Nothing I will not do… (Journal Entry #123)

Blaire. The girl concerns me. She is struggling. I can feel very little from Coty and her sisters, but sometimes…sometimes I just know. 

Life in the demon world is not going as anyone had wished. Even though Blaire has not come out and said such. I do not need to feel things to know the young female feels such fear.

I impulsively wrapped her up in a hug, after she had been in my suite for only a few moments. “You are safe here, w-w-with me.”

I was ignoring the fact that there were two tall, strong, warrior demons stationed just outside my door.

Rall had returned. The demon guard who hovered over Blaire now. 

I could easily sense how he felt about the small female—who did not return his affections. 

I am not precognitive; but just looking at Blaire I got the sense that there was something more that the fates had in store for her.

Just as I now know they have more for my own sisters in store than I want to contemplate.

I am afraid to put any stock into these legends, these child’s fairy tales passed down amongst the Woald. But if there is something there…

It could be in my mother’s journals.

Alaun has given me all the log-in information to the research she has collected through the years. Of course, she has—I am her most trusted assistant now.

A twinge of guilt for how I was utilizing Alaun’s hard work, her trust, for my own purposes hit me.

I had to remind myself that protecting the very goddess of our people only serves to protect us all, right?

I have printed out the journals, two pages per standard sheet. There are hundreds of pages now. I had had to ask my guard if he would grab me a binder at the nearby store. And highlighters.

Now…all we had to do was keep reading.

Wait for Blaire to tell us what the pages my mother had written in a tongue so different from Dardaptoan that had no clue of what it was.

I pulled in a deep breath, and studied my dark-haired accomplices. Blaire and Coty resembled each other strongly. The bonds of family was easy to see between them.

There was nothing they would not do for each other.

Just as there was nothing I would not do for Ambrea, Kellis, Alaun, Riv, Jume, or my sweet little Alleah. 

We are family.

And families protect one another.

It is time to get started.

Villains and Fairy Tales (Journal Entry #122)

It gave me the shivers. To know that…my people…somewhere… Everything depends on the Woald now? There are less than eight hundred of us in this House. We are the smallest that I know of, especially in Dardanos. I know most of the young females, I think. They are my cousins, after all. And…to know that some of them, some of my sisters, even, could be fated for this?

It terrifies me. I don’t know who I should discuss it with. Ambrea would tell me not to worry, that everything would work out as it was supposed to in the end.

She is rather fatalistic in some ways.

Kellis…Kellis would be so afraid. I can not do that to her. She has enough to worry about now. Riv and Julea and Alaun—no. They would fear needlessly, I think, as well.

I cannot share this with them. 

In my heart, I just know it isn’t safe.

Coty came to me earlier than usual today. I could see worry in her big green eyes. She is a very spirited young female, but as our association has grown, I am finding myself feeling almost motherly to her. 

I greatly sense she needs it. 

But today, it is me that she comforts. “Something’s happened. What?”

I just gave her the book I had highlight. “T-t-this.”

She read it. “Woah. Do you have any clue what it means?”

“My-my-my mother told me some stories. But I don’t know if this is a part of them.” 

I sank onto the foot of my bed, while Coty took the small, cheap desk chair Alaun had brought me months ago. 

“What were they?”

“I thought they were just fairy tales, mostly. Now I am beginning to wonder. There is a villain, of course. But there is almost always a villain in a fairy tale, right?”

“From my experience there is a villain just about everywhere.”

“This villain, he wants to take over the worlds. And he wants someone, my mother called her the great queen in every story, for his own. And she would tell stories of little Woald females, girls really, who would battle him away. But…these are fairy tales. Nothing more.”

“Where can we find these fairy tales? You’re people don’t really write things down, do they?”

I just shook my head. “M-m-my mother’s journals, perhaps? She used to write things down in a language no one but her knew. She said it was…to preserve the secrets of the Woald. She was a gifted story-teller.”

