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Novelist and more.

Champions of the Veil Chapter Eleven

FrenchQuarterFest_0_0

Robert continues teaching Sam and Raquel.

As they move into the French Quarter, their eyes and ears seeing and hearing beyond the Veil, the variety of the visible sights are just as varied as the unseen sight.

Robert has been away from New Orleans a long time, and power has changed hands.

Chapter 11

Those who flee temptation generally leave a forwarding address.

Lane Olinghouse

 

Moments later, they strolled along Bourbon Street. Even when it wasn’t Mardi Gras there is always something going on Bourbon Street. They discreetly pointed out Pedos, Alcos, Pounders, and a few Bestials, some of them were similar while others were completely different.

They made their way into a restaurant bar to eat. The bar contained various entities riding humans. They sat at the bar, the bartender approached with a small creature sitting on his head with spines poking out of its back, scratched and picked at his nostrils. Its legs resembled a spider except for the two miniscule human appearing ones picking and scraping at his nostrils. The demons triple eyes appeared human and bloodshot; it vibrated as he took their orders.

The bartender walked away, Robert informed them it was a minor demon. An addiction demon, most likely he was a cocaine addict since the demon picked and clawed at his nose.

They scanned the predominately filled open-air bar. The heavenly creatures looked in their direction, the ones with humanoid bodies, nodded or waved to them, which he instructed them to place their hands over their hearts in response to being noticed. Several demons and devils looked their way and they dropped their hands.

A woman walked by with a humping beast with a head resting on top of hers and another small head on the end of an elongated neck peeking out from between her legs. Four arms gripped her, while two caressed her breasts, the other set massaged between her legs.

Raquel gave Robert a questioning look as she passed.

He blinked, “One form of an Adulterer, she’s an adulteress.”

Many of the people in the bar had varying degrees of guardians and bright auras. Raquel saw an angel with wings across the room wondering what the female appearing angel would look like up close. The next moment the angel stood in front of her smiling.

Raquel jerked back.

“You must have called her over,” Robert whispered.

The angel reached out her hands to touch Raquel’s face and a feeling of calm serenity flowed over her. Her guardians traveled down the angel’s arms as it giggled silently with delight. They ran back up her arms and returned to Raquel. She spread her wings turning around for Raquel to see.   It appeared female due to the angel’s small breasts, face and hair. Otherwise, she was androgynous.

“Thank you.” Raquel whispered, placing her hands over her heart.

It nodded, touching Sam’s face and he peacefully closed his eyes and then touched Robert, who didn’t react much at all. She stepped back considering him then touched his chest where the Key resided. She nodded, wrapping her arms around him in a long hug before reappearing behind her charge across the room.

“What was that about?” Raquel asked.

“She…recognized me as a Champion and…she unburdened my soul a little.”

She took his hand.

A leering man walked over to them. On his back, a triangle headed insect, similar to a praying mantis, but instead of claws, yard long human penises whipped in the air.

He pushed in between Sam and Raquel, Robert on her other side.

He ordered a drink as the demon tried to rub its appendages on her but her hive of guardians attacked.

He glanced at her, “How ya doing?” his eyes roamed freely up and down her body.

Raquel made sure she looked him in the eyes as the swarm attacked; “Fine, thank you.”

“You with him?” he jerked his chin toward Robert as the swarm increased its attacks.

She held up their hands, “What do you think?”

He sneered evilly, “You ever want a real man? Come talk to me.” he took his drink and returned to his table.

“What an ass!” she said.

Robert sighed, “Yeah, and that was the human side of him not his rider.”

“What was-? Sam asked wiggling his arms in the air.

“A form of a Rapist, if he hasn’t raped someone yet, he will, the Rapist has grown too big to not have control of him.

Sam nodded and his stomach rumbled, “Guys, no offense, I know we’re learning things here but I’m starving.”

