I ended up falling and cracking a few ribs & doing some damage to my shoulder on 11/19, so had to revise my work schedule a bit. I will be starting the next part of… More
Well, there was one lasting result of that horrible event with the Jareth brothers. (Besides the new roof and brand-new, expanded pantry the Jareth warriors built). The House of Jareth is… watching me. I don’t know how else to put it, but every time I leave my room, someone in Jareth green watches me.
Even the new Equa has eyed me. Suspiciously, I have to admit. But Faith—Jayi’s friend and the Jareth Equa’s cousin—says it’s because she thinks Joselyn Jareth is worried about me.
She has a soft spot for females who have been abducted, apparently. It’s the “thing” for Jareths, abductions. She was, Kindara was, Jierra was… Joselyn was yanked out of her own home, too. By Cormac. During the Taniss Four incident.
Apparently, Jareths are good at that.
Derrol Jareth is now missing, though. I have been told he might have a grudge against me.
I am to go nowhere without my guards.
Of course, I will go nowhere without my guards. I’m not crazy.
I… feel that I am being watched. More than just by Tol. Or the other two guards who rotate with him guarding me. I do not know them well, but they do not have harsh hearts. One, Wiac, is the brother of the Trianu warrior who carried me to the healer’s hall that day. He is so incredibly kind. He takes his duty very seriously, too. He is a bit more of a solemn male overall.
I hope his female, when he finally finds her, will be a more playful female. I suspect he needs that.
He guards me in the evening, when I am in my suite. I do not know what he does out in the hall between my room and the Boltier sisters, but he is always there when I need him. Well into the night, when a young male takes the overnight shift.
I shudder to think what this is costing Theo.
I cannot stay here forever, can I?
There… maybe I have been forgotten about again? It is my biggest nightmare now.
Weeks have passed, after all.
Jayi and her male are settled, Pin and hers have gone. The demon world awaited, after all. Alaun has written another book. Meyka has accompanied Ryrk, leaving his young sister with Rand Taniss to guard.
The Lycurgus Equa, Jayi’s cousin-by-marriage, gave birth yesterday. A male and female, healthy pups that everyone is rejoicing over. Jierra Jareth, now Rand Taniss’s mate, should deliver in mere days.
The entire hotel is terrified for her. She is a young Dardaptoan, and to carry twin Lupoiux… She most likely will not survive.
She is just a girl, a classmate of my Julea’s so long ago. I have wept for her family; for Kindara, her mother.
Why does the goddess allow this to happen? To take so many…
Everyone’s lives are continuing on. The new year came just a month ago.
My sisters saved enough money up to rent a room in the hotel—in the first floor east wing, where Dardaptoans could rent discounted rooms and enjoy the facilities. They had to be cautious with the money, but Riv told me that the Jareth warriors had saved us nearly two thousand dollars by forcing the suppliers to sell the materials for our roof at a fair cost. They had thought nothing of squeezing pennies out of seven orphaned females.
She was furious that the corruption had existed. That it took males fighting for our money for us to get it returned.
I was not surprised. I have heard many things in Theo’s Judges’ Hall, after all. It is a dark world we live in now.
Probably because the goddess has forsaken us all.
Not that I have said that aloud to anyone other than Kellis, though.
I am not stupid.
Dardaptoans here can be so judgmental if your beliefs differ from theirs, after all.
Sometimes I fear what will happen to our people. Seriously fear it.
The roof is fixed. The bills are paid. Everyone is safe. For now.
Jayi is with her male and has been for days. He carried her off and we have not seen her since.
She is well and happy, though. Pin said it so.
Pin was injured in yet another demon attack.
Apparently, Pin’s mother is a demon princess from another realm. There are six demon realms, Relaklonos is the most populated, and the Three Hells that everyone always talks about—but know very little about. Of the eighteen realms, half of them are demon realms.
There are a lot of demon Kinds out there. (What we would call mammals in Gaia, some of these realms call demon, so I am not quite certain of what distinguishes what…)
There was one—a demon—hiding in the tree that damaged my house. My room and Riv’s, mostly. I am certain it attacked that day because it wanted to kill Kellis.
I could almost feel its intent. It was after Kellis, I am sure of it.
It was somewhat incorporeal, and very hard to see. But there was a demon guard with us when he attacked. Thankfully.
Even the Jareth warriors were surprised at the ferocity of our attacker, but Pin’s guard—one of her cousins and King Rathan’s younger brother, Iriok—battled it back.
He was injured in the fight. Phelius was there to heal Iriok, thankfully.
Most surprising of all, Selton carried little Pin away, back to his own suite.