“Like your sister. I read her latest. I’m not certain I’d think a god-like-being is all that sexy. Who wants a guy that much in control of them? But I couldn’t stop reading…it was really good. But if a dark, terrifying godlike monster creature wants to get me naked and do wicked things…I’m going to kick him where it hurts. And run as fast as my short little legs can carry me.”

I burst into laughter at the expression on her face.

I am eternally grateful for this friend I have made here.

“I-I-I will call Alaun. She had Mama’s journals scanned into her computer a year or so ago. She paid Julea $100 to do it last summer. Maybe…maybe there is something we can use?”

“If we just knew someone who could translate an ancient language…” Coty gave a wicked grin. “I think I know just the woman. And good for us… Kindara is bringing Blaire back for a visit in the morning.”

Forever called The Woald (Journal Entry #121)

First, to those who find this tome, whenever it is found, know this. I am of the seeing caste. I see the memories of what have come before, and of the upheavals that await those who will come after. I seek to be neither for, nor against, nore in support of one or in denial of another. It is information I share, to give to our People. For when this is next read, it is because our Time is about to come…

Well, that isn’t exactly a clear opening. Something came at my window, and it interrupted me. I still have not forgotten the strange sort of demon that knocked upon my window so intently all those months ago. It took every bit of courage for me to creep to the lone window, and pull the shades down. 

My room is utilitarian—I didn’t warrant curtains. Unless I could pay for them myself.

A thin vinyl shade was all that protected me from the outside.

I had set a dozen little pots in that windowsill, that I faithfully tend every morning. 

Now…they are little protection if the outside world wants to come for me someday.

I am probably going to die in this hotel. I am starting to get a little used to that idea.

Well, if this is my fate, I am going to go down at least doing something.

Even if it is just trying to solve the mystery of why someone would want to destroy a world that most didn’t even know existed.

Other than being the possible origin of the Dardaptoan and Nellana goddesses, what could be so important about that world now that Dardaptoans wanted it destroyed?

It is the home world of our very creator, shouldn’t it be revered? 

I just kept reading, getting more and more confused as the hours wore on. 

Until I came to the last paragraph of the seventh chapter.

There will come a time, when only a handful of females of our Kind will be all that stands between us, Evalanedea, and the fall of every world now known and to be created. These females…

They will be Woald.

Unmated and alone, fated to die for their sacrifices to the Dardaptoan Kind and the goddess who created us. 

These females…will be our everything.

And they…they are cursed in ways not yet defined. 

But every moment of hope, every drop of Dardaptoan blood depends upon these young females, for if even one fails…all hope for our Kind will be lost for eternity. Even the girl goddess matters less than these…

And they will forever be known as The Woald.

Jume Woald–the dork. (Journal Entry#120)

No one from the sixth floor is allowed outside of the hotel at all, and the guards have doubled. Some of them…have hard hearts, and they frighten me. 

I told this to Coty, and she agreed. Neither of us know what is to happen now.

There have been a dozen Lupoiux attacks on the outlying areas.

My sisters…

Kellis is beside herself. She had been assigned to guard Cass specifically when she is in the hotel, but I suspect there are other, male, guards near. For once, Kellis is not complaining about Kierce being so overprotective.

They have assigned two guards to Coty and her sisters, so her time with me, outside of our rooms, has been greatly curbed.

A part of me is convinced that all of this ties to the goddess. How can it not?

The Lupoiux and Dardaptoans have been enemies for thousands of years, and now we are just supposed to accept each other? And all the things they have done to us?

My own aunt, Adelais, we suspect she was taken by Lupoiux and sold to slavers in a demon world somewhere. She is most likely dead now.

I miss her so much. Yet we are just supposed to forgive those who may have been involved?

I know there are good Lupoiux now—I have met a few here at the hotel—but how many of our people have had the same experiences? How many can just trust the goddess when she is literally in bed with the god of the Lupoiux?

And with what Coty and I overheard…

There has to be something we can do, but what that is, I don’t know yet.

It is late now, close to four a.m. I have my books spread out across my bed. Ambrea had called me this afternoon, said that she had seen something to do with me.

Said that if I keep looking, I will find what I am looking for tonight.

