DISCLAIMER – This story features images of violence, adult language, and some adult situations.
The following story is Copyright © 2015 Padraig O’C. Copying this story without permission from the author is strictly prohibited.
A week passed since the death of Richard Daniels, and the status quo among the wealthy and powerful changed little. The ruling families of Whatcom family such as the Cunningham, the Stovski, and the Dickinson were already hard at work dealing with the change in the upcoming election slated to occur later that month. Meaninwhile Chief Erickson of the Whatcom Tribune was dead set on releasing not only an upcoming late endorsement for the run for mayor, but an in-depth article about the negotiations between the county council, and the Tsalemish Nation.
Nyla was busy as ever that day with zipping around the Tsalemish reservation trying to locate members of the Tribal Business Council, the central ruling body of the entire Nation. Her hope was to locate a member of the leading families was becoming quite low. There were five primary families that made up the ruling body of the Tsalemish Native American people the first being the Colsons who had held Chairman’s seat for three generations. Nepotism among members of the tribe was not unheard, but many tribal members would deny it openly, unless they were fairly disgruntled with current Tribal Council policy.
Nope she was not doing well at all at locating members of the Business Council. Who not only directed the business policy of the Tsalemish nation, but negotiated with the Bureau of Indian Affairs as well. At the moment she was riding down one of the primary roads past the large Northwest First Nations College, and stopped to get a drink. A young couple walked by her, and she kept her wide open for anyone or anything of interest. Tribal Land was filled with various spirits, a few Nyla did not get along with. The attitude she had shown to a few of the local boys back in high school didn’t leave her many friends either.
“Hey,” said someone beside her, she looked up and noticed a young girl, perhaps six years old.
“Hi kid,” Nyla replied with a smile. The child was Daisy, a young girl who had grown up on the reservation with a distant relative of Nyla’s who had moved there from Everett.
“Watcha doin?” Daisy asked quietly. Nyla looked around for her cousin, the girl’s mother, who was likely speaking to someone at the school.
“I’m looking for members of the Business Council, you know where I can find Mister Colson?” she asked gently. Daisy was a short little thing with a mop of dark brown hair over her tanned skin. Hear features were deeply Salish with high cheekbones, and a curved jawline, she gave a giggle with her slightly pudgy cheeks.
“Yeah he was over with mommy,” the girl chirped.
“Thanks sweety,” Nyla crooned with a smile, she then offered her hand to the little girl who proceeded to drag her distant cousin over to see her mother, Lisa Davies who was the daughter of one of Nyla’s grandmother’s daughter. Essenetially a third cousin for all complications thrown out the window. A short woman, with long black hair tied back in a pony-tale, she was half-filipino, giving her a petite frame. As her daughter daisy appeared after leading Nyla along the campus for five minutes they located Lisa speaking to a short weathered looking native man with greying hair, and small spectacles.
Both were dressed in business attire a pantsuit for Lisa, and a sweater, and slacks for Mister Warren Colson. The reporter could only here part of what they were saying, but Lisa was quite angry about something.
“Warren, I do not see why we cannot hold negotiations about the dock right now. Not at least until we get recognition of the sacred areas over on the island,” the woman said. Lisa was a local attourney that assited the legal team for negotiating with the Whatcom County Council. Warren Colson looked quiet annoyed with the woman as his face was set in a grim look of stubborn determination.
“We just tested the salmon from the last catch a week ago, mecury content is up. They need to clean that silly fill of theres over by the old lagoon, and they want us to give up our lands on the mountain for iminent domain?” the Chair man hissed. He readjusted the spectacles on the bridge of his nose with his left hand while then glance over to notice Daisy leading Nyla toward them. His eyes and then his head moved in their direction, as Lisa followed his change of poise.
“Hi cuz,” Nyla said quietly as she came closer. Warren was even less pleased to see Nyla, or Quinn Tamsin as the old man replied, or under his breath ‘Half-blood’.
“Hi Nyla seems sprout found you first!” Lisa chuckled as the small girl ran over and hugged her mother’s leg. Colson crossed his arms as he then worked his jaw in frustration.
