SPG: February, Part 4/4

CeceliaIsaac_StPaulGrimoire

St. Paul Grimoire updates Fridays!

“Which way is he going?” Pete held her phone flat as she and Val walked.

“Still on the way to Grand,” Phin said through speakerphone.

Pete adjusted her sword. It was hidden by glamour now, and she and Val would’ve been strangers to their own parents with their warped features.

“What’re we gonna do when we catch up?” Pete asked.

“You’re the Hero,” Valene answered. “Jump him?”

“I don’t think Heroes are supposed to jump people.”

“Do not jump him!” Phin yelled through the speaker.

“I can throw my cloak over his head,” Val went on with a sly look at Pete.

Pete grinned. “Yeah, and I’ll punch him until he’s down.”

“Oh, my god,” groaned Phin.

The girls laughed.

Phin said, “He walked into Caribou.”

“Cool,” Val said. “We’ll catch up to him. We’ll call you if we need you to scry for him again.”

“I think I should stay on the line–”

“We’ll be fine,” Pete stressed with a roll of her eyes at Val. “Talk soon!”

Val swung the nondescript brown bag with the correct candles in it. “Maybe you can make yourself invisible and get close to him.”

“Don’t you know if I can? I thought you read the Hero grimoire.”

“Just most of it. The grimoires are annoying. A lot of the important information’s all the way at the back, but if you skip, it can get confusing.”

“Well, what did it say about Heroes?”

Val shrugged. “It was the smallest grimoire I’ve seen. It basically just said to make good choices.”

“What? What about my powers? Wasn’t there anything about, like, how I was able to fight off a fucking vampire?”

“Nah. It said everything’s innate, you know? Like your morality or some shit manifests as magic.”

“Will I lose my magic if I make bad choices?”

“No, you become a Villain,” Val said simply.

“Ok, then.”

Val could tell Pete wasn’t happy about this lack of information. She had been spending a lot of time helping Dakotah, and not much at all with Pete.

“I’ll read it again later. Like I said, I’m not done.”

Pete nodded. “Hey, how’s Marco?” she asked, warming up a bit.

“Girl, let me show you the snap he sent me yesterday, it is groooss.”

They were still looking at their phones when they reached Grand Ave.

“Shit, isn’t that him?” Val said suddenly.

She pointed across the street, where sure enough, Tou Chue was getting onto a bus.

“Run!” said Pete.

They did, but it was in vain. The bus shut its doors and was off before they could get across the street.

“Damn!” Val said.

“I’m calling Phin.”

Phin sighed heavily when he heard they’d lost their quarry. In minutes, he was directing them down Grand.

“Ok, he’s walking now…yeah, he just turned into Rondo.”

Less than ten minutes later, Val and Pete were also approaching Rondo Library.

“I can’t tell what section he’s in,” Phin said. “I just see books.”

“Ok, we’re in, I’m hanging up on you.” Pete tapped off and they entered.

Rondo wasn’t a quiet library. Kids ran around while parents talked together. Tutors worked at tables and two men gabbed at the counter with a librarian.

Tou Chue was sitting down at a computer. His paper bag sat at his feet.

“Ok, you distract him from the left and I’ll switch the candles out,” Pete said.

“Yeah, alright. I’ll pretend I can only speak Hmong.”

Pete frowned. “You don’t look Hmong right now.”

Val laughed. Pete’s change was obvious, but she couldn’t see herself and so had forgotten her features had been changed by glamour.

“Whatever,” she said with a shrug. “I’ll be half-Hmong.”

Then she was off, and Pete was circling to the other side of Tou Chue as fast as possible.

Pete approached as Val struck up a conversation with Tou Chue. She couldn’t understand, but Val gesticulated nervously and spoke quickly. Pete couldn’t tell if it was faked or Val’s real nerves.

She moved the chair next to Tou Chue. He looked and her and then back to Val. Pete crouched, reaching the pack of candles into the bag and grabbing the charmed fey candles out.

Her hand had just lifted out of the bag when Tou Chue heard the rustle of the bag and whipped around.

From Val’s perspective, one minute Pete was there, the next she wasn’t. Invisibility fell on her like a cloak just before Tou Chue turned.

When he turned back to her, she smiled widely. “Ok, ua tsaug.”

Then she turned abruptly and walked away.

She just kept walking, out of the library, around the corner, and then Pete flashed into appearance beside her.

