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Pequeñas Piezas de Christopher

 
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Nicanora
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 06, 2016 5:38 pm    Post subject: Pequeñas Piezas de Christopher Reply with quote

A New Beginning

Through the shuffle of Nicanora’s return to Rhydin, it had almost been lost to the fathomless depths of Christopher’s backpack. It wasn’t until she dumped the bag completely did she realize she had overlooked it before. Two leatherbound books, both wrapped in worn cords of the same leather that made up the covers, each making a neat X over the front and back before tucking tail against the spines. When stood up together, they were clearly marked in order; 1 and 2 in neat calligraphy that couldn’t have been Christopher’s handwriting. Nicanora investigated the first, since that made sense, you know. The second was tucked into her bedside drawer for safekeeping while the first was carefully unwound and opened for investigation. Inside the front cover, Chris’s telltale scrawl was just barely legible for even Nicanora, who’d had almost two decades to learn how to decipher it.

PRIVATE
Property of Christopher Vincente Altatorre
PRIVATE


Within, page after page after page was filled with lengthy writings and doodles, some dated, some not. Nicanora stopped at random to examine them. She thought they would break her heart. Instead she found peace in his words and insights, almost able to hear his voice as she read. Little pieces of Christopher, all tucked neatly into two little journals. It was all too easy to get lost in reading them. A few in particular stuck with her as she read…

2 enero ‘15

A new year, a new me. I’ve never been much for resolutions but after everything as of late, I think it’s as good of a reason as any to try one out. Nica would be absolutely appalled that I am keeping a journal, she would make fun of me so hard, but I think putting my thoughts here is better for the both of us. For all that I’ve always been able to tell her everything, I’ve at last reached the point where I don’t think that I can. For some things at least. It weighs on me, yes it does. But it is for her benefit as much as it is mine.

Last month, we undertook a case of a warlock gone off the deep end. Me, Nic, Daniel and Dia, and the other. Normally this wouldn’t have been an issue. We’ve worked fairly well together in the past. But Dia said she and Silvano got into it beforehand. He thinks there’s something between us. There is, of course, but she denied it. It does not bode well to go into probable fight while half-cocked mentally. That he has only just caught on really surprises me. I thought he was smarter than that.

Nica picked up on it too. I’ve tried so many times to tell her what I’ve done but the words never come. Parabatai or no, she has this image of me as this pure, faultless saint. As if I would never betray someone like that. For the longest time I thought she might be right. But Lidia, there’s something about her that I couldn’t keep myself away from no matter how hard I tried. Under better circumstances, I think that Nicanora would find us to be a good match but I think she would at the very least be disappointed in me if she knew now. Of all the people in this world, she is the last that I would wish to disappoint.

So in hopes of assuaging my guilt, I’m going to write it down here instead of bottling it up. I’ve always expressed myself better in written word than spoken so maybe eventually this can give me a chance to explain without tripping over both myself and my guilt. For all the times I gave Nic all kinds of Hell for her silly diary keeping and here I am espousing my feelings to the pages of a book that will never be read. Who’s laughing now? Oh well. It’s not like she’ll ever find out or anything. I’ll probably write in it twice, forget about it, and laugh when I find it down the line. It’ll make good kindling then.

It’s a new year. I think it will be the best one yet. No, I don’t think it. I KNOW it. Here’s to that.

C
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Nicanora
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 11, 2016 4:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rise

4 enero 2015

What just happened was so unbelievably insane that for the sake of remembering it correctly, I absolutely must record it here. They wouldn’t believe me if I tried to tell anyone anyways. I don’t even think Nica would, it is that crazy.

David Blackwater, Dia and Dan’s father, summoned me this evening to ask that I handle a few holdover remnants of the job we took the other day. You know, the one where I nearly lost my head since Silvano didn’t have my back. Needless to say, I was less than thrilled about the prospect. But David assured me that it was just a matter of protocol and that I had nothing to worry about. When we cleared the warlock’s nest of demons, we didn’t realize that we had left a few demonlings, so there were reports of demonic activity there still. How we missed that, I don’t quite understand. But they needed to be taken care of before they became a problem. So whatever. I made the trip to the ****hole of a building down where Little Havana butts up against Shenandoah. Fifteen, maybe twenty minutes. Not a bad trip in the least.

I get there and freaking Silvano of all people is there. Of course David didn’t tell me that ahead of time or else I would have brought someone else along. Silv’s a little frosty, which all things considered, I can’t say I really blame him. But we both know we’re there to get a job done. I’m just hoping his disdain doesn’t cost me, you know? So this place isn’t terribly far from Calle Ocho, maybe a couple of blocks. It’s a real run down building, set behind a rusted gate that has a habit of screeching when you try to open it. Really, it’s easy to just hop the fence. It’s hidden back away from the street, so I guess it was the perfect spot for this Warlock to go summoning his little demon buddies to go take out his enemies. We wrecked the place pretty good the first time around. The front door was still busted, so Silvano and I went in and split up to try and clear the place quicker. It wasn’t a huge place so we shouldn’t have missed them the first time but once we had the first floor clear, we met back up at the door to the basement. Big ol’ padlocked thing originally but between Daniel and I, were nearly took it off the hinges on the first go. What was left of it still hung a bit precariously on the hinge but otherwise it was just a gaping black descent.

Those sayings about the descent to Hell being easy and all? Totally not true. I didn’t really want Silvano at my back but I couldn’t tell him to go down first without making it abundantly clear that I didn’t trust him. And in situations like this where there’s just two of you? Trust is a huge part of surviving. So, by that point, I’m wishing I had brought Nic along instead. I’d never have to question her having my back, but she had been called away earlier in the day. I don’t know, something her dad wanted I guess. I don’t ask when it comes to him. So where was I? Right, I’m heading down into this basement, totally sure that Silvano’s going to stab me in the back on the way down and leave me for demon chow at the bottom of the steps.

Much to my surprise, he didn’t. We get to the bottom and for all intents and purposes, the basement looks just like we left it. There was a wrecked summoning circle in the middle of the room and smears of blood that had finally dried to a brownish black on the walls and floor. It’s dark and musty and damp feeling, because you know, whose good idea was it to build a basement when you’re only ten feet above sea level to begin with? There’s nothing there. Just as we’re about to go back upstairs, Silvano says he hears something and asks if I heard it too. It was a whimpering and it was definitely coming from the basement. So we tear the place apart right? And finally I realize that there’s a draft coming from behind a shelf on one of the walls. It didn’t pull out easily but finally we got it away and there’s a door behind it, mostly sealed.

