Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Smoke and Mirrors - 47

“No way in hell. Not now.” Jared slammed his hand down on the desk, causing Daniel to jump and look up at him in surprise.

“Not like we have much choice in the matter. Besides they’re kind of cute so it would be nice to save them before someone else finds them and does who knows what.”

“Yeah, right. One by itself may be cute, if they keep their wings hidden, but a family of them living in someone’s backyard, that’s a problem.” He sighed. “Okay, if we have to, we have to. Let’s find them and get this over with before supper.”

Daniel nodded, humming ‘High Hopes’ as he took them just outside of the city where their targets had been spotted.

It was a large yard behind an equally large home. Daniel landed them just outside the split-rail fence. From there they could see toys, a gym set and a sandbox. There was also a garden and several tall trees. In the corner farthest from the house was a tool shed, its door cracked open.

“Twenty to one says the kittersals have setup housekeeping in there,” Jared pointed at the shed.

Daniel nodded. “And use the sandbox for other than its intended purpose,” he added with a chuckle. “Now we just have to convince them to relocate somewhere else before the word gets out that there are flying cats in the neighborhood.”

“I guess we should thank our lucky stars the man knows something about Supes and called the Council right away.”

“He’s a cop in the loop, according to the report, so it’s not surprising.”

“Well let’s go have a chat with our targets.” Jared started to open the back gate, stopping when a small, blonde-haired girl came streaming out of the house into the yard, heading towards the shed. “Oh boy, now what do we do?”

“I deal with her; you take care of the kittersals.”

“She’s going to scream bloody murder if we come into the yard,” Jared pointed out.

“Maybe, but if she likes small cats she should just love a bigger one.” Daniel grinned as he opened the gate and then shifted. He padded into the yard, waiting for the child to spy him before lying down so as not to frighten her.

“Oooh, big kitty,” the little girl cried as she ran over to stand in front of him. “Pretty kitty.” Fearlessly she reached out a hand to pet him.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Smoke and Mirrors - 46

Aidan paced Mor’s living room, deep in thought, while the others watched. After a few minutes of swiveling his head back and forth Daniel had finally had it. “Sit, Aidan, now,” he growled. “Sit and tell us who would want to discredit you badly enough to make it seem that you are a spy for your court.”

“Honestly? Too many,” Aidan said as he stopped moving, although he didn’t sit as ordered. “I’m a battle-mage. I made my fair share of enemies before I left. It’s my enemies that made me decide I didn’t trust the court, since too many of them are members.”

“Wait, this court of yours is made up of people from both sides of…well whatever it was that caused you to be fighting?”

Aidan nodded. “Sort of like the human’s government only we’re a bit bloodier.”

“Ahh, reminds me of my home,” Mor said with a sigh. Then she chuckled, shaking her head. “And I don’t miss it one bit.”

“Why is it that Supes all seem to be like that,” Daniel pondered. “Always the alpha and omega, always fighting for supremacy or submitting to the leader.”

Jared replied, “And humans don’t do the same thing?”

“I guess they do.” Daniel muttered before turning back to Aidan. “Is there anyone specific that would like to see you fail here, or perhaps who wants you to come back there? As far as that goes, would you have considered Kenton a friend or an enemy before tonight?”

“Last first. I suppose I’d have considered him an ally of sorts since he’s chosen to live here and distrusts the court, too. As for the rest, sure there are a couple of them that stand out but…” Aidan ran his hands through his hair in frustration. “This seems to center on the wand, and to the best of my knowledge there’s no reason for either of them to think I’d even been close to it, to say the least of being in a position to steal it.”

“What about friends?” Jared said.

“Meaning what?” Aidan looked puzzled.

“Are you in contact with a member of the court and did your tell them about the wand?”

“Jared, I’m here and in hiding from anyone from my world. Well, I was in hiding until tonight when I went with you to see… Oh hell!”

They all got it at the same time. Mor was the one who voiced it. “The wand was a lure to draw you out. The fact that the nahual, or any of the rest of us, were involved was purely coincidence.”

“It’s possible,” Aidan said, angry at himself for falling for that if it was true. “Kenton weakens the hiding spell hoping I’d sense its whereabouts and go after it. Instead you do and take it.”

“I wonder if he’s re-hidden it with the idea that this time it will be you who finds it,” Daniel questioned, “Although if he did, he’s undoubtedly moved it again to safer place after our visit tonight.”

“Probably,” Aidan agreed. “But why would he do this? I still don’t understand.”

Jared tapped a finger to his lips. “Perhaps he’s not what he seems. Aidan, you told us he was sent here originally to retrieve the wand and take it back to the court.”

