Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep
Note: I have a beta editor! Many thanks to Sinjen Kai.
Please see part one for all disclaimers.
A cowled figure stood before a crude stone altar. The rough wool robe the figure wore threw an odd shadow with the low lighting. Only a few large taper candles were lit around the warehouse room. The dark fabric of the robe seemed to bleed into the shadow that the figure cast to become one.
After lighting a single red candle on top of the stone altar, the figure drew back the robe’s hood to reveal a man in his late thirties whose sort cut hair stood at odd angles, greasy and matted with neglect. With all that had to be attended to before the full moon, hygiene was not a priority at that moment.
The man muttered a few archaic words and as the altar candle flared briefly, he dropped to his knees on the concrete floor before the altar. As the priest’s head fell forward, he twitched the magic within his mind to call upon the group’s beneficiary. Feeling the consciousness of the dark and vicious one make its way sinuously into his mind, the priest shuddered and forced himself to speak.
"What do you wish us to do with the dark one?" The head priest finally spoke after trying to swallow past a suddenly dry throat.
A raspy voice filled with dark lust and devilry filled the priest’s mind and tightened about his soul, "Bring them to me…"
The priest quirked an eyebrow up, "The light one as well?"
"Yes." A single word was his answer as he felt the presence slip away from his mind.
Rising from the concrete floor and drawing the robe’s hood over his head once more, the priest moved away from the altar and towards the outer doors. It would be another night yet till everything was in place. There was so much to do, the priest felt almost overwhelmed with the details he had to attend to. Still, it was he who had been placed in charge, he who the voice trusted to carry out the grand scheme.
Scuttling away to inform the others of the current orders, the priest recalled with a shiver the powers the voice had promised. Soon, not much longer and his small group would be known as the most powerful coven in the state. After that, it would not be much longer till they would be able to expand and eventually have the world under their control.
The call had come into Jacob at six o’clock in the morning. Though the ring was barely audible from her uncle’s room down the hall, Jamie got up anyhow. She had tossed and turned all night, unable to get any sleep. If only to get a few moments of rest, she would have welcomed even her normal nightmares by the time the phone had rang. Getting up and dressed quickly she met her Uncle by the steps as he was heading downstairs, still in his bathrobe.
"What’s up Uncle Jacob?" The older man looked up startled, so deep in his thoughts that he had failed to notice his niece approach from down the hall.
"They think there may be two more victims now." Jacob spoke quietly so as not to disturb their guests.
Jenny was still sleeping soundly down the hall, crashed in her room after preparing herself for the Elders’ Council meeting. A sound sleeper as well, Jessan was in his room, having stayed overnight after Jamie and Jacob had talked him into it.
"Come down to my office, Jamie." Jacob said, "There’s something I want to discuss with you."
Jamie followed her uncle down the stairs and around the corner to the right towards his study. She wondered what her Uncle wanted to talk to her about. A sense of foreboding filled her. Jacob McConnor, for all his short stature, was quite an intimidating man when he wanted to be. Without a doubt his personality and successful leadership made the members of the Children of Gaia and other clans respect and fear him. Being told that Jacob wanted to have a little chat with her made Jamie feel like she was being called down to the principal’s office. It was an experience not too far past in her memory.
Jacob ushered Jamie into his office and closed the door behind her. He walked around his desk to the large swivel chair and sat down, indicating with his right hand that Jamie should have a seat in one of the chairs opposite him. For this little chat the Children of Gaia’s leader wanted as much space as was politely possible between him and his niece.
"I don’t think you should go before the council right now, Jamie." Jacob spoke hesitantly.
Cerulean eyes regarded him silently. After several moments Jacob was beginning to worry. His niece’s normal response was nowhere near this quiet. Generally yelling was the order of business, along with liberal destruction of things and people in the vicinity. This quiet regard was a bit scary.
"Why don’t you think I should go with you and Jenny to the Council? You’ve been telling me I should take more of an interest in council matters and this one has a particular interest for me." Jamie spoke calmly though an undertone of danger edged her words.
"It’s just that you have had a tendency in the past to say things that tend to not go over well in council. Not that I’m not proud of you speaking your mind and standing up for your beliefs." Jacob hastened to assure the dark hair woman. "It’s just that the council is so tense over all this business lately that perhaps this is one time you should really sit it out."