I think it took us nearly thirty minutes to get it open but when we finally did, ugh. It was horrific, I’m telling you. There were two people inside. Or I should say, one person and one corpse. The dead one was just a husk, their skin ripped apart in a way no person could survive. The other was writhing and moaning on the ground. She was just a girl, maybe fourteen or fifteen years old. When she spotted us, she tried to scream but evidently she had been trying to scream for so long that her vocal cords were shot. Her hands pawed lamely at her stomach, scratching at the distended flesh. At first I thought she was pregnant with the way her abdomen stuck out until I realized, I can’t believe I’m going to write this, but her stomach was moving.

Things moved in slow motion from there, are they are wont to do in situations like that. Where you feel every second between heartbeats, you know? The girl’s stomach split and the first newly hatched saxe demon came hurtling at us. Silvano wasn’t ready for it. It knocked him back into the wall and the second came flying at him a moment after. I cut the third down before it got very far and by the time I turned back to Silvano, he’d killed one of the two. The other though had these real nasty pincers and they were like just inches from Silv’s head. It was my chance to get a little payback for a couple days ago when he seemed to intentionally miss. One of those shax demons when full grown is no laughing matter.

I could have let it have him. I could have had Dia all for my own without worrying about him. He looked at me, like he knew what I was thinking, and for the first time since I met him almost two years ago, he looked afraid. I couldn’t do it. I didn’t have it in me. Sealtiel cut through the last one and let me tell you, the look of surprise on Silvano’s face was priceless.

That left us with the girl. In the time it took us to dispatch the three demonlings, she had passed out. Her body was a gory mess. There was no way she was going to make it. Silvano and I tried to talk over what to do about her. So I stepped out to give the Institute a call and see what they wanted us to do. Whenever you’ve got Mundane casualties, things get messy, you know? I went to go back to tell Silvano and I found him standing over the girl. She wasn’t breathing anymore, her body had gone still. He claimed that she went on her own, that her injuries were too much, but I think he didn’t know I saw him wiping her blood off of one of his knives on his pants.

I saved his ass and this is how he repays me? Everything we do, we do it for Mundanes that have no idea we exist and he sets it back by killing one of them? I need to find a way to prove it. I don’t need demons to kill him, I’m going to let him ruin himself. It’ll be a challenge, he’s careful most of the time. But I can do it. I will do it.

C
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Nicanora
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 20, 2016 6:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Story Time

8 enero 2015

I let Dia take my family ring today. She may not be able to wear it publicly but at the very least she can keep it close to her heart and know that I am hers if she’ll have me. Truthfully, I’m taking too much pleasure in thinking about the way she traced her delicate fingers over the emblems and the way her eyes caught the sunlight. Not many things can beat sunrise on the beach, but that was certainly one of them. She asked me about my family. After all, she’s only ever met my father and that’s only in passing at the Institute on his visits to the States. So like twice. Inevitably this turned into rambling about the lines and how far back they go and how they criss-cross. Lots of Shadowhunter families are pretty old. The Blackwaters came to be Nephilim in the early part of the 13th century. The Hightowers, which is how my branch of Altatorres came to be, were even before that. Before they were Nephilim, they were still warriors and even before they warriors, they were kin with the Truecross clan. I guess it’s kind of cool that we’ve maintained that connection after so long, even if it sort of sucks that the Truecross line will stop with Nica unless she’s one of those weirdos that keeps her maiden name after getting married and gives it to her kids. Let me tell you, hyphenating Shadowhunter names is ridiculous. The story of how we came to be is pretty neat. Nic says it’s a silly children’s story but if there’s anything we should know for certain, it’s that all of the stories are real.

Right on the cusp of the Crusades, there was a King whose kingdom would be in what’s now northern Portugal. They said he was the bravest of the kings and pretty smart to boot. He was also...a total douche. There’s something to be said about those who rule with fear rather than love. But still. Pretty badass guy all in all. He had a daughter with a princess from southern Spain and this girl was the total opposite of daddy dearest. Drop dead gorgeous and more than kind, a lot of people said that she greatly contributed to the small modicum of grace in her father’s reign. Right, well, this was back when there weren’t so many Christians in the Iberian peninsula or in Europe in general. I don’t put a whole lot of stock in religion these days, but it was a pretty big deal back then for a reigning King to impress Christianity upon his people so publicly. This included his daughter even though her mother was a Moor and historically, they were followers of Islam. Religion. So tricky. Anyways, his daughter was converted to Christianity too though her father didn’t know it.

See, that’s the thing about religion. You don’t have to yell it from the rooftops to be a believer. You can just be a legitimately good person to the best of your abilities. Now, remember that detail, because it’s going to be important down the line.

The King had quite the number of war prisoners held in his dungeons, all condemned to a slow death by starvation. Now, I don’t know about you, but I get pretty hangry if I skip lunch, so that’s a pretty crappy way to go. But these poor SOBs weren’t dying! In fact, they seemed quite well according to the jailhouse guy. The King hides out to see what’s going on and he catches his daughter and her boyfriend, a guy named Alaric, heading down the stairs to the dungeons. The daughter’s got something in her apron because, unbeknownst to the King, she had been taking bread to the prisoners to feed them. Real Christ-like right? The King jumps out of his hiding place and grabs his daughter by the arm. She drops her apron and lo and behold, the only thing to fall out were roses. Magic. The King’s pretty pissed about that, all of it really, and declares her in league with the evil one. The evil one being the Islamic gods, of course. So he sentences his daughter and her lover to death.

Who does that, right? It all goes back to that whole thing about practicing what you preach and being a good religion follower instead of just claiming you are one. Actions, words, you know the drill. The two young do gooders are led off to separate cells and the King tells everyone that they’ll be burnt at the stake in the public square the next day. Of course, his advisors try to tell him that this is a terrible idea, but you know how stubborn kings are. Totals dicks, you know? He doesn’t listen at all. The next day, they’re all led out into the square when suddenly, one of the princess’s tutors steps forward. He’s an old man and he’s got no issue speaking up.

