August 6th, 2011
I talked to Erzulie today and lived to tell the tale. It's not really over, of course. Not completely.
But at least the bit where
I'VE BEEN PURSUED BY THE MOTHERFUCKING FURIES
is done with.
Those vengeful bitches are the ones who've been on my ass since I shot Marie.
I feel like I should get a fucking t-shirt or something. "I endured the Furies and all I got was this goddamned "Murderer" brand."
I think things are going to be okay, I think, even if it's not all over yet.
Tentatively, I really think so.
I'm not sure. I also really think Erzulie might be a little bipolar.
When we got out of Guinnee, Gunnar and I were trying to figure out the "what now?" part, and I figured I should probably pray to her and let her know Guinnee was done with. Gunnar had the really, really (really, really, really, REALLY) smart idea that I should wait to do the praying until we were home. Gunnar, careful? It happens more often than you think. As soon as he said that I got all these flashes of worst-case-scenarios where she'd either start fucking with me in my dreams or pop up in the middle of the road and we'd crash and die.
It didn't happen like that, obviously.
We got home, I took a couple of showers trying to get all the salt off of me. You would think I'd had enough of being in the water. I'm actually thinking, once all of the other shit is done to the house, of having Dorthen put in a pool.
Um, that wasn't the point, though. We got settled back in, I told Gunnar I was finally gonna get in touch with Erzulie and I expected for some reason that she'd visit me in a dream or something. I don't know why. I keep hearing the guys talk about how they see their fathers and such in dreams, and even though I've never talked to a god in a dream I expected that to be how she'd contact me.
I'd fallen asleep on the couch for I-don't-know-how-long when I woke to the sound of Gunnar shouting at Dorthen from the kitchen. Something about tea and home invasion. He's said stranger things. Then Dorthen goes heading to the kitchen, loading a fucking shotgun.
In any other house, that would have probably been really weird.
I got my ass up off the couch, ambled into the kitchen. I was mid-stretch and mid-yawn.
"What, Gunnar? Home inva-" And then I saw her. "Oh." I ran my fingers through my hair, waking myself up. "I'd say most people knock, but I'd be lying." Seriously, I can think of one fucking person who's bothered to ask us to let them in, and that was Horace back in fucking March.
She was dressed in a tight white dress and was helping herself to the shit in my kitchen, apparently under the impression that she was a welcome guest. Her manners are kinda lacking, as far as houseguests go. She commented on my hair and the scar on my forehead. Poor taste. Then she asked where Marie was. On the way back to Berkeley she kept trying to wander off, and after all that fucking work there was no way I was letting her wander off into the bay or some shit. So I'd put her in a salt circle near the back door. What? You kill a woman and retrieve her soul from the underworld then you can handle her ghost however you want. I put her in a salt circle near the back door.
I am so fucking proud of myself, I didn't swear at all when I was talking to Erzulie. I said very politely, "I will be really surprised if this is the conclusion of our business. But I'm optimistic."
She responded with a tired metaphor. She held out to me a cup of tea that was all cup and no tea. "Dear, if I were to offer you this tea would anything seem off? Aside from the fact that I am offering you your own tea?"
Of course I sighed, but I didn't swear. "I understand the analogy, something is missing. I just don’t know what I’m supposed to do about it. No one I’ve talked to yet has been able or willing to give me the kind of information I need." To be fair, I'd only talked to two people so far. "All I really had to go on when we went to Guinnee was the… request… you made in the beginning." She told me to go to Guinnee, negotiate with the Baron for the return of Marie. No more details than that. "And I did that, the best I could. If you want more… then just…”I drew a long breath, picking my words carefully and without expletives. “Please do me the courtesy of giving me the information I need to fulfill your request to your satisfaction.”
And Gunnar, gods bless this man, was there for me and he was quiet. Didn't really say a word until he was sure Scary Mary was gone. Also, I guess he'd given Dorthen the plans for working on the house, which I'd totally meant to do before we headed off to New Orleans but forgot about. My brain's been a little scattered.
Um, but yeah, Dorthen kinda waved around what looked like sketches and blueprints. Maybe sketchy blueprints. He excused himself and was really polite to Erzulie and gave Gunnar some weird look while Erzulie finished making herself some of my tea.
