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 The End of Times Chronicle

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PostSubject: The End of Times Chronicle   The End of Times Chronicle I_icon_minitimeTue Jul 11, 2017 11:54 am

Also as you may or may not know I'm running a MAGE Chronicle as part of the Inner Circle Storytelling Group (and if you don't know what that is check it out  It's awesome, really, honestly, one hand on me heart and one heart on the bible awesome. Go. Now.)
Aaaaaaaaaanyway, kinda lost my train of thought there.
Oh, yes, I run a game, every Wednsday. And uuuuh. I write stuff for it.
Short stories relevant to the chronicle that evolve out of the game. Or poems. Or whatever.

Here are the ones I've written so far. I'll try to keep up and update it every now and then.

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PostSubject: Re: The End of Times Chronicle   The End of Times Chronicle I_icon_minitimeTue Jul 11, 2017 11:55 am

The Crossroads
And so you've come at the Crossroads...
All that blood behind you
all that fire
The justly punished and the unjustly rewarded
Did your decisions lead you here,
or was it just the road that took you on its wing?
And now you're at the Crossroads
Beckons the Ocean "Come and behold "
Whispers the Flame "Pair me with Sword"
Silently nods the Earth "Stay were you are"
Mockingly sings the wind "Catch me if you can..."
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PostSubject: Re: The End of Times Chronicle   The End of Times Chronicle I_icon_minitimeTue Jul 11, 2017 11:55 am

The Doctor

Oh, you thought it was easy did you?
Did you think I had everything handed to me on a silver platter?
You really are clueless.
Leave aside the studying, the endless lonely nights, the coffee and the cigarettes
Leave aside the scorn, the ridicule, the hard – fucking – toil of it.
I had to sacrifice everything.
Do you understand?
No family, no love, no time for myself even.
I used to be a pretty girl, I think. Cute, at least.
What am I know? A pair of glasses and a hair knot . A white robe to mantle my intellect in.
You’d think I’d be satisfied. Content. Happy, even.
You really don’t know anything, do you?
You think I did this for myself?
My pride?
For what?
A doctorate? A nice cushy position? A fat paycheck?
What’s it worth if there’s no one there to share it with?
Why did you think I did it?
Go on, take a guess…
That’s right you ingrate, worthless piece of reality deviant filth. You’re welcome….
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PostSubject: Re: The End of Times Chronicle   The End of Times Chronicle I_icon_minitimeTue Jul 11, 2017 11:59 am

Through fire, oil and deepest sea

+incoming transmission+
Source : uknown interception
Signal : low
Estimated Latitude / Longitude: 51.900405° / -8.435681°
- Do you think they suspected anything?
- They would have to be utter imbeciles not to have suspected anything, Mr. McLoch.
- Yes, that is why I'm asking, my dear. Do you think they suspected anything?
- Suspected? I think they picked up on absolutely everything.
- Come, my dear, you do give them too much credit. These people are not up to our intellectual standard. We are talking about backward people who think that prayers work miracles and medicinal herbs cure cancer...
- Well, that does not make them stupid, Mr. McLoch, just misguided.
- Regardless, when do you expect miss De Valera and her friends to sell? An estimation?
- Mr. McLoch, I hate to break it to you, but I don't think they will be selling.
- Why? We made an excellent offer. No lawyer on earth would tell them otherwise.
- Well, yes, somehow, I do not think money is the object here...
- Hmm... If they cannot be convinced to sell... that would be rather... unfortunate.
- For our projected outcome, you mean?
- No, Miss Querk. For them.
+end of transmission+
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PostSubject: Re: The End of Times Chronicle   The End of Times Chronicle I_icon_minitimeTue Jul 11, 2017 12:01 pm

On board the USS Clementia

Stardate 65.12.13
USS Clementia, en route to Copernicus Station.
Captain's log, supplemental
It is often said that the most opportune moment to strike at one's enemy is when his guard is down. It was the mantra of every Officer who ever taught me when I was at Military School (a young hotheaded junior officer back at those days). Day after day the Senior Officers would chant their Mantra of Methodology "Be alert. Be vigilant." and "Do not let your guard down. Even when all seems perfectly safe and normal. ESPECIALLY when all seems safe and normal. " and even the old classic "Murphy's Law dictates under no vague terms that even if a threat is not present the relaxation of one's security WILL create one". I hadn't paid that much attention then... I was young and full of life and Copernicus Station was full of other junior officers who were also equally young and full of life. Deep Space and Malevolent Xenos entities were in the future. I didn't give them much thought.
It was later that I've been given an opportunity to worry about the distant hazy caveats of my cadet days. It was later that I got to learn just how right my teachers were. Even Major Lillywhite who somehow always found herself at the middle of some crude joke told in whispers among the eager and harsh students she taught.
It was even much later, when I've been given command of my own starship that I comprehended the immense responsibility of a commanding officer towards his crew that made my teachers so stern and serious when teaching safety.
Now, 30 something years later (a young but composed and stoic senior officer), now that I have fully understood space anxiety, fear of the unknown and cosmic terror, returning from a long voyage into unexplored regions of Space, I have allowed myself to relax. I have made the one mistake I had forgotten I could.
Sure enough, during my evening relaxation (I do love a good single malt), my com link sliced my carefully selected playlist of mellow old Frank Sinatra songs with its high pitched whine.
It was my security officer, no doubt, bearing news of utter urgency, a distress signal, one of the X.T.3 kind, signifying an immediate exodimensional threat on close proximity, sent by one of our defectors, no less. One can only ponder what kind of a threat would force a wanted traitor to not only give his position but plead for assistance as well.
I mean he must realise that the Security Officers are already grinding their teeth, so to speak... They must have been having wet dreams about this court martial ever since this man disappeared...
Please don't let me be misunderstood when I say I think I would rather take my chances with the alien entity than having to listen to them drivel on and on in my own trial.
Whatever the case, the "Clementia" is headed home and I have been given orders to investigate and capture this Sirri Latiff.
It seems that our homecoming is not to be uneventful...
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PostSubject: Re: The End of Times Chronicle   The End of Times Chronicle I_icon_minitimeTue Jul 11, 2017 12:02 pm

The Blind man dreams

The blind old man awoke in a cold sweat. The dreams were back again. Something was stirring in the old country, he could fill it in his bones, taste it in his mouth, sense it in his dreams.
Why was this happening to him? He did not want it, he did not ask for it. The young ones who took care of him called it a "gift" but he knew it was no gift. It was a curse.
As he gasped for air, his last dream washing him ashore waking life, one of the young ones rushed to him. There was always one nearby. A strange mix of caretaker and guard they were. But he did not complain. They took good care of him, they always did. And all they asked in return were his dreams.
" Mister, McCormick, did you dream?", she asked. This one was Lucy. "L'enfant du change" as her friends called her. She was soft and well spoken, behaved, always leaving behind her a trail of the lightest watermelon fragrance. He imagined her often, a petit little thing with curly blonde hair, gentle blues eyes and a kind smile, dimples on her cheeks while she patted his sweat and prepared his morning mushrooms, eggs and sausage. He had no way of knowing if this was accurate, of course. He was, after all, blind, but that is how he liked to imagine her.
"Aye, lassy, that I did.", he replied, already climbing on the beach and beginning to dry off.
"Was it a nightmare? Was it a good dream?", she asked eagerly, setting the tray on his bed.
"The last one was. The other two I can hardly remember", he was already beginning to dry off.
" Will you tell me a bit about the first one? The one you least remember", she asked. There was something eager in her voice, there always was. Like a dog looking at a steak it can't reach, or a child with its face against the toy shop window. He didn't quite get the eagerness, there were only dreams. Thankfully he's been always able to indulge them. Somehow, once he got to talking about a dream he begun to remember more and more of its details. Strange thing...
"I shall tell you, child. As I always do."
Lucy put the plate on the tray on his lap and sat comfortably on the sofa next to the bed. She was not smiling and there was blood on her hands and on her face. It was not her blood and it was not there by accident. Her eyes, whatever colour they actually were, were now naught but whites.
Shae McCormick begun to eat slowly and taking time to recant his first dream, not that she needed to listen, for she could now see...
The First Dream "The man in space"
In front of a monitor, on a comfortable armchair, inside a spartan grey room, inside a vessel floating among the stars there is a man. He is not young but he is younger than me. He is wearing a uniform. A military uniform that I do not recognise, although he appears to be of Western European stock and has an American accent. Texan, maybe? I’m not sure. He is talking to a dark skinned woman, beautiful but not in her prime anymore. Her accent is foreign, I cannot place it. Maybe an Arab. He is not happy. She is not happy either. So there is one thing that makes sense. There is some sort of coherency and solidarity in their verbal exchange. I seem to be a third party observer. Neither of them are aware of my presence. The man speaks first.
- You do not understand!
- I do not? Explain it to me, then.
- It is not as simple as that. I might be court-martialed, Astron. You might be as well.
- What are you talking about, James? This is a secure channel. I guarantee you this much.
- This is an official mission we are talking about, I cannot just ignore orders like this.
- Really? You? You cannot ignore orders? Need I remind you of the Neptune 3 incident? Or the time you were in the Cop and supposed to stand guard of the ammunition crates? Or that one time in...
- Alright, alright, that's enough. You've made your point.
- Have I? I feel the need to remind you in particular of that night you skipped duty to visit my chambers, James. Do you remember that night?
- I... do.
- Take it into consideration, then. Do the math. When was Latif born, do you know?
- I do know, damn you. I do.
- He is my son, James. I love him and I MUST protect him. ANY parent would have done the same. What are the chances, you need to protect him as well, do you think? 50-50?
- Probably...
- Latif is doing something important. You know there is something malfunctioning in the heart of our union. He might succeed, you never know. Do you care for the Union?
- I do
- Do you care for me?
- Fuck, Astron. You know I care for you and Weaver. I always have.
- Then care for our son, as well.
- I'll do my best.

The man in the military uniform closes the monitor. He has a solemn look on his face. He looks tired of fighting. Tired of having to do things he doesn't know are going to work. Taking the off chance. I know this. I can sense it. He pours himself a malt whisky and presses a button on his chair.
At this point one of the windows is not there anymore and I am being sucked out of the spaceship and into space.
The Middle Dream "The Summer Garden"
A vortex swings me back to Earth, I am spinning wildly, like an aircraft that has lost its wings, before I stop just before hitting the ground and waft gently towards the ground of green grass. The breeze runs its fingers through my hair. I am young again, my hair are blonde and long and I can see, I can walk. My hands are a young man’s hands , I take my eyes from them and look around. The place looks like an English garden, tamed, green, full of flowers, mostly roses. There are two women here, both in their late 30s or so, one is red haired, fierce and dressed in a green dress. Fitting with the surroundings in the way that a fire might be fitting with a forest. The other one wears a grey business suit and a pink tie. Her gaze is piercing me and I swear she can see me, though she makes no move towards me. They both have Irish accents though the red haired one sounds more tinker in origin, but not quite. The woman in the suit wears her brown hair at shoulder length and has a southern Dublin accent and a clear articulation. The one you hear on radio or the TV.
I stand near Amanda, holding a plucked white rose.

"Why do we keep meeting here, Amanda? You do understand this is not what I represent" says the fire in the green dress.
"Oh, calm yourself, Mistress Meave, I like the Garden. It calms me. Would you rather meet in the Library?", the Dublin woman smirks and puts a cigarette in her mouth.
"Oh, aye, maybe. Better books than tamed nature", exclaims the Meave woman.
"Are we here to discuss what is your favourite meeting spot, then? Hmmm. Is this why I’m wasting precious time away from Dublin? Anything else you would like to bring to my attention, Meave? What birthday cake you prefer, maybe? Or what Christmas gift I should get you?", she puffs a ring of smoke in her face.
"There's no need for sarcasm, Amanda, I will get down to business soon enough, don't you fret." she says as she is reaching for something under her dress. The other woman does not seem to notice this.
"Well, get to it then, will you", she says, looking at her expensive wrist watch, "time is wasting, I have a lot of things to do today, people to teach, cases to forward..."
"What you need is a good fuck, is what you need", Meave now holds one hand under her dress, clutching whatever it is she is clutching right hard.
"Well... So it is advice you want to give me", Amanda smiles.
"Yes... But not only. I have things to show you. Things your scrying spells might have missed."
"Is that so? And how did you see them?
"The Goddess told me. Here, come closer. I shall let you see"
Meave comes closer to me. She makes one swift movement with her right hand, a knife flashes before my eyes before it robs them of it. There is blood everywhere. I can feel it. I am drenched in it. I am swimming in my own blood.
"Ah... The old vision in the blood cauldron trick, is it?"
" Shut up and watch, Quasitor".
Those are the last words I listen before I realise that this blood has now a thin consistency. More like water.

The Final dream “Deep deep sea”
At first there is darkness. And cold water. Water everywhere. I am swimming in the cold darkness. Somehow I get caught in a current and I am uplifted. I rise out of a chasm and find myself in New York. There is no mistaking it. New York is resting on the bottom of the Ocean. The Empire state building greets me mournfully as the rays of a faraway sun illuminate the ocean floor. I am young again, I can see, but I am not who I thought I was. I am a woman, my hands are young, my nails unadorned, bereft of nail polish and similar trappings. I am naked. I cannot see my face but I know I am blonde. At first I panic but soon I realise I can breathe. I look at the city and notice a slight simmer, like a translucent dome, surrounding it. I must escape. I know this. There is an urgency to this feeling. I have to find a way to get out of the city, upwards towards the sun.

“ Do you really want to?” asks a man’s voice in the street. I look. There is this man, short hair and plain face, he wears a sweater and a pair of jeans. He kind of resembles Harvey Keitel back when he did those movies “Smoke” and “Blue in the face”. I love those films. However, I know, this is not a man. This is a dragon. His eyes are the only telltale sign. They are yellow and have a reptilian quality about them. He smiles. “I will keep you safe here, out there you will drown”.
“Or you might not” says a female voice from beyond the barrier. I turn to look. She is dressed in seaweeds, little fishes and prawn nibble her toes, her hair is green and dancing in the current, her skin is pale, her eyes jet black, “It very much depends on you”.
“How?” I ask her, ”How will I not drown?”. I am desperate to hear her terms. I want to escape this prison of a place beneath the waves. “ I do not know”, she answers, “You very well may.” She is beautiful in a way that a shark is. Slick, dangerous, awe-inspiring, but I detect no malice. “Will you not help me?” I ask her. “Help you?”, she almost smiles, “If I help you, who then will feed my creatures?”, the man who is a dragon laughs at this. “Do not trust her, my old love. She cares not for you. If you leave my embrace you WILL drown”. “It is your choice to make and none can make it for you”, says the woman who is the sea, “If you choose to leave, you might drown, yes. If you stay here, you most probably will survive.” She looks at me and her eyes cause my heart to flutter in waves. “Do you not prefer to try? Or do you want to stay and live as a slave?”.
I summon my strength; I am surprisingly strong for a woman of my frame and swim upward, to the edge of the dome. The man who is a dragon swims after me but he cannot catch me now. I catch the glimpse of a sunken ship in the near distance, not sure what kind, ancient, modern, it does not matter, for the Sea has stripped it of age and has redefined its purpose. The man now snarls a vicious snarl, I swear I can feel heat boiling the water behind me but I dare not look back.
The woman makes no move, save for the dance that the waves have invited her to.
I soon reach the top, I smash through the barrier and suddenly I cannot breathe.
I swim upwards, everything is blue in this world, everything is wet, everything is agony and pain and exhaustion. A storm is brewing on the surface, the waves are huge I cannot fight them, I am so tired and every muscle hurts. The waves take me in their lap and carry me to the shore of Manhattan.
And this is where I end up getting sucked out of my dreams.

