Fatima Faith

More about Destine, Fatima, and the Ambrose Society.

Monday, May 29, 2000. Morning, Nathaniel Hawkins' residence

Rebecca Weiser came awake. The sounds of early morning traffic reached her, more than would normally penetrate her room. The sun crept across the bed. It was then that Rebecca realized that she was not in her own bed. The events of the previous evening blazed fresh into her mind.

Her parents. The Evil that had tried to–whatever it had tried to do. The sword-wielder. The disappointment of almost finding the santcuary. Though how she would have explained that one to her mother… The Eye. Turtleneck–Nathan. Her mother's strange reaction.

Rebecca's face burned as she remembered watching them from the stairs. Her mother going to his arms. Her touching him. The kiss.

I haven't had a long life, Rebecca mused, but already it's so strange. Forces I don't understand are manipulating me, struggling over me, and all of my choices are bad. Not that I think I chose wrongly, or even that my choices have had really unexpected results. I think I must have known, on some level, that if I took Mom to Nathan's they would become lovers. That it was her only chance at safety–not because he could protect her, but because it was the only way to make the break permanent. But it's a messy solution. It will leave scars on her. And to be blunt, I am abandoning my father to what I expect will be his own destruction. But it was better than the alternative, she knew. The other path she had dimly sensed. Crushing the life from her own father, all love and mercy erased by a consuming white-heat rage. Fleeing, without succor or the right to seek it. The eviscerating guilt that would leave her easy prey for forces like the one she had sensed tonight–that might even deliver her, willing, into their hands. At least this way choice remains–for all of us.

From what she remembered of Amos's life, she knew that adults sometimes had to make choices like this. But, she whimpered to herself, I didn't know it would be so soon! Why do I have to be thrust into this dangerous, ambiguous life without even the benefit of an adolescence to make mistakes in?

That inner voice, which had always been impatient and scornful of Rebecca's weakness, was silent now, but not absent. Wordlessly, with the halting strength of a generous man who has lived too long alone, it comforted her, enveloping her in respectful understanding and quiet love. Rebecca slept.

After what seemed a short time, a hand shook her awake.

"Rise and shine, sleepyhead, you're going to be late for school," Gina smiled down at her daughter. That's it, Gina, act as if this is just another day. "I am sorry, but you are going to have to take a taxi to school. Here's some money." Gina handed her a fifty. "That should be enough. You can probably catch the bus home."

Rebecca smiled sadly at Gina's attempt to be brave. She wanted to do whatever it took to be in harmony with this woman, but there were some lies she must not tell. She took the bill, and her mother's hand with it.

"'Home,' Mom?" She spoke with regret but without uncertainty; her tone said quite clearly that she had no such thing.

Rebecca stepped off the bus and glanced across the street. A small shop, with a sign that said "Pink Pearl," nestled on the corner of Penrith Square. A slight shift in perception allowed her to view the mystic shields that surrounded the small shop–mulitlayered and strong. As she crossed the street and made to open the door, she glanced out into the street.

Her eye caught sight of a man just before he ducked into a shop. Rebecca frowned. The man had seemed furtive to her, and also seemed to be watching this place. She took a seat near a window, noticing how the clientele seemed to have split itself. Bubbly tourists near the front and the windows, somber others near the back, with a spattering of Romany.

She was jolted out her survey of the street by the slight shaking of the table and a small meow, and then the cat she remembered from the small office was beside her on the seat out of sight of the patrons. It looked at her with the same intellegence that Rebecca believed all cats to have.

A second later the woman that Rebecca knew only as Destine appeared at her table.

"Well, it took you long enough, child. Why don't you come into the back?"

Rebecca smiled up at her; it was a look which was both penetrating and gamin. She shrugged, as if to say, sorry, but I've had problems. Then she followed Destine into the back, feeling safe for the first time in days.

The woman poured some tea, handing Rebecca a cup, and then curled up in a chair. The persian cat jumped up in Rebecca's lap and settled down, purring. She smiled and stroked it softly.

"Pekeo likes you. A great honor. Now let us see what you know. Who was your teacher?"

"My great-uncle Amos. But…" she let her voice trail off, reluctant to say more. She was silent for some time, trying, with every bit of intuition she had, to tell whether it was safe to reveal her secret.

Destine waited patiently as she watched indecision chase itself along the young girl's face. Then Rebecca made a decision.

