Touring Boulder Headquarters

As per usual I was up at 4am sweating bullets and panting from the nightmares that are my life.  Even a beer hadn’t calmed them – I don’t know why I thought today might be any different.  My second night away from the Academy hasn’t proven much different than every other night.

I had breakfast which consisted of the last protein bars I’d squirreled away until I learned where things were around here.  Thankfully Michael had promised to do just that today. I went for a run and hit the area they called a gym that no one was using at that hour of the day.  It felt good to be alone for once.  Things in NYC were always so busy – everyone was always on the go, and there was always someone awake at any hour of the day.

That is the main difference to NYC HQ and Boulder HQ, shit closes around here.  At 8 am I was standing outside the main building of the HQ compound and no one was there yet.  The woman who opened the door smiled at me and let me inside.  I sat down and waited another 30 minutes for Michaela to show up.  I was not impressed, but when she came in with a happy smile on her face I said nothing.  I bit my tongue.  Literally bit my tongue from saying something to offend my new handler on day one.  Go me!

However it didn’t last long as Michaela took me from area to area inside the main building.  It housed the offices, the small holding cells and the small stores that held gear, limited supplies for heading out and a few vending machines.  I was highly disappointed.

Michaela gave me a tour of the residences which had all our living quarters, pretty much a gloried hotel.  Single rooms with a restroom and a few common areas which as per the main building had vending machine and a small commissary story full of junk food and of course the dinky gym and a laundry room.  All of which were still empty at this time of day.

Our last stop was of course the gym.  Michaela decided she wanted to check out my style and my strength.  She remembered my display last night and told me I couldn’t do that.  I  was straight with her, no deal.  I’m not going to limit myself because she thought it was unfair.  Unless she fought like a human too I wasn’t going to fight her.  She attacked me anyway and I won the match.  She thought it was a good match, I didn’t tell her I was holding back.  I let her hit me.  I didn’t end it before it started.  I was no longer bound by the niceties of the competition but I held to them anyway.  I wouldn’t do that in the field.

We ate lunch and chatted about what to expect until my list was completed.  I worked for her.  Yay, another bossy woman in my life.  I would be given a file with given information to start off with and I’d have to figure out where and how to proceed, with her advice of course.  And we couldn’t do anything unless she signed off on it.  In her words, “no cowboy stuff.”

Michaela asked if I had any questions and I did but not what she expected.  I asked about grocery stores and what other things there were to do around town if I was expected to have a life here I needed details.  So Michaela did one better and showed me around Boulder itself.  Showed me a few clubs and bars she liked and informed me of the local hangouts of weres and vamps.  She sounded a little more than disgusted by them.  She must never have been around either for any period of time.  Supernatural creatures weren’t inherently evil, even vampires.

Tonight is my last free night as Michaela put it.  Tomorrow I start my first hunt.

Meeting Michaela

Whelp, I met my handler tonight. It’s about all I got done today after filling out a shit ton of paperwork. Car insurance, ‘rental’ agreements, keys to my room. And of course the glories that are orientation. I was a new hunter, there was not a person in the Venatori who believed we were completely ready yet so we got sat down to talk about the local flora and fauna and of course the native supernatural creatures.

When I was finally let go it was just about time to meet my handler. The bar I was to meet them at was only a few blocks away – walking sounded prudent considering it was a bar.  I wasn’t exactly drinking age, but it had never stopped me before.  My beard wasn’t gowning in yet and I didn’t quite look 18 and I was knew in town.  My id however said otherwise, 21.  I needed to be able to buy whatever I wanted and that age was the perfect age for everything.  Not that I would drink more than a beer or two anyway.  Though I might pretend otherwise.  I will not ever again get plastered.  Just thinking about it causes my anxiety to rise.

I decided a good run was in order before meeting my handler.  I was still feeling the stress of the flight so it really was in my best interest.  I musta ran for an hour and was a bit late for my meeting.  When I got to the bar there was this short brunette standing outside leaning against the wall.  She had her back to me and all I could think was nice ass, but I had more important things to do than hit on girls.  I started past her and her arm flung out and stopped my passage.  She turned around with a dark gaze and literally said, “No one keeps me waiting.”

I grinned at her, “Whatever you want Duckling, but I need to get inside to meet someone first.”