She did at least offer to make us some, except I can't drink tea anymore because of the caffeine. Gunnar opted for scotch. I would rather have had scotch, except I can't drink scotch anymore either because it's scotch. I got myself some water while Erzulie kept talking. Her accent was kinda thick, so sometimes it was hard to understand her. "It's obvious that you're trying, I can tell." She glanced at the ghost, making a face. "I will be the first to admit that Marie was mixed up in the wrong crowd. She told me once before we stopped talking that she loved this guy Kane. I think you know him?"
I'm not sure what Gunnar's reaction was but I was suddenly very interested and very pissed. I guess she picked up on it. "Kane's a real bastard." No fucking shit. Someone give this woman a fucking medal for scientific inquiry. "I know he just wanted to use Marie, but she wasn't going to listen to her Momma, even if I am one of the Loa. Been a thorn in everybody's side of late, that boy. Marie's headstrong, think she gets it from her father." I didn't ask who her father was. I didn't care. "Wasn't about to tell her who she can and can't love, it just don't work that way, I imagine you two know what I mean. So I figure I'm gonna let her learn herself, and when she does, I'll make sure she gets outta that okay. I didn't expect no outside forces to come into play." She looked at me pointedly. Um... Oops.
"Anyway, I figure she would come back with some intel on Kane that we all can use."
There, right there. That was where I finally accepted that maybe I'd fucked up just a little. Kinda. Just a smidgeon. "After that business with the Shroud she was going to leave him, she would have seen that Kane don't pay his debts and he don't love nothing 'cept power." Yeah, sounds just like something I fucking said when I was having those nightmares. My stomach started turning when I thought about how much Marie loved that asshole. Or maybe it was morning sickness. "So my daughter," Erzulie was still talking, "she could very well be the best way to figure out what that man is up to since I hear he's still out there. I want her back cuz I love her," and those big doe eyes were probably playing me with that forlorn mother act but godsdammit it worked. "But still, I won't lie, her knowledge is more important than that right now. All them big 'heebeejeebees' be talking about some kinda darkness coming, some say they see Kane's face in all that."
I remembered my own visions of the darkness, spreading over the globe, and something I read in the paper, and something Ogma said and for the briefest second I had the feeling that everything was connected... Then Erzulie spoke again and it was gone.
"I will tell you what I know in the process of bringing my daughter back." I think I started gaping. "But I warn you what's to come is much more difficult than what you've done up 'til now." Great. Of course it's going to be harder. Why would it possibly get easier? "In return for this I will have her give up her knowledge to you as I know you bear Kane no goodwill. I will also cease my deal with your Furies and have them remove what they've done to you. Are these terms acceptable, child?"
I don't hear the way he does, but I swear I heard the look on Gunnar's face change. He still didn't say anything, but he was probably just as surprised as I was that she was so... calm.
“Respectfully, Erzulie…" And I did want her to know I meant it respectfully. I had done so well so far, I really didn't wanna fuck it up now. "If you had told me in the beginning what you just told me now, this would have been over with a lot sooner. I’ve been mistakenly ranking things as higher priority than this because I thought this was just to save my own ass." And I still wasn't even doing this now to save my own ass, it was so that my kids could have a clean slate. "But if this has to do with stopping Kane and the spreading darkness, I’m in. More in than I would have been before, I mean. And for what it’s worth,” I glanced at Gunnar, setting the water down on the counter and folding my arms over my stomach. “I get it now. I really get it, and I’m so, so very sorry that I took your child from you." That's the only part I'm sorry for. I still think I made the best call I could with the information I had, but I'm allowed to be sorry for good calls. "I’ll do all that is in my power to make it right, for you and in the interest of fucking up all of Kane’s plans." Okay, so I swore once. But not at her. All that talking and I only swore once. "I’ve seen that darkness spreading, not with his face but… he wants the world, I know that much. I also know I’m not going to let him have it. I find your terms agreeable.”
Erzulie made a bit of a face at me. "Hopefully you understand that I needed to make sure I could trust that you would do the right thing. Trust is to be earned for those that shoot first and ask questions later." For the record, the first time I waited to shoot second, I got to watch two dozen people die and I probably should have burned to death. "And... when I saw that you had reordered your priorities, it is only then that I enlisted assistance in... convincing you."
