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Lords of Being

Chapter 32: Interviewing Perry

by Barry Tannenbaum

New Blood Logs:

Tom Noon's Tale


In Chaos

Voyages of the Nones



Mother Goose Chase

Ancient Oz


Adventures of the Munch

Lanthil & Beyond

Mabel and Ragnison escort Perry and Charlie back to the airplane. Perry comes calmly, with Mabel leading her by the arm. Charlie stumbles along near her like someone who is dead tired. Mabel makes chitchat as they troop along, which seems to comfort Perry.

When they reach the plane, Captain Barron is guarding the entrance ramp. “And this young lady is?”

Mabel introduces Perry. “It appears that she met Neville back in Fairplay.”

“Oh, you’re the young lady from library. And this gentleman is?”

Rosamond responds, “Dead.”

Captain Barron takes this in stride. “All right, are you here to be questioned?”

Mabel replies, “I guess so.”

Captain Barron steps aside, “Then welcome aboard. You might as well question them in comfort.”

Perry looks dubious at this, but the delicious smells coming from the galley entice her in. Catalyst and Lady Diamond have continued to cook up a storm. Perry eases into one of the seats. Charlie just sort of stares. Barron has accompanied them into the cabin and claps Charlie on the back and says, “So what’s it like being dead?”

Rosamond looks at Barron who’s acting atypically. He chuckles, and says, “After watching you folk take out a bunch of razor monsters, I guess the circuit breakers on my freak-out are tripped.

Neville turns around to see what the excitement is and exclaims, “Perry, what are you doing here?”

“Neville! Oh, you are all right. I was concerned. And… curious.” There’s almost a vibration of hunger in that last word.

“Yes, I’m fine. But what you doing here?”

Mabel replies dryly, “It would appear that she found you and your… companion very interesting, so she paid for tracking, and did a certain amount of dowsing.”

“Dowsing didn’t do much to help. Chopper just flew around in circles. Then I called in a professional and they couldn’t do any better.”

Mabel continues, “She watched us clean up the anomaly.”

Perry looks at Mabel. “So that’s what you call Tyndale Hounds?”

Rosamund asks, “You’ve studied them?”

“Not personally, but I’ve read up on them.”

Mabel joins in the interrogation: “So what do you know about them?”

“There’s not a great deal that is known. They’re a variety of unbegot.”

Neville hasn’t heard that term before and asks, “Unbegot?”

“Spelled just like it sounds. You don’t know about the unbegot?”

Rosamund prompts, “Why don’t you tell us what you know.”

Perry explains, “It’s a kind of a catchall category for really bizarre creatures. The name comes from the legend that they are creatures that shouldn’t be in existence yet.”


“Yes. The legend is that these beings should be off somewhere beyond normal reality, watching and waiting for the end of the world, when it will be their turn. You may know that in mythologies where there is an Armageddon, there’s supposed to be another world after this one. These creatures are supposed to watch and learn as our world develops and then when it’s their turn, they’ll have the advantage of our experience. The unbegot are those creatures that are impatient and have come early. Most of this comes from the Kabala. It gets complicated. Some of the unbegot are just impatient, some came after those to fetch them back, and some got dragged along by others. The Tyndale Hounds are not supposed to be intelligent, so presumably they’re in the dragged-along category.”

Mabel muses, “We should learn about some of these creatures.”

“They’re very varied.”

Rosamund adds, “I think that they’re taking advantage of the anomalies to pop through”

Mabel replies, “Or be shoved through.”

Perry continues, “Tyndale Hounds are said to show up on their own if there’s been temporal magic being used.”

Mabel’s thoughts turn to Si and his watch.

Rosamund has the same thoughts. “Any idea what kind of temporal magic?”

“It might be anything as dramatic as time travel and something as mundane as a premonition.”

Mable and Rosamund debate whether the Tyndale Hounds were alive. It takes them a while to realize that Perry is taking notes.

Neville asks, “Perry, you said you consulted people to dowse for us?”


“Where did you find these people?”

Perry evades, “Connections…”

Ragnison tries a different tack: “I make a study of paranormal things. You are a paranormal researcher?”

“Oh yes!”

“And you’ve encountered Tyndale Hounds and unbegot?”

“No, I read about them in a back issue of Acta Kerdeana.”

