Black Express Cafe
The place that Bracken arrived with Emmora’s broken and lifeless body was deep inside what remained of the serpent’s crag. It was a place that she had prepared for just this moment so very long ago. Really… there had been nothing else to do. With the limited skills that had been left to her she had made herself comfortable while little by little searching for something, someone or some way that would help her get out of this insufferable place.
She had played scenario after scenario though her mind regarding any and all of the unpleasant events that could come to pass at any given time in the future and her death, unfortunately, was one of them. Several times in the history of the world, she had retreated to this place to hide or recuperate.
Emmora was born to the Kubota-MaRouge and it was always considered crude magic… the path of the foul and low born. She had always looked upon the Fae with envy, their magic pure and clean and so easy for them to access. They were elementals and could bend the elements to their will with a thought. All others that practiced had to make every effort to learn… struggle to earn the ability to make emanations and create manipulations. The Kubota-MaRouge were the poor cousins from the filthy part of town and always scrounging for scraps. Their magic always slightly twisted and some spells took time.
Bracken laid her broken body down carefully. She felt like a little kitten that had been savagely shaken by a pit bull… broken and all squishy. If Ja’Veen had wanted her to feel profound pain then certainly he had succeeded. Gently he wiped away the blood that had poured out of her mouth. Quietly he smoothed her dress and arranged her hands and hair. He did it with reverence and… he had to admit… with lust in his heart. Always he had coveted the legend of Emmora-Zebliqcur, the only women that had kept the attention of the dark king.
His heart was still pounding from the encounter that had just taken place. He had lost many friends in the battle and when he was able to slip into the magical dagger and flash himself and Emmora away, Ja’Veen and his creature were just getting started. He wondered if anyone else had survived. Silly thought.
No one would ever be able to convince him that the queen’s Diabolicon were any different from the king’s Diabolicon. They were all conjured from the darkest horror of places and born to the world for bloodletting. They were vicious and cruel with no regard for life and the queen was long dead and no longer held any sway over them and sooner or later their true nature would reemerge. There was absolutely no doubt in his mind. For a moment he wondered, in which state of mind were they more dangerous? He didn’t even want to think about it because he had a major task at hand.
Bracken watched Emmora’s face for several minutes searching for any sign that she might come back to life. This was something that they had talked about.
Her eyes stared lifelessly off into the distance, her flesh becoming cooler and cooler with each passing moment. Reaching to close her eyes he whispered her name several times before looking to the blade that had been spelled to capture her life force and hold it to this world.
Emmora’s specific instructions had been that if she were dead, he must leave the blade in until he could locate a body for her to inhabit. She was definitely dead. Only the Varda and the Diabolicon had the ability to heal from such vicious wounds. If he pulled the dagger out her soul would escape and since he was the only one there he did not want her soul escaping into him.
He sat back onto the ground and continued to watch her as his mind raced wildly. Who could he get for her that she would be satisfied with? She would only be happy with a high Seely witch but they were virtually non-existent and if they did still exist he had no idea where to begin to look for one not to mention the fact that it would be incredibly difficult to get the drop on one and quite frankly, there was just no way he even wanted to try.
The next best thing was to bring her someone of outstanding beauty. Emmora was vain and knowing that he at least tried and did save her life that it just might just extend his own life.
Maybe he could locate a Shuvani high priestess. Gypsies were still around and many of them practiced the old ways. Or maybe he could find a Voodoo Priestess. Their energy manipulations were very close in nature to that of the Kubota-MaRouge’.
He thought again. Emmora had spent all of her practicing hours refining her trix to look Fae in nature and for him to get a Voodoo priestess for her to inhabit just might get him punished. Her imperative was to appear Fae at all costs. However, Voodoo magic was usually more powerful than Shuvani magic. He was caught in a dilemma. Vanity versus practicality. His decision was made.
Quickly lifting her lifeless body he moved her to a place she would not be found just in case anyone was able to follow them. Then, he sealed her with a preservation spell. He was on his way to bayou country. Maybe even a quick trip to New Orleans. This could take a few days and if he were lucky, he could have some fun while visiting… maybe even some sex with a human woman.
He patted his pockets to be certain he had his scrying stones and then, with a singal thought… he was standing in Jackson Square.
It would be sundown in just a few short hours. Tipping his face to the light he knew that if he could choose his most ideal way and place to live it would be in New Orleans. It was eclectic and held a unique vibe. It felt free and open and there were so many places to dance and listen to music. The food was outstanding and the people were quirky, playful and had a very different take on the world.
He breathed it in, eyes dropping shut, hands open, palms up, taking in the energy that surrounded him. When he opened his eyes the first thing that he saw was the sign in the window of the little shop across the street.
