Rule of Magic, The Leira Chronicles Book 4
By Martha Carr & Michael Anderle
Leira stood in front of the virtual screen pointing at the different symbols and reading off the information for the people standing around her. “There’s another young Wizard who’s gone missing from Ohio. Fifteen years old, heading home from a game of basketball. Gone for three days.”
The lessons with Turner Underwood were paying off. She was getting a better understanding of how magic worked as well as growing more confident. Magic was simple but not easy. Letting go without knowing where things were headed was not Leira’s usual way of doing business.
She was surrounded by the other members of the federal task force, including Hagan and Alan Cohen.
“The common thread all eleven Witches and Wizards have in common is they’re young and involved in dark magic.”
Hagan flipped through a file. “According to the case file, the dalliance with dark magic goes back generations. They’re legacy stupid.”
Alan Cohen made a note on his smart phone to look into the background of the latest missing kid. “That’s something when dark Wizards and Witches are willing to come to us for help.”
“Being a parent overrides even darkness,” said Hagan.
“Most of the time.” Leira pointed at the symbols and walked over to the map on the wall. “Anyone notice another fun fact? They’re in clusters. Phoenix, Arizona has three. Two were in Santa Monica. Two in Austin and three more outside of Richmond, Virginia. Now this one in Ohio. Something about those locations.” Her eyes narrowed as she put the pieces together. “Kemanas,” she whispered.
“What?” Hagan shook his head.
“Kemanas! They’ve all got big ass kemanas. Large sources of magical powers. Of course they do. They draw magical communities of every kind. Light and dark. Someone knows how to target his prey.”
“Are we sure they’re prey? I’m not convinced they’re all connected yet. Can I see that?” He held out his hand for the file.
“The parents have a way of tracking their magical children at all times. It’s like a trail that none of those kids are smart enough to be able to hide. It takes really advanced magic. But the trails are gone. Nothing there.” Leira paced in front of the screen. Something was adding up but she didn’t like the answer. Even for practitioners of dark magic. They were still kids.
“They may have gotten taken into the world in between.” She saw the confused faces on the newer team members Mark and Gail. “It’s like a netherworld between Earth and Oriceran. Magical people and the dead can get trapped there but it’s not really a destination. There’s no real there, there, and getting out is just this side of impossible.”
“Till a couple weeks ago it was considered completely impossible.” Hagan hitched up his pants, grimacing.
“If it is this thing how do we stop it? Doesn’t look like there’s anything for us to do here.” Gail’s dark brown ponytail bobbed with each word. “I want to help,” she said in a determined tone, “but I don’t know how to battle that thing.”
“You heard about what happened with the dark mist, didn’t you? By now, the story must be pretty hairy and it doesn’t help that it probably doesn’t even do it justice. Says a lot of good things about the two of you that you still agreed to sign on to this task force. Humans add a lot to the equation.” Leira glanced over at Hagan.
“We’ve managed to keep our planet spinning on our own all this time and created a few cool gadgets along the way.” Cohen pointed at the virtual screen. “That’s mostly us with a little magical help but less than you think.”
Hagan interrupted, clearing his throat. “We haven’t relied on magic all these years. We all became detectives because even among humans we have this weird talent to put pieces together from random places and make up a plausible storyline.” He shrugged. “Valuable.”
Leira gave him a crooked smile and looked back up at the screen for more information. “All that being said, there’s plenty we can do,” she said, without turning back to the group. “We don’t know for sure who or what is taking them so we keep digging till we are. Magical or non-magical, they’re citizens and they’re kids and their well-being is our responsibility.”
“Mark and I will head to Ohio and see what we can find. Interview some parents and work on getting them to lend a hand or a wand. Maybe we can get ahead of this thing.” Alan nodded at Mark. “Leira, can you get a complete list of the kemanas in America? Gives us a place to start.”
“I can do that. Looks like we have a starting place. Hagan and Gail and I will monitor the different groups all trying to find the necklace and every other magical knickknack out there.”
“This job finally has a little heat.” Hagan pulled up his pants, his voice excited.
“I’m buying you a belt for Christmas. Better yet a new pair of pants.” Leira took the file back from Alan. He seemed to want to say something. Leira waited but he just nodded and turned to go, quickly crossing the warehouse to catch up with Mark.
“That was weird.”
“Only if you’re blind. He’s got a thing for you.” Gail smiled. “You were right, Hagan. Our skills do come in handy.” She gave a smirk, her hands on her hips. “He’s the hottest catch to come along in a while, too.”
“Not on my list of priorities.” Leira could feel her face warming. “First one is stop a magical hoarding war, second one is to get back the biggest artifact out there and third is a bunch of missing magical kids. No room to even put anything else in there.” She tapped the side of her head.
“Okay, I get it. No worries over here. Dropping the subject. Going to go monitor the corporate Indiana Jones wannabes the old-fashioned way on my computer. At my desk. Way over there.” She arched an eyebrow and smiled with one side of her mouth before heading to her desk.
“You know, he’s not half bad. Even I noticed, which is saying something. Normally for me to notice a guy he’s got to be carrying a football or a doughnut. Either one’ll do. I’m just sayin.” Hagan headed back to his desk across the open warehouse.
“Stop saying. I don’t pee where I swim.” Leira shook her head.
“Never liked that saying, Berens.”
Leira let out a sigh and sat down on one of the couches. “Singleness of purpose. Catch magical bad guys and learn more magic before big badass shows up. Sunday dinners with family. My dance card is full,” she muttered.
She looked back up at the screen and had an idea. She centered herself and invited in the magic letting it spill out of her onto the screen, speeding up the information.
“Plenty about artifacts, nothing about those kids.” Her eyes tracked the symbols as she read out loud. “Vanished into thin air.” She looked down at the ground, determined to come up with the start of a plan. “Dammit. Not a good sign. This is bullshit. They have to be somewhere.”
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