Her Hero friend grinned broadly as she produced the candles.

“Yeees!” Val crowed, grabbing Pete’s shoulder and shaking her. “You were fucking invisible!”

“Lemme text Phin.”

“Tell him we’ll be back later. We need lattes.” Val tossed her cloak over her winter coat and led the way to Caribou.

~*~

Dakotah had reclaimed his place behind the counter and was talking animatedly to Phin.

“It was so cool, man, like all this nature around but then sometimes it would fade away into just light and air. You could feel things in the air, but we never saw anyone else. Or anything.”

“Sounds crazy,” Phin said.

“Anything happen here while I was gone?”

“Uh…” Phin brushed his fingers through his faux-hawk. Briefly, he explained what had happened.

“You mean those two dumbasses took my magic shit and are sitting at fucking Caribou with glamour on?”

When he said it like that, Phin had to admit it was a bad idea. They were way to casual with magic. Still. “She’s a Hero and Val knows everything about everything. They’re fine.”

Dakotah shook his head. “I dunno dude. I think we keep forgetting the bad stuff too quick.”

~*~

Pete and Val entered the gate and ran into Caitlin outside the shop, smoking a cigarette.

“Hey,” she greeted them.

“Aren’t you cold?” Val asked. Caitlin wasn’t wearing a winter coat and it had been bitterly cold most of the month.

“Still haven’t bought a coat. Most of my stuff was lost in the raid on Belfast.”

“I bet you’re glad to be somewhere stable,” said Pete.

Caitlin nodded. “This is a nice Sanctuary. Mine was a shithole, just sayin’. I fought so hard to be made Guardian and it wasn’t even that great of a place.”

“Well…” said Pete slowly. “That’s too bad.” She had gone with Dakotah to the Belfast Sanctuary and it had looked nice enough, but what did she know? Still, Caitlin had an unfriendly vibe and so Pete was inclined to disbelieve her.

Caitlin nodded and continued smoking, so the girls moved on.

“She weird,” Val decided when they’d walked far enough away.

Pete nodded. “She’s helping Dakotah though.”

“Yeah, I guess. But she’s still weird.”

 

My YA fantasy novel TURQUOISEBLOOD is out now! Get your copy here!


Turquoiseblood-300x200

When the dangerous rogue dragon Anya crash lands in an isolated mountain village during a snowstorm, Kiri saves her life. Anya awakens seemingly cured of her madness and in thanks offers to show Kiri the country outside her village.

What starts as a simple pact quickly becomes something more as Kiri becomes embroiled in the intrigue of the royal court and the hunt for a murderer. 

Meanwhile, 200 years in the past, Pristina fights to stop a rising civil war. 

Get your copy on Amazon today!

SPG: February, Part 3/4

CeceliaIsaac_StPaulGrimoire

We will be returning to a weekly posting schedule! New installments arrive every Friday.

Phin flipped rapidly through Dakotah’s inventory. It was handwritten on heavy paper but at least Ike had kept everything organized in big filing cabinets. Under “Candles, Fey” he took out a long list and scanned it.

“Here,” he said. “Dark blue tapers…Japanese charm…used against one’s enemies to burn their house to the ground.”

He and Pete stared at each other.

“They’re gone,” Val said. She’d run out back to tell Dakotah.

“Gone? Where? They’ve been practicing outside for days!”

“Must’ve taken the Lake,” Pete said.

Translation: No possible way to contact him. There wasn’t any cell service in the fey world.

Not that Phin would’ve called anyway. “Ok, we can figure this out.” He looked at the slip Dakotah had written out when he set aside the order. “Tou Chue.” No address; he’d paid with cash.

“Oh good,” Val said sarcastically. “Easy name, too.”

Phin imagined going one by one through every “Tou” in St. Paul. It would take forever.

“We could just wait for the fire,” Pete joked.

He glared.

“How did you find me last time?”

“We put a charm on something of yours. We don’t have anything of Tou Chue’s.”

“Except his candles,” Val laughed.

“Can you two stop joking around before someone dies in a fire?” Phin yelled.

Pete put up her hands in self-defense.

“Ok, geez. There has to be another way to find someone. Check the inventory for something else. Val and I’ll check the shelves and see if anything pops out.”

She was getting good at seeing through glamours now, even when Dakotah wasn’t there. In fact, all of her magic was getting stronger, and she wanted to practice as much as possible.

