So Far Untitled - Chapter 14: Jason and the Interrupted Tea Party
"Sarcastia..." Jason said in dismay. "You let her release what?"
The journey had been miserable. First, Sarcastia had to go to that dilapidated boating store by the edge of the pier. She had to break in, and try and find where Jason might have gone. She was one of the few people Jason would leave clues for, and she had to find what they were. She knew that Jason was meeting with Sekhmet and Isis. Lady Sarcastia knew she would not be allowed in the presence of Gods, but she hoped she would draw enough attention to herself that Jason would be forced to see her. And here she was, in some jungle in Paraguay, sitting under a tent where the wyrm was being attended to by many local villagers.
"Jason, I don't know what to do. This will create untold damage. I had no idea Lord Coalpitch would let her travel with such a thing. I don't trust her, Jason, I simply do not!"
Jason poured a dozen macadamia nuts down his gullet. Jason was a a very old wyrm. His upper torso was mostly human, but the lower half was a giant serpentine body covered with mottled feathers. At one time, he was worshipped by Mayans, but after his people lost the war with the Spanish conquistadors, he fled into the jungle. Later, he sailed the South Pacific Seas, trying to drum up a new civilization, but modern progress threatened to put him into a zoo, and so he found isolation in deserted harbors and then... boating shops. He was so old, one eye was frosted over, and the other was blind. His huge crop of curly hair grew in all directions. His pudgy fingers on his bloated hands saw like Marideath did; using an ancient Tarot deck, the twin of the deck which Marideath used, which only differed in the fact that his were bent and very worn. And he was wearing a very large Hawaiian shirt with hula girls dancing with mahi mahi.
"You always have been a good judge of character..." said the huge wyrm, fanning himself under the giant open tent and holding some of the cards down with the other hand. "One of your more charming weaknesses, Sarcastia."
"I need your help," Lady Sarcastia said with as much courage as she could.
Jason laughed, and then grimaced as a villager pulled a large bloated insect from under one of his scales. "No you don't. You think you do, but I won't be allowed to interfere."
"Jason, how do I fight a demon?"
Jason smiled, and ate two bananas whole. The remnants of some tarantula legs poked from between his lips until a large tongue pulled the twitching hairy limbs back into his mouth.
"There... there was a spider in those--"
"I know," Jason smiled. "Like icing on a cake." His keen hearing noticed her pause of disgust and muttered, "No worse that your damn orange smoothies." Both of them sat and looked at nothing but the blank air in front of them. Jason's milky eye pulsed red for a second. "Sarcastia... did you come her to wrinkle your nose in the heat of the steamy jungle, or did you actually have a plan before you cam calling for me?"
"You're my friend, Jason."
"Bloody hell, woman! I had to end my tea party with Isis to see you! You certainly have an odd definition of friendship."
"You owe me one, Jason. You never told me that Fu Lin's daughter came to you."
"And what if I had? Huh? Think of that. You would have blown me off like when I warned you about Misabel. I told you she was trouble! But when Jason comes calling, do you listen to him? No..."
"Jason, you know very well you know something about this that I don't."
Jason sighed, and felt the cards spread before him. "Look at this!" He fingered the bent edge of a card, the only way he could tell what they were, "I says the same damn thing Marideath saw. Same damn cards, too."
"Are you saying you don't know, either?"
"Marideath is very astute for having these cards for such a short time. She is almost as good as I am."
"You praise for my eyes is an interesting diversion, Jason."
"Ah, but what do you know about your conscience?" Jason asked slowly.
"I can't find her."
"--or don't want to find her?"
Lady Sarcastia flinched. "Just what do you mean by that?"
"You love your girls, Sarcastia. When one of them is in danger, you have a habit of protecting them. But you only have two arms. And both of them are stumbling around in the dark."
"I... I don't think that's quite right, Jason. You see--"
"And Harona and the Harajuku. She betrayed you once, didn't she?"
"But she came back?"
"Jason, I had to go fetch her."
