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.
Three days later, and two and a half weelks after the incident with the creature in the Daniels home Nyla finally got a break. A break being that she was literally searching through the local book shops and finally came upon something worth while. Bellingham being a fairly egalitarian city, and one with a fairly -jaded past- was decently root in a vast multi-cultural background encompassing aspects of peoples that only until recently returned. So while on a sojourn through the local bookshops, and then the city archives the young woman came across a small snippet of from an old news paper article.
A small newspaper, one depicting several men, six in total. Each were from now prominent families in the city, and were all display before the old gothic city hall that was now the local historical museum. All were dressed in their dapper best and were sitting around a small tree planted there. She read the caption and stopped. The sixth man was not named. That was frankly strange. She held the snippet of the newspaper and noticed that it was the beginning of the article.
‘Local members of the Columbia Company plant a ceremonial oak to comemorate the binding of the four towns Sehome, Fairhaven, Bellingham, and Whatcom together.’
Pretty typical story. What caught her attention however was once again there was no mention of the sixth man. The fifth man was named as being a member another settlement slightly north. Likely the town that would slowly become named Ferndale much later on. Her focus then switched as she read through the various names in the article and then noted a random name. Mister Douglas. Strange, she scanned the name again and noted the name ‘James Douglas’ the name seemed quite typical. She searched up the name of Douglas, and all she found was a reference to a family from Scotland.
“The Black Douglas,” she then spent a while reading up on the family and flinches at the mention of the infamous Douglas Larder.
“Seriously Scotland?” she mouthed as she turned around and stared at the picture. Why is this guy bugging me so much? She glanced at the picture one more time. There had to be a few other pictures lying around of the men correct? So when she stared at one more time she took her time, just to get rid of the niggling in the back of her mind. Of course her focus would have to strain as she felt a sudden itching feeling run down along the back of her spine. Her eyes then centered on the man. She looked around the room within the city archives, and took a deep breath.
She tapped her right eye once, and then slowly inhaled.
“Sight of the eagle, sight of the raven. Reveal to me what is hidden as gifted to the Allfather,” she mumble slowly. A trick that Jack had taught her years ago. Slowly a shifting feeling occured in front of her right eye as her vision blurred, a waving feeling rushed as her eye visually to outsiders gained a small glowing ring within the sclera tightly around the pupil.
The men present within the picture were all in some way influenced by the supernatural. The man labeled as Frederick Cunningham had a eye mark magically branded on his forhead, marking him as an encorcelled agent. Usually clueless mortals who were marked to be manipulated by one of the ruling Lords of a Fae Court. However, others had magical thornline marks around their neck denoting them as adepts, mortals that were wielding the power of magic. What caught her attention was the mark on the throat of the sixthman, it was an imperious sun set within a four pointes spiral.
“Well, shit,” she said as she noted the man’s name and wrote down a quick description of all the men. Then she used her phone to take a picture and sat back in her seat. What did the Douglas name have to do with this man? All quick searches showed that the man’s weird mark, and that of the described assailant of Richard Daniels were not connected to a noble lowland family of the Scottish Peerage.
“Where is Jack right now?” she asked herself. The question was for her piece of mind. Jack was current unavailable, and brokering information in places where she was ‘discouraged’ to tread. Mostly in the local gathering places for the Fae, such as Troll Markets, or Goblin Markets. Such places were usually filled with angry lesser Fae, or in other cases, items that could be used to harm Changelings.
She suddenly stopped. Her phone silently ringed, and stopped. Upon it was a voice message as she unlocked the phone. Suddenly, the man in the picture she looked at smiled, or he was smiling. Once where a serious countenance depicting a man with a handle bar mustache once stood stared straight forward. He was staring straight at her.
“We warned you,” came a distorted garbled voice from her phone. Nyla’s eyes snapped widen open as she felt the air in the room suddenly begin to lower. A serious thumping was heard as she could feel a strange ethereal ebbing pulse run along the entirely of the room. Quickly she shoved her phone into the pocket of the coat she was wearing, and stood up. Her arm began to burn painfully as she could sense a presence just outside the range of the mundane world lurking in the Shadow.
I need to seriously start carrying a weapon on me. Her thoughts were slowly pooling together as she began to run a scenario of what she could be facing. The large ugly monster she had ran from earlier was the most likely choice, anything could appear.
THUD. The sound was to her right as a wind suddenly blew into the room from nowhere and forced the door to shut, then something locked the door. She was alone with whatever had exited the Shadow. There was no physical presence right away like the other entity she had encountered, no this time she felt it in the atmosphere of the room first. A deep abiding sense of malice spread out portending to the coming danger. She exhaled again noticing the the steady drop in temperature. That marked the entity as either being a spirit of frost, or as being a member of the dead.
Whispers started to quake out from the cracks in the room. She took a step back and jumped out of her chair. A shadow was on the wall in front of her. That was impossible, a window near the desk where she was working was projecting shadows in the opposite direction. The whispers grew louder, the sound of many differen tpeople talking at once.
