From Furiously Familiar. Lelia and Jaramillo Cortez are looking up information in the Lees’ library. Dolores has asked Patrick to, ahem, update his wardrobe.
Cinders the Coatimundi raced into the library and dove behind the umbrella stand. “Is there a problem?” Mr. Lee inquired.
“Patrick, love of my life,” Mrs. Lee’s voice came down the hall. “I said no naughty neck-ties.”
Mr. Lee drew himself up, hands shifting onto a defensive stance. “My dear, there is nothing inappropriate about having a fine work of art on one’s cravat. It is Rubens.” Continue reading
Familiar Roads is set 18 months or so before Eerily Familiar. And Lelia is about to discover that temper is not her friend.
Tay met her at the door to the back-yard, and she let him out. He scampered ahead of her, heading for the far corner near a stack of rocks. She averted her eyes. Leaves had gotten into the circle, and she removed them. If they weren’t there, André couldn’t throw them at her. The wooden fence made her wonder why someone had just tied a bunch of big branches together, then propped them upright. She couldn’t see through it from where she stood, and it had to be at least six feet tall, so maybe that counted as a fence around here? Between the odd fence and the lack of grass, the space behind André and Rodney’s house made her think more of a storage yard or one of those places where guys practiced fighting and wrestling than of a house yard. Tay trotted back toward her.
“Let’s start with the absolute basics,” she told him. “I’ll take east this time, you with me.”
“Got it.” She picked him up and waited while he got settled on her shoulder. “You could hold me in your arms.”
Lelia checked to make certain that the circle’s shields remained dormant, then walked in and took east. “Yes, but I don’t trust myself not to drop you if I need to fight. Old habits die hard.” And full hands meant easy prey, at least to her way of thinking. That’s how it was on the street.
“Fair enough.” Continue reading
Tuesday turned into Monday Two: The Son of Monday Returns. Lelia and green chilis…
Green chilis were not the same as green bell pepper. Lelia’s eyes watered a little, and her nose threatened to be rude. Wow, that’s good, but, wow, warm, warm. She sipped some milk and waited for the fire on her tongue to fade before taking another bite of breakfast casserole. Tay, busy keeping a wary eye out for baby Antonio, missed the momentary excitement. Lelia decided that she really liked this sort of Mexican food, but if this was mild, she’d probably better stay well away from hot. As exciting as the trip had become, she didn’t want any additional thrills from her food.
She’d slept so well that she woke with a stiff neck and a serious need to visit the washroom. She let Tay out, only to have him come racing back in. “Snaaaaakkkkkeeee!” She’d peered out the door, boggled a little at the chill, and saw something tan making a lump on the path. The lump had not been there the night before. Lelia texted Mrs. Jackson and went about drinking some water and making tea.
“That was a lovely bull-snake,” Mrs. Jackson told her at nine, when Lelia arrived for breakfast. “They eat rattlesnakes, but they can be surprising if you are not familiar with our local reptiles.” Continue reading
André tests his student, and Lelia discovers mole sauces…
He gestured and she stepped into the circle. He followed. “Solo work for now, so I can see what your strength level is. Once I know that, I can tailor what we do and I’ll have a better idea of when to quit.”
That sounded like excellent information for him to have. Lelia stopped, sorted her directions out, and moved to face west. He stayed at north, hands resting on the walking cane. He glanced down, and she felt shields rise around the circle. OK, he must have them pre-set so all he has to do is trigger them. That’s still impressive. André looked up once more and Lelia shifted inside herself, looking with her “magic-sight” as well as normal eyes.
He didn’t move, but something launched from his direction. She brought up her own defenses, blocking the attack. The air inside the circle spun, whipping her skirts and tearing at her hair. She extended her shields into a wall of magic, deflecting the spray of sand and rock fragments. André remained motionless and silent. How was he doing that? Was he that strong? Power slammed into her shields and she redirected it, absorbing some into the shields and sending the rest right back at him. Continue reading
Lelia visits La Casa de Rodney.
“I ordered supper in,” André told her. “Delivery at seven.” He led Lelia and Tay around the corner of the house and pointed with the tip of his walking cane to a dark-colored path through the plants and rocks. “That’s safe. The owner keeps everything trimmed back from the path. Do not, repeat not, go anywhere near that thing.” The thing in question appeared to be a hairy cactus with lots of joint-like places on its branches. “It’s called a jumping cactus for a reason.”
Rodney chimed in. “That’s the polite, informal name for it. Most popular names start with a swear word.” He sniffed the edge of the path, then added, “It doesn’t really jump out and grab you, but chunks break off really easily, and the spines like to work their way deeper into you.”
She stared, appalled and horrified both. “And you have that in your yard?”
“Yes, because one, I don’t have to keep up the yard,” André said. His smile turned cold and mean. “Two, some students thought once that it would be cute to try and decorate the yard. Once.” He enunciated, “They attempted to apply toilet paper to the plants. Their choice of targets was ill advised.”
That was terrible! Before Lelia could say a word, Tay snickered. “Their mistake stuck with them?” Continue reading
Filling in a gap. I’m too frazzled to work on Furiously Familiar, and this has been itching me [thanks for the story bug, Mark. Not! ;)]
Would he remember that she was at the train station and not the airport, Lelia wondered as the train squalled, then slowed, the horn sounding three times as they left the desert and eased into the outskirts of Phoenix. André had offered to buy her a plane ticket to come visit him to work on some advanced magic. She’d declined.
“I’m sorry, sir, I can’t fly.”
“Why not?” André had sounded a little hurt.
“Because I can’t get through airport security here with a non-driver’s ID. The state hasn’t brought it up to standard, and my passport expired and I can’t get a new one that fast.” Lelia shared his frustration, sort of. The thought of Tay on an airliner filled her with a sense of dread. He’d have way too much fun. Way too much. Continue reading
I was reminded of this the other night, when we had our first brilliant winter-like sunset since last spring.
Rachel gave General Rahoul Khan as much of a sideways look as she could with him standing on her blind side. “Sir?” He can’t know about my little outing last week, and nothing’s set off the smoke detectors recently that I know of. And I had nothing to do with the minor disturbance in the NCOs mess.
“Why is my daughter insisting on going to Lands’ End to see the dragon?”
“What?” She turned so she could see him clearly.
He had a very familiar look of wary curiosity on his face, arms folded, not patting his foot but giving the impression of it. “Sita wants her mother to take her to Lands’ End to see the dragon. What dragon?”
Rachel tried to recall if she knew any True-dragons, HalfDragons, Houses, or grumpy librarians in Cornwall. “Ah, I have no—Belay that.” Rachel smiled. “She wants to see the dragon of sunset.” Continue reading