The demon attacker had gone right through Pin trying to get to Kellis, and that had left Pin almost frostbitten and near death—but Selton had cared for her. Carried her to the Healer’s Hall and held her. Wrapped himself all around little Pin, like he had the right!
Until she warmed right back up.
Then… Pin admitted she’d known he was destined to be her male the moment he had first spoken to her in mydriveway!
Apparently, little Pin has a bit of the prognosticating gift from her great-great-grandfather, the first king of Relaklonosian demons. She had just been waiting to decide if she wanted Selton as her male yet or not.
Well, apparently, demon mating is a wee bit different from Dardaptoan mating, lol. Demon females get a choice, most times. Of course, most times they don’t know who their mate is through visions—but Pin had.
But all is well with her now. She has to return to the demon world to complete her training as a healer. Selton is preparing to return with her—to the actual demon world! I don’t see him traveling too far from her side. While he is there, he will be assigned to guard Kindara.
That’s convenient. Of course, most things are convenient for those who can afford to pay for them.
Poor thing; but I suppose as his cousin, Kindara might actually like that particular beast of a Jareth!
Demons attacked us again. My sisters and I were all injured—except Alleah, thank the Goddess. We are in the Healers’ Hall, but it is just as a precaution. They injured Kellis the worst; her and Selton.
Kellis fought fiercely, she and Navix. Side by side. He carried her to the Healers’ Hall over her protests.
Now, he is sitting by her bedside—reading to her from the Herald. And he just won’t go away.
Kellis has an absolutely bewildered look on her beautiful face.
I don’t quite think she knows what to do with him. I can so understand that.
Jayi was slightly injured, as well. But she is nowhere to be found.
Boldek has carried her off, and she is not refusing him. That is the way it is supposed to be. I am more than happy for my young friend. Though I suspect I will not be seeing her as frequently as I had. That was the way of the newly mated. Especially the wealthy. They had a tendency to disappear into their bedrooms and not reemerge for days. Sometimes weeks.
For those of us more common folk, we mate, spend a few days together if we can, then we go back to work.
Indulgence is for the royals, after all. Not the rest of us. But…
I want that for my friend. I want that for all the females I care about.
It’s hard not to hurt for me and Kellis and the fact that we won’t have that love, though.
It still hurts Kellis. I can feel that.
But my sister will never admit it.
She also fears what it means. Fears she’s fated to die young. Fears she’s going to leave the rest of us alone. I understand that, without having to pick up on Kellis’s feelings.
Because I have long felt them, too.
Sometimes I just want to hug her, this most sensitive sister of mine. Yet that is the last thing Kellis would want. She always tries to be so strong—for the rest of us.
We all try to be so strong for the rest of us.
This new gift of mine has given me new insight into my sisters. Strong souls, all of us. Kindness in our hearts that shines through to me now. And fear.
We are all so horribly afraid.
I don’t know if it’s because we are all so alone, with just each other to depend on, or if it something else.
I know am not the only one with exceptional gifts. Some of my sisters possess gifts, too. They do not know.
It is not my place to tell them. Or it would unbalance the order of things. I don’t know how I know this, I just do.
And that is my biggest fear.
Something is intended for my sisters someday. All of them. And there is nothing I can do to stop that…
I have a new friend.
She’s a demon healer. She came with her older brother, the highest demon healer in Relaklonos, to assist him with what happened to me.
She’ll be twenty-five tomorrow (age of adulthood for demon females, apparently) and is so sweet. She reminds me of Julea. But very naïve.
She needs protected here. People are very nervous about demons in their midst. But Pin (that’s her name) is so naïve and open that I am uncertain she would even see a threat coming for her until it was far too late.
She and Jayi have hit it off very well, along with the Lycurgus Equan and Jayi’s sister-in-law, Tennig. They are all so very young…
Someone needs to watch out for them. Help them navigate the world here at Hotel Dread, even though they are all young, wealthy, and well-protected by their older brothers.
Still, the things male warriors would think to teach such young females differs from what a female would actually need to know. There are places in this hotel no young female should dare to venture. I made certain to tell Jayi of those places, too.
We are going to my home today. I have Tol with me. He is now the head guard assigned to me exclusively.
He demanded it so, after that other guard betrayed me.
He, I do not know what happened to him. Nor do I care. He… what he did to me is far worse than what Boldek and his brothers did. I had counted on him to protect me. He had chosen not to.
Derrol Jareth abandoned me when I needed him most. That is hard to forget.
Kellis found him, though. I think they have known each other for a long time. From what I heard from Tol, the things my sister said to that guard are enough to burn the male’s ears for a very long time.
I just hope Kellis hasn’t made trouble for herself at work.
She, as the only female on the force, already faces so many obstacles just to be there. They make her deal with the humans, mostly.
