St. Paul Grimoire is a weekly serial that updates on Mondays. Each month will cover a self-contained story told over four parts.
It will not be overly edited, and character arcs and plotlines could be adjusted with your feedback! PLEASE let me know what you think!
Phin sat with his heart in his throat as they paddled to Mexico. He tried to follow Dakotah’s direction of keeping their destination in mind, but he kept getting distracted by the dark, dark water below. What was living in it? Water-fey? Dakotah probably didn’t even know.
Then there was the whole issue of the last time Dakotah had gone to see another Guardian: that Guardian had turned up dead.
When the lake lapped against the tile floor of a small Mexican kitchen, Phin breathed a sigh of relief.
Everything seemed to be in its place. Art still hung brightly on the walls, drawers were closed, a hand towel folded neatly.
“Be careful,” said Dakotah as Phin disembarked first. Phin didn’t know if he meant careful getting off the boat or careful entering the potential shitstorm.
They went through the house room by room. It was bigger than it had seemed. Phin felt a sense of peace each time he saw something so comfortably Mexican. He wished he could get down and see his family a few hours south, but the Lake probably wasn’t best used for personal trips, and there would be no way to explain to his family how he’d gotten there.
Dakotah got a little ahead of him while Phin put his hands through a ray of sunlight. The air was the perfect temperature in the house.
Then he heard Dakotah talking to someone.
“Arturo speaks English,” Dakotah said as Phin approached. “This is my friend Phin.”
Leaning around the doorframe, Phin saw the lanky form of a 30-year-old Mexican man, seated in front of his laptop. They exchanged a greeting in Spanish.
“Let’s sit out here,” Arturo said, leading them to the balcony. From their seats they had a nice view of the neighborhood.
“You’re the youngest Guardian I’ve met,” Arturo said.
“I thought you’d be older,” Dakotah responded.
A slight frown creased Arturo’s brow. “I think it’s not a safe job.” He shrugged. “We’re the crazy ones.”
“How long have you been a Guardian? How many others have you met?”
“A few years. I don’t see the others much. Too much going on here. I’ve met the Northern China Guardian, the Eastern Europe Guardian, a couple African Guardians…I met the Northern Islands Guardian in Belfast, Caitlin, before she was…well, whatever happened to her. When did you Ascend?”
“Halloween,” Dakotah answered.
Arturo stroked his wispy mustache. “Must be an American day of power. I Ascended on All Saints’ Day. Do you guys want a Coke?”
After drinks had been served, Dakotah leaned forward in his seat. “I think Sunil killed the Belfast Guardian. He came after me, too.”
He explained how he had pushed Sunil as far away as possible.
Arturo cursed in Spanish. “That rat bastard has it in for us. Guardians aren’t even the most powerful in the fey world, but he’s bent on taking us out.”
“Who is the most powerful?” Phin asked.
“Well, it used to be the Seelie court. Those fairies kept order all over the world. Now that the Seelie court has fallen, I guess the next powerful would be the Unseelie court.”
“Is the Unseelie court keeping order?”
Arturo laughed. “I don’t think so. The Seelie court is friendly with humans. They believe in beauty, and honor. The Unseelie court is all about chaos and change. They don’t need a reason to cause trouble.”
“So what happened to the Seelie court?”
“No se, no idea. I only have been a Guardian for a couple years, you know. I’m not trying to solve great mysteries of the fey world.”
“How do you know all this?” Dakotah asked. “That’s my problem, I don’t know anything. Like there’s an angel at the shop right now that I have no idea what to do with. Or how to combat my other enemies, not just Sunil.”
“I don’t know about your regional enemies. Most people who come to me for Sanctuary just need time, you know? To figure things out, or wait for trouble to die down. Sometimes the problem just resolves itself. That’s because it’s never worth it to take on a Guardian. We’re not super powerful or anything, but the bond is. Once you invoke Sanctuary, that’s powerful protective magic. So lots of people give up chasing, or maybe they listen better to what the Guardian says. I’d just keep your eyes and ears open, I guess.
“As for angels, I get a lot of them here, they’re kinda weird. They’re kind of cultish, they police each other. They’ll usually leave after a few days and rejoin the chorus. They come for Sanctuary because it’s kind of a middle ground. If they leave the chorus they become fallen angels, but if they take Sanctuary for a few days it’s like a timeout from being perfect.”
“You must have met a lot of angels.”
“Yeah, but they don’t talk much. I learned a lot of that from the grimoire.”
“The angel grimoire. I read it after meeting my first angel.”
“But what’s a grimoire?”
Arturo looked shocked. “You haven’t been reading the grimoires? Holy shit, how have you managed to get anything done?”
Dakotah waited for an explanation.
“A grimoire is a book—a book of spells and magic. It also has TONS of information on every kind of thing, almost like an encyclopedia. Every time I meet a new fey I checkout a grimoire about them.”
Dakotah felt a wave of relief wash over him, followed by one of annoyance. “Why didn’t Ike tell me about these?”
“No idea, they’re so useful. How did you even Ascend without reading the Guardian grimoire?”
Phin and Dakotah gave each other a look. Their lives last month would’ve been a lot easier had they known there were whole books about the topics they needed to know about.
“How do I get these?”
“Well, I used to take the Lago to the Library, but lately I’ve just been taking a piece of paper, writing the topic I want, and a few hours later the book appears. They only let you take out one at a time if you do it that way, but it works.” Arturo shrugged. Dakotah felt that shrug embodied everything he knew about Guardianship. It just works, I don’t know how.
They sat around and talked until the sun started to set. Arturo knew a lot, but much was specific to the Central American fey. Still, Dakotah listened closely.
Afterward, they bid Arturo goodbye.
“You know you can just take the Lago home from here?” Arturo asked.
“Yeah,” said Dakotah as they stepped out the door. “Phin’s gonna show me around first.” Phin had only been to Mexico City once or twice, but Dakotah had never left the US at all, and they were going to explore.
“Ok.” Arturo shook his phone. “You have my number. I’m sure you guys’ll be fine though. Good luck, Dakotah.”
He’d been worried about getting back to Pete and the angel, but Arturo’s confidence had calmed him enough to enjoy the sites.
Phin, however, left the Sanctuary with his lips pursed. Arturo had a nice house, filled with cool art, but he hadn’t said anything about friends, or family, or showed any pictures. Neither had Ike. What would Dakotah’s future be like?
My novel TURQUOISEBLOOD will be out December 15th! Keep checking back for updates!