She shook her head and faster than any human could go she spun me up against the wall and held me there with strength beyond her supposed capability.  That was when I noticed the pair of cross swords hidden neatly behind a fall of her chocolate colored hair.  “Where have you been?”

I told her the truth.  I’d gone for a run to clear my head.  She eased up a bit until I made a smart comment about going someplace else.  The strength in that little girl was impressive, even for a Venatori, but I was getting tired of the game, so I crafted a very heavy and thick wall of air between her and I and pushed her away from me with ease.  She stared at me dumbfounded as I looked down on her as I straighten my clothes. “I don’t appreciate being pinned up against the wall.”  I gave her my charming smile with the crude comment, “Unless you have other plans for the night.”  I was rewarded with a slight blush before she started a blur of movements to catch me off guard.

We fought in the shadows for a good fifteen minutes I’d gather before she was huffing and puffing and I finally blew her on her ass with a gust of air.  She sat in a puddle of my creation and frowned up at me.  “I was told you were Magnus, but no Magnus has ever fought like that before.”

I gave her half a smile.  “I ain’t your normal Magnus.”  I offered her a hand and she took it but she tried to pull me down in the puddle instead, I let her slip from my grip with a small little pattern of oil along my arm and she tumbled back to the ground splashing in the puddle yet again.

“Then what pray-tell are you?”

“For starters, I’m Cesari.  And second I’m half human.  I don’t have your speed, your strength or your agility so I defend myself however I need to to survive this world.”

She smiled up at me and stood up on her own.  I wasn’t going to offer a hand again anyway.  She offered me hers but I didn’t take it.  She laughed.  “I’m Michaela Donovan, you can call me Donovan.”

I nodded.  “Nox.”

She had intended that we go into have a few drinks but now she was soaking wet so we went our separate ways and would meet up bright and early at 8 am sharp she said.  That wasn’t bright and early for me, but I nodded and figured I’d have a beer then go find my rinky dink little room.  It’ll suffice for now.  I don’t intended to stay around here much.

 

Plane Ride

I’m sitting in the airport restaurant after my flight to catch my self. Fears are something I always try to conquer, and I have conquered my fear of flying, but that doesn’t make it any easier.

My heart raced.  My palms were sweaty.  I could feel every bump, jerk and bounce the plane made as it cruised thirty-nine thousand miles above the ground.  My heart is still in my throat.  My fear is not a mild fear, oh we are going to crash mentality.  No, mine is soul crushing memories that spike my anxiety.

My first memory of flying still haunts me.  I can feel the crushing pain of it all.  For a five year old child scared out of his head the worst possible thing could have been to make me fly on a plane.  I’ve told Margo the story a billion times over.  It never changes, the memory is seared into my head.

I had just sparked – the curtains caught on fire and my mother spat at me sending me to my room and violently packing my things and hurrying me out the door into her truck and we hurled down the highway to the airport in Denver.  I watched the mountains slip past us.  I remember feeling lost and confused.  My mother was glaring at me, yelling at me for every little sound I made that I stuffed my face into my little stuffed Mushu dragon from Mulan and I cried and tried not to let my mother hear me.

My mother dragged me kicking and screaming onto the plane that I was certain would crash to the ground in a fireball of my own creation.  She didn’t understand as she shoved me into my seat and strapped me down.  The belt was so tight it felt like it was crushing my legs and hips.  I remember squirming and getting smacked for my attempt to escape.  The growl and firmness in my mother’s jaw informed me she meant business.  I held my tongue and my body close to me as I whimpered into my only friend.  He at least would help me through this time as I lost everything I’d ever know, ever loved.

The jerk of the plane as we ascended into the sky made me scream and my mother covered my mouth with her rough smoke covered skin and I did all I could just to breathe and not vomit all over the place.  When we leveled out, I felt like the world was pressing in on me, I could barely breathe, my ears hurt so much my jaw ached.  The landing wasn’t any better.  I bit into Mushu’s plush skin and held my scream for fear of the beating my mother would give me for being loud again.

The ground was hard and I nearly fell into it as we started walking inside the terminal.  My mother stood around waiting, she roughly pushed me into a chair and I sat and waited, watching the crowd go around and around.  Never saw the same person twice, until a man came to me.  He smelled like my mother of cigarette smoke, but where my mother had nothing but contempt for me he had a kind smile.  The thought of that smile gives me shivers now.  The universe was shitting on me and I didn’t even know it yet.

