This is y'all's fault. I'll probably pull it out of of here and use it for a Halloween story or some such.
He stayed well past dark, hoping Keiq might come by, then decided he might as well keep working and sleep here. He had running and karate gear, plus shirt socks and briefs in the ute, and it was easy to get to Versalle from here.
Unfortunately I doubt she's at my apartment, pining for me.
He pulled power to feed his light and moved to the next room, the roof was mostly intact here, so the debris consisted mostly of the fallen ceiling and the crumbled wall board. Not many leaves had gotten through the empty window holes, so he just got to work sending it all out the window. Easier to pick it up later, rather than carry it down the ladder.
It was almost midnight when he heard the gate hinges creaking.
:: Keiq? ::
A faint distant sleepy feeling.
He stepped to a front window and spotted the crisscrossing of multiple flashlights.
He doused his own light, and waited.
A group of people trying to walk quietly. The lights were pointing downward for the most part, but moved enough to illuminate an occasional shoe, a trouser leg . . . in pink? Yes, that was the pitty-pat of nervous women, and certainly not walking in any sort of disciplined order.
So I'm not being raided by the Building Inspector Cops. What the heck?
He caught little whispers as they approached the front, and stepped back as they shone their lights across the house.
“Look! It's true!”
“How could that have happened?”
They milled about, then got up their nerve and stepped out of sight.
Ice brought up a night vision spell, and stepped carefully out to the balcony.
Whispers, echoing off the bare concrete, as the women fussed over where to go.
“I thought we'd decided on the bedroom.” Faint exasperation.
“But it's back there!”
“The ballroom is right here.”
“No! We need a place where he spent a lot of time, and not too many other people to confuse the energy.”
“Well, that makes sense. But I still think his spirit would have gone back to Makkah.”
He smothered laughter.
Ice watched the lights and nervous women walk out of sight below him, and moved cautiously over to the ladder.
The only question is, whose spirit are they talking about?
A family member, someone who used to live here?
Or, One help us, Mikel the Eye himself?
He bit a knuckle to stop from laughing.
Yeah. I'll bet on that.
He took the ladder slowly and quietly, listening to muffled voices, and exclamations. Edged up to the rooms on the right at the back of the house, and peeked around the corner. According to the book, this first room had been Mikel's office, and then through the arch, his bedroom.
Both rooms were deep in centuries of composted leaves, the plaster from the ceiling had fallen so long before that it was buried, and most like completely disintegrated. The women had cleared a circle of the winter dried grass that had tried to grow there, and drawn a star with some white dust. Chalk? Flour? Or is salt the traditional way to corral a spirit? They were lighting candles and putting them on the points of the star, and then sitting between the candles, outside the star.
Ice stayed back and watched in fascination as the women recited, almost together, a prayer older than the prophets, sang something that was probably a call to worship in Arabic, recited the ten commandments and then the seven pillars of Islam.
I wonder if those early Warriors were all Muslim? Their mothers' mothers were. How were they raised? And even the Prophets. Were they even religious?
Isakson is quite devout. I'll bet all these sons of one Prophet and grandsons of another were . . . Well . . . I really have no idea. And from the mish-mash going on out there . . . One! Are they singing the Battle Hymn of the Republic?
Well, that's appropriate for Warrior summoning.
Ice bit his lip . . . and failed to resist.
Deep voice, barely a breath behind it. “Who disturbs the rest of a Warrior?”
One full bodied shriek.
One startled yip.
One flailing panic that kicked two candles.
One cynic stared straight at him.
Ice formed a ball of light and stuck it on the bare concrete of a wall. Walked over and stomped out smouldering grass.
“Really, Ladies? A séance at midnight in the ruins of an Ancient Warrior's home? Fortunately for you, from what I've heard of Mickel, he'd have been quiet amused by that cultural stew you're using. Now will you please go home. I need to get some sleep so I can work tomorrow. Okay?”
“Who are you?” The cynical one glared at him.
“I'm the man who owns the house. Ice-kah Withione Sycamore Tall Trees.”
A snort. “You are not a Native.”
“I'm mostly Oner.” He shrugged. “What did you expect Mikel's ghost to tell you?”
She flaps her arms in exasperation. “Where he hid the Bags of the Prophets.”
“The Warrior Davos has Daiki's Bag.”
“Yes.” Exasperated tones. “And Mikel had his grandfather Thomas' bag and was holding Oliver's to pass on to the Prophet's youngest grandson when he was old enough.”
“Ah. A treasure hunt.”
The other four had regained their composure, well, and consciousness in one case.
Glares moved from Ice to the cynic.
“Cake!” And indignant yelp. “You said we were going to ask him about the past and the future.”
Cynical Cake shrugged. “Of course, but recovering a historical treasure will prove that we talked to his spirit.”
The fainter shivered. “I'm sure he was here.” A glare for Ice. “You may have killed him.”
The panicker patted her arm. “I don't think you can kill someone who's already dead.”
“Oh, Jewel! Now you're going to be logical?”
“Ladies! Please. Go away. And close the gate after you, so the horses don't escape. Or have you already let them out?”
“We squeezed through.” That one clicked on her flash light and trotted for the front doorway. The rest scrambled to follow her. Ice sent his light ball after them and stood in the dark a moment, and stomped out two embers.
“Now go find Tanya and the baby.”
Ice spun but there was no one there. Brought up bright lights . . . no one.
“Right. Any hints?”
Ice touched his lips. I've said things before, sort of like pre-cog . . . but I'm pretty sure I'm not the one who said that.
Oh . . . Shit.
Keiq thought it was funny. "I haven't researched the people who've lived there. I'll have to look for a Tanya."
"Are there any real details about Mikel the Eye's later life? The ladies seemed quite clear about the Bags of the Prophet. I suppose we could ask Rael if she has any dimensionally able students handy." Ice sighed as she started giggling.
(probably to be continued)