Ritual Space

By: Viola Grace

She repeated it over and over as the light began to flicker in the blue stone. She pressed her hands to it and kept chanting as the power built to a crescendo and bright blue light cascaded over her, flowing outward from the centre.

Adrea breathed in the green around her, felt the stone in her bones, the soil under her skin and the grass in her hair. She inhaled and exhaled in a slow rhythm as the wave moved outward until the wall was encompassed and she was complete.

She knew every inch of the property like she knew herself.

Relaxed and confident that she could subdue anything that tried to break out or in, she covered her digging site and got to her feet. A sprout shot up through the ground and rapidly turned into a young oak.

Her mark on the property was sealed with that oak.

Adrea Morrigan straightened her shoulders and went to find the intruders in her territory. Eleven mages, one gargoyle and a half-elf were in her space. She was going to meet and greet every one.

She walked with a determined air and headed through the woods and back to where Mr. Grant was still going over his paperwork.

“So, Ms. Morrigan. Did you catch the creature you were after?”

“No, but I now know where it is, and I will subdue it if it becomes a problem.”

He gave her a respectful nod. “Neadra told me that you were perfect to be her successor. I am beginning to think she was right. You are definitely up to this challenge.”

“I do hope so, because Ritual Space is now mine.”

“Excellent. There is one more thing. Neadra provided you with this starter’s manual. It will tell you how to proceed in the business of providing magical property for temporary use.”

He hauled a heavy book out of his bag and placed it on the table in front of her. The manual was huge, at least a foot square and encrusted with gems, petrified wood and bits of freshly mined metals. When Adrea opened the book, each page held a pressed flower or leaf.

Without asking, she knew that everything in that book had come from the property around her.

Mr. Grant scowled. “I am sorry. She said she had written it for you.”

Adrea looked at the page and smiled. Her name was written on the paper with the distinctive flourish of her aunt’s hand. “She did. Don’t worry. I will get by.”

He nodded but appeared confused. “If you need me, here is my card. I will contact you when the details for the funeral have been completed.”

“Thank you.”

“The ceremony, burial and reception will be held here. You can expect about seven hundred guests. Do not worry. The function will be fully catered. They are coming to pay their respects to your aunt and to greet you.”

Adrea blinked. “Seven hundred?”

“Yes, you will have to open the gateways to allow them to come, but many will respect your recent acquisition of the property and lack of training and car pool, so to speak.”

She smiled weakly. “Oh, good. I am glad I have a few days to get the hang of that.”

Mr. Grant patted her on the shoulder. “As Neadra always said, it is in the blood. I am sure you will do just fine.”

She nodded. “Right. Any idea where I am supposed to stay?”

“The house will provide for you. I am guessing that it is your motorcycle on the inside of the gate?”

She blinked. “I didn’t think to check. I am guessing yes.”

“Then, you have a way to obtain what you need meal wise, though the garden is usually fully stocked.”

Adrea chuckled at his tone.

“I think I might just head out and find some takeout.”

“If the property lets you out, feel free. If not...” He took out a notepad and jotted down a number. “This is the name of a Chinese restaurant that will deliver out to this place.”

“What do you mean if the property lets me out?”

“You are currently in the process of bonding to this land. It will become part of you and you part of it, but this takes time. Neadra said it took weeks. Be prepared to fend for yourself and send me lists of anything you need. I will have my assistant bring it to you.”

She blinked rapidly. “Oh. Right. Gotcha. I think I need time to plow through this book anyway.”

She thought about it, and despite the length of time since her last stop on her bike, she wasn’t hungry. She would wait until hunger stirred before worrying about where food would come from. She had other things to focus on.

Adrea closed her eyes and found one remaining mage. He was standing outside the house and guarding it. She guessed he was guarding it; he wasn’t moving.

She walked Mr. Grant out, and he left her behind. The door closed and locked behind him, so she turned and went in search of the final officer.

She found him standing in front of the house. “Excuse me. Everybody else has left.”

He nodded. “I am aware. I received a call that outlined your importance. You have been assigned a guard around the clock until we know you are capable of managing your own defense.”

She frowned. “That sounds annoying. What is your name?”

“Detective Luning.”

Adrea twisted her lips. “Do you have a first name?”

“Hyl. It’s a family name, Ms. Morrigan.”

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