They asked for menus, ordering a meal, watching the movement around them. Robert explained the creatures he could identify, entering and leaving the bar as they ate. Robert made them realize not all forms of the malign or divine had the same shape. Just like humans, they were individuals. Pounders would have different types of skin coloration, Rapists weren’t always insect shaped, and riders weren’t always the same just as the horses humans rode weren’t always the same. Vacationers, businessmen, locals, all moved around the bar, some had riders or protectors yet all were different. Some even had both.

Finishing their meal, Robert remembered a place in the quarter he wanted to take them.

He gave his angelic smile, “Have you guys ever visited a voodoo shop?”

They shook their heads.

“Well, this will be a lesson in temptation. There’s a voodoo shop just beside the Cathedral if you want to see Tempters and Protectors at work.”

They hurried their meal, Robert calling the bartender over.

“So that takes care of our bill, right?” Robert asked him.

The bartender frowned, “What?”

Robert pointed at their plates, “The bill? And the tip was enough, right?”

He looked at Robert strangely, “Mister, I think you’re confused. You ain’t paid me yet.”

Robert responded with his most realistic confused look, “Sure we did, you shoved it in your right pocket when you went to help those girls at the end of the bar, remember?”

The bartender’s eyes widened.

“Go ahead, check and see, you probably forgot.”

The bartender reached into his right pocket pulling out a wad of money.

He couldn’t look Robert in the eyes as the nose picking demon stopped picking.

Robert smiled, “I know it’s a lot for a tip but it was good service.”

“Yeah…uh…thanks a lot. You have a good day.” He hurried off.

Leaving the bar, Raquel asked for an explanation.

“It stood to reason he was pocketing money to buy his supply. I saw him pocket some as he rang up a sell. So I read him, knew how much was there and made him make up the difference in our bill.” he gave her a smug and satisfied smile.

“Tricky.” Sam said appreciatively.

“Nope. Justice. Now let’s head to this Voodoo shop.”

They walked down an adjoining street, observing the people passing by. Auras were both dim and bright, guardians and their charges kept pace with demonic riders and their horses. It was unusual to see both together around one person but there were many, but then the rider and guardian constantly glared at each other as if they were going to come to blows at any moment.

“Explain that.” Raquel asked as a couple passed, the male with guardians only, and the female with just demons.

“What? The opposites attracting thing?” Robert knew what she was asking.

“Yeah, what’s the deal?

He shrugged, “Sometimes it happens. Opposites attract. But…eventually one prevails over the other and either the protector is forced to leave by the will of who it protects or the rider is forced out. Meaning one side will overcome the other. Sometimes it takes days, months, or years, sometimes never.” He saddened, “The couple remains together in an uneasy truce, but happiness is never truly there. It’s a myth opposites attract and be happy, like attracts like, love seeks love. A happy couple attracts each other due to the love they both share in their soul.”

Behind them, Sam called for them to wait on him.

When they turned around, Sam knelt tying and untying his shoes.

A Bestial stood directly in front of him slapping at his guardians who fluttered on his shoulders.

Robert and Raquel calmly walked to his side avoiding the gaze of the demon.

“Having trouble with your shoes?” Robert ignored the Bestial as it snarls into the right side of his face.

The demon swatted at the beehive around Raquel and continuing slapping away Sam’s guardians.

“We told you not to get those.” Raquel ignored the swiping claws inches from her face.

“Yeah…they’re too tight. I’m just trying to get them set right.” Sam’s hands shook visibly.

Robert sighed, “Hey, Sam I am, remember the rules?”

“Yeah, I could use some help right about now, a lot would be appreciated.”

Instantly, white glowing brilliance surrounded them and the Bestial. It jumped backwards as several angels moved closer, intimidating it. It snarled but they didn’t retreat, some even drew flaming swords. Four divine beings circled Sam as he examined his shoestrings, when they placed their palms on his back; a sense of calm assurance relaxed him.

The Bestial kept retreating; the protectors advanced. It abruptly broke and ran away. The pursuing angels, seven in all, sheathed their flaming swords then disappeared. Sam smiled up at the four still by him who returned his smile then faded away as his two small guardians settled on his shoulders instead of his back.

Robert crossed his arms and whistled, “Well look at that.”

