tagSci-Fi & FantasyInkwell Ch. 08

Inkwell Ch. 08


I am not a tattoo artist any more than a Greek Mythologist. This is a work of fiction and any miss steps in the way things really work are because of these facts. None of the people in this piece are real; any reference to the real world is purely coincidental. Enjoy

He sat looking over them. Shesin and Nikita lay on either end of the bed with Joxifa, Lyrusi and Yerni between them. Thalia and Eirene slept beside each other in the loveseat. Antony and Ducici coddled in the armchair like teenagers. Crossin and Profene sat in the kitchen reading thou everything he had in the apartment. Grainger had carried Ishara into his bedroom hours ago.

He wondered if he was going to feel different as a titan. Would he still have the same tastes in food, would women still taste as they had before. He looked at the phone for what felt like the 500th time. He was wrestling with whether to tell his mother or not. He understood her concerns and knew that she loved him. Was this something she needed to know now was the question.

"You look very conflicted. Want to talk about it?" Mace asked from the end of the couch.

"Not sure what to think at the moment. I mean, titan? What am I supposed to feel?" He asked.

Galenee walked into the room with a towel over her hair as Mace answered. "You feel what you feel. I feel the same, I'm still a Gorgon. Just because I am walking around on two legs hasn't changed me."

"My wings are hidden but I don't feel any less of a Sylph." Galenee said.

"But both of you have been through changes like this before. I have never been through..." He said then cut off by Mace.

"You are the Guardian of Earth. Did you feel any different when that happened?"

"No, I guess..." He answered and she cut him off again.

"This wouldn't be any different than that." She said.

"Estephan calm down. You're letting your mind call up meaningless fears about what you are." Galenee said. "You are already a titan. It is just like going through puberty. Not exactly but it sorta fits your situation."

"She's right. You are a titan. Emerging just means others will see it and have to behave accordingly. Not that you are going to change or transform into some weird thing."

"And what about powers? I was worried about what your gifts would do if I couldn't handle them." Estephan said. "I don't want to louse myself to abilities I can't control, be corrupted by them somehow."

"I don't think you give yourself enough credit." Galenee said.

"You are a strong person and kinda fearless." Mace said.

"Why would you two say that?"

"Mace is a Gorgon. You have not only looked her in the eye but you have made her toes curl in pleasure." Galenee said. "Really forced me out of my shell with your 'even noble needs a good hold her down fucking'. You tamed Yerni, purified Shesin and have never once demanded anything of any of us."

"You aren't holding anything against me... for what I am or that I was used against you. You even rescued Shesin from Styx. You're not a bad person... human or titan notwithstanding; you are good and show wisdom in your thinking. This isn't going to go away because you're a titan." Mace said.

He sat there thinking about all that he had been through over the past week. He had been show the higher realm, given gifts of mythical beings and still had to question things that would affect others before making a decision. He cared about all of them and the sex was amazing. He's gifts hadn't changed him, enhanced his natural talents. Grabbing the vinegar bottle from across the room was kinda fucking cool. He had almost forgotten he had done it.

"If you think about it you have been very reluctant to use your gifts." Mace said.

"I don't want to rely on them. Or slip up using them in front of someone that didn't need to know about them." He said looking at Cindy and Sara on the end couch asleep.

"Good morning titan." Clotho said stepping out of the kitchen wall.

"What are you talking about? The time of my birth isn't for three hours yet." Estephan said.

"Truly? Your left arm seems to think otherwise." Clotho said.

He looked at his arm as did Galenee and Mace. There was a tattoo of an ink-gun that mirrored the one on his right arm. It read TITAN instead of Legacy. She walked past the trolls and put a pot of water on the stove for tea. He looked at her questioningly. He felt no different.

"Wow, that's kinda hot." Mace said.

"So what is his mantle?" Galenee asked.

"Fellowship and Community." Clotho said rolling up on her tippy-toes to reach the tea.

"Fellowship and Community? What the hell in that supposed to mean?" Mesaduce asked harshly.

"In other words, Relationships?" He asked.

"Yes Guardian." Clotho answered.

"So he's a cupid? Only bigger?" Mace asked.