“So the story goes and everything points to it’s being true.”

“But you say he had a change of heart and hid it instead, once he got to the States.”

“Yes, Jared, and that was over two hundred years ago, back when I was still there and involved, fighting the ‘good fight’.” Aidan sneered out the last two words.

“Then, in the last few years, you had your own change of heart and went into hiding in this world. That puts the two of you on an equal footing.”

“What if someone threatened to force Kenton into returning to your world if he didn’t help capture you?” Daniel asked.

“Possible.” Aidan nodded slowly. “Very possible.”

“Time to go back and have another talk with him,” Mor stated adamantly.

“And what if we’re walking right into the spider’s web if we do?” Daniel said. “He’s got to be expecting us to do that now.”

She looked at him and then the other males. “Then we destroy it and whatever spiders are there.”

“Tomorrow.” Jared shot a stern look at her. “If we’re going after spiders we need the proper bug killer.”

“Arachnid killer to be technically correct,” Daniel pointed out, earning an arched eyebrow and flicked-up middle finger from his partner and tension-relieved laughs from the others.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Guardian Angels – An Interesting Life (2)

"They… didn't. I managed to get here without them seeing me. Then"—Vic tried to pull away when Evan started to lift the hem of the dark sweatshirt he was wearing—"I crawled into your yard, hugged the shadows by the porch, and prayed."
Evan stopped what he was doing for the moment. "I heard someone in the alley, just after you collapsed against the wall."
"That was them." Vic barely smiled. "Guess they were blind not to see me. I wasn't exactly moving fast. But then, they didn't expect me to get away."
"Were they holding you somewhere?"
Vic gave a slight shake of his head. "They caught me, took me out behind my building, and worked me over… while they asked me… questions. Then… I heard someone coming. They did too, so they shoved me into their car. I suspect they were planning on taking me somewhere more… private to continue questioning me. They thought I was unconscious. I wasn't. As they drove I tried to open the door but it was locked. Then"—Vic looked puzzled—"they'd just turned a corner, very fast, and suddenly it opened. I rolled out. Remind me that it hurts when you land. But I was desperate. I saw the alley and managed to get into it before they knew what happened, I guess. The rest… well, I figure I lucked out."
"Probably more than you think, given the situation. I want to check you over, and before you get any ideas about that, I know what I'm doing. I was a combat medic in the Army." Evan started on the sweatshirt again. "Hold out your arms."
"I can do that," Vic protested weakly.
"I'm sure you can, but it'll be easier on you if I do." Evan pulled the sweatshirt carefully over Vic's head and off his arms, whistling low when he saw the damage to the man's chest. "They did—"
"A number on me. You already said that. Not that I don't know."
"Why?" Evan asked, while he gently ran his hands over Vic's torso. "Sorry," he said when he carefully felt Vic's ribs and got a gasp of pain from him. "I need to see if they're broken."
"Don't… think so."
"Me neither, from what I can tell, but we won't know for certain until they're X-rayed."
"No hospital. I told you that."
Evan moved away, staring at Vic. "Why not?"
"I have my reasons."
"No shit. That much is obvious, but if I'm now harboring a criminal…"
"You're not."
"You'd say that either way."
Vic almost grinned. "I would. So"—he staggered to his feet—"for your own peace of mind, I should get out of here."
"You're not going anywhere until you've gotten some rest. I doubt you'd make it even halfway down the street before collapsing. And that presupposes the men who attacked you aren't still out there looking." When Vic grabbed the edge of the table in an attempt to remain upright, Evan put his arm around his waist. "You're going to lie down. My sofa's long enough for you to sleep on."
With Evan's help, Vic made it into the living room, collapsing on the sofa. "If I thought I was hurting before…" He groaned, rubbing his knee. "I think the adrenaline rush has worn off."
"Did you land on your knee when you escaped from the car?"
"Knee, hip." Vic slumped back, looking up at Evan. "I'm a fucking mess."
"I'd say that's a given at the moment, but at least you're alive."

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Smoke and Mirrors - 45

“Jared knows what you chose to tell him Aidan,” Kenton growled angrily. “You are part of the lies, the machinations dreamt up by the court in their attempt to get the wand and use it to destroy the humans. I will not allow that to happen. I have my spies in the court still; I know what goes on there.”

Aidan jumped to his feet, striding over to stand angrily in front of Kenton. “Whoever your ‘spies’ are they are lying to you. If you don’t believe me use a truth spell.”

