The List

This morning I woke up in a hotel room alone, and completely on edge.  My anxiety was through the roof and I was exhausted I hadn’t slept an ounce.  The images of my Ad Aetatem filtered through my dreams and made my nightmares all that more terrifying.  I woke up in sweat and went for a run, but I forgot my phone so the only thing I had to do while running was listen to my mind and it’s billion different scenarios of how my life was going to go, to my anxiety and the worsening fear of flying the more the day progressed.  I returned to my room to find I had missed  several messages.  The first message on my phone was from Jace wishing me luck.

Already missing you. Good luck on your first hunt! :P Don’t die.

The second was from Dae’lin, who oddly enough is now my boss.  It seems I’m unable to get away from the short raven haired woman that was my mentor.

Check in at Boulder HQ as soon as you land, your handler is waiting you.  Be on your best behavior. I will know.

I doubted it, she couldn’t possibly know everything I did.  She hadn’t when I was under her. But I would be on my best behavior for my so-called new handler.  It was only for a short time I was ensured that I would have to be underneath someone else.

The last message was from an unknown number.

Meet me at HQ @ 8 PM.

Turned out it was from my handler, I’ve not met them yet, but getting to HQ and settled in took longer than I had anticipated and I also had other things to do before I could go running off meeting strangers.

I was given a list of my next five marks, just 5 names – someone had already found them and I had to do the work in reverse now.

  1. Trent  Plummer
  2. Thomas Corning
  3. Edward Logan
  4. Lucille Lamare
  5. Carissa Giovanni

That last name tugged at some memory – something I should know but I couldn’t really find the connection in the amount of time I had.  I wondered about this list and what each of these people had done in order to make it to the dreaded hunt list.  I let my imagination wander and wondered if there was any connection between my dreams and this list.  Or was it just my mind playing games on me.

My flight has been called and I’ve not done enough to settle my mind.  I do not look forward to this trip.

 

One Extra

Today is leap day. A hell of a day to be born, having a real birthday once every 4 years – totally suck if you ask me.  Not that birthdays are something all the great for a child without a family either.

Jace and I used to celebrate my birthday together, when we were kids we’d stay up all night eating junk and jumping off the roof.  As we got older we spent my birthday out on the town seeing how many bars we could get thrown out of.  I think the record on my birthday was 3.  That doesn’t include the ones that just plain wouldn’t let us in to begin with – being minors and all.

The past ten birthdays have been less than ideal. I’ve been on the road for all of them.  June is a particularly busy month for Venatori hunters of my so-called caliber.  Every June since my own Ad Aetatem I have been a new hunter’s handler as Michaela was mine when I graduated.  I’ve been working with them passing their list of marks and unable to celebrate correctly on my birthday, however I do celebrate just not on that day.

After they complete their last mission I take a trip to Dangdburgh or back home to visit a friend for a few days.  Jace and I get into trouble with his wife and in Dangdburgh I’m pretty much in for those days. But it’s good times and makes me wonder how those on the 29th deal with their birth day only coming once every four years – big party I’d hope.

Drunk

I’ve been drunk once in my life.  It was a rare occasion in which I was actually having a good time with my roommates – yes the very same roommates who bullied and tortured me throughout school.

We were sixteen just coming off a big test.  I don’t even recall if we’d done well on it, only that it was stressful and we were all hanging out in our room with beer and other liquor we could find.  We got plastered playing various drinking games to relax.  We ended up playing truth or dare. A good share of the dares involved them playing against their own sexuality, when they finally realized that it bothered neither Jace or myself they started upping their game.

4_elements_tattoo
My Tattoo

Once they had me drunk jump from the AU building. It wasn’t a pretty landing but I only had a few scraps and bruises for it.  The others got other near life threatening dares too. Jace was the one who dared me to face the one fear I’d yet to face – that of needles.  He said I dare you to get a tattoo.  So I did.  Drunk, relaxed and nearly numb from the alcohol we went to the AU tattoo parlor and banged on the door until Ash opened up. He was a she – transgender going through a sex change.  It was revolutionary inside the AU building.  Ash is the best artist.  She laid me down and I promptly passed out after I chose the tattoo.  Thankfully I don’t have to stare at it to remind me of my stupidity or my fear.  But I have two tattoos – the pair of crossed swords at my temples that says I’m Venatori and the four elements in all their glory on the back of my neck.

 

Crazy in Love

Not something I have ever been in.  Never been in love – definitely not crazy in love.  Some would say I’m in love with myself. Egotistically speaking maybe I am, but I’m no narcissist.  I’m aware of my own faults and I try to correct or compensate for them – though usually in the wrong fashion. I’m okay with who I am. I’m always evolving.

But I’ve watched crazy in love – Jace and Mia. Jace and Mia met in the typical way in a classroom when they were thirteen.  Mia was in her first year at the Academy  – as she was not Magnus her formal education in the Venatori didn’t begin until then.  She was schooled in her own home town among other Venatori children, but only the residents of the city actually school their children at the Academy for all years.

Mia couldn’t stand Jace. Mostly because he was friends with me, and Mia had been forewarned of me by other girls in the class. Not exactly sure why they disliked me, it’s not like I was hitting on them, the one and only time I hit on someone who didn’t welcome the advance was Dylan and I got the shit kicked out of me for my efforts.

