Sunday, May 6, 2012

Fruits of my research, Part 2.

Something wasn't quite right.  As I continued deeper into my research on Saint Patrick and especially Saint George, I noticed that certain books that should have been falling apart from age were freshly new reprint editions, some with the spine fully intact, as if never once opened, which I found very difficult to believe.  Consulting the catalog records, there was no indication of the new edition; Per the catalog, these should have been much older and were entered into the system ages ago.  The book in hand time and time again did not match the cataloging description.  Hard to put a finger on it, but I got the impression someone had been tampering with these books, perhaps in an effort to conceal or distort the historical record or at least the occult speculation of the historical record.

Upon deeper examination of the catalog on the back end (with a little computer hacking along the way) I found that one local patron in particular had checked out every single reference source I was consulting...not all at once, but over the course of several months.  Including some items that should have been non-circulating, library-use only, and yet the check-out record was plain as Mr. Peter Hanson...I ran his name through the INTERPOL database out of curiosity but turned back no hits, other than to confirm Mister Hanson was indeed a UK citizen.  He didn't so much as have a single parking ticket.

I even cold-called Mr. Hanson from the library, apologizing for "wrong number" before hanging up. 

I left the library and determined to walk to Mr. Hanson's apartment nearby.  On my way across the campus, I spotted a layman from the Order of Divine Glory, with the telltale ring pattern on his polo-style shirt.  As I neared, he tried to engage me personally about the Dragons and what I thought of them.  I waved off the question and stated I was still striving to form an opinion.  I pilfered one of their fliers from the garbage nearby.  I also listened in more closely to the missionary's sermon.  At first glance it seemed like the usual Christian pitch, but upon closer examination I realized that the messaging quickly veered off onto a strange tangent and became very mixed, problematic, and even blasphemous for any Christian denomination I knew of...indeed, the speaker seemed almost to be lauding some Titantic virtues.

I tried to enlist the help of some local ghosts to help me spy on Mister Hanson.  One Irish ghost, Sean O'Neill agreed to look if I'd go clean off his grave.  I agreed and Sean went in, came back out, and reported he didn't see anything unusual.  Sean was surprised I could see him and asked to know how, and why I was so interested in such a boring man as Mister Hanson anyway.  I explained my researches into Saint Patrick and Saint George (Sean crossed himself upon hearing the name of each saint in turn)...and how Mr. Hanson seemed to be pursuing a similar line of inquiry.  A fact that was confirmed by a local Antiquarian bookseller who was quite familiar with Mr. Hanson as a customer, who had indeed cleaned their shelves of anything remotely useful on the topic of dragons.  I also let slip that I was the son of the ancient Irish gods, but upon hearing that Sean marked me as mentally ill and backed away slowly, telling me to forget about cleaning up his grave, he wanted nothing more to do with me, just stay back, etc.  I dismissed him with a wave of my hand.

I took a deep breath and approached the apartment door.  I pulled out my INTERPOL badge and knocked firmly but politely on Mr. Hanson's door.  A very nerdy, thin, bookish man with thick glasses peered out from behind the door and said "Yes...?" very tentatively.  I introduced myself as Agent Brendan O'Shea of INTERPOL and asked if he had kept up with the news of the air disaster in Germany and the re-emergence of the Dragons connected to that tragedy.  He indicated he had heard of this incident via radio, as he doesn't watch TV.  I explained that in these strange times, we at INTERPOL needed to consult anyone with expertise on Dragons, and in this region that seemed to be him.  He asked how I arrived at that conclusion, and I explained I'd asked around at the local Antiquarian bookstore and they had pointed me in his direction.  Mr. Hanson looked very nervous and also mouthed "damn" quietly to himself (I could read his lips).  He protested this was not a good time to talk and asked if I could come back later.  I responded with a counter offer, that we could meet at the local pub over a few drinks and maybe we could discuss a few things in a more relaxed atmosphere.  He reluctantly agreed, and we confirmed the time and location.  Before he could close the door I interposed and said, "Oh, Mister Hanson, one last thing..."

