Monday, July 18, 2011


I nod, looking at Nick, as grim as ever I've seen him look. It's not the inevitable black clothing - after all, he never wears anything else - it's the expression. His face is closed tight, giving nothing away, streaked with gray and black camo paint. Yes, we're going to be going out under a "don't-see-me" glamour, but it never hurts to be extra careful.

I check my sword and axe; both are snug in their respective places, so I give the vampire a nod and we activate the mystical baubles Gareth crafted for us. They're a plain gold bead - cannibalized, I suspect, from someone's Add-a-Bead necklace - that will give non-Sidhe the ability to walk the Shadow Paths. We both have one in case we should become separated. Raina has one as well, but Ky, being Fae herself, needs only her native abilities.

The Shadow Path stretches before us, like a monochrome version of the real world. Gareth tells me that the way we each see the Shadow Path depends largely on each person's expectations. Apparently I expected black-and-white. Oh well, it'll be handy to know when I'm back in the Real World, I guess....

Nick moves with no more sound than if he himself were a shadow somehow given substance. While I can't hope to match that, I've been a soldier for a long time, and within ten minutes we're at what I've come to think of as the killing ground. It's a public park, maybe five minutes' walking distance from The Strip, a two-block long expanse of bars and clubs, intermingled with tattoo parlors, liquor stores, adult stores, and so on. It's not really a bad part of town, but it's kind of an uncaring part of town. You get the impression that here, at night, you could go missing and no one would know or care.

Now we wait.

I wouldn't know Raina and K'thyri if we hadn't seen their disguises before we left. If I wasn't married - and if Raina wasn't my sister - I'd be seriously tempted. The changes are subtle, as though someone laid a thin veil over the real Raina. Her hair is still black, but shorter, caught up in a ponytail, and she wears a halter and a leather mini that hits just at mid-thigh. Fishnets and Doc Martens complete the Goth-chick-painting-the-town-red impression.

K'thyri has kept the red hair, wearing it in pigtails, but she's added some neon-pink highlights. Her outfit is more along the line of Catholic-shoolgirl-from-Hell, with white anklets and saddle shoes paired up with a plaid skirt that's even shorter than Raina's, a black bra and a white shirt tied at the midriff. Her makeup is vampire pale with subtly darker makeup around the eyes. It makes her eyes look enormous and strangely innocent, in marked contrast to the throw-me-down-and-fuck-me look of the rest of the outfit.

And they've brought friends.

Two of them, WASP-y corporate-clone types out slumming for the kind of girls that WASP-y corporate-clone types aren't supposed to know about. If I wasn't certain that they weren't human, I'd think out of their league. But I trust the girls to have used Keon's toy wisely.

Keon invented - created? - whatever - a "ghoul detector" for us. Using Sweeney and Mole as his control group, he came up with a magical thingy that reacts to a ghoul's aura - at least that's the theory. Both Ky and Raina are wearing one, in the form of junk jewelry. Come near a ghoul and it glows, ever so softly. So the odds are really really good that we have a pair who are out for dinner with their date tonight.

The girls are giggling drunkenly and plastering themselves all over their partners. Whatever happens is going to happen soon....

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