Time: Morning - Present Day
Location: Carrie’s Apartment, Lost Haven
Metal rang harsh in Berenice’s ears as her talons gripped tightly onto familiar rails. She felt very
imbalanced from the extra weight of the passengers she was carrying. While the morning was dawning, and the air was just barely reaching normal summer temperatures for Maine, Berry was already sweating. Partially from nervousness, partially from heat, she supposed. But a good portion was holding so many other heat sources, who were already
scattering from her body to check and make sure no observers were watching, and no alarm systems were tripped.
Berenice’s conscious mind had no idea any of this was happening. She had made it to her friends house, and felt moderately secure now. But it was so early, and she knew from the children's stories that humans didn’t wake up with the dawn all that often. Worried that she might have arrived too early, Berry panicked slightly, and decided to announce her presence the way the Sallyman had taught her in their short time together, and mimicked the call of a cockerel.
At the shrill sound of a rooster cawing, Berenice was met with a chorus of barks, birdsong, meows, and then angry neighbours shouting various forms of ‘shut up!’ On the other side of the door Carrie scrambled out of bed tripping over a pile of laundry, quietly trying to calm all her various pets. The locks on the door clicked, two black noses poked out from the wedge of the open door pushing out to see who was there. The black lab and wiener dog woofed and snorted happily up at Berenice. Carrie cracked her eyes open then a grin soon followed at the sight of the Siren. Oscar, the raven flew to Carrie’s shoulder corking in greeting as well.
“Berry! I’m surprised but come in! Come in!” She shuffled back from the door opening it wide.
Distinct thumping from neighbours below, got a few stomps back from Carrie with a ‘Sorry!’ She was in a purple hoodie and pajama shorts. Her long brown hair was in the messiest of buns. Inside her apartment the living room where most of the pets had a home, a big bookshelf held various books relating to magic with knick knacks for decoration, protection. Beyond the pet smell, the smell of sage was present. Crystals of various type sat in a pewter bowl in the window catching the morning sun, recharging. Down the hallway the lights for all the fish tanks were off, Carrie backed up as much as she could stepping on a squeaky dog toy as she did.
The middle of the living room floor had been cleared with a few open books, one of the cats had claimed it for her bed. A glass was full of old black feathers, while a wooden bowl was full of ash.
“Don’t mind the mess, please. I had been up late last night performing a protection rite and it was a doozy.” She said patting her leg to call the dogs back inside.
The siren stepped awkwardly through the entry, trying to ignore the violent abuses to the floorboards her friend was making. She wasn’t at all certain that was normal behaviour, but this was only her third time inside a building, so she didn’t really have a reference to make yet. She felt oddly tickling sensations as her stowaways immediately abandoned her plumage and scattered into the apartment in as secretive a way as they could manage. Berenice did her part to help by shuffling from talon to talon, blocking the view of the various animals, which was no small task itself.
Carrie had used words she knew the meanings of, but in an odd pattern, and cocked her head to the side as she finally settled down, using her left hand to preen a few tangled feathers. This caused her to notice that her shirt was coated in blood again, and some it was black instead of red. The monster had been flinging gore about quite a bit in its throes, it seemed. She pulled off the shirt without a care for propriety she still didn’t understand and began dabbing bits off of herself. I will have to go for a dive and bath later. No chance with the clan on me.
Sunheart dodged nimbly around the effort of taking off the shirt, then looked horribly embarrassed as she realised what Berry had done, hissing into her companion’s ear, ”Great Bird! You should not expose yourself! The Big Folk hate naked skin!”
Berenice muttered a grumbly response as she busied herself, then realised that Carrie might be concerned about the blood. She looked up again, grinned her sharp-toothed grin, and said, ”It is okay, this is not mine. What is a rite?”
Carrie scratched Oscar’s head, rightly not missing the blood on her shirt. “That’s a relief, but who does it belong to? I thought we’d be meeting you at your nest, Charlie at the very least was planning to.” Carrie went over to Oscar’s perch letting him climb on, stifling a yawn. “Are you thirsty? I can get you another shirt.”