“That was incredible.” Raquel whispered.

“It’s true. They…” Sam’s eye’s moistened.

Robert helped him stand, “Faith is a powerful thing, you called for help and they answered. Look at this too; your guardians ride your shoulders now instead of hanging around your back. You’ve taken a leap in faith, buddy boy.”

Raquel hugged him; Robert pat him on the back as he dried his eyes.

Robert pointed down the street, “Alright my little troupe, let’s head to that shop.”

“Wait, why did that demon confront me?” Sam asked as Raquel kept her arm around his neck.

“Did you see it before it was in front of you?” Robert asked.

“No I was listening to the two of you talk then it stomped over and stood in front of me.”

“Did you look it in its eyes?”

“No, I called you two to stop; I acted like my laces were untied.”

Robert frowned, “Do you want my opinion?”

“Of course.”

“The Bestial noticed your lack of faith, your cynicism. It thought you might have been an easy ride. To tell you the truth, if you hadn’t have met me or listened to my rules; you would have probably had a rider sooner than later.”

He was shocked; “My faith was that small? But I believe…”

Robert tapped him on the forehead, “Here, you believed. Or considered yourself a believer.”

He placed his hand over Sam’s heart, “Until now, here? You were skeptical, here you didn’t fully believe. That’s why it chose to confront you.”

Sam looked skyward, “I believe. I believe, truly I do.”

Robert grinned, “Yep, you’re beginning to. Now let’s get to that shop.”

He decided to take them down the street behind St. Louis Cathedral because he wanted to show them the sights slowly. He knew the square and gardens in front of the Cathedral were a hubbub of activity. Soon they made turned left onto the street with the Voodoo shop.

They slowed their walk because of a commotion only they could see going on in the front of the store. A crowd of different angels stood outside of the entrance as demons leaned out of windows and doorways.

Twenty feet from the store, Robert stopped them.

“Watch what happens. The creatures hanging out of the store are Tempters; the angels in front are there to resist them.”

Individuals and couples walked by; the Tempters swung their arms out to touch the people passing. The angels did the same. Sometimes the people would pass, stop, and then continue. If they already had guardians, they usually would continue down the street. If they had riders, they often went in without coercion. Those that had neither, the angels and demons fought over. Eventually the individuals made up their mind and go in or leave.

“That’s how Tempters work, they give you the urge, and the protectors try to purge the urge. It’s another case of free will at work, the individual makes up their own mind.”

They watched as a group hurried down the street coming toward them led by a extremely animated dark-haired, long-haired man   encouraging the following seven others behind him, four women and three men, two muscular and one tall to enter the shop.

The protectors looked at the guardians of the long-haired man, a female shaped guardian and a male bearded one. His guardians shrugged at them as the animated man told the others to hurry up.

The Tempters smiled at the divine hosts as he encouraged them to enter.

Sam leaned over, “Why is he encouraging the others? I mean he has two guardians why are they just shrugging at the protectors?”

“Free will, they can’t stop him or his friends. See the long-haired brunette in back? Her guards are trying their best to convince her not to go in. The others are indifferent about going in, but his enthusiasm is drawing them in.”

The leader entered with his reluctant guardians as the others followed behind the Tempters touching them and the protectors trying to give convince them to go away.

“You would think the one with the large guardians would be the one trying to convince the others not to be going in.” Raquel said.

“You would think wouldn’t y-” Robert stopped, as the longhaired man walked out of the store.

He was nervous, distressed, seeming confused. The Tempters reached out to him but his guardians slapped their appendages away.

He spoke from the doorway into the interior toward his friends.

Robert smiled, “My, my, my.”

“What is it?” Sam asked.

“He senses something is wrong. He’s picking up bad vibes. He’s not a Champion or warrior, but he’s sensing something’s wrong about the store.”

