Liza waited. The Ronins glanced
at one another in tense silence. Mia and
Artemis soundlessly took thier seats. Liza drummed on the table momentarily,
her voilet-blue eyes moving from one person to another.
"We're the Ronin Warriors," Cye offered helpfully.
Liza nodded doubtfully, rolling her eyes. "And that means to me, what?
Mia reached over and put her hand on Liza's arm. "The Ronin Warriors are
Earth's defense against evil. They fought the Dynasty about eight years ago."
Liza listened to her without believing the words. "Myth and fantasy is fine if
you believe it... but I'm not that type of person..."
"How can we prove it to you?" Ryo asked, missing the obvious answer to his
"The Armors," Rowen supplied. "Let's show her the Armor!"
Liza swallowed her apprhension and tried to open her mind to the possiblity
that they were not deluded with thier own granduer. She was afraid that they
were experiencing hallucinations. But when the threads of energy that formed
into the dual-color body armor began to paint the air in colors of the specrtum,
she began to fear that she was expirencing hallucinations. The lights dazzled
Liza felt dizzy. Magic wasn't a real thing, she kept telling herself. There
had to be a scientific explaination of thing.. surely, Rowen, whose mind was so
analytical and structured, had a brainy way of describing the armor
The five men that she had come to know so well had kept this armor a secret.
If Liza had been any other person, she would have felt betrayed and decieved by
those she felt were so close to her. Dumbfounded, she turned to Sekhmet.
"What.. what about you?" she asked, fearing the answer.
Sekhmet bowed his head and stood slowly. "I'm not a Ronin, but an Overlord. I
am the Overlord of Venom, once a servant of the Dynasty."
Liza wanted to believe him; she wanted to believe so bad. She sat quietly and
trembled, wishing that she knew what to say.
"Liza?" Sekhmet knelt by her side, one hand resting on her knee.
The American opened her mouth to speak but no sound came out. She looked from
Sekhmet, to the five Ronins, to Mia and back to Sekhmet. Her fogged mind put
two and two together.. why he wanted to make a new life for himself and the
facts she had been posed with recently. With a deep sigh, she promptly fainted.
* * * * * * *
In a place that was at once
everywhere and no where, two figures sat. One was
a scruffy-looking young man with a rogueish mop of straw colored hair, and a
wolfish grin. The other was a robed woman, the cowl of her dove-gray vestments
pulled low over a shadowed face.
"My prodigy has come out of the closet!" the young man exclaimed, jumping to
He danced around his partner in a frenzy of motion, the fringe of his leather
jacket flying and the talismans around his neck flipping around.
"Please, relax and be calm," the woman cautioned cooly.
The young man looked down at her, ceasing his dancing. His features aged
suddenly, the blond hair turning gray, the dark eyes becoming pale amber. When
he seated himself again, he was a venerable man, but with an electirc vitality
about him. The woman laughed.
"Grandfather Wolf," she mused, touching a papery hand.
"Yes, VisionWalker Sibyl?" the totem spirit returned.
"I believe you mean "progeny" not "prodigy," correct?" the ghost of a smile
graced the serene features.
Grandfather Wolf furrowed his brow, knitting the two bushy gray eyebrows
together comically. "Well, I suppose your right..."
"Suppose?" Sibyl threw back her head and let out a laugh. "Suppose? Ah, Wolf,
you never cease to amaze me."
"'Tis my duty, milady, 'tis my duty!" Wolf began to continue but a shimmer of
light in the void caught his eye. Seconds later, the soft sound of harps and
ripping of time reached the duo's ears.
"You're being called," Sibyl breathed quietly, dismayed that the summons had
not been for her.
"Your day will come.." Wolf murmured, resuming the form of a young man.
"She'll call you eventually."
Thunderstorm hadn't preformed
the ceremony in ages. She hadn't spoken to
Grandfather Wolf since the day of the Sun Dance, since the day she shut herself
off from the tribe. Moonshadow was in her usual place by Storm's right hand.
Her blue eyes were hard and cold, focused and steady. Together they awaited the
arrival of Grandfather Wolf.
He appeared as a shimmering in the air, nothing was revealed about His shape
expect for the flash of a gleaming white tooth, the shine of a golden eye.
Storm waited for Him to settle down, to choose a form and speak.
She was faced with a beautiful gray wolf, as etherreal as smoke. His eyes were
intelligent, burnished gold and calm. His long tongue lolled out of His jaws,
between the sharp white teeth that could tear out the throat of a cougar.
Thunderstorm smiled at His friendly tone, and waited for him to continue.
<After so long, you choose to come back to me?> His laugh was a wolf's growl.
<Why, Stubborn One?>
Storm bowed her head slightly. "A friend was in need of help." she explained.
"I merely reacted on instinct. This does not mean I'm returning to the tribe,
<I never expected you to. Continue to use your powers, you'll need them.>
Grandfather Wolf chuckled again. <Your new friends are much more than they
seem. And so was that creature that was terrorizing your fair city.>
"What was that anyway?" Moonshadow asked.
<Ah, the Conduit does speak!> He turned His intelligent eyes to her. <A
creature of nightmares, it was an Eye of Terror, a beholder, birthed from the
darkness of the Abyss, a child of the Insect Totems.. of evil.>
Thunderstorm and Moonshadow exchanged glances.
<The only way that that creature came to be in this world was through the
influence of a powerful..er.. what's the European term for shaman?>
Storm smiled at her Totems hesitation. "A witch?"
<Yes!.. A powerful witch and a link to the Abyss..> Grandfather Wolf licked His
chops, curling His lips back from His teeth. <And witch can only be defeated by
witch.., or in this case, shaman. You will continue to aid your new friends,
"Of course!" Moonshadow answered before Storm could. "And I speak for the both
of us, Grandfather. That witch is as good as burned at the stake!"
The Totem spirit began to fade from view. <I like her spunk... keep safe, and
may the power of the Spiritworld guide you through life!>