-Voodoo Priestess- -Psychic Readings- -Spells Cast-
No… it just couldn’t be that easy. There was also a ‘Back in 30 Minutes’ sign in the window. Bracken was momentarily distracted by a strange and beguiling looking creature. He watched as a young woman crossed the square stopping to speak to a couple street performers. They behaved as if they knew each other.
At around five foot seven she was slender and graceful in her movements, her body clad in a black mid-calf, off the shoulders dress with an upper bodice that was form fitting to cascade into a flare hemline. Beads, bracelets and anklets, earrings, rings and toe rings were worn in abundance making the simple dress look dramatic. As she walked away from the performers she called back to them something about meeting up at the café later that night, her creole accent bewitching his ears. She was creole for sure. Her African America blood mixed in with the French Louisianan heritage left behind by an earlier time in history. Her hair was bound in the traditional headdress of plantation slaves, most likely to accessorize her exotic persona and she was a sight to behold.
He felt his body shiver as it released the pheromones of irresistible attraction. After all, he was Fae. Women could not resist a Fae. He had always thought of himself as a handsome man… as long as he wasn’t standing beside a High Fae or a Dark Fae. There was no competing with them.
However… glancing around he smiled once again… there were absolutely none of those in sight so he was definitely the top of the food chain tonight. A sweet purr and a few enchanted words and he would have her stripped down, laid down, spread wide and had. Glancing to his watch, the game was on. It had taken four and a half minutes to get the pants off the last human woman he set his sights on, three of which was foreplay. Maybe he could set a record with this little beauty.
As she walked away from the performers she had been talking with he moved to intercept her. She picked up her pace and ran across the small street that was closed off to traffic heading straight for the Voodoo door and slipped in the key. It caused him to stop short.
Raking his bottom lip with his teeth… a nervous habit, he paused for a moment. Hopefully she was just an employee and not the Voodoo Priestess. Then the skeptic in him spoke inside his mind. In this day and age there were few that claimed to be ‘otherworldly’ that were indeed… otherworldly. At best she would be a practiced pretender. In this day and age magic was much harder to come by.
His smile returned as he moved to grasp the doorknob to follow her inside. When his hand gripped the doorknob for just a moment he thought he felt a strange sizzle run through his body. He wrote it off as sexual anticipation. Glorious. She would be a glorious treat. He actually felt nervous. How invigorating.
She was behind the counter of the little new age store and turned to look at him as he walked towards her smiling. Picking something up from off the counter she turned in a full circle as she whispered something he could not make out. He was compelled to stop his forward movement. She assessed him with critical eyes as he smiled his charming smile at her.
For some reason he couldn’t bring himself to move forward and it felt awkward. He stepped to a table that was laden with books, crystals and candles and awkwardly picked one up. He could feel the scrying stone in his pocket going crazy and he wondered for a moment if she could see if wiggling around in his pants.
He couldn’t really put a finger on what was happening. With candle in hand he moved to walk to the counter where she stood beside the cash register watching him. For some odd reason he veered off to another display. After a moment, he tried once again and found himself walking to the next display. He couldn’t seem to bring himself to reach the counter.
After a few minutes he decided to take a different tack. He asked.
“Is the Voodoo Priestess in, or maybe the psychic?” Her eyes narrowed on him and as she reached into a large bowl sitting on the counter she asked.
“What do you really want and what are you?” Wow… whatever else she was… she was definitely empathic. Maybe she was the psychic. He put on the glamour and began to speak an incantation.
“Be there darkness… be there sleep… there’s need in you to…” Before he could finish she cast the power out towards him, it went up in fragrant flames and he was paralyzed. Frozen to the spot he was standing and coughing from the smoke. She asked again.
“What do you really want and what are you? The answer to my questions are the only words you will be able to speak. But before you answer, know this… I can see your heart is black and what pumps through it is not blood. I know that you are here with evil intent. Speak what I asked or I will finish my spell.” Okay. Now he was a little worried.
“I am here to speak with…”
“Liar. One last opportunity is yours. Arlo hasn’t eaten yet today. One more lie and you are lunch.” She cast her eyes to the floor beside her and his followed.
Oh crap! Who??? keeps a crocodile in a store in the French quarter? Or was it an alligator? Damn it was huge. He told a half truth.
“I simply want to bed you. I saw you… I wanted you. So I followed you here thinking that I would…” She cut him off.
“Charm your way into my wet, warm and wild spot?” Damn… the arrangement of her words was making him hard. She laughed. It was like music. But that was before she scowled at him to say.
“Half-truths are as bad as lies. Pardon me for a moment, Arlo like bar-b-q sauce.”