Jamie chewed the inside of her cheek, trying to contain her temper, "I will go with you to the council. I’ll stay outside the council chamber while you and Jenny argue your case before the elders."
With that said Jamie rose from her seat and turned on one heel, leaving her uncle behind to stare after her. Once his niece had left the room Jacob took a deep breath and let it out slowly. Knowing he could not keep his niece away if she wanted to be there, he resolved himself to be satisfied with the compromise. Now, if he could just get her to remain as calm and collected while waiting outside the main chamber they’d be doing good.
For what seemed like the millionth time in his life Jacob wondered why he had been left to raise his hotheaded niece. While his brother and sister-in-law had been alive Jamie had been difficult as well. Walter had kept his daughter under control better, often using the odd sense of humor he shared with his adventuresome offspring. While Jamie may not have always seen eye to eye with her mother, her adoration of her father often made her think twice before heading off on some half-assed scheme that might bring her to shame in her father’s eyes. Jacob wondered if Jamie ever realized that she had his younger brother wrapped quite securely around her little finger.
There were many times that Walter had reminisced about all the trouble that his daughter managed to get herself into. Jacob could not recall a time that he did not hear the note of pride in his brother’s voice. For all that, Jacob himself was rather proud of his audacious niece as well. Even though Jamie had a temper, she had a heart of gold and cared a lot about the rights of both Garou and humans.
Sighing once more, Jacob shifted through the forms on his desk and began to go over some paper work that had been piling up. The head of the Children of Gaia wondered if there would ever be a time when there wasn’t any paper work to do. Perhaps teaching Jamie more about the everyday running of clan business would have an added benefit of passing on some of the paperwork. At that thought Jacob smiled slightly and signed his name to yet another form.
Jamie walked down the predawn darkened hallway from her Uncle’s office to her own smaller one. After opening the door and slamming it shut behind her she stopped in her tracks, realizing that she was pouting childishly.
The dark hair woman took a deep breath and held it in, concentrating on stilling her mind and body completely. After a bit she let the air slowly out of her lungs through slightly pursed lips. Stepping away from the door she walked over to the room’s only window and threw open the sash to let some of the dawn’s rays into the room.
Jamie could not believe her Uncle’s words. How could Jacob deny her the chance to be there when her friend would be going before that pack of rabid hyenas? She didn’t want to think of what might happen if the elders decided to end one human problem by starting with Jenny. The ex-programmer had come to be a good friend to her over the past week.
Was it only a week? Jamie thought. It seemed like she had known the blond haired woman for much longer. It was as if they shared some deeper connection than two people who had recently met one another. Jamie had not opened up to anyone outside of her immediate family. Only her father, Jacob, and Jessan knew her very well.
The dark hair werewolf paced about the room, thinking. She felt rather protective of the green-eyed woman. Jamie had no idea really why, maybe because there were so few real friends she could rely on and she had come to trust Jenny implicitly. Perhaps the desire to for once do the right thing and protect those she cared about was what had made her so upset when Jacob denied her the chance of being at the council hearing. Making a sudden decision, Jamie walked back to her desk and sat down in the swivel chair.
Jamie dialed the number after looking it up in her contacts list. She waited while the line rang through, making the connection after 4 rings. Hearing Ted’s answering ‘hello’ she spoke up.
"Don’t go out tonight Ted, there’s a bad moon on the prowl!" Jamie was punchy after very little sleep.
"Why are you quoting CCR to me Jamie? Has the situation deteriorated that much?" Ted asked a bit perplexed at the werewolf’s greeting.
Jamie rubbed a hand over her eyes and tried to concentrate. They were scheduled to leave in a little while to go speak with the Elder’s Council. The dark hair woman wondered just how much of an effect Jenny would be able to have on the rather cranky council.
Forcing her mind away from the council meeting Jamie informed Ted about the possible decision of a witch-hunt being called. She told him to get as many of the practitioners of the craft out of the city as soon as possible. Ted’s immediate response and argument of leaving Jacob and her to face the problem by themselves warmed Jamie’s heart. If only the Elder’s Council would believe that not all of the humans of the city cared only for their own welfare she was sure that relations between species would greatly improve.
After a while, Jamie extracted a promise from Ted to leave town on vacation and inform as many of the mage community as he could before hand. Saying goodbye, with a reply to take care from Ted, Jamie hung up the phone, just as a knock came to the door.
