Saturday, May 23, 2009

Saturday Morning Breakfast Serial

Hi Guys!

Okay, still not feeling up to snuff. Weird digestive stuff. Ugh. But I SHALL persevere. And I have the whole weekend to recover anyway.

So, on with the serial.


I walked into the living room and into the middle of a conference. Cassandra had apparently set up a circle, and used it to contact Tracker's parents. It wasn't a difficult spell, but it was a complex one. Way, way beyond my abilities at this point. Still, it was useful. From the doorway I could see the magical version of a hologram showing me my aunt and uncle, perched on the very edge of their couch, staring at their son, looking worried and upset. Aunt Eleanor is thin to the point of emaciation, her long dark hair untouched by gray, her skin untouched by time. My uncle is an older, less handsome version of his son.

Looking at Tracker, I couldn't blame him. Yes, the burns were mostly healed, and there probably wouldn't be any permanent scarring. But his hair was scorched off, he was dressed in a lavender track suit with pink stripes and no shirt, and his color looked bad. Worse than it should have considering the amount of healing he'd received. Which meant he'd been up to something other than resting. Damn it.

"I had to." He was arguing with his mother, chin thrust forward aggressively. We can't afford for the shields to fail."

Oh crap. He'd reinforced the shields? Didn't he realize . . .

"SO, without consulting us, you've tied yourself to Cassandra and her spell."

Eleanor Cotter's voice dripped icicles and I was suddenly very, very glad I was all the way over here and behind a serious set of shields.

"He's an adult Eleanor." Tracker's father had a low voice, with a gravelly rumble to it. I've never really taken to much to him. He reminds me too much of my own father. No surprise, they're brothers after all. "He's entitled to make decisions without our input."

"No matter how stupid?" She asked.

"No matter." He agreed.

Tracker flushed, and his eyes were flashing dangerously, but he didn't say anything. Probably just as well.

"So, where's the girl?" Eleanor asked. "Still hiding?"

"Cassandra told you mother, she didn't do anything wrong."

"Then she should have come forward and explained herself."

"Oh yeah, that'd work so well, considering how understanding and willing to listen you all have been." I muttered it under my breath, but they all heard. Tracker turned to face me, giving me a look that said as clearly as words that I needed to be careful. He was probably right. His mother is from one of the oldest families in the magical culture, practically royalty. And she has no sense of humor. His father isn't much better.

"Eleanor, you're being unreasonable." Cassandra spoke calmly. "Sahara left immediately after I struck her and never called or checked back. She had no way of knowing I'd been attacked, let alone that Evan had blamed it on her. And as she still hasn't got the ability to work offensive spells the most sensible thing she could do was go to ground."

"Beulah" Eleanor used my given name as if it were a curse, "nearly got my son killed."

"Mom, she saved my life. She attacked Evan and Helena, and brought me here."

Eleanor turned to Cassandra, "You said . . ."

"I didn't use magic Mrs. Cotter. I used a gun."

There was a long silence. Every one of them turned to stare at me, eyes wide. It would've been funny if the situation weren't so damned serious. The thing about wizards/magic users is that they generally see magic as the only solution. It would never occur to any of them to do what I'd done, or that someone like Bob might have a snowball's chance in hell of defending his family. It's a blind spot, and a weakness.

"You shot him?" Buford senior blurted out the words everyone else had been thinking.

"Yeah. But I didn't do a very good job of it. Just got him in the leg." Bob would be so disappointed. As soon as I got a chance I'd need to clean the gun and find a way to get out and practice with it.

"She shot him." He repeated the words, sounding somewhat stupid.

"And saved my life." Tracker answered. "Then she brought me here---even though she didn't know Cassandra hadn't changed the wards. She risked her life to save me."

"And now you're risking yours." Eleanor was displeased.

"It's mine to risk."

I decided to interrupt. The family squabble was liable to go on indefinitely and Cassandra was starting to wear out. She'd never admit it, of course. Too proud. But I could see it, even if nobody else could. "Look, this is all very interesting, but it doesn't solve the problem at hand. Evan tried to kill Cassandra and blame it on me. He wants whatever it is that's hidden in the basement and we can't afford for him to get his hands on it."

Everyone turned to look at me. I hate being the center of attention, especially with everybody so hostile. But somebody needed to get this discussion back on track. "Cassandra is wearing herself out. So can we please get back to basics? What are we going to do? What's the plan?"

"We haven't come up with one yet." Tracker admitted. "My tying my life force to the shields has bought us some time, and should give Cassandra a chance to recover. But other than that, we haven't done a damn thing but argue."

Great. Super.

"All right. Can I make a suggestion?"

"Go ahead." Cassandra was the one who agreed. Everyone else just glowered at me.

"He wants my crystal."

She nodded.

"Let's give it to him."

There was a cry of protest from Eleanor. Cassandra and Buford Sr. just looked thoughtful, as if they were pretty sure they knew what I was thinking, and were trying to test the possibility in their minds. Tracker just looked worried. He turned to me his voice filled with concern.

"Sahara, he's going to be able to tell if we change the wards. He knows his sister's magic too well."

"I'm not suggesting we change the wards."

"You're not?"

"I'm suggesting we move them."

"Is that even possible?" He turned to his mother. She nodded to him and answered.


Cassandra gave me a long, assessing look. When she spoke her voice was firm, as though she was expecting argument from everyone here and was determined not to give in. "We are not sending you out to deal with my brother unless you are fully capable of defending yourself."

"Well that would be lovely," I admitted. "But since I've never been able to do offensive magic . . ."

"Cass believes she knows how to heal you." Lucille spoke for the first time since I'd walked in the room. I blinked a few times. She'd been so silent, sitting in a dark corner at the far side of the room, that I hadn't even noticed she was there.

"You're in no shape to heal anyone right now." Uncle Buford stated. "And we can't afford for you to pull your power back from the shields."

Cassandra sighed. "I know. But it doesn't have to be me. We just need someone with healing ability, and someone else whom she trusts implicitly."

"I can do the healing." Eleanor didn't sound happy about it. That was all right. She couldn't possibly be less happy about the thought than I was. And then there was that other, trick question. Who did I trust implicitly?

1 comment:

Tammy said...

AHHHH, now to see who she does trust that much :-)

Thanks Cie and have a good weekend, hopefully you feel better soon!