Tempests fury, p.1
Tempests Fury, p.1Part #5 of Jane True series by Nicole Peeler
It was times like this I wished Hallmark made a line of “So your supernatural daughter is going off to fight a supernatural war” cards, because I certainly didn’t know how to say that to my father. Especially not over my cell phone, after I was already overseas.
“So what are you doing in Britain again?” My dad asked skeptically, as soon as I told him I’d landed safely.
For a split second I considered telling him the truth. But I didn’t want to give him a heart attack, especially so soon after he’d just been healed. So I took the coward’s way.
“Oh, you know. Just doing some supernatural stuff. But safe stuff, of course. Safe, supernatural stuff. ”
I’m not really lying, I consoled myself. I’ll be safe as houses with Blondie and Anyan.
And I knew I would be. Anyan was a fierce warrior—a barghest, with not only the ability to change shape between a sexy man and a fierce doggie, but also the ability to tap into two elements: earth and air. That made him super strong, as most of us could only tap into one. Mine was water, of course, since I’m half-selkie. Don’t club me because I’m beautiful.
Blondie, meanwhile, was something older and stronger than anyone else I knew. She was an Original, and I’d only recently learned what that really meant. Turns out she was one of the first humans to have access to magic, and she could use all magic in a way no other creature could. Even the Alfar, who could manipulate all four elements and were usually our (rather shitty) leaders, had their limitations. Blondie didn’t. But it was even more complicated than that, as Blondie was the reason we were all the way we were. She’d been conned into using an artifact—the horn of a really ancient magical creature—that hadn’t worked as it was intended. Instead of being the powerful weapon she’d been told it was, it had caused the Great Schism. That was when all the supernatural folk went from being like Blondie is, with access to all that power, and became as we are now: divided into different factions with different powers.
“And who are you working for, exactly?” my dad asked, still sounding skeptical.
“Oh, just some powerful supernatural people. But they’re good. Definitely good. I think you’d like them. ”
Oh, and “they’re” under your feet, I considered adding.
For the creature who had sent us to Britain was the very same creature who lived beneath Rockabill. If Blondie was ancient, this thing was prehistoric. No, it was pre-humanic—it existed way before the Earth even looked the way it does now. Not biological in a sense that we understood, it did still have a body that lived underneath most of the Eastern Seaboard. But it was actually a being of pure Earth and Water. That didn’t mean it could just manipulate earth or water, as supes like me could. It meant it was Earth and Water—its parents were the actual elements that created our planet.
So it was big, and anything but bad. I’d been in its mind, and it was the closest thing to “good” I could imagine. It was also as close to omniscient as we could hope for, under the circumstances. So if it said, “go to Britain and start a war,” we damned well knew we’d better get to Britain and start a war.
“And you’ve got everything sorted for your visit? You have a ride and everything?”
“Of course!” I said, confidently.
I hope so, I thought, less confidently. I’d gotten through customs just fine, despite being nervous as shit. Now I was supposed to be meeting a contact, for whom I had a code word, but I’d walked out of Heathrow’s customs area to find myself alone. As for Anyan and Blondie, they were coming in on separate flights—all part of our attempt to sneak into the country. We were going in with our magic dampened, under assumed names, and alone. I was posing as a college student, which wasn’t much of a stretch.
“Anyway, Dad,” I said, trying to wrangle control of the conversation. “I’m fine and I’ll stay in touch. And you can always call my cell if you get worried. But what about you? Isn’t today your first day?”
“Yup,” he said. “I did all the other training already. Today Grizzie will work with me on all the coffee stuff. She’s determined to make a barista out of me. ”
“It’s easy, once you get the hang of it. And, hey, you can start drinking coffee again. Enjoy the fruits of your labors. ”
My dad had only recently been healed of the heart defect that had made him an invalid for more than a decade. The supes had healed him, and glamoured the whole town and medical system to believe he’d always been healthy. But that had left him without his disability checks, and without a job. My leaving on the creature’s mission had actually worked out well, in that he’d been able to slot into my spot at Read It and Weep.
