To return to the Betula Academy main page, please click here.
To proceeed to the food fight, please click here.
For what Urielle does after the food fight, please click here.
Urielle Arrives Edit
I climbed the worn granite steps of the Administration Building and entered through the scratched up plexiglass doors. A skinny middle aged caucasian woman, who appeared to be a regular physical human being (but appearances are very deceiving I reminded myself) stood behind a high counter.
She asked what she could do for me as she sized me up. I wasn't sure if my color would be a problem. I'm black, not that it's a big deal any more. It once was, back when I was physically alive it was a very big deal due to Jim Crow. I was born and lived on the Maryland Shore, but even though it was not the Deep South, there were separate schools and areas in restaurants and dining cars on trains. I never lived long enough to stay in a hotel, or my family didn't travel much. The United States has changed a lot since the beginning of the Twentieth Century, but I always wonder how much of that change is real.
I also wonder about some of the other worlds. I know that sounds funny in the same breath, but forgive this poor grey bead revenant. I notice that very few of the advanced Old Ones are something other than white. Sorry, I notice this stuff. There are also, I have been told by Zivia who is short like me, that there are very few short Old Ones of renown. It is kind of like the giants in the Bible.
Skinny smiled cordially and asked me my name. She punched it in to a computer and pulled out a plastic ID card which also acted as a swipe card and handed me a pair of room keys. I glanced at the card. It had my picture on it and gave me the ID number of R08. I blinked. "R08," I said.
"That's your ID number and I'm not changing it without good reason. It means you are the eighth revenant to arrive on campus. I hope that suits you," there was something vaguely snotty in skinny's voice, as if she had crawled out of the wrong side of her bed this morning and not bothered to crawl back and try it again.
"Only the eighth?" I asked.
"So far," she said. "The students have been trickling in."
"I see," I said and I smiled. I tried leaning against the counter but it was a bit high for me and flying and levitating were out of the question. I had a body now and it had some physical limitations. Spirits fly. Physical beings like revenants don't. I still got on my tip toes though and grinned winsomely.
"Can you tell me if an Arianna or Jetta Tallon have all ready arrived?" I asked.
I was not sure I'd get an answer. There are all kinds of privacy laws and such. Skinny sighed. "They're here all right," she said. She didn't seem too happy about it. "If they make trouble," I advised her. "Call the cops."
Skinny shook her head and smiled back at me. I asked her name. She said it was Verona DiCarli. I said that was a pretty name and headed across the quad. My room was 421 Greene Hall.
I tried the elevator but it did not work. I found the stairs and climbed them. That was where I saw the blood stains and also some greyish animal fur. I carefully pushed open the fire door to the fourth floor in time to get hit with a blue cloud of cigarette smoke. Two very tall blond women in black jeans and sweaters and fancy black boots held court with several others in attendance.
"Freak," said the one with the silver spiked dog collar and matching bracelet.
"Nigger," asnwered the one with the cropped sweater and belly ring. Through the haze of smoke, I tried to make head and tail of the women's faces. I'd seen photographs of both Jetta and Ariana. Well, there she was or one of them anyway, and it wasn't hard to guess which of the pair was stinking up the hallway with ciggies, using racial epithets, and spreading blood. Why did it have to be this obvious? Well there I was with a huge duffle, tired from a walk through the snow, a bit disoriented and outnumbered since it looked like Jetta all ready had a small clique of admirers.
I shifted my duffle and said "Ma'am I just work here. I'm a servant for one of the high ranking demons who'll be arriving soon. Please let me pass."
Jetta snorted and took a puff on her cigarette sending smoke right in to my face. Then she spat on me. Don't ask me how I made it to the end of the hall. I was glad to get my dorm room open and get inside. It was a single with typical institutional furniture but then it began to change as I set the duffle on the bed. The walls grew wallpaper with greenish fern leaves. My bed got a light green metal head and footboard and shrunk a bit. My furniture turned yellow green with a fake distressed stain. I got a larger desk and book shelves. I even had my own bathroom with terra cotta tiles and a claw foot tub. I washed my face at the sink and started to put away my things. Then I noticed a small piece of paper on the desk.
