12 May 2007
“Are you supposed to be doing that?” Benedict asked.
I groaned and set my mug down on the counter I was leaning against. “I can make my own tea once in a while, priest.”
“I didn’t ask if you can. I asked if you’re supposed to be.”
“I don’t know! They said to take it easy for a while. Are you suggesting this isn’t easy?”
“I’m just keeping an eye out.” He walked the rest of the way into the kitchen and started a pot of coffee as I resumed adding the sugar to my tea. “But since you’re up and we don’t have to focus on meeting needs for a moment, maybe we could talk.”
“Your father’s theories.”
“I thought maybe you wanted to talk about whether Jackie and Akshainie are okay.”
“I trust they’re fine. Akshainie is capable. Frustratingly so, at times. I get the impression Jackie is not an easy target, either.”
“Alright, fine. But I’m sitting down for this.”
“I would insist on it if you hadn’t,” he said as I made my way to the living room. I sat in the recliner and made myself as comfortable as I could. By the time he joined me with his cup of coffee in hand, I was halfway through a cigarette.
“So what did you want to know?” I asked as he sat on the couch.
“Well, when last we talked about it, I had informed you that he thought your power was more complex than simply breaking magic. And then we never explored that.”
“Okay, well, I have.” I adjusted my position to face him better. “I think he was right.”
So I told him about the first time I met Alice, how I managed to change the rules of the local Metaphysical Realm to make the echoes more visible and then clear them away. He sat silent as I spoke, his face only showing any change when he brought his coffee to his mouth.
“Fascinating,” he said, finally. “And Akshainie tells me you were able to close and then reopen a locus point while we were in Britain.”
“I fear what this means for us all, then.”
He sighed, then indicated he would be just a minute before making his way back to the kitchen. I lit another cigarette while he was gone, and he returned with more coffee. “Okay,” he said, before taking a sip and sitting down. “You said that the Barzai referred to you as ‘the omen?’ The sign their work was nearing completion?”
“Seemed to think I was the avenue through which their work would be concluded.”
“That’s a concern. Do you have any idea what they could do if they gained control over your power?”
“I don’t see how they would,” I said, adjusting again to avoid putting too much pressure on the stitches. “They’d have to gain some means of controlling me with magic, which I’m immune to.”
“Well. We assume you’re immune.”
“I seem pretty immune.”
“And yet you can do powerful magic effects, such as controlling the flow of a ley line and exorcising spirits.”
“What are you getting at?”
“If your power is more accurately described as setting the rules within an area, then it stands to reason you aren’t truly immune. It’s just very difficult to break the rules you enforce. With enough effort and a very clever approach, someone could slip a spell past you. Has that ever happened? Can you think of any time when someone found a way around your immunity?”
“Well. I didn’t really think about it in those terms…”
“Back in high school. I had broken a focusing crystal. The witch who owned it said I’d be cursed for doing so, which I didn’t think was a valid threat.”
“Well. I didn’t really get cursed. Whatever ill fate was supposed to befall me never happened. But, there was this supernatural beast that started following me around. I had to learn how to perform an exorcism just to get rid of it.”
“The curse bypassed your immunity by having a spirit act in your vicinity rather than directly affecting you.”
“Yeah, it was well played.”
“It also tells me there are ways around your magical resistance, if one approaches it properly. I don’t know what it would take to directly affect you, but we should probably operate on the assumption such an option exists. And that the Brood of Nachash is working on it.”
“So, what do I do about that? Add more protection? Avoid them? I don’t think I like any of this notion.”
“You’re too useful against them to ask you to stay on the side.” He sighed and leaned with his elbows on his knees. “We just need to be very mindful of how much access they have to you. Whatever it is they’re going to try, if you’re the key, they need to do something to or with you.” We sat in silence for a little bit as I considered that suggestion, and then after a few minutes he checked his watch. “Well, I better start making us some lunch. You don’t get up unless you absolutely have to.”
“Yes, mom,” I said as he made his way into the kitchen.
“No, I…ugh, nevermind.”
The blog of John Matteson.