“My King,” the old guy said, “Know that your daughter doesn’t fear death because her comfort is on the Cross and not the Crescent. If anyone is to blame, it’s me for being the one to instruct her. So let me die in her stead.” Evidently chivalry wasn’t dead back then. Get this, the King’s like… “Yeah, okay. You can die also but not until you’ve witnessed her suffering.”

Thanks Dad. He added a little caveat for it too though. Thank the Angel for small favors? He goes “Old guy, your God is a false God, or if he isn’t, he’ll have the power to save you all by making this old as hell olive staff grow and throw out green leaves by tomorrow morning. If not? You’re all toast.” Then he stuck his royal staff in the ground. I’m definitely paraphrasing, but that’s the general jist of it. They take Alaric back to his cell but leave the princess with the staff. She does the best thing you can do in a fairy tale and cries about it. Between her crying and her praying, by morning when the King returned, the staff was growing into a little sapling. More magic. Totally not witchcraft but I’m putting bets that there was a Warlock there.

They said the tree was symbolic of Christianity’s reach across Europe, which was sort of prophetic considering the Crusades were just on the horizon. The King built a church beside the olive tree and supposedly it still stands today. He pardoned his daughter and her lover and they ended up getting married. The two took over the kingdom when the jerk King died and all was well.

So how does that tie into the Altatorres? I’m getting there. Now that I’ve written like six pages about this story. When the pair were married, they declared that the truest cross should be erected upon the highest tower for all to see as a symbol of their love and devotion. And when they eventually had children, and at the advice of the old tutor guy, their sons took on the surnames of Truecross and Hightower.

Sometimes I think it was just a convenient story to account for how our families have always found their way back to one another. I blame Nic for that. She can be so negative. I think it’s a nice story even if it’s not true. Dia liked it too. She said it meant that the tower holds up the cross, which would be a great joke if Nicanora were short. Maybe I’ll use that next time.

C



----
((The story retold above was a modification and retelling of a story known as Elvira, the Sainted Princess. It can be read in its entirety here.))


Last edited by Nicanora on Wed Jan 27, 2016 3:11 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Nicanora
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 27, 2016 3:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Blackwater Three

22 enero 2015

I feel so helpless. Today is Adrian’s birthday and Dia is a disaster. Adrian is her older brother and he died back in late 2007. Well, oldest brother. I suppose Daniel is technically older than she is. It’s not often that I see Lidia cry, but the 22nd of January is always a rare exception to that rule. I wish I could do something to make her feel better but honestly, I don’t know if I can fathom what she’s experiencing. The joys of being an only child, right? I suppose Nica is practically my sister. But I can’t think about her dying, even if the adults always said she’d be the first to go since she’s so, what was the word they used, impulsive. Still not going to think about it. At least Dia still has Daniel.

I’ve known the Blackwater family for a really long time. I’m not even sure how long. I think I first met Daniel about a year before I followed Nic to Miami. He was a lot more laid back then. But I guess that happens when you’re still a kid and have nothing to worry about it. He wasn’t really a kid, I guess, since he was 16 and that’s practically an adult even if the Clave doesn’t think that we’re adults until 18. I didn’t meet Dia until a year later and I never got the chance to meet Adrian before he died, though our parents have been friends for years. Adrian was the only one old enough to fight in the war against Sebastian Morgenstern.

Dia and I spent the morning talking about him. I think it helps to keep someone’s memory alive after they’re gone if you talk about them. The love that family shows is so incredible that I was in awe of the way that Dia spoke of Adrian not as a war hero like the others that died but rather as her own personal superhero. She didn’t talk of his accomplishments as a Shadowhunter, as many of us are wont to do, but rather of his accomplishments as a brother, as a son, as a friend.

He was a good man. I see why she misses him. Daniel and Dia are amazing too. Which I know sounds terribly biased since I’m stupidly in love with Lidia. But even Daniel’s pretty great too. He’s become a lot more serious since Adrian died. I think being the oldest now sort of realigned his priorities. Dutiful. That’s a good word for him. After he turned 18, he went to study at the Institute in Marseilles while Dia went to Paris so that she wouldn’t be too far from him while still giving him space. It came as a bit of a shock when he agreed to go to Miami with both Dia and their parents. Dia thought he would want to strike out on his own for good after getting a taste of freedom. But he said family always comes home so that’s how they ended up in Miami. It was about a year and a half after Nic and I came here. The four of us were really the only consistent regulars at the Institute, other than a few families that had younger kids that would come to train during the day. Daniel was their instructor most of the time but he often pulled Dia, Nica, and I in to help. He’s so strong that it’s impossible to not respect him but he’s also gentle and a good teacher. When I got a little older, closer to the age of majority, he and I spent a lot of time together. In a way he became the older brother I never had. Which sounds really weird when compared to the fact that he had a major thing for Nicanora. By major, I definitely mean that he hid it away and never told her, but I know that both her father and his parents would be more than pleased if the two of them ended up together. I think I’d be okay with it too. She’s not the sort that can be tamed, I don’t think, kind of like a wild lion, but I think he can handle that anyways and support her in the things she does without trying to dull her sparkle. I’d be okay with it, yeah. Too bad the genius won’t open his mouth and ask her out. Nicanora can be so oblivious to things that I don’t think she’ll ever notice him otherwise. Not in that way at least. She admires his abilities, sure, his mastery of skills that she hasn’t quite managed herself yet, but beyond that, she’s too busy playing cat and mouse with the sort of boys (and girls but shh) that would do nothing but make her dad’s head explode. Maybe if I get bored and feel like exploring a particularly in depth subject, I’ll come back to that. But in the meantime, I really mean that Daniel Blackwater is one of the best Shadowhunters, best Nephilim, best genuinely good people that I’ve ever met.

Which is saying something, considering I know Lidia too. What can be said about Dia that I either haven’t said already or won’t make me look like a lovesick lunatic? I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know. Many a metaphor has been used to describe the love interests of poets over the centuries but none seem to quite capture her essence. Beyond the abilities that us Shadowhunters are most praised for, I’d like to think that she is so much more. She transcends what it is to be “good” in this world. Dia is the sort of girl that is stunningly beautiful on the outside and actually has the insides to match. Never have I seen a vain moment from her and I think she doesn’t even realize how gorgeous she is. She looks a lot like Daniel, which is obvious considering they’re twins. I guess it makes sense considering he’s a good looking guy too. But she’s got this super dark hair. Calling it midnight wouldn’t do it justice. It’s the sort of darkness I could get lost in. Her eyes are a shade of blue that you don’t get to see in nature very often except right after it has stopped raining and the sun is thinking about coming out again. And her lips, oh those lips. I could kiss them for hours but if I can’t do that, I love watching the way they move when she talks. She isn’t the best or the fastest or the strongest but she pours every ounce of her being into everything she does and I think that means more in the long run. She is selfless and kind and everything I don’t deserve in this world.