Kenton sneered. “It would have no effect and you know it. You can counteract one easily, as powerful as you are.” Kenton looked past him to Mor. “I’m sorry. If you were not aligned with him I might have trusted you and your intentions, but there is no way you can prove to me that it is safe for me to let you study the wand, even from a distance.” With another angry look at Aidan, Kenton pointed to the door. “Leave now, all of you.”

With Aidan in the lead they did. As soon as the door closed behind them Aidan turned to face his companions. “It not true.”

“Then prove it,” Mor said tersely.

“How can I? How do you fight lies when you don’t know who is perpetrating them or why?”

“By searching for the truth,” Jared told him in a quiet voice. “And we can’t do that standing here.”

“Do we trust Kenton enough to think he has secreted the wand in a safe place, safer than it was before?” Daniel asked.

“Do we have a choice?” Aidan replied. “He certainly seems concerned that it will fall into the elven court’s hands. What I don’t understand is…”

“Aidan, let’s discuss this at our place, not out here where anyone who might want to can hear us.”

“No, we’ll go to my home,” Mor told them in a voice that brooked no argument. “Between Aidan and myself we can set the wards so that no one can penetrate them while we talk.”

“You trust me to help with that after what Baesysti  said?” Aidan asked in surprise.

She chuckled. “About as far as I can throw you. However something about this whole thing stinks and I’m willing to give you the benefit of the doubt for the moment.” As she spoke she took his hand and Jared’s. Jared put his arm around Daniel’s waist and with a few murmured words from Mor they vanished. 

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Smoke and Mirrors - 44

“Then you do have the wand,” Daniel said, pouncing in Kenton’s words.

“I’ll neither confirm nor deny that until you explain why you care. I know why Mordollwen does. She craves it for herself.”

Mor nodded. “I won’t deny that I would love to be in control of it. However I strongly suspect that is no longer an option for me.”

“Never say never my dear,” Kenton replied, smiling. “If I have it, and if you prove to me that you do not plan to use it as a weapon against the humans, I just might allow you to study it. For scientific purposes only of course.”

“Of course.” Mor smiled back, trying to keep her raising excitement from showing.

“As for your original statement, why do you care about the wand, Jared? You are neither an elf nor a magic worker.”

“My partner and I,” Jared laid a hand on Daniel’s thigh, “are enforcers for the Council of the Supernaturals.”

Kenton scowled. “You want to get your hands on it so you have yet another weapon in your arsenal?”

“No, far from it,” Jared replied. “Between the two of us, we are quite capable of dealing with most problems without the help of something like that. Besides it’s my understanding that it only works on humans. Please correct me if I’m wrong.”

“You’re not,” Kenton replied succinctly.

“In that case it would do us no good anyway. We would, however, like to keep it out of the hands of a human magician, or a Supe mage or sorcerer who would like to use it as a weapon.”

“As would I.” Kenton studied each of them one by one before apparently coming to a decision. “I will tell you that the wand is in a safe place and nothing more. I’ve lived too long and seen too much betrayal, even by those I considered friends, and so far none of you rate that title.” He stood, pacing away from them before turning back. “You,” he pointed to Aidan, “can tell the court you failed in your mission.”

The shock on Aidan’s face was almost matched by the disbelief on the faces of the others in the room. “I never… I am not their lackey, Baesysti . Ask Jared. He knows.”

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Smoke and Mirrors - 43

After what seemed like an interminable wait, the door slowly opened. A regal male with dark hair laced with silver stood there, one eyebrow raised in question. “May I help you?” he asked. Mor stepped into his view and he smiled in amusement. “Have you come to try to reclaim that which you stole from me, young woman?”

“I didn’t steal it, Baesysti ,” she replied indignantly. “I merely moved it so that a creature bent on absconding with it couldn’t get it.”

The elf nodded slowly as if weighing the truth of her words. “Would you have taken it even if this creature had not found it?”

“Well…” She delicately shrugged one shoulder.

Sighing, the elf murmured a few words that Aidan recognized as a spell to drop the strong wards on the house. Then Baesysti  opened the door all the way and stepped back. “Please come in. I think we have things we need to talk about.”

“You may call me Baesysti or Kenton, whichever suits you,” the elf said once everyone was settled in the large but comfortable living room.

While Jared and the others introduced themselves, Aidan looked around the room and smiled. It was done in shades of gold and green and one wall was filled with plants of all sorts. Some stood in pots and planters, flowers and flowering bushes whose aromas mingled to fill the room with the scent of meadows in summer. There were also two trees whose roots were, he surmised, buried deep in the earth below the hardwood flooring. He pointed to one, asking Kenton, “What happens when they reach the ceiling?”

Kenton chuckled. “Then I open it so that they can continue growing upwards. I think in perhaps a hundred years or so they will be through the roof.”