“Very good, Mr. McCormick”, says Lucy, “you did very well”. She takes the tray from his lap and moves away from the bed towards the small kitchen. “Rest now, you must be tired”, she begins washing the dish in the sink. “Later on, I might bring you a visitor.” She looks back at him, smiling, “Would you like that?”. But he doesn’t answer. He has already fallen asleep.
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PostSubject: Re: The End of Times Chronicle   The End of Times Chronicle I_icon_minitimeTue Jul 11, 2017 12:05 pm

Sanity through the mirror

Who are you?
I know you.
You have no face but I know you
I recognize your song
These days you all look the same to me but you all have different voices
Your voices are silent except in song
What happened to all the people?
People used to have faces, now they are all a blur.
Then again I used to look; now I only see.
Is this Dublin? I don't remember it so blurry... so vague.
I wish I was in Carrickfergus
But the sea is wide and I cannot swim over
And neither have I the wings to fly
I used to speak, you see, now I only sing
But I'll sing no more now till I get a drink.
The pain is constant, it only stops then
and sometimes only in my sleep.
I used to sleep; now I only dream.
Am I dreaming you?
Don't tell me your name, you don't have a name.
You are not.
You only think you are.
You are but shadows
reflections of my childhood days
Ah but the sea is endless, mysterious and deep
She does not know how to be kind
She tries but she is salt and orphaned mothers
And when she tries to embrace you
you drown.
I used to see; now I only understand.
I am a constant
Who are you?
I don't know you.
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PostSubject: Re: The End of Times Chronicle   The End of Times Chronicle I_icon_minitimeTue Jul 11, 2017 12:11 pm

For the price of a song

It snowed on Christmas day.
Dublin dressed itself in white, like a virginal bride waiting to enter a new life, a bright, hopeful new future.
The morning after Christmas you could see children playing snowball war in the streets and happy, carrot nosed, posh snowmen everywhere.
It was cold, sure, but it was a good solid dry cold, the one that made you jump up and down with giddiness and made your mother hurry after you with your jacket shouting something along the lines of "you'll catch the death of you" and muttering something like "you'll be the death of me".
There were no suicides in the morning news. Nobody had died on that Christmas night, so quiet that it was, that even the church mice were ashamed to breathe in fear of alerting the, apparently, absent misfortune that usually runs about like owning the place and waving its keys in the face of optimism.
You could only hear a bass voice in the night, humming rather than singing, old folk tunes mingled with a strange unknown melody, fading into the good night.
And the insects cared not at all for changes in the wind.
And the lizards flicked their tongues and went about their lizardly business.
And the birds took flight in the sky as if to escort the songs for a while.
And the mammals pricked up their ears and strayed not even an inch from their warm spots.
And the people sighed and turned in their feathery sleep.
Except her.
She did not sleep that night.
For she knew.
But that was all she knew.
And come morning
she knew
she would no longer remember.
But you would.
At least for a little while.
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PostSubject: Re: The End of Times Chronicle   The End of Times Chronicle I_icon_minitimeTue Jul 11, 2017 12:18 pm

Meave's Quest


The sun was timidly rising on the snowy peaks, red against the white, but ever determined to shine light wherever light may be shined and bring warmth wherever it may. She stepped carefully on the white path. The mountain was treacherous as it was and snow never helped much either, even if it was unstepped snow. "Well... unstepped until now", she thought. She could have employed several minor magicks, of course, that would ensure a steady pace, but she wanted to keep it mundane. She did not know whether or not she might need mightier magicks later on and it was always good to save your strength. Even cantrips piled up, after all, and she was far too experienced. She knew that sometimes you had to rely on your own two feet. The trick was to not let your own ego fool you into thinking you could afford it. Besides, there was something comforting about the crunch of fresh snow under her leather boots, and there was something empowering about discarding your magickal might and proving to yourself you can do it on muscle and bone alone.
Taking the final turn up the mountain, she felt a refreshing gust of cold December wind strike her full on the face. She stopped. Another step, just one more, and the Mulcher would be upon her. She was not afraid, of course, but she wasn't stupid either. She knew the price she had to pay to get past him and even though he was no match for her, it was important to show respect. Not only to HAVE respect, but to show it, hold it up high and let the sun acknowledge it for all to see. Just in case, though, she wasn't going defenseless. Quick like a flicker and sharp as you like, a dagger, small and thin, in her good hand and slicing her palm to release her red blood. Not much. Just enough. And then into her mouth, safely hidden away until needed. "There you stay, red and warm, till you're needed to take form" she whispered under her breath, ever so careful not to spill or swallow any and all the while bandaging her palm wound with a scrap she tore from her green dress. She was ready. She took another step bringing her whole weight on her right foot.
To the casual observer this woman must have seemed one cup short of a tea party, clad with nothing but a dress and treading alone up high where no man was to thread, but Ol' Mulcher knew exactly well just how sane she was. And just how dangerous. This stern looking woman with the hair of fire and the dress of leaves was not to be mucked about with, Ol' Mulcher had the fire marks to prove it and he was not about to make the mistake of underestimating her again. The old grump fixed his brown hat and cleared his throat before setting foot in front of the Fire Witch.
"Top o' the mornin' to ye, mistress Meave." he said while holding the phlegm under his tongue.
"Aye, and a fine morning to you as well, master Mulcher" Meave replied, blood in her mouth.
"Are you here for the festivities or do you bear a gift?" he smirked. He immediately regretted this. He knew the choice of words was a slap to the face for the witch but he just couldn't resist it. He cursed himself under his breath and played the phlegm with his tongue bringing it closer to his lips.
The Flame named Meave didn't seem to notice. She smiled and took another step forward holding her hands like a cup in front of her bosom. "I bring a gift to you, for passage passed, I bring a gift to yours, for music danced, I bring a gift to her for questions asked.", she recited carefully closing her eyes and letting her head swing to the rhythm, making her hair dance about her head, red against the white landscape.
She opened her eyes and fixed her green stare on the Mulcher. "What say you, guardian of the path? Will the first gift be accepted?"
"My hands are open for thy gift, Mistress, as my path is open for thy feet", said the old guardian and stepped aside, all the while waving his left hand for her to pass and his right one extended towards her.
Meave took one more step forward, leaned and spat the blood in his hand. It did not seem like a little now, it seemed to have multiplied in her mouth, as if somehow each word she’s spoken produced more of it, pints and pints of blood, a weapon turned into a gift.
The Mulcher looked at his hand and felt the power surging from it.
Blood, the life of things.
Red against the white.


The path took her ever upwards and soon all was snow and frost. Meave wondered whether or not there was ever any warmth at all in the world. Was it possible that it was just some pleasant dream? That all there ever was this: biting cold and snarling white snow? "No", she shook her head as if to cast away the whiteness from her hair "T'is but chicanery, you know this!", she scolded herself. She's been through this before. The Unwelcoming Winter. It was a sure sign that her visit was not welcome. The Queen of the Mountain did not want to speak to her but if Meave presented her with a worthy gift she knew she was bound to. It was part of the contract.
It was only an eternity before the path stopped before her and she had to find the entrance to the mountain itself. She'd done this so many times before... The entrance never stayed where you'd left it, however, unpredictable and fickle just like the folk it sheltered. The Witch took out her dagger again and pricked her finger. The pain made her cold numbed senses sharp once more and her eyes saw a tinge of green inside the snow that covered the ground near her left side. She let a blood drop fall on the snow and it melted away revealing a gilded hatch. "There you are" she said sucking the hurt finger with red lips.
Inside the mountain the sky was light blue with lonely cotton clouds drifting about lazily. It was the time of the Blooming and the ground was green with grass and lavishly adorned with flowers. The colours were so many one could get dizzy just by remembering them with closed eyes. Meave was never one for Spring time and the time was not right for dilly dallying, anyway. A world hung in the balance and she wanted to go about this as quickly as possible and get it done with. Like a housewife obliging her drunk husband.
Children played on the meadow, they payed her no mind. Lovers entwined under the mighty trees and they payed her no mind either. It was the musicians who stood in her way.
"Our Greetings, fair maiden, and how do you do?", said the lute player
"Why are you so hasty? Look, the sky is still blue", chimed the fiddler
"Come with us, dance with us, sing for awhile", intoned the accordionist
"A pox on our houses if we don't make you smile", concluded the flutist.
The tambourine man said nothing, merely danced a short jig and bowed.
"Ugh", she thought to herself "let's get this tom foolery over with. Steel yourself, Meave." but instead she said "Very well, fine gentlemen, I see you are keen, let us be merry and dance, drink and sing". She threw her heavy green dress on the ground and her lithe strong body dominated the meadow, clad in a simple brown tunic. For the first two days she danced with them, ever so seductively, like a flame threatening to burn your hands, all the while offering only warmth. On the third night of the dance the musicians thought they had her. Slowly and purposefully they began to undress her. By the third minute of the third hour of the after midnight night, Meave stood naked in the meadow, her clothes turned to leaves and tree bark on the ground, her dagger a silver fish, jumped in a lake. The lute player grasped toward her small firm breasts, the fiddler caressed her strong back, the accordionist slided his hand between her legs, the flutist toward her belly where the proud red foliage of her womanhood ended in a small furry trickle and the tambourine man bend forward to kiss her. And she bit him.
She bit him hard on the lips and snapped her head to the side taking his lower lip with her. They thought they had her, these fools, for they had never encountered her before. It was SHE who had them. You see, the gift she's been asked was the reverie; the music; the dance. It had been asked and it had been given freely. Had she collapsed it was within their right to turn her away (and they could have her dancing for 3 months) but she tricked them.
It was now within her right to punish them for asking more than they should. Most pilgrims might have obliged, but she was not most pilgrims. She was fire and fury, the avenging, cruel hand of the Goddess herself. She was destruction. The end of things. She was not some schoolgirl who just happened to pass by the woods. If Ol' Mulcher had been around he might have warned them...
It was not in her best interest, however, to cause grievances. The bit off lip would have to suffice, had she not been in a hurry and anxious to see the Queen, these men would have also lost the fingers they laid upon her but she wanted to be on the Queen's good side presently and ill humours were not the ideal background for her visit.
So she smiled playingly, the blood dripping on her chin and down her chest "It's been a pleasure, gentlemen, until next time we meet with sweeter music and darker ale". The musicians nodded their heads and started off in the night. And so did she, as quick as her bare feet could carry her. She was never one for Spring time.


The grass soon gave way to the pebbled road. Meave found herself following the path between the rose gardens she knew marked the beginning of the end of her quest, for most of the day, until the sun, once more, decided to set in the West, non-chalantly bathing the sky in reddish and purple hues, a royal red. A carpet for her bare feet to walk.
And then by nightfall, there it was. The Red Summer Palace Under the Mountain. Had it been Winter when she arrived, she knew the Red Palace would not have been here and instead the White Winter Palace would have awaited her amidst the snow, hidden from common eyes and yet naked. Very much like her.
Now, though, outside the Palace , the gentle breeze wafted through the willows and cooled her face. It was a gentle summer night, "a comfortable night to wander in the nude, if there ever was one", she thought. The guards didn't seem to feel the same but nonetheless they let her pass. She did not even spare them a glance.
And so it was that the Red Witch once more entered the Court of Queen Niam, the Queen of the Mountain Binn Chaorach.
The hall was lavish, of course, it always was. There was red silk everywhere, with hints of yellow, instead of the white furs and the heavy ice blue drapes she would have found in Winter. The throne itself, remarkable as ever, made of rosewood and draped now in silks of crimson. Last time she was here it was cerulean velvet in its place. On the throne itself, the same Queen sat. Beautiful as ever, clad in orange silks instead of beryl . She was like a predatory cat, thought Meave, a panther. Enchanting, magnificent and cruel.
"Mistress Meave", The Queen addressed her, her voice like the silk she wore "what business have you here? You were neither expected nor welcome".
The Witch fell on her knees "My Queen", she started, "I come with a gift and a request".
"Why would you come naked, Mistress Meave? Is the weather not to your liking? A bit too warm perhaps?", the queen smiled and leaned forward as if to see her better.
"I am not naked, my Queen, I am merely undressed. And the weather is fine and to my liking, I thank ye."
"Why then have you been injured? Why is thy palm fresh with the caress of steel?", the Queen sat back again, straightening her back.
"I had no purse to keep my gift, and so I had to hide it in my palm, lest it be stolen before delivered to your guardian. For passage safe, I had to tear it out with blade."
The Queen paused.
She liked this Fire Witch. She really liked her quite a bit, but she was hoping she would falter, she knew it was unlikely but she still hoped; and, alas, falter she did not. There were things the Queen knew she did not have the desire to share with the Witch. Under normal circumstances there would have been no cause for worry, the world of the witches was a separate place from her mountain, but this time it was evident what she was after. And now it had been done. The formal word dance had been danced, the proper courtesies acted. She had no cause to throw her out; she had to hear her out at least.
"I shall have you offering your gift to us then", she said loudly, like a clear note of a plucked string across the mountainous range all the while hoping the Witch's gift would be something she could easily discard as useless or unwanted, "although I see you have nothing on you.", she observed, "What ever could it be?".
- Is it something you hide in your body?
- No, my Queen, it is not.
- Is it something you give with a light heart?
- No, my Queen, it is not.
- Is it something you never denied me before?
- No, my Queen, it is not.
"Well, what is it then, good Mistress Meave?", exclaimed the Queen like a giddy girl no more in years of age than 5 and clapping her hands with excitement, "What is it? What?".
It was at this point that Meave O' Riordan, grandaughter of the Travelling Minstrel Ronnie O' Riordan, realised that her gift would be accepted in an instant.
It was at that instant that she, the Travelling Red Witch, Meave O' Riordan, knew that her answer was a mere moment away.
It was in that moment that, she, the Cruel Tinker Witch of Britain, Meave O' Riordan, understood that she would be losing something precious to her.
And a single tear escaped from her eye. For she would give the Queen no more.