Summoning the powers of my legend and my striking appearance, I peered into this trembling man's eyes and locked gazes with him.  His face muscles flinched in panic; I could see from his twitching shoulder muscles that he wanted desperately to slam the door in my face...I could see the beads of sweat forming on his hand and his forehead as he stood there perplexed why his body was not obeying the commands of his mind anymore.

I pushed the door open with a firm shove and the security chain snapped in two as if it were made of paper.  Mr. Hanson stumbled backwards and fell onto the floor but through a feat of dexterity was able to maintain eye contact with his misfortune.  My serpentine gaze continued to hold him immobile and I began to manipulate his mind again summoning the power of legend surrounding me...I accused him of vandalizing and otherwise messing with the library's book collection pertaining to Dragons.  I demanded he confirm this, blurt out this obvious truth.  To his own shock and amazement, he admitted it and quickly added that "The Order" would "kill him if he didn't".  I pressed, asking of he was referring to the "Order of Divine Glory?"; He blinked and asked what I was talking about and said no, he had no idea who that was.  I also accused him of clearing out the antiquarian bookstore of any useful material on Dragons on a regular basis and he replied "well, of course.  I haven't been back because they don't have anything new or useful right now"...I demanded he tell me why he was manipulating books at the library and again he repeated that if he told me The Order would kill him.  I asked why he was so certain I wouldn't kill him for not telling me.  He said he would welcome a quick death from me than the slow, tortured death he would experience at The Order's hands.  I decided to call upon the powers of Enech, to lay a token Geas upon this mortal... I informed Mister Hanson that he had greatly sinned against libraries and was forbidden to enter one for the next 8th months and that if he disobeyed this prohibition he would find his mind confused and unable to learn anything useful from his efforts...Hanson was confused by this pronouncement, not clear how I intended to make him obey it or how I personally could exact such a punishment upon him.  His eyes remained wide with fear, now believing I was quite mad myself.

I realized only in hindsight I was kind of only furthering existing Irish stereotypes in a way, but frankly I grew impatient with this fanatical man (as my Brehon's Eye had told me about his general nature) and punched him into unconsciousness.  I tied him up with bed-sheets and gagged him and placed him in his empty bath tub and closed the shower curtain.  This man had the truly good stuff by way of books and I knew at long last I finally had at least 12 hours ahead of me to get some quality research done with the very best of his material.  And even when he did wake up in 12 hours, he'd be gagged and I could just punch him into submission again.  I was prepared to keep doing this as long as it took.  Perhaps I should've obtained some chloroform before starting this interrogation and investigation, but ah well.  This method would still work.  I settled in with Mister Hanson's personal collection and gave his apartment a thorough sweep through, noting for the first time the very impressive personal printing press in his back bedroom.  This was getting more interesting by the minute...

Fruits of my Research, Part one.

In brief, this is a summary of what I learned during my extended stay in Oxford, on the way back to Ireland, at least during my initial investigations at the campus library.

 Saint Patrick:
So one of the things that Patrick is noted for is his direct communication with two of the Fianna of legend. These are the horsemen that were in service to Cordelia. I knew for a fact that at least one of them still resides within Mag Mell. The more and more I put facts together the more certain I became that Patrick must have been a Scion of Manannan mac Lir (the guy sure gets around!), The Morrigan, or Ogma as he is known to speak with the dead, the passing of souls and the written word/parables. As for dragons... well... human natural science has pretty much proved the "never-existence" of snakes in Ireland. That I knew. But I also knew for a fact, as a Scion, that there's more to "snakes" and dragons than what science can prove. From illustrations and prints made from as far back as I was able to find, it seems Patrick came into conflict with quite a few serpent-themed druids. Probably practitioners of Cernunnos, otherwise known as one of the surviving halves of Pan (that was temporally displaced). So the connection there is not so much relevant information about dragons, but that someone of my pantheon had previously dealt with Pan on one level or another. What remains mysterious is Patrick's later Christian aspects. He claims to have had a vision that sent him down that path but there isn't much more about it that I was able to discover.