But Jace and Mia were forced to be partners in some exercise or another – they spent time together and  at the tender age of 13 they kissed and then Jace played it off like he didn’t know her. It went like this for the remainder of that first year.  It was another two years before they actually went on a date – several dates before Jace did something stupid again; I think he slept with some guy at a party.  He was plastered which is his weakness and I was busy with my own bedroom friend so I wasn’t keeping him in line.

It played out like this on again and off again until Jace and I graduated the Academy. I didn’t get to see them in the last stage of their romance before Jace proposed.  I know that he was with a guy near the end – nothing serious but good sex from what I’m told before he and Mia got back together.  In a few months Jace had proposed, they were married just as quickly and a year or so later Naya was born.

It may not be a tale of  romance or even logic why they ended up together, but it is the only story I know where things work out in the end.

The Bone Crunched

Have you ever walked into a mass grave dump site? The bones crunching underneath your feet. Sadly I have – all part and parcel to the whole hunter gig! Most supernatural creatures do not eat humans for dinner – with the exception of vampires they do drink blood. Usually the mass graves are murdered victims.

Dragon’s don’t usually kill humans unless they are protecting their hoard.  Demons will for the fun of it – they are the only truly evil supernatural creatures.  But like most Marionettes they require a human host and most people are smart enough not to accept a demon into their body.  It is rare for a demon to possess a human without their permission same for angels.  Ghosts on the other hand do possess humans for the hell of it.

Each race has their own enforcers, individuals who enforce the races rules and that of the Clandestine Providence, however only the Venatori are arrogant enough to believe it is their given right to police the whole world to their liking.  While the Aeternus were the progenitors of the Clandestine Providence, it doesn’t give us the right to enforce our will on everyone.

I went wildly off topic, I suppose that’s enough for now.

The Fight

Early in my career as a hunter, I faced my first dragon. I was young, naive and pretty full of myself. I’d just come off my final training as a hunter and I was on my own for the first time in as an adult. Not that it was all that much different from regular life, just now I wasn’t worrying about my roommates and what they’d do to me next or what test I had to study for. Now I made my own rules, made my own food, made my own bed – etc.

But me being me I stick to a schedule, the same schedule I have for my entire life. Only now I’ve modified it to fit life on the road.  So the day I found my dragon and confronted him I was already a bit on edge because of the shift in my schedule. I’d found out the hard way the road was no place for a schedule as I’d had for years. It was a fluid thing.

Anyway, I was already on edge when I found my dragon, he was accused of murdering humans in a robbery gone wrong. The video I saw of it was definitely incriminating and he’d go down in both human and Venatori courts, but he didn’t give me that chance.  We were having a regular good ol’ fashioned Mexican standoff when all of a sudden he opened his mouth and a gush of heat followed immediately by dragon’s flame leapt from his mouth.

I dodged out of the way but I wasn’t fast enough. He caught me on my left leg. I had to use water and earth to douse the flames before I went up with the sticky fire on me. It was only moments, the injury was bad, thank god for Venatori healing or I’d probably have died.  Most people would have, most hunters aren’t Magnus, and those that are are Magnus second to hunter, me I’m the other way around. My schooling and lessons were always for my Magnus side and hunting was the secondary. It also helped that I didn’t have parents sending me one way or the other. I am a better hunter because of it.

After the initial shock of it was over I threw a fireball/blade ring/disc something at the dragon and his head toppled to the ground.  I spent the next few weeks in a burn care center in Boulder, and then three months in rehab dealing with what the damage of the fire had done. Mostly I was kept out of hunting so I wouldn’t hurt myself again. It was a fight just to get started again, but I did and I never had another major mishap like that – at least not one that anyone knew about.

 

 

Mr & Mrs

Marriage is pretty traditional in the Venatori. Though being unmarried and having children is also very common.  My father is case in point.  My two eldest half-siblings, Adam and Iris are the only two that have the same mother. Marius, Tobias, Nick and myself all have different mothers.

Where as my father’s best friend has three children all with his wife.  Jace’s family is very traditional as well. Hell even Jace is pretty traditional, married a girl out of the Academy, they have two kids at the present – Naya, who is the sweetest little angel in the world, and JJ, Jason Hill Jr, who is a real spit-fire.  I love them both like they were my own, I’d do anything for them. I hate that I don’t get to see them often, but since they’ve been born I’ve been back to New York more often.

I don’t expect with my track record that there will be a Mrs. Sétanta, much less a significant other who I would settle down with.  At present the longest relationship I’ve been in has been with Jace and that’s because he’s my best friend. I suppose Margo and Dae’lin also rank up there as long term relationships as guardian/protector types for me.  But outside of those three there has been no-one.

But that won’t stop me from being a father. That is my end game goal at present. There will come a time soon that hunting will be less important to me than starting my own family. I feel the loneliness pull at me regularly, it will happen sooner rather than later.

As a side note, I chose the picture associated with this because it’s not traditional as I’m not traditional. If I get married it may not be to a woman as per tradition. But I doubt there is a soul in this world or the next that can tolerate my annoying quirks.