Lords of Being
Chapter 39: The Trainee Kahuna
When last we left our heroes, they were on Diamond Head returning from an encounter with Nightwalkers; ancient Hawaiian Warrior Ghosts.
Neville, who’s still wearing Glass’ IR specs, notices that there’s something following them. He points as the figure and asks, “What’s that?”
Rosamund glances in that direction. “It looks like one of the ghosts, but not as bright as they were.” Then she takes a closer look at it. The ghost has a large number of turns of luck with it. All of them bad. “Mabel, take a look at that creature following us… We need to do something about that.”
Before Mabel can reply, Neville attempts to communicate with the spirit. “Hello there. Did you get lost?”
The ghost replies in a hollow voice, “You must find Her.”
Rosamund confirms that we share the ghost’s aims. “That’s our goal. Who might you be?”
“You must find Her.”
Rosamund tries again. “What has happened to you?”
“You must find Her.” It’s not much of a conversationalist, is it?
Neville tries again. “Can you help us?”
“No. You must help.”
DeVerre tries a different tack. “How might we help?”
If it can’t help us, perhaps we can help it. Neville asks, “Can we do anything to help you?”
Mabel tries. “What do you think that you should do to help us?”
This puzzles the ghost for a bit. It finally answers, “Make you find Her.”
While the rest of the group is keeping the bad luck spirit busy, Simon calls Peri, who’s an expert on ghosts and on retainer. “Hello, this is Simon. We seem to have come across a ghost laden with bad luck. Heh. If weren’t for bad luck, it might not have any ghost at all. Do you know what to do in a case like this?”
Peri had been preparing for bed, and it takes her a moment to get her head around what Simon is asking for. “Can you give me any more context?”
“We’re searching for a lost and potent being and a ghost has come up to urge us to do what we were already doing. It doesn’t seem very capable. It’s just oozing bad luck.”
“Very single minded? Any idea where it came from?”
“Is there anything you might have done to provoke it to appear?”
“No. we were dealing with a set of Nightwalkers.”
“Hawaiian warrior ghosts?”
“Yes. When we left them, this one appeared.”
“And it’s very single minded. I don’t think it’s really a ghost. I think it’s a partial Ka. It’s possible to do just a bit of one. They tend to be very single minded, because they only have one purpose.”
“Would they be carrying a lot of ill fortune with them?”
“Heh. If the caster was hostile towards you.”
“It wants us to succeed, so that would be intemperate.”
“Might it be a stick rather than a carrot?”
“Hold that thought.” Simon lowers the phone and calls out to the others, “We should be as cooperative with that thing as possible. Peri says all that ill luck might be intended for us if we don’t cooperate.”
Rosamund asks the ghost, “Who sent you? Who are you?”
The ghost looks puzzled, and eventually replies, “Konani.”
Clearly it can’t deal with more than one question at once. She tries again. “Who sent you?”
“Who are you?”
This gets a puzzled look and no answer.
Rosamund suggests that Simon ask Peri if there’s any way to dispel the ka without discharging the ill luck. When Simon passes on the request, Peri replies, “There are a number of ways of demanifesting feeble ghosts. I have to look out for Charlie to make sure it doesn’t happen to him by accident. Fire will do it. You could also try to bottle it. But I’m not sure if that will work with a ka.”
Simon replies, “But if you mess with it, all of that ill luck will surely manifest.” Peri agrees. Simon thanks her help, and hangs up.
Rejoining the group, Simon says to the spirit, “Thank you for your message. You’ve cut to the heart of our mission. If you cannot offer any assistance, we must bid you adieu.”
We move off. The ghost follows. Simon grabs Neville and castles to the plane. They appear in the head. As they exit the small room, Simon suggests that Neville take his phone out of his pocket. Once Neville has placed his phone on a table and backed away, deVerre and Simon exchange places rapidly moving all of the others to the aircraft. In a blink the ghost is left alone on the slopes of Diamond Head.
Where do we go from here? Where would a goddess be in Honolulu? Rosamund suggests that a luau would be a good place to start. So which is the spiffiest, most authentic luau in Honolulu? A bit of research on the net reveals that it’s at the Polynesian Cultural Center. It’s on the other side of the island, almost directly through Honolulu from here. Simon suggests that another possibility is the Royal Hawaiian Hotel which has the Royal Luau. The hotel is between here and Diamond Head.
Simon agrees to run over to the hotel. Catalyst suggests that after he gets there, he should join us to pick up Rosamund. Her link with the Goddess will allow her to check for signs of Namaka.
Catalyst arranges for a rental van, and quickly has us heading towards the Cultural Center. Unfortunately, it’s after closing time at the gates, and tickets are not available, so we’ll have to sneak in.
Simon slows time and runs over to the Royal Hawaiian as we head off. Simon skips his way through the brightly lit streets of Honolulu. He arrives at the hotel to find that the luau is held under a clear tent. He entangles a local atom, and fetches Rosamund. She casts her senses out. There is a trace of the Goddess’s “scent” here. She concentrates, and identifies a blond woman who’s laughing at a joke her companion is telling her. The vibes are coming off of her. Time is still slowed. She calls, “Namaka?” There’s no reaction. Rosamund gets closer and thinks that perhaps this is just someone who’s been touched by the Goddess. “Namaka?” Still no reaction.
Rosamund calls to Simon, “Can you let me go into time to check her out?”
Simon waves, and time moves forward at its normal rate for her.
Rosamund is standing behind the woman, and says in ancient Hawaiian, “I seek Namaka, daughter of Haumea and Ku-waha-ilo, for Her lands need Her.”
The blond jumps and replies “You’re looking for Her? Who are you?” The reply was in the same language.
“I’m a friend of hers. Her lands are suffering from Her absence.”
“I know. What’s going on back there?”
“Madness. The lands are not doing well. They are creeping into this realm and it is not good for the land.”
The blond woman sighs. “Oh Jeez. I haven’t seen Her.” That was a weird mixture of languages.
“But you know Her?”
“I, uh,” the blond pauses, realizes that they’re talking in ancient Hawaiian, and then takes a closer look at her interrogator. “Who are you?”
“I am Rosamund, Lady of Chaos. Who are you?”
“Jennifer. I’m a new recruit. Of Namaka’s. I’d only been there a few years. Then it all went pear shaped. And I was scared.”
“Can we talk somewhere else?”
Jennifer turns to her companion. “Excuse me.” When he nods in acknowledgement, she walks away with Rosamund.
Once they’ve gotten someplace a little quieter, Rosamund says, “Let me explain. I have been to Her lands, and She was not all there. She’s partly here somewhere, and partly there. I didn’t know about this recruiting.”
“I heard about Her, and I managed to get there. And they let me settle. And then there was this cataclysm. And I ran away.”
“How did you get between realms?”
“That’s kind of a trade secret.” Jennifer glowers for a bit. “You think it can be fixed?”
Rosamund shrugs. “We have to find Her first.”
“Why did you come to me?”
“Because I spoke with Her.”
“Did She speak of me?”
“You bear a scent of Her.”
“Look, I studied magic for a long time and She let me stay, and I was supposed to be training as a kahuna because She said I had talent, and when it all went to pieces I get scared and came back, but I don’t know where She is,” she rattles nervously.
“We need all the help we can get. Will you help us?”
“So you think it can be saved?” Jennifer sighs. “Yes, I’ll help.”
“My job here is stabilizing the lands. We need Her, and you may be a link to her in some way. We looked here because this seemed to be Her kind of place.”
“Yeah, it is. I can try scrying for Her. It will take me a while to get the whole thing going.”
“What materials do you need?”
“I’d go to a heiau and … I usually use sticks to cast lots to read the answers. I’d need to build up a lot of mana to do that.”
“We can help with at.”
“That’s one reason I came here. I used a lot to get back to Honolulu.”
“The dancing helps?”
“The liquored up people. They don’t hold onto their mana tightly. How about I do a scrying as soon as I can and get in touch with you?”
“Or we can bring you to someplace that you need to be. And we can help you with the mana.”
“Right now? OK.” Rosamund nods at Simon.
Pop. They’re in the van. Jennifer starts screaming. She’s in Neville’s lap. He blinks, then asks, “Who are you?”
Jennifer looks around and screams some more.
Neville asks plaintively, “Can you stop screaming?”
Jennifer hyperventilates. But at least she’s stopped screaming.
Rosamund says in ancient Hawaiian, “Simon that was a little abrupt for our friend. Jennifer, you’re ok? You’ve been borrowed, but you’ll be returned.”
Neville asks again, “Who is this?”
Rosamund blinks. “Oh. So sorry.” The rest of the group doesn’t speak that language. “Sorry, Neville.”
Neville rolls his eyes. “Allow me to introduce myself. I’m Neville, and you’re in my lap.”
Jennifer looks around. The van is very full. There’s no place else to go.
Neville continues, “I’d ask what brings you here, but I’m pretty sure I know.”
Rosamund intercedes. “Meet Jennifer. She’s a trainee kahuna of the one we seek.”
Everyone introduces themselves in turn. Catalyst introduces himself as just “Catalyst”.
Rosamund continues, “We found her at the luau. She bears Namaka’s scent. Jennifer says she can scry for Her, with a temple, some mana and her casting sticks.”
Jennifer seems to have regained her composure. Good manners will do that. “I trained with a set of I Ching sticks.”
Rosamund adds, “And we’ll need some mana, Catalyst.”
Catalyst looks vague as he considers the map he looked at earlier for a moment. “There’s a new age book store three blocks from here.” He drives there and parks. Jennifer volunteers to get a set of lots. Neville goes with her. She selects a set of I Ching sticks. Neville offers to pay.
As the exit the store, Jennifer asks, “So are you the only human?”
Neville shakes his head. “There are a couple of us.”
Jennifer mutters, “They’re all nuts.”
Neville snorts. “Bad topic.” He’s thinking of Rosamund’s walnuts.
Jennifer climbs back into the van, followed by Neville. As she settles into a seat, she calls, out, “There’s a temple on the…”
Catalyst interrupts, “Got it.” And guides the van back into traffic.
Captain Barron smiles broadly and hand her a Tupperware container full of cookies. “Have some of these. They’ll fix you right up.”
Jennifer opens the container gingerly. There’s no explosion of snakes. She nibbles a chocolate chip cookie, and looks surprised when she feels her mana level rise.
Rosamund chuckles at her reaction and says, “Chocolate’s good for you.”
As she eats, Jennifer whispers, but nobody can pick it out. She’s working her way through the cookies at a regular rate.
Simon, who sitting more in a seat than on one, notices that there’s a lot of mana building up. She seems to be overloading. There are a number of enchantments about her.
Rosamond also notices the mana buildup, and notices that it’s tied into that odor of Namaka about her. She comments, “That’s an awful lot of mana.”
“I figured I’d need it.”
“You can hold more than most.”
“I learned that bit before I got to Nuuamealani. It’s one reason I was able to get there. I didn’t mean to be greedy.”
“Usually people can’t hold that much.”
“I’m using a word of power.”
Rosamund looks at the girl and makes a Kerdian gesture that Peri’s father showed her. Jennifer doesn’t appear to recognize it.
“You have more of a sense of your Goddess now.”
Jennifer mumbles, “Good,” as she nibbles on one more cookie.
Hellgrammite can tell that the energy Jennifer is ingesting is staying with her, not flowing into Namaka.
Simon asks, “Exactly what was Namaka doing when you left?”
“Being carried into the palace by Her attendance. I saw the horizon continue to pitch and toss. It wasn’t exactly an earthquake. I can’t really explain it. I ran. I went and got my surfboard and surfed away from there.”
Catalyst pulls into the lot of a suburban YMCA and parks the van, then hops out of the van and strides into the underbrush on the edge of the parking lot.
Last Updated: Feb 21, 2010
©2009 Barry Tannenbaum, All Rights Reserved