It was yellow and it said: "Urielle Swanson, packages for you at the mail room." Well I knew who had probably sent the stuff. Zivia was a good egg even if she had gotten me in to this mess.
By the way, I believe in picking my battles. Jetta would get hers but simply beating on her in a hallway would prove nothing. I doubted I could humiliate her enough to derail her plans, not yet.
That would be Ariana's job anyway. Hey, where was Ariana? Through the wall I heard music. It sounded like a brass military band playing a march. I didn't think Jetta and her clone in black smoking cigarettes went in for that sort of thing. I stood and listened. Was I hearing things? I guess I'd have to find out sooner or later.
I kept putting away my clothes and the band kept playing. I found a light weight jacket and put it over my skirt and sweat shirt, and swapped my boots for canvas sneakers. I've never liked shoes. I thought of poor Jetta's feet. No I didn't feel sorry for her, and no not after what she called me. There'd be a score to settle on that one but vengance is a dish served best cold.
I opened the dormitory room door and looked around. All the doors at this end of the hall were closed and the place was quiet. Even the girls at the other end of the hall had vanished, leaving behind a toxic blue cloud. I made my way down the fire stairs and through the first floor lounge to the counter of the mail room where an angel stood. Actually he was a low ranking old one. He had on a white robe and had big white wings that looked like they were stage props. The feathers really did look synthetic. He looked me over. "Here we go again," I thought. I took out my ID and decided to settle matters.
"Oh Ur-i-elle," said the old one who had blond hair and blue eyes and a big pink face. "You have something."
I had several small but bulky boxes. It was my library. Books are important to me. I picked up the first box. I only had two arms and no one was giving out keys to freight elevator, not even Mr. Angel.
I turned to cross the first floor lounge when in she walked. She was tall, blond, very pretty, not not very pretty, radiant. Her blue eyes glowed and her white sun dress and sandals fit her perfectly. Well the least one could say is that Ariana Tallon fit the part of the eighteenth to twentieth most powerful being in the universe.
"Can I help you with that?" was her first greeting to me and she had a melodious voice.
"I'm fine," I confessed, "but there's two more boxes. If you want to grab one."
"Where is your room?" asked Ariana.
"421," I said.
Ariana clapped her hands and all the boxes disappeared. "Glad I could be of help," she said and turned to go. I all but ran after her. "Are you OK?" she asked. She had not given me that once over yet. Maybe she didn't need to. "I'm fine," I replied. "You're Ariana Tallon," I said.
"I'm Urielle Swanson. I'm here to help you."
Now I got the once over. I got it but good.
"Well I guess you can...do something," Ariana struggled for words. "Let's talk about this later. I need to get back upstairs."
"OK," I said and ended up awkwardly following Ariana to the fire stairs. We climbed to the fourth floor together not saying much. "You have to be careful here," Ariana informed me. "There are demons here."
"Tell me about it," I said as I cracked the fourth floor fire door. Ariana watched as I peered through to make sure the coast was clear. Ariana waved her hands to dispell the cigarette fumes.
"Can I have dinner with you tonight?" I asked.
"I'm eating with some friends, but you can join us," Ariana replied.
I thanked her and headed down to my room. My books were all ready on the shelves. I wonder what if anything the old one, Ariana, had made of the titles. The music was still playing through the wall. Whoever lived next to me liked to crank her music up loud and she had a very military turn of mind. Meanwhile out in the hall I heard a young girl's giggles. That didn't sound like either Ariana or Jetta.
I opened the door in time to see a girl with short wheaten hair go whizzing by on heelies. She was a tomoboyish thing who looked like she belonged in elementary school. I saw a door at the other end of the hall open and Ariana admit the wheel footed imp and then close the door behind her.