and Winter again
(an epilogue)

"Right you are", said the Queen all serious and businesslike now. A small golden bell appeared in her hand "Bring some clothes of silken red and yellow to the Mistress" she shouted, seemingly at thin air, "We have urgent issues of the realm to discuss. Let us save our nakedness for more important tasks."
And that was how the Fire Witch sat down with the Queen of the Sidhe for the second time in a hundred years to divulge what was it that had disturbed the balance, who was it that was to blame and exactly how and when should they be punished and what could still be done.
On her way out, the land seemed to have donned yellow, sepia and red hues all around her. The sky had shed its leaves on the ground and a light rain rhythymed itself on the lake where her dagger swam. She crossed as fast as possible, although she did enjoy the Autumn.
Back on the mountain it was winter again. Now in her summer silken garments it wuld have been deadly for her to return on foot. Fortunately she did not have to. Her business was concluded and she was well and able to step into the snow mist and into her Tinker cabin where Liam awaited her with a hot cup of tea.
"Well?", he asked, handing the expensive ornate cup to her, "D'you find anything?".
She took one sip and looked into his brown eyes. "I have" she said plainly.
"Will you not tell me?" asked Liam, he looked puzzled. Or stoned. It was hard to tell.
"Never you mind, my precious husband", she said with a bleak voice, "Just hold me close for I grew weary and missed you too much for to put it in words".
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PostSubject: Re: The End of Times Chronicle   The End of Times Chronicle I_icon_minitimeTue Jul 11, 2017 12:22 pm

Malice in her eyes

My favourite colour was white
You plucked me down and dressed me with skin
and forced me to adorn my bridal dress with ash and blood
My favourite music was the rain
You placed melodies on my lips with yours
but taught me to sing only funeral dirges
My favourite smell was sunshine
You filled my nostrils with fire and smoke
and made me forget of the light
My favourite touch was of dew
You boiled the water on my skin
and made me a desert
Then she took it all back
and now that I am once again who I was to be
I shall accept my punishment
with head held high
and malice in my eyes
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PostSubject: Re: The End of Times Chronicle   The End of Times Chronicle I_icon_minitimeTue Jul 11, 2017 12:24 pm

The Air Witch and the Fire Witch enjoy a kettle

The woman in the light brown dress leaned back on her easy chair and sipped her dark tea from an ornate white cup with blue flowers drawn on it. It was porcelain. The cup that is, not the chair. The chair was dark wood and indigo velvet. It looked old and expensive, like an antique. The chair, not the cup. Shiobhan would bet her sweet arse one of them was stolen. Actually, they both were.
"I do love your caravan, Meave, A chara", she said to the woman sitting opposite her, "and you did always boil the perfect kettle".
"Aye, that would bloody well explain why you're here every afternoon", answered Meave with mirth in her voice. "Or is it something else?", she arched her left eyebrow and looked at Shiobhan without lifting her head, nose down in the dutch cup.
"What else would it be, A ghrá?", the blonde woman smiled. It was a playful smile, the one the mouse wears when he knows the cat is old and lame and the chase is not a matter of survival but rather a game.
"I daenne know, Mistress McGrath. Do you perhaps fancy me husband?", mused Meave as if talking to herself, "Do you perhaps fancy yours truly?". Meave was smiling. The way a cat is smiling when she knows that she doesn't have to chase the mouse because she knows where it sleeps at night.
Siobhan McGrath nearly choked herself laughing, her blonde hair waving about frantically as dark hot tea escaped her perfect lips and made it its life purpose to stain her dress a darker brown, "Bless you, Wandering Witch" she managed between her bell-like laughter, "I do fancy both of you, A stór, but that is not the reason". It was a benevolent laughter, clear and loud. It was one of those laughs that seemed to be making a statement about its' creator. "Here is an honest person", the laughter said, "a woman who does not try to masque her nature and, at this certain point, is really, verily amused with you and also quite pleased."
Meave knew all about laughter, more often than not it spoke the truth but Siobhan McGrath was a Hermetic witch and Meave also knew not to trust a Hermetic witch further that you could throw her. Well, without magick anyway.
"I'm not one for political games, Dathúil", Meave exclaimed, getting more serious now, as Meave usually does, and using Siobhan's formal title in return, "If that is what you are after, I bid you visit our Mistress Belladonna".
"Ah...", Siobhan half sighed, half spoke, "but Belladonna is not my friend and she is not the one I would choose to have me", she stretched her right hand forward, offering Meave the empty cup.
"What are you on about, now, Dathúil?", said Meave, getting up now and pouring more tea into the empty cup.
"Look in my eyes, Red Witch", said she, whimsical as she could be, "The Order of Hermes is not for me and I wish to shift allegiance".
Meave looked in the Ex Miscellanea's light cyan - almost white- eyes. There was something hypnotic about them, something swirling, playful, restless. Like the wind.
"I know you have just been recently freed from that terrible place of eternal toil, of factories and rust." Meave's face darkened by this and for a slight moment she seemed older. " I am fully aware that you owe your freedom to that Flambeu Brit who now sun bathes in Greece... ". "Amadan", interrupted Meave, there was a lump of coal in her throat as she spoke the name. "Aye, him, the Fool...", Siobhan continued with a single breath, "and don't be fooled yourself, you are but a tool to him - I know how Hermetics think, A chroí."
"He wasn't always like this, A leanbh", said Meave, "and we share an unbreakable bond him and I". She looked outside the door now, as if expecting him to explode through it with regret in his voice and a burden on his soul and a lesson needed to be learned and a secret to be uncovered. He didn't.
"I know you are still weak but you are fire, my Meave, and I'm your wind", continued the Wind Witch of Galway not in the least aware of the subtle -like the shadow of a dream of a stab right through the heart - pain in her friends' green eyes, "Le do thoil, stay awhile in Galway and have me as your pupil. I can only make you stronger ". She rose up now, even though only standing as tall as Meave's shoulders, her presence filled the gypsy cabin. "And I promise you, A Dóiteán Cailleach, with me by your side, you're going to burn down the Isles, if you so wish!"
It was clear to Meave now, the mouse did not have the cat in mind. The mouse paid no heed to the dog. The mouse wanted to burn the Farmer's house down. By the Goddess, the mouse wanted to burn the whole fucking town and dance in the ashes!
Meave grabbed Siobhan by the waist like a groom grabs a bride, her emerald eyes smiling. "Well, then...", she said leaning closer, "let us mingle, Dathúil and let us dance and let this be your first lesson", she came closer still, putting red lips to a childlike ear, whispering “Blood is life”, and she bit.
And it was thus that the Air Witch entered into the Sisterhood and took her rightful place.
And it was thus that the Fire Witch made a full recovery after the imprisonment she had undergone for, what seemed to her, like a lifetime in one of the most horrendous mythic realms of the Shadow.

Back in Dublin, as she was passing outside Stephen's Green, Belladonna felt the earth shift under her feet and she knew that there was a shift of power in the order of things and wondered whether or not to do something about it and if so what would that be. Still thinking and guided by her horned and hooved counselor she found her feet aching to walk the floorboards of her lover's bedroom. Or rather the man who masqueraded as her lover.
He had taken great pains to conceal himself but Belladonna knew men better than she knew her wardrobe and this man who was making love to her for the past 3 months was not her lover. She didn't mind. He was better. Maybe it was time to press the issue, to find out. It did not matter how or why, he was the one she fell in love with. She had to know who he really was. And she would. Tonight.
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PostSubject: Re: The End of Times Chronicle   The End of Times Chronicle I_icon_minitimeTue Jul 11, 2017 12:25 pm

The two Sisters

There was a lot to be said about doors. Some were unremarkable, of course, in their wooden simplicity and some were needlessly elaborate. Some were solid, some not so much. This particular door we are currently concerned about was unhinged. It had been blasted, just seconds ago, of its top hinge by a rather powerful manifestation of Amanda Mc Innerny’s anger and was now dangling on one foot, so to speak, bargaining the terms of its eventual downfall with the local gravity.
But let us go back to the part you might have missed in the previous paragraph. The one concerning Amanda’s anger. There was something to be said about Amanda's anger, much in the same way that there was something to be said about atoms, microbes or good bosses: you knew that they existed, you just never thought you'd see one. Well that is maybe a bit unfair about the microbes but, anyway, you catch my drift.
Now, Amanda was well known for her cold logic, calm temper, wry smile and her level headed decisions. One might say she was a bit "cold" and a bit TOO rational for a healthy woman of her age but one had better not say it in front of her. After all she was probably the most accomplished Hermetic Master in Dublin (although Master Aramis would have disputed that if he overheard you say it) and the most politically powerful Traditionalist in Ireland (and even though Father Mulligan would never bother to dispute that, that might not exactly be the case). It was well known that she had friends and connections throughout the Emerald Isle and beyond, reaching to the East Coast of America and a good hefty portion of Western Europe. Part of the reason why she was so well connected was her cold logic, her calm temper, her wry smile and her level headed decisions.
As you might have surmised by now, Amanda didn't get mad very often. If by some off-chance you’ve failed to grasp this simple concept feel free to make yourself some coffee or read the second paragraph as well as the beginning of the third paragraph again after a good night’s sleep. If you've followed my advice and still find yourself somehow uninformed as to whether Amanda was quick to anger then perhaps, might I suggest, you abandon this ridiculous narration and guide your attention to something closer to your intellectual level. Something with a lot of colourful pictures, preferably.
I am assuming that we are all on the same page now, right? Right.

Amanda was raging at the moment. She was bubbling, seething and exploding with the kind of anger that people who rarely get angry exhibit when they finally DO get angry. You know the kind, the one that burns your city to the ground, after having killed your pets, and spreads salt on the burned ruins.
Our door was not the target of this rage, of course, no. It just happened to be closed at that particular moment when Amanda would have preferred it open. The target and indeed the cause of this unforeseen miniature nuclear explosion which was Amandas' rage was a younger blonde woman dressed in a light blue shirt and a black skirt, casually sitting on a comfy chair of light green velvet and having just lowered a fully illustrated big book of Irish Legends for Children, her wide blue eyes full of surprise.
"How dare you?!?", Amanda screamed in her sisters face, "How dare you abandon me? How dare you betray our father?"
"Betrayal is a heavy word, sister", Dathuil answered calmly now that she knew what was going on, "I would never abandon you and I would never betray our kin, you are overreacting". She tried to get up but gravity, though usually impartial, was siding with Amanda today. "I always knew you were light headed and immature but I didn't think you had it in you to leave my side, Siobhan. I've let you play the witch instead of forcing you to follow my path because you needed to grow up.", Amanda growled, "But to leave the Order? Our father will be turning in his grave. You know how much it meant to him to keep the Order strong in Ireland. Do you not remember what he taught us about the Pagans?”
Siobhan tried to get up again, it was a struggle, she got to move a bit and raise her head but the strain was immense, "Poppycock!", she angrily exclaimed, "You've let me join the Ex Miscellanea because you looked down on me. You didn't think I was good enough to join your precious Quasitor, don't pretend it was otherwise. Oh, little Siobhan, the poor thing is daft and her head's in the clouds, whatever am I going to do with her? Oh, wait, I know, here sister, why don't you take these precious herbs and go play in the forest...". "You little brat", Amanda cut her off mid-sentence "you CHOSE the herbs and the forest. You CHOSE to run away from me to play the Gaelic Wych".
"Oh running away, is it?", Siobhan smiled sarcastically, " Shoved aside more like."
"Nobody shoved you aside, sister", you chose to play the misunderstood loner. Father always..."
"Oh, give me a break! Father didn't give two shits about me! He didn't give a fig about you either! There I said it".
This time there was no magick. The slap that painted Dathuil's left cheek red was all Amanda "You should be ashamed of yourself. Our father loved us more than anything in this world" she said, almost spitting the words.
"Aye... THIS world", Dathuil put her hand on her cheek, “and besides, what would you know about love, other that it is a four letter word. Has that cold lump of ice you call a heart ever performed any other function than pump blood through your body?”

