The City of Darkened Emeralds
October 1st-2nd Journal Entry For Morgiana Blackwell
1 October 2000
So Richard left town late last night to go see a friend in Chicago. Before he left he gave me this book and said to write in it every day. Said it would be therapeutic, might help me center myself, may help with the nightmares. I fuckin doubt it but he’s been there and his there was on a little french beach on the 6th of June 1944. He’s been through what I’m going through and came out stronger for it.
I asked him what to write, he responded with a shrug, a wink and a “figure it out”. Thanks old man thanks. He’s like that. It’s really quite annoying but I’ve learned not to let it get under my skin quite so much.
I figure one day someone will read this who has never met me so I should probably introduce myself. My name is Morgiana Athena Aphrodite Blackwell. I am five foot seven, 125 lbs of lean muscle with hair that changes with the weather. I’m a quarter Japanese (slanty eyes), quarter Irish (they’re green),half somthin or other American mutt (I think the unknown half is Swedish or Swiss just cause of my bone structure and body type but I really have no idea). I like my tattoos, my piercings and my vices (Irish) . I grew up in what one may call a broken home if one were feeling generous. My mother was addicted to crack and when she wasnt high she was drunk. I’m pretty sure she is dead. I have not seen her since I was 13. My formal education was spotty at best, but I basically lived at the public library and had several teachers at the community college who took me under their wings. I was a bit of a prodigy, I could speak French, Spanish, Italian, Russian and Arabic before I was 10 and was keeping up with the kids in the calc 221 class without issues. I think its safe to say I was probably better educated than the average urban high school drop out.
From 12 to 16 I conned, stole, dealt, and fucked my way into a new identity. I was once a real people person,though if you met me today you wouldn’t believe it. My Identity may be fabricated but $63,000 made me more legit than the average citizen. I have a birth certificate, ssn, drivers license,voter registration, high school diploma, a halfway decent credit score, even a few parking tickets and an award from the drama department of a school I have never attended all in the system and hard copies of the more crucial documents to boot. God I love hackers. So at 16 I was officially 18 and I joined the army as CI. I had always been pretty good at the whole violence thing and the getting people to tell me what I want to know thing (though since 95 I’ve been more awkward than a feral pig at a tea party but we’ll get to why in a bit) and counter intel seemed like the best way for a female to get attached to a combat unit.
After basic I was stationed at Fort Lewis, WA and was deployed after being there for 6 months. I was thrilled. Probably because I was stupid. I thought I may be going to Somalia to join the rangers who were stationed there (turns out that shit was about to hit that proverbial fan in Mogadishu). Nope, and even my CO had no idea as to what was to be my destination.
I was told to gather my gear, get to Seatac my contact was to meet me there at the bus stop, he’d find me. he did, it was some stupid lookin’ jock who tried to hit on me. He wrote his number on his old ticket sleeve and got on the bus with a “Hope to hear from you soon, chicks in uniform are so hot.” I didn’t even have to pretend I was disgusted. So I went inside with my plane ticket and a number to call when I landed.
The plane took me to New York City where I was greeted by a jolly man with a bad sense of fashion who played the roll of excited father pretty damn well. Once we were on the road the facade dropped and his eyes were glacier cold. This shit was getting real fucking exciting real fast. I remember thinking I felt like I was in a James Bond flick. How wrong I was, the hero wins and the bad guy dies in 007.
Turns out I was to go to the Russian town of Budyonnovsk to find a former CIA spook who had defected and ensure he could do no more harm after finding out every thing he had already told the Ruskies.
“Why me?” I had asked warily,”Why not a tried and tested field operative?”
“Three reasons Miss Blackwell, first off he knows many of our ‘tried and tested field opperatives’. Second He’s hiding in Russia as a doctor and you speak flawless French.”
My quirked eyebrow asked the question my mouth did not.
“Your Russian is sub par but it is sub par with a French accent. That kind of thing takes years of training to achieve and you are much too young to be an operative who has received years of training. He will be wary, he is good but your bad Russian should be enough to throw him off enough for you to get close.”
The mans wolfish smile confirmed what I already suspected,”He’s into young girls, has a weakness for Asians and French accents and you could walk a runway with the best of them.”
Well fuck me cause it sounded like that was gonna happen anyway, by a 45 year old balding spook.
