SPG: November, Part 4/4

CeceliaIsaac_StPaulGrimoire

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!

They went out the back door of the shop, following a path of least resistance, the way Oceanus might have taken.

“Poor guy,” said Valene.

“We don’t know if anything’s wrong,” Dakotah snapped, his own stress leeching out at her.

“He’s probably scared,” she said. “Let’s split up. Pete and I can take Dunlap.”

“Yeah, sure, whatever,” said Dakotah.

Val rolled her eyes as they split from the boys.

“You’re welcome,” she muttered. “He acts like he don’t need us.”

Pete’s hand tapped a rhythm on her leg. “He’s figuring stuff out,” she said distractedly. Why were they even looking here? Oceanus was in Other St. Paul, not here.

She wondered if she, a Hero, could shift into Other St. Paul. Dakotah could now do it without a thought. She did sometimes have the double vision, the ability to see past fey glamour to the true form of something. But she’d never been able to do it without Dakotah present.

Valene had been unimpressed with the Hero classification completely. Probably because Pete had yet to show any sign of fey power, or whatever Heroes were supposed to show. As they walked, she tried to flip them into the fey world, but everything remained bright and cool and rainy.

Maybe Dakotah could give her a lesson. She sighed when she thought about Oceanus. He was so chill, why was he having all these problems?

Instead of a big thing like switching into Other St. Paul, she tried for the double vision. For a moment, nothing happened. Then, she spotted a splash of gold, almost hidden among the gold leaves. Pete clapped her hands over her ears to reduce distractions and stepped quickly over to the splash.

As she walked, she saw more and more, a trail of gold in splashes that had frozen over like ice.

“What are you doing?” asked Val.

“I think I’ve got his trail,” she said, then pressed her hands tighter over her ears. She kept the image of Oceanus forefront in her mind, kind of how she had kept Belfast in her mind when she and Dakotah had taken the Lake to Everywhere there.

“How do you know it’s—” Val stopped talking abruptly as they rounded the corner to to face a chorus of angels.

Pete’s vision went crazy, flipping back and forth between her world and the fey world. It felt like the lights were being flicked on and off, the angels before her losing and gaining their wings with each flip. Then the world shuddered to halt, and they stood in shadowy Other St. Paul. The chorus of shining angels stood in a loose circle around Oceanus, who sat on the ground.

One angel turned, and she recognized Pratum.

“Heroes,” he scoffed. “Notorious meddlers.”

The rest of the angels ran the spectrum from male to female, though most were somewhere in the middle with beautiful androgynous faces. They looked with apathy at Pete and Val.

“Get away from him!” Pete said.

“Jesus, Pete,” Valene whispered. She grabbed the other girl’s arm. “There’s like, twelve of them.”

“He’s under Guardian protection!” Pete went on.

Pratum rolled his eyes. “He’s left the Sanctuary. Don’t you know anything? The magic doesn’t work anymore.”

“That’s not true!” Pete bluffed.

“Oh, my god, Pete,” Val begged. “Don’t antagonize him.”

“The Guardian can still protect him if he wants.”

“The Guardian should mind his own business,” an angel snarled.

Pratum nodded. “Hero, this is an angel problem. We will solve it.”

“Why can’t you leave him be?”

“Because angels must be perfect.”

Pete didn’t see who spoke, but all the others nodded in agreement.

She did not need to ask what they meant. She had spent a whole afternoon with Oceanus. He was too quiet, too fixated on his toy. He wasn’t as polished as these angels before her.

“But if he just left the chorus—”

A ripple of horror moved through the watching faces.

“You are suggesting he become a fallen angel?” Pratum said. “Death would be preferable

“Maybe to you,” Val managed to say.

“You do not understand our ways,” Pratum snapped at her.

“I understand they’re stupid if you have to kill anyone who’s different,” Val snapped back. “Even I get that that’s fucked up.”

“Enough,” said another angel. “They cannot stop us. Take care of Oceanus, Pratum.”

Pratum turned his back on the girls. He lifted an arm. His fist crackled with flickering lightning.

“Oceanus!” Pete yelled. The angel lifted his head a bit. “Do you want Dakotah to protect you?”

Barely a beat passed, but for Pete it stretched on and on. Then he inclined his head. Pratum threw his arm. His heat lightning-like magic shot froward, crashing into Oceanus—and bouncing off.

“Shit!” cried Val. “It worked!” She squeezed her arms around Pete.

Her next sound was an eep of terror as Pratum turned to them.

He lifted his arm, lightning cracking again at the end of it. His face was a mask of rage. Before he could bring his arm down, though, he was blasted sideways.

“Dakotah!” Val shouted, her relief tinged with an edge of panic.