I have four strong guards now, all of them Thurgis and Trianu House, who will accompany me back to my home.
They were volunteers. Tol told me that what happened to me has been shared within the ranks of Kierce’s warriors.
Many support what those males did to me—up to a point, Tol said. Others are furious that someone who had been assigned to protect me betrayed my trust like that. Protecting a female is an honor in our society, after all.
Warriors now know my name.
This is not exactly how I wanted to become visible, you know.
I found out what was hurting Jayi and I have to admit, I am very surprised at it. Young Jayi has found her male; unfortunately, he is one of the warriors who abducted me. The healer.
Yet Jayi is denying him.
Because of what he did to me.
That is the last thing I want for my friend. Finding one’s male should be a beautiful, glorious thing. She deserves to have her male.
I told her that.
But she is very young, younger than Julea, and she is so certain her convictions are more important than having the male the goddess has chosen for her. I told her to go to him and grab him with both arms and hold him tight.
A mate is a gift from the goddess, after all. (If one believes, that is.)
I cannot say that I have forgiven Boldek and his brothers for what they did to me. But they greatly love their sisters. They thought they were doing what they had to in order to protect Meyka and her sister Nima.
How can I, with six sisters I would die to protect, blame them for that?
They did not know their actions would change me.
They admitted as much during the hearing.
I forgot to tell you about the hearing!
I was so certain that it was going to be an arduous ordeal, but Boldek and his brothers admitted their actions and submitted to the court’s ruling, contesting nothing.
I was the one who got to decide their punishment!
Four strong male warriors whose construction company has built half the houses in this city and were wealthy enough to provide the funds Riv needed to fix the house—well, maybe they were the gift from the goddess, after all?
My family is getting a new roof today. Because of what happened to me. But I have something else to worry about now. Jayi is hurting; and it is within my power to fix it.
It’s getting easier. My shields are building. I was able to walk through the hotel last night with Jayi and not be overwhelmed—and I didn’t need her to wrap her healing gift around my soul to keep me from losing it. We didn’t go too far, just the dining room. But at least I am not stuck inside my cell—or the healer’s hall.
It gave me hope I will eventually be able to have a normal life again. If what I have been living could be called normal.
Something is bothering Jayi. I can feel it, though I know she tries to shield herself from me, so that she doesn’t overwhelm. She is a wonderful healer. A strong one.
And she has a sweet soul.
I can feel that about others now. I can look into someone’s eyes and know whether they have malice in their heart, in their secret places, or if they are kind and good.
I’m ready to give that little gift back to the goddess, thank you very much.
I don’t want to know that the Urusus has evil in his soul that he doesn’t even know is there, that is growing. I just don’t want that.
There are so many of our Kind that are selfish now.
It is terrifying. I never realized how dark some of the Dardaptoans have become.
It explains why my work for Theo has felt so… dark and dim for the last several decades. All those emotions—I was subconsciously feeling them, too.
I wonder if Rydere, our Dhar, knows? Maybe that is why he no longer seems to have time for the lesser Houses? He’s too busy keeping wars from breaking out in the larger, more difficult Houses? But what wars could he have when the largest Houses only number in the two to three thousand population and a good portion of those are females and babes?
Still, who needs infighting right now? A divided tribe is a dead tribe. Every one should understand that.
But I have more pressing matters to deal with now.
Jayi is worrying me. The hurt in her soul—it is a deep one. No young female deserves to hurt like this.
I’m going to have to help her if I can.
That… was one of the darkest weeks of my life. I am still not sure I am ready to talk about it. It’s been two weeks to the day. A lot has happened since then.
Theo took my side, and those Jareth buttheads (as Alleah has said) admitted to their actions and accepted restitution.
It fixed our problem at least.
The money they had to pay me covered the cost of the roof, and the forced labor they owed me… well…
They were experienced in construction. And were robust males capable of anything.
That… if I was a firm believer in the goddess, or the Fates, I would say the Fates were benefiting us now. But I am not so foolish.
I will admit, I’ve lost my faith in the goddess. And the Fates.
I started losing it eight years ago when I screamed for her to help my mother.
The goddess doesn’t hear our cries—at least she isn’t hearing those of the Woald—any longer.
She hasn’t in a long, long time.
I feel… stronger… than I did a month ago. I’m sorry I stopped blogging for so long. I just… spent most of the time in the healer’s hall just sleeping. Jayi, my healer and a new friend, said that was what I would need to do until the shields formed.
Apparently, I have always been an Empath. It was why I always just felt what those around me were thinking.
The change those buttheads (I really like that word) forced on me destroyed whatever natural checks I had on the gift (Apparently that is not uncommon in those with a little something extra. It is a way to protect us as we age—protect us from ourselves.)
