Lurking in the Shadows
LADY NILA POV
Before I closed up my tent, I spotted the familiar girl walking away from the fair-goings with three guys and I wondered where they were going. I was here for one reason only: to find Emersyn Atwood.
At least if she is who we think she is, but if we’re wrong, we might scar the girl for life.
There was only one way to find out the truth and that meant I had to follow her to make sure. According to our records, Emersyn’s previous life ended in suicide and that meant she had no idea who she was in this life. So, if she really doesn’t know who she is, then I have to work harder to figure that part out. It wasn’t going to be easy, but I’d rather deal with this than to deal with Sebastian. He’d be very angry with me if I chose not to be his errand girl. Hell, he’s always angry at me anyway. I don’t understand why this one girl is so important to him. I thought I was important to him but that’s clearly not the case.
My eyes followed her until she disappeared out of sight and then I closed up my tent and went to follow her. I have no idea exactly what I’m looking for but Sebastian just told me to follow her and then report back to him on what I see. Apparently, he’ll know what to look for to determine her identity, whatever the hell that means.
However, I can’t help but remember how familiar she looked to me and I didn’t know why. I hadn’t ever seen her before, so I knew that couldn’t be it. I just know in my soul that I’ve met her before. Maybe Sebastian would have those answers for me; he seems to know everything about her anyway.
After I finished tying my tent closed and blowing out the candles in here, I went out the back and pulled my hood over my head. I didn’t need any witnesses to see me snooping around some teenage kids. What kind of message would that say? All I know is that I have to play it cool and report back to Sebastian right away if I see anything strange.
The crowds of people were starting to slowly taper down and I kept my head low, pushing through them in the direction I saw Emersyn head to. I slid into the shadows of the last ride of the fair and scoped out their next location.
They were climbing the hill towards a grove of trees and I noticed there wasn’t much coverage from here to there to hide in, so I waited until they were out of sight in the trees.
“Lady Nila, what in the world are you doing? You’re crawling around in the shadows like a creeper.”
I was startled by the intruder as I whipped around and saw that it was one of my fellow tent-mates. She was from California and did tarot readings. But, I knew she was one of the fake ones, trained very well in the art of reading people and cards. She didn’t have a psychic bone in her. And not only did I know this from watching her work, she told me in her head. Well, she didn’t exactly tell me so much as I just saw it there. She also charged almost double what I did for one of her readings. Made me sick.
“Libra- I didn’t see you there,” I stated, glaring her up and down. “What are you doing following me anyway?”
“I wanted to see if you wanted to get a drink with me after all the busyness of the fair today.” Her eyes moved over me suspiciously, looking towards the hill behind me, but said nothing more.
“That’s kind of you, but I don’t drink.” Which wasn’t a lie. I had memories from when I was a sixteen-year-old drunk, living in 14th century Scotland among the livestock. They were memories I didn’t know the source of but I knew they were mine. I wasn’t proud of my decisions and vowed to never put the poison to my lips ever again, which included this new life as well.
“You don’t drink? That’s insane! Our line of work calls for a few cocktails or we’d lose our minds! It isn’t easy doing readings for people. And I…”
I had reached into the pouch hanging around my neck, retrieving a bit of Devil’s Breath into my palm before I turned and blew the white substance into her face. Within seconds she stopped talking and her eyes glazed over in confusion. When she began to sway, I knew the drug was taking effect.
“Somnum,” I whispered, waving my hand in front of her face.
Her eyes rolled into the back of her head and her body went limp as I caught her and gently laid her in the cool evening grass.
Lowering my face to hers, I whispered into her ear, “You won’t remember any of this when you wake up. Also, stay away from Lady Nila, you don’t like her.”
Now that she’s dealt with, I turned and kept my eyes on the hill once more before making my plan of attack.
I left the fairgrounds and kept to the far side of the hill, trying my best to stay out of sight. My dress was dragging on the ground and I kept stepping on it as I tried to stay low.
“Damn it,” I cursed out, tugging on my dress skirt.
But then I heard mumbling and froze in my spot. Did I make it up the hill to them already?
With one glance in their direction, I did in fact see four shadows moving about the grove of trees on the very top of the hill. Luckily, there were enough bushes among the foliage for me to hide behind.
I kept my steps light and my body low as I made my way over to a bushel of shrubs, ducking behind them until I got a good view of them.
It looked as if they were playing the ancient game of levitation. What do they call it nowadays? Light as a something or other. I remember reading about it in a book that Sebastian gave me to study concerning current age metaphysical practices.
That’s when I noticed they had chosen Emersyn to lay in the middle while the three guys surrounded her. I didn’t know the one younger looking boy but I’d never forget the faces of the two brothers. Sebastian warned me that they were dangerous and very powerful as he showed me several pictures of them. If they caught me, there’s no doubt in my mind that they’d kill me on the spot.
“Cooperiunt me,” I whispered out while waving my hand over my torso, allowing the veil of invisibility to cover me as I continued to hide in the brush. There wasn’t much other than these bushes to cover me, so a simple incantation would have to do the trick. I couldn’t be seen.