The long-haired man laughed at something one of his friends said as they came to the door. He stepped back up to the threshold, his guardians wrapping their arms around him. Stood there for a moment then stepped out. From where the Champions stood they heard him saying loudly to a friend inside something was wrong and he was going to stay outside. Two of the large men came out, the bald-headed man asked him what was wrong but he couldn’t explain, telling him something didn’t feel right. The bald man decided to stay outside with him as the others exited with different purchased packages. The women laughed at him as they walked toward the three Champions who overheard the friends say, “You were the one telling us to go in.” His response was “something wasn’t right in that place it scared me, I didn’t feel right until I came out of the store then I felt fine.”

The longhaired man’s guardians passed by them, Robert gave them a thumbs up which they returned.

“So did he have some special power?” Raquel asked.

“No, I just think he is an actual true believer in the Creator and it’s made him more sensitive to what’s beyond the Veil. Who knows; he might have been a Champion or Shaman in a previous life. Anyway, let’s go to this little place I know by the Cathedral that serves some great coffee and tea and watch and learn.”

****

The small café across from the central garden in the French Quarter where artists and acrobats entertained tourists was quaint. Ordering two teas and a large coffee for Sam, they moved to the back of the building by a window to observe the people and things walking by.

Teenagers and children with riders, including one seven or eight year old child carrying a Killer rider, walked by their window. When they asked about it, Robert explained the child was going to grow up to be a killer, the Killer demons only rode calculatingly cold humans so young the Killer must have seen a high potential in the child.

A tall well-dressed black man walked up to their table and sat down with a cup of Espresso. Neatly groomed, immaculately dressed in tie and slacks with a button downed white shirt.

Raquel glared at him, “Uh, hello? Did you hear an invitation?”

He ignored her; “I assume you be the leader this time Robert?” he replied with a Cajun accent.

He inadvertently locked eyes with Robert, both men experienced dizziness.

“Hello, I’m speaking to you?” Raquel asked again.

He flicked dismissive fingers in her direction, “Tell your whore to shut up while we talk.”

Raquel leaned back, “What the hell did you say?”

“We can get a manager over here, mister.” Sam warned standing up just as she did.

The man said something, which forced them both to immediately sit. He looked at Sam who experienced dizziness, then Raquel who felt the same.

“So, ya’ll are Sam, and you want to be called Raquel, can’t get yer real name. Now, what are ya’ll doin’ in my city?” he smiled a perfect smile with dazzling bright teeth.

“You son of a-” Raquel began but Robert held up his hand to her.

“Everyone this is Adam Longstreet, he thinks of himself as a witch doctor.” his lips curling in distaste.

Longstreet chuckled, “Witchdoctor? You sure are a dramatic holy man ain’t ya? I’m a little bit more than that. The Quarter and all of New Orleans is my city now. I work the mojo ‘round here. Things changed since last you here. Ya’ll is on my territory, my friends telling me you got business here but they don’t know what. So let’s make things easy and just tell old Longstreet here what ya’ll up to, eh?”

Robert’s left eyebrow rose, “Your city? You mean, Matilda May’s city don’t you? I don’t think your teacher would like you proclaiming such things in her territory. Don’t ask questions you might get answers to either.”

Longstreet sipped his cup, “Oh, you think you stronger than me, boy? I got more Mojo in my pinkie then you got in your whole body. I know the power you got, I run things now, understand?” he shook his head and poked his bottom lip out, “The old hag is gone, is gone, I’m the boss now, you don’t wanna screw with me or mine.”

“Maybe you don’t want to screw with us?” Raquel said.

He looked at her, “You think you got the strength to go up ‘gainst my boys? Eh, little bitch?” he said something under his breath.

“Remember the rules.” Robert quickly said.

Four massive Rape Demons appeared around Longstreet.

He grinned, “See these boys, they my favorites. LOOK AT ‘EM!” he commanded, his voice raising an octave.

She began to involuntary turn her head but Robert took her attention; “There’s nothing that matters there needing to be seen, neither by her or you Sam, Pax.”

Longstreet’s lips curled viciously, “I said look at them, ya little whore. What the matter, you not strong enough? You need the holy man to tell you what to do. Boys, show her what you using on her you get the chance.” His accent grew heavier the madder he became.