This was unfair. Granted, Amanda wasn’t one of the most affectionate people around and she certainly was no drama queen but, aside from the fact that her heart was perfectly normal in temperature and not a lump of ice at all, she was far more emotional than she let on. I mean, yeah, you wouldn’t catch her crying at the end of a good film or watching “Love, actually” with a bucket of ice cream after a breakup, granted she must have uttered the words ” I love you” less times that she’d said “ubiquitous”, “effervescent” or “ineffable” in her life but that did not mean she was a frigid bitch. Yes, of course, she had married for money and there was no romantic love in her life even after her husband’s death. It did not mean she didn’t mourn him, silently and in private, and it did not mean she did not yearn for love’s sweet caress. She just didn’t pursue it. There were more important matters at hand. Something or other always required her immediate attention ever since she and her sister were orphaned and she had to steel herself to make ends meet. She was the one who had to bear the brunt. Amanda was the little girl who had to grow up abruptly and face the big bad scary world with fire in her eyes and steel in her voice, sheltering behind her Siobhan, her little sister, to whom she acted like the world was easy, letting her retain her own childhood. Why else would she have done this if not out of love?
She remained speechless for a while. The irony of it was clearly evident to her and she really, really didn’t want to answer. “Cat’s got your tongue, sis?”, teased Siobhan, “no response? Is it because you know I’m right?”. “No, Siv”, Amanda lowered her tone, as if the anger was fading, “it is because my sorrow is ineffable and you cannot possibly know what injustice you are doing me”.
“This is not your courtroom, sis”, Siobhan’s’ sarcasm would have rusted iron, “and I did not know you were capable of feeling sorrow”.
Amanda brushed aside the words, “Our father did love us”, she managed to whisper, “it was not his choice. He was trapped”
“Trapped?!”, bellowed Siobhan, leaping on her feet, suddenly free of Amanda’s spell, “Trapped? If he really DID love us he would have found a way. He would have burned a small sun to bring our worlds together.”
Amanda blinked, “Did… did you just reference Doctor Who on me? Did you honestly convince you little effervescent mind that our father could have done something straight out of a TV show? And a Children’s show at that.” Siobhan’s face reddened to match her hurting cheek, “I… no… no, I didn’t”, she muttered. That was exactly what she had done. “And it has matured over the years, it’s not just for children anymore”, she fumbled in a clumsy attempt to change the subject somewhat. What a blunder. She hadn’t forgotten that when they were children it was their favourite show, she just hadn’t expected Amanda to have watched it again since then. She was wrong. Amanda had a fondness for steampunk and fatherly figures travelling through space and time. Maybe that is why she was so fond of Professor Barnaby and was a bit dismayed that Dublin didn’t have more Etherites. Maybe.
There was a pause in which time felt like it didn’t want to progress any further. Amanda put her palm on her head. “It’s hopeless, Siv”, she sighed, “I thought I could make you see reason, but I see now that I was being as naive as you.” Siobhan opened her mouth but Amanda silenced her “Let me finish.”, she said, “I understand now you wish to find your own way and your way is not paved in study and knowledge. I understand that you feel you’ve grown. You’ve grown your own wings and now you wish to test them and fly as far away as you can. And you are right, in a way. I would have held you down to the ground, because flying is dangerous, Siv, and all I’ve ever wanted was to protect you. But I can see now, I was wrong. You NEED to do this. You need to grow on your own. Just remember, I will always be there for you when you need me, because I do love you, even though I must not have said it often enough”.
Siobhan looked at her older sister with calm relief. She did not see how she could have done this if Amanda chose to dispute her decision and asked Meave to not take her in. “Thank you” she said, “A deirfiúr”. “Don’t push it with the Gaelic”, Amanda smiled, “or I might slap you again”. “Fair enough”, she replied.
“Did you mean it?”, she asked after a few seconds of silence. “What the slapping bit, you mean?”, Amanda smiled a thin smile. “You know what I mean”, Siobhan said, running a long white finger through her blonde hair. “You didn’t expect me to say it, did you?” Amanda looked at her. “To be honest I expected you to say that our enemies are ubiquitous or something of the sort.” answered Siobhan .“Well, they are, so be careful.”, said Amanda solemnly, “I shall have a talk with Mistress Meave for good measure”. “Please don’t” Siobhan grabbed Amanda’s arm with both hands, “I don’t wish for another mother”.
Amanda nodded. Then she left, “Everything was kind of rubbish after Tom Baker”, she said with her back turned, one foot out the door. “You’re being unfair!” Siobhan shouted behind her, “Dave Tennant was my favourite!”. Amanda smiled a warm smile in the drizzling rain, “Of course he was” she whispered.
She was content that she had made the right decision. Like most right decisions, it left her with a lump in her throat and an ache in the stomach. Right decisions had a nasty habit of doing that, maybe because sometimes your heart yearned for something far different than what your brain was suggesting. “Too many times”, she thought while opening her umbrella and walking on the wet streets of Galway towards her blue Volkswagen, when her mobile started buzzing. She was needed. Of course. “Amanda Mc Innerny speaking” she said bringing the cold device to her ear.
There was something to be said about doors. One could perceive them in a manner of ways: an entrance, an exit, a barrier, an opening or an ending. Slamming the door to one’s face was a sign that you absolutely wanted nothing to do with someone and you were rude enough to tell him so. Holding the door for someone was a sign of good manners and could express fondness. A door was escape, safety and sometimes simply a plank of wood that just happened to be standing between you and someone you wanted to reach or a threat you wanted to have blocked. In this instance Amanda left her sister’s house leaving the door wide open. Siobhan didn’t bother to close it either, it was cold outside and the wind was getting in.
But what was a little wind, a little cold, a little rain?
What was it compared to love?
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PostSubject: Re: The End of Times Chronicle   The End of Times Chronicle I_icon_minitimeTue Jul 11, 2017 12:29 pm

tHis NiGhT, thiS NigHt, in GaLWayS' LiGht, 5 MaGes wiTh NO GiFtS aSCenD aT sEvENTHirty, wItH NeiTHer RhyMe NoR ReaSon, Ah BuT WiTh GrEEnesT ThYMe AnD OuT oF TimE To MaKE AmENds fOR TReaSON.

She couldn't stop now ...nonono... It was all too citrony and brickgrey
feathers by the winds of the dome
and theatrical swordspiders made from emerald cheese
kept on coming
up and down her skin.
But was it for her that they came?
Or was it for the Windling?
The Windling flying by the fire and into the heart of the mountain
Up by the lake! UP! UP!
And downdowndowndowndowndown
down into the empty sea
She sea see singing always helped
and moreso on her torso
whistling by the tea side
sweet dark girl with dream and sugar
standing by her wind door seal
a ceiling by the shilling
a penny for a story
But this story would have ended
straight and giddily and merry
half in prose and half past six.
"A good a time as any, I suppose
to be thrown in to the fire as kindling
and I suppose you are pleased with yourself now
aren't you wild Windling?"
she recited more than thought
even if the rhymes came from China
would she have to sip the tide in chinese?
And who be you narrating my notes?
not not not in full
paid with scorn and all too soon
but now the moon has chased the noon
And there is a beautiful girl in the well
oh well oh well oh well
I am sure I am free on Satan's day
although my hands are shackled
why would you ask who wears my heart
Does she remind you of me?
Does she rise the tide?
Does she rhyme the night?
Does she ride the wind?
Does she take your face in her hands and sweep away the fallen stars?
Ah, but hush and harken, broken one,
here come the May Jess all the way from Baile Átha Cliath
They have come like snails and frogs after the rain
To try and trap the wind into their sad refrain
Let us come them down the well
with open arms and coat
and blood and spit and darkest tea
lest they stand under the truth
and see under the sea.
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PostSubject: Re: The End of Times Chronicle   The End of Times Chronicle I_icon_minitimeTue Jul 11, 2017 12:30 pm

A story at Christmas

It was late in the evening when the work was done and they were all tired. Even though Emily had been left exhausted from recent events and Shiobhan had been wounded badly and literally lost 7 years of her life, neither of them suggested that they should rest. It was Meave who said it.
The Unweaving was complete. The wards that Magdalene had set on the Chantry had been discarded. "That is enough for one night", she had declared. "Let us rest this night and commence setting up wards tomorrow, rested and full so that we may do a proper job".
Emily began to protest, the memory of betrayal was all too fresh, her threat still ringing in her ears but it was easier to share a honey pot with a hungry bear than it was to convince the Fire Witch when she had already decided as to the proper course of action.
They all slumped on the couch except Augustine who found himself in the kitchen scrounging up ingredients to cook something edible so that they might eat.
And after that was also past, Meave stretched herself on the couch and measured their faces. "Sooo... What do you usually do for fun?"
It probably hadn't occurred to them that she would spend the night there but it was now becoming evident that she would. And this was received with mixed emotions, since sharing a roof with Mistress Meave was kind of like sharing a cage with a fed lion. You knew it probably wouldn't hurt you and you knew you'd probably be safe from almost anyone who might wish you harm but you couldn't dispel (from the back of your head) the image of your left leg dangling out of its mouth.
"We don't rightly know", answered Emily, almost in monotone, "we haven't spent enough time together to know what entertainment we might share".
"Yeah", confirmed Augustine "we’ve basically been flitting from one task to another for the past two months".
"Should I fetch a board game or something?", suggested the black clad, pale Shiobhan.
"Why don't you tell us a story?", suggested Emily, probably keen to avoid playing Monopoly or Trivial Pursuit with Meave. She didn't have the willpower to handle that just right now.
Augustine , Latiff and Shiobhan deValera nodded in agreement, partly because they were too tired to do much at all and passive listening sounded like sliced bread at the moment and partly because they dreaded Meave might suggest something herself as the evening's entertainment. Aidan didn't really contribute to the brainstorming but he was ok with all the options given so far. Or they could just watch television. What was wrong with these people?
"Aye, a story it is then", Said Meave, "A Christmas story". She straightened her back and closed her eyes, as if summoning the words from the darkness.
"Dublin city is a Viking city", she begun, "Ireland is filled with Vikings. Red haired and blonde, they originally came from Norway and pillaged, looted and raped but they were driven back, for the grandfathers of our grandfathers were fierce with spear and sword and clad in skye." She paused for 3 seconds.
There was a swaying hypnotic quality in the telling of Meave’s tale and the members of the Cabal were drifting in and out of shallow dreams while she was talking, You know the feeling, when you are trying to watch something on the telly late at night but your mind is tired and it kind of picks up fragments from what you’re watching and builds a dream on it and then, after a while, you catch yourself dreaming and wake back into reality only to have your mind slip back after a while. Like lying in the shallows of a summer sea, waves washing over your body every now and again.
Emily DeBarra was on a Viking Longship, clad in fur and leather, burning oil and fire was raining on them from the city they were laying siege to and she heard the Sea whisper to her “come to me and I’ll embrace you, keep you safe away from the fire and into Valhalla”. The men beside her were dying, some of them turning into black mist and some of them pointing the finger at her, as if she was to blame that the Byzantines were killing them like cockroaches. “Save yourself”, shouted a man with eyes as black as loss. She jumped and drifted back to the story, eyes open.
"But there was a second wave", Meave continued, her voice hypnotic, devoid of tension and rhythmic, "and this time they came from Denmark and England, where they had already settled before. And they brought with them their Gods and their traditions for they had come not to loot but to build and to settle.”
Smiri Latiff was on board the “Valkyrie”, a Void Engineers explorer vessel, outside from the ship’s hatch he could see stars, endless stars and empty space. There was a man beside him with a long red beard and knotted ginger hair, an axe in his hand. He wore a horned helmet. “That is wrong”, thought Latiff, “Vikings never wore horned helmets, that is a Hollywood invention”. He checked his trimetric device but it had turned into a hollow skull brimming with something red. Was it wine? “SKOL!!!”, shouted the man and brought a green protein shake to his lips. His shout brought Latiff back to Meave’s strory.
“And when they settled in Dublin", droned on Meave, "the city was built around their castle and Irish Kings begun to take note and ordered their black haired men to attack these heathens. Eventually, of course a lot of them converted to Christianity and Irishmen begun to consider them as much a part of Ireland as themselves, for after all what are we Irish if not immigrants and who are we to turn our backs on them? We are the children of the Milesians who are the children of the Tuatha Dé Danann who overthrew the Fir Bolg who were the Children of the Nemedians who were the third people to settle in Ireland two thousand and three hundred and fifty years before Christ was born and thirty years after the Muintir Partholóin who were the second settlers of Ireland had died after having replaced the original Irish, the Cessair who died in the Great Flood", she paused for another 3 seconds.
Siobhan Dolan, was in a swamp, she was dressed in black but she wore a white expressionless mask. There were dead children everywhere around her and a thousand voices were whispering in her ear. “Drive”, they said. “Who are you?”, she shouted whirling about in a circle but seeing no one but the dead. “We are the children yet to die.” They answered in unison, “ We are Ireland’s hunger victims of the Great Famine. We are the dreams of your childhood. We are your innocence. Trapped in this swamp for all eternity because of you”. “Me?” asked Siobhan, “Why is it my fault? What could I have done?”. This was not like her at all. Even in her dream she knew. Then they began to sing “Take me, take me, take me to the river and wash me down…” and Siobhan woke up.
"But I shall not take you so back, to the first men", Meave was saying back in the wake world, "neither so far, when Brian Boru defeated his adversary with the help of the Norsemen and became High King", she continued. " I shall tell you a tale of Christmas”.
Augustine McCoy was riding beside a giant of a man wearing a crown. Augustine was not a small man himself, he was someone you could easily mistake for a professional wrestler but this man he was riding beside belittled him. Augustine looked behind him, there were hundreds of men riding with them all wearing chain mail, swords on their backs and all waving a shotgun with their free hand. A cross was their banner and the man beside him was talking to someone using a hands free device. “Amanda”, he was saying “We need your help and all the help you can muster, Jerusalem is lost.” He looked at Augustine and winked. “I must be dreaming”, thought Augustine and the waves of dreaming withdrew bringing him back to the story.
“It was the night before the Winter Solstice”, continued Meave, “t’was cold and snow had fallen and neither Christian man nor Pagan ventured out of their warm fire hearth, except for one swordman of Christ, let us name him Paddy, an old man of the Auld ways, let us call him Dermott and a Norseman whose name might have been Bjorn, why not?”
Siobhan deValera was stoking the fire in her sleep. She was dressed in brown garments that looked like they were taken off of pillows that have been dragged on the floor for 3 days and 3 nights. There were three men in her small cabin with her neither one of which was particularly likeable. The short black haired fellow with the cross and the sword was shivering. “You need to make it warmer, woman, it is still cold”, he said. The old man with the brown hood and the wooden stuff stroked his snow white beard and said “You don’t happen to have any crosses we could burn, do you?”. The burly tall blonde Viking with the axe and the skulls in his belt was pacing. “I need more ale”, he bellowed, “bring me ale, woman, bring me a monastery to burn and also young girls to rape, if you please”. Siobhan wasn’t cold at all, in fact she was rather warm and cozy but she didn’t want to displease her unpleasant guests. She picked up a barrel of oil she found nearby and threw it in the fire. Then she woke, just before the explosion.
Meave was telling the tale still, “Now, all three of them had good reason to be out in the snow and the deep deep night and the hungry wolf, it really doesn’t matter what they were, let’s say a hungry baby and an ill wife and a dying mother, you decide whose what and why, but they all went out nonetheless. Hours had passed and hours were gone and they were all three in the forest walking and lost while gathering herbs and wood for the fire and mushrooms, perhaps for the hot broth when all three came upon each other and startled they were but not looking to shed blood what with their hungry baby and sick wife and the dying mother they wanted to get back to.”
Aidan Penny was lost in the forest, there was snow everywhere and no matter where he turned, he always came back to the great tree where Dathuil had tied him. He looked at his right hand because it felt lighter than the left and saw the Gae Bolga, blood on its teeth. “You need to keep moving boy or you’ll freeze”, said the spear in his mind. Aidan did not respond. He wasn’t cold and he did not want to keep moving in circles. He looked at the sky and there were three men there made of stars. He looked at the ground and saw tracks. But they weren’t human tracks, they looked closer to cat tracks. “I must have been following her” he thought and in front of him was a wooden cabin with open wide windows and a “Welcome my food” doormat in front of the door. “Bloooooooooooooood” cried the spear and woke him right up to Meave saying:
“ ’Peace on ye’ said Paddy holding his sword and shifting his gaze to here from there, ‘And peace on ye’, said old Dermott holding his walking staff in front of him, ‘And I wish you no harm either’ said Bjorn his axe in his good hand. ‘What brings you out here in this cold night’, asked Paddy, ‘in the middle of the forest and faraway from yours?’ and each of them the same question asked and in his turn gave his answer ‘Mushrooms I came to gather for a broth, for my baby is hungry and crying’,’ Herbs in this forest for a potion I gather because my wife is ill’, ‘I came to gather wood for the fire for my mother is dying and warm she must be kept’. And they believed each other and lowered their weapons though still wary of each other and then as the wolves begun to howl they agreed all three to walk together and defend each other because, after all, even with their differences all three were men and men were small in the darkness and the cold of Winter and the wolves would eat them just the same whether they be Christian, Pagan or Norseman. And the wind behind them could not hold them back and the wind in front of them could not push them back and they talked with each other while walking and when they grew tired Paddy said ‘A small stop, friends, what say you?’. ‘Aye’, nodded Dermott, ‘Better to come home late than not at all’, ‘And we shall surely collapse, if we do not rest’, added Bjorn. And one laid down a fire with all his excess wood, and one cooked some mushrooms he could spare so they all might eat and the third heated some red wine he had with him and they all drank, and felt warmer and they came to find that not all that different were they and tomorrow night was Holy for them three all. ‘Christmas night’ said Paddy, ‘Winter Solstice’, said Dermott, ‘Jol’, said Bjorn and they started to sing the songs of their Holy day, which were not all that different. It was then that the strange man with the antlers on his head approached them.
All three of them were alarmed and Paddy reached for his sword, Dermott grabbed his staff and Bjorn hefted his axe, but the stranger held his empty hands in front of him and said ‘Be not alarmed, good men, Paddy, Dermott and Bjorn for I mean you no harm. I am here to ascertain you get back to your wife, mother and baby in good health and in time for they have become worried by now and are asking for you.
All three of them rose and they took his hand and gave him to eat and to drink and they all danced and while they were dancing the strange man was singing and one by one he led each of them dancing, safe back to their house door.”
By this time each and everyone in the Chantry was fast asleep on the couch, except of course the storyteller, Meave. She looked at them one by one and, as if they were still listening and not in their own private dreams, said “So what is it about you might ask? Christmas, Winter Solstice, Jol, for they are all the same. What is it really about?”. She produced red and green blankets and begun putting them on all of them, one by one, standing for a while above Emily to snip a small lock of her curly hair.
“Do you not already know, children?
To keep at bay the Cold Darkness; to drive the Dark Winter away.”
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PostSubject: Re: The End of Times Chronicle   The End of Times Chronicle I_icon_minitimeTue Jul 11, 2017 12:31 pm

