April 29th, 1867: We finally make it back to London. Marcus and Mary immediately leave to check on the orphanage, and Sergei heads to go check the mail at the office. Aldo and I have weapons to clean up, so we head to the House.
We arrive in time for breakfast, and for me to receive a letter from my Dad. He asks about my health, is glad to hear I am doing well, and then gets to the point; my Grandmother (Mom’s Mom) is sick and dying. She wants to see me before she passes on.
It looks like this summer will be one of travel. I ask Emily and Jenny if they would like to go see where I grew up (which they very much do), and grab Aldo, Victoria, and Oda as well. Because, as there always is, there will more than likely be violence. Also, because the open air will probably do them good.
April 30th: Ah, the Cardiff train station and docks. People here are beginning to know me by name. I will need to remember to try to network here a bit. It is an important port for us, and thus should be protected. We take off on the City of Paris, one of the fastest boats on the water.
Aldo, as usual, is THRILLED!
May 11th: We hit New York City. Jenny and Emily are super happy to be somewhere so new. Aldo is happy to be somewhere not actively floating. Victoria seems happy to be here, but keeps up with the silent treatment. I send a telegraph to Dad giving him an idea on our estimated time of arrival, then we check in at the hotel recommended by Prof. Poole, the Astor. We leave a note there for the CM of New York from the Professor, and, as if by magic, our room bills disappear!
I make sure Jenny understands that “free room service” does not mean ordering her dessert as “one chocolate cake” is acceptable. We do have cake, though.
May 12th: We take in the sights in New York City. We needed a bit of a break after so much travel, and the girls needed to shop a bit.
May 13th: We roll into Philadelphia. I am given a bit more than a little bit of a cold shoulder everywhere I go. My tribe seem ready to come to my defense, but I urge them to reconsider. That is just the way things are here, and, to be honest, if they knew I was Apache and not just ‘an Indian,’ they would probably think about lynching me.
My Mom’s people are NOT nice to settlers. On an “epic understatement” level.
Our contact here is supposedly at the Academy of Natural Sciences. We get tickets to go in the evening. Inside is a huge dinosaur skeleton (non-animated this time); Jenny is far, far past amused at this. Our guide, Anna (CH member here), leads us around on a amazing tour. We spy a set of crossed Minoan axes, one a twin for our light-weight swinger back home, and one of some kind of near coal-black iron. She said that this ax was forged from a meteor, and let me actually take it from the wall and look at it. If I were going to have an ax, this would probably be the one to have; it was weighted perfectly, and sharper than anything I have ever seen of that size.
She introduces us to her husband, Joseph Leady. He is a world renowned dinosaur-scholar, and the big brute up front is all his. It is not animated, and this makes Jenny and I sad. But he DOES know where a good pub is, and this makes us all much happier!
We hit the pub and get to meet the local CM, Robert Hazard. We start in on the obligatory war stories, showing him Songrid and telling of our recent smackdown of BandanaHam. They have been cut off from almost any info from the other side of the pond, so we catch them up a bit. Oda shows off his swords, which Anna can somehow silence.
Victoria learns from Anna that Sammy T. has been nurturing her bloodline for generations. She is descended from the Delphic Orcales, or, rather, a specific one. Anna outs herself as a relative of Sammy’s, one Hera. She is NOTHING like mythology portrays her, which only reinforces my belief that reading is overrated. We chat a bit. She does a bit of hocus-pocus on Songrid (with Songrid’s permission, of course), allowing Vikki to speak through Songrid. It is a weird sensation for everyone, but better than frantic hand signs. Better, but nowhere NEAR as amusing!
May 14th: We roll into Washington, D.C.. My Dad has a small flat here. Granny Onawa is already here, waiting for me. For someone Dad wrote of as “old and sick,” she looks healthier than me. Introductions all around, with Dad and Grandma being enthralled by Emily and Jenny. Jenny absolutely LOVES Granny Onawa, which is easy to do.