"Hardly, I thought he was going to be hard to explain it to." Clotho said. "All of his actions have shone his nature."

"I think beyond myself in what I do?" He admitted.

"How is that?" Galenee asked.

"You two have already told him and don't see it?" She asked as she looked for a clean mug for tea. "Look around this room, what do you see?"

"All of our friends and comrades." Galenee said.

"My community, my relationships." Estephan said.

"And individuals that are going to be a good influence on the mortal realm, the larger community." Mace said in understanding.

"Because you sought wisdom and weren't quick to make decisions a greater mantle was yours to claim. With it you will be able to feel the flow of relationships of two people or groups. This will be imparted to you as you need it, similar to how you found knowledge of them." She said pointing at the two ex-trolls reading at the table.

"That was scary." Galenee said.

"And it will continue to be." Clotho said as she poured water over the tea bag in her mug.

"So are you going to tell me what is going on now or am I going to steal your tea?" Estephan said half joking.

"Yes Guardian. I will start from the beginning." She said.

"Could someone get me a coffee and see what we have left for making breakfast?" He asked.

"100 years ago the Muses left the higher realms. We knew then that the realms were going to suffer great changes. We had no way of seeing what they were to be. All of them asked to be banished to the mortal realm. We were afraid to argue with them so did as they asked. Ten years past and they still kept us informed of the changes in the mortal realm. Then it stopped. Only one of them sent word to us three years later with instructions on how to send and keep the doors to the mortal realm from closing forever."

"The muses asked to be left here?" Mesaduce asked.

"Yes. They saw the fading of the higher realm before even we did. It is my opinion that a few of the muses have been talking with Styx from time to time. Styx has never been one to see eye to eye with the Fates or the Pantheon of the higher realm. Until you Estephan, the only way the higher realm would survive would be for the three of us to die." She said sipping her tea.

"I hold the door open, taking that burden from the three of you don't I?"

"In basic terms yes. We couldn't break the laws of the higher realm and hold ties to the mortal realm. Now we are free of that restriction, and you have the power to break the curses of the old law. Like with them." She said nodding towards the men in the kitchen. "You are a good person and wouldn't let others suffer that have done nothing to deserve it. Yes we lied to you. Atropos drew the short straw and played the heavy, where Lachesis played the part of villain. None of us wish to die thou if it would save many of the higher realm we would. You are not being hunted Lachesis is just good at what she does."

"If you had told this to me yesterday..." Estephan said.

"You would have told us to go fuck ourselves." She finished his statement.

"I ... you're probably right." He said.

"I understand, as a Fate doing things like this is second nature. You can see the larger scope of the test now, and why it had to be. We yield to only to a true guardian with a heart and wisdom to be fair with the realms, higher and mortal. We cannot do anything here, you can. You will stand up to us and tell us when we are not seeing clearly or that we aren't seeing at all. If we wanted just some glorified door man, what does that say about us?" Clotho asked.

"So all of you did this? There wasn't any infighting?" Estephan asked.

"Yes we all knew. We also know that for you to be a guardian and help the higher realm you must find the Muses. It is the plan that they put to us all those years ago. You are free of our law as you wanted. We offer our apologies to you for the manner in which the test had to be given. We can't however say the same for Styx or the succubus that defiled your parlor. Those were not our doing, nor was the request of bonding by the Angelic. Is there anything else that I can answer for you?" Clotho asked.

"From this point forward anything I ask of you will be truth as you know it?" Estephan asked.

"Yes, if we were to lie to you, you would know it as a lie. I think your tattoos suck by the way." She said.

"You're lying, you love them." He said with a grin, feeling the lie and hearing the truth she concealed with it.

"Yes I do, and when the time comes I hope you will be as artistic imparting one to me and my sisters."

Everyone sat watching the both of them intently. Estephan nodded to himself more than her. He stood to cross the room. Shesin hadn't stirred but a single tear rolled down her cheek. He stopped looking at her as she opened her eyes. She smiled and stretched. Yerni batted Shesin's wing away as it brushed the side of her face. He giggled but kept moving. He stopped in front of the coffee table and its pile of papers.

