Elect II—20 Underground, part 2 of 3

Sara got to city hall a little after five.  Paul was working on a brief for the Mayor.  The Mayor, of course, was home relaxing along with most of the people in the city administration.  It was only people like new, young lawyers in the prosecutor’s office that usually worked late.

Sara came with her shepherd’s crook in her hand.  She was uncertain about the weapon at first, and Heinrich made it clear it was a weapon even if it was only used to protect the sheep from beasts in the wilderness, but lately she had come to think of it as something like a security blanket.  a-trent-policeman-1She was dressed in her fairy weave gift from Avalon—her long white dress over boots and her white cloak with the hood over all.  She was determined to tell Paul everything and thought the fairy weave would serve for evidence when she turned it pink and then green with a mere word.

Ben, the security guard at the front door did not recognize her at first.  When he realized who she was he said, “Wow, er, Reverend Michaels.”

“I’m just here to totally interrupt Paul from whatever work he is doing,” she said.  He buzzed her in with a whisper that it should not be hard, and he watched her all the way to the elevator.

When she reached the third floor, she had to walk carefully around the wet floor sign as she smiled at the cleaning crew.  They didn’t smile back, but she did not expect them to.  When she reached the corner office where Paul often hid while the cleaners worked, she paused.  She steadied her heart and mind while her lips said a small prayer for serenity, and she went in without knocking.

Paul looked up.  “Sara?”  He took a second look.  “Sara.”

“We have to talk.”

“I—.”  He looked very tempted, but swallowed.  “I have to finish this for the Mayor.  Give me about an hour.”

ac-sarah-b1“No Paul.  I have a confession and it must be now.”  Sara was still standing in the doorway and it occurred to her if he could not stop long enough to listen she would probably leave and not see him again.

Paul still hesitated, but at last he pushed back his computer keyboard, sat back in his chair and folded his hands.  “I’m listening.”  Sara closed the door, sat across the desk from him and took a moment to fold her hands in her lap before she began.

“It has to do with the young women at the University I told you about, the ones who style themselves as an Amazon tribe.”  Paul looked skeptical and Sara worried her hands.  “It is an anomaly in this age, I know, but the truth is they are a real Amazon tribe sanctioned by the goddess Zoe herself, and they can all do things that no ordinary human being can do.”


“And so can I.  They call me priestess.”  Sara said pink and her dress and cloak changed to that color.  She said blue, and with the change Paul’s mouth opened wider but no words came out.  She changed her clothes back to white and spoke to him again.  “Right now you just need to listen.”  She talked for an hour and told him many things but found herself still holding back on many details, and some things like Avalon she hardly mentioned.  When she took a breath, she felt she had conveyed all that was most important.  Paul remained silent and thoughtful.  At least he was not freaking out.

Sara looked out the window.  The sun was just down and she honestly could see nothing but darkness, but Paul joined her in looking at the glass and her reflection in the glass.  She felt sure he would say something in a minute, but a minute was all it took for the lights to sputter and go out.  Paul’s first concern was his computer which dimmed and went off.

ac-sar-paul-1“Damn it!” he said.  “I didn’t get that saved.”  Sara did not mind the swearing.  It was very human.  Then they heard a scream out in the main room and both jumped to the door.  Paul looked at her.  “I’ll just check it out.  Stay here.”

“No.”  Sara grabbed his arm.  She was feeling what she could only describe as the presence of evil.  “Wait.”  She opened the door carefully.  There was a person not far from the door, just visible in the emergency lighting.  They recognized that the person was not a human person when they realized he was eating someone’s arm. The person noticed them and started toward them.  Then they saw it for the creature it was, full of caws and fangs.

Sara yanked Paul behind her and yelled.  “You shall not come in here.”  She slammed the butt of her shepherd’s crook on to the rug and while it made no sound, a brilliant light emanated from the Priestess.  The creature backed up and threw its arms up to cover its eyes while Sara quickly shut the door.  She pulled out her phone and once again Paul appeared speechless.