Phin spent a few minutes searching the inventory and cursing his stupidity, Dakotah, Ike’s lack of computers, candles in general, and Dakotah. Finally, he found a spell that just might help them find Tou Chue.

He stepped out from the counter just as Val and Pete approached.

“What the hell?”

Valene wore a purple velvet cloak with a green clasp. It fell ridiculously over her small frame, trailing on the ground. She had paired it with a heavy gold crown. Pete had a sword at her waist and a shield of a gray dragon on a red background. They were giggling uproariously.

“We found some good stuff.”

“Why?”

“Well, we don’t want Tou Chue to recognize us when we go steal back the candles.”

“Who said steal? We just have to find him and give him his real candles.”

“Yeah, that’ll work,” Val said sarcastically. “‘Excuse us, sir. We found you with our magic and now we’d like to trade these candles for the identical ones in your bag, no reason.'”

She and Pete laughed again.

“And what’s your plan?” Phin answered with a lot more annoyance in his tone. “‘We’re some rando freaks stalking you, give us your candles or else.” He barely finished his sentence before cracking up. Ok, maybe he was taking things a little too seriously. “Look, whatever, we just have to do it fast.”

“Did you find him?”

“I found a mirror. We can scry for him and catch up to him.”

“Not ‘we,'” Pete said. She pointed to the counter. “You’re in charge of the shop.”

“We’ll close. I’m the idiot who handed out dangerous fey magic.”

Val put her fists on her hips and thrust out her chest in a comic superhero pose. “Never fear. Sir Pete and I can handle this.”

“You can stay here on your phone with the mirror and tell us where he’s going. Then we don’t have to tell Dakotah we had to close the shop. Plus, three of us following would be really obvious.”

Phin gave her outfit a pointed look.

“Yeah but wait for this!”

Pete closed her eyes, concentrated–and Phin watched her features change. Her nose lengthened, her Mexican skin darkened by three shades while her hair lightened. Val morphed next, her hair curling and shortening, her body growing taller.

“Holy shit,” Phin said appreciatively. “You can do glamour!”

“I’ve been practicing,” Pete explained. “Now let’s go get those candles.”

~*~

Caitlin and Dakotah landed in the middle of a wide sunny field. Dakotah shielded his eyes as they stepped out of the canoe. It was the first time he had experienced real brightness in the fey world. Normally, a smoky gray light covered everything.

“That’s just that area,” Caitlin explained when he mentioned it. “Anywhere the fey world overlaps with the human one is grayer. But it’s unique, too. There’s something special about where the worlds overlap, and how they’ve interacted accidentally. You just have to look.”

He’d have to think about that.

“Where are we going? What are we going to do?”

They were walking through the sunny field now. The grass grew up to his hips, mixed in with tall prairie flowers of all colors.

“You’re kinda high-strung, did you know that, Dakotah?”

He did not know that. No one had ever said anything like that to him before. His whole life he’d been told to get back on task, to do what the teacher asked.

“We’re not doing anything,” Caitlin said. “We’re appreciating all this place has to offer.”

 

My YA fantasy novel TURQUOISEBLOOD is out now! Get your copy here!


Turquoiseblood-300x200

When the dangerous rogue dragon Anya crash lands in an isolated mountain village during a snowstorm, Kiri saves her life. Anya awakens seemingly cured of her madness and in thanks offers to show Kiri the country outside her village.

What starts as a simple pact quickly becomes something more as Kiri becomes embroiled in the intrigue of the royal court and the hunt for a murderer. 

Meanwhile, 200 years in the past, Pristina fights to stop a rising civil war. 

Get your copy on Amazon today!

SPG: February, Part 2/4

CeceliaIsaac_StPaulGrimoire

I feel like you’ve kinda got the gist and I don’t need to put this anymore, but this is a weekly urban fantasy serial open to reader suggestions!

“Again?”

“I’ll pay you. You can do homework.”

Phin sighed. Actually, he didn’t have a problem running the front desk for Dakotah. It was just that normally they stood there together and hung out. Now Dakotah was spending every afternoon with Caitlin, the Guardian who was supposed to be dead.

“It’s cool, I’ll help.”

“Thanks, bro! I owe you.” Dakotah was already walking away. “Be back in a few.”

Phin didn’t know if he meant minutes or hours.

Pete and Val came up and settled behind the counter on the floor, instead of the little table they usually hung out at.

