A hunters moon hung over London, barely visible behind brewing stormclouds. Not that the threat of a little rain or thunder stopped Robin from venturing out into the night. This morning it had taken Robin and Talos what felt like hours to cross London and arrive at the Diogenes club. But by wing it took him only minutes to fly from his friend’s estate all the way to Whitechapel and only a handful of gliding laps around the infamous rookery to spot who he was looking for.
Archimedes was an insufferable sort of owl. Fussy, overly neat, even a touch grouchy. But he was also educated, logical, and had proven an able mediator when disagreements struck the community. He’d led the British Parliament of Owls since the organizations foundation. He wasn’t perched alone. A larger and younger owl preened next to him. Errol, an ambassador plenipotentiary from the Parliament in Wales, more importantly a representative for the minority holdout owls still loyal to the Tuatha de Danann.
“Look out below!” Robin called to the two stately birds as he swooped down to join them on the tenement roof, “I’m flying under the influence.”
“Unseemly,” Archimedes huffed, puffing out his feathers. Errol just gave a hoot of amusement.
“Sorry it took so long. It’s been a heck of a day. Talo finally awakened so we can talk now. Kind of a big thing. Been dealing with the fallout from that all day.”
“Well boy, out with it. What pantheon does he belong to?” Archimedes insisted.
Even the mellow Errol gave a nod of agreement. “The answer to that question does settle quite a few things. Another god of owls could bring many of our current disagreements to a close. Or re-ignite them.”
“Oh, yeah,” Robin said. Even with his limited involvement in the various Parliaments, things had been growing tense across the British owl population for years. These days most owls looked to Minerva of the Romans, but some still harbored a preference for Blodeuwedd of the Tuath, and a recent rash of immigrants had brought Lakshmi of the Deva to their attention. They’d known Talo Cornelius was an infant godling of owls for years, and it had caused quite a stir in the community. While perhaps the divinities had known which pantheon he belonged to, it had been a mystery to the various parliaments of the Empire and theological debates had raged… and on several occasions nearly rioted.
“Roman.” Robin said, bending over to peck at a spider crawling by. “He’s a son of Janus.”
Errol gave a cursing downward peck of his beak and turned his head around to look at Archimedes. The brown owl hooted thoughtfully. Even though Archimedes favored the roman gods, the deities important to owls weren’t always the same ones that were important to humans. Minerva naturally took a front seat, along with her father Jupiter. “Doorways.” Archimedes said at last in a lecturing tone. “Janus is the god of doorways, but also of choices, the path taken or not taken. Though I’m not sure what this will mean for Robin’s partner. Nonetheless, a young and rising owl god in our city. A roman owl god. I imagine that’ll settle all this tomfoolery that we’ve been dealing with. I’ll call for a quorum at once.”
“There isn’t much point.” Errol said slyly, “You’ll find yourself a few votes shy of a supermajority.”
“What? Nonsense, I’ve been building to this vote for years, I’ve talked to nearly every owl on the British Isles! I’m well over a Quorum.”
“Funny isn’t it, how people overlook the little things. See I was talking to Wan Shi Tong, and he managed to get an entire few flights, easily enough for a pair of parliaments, of Mandarin owls out here. Not to mention those Deva fellows were positively frothing at the thought of a Roman Mandate. I can’t break your majority, but I can block any unilateral action.”
The two owls turned to polite argument, but overall Robin was quite pleased. Infighting in parliament would give Talos a lot more wiggle room in dealing with the community of owls, and more time to find his feet and deal with his new responsibilities as a scion.
Something crawled over one of his talons. Robin looked down and pecked another spider. Looking over the roof he spied a recent acquaintance making her way through the streets. Ah, that explained things.
Archimedes must have seen him eat the little eight legged beast. “Yes, blasted little things seem to be everywhere today. I’ve eaten my fill on them but they’re crawling all over the district. Somethings got them in a frenzy.”
“Probably Ada.” Robin said gesturing to the distant figure with his wing. “If you get close enough to her you can smell it. She’s a spider god. They’ll probably turn Whitechapel into a fortress. Not a problem for us, but I don’t think you’ll see any roaches here in a few months.”