“That will be interesting, if a bit damp when it rains,” Daniel commented.

“Magic, my dear boy. Magic will keep that from happening.” Including the others, Kenton asked if they wanted something to drink before they got down to business. When everyone declined he sat down on a large ottoman, crossing his legs. “May I ask exactly why you are here?”

“To make certain that you actually have Circe’s wand, and if so, that it’s somewhere safe,” Jared told him.

“You honestly expect me to answer that question? I know nothing about any of you, other than Aidan, and while he claims to distrust the court that does not mean he does, or that he couldn’t have some other agenda concerning the wand.”

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Smoke and Mirrors - 42

The shadows were deep between the streetlights that sat on each end of the street. Large homes formed dark silhouettes, some accented by illuminated, curtained windows. Towering trees and tall hedges, outlined by wrought iron fences, only served to heighten the illusion of small, private worlds housing those who could afford the ornately decorated and balconied mansions.

Daniel and Mor stood in front of one of them, a three-storied creation with ginger breaded eaves and fancy grillwork on the balconies. All the windows were dark but Daniel could see the flicker of candlelight deep in a room on the ground floor.

“Someone’s here,” he said softly. “Whether it’s Kenton is of course the question.”  

She put a finger to her lips as she studied the house with both her eyes and her senses. “It is him, or one with as much power as he has,” she finally whispered.

Nodding, Daniel spoke with Jared. ::Unless you’ve found something to negate it we think we’ve found Kenton::

::Excellent. Now if I can drag Aidan away. He insists he wants to visit the zoo::

Daniel chuckled softy. ::Tell him I’ll take him tomorrow and even buy him cotton candy::

“Cotton candy my ass,” Aidan said indignantly, if quietly, as he and Jared appeared beside Daniel.

Daniel bit back a rejoinder to that, pointing to the house.

Aidan turned to study it before consulting with Mor. “I agree with her, there’s a sorcerer in there. The question becomes can we enter without being fried, boiled or otherwise attacked.”

“We can do the obvious, go up and knock on the door,” Jared pointed out.

“Tell him we’re trick or treating.”

“Gods Daniel, grow up,” Mor grumbled.

He gave her a wide-eyed look. “But being a kid is so much fun, and around all of you that’s exactly how I feel.”

“Just how old do you think I am,” Mor asked, huffing.

Before Daniel could answer Jared clapped a hand over his mouth, saying, “Now is not the time, children.” He started up the walk to the front porch of the house and knocked, not waiting to see if the others had followed.

Guardian Angels – An Interesting Life (1)

Evan awoke with a start to what sounded like something hitting the back of his house. Seconds later, he heard someone—or more than one person—running down the alley.
Curious, but also cautious, he went to the window and inched the blinds back just enough to see outside. Nothing was visible from where he stood, but then it was still dark. For a moment he wondered if punks had dumped over the trashcan by the back door. Then he heard a low moan. Raising the blinds, he leaned his hands on the windowsill, trying to see who or what had made the noise. It sounded human, but for all he knew it could be an injured dog. If dogs moan. He had no clue if they did.
Whatever it is, I won't find out standing here. He grabbed a set of sweats from the dresser drawer, pulling on the pants before heading downstairs. By the time he got to the back door, he was dressed, if barefooted. Punching in the code to disarm the security system, he stepped onto the porch and looked around. In the dim moonlight, he saw something dark on the ground under the kitchen window. Moments later, he was kneeling beside the battered figure of a dark-haired man.
"Can you move?" he asked, suspecting that was an inane question. "If I can get you inside…"
"Please," was the barely whispered reply as the guy struggled to sit up. Evan stood, putting his hands under the man's arms to help him rise, ignoring for the moment the deep moan of pain when he did. He figured would be a good idea to get the stranger into the house quickly before his attackers returned—if they were going to.
For a moment, when they got to the back door, Evan hesitated, wondering if he was asking for trouble. But I'd feel guilty as hell if I left him out here and they found him. He opened the door, asking as they entered the kitchen, "What's your name, so I can tell the police when I call this in?"
"V-Vic. Please… no… police."
Rather than argue right then, Evan helped Vic to a chair at the table. Vic collapsed onto it, groaning. Evan started to turn on the overhead light then thought better of it. Instead he switched on the one over the stove, knowing it wouldn't be visible through the curtains on the window across the room but would still let him check out what damage had been done to Vic.
When he came back to where Vic sat, what Evan could see of his face was pale and drawn in pain beneath the dirt and bruises. 
"Where do you hurt?" Evan asked. "By the way, I'm Evan."
Vic grimaced. "Where don't I?" He touched his right side. "Ribs, chest, gut…"
"If nothing else, I should call 911 for an ambulance."
"But you won't." Vic rested his arms on the table, leaning his head on them. "If you were going to, you would have already."
"Since my phone is upstairs in the bedroom…"
"Good. Please leave it there for now."
"Why no cops?" Evan inquired while he went to the sink to turn on the water. Taking a dishtowel from a hook in the cabinet under the sink, he wet it then wrung it out. Coming back to the table, he pulled the other chair over beside Vic. "Look at me, please, so I can clean your face and check the damage. And answer my question."
Vic lifted his head, turning toward Evan. When Evan carefully rubbed the towel over his face, Vic hissed, pressing his lips together in pain. After a couple of tries, Evan got the worst of the dirt off, revealing several deep bruises on Vic's cheeks and on one temple. "Not to state the obvious, but someone did a number on you. Why? And why dump you in my yard?"

