Timeline: February 6, 2009
After Jesse left, Rey gathered her groceries and headed for home. She was quiet until they were out of sight of the bar. Hamilton, what do you think of Jesse’s offer?
The cat trotted along behind her. Very interesting, Miss, he replied. A Lune is a powerful spirit. Who knows what one might be capable of?
That would depend on the Lune, Hamilton said. There are five different choirs, of course, one for each phase of the moon — or face of Luna, depending on how you wish to think of it. Imagine this for a moment, Miss. Luna is a Celestine. Such a spirit is more powerful than that which you would term gods and goddesses. All gods and goddesses of the Moon itself must make way for her or be cast down by her. Many join the ranks of her Lunes.
This is important, he advised. Especially to the Uratha. Every werewolf born is weighed and chosen by Luna herself, it is said. She knows their souls and she sends the correct Lune at the correct time to them. As an example, let us discuss your friend, Lyla. She is called Irraka, because her auspice, her nature, matches that of the Lunes known as the Irralunim. Because she is chosen by them, these Lunes will teach her things they will teach no other type of Uratha.
Because we have five phases of the moon, we have five choirs associated with her, all of them made of powerful spirits called collectively Lunes. Irralunim, the Silent Choir, represent the New Moon. Ithalunim, the Oracle Choir, represent the Crescent Moon. Cahalunim, the Fertile Choir, represent the Gibbous or Pregnant Moon. Elunim, the Cloven Choir, represent the Half Moon. And finally, the Ralunim, the Fury Choir, represent the Full Moon.
As long as we are theorizing, Hamilton offered, perhaps we could theorize something about this spirit called Anu, the one possessing Jesse. Many female goddesses were represented by the Moon. If this is so, is it possible that Anu is in fact a Lune? And if that is true, why would she not reveal herself as such to the pack? Then again, the Lunes are not well known for their sanity, or at least their actions can be as capricious as the Luna’s herself. Have you any theories as to who Anu really is now?
I believe she is a spirit, but I also believe that anyone – or anything – claiming to be a goddess is a bit loonie, if you pardon the pun. If Anu can call upon a favor to a Lune, then she is powerful.
This whole situation has got me worried. She says she’ll release Jesse when she’s done. But how long will that be? And what will happen to Jesse? She never truly answered my question about what benefits Jesse will get from the merger.
As long as Anu is part of her, Jesse has access to all that power, the same as Anu has access to all that Jesse is. That’s the benefit. If Anu should leave, all that goes away, Hamilton explained. But we should return for a moment to your comment about gods. She is speaking the literal truth. Do you know how spirits are born?
No, I don’t. It wasn’t something she’d ever really thought about before.
Every object and creature in this world has a corresponding spirit. Most are asleep and will dissipate when the object or creature ceases to exist. However, the spirit sometimes awakens in Shadow and it will then exist indefinitely or until the spirit itself is destroyed, regardless whether the creature or object still exists in this world, Hamilton told her. Then there are the Conceptuals. These are the spiritual representation of ideas, concepts created by thinking people. These spring into existence and usually start quite small, but over time, they become powerful. If the belief is strong, much essence is generated, and this allows the spirit to grow tremendously.
Anu is such a spirit. She is a goddess, because your people made her so. At one time many believed and she became very strong, strong enough to embody all the things attributed to the goddess. And, she was changed by their concept of how she related to other gods and goddesses. Over time, Anu would have had to grow even stronger so that she could survive any challenge to her existence that may have occurred since she was born of people’s belief.
Anu isn’t a goddess because she claims to be. She is a goddess because she was made that way, and because she wields the power equivalent to that of at least a demigod. If we were to place spirits on a rank system from one to ten, where my power would be regarded as the first rank, then the gods would range from rank five for demigods to seven for the greatest and most powerful gods. Celestines such as Luna and Helios wield greater power even than the gods, so she might rate rank eight or even nine. You have to understand that the greatest spirits most werewolves will ever deal with rate rank five, or if they are exceptionally unfortunate, rank six.
So, when thinking of Anu, it would be wise not to underestimate her. If you cannot bring yourself to think of her as a goddess, you should at least recognize her as an Incarnae — a spiritual incarnation of Death. And, if my suspicions are correct, actually a member of the Choir of Fury, as is the Morrigan.
Hamilton almost never used her first name, and certainly not her nickname. But he did now in an attempt to convey the gravity of what he was trying to teach her. Rey, I am terrified of Anu. I think Ironclaw and Grey are scared, too. There is good reason to fear her and question why she is here. But she has not shown us her wrath. I would go so far as to say she has been patient, and even kind. She had no reason to kill those Shadowraiths for us. She could have let the town die. It would not have affected her adversely in any way. In fact, as a spirit of death, she would have benefitted greatly by being in the presence of so much death. Although I cannot fathom her true purpose in her seeming interest in the vampire, she chose to help, and she is choosing to try to make peace with the Uratha here instead of dominate them or the town. I think that, at least, is a good sign.
Don’t worry. I won’t underestimate her. Is it possible she said the truth, that she feels compelled to help because it is what Jesse would have done?
