ASN 2.3 Monster Manual

by Matt P.

Walter slid back in to his SUV, settling behind the wheel as Morgan was pulling her seatbelt in to place. “If we got in to a car crash, would it even hurt you?” Walter asked curiously as he buckled in as well.

Morgan raised an eyebrow, glancing over at him. “Did you sneak in a couple of drinks while I wasn’t looking, or did you take out an insurance policy in my name?” She asked wryly, before she shrugged. “So there are really two questions there, right? Will it kill me, and will it be pretty awful to go through.”

Walter waited a moment as he turned the key, and then gave her a prompting look. She laughed a little bit, and then shrugged as he began to drive out. “Unless you crashed at a Hollywood level, where the car also exploded or we were trapped burning inside, I would probably survive. But it would hurt like a son of a bitch, and enough damage and even Tania and I have to take time to heal. Why?”

Walter shrugged. “Because I’m used to a world where if I shoot you in the chest and you’re not wearing body armor, you die. I’m trying to come to terms with what I’m dealing with here. Like…off the medical record, do you know what did that to Troll?” He asked.

Morgan frowned, watching the road for several passing moments. “You drive too slow, but you are squishy and made of meat so I forgive you,” Morgan stated as if she were making a great concession. “Honestly, I don’t know what it could be. Or more accurately, I know too many things it could be but no reason why it would be any of them.”

Walter turned left at a light, driving them back toward the house, on the theory that a grizzly murder was not worth ruining a day in the house by themselves. “Ok, so break it down for me. Because we can probably agree that if it was a human who did that they were seriously messed up. Like…Florida messed up.”

Morgan nodded solemnly at how messed up that would be, before she held up her fingers to begin counting things off. “There are a lot of things that could have the strength. A Faerie could have done it, but unless they’re crazy are much more likely to use a knife or sword even if they’re not a knight. Cause getting covered in sweaty drug dealer is icky.”

“Could it have been the Hound?” Walter asked, shuddering as he remembered the brief glances of the Faerie monster he had seen during the fight at the High School. “It got away, and if it wanted revenge…”

Morgan shook her head immediately. “No, these were done by things with at best sharp nails, not full on claws. And the Hound of Lugh tends to leave things in very specific…piles. And don’t get me wrong, some day we need to find him and undo whatever Oberon did to him, but this wasn’t him. For the same reason I don’t think it was a werewolf or vampire—both could have, but have no reason to have done it that way. A werewolf would have used claws, and a vampire wouldn’t have wasted so much blood. Plus it didn’t feel right for a werewolf.”

Walter nearly swerved the car into traffic when he jerked the wheel in shock at her casual revelations, and she gave him a sharp glare as he pulled fully back in to his lane. “So vampires and werewolves exist, then? Good to know,” he offered with a little bit of a startled laugh, sighing. “I don’t know why I’m surprised, really. I need you to give me a cheat sheet.”

Morgan laughed genuinely, running a hand back through her hair idly. “I’d love to, Walter, but the problem is there is too much of it. I’ve been dealing with these matters for seven centuries, so sitting down and trying to order it all for you is maddeningly difficult. Do I start with our myths? Do I start with the oldest pieces of lore we have as Faeries, or do I tell you what I suspect is the oldest bits of truth known to any of us? Give you a color coded list of other realms and what could kill you while you’re there?” She shrugged. “I will do the best I can to bring you up to speed as it is relevant, but I don’t think seven life times of information dumping is going to be terribly useful to you.”

Walter sighed as he made a turn, shrugging his shoulders in a show of overwhelmed confusion. “Fine, I guess…and I trust you to tell me what is going to become important as it comes up. But that means I’m going to ask a lot of annoying questions. Like…what do you mean it felt wrong for a werewolf?”

Morgan smiled at that, and held out her hands. “When there is a lightning strike you can feel it in the air. You can feel the prickling of the little hairs on your hands and arms, and you can smell it on the wind. Some people can feel when the weather changes in their joints. None of these are exactly detecting the event—the ozone is a result, not the lightning itself, and the joints are actually responding to things like pressure changes. But they still tell you that something has happened, right?” When Walter nodded, she continued. “Magic is like that. I can tell you that Werewolves have a feeling, a smell to them when they have shifted that lingers in the air if you are sensitive enough. The same way if you are sensitive enough you could tell when I’ve used my magic, and even differentiate me from Tania or someone else unless I’ve worked to cover my tracks.”

Walter nodded at that. “I’m going to renew my objection here that magic isn’t real, just a word we use for things we don’t understand, but table that in the hopes you’ll have sex with me when we get back to the house.”

Morgan paused, looking at the scenery outside as if in great thought for a long moment before she stated simply “Drive faster.”