Parrot's chaotic, carnage-filled thoughts trembled and tumbled through my mind with a singular clarity that was beyond disconcerting to me. From what I could tell, Parrot had been waiting for me to call it. That rang deeply through my body and scared the crap totally out of me. This was a powerful creature that had been considered a god, more than likely with a capital G during its reign of horrors. So when I'd screamed out to be rescued -- my rescuer wasn't exactly who I'd expected. That's what I got for not defining my wishes. But it had beat the alternative of dying alone trapped beneath the earth or the possibility of being found and killed for the price on my head.
If it is permissible to you, may I call you Esmeralda?
Parrot said it in my thoughts, and I think even out loud for all I knew, while still propelling us high above the earth at a rapid speed that was churning inside my tummy. I wasn't much into flying outside a plane -- go figure. I didn't even quite know exactly how Parrot was doing it; the creature had always appeared to me to be nearly an invisible sort of a wisp-o-willow what have you.
I quieted my worries, and aloud answered exceedingly politely, "No, please call me Emma as all my family and friends do." I didn't want Parrot inside my thoughts any more than necessary, and I was happy that I even had a breath to speak when moments before, I'd felt like I was dying.
Naturally I was hoping that my nickname would make Parrot feel less disposed to -- oh I don't know, to actually slay me -- and hopefully resist the impulse to kill me just because Parrot was in the mood to do so. The memory of when I prior had connected to its mind stayed firmly in the darkest parts of my brain -- an almost petrified rigid hind part of my mind, the lazy reptilian ancient section of my brain that had the mnemonic memories -- my core values I thought -- the human flight or fight functions we all had. There was no way I'd fight Parrot and my options of flight seemed less than possible, considering that the last time that I'd popped to what I thought was safe, wasn't in the least. This was nasty and terrifying.
This odd sound came from Parrot -- the scratching bizarre noise filling me. I quickly identified it as amusement that I hesitated to call laughter. It was a tortured, pain-filled sound to me.
"Emma, I mean you no harm! Child, you are more than you could ever know. This is a good thing -- possibly." That off-the-cuff remark did not reassure me in any manner. Parrot had annihilated entire tribes, leaving a toxic wasteland behind it and no regrets, from what the creature had shown me. And that was precisely one of the reasons that Parrot had been in the supernatural salt mine prison where I'd found it -- the same supernatural jail I'd escaped from with Uncle Harry and Riley, that was deeply buried beneath Michigan, and yet not. I barely kept from shuddering at the knowledge that I'd helped spring Parrot from that prison. But what made me make that leap to let Parrot free was that the supposed warden of the hell-hole had been quietly, busily sucking down the inmates in the prison, taking their talents and what were the tattered remains of their spirits or souls.
I was fairly certain that the local werewolves who were in charge of that territory had fixed the problems I'd uncovered during my time in the salt mines, but I hadn't stayed around long enough to confirm it. But what I did know from the visit down in the salt mines was that the veils between the worlds -- mine and the unknown -- were certainly ripped open and that there were even more frightening creatures sitting between them, and maybe able to cross over and change my world. The possibilities were stacking up fast and furious with the jail break of dark and nasty things.
Portals were getting over run -- I mean, after all, what with both Sapphire and Parrot here in my world, it wasn't like other things that go bump and thump in the night were going to stay behind. Sapphire, whom I'd just left along with her fellow dragon, Marcus -- apparently had easily found my earth; heaven only knew where Marcus was originally from since he'd never bothered to tell me. But he and I both didn't know exactly what was going on, but there was definitely something odd happening. Parrot shifted me out from my latest screw up -- which I would only admit in my deepest thoughts to myself -- and I saw that we were finally descending. I resisted squirming, not wanting to see if I could survive the drop from that height down the remaining twenty or thirty feet below to the unforgiving dirt. I wasn't stupid after all. To my relief I felt a familiar brush against my thoughts which were still blown full open. Uncle Harry sighed into me with relief. Happiness chased the emotions flowing through me.
My Magpie, whatever have you gotten yourself into now? His voice was gentle in my thoughts, and I could feel a slight push of Parrot's mind trying to see what was distracting me. I pushed back to Parrot and simply thought, Forgive my distraction. I am exhausted and your flying is literally taking my breath away, Parrot.
