parts 44 and 45
Unfortunately, Kendra didn’t have all the materials that she would need to check if Misty was under the influence of a spell or potion. The small ritual wasn’t very complicated, but it did require a few things – and she had no fresh coconut, or the acceptable substitute of hazelnuts. She could borrow a bit of rum from Charles, though the idea of explaining why she would need rum and a twelve year old student did not appeal. Even claiming that magic was involved wouldn’t make that sound any better.
She’d probably have better luck finding hazelnuts in New York than fresh coconuts anyhow.
It was a frustration that she’d have to sort out eventually. There were more immediate concerns for her, as always. Vampires to slay, probably demons to fight. Classes for students, helping them develop good fitness, and trying to help them learn enough to not get killed when things got ugly – as they would, some day, some how. Perhaps not often for all of them, but it only took once to be fatal, if you weren’t ready. Kendra didn’t want any of her students to die because of what she hadn’t taught them.
She was also still trying to sort out the possible meanings of her dreams. Sea salt, Fyarl horns and swords. Tallow candles and Maerrocholith scales. Smoke and blood and chanting. A green man clad in leaves, speaking about the Worthy. A tall man with a plate of cheese. Flashes of lightning illuminating a dark alley. Zombie soldiers searching the streets. A werewolf in a library, or perhaps running the library – she was a little unclear about that bit.
“A journal for me dreams can only help so much,” Kendra sighed. Some of the images kept appearing, night after night. Those were probably important, but she didn’t know how – were the green man and the cheese man dangers, messengers, or possible allies? Fyarl horns, swords and sea salt could mean that she’d be fighting a Fyarl demon by the sea, armed with a sword. It could just as easily refer to some magical ritual.
The whole thing was almost enough to make her wish for a Watcher again. Definitely enough to make her want one, to see the advantages in having such a trained person. But the word ‘wish’ had caused a great deal of trouble to Buffy and her friends, and Kendra wasn’t desperate enough to take those risks.
At least she finally got to practice her sword work. Even better, Brandon had asked if she would teach him. Kendra had agreed readily, knowing that as useful as seeing auras could be for the young man, it wouldn’t prevent him from being attacked, and it wouldn’t keep him safe in a fight. Seeing auras gave information, it was up to him to use that information, or get it to someone else. Misty had also expressed a bit of interest, and while neither of them knew what skills might be lurking in Misty’s hidden past and suppressed memories, it might be a good idea for her to learn the skill, or refresh it, whichever the case.
The next day started late for Kendra, with her now-usual scrawling of her dreams into the journal beside her bed. While she was fairly certain the one with a shadowy figure laughing over a helpless blue girl was born of her worries for Misty, she wrote it down anyway. She had no explanation for the one with the singing banana, or the one where she turned to lecture her students about the importance of stretches to find that everyone – including herself – were naked. There had been another image of the thin man with the platter of cheese, and a beam of light focused on a sword. The same sword that she’d seen in other dreams.
When she made her way to one of the kitchens to gather something to eat, Kendra blinked in surprise. Richard Krutchten was already there, talking to a rumpled, tired looking man in a long sleeved shirt and tan trousers, both of them with cups of tea sitting before them.
“A friend of yours?” Kendra asked, one hand gesturing at the stranger as she collected some fruit from a basket on the counter.
“Yes, this is Quentin. He… I had to pick him up from the airport, and it’s been a very long couple of days for him,” Richard explained.
“And who might you be?” Quentin’s voice held a very clear British accent, as well as exhaustion, frustration, and a bit of curiosity.
“I am Kendra,” she collected a teacup of her own, and settled at the table.
“No last name? I am Quentin Travers,” he prompted.
Kendra shook her head, “No last name. I’ve never needed one, and…” she faltered for a moment, thinking of her past and how it infuriated Dorothy. “Nobody has ever used a family name for me that I know of.”
“That sounds… The only way…” Quentin blinked, and rubbed at his eyes.
“A Slayer does not need a last name, and a family will only be an unnecessary distraction. That is what de Watcher who raised me always said,” Kendra replied.
“But the Slayer is supposed to be in Prague,” Quentin murmured.
“It is very confusing and complicated,” Kendra agreed. “Perhaps you would prefer a few demonstrations after we’ve had our tea?”
“That sounds good,” Quentin agreed.
“She’s certainly not an ordinary young woman,” Richard smiled, sipping at his own cup of tea.
“There can be a world of difference between ordinary and a Potential Slayer, let alone an Active Slayer,” Quentin’s words had audible capitalization, and a larger amount of frustration.
End part 44.
As they made their way to the gymnasium, Kendra listened to the soft voiced conversation that Quentin and Richard were having behind her. She suspected they underestimated her hearing, and didn’t realize that she could hear them.
“I know you said this was a school for mutants, for people with strange and unusual abilities,” Quentin began.
“Yes,” Richard sighed, “What twisted and paranoid thoughts are going through your mind now?”
“How do you know they aren’t demons playing at being human? How do we know that they aren’t empowered by magic rituals or talismans? Even if they are genuinely given abilities by the universe playing dice with their genetics, how do we know that this woman is a Slayer instead of a mutant?” Quentin paused before muttering even softer, “I still think that word sounds strange and more than a bit insulting.”
