In the middle of a new house, alone, quiet, and peaceful, Liza never felt more dead. Life was meant to be full of living. People and plants and animals and noise and light. But there was none of that here. Sighing, she trotted over to the vintage red acrylic record player she had picked out on a whim from a thrift store. After some consideration she popped in the Queen record and flopped back onto the plush navy sofa. Faking her death had been hard, but at least she’d had her team to go home to when that month was over. Now there was nothing.
A harsh wind swept through the living room abruptly, cutting off Liza’s flashback abruptly. A raven the size of a large house cat stared her down before dropping the velvety sack it carried inside the threshold, then taking flight. Shortly after its departure, a hawk swept in the open door to roost on a lampshade. With a screech, the hawk too relinquished a thick envelope and took off like a bullet. The door slammed shut behind the hawk.
Liza had watched the birds with a sort of incredulous wonder. When she had lived amongst legends in the olden days, it had not been uncommon for them to receive a message bird, but two in one day? That was unsettling. “I suppose I should hope that neither of these is a cleverly concealed incendiary device.” She mused aloud, collecting her mail.
The more alluring pouch was the first opened. As Liza carefully untied the drawstrings, she considered what might warrant a message bird and ornate packaging. It was difficult, if not impossible, to find a message hawk these days. Come to think of it, no one knew where she lived except two teleporters that could be here in seconds if they had a message. One of whom was actually proficient in texting. (Hint: It isn’t Bishop). Out of the bag spilled three runestones and a note:
Remember your true home, and you will never be lost.
Liza crumpled the note in her fist. That wasn’t helpful. She needed comfort, companionship, and probably therapy. Not fortune cookie wisdom. The ancient warrior shook her head in dismissal, considering the runes. Eihwaz, Raidho, and Dagaz. Stability, a Journey, and Hope. She knew these runes. Wait. Liza dropped the stones as if they had suddenly burned her hands. These were her runes. From somewhere in the back of her mind, the fabric of the pouch triggered a memory. Her cloak had been made of this material, the runes had been emblazoned on her chest plate. The stones were quickly swept back into their bag.
“Not today. I am not getting tangled up in a past life’s nonsense today.” Liza grumbled, using the smooth and firm texture of the reddish wood floor to ground herself. Whatever sick game the All Father was playing, she wasn’t laughing.
Liza carefully opened the envelope left by the falcon and dumped the contents into her hand. Another note, this one calligraphic, and a stack of photographs.
You cannot hide forever. Even with your death, I do not consider your debt paid- and trust me- I will see it fulfilled. If you surrender, this will go smoothly enough for all involved parties. If you don’t one of us will have a very painful evening. I shall arrive within minutes of this bird. Prepare yourself as you like.
P.S. If you value the well being of your shadow, do not contact her. I have taken appropriate precautions that she might find….unpleasant.
“That drama queen is still holding a grudge about the Raptor Incident. What a loser.” This note too was crumpled and thrown into the trash. Aaron was one of the first things Liza had considered when decorating the house. The whole space was designed to keep him out via magical barriers. Still, if he had found a way to harm Kasai, then perhaps he had thought of this too.
Liza stood to pace back and forth, only stopping when a knock rang out her door. The familiar sensation of attempted hemokinesis crackled through her veins, but this time was different. Liza hadn’t fed in almost three days. There was no blood in her body for Aaron to control.
“Let me in!” The annoying older vampire demanded from outside. Liza could picture him gnashing his fangs in frustration.
“Nope!” She shot back, too tired all of the sudden to come up with witty banter. Danforth and Nox would be here soon for a feeding lesson anyway. She just had to wait Aaron out. This was what Aaron had neglected to consider: Vampires could not enter a building without an inhabitants permission. In the past he had worked around this by simply having a controlled victim let him in themselves, but clearly that wouldn’t work this time.
Liza smirked, then trotted up to her room to steal some shuteye before her lesson. The stack of photographs could wait. She fell asleep to the gloriously frustrated sounds of her defeated nemesis throwing out orders and demands willy nilly. It reminded her of the good old days, and with that she was out.