“Lisa,” Sara spoke and leaned against Paul’s desk.  “The ghouls have taken over city hall.”  She covered the phone for a second.  “Detective Schromer.  You met her.”  Paul nodded.  “Nice husband.  Maybe we could double sometime.  Give you someone to talk to.”  Paul shook his head before he thought and shrugged but then Sara was talking again.  “No, I don’t know how many and I am not leaving this corner office to go out and count them.  Fine.  I’ll keep the phone handy.”  She hung up, put the phone on the desk and took hold of her shepherd’s crook again.

ac-sar-paul-3Paul shrieked like a little girl.  There was a claw sticking up through the floor and it had grabbed hold of his ankle.  Sara smashed the claw with her crook and something like electricity traveled down the wood.  They heard a horrifying scream from below as the claw began to shrivel and it was rapidly pulled back beneath the floorboards.

“You might want to get your feet off the floor,” Sara said as she shoved things out of her way to sit on the desk.  Paul went for his desk chair and pulled up his knees.  He spoke after a 360 degree inspection of the floor area, only possible because Sara was glowing.

“This kind of thing happen often?”

Sara smiled at the feeling of liberation.  Right then she could tell Paul anything and he would have to believe her.  “No.  I wouldn’t say often.”

Elect II—7 Orcs on Parade, part 1 of 3

“I could be the hunter,” Keisha said.  Latasha gave her a funny look, so she explained.  “Well, I don’t have any magic power, and I’m not psychic.  I figure the wise woman and healer are too much work.  If I said priestess, you would laugh.  So that leaves the hunter.”

“You can’t even find your backpack in the lunch room,” Latasha pointed out.

“Yeah, and what would Janet be?  They don’t have a fat one, do they?”

ac-latasha-a7“No.  And be nice.”

Keisha’s phone rang.  Janet was on the other end and she was getting a ride home.

“She wants us to meet her at her house,” Keisha said.

Latasha said nothing, but nodded.  Maybe Janet was beginning to thaw toward her since they talked about Bobby Thompson and the drug delivery in the garage basement level.


Heinrich dropped his sword point and stepped back.  “You are still dropping your shoulder when you back-swing toward the legs.  You know where your opponent is, you should not have to look first.”

Emily frowned and ran a hand through her hair.  She nodded and took a moment to look around.  Jessica was helping Melissa learn the staff.  They had the ones with the cushions on each end so they did not hurt much, but poor Melissa who only began these workouts in the fall kept taking it in the gut while Jessica kept explaining how to block that shot.  Maria was off to the side working through her hand to hand techniques.  Mindy was helping Amina try to hit something with an arrow.  Amina was great with the staff and hand to hand, but she couldn’t shoot straight.  It was like she was willing to hit someone, maybe even knock them out, but the idea of an arrow or knife cutting and maybe killing someone made her balk.

“Ready?”  Heinrich finished wiping the sweat from his brow and tossed down his towel.

Emily shook her head and pointed to the back door.  “I think you have a new pupil.”  Sara came in, and she brought her shepherd’s crook, the one Heinrich had given her as a gift.

“Ah, priestess, welcome.”  Heinrich was friendly and the others stopped and welcomed Sara as well.  Melissa was especially happy to see the priestess.

“Priestess.  Now maybe someone else can get punched in the stomach for a while,” she said.

ac-sarah-7Sara shook her head.  “I’m still getting used to priestess.  I know it is just the classical title, but it irks my Anglican nerves.  There is a reason I am a Methodist.”

“Zoe called you priestess,” Amina said as if that should settle the matter.

“Yes, Sybil,” Sara responded in a kind tone of voice and nodded toward Emily for emphasis.  “Your majesty.  But that is another thing.  I can’t hardly bring myself to talk to Zoe, much less pray to her.”

“I can answer that one,” Heinrich stepped up.  “I guarantee, right or not, she does not want or feel worthy of prayer or praise.  Just talking is what she prefers.  Sorry, you will have to take my word on that for now.  But here, let me help you learn what you can do with that staff.”

“Just so you know, I am a woman of peace, not war.”  Sara looked around the gym and looked hesitant, though she came dressed in sweats.

“So was Father Martin,” Heinrich responded with a smile and an outstretched hand.  “But he said there is nothing unchristian about learning to defend yourself and to defend the innocent.”

“Father Martin?”

“A disciple of Francis of Assisi.”

“A Franciscan?”

“No,” Emily said.  “I think he means a disciple of Saint Francis himself.”

ac-heinrich-1Heinrich nodded.  “He was my age now, four hundred and seventy something when I was an impressionable youth of twenty something.  He was a good man.”