Pratum stumbled, losing his electricity for a moment. Dakotah squared off in front of him, while Phin burst through the circle of angels to take Oceanus by the arm.

Pratum shifted, and as he regained his balance he swung, releasing another bolt of lightning. Dakotah brought his arms up, blocking the lightning and releasing a blast of his own magic.

“Come on,” Pete said, and she and Val ran to help Phin. Oceanus kept his head bowed at they hurried to stand by Dakotah. Not close enough to be in the line of fire, but enough to let everyone know they were being protected.

Pratum paused with lightning crackling on both fists. “This isn’t your job, Guardian.”

“I’ll keep that in mind for the future,” Dakotah growled, not leaving his defensive stance.

“You overstep. So did Icarus. Neither of you knew where a human’s responsibility in our world ends. I am not surprised he chose a successor like you.”

“Thank you,” said Dakotah.

Pratum tried once more. “You do not know enough of our world, Guardian. You think you save him but you curse him. And when you overstep you run the risk of ending up just like Icarus.”

The energy on Dakotah’s hands flared up. “It’s time for you to go, Pratum. I’ll explain everything to Oceanus. He’ll decide for himself if he wants to leave the chorus.”

Slowly, Pratum lowered his arms. The lightning wound down and flickered out. He shook his head. “You will learn, Guardian.”

He jerked his head at the others. “Come.”

They stretched their pure white wings and lifted off, flying away into the foggy gray sky.

Dakotah took a deep breath, closing his eyes. When he opened them, they were all back in St. Paul.

They made their way slowly back to the shop.

“What was that?” asked Pete, catching up to Dakotah. Val and Phin walked behind, on either side of Oceanus.

“Weird shit,” he said. “Something happened, and I knew exactly where you were, and how to get there almost instantly. Then, when Pratum started using his power—then I could, too. Not exactly the same way, but I could replicate it.” He examined his hands. “I don’t know if I can do it again or not.”

“Well, it was awesome,” she said.

He grinned at her.

By the time they’d made the short walk back to the shop, he was exhausted. The stone cats meowed concernedly, and he pat their heads comfortingly. The magic fight had drained him, leaving a weird blank feeling in his chest.

The moment they entered the shop, he noticed the book on the checkout counter.

“Hey!” he said, quickly circling to take a closer look. The cover bore no title but was ornate, tipped in gold and with stylized painting on the leather. He flipped through a few pages. It was not written like a normal book. Text was handwritten and wandered the page, separated by ink drawings–close-ups of wings or eyes, diagrams of flight patterns, pictures of different types of clouds.

As he flipped through, his frown deepened.

“What is it?” asked Phin. “What’s wrong?”

Dakotah sighed wearily. “It’s in French.”

The AMAZING cover to my forthcoming novel, TURQUOISEBLOOD, will be revealed December 1st! Check back here tomorrow to see it first!

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SPG: November Part 3/4

CeceliaIsaac_StPaulGrimoire

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!

“Fuck, sorry, we should’ve been here.”

“It’s cool,” Pete assured Dakotah. She had just told him about Pratum, the angel who had come looking for Oceanus. She’d invited Val over for extra support, but once Pratum had left, nothing eventful had happened. She yawned. It was past eleven.

Dakotah looked at the angel. He had set the clockwork toy near him, but he was watching Val braid her hair, answering whenever she asked him a question.

Val got up and went to stand with the others.

“I feel like an idiot,” she said. “I dunno what to, like, even say to him? He’s super nice though.”

“I don’t think we need to babysit him,” Dakotah said, explaining what Arturo had told him. He figured Oceanus would be safe while whatever problem blew over.

“Then we can go to bed?” Val asked.

Dakotah cast a wary look to the front gate. He noticed both of his cats were back in position by the front gate. He’d tell them to keep an eye out for Pratum. “Can you walk Val home?” he asked Phin.

Brother and sister nodded.

“What about you?” Pete asked.

“I have to do my homework,” Dakotah said with a roll of his eyes. “I’ll hang out here, see if the grimoire gets delivered.”

Dakotah put in his request for an angel grimoire—feeling strange as he set the note on the front counter. Then he sat on the ground and showed Oceanus how to play a racing game on his iPad.

“Are you…hungry?” asked Dakotah.

The angel shook his head.

“K…I gotta do some stuff, so…let me know if you need anything.”

Dakotah wandered away, still feeling like a babysitter even though Arturo had said he wasn’t.

What is a Guardian, then, if not a babysitter? What’s the point?

When he left for the night he kept a sharp eye out for Pratum or any other angels. No one bothered him, and he flopped into bed.

~*~*~

“He been mean-muggin’ me, man.” A locker slammed as an annoyed kid smashed a hand into it.