“What do you want Clarkson,” the man said. His eniminity toward the young woman evident on his face when he did little to hide a scowl.
“Chief Erickson wants to know your side on the upcoming negotiations with the County, and the City of Bellingham,” she replied quickly wanting to get to the issue at hand.
“I would be more than happy to answer what that carpet bagging numskull wants if he called me himself, and didn’t send you off to me thinking you would make a better impression,” he answered.
“Okay, so I take it that mecury content is up as I heard, and that the Council is still refusing free foot passage unless on ‘official busines’?” she asked.
“Yes,” Lisa said cutting in so that her sometimes client would not say a word to push the already tenuous relationship shared between him and the Clarkson family. Already feuds were flaring between the Ekstedt relations down south in the Skuallup nation over fishing rights to certain salmon runs. Colson being the patriarch of the large Colson-Evans family was more than interested in pressuring not only a nosey reporter, but the scion of a family he highly disliked.
“And, what is this about land argument over development on the river?” she asked quietly noting a Cunningham Incorporated backed claim to pieces of land along the Tsalem River that ran through the mid-west of the county.
“Its our land, the county argues that it is there over a transaction done during the Dawes Act,” the man replied with a bit of venom. An act which had seen the mass selling off of native lands. Bitter history existed between the the Colsons, and Cunninghams caused by the Cunningham participation in Indian Schools in the south of Washington.
“You have evidence to back this?” Nyla fired back as she was taking short hand notes using her phone, while recording the information. Lisa noticed and tried her best to motion to her cousin to cease. Joseph Erickson, Editor-In-Chief of the Tribune, would more than likely use the direct quotes as a means to attack candidates Warren Colson would back in the local elections. Ones that would become even more heated when the county council elections began around the same time as the run for mayor.
“No comment,” Warren coughed, as Lisa gave him a quick glare to shut his mouth.Negotiations were still ongoing, so any leaked information could easily undo the Nation’s position.
“Do you have any evidence of the Cunningham usage of the Daws act?” she asked.
Once again the man replied, “No comment.”
Warren after the quick sparring was visibly annoyed with the woman, as Nyla mounted one last question. One of importance that she decided to ask for Jack, and herself.
“What sacred areas are over on Anian Island?”
“I’ll tell you later cuz,” Lisa whispered.
“The land there is a sacred place to Raven,” Daisy chirped impulsively. Lisa stared at her daughter for minute before carefully shuffling her aside.
“You mean that old circle up on the mountain past the Scenic Estates community?” Nyla asked one last time. Lisa herself sighed and gave a small nod. The young reporter smirked. I wonder if that has anything to do with big and ugly from the other night. Warren was already whipping around on the edge of his heel and walking toward the large building behind them muttering about ‘classes he had to teach’.
Nyla with the needed information gave a shrug to her cousin, and sighed. The older man was infamous for his temper, especially when Nyla was involved.
“So I heard your date went horribly,” Lisa smirked as she rubbed the back of her head. Daisy was busy watching a lady bug on the pathway where they all stood to be paying attention.
“Yeah,” she said and then noticed someone walking just outside of the building. Her reaction to this person was to freeze and carefully turn while wrapping and arm around her cousin. A move to draw their faces away so the person in question would not notice them.
“What now?” Lisa asked as she was whirled around by her eccentric relative. A man in his late twenties with a groomed goatee, and long hair held back in a long pony tail walked toward them. His features were similar to Daisy’s but more prominent displaying his full native ancestry. His name was Gerald Colson, the youngest son of Warren Colson, and one of the key reasons why the old man utterly -hated- Nyla Clarkson.
“Oh crap,” Nyla choked when she heard the foot steps stop, and a chuckle come from behind them.
“Hey there Lisa, is that Quinn-Tamsin hiding behind you?” his voice was rich, and deep. The light slightly strained vowels denoting his subtly accented English.
“Hiya Gerry,” the reporter greeted him as she turned around to face him.
