Patrons - On the Care & Feeding Thereof

Jazmyn scrambled to her feet, and Dr. Wu, rousing from his own half-slumber, checked her vitals to make sure she was good for driving. She’d taken less than the others, so she was pronounced good to go.

The others were checked in turn, and pronounced okay to head out, but not to drive or operate, as he put it, “anything that requires good-decision making on your part.”

Doc Pleasant mumbled in his sleep as they headed out, but otherwise, paid them no mind.

Outside, it was dark, and there was general surprise when Jaz announced that it was after one. “Time is weird in the Diyu,” she said, by way of explanation, shrugging. “You get used to it.”

Once in the van and pulling away, she addressed the next day’s expectations. “I’m dropping everyone off at the house, but you’re welcome to do whatever you want. We have a meeting with Ms. Lien at 2:30 at the office, and we need to get you IDs and stuff first.”

“I will drive us over, since we’ll probably be heading out on assignment, afterwards. Please be ready and downstairs to go at two pm, though.” Her voice was carefully neutral. “This time, I will be leaving on the dot. If you aren’t there, you’ll be responsible for your own transportation, and any fallout that occurs if you’re late.”

She went silent for a moment as she negotiated a rough patch of road, but then they were back on the highway, headed to the bridge and she could breath again. One of these days, she muttered under her breath, I am going to pay to have this paved, public fucking road or not.

“Okay. Patron spirits. Yeah. You got a token, yeah? All of you. I saw ‘em. That’s good. It means you were accepted. But now, that means you got a responsibility. If you want them on your side, and trust, you do, you gotta make an altar, give them offerings regularly, keep them happy.”

She smirked. “Think of it like the mob. You got powerful protection, but it costs something. As long as you keep them happy, you can call on them for help when you’re in a stick situation, you know? They’ll lend you a hand. But,” and the grin turned wicked, “you call on them and you haven’t been keeping them happy…well, let’s just say interesting things happen.”

“Offerings…they can be small, or large…depends on how much you’ve been drawing on them. Every spirit is a little different, so, you know, experiment a little. See what they like…”

She lapsed into silence again, and in the drug-induced haze the vehicle seemed to be in, it wasn’t uncomfortable.

When she finally pulled up in front of the house, though, she added, “You probably won’t remember half of this tomorrow, though, so if you’ve got questions, let me know. We’ll figure out where to put altars, too…probably don’t want them close together…”

She shut off the engine and pushed her own door open. “Alright. Off you go now. Go do whatever it is you do. I’ve got writing to do, myself.”