The blind man becomes a small child

The blind old man awoke. The room was warm enough but he could hear the wind whistling outside, mixed with the morning traffic and the occasional clinging and clanging someone was making in the kitchen. “Must be Lucy preparing my breakfast”, he thought and sat up on his bed. Warm and fluffy blankets scented with soap and clean as snow.
“Snow”, he thought. He had dreamt of snow. Snow and blood and wolves in the forest. And Vikings for some odd reason.
His dreams were becoming more disjointed than usual. More surreal. He knew that it was the way of dreams and they were usually chaotic, shifty little bastards but his weren’t. Well not since his guardians started to take care of him.
He reached for his cane and got out of bed, making his way towards the kitchen table while gathering his memories about him. It wouldn’t be long till Lucy found out he was up and she would inquire about his dreams. They seemed to interest her greatly. Sometimes he wondered whether it was because she liked weird stories or maybe because she was trying to analyse him. “Heh, tough luck, kid”, he thought.
It wasn’t lost on him that he always remembered more of his dreams as he was reciting them to her, of course, he just wanted to have them ordered beforehand, but it seemed harder than most times. He recalled a man in a spaceship sharing wine with a Viking and a woman on board a –what do you call them now?- a longship. A drakkar. That’s it. A drakkar being bombarded to shreds by raining fire. What else was there? A girl in a swamp, lost it would seem and another one in a wooden cabin. There were three men there with her. He remembered said cabin being blown up and a Crusade being led by Brian Boru, armed with shotguns no less, and a young lad in a snowy forest wielding the Gae Bolga. The Gae Bolga! Jesus, Mary and Joseph! Where had that come from? He hadn’t thought about the legendary spear since he was a wee lad back in Tralee.
He was in the kitchen now but something seemed amiss. The smells were all wrong. No eggs and no mushrooms, first off. He could smell bread and marmalade and the watermelon fragrance that always lingered about Lucy was gone. He could smell the biting sandalwood and jasmine perfume mix that the younger one of the Enfants Perdus was using, trying in vain to disguise the smell of sex she always seemed to have on her. It was like trying to hide a strawberry tart behind a carrot. Well, to his sensitive nose, anyhow… Josephine. That was her name. Didn’t come around often. She had the bad habit of calling him “Pepe” and touching him more than he found natural for an old man to be touched by a young girl. Always made him uncomfortable.
And there was another smell too. This one was familiar in the way an old forgotten tune is. Stuck somewhere in his mind, a memory caught in the gears of his mind like a pebble. It was a masculine scent and it reminded him of the sea and of peat. It made him feel small again. Small and frail, in need of protection, it brought back memories of looking up to his… “Father?”, he said, his hands shaking, his lips quivering.
“Hello, son”, the man smiled, “It’s been a long long time, hasn’t it?”.
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PostSubject: Re: The End of Times Chronicle   The End of Times Chronicle I_icon_minitimeTue Jul 11, 2017 12:31 pm

Gwen likes to shoot people

Gwen Reily was not a calm person. She was, in fact, so far from the definition of calm that grumpy old street hardened New York City taxi drivers were known to become nice in her presence and occasionally even follow exact directions when taking her from one place to the other, even though they really knew the best route in their humble opinion.
The boys (and girls) down at her old office in the San Francisco branch of Innovative Micro Technologies (IMT for short) had a perfect nickname for her, "The Welsh Hurricane" they called her and just like any good nickname it stuck to her. To be more accurate, it didn't so much stick to her as it preceded her in the way that the girls (and boys) in New York City knew her by her nickname before they even knew her name and long before they ever laid eyes on her.
There was much gossip and excitement in anticipation of her arrival. Was she really responsible for uncovering those corrupt Financiers in San Fran? Did she really blast those malfunctioning units with one of the most experimental hand held devices in IMT? Did she really ask to be moved to New York to forget someone who rejected her? Was it true she had collaborated with Deviants? Was she now single? Did she have any children? What kind of medication was she using to avoid complete mental meltdown? Was ANY of it true? No one really knew and no one really knew what exactly to expect.
Then, one fine brisk morning, she arrived. Gwen Reily was an impressive woman, for sure. She responded to the first few obligatory welcomes with a "thank you". This was one of the thank yous that managed to convey an entire sentence within two words and that sentence was "Yes, fine, I know you've all heard about me but just mind your own business and let me mind mine and none of us will explode before noon." Some of her colleagues did not fully comprehend the sentence (which is only natural as anyone who's ever heard Welsh, or more accurately English with a Welsh accent, being spoken will understand) and continued to welcome her and wish her a good morning well after the hour that is acceptable for that kind of thing had passed (that hour being around 3 quarters after waking time more or less, if you didn't know) to which she replied with eloquent displeasure, the kinds of "Hmmmph", "Ngah" and "Aaagh" all of which were quite clearly communicating the message "That's about enough of it, don't you think? Perhaps maybe you could concentrate on your work and let me do mine. How does that sound?"
By the first week even the slower employees in the New York City branch of IMT had a clear picture of who Gwen Reily was and depending on whom you'd ask you'd get the following response: most male colleagues of hers would have said that she is a "curvy bundle of nerves tightly fit into a smoking dress who needs a real man in her life to calm her down" and most female colleagues of hers would have said that she is a "foreign bitch who'd do better to go back to Cardiff or wherever the hell she originally came from".
The prevalent impression of all her co-workers about her social life was that she didn't have any. Between the long hours she was putting in and the fact that she was just as likely to bite your head off, so to speak, as she was to say "hello", they just couldn't imagine her in any acceptable social situation, unless one considered shooting things until they were properly shot and one's gun went "click" a social activity.
Jasmine, on the other hand, was a rather nice girl and a quite efficient secretary, if you asked her. She has had this position ever since she was 23 and has been Mrs Reily's secretary for the past five years, ever since she, Mrs. Reily that is, first came here. She didn't mind the "Hrmphs" and the "Aghs" and she understood that her boss was under a lot of pressure so she made herself present only when needed; when called upon. As far as she was concerned Mrs. Reily was not a bad person to work for. Sure she had her bad days and she was constantly on edge, sure she kept a handgun in her top drawer and her last drawer was full of medication that could have put a sea lion to sleep but she was never unkind. She was never angry AT her, Jasmine understood, she was just angry. In fact the few times that Jasmine needed extra money or some days off to visit and care for her sick mother in New Jersey Mrs. Reily didn't even think about it, she immediately granted the request, some words of consolation (something along the lines of "hang in there Jasmine, girl") and even an awkward pat on the back. That was more than one could say for her previous boss. Mr. Kellen may have smiled a lot and may have always been well behaved and formal but was, when it came down to it, as far from being a kind caring (even in an awkward kind of way) person as, let’s say, a toaster was. With the exception that a toaster would never make subtle passes on you while commenting on how difficult it was for a black woman to find such a good job in today’s market.
We could safely assume that Jasmine liked Mrs. Riley far better than she had liked Mr. Kellen. However, she wasn’t deaf, dumb or blind and knew what the consensus was around in the office. She tried to warn her herself on more than one occasion but Mrs. Riley just ran a long fingered hand through her raven-black hair, not even shifting her gaze away from the papers in front of her and replied “Fuck ‘em, who gives a sodden fig what they fucken think anyway”.
To cut a long story short (too late I hear you saying while rolling your eyes), Jasmine rather liked Mrs. Reily even though she knew she was in the minority and was fully aware of just how solitary the existence she was leading was so it was a pleasant surprise when a man in a grey suit came calling. She had him wait for a few seconds to announce him and make sure Mrs. Riley was expecting him.
She tapped gently on the glass door “Mrs, Riley?”, she said, “There is a Mr. Jeremy here to see you.”
“Go away, Jasmine, I have work to do”, Mrs. Reily half shouted through the door.
As Jasmine turned from the door, Mrs. Reily said “Wait… Jeremy? Walter F. Jeremy?”
“That’s right, Mrs.”
“Send him in, please”
Jasmine was itching with curiosity but she didn’t let on. She had her poker face on while informing Mr. Jeremy that Mrs. Riley would see her.
Walter thanked the secretary and took a deep breath. Gwen wouldn’t like what he had to say. He checked his suit and pushed the door. He stepped in. There she was, resplendent in her red dress and the endless paperwork around her. A frown on her face and a crooked smile reserved for him, he was sure. She hadn’t changed one bit, while he himself was nothing like the man he was all those years ago. “Mrs. Reily” he said. “Gwen, please, Walter”, Gwen replied. “Take a seat”. He did. “Would you like some coffee, maybe?”, she asked. Walter shook his head negatively, “I will be brief”, he said, “we both have a lot in our hands and I’m not here on official business”. Gwen relaxed back in her chair and smiled “So is this a social visit, then? Did you miss me?” Walter took of his hat “Huh… I wouldn’t put it that way.” “Well how would you put it?”, she asked. “See… You know that hotel in Brooklyn that imploded?”. She sipped a sip of coffee from a blue cup with a small yellow fish on it “Yes, I’m aware. How is that relevant to me? Or you for that matter?”
“Well… The word is, it is the work of a group of deviants” Walter was dancing around the subject like an elephant wearing a pink tutu on a frozen lake. “Yes, Walter, I’ve heard the word. I still don’t see how it concerns us. Let the Black Suits or the NSC deal with them. Let the Pharmacopoeists deal with them, for all I care!”
“Well… It doesn’t concern US… per se… but”, Walter was fumbling with something in his pocket. “What? Spit it out, man, come on”, Gwen was becoming impatient. That was not uncommon. It wasn’t good either.
Walter pulled his right hand from his pocket. There was a photograph of a man on it. A man with spiky black hair, eyeliner and a hand rolled cigarette on his lips. “They were seen talking to…” “Nigel Thorn!”, she finished his sentence. “Nigel Thorn”, Walter said wanting to finish his sentence too. “Nigel FUCKING THORN!” cried Gwen a little too loud for that time of the day. “I thought he was in London”, she added in a more calm manner. “Well, get this, he IS”.
Thoughts are a bit like wayward children. If you are not paying attention to them they are guaranteed to get down to mischief. You know, like getting the bathtub to overflow or climbing on top of glass tables and hopping wildly about in what one would generously call dancing, that sort of thing. Gwen’s thoughts, right now, had found an unattended flamethrower someone must have forgotten about and were treating it as if it was a water hose in the midst of August.
Gwen closed her eyes and grasped the bridge of her nose between her right index and her thumb like one does when trying to gather one’s thoughts. She all but whispered “I’m gonna have to shoot someone, won’t I?”
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PostSubject: Re: The End of Times Chronicle   The End of Times Chronicle I_icon_minitimeTue Jul 11, 2017 12:33 pm

The Dragon

New York was cold this year, it was as if the streets of Manhattan were generating grey coldness in an attempt to wipe out the unfortunate and the destitute.
Allison's thoughts briefly reminded her of the homeless man she had scooped up from the streets, 16 years ago to the day, when she was still a resident in the Lower Manhattan Hospital and caught herself wishing for snow. It wasn't right, she knew but she just couldn't help it.
She'd met him again, about 6 years ago, when he returned to New York to add insult to injury. She was in a different boat by then. Josephine had made sure of that.