So now I was no longer Morgiana. I was Caroline Moura a French do gooder from Lyons who had joined a charity organization to help the victims of the Russian-Chechnya war. I was there for four weeks and had just made contact with the mark when all hell broke loose. Actually I was in the middle of making contact when all hell broke loose.
So there we are, me bent over his desk screaming my pleasures for all the hospital to hear, his back to the door when a Chechan opens the door with Kalashnikov in hand and starts yelling in Russian to get on the ground. Talk about being caught with your pants down. It didn’t matter, the mark (whose given name was ironically Mark) was just too good. In the blink of an eye the Chechen was dead and Mark had a silenced pistol in his hand. Where it was hidden I will never know but it was obvious that Mark had not lived this long by being slow or stupid. Then the gun was pointed at me and he made his last mistake, he didn’t kill me when he had the chance. I cried wide eyed in what seemed to be panic stricken idiocy and babbled in French “please don’t kill me please don’t kill me” over and over again.
He simply pulled his pants up and said in faulty French, “pull body behind desk.” I did as I was told as he cautiously peered into the hall. After the man had saved then spared my life I put 30 rounds of 7.62 mm into his back from less than three feet away.
I’ve been told that the most common time for a persons powers to manifest are during late puberty and during times of stress. This qualified. I had never killed a man before this and I did it from close enough to be sprayed with hot blood and bits of Mark because I had been told to. I didn’t even know the guy, let alone hate him.
Something broke inside of me.
My third eye opened.
I Saw Mark for what he truly was, a battle scarred hero surrounded by a ring of white fire. As that fire died he looked at me confused. A spectral raven came and took him away.
Within a matter of seconds the other Chechen rebels on that floor responded to the sounds of the gunfire and entered the room to findtwo dead men and a beautiful naked woman staring in horror and covered in gore. They had the forms of demons, demons of hate and lust and battle rage.
I was beaten and taken down to the cafeteria where they were holding the majority of the hostages. the room was oppressive with the weight of over a thousand terrified souls crushing my breath and deafening my ears. We were there for 5 hours before the first shift was given permission to rest. That’s when the raping began, and I was a favorite. The horror and damage I received i can not put into words. No one could do that kind of mind breaking horror even a hint of accurate descriptive justice. One of the worst parts was watching the souls of the other women being torn to shreds by those monsters of hate. The hostage situation lasted five days. I stopped fighting my attackers by the third. The Russians assaulted the hospital at dawn on the fourth day. Body parts littered the halls and corpses were being burnt in the courtyard. the Chechens still held the hospital several hours later. I begged men for death through broken teeth. Only one man responded to me. One Shamil Basayev said to me “now why would we kill such a pretty little thing like you? you’d be no fun at all cold.” The demons’s form was that of a giant, his skin was stitched of a thousand dead stillbirths with flames pouring through the cracks. His massive arms were covered in the blood of noble knights and writhing with veins filled with corpse maggots. As he moved you could hear the weak scream of the man trapped within. This was the thing that lead them. I vomited blood. I hadn’t slept since my eye opened.
There were two more assaults on the hospital each just as bloody as the last. I walked through crossfire but nobody could hit me. I was cursed. Then all I could do was shake and stare at the carnage around me. The suffering and pain had numbed me.
On June 19th 1995 the majority of us were released. As we left I pulled the pistol from a malitsiya who was escorting us to safety and put a bullet into my head just behind the ear.
When I woke I was in a hospital bed. My third eye had closed when I lost consciousness but the damage was done. With tubes protruding from my arms I cried for a long long time. Nurses and doctors came and tried to talk to me but I was too far gone. One woman sat next to me and just held me as I cried until I was dry then she just kept holding me as I sobbed in tearless misery. I send her flowers every year. I have not been able to cry since.
Within three months on the fifth floor of the Madigan Army Medical Center, Psyche ward. My time there is mostly a drugged haze, but while I was there I managed to tattoo the words “I can’t forget” 169 times on my left arm with a used hypodermic and several ball point pens. I don’t even remember doing it but the proof is there. Shortly after this I tried to kill myself with a sharpened piece of metal I smuggled in from the parking lot during one of our 3 scheduled smoke breaks. I went wrist to elbow and actually almost succeeded. Turns out that a hospital is a hard place to bleed yourself out. Ninety seven stitches later and I was never alone and on too many drugs to do much but drool, a lot. God I hate hospitals.
