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Family Matters: The Society Book 4 By Valerie Gaumont Characters: 17157

Updated: 2019-06-11 14:52

Chapter 12

Hamilton exited the office leaving Ivy and Russell to await his return. "This is so strange, " Ivy said softly. "I know virtually nothing about golems. He needs an expert."

"From what I've heard, " Russell said, is voice pitched equally low. "He is the expert."

"And he would lose face if he called someone else to help him out, " Ivy acknowledged, remembering Albert's comments. "I get why he can't call them, but I don't know what help I'll be."

"Does she look the same as before with your weird…thing?" Russell wiggled his fingers in front of his eyes and she took it to mean the spell she cast on her vision to let her see the makeup of the golems.

"I didn't notice anything different, but I wasn't really looking, " Ivy admitted.

"Well, look this time, " he suggested.

Ivy was spared coming up with a reply by Hamilton's return. Jane followed behind him. As Hamilton resumed his seat, Jane closed the doors and turned to face them. She walked to the edge of the area rug and stopped, her toes just touching the edge. From her movements and glance down to check the positioning of her feet, Ivy guessed this was the spot she was assigned when coming in to report. Theodore's notes mentioned that golems tended to take orders very literally and she guessed someone told her to stand in that exact spot sometime previous.

'Which means she is still following some rules I suppose, even if she changed her dress, ' Ivy thought. She made a mental note to ask Hamilton about that later. Maybe if they figured out what orders altered and compared it to those that remained the same they could come up with a pattern.

When Jane came to a stop, Ivy studied her, forcing her vision to ignore the clothes and outward appearance to study the swirls of magic binding her together. Even a cursory glance told her that Jane was far more complex a creature than the guard. It wasn't surprising really since Burt was expected to sit patiently, hand the clip board to visitors and ask their destination. Ivy assumed there was some programming that dealt with unwanted visitors but she didn't know where it was.

In addition to greeting visitors and directing them to their appropriate locations, Jane also had to perform a myriad of office tasks. From what Ivy witnessed on her last visit, Jane was also programmed to know the location of all of the other golems on site, their condition and assigned tasks and seemed to have some authority to redistribute them as needed.

'Although that could be a part of the chain of command, Jane relaying Hamilton's orders so Hamilton doesn't have to go to each and every golem himself, ' Ivy thought. If anything that made the thought of Jane malfunctioning or the subject of tampering that much scarier. 'Because all of the other golems would assume the orders she gave came from Hamilton.'

Aware she was studying Jane, Hamilton and Russell remained quiet. Jane looked as though she could stand in that spot until the ending of time, and perhaps a little beyond without showing any signs of impatience or irritation. 'So maybe I imagined the emotion earlier.' Ivy shook the thought away and concentrated.

Jane, though more complex, was just like Bert. She was held together by the same spells and the only variations seemed to be in function. The two golems Ivy had the most knowledge of were Marilyn and Vlad and that was because she took each of them apart. While Marilyn served the same basic secretarial function as Jane, they were created by different earth mages. Jane was created by Theodore Chambers, but Marilyn was Hamilton's creation.

As Ivy studied Jane, she realized the golem felt different from Marilyn. When Ivy compared the two, Jane was far more complex, but the difference was something else. It was like looking at two separate landscape paintings, each showing the same view, but painted by different artists. She thought of a couple of questions to ask Hamilton, but for the moment held them.

She mentally switched to thinking about Vlad and tried to repress a shudder, hearing his voice hissing in her mind even though he was destroyed. She took a deep breath and tried to push past the fear. He too was constructed by her illustrious ancestor. Despite the vast differences between Jane and Vlad, Ivy had to admit there was a similarity to them. Like identifying one painter's brush strokes in two different paintings.

"But something was damaged in him, " Ivy said, more to herself than anyone else. She felt Russell move, but Hamilton waved him down and he remained silent as Ivy continued her study. When she took Vlad apart, Ivy could feel something altered in him. It was like seeing a puzzle where a few pieces were pried from there designated spots, shifted around and then jammed into ill-fitting positions with the force of a hammer. Jane showed no signs of that. Ivy wasn't sure if this fact made her feel relieved or worried.

"Jane isn't damaged like Vlad was, so if there are alterations, they weren't done by the same person, " Ivy announced. Beside her she felt Russell relax slightly with her pronouncement

captive because they thought the archives were a dungeon, " Ivy began. "Later there were vampires and one earth mage who attacked. There was no sign of Fae involvement. Do you think they were working with the others?"

"If they were, they were smart enough not to be here when Vlad attacked, " Russell said.

"True, " Ivy agreed. "Is there more to your report?" Ivy asked Jane.

"Yes, Dr. Chambers, " Jane replied.

"Then please continue, " she said knowing all three of them would continue to think about possible Fae involvement and what it could mean. There were a few more phone calls reported and a couple of more visitors before Jane completed her recitation. If the other calls or visitors were important, she couldn't tell. Most of them were visiting other floors, their business with the other Clans. Ivy guessed the lack of visitors to this floor was due to the fact that everyone knew Hamilton was out. Coming here to meet with him would be pointless if he wasn't around. 'And Jane rescheduled his appointments.'

As Jane's report ended Hamilton again held up a quickly scrawled question and Ivy had to squint to read it as he was running out of space to write.

"And who do you report to Jane?" Ivy asked Hamilton's question. It seemed an irrelevant one as Jane already told them that she served as Hamilton's receptionist and knew he was the clan head, but she asked it anyway.

"I report to you, Dr. Chambers, " Jane replied.

The response still jolted Ivy, even though a second later she realized she should have been expecting it. "Why do you report to me?" Jane looked confused by the question and Hamilton shook his head.

"You need to rephrase the question, " he told her. "Ask who she has reported to and why, " he suggested. "It could explain why the alteration." Despite looking more tired than before, Hamilton no longer looked worried about Jane's malfunctions. Ivy tried to take it as a good sign.

"Who have you reported to and why, Jane, " Ivy asked.

"I was created by Theodore Chambers and reported to him until his retirement, " Jane began. "He left and Timothy Edwards took his place as the Head of the Mage Clan. I reported to him until his retirement. When he left there were three men who were potential Heads of the Mage Clan. Hamilton Bridges was the strongest of the three so I reported to him. When an emergency was declared, Hamilton Bridges was incapacitated. Ivy Chambers was the strongest mage available. I report to Dr. Ivy Chambers."

"But the emergency is over Jane, " Ivy said. "Why did you not return to reporting to Hamilton Bridges?"

"You are stronger than Mr. Hamilton Bridges, Dr. Chambers." Jane replied.

Ivy wasn't certain what to say to that. She looked over to Hamilton and instead of anger, he was nodding as though Jane's pronouncement meant more to him than it did to her.

"I think we have learned all we need for the moment, " Hamilton said. "Jane if you will return to your duties?"

Jane looked at him then turned to Ivy. "Do you require anything else Dr. Chambers?"

"Not at the moment, thank you Jane."

Jane nodded and then turned walking back to the outer office. All of them remained silent until Jane was through the door, the heavy wood clunking shut behind her with an audible thump. Ivy swallowed hard and looked over to Hamilton, trying to gauge his mood.

'This will be interesting, ' she thought.

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