Sara’s eyes widened a bit, but she took Heinrich’s hand and let him lead her into the middle of the room.  “Paul is also having real problems with all of this,” she confessed.

“Your young man?”  Heinrich pulled her in so she took his arm.

Sara nodded.  “Paul is a lawyer, very logical.  He took a job with the District Attorney’s office last year and was glad to hear I will be sticking around for the next three years.”  She stopped and withdrew her hand and arm and stared at Emily.  “Look, he has a hard enough time with me being a minister.  Amazon priestess is freaking him out.”

“Don’t look at me,” Emily said with a deadpan face.  “I killed my last boyfriend and the one before that turned vampire.  I killed him, too.”  Emily’s eyes watered a bit.  “I am not the one to talk to about boyfriend troubles.”

“Invite him to meet us,” Amina said.  “He will see we are just a bunch of normal women and nothing to worry about.”

“Ms Joel heard from?”  Emily lost her tears and grinned as Amina darkened and looked at the floor; but she smiled at the mention of Joel’s name.

Sara looked around the room at all of the ones present before she made her pronouncement.  “There is not a normal one here.”  She bit her tongue.  She knew she should say they were all special and gifted beyond reason, but at the moment she felt like saying they were all freaks.

Maria stepped up.  “Actually, we are all facing the same problems with boyfriends.  Okay, maybe Emily and I aren’t dating right now, but Amina and Joel are, Mindy just asked Bill out, Melissa is hanging out with Robert and Jessica has Brinkman wrapped around her finger.”

“Please!”  Jessica interrupted.  “I gave up boyfriends for lent.”

“Robert?”  Emily asked with a look at Melissa.

“Later,” Maria said as Melissa turned red and looked away in her best Amina imitation.  “Anyway, the point is you are not alone.”

“I did not choose to live four hundred and seventy years, which is not public knowledge by the way,” Heinrich said.  “Emily did not choose to be one of the elect.  The Spirits of Artemis and Eir chose their own vehicles in Jessica and Maria.  Amina and Melissa had no say in whatever power they were granted, great or small.  You are the only one who has graciously been given a choice, but you must choose.  You have swum half-way, now will you turn and swim back or finish the journey?”

ac-sarah-6“I am here,” Sara said.  “Priestess is still going to take some getting used to.”  Everyone smiled happily, and several hugs were exchanged before Sara remembered.  “Oh, Jessica and Emily, I brought your ROTC crew.  They say they want to join the, um, tribe?”

“Yes, that’s right.”  Mindy said it before Amina could.

Sara turned back to the door she came in and wondered.  “I thought they were right behind me.”

Natasha came tumbling in after a second.  She was winded, but said one word, loud.  “Orcs.”  She threw her hands to her knees as she breathed.  “A bunch of them, heading this way.”  Diane, Greta and Hilde followed Natasha in and Greta and Hilde started to bar the door.

“Wait!”  Emily shouted and Greta and Hilde paused.  “Mindy and Amina, get arrows, bring the bows.  Diane, show me.  The rest of you stay here.  Jessica, prepare a defense.”

“After you,” Heinrich said.  He still had his sword, but picked up a bow as well.  Emily was not about to turn down the help and experience, but she looked again at Jessica and once at Sara.  Jessica looked uncertain, but Sara assured her with her eyes and Emily felt the Priestess earned her place permanently with that look.  There would be no going back.

Elect II—3 Antiques, part 1 of 3

Emily came in late and snuck passed the two professors that were talking quietly in the front.  She slipped into her seat and nudged Maria who had to remove her ear buds to listen.

“What is Maynard doing here?” Emily whispered.

Maria shrugged, but before she could verbalize her thought, Professor Maynard left and she had to put her ear buds away.

“Class.”  Professor Orlov said that word every time he wanted their full attention.  “If you have wondered about my day job, Evelyn Maynard and I were enticed by money from the Center for Disease Control.  We have been working on the immune system in relation to the brain, something that will come up in this course in a future chapter.  In the meanwhile, we have agreed that our work is ready for some serious testing.  If you wish to help in this work, I assure you it will not be dangerous, but we would appreciate any volunteers.  There will be a small payment for your time.  No reason we should keep all the CDC money for ourselves.”

ac-emily-a1Emily’s instincts made her squirm in her seat.  There was something about brain research and Maynard, knowing how she professed to hate all people, that made her uncomfortable.  She looked at Maria, but Maria was looking forward and did not notice.  She looked over at Joel, the boy who sometimes joined them in the library for study-time.  He looked back and looked uncertain, like it was something he might consider.

