Sundown, part 161

July 26, 2014

The story so far.

As soon as the sun comes up, Cassandra starts walking.

She’s gathered what she can carry. She doesn’t expect to find a working vehicle; at least, not a car.

Instead, she goes to the harbor, finds an abandoned boat in working order, siphons gas from the other derelicts nearby, and starts making her way north. The boat’s not very big, so she sticks close to the coast. That’s all right. She doesn’t need that much.

She wishes she could go back, tell Jason’s family what happened. Not that she wants to face them with the knowledge that she got their son killed.

Half-Blind Jack. The Troubadour. Jason. All dead.

Maybe this is what it means to be a survivor.

Maybe she’ll find others.

END

Help Wanted (66)

July 25, 2014

The story so far.

“The Temple does not have a copy of The First Book of the Magus,” the senior librarian says. “We would know if they did.”

“Are you sure?” you ask. “When I visited them and they showed me the Bone, there were all sorts of rooms down there, full of all sorts of things. I’d bet even they don’t know what they have down there.”

“This is a gamble,” the senior librarian says.

“Could it hurt to ask?” the junior librarian asks, and then quails visibly.

But the senior librarian does not take him to task. In fact, she seems to be considering your suggestion.

The Company: The Swordplayer (36)

July 24, 2014

The story so far.

The spell looked no more complicated than what I’d seen scry-seekers do. But in the middle of it, Olemilekan looked up at me with the blank eyes that said he was seeing something else entirely, and beckoned me forward.

I hesitated, and his companion’s hand hit me in the small of the back.

I stumbled forward and fell to my knees in front of him. Before I could rise or even brace myself, his hands closed on either side of my head.

The world spun. I felt as though I were falling. Bits and pieces of the last several days, myself tracking our quarry, seeking traces, finding a footprint here, a discarded thread there, spun behind my eyes.

Olemilekan let me go. I stared at him, his dark eyes now looking into mine. He nodded.

“I know where to go now,” he said.

The Fey Child (109)

July 19, 2014

The story so far.

I had my bag. I got out what I’d need for the banishing while the other witch kept an eye out. No one paid us any attention.

They would, if this didn’t work.

I handed the other witch the spell components she’d be handling. All she had to do was what I told her, when I told her to do it. “Ready?”

She nodded.

“All right.” I raised my wand, connecting the power it summoned to that circulating around the ward we’d cast. I spoke the first words, defining the space within which the banishment would take effect.

A slight tightening in the air was all the indication we had. That was enough.

I nodded to the other witch. She took a bundle of sage and other herbs from among the things I’d handed her, and set it alight.

Sundown, part 160

July 11, 2014

The story so far.

“Well,” the Troubadour says.

“Well,” Cassandra says. “How’s the research coming?”

The Troubadour gives her a perplexed look. “What? Oh. About the same.”

Cassandra sighs. “That’s what I thought.” She wants them to leave. They just saved her life. But they’re bloodsuckers, too, and right now they’re between her and getting out of Boston.

“We can look for your friend,” the Troubadour offers. “He might be…”

“If he survived, he got turned. Either way he’s dead.” Cassandra crosses her arms. “Thank you for coming. I am very glad to still be alive. But I think you should leave.”

After a few more meaningless words, and some hungry looks from the Troubadour’s companions, they do.

Cassandra doesn’t sleep for the rest of the night.

Help Wanted (65)

July 10, 2014

The story so far.

“What would it be worth to the Library to give up a copy of the Codex?” you ask, knowing the question to be hopeless even as you ask it.

Indeed, the senior librarian looks at you with an expression hovering somewhere between distaste and shock. “We do not let a book go. Ever.”

“Even if it meant getting one you want even more in exchange?” Though you have no idea what that might be. Books aren’t something you run across much, in your line of work.

“There’s the First Book of the Magus,” the junior librarian says brightly. Then he wilts under the senior librarian’s glare.

The Company: The Swordplayer (35)

July 9, 2014

The story so far.

We didn’t go back to the main camp. Instead, Olemilekan and his companion led me to the other side of the copse by which we’d camped, where the trees began to thin out.

Here, in an open space on the ground, were scorch marks, deep gouges as if drawn with a sword, and scattered bits of debris–fabric, feathers, stones, bits of metal.

It didn’t look familiar, but I knew the detritus of sorcery when I saw it. Olemilekan saw me looking and his expression turned embarrassed.

“I left most of my things behind when I left my country,” he said. “So I must make do with these.”

The Fey Child (108)

July 8, 2014

The story so far.

The queen rejoined the battle, raising it to new heights of intensity. Some of the fey had fallen; when they did, they lay on the ground for only a few seconds before crumbling into earth. For that reason, I hadn’t noticed at first how much the numbers had come down.

The other witch rejoined me. “It’s done,” she said. “She didn’t try to break it?”

I shook my head. “It’s beneath her. But if we don’t get this done soon, they’ll call for reinforcements.” And the circle wasn’t as solid as I’d have liked.

If we didn’t do this quickly, it’d break open on its own, whether the queen did anything or not.

Sundown, part 159

July 6, 2014

The story so far.

An eternity later, the bloodsuckers are corpses in the hallway, and Cassandra stands face to face with the Troubadour.

“Where’s your friend?” the Troubadour asks.

Cassandra shrugs. “Eaten.”

“I’m sorry.” He doesn’t sound it, particularly. It’s just something humans say, and he hasn’t lost the habit yet.

“Why are you here?” Cassandra asks.

“We’re not monsters like these.” He kicks one of the bodies. “But we have the same instincts. We knew they were coming here. Thought you could use some help.”

Just what she wanted. To be indebted to this lot.

“Thanks,” she says.

Help Wanted (64)

July 5, 2014

The story so far.

“There’s five copies of the Codex,” the junior librarian says. “I don’t see why we can’t spare one.”

“First of all,” the senior says, “none of them are spare. Secondly, even if we had a hundred copies, that isn’t the point.”

You take a deep breath and try not to sigh. The rivalry between the Library and the Temple goes back centuries.

The junior says, “We can take another copy.”

“Still not the point,” the senior says.

The junior glances at you. He seems to feel responsible, which is great if he can actually help you. Otherwise, it’s another burden you don’t need.


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