Friday, July 14, 2017

Smoke and Mirrors - 41

“So far no luck, which leaves us with the two here in the city. If they don’t pan out we’re back to square one.”

The others nodded in agreement at Daniel’s words.

“Do we want to try them tonight or wait until morning?” Aidan asked.

“If everyone isn’t too tired I’d prefer tonight,” Mor replied. “I’ve had enough sunlight to last me for a while, or at least until I recharge my amulet.”

Jared cast a worried look at her as he said, “I’ve got no objections.”

“I’m fine,” Mor told him, patting his arm. “I just don’t want to push my luck and you know that the sun drains my powers somewhat even with the amulet.”

“Then tonight it is,” Daniel stated. “Split up again or go as a group?”

“Let’s split up as before,” Aidan told him. “If Mor or I feel anything we’ll pull back and regroup.”

“Okay, she and I will take this one,” Daniel pointed to the spot on the map marking a home in a very up-scale neighborhood. “You two can have the one near the zoo.”

Aidan chuckled somewhat maliciously. “If he’s there, it could make one wonder how many of the zoo animals were human at one time.”

Daniel glanced at Jared and smiled slightly. There was at least one there that they knew for a fact wasn’t a true primate. Rather he was a Skunk Ape who had wandered into the area in search of food, terrorizing the locals who though it was an escapee from the zoo. The pair had managed to corner and capture him and the Supe Council had arranged for its incarceration at the zoo.

“If we’re ready,” Mor said, eager to get moving and find Kenton.

“Five minutes more, I need food,” Daniel told her over his shoulder as he walked quickly to the kitchen.

Jared followed him, leaning against the counter to watch as his partner threw together a massive sandwich. “You’re not on the verge of killing her yet?” he asked, quirking a grin.

Daniel shook his head. “She’s actually been very well behaved, even nice.”

“Good.” He waited until Daniel had the sandwich made before reaching for his hands, pulling him to him. “Needed to do this before you ate that monstrosity,” he told him before kissing him thoroughly.

“Think we’ll really get out of here tonight?” Aidan asked Mor, shaking his head in amusement when he felt the raising lust coming from the kitchen.

“Two minutes and I go break them apart,” she grumbled in reply. “How come Jared was never this horny with me? I swear he can’t keep his hands off of Daniel.”


Mor thought about that for a second. “No, not really. Well maybe just a bit because I’d like to find someone who cared that much for me. Jared and I had a good marriage for a while, but then,” she shrugged.

Aidan nodded. “I understand. And I think their two minutes are up.”

Mor grinned, starting towards the kitchen. She stopped when Jared appeared, running a hand through his hair to tame it again before telling her, “Now we’re ready.”

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Smoke and Mirrors - 40

“Now why the hell would he have registered as an elf,” Aidan grumbled as he and Jared walked away from the large home that housed the individual they’d been looking for.

“Because, for whatever reason, he doesn’t want to admit to being a faun. Not that it’s hard to tell that he is one on first sight.”

“Are you going to report him?”

Jared shook his head. “He’s quite harmless. Hell, if he’d been any meeker and more self-effacing he’d have melted into the woodwork. All he wants is to be left alone with his books and his gardens. As Daniel says, way too often sometimes, no harm, no foul.”

“Well since we still have time shall we check out the one by the bay? Hopefully he won’t turn out to be a troll or something.”

With a laugh Jared agreed and moments later they were standing by the shore looking at a small, well-built cabin.

“He’s not going to be in there,” Aidan said with certainty. “I’d be willing to bet that’s just to give him an ‘address’, and possibly a place to meet with friends that aren’t aquatically inclined.”

“He’s a sea elf then? I’ve never met one. As a matter of fact, I actually thought they were things of legend.”

