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  • Home > Samantha Young > Fire Spirits > Scorched Skies (Page 34)     
  • Scorched Skies(Fire Spirits #2)(34) by Samantha Young
  • Jack slanted him a careful look. He was overall a taciturn and very formal man but he’d approached Charlie during a moment of solitude on their second day with The Guild and he’d asked him outright what idiotic scheme had driven him to wish to become a sorcerer. When Charlie had told him, Jack’s entire demeanor had changed. Like Charlie, Jack had lost someone he loved to the Jinn. He’d lost his wife.

    So Charlie had started hanging out with the older man, asking questions about The Guild, about different types of Jinn — in particular the Labartu. Apparently, they were the worst of the female demons. Despite the Sumerians adopted belief that the Labartu was one being — the daughter of the Babylonian sky God, Anu — the truth was there were many Labartus out devastating the world. The Labartu destroyed life. They specifically targeted children. Some ate their human flesh and drank their blood; others, like the one that had killed Mike, turned it into games of chance where they dominoed a serious of events leading to a child’s death.

    You knew a Labartu was nearby because plant life died, rivers and streams turned thick with mud and the rate of miscarriages went up. Their chosen targets would often suffer nightmares days before their death. A shudder shot through Charlie when Jack had told him that. Mike had had nightmares that whole week. Charlie had thought something was going on with him at school and had tried to get Mike to talk about it. Mike had just blown up at him, telling him nothing was going on, they were just nightmares. But they hadn’t just been nightmares. They’d been omens.

    “I decided you were right.” Jack sighed. “I can’t kill the thing that killed my wife because it would bring dishonor upon my Guild and it’s all I have left. But if I could, I’d go after that bastard. You’re going to do this with or without my help, but at least with my help you have a fighting chance.”

    Charlie nodded. After a few days of hounding Jack to teach him how to power his magic into talismans, Jack was finally giving in. Jack had set up a little workshop in the basement. Spread out on a pasting table were necklaces with stone pendants, round, square, octagonal metal seals, rings, and small rocks.

    Jack pointed to the seals. “The metals last longer than some of the semi-precious stones. I don’t have any platinum because it’s too expensive, no white-gold either. But I have yellow- gold.” He pointed to a gold circular disk engraved with foreign script. It was just a bit smaller than the palm of Charlie’s hand. “Silver.” He pointed to the square piece of metal. “Bronze and some pure copper.” There were number of bronze and copper seals. “Easier to get a hold of. Some of our seals are actually melted down old cents or imported currency like the British one and two pence.”

    “And you can channel your power through these?” Charlie quizzed softly, eyeing the metal thirstily.

    “Yes. You’ll be able to do small stuff with these. Mostly conjuring small items. You need to upgrade your metal if you’re conjuring something bigger or from further away. You begin to get a feel for what exactly the metal is capable of. Platinum and gold are also useful for creating binding enchantments. You can lock people out of somewhere or in somewhere, or use them to power a temporary protection enchantment. All the things that come naturally to many full-blooded Jinn we need these metals to do. And when it’s in your hands you’ll feel a hum, a vibration. Here.” He placed a copper seal in Charlie’s palm.

    “Whoa.” Charlie’s eyes widened as static shot through him, the piece seeming to vibrate with life in his hand.

    “That’s it reacting to you. You’ll know when you’ve sucked the energy out of a seal or a talisman when you no longer feel that hum from it.”

    “OK.”

    “Now, sorcerers tend to use stones.” Jack pointed to a section of rocks, pendants and rings. “I haven’t got an emerald but I can tell you that it’s the rock of Mount Qaf. Emeralds from our realm are not as powerful as emerald from Mount Qaf but they are still extremely dangerous. An emerald can fuel a hybrid’s power for years. It’s also the only stone that a hybrid can use to tap into the Cloak or the Peripatos.”

    “Wait.” Charlie held up a hand in surprise. “We can use the Cloak and the Peripatos?”

    “Only with an emerald. And an emerald is thought to be intoxicating. It is thought that it can breed addiction to the magic.” Jack frowned. “The Guilds have banned casual use of the emerald. You need permission to access one and permission is only granted from Guild leaders under dire circumstances.”

    Charlie tried to squash down the voice inside him that whined, ‘I want an emerald.’

    “Obsidian is useful. The different kinds do different things.” Jack held up a necklace with an attractive black pendant. “Black obsidian. Can literally create blackouts if you need a quick escape. Or the opposite… it can steal light into it.”

    “Cool, like the Deluminator.”

    Jack looked at him blankly.