“We’ll keep you company,” Val said.

She sat with the Guardian grimoire, her grimoire of choice whenever Dakotah didn’t have fey visitors he needed more info on. Pete was blissfully homework free since the new quarter had started.

“Anyway, they said even though it was a new quarter, they didn’t want me to jump into the French program.” Val finished complaining to Pete.

“They just don’t want you failing. I bet if your mom called in they’d let you. They don’t wanna be held responsible.”

“I’ll try that,” Val decided. Her parents didn’t know she wanted to start French again but she may as well tell them now.

“How’s Spanish?” she asked Phin.

“I dropped,” Phin said.

Val’s eyebrows arched but Pete seemed to know already. “I’m not surprised but…what did your parents say?”

Phin shrugged uncomfortably. The conversation was interrupted by a man entering to pick up a set-aside order of candles and antique candlesticks.

After Phin helped the customer, he sat back on the stool facing the girls.

“I didn’t tell them. It was a pointless class anyway, and I couldn’t even walk in there after–”

He broke off. He reached out and grabbed three taper candles made of purple wax.

“Shit. I gave that guy the wrong candles!”

“Relax,” said Pete. “If he really cares he’ll come back.”

“No,” Phin said. “These are normal candles. I gave him fey ones!”

~*~

For the past few days, Caitlin had been teaching his about Guardian magic. The first thing he had asked about was the Divine Light.

“Useful shit, right?” she had said. “Divine Light is simple but it scares off a lot of different kinds of baddies. Of course, we can’t do it.”

“That sucks. Why not?”

“Heroes have innate magic. Divine Light is one of the most basic abilities. It’s also the first to go if they ever turn.”

That didn’t sound like a good thing, but she had said it with a bit of glee.

“So I don’t have any innate magic?”

“We can produce any. Guardian magic is all about influencing other magic. When we’re near something, we can take on its powers. That’s why we’re most powerful at our Sanctuaries. The House has its own magic we can borrow. We can also amplify. Heroes are stronger around us, that kind of thing.”

What had followed was a series of weird practices of amplifying or taking on the magic of various things from his shop.

Today was different though. Yesterday she’d been shocked to hear he hadn’t explored the fey world.

“You’ll never see all of your House, frankly. But the fey world had LOTS of cool shit.”

That was how they ended up in his canoe on the Lake to Everywhere. He paddled, she focused on where they were going.

“You should even just walk around your neighborhood on the fey side. Everything’s different.”

Dakotah was silent for long enough that she looked back at him.

“The night I was made Heir, everything in the fey world came out to attack me. I got lost in the fey world and these–things–like shadows?”

“Prowlers,” she said solemnly. “Monsters controlled by the Unseelie Court.”

“Yeah, the prowlers were everywhere. I only got out because all these lights blazed up and voices called to me–”

Caitlin was frowning. “You took the Lighted Way?”

“Yeah. That bad?”

“It’s just–the Lighted Way is something the Seelie Court, and only the Seelie Court, can do. And the Seelie Court isn’t supposed to be around anymore.”

He shrugged. “It isn’t, as far as I know. I never saw the path or heard the voices again.”

“But they saved you,” Caitlin said. “And that means something.”

My YA fantasy novel TURQUOISEBLOOD is out now! Get your copy here!


Turquoiseblood-300x200

When the dangerous rogue dragon Anya crash lands in an isolated mountain village during a snowstorm, Kiri saves her life. Anya awakens seemingly cured of her madness and in thanks offers to show Kiri the country outside her village.

What starts as a simple pact quickly becomes something more as Kiri becomes embroiled in the intrigue of the royal court and the hunt for a murderer. 

Meanwhile, 200 years in the past, Pristina fights to stop a rising civil war. 

Get your copy on Amazon today!

SPG: February, Part 1/4

CeceliaIsaac_StPaulGrimoire

St. Paul Grimoire is a weekly urban fantasy serial.

“Wake up, D!”

Dakotah’s eyes snapped open. “Shit,” he moaned. Hadn’t he just gotten into bed minutes ago?

His mom opened his door. “Come eat something. You have to get to the shop.”

The shop. Ever since he’d taken it on his mom, November, had been using it against him like it was something she could take away: ‘Well, if you can’t show me you’re responsible…’ Even thought today was Saturday, he still had to wake up early and go. Even thought only yesterday he had fought a vampire, he still had to wake up early and go.

