May 18, 2008

In the Hands of Others (2 of 20)

Thread: Alpha and Omega

‘Another sighting,’ Mr. Omega said, eyes hidden behind his clip-on shades. The bus rumbled and coughed.


‘Uh-huh. Another sighting… another break-in.’

Mr. Alpha studied a garden that had paused beside them. More stone than green, a cross-shaped pond over a wavy turquoise mosaic pulled his eyes toward the back of the garden. A statue stood there, at the top of some steps, depicting several figures collapsing to the ground as swans emerged from their backs, ascending towards the sky. ‘What’s that?’

Mr. Omega tilted his head. ‘You have the guide.’

Mr. Alpha flicked through the guide quickly to a description of the “Garden of Remembrance” in Parnell Square. The statue was of a local legend known as The Children of Lir.

‘So the legend tells of the King Lir having several children with his first wife Aoibh, but then she died…’

‘I don’t need to hear this.’

Mr. Alpha read the rest in silence. Lir then married his dead wife’s sister Aoife, who became very jealous of her stepchildren/nieces. Most women in these kind of legends are horrible, spiteful creatures and, keeping with tradition, Aoife wanted to do away with her competitors for the King’s attention. In the end, she couldn’t quite bring herself to do it, so opted for the next best thing. She used magic to turn them into swans. Mr. Alpha wondered if the same thing could be done in the present day. He glanced at Mr. Omega, lurking behind his shades.

‘What? What now?’ the old man responded.

The brats of the legend were to remain swans until they heard a Christian bell, heralding the arrival of a new God to the Isle. It was all rather sad and irksome. Just the kind of thing the Cloth might have used a few hundred years ago. Or whenever this legend came from.

‘It’s a nice statue,’ Mr. Alpha noted, turning back to Mr. Omega.

The old man hacked up some phlegm and spat it onto the bus floor. ‘Right. Triffic.’

‘Fuck, mate. Do you have to do that here?’ He turned back to The Children of Lir, observing the rash of tourists, chattering away, snapping pictures. ‘She gets about. She really does get about. Is it another-’

‘Yes. The third now.’

‘Could you let me finish a god-fucking-damn single question?’

Mr. Alpha leaned backwards against the coach seat, squinting through hot sun reflected from the road. The journey from the airport to the city centre had been just too long. The heat and light were giving him a headache, but Mr. Omega was just sitting pretty as usual. Nothing seemed to bother the fucker. The bus trundled forward as the traffic began to flow again; they turned into O’Connell Street and everything looked more like city.

Either side of the street was lined with hotels and stores, but the feature that stood out was the Spire, an enormous silver splinter of metal that just looked like a giant had misplaced his javelin. That, apparently, was the city going modern. Jesus Christ, Canary Wharf look out.

‘So tell me, mate, if we hadn’t got mixed up with this Morgana wild goose chase, would I know what a blue centre is? What a blue centre is for?’

‘Look, Mr. Alpha,’ the old man whispered. ‘I didn’t know these places existed either, not until we got told that Morgana had broken into one.’ He cleared his throat and added, ‘There’s something you need to understand about a Clothman’s role in the Weave…’

Oh, another lecture. Mr. Alpha rolled his eyes.

‘The Saints know everything. The Saints plan everything. But never ever do they get their hands dirty. They just dole out orders that eventually filter down to the foot-soldiers, AKA you and me. Information and action are kept separated. It keeps the Saints at a safe distance and confers, how shall I say, longevity to the Cloth. Even when you get promoted to full robe, you won’t learn much more other than special orders like quarantine. It’s not our place to know these things.’

Mr. Alpha then asked, ‘But what about that stuff that Morgana wrote about Christianity and Islam?’

‘It might be true,’ the old man answered, ‘but it might just as easily not be. That’s the table I sup at, a veritable fucking crash diet of fact. You’ll learn to live with it. There is no such thing as knowledge for us. Even though it’s not becoming for a Clothman to chatter away like an old hen, pretty much every one does. The Christianity and Islam thing is a popular rumour and I suppose it passes the time, but don’t put too much stock in any old fanny you hear.’

‘Well, Hell’s fucking bells,’ said Mr. Alpha, wiping sweat from his face with the back of a hand. ‘If there’s barely any difference between full robes and probation, why can’t I make a call to Supply on the mobile?’

Mr. Omega lost his easy-going demeanour and turned towards Mr. Alpha. ‘Don’t fucking start that shit with me again, junior.’

Mr. Alpha slouched in his seat, still feeling an oppressed minority, the permanent probationer. He’d been through more scrapes that any normal junior would’ve experienced in the same period. ‘We getting off here?’

‘No, over the bridge first. We get off around Grafton.’

The bus was just reaching the bridge that Mr. Omega had mentioned; Mr. Alpha gazed into the choppy waters of the River Liffey, the heart of Dublin.

‘Great,’ said Mr. Alpha. ‘Paddyville.’

Posted by: The Harbour Master @ 1814

2 Responses to “In the Hands of Others (2 of 20)”

  1. Jennifer wrote on 20-May-2008 @ 1219:

    Yay – the old team are back as well! And I looked up the local legend, the Children of Lir too – so there!

    Great stuff!


  2. Jennifer wrote on 20-May-2008 @ 1219:

    Yay – the old team are back as well! And I looked up the local legend, the Children of Lir too – so there!

    Great stuff!


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