“Half blood. Half Blood. Meddling half-breed!” The voices started to gain more cohesion. Then another thud, as the desk moved. The shadows gaining not only cohesion in the voices as they started to speak in an organized choir of organized accusations, the shadow itself was growing a solid form. She stood on the ground quietly as her eyes centered on the figure. The desk screeched against the ground as she grabbed the edge of it to shove it aside. It groaned as the entity took a step, and lurched toward her.
Crap, a Nalusa Filaya. Well known from Choctaw mythology, the Shadow-Man was capable of stealing someone’s soul. Its very presence started to sicken the young woman as she took another steady step backward. Her hands flexing as the creature’s murky exterior was shed and it display a human like cognizance, and appearance. Its head was shaped like a downward triangle with small slits for eyes filled with burning yellow embers. Its mouth was large, and filled with triangular teeth as two fox-like ears jutted from either side. Its body was clothed in a rough-spun shirt and trousers made from what appeared to be animal hides.
The voices continued as the creature pulled itself from the wall, and raised up a hand covered in leather torn glove. She immediately side stepped the freak as it leaped toward her and dove straight into a shelf. The large shelf then rocked as the creature whipped around to face it.
“Soul…..soul.” the chorus of the dead sang. They wanted her soul, to end her life. Souls did not exist in the normal or usual sense. Souls on Agaera were the spiritual connection someone held to the greater world, the little spark of creation that existed in all things to mark the potential of all things. If the Shadow-Man devoured her soul it would gain a frightening array of abilities including all her knowledge, her contracts, and the ability to seek out others of her bloodline.
Dammit. How do I banish something from Choctaw legend?! She gritted her teeth. Her as she looked around for a mirror. Creatures of Shadow were entities that manifested straight of of the Shadow itself. That mean they were weaker in the real world, and yet could be quite dangerous. The creature dove to the ground and suddenly slithered behind a shelf like a snake. Her mind was already trying to devise a way of killing it so she could survive the encounter. I wish I had studied the Muskogean peoples more often.
The creature started babbling in an foreign languge which she guessed was likely something similar to proto-Choctaw. She took a breath and started singing under her breath. Her mind slowly gainging its center as she tried to remember a few of the tricks she had learned when Jack sent her down to the Skuallup to understand local myths. The Nalusa Filaya was not ‘fae’ as much as it was a creature from the Shadow, a spirit that did the bidding of the Fae. Or an adept. But why something from the middle of eastern America?
She blinked as the thing reared up in front of her and the creature moved to strike. Nyla lifted her hand and stopped her singing before she slide a small file of iron out of her pot and threw it at the creature. The metal which usally simply made her ill struck the monster and a hissing sound was heard as the material started to devour the creatures magic. A momentary reprieve as she wonder if she could use a dream catcher to scatter the creature back to the Shadow. That however would only serve to force it to come back, no she needed to kill it.
She could use some cedar. That might kill it. Her knowledge of sacred objects in most native mythology was sadly lacking, a fact she would need to brush up on if she survived this encounter.
Nyla picked up her rhythmic chanting again as she used the song a friend from her mother’s family had taught her to ward off evil. She consider how much her tattoo was burning when she looked outside from the archives and noticed the tree not far in front of the old city hall. She would have to try something that Jack warned her against, mirror-walking, the magic of sending ones reflection into the Shdow to do something. Slolwy she grabbed her cellphone and found her reflection in the sheen of the glass surface. Cocentrating fully on that image as she kept the song of warding upon her lips as the reflection in th glass moved. It gave a nod and disappeared behind her.
The Nalusa Filaya slithered around her feet as she turned and stomped one of its spindly limbs. The creature cried out as the whispers faltered for only a second. Then she turned as she backed toward the door, the creature now facing toward her with its back to the window grinned with its many rows of teeth as its great maw opened. Moving toward her in a manner of a snake, yet somehow its legs moved like it was walking. She kept her eyes on her reflection as she spun the phone around to face the creature. Her reflected self was holding a small but sharpened branch from the tree, and just as the creature dove toward her, the reflection stabbed the creature where it would be in the neck.
A burst of black tar like liquid sprouted from the Shadow-Man’s neck as it cried out and gargled. Falling to the ground it then began to thrash about as Nyla dipped her hand in its blood. Quickly she switched her chanting and drew a series of marks in her arm. One was the body of a raven, another a salmon, a final one a great soaring bird.
“By the spirits of my people, I condem you back to the land of where the endless walk, be gone from this place,” the marks on her arm seared as they began to glow. The creature thrashed even more violently as it was not dying, no it was being banished. If a spirit creatured died at some point it could be recalled, and then brought back by its summoner with great paints. No if she banished the creature it would not only cease to exist, but the connection it held with the practioner who sent it after her would be injured at great expense.
The creature shuddered as the symbols on her arm started to burn with energy. Her magic was again being pushed to the edge as she could taste copper on her tongue. Nyal held her hand out palm facing down and her hands gripping at the air.
“By Raven, by Salmon, and by the Thunderer I sent you to oblivion!’ she shouted the creature groaned. Its body began to implode as the crackking of bone and limb filled the room. It seemed to condense, or even collapse upon itself as it was sucked back into the Shadow, and then devoured by creation into nothing. As the last bit of flesh of the Nalusa Filaya was taken away, she slid to the ground, and rubbed her forehead.
At least I didn’t run away this time.
Next Part: Chapter 10
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