Ragnison perks up at this. “Ah! You are a Kerdean!”

“Yes, sir.”

Neville has never heard of this group before and asks, “What’s a Kerdean?”

Ragnison expounds: “They are a paranormal research organization. However, they are a paranormal paranormal research organization. That is, the organization itself is paranormal. Mostly human, though. At least, the human Kerdeans believe most Kerdeans are human. They’re very old, as an organization. They appear to propagate by a system of geases.”

Rosamund examines Perry. She appears to be a young woman in her 20s who’s in good health. But she’s very anxious. This is where she’s always wanted to be, but it’s one thing to read about it and another to be in the thick of it.

Rosamund comments, “She appears human. The next time we need to pay the debt to the deck, she'd be useful.”

Perry asks, “You're on the deck?”

“Yes, that's how we got the candle.” Perry looks around for a candle and fails to see one. Mona carefully hides a smile. Rosamond continues, “The thing that we paid for was protection from dowsing. It’s good to know that it was effective.”

“Oh. I only was able to get you tracked because I knew when and where you took off from.”

“We'll have to deal with that. Maybe we can arrange to take off from several places at once. Excuse me a moment.” Rosamund steps into the head and slides the door closed. She looks at the mirror in which Glass is refreshing himself, and says, “You might be interested in what’s going on.”

Glass steps out of the mirror. Rosamund gives him a précis of what’s been going on here.

As Rosamund slides the door closed, Perry causally tries to change the subject. She looks at Neville and says, “So, I don't see the purple iridescent bowling ball around.” This is met by a universal silence. We may trust her someday, but we don’t trust her with this bit of information yet. The silence stretches until Perry feels the need to fill it. “So, um, I'm a Kerdean. And we investigate stuff. I got a lot of stuff. Can I go?”

Neon shrugs, “I don’t see why not.”

Rosamund comes out of the head with Glass trailing behind her. Glass’s hands still glow blue, faintly. She says, “Well there's the question of what to do with you if we say no, and what if we say yes.”

“Your Danish friend was right about the geases. If you think it’s necessary, I could take a geas. I don't know how much you care about privacy. You seemed to be keeping moderately private back in Colorado. Not that that’s unexpected. Most people who are paranormal have reasons to keep their abilities private. Anyway, I’d take a geas if that would get me out of here.”

Rosamond looks at her and asks, “Do you want to be out of here?”

“I guess I'd want to know more before I decide, and I suspect you don't want to tell me…”

Mabel snorts, “You might not believe us.”

Perry stares at her. She just watched us take out a pack of Tyndale Hounds. She’ll believe almost anything about us.

Rosamond says, “The issue that we have is… balance. The writing down of these things, and the possibility of them becoming general knowledge is a balance issue.”

Mabel asks, “Would you be content to know it without being able to talk about it with anyone?”

“Even Neville? He seems to be in the middle of it.”

Glass speaks up: “You seem to pay attention to unusual events. What do you have in your journal for May 16th?” This is the date of The Breakdown.

“Oh yes. That was The Event. Several people have been talking about it on the net.”

Mabel asks, “What do you think it was?”

“We don't know. Almost every psychically sensitive mind that we have been able to access about it noticed it. And it seems to have been an absolutely huge catastrophe which left no trace. Some people have odd little extras about it and the extras don’t agree.”

Rosamond asks, “So everyone noticed it but they’re not sure what it was?”


Rosamond sighs, “Well, at least we did that much right.”

Perry looks askance at her. “Some people have tried to lie about it. But the ones we sure of say that if they said nothing happened, they'd be lying. I certainly noticed it. It was like walking off a step you didn't know was there.”

Glass prompts, “You used the word catastrophe.”

“That was the general feeling. And it was even more disturbing when we all compared notes.”

Glass says, “If you knew… it might interfere with the flow of things. To the extent you find out, it will behoove you to keep it to yourself.”

Barron pipes up, “I sure find it disturbing!”

Glass continues, “Certainly I have no intent of involving any more mundanes in all of this than is truly necessary.”

Rosamond points out, “If we don't involve her, will she continue to involve herself?”

Perry is visibly shaken, probably because she’s afraid that we’ll take drastic measures to end her involvement. “Maybe we can come to an arrangement. I can certainly understand about not publishing. It's always nice to know stuff, but it's nicer to be able to come and go as you choose.”

