Monday, October 18, 2004

It's A Girl Update

She has a name, lucky girl, she doesn't have to spend the first months of her life being called No-Name like my Aunt Lisa did. Bridget Kristine. The newest member of the family and long awaited.

Monday, October 11, 2004

And Then There Were Nine

It's a Girl!
At long last another girl in the Burns family! It's been a long, painful drought but today Baby Girl Burns was born in Phoenix, 6 pounds, eight ounces and eighteen inches long but as of yet without a name. All things shall come in time I'm sure and the most important thing is that the ratio is finally leveling out. Before today it was one against seven. Now it is two against seven and I don't doubt that two strong young women can take on seven boys.
Finally things are looking up.

Saturday, October 02, 2004

Notes In Ancient Runes

“Well I’ll be goddamned.” Said a voice from behind him. It took a moment to register but when he turned he realized why it was familiar.
“Nora?” Derek said, doubt creeping into his voice. The young woman standing in front of him sounded like Nora, but there were quite a few differences that jumped out at him. Not the least of which was the fact that she was very much a young woman.
Then she grinned and he knew it was her, “Oh come on Farmboy, don’t tell me you don’t recognize me?”
He winced and then laughed, there was nothing malicious in the way she used that hated nickname, now he could only laugh at how accurate it had been. “You’ve changed quite a bit since the last time I saw you.”
And she had changed. She was taller than he remembered and there were some definite additions to her figure under the blue jeans and the black t-shirt with the day-glow skull and crossbones. Then there was her hair. On one half of her head it had been cut short, bleached white and gelled into spikes, one the other half it would have been perfectly normal shoulder length hair except that it had been dyed purple. But there was something else, like that lively spark that he remembered from high school was now brighter and hotter and closer to the surface.
“So how have you been?” She asked.
“Good, great actually. I’ve been working here for a few years.” Derek nodded at the people and labs around them, “Busiest crime-lab in the country”
“I’ve heard,” Nora said, looking around.
“So what brings you to Vegas?” He asked.
“Oh I came for a concert. My friend and I are here recharging our batteries.” At his slightly puzzled look she added, “I’ve been working with the Port of Los Angeles, scanning shipping containers. It tends to be a pretty big drain after awhile.”
“So you came for a concert and just decided to drop in a visit me?” He was a little puzzled, they hadn’t seen each other since high school and hadn’t emailed or really communicated at all since college.
Nora looked slightly uncomfortable, “Well, actually, I didn’t know you were here. I heard the police needed a certified magus to look at something and, well,” she flipped open her wallet, displaying her mage-card. “I was in the neighborhood so here I am.”
“I figured you’d finish out as a mage. You were the best at it back in high school.” She shrugged so Derek asked, “So what’s your certification in?”
“Greater Magics,” She said, “With secondary certifications in Rune Magic and Forensic Enchantments.”
“Greater Magics.” He repeated, “So what do you tell other people when they ask?”
She smiled a little smugly, “It depends on who asks and how much I want to impress them. Sometimes it’s Elemental Magic and General Enchantments, other times it’s Healing and Calligraphy Spells. These days I mostly tell people it’s Rune Magic and Magical Dances.”
“And when you really want to impress someone?” He asked.
“If I really want to impress someone I just tell them I’m certified in Greater Magics. If they know what it means then it impresses them, of they don’t, then they probably aren’t worth impressing.”
“No come one, really.”
“All right,” She said, “If I really want to impress someone and they don’t know that a Greater Magic certification means you have to be certified in all the branches of study then I tell them my secondary certifications are Commanding Avatars and Ancient Enchantments.”
“Commanding Avatars is big, rare and everybody knows about it.” He said, nodding.
“And Ancient Enchantments sounds more impressive than it really is.” Nora finished.
“That’s what I figured.” He said, “So if you didn’t know I was here then why did you come?”
“Well I heard you had something that needed a certified magus to look at it and I knew your forensic mage was at a conference. Your boss said it was your case.”