My full attention was now on them, watching as they began the game. I noticed before they started that the oldest brother, I forget his name, spoke a spell under his breath before he began saying the famous “Light as a feather, stiff as a board” - ah-ha! That’s the name of it- mantra with the two other guys.
I couldn’t hear what the older brother had said under his breath, but it was no doubt helping them with this little game. My guess was that he was making sure it worked because it usually didn’t if there was a non-believer among the group, or so the book had mentioned. And my guess told me it was her.
Which only made me question why she was so important to Sebastian in the first place. If she wasn’t magical at all or possessed any of our metaphysical qualities, then why did she matter? I really need to ask him more questions before I put myself on the line for him and for her. I wasn’t about to be killed over someone I knew nothing about.
Emersyn was lifted from the ground and I couldn’t peel my eyes away from her. While she was levitating in the air, I noticed a glowing light around her. It wasn’t just any light. No, it was the marking of a great being. It also told me that she wasn’t fully transitioned into her role yet and I’m wondering if this was why Sebastian wanted her so badly. Did he want to turn her to our side? But, why would he need her if he had me?
Pulling my side satchel from my hip, I dug around for my stones. They never failed me when I needed answers and right now, I needed a bone thrown to me.
But, when I looked back at them, I noticed Emersyn and that young boy were missing. Only the two brothers were standing there now. Where the hell did the other two go? One quick glance around told me they were hauling butt back down the hill.
Why are they in such a rush, though?
“It’s her,” I heard the oldest brother comment, piquing my interest almost immediately.
“I figured,” the younger brother commented, watching the two friends run down the hill. “What do we do now?”
The older brother ran his hand over his face, blowing out a frustrated breath. “Nothing. She doesn’t know who she is or who we are. All we can do is hope she remembers and finds me.”
Remembers? Are they talking about her past lives? What happens if she doesn’t remember? Or, worse, what happens if she does? These are all the questions I needed the answers to. And no thanks to Sebastian, I had none.
“Atticus, we can’t wait for that! We need her to know now!”
Ha! So, that’s the older brother’s name. I knew it was something different and ancient-sounding. Now I just have to remember the younger brother’s name.
“It’s out of my control, Tristan! What the hell do you want me to do?”
I stifled a laugh in my sleeve. They were giving me information without knowing I was even here. What else can I learn from these brothers, Atticus and Tristan?
Something began buzzing in my pocket and my blood ran cold. That buzz told me Sebastian was paging me and I didn’t have time to waste. If I didn’t come to him, he’d lose his temper and I hated it when he lost it. He was terrifying when he was angry.
I dug into my pocket, silencing the vibration sounds, and watched as the brothers made their way back down the hill themselves.
Once they were gone, I let out a deep breath and let the invisibility veil disappear around me. I stood up from the brush, feeling my knees stretch out as I dug back into my satchel and rubbed my stones together while I squeezed my eyes shut and held my breath.
When I opened my eyes again, I had successfully astral projected to Sebastian’s position. He was sitting in my hotel room, looking through my journal.
“Hey, that’s private,” I blurted out, reaching forward to grab the journal but remembering that I wasn’t physically here.
He jumped at the sound of my voice and whipped his head up to look at me.
“Where are you?” He demanded, standing up from the edge of the bed.
“I’m still at the fair.”
He groaned, slamming my journal shut before he tossed it onto the bed like it meant nothing. Several pieces of paper and other drawings flew from inside, scattering all over the bed. What a jerk!
“Have you found who I’ve been looking for?”
Did I answer him honestly? Right now, I was angry that he thought he could just throw my things around, but if he actually found out I was hiding information or lying to him, he’d have my head. Literally.
“I believe so,” I replied softly. “She was with a young boy. I think he’s her friend.”
“Are you sure it was her?” He eyed me suspiciously, stepping so close to me that I could almost feel his actual body heat through my projection.
“I think so. She fits the description you gave me.” I swallowed, knowing the next bit of information I was going to share with him would no doubt piss him off. “She was also with two brothers.”
His eyebrow lifted amusingly, clearly waiting for me to continue.
“The brothers,” I repeated in a way that should let him know exactly who I was talking about.
I watched his eyes darken but he said nothing. His jaw started to flex and a vein began to bulge in his neck. This is about to get bad. I’m so glad I decided to astral-project versus actually going to him. At least he couldn’t physically touch me this way.
“Where are they now?” He growled out.
“They were just at the fair. I have no idea where they’re at now.” That was the truth. Being in this astral plane, I couldn’t see my physical surroundings, only the one that I was visiting.
“Get back to your room. I’ll be waiting.” He snapped his fingers, causing my connection to the astral plane to immediately break, pulling my soul back into my physical body with a hard jolt.
I sat straight up, taking several deep breaths as I crawled to my knees. Astral projecting was something I didn’t do often because it caused me pain, much like it was causing now. My joints ached and my body buzzed as if I had just been electrocuted. It wasn’t my favorite thing to do but sometimes it needed to be done.Once my body felt normal again, I knew I better get back to my hotel before Sebastian had to hunt me down. That was the last thing I wanted. He was already clearly upset, there was no need to poke the bear any further.