The dogs padded over to Berenice sniffing her up and down, their tails wagging happily. The cats seemed to be preoccupied with something else entirely. Oscar corked at Berry for attention as well. Berenice warbled off a greeting to Oscar in his own language while she tried to keep the dogs from licking her shirt, yet give them head pats at the same time. She was not at all sure the stuff from the monster was safe for them, or even her. Thankfully, they seemed perfectly fine with just getting petted distractedly. Sunheart kept her position at the nape of the siren’s neck, hiding in her hair as much as possible. It was far too exposed to the dogs to try and rejoin her clan mates, one of whom was now giving her the all clear signal from a back corner of the living room. ”Oh. I do not have a nest anymore. The monster and those men destroyed it.”
She held up the stained shirt and pointed at the appropriate bits while speaking. ”This is from one of those men in black clothes that shot at me and the sword girl Eva, and this is from the monster that Sebastian sent after me. It smelled awful and was made of dead bodies.”
She paused as her belt shifted and the photograph she had stolen from the detective fluttered to the ground. She picked it up and held it out to Carrie. ”And then, when I was on my way into the city, I stopped by a bridge to fish, and a police man with a long coat stopped and tried to arrest me because I am missing.”
She screwed up her face in concentration, trying to piece together what information might be helpful and what might be useless human garbage.”He said something about this girl missing and a bad wizard stole her and turned her into me? Or the police man thinks so. It was all very confusing and he talked for so long. But then I got away and we ate and slept and then I am here!”
She beamed, proud of herself for giving so concise a response. It had included even bits that Carrie might not know!
Carrie blinked, looking pained then she waved her hand about. “That sounds great, I need coffee stat if I’m going to keep up with this. I’ll get you some water too, let’s shuffle over to the kitchen.” And shuffle she did, mumbling over what Berenice had told her. When they all moved to the small kitchen, Carrie gestured for Berry to sit at the small two seat breakfast bar. She flicked on the electric kettle, preparing a cup of instant coffee. While it boiled, she fumbled past some of the clutter grabbing a pencil and notepad. She held up her hand asking, “Can I see that picture again, please?”
The grey tabby cat followed on Carrie’s heels, climbing up to the breakfast bar staring intently at Berry’s head where Sunheart was trying to hide. Her tail swooped back and forth with interest. She received some pets from Carrie, distracting her briefly from Sunheart. “What’re you looking at, Mary?”
Berry followed and flapped once to help her jump onto the seat she was directed to, causing a mild stir in the animals, but since they knew her, they did not panic like food. She slid the photograph along the bartop and then glanced at the cat, at the same time wincing at the pinching sensation as Sunheart heard Carrie’s comment and then crawled up into the tangled mess of Berenice’s hair. The little woman was breathing hard, and apparently was not
a fan of either the attention or cats, but Berry could do little to help her without giving her away. She folded her wings close in and tucked her head in, roosting up as if she was going to sleep, which obscured the back of her head from view.”I am not sure how he got my face, or why this Gloria Adams has it. Is this some sort of magic too, Carrie?”
Berenice’s voice took on a slightly pleading tone. It was clear she was talking about the way the image of her face was on the paper, not how someone else would look like her. At least she thought so. After all, just pointing at the picture would illustrate that clearly, yes?
Carrie peered at the picture, holding it up to compare the two. She sucked in her bottom lip to chew on. It was eerie, having evidence of the before and after such a thing. It sent shivers along her arm. She placed the photo back down, shuffling back to the kettle to pour some hot water. She grabbed a glass of water for Berenice as well. “Let me get this straight, so a police officer - a detective had come up to you with this photo and said you were missing? You’ve been wearing the circlet right? He didn’t see you as you normally are?”
Carrie blew over her coffee, she was concerned. Having the authorities involved would make all this more complicated. Lifting the veil on their secrets to a stranger would be a disaster. “We can trust each other to keep secrets but strangers can’t be trusted. Magic secrecy is how we survive.” Carrie stressed, a lesson drummed into her by her coven and family. The monster that attacked her nest, what of it? Who was this sword girl? Carrie wrapped her hands around her mug. She wished Charlie were here, maybe she could visit her later to check in.”Yes I was wearing the circle. See?”
She retrieved the item from her belt and gently placed it atop her head. Now disguised again, with ‘combed’ hair and with her eagle eyes and teeth covered up, she looked precisely
like the girl in the photo once more, sitting calmly at the bar instead of perching like a gargoyle. ”But then he took a picture of me with his phone thing, and I think he saw my wings on that. And then he talked for a while. I think he wanted to send to photo to the girls mother? I do not know. It was all very confusing.”
