[Cecily]Thirteen: "Halfway to Nowhere"

July 7, 2189

       As I sat there with Reynard, trying not to slug my double shot of JD, I had one of those ephiphany moments, in which I realized just what had me so on edge through this entire fiasco.
       I felt vulnerable.
       I don't like to think I'm a control freak, since it makes me sound bad, but, in all honesty, I am. I like calling the shots, making the decisions. It's one of the reasons I prefer to work alone. I can do all that, and not have to worry about what others think, what they'll say, what they'll screw up. I also don't have to worry about anyone else's safety when I screw up.
       Now, though, despite my little agreement with Fletcher, I feel very much not in control of this entire mess. I'm effectively trapped without Fletcher or some other sorceror with those crazy veil magics, and I'm starting to feel seriously out of my league, which is also a very uncomfortable sensation.
       This all led up to my exchanging fireside banter with our reluctant host. Luke Reynard seemed very impressed with my abilities, even if he wasn't too pleased about my obliterating his cleaning equipment. He had this sort of gleam in his eye, the kind that people who've been looking for something for a long time get when they see an end to their search. Given Reynard's admitted status as a 'bad guy', I wasn't sure if I should be worried or amused. But I guess any enemy of Kazor is someone I'll like just on general principles.
       We spent most of the time notr telling each other anything. I could tell he was trying to dig up some information, and I did oblige about the mirror and Kazor's intentions toward me and my brother, but mostly to see what his reaction would be. He seemed intrigued at my mention of Brand, but nothing more, so I just said little more. I'm pretty sure Fletcher would have a fit, but I'm not a total moron. You have to give some information to get information, and the bits I'd dropped so far were the least juicy of what I had. He also seemed interesting in what I knew about Grayson, but that tidbit of information was going to cost him more than I think he was willing to trade at the moment.
       After I left Reynard, I spent the rest of the evening communig with the mirror, hoping to see what trouble Harry has gotten himself into. I gave up just before dawn, having had no luck, and caught about an hour's sleep, which wasn't all that restful. I gave up eventually, and took a long hot bath instead. Did much more for my nerves than my subconscious had been doing.
       So breakfast found me in a much better humor than I'd been in for days. I'd pretty much resigned myself to the fact that retrieving Harry was going to take some time, so I was pretty open to letting our new arrival experiment with the mirror a bit. Merlin, or Merle Corey, as he is also known, seems an odd duck. He seemed so casual when explaining his friendship to Reynard, assasination attempts an all. I got the feeling he didn't buy the bad guy persona Reynard affected (whether it's true or not). Griffin also seemed to hold him in some high regard.
       The arguing commenced soon after the mirror experiment part returned to Reynard's. Ilie, who had stayed behind with Stark, seemed more quiet than usual. I didn't get a chance to ask him what was up before the bickering began, and by the time we'd made the decision to Trump to Ygg and see what we could do from there, he seemed to have gotten back to his old self.
       Ygg was, well, not what I'd expected. Granted, I wasn't sure what I'd expected the midpoint of the universe to be, so a big fallen tree shouldn't have surprised me. Neither Reynard nor Merlin seemed to think this was a good thing, though. I gathered from their hushed conversation the tree wasn't supposed to be dead. I couldn't help but feel that was a bad omen.
       At that point, we all sort of stood around, waiting for some brilliant idea of what to do next. Just because we were halfway to Amber didn't mean we were getting anywhere.