With what I know of Dia and Daniel and what Dia has told me of him, I can only imagine that Adrian was the best of the best too. I never had blood related siblings but if I did, I would hope that we have even half the bond that the Blackwaters do.

C
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Nicanora
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 06, 2016 2:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

London Calling

1 febrero 2015

What a weekend. From Miami to London and back in less than 48 hours. It’s been awhile since just Nic and I ran for something like that, but Dia was covering Daniel’s lessons while he was at the Atlanta institute for something something, I don’t know. I really should pay better attention. Especially if some day he could actually be a brother to me. Ugh, I told Nica that this weekend and I swear. I should still have a bruise from where she punched me. Thank the Angel for healing runes haha.

She says that it’s stupid to be so obsessed with someone that isn’t even mine. That I’m only asking for heartbreak and that she swears if Dia hurts me that she’s going to hurt Dia. Which is exactly what I don’t want. Nicanora’s kind of scary when she gets mad. It doesn’t happen as often as it used to, thankfully she’s calmed down some. Still, it’s hard to stop her once she gets going. I suppose that’s part of what makes her a good Shadowhunter. That stupidly reckless sense of near suicidal commitment to a cause.

We’ve been following up on this hunt we did awhile back. Eidolon demon taking the shape of prominent people in the Mundane community and making a mess of things. It seemed to start in Tampa so we were tag teaming it with the Atlanta based hunters just so we had some extra numbers. It dropped off the radar though, so everyone kind of went back to what they were doing before. Silly if you ask me, but okay. Eventually though, we started hearing whispers of similar things happening in London. Sure enough, the situations were identical, as was the damage. Atlanta was tied up, as was Daniel, and Dia had to cover his commitments. So Nic and I grabbed a Portal to Idris and from Idris to London. Easier than trying to arrange something special straight to London, especially when Miami’s got a straight shot back to Alicante and Alicante to London is an easy jaunt.

So anyways. We made it to London around seven Friday evening. It was already dark because it gets dark there at some ungodly early hour since it’s the middle of winter in England. I’ve never been but Nic has a few times. Still, she didn’t tell me how freaking beautiful the London Institute is. It’s right in the middle of London on a busy street but much like most Institutes in big cities, the mundies have no idea what’s right there. It was like a castle inside and I think the top of it disappeared well above London’s dreariness. Sometimes I think I could handle living in a place like that but I know Nicanora never could. She thrives in the sun, being away from it for too long seems to sap her of her motivation like she’s some sort of Kryptonian. Thankfully if I told her that, she’d have no clue what I’m talking about. For all she likes to hang with Downworlders, she’s still woefully ignorant of Mundane popular culture. Except that time I made her watch Star Wars. That went surprisingly well.

I think without her, I likely would have got lost. It’s like a damn labyrinth. It’s got this real dim ambient light, gas lamps and witch light and the such. It would fit right in with Victorian England and even before that, I think. The Institute’s Head wasn’t available to meet us but we got to work with a real nice girl. What was her name. Whitelaw. Sarah maybe? Samantha! That was it. She insisted we call her Sam, so I don’t know how I forgot. Talk about drop dead gorgeous. I think it was probably lust at first sight for Nica even if I don’t think Sam swings that way. She’s itty bitty, like barely above five feet tall and so adorably compact that I feel like I could put her in my pocket and carry her around like one of those teacup chihuahuas. If chihuahuas were liable to beat the living hell out of you for trying that. Blonde, Nic likes her blondes, with eyes of the coolest shade of violet that I think I’ve ever seen in a non-Downworlder. Really, I could see why Nica was intent on taking the case all the way to London.

We didn’t have much time to get settled but they offered us rooms anyways in case it took more than a night. Those rooms are pretty swank, not gonna lie. I could have gotten comfortable there and man, do I envy the ones that get posted to that Institute. Not that Miami or even Madrid were bad or anything.

Where was I? Oh, that’s right. Around eleven, after a couple of hours of strategizing and planning, we set out. London’s huge but thankfully we weren’t going far. Westminster ended up about twenty-five minutes away by foot and our target was just a little beyond that. The thing we were hunting had taken up residence wearing the face of a member of Parliament. It doesn’t do to meddle with the affairs of the Mundanes when you’re of the Shadow World so it was imperative that we put a stop to it as soon as possible. The first trip was only meant for reconnaissance. It took us to a flat near Westminster Cathedral (not Abbey). Full of Mundanes which is always problematic. Nica and I scaled one of the fire escapes but that only got us so far. I’ve never really been the acrophobic sort but balcony hopping at thirty floors up is a mind *** in and of itself. We found the one we were looking for and sure enough, this damned Eidolon demon is playing house with the family of the poor bastard it was impersonating. The wife was sort of hot, so I guess if I were a demon, I’d have to at least compliment its taste.

Still, if it was the same demon we had been dealing with in Miami, it wasn’t going to end with a happily ever after. So, we collected the information we needed and climbed back down to meet Sam and report what we’d found. Three children, all under the age of seven or eight. The wife, none the wiser. It was similar to the situations back home, all with a high potential for Mundane casualties if we weren’t delicate. Those were the worst. But we went back to the Institute for the night so we could prepare for the next day.

Let me tell you, what a mess that became. Some time around three or four, I finally pulled Nica and Sam apart up in the training room, which is way up in the Institute’s attic, mind you. Sam was trying to show Nica how to use something called a meteor hammer, which is double headed chain weapon. Sam specializes in those sorts of things, I guess, chain whips and meteor hammers and the like. Nica… well, that was a miserable failure. I went up there and she’s on the ground, having nailed herself in the shin with it. I’m pretty sure at the very least she fractured the bone but being as stubborn as she is, she wrote it off with a quick iratze and swore up and down she was fine. Really she was just playing tough.

