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.

The Company: The Swordplayer (34)

July 4, 2014

The story so far.

Though I had guessed that Olemilekan understood more of the common tongue of this country than he’d let on, hearing him speak it still came as a shock. For a long moment I could think of nothing to say.

“Look,” I said at last. “It’s a scry-seeker you want, not me. I’m just a fighter.”

The sorcerer shook his head. “No, you’re the one I need. There are no scry-seekers in this group.”

He was right, but how had he known that? His companion was grinning at me, like she knew what I was thinking.

I didn’t like that, but what else could I do? I wanted to be done with this and back with the main force–or else gone.

“All right,” I said.

The Fey Child (107)

July 3, 2014

The story so far.

The queen replied with great reluctance, as though even this much explanation to a mere mortal was more effort than it was worth.

“He has laid claim to this side of the portal. So the battle takes place here.”

To that, I could think of no reply.

Her eyes glittered. “Didn’t tell you that, did he?”

“No,” I admitted.

“He is a willful, troublesome child,” she said, as though we were talking about a toddler who’d figured out how to reach the cookies on top of the fridge. “Now stay out of our way. We’ll soon be done.”

I didn’t think I believed that, either.

Sundown, part 158

June 29, 2014

The story so far.

Behind the noise of the fire and the snarls of the bloodsuckers in the hallway, there’s another sound. Cassandra drops the flamethrower, picks up the crossbow. She edges out into the doorway, trying to stay well away from the flames. The room behind her is getting hot.

Down the hall to her left, there’s a disturbance at the back of the mass. A shifting, a scuffle, and then it’s a full-blown fight, with bloodsuckers crawling up the walls and even over each other in their haste to either join the fray, or to get away.

Cassandra doesn’t know whether this is a rescue. Whatever it is, it beats either burning to death or being eaten.

She hurls a vial of blessed water into the mass before her, and joins the fray.


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