As she spoke, Berry reached up as subtly as she could, ostensibly scratching at the back of her neck. It took a few seconds for Sunheart to catch on to her plan, but then she hopped into the siren’s hand and curled into a fetal position as fingers wrapped around her as gently as possible. Once she was secure, Berenice swiftly moved her hand from her neck to her lap, releasing Sunheart out of view of Carrie and the feline. Sunheart scrambled as quickly as she could down and away towards the wall. While she was reasonably certain any human habitation would have gaps she could slip through, the sheer number of animals was causing her no end of anxiety, so she hurried as much as she dared. A fellow clan member stepped out into her view and ushered her through a tiny gap between the plaster of the wall and the bar side panel.
Carrie frowned, “Gloria Adams.” Writing that name down, “I’m sorry Berry, I think…”
She took a moment, “I think you are lucky you don’t remember who you used to be. The magic used to create you was foul.
A true meddling with nature, there is no return from that. I pray, you never remember. Gloria Adams is gone.” She sighed noting roughly the week she could have disappeared.
“If this detective saw your true self, that’s not good. We’ll have to be more careful when moving about the city now, even in your disguise.” Carrie said. “So what about this monster? You said it was made of a bunch of dead things-” Mary jumped off the counter following her nose, the weiner dog came to join them in the kitchen following the cat’s attention.
“Okay what are you two looking at? So distracting.” Carrie huffed, leaning down to check out the floor. “If it’s a mouse or a roach don’t kill it!”
Berenice’s eyes went wide as she looked down. Several more animals were beginning to get curious as well, but the siren was fixated on the poor Clan member who had helped Sunheart through the gap. He had become somehow stuck in the gap, and was struggling desperately to wiggle out of view. But the animals had spotted his frantic efforts, and were now closing in. She could see Sunheart’s arms reaching around him, trying to pull him through, but it didn’t seem to be working. Apparently his armour, which looked to be fashioned from bottle caps, had gotten a rough edge stuck into the plaster, and now it dug in tighter with every tug. Berenice didn’t know what to do. They had just
been talking about secrets and why they should keep them, and now her own secret was about to be exposed for the second time in as man days, but this time not out of necessity!
Sunheart struggled desperately as her clanmate whispered to her, “Just go! I’ll get away!””I will not leave you behind to get eaten by that creature! Undo the straps we can-”
Berenice had finally hit a breaking point of panic after only a few seconds, and leapt across the small gap between her and her little friends, landing between them and the animals. Instinctively, she let out a warning cry, like an upset eagle whose nest had been disturbed. The sound set off the animal’s own
instincts, and suddenly the entire apartment erupted into chaos.
The weiner dog woofed in fear, Mary jumped back with a hiss both of them had hair standing on end. The other dog and cat came rushing down the hallway making their own array of noise. Oscar was the last to come to investigate the noise adding his own call. Angry neighbours began hammering at the ceiling again. Carrie jumped back with a yelp. She sprung back trying to quiet them all, both Berry and her pets. Even the fish joined in splashing about in their tanks, sloshing water onto the carpet. “Guys guys! Please! What the hell!”
Just as suddenly as the chaos began the small phone on Berry’s hip started playing loudly vibrating just as loudly. “Berry! Berry, answer the phone!”
“For the love of god, quiet down!
Berenice dropped out of defense mode as her panic settled down, only to flip right back up as the phone made noises at her. Charlie had told her it would do that, so she fumbled at her belt, where it hung by sliding the belt through either half of its folding structure. She managed to get it off the belt, but then dropped it. She stumbled around the cat, snatched the device back up, opened it, remembered to hit the green button, then held the device up, staring at it confusedly. Her glance flicked up to Carrie with a pleading look on her face.
Carrie said, “C’mere Berry, you’re holding it upside down… Hello? Charlie? Hey girl!”
Carrie spoke with Charlie over the phone, reassuring her as well as she could. She carefully stepped over her pets, quieting them down now. She leaned over the counter, sipping at her cooled coffee listening to Charlie, as she expected, her friend insisted on joining her immediately. Carrie put a firm stop to that, dropping the obvious reminder of what only happened the day before at the university, then wrapped up the conversation.