“You can stay and see me after class if you are interested,” Orlov concluded.  “Now you see, with a real day job I can’t be a vampire.  Besides, I would think life as a vampire would really suck.”  He thought he was funny.  A couple of students groaned, quietly, as Orlov continued.  “Turn in your books…”

Maria wanted some evening library time before it got too late, but Emily begged off.  Heinrich gave her a real workout that afternoon.  Even with Heinrich un-empowered, Emily could barely keep up.  The man’s skill with a sword was amazing.  Four hundred and seventy years of practice, she reminded herself.




Emily walked back to the dorm and slowly climbed up the stairs, thinking, Professor Orlov would not know a vampire if it bit him.

“Emily?”  It was Sara Michaels standing outside her door.

“Priestess?”  Emily responded with the same question in her voice.

ac-sarah-4“Sara, please,” the woman said.  “I am sure you don’t want me referring to you as your majesty out in public.  Besides, that is something I am still getting used to.”

“It suits you,” Emily decided as she unlocked her suite door and dropped her back pack in her room.  “But what brings you here?”

“We have an invitation,” Sara said.  “And we will be late if we don’t hurry.”

Emily went into the bathroom to the mirror.  It was automatic if she was going out.  “No time for a shower?”  She knew there was not time if they were nearly late.  “Where are we going?”

“President’s house.  I was invited with the instruction that I bring you along.”

Emily nodded.  Henri Batiste probably had no idea who she was last year, but no doubt he spent his summer reading.  She could only imagine what the man intended to say to her.  “Mostly faculty?”  Emily asked.

Sara shook her head.  “This is the beginning of the year staff gathering.  You know, the pep talk and all.”

Emily nodded.  She was only a side note and probably would not be expected to stay for the party.  They left the suite to walk across the campus to the President’s house.  Emily felt it was just as well they take their time.  She needed to spend the time with Sara and get to know her a bit.  All she really knew about the woman was Sara was Zoe’s selection.

Sara sensed Emily’s curiosity.  “I’m twenty-seven.  I came here out of seminary, but after last year I realized I was not the best student counselor.  My father used to accuse me of being too mature, even in junior high.  I put in for a nice associate position in a big church, but apparently I am stuck here for the next three years.”

“Not stuck.  You have a definite job here, and the maturity is probably what we need.”

“Not stuck,” Sara agreed.  “But I don’t know what help I can be.  It may take me three years just to adjust the way I view the world.”  She looked at Emily.  “I’ve been meeting with Mindy.  She is keeping a journal, and some of the things she has told me.  I mean, bogymen?”

“I know,” Emily felt like she hardly believed it herself.

“Truth is, I have met with all the girls, except you.  I was beginning to think you were avoiding me.”

a-n-campus-2“No,” Emily said.  “I didn’t realize.  I’ve just been concentrating hard on my classes, trying to get ahead of the game, because…you never know.”

“I understand.”  Sara fell silent for a minute.  In that moment, Emily lifted her head and stopped moving.  She scanned the area that was shrouded in the dark.  Something was there and it didn’t feel human.  Sara saw it first and pointed

“What is that?”

Emily shrugged.  It was generally human in shape, except it was too big and it had upper and lower tusks in a mouth that was much too large.  Emily pulled the knife she kept strapped and hidden beneath her pant leg, down by her ankle.  The thing had to see the glint of light on the metal and stepped for a second onto the campus path beneath the streetlight.  It was an enormous beast.  It was far bigger and looked far stronger than any NFL linebacker might ever hope to be.  It just stood there and stared back at them before it faded and vanished, like it went invisible.  They both heard it push through the bushes and head toward the science building and the library.

“What the hell was that?”  Sara said, and added, “Sorry.”

Emily could only shrug.  Last year, she would have chased the thing, but now she knew running off would have left Sara alone and exposed.  She was learning.  She had resources and generally it was better to know what she was facing before she jumped in.   “Jessica is a bit of an artist.  We make sketches and let Mindy do the research.”

