Previous: The Edge of Winter

 

Hazel hurried down labyrinthine stone corridors as she fled from her father and the summoned aspect of her mother. She had no idea where she was going, which was just as well as she’d likely have no idea how to get there even if she had. She just needed to get away; she needed a moment to breathe.

It was all starting to feel like a dreadful mistake, her coming here alone. She had known, deep down, that her father would likely refuse to release her mother. And yet, Hazel had never come up with a plan on how she would stop him. That particular detail had always seemed so distant, caught in a hazy, nebulous future that had never felt as pressing or urgent. But now that moment was here, and Hazel had no idea what to do.


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Previous: Reunions

 

The lead necromancer took a moment longer to express his displeasure at Holly, Hemlock, and Hawthorn. Then he handed the tapestry to the younger necromancer behind him.

“Get that to the laundress. Keeper only knows what’s been done to it.” He turned to Holly and the others and thrust a finger at them. “You stay here.” He and the other necromancers backed out of the room and he slammed the door shut. There was a scratching sound near the knob, then a slight click.

Holly tested the door once the necromancers’ footfalls had faded, but it was locked.


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Previous: Return to the Shrine

 

“The moon is a week in its waxing cycle,” Hazel said. “How can you summon Mother without a new moon?” She found herself clinging to a desperate hope her father wouldn’t be able to summon Willow. The idea of it filled her with a peculiar dread she couldn’t explain.

Ash smiled a patient, tolerant smile that grated against Hazel’s nerves. “It’s true that the cycle of the moon and the positioning of the sun and stars affects the magic we cast in different ways. But we are not beholden to these cycles. To have a command over Necromancy is to have a command over Ether—the very substance of creation. You will find that the moon holds very little power over you when you can master the substance that holds it in the sky.”


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Do you ever find yourself wishing for things that don’t, you know, actually exist? I think one of the main things that has always drawn me to fantasy is my persistent dissatisfaction with the real world. This can’t really be all there is, can it? And so I find refuge in stories.

But then I thought, how cool would it be to come up with a list of magical things that do exist in the real world? It could be my Christmas wish-list of sorts, and my gift to you, because we all need a little bit of magic in our lives, don’t we?


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Previous: Summoning Visions

 

Holly, Hemlock, Hawthorn, Tum, and Elder returned to the Shrine. It looked weird seeing it in daylight. It looked like a normal building, old and slightly dirty, but not anything to be afraid of.

“Now, all of you keep your mouths shut,” Elder said. “I will do the talking, and you will all stand there and nod and look sufficiently ignorant, suppliant, or pathetic, as the need arises. Do you understand?”


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