Josephine... that filthy, horrible cunt...
If someone wanted to personify perversion, manipulation and despair into one single effervescent, ever so cute, petite teenage girl Josephine Bouvier would be what one'd get. How old was she now? She claimed to be in her late teens 16 years ago, so that would make her somewhere in her mid-30's now. She didn't look a day older than 19. Fucking slut.
It was almost impossible to cut through the tangled web of lies that was Josephine Bouvier's, L' Enfant Terrible as she was known among the Hollow ones, life story. But it wasn't just that... Josephine lied as easily as normal people breathe. Mixing up lies with truths was something she must have practiced during her bathtime for the last 30 something years of her terrible existence. She must have lay there awake night after night just staring at the ceiling and fabricating falsehood within falsehood to spew when next she opened her mouth. Hell, I bet she made up stories to pass off as truth while lying on the bed with her legs open and fake orgasming for some poor bastard.
Oh God, how she hated that house wrecking little slit. But she also lusted after her. How the fuck she did do that?
It wasn't that she took her man from her and then rubbed it in her face, it wasn't that she used her and then tossed her aside like a full condom, it wasn't even that she showed her the world for what it really was, full of wonder and magick and then whispered in her ear with that French accent of hers "You cannot ever have that, mon dove." No it wasn't just that. It was that she could not become her. Why couldn't she be Josephine Bouvier? To actually enter her body, wear the skin and be HER. No matter how hard she tried, no matter what she did, it was her to whom her Master always returned.
Her Master was a most kind man, he was patient and soft spoken, something not commonly asociated with House Flambeu. He never spoke harsly to her, he never pointed out her errors in a blatant way, rather letting her arrive to the conclusion herself, he never looked down at her. He never looked at her that way either, even though she wished him to. It's been a long time since Allison fell for a man and when she did, she fell hard.
Her Master... The man who was now sitting opposite her in her kitchen table sipping sweet tea, like they make it in the South where Allison was born and raised. the Dragon he was called in magickal circles. For her he was just Michael.
Michael was smiling, his features bemused as ever and the laughter wrinkles around his eyes standing on attention.
"How can you be amused?", she asked
"Not amused, Allie. Pleased", he answered lowering the brown cup, "pleased with the mellow taste of your tea".
"You should be worried, Master...", she started.
"Allison, please... ", he interrupted her.
"The point is, Michael, you should be preparing to fight, not sitting here drinking tea!", she said, chewing on a badly manicured purple index fingernail .
"Nonsense... I will not fight fellow Traditionalists. I will talk to them and they will see the error of their ways". He was serious now. Calm but not smiling.
"They are not in error, Michael, you have been set up..."
"Set up? By whom?"
"I don't know that", she looked at the floor rug. It didn't offer her any answers.
"Does it matter at this point?", she continued, looking him in the eye. "They will not listen to reason because for all they know you are lying to them and you they will not give you the benefit of doubt because they have been fed false information for some time now."
Allison reached forward and grabbed his hand "Please listen to me", she said strongly, "They will descend upon you like the Crusaders did on the Muslims and they will not stop to listen to you even if you DO tell them that you worship the same God and that you have the same Messiah".
The Dragon met Allison's gaze and cupped her right hand, softly but firmly , "I cannot run", he said, "I cannot abandon New York and I cannot kill my fellow man but you needn't worry they probably just want to talk to me. I will answer all their questions honestly and the will know I am innocent."
"And what will you do if they decide to kill you?"
"Then I will die."
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PostSubject: Re: The End of Times Chronicle   The End of Times Chronicle I_icon_minitimeTue Jul 11, 2017 12:34 pm

The Storyteller becomes a Teacher

The spider had long thin legs. He could take all kinds of spider forms, from tiny little spiderlings to the big black hairy ones but this was by far his favourite. There was something elegant about the long legs and the thin body. He could jump if needed to, quite high, but most of all he liked the way his legs moved, folding and stretching in succession, one following the other like wayward waves at some tree shaded beach.
Nneka had seen him, of course, she was most sensitive when it came to spiders, for that was her special animal.
A lot of people feared spiders but not Nneka. When she was a child she used to let them walk on her hands, admiring them from up close, and she used to catch flies for them. She had mastered the technique of catching them mid-flight alive and unharmed and then throwing them to the web of her favourite household guests.
She no longer did that of course... Her previous boyfriend had accused her that she was now doing the same thing with men but that was unfair. Nneka was neither cruel nor frivolous. She has had only two lovers in her twenty something years, one of them a high school sweetheart, and had mistreated neither. Jimmy had just gotten bored and William, Crypt0, as he was known to most... Well... That was a bit more complicated. It was difficult enough to maintain a steady, healthy relationship in the modern western world. Add a bit of magick to it and it became even more so...
It wasn't uncommon for couples to walk their separate ways over differences in worldview. For sleepers, things like politics, culture or religion often drove a wedge between two hearts, once the infatuation had faded. It wasn't all that different for the awakened, of course, no. Not if you considered how often they fell for one another. But what happened when a Shaman fell in love with a Technomancer?
"Well", she shrugged, "it could have been better, if only he'd listen to me."
"It could have gone worse", signaled the spider, "if he listened to you"
Nneka paid him no mind. Anansi was a Trickster God and the trick was listening all of what he had to say and acting as though you hadn't. There was only one thing that could separate the lies from the truth and that was time. He meant well, of course. Of course, he meant well. It was just his way of helping that was not always very... hm.. helpful.
"What is it you require, Anansi?", she turned toward the small spider putting her coffee on the stained table.
"I require nothing", the spider took three steps back and then moved forward again, "Do not your auditory perceptions work, girl? Has it been that many years since you first bled?", he teased. He turned about facing the door of the expensive studio apartment that she so deliberately and emphatically called "house", for no place can be a home if you cannot touch the dirt outside your front door and cannot give the gift of water to the plants outside your window. There was a gentle scratch on the wood of the front door, a scratch and a "meow"… and a brand new whole world waiting for the sun to rise.
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PostSubject: Re: The End of Times Chronicle   The End of Times Chronicle I_icon_minitimeTue Jul 11, 2017 12:35 pm

The Earth Witch

Everything is falling under my feet.
Did you know?
I tried to be good but every time he was better.
I tried to be true to my lying nature but every time he tangled me out
I have lusted after celibacy time and time again
yet I was never allowed to indulge in restraint.
And now you have come.
You ask who I am.
Who am I?
I am whomever you please.
Whomever he told me to be.
Gather my mites from the ground
bring forth the flame and the air
baptize me in your essence
Never before has an orgasm meant so much
Except, of course, yours.
Save me.
Save me before I forget how to speak again.
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PostSubject: Re: The End of Times Chronicle   The End of Times Chronicle I_icon_minitimeTue Jul 11, 2017 12:35 pm

Two Sisters in Balbrigan

The room was dark; you could make the outlines of the beds only by the moonlight “Invading the room from the window. She was screaming again. Ellen had these terrible nightmares every now and then. They always resulted in a panic attack. Their mother would come and try to calm her down but her efforts were half hearted. Who wanted to get up in the middle of the night by screaming? No one did. Geannie could tell her mother was exhausted. She hugged her daughter with her eyes closed, already longing for the blankets of her bed, wanting nothing more than to go back to her husband’s side. “There, there, Ellen dear”, she said half yawning, “It was just but a bad dream”.
Ellen would calm down a bit and their mother would turn the lights off again and go back to bed.
Geannie knew better of course. Her sister would sit there trembling until exhaustion overtook her and a sleepless slumber would settle upon her.
She climbed up on her sister’s bed. “You alright, sis?”, she asked. She knew she wasn’t, she didn’t wait for her to answer.
“You know”, she said, “I had a wonderful dream before you woke me.”, she caressed her blonde hair, identical to her own. Ellen and Geannie Henderson were identical twins but they were not cut from the same cloth. Ellen was a closed shell while Geannie was a blossoming flower. Ellen liked to read, Geannie loved to dance. It was not uncommon for twins to have different characters, it was quite normal for two siblings to have different interests. No matter their differences, however, both children loved a good story. “I could tell you of my dream if you wanted to”, she said.
“Oh, would you, Geannie? Please?”, asked Ellen. Geannie was a wonderful storyteller and she always had the most fabulous dreams. “Did you dream of the monster in the coin, inside the lake, beneath the mountain?”, she clapped her hands.
“No”, said Geannie, “I dreamt of the story of a knight and a dragon and a woman in a tall tall tower”.
“Ooooh”, said Ellen, “tell me, then. I want to hear”
“Very well.”, Geannie cleared her throat. “Once upon a time…”
“I thought this was a dream, not a story.”, interrupted Ellen.
“Shush”, responded Geannie, “it is a story that I dreamt of. Now listen and don’t interrupt.” Geannie assumed her serious expression again and begun “As I ws saying… Once upon a time there was a good and faithful knight whose name was Sir Augustine, he was stout and brave but he had made some bad decisions in his life and had lost his priesthood”
“I thought he was a knight”, said Ellen
“He was a knight but he used to be a priest”, Geannie retorted
“How?”, asked the wide eyed Ellen
“It doesn’t matter”, answered Geannie, slightly annoyed.
“Well, it must have mattered to him a great deal.” , said Ellen.
“But it doesn’t matter for this story.”, Geannie was getting more annoyed, “Look, do you want to hear it or not?”
“I’m sorry”, said Ellen, “go on.”
“Right”, said Geannie, “So, sir Augustine had an Egyptian horse that many believed was smarter than him and whenever you said the word ‘home’ it would look at the sky, as if trying to see the stars. His smoke-blackened armour was named ‘God’s Grace’ and he had forged a sword from sea water and named his sword ‘Rival’.”
“Did he have a shield, too?”
“Um… Sure, why not?”
“What was that called?”
“It was also called ‘God’s Grace’ for it was part of the same armour, only this one, if properly held in the wind, could sing”
“What did it sing?”
“Ehm… Church quire stuff, mostly”
“Hmph. Boring”
“Yes. Now, Sir Augustine was searching for an old rival of his. The one responsible for him not being a priest anymore”
“He wanted to thank him?”
“Her. And, no, he was looking to kill her, for she was a witch, much much smarter than him and his horse together and she had tricked him nearly completely.”
“She sounds awesome”.
“She is. I mean, she was. So. He was looking for her in the woods and he saw her footprints. He followed them and found them leading to a tall tall tower. Inside the tower was a blonde woman with long long hair and on top of the Tower was a Dragon, big and reptilian and sleeping”
“What colour was he?”
“He was black”
“Ok, go on”
“So he took out his bow, which he had named ‘Born of fire’ and took aim when he noticed the woman.” Geannie paused.
“Well, go on”, said Ellen, “What did he notice about the woman?”
“He noticed the woman was not his adversary”, said Geannie pleased that her story had hooked her sister, “She was one of the Princesses of the Realm!”
“So the Dragon kept her captive.”, surmised Ellen, “perhaps he saved her for a later snack”
“Aye, but here’s the thing”, said Geannie, “that princess, whose name was Nightshade, had already died three months ago. And here she was pretty as the sky and twice as nice, combing her hair on the tower’s window as if there wasn’t a huge black dragon sleeping on top of it”.
“What did the knight do?”
“He lowered his bow, for starters and then he shouted loud enough to be heard but low enough not to wake the dragon”
“That never works”
“And it didn’t. For the Dragon awoke and flew up high to stretch his wings and when he felt good and stretched he landed in front of the knight and his horse and the rest of their companions”
“What companions?”
“Nevermind. I meant his arms and armour”
“You’re odd, Geannie”
“Shut up, you’re odd. It’s part of the story”
“Alright, go on. What did the dragon do? Did it breathe fire on him? Did it swallow him whole in one single gulp?” Ellen turned her head up and made gulping noises.
“Ew…”, said Geannie, “no HE did none of these things.”
“What did he do then? Did he catch him with his talons and fly waaaaaay up high and drop him?”, said Ellen enthusiastically
“No. He talked to him”
“He talked to him”, Ellen said with a flat voice.“Boy, you really know how to kill a good story”
“No, listen, dum dum, he talked to them because he was a clever Dragon and he knew that the knight was hunting down the Witch what tricked him so he thought hey, why can't I trick him as well? He looks like a right buffoon. <<Hail, noble knight>> said the cunning Dragon. <<You talk!>>, remarked Sir Augustine, <<how is it you hold my princess captive who should have been dead for months?>>. In his surprise he had forgotten his query, which was of course the clever pretty Witch."
"Witches aren't pretty", said Ellen, "they have warts and stuff and are, like, older than our nun"
"No, they're not! Witches can look however they want to look and this one was stunningly beautiful and clever and had a smashing taste in clothes"
"You certainly seem sold"
"Shut up. It's my story. Am I allowed to go on, your highness?"
Ellen made a courtsey, "Do go on, humble storyteller"
"Right. So... Where was I?", Geannie put her palm on her chin and looked upward and to the left, "Ah, yes, <<I can talk and I can dance and I can sing>>, said the Dragon, <<for I am not really a Dragon but rather an enchanted Prince whom the Witch has transformed into this hideous fearsome beast because I tried to stand up to her.>> He looked up to the tower <<Your Princess is really my wife and the one that you buried was not her at all but rather a talking doll, one of the Witches puppets>>.
Sir Augustine was flabbergasted. He just couldn't believe his ears and he was about to ask the Dragon how he could help them and whether maybe they needed a ride back into the Castle but his horse neighed as if saying nooooooooo and if the Knight had learned one thing was to listen to his horse. So he drew his sword and told the Dragon <<You trick me not foul spawn of Hell, I shall have your head and I shall free the princess and together we shall speed back in Blackpool castle where we'll feast afore I find the Witch and have her head and feast again>>.
"That was what Dublin was called back then"
"How do you know that?"
"I just do, Ellen, will you please let me finish the story?"
"Whatever, I just hope 'Blackpool' is well stocked; that Knight plans a lot of feasting".
"<<I See>>", said Geannie going straight back into the narrative, "<<The Witch must have bewitched you as well>>, said the Dragon as if trying to justify his actions next. Maybe to himself, maybe to the Princess, we shall never know, for he took flight where no sword could reach him. The Knight fired his arrows but they broke on his thick scaled body and then he breathed fire. And there was nothing left of the Knight and his horse and all his weapons and his armour but ash."
Geannie leaned back smiling her hands crossed in her lap, "Well?", she asked, "Did you like it?"
"That was it?", frowned Ellen, "that was a pretty bleak story".
"True stories tend to be that way", said Geannie, "although it depends on whom you perceive as the hero of the tale".
"What, it wasn't the Knight?", asked Ellen. "You are wrong in the head, sis", laughed Ellen and she lunged on her twin sister tickling her.
There was a moment of joyful playfulness and when it had passed and the girls caught their breaths they lied down because it was still dark outside and drowsiness had gotten the better of them.
"Oi, Geannie", asked Ellen quietly in the dark.
"Mmm?", answered Geannie.
"You mentioned this being a true story.", said Ellen
"I did", replied Geannie
" Did this really happen?", Ellen whispered.
"Not yet", smiled Geannie. "But it will..."
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PostSubject: Re: The End of Times Chronicle   The End of Times Chronicle I_icon_minitimeTue Jul 11, 2017 12:37 pm