“We are,” a voice said emphatically from the water behind them. Then the elf stood in the shallows, smiling slightly at the two men. “We don’t exist except in fairy tales.” He moved onto the land before shifting to a more human form which hid his blue, green and silvery skin.

“We’re sorry to bother you,” Jared told him. “We’re looking for an elf, a specific one. It’s quite apparent you aren’t him.”

The elf raked his eyes over him and a small grin quirked his mouth. “How unfortunate for me.”

The look on Jared’s face had Aidan turning away to hide his laughter behind a closed fist.

“What? He’s gorgeous,” the sea elf said, his glance fixed on Jared’s crotch.

“He’s, I mean I’m already taken,” Jared choked out.

Without raising his eyes the elf murmured, “More’s the pity then. I’d have loved to teach you how to make love in the ocean.”

Sympathizing with his friend, Aidan gripped Jared’s hand and seconds later they left the very aroused sea elf behind.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Smoke and Mirrors - 39

Despite Mor’s wishes to the contrary, Daniel did the transporting once Mor had activated her amulet so that she could handle the sunlight. He landed them in a field across the road from the small plantation house that was listed as belonging to one of the elves.

“I’d say he’s definitely a back-to-nature elf,” Daniel commented as they studied the property. Other than the house itself, which was in definite need of some repair work, from what they could see, there was nothing else on the land but trees, bushes and flowering shrubs. “Do you sense any magic?”

“Some, yes, but nothing out of the ordinary for a normal elf. We all carry some of it within us in case you didn’t know.”

“Trust me I’m well aware of that. Jared and I have dealt with a couple of them.”
Mor looked at him questioningly but he shook his head. “A story for another time. For now let’s go meet the owner. Will you be able to tell if he’s shielding more power than he’s showing?”

“I should be able to.” After linking her arm in his they crossed the road and walked up the long path to the house.

Before they got to the veranda the front door opened and a young man stepped out. He looked at Daniel and grinned. “I didn’t do it whatever it was, enforcer.”

Daniel laughed. “But you probably did something else you hope I don’t find out about. Mor, I’d like you to meet Crispen, or at least that’s what he called himself when I knew him. Apparently either he was lying then or he lied when he registered with the Supe Council.”

“Or both,” Crispen said as he strode forward to take Mor’s hand, kissing the back.

“Oh my, a real gentleman.” She smiled at him while telling Daniel, “Unfortunately he’s not the one we’re seeking.”

Crispen released her hand to look at the two of them. “Who are you looking for?”

“Baesysti , or as he called himself here, Kenton St. Pierre.”

“I’ve heard of him,” Crispen replied with a frown. “You’ll have a hard time finding him I’m afraid. He’s been in hiding for, damn, at least two hundred years, maybe more. It seems he came into possession of something the court would love to get their hands on.”

“We know. That’s why we need to find him,” Mor told him.

Crispen looked at her, a frown creasing his handsome brow. “So that you can turn him and the item over to your own people?”

“Not at all.” She glanced at Daniel and when he nodded she explained, without going into too much detail, exactly what was going on.

When she’d finished Crispen nodded. “All I can say is ‘good luck’. If I could help you I would, but…” he shrugged.

“Not a problem man,” Daniel replied. “At least we’ve eliminated one suspect.”

Crispen grinned. “For that crime anyway.”

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Guardian Angels – Protection (21)

