[Cecily] Two: "Blacklisted"





June 13, 2189

        I now truly appreciate the expression 'nervous as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs'.

       The day went downhill from the moment I woke up, when it became apparent, about halfway through my first cup of coffee, that Hakthla had decided to change the rules in our little game and expand the playing field. I can deal with his personal vendetta against me, but this hunting down the people around me crap was not kosher.
       I never even managed to finish the coffee before Harry was dragging me out the door. In the car, I explained about the black notes with Jasper and Jade's names, and he explained to me that Jade was dead, Jasper's body had been possessed, and that Stark was in a whole lot of trouble.
       We passed Stark and her troubles on Old 14, doing about eighty. Much to Harry's dismay, I managed to get the attention of whatever was inhabiting Jasper's body and it gladly followed us. At least until someone blew it out of the sky with a rocket-launcher.
       Enter Greyson, demon hunter and all-around arrogant... Okay, so maybe that's the pot calling the kettle black. Anyway, turns out he'd been hired by someone to hunt and kill Hakthla. That I could appreciate, even if the whole situation seemed highly suspicious.
        We all ended up at Doc Morris', and that when things got a little surreal. Enter Shenrakari, Fletcher and Griffin, three of the most unlikely souls to be travelling down any road together. It became apparent after some rather stilted and confused conversation that they thought perhaps we all were destined to meet up, and after learning some details of the current situation, Fletcher offered his gun for hire. And so we ended up with three apprentice demon hunters.

*****

June 14, 2189

       My motley class assembled, I lauched into an abbreviated version of Beholders 101.
       "Beholders are an ancient group of demons. There's about forty known, though they usually keep to themselves. Periodically though, one wanders into the human realms. While they are physically dangerous, the true danger in a Beholder encounter lies in in their ability to literally drain your mind. They're psychic vampires of a sort. The third eye, or oculus, of the Beholder is a unique biological construct that magnifies their psychc abilities and allows them to make a psychic connection with their victims through dominating their will. Once this connection is made, the Beholder can drain the victim's 'soul' in one action, or, as is also seen, take bits and pieces over time."
       I paused for a moment. Fletcher seemed to be digesting all this with little problem, Griffin was hard to read, and poor Shen wore an expression sort of like Alice after she fell down the rabbit hole. I felt a bit sorry for him, as from what I gathered this whole situation was completely beyond his experience.
       I went on. "Once a connection is made, Beholders sometimes visit a victim over a period of months or years, feeding on the individual until he or she is exhasted as a source of energy. Symptoms of Beholder attacks include fragmentary and sporadic memory loss, missing time, depression and suicidal tendancies. Most Beholder victims don't survive more than a few years. Either they end of brain-dead, or they kill themselves.
       "The best way to deal with a fully functioning Beholder is to stay as far away as possible, or to at least avoid eye contact. Hakthla's a special case, though. He lost his oculus, which has caused him to lose a great deal of power. But it has also forced him to rely on his physical strength, and he's been honing that for about ten years now. While not impervious to bullets, he can take a lot of damage." I sighed. "I think Grayson's probably right," as much as I hated to admit it, "in that containing him is probably going to be easier than killing him outright."
       I let them go mull all that over for a while and did some mulling of my own. Sometimes, I think I spend too much time by myself. Having all these people around was setting me on edge, and that was a bad place to be with the upcoming events.
       Of course, the prospect of playing bait wasn't all that enticing, either. Granted, Greyson seems to know what he's tlaking about, but sometimes I get the feeling of having the rug yanked out from under me on all this. Admittedly, I've always had this notion of a final to-the-death combat with Hakthla in which (optimistically) I cut him down and dance merrily upon his remains, but I am aware that it would most likely be the other way around. But there's just something about Greyson's timely arrival, just as things with Hakthla are escalating... Not that I am thining Greyson's up to something ( thought I do reserve judgement on that), but whoever hired him, and whoever send the three muskateers to Blythe at the same time...
       I've got to stop watching those Oliver Stone flicks.

*****

June 15, 2189

       I took George out on the front porch and played to the sunset. I really wanted to go down to the pub and comfort myself with a few beers and familiar faces, but if we weren't allowing Stark to run off after Jasper's effects, it would be setting a rather bad example for me to run off after some hard drinking.
       Soft applause met the end of the ballad I had been playing, and Griffin stepped out from the shadows of the doorway.

diary never completed...

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11/17/99