What follows is from Cascadence of Truth, the sixth and final book of the not*the*same*river series. The series features angels, demons, vampires, werewolves, vaewolves and other vae breeds.
Context: Violet is hungover after Caleb’s birthday. She is ambushed by un/holy task force, Cascade, who were refused entry to her house. She is not at her best when she is hungover. Or ambushed.
I sat in the pub opposite Silas, while he stared into his pint. The ceaseless chatter around me burrowed into my head like a sack of worms. Worms with pickaxes. The smell of stale booze wafted up from the carpet, and my guts rolled over.
“Are you going to tell my why I’m here?” I said, leaning against the seat back.
“I’m sensing that a pub wasn’t the best choice for you today,” he said, a wicked grin forming.
I took a sip of lime and soda. “Even Magnus’ hangover cure isn’t touching the sides, and I didn’t even feel that drunk last night.”
“It’s the shots,” said Silas. “They come back to bite you on the arse in the morning.”
“Why aren’t you hungover?” I grumbled.
“Because I don’t have the alcohol tolerance of a squirrel.” He grinned. “And after that first shot, I stuck to pints.”
“Very sensible. I bet nobody caught you out today.”
“April fool’s day. The twins had me convinced Eden was pregnant with quads. They had a scan picture and everything. I was halfway down the stairs before I realised what day it was.”
Silas laughed. “Cedar got me once. Told me there was a eight-legged horse in the stairwell. It was just after I found out about what Uriel really was so it didn’t seem that much of a stretch. That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it.”
“Michael has a six-legged horse,” I said.
“Nice try. She got it from a Norse mythology book. Odin had one, I think.”
“Honestly. Michael’s horse has six legs. He’s called Marmaduke.” Silas sighed, giving a sceptical roll of his eyes. “Fine, don’t believe me. So what are we here for? Something’s going on, right? I heard Magnus throwing someone out of the house earlier. Next thing I know, I get a text from you. Am I about to be ambushed?”
He laughed. “Yeah, it was one of our guys. And yes, this is an ambush. Sorry.”
“You don’t look sorry.”
The voices around us stopped dead, and I turned in my chair. The only thing that could’ve made the woman walking towards me look more impressive was if her approach happened in slow motion with a wind machine blasting. She was dressed from head to toe in black armour, with long silvery white hair and dark eyes. She was so pale that her lips were barely pink at all. My fingers itched for a sketchpad and pencil. Behind her was Hazy Lin and Elvis Presley. Maybe I was still drunk.
The chatter started up again as Silas stood and nodded. The woman raised her hand slightly in an at-ease gesture. She wore ornate silver hand jewellery, including scarily sharp dragon claws. Hazy gave me a tight smile as she stood next to the woman, looking like she’d rather be anywhere but here. So, this was her wife then.
“You’ve not met Silas yet,” Hazy said, addressing her wife a bit too formally. “And this, of course, is Violet.” The woman’s eyes homed in on me. It made me feel like dinner. “Silas, Violet, this is Silver Abrecan, Chief Herald of Cascade, and leader of the Abrecan chapter.”
Even without seeing it, I knew my smile was dead on my face. Silver.
“Delighted to meet you both,” said Silver. “Please sit, Silas.”
He sat next to me, dragging his pint across the table, while Silver slid onto the bench opposite, making space for Hazy next to her. Hazy ignored it and pulled out a stool next to Silas.
“And if anybody cares, I’m Elvis,” said Elvis.
Hazy looked up at him, eyes twinkling, smile tugging. “I’m sorry. Violet, this is Elvis.” Hazy lowered her voice to a whisper. “Explosives expert.”
“Hi, Elvis,” I said, because I’d never said those words before.
“Alright,” he said, giving me a quick nod. “Does anybody want anything from the bar?”
“Bag of dry roasted and a pint of water, please,” said Hazy.
The rest of us shook our heads, and Elvis wandered over to the bar. I sipped my drink, waiting for Silver to speak, but she just stared at me like I was the most fascinating creature in the universe. She was probably wondering how someone so ordinary could’ve dispatched her mother to Hell. Willowy figure aside, she was nothing like her mother or her sister. But she had sired Mara Morrigan. And I already knew she wanted to recruit me, because Paul told me. And since Paul was Silver’s half-brother, and he was my uncle, did that make her my aunt? It became a bit too much for my foggy brain.
My tongue formed words without my brain’s permission. “I hope nobody expects me to call them auntie.”
Hazy and Silas stared at me like I’d left the house with my bum on back to front.
Silver blinked, then did a weird little shivery-shake. “How much do you know about Cascade?”
“Not nearly enough considering you’re desperate for recruits. You’re invisible.”
“Blunt, aren’t you?”
“As a spoon,” I said, sipping my drink. “I know more about you than I know about Cascade.”
Silver’s eyes narrowed on Hazy. “Really?”
“Not from Hazy,” I said. “From my uncle. I hear you hosted him last summer. In a cave. On a spike. He said you’d try to recruit me.”
“Well, he was right about that. I am going to try to recruit you.”
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The source image is from viganhajdari on Pixabay.