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.

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