But we geared up and went back to Westminster. Sam came with, along with a couple younger Shadowhunters from the Institute. They were mostly just there for backup, so at the very least, we’d still get the lion’s share of credit. One we had sent ahead told us that the flat was clear save for the demon we were after, which meant our window to get this done was wide open. I was going to take the crew straight through the building but Nica insisted on using the escape again. I think she was just showing off but Sam and the others took the building’s interior route so we could come at it from both viable entrances to the place.

That was about the time that *** hit the fan. Sam and her people made it to the door before we made it to the balcony and right as we got up there, this thing comes bursting through the french doors like a bull in a stained glass china shop or something. So we’re getting showered in shattered glass and I’m not even up onto the balcony yet. Nica crashes back into me and we both drop onto the one below. These people are getting ready for their afternoon tea and are completely bewildered as to what the Hell is happening, which in a roundabout way it completely hilarious if it weren’t so unfortunate. Thankfully they don’t come out, they just stare outside since they can’t see us. I can hear Sam up on the balcony and Nica’s already climbing back up. I’m right after her and we get up there for good this time. There’s glass everywhere and a snarling Eidolon demon cornered by four Shadowhunters. The odds are looking pretty good until the thing like, shoots this spike right through one of the kids’ heads. Clean through. Poor bastard didn’t stand a chance, was dead before he hit the ground. Sam freaks and it gives the demon enough time to try and get back into the apartment. Sam’s the first one in and we’re shortly behind her. By then, we’re down to three to one but Sam’s pissed and Nica’s Nica, so it shouldn’t have been too bad.

The rest of it kind of turned into a blur, like most of these things do, but Nica got the thing down and Sam was on its back. I totally didn’t realize it until that moment, but she had this garrote wire, probably electrum if I were guessing, and she gets it around the Eidolon’s neck.

Then get this. Right as she pulls on it, the guy’s family comes home. Mom, three kids, all standing in the doorway as Sam pops the demon’s head off. Like cutting through butter with a hot knife or popping a tick. There’s ichor everywhere and the family’s horrified and by the Angel, it was a mess. Total. ****ing. Mess.

So that’s the story of how we essentially killed a member of Parliament.

I just had to get that written down for posterity’s sake. I think it’ll definitely go down as one of the more memorable hunts. And I even got to go to London for it too!

I love my job sometimes.

C
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2016 8:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Land of the Lost

18 Febrero 2015

Today, the eighteenth of February, marks seven years since we moved to Miami. It’s hard to believe it’s been that long when it feels like it was only yesterday. I remember the day perfectly. It was brisk without being too chilly though the occasional gusts could sting your cheeks and ears if you stood outside too long. Mid-February in Madrid really isn’t too bad. Cold, sure, but not bad. After Nica’s mom, Celia, died, things were really up in the air for awhile. Nica and Gregorio spent about a month in Alicante after the Dark War so they could have time to mourn. It really ****ed Nica up knowing her mother wouldn’t be laid to rest with the rest of their families. Instead the bodies of those who had become Endarkened were burned and buried outside of Brocelind at a crossroads. Eventually they built a necropolis there as a monument to the Dark War and those we lost. I wanted to go with them, to stay with Nicanora while she grieved but...she didn’t want me to. She wanted to be alone. I wonder how much of that was because she knew I wouldn’t let her self-destruct as she has the tendency to do. After they left Idris, Gregorio took Nica on vacation thinking that maybe it would help them both to get away. Mostly Spain and Portugal just to stay close but not too close. And after a couple weeks of doing that, Gregorio came back to a request to transfer to the Miami Institute. He had been holding out for the Madrid Head spot but under David and Paola Blackwater in Miami, he’d have a better shot at moving up to that point since the Blackwaters were more of a transitional Head. The Blackwaters had lost their eldest son in the Dark War too (kinda like I mentioned here awhile back) and the Clave thought it may be a good fit for the Truecross clan too.

That meant Nica was moving halfway across the world. As a part of the parabatai bond, our families and the Clave cannot separate us even if we want to. After all, it’s a part of our oath. “Entreat me not to leave thee, or return from following after thee— For whither thou goest, I will go, and where thou lodgest, I will lodge.” Then it became a matter of whether or not my family would go too. I thought they might consider it since, kinda like Nica, I’m an only child. But...no. My father and step-mother elected to stay in Spain while, at fourteen years old, I was going to pack up and move across the Atlantic. They said it would be an exercise in independence or something. The things we do in the name of duty, you know?

It wasn’t a big deal for Nicanora. She had spent so much time moving around growing up that it didn’t really bother her. See, she was born in Alicante, lived there for a few years, moved to Madrid when she was like four or five, I can’t remember. Then they moved to Rio for a stint. Moved back to Madrid. Moved to Buenos Aires for awhile. Moved back to Madrid. So on and so forth. Me, myself, and I? Not long after my mom died, my dad decided that it would be better for me to get my education all in one place. I’m not one to brag, but there are some pretty amazing instructors in Madrid. It’s ultimately why the Truecrosses came back and settled there. But in comparison to Nic, Madrid was all I’ve ever known.

I keep saying it, but man, the things we do. Miami was very...I don’t know how to explain my initial impression. I’m sure it sounds disgustingly pretentious but it was really difficult to adjust to the relative newness of everything here. Compared to most of Europe, even the oldest cities in the United States are babies in contrast. Like, Madrid has been around so long that documented history goes back to the 9th century but they say the area has been inhabited since the time of the dinosaurs. The city itself has even been the capital of Spain since the late 1600’s, well before America came to be. About a hundred years earlier, they first sent people over to explore and conquer stuff across the ocean and bam, that’s how the US happened. Really Miami wasn’t even a town until just shy of 1900 though.

Yay mundane history, right? Anyways. There I was, in this new and strange city with nothing but a few bags worth of my possessions, my best friend, and her father. It was quite the journey, that’s for sure, even if it was just a matter of Portal hopping from Madrid to Alicante to Miami. It may as well have been a world away really.

Ultimately Miami is where I lost myself.

For awhile at least.

But more on that next time.

C
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2016 9:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Land of the Found

27 febrero 2015

Where did I leave off? Losing myself in Miami, that’s right. Let me preface this with… I love my parabatai with everything that I’ve got. Not like Eros sort of love but maybe more like Agape or on some lesser level, Philia or Storge. We’ve got runes for each of those types.