Saint George:
Supposedly George not only slew the dragon, but tamed it as well by tying a girdle around it and leading it as if on a leash. This supposedly took place in modern day Libya, during the crusades at the time. The dragon was ravenous (demonstrating the Titanic virtue of Rapacity) and was eating a village out of livestock, and then children. George happened by when the King's daughter was set to be eaten and rescued her, using her girdle to do what is mentioned above. After leading the dragon to the palace and offering to slay it on the condition of the whole town's conversion to Christianity, he then took the dragon's corpse away on 4 carts. So the dragon was likely not much older than a juvenile. What's particularly useful in the stories though is that the dragon is given many descriptors; "... where a plague-bearing dragon dwelled that envenomed all the countryside."; There is thus little doubt in my mind that the dragon was in-part a byproduct of union between one of Crom Cruach's ilk and Tiamat's brood. It's almost impossible to tell any lineage of George due to his steadfast Christianity, however. Moreover, he is also revered in Muslim culture and other monotheistic religions in Asia-Minor as a great hero. As I have often thought, this definitely leads credence to the titanic virtue of Zealotry at work... which is a disturbing thought indeed... Perhaps this means that there is in-fighting amongst the Titans, but to believe this one would first have to accept that St. George was a follower of the Titans... could it be possible?

Saturday, May 5, 2012

The Dragons Are Coming

I should probably say a word or two about Dragons. In a minute. Sorry for the long delays between updates, and this will be a bit rushed. After a nice sojourn to the Greek underworld, y'know, Hades, where we discovered, among other things, that Cerberus is missing and that Charon the Boatman has skipped out on his job as well. We found a replacement, rescued some poor American woman duped by Ixion who'd been conned into the job. I also tried to help with the recovery of Marie's memories but alas, I wasn't of much help. Gunnar took one for the team, diving again and again into Hades' magic well of memory...and came up...disturbed, but alive. He didn't want to talk much about what he'd gone through, but the look and the lines on his face told me more than I even wanted to know. Anyway, we also explored the land suspended below Hades itself, and met the first Scion called, appropriately enough, First Son. From interacting with him, I now, along with Harlan, know the dead language spoken by Neanderthal. And I can appreciate their cave paintings more acutely perhaps. Anyway, lots of good intelligence gained about the origins of the Gods, the ancient pantheons like the Babylonians, and lots more things. I also had to swear a pact not to oppose Hades. I have no personal beef with the guy, so I said yes. Even underworld gods have their jobs to do, etc, and I wouldn't have been able to even try to help with the recovery of Marie's memories if I had declined Hades at that point. He did do his best to help us escape as the darkness began to flow in and surround, so he can't be all bad. We made it out of Hades, re-appearing in Germany in time to watch a Lufthansa passenger jet get ripped to shreds by a Dragon whom we later learned was named "Splits the Dawn Like Lightning". We learned the Dragons were waking up and very cross with humanity for not holding up their end of the bargain struck long ago between Dragons and Humans, mediated by the Gods as neutral third parties. The Gods agreed to butt out of any direct interference, a tradition we Scions will probably continue. The Dragon helped us bury the dead and then explained we were urgently needed to serve as humanity's ambassadors to all the awakening Dragon princes. Harlan volunteered to meet the senior Dragon in outer space, and the rest of the band divided up the globe accordingly. They all have funky names like that, kind of like the way Native American names sometimes are, more like actual phrases than proper names as we know them in Western culture. Gunnar and Laurel bailed on us to finish their private agenda in the Egyptian underworld of Duat. We were joined in Germany by Kate, a loudmouthed Scion of the Loa, who, we learned, was a daughter of Baron Samedi...despite being white. Anyway, I warmed to Kate in short order and we welcomed her into the band. Any friend of the Baron being a friend of ours, etc. I volunteered to speak to the Dragon located on the coast of England. Having lived in England as a graduate student at LSE, I knew my way around. I determined to meet with Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Gary George Dalton KCB ADC FRAeS CCMI, who is the current Chief of the Air Staff, the professional head of the Royal Air Force. But more importantly, I determined I needed to meet with Prime Minister David Cameron, whom I would then have summon the Air Chief Marshal of the RAF. It wasn't easy, of course, and I did have to disclose my divine nature in the end to make any headway. We loaded up into a British Army armored personnel carrier and proceeded to the English coast to a region I was luckily able to determine after some research. The PM and Air Chief Marshal were skeptical, but dove in with me. I had them grasp Gae Bolga with me and conferred water breathing upon them. I made it through to the secret cave very rapidly where we found the Dragon. Unfortunately Ixion, or apparently one of his clones, had beaten us to the location. With some difficulty I managed to outmaneuver Ixion with clever wordplay and debate and garnered the Dragon's attention...and it pushed Ixion aside with its massive tail to instead focus on me, and upon David Cameron and Sir Dalton behind