I hate it when she is that cryptic. It’s so annoying. She is a gifted seer, though she has told very few of that power. I suspect it will grow much stronger as she ages. She is in her early 100s now. Most don’t get the full strength of their gifts until twice that. 

It is always irritating when she refuses to tell you more, though.

The same with Theo. 

Why can’t they just tell you when there is something you need to do? Would it really change anything if you knew ahead of time?

I have the final book open now. It is the one that Riv found in the discard pile at the back of the most hushed up aisle of the Dardanos library.

It is very old. The author’s name is very obscured. Illegible.

But does the author of any book truly matter? Isn’t it what is  contained between the cover that matters most?

It felt so old, and battered, and…worthless in my hands.

It is easy to see why it had been discarded so easily. But…if I prescribe to the beliefs that Ambrea has taught me—beliefs the Woald Family crest even symbolizes—then everything happens for a reason.

I was given this book by my sister for a reason.

I just do not yet know what it is.

Just as I was given the computer I type this on now. 

It sits next to the cheap one provided to me by Theo when I first came to this hotel. I prefer the one given me by Nalik Black.

Mostly because everytime I use it I am reminded of ticking off Theo and Cormac that day. 

I know, petty of me, but…I have to have something stuck here, don’t I?

A part of me doesn’t want to open the book. I fear it might change things.

Silly, isn’t it? It is just…old paper and faded ink. 

Perhaps it is just my overactive imagination making me feel this way.

I can be a total…what is the human word?…dork sometimes.

A quick word from Calle

I’ve taken a small vacation from Jume while I finish up a few other projects (and coached kiddo’s softball team–who knew 9-11 year old girls took up sooo much energy!) I’ll have more Jumes to post next week!

One of those projects I’m finishing up is Rebecca and Matt’s book! They are getting a full length novel! After that it’s Jason/Anna, Rand/Jierra, and more!

War now… (Journal Entry #119)

It is a full war now. Everyone in the hotel is speaking of it. The Redd Gothan pack wants their princess, their true alpha I think she is, back. And they will kill to get her. She has been hiding here for months, ever since the Lycurgus and Adrastos Houses rescued her and some of her female packmates from those bastards who’d kept them and hurt them.

The only problem is—the Lupoiux female wants nothing to do with the beasts who whelped her. And she has said so in my hearing. But a pack…is only as strong as their true alpha. 

Without her…they are weaker than they should be.

Theo had explained all of this to me years ago, and then Mak.

Lupoiux were just as complex as Dardaptoans, I believe.

I should go back a bit, shouldn’t I?

To the day I got out of the Healer’s Hall again. 

Kellis was waiting there. And some of Kierce’s guards. Coty, too. She looked…frail. More weak than I was used to seeing her. What had happened to us drained her in ways I don’t think she understood. How could she? I barely did myself.

It was the empathic gifts, I suspect. Feeling what others feel…it can be such an enormous drain of energy. 

That is something I am learning myself. 

Everything has gotten darker now.

The Lupoiux war has just deepened. The Taniss Industries employees are even starting to notice something happening. 

Female employees—unmated ones, anyway—are going missing at an alarming rate. This is something Coty shared with me—having eavesdropped on her Taniss cousins. Coty eavesdrops frequently.

The Taniss alpha Jason, a rather imposing male, I must say, has been searching relentlessly. I do not know how many of these innocent young human women have been taken. The mere idea…breaks my heart for them. Coty says she knows most of the females who have disappeared—they are within five or ten years of her, all unmarried, and almost always they have no close family. It is almost as if someone somewhere has known of these females all along.

And is targeting them now.Using them for something I can’t hope to fathom.

Jason Taniss has recovered four of the missing females now. But the last…she has just been missing some four or five hours, Coty believes.

And Coty is very angry and afraid. This woman who has disappeared—Celena Hopkins—is a friend of hers from before. When they worked together in Taniss Industries IT department.

Coty is intensely worried.

Jason Taniss and some of his pack are searching for Celena now. 

