Introduction -- Part II
Pale swirling lines wound their way across light bronze skin, even more noticeable than they had been just a few weeks earlier. It was only April but Calliope Bránán already had the start of the tan that would darken into a deep golden brown later in the summer. Most people assumed the subtle patterns were simply body art but the scars were much more than that, they were spell glyphs. She had dozens of them carved into her arms. A shortcut for her magic. Her blood pressed onto the right combination of symbols while focusing on the spell would cast it. She had turned her body into a spellbook over the years. There were of course spells that were too complex or rarely used to make it onto her arms but everything she used most was there.
The spell she was preparing for today was one she used frequently. In fact it was one of the first she had ever learned and the very first she had thought to add permanently to her body: a finding spell.
She finger combed her unruly auburn curls away from her face and pinned them in place with a couple barrettes, not bothering with a mirror, she just needed to keep her hair out of her eyes. It was nearly time for another haircut, she decided. Cal liked keeping her hair short for practicality and it rather suited her strong features. No one would call her conventionally beautiful but she made an impression. She was tall, just over five feet ten inches, with the lean muscular build of a swimmer. Her strong, angular face was softened by her large, round, amber eyes and a sense of humor that made her quick to smile or laugh. As usual when at home she was barefoot, wearing a black t-shirt and jeans. Her magic could be messy and black didn’t show bloodstains as readily.
Emily MacTire had asked for her help locating a bracelet one of her students had stolen from her desk. Normally this wasn’t the type of thing she’d cast a spell for but she did owe Emily a small favor and the werewolf had given her a jar of honey from her family’s apiary. Organic farming isn’t what most people picture werewolves doing, even those who know they exist, but the MacTire’s had one of the oldest and most successful farms in the area.
Emily was a pleasant woman in her mid-forties with ashy brown hair and dark sparkling eyes, she was also an excellent fourth grade teacher. While she was attached to the bracelet, it had been a gift from her sister, she was more concerned about the student who had taken it. It wasn’t the first thing that had gone missing in the classroom over the last month. It worried her, sudden acting out like this always did, and she wanted to find out so she could help.
Cal laid out the supplies she needed on the large oak desk she used as her work table—alcohol wipes, a half-inch hypodermic needle, gauze pads, a couple strands of Emily’s hair, a photo of her wearing the pretty silver and agate bracelet at her sister’s wedding, and a diagram of the classroom. Normally Lucas helped with her spells but this was such a quick simple spell that she didn’t see the need to wait for him to wake up. It did make preparations slightly more awkward but she had been doing this long before he was part of her life.
Starting with the alcohol Cal swabbed her left index finger then carefully opened the needle package without using the disinfected digit. Holding the needle in her right hand she quickly jabbed it into the tip of her finger and immediately dropped it into the sharps container she kept next to the desk. Her practiced motions precise enough that she barely felt a thing. A bright drop of blood welled up on her fingertip. She focused on the image of the bracelet in the photograph and let a drop fall onto the strands of hair then pressed her finger to the small glyph on the inside of her left arm tinting the white mark red. The hair began to slowly move as the spell began to take effect. It left a thin crimson line as it slid like a tiny snake across the sheet of paper Emily had drawn the classroom diagram on. After a few moments it circled a desk labeled ‘Annie S.’ and came to rest. The entire spell had taken less than two minute.
Holding a gauze pad to her finger, she dialed up Emily to give her the results.
“Really?” Her surprise was clear even over the phone. “Annie’s never in trouble, she’s my bookworm.”
“Yeah, unless another kid was sitting at her desk that day. The spell just tells me where the bracelet has been, not who took it.”
“No, they all sit in assigned seats every day. I guess I’d better call her parents in for a conference. Thanks Cal.”
“No problem, thanks for the honey.”
Cal tidied up her workspace after hanging up. She set the photo aside to return next time she saw Emily and tossed the rest in the trash. It was starting to get darker in the workroom as the sun set. She quietly padded downstairs on bare feet to wake Lucas.
So that is Part I, I hope you enjoyed it. Please share and enjoy. Next part will be posting next Wednesday, May 15, at 8pm EDT.
Introduction -- Part II