Not realizing just how long she had been on the phone Jamie was surprised when Jenny poked her head in the door informing her that they would be leaving for the council meeting shortly. The morning sun was now streaming in the large bay window, filling the Jamie’s study with a soft warm light.
Gathering her thoughts and rising from her chair, Jamie joined Jenny at the door and walked with her friend out into the main hall and foyer. Jacob and Jessan were waiting patiently for them, already in their outerwear.
Jacob looked pensive, as did Jessan. Jenny meanwhile smiled hopefully at Jamie as Jessan handed his cousin a jacket. Taking the leather coat from her cousin, Jamie slipped it on and gave the other three a tentative smile before they headed out the door to Jamie’s car. As they drove away, Jamie couldn’t help but smile as the Bridge Over the River Kuai played through her head.
The two guards footsteps echoed in the marbled hallway every so often as they shifted their weight from one foot to the other. Both men were dressed in black business suits and the slight bulge of a weapon could be seen under their left arms. The two men resembled former linebackers; their height and girth making them look quite intimidating. For all their muscle, they both looked uneasy as each kept glancing nervously in the direction of the much smaller dark hair woman seated on one of the chairs outside the council chamber.
Jamie was sprawled on one of the four velvet wing back chairs that sat in a small grouping across from the large chamber doors. She studied her boot tips, hands stuffed into the pockets of her leather jacket, fiddling with her car keys. The blue-eyed woman ignored the two guards completely, her mind on the proceedings within the chamber.
No sound filtered past the heavy oak doors. A spell of interference had been placed on the chamber after its construction to prevent any ‘secrets’ from leaving the area. Jamie doubted that anything would really be that important that shouldn’t be known by the rest of the community. She knew that the elders rather haughty attitude with the rest of the clan was a constant source of discontent and no doubt added to the current problems between the Garou and humans.
Not like any of the old goats would care. Jamie thought as she reached out and scuffed the edge of her boot against one of the highly polished wooden legs of the chair across from her. If it were up to them, they’d rip open all of the humans, our allies among them and let the Lady sort ‘em out in the end.
The elders loathing of humans, even half-breeds like Ted and Diane was a particular sticking point between Jamie and the council. Jacob, more the peacekeeper, had been working on persuading the council over the years to see the benefits of a cohesive city by working with the half-breeds. Jamie herself got along well with both human and half-breed, having several friends among both.
Arrg! How long are they going to take?!? It had been several hours now and Jamie was wondering if she should just knock out the two guards and barge into the chamber.
Jamie shifted forward in her chair and sat up from her slumped position. Ice blue eyes turned to look over at the two guards in front of the chamber. Both guards shifted nervously as their eyes darted up and down the hallway, out the windows, and anywhere else for possible reinforcements.
Heaving a sigh the dark hair woman threw herself back once more into the chair and kicked both feet out in front of her. The guards across from her relaxed only slightly; returning Jamie’s sigh with one of their own that was tinged with relief. Several more minutes passed with Jamie fidgeting more and more in her chair while the two large guards fidgeted more and more at their posts at the chamber door.
Suddenly the chamber door opened up and Jacob and Jessan filled out, followed closely by Jenny. At the sight of the ex-programmer Jamie’s face lit up. Jenny already had a smile on her face and it only got bigger at the sight of the dark hair werewolf. Both Jacob and Jessan were also smiling. Jamie’s cousin had a mischievous grin on that was reminiscent of the one he’d show after they would pull something over on the adults when they were younger. Jacob’s knowing smile touched his eyes as he placed a finger to his lips and gestured towards the outside door with his head.
The four of them filled out, containing their excitement till they were all out of earshot of the guards. Jamie thought she was going to burst with curiosity while the four of them pilled into the Range Rover.
"Spill it, what happened in there?" Jamie asked, turning around in the driver seat so that she could see the other three.
"You should have seen her, Jamie! It was so cool!" Jessan exclaimed as his uncle nodded in stately agreement. "She just walked in there and told then what’s what. Thanks to Jenny we have another few days to track down the killers."
"What did you say to them?" Two dark eyebrows went up as Jamie looked at Jenny in wonder.
"She walks in there, not so much as flinching at their little power trip they always try to pull on someone." Jessan spoke up, warming up to the story, "They were demanding just who she thought she was, walking in there and all, when Jenny just speaks up, very calmly and starts relating some precedence of humans and Garou working together. You should have seen their jaws drop. She even had the right pronunciations and inflection when she was reading out the ancestors’ names. That impressed them!"