He did, but not for the reason she thought. He had to go because there was someone there waiting for him, a former Guardian he’d thought was dead.

“–Should come home early tonight and get your homework–”

November paused. Dakotah looked . Ah, she’d spotted his coat.

“What happened!”

“It got ripped up when I was running through the woods.”

“What woods–”

Dakotah rolled out of bed. At seventeen, he loomed over his mother. He used his body to shuffle her out of his room. “I’ll buy a new one with my profits, it’s fine. See you in a minute.”

Half an hour later, a short trip to the Abe’s was all it took to determine Pete and Phin weren’t going anywhere that weekend. They were in big trouble after taking Leal out without permission.

Vampire kidnapping probably wasn’t an explanation that was going to fly with their parents.

“My mom actually loves the old baby clothes, though,” Pete said in the doorway. Phin wasn’t even allowed to talk. “But I’d just avoid her–she’s pissed. You alright?”

Dakotah nodded. “Just tired from everything.” A few years ago he’d been picking fights all the time and he remembered the comedown. It was similar to what he was feeling now, just that now was more intense. Of course, that was only part of it. He desperately wanted to tell her about Inkar, but with her dad lingering around the corner, he could tell it would have to wait.

“I’ll try to come by later,” she said. “I’m not in as big of trouble as Phin.”

“Don’t worry about it,” he said. “I’ll text you if anything happens.”

On the way to the shop Val texted.

“I’m busy w fam today. I’ll chill tomorrow. Inkar show?”

He replied, “No prob.” And, after a minute of thinking, “Didn’t see him.”

She Snapped him a funny face in reply and he laughed. Val wasn’t so bad.

Despite everything, the sight of his shop never failed to calm him. He propped the gate and opened the blinds and made a few notations (mostly about the baby clothes he’d given away and the money he’d have to spend on a new coat).

“Gettin’ an early start, I see.”

His houseguest was a woman in her early twenties. She looked different in the daytime, less ominous.

He wasn’t fooled by her friendly face. Caitlin killed Inkar without hesitation just a few hours ago.

“Got work,” he said with a general wave at the shop.

She smiled a little wolfishly. “Well, you don’t really.”

“It’s complicated,” he muttered. “You eat?”

“I explored your neighborhood a little. Fuckin’ cold.”

“Yeah,” he agreed, wondering when she was going to get to the point and explain how the hell she was alive and where she’d been the past few months. Last night he’d been to tired to do anything than trudge back to the shop and show her a room.

“Sunil tried to kill me,” she said as if reading his mind.

The name cause adrenaline to shoot through Dakotah’s body. He hadn’t seen or heard from the fallen Guardian since banishing him to the far reaches of the fey world many months ago.

“I went into hiding and only just heard you’d taken care of him for the time being.”

“How did Sunil get into your Sanctuary?”

Caitlin shrugged. “Hell if I know. But he got to the Heart before I could. He broke down the defenses and it was all I could do to take the Lake to Everywhere somewhere safe.”

“Where’s safe? Where have you been?”

“In the fey world. Though take it from an expert, if you want to hide from someone half-fey himself, you should probably lie low in the human world.” She pulled her brown hair behind her shoulder and grinned. “I just didn’t want to get a job.”

They were interrupted by a customer shopping for unique Valentine’s Day gifts, and Dakotah went to help him out. When he had rung the customer up, he asked Caitlin, “So now what? Are you going back to Ireland?”

“I don’t know if I want to just yet…or if I even can. Actually, I thought I’d hang out here for a bit. If I remember it right, Ike passed away and then you were made Heir. I bet he didn’t show you much about being a Guardian?”

Dakotah nodded to show that was right.

“Well, maybe I can help teach you some stuff.”

Dakotah’s eyes lit up. “Oh, hell yeah.”

 

My YA fantasy novel TURQUOISEBLOOD is out now! Get your copy here!


Turquoiseblood-300x200

When the dangerous rogue dragon Anya crash lands in an isolated mountain village during a snowstorm, Kiri saves her life. Anya awakens seemingly cured of her madness and in thanks offers to show Kiri the country outside her village.

What starts as a simple pact quickly becomes something more as Kiri becomes embroiled in the intrigue of the royal court and the hunt for a murderer. 

Meanwhile, 200 years in the past, Pristina fights to stop a rising civil war. 

Get your copy on Amazon today!