This trip was not traumatic.  I didn’t scream or even squawk.  I was grateful for not having super human strength or the arm rests could be permanently damaged from the grip I had on them.  My breathing was increased and the people next to me were keenly aware of my fear as I drowned in the music of my iPod.  But it was uneventful, I conquered my fear.

So now I sit catching my breath, drinking a beer and eating a small meal before I go to my new home for the foreseeable future.  Here’s to conquering another fear!

 

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.

 

Ad Aetatem

Early this morning, I woke up from the usual nightmare. My body was drenched in sweat which made me grab another shower. Although I’d taken one the night before to get the horrid smell of smoke from my body. I had a late night hanging out with Michael – the bus boy from dinner. Although I didn’t spend as much time with him as I had expected as Haley showed up with his supply of drugs. Gregory instead kept me company. It was new for both of us. We had fun.

I’d love to go on about last night but I don’t kiss and tell. This morning I was up, showered and dressed before the first of my three roommates were even roused.  I paced nervously in the same getup I wore last night. A midnight laundering session was so much fun.

We all then waited in different rooms waiting for our Ad Aetatam to come.  It went in alphabetical order by our last name, which meant I went before Aaron and after Ross, Jace went way before us. But we weren’t in the same area. I was Cesari but I was Minorem – lesser or minor Venatori. We had our own little waiting room and our own little bitty ceremony crap to endure. There were only three Minorem in my class. The other two were full human and older than I was as they were victims of the same rogue werewolf pack attack.  Both were hell bent on revenge. The wolves in question were already dead.  But that didn’t stop them from wanting to kill every werewolf out there – for better or worse.  I paced while they prattled on about how they were going to take down every wolf. They were that bad ass. Not even quite, I could wipe the floor with them.

The Ad Aetatem is a series of three rituals. The first requires a sacrifice – a rabbit or some other furry critter raised for the sole purpose of slaughtering it in the good name of the Venatori. Another atrocity to apply to the Venatori name – the slaughter of innocent creatures.  Both my father and mother were in attendance. It was a simple right of passage – one that shows a break in familial ties to become our own person to no longer be bound by their house rules.

It was symbolic for me in no shape or form – neither of my parents had guided me down the right path.  Dae’lin and Margo should have been the people that had been my parents in this. But they weren’t legally my kin.  It should be the last time I ever see my parents again and definitely the last time I see them together.  My mother flew immediately back to Colorado. My father I guess went to his apartment in the Apex Unlimited building where he lived in NYC.

The next part of the whole shebang was a vision quest, a non-lethal toxin administered to each participant. we hallucinate what the universe has in store for us. I am not impressed that the first time I have ever done drugs was in the form of a society-accepted ritual where I’m forced to do it.

I tripped just like every other kid of 18 in the Venatori. My visions were erratic.  I saw monsters of many varieties flashing around my mind in no particular order. I saw ropes tied to them, I saw crowns or wreathes of thorns or some such head piece types. Is saw a pair of deep blue eyes and the soft scent of apple pie floating through the air. Saw is the right word, I didn’t smell it but it’s that cartoon effect coming off apple pie.  I saw billions of little stars floating around me. And then I was retching my guts upon the floor. People were all around me offering me water – something had gone wrong for this many people to be around. But I was in no mood be comforted. The distant memories blunted my feelings.  The hallucinogen dulled my senses and I walked blindly to the next area.

Under the influence of alcohol I received one tattoo prior. Under the hallucinogen I would receive the second – a pair of cross swords at my right temple. It showed I was Venatori to any supernatural creature out there.  The ink was made with magic and the blood of the sacrifice from before.  It is unique to all Venatori, but the image is the same. But without the magic the world would see an entire community of supernatural beings living among them.  The tattoo was only visible to those who were supernatural with the rare exception of the humans who bore the mark.  The mark allowed them to see others like it.

I am terrified of needles. If I made even the smallest sound during this process I would be sent back to the ranks of the Academy for another year until I can pass without noise. I was grateful for the intolerance to whatever drug they had given me earlier I was out of it for most of the tattoo.

