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The Law Office of John Little Bird, Esquire was hardly a bastion of wealth or prestige on display. He hardly ever met clients here so there wasn't any point. And he certainly didn't choose the location for the view. The corner office and attached storeroom, conference room and assistant offices sat on the seventh floor of a relatively nondescript twelve-story building in the middle of New Haven. The view wasn't terribly impressive. If he looked out to the north he could see the gray stone buildings of Yale, aging halls of learning creaking with internal structural and academic decay while attempting to uphold a veneer of Old World prestige. To the east, the historic Omni hotel and its overpriced 19th floor pub of a restaurant. Just to the south stuck out the Tootsie Roll building, also known as the Knights of Columbus headquarters, a sturdy square building supported by round granite pillars in its four corners that very much resembled massive, 250-foot tall Tootsie rolls. One couldn't even see the ocean from here.

The location wasn't terribly convenient, either. Jon had leased the building when he was on a tight budget and at the time had slept in his office half the time just to avoid the commute home. It wasn't the safest neighborhood, either. The train station, just a couple of blocks north, tended to attract large numbers of the city's persistently homeless population, and they along with new visitors were the first choice of prey for the violent mugger. At night things could get dangerous for the lonely traveler.

No, if Jon were to swear by his ancestors truthfully why he hadn't moved, it because he didn't want to deal with the paperwork involved in leasing a new location. Paperwork was nothing but constant drudgery that had to be patiently endured from time to time. It was one thing to draft a brilliant motion or piece of legislation; that took skill, finesse and when completed stood as a work of art that could endure the test of time, like a marble statue or a mighty conifer. That sort of paperwork was a challenge. But then there was the more mundane paperwork, like returning correspondences, following up on little technical details that should have been done correctly the first time or answering media requests. Even with Caroline at hand to pick up the bulk of it, there was still plenty to waste away his hours. Jon would do anything to avoid dealing with that kind of paperwork.

Which was why Jon was scanning the Vulpesnet headlines on his Wallet with his legs propped up on his black oak desk instead of attending to the stack of thank-you cards by his feet. Jon's grandfather had never approved of electronics and so he had never caught the habit of spending all day staring at a screen, so he knew he really wasn't going to find out anything new going on in the world by wasting time on his Wallet. But just five more minutes. Five more minutes and then he'd get to finishing up those cards. They were addressed to the key congressmen who were behind the recent passage of the Native American Medical Privacy Protection Act, which had passed largely among party lines just two days ago and had been signed into law by President Dawson. Jon had taken a gamble on the bill by suggesting to the main sponsor, a Republican from Oklahoma, that pairing up this bill with a farm subsidy that he wanted for his voters would lessen the public's outward distaste for the pork spending. It was good for Jon as well. The best bait to reel in a congressman was pork largess from the public, as idealistically distasteful as it may be. It made little difference, for what was done was done. Natives with the Sickness could now be taken care of by their own tribes and would be protected from any sort of registration or oversight from the federal government. They would be unmolested – and they could begin to develop methods of teaching control over their power. No native son or daughter would be taken from their tribe and experimented on, imprisoned or – he thought of the Atharim and Noah's warnings – or worse.

At that, Jon reflexively reached out and grabbed hold of the power of the Great Spirit. It flowed into him like a torrent. It seemed that Jon had more than recovered from the incident in the Moscow subway; indeed, he could hold more than ever before. If he was not done growing in strength, what was the upper limit for someone?

Jon regarded the stack of thank-you cards. His senses now sharpened, Jon could feel the crisp edge of each envelope with his eye. He sent out a tendril of invisible Air, and lifted up the pen, then cradled the card with another flow. A minuscule thread of Air went into the pen and he fashioned a conduit, from which he drew out ink and wrote out his autograph. The first one came out a little lopsided so he set it aside, but with a little practice he found he could sign his name and even write a little message with greater speed than doing it by hand. His skill and dexterity was improving as well. The flows felt less...slippery...and even though simple Air was one of the easiest weaves to form this still took more attention to detail and fine manipulation than he would have had in the past. After a moment he was confident enough to resume looking at Vulpesnet. Nick Trano was recovered from his injury, it had seemed, and was in South Dakota, which was as good a place as any to build a bunker and prepare for the end of the world. Jon frowned at the report. Trano was attempting to out Nikolai Brandon as a power wielder. A bold way to do it, but by claiming in public to be connected to the power of the Great Spirit himself? Sometimes you had to step out from behind the boulder to shoot your arrow at the bear, but it was best to wait until his back was turned first. Still, it was too soon. He wasn't ready yet.

Jon stopped the flow of ink and released the power. He grabbed a piece of stationery from his desk and penned a quick note to Nick Trano. “My best wishes on your continued recovery and good health. Glad to see you have returned to American soil in one piece and without too many new holes. With warmest regards, Jon Little Bird.”
He paused a moment before adding “P.S. Save some of this for me.”

Jon nodded at the paper, blew on it to ensure it was dry, and collected the stack of completed cards. He left his office and turned to the left, where in the side office Caroline was busy apparently wrapping up a face-to-face conversation with what sounded like one of the delegates to the Council of Native Americans. The sturdy woman with skin one shade lighter than obsidian and bright eyes gave a laugh and ended the conversation before turning to Jon. “Are you done with those? Bring them here and I'll mail them out.” She shook her head. “Don't know why you still bother with that snail mail. I hadn't ever sent a letter till you hired me here. Didn't need to. What a slow way to talk to people.”

Jon shrugged. “People remember it.”
He put them on the desk, and pointed to the letter to Nick Trano. “This one needs to go to Nick Trano, and would you please pick out a fine, but not too fine, bottle of scotch whiskey to send as a gift.”

Caroline nodded. “You got it. The good client gift. Not the regular client gift, and not the gift that says it's a bribe.”
She chuckled. “Yeah, I'll find something for you. But if you ask me, you need a woman in your life.”
Her eyes narrowed. “And no that's not an offer and I mean that as one professional to another. Period.”

Jon chuckled. The only reason Caroline was not a high powered lawyer herself was that she chose not to complete her courses at Yale after her second child was born with Down syndrome. She was always at the top of her game – and particularly careful to skirt the very edges of political correctness in her own humorous way. “Thank you Caroline, I'll take that under advisement.”

She turned back to her screen as Jon turned to leave. “Wow. Look at this. Have you seen this scroll report out of Moscow? The Ascendancy himself just held a press conference.”

Jon shook his head and turned back to her. “No, I hadn't. What is it about?”

Caroline frowned. “I swear that man has just gone off the deep end. Apparently he is admitting that magic is real, your friend Mr. Trano was right, and he a wizard too.”

Jon stopped cold. The memory of the things he'd seen while prowling the paperwork in the Spirit World reflection of the Oval Office came back like a pin pricking a bubble. He blinked, twice. The world had changed, and a new age was upon them.

“Caroline, cancel all of my appointments and send out an immediate message to the councilors of the Council of Native Americans. I will hold a private teleconference...”
No, that was unsecure … “Scratch that. Book me a flight to Albuquerque.”
The Gathering of Nations would be there later this month, many of the tribes would hopefully have representatives there. “Tell them I will address them about this matter in private. Before the Gathering begins. Please get me a draft letter immediately.”

It was too, too soon. But what had been accomplished would have to be enough, for there was no going back now. The world wouldn't wait for Jon's plans to be completed. At least he wouldn't have to deal with any more paperwork for the moment.

Continued in Powwow

Edited by Jon Little Bird, Aug 11 2016, 10:08 PM.

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