Kip was on his feet seconds later. He got to the door just in time to hear Jamie tell Cass, "My dad wants to go out with you but he's afraid to ask."
There was dead silence in the room. Then Cass looked over Jamie's head and saw Kip standing there. "Maybe you should tell him not to be afraid," she said quietly to Jamie.
Jamie nodded, turned and ran back to Kip. "She said not to be afraid."
"I heard." Kip stared at Cass, ignoring the fact he had an audience. "Would you like to—I don't know—go out to dinner some evening? With me?"
"Maybe. If I'm not working. When?"
Kip shrugged, trying to act more casual than he felt. "Whenever is convenient for you?"
"I'm off at five tomorrow, barring another shoot-out," she replied with a small grin.
"Then I'll pick you up at six?"
"That would work."
"Yay!" Jamie cheered. Everyone else let out their collective breaths and laughed.
"On that note," Mack said, "I think we should all get back to what we do best, serving and protecting. Well, except for Emily."
Emily huffed. "I serve and protect my family—especially the serve part." She smiled up at Rob when he hugged her. "Right?"
"Right. I'll take you home and then meet Cass and Mack at the station house. They have reports to fill out and I expect them on my desk before they leave."
Mack groaned. Cass ignored Rob, going over to Kip to ask quietly, "Do you really want to go out to dinner. I think you were sort of forced into asking."
Kip nodded. "I really do. So… I'll see you tomorrow at six?"
Cass grinned widely. "You will, but it might help if you knew where I lived."
"Well, yeah." Kip waited while she wrote down her address and handed it to him. "Tomorrow night then."
"It's a date." Cass smiled at him then at Jamie, who had been standing there listening. After that, she and the Howes left.
"You pulled a fast one on me, young man," Kip told Jamie, trying to look stern and parental.
"I just wanted to help," Jamie whispered, looking down at the floor.
"I know." Kip chuckled. "It worked too. And who knows, maybe something will come of it, and maybe it won't, but I guess I'm willing to find out. Now, shall we make lunch? I'm suddenly starving."
* * * *
"Apparently," Dave said, when he and Hal had left Kip's apartment, "I don't have to stick around and play matchmaker after all."
Hal laughed. "Nope. Jamie beat you to it and was a lot less subtle than you would have been."
"I never did figure out quite how I really would have managed it," Dave admitted, "so it's just as well Jamie stepped in."
"Now we can pick up Paddy and go home."
"I'm right here," Paddy said, appearing beside them. "If I never have to see another kid again, I'll die happy."
Dave grinned. "I hate to point this out to you, but you're already dead."
"Technicality," Paddy grumbled before disappearing again, calling out as he did, "You coming?"
"Maybe in a while," Hal called back. "But first"—he wrapped one arm around Dave's waist—"I vote we find a nice, empty hotel room somewhere and have some real fun, of the carnal kind."
"If you mean screw our brains out, I'm all for that." The words were hardly out of Dave's mouth when the two guardian angels vanished, trailing laughter behind them.

The End

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Smoke and Mirrors - 38

Daniel headed back to the computer saying, “Good, we have a plan. Now how the hell do we find one elf that may or may not even be in the city any longer.”

“First you check the Supe Council records. By our laws every Supernatural should be registered and listed.”

Daniel laughed derisively. “If that were the case, there’d be no need for us, now would there. But I’ll check them just for yucks and grins.”

A couple of minutes later he looked up at Aidan. “Damn, there are more elves around than I’d have thought. Unfortunately your Kenton isn’t one of them, or at least he’s not listed by either name.”

“May I take a look at the list?” When Daniel nodded,  Aidan leaned over his shoulder to look. As he read through he used the mouse to highlight the ones that he knew or knew of. When he’d finished there were six names left. “Presuming he’s followed the laws he’s one of those.”

“Better than having to check out all of them,” Daniel said. “Mor, do you know any of these?”

She came over, leaning a hand on his shoulder as she looked. “Scratch that one. He’s a real bastard but he’s also a dark elf so not our Kenton.”

“Aren’t bastard and dark elf synonymous,” Aidan muttered as he went back to where he’d been sitting.

Before Mor could make a rejoinder Jared stepped in, asking Daniel to print out the five names and last known addresses. While he was doing that, Jared got out the city map and spread it on the table. Soon they had the five locations marked on it.

“Interesting,” Daniel commented. “These two like to live a life of luxury, or they hate being in the city per se and chose homes well away from it.”

“Could be both, as elves prefer to live as close to nature as possible. Although,” Aidan tapped the map, “if they’re to be believed, two of them have chosen residences in the heart of the city.”

“And the last one split the difference and settled along the bay.”

“I suggest,” Jared said, “that we start with the two farthest away. The ones who live in plantation country. Daniel and I can take one. Aidan, you and Mor can check the other.”

“Not a good idea. Neither of you has the ability to ferret out real magic,” Aidan replied. “I’ll go with you, Jared. Daniel and Mor can pair off. The one thing we do know is that Kenton is powerful. Enough so that he can probably shield from the likes of you two.”

Jared nodded. “A good point.” After glancing at the clock he suggested the others have something to eat and then they could set out.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Smoke and Mirrors - 37

Aidan began pacing as he answered Daniel’s question. “I can surmise why he hid it, to keep it out of the wrong hands. He was sent to this world to find it when the court discovered that it had fallen into possession of a family of sorcerers who were, to say the least, very ambitious. He managed to work his way into their good graces, claiming he’d been forced out of his own family because of his magical abilities.”

“So he wasn’t really Marie’s brother.”

“He was, by adoption. He convinced them that only by their doing that could he remain safe. From what I know, from what he reported back to the court, his adoptive father turned the wand over to him, intending to join him and Marie here as soon as he felt it was safe to do so. Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on your point of view, he didn’t move quickly enough and lost his head to Madame Guillotine.”

