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Family Matters: The Society Book 4 By Valerie Gaumont Characters: 16476

Updated: 2019-06-11 14:58


Chapter 17

The corridor led them away from Emma's desk and both she and the entire lobby area were soon lost to sight behind a multitude of turns. The men were quiet as Ivy counted turns, finally landing them at the entrance to the mage archives. Outside the door, Ivy paused.

"I know Bert said I should introduce you to the guards so you could do your own research, " Ivy said looking at her brother. "But I'm not sure that is such a good idea."

Alex nodded. "Hamilton, " he said proving he understood her fears. "The golems listening to you can be called an accident. You taking advantage of them listening to you usurps his authority."

"Exactly, " Ivy said. "Is there anything you want to research? I can have Fig bring it to room twenty eight with the things I request."

"And am I allowed to be your assistant, oh destroyer of golems, " Alex asked.

Ivy frowned at him.

"Don't scowl at me destroyer, you are the one she thinks is the boogey man, er woman."

Russell chuckled.

"It's not funny, " Ivy said.

"It kind of is. And considering the nightmares they gave you, it is sort of fair that they have nightmares of you, " Russell replied. "If they have nightmares."

"I wouldn't think they would, " Ivy said. "I also wouldn't think they had fear or worry, but Emma does a pretty good impression."

"Golems, " Alex said.

"Excuse me?" Ivy asked.

"For research. For me. Ask for info on golems. Specifically the ones serving here since those are the ones we'll be dealing with."

"You aren't planning to start building them at Wildwood are you?" Russell asked.

Alex shook his head. "No, " he said. "Once we get all of the construction work done, I'm concentrating on building furniture. And none of that furniture with lion's paw feet or anything either. The last thing I want is a chair following me around in anticipation of my need to eventually sit down."

"So I'll ask for info about golems, " Ivy said. "Since I'm not introducing you, you might want to hang back and just look in from the doorway. Anything inside tends to get the glare of doom from Crush and Stab, but they didn't even notice Danny and Owen looking in from the doorway."

"Got it, " Alex said. "We'll stay in the hall in case any other golems come this way in order to beg mercy from you."

Ivy rolled her eyes and opened the door. As she stepped into the room, she knew Alex looked inside as she had the satisfaction of hearing him gasp at his first sight of the two archival guards. Ivy had to admit, even though she saw them before, their presence was every bit as inspiring as it was the first time she saw them.

Even with the fourteen foot ceilings, the two guards dominated the room. The large metal studded door between them looked like the entrance to a castle. Ivy was vaguely surprised not to have to cross a drawbridge to reach it. Instead, all she had to do was move forward onto the Aubusson rug stretched across the center of the open floor. Across the door was a heavy wooden bar fitted into a brace. Ivy doubted that she could lift it without bringing in the mechanical aid of something like a forklift.

'Somehow I think even Emma might have a problem with that, ' Ivy thought as she stepped into the center of the carpet. 'I bet a forklift qualifies as an uninvited visitor. Unless I gave it a day pass.' Ivy shook the thought away and looked at the guards.

At first glance, the two figures standing to either side of the doors looked more like some sort of strange statues than figures that could, or should move. Both stood nearly as tall as the door frame and were heavily muscled. The one to the right of the door boasted large, blunt-fingered hands and immense squared off teeth that looked like grindstones. He carried a heavy club attached to a leather loop at his belt. This was the guard known as Crush and Ivy had no doubt the name was well earned. She couldn't remember which fairytale creature ground people's bones to make bread but she knew if she ever came across such a story again it would be Crush she pictured.

The figure on the left was composed all points and sharp angles. His fingers boasted extended curved claws instead of fingernails and Ivy spotted the hilts of at least six knives upon his person. His mouth was extra wide, the better to show off multiple rows of spiky, razor sharp teeth reminding Ivy of a shark and making her think the knives were just overkill. He didn't need them; he could just chop someone in half with those razor teeth. His mouth was unable to close because of all of those enamel spikes and he had no real lips to speak of. Appropriately, he was named Stab.

As Ivy moved into their range, their attention swiveled from staring blankly at the wall ahead of them to looking directly down at her. She fought the urge not to shiver at the cold weight of their regard. Instead she tried to focus on the magics surroundi

e.

"You aren't sure but you'll try?" She interpreted.

He nodded vigorously. While Hamilton considered the lack of mouth beneficial in the assistants, Ivy wasn't so certain. As Hamilton claimed, they couldn't be compelled to tell secrets since they had no mouth or vocal cords, but Ivy thought occasionally the ability to directly answer a question with something other than a head nod or shake would be beneficial.

"Whatever information you can find would be useful, " she assured him. "Two more requests if you are ready."

Fig nodded and held up his hands palm up, he curled his fingers in towards his palm and then out again in a 'give me more' gesture.

"Okay then, " Ivy said. "I would like any information you can find on golems, specifically those located in this building. If there is too much to bring forward for research then an index of some sort would be helpful or you could just bring a few items at a time, whatever is more practical."

Fig nodded and Ivy hoped he could work out some sort of system. She didn't know if the archives would have only a few slim volumes or an entire long row of volumes dedicated to them.

"And finally I would like to see any available schematics for the archival level. Are there schematics available?" she asked.

Fig nodded enthusiastically.

"Great, " Ivy said. While she wasn't certain she would learn anything useful, Ivy figured that the more she learned about the level, the more it would blunt her fear. 'Just finding the stairs would be a help.' Other than checking over her report to Hamilton, she didn't really have any other research that needed to be done at the moment.

'Besides the tiny key Albert had that managed to thunk big locks into place was something I'd be interested in regardless.' Ivy decided that when she returned home, she would make a list of potential research topics she could use the next time Hamilton called her into town. 'Because apparently thinking there won't be a next time is not my best option.'

"I think we'll start with that and see where we end up, " Ivy continued. "I'll be in room twenty eight as usual when you are ready."

Fig nodded, turned and raced off down one of the long aisles. Ivy turned and walked back through the doors and into the entry room where Crush and Stab waited. She could see Russell and Alex peering in through the doorway. While Alex was studying the golems, Russell was watching her. She gave him a quick thumbs up causing him to smile. Ivy turned to look at the golems. Once she was back in view, they resumed watching her as though they couldn't bear to turn away.

"Thank you, " Ivy said. "I will be working in room twenty eight if I am needed." She wasn't certain what else to say, but Stab nodded. Ivy didn't know if the golems appreciated the curtesy, but as she'd rather be polite than have them think she slighted them in some way, she decided to go with polite. Crush moved to the door, pulled it shut and then set the bar back in place. As Ivy rejoined the others she found herself insanely glad the bar was kept off until she was finished in the archives. She may enjoy the archives and have fantasies about rummaging around in them with no one monitoring her, but she did not want to become a permanent addition.

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