“Wait… wait… I do need… want a reading. I have a friend in a bad way and need to know how I can fix it for her. Please, I mean you no harm. You can’t really blame me for wanting to bed you. Look at you, you’re beautiful. Please. I promise I will not try…”
She cut him off again.
“… try to work a spell on me? That is what you thought that you would do… isn’t it?” Scowling he said.
“Well it couldn’t be any worse than what you’re doing to me. I just wanted to make love to you while you on the other hand want to feed me to your pet. So who here is really evil? Show of hands.” She laughed again right before she said.
“Well this was fun. And it might have been nice… interesting, to fuck a Fae but you need to be on your way now. I have no need of your kind and no tolerance for lies.” Before what she had said could sink in he was reaching for the door knob and stepping out of her shop.
Crap. She knew what he was. She probably even knew why he was there other than the bedding her thing. She had compelled him. Him… a Fae! This was the real deal. She was the real deal and he wasn’t leaving New Orleans without her.
She had momentarily gotten the drop on him but that would not be happening again.
Aubrey French stood still staring at the door of her little shop. It had been a close call. How she had kept her wits about her was something she had to remember at their next encounter… and there would be a next encounter. Fae did not give up something they wanted easily and he was here for her. She could feel it in her bones.
For a moment she entertained the idea of making a run for it. After her heart had slowed down a bit she decided to talk it over with her father. He would know what to do. He would know how to handle this.
Three hundred and some odd years ago, something had happened and she and her father had slipped through the veil between the human world and their world. For years they had made their home deep inside the Rus wetlands. It was a place few people went at that time. Despite the fact that they had magic, they were still very afraid of humankind.
They had stayed deep in the wetlands until around nineteen ninety. Her father had always kept them up on social events and by then the social landscape had begun to make dramatic changes. They ventured into a small backwater town and had, for a few short years while testing the water so to speak, made it their home. Then about ten years ago Aubrey and her father had decided to go main stream and get a real life and they moved to New Orleans and they loved it there. She could actually… in a small way, practice her blood born craft.
They had arrived here in the early 1800’s, before the war. They had both been born as generational behind the veil so stories of the dark king and his court were just that… stories.
Over the past few years she had seen a few more of their kind but she had never reached out to them as kin. Her father had instructed her that if they were to be safe, the Fae and any others that had slipped out during the strange waverings in the veil were to be avoided at all costs.
They were by all counts… human now. Kind of.
Although her father’s bloodline was connected to the court of the dark king, her mother had been Zeb. It was where she got her exotic dark good looks.
The Zeb had always stayed close together only attacking those that attacked them. However someone would occasionally cross the line and hire themselves out to attach a curse to someone and on rare occasion… a killing hex. Those few that would offer their services for a price were shunned by their kind.
The best and smartest of them had one little trix that only their kind knew about and only their kind were capable of performing. The more adept of the Zeb were capable of Soul Sifting and were not only adept at possession but under the right circumstance their souls could move from body to body. Unfortunately the king knew about this skill set and it really pissed him off. When he killed someone he wanted them to stay dead. Therefore anyone that could undo his work was a criminal and would be put to death… and under controlled circumstance, they could be put to death. So much for the Zeb.
Even after the demise of the king the Zeb had still been considered illegal and hunted by the dark Fae of the Unseely court that remained. This was how her father had met her mother. He had been sent to hunt them down and put them down… but when he located the target he was to exterminate, he couldn’t do it and became a criminal on the run from the Fae of his kind… woman of Zeb in tow.
She had been only twelve Fae years when they were found and her mother was murdered and she and dad were once again fugitives.
They ran for years… hid for years. Lied, cheated and stole for years. When a wyrding caused a disturbance in the veil and they were standing in front of a tear in the veil, they did not hesitate to step through.
In the world of the humans, they knew that they would be able to survive. They did after all have magic and no one here was hunting them. No one even conceived of something of their kind. However, the witch hunts were scary. So they stayed deep inside the wetlands and lived from what the land had to offer and it was bountiful. However dad, being Fae did have the ability to shift and with this he had acquired many luxuries for them and this made it easier.
Because the Zeb held remarkable physical similarities to the creole people of the south, the civil war was a period in history she and her fatherhad steered clear of it. However, the twentieth century was an open and equal opportunity time and place.
She had fit right in with the quirkiness of New Orleans and had found her place and her comfort zone.
However… and with that being said… both she and her father had watched the temporal rift traverse the planet for years now. They always knew that someday the rift would be breeched… that someday the veil would fail and then… all bets were off.
She really didn’t want to run and was done with hiding because she had found her place in this world and she had worked hard to hone her human persona.
Somehow… someway, she had to get rid of that pesky Fae.