Between the raging fear inside and the bad reaction to the drugs I was hurling again after completion. I was now waiting for my final assignment. I was ushered out the door before the festivities of graduation could begin.  Our illustrious leader wanted me away from the politics of the breeding game.  Mark Green, the only other Cesari I know alive today, leads our pack of supernatural society. He knows all too well what the blood of a Cesari will be worth in the breeding game, even with my inferior genes of humanity mixed in.

So today I said good-bye to my home and my best friend and I have no idea when I’ll be back to see either.

Dinner with My Parents

Thursday, May 26th, 2005

It’s late. Margo wants me to keep a journal of my thoughts and feelings as part of my long distance therapy. Tomorrow I leave right after my Ad Aetatam. I’m not looking forward to the stupid ceremony but it is tradition. Tonight I ate dinner with my parents – BOTH of my parents.

WTF? Who the hell is my father? Why do I care who he is? Dae’lin insisted I go to dinner with them. She gave me money and everything. She even made the reservations at a riverside market where my mother wanted us to meet. Dae’lin made me walk my mother there. She wanted me to be a proper gentleman. I did it because Dae’lin asked.

This meeting pushed my anxiety levels to a new all-time high.  Thirteen years and change passed since my mother left me with a strange man at the airport terminal. He was nice  – then. It has been a long time since I’ve thought about him. Margo transferred me to a different fire-starter teacher because of an accidental spark where I lit him on fire.

I did it on purpose. He hit me – again. And I wanted him to stop. The thought ignited in my mind before I could stop it. The patterns formed and the fire wicked up his legs. His screams permeated my thoughts. Even the nasty smell of burning flesh and skin didn’t bring me from my thoughts. As soon as the alarm went off, the darkness inside disappeared and I put the fire out.  He received only minor burns; but the fear would be there  forever.

I would spend the next three months in a detention center under psychiatric evaluation where I first met Margo. Dr. Margo Silverman, my therapist, and the only person other than my best friend, I trust with my life.

Margo told me who my father was a few days ago. She is my de facto caretaker. A handful of people knew Kai Viddens was my father, and she was one.  An agreement between her and my mother  prohibited her from telling me. Whatever!

I met my mother outside of Dae’lin’s office. Leanna Sétanta wore a dress that didn’t fit her in at all, and if you asked me, it was not appropriate for meeting your almost 19-year-old son. If she were years younger and didn’t smoke I might have hit that. But she’s my mother, she smokes, and she wore way too much makeup.

The see-through dress  made her pasty white skin look blotched and ashen. Her eyeliner was too thick, her blush was not right for her skin tone, and I won’t even comment on her foundation.

My father dressed like he didn’t care about the meeting either. He looked like he didn’t own an iron – wrinkled pants and shirt. I envied the fact my father opted not to wear a jacket or tie.

Dae’lin insisted I wear my best outfit – I owned one qualifying outfit. A pair of black dress pants paired with a black long-sleeved button up silk shirt and an orange tie. She didn’t balk when I wore my leather jacket over top which surprised me.

Everyone looked overdressed for the joint The only redeeming thing about the whole night was I knew our waitress on an intimate level – the bus boy too.

My mother tried to flirt with my father, but my father ignored her attempts. But she kept right on talking like either of us cared. Her incessant chatter allowed me to flirt with my friends. My mother noticed when my hand lingered a little longer on the busy boy’s waist after I’d saved him from crashing to the floor in a heap.

Leanna tried to make me feel bad about it. Did she think her opinion mattered? Or that anyone’s did? I would not up and change because someone berated me for my life’s choices – it wasn’t even a choice; it just was.

My father didn’t make a big deal about it. But the event that brought my flirting to my mother’s notice also gained my father’s intrigue. We discussed my use of bending elements instead of my lack of supernatural speed and agility after dinner before I left with the bus boy for some fun.

What are your feelings about how your mother treated you? -M

I could not care less about how my mother treated me. I didn’t expect her to love me, or want me in her life, or to be in mine. She hasn’t cared enough to visit me in the past 15 years, why should she care now?

What about your father? How does it make you feel knowing he’s been here all along? – M

That pisses me off. I didn’t expect him to get all choked up at meeting me either, but the fact he was right here the whole time – that pisses me off. I could have had a family. I could have been loved by a father. But the bitch of a mother I have didn’t want to burden my father with my existence.