I don’t see why it would false. This isn’t possession, really. It’s Claiming, and that means that what she’s become is a true merger of both Anu and Jesse.
You don’t think she’d lie to me to get me to intercede on her behalf with Ironclaw?
Frankly, it doesn’t seem like she needs you to, Hamilton responded. She says there is a deal already on the table. If Ironclaw is really going to let each werewolf decide if they want a gift or not, then he’s already agreed to her offer.
But we don’t know if he is or not. Rey shifted the straps of her backpack, readjusting the load. If I were to become Uratha, or something other than human, would you leave me?
That thought made Hamilton laugh. It was a strange little sound, coming from a cat. Of course not, Miss! Why ever would I do that?
But you’re afraid of the Uratha. Rey stopped walking and turned to look at her little familiar.
Of course I am, Hamilton said. Would you not protect me from them if you were different?
Of course I would protect you. You’re my– Rey paused for a moment, Why did you answer the call when I performed the ritual to summon a familiar? Was it your choice to do so?
Technically, I didn’t, if you recall, Hamilton replied somewhat proudly. I waited until you were not longer under the control of your parents. And yes of course that was my choice. Rey, please don’t take this the wrong way, but you really don’t have the power to compel spirits or ghosts to do anything. You just… well make a pleasant invitation. I chose to come and to be your familiar.
Rey shook her head. No, I know I can’t force spirits or ghosts to do anything. I just didn’t know if it was your free choice to do so, or if someone more powerful told you to. But why did you do it?
There are lot’s of reasons for a little spirit like me to do it. Security. A ready source of essence. The ability to not have to try to survive in Shadow all by myself when I’m at the bottom of the food chain… and plus I do know lots of weird stuff.
Yes, you do. You mentioned Essence. Am I a source of Essence for you?
Well, not you specifically, he allowed. But rather the things you do. When you give me a good massage, when you hold me and carry me, and being near when you are being comforted, too. I’m a cat, but what I’m really about is comfort. A comfort spirit you might say. As an added bonus I can stay here in this world without having to bleed essence every hour. Just a little bit each day.
You do your job very well. Rey started walking again. Have you ever thought about becoming more powerful? Moving up from the bottom of the food chain?
All the time. I’ve been working on it, but it takes a huge amount of power and a great deal of time. The familiar gig gives me some time, though I could always use more essence.
Gig? That’s the first time I remember hearing you use slang. You’re normally so correct. So British. Rey laughed. Is there anything I can do to help you?
Nothing more than what you already do, he said. Unless of course you somehow learn to channel essence, Miss, he added in a teasing tone.
Ha ha. Rey sighed. I won’t deny it. I’m afraid of meeting the Lune.
I was only joking, Miss, Hamilton hurried to say. And you needn’t meet the Lune if you don’t want to.
I know. It’s just that Jesse’s right. I am the weakest link of the pack. When I was the omega, it was okay. Expected. But now… Rey shook her head. Unless things change, Lyla’s going to challenge me the very first second she can, and she’ll beat me to a pulp.
I didn’t want to be Lupa, but I am now. If I don’t do my best, do whatever it takes to become strong enough not to be the first to break when the going gets tough, I’ll be letting everyone down.
There is always the chance she’ll attack Ironclaw instead, Hamilton pointed out.
I know, but I don’t want to base all my hopes and planning on that. For all I know, Chaska and Lyla may decide to leave and form their own pack, and all of this will be moot. Rey sighed. The main reason I’m scared about meeting the Lune is simply because they’re so powerful and unpredictable. It’d be so easy for it to possess me and do whatever the heck it wants.
While you are right to fear a Lune for its power and unpredictability, I’ve never heard of a Lune being interested in possession. Not even the minor ones such as Glimmerings. In any case, that would likely displease Luna, as that breaks certain rules about spirits’ conduct here.
Hamilton considered a moment, then said, Actually, you can minimize the unpredictability of the Lune by choosing your night carefully. Lunes are active depending on the phase. The full moon, which is tomorrow, the ninth is the most dangerous and unpredictable time, when Luna’s fury shines brightest. But later there is the gibbous moon which I think has something to do with fertility, and then the half moon, moon of judgment and probably the most reserved and stable time. That might be all the choices we have in just a week, though.
Good thing to keep in mind. Thank you. Rey turned onto the path leading to her cabin. Is there anything else you think I should know about the Lunes?
That’s all I know, but your packmates might know more.
Yeah. That’s just one of the things I need to ask Ironclaw and Grey about. Rey adjusted her backpack again, glad she’d be home soon. There are going to be some interesting conversations tonight, if Grey and Ironclaw who up for dinner. That reminds me. Would you like some tuna after I get everything put away?
That would be lovely, Miss!
I was wondering – do you actually need food?
Well I, Hamilton hesitated, er, that is I actually don’t know. I like food. I like eating tasting things. But will I starve to death if I don’t eat? I don’t believe I’ve ever tried to find out.
I don’t want you to find out either, she assured him. I was just curious. Do you get Essence when I pamper you like I do? Rey smiled at him.
Yes, Miss! I certainly do, he assured her.
Then I will be sure to pamper you almost to the point of you becoming a spoiled little kitty.
I think that’s best, Hamilton quipped.