I'd been alone at my house for nearly an hour when I got the phone call. It was Teresa.
"Come outside, Skyler," she said.
"You sure?" I asked, "I thought I wasn't supposed to be out after dark,"
"We've swept the area," she answered, "You're safe. Besides, it's only a few meters,"
Outside the house was a large, rather broken down-looking black and brown Corvair van. As I approached, the door opened. Teresa was sitting in the middle seat farthest from the door.
"Skyler," she said as she saw me coming out, "Get in. We have much to discuss,"
I climbed into the vehicle and sat down next to her. I tried to close the door, but it stuck badly.
"Thou has to push in at the same time," said an unfamiliar voice from the seat in front of me. It was gruff, but friendly, and I couldn't help but notice his word choice.
"Uh, thanks," I muttered. After a few more embarrassing seconds, I finally got the door shut. I looked around. I couldn't see the man in the front seat especially well, but the shotgun seat appeared to be occupied by a bulky looking piece of equipment. The back seats were full of garbage bags. Teresa had a laptop computer on her lab, which appeared to be displaying a back view of my house. The van smelled heavily of garlic.
The man in the front seat turned around. He was old, but not decrepid - his face was showed a determination that said he didn't plan on leaving any time soon. He was wearing thick-rimmed, round glasses and a wide-brimmed black hat, and had a short, white beard over most of his face. From what I could see of his clothing, his seemed to simply be wearing a black liturgical robe, the kind you often see on Catholic priests.
"Skyler," said Teresa, "This is Quentin. Quentin, Skyler Woods Brimmer VI,"
"A pleasure," said the old man, "I've lived through three Brimmers, and none has disappointed me yet. I'm sure thou wilt be no different,"
"Is he the increased protection you offered?" I asked, wondering exactly how much good this guy would actually be in a combat situation.
"Actually," answered Teresa, "The Council declined my request. Quentin decided to come anyway,"
"Skyler Woods Brimmer V saved my life three times," said Quentin, "And Lisa has once as well. I still owe thy family a great debt,"
I really wasn't sure what to say. Luckily, Teresa cut in again.
"Pretty much everyone in the Northern Alliance still supports you and your mother," She began, "But in the Council as a whole, a lot of people are saying it's about time the Brimmer dynasty ended, and that it's backwards to be clinging to a hundred and fifty year old monarchy when we're in the state we're in. They very nearly pulled me off of watching you entirely. You can thank Quentin and Thadius for pulling some strings and getting you the deal you did get,"
This was way over my head. I understood a tiny fraction of what she was saying, and I got the feeling they expected me to know a lot more. That would explain some things.
"Teresa!" said the old man, "Slow down. The boy's barely absorbed that there is a Northern Alliance, he hardly needs to be struggling to understand their internal politics. Now Skyler," He said, turning to me, "How much dost thou know about thy great, great, great, great, grandfather?"