Wife!!? the thought ripped across Nemain’s mind. It startled her for a second, but she quickly righted herself as she had dipped in altitude.
What is it you want, Husband? She was currently four hundred feet above a green Honda civic, it was traveling up a two-lane highway between cornfields. She had been lazily pacing the car since it started up and left its concealment some time ago. If they looked up all they would see was a black crow, and if they looked up frequently then they should just think there are a lot of black crows tag team following them. But, they wouldn’t, Nemain has done countless times for her Husband and Lord.
Our Lord would like to know how the Guardians are faring and if there is any sign that the Gate has come back to them.
No, Husband. Tell him that it is just the two of them, though I have not checked in recently.
You don’t know then, let’s do it now before I go back to him. She could hear the condescending lip he was giving her, also she heard fear. Fear that Lord Tyr would be displeased, she thought her Husband weak in not believing her. But, it was her place to do his bidding, for the moment. War was not upon them, but soon it would be and she would lead some of Lord Tyr’s armies as was her place to do so- her husband would just have to watch as he was not allowed outside his realm. He shuffled off this mortal coil some millennium ago.
She steeled herself as she began to connect with the Guardian who had been affected by the call of the Sirens. An embedded signal was transmitting from his mind that only those who knew of its existence could tap. She had stolen herself inside his head, found out his name was Lucas, and then had listened as the other Guardian had laid out his plans to find others of their kind.
Nemain was able to force her will to make Lucas speak, she had asked where the Gate had gone. After a strange look backwards, the front seat having been ripped out by all appearances and Lucas was sitting in the back seat, he assumed that trauma played in the matter of the forgetting of what had occurred.
“The seats gone with Billy, Luke- those sirens on the car really messed with you, huh?”
“Uh, yeah.” She had pulled back and left Lucas into the coma that he was really in. One induced by the Sirens, Nemain kept his consciousness locked up inside his mind. Her puppet she liked to think of him as.
Entering his mind was like stampeding through the fog, partly because her Husband had piggy backed inside with her. This was not his domain, he did not know the secrets of the mind; he could not fathom how one’s mental self was made up or how it could be destroyed from the inside. She knew.
Bringing about consciousness was easier this time. Nemain had full control of his functions that she had previously mapped them out. She picked up his breathing, increased blood flow, and opened his eyes. Inside, the car had not changed, there was a couple of plastic bags worth of junk food where the front seat should have been, the other one must bought those at that store they had stopped at. Nemain moved Lucas up in the seat, his muscles nearly refused having been dormant only a little while.
Why do they make this Guardians bodies subject to mortal infirmaries? Nemain thought and with that moved Lucas forward, hovering over the missing front seat.
“How are you doing?” asked the Guardian who seemed startled by Lucas moving forward. He had dropped his soda down into his lap- luckily the lid stayed on and only a few drips wetted his pants and shirt.
“Fine, I think.” Rubbing his head, Neamin looked around. No Gate over in the front seat, obviously no Gate was lying next to me. Satisfied, Husband?
Yes…wait find out where they are headed, this fool has been out for awhile and does not seem to know what is currently happening.
How did… Nemain stopped herself. Of course, he was poking around inside the head, the subconsciousness. She underestimated the reason why he wanted to come on the trip. It was a ruse to get inside the Guardian. You knew the Guardian would not be here.
Of course, now shut up Wife and find out where they are going so I can go to Tyr with the information, his mind ripped into hers, she had forgotten how forceful he could be when in full command of his powers. Tyr must of released him from his oaths, he had not told her. It was her who was now afraid.
“I have been out for awhile, where are we?” The question seemed simple enough but it did earn a sideways glance.
“See the corn?”
“That’s where we are.”
Short and to the point, true there were a bunch of farms stack next to each other with towns sprinkled around them. “Are we going anywhere specific, I mean.”
Clyde rubbed his ray ban sunglasses and looked around, after what seemed like a minute he relaxed. “This may seem weird to you Luke…what the hell am I saying like there hasn’t been enough weird shit going on today… but I think we are being watched or at the least followed. I thought we had lost them, but I keep getting lines of fate, black and twisted hovering or radiating around us.”
We should leave!
We have not finished!
“I…uh…have been out a while huh? I haven’t noticed anything. None of that black fate stuff.” She settled back and had Lucas sit down in the backseat again, cluctching his head as if a sudden pain had caused his pulling away and not what Clyde had just said.
“How would you?” Panic, panic, this is a real damn Guardian here, he knows. “You’ve been out for most of the last day. You missed Annie telling us to head to Dekalb, there should be some guardian there waiting for us. Just outside the student union of the NIU. I am not sure where that is, but I am sure we shall figure it out.” Clyde looked back and Nemain assumed he had winked at Lucas behind his shades.
Dekalb at the school is that enough for you. Can you not feel his power? This is why I have left him alone. He suspects.
He is too foolish to suspect, her Husband sent back, he is only a Guardian- easily dealt with. We have enough, the destination- I will report this to Lord Tyr and arrange a welcoming committee for their arrival. She thought she could hear him laugh, and wondered if Lord Tyr had done more than restore her Husband. She wondered for the first time if she had fallen out of favor with her Lord and that her Husband and filled the void. Or did he just push her out.
I am going to let go of this Guardian, he needs rest and we can use him later for this ‘homecoming’ you are going to arrange for them.