That’s the Agape rune. They say that Agape love is a selfless altruistic love, like totally selfless where you give love to another person even if doing so doesn’t benefit the person giving it and that you continue doing so even if you get nothing back. That sums up Nic and I. She does that for me, I do that for her. It’s not at all romantic, though we definitely kissed once when we were like...12. It was gross and awkward and something I never want to repeat again.

Wow, I get sidetracked easily. I love Nicanora. And it is because I love her that I tolerate as much bull**** as I do from her. She’s gotten better over the years but man, right at first when we got to Miami, what a disaster. Sure the weeks were spent at the Institute, training and all of that. But we had full reign to do what we wanted on the weekends and Nicanora made sure that time was spent in the worst ways possible. She had this lovely habit of falling in with Downworlders and convincing them to let us come to their parties. Which let me tell you, they throw way better parties than any Nephilim get together, hands down.

I spent probably almost every weekend from my 15th birthday onward at clubs with warlocks and werewolves and vampires alike. Not really any faeries though. Right after the Dark War, they didn’t do a whole lot of mingling, especially not anywhere that they might run into Shadowhunters. I remember a time that we had been drinking with this wolf pack from Hialeah and a couple fae came in. Nica about lost her *** . She harbors a lot of resentment toward them as a whole for their contributions and support of Sebastian Morgenstern during the Dark War. I don’t really blame her for that. But I do blame her for her temper, because throwing your drink in a faerie’s face and then trying to throw down with them right in the middle of a bar is bad taste. A couple of the werewolves got between us, probably because Nic was always sucking face with one of ‘em. Blonde, could you guess? But they held off the faeries while I dragged Nica back out onto the strip. She spent those first two or three years after we moved to Miami as a totally hot mess. And not in a good way. At first I fought it, tried to keep her on the straight and narrow. But then I gave in and let myself be a mess with her. After all “where you go, I go too” is a part of the oath right? Full steam ahead, next stop: Rock Bottom.

But then there was Lidia. And just like that, I saw the light. She was so sweet and kind and such a good friend to both Nicanora and myself that it was impossible to even consider letting her down. I don’t know if Nica realized it at the time, but it was the push I needed to put the brakes on our descent and once I did, we started the climb back up. Daniel came with Lidia too and I thought that maybe just maybe Nic would see him the same way I was seeing Dia. That doesn’t seem to be the case but it was okay, because between the two Blackwaters, we finally had something to focus on. The Fantastic Four, you know?

That sounds so stupid written out but whatever. Miami might have been where I lost myself but it was also where I found myself too.

C


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 25, 2016 11:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Dark War

25 marzo 2015

Tomorrow is Dia and Daniel’s birthday. We’re going to have a big thing, probably hit up dinner somewhere expensive and then the girls will probably want to go dance until the sun comes up. After all, you don’t turn 25 every day. Hell, that’s practically middle aged for Shadowhunters. We’re not a particularly long lived people, you know. We die young fairly often so 25 is a big deal. That’s tomorrow. Today I get to try and hold my
parabatai together so that maybe she won’t fall apart. It’s her madre’s birthday and though she puts on a brave face, I know that’s not the case. Gregorio usually shuts the world away on the 25th of March and unfortunately that means Nicanora too. The first couple of years after the Dark War’s conclusion, we made the trip back to Spain so that she wouldn’t be so alone. One year, we went back to Idris and stayed with Nica’s Uncle Cato at the Foxheart manor for a week. I’m still not sure if that was a good idea. Much like Gregorio and Nica both, Cato was hit pretty hard by Celia’s death and the Foxheart manor holds so many memories of Celia that everywhere we turned, there was something. Cato’s technically the last of the Foxhearts and since he’s not married and likely won’t have any children of his own, once he’s gone, Nicanora gets final rights to the family manor. I’m not sure if she’d take it. So many memories.

As important as it is to keep memories alive, sometimes it’s less painful to let them fall to the wayside. The Dark War and the Mortal War before that took so much from so many. Late in 2007, Valentine Morgenstern, yes that Valentine Morgenstern, managed to take down Alicante’s demon towers and unleashed an army of demons upon the city. Nobody believed that the demon tower wards could be taken down but sure enough, it happened. All the adults were in a Council meeting, so it left just the children and the elderly to defend the city. I don’t want to try and imagine what that was like. Thankfully Nica and I were in Madrid. Both my father and hers though were in Idris at the time and they said it was the stuff of nightmares. Demons in Alicante, it’s a terrible thought. But Valentine was defeated and all was well.

For a few months at least.

For that we can thank his son Jonathan, well, he went by Sebastian, but his name was actually Jonathan. Supposedly during the Mortal War, he had been killed by Jace Freaking Herondale (hero status by the way), but Lilith, like Greater Demon, madre de los demonios Lilith, si, she brought Sebastian back. This Sebastian prick had a counterpart to our Mortal Cup created. They called it the Infernal Cup and rather than permit ascension from mundanity to Nephilim status, it corrupted our angelic blood, turning Shadowhunters into what they called the Endarkened Ones. It gave them greater strength and speed but it also made them unfailingly loyal to the Morgenstern boy. Nothing good comes from blind loyalty. Ever. But don’t tell the Clave I said that. Sebastian, his army of Endarkened, and his cup, thanks to their pact with the Fair Folk, then made a run on a number of Institutes, killing or changing every Shadowhunter they could find. Buenos Aires, Oslo, Moscow… Bangkok, Berlin, Los Angeles. All of them, gone. Nicanora’s mom was at the Buenos Aires Institute when the Endarkened came.

Needless to say… that didn’t end well. I wish I could say otherwise, I really do. But they evacuated the rest of the Institutes and we all retreated to Alicante. Shadowhunters… retreating, running for safety like scared mice. Never have I seen such a thing and I hope to the Angel that never again does it happen. Eventually the Endarkened and the fey came to Alicante. They locked all of us who were too young to fight in the Accords Hall. I wanted to fight. I wanted to fight so badly. Nica too, but there was no way we could have got away with it. Cato and Gregorio personally escorted us to the Hall, leaving us there while they went out to fight. They did their best to fortify it against the faeries, with cold iron and the like, but that wasn’t even enough.