Belladonna fucks Meave

"So", said the blonde woman, "how have things been going in my absence?". She was sipping Meave's hot tea, a chocolate chip biscuit in her hand.
"I thought you brought those biscuits for me, Belladonna", said Meave, looking out her window at the children playing, "but, aye, feel free to chug them all in your snout, why don't you?".
"Well, something must have gone terribly wrong", commented Belladonna, "the Meave I used to know never skipped a chance to let me have it".
"Your question is stupid", said Meave never taking her eyes of the children playing football, or some variation of the game, she was never certain, "You were but gone only a few months for us, nothing came tumbling down, don't fret.".
She turned and looked at her, "We persevered without ye", she added, "If that is even you I am talking to".
"Who else might I be?", smiled Belladonna, "don't you recognise me?"
"Aye", said Meave, "you're blonde and busty and dress in the same absence of clothes, you do, but so did the other one".
Belladonna put her cup down and arose from her seat. She was tired of sitting. Now was the time for action. She stretched her arms and took three steps towards the Fire Witch.
"Did the other one know why you're so keen on your sisters' children?", she asked.
"She knew the same you do", said Meave, her voice ever so slightly raised in pitch, as if straining not to shriek at the Earth Witch, "they are our future and I'm the mistress of the caravan. I'm mother to them all".
"Ah", said Belladonna, "are you?"
"I am, Earth Witch", said Meave, irritated now, "what are you getting at? Stop dancing around me like a wee drunken pookah and spit it out!"
"How many of them are there?", she asked, "that you're literally mother to?". She paused. Meave made no answer. "Two, was it?", said Belladonna with two long nailed fingers on her ruby lips.
"I've no wee ones", spat Meave, "stop teasing me like so".
"Teasing, am I?", laughed the Earth Witch, "Fine, then tell me", she continued, "your sisters are raven haired, their husbands are dark, but I look out your window and I see two girls with hair as ginger as the sky at dusk."
"The gene runs in the family", said Meave crossing her hands.
"Deception lies in your family, as well", said the Earth Witch, smiling, "but you don't fool me. I've been talking to the Queen, you see."
Meave looked at her. It was a rare and scary thing to see her surprised. It was like looking at a volcano erupting, only realising how close you were after you've felt the heat singe your hair.
“What, Meave, love”, said Belladonna, “did you think you were the only one of us to have dealings with the Fae?”
“How long have you known?”, asked Meave, her tone was subdued like a flame in a winter forest.
“Ever since you hid your second one”, gloated Belladonna, “the one you had with that Englishman who pretends to be Greek nowadays. Molly was it?”. She pondered this for a second. “Does he know?”, she asked.
Meave shook her head. “No one knows”.
“True to his name, that one. Wouldn’t know his own flesh and blood if it came up to him and bedded him.” She lit a cigarette. “Would you like to keep it that way, darling?”, she asked all smug and distant.
“You know I would, bitch”, said Meave. The anger in her voice was like a hot current in a cold river, “What is it you want? I suppose you wish me to vouch for you.”
“Aye”, said Belladonna mocking Meave’s heavy accent. She approached the Red Witch and put her hand under her brown dress. “I’ve got you by your ginger cunt, now haven’t I?”, she said doing just that.
“State your wish and be done with it, horned one”, said Meave, not flinching to her touch.
“You’ve guessed two of my three wishes, already”, she said, her fingers exploring like thirsty animals. “I am of lust”, she sighed in her ear, “and how long has it been since you’ve lain with me?”
“Three years, give or take”, said Meave, catching her breath. The Horned Witch was the best at what she did and what she did was carnal.
“And you thought that the real me would have left you and your husband unloved for three whole years?”, she said moving her other hand on Meave’s eager breast. She kissed her neck. “How could you have ever believed such an impostor”, she asked smiling.
Meave didn’t answer with words. She turned about and took her lips to hers. “You sing the song”, she thought, “let’s see if you can still dance the dance”.
It wasn’t that she was easily seduced. She wasn’t.
She didn’t long to hear her cries of pleasure, she longed to hear her silence.
It didn’t matter the price.
She’d pay.
Any mother would.
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PostSubject: Re: The End of Times Chronicle   The End of Times Chronicle I_icon_minitimeTue Jul 11, 2017 12:38 pm

Love and Power

“And so, you were right again”, said the blonde woman with the wide eyes.
“Come now, my dear”, said the man who was not the man he seemed, “have I ever been wrong? How could you have doubted me”
The woman shrugged. “I didn’t doubt you”, she said, “I was merely afraid. I…”, she hesitated. It was difficult for her to express her feelings after what had been done to her. Michael was not Gabriel, of course, she knew that. Michael was an angel of a man, Gabriel was a degenerate libertine whom she hoped never to see again. And yet why was he still in her thoughts? Why was he lingering? Like a persistent virus or a cockroach infestation, she just couldn’t seem to get rid of him. “I can’t lose you”, she said finally. Trust was vital. She trusted Michael. He was honest and true and he wouldn’t brutalise her heart like Gabriel had done.
She hugged herself. New York was cold this winter but it wasn’t that cold that was bothering her, her mentor’s apartment was quite warm. It was the cold inside her. How could he not see?
“You will not lose me, sweet Alison”, said Michael, “I’m not going anywhere”. He got up and returned with a freshly poured whiskey. The ice cubes inside were melting slowly, surrendering to the heat like an outnumbered platoon facing an inevitable and overwhelming annihilation.
“And what if she summons you? Will you not go there?”, she asked taking the drink from his hand before the troops were all on their knees, hands in the air.
“Of course, I will”, he said pouring an Irish whiskey for himself, no ice, just a bit of water to bring out the taste. It was how he had done it in his youth, back in the old country, and old habits died hard. “I promised as much. You know I am a man of my word”.
“How then?”, said Alison. She couldn’t understand. “How will you be here if you go to Dublin? How will you stay with me if you go to your student…”
“She’s not my student”, said Michael taking a sip of the amber fluid.
“How will you answer the summons of that cold, hard woman”, Alison continued as if not having been interrupted, “and still be here with me?”
Michael lowered the glass and put his palm on her cheek. His hand was calloused, big and strong, it wasn’t the hand of a University Professor, it was the hand of a farmer. And yet his touch was soft, as if he was aware of how strong he was and taking care. He was handling a snowflake.
This man had tamed the land. He dug from dawn to dusk with nay but a pint of milk and a glass of water. Strong legs had put their full weight between the shovel and up the good peat came, deeper and deeper into the earth he had gone, until he made a lake of a hole and filled it with his sweat. Good honest water where small silvery fishes came to play and prawn migrated from the sea judging the water salty enough. And now he was here, his hand softly on her cheek, brushing a lonely salty tear, like a father consoling his only daughter from the darkness. “Because I shall take you with me, my little pet”, he said, his voice soft and low as if he was afraid someone might hear him. Someone might try to stop him.
She withdrew from his hand. “And what of our work here, then?”, she asked, “Am I to cease my activities in New York”?
“No”, he said leaning back. It wouldn’t do to give Alison too much affection. She was hungry, he knew, but his plans were dependent on her starving. She just had to have enough. No more. Give her more and she would have stopped being effective, give her less and she would stop working altogether. “Not cease them. I mean, the Union could surely use a temporary transfer in Dublin, no? A doctor of your caliber? You’d be welcomed with open hands, my dear”. He sipped another sip and smiled. “You worry too much, Alison”, he added when he saw her frown. She had done much research here, too much progress. He himself would rather she stayed put. He’d rather take his daughter with him, he would, but Alison was a useful pawn and, unlike most of his pawns, she did require maintenance. “You forget”, he added pouring a bit more drink into his glass, “I know people in Dublin”.
“You do?”, she asked emptying her glass.
“I do”, he said, “especially on your side of the table”.
“But we would leave New York unattended”, Alison said, ever the worrier.
“Would we now?”, asked Michael, “Les Enfants Perdus would beg to differ”.
“Hmph, they are but children! Orphans! How could they possibly keep the city in check?”, she said disdainfully. Always with the dang Lost Children and that terrible little Josephine. Oh how she wished he’d do away with that horrible little vicious group. Alison simply couldn’t understand how he trusted them. Why he kept them around, yeah, that she understood. Josephine Bouvier was one hell of a lay, she was ashamed to admit it now but she had found out first hand. Surely, though, fucking was a completely different thing than running an entire city, wasn’t it? Well it’d better be, otherwise what was the use of working on her project and pretending and betraying her Convention and plotting with the man they called the Dragon for the better of the City. What was the fucking use if she could have just achieved balance and peace just by flashing her tits and sucking cock?
“Perhaps you should”, said Michael.
“I’m sorry?”, she asked perplexed.
“I said you’ve never actually talked to them”, said Michael smiling widely, “Perhaps you should”. He took out a cigarette and started fiddling with it. “you might find”, he added, “that they are quite more mature than what they let on”.
“Yeah, mature like rotten meat, mature”, she thought but said instead, “I would rather not, if it’s all the same to you. I’ve had just about enough of L’enfant terrible as I could possibly manage” she did a little theatrical drama gesture as she spoke the name, her right hand wrist down on her upturned forehead, “I’m not about to waste my precious time on those insignificant little runts unless I want to write a diatribe on sex, drugs and rock n’ roll”.
“I believe they call it Goth Rock”, said Michael, ever the scholar.
“I don’t care if they call it Come-and-do-me-up-the-ass-rock!”, Alison practically screamed, “I’m. Not. Talking. To them”. This wasn’t like her, thought Michael, she was a calm person. He had very rarely, if ever, seen her fly off the handle. It was his daughter, he knew. Josephine was making her irritable. He liked that. He could use it in the future. His little Josephine was such an ace in the sleeve. He could use her to get the better of so many different men in power in so many different places. New York, Dublin, London, Athens. He just had to handle her correctly (she was a bit on the unpredictable side and she cared fuck-all for him, deep inside) and he just had to have timing. Achieving power was just like good comedy, it was all about timing. In a way, one could have said good comedy was power. Or rather power was a comedy. The man who was called Dragon laughed at this. Power was comedy only in regard as to how much he loved it. He looked at his sweet, broken, pretty, innocent, little Alison. Ah, how much that Greek bastard, bless him, must have hurt her to have her fly straight into the mouth of the Dragon, so to speak. He laughed at this. He liked what he just did there. “Don’t worry”, he said, “as long as you are under my wing”, “my black scaly wing” he thought, “you will never, ever, have to do anything you do not want to do”. That was true. The Dragon never forced anyone to do what they didn’t want to. He forced them to need doing the things that needed to be done. That was loyalty. That was comedy. That…
That was power.
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PostSubject: Re: The End of Times Chronicle   The End of Times Chronicle I_icon_minitimeTue Jul 11, 2017 12:39 pm

The Return

Meave held on to her husband like he was a childhood dream, her arms around his giant frame, her fiery orange hair deep in his neck. There was wetness on his chest, he realised. She was sobbing.
Man, what was going on? It’s not that she was cruel, insensitive or devoid of emotion, not in the least, she was a firestorm of emotions and he was usually the one who had to keep a clear head and steer her in the right direction, but crying?
Yeah, alright, sometimes she cried tears of joy or because she was so angry that crying was the alternative to broken bones and things going up in flames. Water instead of fire, sometimes it worked. And yeah she did cry tears for sadness, every now and then. When she lost her first child, for instance, or when Amadan had to leave with that cute little English thing called Nathalie. She cried, alright, just rarely and never in public. Always hiding. Sometimes even from him, as if she was afraid he would no longer respect her, or even worse, stop loving her. As if she was some Deity up on a pedestal and he loved her out of woe. Didn’t she know? He didn’t love her out of woe, fear, or need. He just loved her. Like she was. A red headed woman with tiny breasts and a character that better fitted some mythical heroine. Medb or Boudica, perhaps.
This was different though, these were tears of relief.
Why relief? What had happened? He had just gone for stroll, hadn’t he? It was pretty cool how he had stumbled upon her student and they’d all gone back together but…
He paused.
Her student.
She had kissed him. He had a faint memory of dancing with her, his eyes browsing the top of her breasts as they bounced in rhythm to… what was that song? It was somehow stuck in his head, now, a jig it would seem. And she had danced with him. He had grabbed her by the waist, although that was not the proper way to dance it, and she had… flirted. Oh that little minx. She had flirted like her life depended on it and then she had kissed him. It was strange. It’d felt like Meave had kissed him, somehow, although the difference was obvious now. Meave was aggressive, like a Red Kite swooping on a rabbit, this one was more like a wave caressing a child by the shore. Timid, uncertain but with the lingering promise of danger.
“My husband”, she sobbed, “my precious grά”. She looked up at him. It pained him to see those green pools of determination overflowing like the lakes in November.
“I’m here, wife”, he said with that strong voice he knew she loved so much, “I’m not going anywhere”. He took her in his arms, tighter than before. “I just went for walk, is all”.
“No, ceile”, she said, calming down now, “you didn’t go anywhere, I gave you”.
What was it with the Gaelic, all of a sudden? Meave almost never used them and… wait. What was that, again?
“You gave me?”, laughed Liam, “Gave me to whom? And as what? A gift, am I?”
“It doesn’t matter, husband, not now”, she said in a hurry, tearing herself from him and wiping her eyes dry with the sleeve of her brown dress. She spoke too much. She shouldn’t have.
“It doesn’t matter that you gave me to someone like a cheap rag doll?”, he asked, “I beg to differ, wife”.
“It was her fault”, Meave said. She was moving frantically now, pointing her hand, like an arrow made of accusation, towards the trolley door.
“Whose fault was it that YOU gave me?”, asked Liam. It was always someone else’s fault, wasn’t it?
“Emily”, she said, “she stumbled upon my grandfather and made him turn the world on its head”
“I see”, said Liam, “although I still don’t understand the relevance”.
“Don’t you see?”, she asked, “I had to strike a deal. I had to restore her mistake. Should I have let our world fade into nothing? Would you have me turn my back on the Isles? Nay, the world?”
“Of course not”, he said, “I’m just curious what sort of deal involved me as a gift and why can’t I remember any of it”.
Meave bit her lip. She put her hands around his neck and jumped in his lap, her legs grasping his rear and shoving his pelvis toward her. “We can talk about that later”, she said, her tone leaving no doubt as to what she had in mind, “for I’ve missed you greatly and wish to make up for lost time”.
He let her down gently. “No, love”, he said, “I am prepared to make you tea, if you like, but that is as far as I’ll go ‘til you’ve told me”.
Meave’s face became a cloudy sky, all shadow and frown. It was an act, of course. The angry witch. Let him know who’s wearing the trousers, so to speak. “Is that what you’ve told the Queen when she wanted to fuck you?”, she snapped. She jumped back in surprise. That was not what she had meant to say. Where had the words come from?
“The Queen?”, asked Liam. He seemed to remember a Queen now that she mentioned her. She had been sleek and slim and relentless. She was a predator, her hair changing with the weather and her eyes ever blue. Small, firm breasts he seemed to recall, that tasted like peaches and a cunt full of honey. Why did he have such intimate knowledge of such an alien being? And then he knew. “No”, he said, “you… how could you have done that to me?”. To have such a free spirit as Liam enslaved, to have him forced to slave to what he freely gave of his own free will. What he held precious was not the act itself but rather the freedom of using one’s body as one liked. It was heinous.
“It was Emily, sweet Liam”, Meave said, “she was the one who dragged us into this”.
“It was you that handed me to that… voracious woman”, said Liam, “not Emily”.
“I had no choice, don’t you see? She wouldn’t accept anything else for what I asked of her”.
“T’was still wrong”, said Liam, “t’was still cruel”.
“Can you not forgive me, then?”, asked Meave, her voice trembling. She was rarely afraid the Cruel Tinker Witch. Very rarely. She was afraid now. It was like arguing with a part of your body, like having your liver angry at you and fearing it might just up and leave. That’s what it was like, although Liam was more than just a liver, he was her heart, her brain, her soul. Maybe she should have said those things and maybe it would have mattered.
Then again, maybe not.
“Not yet, not now, I cannot”, he said and put on his coat to shield himself from the cold outside. Nothing could have been done about the other one, the one that numbed him from within. Meave cried his name but he deafened himself and walked as fast as he could. He didn’t know where he was going, it didn’t matter, he just knew where he didn’t want to be.
Meave slammed the door good and true and crouched her back against it. Her eyes welled up again. She had made such a fine mess of it, hadn’t she?
But, no. It wasn’t her fault. It was Emily’s. She did this, not her.
She gathered herself and wiped her tears. “I should have counted them”, she muttered, “because that is the exact amount of tears I’m going to extract from you, fair Emily, even if I have to wait out your lifetime, I will. This I promise.”
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PostSubject: Re: The End of Times Chronicle   The End of Times Chronicle I_icon_minitimeTue Jul 11, 2017 12:39 pm

