The weeks had passed quickly since the War for the Pub (as it was now coming to be known) had ended and my wife had died the victim of vampirism. Sherry and Vodka had christened their little girl and named her – Harmonia. I was told that it was a pretty forgone conclusion she would be a Muse like her mother. She was cute as a button. She had her fathers dark hair but her mothers lovely face. The first time I actually saw Harmonia was shortly after my wife had died and she was nursing at her mother’s breast. It was a sight that did cheer me a little. There is always something about a woman nursing her child that gives me hope and peace. I still cried myself to sleep. Tequila for her part was perfect in handling it. Close enough to show her love and support for my grief but distant enough so she never gave the impression that she was trying to take my wife’s place. There was always the old saying about ‘There is only one way to comfort a widow (or widower I imagine), you just have to remember the risks” but Tequila gave no sign this was her motive. She simply was strong for me when I was weak and I was weak a lot.
I found some pleasure in the pub returning to ‘normal’. It was now close to Halloween and thanks to Naphtha’s magic the Halloween decorations were in force but everyone was more in a thankful mood that a scary one. The costumes this year were less scary and more about hopeful things than the vampires and zombies of last year. It is hard to imagine horror when you have experienced it. I was more content to get back to my brews and wine vats in the cellar. The brews that would follow for the next months would all be reported as being both sweet and sour at the same time. Perhaps it was my mood affecting the outcome. The city around us rebuilt quickly. Naphtha told me she was helping with that once she got the pub back to normal, she extended her magic to the streets around us. It was taxing for her and to top it all off I knew it was close for the time she would hibernate in her tree for the winter. The town however was almost as it was as the month of October drew to a close.
The pub returned to its normal life, people drinking theology and philosophy brews. The townsfolk had come to see the pub as a sort of port in the storm now. People shuffled in and out with smiles. Miss Wine was back to being her nudist self along with many others. There were writers coming in and out preparing for National Novel Writing Month. The one thing that had changed was my perspective. To pass the time between grief spells I began to investigate what was really going on leading up to the War for the Pub. Oddly enough Tequila freely offered up the following after I asked only once.
Firstly I found out that my three barmaids were more than barmaids. I thought to Tequila originally as Spanish in origin but that was not completely true. Tequila and her two sisters are actually Jewish and Spanish combined. They were recruited into an organization that was dedicated to defending humanity against supernatural threats. Tequila was actually a deep cover operative, he specialty being infiltration and information gathering. The barmaid position was perfect for her as a lot of information comes through bars and pub and my theology and philosophy often caused tongues to wag more than they normally would.
Tequila brought in her sisters when she discovered that my pub and the surrounding city had high levels of supernatural activity . Margareta is an enforcer type, she was motivated by the fact her husband had been killed by vampires. Pina Colada is not only a nurse but a computer hacker of tremendous skill. Her role was supportive. The three of them moved in to assess the situation and it was determined that my pub was a Nexus. It was confirmed when Naphtha moved into the oak tree and Avion showed up in her spacecraft. Campeche came in at their request to bring in some much-needed magical defensive force.
The thing that intrigued me was I had opened up an opportunity that they took advantage of when I formed the Band. They made sure that Jade Slade and Oni Kim were the only guitar and violin players worth anything so I would snatch them up and that brought in two more enforcers. It probably didn’t hurt that Oni Kim played naked at her audition. They recruited Colonel Gin, Miss Wine, Captain Rum and most of the rest into their organization. Captain Baba was one of them but she simply added herself to Rum’s forces when he signed up. Naphtha was made aware as well as many others but I was kept in the dark. About the only ones who didn’t know completely what was going on were Sherry, Vodka, Pint and Myself. Even Hilda was a botanical specialist they had brought in for the possible battle to come.
I needless to say was a little mad about all this cloak and dagger crap, but Tequila set me straight.
“I wanted to tell you many times but we needed you free to do what you do without undue influence. You are a natural leader and knowing the full truth would have created and artificial environment that someone else created. We needed you fighting for something you cared about and we were not sure that you would care about our organization to fight that strongly enough for it. The pub we knew you would fight for so we left it at that level.”
“So why tell me now?”
“Because you have loss now and that is what our organization is about.”
“Hate to disappoint you, but I am not into vengeance.”
“It’s not about vengeance, it is about being defenders of the innocent so more people don’t end up like your wife. It is also about justice.”
I frowned. I couldn’t argue about that.
“So the pub is a Nexus, what does that mean?”
“It means that magic works well here. It is probably why you theology brews work so well. It makes the magic that you invoke when making them stronger. It also attracts supernatural creatures like a moth to flame. It is important to make sure they don’t fall into the wrong hands.”
“So what about us then? Was you love for me part of the act?”
“I understand why you would say that so I am not angry about it, but no my love for you was not part of the act. It was actually questioned by my superiors as a reason to pull me out of here. Once the Seven Deadly Sins appeared though they changed their mind and let me stay, love being a great defense against them all. No boss, right now it takes all of my will to not take advantage of your grief and work my way further into your heart”
“Wise. So what now?”
“We have been assigned to guard this Nexus so all of us are staying. I have been instructed to give you an invitation to join us as well. I also have been instructed to tell you that you would be Commander here. The Council feels you have earned it. “
“So you would still have to call me ‘boss’?”
“Yes.” Tequila chuckled.
“Ok, I accept. What did I just join?”
“Welcome to the Silver Shields.”
Tequila put out her hand to shake mine and I took it and for a moment shook it like any other business deal. Then I pulled her close and kissed her. Hard.
Welcome to All Things Rabyd, your friendly neighborhood ‘clothing optional’ theology pub. I, the Rabyd Theologian and your bartender, thank you for stopping by. Please drink your theology responsibly or have a designated driver to get you home. Please tip your waitress and they might give you a kiss on the cheek. Just remember life is short so enjoy it. Blessings and Cheers!