She closed the phone pushing it back over to Berry. “Charlie says Hi, she saw your nest and well…” She trailed off, “She had a rough day yesterday. So she’s going to take care of someone else before she comes to see us.”
“Don’t know when that’ll be though…” She commented, mostly to herself. “Oh no, that is right, she was supposed to come today!”
The siren’s plumage fluffed up as she realised her mistake. “Maybe it is okay? The Sallyman was supposed to be there too, may be they will cross paths and everything will be okay?”
Berenice glanced behind her. Apparently the two Clan had managed to get into cover while she had been distracting the animals, though the dark glances the cats were giving her let her know that her actions were not going to be forgiven any time soon. The dogs, however, seemed to be doing fine now that the excitement was over. She quorked at Oscar in apology, then turned back to Carrie. “I need to wash, Carrie. Are we near the sea?”
“By what Charlie said, it sounds like whatever happened was long over by the time she got there. Nobody around. As for a bath…” Carrie thought tapping her chin, “If you promise
not to make a huge mess, you can use my tub. It’s like the ocean, but inside!” She said happily.
She finished off her coffee then beckoned for Berry to follow. “Oh! I think I have leftover bubble bath too! Some essential oils to help you uh- smell better. Like herbs or flowers. Then maybe I can help detangle your hair.” She bubbled, heading into the bathroom running some water. “I thought oil was what you washed off? Like if it is in the water it is bad?”
the siren asked as she hop-skipped after her host, her disguised image walking slowly and carefully in a reflection of her. The steam from the bath running confused her. “And why does the water need to be so hot? Cold sea water feels fine, I do not want to get boiled!”
“No, silly. There’s good oils, good smelling
oils, the warm water helps relax muscles and loosens dirt. Trust me, you’ll like it.” She filled the bathtub, pulling free some rosemary oils dropping a few droplets into the water. Next, she opened a bottle of liquid bubble bath soap drizzling it through the water, churning it up under the running water. She pointed to the bath, “Now get in, I’ll scrub down your back and take care of your hair. No buts!”
Carrie was firm, the animals around them shied a little at the authority.
Berenice sat at the kitchen counter again, playing with the comb her host had given her for brushing out her feathers, since she lacked the spine flexibility or beak to clean her plumage the same way her natural born cousins did. It wasn’t fancy, just simple plastic, but she was still engrossed in admiring it after her bath, which, despite her promise to not make a mess, had left Carrie’s bathroom looking like a warzone. The towelling had been the worst, since she hated
being dried with the things as Carrie had found out, going so far as to snap and claw at them as if they were prey. She had
been polite enough to help clean up afterwards, and now that she was scrubbed and clean, her feathers were a wonderfully shiny affair. She busied herself with straightening them, a task that looked to occupy her for a long while.
Carrie huffed, dragging her forearm over her brow closing the bathroom door. She changed out of her pajamas and into something dry. Carrie plopped into an armchair, looking over Berry. Carrie scrubbed and untangled her hair, fully knowing it would not last past the day. Grit of various origins came off of her then promptly disappeared down the drain. She once thought her bathtub would never look as disgusting as it did after Charlie had once used it to rinse off from dumpster diving. Today easily beat that.
The witch pushed off from her chair and lit some an incense, bringing out a small brass dish and digging through a little plastic baggy of cone shaped incense. It was dark blue, the label on the baggy was ‘Fresh Rain.’ With a new smell drifting through the air she sat back down and immediately the grey tabby hopped into her lap.
“Berry, we went over that huge dead monster thing that attacked you but what about the men with guns? What did they look like? I really really
hope they were just some weird hunters but the coincidence is too fantastic.” Carrie sighed, scratching between her cat’s ears the purr rumbling across her stomach sounding like a furry lawnmower.
The siren looked up from her task, eyes wide. “The big men? They were wearing dark clothes with lots of straps. Their stupid leg coverings made swishy sounds like plastic and cloth, I think?”
She thought for a second, and then opened her mouth very slightly and repeated the sound of nylon clothes rubbing together almost perfectly.“They had those two hand guns, the long ones. And they shot bullets with light in them that was hard to blink out of my eyes because it was night. All of them were wearing helmets and had all sorts of straps and pockets all over. Does this help?”