Amanda knows what colour your underwear is

She was not in a really good mood. Then again she rarely was.
She didn't mind the mistrust, she had come to expect that. She didn't mind how some of the girls implied she played favourites with their leader, it wasn't entirely untrue, although their assumptions about why were mistaken.
What she did mind was how they spoke of her as if she was some sort of distant, cold woman who viewed them as mere pawns. That was unfair. She was just as human as they were. She had her weaknesses just like every other human being. It was her position. She was a Judge and a leader, it was her duty to be impartial, fair and just. She wasn't allowed to let her emotions cloud her judgment, she couldn't sabotage what she knew was good solid strategy which would yield results because of her feelings.
She was the Scale of Dublin, the Keeper of the Trinity Library, the Guardian of the Book of Kells. She was only allowed to be a woman in the shadow of those things.
She knew some of the other Masters respected her, of course. Some even cared. They understood what sort of sacrifices she has had to make to hold the city together. Meave certaintly held her in high regard, no matter what harshness might explode out of her mouth. Amanda understood it was Meave's way to talk harshly, but it was not her words that mattered, it was her actions. And Meave's actions have always been supportive of Amanda. Meave, the Tinker Witch, always asked Amanda's advice and she always warned her of impending danger. If that wasn't respect, friendship even, then what was? Sure, there was a rivalry there. But it was a friendly rivalry. Deep down Amanda missed Meave greatly when she was not in Dublin. The rivalry was part of the fun.
And Professor Barnaby, bless him, has always been supportive and cooperative. Always with a kind word and a warm cup of tea, even though the making of said tea might accidentaly cause a temporary rift in the time/space continuum if he wasn't careful and even though the ingredients of the tea itself might have been used to completely different roles up until then. Stripping paint and sea floating came to mind, for instance.
Her third closest ally was the Irish Rover, of course. He was the reason she wasn't just quite as ''starved'' as it was thought. He had a thing for older women. Which was fine. She didn't mind younger men. Although you did have to train them. But that was beside the point, the Adept was ever vigilant and ever helpful. There were but a few things going on in the city that escaped his attention but it couldn't be helped. To have him expand his network would have been risky and it would have required stealth, subterfuge and other skills which her part time lover lacked. She couldn't allow him to risk it. No. She was not an unfeeling cold bitch, no matter what Mistress Belladona or Master Aurelius might think. She was just a woman who had three times the responsibilities of any other Master in Dublin and not only did she manage it, she managed it good.
The phone in her hands rang one more time before a steady voice with an American accent answered it. "This is Michael Smith speaking"
"Professor Smith", she said smiling, "This is Amanda McInnerny from Dublin. I hope I haven't caught you at a bad time"
The man who was known as the Dragon paused. "Uhm... No, not at all", he said, "it is a pleasure hearing your lovely voice again Professor McInnerny. To what do I owe the pleasure?"
"I 've realised there was so much more I wanted to talk to you about, since last we spoke Professor", she said adjusting the tea cup in front of her so as to have the little blue and red boats drawn on the ceramic facing towards her, the handle facing her right hand, "and I was thinking, taking into account your busy schedule, of course, that perhaps it would be best if we talked face to face".
"Professor McInnerny...", the Dragon began.
"Please call me Amanda", said Amanda.
Oh she was good, wasn't she? She was using his own tactic. Was it because their mind worked the same way, or was it because she was making a show of information, and therefore a show of strength? Letting him know she knew by deploying the same tactics. That wasn't wise of her. The Dragon didn't fear strength. He would have been cunning and subtle about it and so should she if she wanted to win against him. But she did grab his attention. That she did, there was no doubt. He had to know. He had to meet her up close and personal and appraise her, weigh her. Was she a worthy adversary or a girl child wearing a plastic crown? Would she become a worthy ally or just another pawn to be sacrificed when the need arose? Perhaps she was none of these things and he would just pass her by, but he had to know. He had to meet her.
"Amanda", said the Dragon, "there is very little in this world that would give me greater pleasure at this particular time. I will make haste and arrange my trip forthwith."
"Professor", said Amanda stirring her tea with a silver spoon, "I have taken the liberty of arranging your plane tickets. I hope that it wasn't too forward of me. Would you like me to e-mail you the flight details?"
She did what? There used to be a thing called ''at your earliest convenience'' but apparently Amanda McInnerny was not one to concern herself with how inconvenient she made you while getting her way. He actually began to feel amused. He liked her, he realised. She was brutal, cold, calculating and intelligent. They would get along just fine.
"That would be splendid", he said, "do you have my e-mail?"
"I'm assuming you are going to give it to me", she said
"I'm going to give it to you, alright" he thought. "Of course, I will" he replied and slowly divulged his electronic address in a clear voice.
"Well, then, that is grand", said Amanda, "see you Thursday, then. I just can't wait".
"That makes two of us", said the Dragon.
The line went dead and Amanda spoke into the phone, "Did you get that, Rover?"
"I did. Sending e-mail now", replied the Irish Rover.
She hung up and straightened herself on her chair. She drank a small sip of her black tea and looked at the small silver spoon.
There, in the silver, was St. George, riding on his horse, lance pointed and deadly, slaying the Dragon.
Amanda smiled and took a deeper sip.
She knew what had to be done.
She was ready.
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PostSubject: Re: The End of Times Chronicle   The End of Times Chronicle I_icon_minitimeTue Jul 11, 2017 12:39 pm

The most dangerous couple in Dublin

The glass was half empty. It was a tall colourless glass containing a colourless liquid, the only remarkable feature about it being the concentric circles on its surface. The woman with the long black hair took the glass in her right hand and took a small sip. She loved the taste of Tsipouro. She had missed it. It reminded her of her home country where she used to indulge in this small pleasure every single night. Nowadays she only drank when she was in a certain mood.
Her name was Aggeliki Antoniou but everyone here called her Angie. She didn’t mind. It reminded her of that Rolling Stones song a highschool sweetheart used to sing to her. That was before she killed him, of course.
You wouldn’t know it by looking at her, her lithe frame and slim hands would probably fool you, but this was the most dangerous woman in Dublin.
Oh, certainly, Amanda could get you killed while planning and plotting her little plots and, of course, Meave was the one with the image of the angry, furious fire but that was mostly an act. Aggeliki was the one who had the most blood on her hands. She was the one who had done the darkest and dirtiest things that needed to be done. She was still doing them, just not for the same reasons.
You wouldn’t see her coming, this one, you wouldn’t even have time to be afraid but if indeed she decided to come after you, being afraid would not serve you in the least.
Her eyes were kind, she had one of those cute sweet faces that make men trust you and women like you. She was not the sex bomb that Belladonna was, she didn’t have Meave’s dominating presence and she sure as hell didn’t exert her will the way Amanda did. No. Her way was one of gathering information, asserting, understanding, judging and executing. She had been trained for stealth and subterfuge by the best. Just not the best of the side she was currently working for.
She did miss Athens. She didn’t miss her old allies at all. She missed her old master even less. Sometimes she found herself wondering what ever may have happened to her old colleagues in the N.W.O. She never really liked them, of course, they were just pawns. Then, like now, she was just gathering information and feeding it back to her true allies. It was just curiosity.
Who knows what might have happened to her – to the world – if Sean hadn’t come along? Sean Fidgpatrick, her husband was, potentially, the most dangerous man in Dublin. He could, literally, kill you with his bare hands, if he was so inclined. He never was, though.
He had come seeking for her all the way from Dublin to Athens without really knowing what he was looking for. His soul knew. And her soul knew it as well, as soon as she first laid eyes on him.
True love, being one’s soul mate, it was a powerful thing. Powerful enough to transcend ethnicity, sexual preference and even Paradigm. He had dragged her to salvation, he had found her in a deep pit, laughing manically while smearing herself in her own shit and the guts of the innocents and had brought her out into the light, he made her clean, he made her sane. He had offered redemption to someone who wouldn’t have normally been able to be redeemed.
It was an old story. That was 13 years ago and now here they were, almost 40, married, happy and with a son to fill their days with joy.
But joy was a fleeting thing nowadays. Dublin was in trouble and it needed their help.
They disagreed about how to go about it of course, they always did. They seemed to disagree about just about everything. Sean said “white” she said “black”, she said “Yin”, Sean said “Yang” and usually he got to get his way, pig headed stubborn mule that he was, but every once in a while she’d get hers as well.
Of course, while Sean was (you’d think) physically unable to lie, Angie was more than capable. She was an excellent liar. She was one of those liars who made the truth sound unlikely, if they had a mind to. It wasn’t just once or twice that she’d agree with him just to cease the arguing and then go on and do what she wanted to do in the first place. She knew better. Sean believed that every life is sacred and that a lifetime should only be ended by old age. Naturally. Angie believed that some life threads needed to be cut without asking too many questions.
Child molester? Sean said “Imprisonment and psychiatric evaluation”, Angie said “Castration and knife in the abdomen”
Murderer? Sean said “A fair trial”, Angie said “Knife in the neck”
Rapist? Sean said “Prison”, Angie said “Knife in the balls”
She paused and sipped a bit of her drink. “Mmm”, she thought, “I do go a lot with the knife, don’t I?”. She did, and she’d be damned if she deprived it of delivering its fair justice. It was her duty, her way of paying back her debt, he didn’t have to know about it. “Let him maintain his moral superiority while I take out the trash”, she thought.
“Oh, you’re upset”, Sean said coming back inside after having taken out the trash, “or sad. Or both”. He sat next to her and began massaging her tense shoulders. “Wanna talk about it?”
She looked at him. He was a plain man with a clean shaven face and glasses and yet to her he was the most handsome man in the universe. For him she had taken the taint, to save his soul, so many lifetimes ago, damning herself. For him she had betrayed Belfegor and the Cult of Forbidden Knowledge. For him she had come to Dublin, a foreign city in a foreign land. For him she had taken on the scariest of all adversaries : his ex. In this case Sean’s ex-lover was Master Aurelius, he (like her) was a Euthanatos. It would seem her soul mate had a type. Aurelius, however, was more scared of her than she was of him but that might have been because she was never scared. Well, almost never.
“Come on, tell me”, he insisted when he sensed she was reluctant to tell him, his grip becoming tighter, “you know you can tell me anything”.
“I know, loveling…”, she said patting his hand, “ah a little to the left, would you?”. He obliged. “It’s just unsettling”, she said finally, cringing “all this business, all this mess we’re in.”
“Mess?”, said Sean, “you mean Belladonna returning from the dead or Meave going about interrogating us as if she was you?”
“She’s doing what?”, asked Angie.
“She’s visiting the Masters asking them all sorts of questions”, answered Sean, “as if searching for more Fallen ones”
“More”, sighed Angie, “that is one of the problems, isn’t it? As if it wasn’t enough that they had escaped my attention she’s rubbing it in my face now.”
“Ok”, said Sean stopping and sitting next to her, “first of all it wasn’t your fault, they were being sheltered and secondly I don’t think that is her intention, she is not being disrespectful”.
Angie looked at him, “Not being disrespectful? Meave? Have you met the kariola;»
“Now, now”, said Sean, “there’s no need for that sort of language”. It was common practice in their house to swear in Greek now that they had a young son to raise. Sean, however, was worried he would pick up the swear words. After all he was learning the language pretty quick.
“She is telling me I fff…. suck”, she chewed back the swear word, “I’m not good at what I am doing is what she is telling me and you know what’s the worst part?”. She softened, her kind eyes troubled. “The worst part of it is that she might be right.”
“Nonsense”, said Sean, “you are the Blade of Dublin, Aggeliki Antoniou of the Golden Chalice, Hunter of the Fallen, Protector of the Weak, you have always been and always be the most feared woman in Dublin”.
“Ah, once, maybe”, said Angie wanting to hear more praise. It made her feel better even if it did only come from her soul mate. “I was once young and blessed with wings”, she continued, paraphrasing one of the songs she loved, “but now my wings are broken and burnt and I can no longer fly”.
“You never actually could”, joked Sean, “you just sort of hovered about”.
“Stop it”, she said hitting him jokingly on the head, “I was fearsome, I was.” She looked at him, her sweet husband, the light to her darkness, the Yang to her Yin, the Mercy to her Ruthlessness. It was his fault, he had made her soft, he had made her happy and therefore he had dulled her blade. For that she was thankful.
“What would you do”, she asked, “if you lost me?”
“I’d look for you”, he said, “I’d find you again”.
“No, I mean, ‘lost’ lost me”, she explained, “What would you do if I died?”
“I would look for you in the next life”, he answered. What was this all about? Was she feeling insecure, all of the sudden? “Why?”, he asked, “What would you do if you lost me?”
“I would die”, she answered.
She kissed him. Sean took her head in his hands and kissed her deeper, his left hand, (his good hand) finding its way to her small firm breasts. Everything was good in the world, everything was in its right place. They would sort it out, together, for what was there that they couldn’t, if they did it together? The answer was: nothing.
Nothing at all could stop them.
They were, after all, the most dangerous couple in Dublin.
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