Yes, let’s go. Eagerness to leave, he still needed her, as he always will- she would make sure of that.
With that she was a raven again- having emerged from the fog of Lucas’s head she was free to fly. Her Husband was still in her mind, staying and viewing the world from heights she saw. Nemain kept a connection with Lucas, she could sense his mind and keep him from waking, but that was it. It was good enough for her, both times she had taken control of the one compromised Guardian, the other scarred her with the power that flowed through him. While he talked about black and twisted fate following the car, all she could she with her raven sensitive eyes was the radiating red surge of power that completely blocked out the car. It was like a red dot rolling down the highway, Nemain chose not to watch with that form of Seeing and decided on the ravens simple eyesight. It was more than enough to follow the car.
You know Wife, I do love you and always will. By now you have guessed that our Lord has awakened me completely- I will lead his armies from the depths once the Gate is dealt with. It is for you to deal with the Gate- do not think you have been demoted for we are a team. One can not breath without the other.
She shuddered and dipped again. You were always the talker, Husband. I believe that is how you won me over and had me grant you your powers so many years ago, in a land that no longer exists.
You will always be the beauty, since you are the goddess and I the mortal that foolish fell in love you- I have sacrificed my existence to support Lord Tyr in his claim. I have no choice, nor did I ever since the moment I laid eyes on you. I leave you now, I hear Him calling, my love.
The absence of her Husband made her dip once again. Nemain knew he loved her, but she also knew that he needed her- she endowed him with power, she could be his Achilles heel. She knew where he was vulnerable, of course if they won then they could the most powerful pair in the new realm and the Lord may look down on them with favor. So many avenues were open now with her Husband released and in play, and she had many hours ahead of her to think them through.
* * *
Clyde looked over his shoulder to say something to Lucas and saw him comatose once again. Clyde looked back to the road. It looked greasy black out there, like an oil slick. Something did not feel right, no actually nothing felt right.
Sam, I need you back with me for something as simple as keeping me company and telling me that my sorry ass will make it through this. I wish I knew if driving to middle of nowhere was going to help anything. He laughed, loudly. He looked up as he laughed and saw a raven. It appeared to drop for a moment but then gained altitude. He turned away forgetting about the bird. Who knew Chicago was so close to nowhere? I have to talk to somebody, iron out these apprehensions.
Clyde reached up and pushed in a button on the left side frame of his ray bans. They clicked and whirred and image popped up in his field of vision.
“Annie I need to talk.”
8/30/06 6:30pm-7:30pm 3rd edit
Annie’s hair was bright pink, with electric blue down by the roots. She looked flustered and for a moment the hair flashed a platinum blond.
“Well make it snappy,” she said. “I’m trying to coordinate everyone’s movements on the grid, scrye the location of the Gate, and figure out just what the hell the other side is attempting.”
Clyde’s apprehensions gave way and he recapped their odd journey from the city. Annie listened, nodding and grunting appropriately, while she processed everything she could as she tried to multitask. When he got to the part about the sirens she looked concerned. At the mention of the raven she looked worried.
“And now we’re driving through the land of corn,” he concluded.
“Clyde…what’s Lucas doing now?”
“He’s sleeping, I guess. Something about those sirens really got to him. What I’m more concerned about is how all the lines of luck around me look like they’re ready to break.”
“Is that bird still flying after you?”
He checked the mirror. The large black bird still trailed the car. That’s funny, he thought. Why didn’t I really notice that before? As he watched in the mirror, the black shape flew arrow-straight. Alarms went off in his mind.
“Yeah, it’s still there,” he said.
They both knew well that ravens were among Tyr’s favored, and he had more than a few subjects that could easily take that shape.
* * *
“You can get us home,” Tanya asked, her voice full of hope.
“I think so,” Billy replied. “It’s all there, past the clouds in my brain. It’s just so hard to get past the barriers.”
“It’ll come,” Samantha said, “just concentrate.”
“Yes Billy, concentrate hard. I can’t take much more of this place,” Tanya whined.
Samantha shot her a glance that said shut up! Bill took a deep breath and closed his eyes. His eyelids fluttered and his eyeballs darted back and forth as he searched his brain for the knowledge he sought. He took a deep breath, let it out, and smiled.
“I have it,” he said, full of confidence.
A grin spread across the faces of both women. He took two steps forward and reached out. As he concentrated on his task his eyes began to glow and the hair on his arms and neck stood up. His hand traced a pattern in the air and then a crack formed in the vast emptiness around them. He went to it and willed it to grow larger.
Beyond the opening was tall green stalks of corn, the leaves starting to show some yellow. He stepped back and surveyed the portal.
“It’s not exactly where I wanted to be, but it’ll do,” he told the others.
He waved for the women to go first, unable to suppress his smile. They walked through and he followed, feeling like he was pushing through a wall of Jell-O. And then there they were, in a field of bright afternoon sun.
* * *
Annie continued to look concerned, trying to think of what to do about Clyde’s company. Something about the bird, and Lucas’ behavior was nagging at her.
“You said Lucas was sleeping? Has he been acting funny?”
“A little, but the sirens hit him pretty bad.”
“Clyde, I…” A shimmer ran over her scrying bowl. She looked down, not believing what she saw. “Oh my God! They’re back!”
9/8/06 12:01 p.m. – 12:37 p.m.