"So there is a deed to a large house here as well as the purchase agreement for the strip mall?" He asked.

"Yes Guardian, All the utilities for both properties are being credited hundreds for the keeping the home as historically accurate as possible." Eirene said.

"Historically...? What fucking house did you all rope me into?" He asked.

"The Courthouse, down on Main and First in the Historic Center. Two miles from the parlor, it has twelve foot ceilings and plenty of space. It has an open atrium that could be open to the public, would make it a lot easier to meet with others of our kind so they aren't flooding the parlor. Give it a look before you tell us we need to rethink it." Thalia said.

"We have this covered. We'll go over tomorrow and give it a walk thru. If after that you still can't see the benefits of having it we will find something else." Eirene said.

"If it does work for you can we bring our sisters over Guardian?" Thalia asked.

"Yes... Please!!" Eirene said batting her eyes.

"Do we have to wait till tomorrow?" Estephan asked.

"I can call the Realtor and ask." Eirene said crossing to the phone.

"Did I hear that right, you're getting the old courthouse on Main?" Ishara asked rubbing the sleep from her eyes.

"Welcome back to the land of the living. Yeah you heard it right, I guess." Estephan said.

"You going to live in it?" She asked.

"I told them to show me something yesterday. Guess I should have been a little clearer in what I meant." He said.

"You were serious about wanting to leave police work? We have a place and job sorta set aside for you if you want it." Thalia said stepping closer to Ishara and giving her a kiss on the cheek.

"A place and job? Did you have anything to do with this?" She accused Estephan.

"First time I am hearing about it. Maybe you should get some coffee and sit down with me while they explain it to everyone else. When we're all awake." He said.

His frig was ransacked. He would likely be hitting the grocery on the way back. The Realtor had been eager to some them the Courthouse. Even offered to meet them at his apartment so he could unlock the underground parking area when they got there. Estephan still wasn't sure about living in an old public building. When they got to the place Eirene and Thalia were about jumping out of the care like children at the playground.`

"Mr. Prizton, I am Leon Stilton City Resource Manager." The tall gray haired said.

"Mr. Stilton my associates said we were meeting a realtor." He said.

"When it comes to city buildings I am the realtor. They told you about the cities restrictions for the building?" He asked.

"Some, but I have a few questions. Public vestibule?"

"Yes the lobby would be accessible, with restrooms and pay phones usable by the citizenry. As there are none in the city park across the street none were put in the park when it was founded because the courthouse was right here. Utilities would be credited for the usage."

"Zoning of the build would be flexible?" Estephan asked.

"Yes, to a point. Any commercial zoning would have to be in areas that have direct public access." He said. "Anything directly off of the lobby would be commercially zoned."

"And renting of loft apartment space? Would that fall under those restrictions?" He asked.

"No, Management of that would be on site, if it is off site a business license for the renting would need to be filed." Stilton said.

"We would be on site." Thalia said.

"That would cover the renting of office space in the lobby as well, correct?" Eirene asked.

"Yes, if it is managed on site, no problem." He answered.

"So 30,000 and signed maintenance agreement we're good to go?" Estephan asked.

"If the city council agrees to the sale." Stilton said.

"We have a sound proposal for the buildings use as well as clients ready to lend to the remodel of the buildings infrastructure." Thalia said. "All of them understand the historic nature of the buildings fascia. In fact most are more willing to join because of it."

Estephan was bewildered. These two had BSed their way into this. Now even he was having a hard time thinking this was a believable story. They had people lined up? Since when? Breakfast? He walked through the block long three/four story building. A third of the building was gutted by the previous developer. Walking out the front doors put him on the curb. He turned and looked at the building. With the columns it looked somewhat Greek in construction. Marble statues stood in the eves of the builds corners facing Main. One looked very much like Nikita the other was Lady Justice.

"When will this go to a vote in the city council?" Estephan asked.

"If I file first thing tomorrow, it will be the last item on this month's docket Thursday this week."

"File it; we will have our prospectus and development model ready. As well as check book." Estephan said.

"Splendid. Is there anything else about the building you wanted to see? Any other questions?" Stilton asked.

"I'm sure we will be given all the inspection reports before finalization." Thalia said.

