Decelle ~ Freak on a Leash

Episode 6: Hornet's Nest

part of: The Shadowed Ones

by Jeff Beardwood

by K’oja, Twilit Ez Perjezlah of the Fourth Generation

I asked Katia to take a walk with me. We have been partners forever, so we both knew that meant I wanted to talk. We entered the park near the clan home and set out south along the path. True to my nature, I just waded right into what was on my mind.
“Why haven’t you just turned them over to the authorities?” I asked Katia. I love her. I trust her instincts. Yet this observation of the terrorist pod had gone on long enough now I had to ask. Asking questions, after all, is what I do.
“Sweet K’oja, I wondered how long you would be silent,” she laughed. “They are not functional right now, that should be some consolation.”
“How do you know that? That goes well beyond Wanderer sensitivity…even yours.”
“I have made them nervous by my appearances. I believe their superiors are considering breaking them up. In the mean time, they are cautious, out of their routine and plotting nothing. These things I have observed.”
“I must admit, that’s wonderful news, but my original question stands. Why not just turn them over to the authorities?” I repeated.
“Consider the Authority’s track record for a moment. Even at its ideal best (and that’s not always the level we as humans hit), it’s a punitive rather than corrective system. We’ve worked with that system for a very long time. I see no evidence it has produced peace, long term safety or any other positive goal on a societal level.”
I sat and thought about her words. They seemed sound and well thought-out. While my mind danced around her position, she softly hummed an old blues song. Katia has about a million layers going on at any one time. On one level, she always has a soundtrack playing in her mind to accent any particular moment. I’ve asked her about it. To her it is part of the whole of any moment. She couldn’t imagine that place in her falling silent. We all associate scents, sounds, tactile experience with our memories. She simply seems more conscious of the imprinting than most. I’ve often thought I would be much closer to fully understanding Katia if I could appreciate those subtle cues.
“So what do you hope to achieve?” I finally asked, having finished mulling over her logic for the moment.
“Something different. A change, however small, rather than a slap. I don’t see I could do worse than the Authorities by making an effort,” she smiled warmly as she said this.
My Ez Perjezlah training finally found some footing here. I thought I had a handle on something she might have missed. “You realize the great jeopardy you are placing yourself in? Indeed that may be true for our whole community. Living here in the city is a risk in these times anyway, but to make yourself a target…it’s like shaking a hornet’s nest.”
“Like hornets, if the Shadowed Ones feel threatened, they will most certainly protect themselves. I am doing everything I can to make sure that doesn’t happen. Change requires risk. I am ready to take such a risk. But you raise a good point about the Sept and perhaps even Wanderers in general. We should maybe talk about this as a group.”
“Wanderers were already reaching their awareness. That is how you met this fellow in the first place, because they considered us an unknown threat of some flavor,” I reminded her. “As for the meeting, we should probably do that. I think you’ll find the rest will trust your judgment and support you. I do.”
“You certainly do, dear K’oja. Thank you.”
“My last question…if you have the patience for one more?” I asked her.
“Certainly. Sometimes you save the hardest one for last.”
I could feel her looking deeply into me as she said this. I pressed on. “Are you influenced by this man on a personal level? Is that affecting your choices and actions?”
“You had no need to be reluctant about asking me this,” she assured me.
“I am as hard on my own motivations as I am on anyone else’s,” was all I answered.
As she considered my question, Katia reached out and rubbed my shoulder blade the way she does. I felt reassured.
“You are of course right. I do like this man they call Daegle, my perceptive sweetie. I see great potential in him. He is confident, vast within and, if born into other circumstances, might have made a powerful Deznahdorean. He is deeply sensitive in the telltale ways.”
I nodded. “That is what I perceived through you.”
“I confuse him. It would take a lifetime to even begin to build basic trust I suspect. But every step I take in that direction brings Change one step closer.”
“I believe the risk is greater because you feel that way. It may cloud your choices,” I suggested.
“Will you help me keep the risk in perspective?” she asked with warmth and sincerity.
“Count on it,” I laughed.
We had circled almost completely back to where we’d entered the park, just as our conversation had completed its cycle. As usual, we were in sync perfectly. I had mentioned before leaving that we were going to the park, but I was truly surprised to see D’hlea running up to us as we approached the road. She is the youngest member of our Sept. Just a baby at 19, yet by the time she reached us she was panting and out of breath.
“D’hlea, what’s up?” Katia asked sounding worried.
“It’s Daegle, come!” were the only words she got out before dashing off with Katia right behind.
I was left standing by myself with unanswered questions. They had a full two block head start before I regained my senses and dashed after them at full speed.