"But he's dead. He was… dead when he taught me. He sent something," she touched her temples, "into my head… he taught me that way." She looked up, troubled, at Destine.

"He just stuck all that knowledge in my head, and I have to deal with it, and it's hard." She frowned, troubled by another thought. "And every time I try to do a divination, something nasty happens–something tries to get me." For a moment she looked like she might cry, and then her lips twisted in an ironic grimace.

"And I don't know what to do about my mother."

Destine nodded slowly. "All the information a jumble… May I do a true seeing on you? Your mother?"

Rebecca nodded, then hesitated. "Yes, but… be careful." She did not want Destine to attract the attention of the thing or things which had menaced her.

"Just relax." Destine moved around the small office, lighting candles, and then sat across from Rebecca, bringing out a tarot deck. She shuffled, placing the deck between them, Destine cut to the left with her left hand. She dealt the cards one by one in the classic Celtic pattern.

Minutes ticked by and the woman gave a snort and swept the cards up. Destine looked at Rebecca.

"What do you know about transference?"

Rebecca cocked an eyebrow at her. "The term doesn't sound familiar… what's being transferred? Where?" She had an uneasy feeling about what the answer might be.

"Transference is a term used by the mage community to indicate the moving of one consciousness into another. The desired result is the casting out of the other personality, giving the mage a new and younger body. Some mages prefer to transfer to a fetus before a certain stage in developement so they don't have to contend with a personality and can just move into a vacant host. Others prefer not to go through childhood again."

Destine topped up the tea. "This practice is predominant among a group known as the Ambrose Society. The man you met while in my shop last is of that league."

She leaned back. "What you have is a faulty transference. I am surprised that your great-uncle has decided to help instead of trying to wrest control. Perhaps your will is too strong. Either way, the occupying one body by two spirits has done several things. One, your aura is more powerful than it should be for one of your age and experience in the art. Two, you are almost completely unshielded, and lastly, I fear that you have gained the attention of something evil."

"I can show you how to shield yourself and your scrying. I am not sure how much help I can be in other areas. I can teach you some etiquette, introduce you to some others that may be able to help you in other areas. Mother Yei can help with your astral, though," Destine leaned forward, "she was surprised that one so young could come so far so clearly and that you appeared able to use other talents in the astral. Just don't tell her I said so."

"I would like that." Rebecca grinned. "I mean, it would be nice to be able to look around without getting jumped by Cthulhu every time." Her grin faded. "Did you say you could do a reading for my mother? I had a dream about her…"

"What type of dream? With such as us, some dreams can be important." Destine listened without interrupting as Rebecca described the dream, and then, frowning, asked, "What do you think the dream means?"

"Well, it's kind of hard to evaluate one's parents objectively, you know? I think it means that Dad is getting into trouble somehow–that he's killing himself. And Mom's only hope of escaping that fate is to leave him and go with this Nathan guy." Rebecca had been very careful not to hint at Nathan's secret identity. "I mean, he seems like a very good man, but this is all requiring me to see my father in a new way, one I don't enjoy. If I were still just a young girl, I wouldn't have to deal with all this."

She smiled self-mockingly. "But what worries me is–how literally is Dad killing himself? If the whole thing is just figurative, then, fine, I've done the best I can. But what if it's more literal than that? I think Dad is kind of desperate to get back my–I mean, the money and status that he lost. What if he's getting involved with really bad people? What if he's putting himself and Mom in real physical danger?" Rebecca's small high forehead furrowed in concentration.

"And how do I know I can trust my intuition? The dream seemed really true to me, but what if someone placed it in my mind? I'm not exactly comfortable with encouraging my mother to commit adultery. What if I'm being manipulated to manipulate her in turn?" She sighed, and looked at Destine with mordant wit. "Amos is so cynical."

Destine was silent for a while. "That I can not say. I am sorry. I have a hard enough time sepearting my own visions. The only thing you have is the certain that this is no ordinary dream. Influence I can check and teach you to recognize. As for your father… perhaps some more mundane inquiries are in order. I have a few detectives that owe me."

Rebecca's smile was a weary and rather wistful expression, but one that hinted at a great capacity for joy. "Destine–thank you," she said softly.

Destine smiled. "Now, little sister, let's see to teaching you how to shield properly." With that, Destine spent several hours teaching Rebecca how to shield.