The Rape demons surrounded her pulling on what could only be phallus. The phallus were barbed, monstrously sized, and covered with inverted hooks.

She saw them out of the corner of her eyes stroking themselves making her stomach clenched.

Longstreet snickered, “Oh, I see you the kind that really like the big ones. Or are you one of the rug munchers? Maybe you like both. Don’t matter none, I taking you first.” He clicked his tongue, “They mess you up bad when they done with you. I’d love to hear that squeaky little girl voice screaming out in pleasure or pain either one, I give you both.”

“I think you’ve said enough.” Sam interrupted.

“Did anybody ask you anything, you fat faggot? I’ll have you deep throat me while this girl here licking my ass clean of shit. Or maybe I make you pound her in the ass while I take her in the front, I think she be liking that, eh?”

“I said that was enough.” beads of perspiration grew on Sam’s forehead.

“What you gonna do about it? I could release my boys and make them make you airtight. Don’t go screwing around with me. You got no power to speak of, shit; I make you eat my shit before she lick me clean. Then I-”

“You talk too much.” Robert finally said.

Longstreet turned back to him, “What’s that you say Holy man?”

“I thought I talked too much, you, you just talk way too much even for me.”

“You think you can make me shut up, I make you suck and swallow me.” Longstreet’s’ veins throbbed at his temples.

“Okay first of all-” Robert mumbled something and the Rape demons turned and ran, “-they’re making me sick. Second-” he spoke again and the others could move freely, “You don’t command my friends. You don’t speak to them like that.”

Longstreet jerked in surprise as his demons ran off, again when Robert cancelled his spell.

Robert leaned forward on the table, rested his chin on his laced fingers, propped on his elbows, “I’ve known people like you all my life Longstreet. Blowhards, assholes who think they have more power than they do, trying to push others around. You have power, yes you do, but you don’t know the extent of my abilities, Mattie May knew some of it, that’s why we came to a mutual understanding last time I was here. Even though she owes me some debts, I respect her, you, you aren’t worthy of much. Most people who have to curse and use the language you do rarely have anything useful to say. Mattie used to say you wouldn’t amount to much, I believe her. You prove her right every second.”

“You fu-” Longstreet started to speak, nostrils flaring.

“Quiet!” Robert commanded with an enchantment making Longstreet fall backwards in his chair making customers laugh quietly.

“Sit.” Robert ordered again.

Longstreet resisted but Robert felt the power of the Key in his chest as Longstreet slowly righted his chair and sat back down.

“What we are doing in your city is none of your concern. This is Matilda May’s city, why she’s not in power, I don’t know…unless you had a hand in it.   You will leave us alone or we will show you what powers we possess. Does the holy man make himself clear?”

“You screwing with the wrong-”

“Don’t learn quickly do you?” he spoke a command.

Longstreet continued but instead he said, “Magboo joo weeta-”

He stopped, stared at Robert his face grew stricken.

Robert gave him a smug grin, “Tower of Babel. Gods command words, Babble on Longstreet. Listen to your betters occasionally. Now I’m sure you’ll try to get revenge on us once the prayer I cast on you wears off. So remember I have my boys too. Persona non-grata; Ave‘.”

Longstreet jerked to his feet, leaving as suddenly as he came through the café doors.

Robert sighed, “He’ll be trouble. He’s arrogant and he’ll call down bad mojo on us, so we need to watch him. Don’t be caught alone with him. If he is the new head of the dark humans in New Orleans, he has power. The last time I was here the reigning sorceress was an incredibly powerful woman, a true voodoo queen. We came to a truce, so either she died or he killed her and took her place. So we need to be careful near him.”

“You don’t know how badly I wanted to hit him.” Raquel said.

Sam nodded, “I did too, and he was a rude SOB.”

“We would just have been arrested for assault which would have been great for him. Then he would have more time to find out what we’re doing here.”

“Speaking of which, can we go see the Cathedral?” Raquel’s eyes brightened finishing her cup of tea.

Robert grinned at her, “We can make that detour, sure.”

To be continued…

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