The Taniss Equa have adjusted to life here, I think. But the idea that a Taniss Industries complex is situated just north of town—it still infuriates many of our people, I believe. At least those who know what Leo Taniss and Albert Boltier did. And they wish to see all connected with TI pay.

Not all of our Kind want peace now.

They believe this hatred is behind the  repeated attempts on young Cass’s life. 

The mere thought of that child being targeted like this boils me with anger. She is so…different…from the rest of the Taniss females. She is softer, dreamier. She wants nothing to do with their business, all the child wants to do is work with plants. She has so much insight into the growing of things for one so young.

When I was released from the Healers’ Hall (they should just give me my own suite there, it would save so much time) she sought me out. To make sure that I was recovering. And she sat with me a long while, there in my little suite. I know she has a much larger suite in the House of Dardanos itself. Next to the dahn. But she was content to sit with me in my tiny quarters. Just…talking.

I suspect Cass is needing connections to this new world, more than the girl realizes. 

For her, too, it is almost as if she has just been parked here at the hotel. But because of her family connections, Cass will never be forgotten about.

Sometimes I don’t know which is worse—being forgotten, or not.

Fear. (Journal Entry #118)

Cass and Coty came to me the next morning. There were memories in their eyes. And questions. Questions I couldn’t quite answer.

All of us knew something significant had happened. But what it was? I did not know.

And if I didn’t, how could two mere girls?

Life returned to the normal it was becoming. At least, for us at the hotel. The prison.

It was hard not to feel trapped here.

They have doubled the number of guards on us. And…it limited Coty and my freedom to do what it is that I now know compels us. 

If we can change something, maybe we can change everything. 

At least for the ones we love. 

But a part of me feels…nothing we do will change anything. 

That we can’t.

Something greater than the two of us is at play here. What that is, I do not know. 

And it terrifies me. There is…more terror now in my heart than there has been before.

My terror is reflected in Coty’s eyes now. She feels it too.

And yet…we do not know what it is. 

I do not know what to do now. 

But I have to do something…

Before it is too late.

The Truth. (Journal Entry #117)

When next I woke they were there. Again. Waiting. Theo, the dhar of our people, and of course, Cormac.

The male just couldn’t seem to get enough of me lately, could he?

I was really starting to feel sorry for that female of his. 

She deserved so much better.

“So…now what are you involved in, female?” Cormac leaned over me, and asked. 

“I don’t know what you mean. I was…g-g-gardening. We were next to the grotto, discussing the plants that might grow best, when they…came…came…came for us. No. Came for her. Cass.”

“And you and Coty Boltier did something to stop them, didn’t you?” the dhar asked. 

“I…am not certain. I know that there was a shield. But I do not know if I did it. Or if Coty did. Or…maybe it was even the goddess’s doing.”

“What I know is that I’ve seen that shield before. Welded by demon females in the demon worlds,” Cormac said, leaning closer. “So tell me…why is that you were the one who brought it?’

“B-b-because of the demonspirin, p-p-perhaps? I do not know…” I didn’t have a clue. I told him that. He didn’t believe me, of course. 

But I kept one thing a secret—it wasn’t just me. I know that shield grew…the instant Coty and I  had connected with Cass. 

That girl isn’t fully human, I’d bet good money on it.

And neither is Coty. 

But just what they are…well, I don’t know the answer to that, either.

I answered their questions as best I could, but I was so tired. I could barely keep my eyes open. “I-I-I was just gardening…”

I looked into Theo’s face. There was exasperation there—and fear. For me?

I do not think this cousin of mine has my best interests at heart now. No. He cares only for the good of our people, perhaps. His female. His closer family.

Not me.

I have no one, save the friends I have made, and the sisters I love so much to look out for me.

I will not forget that.

No matter what is to come.

Answers? Not going to happen. (Journal Entry #116)

“How did you stop them?” a harsh male voice whispered in my ear late that evening. There was a hand over my mouth.

It was all that kept me from screaming. I blinked at the male holding me in place for a long moment. The scar told me exactly who it was.

I calmed. 