Sara nodded.  “You are all so talented.”

Emily shook her head.  “Not me.  I’m going to be a nurse.”

They stopped in the dark before they stepped up to the front door of the President’s house.  Emily put her knife away as Sara spoke.  “I’ve been thinking and praying about all of you and all of this.  I have come to understand that you six are the most remarkably gifted women I have ever known.”

“I don’t—.”

“Even the ones less obvious now, like Maria, Mindy and Jessica.” Sara interrupted to get out the thought she felt was vital.  “But I think the admonition you gave to Melissa needs to apply to you all.  You must all be careful never to use your gifts for selfish or self-serving reasons.  That way leads to darkness.”

Emily nodded.  She had realized the same thing.  They stepped up to the door and found Bernie the campus cop hanging out on the porch.  He stood up in front of the door, like he was blocking their way.

“Bernie, do you know Reverend Michaels from the Chaplain’s office?”

“We’ve met,” Bernie gave a sloppy little salute.

“How are your new bosses?”  Sara asked, and Bernie explained for Emily.

“After what happened last year, President Batiste fired and replaced the whole senior security staff.”

ac-bernie-1“That’s not fair,” Emily objected.  “It wasn’t their fault.  There wasn’t anything they could have done about it.”

Bernie bit his lip.  “I don’t know the new people well, yet.  They are different, but they all want to meet you.  I’m supposed to tell them when you arrive.”  Sara and Emily said nothing.  They looked at each other and followed Bernie inside where he passed them off to Sergeant Valenko, a security guard with stripes.

“Emily.”  It was a voice Emily did not want to hear.  She did the introductions.

“Courtney Chase, Channel 5, Eyewitness News, meet Sara Michaels, Campus Chaplain.”

Courtney barely let the fake smile touch her lips before she turned to Emily.  “Have you thought any more about the interview?  I would be willing to let you look at the questions first.”

Emily shook her head.  “Nothing to interview.  I am hoping to do well in my classes this year.  That’s it.”

“Sorry mam, no cameras, please.”  The sergeant stepped between them.  “This is a private meeting.”  He put his hand up to the cameraman who dutifully trailed behind the reporter and filmed everything.  When another security officer came up and began to move the cameraman back to the main room, Courtney naturally followed the camera.

“Call me,” she said to Emily, and shoved her way back enough to hand Emily a card before she scooted off in search of some other hapless interview.

Sergeant Valenko said, “Ladies,” and he pointed down a hall away from the sounds of the gathering.

“That was Courtney Chase,” Sara said, like a fan of the evening news.

“We don’t need the publicity,” Emily shook her head, but placed the card in her pocket.

“No, I suppose not.”

Sergeant Valenko escorted them to a back room and asked them to wait.  He was a short, barrel-chested man, like one who was determined to make up for his height by lifting weights day and night.  He had fuzzy blond hair and marched rather than walked.

“A bit too military,” Emily commented quietly.  “But then lots of security people are former military, I suppose.”

ab-pres-studyThey did not have to wait long.  The three top security men on campus, two Lieutenants and their Captain, came in.  They said nothing.  They did not even introduce themselves.  Sara decided to sit.  Emily found her feet pacing, just like Detective Lisa.

Henri Batiste came in with a smile, and the two lieutenants left.  He shook Emily’s and Sara’s hands and introduced Captain Gouldos.  The Captain neither smiled nor offered his hand.  “Now, the reason I wanted to see you is simple.  You have probably guessed.  I would like a quiet school year this year.  I am sure you understand.”  The man never lost his smile.

“I would like a quiet year, too,” Emily agreed.  It was pointless to explain to the man that she was not the cause of any of the trouble last year.  All she did was save the lives of everyone on campus several times.

“Splendid.  But now, the reason I invited you here tonight is so you could meet my security staff.  You can see they are a very competent crew.  I want you to trust them and let them do their job.  I am asking, if you should become aware of something unusual this year, please call them and let them take care of it.  That is what we are paying them for after all, you see?”

Emily nodded.  “Campus security was called all the time last year.”  Bernie the campus cop was the only one who ever showed up, she thought.

