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   Chapter 46 Keeper of the Crossroads

Keeper of the Crossroads By Valerie Gaumont Characters: 12757

Updated: 2018-03-13 11:14

Chapter 46

Jamie settled in to read. His self imposed assignment wasn't exactly much of a hardship though. He had always enjoyed reading and the events and details he was reading now were more fantastical than any history book he had ever encountered, becoming more interesting with each page he turned. Apparently he wasn't the only Keeper. And Jamie found himself wondering if there was ever a meeting between Keepers.

"Now that would be an interesting conference, " Jamie said to himself with a laugh. He continued on and realized that such a meeting wouldn't be as amusing as he thought. Apparently the other Keepers only met when all of the available Keepers for one particular crossroads had been decimated. For this reason it was recommended that any Keeper search for a designated heir as soon as possible.

Finding a suitable apprentice apparently took a great deal of time. The Keeper was cautioned to not look for an apprentice until he was at least two years into his tenure so that he could be fully vested in his duties before training another. Until that time, a younger family member could be designated. The book specified a good mind, a caring nature and a stout heart as the requirements.

"Still interesting, but more war council than cocktail hour, " Jamie amended his earlier statement. According to the book he was reading, all Keepers had some touch of human magic about them. Jamie frowned at that. He certainly didn't have any magic. "Perhaps Albe left off looking for too long and had to go with me as the best of the lot, " Jamie said. As he flipped the pages, he wondered if Albe had been disappointed at not finding a magician as his successor.

"Because there certainly was something magical about Albe, " Jamie muttered. He paused wondering if Albe had been capable of true magic, like the kind in fairytales. While he couldn't exactly see his great uncle rushing off into the woods to save a fair maiden from a dragon, he could easily see the old man enchanting a sword that could kill a dragon and making sure the eager young hero took it with him.

"Of course that would only be after he had a talk with the dragon and realized that the dragon was just going to be stubbornly unreasonable about the young woman in the first place, " Jamie said, smiling. "And assuming the woman didn't need to be locked up for some reason." Jamie shook the thought away. Turning the pages, he found the instructions for testing a potential apprentice. Jamie scanned them with a bit of a frown and he wondered if he would be able to conduct the test if he had no magic of his own.

"Perhaps Del could sit in on the testing, " he mused, then snorted in derision of his own thoughts. "There is the strong possibility of me being killed in the next few days, worrying about training an apprentice is something I can do later." Although given the danger of his first few days as the new Keeper, he could understand the advisement to choose an heir quickly.

"I wonder if the others started their tenure with quite this much of a bang." Jamie's thoughts on the subject were interrupted by the mad jangling of bells. To Jamie's ears it sounded like hurricane had struck a warehouse full of Christmas decorations. Jamie clapped his hands over his years.

"What the hell, " he shouted, not quite sure who he was asking. It didn't seem to matter as he could not hear his own voice. He could only feel the vibrations in his throat and his jaw muscles moving. It was deeply unnerving. He moved towards the door and ran into Del. The small man was armed with a cleaver and an angry expression. Jamie saw Del's mouth move but couldn't make out the words. He shook his head. Abruptly the sound stopped. Jamie cautiously removed his hands from his ears. The silence remained. He

was stopped at the perimeter, " House said. Jamie nodded but stayed quiet until Del relaxed.

"Another intruder, " Jamie passed along. "Thank you House."

"They are trying different things to get past the perimeter, " Del said. "Even though I only caught a bit of the first, this one was a little different." Del walked over to one of the chairs set by the fire and seated himself. He placed the cleaver down on the floor. Jamie took it as a sign that the small man did not believe a conflict was imminent. "It's odd though, " Del said as Jamie joined Del in front of the fire.

"That someone would attack?"

"No, " Del said with a smile. "That we could almost anticipate. At least until your decision is turned in. No the odd bit is that there is strange magic in the perimeters."

"Strange as in something is tampering with it?"

"No, " Del said shaking his head. "Strange as in it isn't pure fae magic. I believe there is some human magic mixed in. The combination is quite powerful."

"And since most believe that the fae alone were the architects, it might make it harder to break?" Jamie guessed.

"It would be unanticipated, " Del said. "There is no record of human magics being added to it, even on those drawings you brought up. All of the magics were too complex for the likes of me to comprehend, but they were all of the fae. I could see that at a glance. Burr himself might not have known they were done."

"Wouldn't he... you know, sense them or something when he fixed House?"

"He might not have, " Del said. "Whatever this is, was not active when Burr came to fix it and when I was with him, he only tinkered with the fae bits. I have the feeling one of your ancestors decided to add a little bit of the extra after he was gone."

"Non-factory standard, " Jamie muttered to himself. He waved off Del's puzzled frown. "But wouldn't they be separate things then? Fixing one wouldn't fix the other. And tampering with one wouldn't tamper with the other either, would it?"

"It would depend on when the magic was added. If it was added as soon as Burr left, the fae magic might have been fresh enough to partially merge with the human additions."

"Huh, " Jamie said. "Like still wet paint."

"Very much so." Del's face went blank again as he listed to something in the distance. House warned him of another intruder.

"I have the feeling this is going to be a long night, " Jamie said to himself. "I wonder if we have any books on human magic around or if Alexander contracted out."

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