Mabel notes approvingly. “We're big on free will”

Glass adds, “It's an important part of the balance.”

Rosamond qualifies, “Mostly.”

Perry looks slightly reassured. “That's-- that’s nice to know.”

Glass asks, “So there's a whole network of you folks?”

“Yes. The Kerdeans.”

“I confess I haven't been paying attention to that sort of thing. I have another job. Which I found a stand-in for. Or something. We do need sources of information.”

Rosamund adds, “And researchers.”

Glass continues, “As someone used to say, some time back, the game is afoot. Having one's irregulars is actually quite suitable. Ha ha.”

This wrings a smile out of Perry. “What street would we be irregular on, sir?”

Rosamund drags the conversation back to the topic. “We could hire her.”

Mabel adds, “With a confidentiality agreement.”

Rosamund agrees, “That would act as a geas.”

Perry asks, “I thought you’d want an actual geas if you could get it.”

“You are an honest young lady, so no.”

“As much as I can be.”

“What's your word worth to you?”

Perry starts, “I belong to a secret organization…” Clearly it's complicated. She’s afraid of conflicts with her existing loyalties.

Rosamund soothes, “I can see it's bothering you. But if you had an agreement with us, and it didn't conflict with your previous agreement… would we need to put a geas on you to make you keep it?”

“Well, no.” Rosamond can sense that this is true. “I'd be very happy to just draw up a written or verbal agreement. Roughly speaking, you'll give me my freedom in return for my services as a researcher and not telling anybody about you.”

Rosamund grins. “I think we can work something out. The employment agreement will have certain conditions. You will have to tell us if you can keep your word. We will know if you break your word.” She emphasizes, “I will know if you break your word.”

“OK... I admitted to being Kerdean because it seemed like you were esoteric enough that it wouldn’t bother you. Let me tell you about the geases that I already work under. One of them is to not do anything to make the paranormal world screamingly obvious to the ‘normal’ world.”

Mabel murmurs, “Good. We’re all set there.”

“The other one is my Kerdean membership geas, which means I will not commit acts of violence against Kerdeans or Kerdean property while in Kerdean safe houses.”

Mabel notes, “That’s pretty wussy.”

“Yeah. It’s pretty literal and easy to live with. That’s one reason we’ve lasted so long. Now, I also made promises to various people that I wouldn’t tell their secrets.”

“Does your family notice this much?”

“I’m kind of lucky that way. I was born to this. They’re fine with it. Several of the secrets that I keep are theirs.”

“So your parents are Kerdeans also?”

“Daddy is. Mama knows about it. So you want me to do research for you. Sure. I’d have no problems with that. I’ve been dealing with a lot of ghosts in Chicago. That was sort of my journeyman job. So this would be, like, the first real step in my career.”

Glass says, “There are a number of things going on that it would really help us to know about. And we need to do it with a certain amount of… discretion. If the whole world is going to turn into an H.P. Lovecraft novel, it will be so much harder to do business.”

Perry looks at him and says, “Yeah…”

“There are folk out there doing things that are not for the good of, well, anybody.”

“Did they cause The Event?”

“There’s an interesting question! On the whole, no.”

Mabel interjects, “We think ‘no’, anyway.”

Glass continues, “Or not intentionally. But the kind of mischief they’re about is the kind of thing that could bring it on. It’s not unrelated.”

“They’re exploiting The Event?”


Rosamund tries to explain: “Imagine a situation where people aren’t getting along and are arguing until things reach a breaking point. What they don’t know is that there’s someone outside who’s feeding them wrong information, encouraging the discord and prolonging the argument.”

Mabel adds, “Like Iago.”

Perry allows, “I get the general picture.”

Glass says, “We need to know what they’re up to before it catches up with us.”

Perry is clearly interested. She is going to know about whatever this is, even if no one else does.

Neville interrupts, “Before this goes any further, we need to tell her what the terms of her employment will be.”

Rosamund shrugs. “She’s hired.”

“And what is she being paid?”

“That’s what we’re in the process of negotiating. But she needed to know the general gist of the kind of research we’d expect from her.”

Glass notes, “I put together all sorts of deals and companies in Silicon Valley, and we seal it with a handshake.”

Rosamund adds, “And your lawyers then write the contract.”