Carrie swore under her breath, “I was afraid of that, you were attacked by the Hounds of Humanity. How the hell did they find you… That really doesn’t matter I suppose.” She said mostly to herself when she looked back to Berry her expression was rather serious, far more now than typically could ever be. “Those men with guns have been hunting and killing us recently. Metahumans and anyone apart of the magic community. They’re just monsters
, that’s why Charlie didn’t get to you on time like she said she would. They attacked the university Charlie was at yesterday and she had to fight them. She survived but it did a number on her so... I kept her away today so she can take it easy until she recovers.” Carrie said swallowing a dry spot in her throat, whenever she saw footage of the attacks it really drove home the reality. She never felt so scared for her life let alone the lives of all her friends and family. “They’ve been attacking orphanages, nightclubs, and now stomping in on schools. Thank God you got away safely.”
“But we really have to be careful about your disguise, where you go. This detective on your tail now will make things worse. If he can run into you there’s no telling how capable these Hounds of Humanity are at hunting you down.” Carrie sat back, slowing down. Allowing Berenice some time to digest.
Berenice fluffed her feathers out and made a disturbingly war-like sound, fairly bristling on her seat. ”These people attacked Car-lee? They went after a place of children!? Sebastian has an army!?”
Faint sparkles floated off the ends of the siren’s wings, and they shimmered slightly with the rainbow shine of an oil slick. Magic was suddenly very much filling the room as her temper flared. Loose papers skittered sideways as she beat her wings once in frustration, and the tiny motes of light in the air zipped about as if they themselves had become angry. ”Carrie, tell me where these foul things make their nest! If they are attacking nestlings, then their own nest should be taken! I will rend their feathers from their flesh and stomp the life out of their wings! They shall fly no more, and their blood shall feed the grass!”
“Woah woah woah
!” The cat screeched and clung to Carrie in fear of Berry’s anger. The incense was quickly overpowered by the smell of the sea and a lightning storm, static charged the air around them raising the hair across her arms. TVs and other electronics surged brightly.
Carrie hugged the cat in one arm and stood up mustering all of her strength to reign Berry in desperate to calm her animalistic side. Her own magic being heavily battered against, it was raw power. “Berry! Please! Calm down, please!”
Berenice’s eyes, glowing slightly, flicked over her friend, and she saw the terrified cat hugging tight to her guardian and immediately felt a wash of regret. The power surge left her as quickly as it came, and her eyes grew even wider with terror as she looked around, checking to make sure there were no animals who had been hurt during her tantrum.”I am sorry, Carrie, I do not know I could do that! I am sorry! I am sorreee!”
She hopped up and down on her perch, flexing her talons and going from side to side and running her hand through her hair. ”Are you okay? Are the animals okay? Oh no! The Clan!”
And with that she shot off the perch and came to a halt pressing her nose to the cabinet where problems had started earlier.”Sunheart! Are you unhurt?”
Her finger claws scritched gently against the cabinetry, trying to signal her friend. Several moments went by before Sunheart sighed and reached through the tiny gap, patting her companion’s nose once to say everything was fine, before squeezing her way out completely and clambering up onto the siren’s shoulder. She seemed utterly unconcerned by Carrie, standing in plain view, and grabbed her friend’s ear in a tight hug, whispering something that did not carry the distance to their host.
Once the magic storm Berenice generated calmed down, with it all the electricity in the apartment shut off then popped back on a few seconds later. Carrie had her eyes squeezed shut, when she heard the telltale beep of the microwave coming back on she opened one eye then both, relaxing with a slump of her shoulders. She slowly approached Berenice, “... The Clan? Did I hear that right? Is that… Is that who I think she is?” Carrie squinted at Sunheart, petting and calming the grey tabby. She hardly paid attention to the scratch marks she was sure to find later. “No fucking way.” Her voice rose in an excited octave on ‘way.’
The cat shook with fear but squirmed out of her arms racing away, the other animals had taken cover into other rooms.
Sunheart backed off of her hug, finally, and stood with her tiny chest puffed out, glaring in the direction of the disappearing feline as Berenice turned to face Carrie again. Her wings twitched agitatedly, and her hands couldn’t seem to find a single position. Her eyes, however, were full of vigor tinged with rage, and she looked levelly at Carrie.”Carrie, I need to learn magic. I need to learn it very quickly. Because I am tired of seeing these things happen and just running away. I can claw and I can sing, but it does nothing against these people and monsters. I need a way to do something useful, and I do not trust the Sally Man to do it well. Could you teach me? Or can you tell me where to go?”