Just then I realized that my neighbor's door was also open and she too had been watching the girl on wheelie shoes. The neighbor was a caucasian with pale skin, dark brown eyes, and straight black hair cut short. She wore grey Doc Martins and Carhart pant with a grey long sleeved t-shirt that said US ARMY on it. She folded her arms and glared at me. Then she shook her head and gave me a second look.
"We got all kind here don't we," she said.
"Watch your tongue," I growled back.
"I didn't mean it that way," the stranger uncoiled her arms and walked out of her door. "I meant down there.... She pointed to the other end of the hall."
"Those two think they're bad asses," I answered. "They'll learn how bad they are...soon."
"You may be right," my neighbor answered, and she slipped back in to her room, and slammed the door. Her military marches still blasted away.
Urielle's Masterful Plan Edit
Ismene looked beat. I wondered if she had slept at all. I slept. I am not used to sleeping and feared the fire alarm would wake me. Instead the bright winter dawn over an artificial spring campus sprung me from sleep.
I knocked on Ismene's door. She is good company despite being on the wrong side in this battle. Well, I could rest easy and so could she ironically enough. Neither of us were going to be getting hurt today.
"Want to come to breakfast?" I invited a sleepy and grouchy Ismene who of course agreed.
Ismene found the dining hall impressive in the same way I did, only more so. "You should have seen our mess back in Pandemonium," she told me.
"I'll take you to the merpeh in Kokorobelli some time," I told her.
"They'll let me in there?"
"Why not, if you behave. Heck, I'm sorry for the insult. I know you'd mind your manners. Your mama brought you up right."
"I don't really have a mama," Ismene confessed.
"Well, my original mother didn't raise me after I was six either," I said.
"Yes, but I didn't die. You don't mind my asking, how you died?"
"Spanish Flu Pandemic, 1918," I answered. "An unhappy form of war reparations."
"War and disease go together," Ismene observed and she smiled at the thought. "Look, I know you feel you are still human. That's the grey bead way..."
"I don't mind you being honest," I replied.
"Well, but humans are stupid. That's why our kind can take advantage of them. They're not sheep. They're rats and rats are greedy and dumb."
"That's your story and your stuck with it," I replied. "If we could ever figure out a way to keep a few rotten apples from spoiling our whole barrel."
"You elected one very large and stupid rotten apple."
"I wasn't alive to vote for him," I quipped.
We got our breakfasts. I had scrambled eggs and corn bread and a big glass of tomato juice. Ismene had corned beef hash and eggs on toast, milk, and coffee with sugar and more milk. We toasted the good food and the luck of finding a peaceful dining hall with no one disrespecting a good meal.
We even walked back to the dormitory together. Classes wouldn't start for another day or two. Ismene said she'd have to try to ingratiate herself to Jetta. She did not sound particularly happy with the idea. I could see her wince as I cracked the fire door and smelled the toxic blue smoke. Jetta was holding court in a way that was going to get to be quite usual, or so she thought. I knew differently. I smiled and said good morning to Jetta.
"Get lost stupid nigger!" she sneered. Then she turned her attention to Ismene. "Hey dummy, how's the foot?"
"Much better. So what are today's marching orders?" asked a hapless Ismene.
The girls standing with Jetta snorted and giggled. Just then the fire alarm went off. Ariana emerged and said: "Fire alarm, everyone out of the building." Even the angel from the mail room came upstairs and began to assist with the evacuation. I headed for my bathroom and locked the door. I waited until all was quiet.
I hoped that Jetta and her friends had forgotten to lock their rooms. I had a feeling some of the objects they had left there would have magical wards on them. If so, I had the perfect cure, potholders which shield hands from burns and shocks. Most wards invlove some kind of heat or electricity. I also had rubber gloves to ground myself.
