I always enjoy the dinners I share with Cymrial. Not only are her people excellent cooks, but they have a fine eye for presentation. I try not to guess at the contents of each bite, because I know that their resources here beneath the subway tunnels are… Unique.
At least two of her daughters act as eyes and ears among my Night Eyes, and I know that they report to her first, and my organization second. Both are able investigators, who bring their own unique…
skills to the job. While their loyalty to their mother naturally cannot be faulted, I must, of course, insure that I, too, maintain a proper relationship with her as well. While they serve among my organization, they are my people, as well.
One of them is missing.
“I regret that I have not been able to devote more of my personal attention to helping locate Aliyar, Cymrial. I have been embroiled in the politics of the Fae Courts of this realm, and bound by promises that I made to them, promises they take deadly serious.”
“I understand my dear Noonian. I, too, have had dealings with these Fae, and their wrath is not easily assuaged.”
“It is my understanding that Aliyar and another of my people, a Sam Hill, had been tracing the movements of an FBI agent by the name of Carrie Minnervini after she disappeared. It had been my hope that Aliyar’s unique abilities would help guard them both from harm. Sadly, I am told that Mr. Hill’s body was found in an alley in Little Italy just last night. Of your daughter, there is as yet no sign. It is my hope that she is still on Agent Minnervini’s trail, and has gone silent for reasons of her own.”
Folding her napkin over top of her plate, Cymrial looked over at me inscrutably, saying “Let us both hope that is the case, Noonian. Aliyar is my Favorite, and almost certain to inherit my position here among my people, assuming that she survives long enough to make her play…” She smiles enigmatically as she says the last part.
“It sounds as though your internal politics are as convoluted as the Fae we’ve been discussing. Is this intrinsic to all the elvish races?”
Cymrial rose at this point, and turned away. “We no longer truly think of ourselves as being Elvenkind, but we remain a dark reflection of them.” At this point, another of her people enters the room, bearing a golden chalice.“Are you ready?” She asks, indicating that I should approach her.
“Then drink. This is an extract of drider blood; though accursed by our Goddess, a drider possesses great vitality. Correctly brewed, it can impart that vitality to others.”
Taking the chalice in my hands, I drained it, though the liquid within was foul to the taste and disturbingly thick with what felt like clots. It took everything I had not to regurgitate Cymrial’s gift explosively across the floor. As it roiled in my stomach, I could feel a heat rising, spreading out from my center and rushing though my arteries to every extremity. In it’s wake the warmth left a dull, throbbing ache, one that held my limbs unresponsive. Remembering that this was to be expected, I persevered, and soon my stomach settled, though the buzzing in my fingers, toes, and the tips of my ears lingered for several minutes more.
By my reckoning, five minutes have passed before I feel the last of the after-effects fade. Cymrial’s eyes shine brightly in the candlelight as she watches me shake off the lethargy that has held me. “A son of mine once tried that draught, and he died screaming after the first minute. My firstborn daughter? Dead after three. I am told an aunt of mine once drank from that cup, survived, but remained paralyzed until she was finally euthanized. Were you of my people, Noonian, I would demand that you sire a child with me. But my people would never follow a half breed. Certainly no human has ever survived such an ordeal, in all the annals of my people.”
“I told you long ago that I and my kindred were made to rule. We are stronger, faster, and smarter than mere mortal men, designed to endure what others cannot. Their diseases touch us lightly, when at all, and we can ingest impurities in food, water or air that would leave others wracked with distress.” I say, proudly unbowed though in truth I nearly disgraced myself.
“If it is my strengths you desire, there may be a path to be taken, if you are willing to assume some risk…”
Three days afterwards, on the 15th, I introduced Cymrial ‘Parker’
to my parents, when I met them for lunch at Kurumazushi. Telling them solely that she was a dear friend who desired a “perfect child”, I helped negotiate a deal between them that would get her an appointment with Dr. Dargenti. After leaving, I cautioned her to bring a bodyguard or two, as there was likely to be some excitement when they unraveled her DNA and saw what it contained.
Afterwards I had an interesting afternoon, if one considers chatting with Odin over coffee interesting. Why he wished to meet with Miranda was troubling, but he laid no conditions upon me requiring me not to tell her who and what he was. The rest of the day was equally ‘interesting’, involving as it did experiencing first hand the detonation of a rocket launcher, a runaway valkyrie, and the onerous chore of cleaning up said valkyrie’s messes.
The next several days proved to be just as ‘interesting’, involving Leprechauns, different valkyries, balseraphs, and a test of character.
At one point, I held the bottle of a djinn, and could have made myself a Prince, but did not. Such an honor must be earned, not granted with a nod of the head. Even still, releasing the bottle to the charge of she to whom it was both home and prison tested my resolve. That is not to say that wishes were not made; but none of them benefited me directly, and it helped us gain an ally of an erstwhile enemy, the Leprechaun Lord Alron, who ‘aided’ us in trapping the false Fae Ladies, Hands, and defeating them in an arena.
It would be two weeks after these events that I would hear back from Cymrial, who said only that she had cause to believe that Aliyar still lived, and that her meeting with Dr. Dargenti had gone off flawlessly. It might be several more weeks, but he assured her that, given an adequate supply of sperm and ovum from her people on which to run some tests, that he could almost guarantee her a daughter of exceptional abilities…