He was still an extremely terrifying male, but I did not think he would harm me. 

“D-d-did you kill him?”

We both knew who I spoke about now. 

Equan Black nodded. “Tell me, Jume, how did you stop the attack today?”

“I-I-I am not entirely certain. All I remember was feeling what they were after. Who.”

“The Taniss girl.”

“Yes. Cass…Cass…Cass is so young. So innocent. There was no reason they should have come for her. I remember reaching for Coty. And then…the shield was there. I do not think it was just Coty’s doing. But I know it wasn’t just me.”

“And the fire? The flames? What caused that? There is talk, speculation now. Not all of it good.” He sank into the chair next to my bed, right there in the healer’s hall. “Some is about you—but most is about her. That girl. A mere babe.”

There was disgust in his tone. 

Disgust I understood. “Well, th-th-they aren’t going to hurt her. Not if I can stop it.”

His smile quirked. He was such a darkly beautiful male. But there was no humor in the expression. None at all. “Because you are such a fierce protectress, little one?”

“Be-be-because it is the right thing to do. She is barely more than a child.”

“She is full-grown. Do not doubt that. But I agree…the girl is far too innocent for this world.”

“Yes. She is. But then again, so are the Boltiers.”

“Are they now? Not as evil as the one who sired them?”

“N-n-no. Not at all. They are…so clean of heart. Far more than even some of our own.”

“Then the goddess has forsaken them, just like she has the rest of us. Rest, little Jume. And thank you. I owe you a great debt. I will repay it someday. You have my word.”

He touched my face, just once. And I slept.

I couldn’t resist, after all.

He was the most powerful male I have ever seen…

But…I know one thing down to my soul:

Unlike many of our people, there is nothing evil about Nalik Black.

But the man…he is most definitely up to something.

Then again, so am I.

Monsters should never come… (Journal Entry #115)

When I woke, Kellis was staring down at me, a worried look on her face. Kellis was always worried about me lately.

It isn’t as if I try to do these kinds of things lately. 

They just sort of keep happening. 

“W-w-what day is it?” I asked. My mouth was so dry. 

“Thursday.”

It definitely hadn’t been Thursday when it had happened. Tuesday. I think it had been Tuesday. “Are Cass and Coty ok?”

“Better than you.” Kellis was fussing over the blankets. “They both woke yesterday. Neither of them had any answers, either. So…”

“Let me g-g-guess…Cormac Jareth has the questions?”

“Spot on. What exactly were you doing out there?”

“Gardening. We were just…gardening.” I just looked at my sister. 

I definitely didn’t know anything more than that.

Unless…the attack may have had something to do with what we were searching for regarding the Goddess?

But no. That didn’t make sense, either.

“Th-th-they were after Cassandra. I could feel it. But I c-c-couldn’t feel why.

Kellis settled next to the bed. I finally looked around and figured it out. “Healer’s Hall. Again. Where are Cass and Coty?”

“Cass is with the dhan. She is extremely upset about what happened to her baby sister. I can say that I understand her reasoning. You have to be more careful, Jumena. If I was a human female, I’d be getting gray hair from all of your adventures, lately.”

“I am not exactly ad-ad-adventurous, Kellis. I just…they didn’t come for me. They came for Cass. Coty and I…and Cass…we stopped them somehow.”

“But how?”

Wasn’t that the million dollar question? “I-I-I don’t know. I don’t know at all…”

I told them that when they came to question me again. Of course, it was Cormac Jareth and Aodhan Adrastos…and this time it was the dhar himself and Theo.

Of course, it was Theo.

It was almost always Theo and Cormac when things went wrong in my world.

Perhaps they were the curse now plaguing me?

I looked at the dhar. I have spoken to him before, of course, as Theo’s secretary, but now…

There was a look of anger in his eyes that had me shaking. “I do-do-do not know why they came when they did. But they were after little Cass. I could feel it.”

The dhar’s face tightened. With worry, of course. And I understood it.

Cass was his female’s only sister, after all. And just twenty-two years.

Monsters should never have come for that girl.