The thought to Parrot was also including Uncle Harry, thus answering him and keeping my rescuer still in the dark, hopefully. That I hadn't spoken aloud was meant to keep Parrot happy with the notion I was still intimately connected with the frightening creature, when in fact I had tried to keep our connection soft and not allow too much more of Parrot's blood-filled past leak into me. I doubted I could take much more of that on top of all I already had been shown.
I felt the gentle tickle of Uncle Harry's amusement then his soft, I got it, Emma. Don't try to block or filter me and Parrot should not be able to detect our minds.
Being a Master Vampire seemed to have some rather cool benefits. Not that Uncle Harry ever admitted to such a thing. I knew he had other vampire family, but I never saw him use any sort of vampiric powers to twist them to his needs or desires. Even Riley, the werewolf, had some sort of allegiance to him that I wasn't precisely clear on -- not like he'd ever tell me if I ever directly asked the fur-face. Riley simply did what Uncle Harry asked -- not demanded -- from what I'd observed over the years.
Parrot seemed to believe me and asked me, Why did you go into that trap?
Still not wanting to fall from the creature's grasp, I avoided wiggling at the direct question, and instead I replied in our minds, It was a safer spot in the world then the one I'd just left. This was true, since dragons were not usually nice to humans, much less any other creatures they ran across near their bright and shiny bits. The one I'd fled from was definitely pure dragon and really pissed off that I'd been near the cavern with treasures even though it wasn't that dragon's loot. I still felt pretty frustrated that I hadn't discovered what it was that had pulled softly at my center much less what ever creature had whispered into my thoughts that I needed something from that spot.
You are lucky, Emma. Even I know dragons like crunching up bones only slightly more than snapping off heads and tearing off limbs. Its thoughts grew reflective and Parrot added, Sapphire likes all of that, too, but the Guardian made life painful for her if she gave in to that darkness.
That was the most that I'd ever heard Parrot say about any creature other than itself.
The Guardian is no longer in power, Parrot added even though I already knew that bit of information.
Yes, so I heard. It was more like the viscerally gut feeling of the death of the creature than idle chit chat that I'd overheard. When the werewolves found that the one their pack had agreed to run the jail and control the prison had turned totally insane and power-drunk, they'd given in to their instinctive reaction to slay the Guardian. No tribunal called or even full participation from their pack, but a quick and fast judgment, sentencing and execution. That much corrupt power had been too dangerous to leave around the werewolves' territory.
Now, even while Parrot rescued me, I could definitely feel that the madness I'd glimpsed in its past still ran though its veins -- willingly, deliciously, insanely stroking at its huge ego and filling its endless pit of a mind with luscious thoughts of mayhem, horror and heart-stopping death. Parrot was trying to shift through the psychotic darkness of its thoughts to maintain a small grasp on behaving, but I knew it was a tenuous link to normalcy at best.
Uncle Harry chased a memory into my thoughts of a werewolf I'd once known. I'd been around various supernatural creatures ever since I was brought into his world as a teenager, after my adoptive parents' deaths. From the ones I met it was the werewolves who seemed to be the least disturbed by my differences. Nobody ever told me that they knew I wasn't vanilla human, but rather I usually felt judged and weighed, then found lacking by most fanged creatures, along with the mix of supernatural companions and friends that went through Uncle Harry's world and in time brushed up against my life. Vampires arrogantly felt that they ran the known universe and most werewolves could and would argue that it was their true Beasts that ruled. But truly, it was blood that tied them all, vampires and werewolves alike, and even while the werewolves felt that they were protecting the sheep and that it was a were's responsibility to keep track of the herd, the vampires also protected and controlled humans. They both were in agreement that it was needed in order to maintain the universe in its proper balance. I wasn't furred, fanged nor sheep. Mostly I just wasn't 'right' to the various creatures.
My Uncle Harry had been aware of my unique nature, while most of the other creatures were oblivious to me. I brushed up against prejudices in the various supernatural creatures that I met through Uncle Harry. It wasn't like all vampires hated all werewolves or visa versa, but more like humans, they had rules and unseen boundaries that they all held. Uncle Harry was tolerant of nearly everyone I had seen but that wasn't true of all of his guests and acquaintances. He reminded me of that with a memory of ours that I'd long forgotten.