Carrie blinked then pointed to herself, “M-me? I-... I mean I’m no magic slouch but I’m hardly my Nan. I’ve never taught anybody anything. Well…” She began with doubt hanging on every word, she swallowed again. She ultimately made a promise to Charlie she’d take care of Berry, and if teaching how to control her now, apparent magical abilities without needing to rely on Charlie’s help. Carrie could do it, Salamander is an old wizard with a shady connection to Sebastian and out of anyone else in the city Carrie could connect with both sides of Berry.
She squared up, “I can
teach you and I will.
You’re right, Berry. You need to nail your basics, learn your limits not just for yourself but for everyone around you. I’m not some hedge witch, my family has been embroiled with witchcraft for generations. We have always had a strong affinity for animals.” She took up Berry’s hands in her own, “We can do this.”
The tiny woman on the siren’s shoulders looked Carrie up and down several times, staring hard
At her eyes and hands especially, before Berenice spoke. Her voice was a little hushed. ”This is my friend Sunheart. I was sworn to keep her and her clan secret, but she says now is the time to speak with you. You need to be close, though, her voice doesn’t carry far.”
She did her awkward shuffling step over to the counter and placed her left hand down flat. Sunheart jogged herself down the arm and onto the counter, her head moving rapidly as if checking for threats, before spinning on her heel and facing Carrie again. She said something to Berenice, who shuffled back towards the gap the Clanswoman had appeared out of and sat quietly, watching.
Carrie nodded taking the small woman seriously, crouching low and leaning close enough to hear what she had to say. The young witch spoke truthfully, “It is a pleasure to meet you, Sunheart. My name is Carrie Ludwig. Usually I notice when things sneak into my house but… as you probably know Berenice is kind of a big deal.”
“So where did you meet Berenice?””She is the Great Bird who guarded my Clan’s territory. And rescued us when the Rotting One attacked. She is an honorary member of the Clan. But you put us in an odd position, Carrie Ludwig.”
She put on hand on her hip while she explained, plucking at an errant fiber of her leaf armour. ”One of the reasons you would not have noticed us entering your home is that we are very good at hiding. One of our laws state that we must not be seen by you Big Folk.”
She took a deep breath, steeling herself for the next part.”I don’t believe that can save us any more. We are here because our home was destroyed, and we would all have died had we not introduced ourselves to the Great Bird Sister. We must not follow the path that nearly led to all of us, even the children, dying. So I am going to act as an ambassador to you Big Folk. This also allows us to ask for supplies instead of taking what we need invisibly, something you Big Folk seem to take to….poorly.”
She fidgeted, looking hesitant even though for the most part she seemed to project herself as a brave warrior.”Part of the reason I can do this is that our elders and our Clan Chief are not here yet. We had to separate. There will be fights when they return. But I feel, even if I am driven out of the Clan, that this is a necessary step.”
Her New Englander accent was soft, and her voice was thick with meaning as she stared up into Carrie’s eyes, unwavering and searching. ”Please don’t make me regret this.”
Solemnly Carrie nodded, this was a big deal for Sunheart and her people. Sunheart expected it to be treated as such. Cheerfully she replied, “Sharing is caring! As I said to Berry and you heard as much for yourself, I’m a witch. I’m more than happy to open my home to spirit as I am for you and your clan. The animals will take some time to grow used to seeing you around, but they’re quite good at listening to me.”
“I really hope this doesn’t force them to move on without you, breaking sacred laws is a really tough one to face. My cousin, once removed, had gone hunting once used his gifts of animal communion to lure a deer easier. He thought it was okay to hang the head as a trophy. He was exiled, stricken from the family tree and goes unmentioned. He broke a law of respect to animals, broke the trust he created with the deer using the family’s inherent gifts then gave no purpose beyond decoration
. A real waste of life.” She said tapping her chin, then moved on quickly. “When you do reconnect with your elders, let me know what I can do. If it’s privacy, proof of my good intentions or provisions. Anything, really.”
“I truly do believe in earning your trust, Sunheart.””Well. We’ll see how that goes under the bridge when it comes downriver. For now, we would prefer to stay hidden. Not that we like hiding, but when you are normal size instead of freakishly tall, it is better to hide, and then it becomes second nature. If you could tell me where to get some thread, some gauze, toothpicks, and a few bits of wire, it would be good. We can feed ourselves well, but some of our vital supplies were left behind, and others we’ll have to come up with a new way of doing anyway.”