“Splendid.  Now the other reason I wanted you to come was to meet Ms. Michaels from the Chaplain’s office.  She is here to help and counsel whatever the need.  And if it is something she cannot handle, she has the resources to recommend, competent professionals to help whatever might be troubling you.  I am not saying anything is troubling you, but I urge you to get to know her well.  She can help you enjoy the full college experience.”

“I can assure you, Sara and I will spend plenty of time together over the next three years.”

President Batiste looked at them both with eyes that wondered why all this went so easily.

“Henri?”  A woman called down the hall.

“Un moment, mon petite.”  Batiste called back before he turned again to the women.  “My wife.  My guests.  Please excuse me.  You are welcome to stay.”  He left.  Captain Gouldos glared at them before he followed the president.  Sara looked at Emily.  Emily frowned and took the priestess out to the porch.  She grabbed Bernie by his loose tie and dragged him with them off into the dark beyond the house and beyond any snoopy reporters.

“The new security staff is into something up to their necks and Batiste is their leader.” Emily spoke without any preliminaries.  “I need to know what your new bosses are up to.  I don’t trust them.”

a-n-campus-5Bernie let out his breath like he was holding it in for a long time.  “I don’t trust them either,” he said softly, and they looked at the Chaplain.

Sara hedged.  “I caught the body language and tone of voice, but I’m in the love and forgiveness business.  I think hanging out with you might make me paranoid.”

“I was thinking that just the other day,” Emily admitted with a grin.

“I live in paranoid,” Bernie said with a glance at Emily.

Emily shook her head.  “I don’t live there, I just commute.”  When the others stared at her with big questions in their faces, she explained.  “Well, Jessica wasn’t here so I said it for her.”  Both Sara and Bernie nodded that they understood.

Elect II—2 Amazons, part 3 of 3

“Are you looking forward to school?” Maria asked, kindly.

Melissa, who walked with her eyes turned down to the sidewalk like she was thinking deep thoughts, nodded before she thought to say something.  “A little scared, considering, you know, last year.”  She took a breath and added, “Summer school helped, but there weren’t so many people around.

Maria understood and offered what she had.  “But this year you have a safe room and a suite full of friends to watch out for you.”

ac-melissa-7“A whole Amazon tribe,” Melissa said with a smile.  “That is what Mindy and Amina call us.”  She opened the door to the dorm and walked up the stairs with her roommate.  When they stepped inside, they found Mindy and Amina unpacking.  Jessica came in a moment later, followed by a boy.  She must have been right behind Maria and Melissa.

“Everyone, this is Phillip, a sophomore transfer into ROTC.”

“Jessica!” Amina turned red.

“We haven’t finished unpacking,” Mindy explained, without explaining.

“Hey.”  Jessica turned to a bewildered looking Phillip.  “I found him wandering around the campus center.  I may keep him.”

“What?”  Maria asked while Melissa joined Amina in turning red.

“You keep saying we are supposed to be like the Amazons of old,” Jessica said as she ran her hand through Phillips hair.  “I’m willing to do my part.”


Emily got to the top of the stairs, thinking hard, and slowly opened the heavy door.  It was dark when she stepped into the lounge area of her suite.  She flicked the light on when she shut the door, and everyone jumped up and yelled, “Surprise.”  It was not really a surprise, but it warmed Emily’s heart to see it.  Unfortunately, Emily’s mind was preoccupied, so she said nothing in return.  The others stopped and watched as Emily shifted one chair to face the end of the couch, by the door, and scooted the other tight beside it.  She went into her room and grabbed her desk chair and Jessica’s chair and plopped them down side by side.  The chairs and couch made a U shape around the cheap coffee table and faced the door with the open end.  Emily sat in her own desk chair at the head of the table, so to speak.

ac-emily-8“Meeting first,” Emily said, and she waited for their response.

“What happened to your ribs?” Jessica wondered how she could carry those chairs from the other room.  She sat in her own chair beside Emily.

“I thought your leg was broken?” Maria looked more concerned than curious as she went around to sit on the middle of the couch.

“All healed,” Emily said, and she waited while everyone sat in the correct order without having to be told and only left the seat empty at the end of the couch nearest the door.  “I met Zoe,” Emily said and Amina’s eyes got wide and her mouth opened as she certainly saw something in that statement.

“Zoe who?”  Jessica wondered.