I used my pillow case to gather up the expensive looking books, any jewelry, suspicious looking room decorations etc... I was sure I was picking up a few nonmagical items along with the magic ones. I did not care. I thought more than once about picking over Ariana and her friends' rooms along with Jetta and Thalia's space, but I decided not to bother. As for Ismene, she did not appear to have anything more threatening than some disgusting pictures on her wall.
I ran down the back fire stairs and cut behind the building. Out on the lawn they were all ready taking a headcount. That meant I had to work fast. The gasoline was stashed in the bushes. I carried my pillow case heavy with magical goodies and the gasoline around to the front of the building. I had matches in my back pocket. This was going to be fun in its own odd way.
Of course I have been around long enough to know that naked displays of power have their price. I walked in front of the group whom the poor befuddled mailroom angel was trying to count. By now we had an audience. I saw the lady who had given me my key yesterady and human help from the dining hall and I could hear the wail of the fire engine. This was going to be lots of fun indeed. Too bad the fun would be so brief.
I uncermeoniously set down the pillow case. I could hear Cara making unhappy noises. Yes, she knew what was in the sack. Thalia and Jetta exchanged unhappy whispers. It hadn't occured to them that I had rigged the smoke alarm in their section of the hall to be extra sensitive to their cigarett smoke. They had forgotten that I was the last out of the building and their doors were unlocked.
I unscrewed the top of the gasoline bottle. Cara whimpered. Ariana stepped forward. "Don't worry," I told the eighteenth to twentieth most powerful person in the Universe.
I then dumped out my loot. Some of it smoked. "Fuck!" cried Jetta. "Do you know what this is?" asked Ariana.
"Just stand clear," I told her. I got out the matches. Ariana made a move for me, but I was fast. Actually, I had the gasoline bottle between us and threatened to kick it as I lit the match. "Stand clear everybody!" I called out.
I lit the match and tossed it. The explosion was deafening. "Hit the deck!" called Ismene. Most of the grass on campus was gone when I looked up and there was a new chill in the air. There was also a huge scorched crater.
On one side of the crater stood a most unhappy Jude Philippi. Well let him be unhappy. I approached him. For a fourth most powerful entity in the Universe, he was a big fat wimp as far as I was concerned. "Look," I said to him. "You only come in after fights and patch people up. If these kids want to start fights, I intend to finish them. We're even now. They know they can't mess with us without consequences."
"Will you obey a truce?" Jude asked.
"Depends if the other side will," I answered.
"They can't just go hurting us," Cara backed me up.
"Do you think we can really have peace?" asked Ariana.
Jude turned to Jetta, Thalia, Ismene and the rest of their ilk. "If you want your objects restored, you'll need to agree to a truce. Otherwise you can take revenge."
"I vote for revenge," announced Ismene.
"Wow!" I thought.
"Idiot!" Jetta responded."
"No, we need to take out Urielle. You just saw what she did. She's ruthless. We need to fight her."
"Not without magic, harch head," sneered Jetta. "Yes, we agree to a truce."
"Do you swear by all that is holy?" asked Jude.
"Are you fucking crazy?" asked Ismene.
"She has a point," I backed up the demon who gave me an odd look.
It took Jude several long second to get it. "Fine do you swear by everything that is UNholy?"
"Yes," answered Thalia.
"Yes," echoed Jetta.
Jude clapped his hands and the objects sat untouched, the gasoline container was full, and the grass was green, the birds chirping, and the sun out. "Break this truce and your objects vanish," Jude warned the demons and the rest of us. Then he picked up my bottle of gasoline and vanished.
"Wow!" cried out Cara who was the first of us to "get it." Then she looked up at me. "Weren't you afraid."
I shrugged. "I don't need objects. I'm stronger than they are. My magic comes from in here," I pointed at my heart.
Ariana sighed. "Am I invited to your table for lunch?" I asked her.
"Sure..." she stammered. "I guess. Urielle," her voice became serious. "You won't be able to do this again."
"You're probably right," I answered. Then I thought that of course I'd have to think of something else.