me. I explained how humanity had lost the information about the dragons. I explained how the message had been corrupted. I also did not try to conceal the truth about what I had done to Canopus, both in Las Vegas and more directly in DC, where I'd delivered the killing blow personally. I decided it best to simply be up front about it and to point out that Canopus had been corrupt, and that Donald Jackson's cult may have been the ones supposed to convey information about the Dragons to humanity but that the message had been concealed and corrupted along the way and thus the majority of humanity left in the dark...I explained that as a Scion of the Gods, I am merely serving as a mediator, and unlike Ixion, I had brought actual human leaders with me, introducing the Dragon to David Cameron and Sir Dalton, both of whom awkwardly bowed to the Dragon in acknowledgement. The Dragon produced for us a copy of the long-lost original treaty between Dragonkind and Humanity...I read through it quickly and committed it to memory...I really focused...harnessing the ebb and flow of legend itself...and committed the treaty text to memory perfectly. In fact, I began to get the sense I now had perfect memory like so many others in the band. I fully volunteered to spend the next few days assisting in the translation of the document into various human languages and posting the full text to the United Nations website. I had originally planned to help negotiate with other dragon princes, but I personally decided that this project was more important and so informed the others not to pick me up on any further passes around the globe by Splits the Dawn Like Lightning. Sir Dalton peered at Gae Bolga and asked if he might have it examined and mass produced for the Army...."Surely as a loyal British subject..."; I cut him off in mid-sentence: "I'm an Irish citizen, thank you very much. And not to worry, I'm not giving this to the Irish army either. Did you think I was from Northern Ireland then? Sorry you didn't catch my Dublin accent. My adopted Da was from Belfast, but I've been a Dubliner all my life." It was quickly decided by the United Nations that a conference was necessary between Dragonkind and Humankind...and a meeting was scheduled in less than a month in the Himalayan mountains, in Nepal, but also accessible via the Peoples Republic of China. The meeting was mostly a success, though we did learn from Nate that some of the Dragons have their own evil agendas and are not to be trusted...he ran into one of them already in league with Kane Taoka. Harlan ran into another hostile one in the Philippines and required Laurel to come save his bacon before making her final departure to Duat. Kane and Ixion tried to disrupt the meeting, but we fended them off. Kane got shot by Kassandra with a well placed sniper bullet, but it turned out that Kane had somehow switched places with Nate's renegade shadow self, and Kassandra's well aimed shot very nearly killed Nate but for some lightning quick reflexes on his own part. Still hurt like hell, though, according to Nate afterward. After the big conference, we all split up and went our separate ways, each with a private mission to fulfill. I made my way back to Ireland by way of the United Kingdom, with a brief stop at Oxford University. After learning so much about Dragonkind, and learning that they were related somehow to the serpentine creatures like Canopus, in my mind there arose two burning questions I needed to answer for myself. I had initially joked about St. Patrick when I delivered the killing blow on Canopus, but I realized that perhaps I should press further and look deeper into the myth, into its occult aspects beyond what mere recorded history has to say on the subject. Then also, the question of one of the oldest European myths about dragons, namely that of St. George and the Dragon...true, it was a story of a Christian Saint, but it did involve Dragons explicitly as well. Since I was now privy to the fact that Dragons were real, what was the origin of this story and could it shed any further light on how the message of Dragonkind became lost? Although educated by Jesuits, if I were not the son of mighty Ogma the Wise and not aware of the existence of the rest of the mythic Gods of the Tuatha De Danann...if I were but a mortal I would myself probably be an atheist. I'm still not clear how to relate to or even understand the great classical monotheisms of humanity now and how they square with our existence as Scions. The great Yaweh, Jehovah, Allah, whatever remains as inscrutable to me now as he ever did before my awakening as a Scion. The others don't seem to have been all that fervent in their pre-awakened days, but I know it remains an uncomfortable subject of speculation for my fellow former Catholics, Gunnar and Laurel, and for me too. I think Gunnar really believed once...which doesn't surprise me given his Hispanic family upbringing...I recall he used to do exorcisms and things even before his awakening. I think Laurel may have believed but I also think her soldiering experience in Afghanistan was devastating to her per-awakened religious faith. I know I always wrestled with it myself, the best efforts of the Irish Christian brotherhood and the Jesuit order notwithstanding. My sharp, intelligent mind always found holes in their arguments and I was always dissatisfied with all traditional apologetics that I was confronted with in my youth. Still, much as I was reluctant to do so, I had to start by picking up the tomes of history and examining freshly the story of St. George and ruminate on the occultish aspects of the story outside the scope of standard history and literary criticism...anything to help secure and solidify the fragile peace we brokered between Dragonkind and Humankind...

