hunger and wildness

The general consensus is that before we bring Beverly’s leadership to Lana and the Walthers — and Cosima, for that matter, because Cooper and the Hawthornes have agreed that her knowledge of the way laws work might be useful for what we’re trying to achieve here — we need to have a solid idea of what we’re all proposing.

Essentially, Beverly needs a platform. So they’ve spent the last two days discussing what that platform is going to be, which is… hectic. Everyone’s basically like, our platform needs to be easy to explain, easy to internalize, catchy enough to spread, and nuanced enough to balance the needs of many different kinds of people, with very different needs.

So you can imagine how that’s going.

It kinda makes me miss the monsters tbh.

For example, the Scelerats can’t keep up their whole magical fraud system — not enough to give every single person who turns towards the hunting life. Like, I had literally never paused to consider it before, but from a certain perspective, hunting is like…. I mean it’s not a GREAT gig, what with the constant threat of impending death, but people join the military for a lot less than all-expenses-paid-forever-with-few-questions-asked. What does it say about the state of our world that this thankless perilous job looks pretty good to people? I mean, it probably says a lot, right? Lmfao, like yeah we probably need our healthcare more than the average person, but like… at least we have it, no questions asked, no medical bills, you know? Add on to that a thirst for vengeance, or the truth, or whatever it is fueling each new hunter, and this is looking like a pretty fucking solid career path.

I mean, look at me: one brush with death, and a couple of hot dudes and I’m like wring out my liver and call me sludge bait, I’m here for the long haul.

But the problem is that our paperwork relies on skilled witches making sure our accounts are never noticed and flagged by anyone who might start asking questions — and the Scelerats have finite resources. They simply can’t make every single one of Billy’s new hunters a fully papered member of the club. So how do we decide who gets it? And how do we explain to everyone that some people get a full healthcare, alias, infinite money package and some of them do not?

And that’s just ONE of the problems. There are complex problems coming from every direction. Like, what is Beverly’s position on cryptid hunting versus cryptid rescue?

“I don’t know,” she finally groaned when we were going around in circles about that exact question earlier. “Obviously in an ideal world, we’d be able to rescue everything, send all these creatures to the emporium to live out peaceful lives. But that wasn’t viable ten years ago, much less now, or ten years from now when we can only imagine the number of rifts that will be opening, letting creatures into our world.”

And it’s not like this is like… an entrenched party system in which any of us know what we want or what to expect from our leadership. They’re literally making shit up and hoping it’s what people want.

Gonna be honest though I’m not even really invited to these meetings. Actually I think the Hawthornes are trying to sorta keep me out of sight. They haven’t specifically said anything, so I don’t know if it’s even intentional, but this morning when I said, half joking, that I wanted to just laze around in the greenhouse all day, they were so visibly relieved that I actually did it.

So here I am, at loose ends in the greenhouse. Typing this update, watching the butterfly creatures float lazily over the vines and flowers.

Oh shit Bass just came in — hang on.

Okay I’m back. I admit, I felt a little rush of panic when I saw him open the door and come down the metal stairs hahaha, but I didn’t need to. He just came and sat in one of the lawn chairs next to me with a book.

The only thing he’s said is “I like your hair. So punk rock.”

Which is such an endearingly like… dad thing to say? And now he’s reading a paperback with cheesy 70s fantasy dragon art on the front. When I asked what he was reading he said, “I love reading about what you guys think magic is like. Y’all have some cool ideas sometimes!”

What Bass deserves: 🌻👑🌏

Oh no, okay here it is. He just said, “…so, uh, is everything okay?”

And when I immediately got all tense he added in a total rush, “it’s just that Rook hasn’t heard from you and he’s been really worried and now everyone keeps telling me to stay away from you.”

Ouch.

I must’ve looked about how you’d expect me to look, because he said, “I mean obviously I’m not listening to them. Like, I’m here. But I mean you for sure have some uhhhhhh…” and he trailed off, looking like he’d stuck his foot in his mouth.