The Endarkened and some of the wildest looking fae I’ve ever seen managed to get through. I was pretty sure that we were going to die. That was going to be it. Some of us had weapons, but definitely nothing that would have saved us. At one point, I watched the son of the head of the Los Angeles Institute kill his own father, who had evidently been Turned during the attack on LA. It made me wonder if Nicanora could have done the same to her mother, had she been in the same place. I’m very, very glad that we never had to find out. They ultimately destroyed the Infernal Cup and all of those who Turned died. Right then and there, dropped dead.

The Nephilim may have won the war but any peace that came from it was no peace at all. We’ve been paying the price for our naivety and vanity ever since.

C
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2016 9:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wake Me Up

1 abril 2015

**** the demons that *** with your head. **** the ones that make you see things that aren’t there. **** those that think they can use her against me. **** those that make me believe the worst.

My own parabatai, how dare they.

May the Angel have mercy on whatever being thinks it can hurt her without incurring my wrath. If I lose her, they better hope that they take me with her or else the Void will have nothing on my fury.

This I swear.

C


-------------------------------------------------- --------------

It was a short entry, only a few lines from start to finish. But Nica closed the journal with a shudder. She remembered by the date and a few words alone the nightmare of that day. It was a day on which Mundanes played tricks on one another and called them April Fool’s. Miami was hot already and a late morning downpour had turned the atmosphere into a sticky, muggy mess best suited for a day inside. But a little heat didn't keep people in southern Florida away. Rush hour traffic found Nicanora and Christopher bickering back and forth about… What had they been arguing about? Nica couldn't quite remember but she had a feeling it was vaguely soccer related. Likely whether Manchester United was better than Chelsea. The answer was “yes, of course”, but it always inevitably turned into a debate of Barcelona versus Real Madrid, which was far less definitive for the two parabatai. They were sandwiched between a produce truck behind them and a luxurious looking imported convertible in front of them. The air conditioner blasted cool air in her face, circulating the scent of artificial new car smell from a tree shaped air freshener hanging from the rear view mirror of Christopher’s car. He was driving, not as though she could have, though he said that if she was of the mind to learn that she would be one of the only ones he would consider letting drive his precious baby. Christopher’s love for mundane things translated easily into a love for their vehicles too and the Plymouth Road Runner was no exception. The Hemi thrummed with potential power, waiting for the press of the gas to send the car into motion with the next green light. Their fight was cut short by the latin flavored hip hop ringing from her phone. She plucked it from the center console’s cupholder, bringing it up to her ear as she answered the call.

“Digame Daniel.”

“How’s patrol?”

“It’s a patrol, you know?”

“Mmh, yes. It’s about to get interesting. Getting flare ups of demonic activity in Opa-locka. Since you and Christopher are the active patrol pairing, I want you to go check it out.”

“Opa-locka, huh? You sure that’s not just the normal thing for them?”

“Very funny, Nicanora. Call for backup if you need it.”

They both hung up. Nica tucked the phone away into the inner pocket of her jacket and met Christopher’s inquisitive look sidelong.

“Work to do?” He sounded hopeful. Patrols were boring without action. Nica began the systematic process of checking her blades even though it was totally unnecessary. It answered Christopher’s question before her words got the chance. He hissed a happy noise and bounced in his seat, his seatbelt straining to keep him in place. “Yessssssss.”

“Yeah, Opa-Locka, north of Hialeah.” She finally said. Christopher deflated with a groan.

“Really? That's way across town.” His whining made Nica laugh. Remembering back on the moment was a little bittersweet, especially knowing what came next. They made it to Opa-locks forty-five minutes later and well after the sun set behind the western skyline. Daniel had texted her the address along the way. It had been a rough neighborhood even on the best of days but Christopher parked the Road Runner beneath one of the few working streetlights on the block and locked it up tight once they got out. The dim glow of witch light illuminated the popped trunk as they finalized their gear check, strapping in to anything that had been too large to comfortably carry in the car’s cab. Nica’s falcata, a Foxheart heirloom, was strapped across her back and Christopher soon bore two mismatched short swords, one for each hip, and a seraph blade within reach on his back. Nica’s own seraph blades sat on her hips in much the same way Christopher’s short swords did. A number of much smaller blades were hidden on both of their persons, some of which jingled when she shoved her sleeves up for Christopher’s waiting stele. Strength, stamina, courage in combat, fortitude, soundless, accuracy, agility, endurance, stealth, and a partially finished iratze, since Nica had a habit of throwing herself into the thick of things without much care for her own bodily safety. It would be just a matter of finishing it out when she inevitably needed it. He was given the same, repetitions of existing runes and fresh ones alike.

It got a little blurry from there, the time-slowed clarity of battle unable to compare to what they faced when they turned the corner and stepped into a dark alley painted with gang symbols and graffiti alike. The stifling heat failed to relent even in the dark, at least not until they made it halfway down the darkened gap between buildings. Cold washed over them like a wave and before she could say a word to Christopher, everything went black. She couldn't see, she couldn't yell, she couldn't move. It was like stepping into the sort of paralyzingly dream that woke its sufferers in a cold sweat. Only she couldn't wake up from it. Her fingernails bit into the back of her opposite hand, trying to rouse some sort of a response. There was pain and pressure but no other reaction. Her mouth opened and she tried again to speak, the words came out with a choked gasp.

“Anora?” The voice was distorted like she was hearing it through a funnel. It wasn't Christopher but she refused to believe her ears or her brain when the pair decided just who the voice belonged to.

“Mama?” Her voice came this time, sounding much younger than she was used to. She spun in the dark, trying to find the source. Christopher was still nowhere to be found.

“Mija preciosa, there you are.” Her mother’s soft croon was a soothing balm to her fears, lulling her into a sense of calm as light blossomed at the end of the alley. Gone was the graffiti and detritus they had been slogging through before. Instead, underfoot the ground was smooth, polished like marble. It glimmered with each step she took, bringing her closer and closer to the light. A figure in red had appeared like a mirage before her, standing in the glow of the golden light that seemed to have no source. There were no lights overhead or behind the figure, at least none that she could see. As she got closer, she saw the darker red runes marked into the robes. They were no Marks from the Book of Grey and instead they spoke of demonic alignment and the power that came with it.