Glass continues, “Yes. If you want specific details or arrangements, we can do that. We can afford to pay you. It’s not really a problem for me, and I don’t really care about it right now.”

Neville tries again. “It’s just that before we tell her… too much… we need to tell her enough so she has a clue what she’s getting herself into. But not so much that she has no choice.”

Glass is clearly annoyed. Perhaps the pain is getting to him. “Let me tell you what I think is a key feature of this agreement,” he says to Perry. “There are Higher Powers in the universe. I directly report to one of them. If he gets pissed off at me, you’re at deep trouble. And if you want to learn about him, you’d better go start reading books with names like ‘Genesis’, all right? That’s basically the ground rules that I want to operate on.” And to the company at large: “And if people want to worry about whether she gets fifteen beans a week or twenty, I don’t really care.”

Rosamund soothes, “The important thing is that we have a contract that she can sign that binds her like a geas would. So we have an agreement.”

Glass waves his hands: “Fine”

Perry’s eyes are very wide. “Being paid… money… would be nice. I don’t mind getting wealthier, but can I also collect whatever information you’ll let me… learn?”

Rosamund replies, “That depends on what you’d do with it.”

“Um. I was wondering if I could clear it with you and possibly then disperse it?”

Mabel chuckles, “Don’t get your hopes up.”

Glass notes, “There’s going to be a whole lot of fallout that doesn’t have anything to do with the direct problems at hand.”

Perry isn’t willing to give up on sharing her information quite so quickly. “For example, couldn’t I report seeing a pack of Tyndale Hounds in southern Canada? And what they looked like and stuff like that? And not say anything about what happened to them and who did it?”

Glass allows, “That would be entirely reasonable.”

Mabel adds, “Or that they disappeared without a trace.”

“Supposedly there aren’t many Tyndale Hounds. You may have taken out a good chunk of the population. But it might be useful for people to know that a shotgun blast, or whatever those explosives were, can take them out.”

Rosamund clarifies, “Those were just explosives. We made them.”

Perry wants all the details. “Really? You didn’t put a spell or a whammy on them? Well, that might be useful if someone else encounters one. It would be a public service.”

Glass agrees, “Absolutely. No problem with public service.”

Rosamund wanders into the kitchen to tell Catalyst that Perry may want the recipe for the explosive that proved so effective against the Tyndale Hounds. He hands her a tray full of breads, cookies and other baked goods.

Glass tries to get things moving again. “OK. So if we’ve got an agreement?” He looks around the cabin, but there are no objections. He turns back to Perry and asks, “There was this Rene fellow. He calls himself ‘The Ghost in the Machine.’ Ever hear of him?”

Perry consults her notes. “No, I haven’t heard of anyone going by that name. Is he a ghost?”

“Yes, he is. He is one of a couple that got… misinformed… lied to… manipulated… and we would be interested in finding out if there were any others who were being so mislead. That’s an example of a thing that could be looked into.”

Perry is scribbling in her notebook again. “All right… Yes, that could be an interesting project. I’ll give you this for free, so to speak. This major ghost trapper in Botswana got taken out recently.”

There’s a general chuckle.

Mabel explains, “We knew about that. We don’t like it when people bind ghosts. What can you tell us about Charlie?”

Perry looks worried at this. “Charlie? That was my father’s idea. Charlie, can you explain to the nice people…” Charlie looks befuddled. He starts shaking his head ‘no’. Perry tries again, “Charlie… Ghosts come with different degrees of ‘death trauma.’ Charlie… hasn’t got over it yet. He’s afraid of moving on. Basically, my father told him that he had to look after me, or he had to move on. I’ve been trying to help him. Every night before I go to sleep, I unload my extra chi on him. It helps me sleep, and helps keep him alert. And helps him do his watchdog job. And I hope it helps heal him, but it all just sort of leaks out. It’s like putting water into a cracked jug.”

Perry shoos Charlie into the galley, and then continues in a soft voice, “Look. I spent the last year or so convincing the ghosts of a bunch of old gangsters in Chicago to move on, and they weren’t expecting to be well received. The ones who were optimistic were hoping for Purgatory. It’s not like I don’t have any experience with this. But Charlie just refuses to go. “

Glass tries to get the conversation back on track. Again. “So, we’ve had to cope with powers that have caused us a certain amount of grief. One of them has been recruiting ghosts and convincing them that they ought to stay and help him instead of moving on. It’s illustrative of the misguidedness of those opposing us.”