“I understand that, Damien,” a calm teacher said, “but do you think the appropriate reaction is throwing pencils while others are trying to work?”

Dakotah had woken up late and arrived to school (Central was within easy walking distance) in the middle of first period. The halls had filtered free of most students, and class was going on.

Mostly. Out in the halls was another world. A free-floating space you could wander like a maze, like skirting behavior specialists like Pac-Man ghosts.

“Waddup, Kotah,” someone said.

Dakotah gave the other boy a nod. Savion was definitely skipping class. He stopped to have a conversation, obviously more interested in anything but class.

“You late?”

“Yeah. M’tired.”

Savion nodded. He always fell asleep in class, Dakotah knew. Two years ago he’d been the same, when they’d been moving a lot. He’d been tired but filled with a restless energy.

The boys talked for a minute more, then a passing adult gave them the eye. Dakotah flashed his late pass for the both of them, and once she passed by he and Savion went different directions.

“Dakotah,” Pete said as she approached.

“Busy hallway,” Dakotah muttered. “Hey, what’s up? Where’re you going?”

“Library. Did you see Oceanus today?”

He shook his head. “Woke up like 15 minutes ago. I’ll check after school. He was fine last night though. I think angels don’t eat. Or sleep.”

“Was he still playing with that soldier?”

“Yeah, kinda. Like he played on the iPad but kept the soldier by him. I dunno. He seems alright.”

“I’ll go with you today.” She felt responsible for the angel. Dakotah hadn’t seen Pratum, he didn’t know the weird look in the angel’s eyes.

“K, cool.”

~*~*~

She and Val met Dakotah by the front doors. Phin stood with him already.

“When’s it going to get cold?” Phin wondered aloud. They started out from Central’s front doors, down the steps and the wide expanse of concrete to the sidewalk.

“You want to be cold?”

The four talked about nothing important as they made their way to the shop in the unseasonably warm weather. Yellow leaves fell around the Summit neighborhood, putting everything into a blaze of color. Construction and renovations on the Summit areas homes had finished before winter could settle in. Many had fresh coats of paint.

Dakotah worried about the upkeep of Ike’s shop. Did he have to handle that? Would magic hold it together? His enemies had broken the front window on his first night as Guardian. What did that mean for the future?

They arrived at the shop. Dakotah pet his cats as he walked by the statues, not noticing the others do the same.

Inside, the shop was quiet. Dakotah looked around, frowning.

“Oceanus?”

No answer. That wasn’t really weird, he reminded himself. His guest was quiet.

“I’ll check upstairs,” Pete volunteered.

“Has anyone been in or out?” Phin asked. “Can you tell?”

Dakotah closed his eyes, feeling instinctively for the house’s physical memory.

“No, I don’t think so,” he said. “Nothing feels weird. But I don’t know if what I’m feeling is anything…I know, I’ll ask the cats.”

Dakotah ran outside. Phin and Val split up and checked the shelves and back rooms.

Within a minute they all met by the front desk.

“He isn’t upstairs,” Pete said.

“He’s gone,” Dakotah said grimly. “An angel came by the front gate.”

“Oceanus went with the angel?”

“No,” said Dakotah. “He apparently left out the back while the angel stood by the front.”

“Shit,” said Pete. “He got scared, don’t you think? And ran?”

“This is a safe place,” Dakotah said. “Where would he run to?”

“If he’s out there alone, the other angels will find him,” Pete said, an edge to her voice.

Dakotah stood frozen while he considered. What were the responsibilities of a Guardian? Should he look for Oceanus, or did the angel cease to be his responsibility the moment he left the grounds?

“Fuck,” he said. “Alright, let’s look for him.”

My novel TURQUOISEBLOOD will be out December 15th! Keep checking back for updates!

SPG: November, Part 2/4

CeceliaIsaac_StPaulGrimoire

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 what?”

“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.”

“Thanks, man.”

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!

SPG: November, Part 1/4

CeceliaIsaac_StPaulGrimoire

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!

The weather had turned a freakish 70 degrees. Pete spread her arms in the sun and basked for a moment. She actually loved winter, but a break in the chill wasn’t a problem either.

She set off for home at a slow pace. Val was busy today so Pete couldn’t do her homework over there.

Though she was used to Leal’s presence by now, the baby still bothered her. Why did her parents even need another kid?

Val’s house wasn’t much better. She had an older brother, too, and three younger siblings—the youngest two years old. Val didn’t think anything of it, though. Why did it bother Pete so much?

She had a thought, and her footsteps changed direction, down a few blocks and up a few more, bringing her to Dakotah’s shop. Here she could do her homework in peace.

Dakotah was standing with his back to the door. At the sound of her footsteps on the porch, he half-turned.

