T Minus Seven Days And Counting
“Psst Rune. Dammit, wake up you lazy sloth!”
I open my eyes at the unfamiliar insult. Where am I? /You’re at Kai’s house. Don’t you remember?/ I remember jägerbombs. Then dancing. Then more jägerbombs. /Well I made sure you followed Kai to the afterparty. I and Nevena had the most wonderful conversation, by the way./ What?!
“Rune?” I turn to the speaker, whom I now recognize as Chiyo.
“Sup?” She gestures to the room, an oval sized one filled with matresses, matresses where the shapes of Kai and Amanda can are sleeping.
“I want to go exploring.”
I grunt, and we move out of the room, carefully as to not wake any of our classmates. Chiyo closes the door with a soft ‘thrap’, a noise that still manages to cause my mind to vibrate. I close my eyes, and when I open them, I see black spots.
“We kept telling you to lay of all those jägerbombs. You wouldn’t listen.” Chiyo’s words are delivered matter-of-fact, and all that does is to make me want to strangle her. I try to remember the later events of the night, but I get nothing. I mean– when we had that party at the Orchard, I could still atleast remember what took place, if albeit blurry.
“It’s beautiful.” I follow Chiyo’s eyes to a intricately carved oak table conveniently placed against a stone wall. I nod, not wanting to speak. We spend the next half hour discovering and mapping out Kai’s home. The Bluts, in the their capacity as one of the Founding Families, have the kind of home you rarerly see out movies and clippings of a designer magazine; lots of small arches, lots of stone hallways complemented with tasteful objects of art and yet….
I nod to myself. If I were to compare Kai’s home to the Orchard, I would say that the Orchard feels like a place where people live, dance, love– a place where people party. Not so much here; there are thin layers of dust in some of the unlocked rooms, and the stone feels cold. I don’t think Kai’s home has see much laughter lately.
We hear a bang and a shout from a nearby room and hurry inside (okay, I move as quick as I can while hung-over). A middle-aged woman is massaging her foot and glaring at a saucepan, which I take it to be the cause of the hurt foot in the first place. As we enter she glances up, and in her green eyes I see the answer to the question of where Kai got his from. She stands up but does not extend a hand.
“I am Hilde Blut.”
“Chiyo Sawamura”, Chiyo responds, putting on the oozing charm.
Hilde looks at me. “Uh…” My thoughts move molasses-slow. She takes in the scars and the eye-patch. “You’re Rune Fallowfell?” “Yes.”
She turns back to Chiyo.
“So you’re the girl that is dating my boy. You going to break his heart?” I can’t help but wince at her gruff tone.
“I am the girl that is dating your boy”, Chiyo starts slowly, “and as for breaking his heart… well time will tell whose heart will be broken.” I snicker silently. Nice save there Chiyo.
My stomach surges with an embarassingly loud noise, and I can’t decide whether I want to vomit or you know, worship the porcelain throne (yes, this is a euphemism for pooping, live with it).
Hilde, still staring at Chiyo, speaks. “Go left, and on the third door.”
I move faster than a cheetah that has gotten sight of a gazelle.
Some minutes and some kilos later, I enter the room again. A closer examination tells me that it’s the kitchen, or maybe one of the kitchens in the house– a large row of pans hang over a sink and large fridge gives off an electrical hum in one corner.
I frown. Supersenses or not, how did I miss a fridge the size of a boulder?
While I have relieved my body of various… stuff, Chiyo and Hilde have set up a breakfast-spread that would shame Ikea’s twelve a clock buffet. Alright, that is a bit of a weak comparison but I have a drill in my head right now, so you’ll have to put up with it.
I stare at the table. Is that oatmeal? I think it is. Hilde opens a cabinet, and takes out a retractable steel broom. “I’ll go and wake Kai and the rest.” With a broom?! I grab one of the bowls next to the sink and fill it with oatmeal. Yes, focus. On the oatmeal. The glorious oatmeal.
The door opens and Kai and Amanda enter with tarried expressions. I ignore them and eat more oatmeal. I grab the butter at the same time as Amanda. I bat away her hand and she roars. I sneer and lick the butter from my sandwhich.
A burst of light blinds us, and when I can look again, Kai is holding a werelight in his hand and a stern expression on his face.
“Guys, fucking quit it, alright? We’re all feeling like shit, but that’s not a reason to act like shit, alright?”
I nod grudgingly, and while I do that, Amanda resteals the butter-knife. Stupid werewolf. I am bringing silver to school tomorrow, you just wait.
An intake of air, and… I feel a frown forming on my sweaty forehead. Hilde smells like dried blood, very much like Kai does, except….
It’s like difference between a steaming pile of dogshit in summer versus winter. In winter, the smell is covered by layers of snows. In the summer it smells ripe. Muted, that’s what her scent smells like.
/I think that the magic has passed her by./ Say what now? /Magic sometimes skips an generation. The imprimatur is still there, but the person who carries it won’t have magic, but their descendants might have it./
Talk about a bummer. You’re raised in a culture of magic, where you know that there are things that go bump in the night, and that you have a promise of magic, and then the magic just walks right by you. I think I can understand Hilde’s gruff tone better.