Something happened that unlocked this gift inside of me.
I’m not sure I think of it as a gift at all.
Being able to feel what others feel?
It’s a constant bombardment of feelings. Of everything.
Sometimes I’m not even certain if it’s my feelings now, or the people near me.
Or the people in the next room, or one floor down, or one floor up, or the guards, or Coty and her sisters down the hall…
I’m still building those shields.
Maybe… maybe being at the hotel in my little suite on the sixth floor is a good thing.
If I was around people all day, I don’t know that I could stay sane at all…
I won’t be blogging for a while. I just… can’t. I’ll let you know when I can…
I’m still in the healer’s hall, recovering.
Ambrea was the one who told me. Lead settled in my stomach as I imagined it. “How bad is the damage?”
“Bad,” Riv said. “We’ve got tarps over my room and yours. We moved all of your stuff into the den. And…it’s going to cost over seventeen thousand dollars to fix it.”
Money we definitely didn’t have.
Even with Alaun’s book sales, that was a lot of money.
Dardaptoans didn’t do insurance. Dardaptoans took care of themselves. It was hard to explain why the name on the policies wouldn’t change for centuries, right?
“Can we borrow?” None of us were high earners. And even Alaun… well, in a city of only fourteen thousand, her audience and market were very limited. She was just now starting to sell to some of the other tribes through online portals. And she had to write fast, to keep putting out more and more books, so the income just kept coming.
She did well, but it was still just getting by, according to most standards.
“Not really. We don’t make enough individually, and no one will consider us all together. Now, if one of us had found a mate, or had been born with male equipment down south, we’d apparently be better prospects,” Riv said, bitterly. She handled the finances for all of us, including Alaun’s publishing business. She was good at it. “Less likely to die before we pay it off, apparently.”
But now… she was scared.
I could feel it. More than I have ever felt anything before.
I could feel every emotion my sisters were experiencing right now. I couldn’t shield myself from it. I couldn’t.
Any more than I could shield myself from those Jareths earlier.
I must have whimpered. My hands went to my head.
Riv jumped up and came to me. “It’s ok, Jume. We’ll figure it out. You have enough to deal with right now.”
I just rocked. “No. It’s what they did to me. They changed me. I feel everything. I feel everything you’re feeling, all of you. And the female next door. And the Boltier sisters down the hall. I can’t push the feelings away.”
After that, I don’t remember what happened.
Not until powerful arms were lifting me. One guard was there. I didn’t know his name. He was from the Trianu House; I think.
He was worried for me. He just wanted to make me better.
I could feel that, too.
My hands went to my head and I cried. But I let him lift me. He wouldn’t hurt me. I could feel that. He was good in his soul. I could feel that, too.
“It’s ok, female. It’s ok. Just imagine your mind wrapped in your favorite blanket. It’ll hold until we can get to the healers. It’s ok,” he whispered in my ear. Then he made a bunch of nonsense sounds I couldn’t identify. “Focus on my voice, my tone. Push everything else out.”
I listened to the crooning sounds he made until I collapsed in a strange male’s arms once again.
Keirce registered my complaint that very afternoon. Kellis called Ambrea and filled her and the rest of my sisters in on what had happened. They left Alleah with Dari, our cousin who lives next door. Dari was Julea’s age and her closest friend. Alleah had stayed with her many times before.
Ambrea wrapped her arms around me and just rocked. Like she had when I was a little girl and a bully had knocked me down on the playground and teased me for the way I struggled to talk.
I’ll admit it: I needed that mothering right then.
I broke down and cried.
For all of it. Everything that had happened. Everything that I didn’t know would happen next.
Here I am, going against the Jareth House. I won’t win, but I want to be heard.
When I was finally back in control of myself, I looked at the five females surrounding me. I saw bits and pieces of my parents in all of them. The curls were from an ancient ancestress—but the rest was my parents all over again.
My parents would have spoken out about what Cahum and the rest of them did.
They would expect that of their daughters.
I squared my shoulders—I will never do anything that would not make them proud if they were here to see me.
“I am going to do this. But you need to know, Kierce said there may be fallout. They are powerful Jareth warriors. And I am—”
“You are one of the strongest females I know,” Riv said emphatically. She had been pacing the room for several long moments.
She was far more agitated than I had seen her since the day we lost our parents.
It was more than just what had happened to me hurting this sister.
“You will get through this. We will all get through all of this,” Ambrea said. “No matter what we have to do. We’re Woalds. And Woalds make do.”
“What is going on?” I asked. I just know looking at my sisters that there is something far more going on between them. “What else has happened?”