Berenice cooed softly to herself, staring out the window. Her golden eyes seemed to be searching for something past the other buildings, and despite her apparent relaxation, her talons were flexing into the flooring ever so slightly. She was agitated, clearly, but the set of her jaw said ‘anger’ more than ‘nervous’.
“That’s no problem, I have lots of junk around here. Probably the tidiest places are where the animals hang out, haha.” Carrie replied, Berry’s cooing caught her ear but her feelings flowed off of her in waves. Carrie shuffled over to Berry. “You know Berry, we’ve got ourselves a full sized plate of trouble. You, me, Charlie, and Sunheart.”
“I think if we take things one day at a time, one problem at a time. Whether it’s some terrorists, or a mad necromancer. It’s starting to feel normal for us here. One city shocker after another. It’s good though.” She said looking out the window too. “It’s good to be angry. We have to stay angry until things get better. Actually
The siren shook her head. ”Patience is good, I understand, but this problem with Sebastian,”
as she pronounced every syllable of the man’s name separately, ”He needs to be killed as the hawk strikes the spine of her prey. One swift, breaking attack that renders the prey incapable of action. But it is like striking a crab, yes? Your talons can pierce the shell, but with hitting the squishy grey things, you cannot disable them without splattering them across the beach. And then you have a mess to clean up.
“I would be okay with this, except the mess where he is concerned may include horrors being scattered into the city, and we cannot risk that. So I must know precisely where, when, and how to hurt him to minimise the damage.”
She turned her gaze to Carrie for just a moment.
Carrie crouched down listening intently, she held her hands together fingers interlaced. Berenice’s tone, her speech, it all changed so much. It really threw her for a loop, how exactly someone could mature emotionally in just a month’s time. Not to mention the instinctual battle of wits between her humanity and animal sensibilities. She had no baseline to empathize with. It really was fortunate she couldn’t remember what it was like to be Gloria Adams. It’d make things so much worse. Where Sebastian was concerned, she was right. Left to his own devices for much longer and he’ll cause more damage as he has time to prepare. Carrie didn’t interrupt.”Can we even make that decision, Carrie? Can Car-lee? Could even the Sallyman? It is deciding to put hundreds, thousands of lives at risk, but for the betterment of the entire city.”
Her hands reached up to paw at her temples, clearly agitated.”If we do this, we may be dooming children to die, due to things we cannot control. But if we do nothing, and ignore Sebastian, everything becomes worse.”
She shook her head, eyes taking on a very forlorn look as she turned her head to look out of the window again. ”When I was just hunting for myself, everything was simple. Nothing ever meant anything more than ‘I was eating” or “I was not eating”. Now everything is so complicated, and I do not know what to do, Carrie. Every choice carries weight far beyond what my wings could bear, but to not choose is even worse.
“This is why I need the magic.”
One clawed finger tapped against the glass, then slid down nervelessly. ”Maybe, somewhere deep in the recesses of what it can do, there is a solution that is not catastrophic.”
Carrie brought her hands up to her chin, thinking on what she could say. Berenice was feeling the weight of the world, being settled to deal with her creator’s bullshit. Taking responsibility. She wondered where Berenice picked up on that, the need to hold Sebastian accountable and his removal.
“S’why you have us, your friends. We support each other and we equally take a portion of the weight you’re carrying. Seriously, as cheesy as it sounds.” Carrie began, looking out the window as well. “It’s not just your problem to deal with on your own Berry. Things in life get more complicated regardless of what you were doing before, it happens like a baseball bat being swung over your head. You get dragged into stuff whether you’re willing or not.” She said with a little smirk.
“I will teach you how to control your magic. We’ll act and as… uneasy as it makes me think to hurt someone else. It makes me way more uneasy to think how many people could get hurt because of Sebastian. Some things have to happen, they happen for a reason. I don’t believe in coincidences, Berry. Paths crossing, lines of fate. The will of gods.” Carrie had a faraway look, she snapped back to reality suddenly needing to make an offering at her alter. “Charlie hates when I get in about fate, we’re opposites like that.”
She pushed up on her knees to stand, “We’ll begin our lessons this afternoon with basics.”