So I said, “I have some… what?”

And he said, “I don’t know.”

But he obviously does know at least SOMETHING so I pressed him further and he finally said, “I mean, it’s nothing that obvious. Just… like a whiff of something off you, I guess.”

“Like what?”

He squirmed uncomfortably, so I finally said, “Like death?” And I might have been being a little bit combative because his expression got a little bit wounded and confused.

“No,” he said, perfectly earnest. “Like… life?”

I can only imagine the horrified look I was giving him because he set down his book and looked at me.

“Here, do you want to see?” He was sorta frantic, poor guy, trying to make me feel better. “I can show you. It’s a simple mirror spell, we use it all the time. Here hold still.”

And then he reached to offer me his palm, so I put my palm on his without thinking lmfao and then the magic hit me like getting slapped with the entire ocean, like… I mean fuck I don’t know how to explain how it felt, how do you describe magic?

It was like someone beat a drum and in the resonance I felt the infinite turning of the universe, the strange concentric order of the turning planets, the minute systems that make up everything from atoms to animals to galaxies, and the fierce hunger and wildness that rises within those systems —

— at which point I pulled my palm off his palm and said (spluttered) “what the fuck?????”

He creased his brow and said, “What?”

“What was that????”

He gave me a look like I was losing my mind. “It was just a mirror spell,” he said, somewhat defensive. “Sorry, I didn’t mean to — I mean that’s just what you’re putting out right now, that’s all.”

NO WONDER NO ONE WANTS TO HANG OUT WITH ME hahahahahaha.

“I mean like — it’s not that big of a deal or anything, don’t worry,” and then when I visibly didn’t believe him, he added, “sorry, I should have warned you what it would feel like, I’m not supposed to do magic with non-magic people, fuck, sorry, are you okay?” He was babbling and nervous so I took a deep breath and got it together ha. I assured him I’m fine, it’s okay. Am I? Juries out.

Now he’s reading his book again and I’m writing. He keeps glancing at me uncertainly. Oh god, poor guy, he just said, “I feel like I just made it worse.”

But he didn’t. Actually, potentially it feels sorta better to know why all these witches look at me funny. I assured him I’m okay, but I can tell he doesn’t believe me.

Oh no, he just asked, “… did something happen?”

But I couldn’t answer him, so he asked, “is that why you’re not talking to Rook?”

I nodded, and now he’s back to reading. Uuuugh I really gotta call Rook.

So I really thought that was my whole update today, but NOPE

Lana just called Beverly because apparently Billy Ace’s people have been exploring the Infirmament caves where we killed the giant snake.

From our perspective the conversation went like this:

Beverly saw who it was, sighed heavily, showed Neal and Julian the caller ID and picked up.

Then she said, “uh huh… oh shit… son of a bitch… okay, I’ll tell the others. Yep.” And she hung up.

She looked up at us.

“Billy Ace’s people are collecting parts of the snake in the caves,” Beverly said.

Julian made a face. “Why?”

“Who knows,” Beverly said. “But that’s not all. They found eggs.”

We were at dinner, so the whole company was there. Paul choked and Beau’s face looked like he was watching an angel rise into the sky.

“Excuse me?” April managed.

“Live eggs, according to Lana. They’re currently transporting live eggs to Billy Ace’s head quarters.”

Everyone stayed quiet for a moment, digesting the fact that gigantic snake eggs are just chilling in a bar in Reno.

“Is that… a problem?” Bass asked.

“Yes, if they decide to kill them!” cried Beau, at the same time that Beverly said, “If they hatch them we’re in trouble.”

I mean we’re all a little bit confused as to why they’d be interested in snake eggs either way, but I think everyone agrees that it’s suspicious.

“We need to talk to them,” Cooper said. “Sooner than later.”

And he’s right. We can’t wait much longer. I think we’re all in agreement: it’s time to reach out to Billy Ace and set up a real meeting.

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