"Why didn't you kill her? You imprisoned her in stone. Just like you did with Misabel. Just like you did with Sad Fairy. Why do you hang onto these relics of failures in assistants? Lord Scanlon killed all his off. He didn't need them. How many gates are in Toronto, anyway?"
"Lord Scanlon is one of the missing..."
"I know. Funny, that. Many of the Lord and Lady Gate Keepers did not answer the call."
"When was the last time you saw... say, Lord Scanlon?"
"He was with Scaraha and Scaraban, I think in Persia. They were guarding a museum, but then there was this stupid human war, and Lord Scanlon returned to Toronto."
"Did Scaraha and Scaraban go with him?"
"No, they stayed. They are fine, I got word they are guarding a package in a mosque near the Syrian border."
"Did they like him?"
"No. They never got along. Scaraha and Scaraban are formerly twins, you know. Hard to get in between them. They are loyal, but rather reclu--"
"I'd say it would be a good time to talk to them. Let them know you care about them, too."
Lady Sarcastia looked at Jason, who continued to stare forward. "...why?"
"Part of your problem, Sarcastia, is you are a good judge of character. Too good. You have to learn to forgive your children."
"I think I give them--"
"No. Not 'give them freedom.' FORgive them. Not with your acts, but with your heart. This is what binds souls, Sarcastia, no matter what part of universal consciousness they may be part of. You love, but you are too scared to get hurt. Recently, you gave selflessly to Misabel, and she betrayed you, yes?"
"She... didn't exactly betray me."
"I know," said Jason, tapping a card that showed a woman crying over a doll at a funeral.
"She did... foolish things."
"You are afraid that standing up for her would jeopardize your position in the Gate Keeper community?"
"Tell me, Sarcastia, when Lady Vapora gave you Harona, what did you say?"
"I said thank you."
Jason smirked, and parts of nutshells fell down his chest. "Thank you. 'Thank you very much, Lady Vapora, for this pleasant exchange of gifts. I am sure Harona will be a nice complement to my collection...'" Jason pretended to write on a pad of paper, and chewed an invisible pen thoughtfully. "'PS: Do you still have the receipt?'"
"That's not fair, Jason."
"I am your friend. To be unfair would be to not tell you these things. Right now, Harona has been forced to make a choice on her own between two masters who don't care for her. Is it any wonder she ran away? Honestly, I would expect this from dragonkind, but not a human."
"The girl is over 150 years old, Jason, if she can't make a choice on her own by now--"
"If I had such a manner of thinking, you and I would not be here, and I would be sipping tea with a pleasant bull-headed woman." Jason laughed. "I guess I still am! Life comes full circle!"
"You are angry because I speak the truth. I know how you react to lies. You laugh, because lies are harmless when they are exposed. The truth is a much harder, jagged pill to swallow. This whole thing, Misabel, Harona, the Harajuku, that stupid forest demon, what was his name? Bandaid? All of this... your fault."
"It is ENOUGH that I have to put up with it from MY GIRLS, but to--"
"They do it because they love you, too, Sarcastia."
Sarcastia was shocked into silence.
"Now you see. And they call ME blind."
"Right now, those girls need a leader. They don't need a caretaker, they don't need a nanny, and they certainly don't need a cold-steel bitch. They need a Lady. They need a Lady Gate Keeper who will always be right, always be just, and won't imprison their SISTERS IN STONE!!"
"That's... that's what Misabel said," Lady Sarcastia said, fighting back a tear. "Before she... left."
"One last thing, Sarcastia. As much as that miserable half-blooded brat is mentioned on everyone's lips... has there been ANY evidence. ANY, whatsoever, that she's been involved?"
"My eyes told me of the half-breed--""
"HALF BREED OF WHAT? A grasshopper and a fish? A human and a bagpipe? It seems to be you are surrounded by half-breeds, Sarcastia. How about this for a thought, what if the other half is ALSO DEMON?"
All text copyright 2005 Grig Larson, all rights reserved. No reprinting without permission