Monday, April 16, 2012

Editor's note

**First-person Character narrative paused, to resume next post**

About my little disclaimer above, I have learned fairly recently that in fact there is a branch of my family that moved from Ayrshire in western Scotland and re-settled in Northern Ireland. There are references to marriage and birth records for people with my surname (that can be found freely online) dating from the mid-19th century in County Antrim and County Down. I don't think I'm directly descended from this branch, but rather my family roots trace directly back to Scotland, but I guess I can't any longer say I've got no Irish connection at all. I've probably got distant Ulster Scots relations still walking around NI today, and some of them in all likelihood have intermarried with native Irish families since the 19th century.

As I'm legally adopted however, this is largely an academic discussion; The only thing I know to be genuinely Scottish about me is my name; I've no idea what my actual roots are...though I did recently get more (albeit limited) details about my birth parents. It seems I get my looks from my birth mother (described as petite with reddish brown hair and brown eyes) and my brains from my biological father (described as blone with blue eyes, a graduate student at the time, described variously as "an intellectual" but also a somewhat "nervous" man, which leads me to suspect it is from him I also inherited my Asperger's syndrome, though that is reading between the lines a bit looking back at the early 1970s when the diagnosis wasn't formalized yet).

I'm rather interested in the service "23 and Me", where subscribers can submit a genetic sample (cheek cells obtained from a saliva sample) and they will map your genome and tell you generally what region your branch of the human family hailed from. This would be neat to find out...and it would be quite a hoot if it turned out I was genuinely of Celtic origin, not just adopted into a family with that heritage. I'm encouraged to hear of my birth mother's "reddish brown hair"...and I also recall growing facial hair in the mid 2000s and being struck by just how bright red some of my beard was, and even more surprising to me, the streaks of pure blonde in my beard as well (which I now know are a genetic inheritance from my biological father).

Even if my roots lie elsewhere...Italy, Norway, whatever...I'm still proud of my adopted family's Scottish heritage that I also lay claim to through being given a thoroughly Scottish name. I would laugh out loud if my genetic origins end up being directly from Ireland.

Anyway, I've been thoroughly enjoying the Scion RPG system and especially playing this character from the Tuatha de Danann mythos...I will endeavor to bring Brendan's account up-to-date to align with the current state of game-play.


Sunday, February 12, 2012

American side trip

So, we came to Washington DC to help Nate out with a little business down at Langley. It seems an old foe from Las Vegas wasn't quite dead after Jack & Co. threw him off the top of a Vegas High Rise.

Harlan waved some badges and got us in, and long story short, I made like St. Patrick and drove out the snake(s)...or more properly, skewered what was left of old Canopus against the wall...but like a bad videogame boss, he--birthed?--a few final progeny, which I helped to cut down.