Stilton turned white with fear. Eirene stepped to his side. "You going to be alright? Are you ill?" She asked.

"The reports are available." He said flatly.

"And what are they going to tell us that has you so uneasy Mr. Stilton?" Estephan asked.

"The building is sinking and won't hold an updated heating-cooling system without a full reworking of the superstructure." He admitted. "The last developer backed out taking the lose because barring a miracle, it will take 750,000 dollars to keep it from caving in."

"Well good thing we are in the miracle business then, right?" Eirene said nodding to Thalia.

"Sure does." Thalia said smiling at Stilton and Estephan.

"Knowing this you are still willing to go through with the purchase?" Stilton asked.

"A reassessment of the selling price and a few concisions might be needed but none that would be beyond reason for the city council to handle." Thalia said.

"You already knew about the structure reports." Stilton accused.

"Yes we did. We were hoping it would be disclosed by you during the walk through. As it wasn't, we are going to do this our way from here on out. Anything else you care to know Leon?" Estephan asked.

He didn't answer. Estephan walked down the block towards the SUV. Thalia talked to him about how to contact her with the council meeting times. Eirene scooted to keep pace with him.

"You like the building?" She asked him.

"It's caving in on itself?" He asked.

"Nothing we can't fix." She replied with a smile.

"Right." He said and opened the door of the SUV. "Fixing it isn't the part that worries me, it is the explaining how that has me worried."

"Easy, we fix it before you have your own inspectors go in. Making the first report look bogus." She said.

"And since that contracts are already signed... sneaky." He said.

"Let's head back to the apartment and lay out the rest of the plan for you and the others." Eirene said.

Once Thalia got back in they headed back to the apartment. He drove past the Parlor just to check on it. Janet's car was in the parking lot. He pulled in. The three of them walked into the florist. Janet and a tall brown haired gentleman greeted him with big smiles on their faces.

"Greetings Guardian." The man said.

"Janet?" Estephan asked pointing at the guy.

"He's Crystalia!" Janet said bouncing up and down.

"Really? A domain gives you a people form?" Estephan asked.

"Yes it does. Do we have ownership of the whole mall?" He asked.

"We will at 10 o'clock tomorrow morning. The sale must be filed for the new deeding to be made. Janet if you would sign a few things for us." Thalia said.

"Ok, what as I signing?" Janet asked.

"A partnership in Mythic Holdings Consolidated and an investment contract." Eirene said.

"What?" She asked.

"You are giving your name to the Holding Company board and taking ownership of your shop. The rest will give you a profit share of about $9,000 a quarter and a shop front in the company office building." Thalia said. "Not too bad for signing your name five times right?"

"Don't ask me how they are planning on doing it. I signed them after breakfast. Your name would be right under mine, partner." He said holding his hand out to her.

"Ok." She said shaking his hand. "You going to have a company tattoo?"

Everyone laughed. He looked at Crystalia. He did not look like he thought he would. He was the sage plant he talked to thou. All of the wisdom and knowledge with the ability to walk down to talk to him. Crystalia didn't much care to stand in the same room as himself but that was understandable. Who wants to hear everything in echo all the time?

"You don't look like I thought you would." He finally said to Crystalia.

"I don't look the way I thought I would." Crystalia said.

"What does that mean?"

"I look the way Janet pictures me. Part of my bond to her. She was a bit unnerved by me when she came in this morning as well. I look like the guy she lost her virginity to." He said.

"Is there any reason for that?" Estephan asked as the ladies went into Janet's office looking for a pen that worked.

"Not that I know. We are working out how we reflect in each other. She said she turned greenish in her shower this morning and came running in here still looking that way. As I acclimate to being here I should get more control over that. We will be careful not to let anyone see." He said.

"I know that you will. Thank you for being up front about it. The city guy was a weasel, not being up front with the building they want us to move in to. Not that I am untrusting of their ability to take care of it. Just still getting my head wrapped around the whole thing. See this." He said pointing at the new Titan tattoo on his left arm.

"The mark of you mantle right? What is your devotion?"

"Fellowship and Community." Estephan said.

"And you're the Guardian. Wow. That is a potent mantle to wield."

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