No one is sure how I lived through the bullet but I no longer remember any foreign languages and it took me a few months to speak English again. Many of the things that were once second nature and the ages 5-7 are just gone from my memory. On occasion I will start talking in French or Arabic and not realize it until it is pointed out to me or ‘remember’ how to do something I had forgotten I knew or perhaps never did. I can now listen to a piece of music once and replicate it perfectly on a piano but don’t really like playing. I never played the piano prior to this, I don’t think.
It’s getting late and I want to put a few rounds and blasts range before the sun has set to clear my head. I’ll write more later.
2 October 2000
continued from 1 October,
During my drooling phase I was often visited by a hansom doctor who appeared to be in his mid 50’s. His Name is Richard Reinhardt and he is a hell of a man. A real heart of gold kind of guy. He got me discharged and dealt with the VA for me while I recovered at his estate. He explained to me that I was not insane. That I was not cursed. That I was just one of the unluckiest girls on the planet. He taught me of the white council, the laws of magic, the wardens etc. He is a warden and a bit of a bad ass. He taught me everything I know and helped me a lot with my ptSd. Meditation, a strict training regiment and a purpose really helped me put myself back together. I will be a warden eventually. It takes time is what Richard would say if I ever asked him when I would drop my brown robes and pick up the gray. I don’t ask. I know Richard will promote me when he thinks I am ready. Besides I am basically a warden now, I’m only lacking four things; a sword, a gray cloak, the authority to pass judgment and the authority to serve the sentence. I still join the team for raids and the other fun stuff. I just never have to kill anyone unless they are trying to kill me. Which is really fine by me.
The guys and gals I work with are a hard bunch but I have earned their grudging respect. Our job is primarily to stop those who would abuse their power and hurt others. Keeping people safe from monsters is what I do, whether they be rogue magi or trolls. I have a bit more of a personal drive in the keeping people safe business than most of my colleagues. I take my work pretty seriously. I’m not too much a letter of the law kind of person more a spirit of the law type. Protect those who can’t protect themselves kind of thing. I read three to four hours a day, run four to five miles every other day or so, practice my combat spells for at least 4 hours everyday when I’m at Richards and will hit the heavy bag for a half hour each day before my afternoon meditation. When I’m not at Richards my routine (not really I’ll explain in a second) is basically the same but less evocation and more thaumaturgy. I really excel at the crafting aspect of thaumaturgy. And while I like making things and the practical application of it biomancy is fun too. Ive gotten good enough that I have removed the shrapnel scars from my thigh and an old tattoo from when I was 15. Richard wont let me remove the scar on my left arm yet or the tattoos. “Magic can’t heal some scars. so just leave that one there as a reminder that even the strongest of us can be weak and need help at times.” Another practical use I have found for biomancy is changing my hair color. It is a ritual that I developed my self and the components (a crayon, three drops of my blood, one hair and a chameleon’s sheddings and a bottle of unscented conditioner)come out to be cheaper than a box of dye and your roots never show another color. I can still remember how Richard laughed when I came out of the lab for the first time in three days with bright orange hair. “This is the secret project you’ve been working on? you look even more ridiculous than normal! whats next your nails? cause right now they don’t match, ha!” So by the next week I got my nails did all magic like.
The reason my routine isn’t is because that’s how we get the bad guys. We study their routines and hit them when they are most vulnerable. This is especially essential when dealing with people who can throw out a death curse with their dying breath. If the bad guys ever come for us they would use the same tactic if they were smart. So Richard has made it a point to ensure we never do the same thing at the same time in the same place while taking the same route there. It was a pain in the ass at 1st but now I’m uncomfortable if I have to schedule myself to bounce two days in a row at the same time. The nice part about being head of security at deja vu is that this rarely happens. About the only things that are regular is that I teach a woman’s self defense class at the Y once or twice a week, but it is completely volunteer and I change up the night that I teach each week, and a egyptology class that I take every Tuesday at noon.
My most recent project is fashioning a new leg for Karli. I have it all carved and sanded, I used English Oak for bones, Yew for the “muscles” and Kingswood for the joints. The straps have been fashioned from camel leather with brass. It is almost ready for enchantment, all I still need is a full moon and about two pints of her blood. That should be an interesting conversation.
The VA paid me yesterday. I think I will go get myself a rifle, I think shit’s about to go down in Chicago with Morgan’s recent request for Richard to meet him there. I guess there is some guy there who not only got away with breaking the first law of magic but also learned nothing from the inquisition. Morgan has wanted his head for a while and that guy normally gets what he wants.
I cant wait to see Helga.