Flushed with a new sense of confidence, we got some new intel on Carmen and headed out to California to track down some leads. With Nate's help, I commandeered an American learjet and flew us West. It was a long, long trip.

We managed to get the drop on Carmen's little mass-murder scheme; Kass definitely impressed me...she damn near killed Carmen with the butt of her rifle; Laurel managed to stabilize her.

Meanwhile out front Nate and I flashed badges and intimidated the assembled groupies with threats of incarceration for drugs possession...felt like my first days back on the beat in Dublin...we "let them off with warnings", saving their lives, actually, clearing them from the area before things could get hairy.

Harlan pulled some of his illusion work and that was all we needed for Gunnar to sneak in, and for Kass and Laurel to sneak round and lay an ambush...Aisling kept well out of harms way and out of sight.

We captured Carmen and took her with us to...I wanna say it was...Albuquerque, NM? Some place out West; It doesn't matter really. There we interrogated her. Gunnar tried first, the Nate and Harlan. They didn't seem to be getting anywhere fast.

I indicated to Laurel that I wanted to try something...after the DC encounter, I felt the flow of Enech change around me, felt as if I could start to ever so slightly bend it to my will. I felt finally I had reached a point where I could begin to lay Geasa of my own. I also had begun to recover some of my refinement and charm from the sudden de-aging process from the China episode.

I walked in to the debriefing room...after a few preliminary questions about Cordelia, which Carmen answered seemingly truthfully, I got down to business.

I knew Carmen sort of liked my Irish accent so I played it up for her, fixed her with my green eyes and said, "ok, here's the deal..."

I can't remember exactly how I worded it; it's as though Enech itself took over my lips to form the if my body became its mere both was--and wasn't--my voice speaking to Carmen. I seized upon the fact that her powers are anchored in her ability to keep and manipulate her lesser followers. Enech commands you, I said, that you must stop and render aid and bind the wounds of anyone injured in your presence...Enech had chosen this blood-based Geas...ironically appropriate for the daughter of a blood-thirsty Aztec goddess...outwardly, Carmen's face remained defiant, but I could detect a quaver in her voice, her dark eyes met mine then looked away. She could feel something in the air between us had changed; I could feel the flow of Enech envelop her briefly and then release, having changed its course to include her in its natural ebb and flow.

I motioned to Laurel to come next..."Your witness," I said, and exited the room.

I don't know precisely what Laurel did to Carmen, everything she said to her was in a whisper, inaudible behind the one-way mirrored glass. Laurel took Carmen's face with both her hands and locked gazes with her. Within a minute Carmen's defiance collapsed, her resistance collapsed, and she burst into tears, mentally broken. Laurel embraced her firmly, and Carmen kept crying and sobbing...

Harlan had probably made things easier for us by bewitching Carmen with some kind of love magic, but it hadn't been enough to make her betray Kane or Ixion. Working together, Laurel and I had managed to break through to Carmen and turn her. I swore to Carmen that I do not take the laying of Geasa lightly, and that it was for the purpose of making her a better person, and she couldn't well become better if she was dead, so I would endeavor to do my utmost to ensure her safety.

I then took a sidelong glance at Harlan and then said to Carmen: "...and please, work on that self-esteem of yours, because you've frankly horrible taste in men..."

Saturday, December 3, 2011

China wrap-up, then Down Under and back.

So look, lots more stuff happened in China. I suddenly got 10 years younger and felt my stamina get better in an instant...but my sense of humor definitely reverted back to my postgraduate university days in full of life and vigor that I spontaneously burst into a rendition of the old sea shanty "South Australia" in the airport in China.

But before that, well, Pan died, or rather, was killed, except he wasn't...he was cloven in two...and it seemed to split the world in two all around us...only it was more an illusion or vision-like effect than reality...and suddenly he became two separate and distinct gods that went their own of them a Roman deity and the other one I can't recall at the moment, other than it was very strange.