He was also getting back into doing all the stuff he’d once taken for granted. My dad used to love coffee, but for a very long time he’d only been able to drink the very watered down, mostly decaf version I’d made for him at home. But now he could go nuts, if he wanted.
“Well, we all miss you, even if it is fun working in the bookstore,” my dad said. “Grizzie and Tracy want you to know that you can come back anytime, without me losing my job. With Tracy having the twins, she’ll mostly be at home. So they’ll need an extra set of hands. ”
I grinned. What would happen when I returned had been a concern for me, and there it was—solved.
“Tell them I love them. And I love you too, Dad. I’ll call you whenever I get a chance. Oh, hey, I think I see my ride. ”
There was a shifty looking woman with crazy raven-black hair scanning the concourse. And I mean she was shifty, for real. She was wearing a massive military-style trench coat that was moving oddly on her body, as if she had an extra something or other stashed on her back.
“All right, hon. Call me soon. I love you. ”
“I love you too. Bye, Dad,” I said, as the woman caught sight of me and gave me a small nod. She walked towards me and I flipped my phone shut. When she got close enough, I looked around furtively before skittering up to her.
“Pachanga!” I shouted, causing the crazy-haired woman to cringe. Maybe I was a little loud, but I was so relieved my ride had shown that I was a little slaphappy.
I also wasn’t entirely sure what “pachanga” meant, although I knew it came from Dirty Dancing. So it was either a kind of dance or a euphemism for female genitalia. But it was now our chosen code word, with which I was supposed to identify my contact in London.
That very contact raised her coal-black eyes to mine. “Nobody puts Baby in a corner,” she repeated, leaving me free to blurt out my next question.
“Are you a selkie?”
The woman shook her head. Up close, she was totally emo: a huge fountain of dyed black hair spilled around her face and down her shoulders, in teased-out waves like David Bowie’s in Labyrinth. Her already dark eyes were rimmed with tons of black makeup, and she sported a lip ring and another in her nostril.
“Sorry, no. I’m Magog, and I’m a raven. Not a selkie. ” she said, in a singsong accent I recognized as Welsh from watching Torchwood.
“A raven?” I asked, disappointed she wasn’t a selkie but excited to find out what a raven was. Meeting new supernaturals was what I liked best about my mother’s world, except for when they tried to kill me.
“You’ll understand, later. Don’t want to frighten the humans,” she rasped, twitching her lips at me. It wasn’t a smile, just a cynical twist of the lips that said, “Here’s where a normal person would smile, but I don’t do such things. ”
“Um, okay,” I said, before realizing I’d not yet told Magog my name. Nor did I know who she was, besides a raven.
“My name is Jane. And who are you, exactly?”
“Your ride,” she said,
I blinked, unsure who “cunt-uph” was, exactly. But it sounded naughty.
“Uh, cunt-uph?” I hazarded.
“Cyntaf. It’s Welsh for ‘the First. ’ ”
“Ah,” I said. “You mean Blondie. ”
“Yes. That’s what we call her. The tattooed lady,” I added, when it was obvious Magog still wasn’t comprehending. After a second, she gave that cynical little half-twist of her mouth again—her “not smile. ”
“Blondie, yes. That’s perfect. Blondie could…”
“Party, I know,” I said, with a sigh. “I’ve heard it before. ”
“Well, here she’s Cyntaf. If you’re set, let’s head out to the van. ”
With that, Magog turned briskly on her heel, clearly intending me to follow. It was only then that I noticed how grotesquely the coat bulged up over her neck and shoulders as if she were a hunchback. My curiosity surged as I remembered what she was. Ravens, after all, had wings.
Tempests Fury by Nicole Peeler / Fantasy have rating 3.2 out of 5 / Based on19 votes