“So you know about The Breakdown. How about the primates of Ames, Iowa? Did you hear about that?”

“Oh! The monkeys in the park! Yes, that was… anomalous. Somebody said they saw a troupe of monkeys in this park in Ames, Iowa. And then they disappeared. That was one of yours?”

“Not exactly. That’s all that went on there? Nobody associated it with anything?”

“Well, it was added to the list of Forteana.”

“Good. It would be really nice to know if there have been other primate sightings.”

Perry is writing in her notebook again, “So look into people who have been recruiting ghosts and anomalous monkeys. OK.”

Glass continues, “We know that those two are doing things that are interesting. But there are probably other separatists…”

Rosamund says, “Mona, who do you think is a likely separatist?”

Mona replies, “Ragnison, Lady Diamond and I have been investigating. I think Essais is a separatist. I don’t think he’s been very active, but I don’t think he’s at all interested in doing anything to help Chaos.” Of course he doesn’t do much of anything at all, since he’s manifest as a large chunk of amethyst.

Rosamund prompts, “But would he do anything to help anyone?”

Mona shrugs, “He mostly just sits there in the Brazilian metamorphic strata.”

Glass notes, “He’s not likely to be interfering.”

Mona continues, “Wirrun in Australia said some rather nasty things lately. I think he’s an Order loyalist. He hasn’t exactly come out and said but I assume. He alternates his form between human and dingo. And Lili Makote in South Africa has said that she will not help Chaos.”

Rosamund asks, “Are any of the chaotic contingent likely to be loyalists?”

Mona nods, “Rosa Castillo in Argentina. She was quite clear about it. And you know about Hanuman. Mustapha… I suspect Mustapha. I haven’t been able to track him down lately. He’s somewhere in the Turkosphere, and he takes human form. I think Ethelraed is the Chaos version of Essais. He just hangs out in the strata.”

Glass asks, “Are any of them likely to take an active role?”

Rosamund adds, “Like our dognapping friend.”

“Mustapha might. He doesn’t travel much outside of the Turkosphere. But if there was an anomaly in that neck of the woods, he might try to prevent you from fixing it.”

This piques Rosamund’s interest, “How would it help them to keep an anomaly unfixed?”

“I don’t know that it would, but I believe he’d be against anything which would make peace with Order. And I must say, I’m only suspecting Mustapha. He hasn’t declared, like Clisk and Hanuman have.”

Rosamund frowns. “Declared or undeclared, if he leaves an anomaly open, he’s out of a job.”

Mona agrees: “Right. I don’t think they’re concerned about the anomalies. I think they’re concerned about…” She glances at Perry who writing furiously in her notebook. “…the other thing.”

Rosamund notes Mona’s concern and says, “Perry, all of this information is under our confidential agreement. The problem with you writing it down and not just keeping it in your head is that someone could steal your notebook.”

Mabel suggests, “You could have a special notebook that you left with us for these subjects.”

Perry reluctantly says, “Riiiight.”

Rosamund asks, “Hopefully you’re writing these things in some sort of code?”

“Yes, that’s part of the training.”

“It’s not just what they’d learn, since the powers that are working against us already know all this. But it’s proof that you’re working with us, and puts you in danger.”

Glass suggests, “On the other hand, she has to have a whole pile of notebooks about all sorts of oddments and peculiarities already.”

Perry agrees, “Oh yes!”

Glass asks, “This notebook is just like them?” She nods. “So it would be a needle in the haystack of your library.”

“Well, yes. I do have a library that I’ve built up, and it is encrypted. Do you never want me to put this stuff in my library?”

Mabel clarifies, “Not yet.”

Charlie comes wavering in with Catalyst behind him, looking concerned. “I’ve done my best, but he… he needs help. You’re feeling better, aren’t you Charlie? You rest.” Charlie sits down near Perry. Rosamund notices that he rustles. She extends her senses and examines him more closely. He’s a ghost, much like Rene and Enid, but he’s in much worse shape. And there’s a fair bit of vegetation coincident with him in space. It’s straw.

Last Updated: Dec 11, 2009
©2009 Barry Tannenbaum, All Rights Reserved

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