I am actually a bit surprised at this, to be honest. Dad has been ‘in bed’ with the white devils for some time now, but Grandma is Apache. Her hate for the ‘invaders’ used to be profound. But I see none of this anymore. At first I think it is just due to her acknowledging my new tribe, but, as we spend time together in private and public, I see that is not the case. She has softened her stance on this, even if our People have not. Very interesting.
Dad mentions that he is leaving me all of his land in North Carolina, and his various stocks, bonds, and the like. He is going to have the family members that have been running it for him continue to do so for me. He does not know what I am doing, but he is proud of me. Emily takes a liking to him, and it is easy to see why; now that he no longer has the weight of a nation on his shoulders, he can be a bit more genial.
We never had time to get to know one another, and probably never will. Our respective responsibilities keep us apart just as surely as geography did in the past. But, for all of his numerous faults (and mine), my Father is a good man. I hope history remembers this of him; he tried to do right by his people in the face of insane adversity. That is enough for me.
Granny gets to the point; she, being a powerful shaman (she is where my Mom got it from) has seen a vision of her death. It is to be at the Grand Canyon, and I have to be the one to take her.
Wow. The Canyon. The Great Rift. The entryway to the Hunting Grounds. So far as I know, no white person has seen it since the original explorers went through that area. And here Granny is, asking me to take a three British girls, a Japanese guy, and the whitest Swiss person I have ever met to one of my People’s most sacred places.
Sounds fun! I always wanted to show off my wonderful new family to my wonderful old family!
May 15th-16th: We hang out a bit in D.C.. We see the sights and do the whole tourist thing. Anna shows up with a gift for Victoria; she bought her a brand-new voice! Evidently the stigma against buying and selling voices freely given is FAR more lax in the States. Who knew! We wrestle up a circle, throw Victoria in, and smash a new voice into her. And, dear reader, IT IS GLORIOUS. Something to do with the process has rendered Vikki’s inner monologue almost completely inert. THIS IS MY NEW FAVORITE THING.
As we have a CH with a great Library in San Francisco, we decide to travel there to start our trek to the Canyon. Heading out the next day.
May 17th: Goodbyes are had to Dad. It was actually good seeing him; I have grown up a lot in two years. He presents us with gifts, a new-model Remington rolling rock rifle with exchangeable barrels (carbine to rifle in a few minutes!), and a new breech-loading Winchester. He also presents Jenny and Emily with a matching set of Colt revolvers. Smaller caliber for them, these are just like the guns he wore into battle.
I can see how he picked Jenny out as a warrior; everything about her screams, “I WILL HURT YOU” to those who know how to look. But it takes a keen eye to see that about Emily; she hides her new role of warrior princess rather well behind her old role of ‘British upper-crust lady.’ Cagey old guy, my Dad.
We head into a room, doily-up, and pop into The Library. We are met by a library demon, no joking here, sitting at a desk. While wearing reading glasses. He looks up and asks our names, intentions, and desired destination. I respond with “None of your business,” “to go places,” and “places not here.” I also mention that getting a Librarian here as fast as possible would probably do wonders for property values. Recognition flys across his face, and he sends for guides.
Bia comes striding in with our buddy Leo the lion-critter. According to her, the Librarians have been QUITE busy! They have begun bringing order to their domain, mainly by setting for rules and regulations for all the little fiefdoms among the stacks. Work with the Librarians, you can stay in charge. Refuse, and they wipe you out. The old scorpion demon lord tried to make a row, and was Bia’d in the face, fatally.
Dangit… I was going to come back someday and kill him for some new shinguard material. Oh well.
Bia heads back to work, and Leo give Jenny a lion-back ride as we head through. He gets us to our exit, hugs all around (Leo is a hugger), and we head out. We pop into a nice, sealed room full of manned gunports. Hands up, wait a few minutes, and we are met by a now-different-face-but-same-swagger Gerty.
Let the Wild West adventure begin!