The Eloise May is the newest addition to the Arapahoe County library system.  It’s the government project that provides me with the sweet satisfaction of all those books I can’t afford on my patchwork salary.  It’s a nice place, with terrible parking.  (I only say that because I can rarely find a spot.)  They have a large selection of works in Russian, notable only because people have said a criminal element helped support its building.

I know differently.  Well, sort of.   I don’t actually _know_ if the Red Poets Society (as I’ve dubbed them) contains too many people with connections to the aforementioned brotherhood, but it wouldn’t surprise me.  Old sorcerors have interesting stories.  Alas, stories like that generally cost something to learn, and I was on a lean budget when it came to secrets.  I happened to stumble onto this one while in line waiting for the library to open one morning.

(In case you were wondering, ignorance can truly be bliss.  While I know knowledge only implies responsibility, it does it to the responsible types.  And with great power, well, you know the rest.  Ask Peter Parker for more details.  With practitioners, there are truly things that, to know them, causes unrest in that hurly-burly thing we tend to refer to as the soul.   For some people it’s just the minor discomfort like knowing your parents (and their parents before them – yep, grandma and grandpa) had sex.  For others, it’s like knowing someone in your family listens to conservative talk radio and takes its morass of ridiculous supposition on limited policy seriously.  Those are like, I don’t know, soul indigestion.  Beans.  You know, good for your heart.  Those things are, well, peanuts, at least, to what kinds of things you can learn when you’re in the business.  Imagine a soul kidney stone…and imagine it’s all that you have in order to save the world?  Knowledge is dangerous business.)

(If you’re wondering what happened at work, “It’s so easy a simulacrum can do it,” kind of handled it.  I did have one of the older ladies who works in finance ask me if I’m normally so quiet, but I just smiled and didn’t say anything.  That’s knowledge I can give you for free, but imagine what it would have cost the accountants if I explained in further!)

I used Wikipedia to catch me up on the three important periods of Russian poetry, so if the conversation actually wandered that way I could feel like I knew something.  I did not get very far in my study of the free Russian courses, but I admired that the language has fewer tenses than English, even if it does make you sound a bit like a badly scripted robot.  (I considered learning the word “exterminate” in Russian, but tossing in a bad Doctor Who reference amongst people who could level cities (with a half-day’s preparation) didn’t sound like a good idea.)

I do know a few words in a scattering of languages that relate to my practice.  I could maybe make a good attempt at “Where’s the water closet?” in a handful of tongues.  I wish I knew the trick that Maggie uses to do a magical translation, but I know when someone is being furtive.  There’s something about the esoteric arts that put them in a different tone of voice than ordering a sandwich, or gossiping on someone’s dress.

The Magster talks a lot about how words for “witch” generally split into two designs – that of danger such as poisoners and oathbreakers or the way of the wise and those who “know.”  To me that sounds a little too Illuminati.  Honestly, everyone wants to be one of those “in the know,” usually with all the power and none of the responsibility.  I take it with a grain of salt; similar to the one I take with a lot of her witchy subculture.

But… and yes, there’s almost always a “but,” enough that we could probably coin a magical rule on it… like calls to like, and magic is there for those who look for it.  So when I was accosted while trying to pick up some of my reserves with, “You are one of us,” I figured it out pretty fast.

(Actually, my brain kind of ran down a decision tree like, “One of us.  Um.  Male.  Yep.  White.  Yep.  Library-goer.  Yep.  Let’s skip to the part where we’re likely to make a point of it.  Oh.  One of US…”)

“Come to poetry night,” I was told.

“OK,” I replied.

Yep, I’m a master of snappy come-backs.   Of course, I didn’t expect to have a realm guardian, the mark of a shadow god, and the acquaintance of the Questor all in the few days before the meeting.  It might have changed things.