“Yeah, I put it in Jason’s lab so he could look at it when he got back. Here, I’ll show you.” He led the way through the halls, “This is great. I didn’t think I’d be able to get anything out of this knife until he got back. I knew it was a problem for one of you guys when none of the regular testing equipment would work on it.”
“Yeah, that’s usually a pretty good indication that magic is involved.” She said as he opened a door to reveal a small lab. The only obvious concessions to magerie were a couple of textbooks, some rune charts and a table made of wood in a building where all the others were metal or plastic or some combination of the two. Nora ignored the shelf against the wall that held neatly labeled evidence bags, stepped over to the table and ran a hand over the nearest corner. “Good table,” she said, “Polished smooth but otherwise not varnished, painted or fiddled with.” She looked around, “A good office in fact, uncluttered.”
“Yeah, Jason trained us all pretty quick where to put things when we needed him to look at them and he wasn’t here.” He gestured at the shelf, there was only one knife, “I can leave you alone if you want.”
Nora shook her head, “That’s not necessary, and I really don’t mind working with an audience.” When she saw his surprised look she said, “Some mages hate working in front of people, It really makes no difference to me and seeing someone do magic often makes people more comfortable with it.”
“Ok.” He said and stood back as she pulled on gloves, took the knife out of the evidence bag and set it in the center of the table. “Do know anything about the case?”
“No.” She said, “It’s actually easier to do this kind of thing if I don’t have impressions and assumptions cluttering up my thinking.” She studied the knife for a few minutes and then sighed, “Well, ok, I won’t worry about that yet.” Then she ran a hand through her hair and shook her head. Derek blinked as her hair abruptly changed to a perfectly normal shoulder length black. Suddenly she looked a lot more like the Nora he remembered.
“What?” he started to ask, but then she interrupted him.
“It’ll be easier to do this without having to hold that illusion on my hair.” She said without looking up. He didn’t get a chance to say that he hadn’t been asking about her hair because just then she got started.
Nora pulled a piece of blue chalk out of her pocket and drew a circle around the knife. Then she put the chalk away and sprinkled a pinch of some kind of dark powder over the weapon. At first Derek thought his eyes were playing tricks with him but then Nora frowned and started whispering in what sounded like Latin and he realized that he’d obviously never seen a real professional do magic before.
There were no sparks or flashes of color and noise. Instead the knife was just sitting on the table and reflecting like an oil slick, which it hadn’t been doing before. Then Nora stopped whispering and the knife’s appearance changed again. Instead of looking like an oil slick the surface of the knife now looked like it was covered with millions of tiny hairs that shifted rapidly from one pattern to another. Then it suddenly stopped and looked exactly the same as it had before.
Nora straightened up and looked at him, “That should do it. It’ll work with your equipment now but there is one thing.”
“That’s it?” he asked. When she nodded he said, “Ok then, what’s the thing?”
“Well, I’m going to visit my mentor in a couple of days and I’m going to have to take this with me.” He started to object but she cut him off, “I can wait until you finish collecting evidence and documenting everything but this is one of those things.”
“What do you mean?” He asked, already worrying about what this would do to his case in spite of her assurances.
“It’s hard to explain.” She grimaced, “I can tell you that this is a whole lot more than just some run of the mill knife that’s been enchanted to resist normal evidence gathering techniques. It’s a whole lot older and a whole lot nastier than it looks.”
“Well the police will have it melted down after the case has been closed for five years, that’s procedure.”
Nora shook her head, “That won’t work. It will resist being destroyed that casually. It’s sort of got a mind of it’s own. I’m going to have to take it to my mentor and figure out what to do with it.” She held up a hand, “And before you start objecting even more, the Council of Magi will agree with me. So it’s really not up to you or the Las Vegas Police. Once you’re done with it this knife will be my responsibility.”