Friends of mine.
Spell casting isn't my area of expertise so I raided Alden's library for volumes of protection spells, containment spells, and incantations. Most of the supplies we need are in a small display case by his bed and labeled with scotch tape. There is a whole shelf full of spices and potions. Above the shelf are several amulets. Each one has a special magical property. There is even a spell to animate the dead in Latin – the Council taught all hunters Latin and Greek. I am far from fluent since fighting was my strength at the academy. There are vials of Acacia, Buckthorn, Cypress, Galangal, root and Hemlock, just to name a few. The spell book Alden uses was written by a powerful witch from the early sixteenth century. It's called the Astadourian Book of Spells and Charms. Whatever we're missing from the display Rowena has gone to pick up. We made plans to meet up at the loft before the sun sets. That only gives us five hours to prepare before we face him.
Griffon closed Chambers for the next few days. Many of the patrons were scared it was permanently closed, but Griffon assured them it was only temporary. When you are used to feeling safe it is hard to return to being scared all the time. Chambers is one of the safest places in all of Abney, for demons and humans alike. So to have it close is a big deal. Even for a little while. With so many demons disappearing these days, it is hard to figure out who is trustworthy and who will kill you. Only those that come to Chambers can be trusted. Closing it will force the demons to be on their guard constantly. It may also get some of them killed.
Elir and Kaal are sitting in the bar with Griffon. They're discussing strategy while Kaal is brushing up on his magic, with a little help from Elir.
Meanwhile I'm trying to figure out how to use this magic book. If only Alden were here then he could help me. Right about now he should be in England. The Council has a retreat every vernal equinox, when neither half of the Earth points directly at the sun. In fact the sun is at the equator, so both halves of Earth are getting the same amount of direct sunlight. On the vernal equinox day and night are the same length. Neither hemisphere gets more sunlight than the other, so both have similar seasons. The retreat always lasts two days, every year in March. The two days he's gone are always my most vulnerable because the vampires come out early. This is a celebration for them since the day ends earlier than usual, and the night is long.
Let's just hope that today isn't my last.
I step out into the pub and take a seat at the bar. I turn the chair to face Griffon and the boys. Kaal is watching aptly while Elir creates a fireball. He mutters the word, “Incendio,” while holding his hands equal distance apart. A ball of flame about the size of my fist stays contained between his hands. His hands move expertly as he sends the fire ball into the air, swirling and growing, before releasing it. It lands in a glass of water and dwindles out. It's very impressive.
Kaal grins broadly and immediately asks for help.
I turn back to the counter where the spell book is open to a protection page. Protection spells require a little concentration, but a great deal of patience. To make them work you need an amulet or certain kinds of magical roots. The last spell I cast was over thirteen years ago. So I'm a little out of practice.
Okay I need a lot of help.
This spell requires I fill a vile with several roots and powders, bless it with five words in Latin, and wear it around my neck. Somehow it's supposed to protect me from harm. I have to try it out before using it in battle. Rowena assures me it will work, but you can never be too careful, or too prepared. I plan on reaching my twenty-first birthday in June. However, I don't want to spend it as a vampire.
I need to know what we're dealing with. First rule, always learn everything you can about your enemy. Unfortunately I can't go because it would play right into his hands. I need someone to act as my lookout. Just to observe from a distance. Unlike Ambrose I don't have demons to control. I have to use an innocent. There's only one person I can use. I just hope she's still in town.
“Griff, can I see you a moment?” I ask turning around.
Griffon has placed chairs on top of the tables but has left all the stools around the bar. All the merchandise has been moved into the back. We plan on regrouping back here when the battle is over. If only one of us is left standing, the remaining person will come back here and enlist the help of the Council. The number is known by everyone, just in case. I went ahead and bought some weapons to include in Alden's arsenal. The back doors are locked and there's a closed sign on the front door. With everything locked up we can prepare in peace. I still have to get the weapons from our flat so I'll find Paige on my way.
“You wanted to see me?” Griff asks.
Paige and Griffon have had some problems in the past. I don't know if he'll want to see her. “We need to know what we're going up against. So I need to send someone to spy on Ambrose and report back here.”
He nods in agreement.
Then he frowns. “Who did you have in mind?”
“I figured I would send Paige. She's the only one who can defend herself. I know you don't like her but...” I start. Griffon surprises me by laughing.
When he can finally speak he sighs. “Don't worry about it Vala. I forgave her a long time ago. She was in a very bad place back then. Don't forget who her companions were. Plus her parents were into the occult and very fond of flogging. Not to mention having to watch ritual sacrifice.”
“Do you know where I can find her?” I ask before he can elaborate.
He frowns in thought. “The last I heard she was studying to be a hunter. Only I don't think she's allowed to join the retreat.” He turns around to the boys.
The boys are sitting at a table arguing.
“Elir!” Griff calls.
Both boys turn abruptly and stop talking. My skin tingles from the force of that one word. Even when he isn't using magic Griff can still get your attention.
Elir gets up and walks over. “Yeah?”
“Which watcher is Paige staying with?”
Elir takes a moment to think about it. “Dessell Byrne. They live about five miles west of here.”
“Do you have an address?” I ask.
He turns to me and nods. “I was there a few days ago. It's a small shack behind the old church. There should be a cross hanging on the door. You can't miss it.”
I thank him.
After calling Rowena with the news I head out. Once I find Paige, and she agrees to help, then I'll have to push the fight back a few hours. It should be okay. I just hope the sun will last until Paige returns from her task. I also hope Paige is able to get out without losing her life.