“Geeze girl why’d you shave half your head?” he said to her. His voice moving sweeter into his usual ‘player’ voice. Gerald was a young well established member of the tribe, and in some circles considered a bit of a layabout. Because of his family’s connecting not only in fishing, land management, and the casino he rarely worked much. Lisa herself had seen the young man often spending his days cruising across the reservation, showing off his latest new toy. A fact which angered some of the lower income families that were getting tired of the Colson control of the Tribal Council.
Gerry was wearing a red jersey shirt, over a pair of baggy blue jeans along with white kicks. Trying to fit into the inner city style wise, and yet not really even from that location.
“Ritual,” she said shortly. Her words taking on a staccato tone as he drew closer. God, seriously. They had dated for a while, and had decent chemistry. Then there was a little fact of how Nyla identified, and how Gerald saw her. Truth be told, Nyla did not hate Gerald Colson, but with respect she did wish to pummel him a few times. It did not help the man found her fashion to be strange.
“Hey Lees,” Gerald spoke to the laywer using her informal name. The other woman gave a trim smile as she was far more tolerant of ‘Gerry’ than Nyla was. The fact she only really responded to her real name when he said it still showed a bit of their strange relationship. One interesting little tidbit that Lisa remembered is that Nyla acted far more ‘girly’ around Gerry than she did with anyone else she knew.
“Hey Gerald, I just saw your father. He got angry with Quinny interrogating him for the Tribune and used classes as a means to retreat,” the lawyer replied smugly. Even if she had to work with Warren Colson, did not mean she liked to work with the man.
“NIce,” Gerald added as he walked around to face Nyla who by now was blushing red with imagined embarrasment.
“So,” he said to her as she looked down at the ground using her usual defense of not making eye contact.
“What?” she shot at him as her eyes snapped back up as if she was ready to tear his face off.
“Wow still as feisty as ever, right?” Gerald shook his head and gave a glance to Lisa. The lawyer rolled her eyes and noted finely that Gerald was still learning well how to treat girls from his old man.
“Yeah whatever,” Nyla growled as she flicked her finger and then remember she was burned out on magic. She gave a frustrated tug of her hand into a fist as she took a slow step back toward her cousin.
“We’ll talk later then right Quinn?” he asked as he turned to start heading toward his car, and then did not look back. A mischevious smile firmly on his lips as he walked into the parking lot and picked out a read sports car.
“Why did you two break up again?” Lisa prodded once the man was out of hearing range.
“Several reasons,” the reported hissed, “One being I do not always like wearing short pants when I’m riding around with a wannabe.”
Lisa Davies turned around as she then noticed the pronounced nails, and a how Nyla seemed to be slowly having a hard time holding herself up. She unlike the few select members of Nyla’s family was not in on her cousins true nature. An aspect of the Fae in general disliking their nature to be known by mortals.
“Not really, I was nearly run over, still recovering after some asshole chased me off the scene where I was taking pictures,” Nyla lied to her friend. Nyla hated it, but what was she to do. Lisa was simply not ready to be dropped into a world were half the stories she heard from Tribal elders were true. Even the ones about the witch-woman that ate children.
“Well, get some rest then, I think you can deal with Gerry another time. Good luck with your boss,” Lisa said as she took her daughter and started walking towards the other side of the campus. Meanwhile Nyla sighed as she gritted her teeth. No leads on the Daniels case, and all I do is deal with womanizing idiots. She spat on the ground and then froze when her phone started ringing. It was a text from a blocked caller. Who the hell?
Blocked Number: Hello Changeling. Took us long enough to find your number. This is a pre-emptive warning. Stay out of our business, and we will not kill a member of your family.
Her eyes zoomed in on the text as she licked her lips nervously. Not good, very not good. Her number was not something she gave out to anyone. She used a special service for anything that was not private, or personal. Even her boss had to call through a special system which used a secondary number that then routed to her phone. No, this person had use her -private- number, only Jack, and her family knew that.
Then quietly as she slung her leg over the seat of her bike she got that bad feeling again. Her arm burned as she froze. Someone, or something was watching her. But when she drizzled a bit of magic to look into the Shadow, she saw nothing. Exhaustedly she sighed and once again hit the road.
Next Part: Chapter 9
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