make space for Pamela and company.

"As I said," Krasimira began again, "our Queen wishes peace between our houses and hopes the blood of Ishara can facilitate this somewhat."

'Oh, they are going to take turns beating me up,' was the first thing to come to my mind and probably some others' as well.

"How so?" I asked first. The words were forming on other lips as I spoke.

"By the adoption of daughters among those gathered here," Krasimira stated.

"No!" Rhada blurted out. Oneida's hand protectively went over her womb.

"For peace," Krasimira suggested to Rhada. Mahdi was livid over our shared indiscretion as well as Rhada's outburst. If Rhada hadn't already been placed on the Regency Council, Mahdi might have removed her status as Apprentice.

"What does this have to do with us?" Jana Zorja gave a worried look.

"It was thought a child of Elsa Zorja and Cáel Ishara could be adopted by House Meenakshi (aka Mahdi and Rhada)."

"We have not had intercourse," Elsa clarified at her House Head's glance, "though if I had, it would be none of your business since I am presently with the Security Detail." Jana bristled, as did Marlene.

"I do not sleep with every Amazon I feel a connection with here at Havenstone," I protested. "And at the start I always used a condom. Even with the Goddess Ishara's command, I have never wanted to bring any woman grief. I certainly don't want to create trading tokens because of some feud which happened before I stepped foot in this wacky place. Besides, Gale might not be ..."

"I am," Gale sulked.

"Fine," I soaked up more bad news from the Man-Dog-Pig perspective, "I will not agree to trade a single child of Ishara."

"Besides," Mahdi glowered at Rhada, "it could be a son." Ouch. Rhada looked as if her mother had just slapped her; worse, had strangled her favorite kitten before her eyes.

"We can settle that matter," Krasimira continued guiding the meeting. "We are in the presence of an augur after all." Oh ... that was why I was meeting Tadêfi here! "It helps if she has a link to the fate of a person she seeks to investigate as well as something the person loves."

"Oh, so we are going to castrate him and hand her his balls?" Mahdi muttered. Whoa now!

"Such as?" I inquired.

"A personal belonging, or body part; hair will do," Krasimira informed me.

"Oh," I sighed happily. I went over to Tadêfi, knelt before her and took her right hand to place upon my lips. "To read the fates of me and my children, you need some of my hair or that of someone I love?"

"Yes," she smiled.

"Your hair will do, if there is any doubt, Tadêfi."

"I knew that," she announced, "but I wanted to 'hear' you say it," she shared her joy with the crowd.

"Would it help to have some of my hair as well?" I proffered.

"It would indeed," her lips trembled sensuously. I pulled out my trusty Amazon blade and sawed off a few locks while she did the same. I handed them over.

"Step back," Sikia cautioned me. She didn't need to. The moment my hair touched Tadêfi's hands, other presences entered the room behind her ~ terrifying and majestic in their power ... the goddesses and mystic protectors of the augurs, Istustaya and Papaya.

They seemed to be as surprised I could see them as I was to be seeing them. The room's dimensions distorted and lost all clear points of reference. It was the illusions which concealed the Weave being laid bare. Unlike her sisters, Tadêfi's life's essence was burning down brightly to a very pre-determined end - the birth of our daughter, Shala; there would be no slow, lingering demise for her. Added to that, she was the Sixth Augur.

When the other five augurs had pierced the Veil of the Weave with her to find the Ally the Host needed most, the agony had been too much for them. The Five had soaked up all that pain and agony, ending their lives so the Sixth could bear the message to the person the Weave dictated could wield the news most effectively - me.

As 'payment', Dot Ishara had insisted I have sex with Tadêfi, guaranteeing the death of her poison-racked body with the birth of our offspring. I had done so callously. Tadêfi had done so ... for her own reasons ... perhaps to end the echoes of the death screams of her sisters as they fulfilled their mission.

Now the possible destinies of my other children were being discussed and the two goddesses were making an appearance. Perhaps they were aware the Heir of Vranus was playing Russian roulette with Creation. More likely, they knew I was up to something, yet in the tangled weave of all the possible futures, they couldn't tell what dangers existed amid all the darkness and confusion.

Tadêfi spit into her hands as she rolled our combined hairs together. When she had created one long strand, she began to pull the concoction apart. The first effort fell into two parts. I didn't know what to make of that. Thank goodness I'm not an augur.

"I see a ... closet," the augur's brow furrowed. "A woman in shadow ... a fast horse ... bearing messages ..."

I had to put that together. My closet-ninja who I'd ridden like the Pony Express - Miyako Yuki.

"A member of the 7 Families of the Ninja," I provided.

"Twin daughters," Tadêfi made her prediction. Wow! Lithe, slender Miyako with twins would be tough. I had to get word to her. How had Saku missed that? Twin souls?

"Ah ... Fushichou and Yozora," I conjured the second name. "That is Suwais-urāni and Ispantnepiš in our tongue."

The next was an equitable serpentine entwining of her white hair and my black.

"Peaceful, beautiful and strong of body and mind ... an exemplar of our people ... Parvati?" Tadêfi worked through the next bit of soothsaying. Her face clouded, even as Rhada's brightened. "She will die still in her youth ~ much loved and a bitter foe." When an augur predicted 'peaceful' she didn't mean 'non-violent', she meant 'of calm mind'. 'Youth' didn't mean child; it meant in your first decade of being caste. Still, that sucked big time for the three of us ~ Mother, Father and Daughter.

"My granddaughter will die a hero of the Host?" Mahdi murmured. 'Bitter Foe' meant 'hated by our enemies' thus a memorable threat to them. The augur was still in the midst of her soothsaying.

The third casting was a bit of hair in a loop.

"A son of two houses and three lives ... many loving sisters and favored by his mothers."

Hmmm ... two houses was easy: Amazon and someone else. Three lives ... I knew one group who played at being a third person ~ the Hashashin.

"Bihêlîasan," I supplied the name Estere Abed and I had been toying with. In Kurdish it meant 'keep it simple'. What better advice could I give a son of mine?

"A daughter of Bendis," Tadêfi announced as she traced a corkscrewed bit of bound hair. Gale gasped. "Inky blackness ... a night sky with few stars ... a place which is cold beyond cold, yet warmed by hope and fearlessness ... the Moon grows small, yet is strong in her heart."

Sounded like utter nonsense ... except I worked with JIKIT. It only took me a few seconds.

"Gale, our daughter is going to be an astronaut," I turned her way. Skepticism and disbelief surrounded me. "Gale, her God-uncle is the Great Khan, who not only controls the largest Russian spaceport, he also has captured the largest spaceport in China as well. He controls the third spaceport in China too, if you want to rub it in," I added. "And, if the Amazons do send someone into space, who better than a child of the Moon?" Bendis was the Thracian Lunar deity.

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