“Madre…” Nica hesitated, coming up short of the figure’s reach. The hood fell back and her mother’s smile instantly made the light around her pale in comparison. It was just as she remembered it, a broad spread of even, white teeth framed by a full mouth painted with the same blood red shade of her robes. It was there that the similarities ended though. Celia’s skin was marred by countless demonic Marks, their crimson glare slashing lines and whorls across her soft flesh. Her eyes were a shade of abyssal black where green-gold had been and her smile didn’t quite reach her gaze.

“Mija preciosa, there you are.” Celia repeated, her tone and inflection identical to the first time. Her hands came up, slithering from her long sleeves. Much like her face, she was covered in red runes only they had burned her down to the bone. Nica skittered backwards only to feel her shoulderblades hit a solid wall that hadn’t been there before. The curve of her mother’s falcata was a comforting pressure against her spine and with a smooth pull, Nicanora freed it from its sheath. Her hands shook as she brandished it, her mother only inches from the glittering steel tip.

“Mija preciosa…” Her mother didn’t get to finish her sentence, a gurgle of sticky, ichor-like blood spilling from her mouth instead taking the words’ place. The sharp tip of a vaguely familiar shortsword pushed through the front of her mother’s robes, impaling Celia fulling and drenching steel in coppery blood that turned black like the darkest night. Her hands grasped futilely for Nica before going limp, the woman’s corpse slumping forward until the blade’s wielder behind her was able to pull it free. Her mother hit the ground with a dull thud and a sticky squish that made Nica’s stomach turn. As she looked up from the body on the ground, she found Christopher standing there, his eyes wide but his grip on his blade sure.

“You… you killed my mother…” Nicanora gasped, turning her falcata on her parabatai. His expression hardened and he turned the bloodstained short sword toward her.

“No, I did what you should have.” He said. His voice was harsh, lacking any sort of the cheerful Christopher that she was so used to. There was something inherently wrong about the way he stood, the way he carried himself. In fact, this whole thing was all wrong.

You’re dreaming, Anora. Wake up. Wake up now. It was the last remnants of her mother’s voice, calm and clear in her head rather than her ears. Waking up, even on the best of days, is hard to do, but trying to willingly pull yourself from a bad dream is doubly difficult. It took every ounce of will she could muster but she jolted awake, the back of her head throbbing where it had evidently met the slimy concrete of the alleyway. Her scalp was dripping with something sticky and warm that trickled down the back of her neck as she sat up.

The darkness and the cold still lingered like a heavy fog but a quick shove of her hand into her pocket found her witchlight and the blue-white glow ate away at the shadows which seemed to pulse at the edge of the light, looking for a way to reach her again. Nica held the stone up and got to her feet. She made it ninety degrees when she found Christopher. Like she had been, he was sprawled on the ground. The shadows seemed darker over top of him and they didn’t dissipate when she drew near. A hiss sounded from the inky blackness and Christopher lurched, tossing like he was in the middle of a night terror.

Penemue,” she named the seraph blade as she drew it, brilliant angelic light illuminating the alleyway and pushing back the encroaching dark. Before it could retreat further, she lunged and drove the crystal blade into the thickest shade and was answered with an avian wail as heavenly fire erupted through the psychic phage’s barely corporeal body. Orange and yellow rippled from the center of impact outward until a squelching splash of ichor bathed Christopher and pulled him from his dreams as the acidic liquid burned exposed skin. Giving the seraph blade a whirl through the shadows, she failed to connect with anything substantial.

“Wh-what was that?” Christopher asked, stripping out of his jacket and using the gear to rub ichor from the side of his face and neck. Pus filled welts were already forming on his dark skin, green and red and yellow blooming blisters the size of ping pong balls. He was looking at her like he couldn’t quite believe she was standing there in front of him.

“Dreameater. What’d you see?” She answered his question and offered one of her own. Penemue’s light still bathed the alley in a wash of white.

“You don’t want to know…” He closed the distance and slung his arms around her shoulders, tugging her in for a tight hug. The side of his face that hadn’t been exposed to the poisonous ichor buried itself against her matted hair. The wrap of his arms made her back crack and her ribs ache. She groaned a little but didn’t push him away.

“It wasn’t real.” She assured him as much as she tried to assure herself. He leaned back, his hands sliding along her upper arms until he caught her at the shoulders.

“It felt real. But… you’re still here. It couldn’t have been real…” Christopher murmured, giving her a glimpse of what he had seen in his dreams. They stood there like that for almost a full minute before she slouched back a quarter of a step, dropping her witchlight into her pocket in favor of her stele. Without relinquishing her hold on the seraph blade, she finished the iratze Mark on his arm, blue-gold flaring to life as the parabatai bond strengthened the rune. Another was drawn on his chest, over his heart for extra power. It was said that a Mark placed on you by your parabatai was ten times stronger than a regular rune and Nica and Christopher often took advantage of that, especially after their rougher nights patrolling.

“It’s not real. And the demon’s gone, my sensor’s not picking anything else up. Let’s get back to the Institute.” Wearily, she waited for Christopher to go first, keeping the light of the seraph blade at his back as they cautiously exited the alley and turned back down the street. Once they were free of the sweltering alley, she killed the blade’s light and replaced it at her hip. They walked back to the Road Runner in silence, passing in and out of the intermittent and irregular glow of the handful of streetlights that were still functional. When they made it back to the car, they were greeted with a glittering sheet of broken glass on the passenger side and an empty hole where the car’s stereo had been. Christopher groaned mournfully.

“I knew this was a bad idea.” He grumbled as Nica swept glass shards from the passenger seat, sending a rainbow snowfall of tiny glass pieces onto the sidewalk from the open door.

“It’s okay, we’ll get it fixed. I know someone.” Nica replaced her seraph blades and her falcata back in the trunk, holding it open as Christopher did the same with his own weapons. After she shut it, the both got in. It took Christopher a few moments to start the car, his hands shaking and his head bowed.

“Chris?” She asked gently, tugging her seatbelt across her body and clicking it into place. “What did you see?”

“I lost you. I lost you and it was my fault.” He twisted the keys in the ignition and the engine growled to life. Few things rattled Christopher but his very foundation seemed to have been upset by whatever the dreameater had shown him. Nica curled her hand against his shoulder and gave him a gentle squeeze.

“You’ve got me. I’m here til the end, Christo. Nothing can hurt me so long as I’ve got you.”
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