    Charlie grinned. “Harry Potter.”

    “Who’s that?”

    Disbelief shot through Charlie. Surely everyone in the free world knew who Harry Potter was? “The wizard.”

    “A sorcerer?”

    Charlie choked. “He’s a fictional character. A fictional character that everyone knows.”

    “Clearly not everyone.” Jack sighed and turned back to the stones. He pointed to the green and blue obsidian. He explained that green obsidian could be used to pull on anything with a natural hand in the earth — plants, trees etc. An extremely powerful sorcerer could even use the power of green obsidian to split the ground and use rocks and sand and dirt as weapons. Blue obsidian was a water stone. But blue and green obsidian together were healing stones.

    “So every stone can do something different?” Charlie asked in awe.

    “Yes.” Jack nodded. “You have a lot to learn. Like sixteen years of training worth to be packed into a few days. You sure you’re up for that.”

    Charlie nodded. “I’m sure.”

    “OK.” Jack gestured to Charlie’s hand where the copper piece still sat. “Conjure something small from your room.”

    “My room here or in Ohio?”

    “Has to be here. Copper won’t produce enough energy to power a conjuring from that far.”

    Looking down at the piece of metal humming on his skin, Charlie felt his gut twist. This was it. No going back. “What do I do?”

    “Concentrate on the metal, feel it become a part of you.”

    “What—”

    “Just do it.”

    Concentrate on the metal, Charlie sighed. Sounded like some New Age crap to him. Still… focusing in on the metal, Charlie let the hum vibrate right up his arm, felt the metal heat in his hand — imagined it as a part of his palm instead of just an object sitting on it. After a few seconds he felt inordinately warm and he could have sworn he could taste bitter metallic on his tongue.

    “Do you taste it yet?” Jack grinned slowly at him.

    Charlie’s eyes widened and he nodded mutely.

    “Good. You’re there. Now, focus on a small object you have with you here. Imagine it in front of you. Tell yourself you want it in front of you. You need it.”

    Thinking about his smartphone, Charlie glanced down at his other hand, imagining the phone there, wanting it there. Needing it— “Jesus Christ!” he jumped back at the heavy drop of technology in his hand and the smartphone crashed to the ground, the protector stopping the back from popping off. Staring down at the phone, Charlie’s heart pounded in his chest. This was so different from defensive magic. This was… this was…

    His blood was running so fast and hot within him. So powerful and strong and capable. Charlie’s eyes glinted with the rush as he smiled wickedly up at Jack who gazed back at him with a mirror image expression. “That was cool.”

    22 - Needing What You’ve Never Had

    The basement had this disused musty smell, light only spilled into it from four very shallow windows set just below the ceiling and shadowed objects protruded into the room with a creepy ambiguity that had always frightened Charlie as a kid. But now that he was older, he shut it all out. His sensory nerves were only aware of the thrill of the talismans and seals. He and Jack had barely broken for food and even then Jack had had to drag him out of the basement. Ari and Fallon had tried to talk to him at dinner but he couldn’t concentrate because all he could think about was the rush of energy surging through his veins. Food tasted bland and water couldn’t quench his thirst. For the first time he didn’t even feel that sense of melancholy longing when he looked into Ari’s eyes. No. All he could think about was the basement and the power it held. The power that could lead him to the Labartu. Jack had promised if Charlie managed to control the magic sufficiently enough to ease his worries about a young inexperienced sorcerer running around unleashed, that he’d use Guild resources to find the Labartu that had killed Mike for him. It really felt as if everything was coming together for Charlie — that there really was hope of revenge at the end of the tunnel.

    “Very good,” Jack murmured watching Charlie channel water from the pipes through the obsidian rock.

    Charlie held the blue obsidian in his hand, rubbing the stone as he flooded water into the sink across the room.

    “Here.” Jack held up a black rope necklace with three metal disks dangling from it. Copper, silver and gold. He placed it around Charlie’s neck. “For you to keep.”

    “Thanks.” Charlie touched the metal, feeling truly grateful towards his mentor. Jack was turning out to be a kind of father figure he’d never had and it had only been a week. Then again, that week was longer than any time Charlie’s own dad had spent with him. “I really appreciate this.”

    “Not done.” Jack grinned. The older man had brightened up too. Others had remarked on the transformation that Charlie’s company had wrought on him and seemed grateful to the young sorcerer for pulling Jack out of his funk. Jack held up a masculine — yet still more garish than anything Charlie had worn — ring inset with both blue and green obsidian. “It’s yours too if you want it.”

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire