Eldest, officially, the Manager and Butler of the castle of Dachaigh Nan Trolls, opened the envelope with his favorite knife, one of a pair made from the fangs of a saber tooth cat, trophies of the hunt. He and the cat had had a disagreement there in that meadow below the wall of the great ice about who’s family would dine on a certain auroch. He had won, and the scars had faded ages ago. The letter was from the executors of the late Laird’s estate informing him that the new heir had arrived from America and would be up to see the castle within the week.
He had guessed right from his research into the distant relatives of the Laird. She was the younger sister of the young man whose untimely accident on the way to (officially, that is, not from it) the castle near the far northern shores of Scotland had cut short his claim. The only description of her profession was “artist”. Well, at least she didn’t appear to be involved in archaeology, anthropology, or genetic research into extinct sorts of hominids and longevity like her brother. Perhaps she would come look and then go back to America and only visit once in a while.
They heard it before they saw it, the trademark sound of a Harley-Davidson with minimally legal muffling. When it did come into sight, it was probably the first time an extensively customized “chopper” had been seen in those parts. A black painted (with some decorations) motorcycle with the rider all in black, black leather, black denim, black boots, black helmet. As it pulled up in front of the entrance they could see painted on the fuel tank and the helmet in fancy Gothic script, “Techno Witch”.
Shutting off the machine, the rider removed the helmet, revealing a quite attractive (Well, for a Sapiens, that is.) young woman shaking out a mane of jet black hair and wearing dramatic eye makeup in something between the Punk and Goth styles.
Eldest spoke, “Ms. Morgan, I presume?”
“Yes, Eldest, that I am, but before we get to introductions and tours and such I have a desperate and urgent need for what I believe is called in these parts, the loo.”
Margie Morgan and Eldest walked (quickly) toward the needed facility. Eldest asked, “So what does a Techno Witch do?”
“Oh, that’s my business name, my nom de plume, or more accurately, nom de art. I do digital art, creating and manipulating digital images.”, Margie replied.
Eldest was quiet a moment and said, “I suspect you may also have a nom de guerre.”
Margie laughed and said, “Why yes, several. I’m fond of female characters from myth and legend known to be particularly dangerous. Ah, we’re there, excuse me.” and went into the needed room.
As Eldest waited he was thinking, “If she’s using Morrigan’s name in some form, she had better live up to it. That goddess is said to be protective of her reputation. I think this young one knows that.”
One the way back to the group she said, “Later, we’ll have to talk about those longevity people my brother was involved with. They will need to be dealt with, but not by way of making a deal.”
“I agree,” said Eldest, and added, “I think I know one of those noms de guerre. I received and email warning me not to trust your brother, and expressing strong suspicion that he was responsible for the death of his parents in an auto accident. It was signed, ‘Tisiphone’, the name of one of the Greek Furies.
Bob Wertzler is retired from almost twenty years in the mental health field in California and Arizona. There are times the title, “Recovering Therapist”, seems to fit. In 2006 he retired to move to Western North Carolina to help and become primary care giver for his father who had developed Dementia. Before all that, there was work at various times as a soldier (US Army 1967-70), community organizer, cab driver, welfare case worker, wooden toy maker, carpenter, warehouse worker, and other things. He relates to a line in a Grateful Dead song, “What a long, strange trip its been.”