And I wanted to call bullshit right there. She'd told me when we spoke for the very first time that she would be sending people after me to make sure I knew she meant business. I guess now she was telling me that both she and her daughter were in the habit of lying. And then she started waving a spoon around like a baton. "There are two steps that must be done first. You must recover my daughter's body." Fuck. "Which I'm fairly certain is now in the grasps of Hel within her bloody hall." Fuck fuckety fuck fuck fuck. I was really hoping we weren't going to have to go to Helheim. Why are all the death goddesses so crazy? Am I going to be crazy if I become a death goddess too? Also, if the Edda got it right then the way into Helheim is guarded by Nidhogg, this monster that gnaws the souls free from the bodies of the newly deceased. I don't think he'll care if we're still moving.
"You must then proceed to the final part, and most important, her memory. I do not know exactly where you might find this, but I am certain of one thing. Memory is much like water, it is always attempting to return from where it comes. Trace back memory to its source and I have a feeling you will find what we need." She winked and did some weird balancing trick with my wooden spoon and her teacup. Also, why not just tell me what the source of memory is? Or tell me if she's talking about the term in the abstract concept or the word itself and therefore about etymology or - seriously, why not just stop being so fucking vague? If she could just tell me, 'go here, fight this, find this, then go there and collect this and fight that and avoid this person,' she would get her daughter back so much faster.
"When you have those things, pray to me and I shall send what help I can. Know too that that help will be limited as I have no doubt you are now aware what we face in our enemy of the Drowned Road." Yeah, godsdammit. I knew. "Should Kane appear though, let me know and together we will end him!" Then she turned the spoon into a catapult for no fucking reason. It was neat, just pointless. Then she started to fade, but of course kept talking.
"You have an ally in the Loa now, children. Do not abuse that and we'll do our best not to abuse you. Look for the Furies to come soon, Laurel."
Fuck. I bet they won't knock either.
I guess he was waiting to be sure she was gone, but after a moment Gunnar turned to me and said, "Yeah, so when did she get so nice? I mean, I don't mean to badmouth a self-proclaimed ally, but she seems a little bipolar." And this was one of those moments where I just had to grin because of his knack for saying the exact fucking thing I've been thinking. I mean, I tried defending her point of view. I pointed out that I killed her kid, took my time doing anything about getting her back - in my defense, bitch gave me a year. If you want it done sooner, give me better information or a closer deadline - and now that I'm showing her rather than telling her that I'm making good, maybe that's why she's playing nice.
Probably not. It's probably something more like, bitch is on a power trip and is used to getting what she wants with scare tactics. I'm just really fucking stubborn, and the more people try to scare me the less I feel like doing what they want me to. Either way, now that we're playing the way she wants us to she's willing to smile and pretend like she's saying please.
That seemed to be how Gunnar saw it too, cuz he said "I just don't like people having furies carve 'murderer' in my wife's forehead on her wedding day and then show up a little while later like we're all long-time pals." It was sweet of him, in a Gunnar sort of way.
Anyway, it seems like the torture part of this is over, and now the hard part begins. Maybe she'll play nice like she said.
Or maybe she's just sending us to our deaths. It's a toss up. If I thought I'd survive it I'd probably just tell her to go sit and spin, but I guess surviving means being the bigger person.
"My bad dreams just don't seem the same
Baby without you
I wish you were willing to accept the blame
Yeah, for everything you do
My nightmares just don't scare me now
Baby without you,
I wish that I could find the words to tell
In the best way possible, you and your friends to go to hell
...Maybe we can be friends
Yeah, now that you're leaving
You can be nice to me
Maybe I'm dreaming
I am a lot better now than just "okay"
Maybe I am just wakin' up in my own way
Now that it's over
My bad dreams just don't seem the same
Baby without you
I wish you were willing to accept the blame
Yeah, for all the shitty things you do
Nightmares just don't scare me now
Baby without you
I wish that I could find the words to tell
You to politely go fuck yourself
Yeah, now that it's over..."
Everclear, Now That It's Over