Chapter One Hundred and Thirty Three
The following night Amelia called to thank me for the delightful party and to congratulate me on the level of magical security I had cloaked my family in.
I could tell by the tone of her voice that she was very curious about who had bespelled my family. She was also a little miffed that I hadn't turned to her for my supernatural protection needs. I needed to smooth her ruffled feathers.
"The protection goes with my role as Pythoness," I pointed out. "A judge that can be coerced into skewing justice towards a kidnapper wouldn't be a very good judge."
"Do you think someone might really try to get to you by threatening your family?" she gasped in horror.
"It's certainly possible," I allowed.
For one as knowledgeable as she was in the ancient mystical arts she was still pretty naive about the wicked ways of the real world. I thought of her living in my old farmhouse, collecting modern art, plying her magic and bickering fondly with Tray about his motorcycle racing, a dispute so old it was like a well worn path in their communication. Of course she would not know all the many dangers the larger world of the supernatural and the out-of-this-world might present. That last thought gave me an idea.
"There is one magical favor you could do for me..." I began.
"Anything," she said eagerly. She loved a challenge and my life as a vampire and Pythoness seemed to fascinate her.
"I was wondering if you could find someone for me, if they're still in the land of the living."
"I can, and even if they're not. Do you have something that belongs to them?"
Uh oh, that was going to be a problem. The beautiful clothes still enshrined in Jure's Croatian castle were out of my reach. Or were they? I wondered if Linda had taken any of the lovely vintage garments to play dress up?
"I just might. If not, would anything else work?" I asked hopefully.
"If you had something owned by someone that had been close to them ..." she mused, "That might bring the connection I need."
Well that wouldn't be a problem. Jure had a ton of stuff. I was sure Linda could bring me something of his.
"That might work better."
"Fine roomie, you let me know when you have something for me and I'll do my ding dong dang-dest."
Ding dong dang-dest .. that Amelia could always make me laugh. We went on to talk about how wonderful Kyle Eric was, what a great party it had been, who Madge was to Eric, and what new pieces of modern art she had recently acquired.
She also told me a long complicated anecdote involving a spell involving a pesky squirrel that hadn't gone quite as planned but my mind was already wandering so I didn't get it all. I joined her in laughing at the appropriate moment when the story was complete.
I promised to come and visit and see her latest art acquisitions as soon as I had something to use in a reconstruction of Celandine's path through life. I didn't really care where the ex-wife had been spending the interim centuries, I just cared where she was now.
Eric was on the other phone with the King. When I was done with my call from Amelia I waited to hear what new thing the King had cooked up for Eric to do. The King and Queen had been so busy with their two girls Pythia and Pacia they had pretty much left Eric and me alone. I guess getting an invitation to Kyle Eric's naming party had jogged their memory about us.
He came in smiling. "The King wished to convey a message from Augustus that he is petitioning the High Court to review the vote about Vampire Liberation. Although the King's message was straightforward, the subtext in his tone was that this was a trifling matter that need not be addressed for a very long time, if ever."
"If it's so trifling why did he even bother us with it?" I asked, glad that the request was not something that would place Eric in danger or take him away from his family where he was so vital, especially to the start up of Darren's American business and Char's well being.
"He owed Augustus a long standing debt for his help in the take over of Louisiana and Arkansas. Without Augustus's legion he would not have been able to over throw Queen Sophie-Anne LeClerq and her supporters after her defeat of Peter Threadgill's regime."
One more reason to despise Augustus, I thought but did not say.
Although Queen Sophie-Anne had her faults, she had also had an endearing side to her. My cousin Hadley had fallen in love with the French born Queen.
I liked King de Castro well enough but I did not like the way he had brutally slaughtered the Queen and her loyal guards to take over her kingdom. The political maneuverings of Vampires had been way beyond my understanding, back then.
My goal had been to get through their turbulent times alive and with my possessions intact. Eric had helped me back when I was human, poor, jilted by Bill, and terrified. Eric had been my hero and not taken advantage. Well, not very much advantage anyway.
Eric was politically savvy enough to quickly adjust to the new King's authority and work it in his favor. I tended to be a little more emotional about the slaughter of a woman I had known and my cousin had loved. Queen Sophie-Anne had willed me her diamonds, the ones she was given as a wedding present. That made me feel a little closer to her too.
Since I was human at the time of the take over and no one asked my opinion, I hadn't had any say in how things turned out. Things would be quite different now that I was Pythoness, ruler of the High Court.
I put these musings aside. The past is history, tomorrow's a mystery, all we have is the gift of right now, that's why it's called "The Present".
"Well, he told us," I replied to Eric. "I'll pass it on to Merry Dixon to put at the tail end of the current court docket. Meanwhile I've asked Amelia to help me find out where Celandine is and maybe what happened to her if she's passed on. If she is no more, Amelia can do an ectoplasmic reconstruction, a pricey bit of witch craft. I think it's worth it to know exactly what might crop up if Linda goes through with her plans to marry Jure. What do you think?"
He sat down with me across from him on the other sofa. "I think it is a good idea as long as Jure does not find out and become incensed. Those of us with very long lives do not like to be held accountable for our every act over the centuries. Times dictate actions that might not seem ... " he searched for the right word, "....correct when taken out of context."
His face was completely calm, so innocent of expression that it made me feel a little twinge of suspicion. He was speaking of Jure but was he also talking about his own past? Was there something percolating around back there that was going to rise up and bite us in the rear when we least expected it?
There was no point asking Eric directly, he was amazingly close mouthed about many things in his past. Maybe I would be the same way when I was one thousand plus years old.
"Let's go see the baby," I suggested, changing the subject and letting him off the hook. "I'll call Merry, you call Char, and then we'll go visit our grandson if that's OK with her."
"Brilliant idea," he said heartily, standing up like a shot. "I will also see if she needs anything we can bring." He strode out of the room and away from our conversation about mistakes of the past.
Things that make you go hmmmmm.... I thought as I speed dialed Merry's number.
more to come .... (Greetings dear Fanpires! Thanks so much for coming by. I'll be back next Saturday, til then please take extra special good care of yourself and think happy thoughts. Love you! )