“Hey,” he said, unsmiling. That was a typical look for him. Dakotah had long black hair that he worn straight and loose. He was part Native American, she knew, which was easy to see in the combination of high nose, brown skin, and that hair. His mom looked practically the same, too.

“What’s up?” she asked.

“Well, they’re coming to fix the window today, I have to clean literally everything and figure out the cash register, find my missing cat and start advertising, write reports for my mom so she doesn’t get suspicious about the shop, do my homework, go see another Guardian, and now this guy’s here.”

Pete leaned around to see where Dakotah was gesturing.

Seated on the floor was an angel. He was a gaunt man with sharp dark features, like a Lord of the Rings elf. Tall and broad-shouldered, she didn’t think he was handsome. No, he was beautiful. The beauty shone out of his face and body like rays of sun. It lit his wings, defining every white feather.

The angel was playing with a windup soldier, a clockwork toy that Pete had seen before in Dakotah’s shop.

When the angel saw her, he beamed. “A heroine,” he said.

Pete couldn’t help but beam back. “At your service,” she said. She never minded when the fey pointed out her apparently innate heroic qualities. “What’s your name?”

The angel didn’t respond. He set his toy loose and let it march around.

“I think…” Dakotah said carefully, “he’s got, like, mental…problems. He doesn’t really talk or act right.”

She could see that. The angel had fixated on the toy and apparently forgotten their existence. His smile had been like Leal’s—completely authentic.

“What does he want?”

Dakotah shrugged. “The House accepted him last night. I could feel it so I went to see what was going on.” Dakotah rubbed his eyes. “He was freezing and scared but I got him up to bed and gave him that toy.”

“He seems pretty relaxed now,” Pete observed. “Good job, Guardian.”

Dakotah didn’t smile. “Someone is chasing him.”

~*~

Phin arrived half an hour later, and by then Pete had offered to sit with the angel while he and Dakotah went to see the other Guardian.

“I’ll owe you, Pete, thanks. Be careful”

She waved them off a little sourly. She wanted another chance on the Lake to Everywhere, especially once she realized where they were going: Mexico City. Phin was going to help translate.

Instead, she watched as they climbed into a canoe, and then wicked out of sight, like the curtain of the real world dropping down over the lake.

She looked at the angel. They had half an hour before the window fixer came, so she sat by the angel’s side, in the small space before the rows of shelves.

“What’s your name?” she asked. At first it seemed like he wouldn’t answer, but then he said, “Oceanus.”

“That’s a beautiful name,” she said. “Mine is Pete.”

He looked at her matter-of-factly. “No it’s not.” Then he went back to playing with his toy.

“Well, you can call me Pete.” She formed her next sentences carefully, like talking to a child. “My friend Dakotah said you were scared last night. Were you scared?”

Oceanus nodded. He never made eye contact.

“Well, you don’t have to be afraid anymore. Dakotah and I will take care of you.”

She couldn’t tell if he was comforted or not.

A clanging at the gate drew her attention. Must be the window people, she thought.

She got up and went out the shop door. Coming off the porch, she saw a tall, gaunt man, beauty radiating from his pure skin. He stood just outside the gate. As she approached, she sometimes saw his wings, sometimes not. It was that weird double vision she got now, where she could sometimes see through the fey glamour. He wore equally pure white robes.

“Can I help you?” she called, wondering why he didn’t approach.

“Yes, hello, heroine. I am called Pratum. I have been informed by brother Oceanus has taken Sanctuary here. I am an old acquaintance of Icarus, you see, and still have friends in this area. Anyway, I am here to collect my brother, if I may.”

Perfect! Thought Pete. By the time Dakotah got back, she’d have solved his angel problem.

“Really?” she asked. “That’s great. You…I mean, you know Ike…”

“Has passed from Earth, yes. What a tragedy.” The angel’s voice was monotone. Pete frowned. “May I enter and see my brother now.”

He didn’t even say it like a question. Hesitantly, Pete said, “Okay, yeah, I guess so.”

His face changed as his calm regard dropped away and a hungry look took its place.

The angel took a step forward, but as his foot started to pass the gate he yelled in shock and stumbled back.

Pete jumped at the sound. Before she could recover Pratum was back at the edge of the property line, his face a mask of anger.

“You’re not the new Guardian,” he snarled.

She took a half-step back. “I never said I was! Dak—What do you even want?” she hastily caught herself from giving Dakotah away.

“Bring me my brother,” he roared.

“The House won’t let you in,” she realized. Then she straightened. “Good. Get the hell out of here, you’re not getting to Oceanus.”

Pratum leaned as close as he dared to the boundary of the yard. “I’ll be back, heroine.”

 

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