We also faced down Nikola Tesla in the Gobi desert. Gunnar tried to reason with him but then it came to blows. Nikola turned the tables on me insofar as he used the same legendary ability that some of the gods jokingly call "Fight with your head"; Humans might say, "fight smarter, not harder"...and anyway, that's what Tesla did, and it rather ruined my day. I used it back on him, but obviously it's less effective if used in a reactionary, "me too" kind of way. But it was enough to keep Gunnar alive at one point. Well that and thanks to unexpected heroics from Harlan, who jumped in the way of a vicious blow intended for Gunnar.

The time distortions wreaked other havoc before all was said and done. Nevermore was thrown forward in chronological age and succumbed to old age. He now follows Laurel as a ghostly spirit guide, and only Laurel and I are able to see him, I think.
Astrid the cat was thrown backwards in time, becoming a squishy embryo and then winking out of existence.

As these things often end, it was sort of a draw, and Tesla escaped our clutches, but we definitely threw a monkey wrench into his way of alerting the gods to all we had learned, who made short work of all the buried devices on planet Earth, with much fanfare and utterly stunning humanity in the process. I laugh now when I think back to how Nate and I had been trying to help out by bashing the top of the machine in the Gobi with our swords. Once we saw their true scale in the hands of the gods...the efforts of two puny Demigods such as I said, I can only laugh...

So next it was off to South Australia for myself, Gunnar, and Laurel. The kids, Laurel sensed, had had some trouble lately--Nate picked up on it as well--and we needed to meet up with them in Australia to check on them and find out what was up.

Turns out they'd been in some kind of sea adventure and things got ugly. Hercules bailed them out (literally and figuratively) and they kept mentioning a kindly Whale that fought the sea-monster bravely and probably saved all their lives. Young Brendan Gair had mentioned to me once how they'd saved a beached whale in San Francisco Bay and the kids felt certain this creature was the very same. I'm inclined to believe it. Brendan also related to me that the creature reminded him very much of one of Ixion's wolves that he'd managed to kill when Ixion first attacked Laurel's was a twisted bio-mechanoid of some sort and truly terrifying.

I wandered down to the beach to take in the carnage of the sea-battle's aftermath. Gunnar, with his keen telescopic senses, came along as well.

Realizing quite some time had passed since I last honored my Geas, I spent quality time at a local wildlife research station with an emphasis on coastal ecology, including fish and whales but also marshlands and water fowl. I met a few Australian scientists with Irish backgrounds and got on famously with them. Though perhaps it's merely my imagination, I spent so much time so intensely, I felt as though I managed to cram an entire undergraduate education in biology in that short week or so of time in South Australia.

In the evenings, I'd play fiddle in the local Irish bar, and the Aussies were quite pleased to have a genuine Irishman performing in their midst. I was really keen on the Irish-Australian fusion music, incorporating traditional Celtic sounds with Australian native instruments, including a special rendition of "South Australia" that really raised the roof.

Such Great Craic Down Under!

Next, we made our way to Mexico City and then out into the countryside to meet up with our old friend Jack Cook, living in a modest but nice Hacienda a bit off the beaten path. With his Griffin. Laurel and Gunnar asked Jack for a huge favor, namely to serve as their full-time nanny while they their parents had to go save the world. To my mild surprise, Jack was actually more amenable, or at least, I should say, mostly apathetic rather than hostile to the suggestion...

It was from there that I parted ways with Gunnar and Laurel, who had to be rushing off to Greece next. I texted Nate to learn if he had any new info on Cordelia, but he blew off my text, so I flew from Mexico City to Houston, from Houston to London direct, then British Rail from Victoria Station to Liverpool, then crossing over on the ferry at Liverpool back to Dublin.

The look in Aisling's eyes when she saw me looking 10 years younger was utterly priceless. She did notice that my manner was a bit cruder and less refined, but she thought it refreshing and helped me adjust my style of dress a bit...she even went with me to the barber's and helped me pick out a very mod European haircut. I even put away my glasses, which had always been a fashion statement to begin with, since my eyesight remains 20x20.

I had been back in Ireland for only about 24 hours--One thing I don't miss from my pre-Scion awakened days is jet-lag--when I got a call from Nate updating me that there was a situation stateside I should probably help deal with. "We may need you to go all St. Patrick on some place."