“Maybe we’ll have to ask if she’d be willing to let us follow her on a patrol some night,” Richard suggested.
“She’s patrolling? Without a Watcher?” Quentin’s voice was a bit louder, and then he hissed, “Doesn’t she know how dangerous that can be? Patrolling in an unfamiliar territory… without sufficient knowledge of the local threats and expected dangers… the risks…”
“Kendra said she was aware of the risks, but didn’t feel right about just not doing anything while people were eaten by monsters,” Richard countered.
Interrupting their no longer hushed exchange, Kendra gestured, “We have reached the gymnasium.”
Once inside, Kendra was pleased to see the gymnasium empty, though sounds carrying through the windows suggested the same could not be said of the basketball court outside. She started with the boring things, a few demonstrations of her superior strength, a basic sword pattern, and returned the practice blade to the rack, absently catching the object hurled at her back. Looking at it, she frowned, “You t’rew a butter-knife at me? Dis does not even have a sharp edge.”
Quentin fidgeted, studying his toes a moment before muttering, “I didn’t see the sharp knives in the kitchen, and I couldn’t manage to take them on my carry-on. They should be arriving next week.”
“De sharp knives are kept where small children can not easily get them. This is supposed to keep them from injuring themselves,” Kendra looked at Quentin, “I confess to never worrying about how Watchers transport weapons and books across oceans.”
“All to be expected for a secret organization,” Quentin chuckled.
“She had me try something similar with one of my knives, shortly after we met,” Richard offered.
“Is there anything else you would care to see now, or would you rather join me on patrol tonight?” Kendra couldn’t quite keep herself from grinning when Richard twitched and Quentin jumped, his eyes going wide. “I am not opposed to people who know how to defend themselves accompanying me.”
After a few moments, Quentin managed, “Yes, joining you on patrol would be splendid. Perhaps you could explain how you found yourself here, when I have been told that the current Slayer is in Prague, and her description is quite far from your own?”
Kendra nodded, and they left the gymnasium, ending up in one of the many little sitting rooms scattered through the mansion. Kendra still didn’t know why there were so many. “I do not know how Potential Slayers are identified, but my parents were approached by a Watcher when I was no more than six months old. I have been told dey were honored by me potential, and chose to give me to me Watcher. One May, I awoke from a strange dream, feeling very energized, very strong. I had become a Slayer.”
“There aren’t that many places left where families are willing to give up their daughter to the watchers,” Quentin mused.
“I grew up in Jamaica,” Kendra paused. “This is where my story gets stranger. I was born in nineteen eighty, an’ became a Slayer in nineteen ninety nine. In the fall of dat year, the imprisoned Acathala was found, an’ someone attempted to use de demon to suck de world into hell. I fought de one who opened de portal, an’… I was caught in de portal as it closed. Only...”
Kendra took a deep breath before continuing, “Only I was not in de place where I had been fighting. I found meself here, in New York. Not only dat, but de year is different. I have not been born yet. Me Watcher might not have been born yet. All I can guess is dat de portal bent time an’ space… but so many t’ings seem different. I can not be sure if dis is de same world, back almost half a century, or a different world dat is very similar.”
“But…” Quentin blinked. “A Watcher…”
“De only names I know were active Watchers four or five decades from now. I have no names dat were in New England, no names for the Council headquarters in London at dis time. No books to research, and I do not know enough about magic to even know where to begin. An’ if I could find a Watcher, dey might t’ink me a demon or vampire out to trick dem, an’ not a Slayer flung t’rough time, space an’ maybe even dimension.’ Kendra took a deep breath, disappointed at the way her accent had thickened again. “Dere are days when I find me story hard to believe, an’ I am de one living it!”
“It does sound quite…” Richard paused, his mouth starting to form a word before he stopped. His lips moved, before stopping again. He continued, almost voiing and then discarding several words before giving them voice. “quite unusual.”
“There are some things that I know which will confirm the Potential, once I get my things delivered. But I suppose a simple patrol tonight would also prove if you are a Slayer, and much sooner. Though sorting out the rest…” Quentin shook his head. “I’m not sure about some of that. Let me think on it.”
Kendra nodded, hoping she hadn’t just made a huge mistake in sharing her story with them. “De Slayer before me, she drowned. One of her friends gave her CPR, an’ managed to revive her. She was still active an’ in California when I… before I found meself here. Dat is why I am insisting on de students here learning first aid, an’ why I am so willing not to patrol alone.”
“CPR bringing a Slayer back? Activating another Slayer… that’s…” Quentin blinked, rubbing his temple, “The implications are staggering.”
Kendra only nodded, having boggled more than a little over Buffy’s drowning, especially since the blonde had described it as ‘only a little’. About being a Slayer while her predecessor was still alive. And having wondered if that might mean there hadn’t been only one, might not have been only one for some time. When had CPR been invented, discovered… developed? What about hospitals reviving injured patients?
She could also understand wanting to take a while to tackle such substantial problems as how to test for alternate dimensions.
End part 45.