Jamie looked at Jenny once more, her blue eyes staring in wonder at the small blond woman. She had always sensed that the ex-programmer had something special. Jamie had seen it when Jenny would speak with clan members or her friends. The green-eyed woman had a sort of inner power and goodness that made people just want to believe in what she said.
Jamie started the car after giving Jenny a lopsided grin. Jessan was still describing all the reactions from the various council members to the ex-programmer’s speech as they headed away from the conclave. On the way back to the house Jamie kept looking over to her friend, a smile lighting up the normal stoic looks of the dark hair werewolf when the blond hair woman grinned back.
Latter that evening Jenny sat at Jamie’s desk, looking through want ads online. The tech geek in the blond hair woman marveling at the fast connection of the T1 line that went to Jamie’s house. Still happy from persuading the council to give them more time, Jenny hummed slightly off-key while the laptop’s keys clicked and mouse moved.
I should call Kim again. Jenny thought as she scrolled through several screens worth of data. It had been a few days since she had talked to her sister who was out of town at a conference for her school. She’s going to think I’ve disappeared off the face of the earth soon.
The blond hair woman smiled, thinking back more to her presentation to the Elders’ Council. It was a bit amazing about how much she could remember from her experience on the debate team at school. Perhaps, Jenny thought, she should go back to school and get her law degree as she had always wanted too. It would certainly be a direction for her life that for once she would feel comfortable with.
I’ve got to figure out what it is I’m going to do soon. While she appreciated the support of her friend, she didn’t want to impose much longer on Jamie’s goodwill.
Jenny blinked and looked up from the screen, pausing in her humming. She swore she had heard something. Jamie was sitting quietly on the leather couch, feet propped up on the couch while she read through some forms. The dark hair woman’s back was to Jenny and she seemed oblivious to everything else around her.
Shaking her head in puzzlement, Jenny went back to her online search, humming once more. She was half way down the page when she heard the sound again. Pausing in her search yet again Jenny looked up, trying to locate the sound again.
Jamie flipped through some more papers, not paying attention to what the blond hair woman was doing. Jenny frowned, she was almost sure she had heard the other woman humming as well. Tilting her head slightly to one side, Jenny typed some keys randomly and began to hum again.
When Jamie joined in, her voice incredibly sweet and soft, Jenny let out a whoop of surprise at her friend’s ability. The noise surprised the dark hair werewolf into dropping her papers all over the couch and floor in front of her. Jamie spun around to shoot a startled look at her friend. Seeing that there was nothing wrong, the blue-eyed woman frowned and rose from her crouched position.
"What the hell are you yelling about?" She exclaimed, bending over to gather up the papers strew about.
"I’ve never heard you sing before, you have a wonderful voice." Jenny smiled up at her friend.
"Sing? What are you talking about?" The frown on the dark hair werewolf’s face deepened as she paused from gathering her papers.
"You were singing whenever I would start to hum. I don’t think it was a conscious thing, though it was quite lovely. Sing some more." Jenny closed the laptop cover and placed her elbows on top of the desk, looking expectantly at the other woman.
Jamie was about to open her mouth to protest when something tickled the edge of her senses. The odd look that came to her face made Jenny pause and wonder what had sparked the dark hair woman’s sudden alertness. Suddenly Jamie jerked and fell forward, hitting the carpeted floor with a thud. Jenny jumped back a little confused until she saw the dark hooded figure walking towards the downed werewolf from the edges of the room. Several other similarly clothed figures suddenly filled the room. Seeming to materialize out of the bookshelves and wall, for none of them had come from the only openings to the room, the only door and window.
Backing up Jenny moved to reach for some weapon, any weapon to use in her friend’s defense. Her movements were hampered by the suddenly appearance of yet another hooded figure behind her. Jenny struggled against the iron grip of the mage as a foul smelling cloth was placed before her mouth. Before her several mages swarmed over Jamie, gagging the werewolf and tying her hands and feet together.
Jenny attempted once more to break free while she watched the activity in front of her. In the back of her mind she was relieved to realize that Jamie was only unconscious, given the care the hooded figures were taking to tie the woman up. This last thought stayed with Jenny as her mind began to shut down and she slipped down into unconsciousness.
beyond uber index <> homepage