"Drive out snakes, man. Rollersnakes."

"Say no more. I'll be on my way as soon as I can."

Aisling made a deft move and slipped the cellphone out of my hand before I could stop her, lifted it to her lips and said "Hi, Nate. He means WE will be on our way as soon as WE can."

Aisling chatted a bit longer with Nathan, asking about his wife, etc. then hung up the phone and placed it gently back in the breast pocket of my black club jacket.

Her eyes met mine and she said "...don't you give me that look. I'm coming with youse. I want to see America again. I love yer ma and all, but jayzus I'm bored sometimes. And you can't come tempt me with this new bod of yours and then go darting off again...I know you're not a cruel man, Brendan O'Shea...I wouldn't have married ye if I didn't know ye so well."

And I remembered again how much the love of this woman means to me.

"I just, you know I just worry about your safety."

"Brendan O'Shea", she said, " know even death will not end my devotion to you."

"I know all too well," I began, and gingerly related to Aisling how Nevermore had died in China. Aisling burst into tears, hearing of the loss of her avian friend. She buried her face in my chest, sobbing. I could feel her tears soaking my shirt, and her petite body shaking with grief as I related how he now continues to follow Laurel as a ghostly spirit guide.

Aisling brushed aside her tears for a moment and looked up at me square in the eyes and said "and so will I for you if the worst should happen to us. Never doubt that for a minute."

"I don't, sweetness. I don't. Please come to America with me."

She nodded and brightened...then got a mischievous look and said "but first you please come to bed with me...even Scions of gods need their down time..."

I'll spare the reader what else she said--it's none of your business besides!--other than to say in passing that for someone originally of the fairy folk, sometimes she has a dirtier mind, mouth and imagination than even a Dubliner like me, and that's really saying something.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Embassy Investigation

Gunnar fell quickly towards the Earth; I took a step and prepared to fly up and catch him, but Laurel saw me out of the corner of her eye and said "don't worry, he's got it..."

Before my eyes, Gunnar crashed into a passing flock of birds, which slowed and altered his trajectory enough to grab on to one of the Embassy's flying buttress structures; it broke but he grabbed another that held, and from there he managed to clamber down the side of the building rapidly without so much as getting a scratch on himself.

Feng gave a slow golf clap and said "Very nice, but can we get on with this, please? I'm on a tight schedule here."

Feng opened the Embassy door and we proceeded inside past the yellow police tape saying "Do Not Enter" in Mandarin Chinese.

Laurel indicated she would remain outside looking after her kids.

The majority of the bodies we located clustered around a big conference table in the rear of the first floor of the Embassy. Nate summoned the Kami of the security camera and got a run-down of what the camera had seen. Pan had been involved, some kind of deal struck. This was definitely getting interesting.

Then we heard a booming voice from a bullhorn outside command in Chinese for "Intruders! Come out with your hands up! This is the National Police service!"

Gunnar and I voluntarily came out; Feng said "Screw that! I'm blowin' this scene. You're on your own from here.", and exited out the nearest window. Kassandra made herself scarce in similar fashion. Nate tried to exit a window but was caught by the approaching Chinese police captain, the same gentleman we'd encountered battling the angels earlier, though from his perspective that hadn't happened yet.

Gunnar and I had already encountered this gentleman out front and he had asked after our companions. Turns out not only had the locals seen us, they'd counted us, and he knew that those of us on the front porch were only a fraction of the suspects he was hunting for.

I produced my INTERPOL badge/passport and tried to convince him I was not interfering but rather assisting with the investigation; He protested this was against protocol and that INTERPOL had failed to notify him in advance. I suggested we could sort this all out back at the station, and he agreed with an indignant huff.
Gunnar suggested we hurry, because if we were where he thought we were in time, it was about to come under attack. This statement clearly unsettled the Captain.

Gunnar did his best to reassure our Chinese friend that we were indeed friends and had cooperated before, or would soon cooperate or...well, something like that.
Damn this time travel; so confusing...