“May I inquire why Kenton didn’t take it back to the court once he got his hands on it?” Mor asked.   

“Probably because, once he thought about it, he decided not to trust the court any more than I do. Neither of us have much love for humans. At the same time, the idea of using the wand on them for its intended purpose doesn’t sit well, and that’s what some members of the court would like to do.”

“Turn all the humans into animals?” Jared looked at Aidan in horror.

“In the minds of some of the court, there would be no better way to cleanse this world. This used to be our world you know, before the humans forced us out.”

“Still that would be bit extreme,” Daniel said dryly.

Aidan shot him a scathing look. “We’re an extreme race when it comes to protecting what is ours.”

“But this world isn’t yours,” Daniel growled.

“It should be. Look at what…”

“Stop, now,” Jared said impatiently. “You two can debate the evils of modern technology some other time. Right now we have to find Kenton and make certain he’s re-hidden the wand safely.”

“You’re going to let him keep it?” Mor glared at him angrily.

“He’s done well enough so far in keeping it protected.”

She snorted indelicately. “I found it, the nahual knew where to find it, I don’t think that constitutes ‘protected’.”

“Which is why we need to locate Kenton,” Aidan said. “I, we, have to find out why the two of you were able to do that.”

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Smoke and Mirrors - 36

“Still,” Daniel said, “if Marie St. Pierre's name is bothering you, Jared,  then considering why she’s on the list, you should try to figure out the reason.”

Mor frowned in thought and then told them, “There was a family by that name in France in the seventeen hundreds that was reputed to practice the magical arts. The scion was beheaded during the Revolution and the story goes that at least some members fled to the New World.”

“That’s it! Actually Marie St. Pierre and her brother Kenton were sent here when their parents began to realize that things were not going well for the aristocracy. She was widowed at a young age and met Gravier after she came here. And it’s not Marie we should be looking for but her brother.”

“He’s not listed as an owner of the property,” Daniel pointed out once he’d double-checked.

“That doesn’t mean that he couldn’t have secreted the wand where we found it. There’s at least a remote possibility that their father was captured and beheaded not only because he was part of the aristocracy but also because he was a sorcerer.”

A knock on the door interrupted them. Daniel went to answer and found Aidan standing there tapping his foot impatiently. As soon as he entered, the sun elf homed in on Mor, saying, “Finally.”

She arched an eyebrow in question. “You were looking for me?”

“Yes. I need to see the wand again.”

“That will be a little bit difficult as I don’t have it. It seems the previous owner had taken it back.”

“Baesysti has it?” Aidan said in surprise.

“Hang on, you know who it belonged to?”

“Yes Jared. Or to be more precise who had control of it.”

“Who is this Baesysti?”

“He’s an elf. In the human world he goes by the name of Kenton St. Pierre, or he did a few hundred years ago.”

“Well, I guess we’ve found out who hid the wand. The question is why, and why did he take it back.” Daniel looked at Aidan. “Do you know?”

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Smoke and Mirrors - 35

Daniel stretched and turned to look Mor and Jared. “That property has changed hands more than a whore on a good night.”

Mor snorted. “Now that definitely says it all. I guess that means we have to track down each and every owner.”

“The ones who aren’t human,” Jared pointed out.

“Nope, all of them, because a Supe could have used a human as a front when they purchased it,” Daniel contradicted.

“Probably would have in the last fifty years or so. Are we counting out whoever owns the warehouse?”

“No. We check each and every one of them since the first Europeans landed here.”

“Do you think the records actually go back that far?” Mor asked.

“What’s not in the city archives, I’m sure we can dig up elsewhere, through the Supe Council or a couple of people I know who’ve been around for a very long time and are interested in the city’s history,” Jared told her.

And dig it up they did. The following morning they had a complete history of the property including its original owners before and after the fire of 1788 that had partially destroyed the city.

“These three we can eliminate out of hand,” Jared commented, pointing to the names which were starred. “One of my sources knew the family and verified that each of them was human.”

“Would we be remiss if we didn’t consider the ones who came after them, at least for now?” Mor asked.

“Let’s just put them on the back burner and see what we can find out about those two,” Daniel tapped two of the names at the beginning of the list, “Mr. John Fitz John whose construction company sat on the site in the early eighteen hundreds and Madam Gravier nee St. Pierre. She and her second husband built their home on the property soon after the second fire.”

“Marie St. Pierre?” Jared asked.

Daniel flipped the page to the information they had, slim as it was in some cases, on each of the property owners. “Yes. Why?”

Jared shook his head. “Something about that name niggles at me, although of course it’s a fairly common one.”