“The queen goddess of the Amazons?”  Mindy wondered.  “But she almost never shows up in the record.  Are you sure it wasn’t Artemis or one of the others?”

Emily looked at Mindy.  The girl was in danger of believing everything she read.  Of course, given some of their encounters Emily could hardly blame her, though Emily was planning to remain uncommitted on the divinity of her visitor.  She stood, retrieved her sword from her room and sat again with the sword across her lap.  Then she began to speak.

“Zoe said an Amazon queen never acts alone.  She always depends on and listens to her council.  The three on her left hand face the darkness and the three on her right face the light.”

“Wait a minute,” Maria interrupted.  “There are only two of us on the right.”

“There are three on my right,” Emily said.  “The third is our priestess who always stands a little apart from the rest of us.  Zoe said she would be provided,” and there was a knock on the door.

Melissa was closest, but Amina was already out of her seat.  She looked back at the others and ended with a stare at Emily.  Then she grinned impishly and opened the door.  There was a woman just shy of thirty-years-old who started to speak.

ac-sarah-7“I’m Sara Michaels from the chaplain’s office.”

“Yes, Sara,” Amina interrupted.  “We have been expecting you.  Your seat is waiting for you,” and she pointed to the end of the couch.  Maria kind of ruined the spell by shifting over and patting the cushion beside her.

The woman came in and sat but looked and sounded rather confused.  “I got a message that I needed to be here.  I don’t understand.  I never make night calls unless someone dies.  Did someone die?”

“Only my denial,” Emily said, and without any preliminaries she began.  “We have Zoe’s permission to be an Amazon tribe, but she has a message for each of us.  You have already heard mine, that an Amazon queen always listens to her council.”  Then she began on her left side and talked about the ones facing the darkness.  She talked to each one personally; Jessica the hunter, Amina the Sybil and Melissa the spell caster.

“Spell caster?” Sara asked.

“Witch,” Melissa said the word and wiggled her finger.  Her cup of orange soda lifted into the air and floated in her direction.  It did not look too stable and Melissa looked like she was seriously concentrating.  When she grabbed the drink, she spilled a little and immediately looked at the newcomer.  “Sorry,” she said.  “I’m just learning and I am not a very powerful witch.”

“Spell caster,” Jessica corrected.

“We are all just learning,” Maria encouraged her roommate.

Sara turned her eyes to Emily and said something that surprised no one.  “Emily Hudson.  We talked about you last year.”

Emily ignored the comment, turned to her right hand and talked to Mindy the wise woman and Maria the healer.  When she told Sara that she was to be their priestess, Sara’s eyes got wide, but she said nothing.  Then Emily went on to share that Zoe gave them an assignment.  There was a mystery on campus and they needed to solve it.  “She said, somewhere there is a door open to Avalon.  Creatures have escaped.  You met one.  The world is in danger of going mad.  Blah, blah, blah.”

“Blah, blah, blah?”  Jessica had to ask.  Emily hushed her and looked at Sara.  They all waited in silence for Sara to speak.  Sara understood the stares.

“But what if I don’t want to be your priestess?”

“No one will force you, but you are the one Zoe selected,” Emily said.  “Your request for transfer has been or will be denied.  You will be here with us for the next three years.”

Maria added a thought.  “I suppose if you don’t want to be our priestess you will leave us spiritually empty and morally bankrupt.  But the choice is yours.”  She looked around the room and saw the looks of agreement on the other faces.

ac-sarah-6Sara sat for a time and looked at her hands in her lap before she spoke again.  “I think I need to have a talk with this Zoe of yours.”

“Oh, I am sure you will,” Amina said cheerfully.  “And soon I imagine.”

“Somehow, that does not encourage me.”  Sara just sat for a minute and worried her hands.  The others were mercifully quiet and patient until the woman finally looked up.  “There is one thing.  I am not really a priestess.  I’m a Methodist minister.”

“That’s alright,” Maria responded and reached over to pat the woman’s hands. “Amina and I are Catholic.”

“Southern Baptist.”  Mindy raised her hand and her voice.

“U. C. C.,” Melissa said softly.

“Presbyterian,” Emily said and looked at Jessica.  They all stared at Jessica until she spoke.

“My mother used to like to go to the Crystal Cathedral.”


Monday, be sure to come back for the Elect II-3 Antiques.

Until then, Happy Reading.