I'm learning. It's slow, but I'm learning. If this keeps up, I'll know more about the things that lie beyond our world than I ever really wanted to. Unfortunately, this could easily result in a shift in my career. Here's the thing:
People like Mbata are specialists. They're the ones who really make use of the rituals, the ones who apply the secret knowledge that we've gathered through the centuries. Sometimes they teach others, but mostly they put their skills to use: they protect us, and advance the Elders' interests. It's no surprise that Mbata was the one who found - and destroyed - the bumbler. That's precisely the sort of thing that he does.
So: I'm learning. Specifically, I'm learning about the sort of things that Mbata does all the time. In the process, I'm demonstrating, if not actual talent, at least competence. So, the next time the Elders need someone to do something like that, they're suddenly a lot more likely to tap me for the job. And that's a problem.
It's a problem because being a pharmacist is a full-time job and then some. My schedule is full; if the Elders start pulling me away for other things, I'll have to learn to survive without sleep - possibly food, also. More likely, it'll directly affect my job performance, which could cause all kinds of problems.
This isn't just random worry, either. I told work that I needed to fly to Montana next week, and they... well, they about went into conniptions. Oh, they eventually agreed, but for a while there I thought I was going to have to stage a death in the family. Or, just possibly, a death in Management - which was far more tempting, especially since I know perfectly well that they'll remember this, while forgetting all the times I've filled in for other people and how reliable I generally am.
Telling Claire was a lot easier. I said it was a family reunion, and it'd been planned months ago, before we started dating. I was a little worried that she would want to come with me, but she has some friends coming into town and really wants to see them. We both agreed that the timing was unfortunate, but there wasn't much to be done about it.
In my last entry, I mentioned that I was violently ill after consulting Oracle. Well, shortly after I recovered, Claire lost her voice. I'm not sure how she managed it - I hope it wasn't something I passed along to her - but I supplied her with chicken soup and milk shakes, and after a couple of days she was talking again. I'm glad, because I'd hate to go out of town while she's still feeling sick.
But she's better, and all the arrangements are made, and early next week I'll visit the Thing In The Well. Maybe then I'll have some idea of what's been going on with these dreams. And maybe, after that things will go back to normal... Hey, I can hope, right?
Reflections of a Deranged Cultist is a work of fiction. No farm animals, virgins, or household pets were harmed in the making of this post.