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Reconstructionist 2: second excerpt

April 26, 2017

Sorry! I’m a day late with this excerpt. But here it is!!

*SPOILERS**SPOILERS**SPOILERS**SPOILERS**SPOILERS*

Do not read if you haven’t read Catching Echoes (Reconstructionist 1) yet.

Find the Adept Universe reading order here.

Read the first part of Chapter One here.

Tangled Echoes (Reconstructionist 2): an excerpt from Chapter One:

Even though this was my seventh time seeing her, it still appeared as if Ember had just moved into the corner office with its pretty peekaboo view of the water. Her degrees and artwork remained propped against the walls, ready to be hung except for the apparent lack of time and tools to do so. Instead of books and knickknacks, boxes cluttered the shelving matching the desk on either side of the sofa. The swanky space had apparently come with a recent promotion that Ember barely acknowledged, even when she’d been congratulated by a visiting senior partner during my second appointment. Given the state of the office, it was fairly obvious she hadn’t fully embraced her new status within the firm.

The only personal item set out in the entire space was a framed charcoal sketch, which was placed facing outward on a credenza behind the desk. The arresting image had drawn my attention the first time I’d entered the office, and I still found it exceedingly difficult to tear my gaze away from it.

Rendered in smudged yet fierce and unfettered lines, the image contained behind glass was of Ember. Or, rather, a grisly depiction of her apparent death. Gouged throat, lifeless eyes, and all.

But even though the ghost of a smile on Ember’s face — forever immortalized in charcoal — was haunting, I couldn’t bring myself to ask her about the sketch. I had an instinctual sense that if I lowered the personal shields I diligently maintained, the sketch would be seething with magic. And it was rude to ask another Adept about her magic, or any magical items she possessed.

Though why Ember Pine would choose to display such a gruesome, foreboding image in a place of honor, especially when her prestigious law degrees were gathering dust in the corner, I had no idea. The gesture was completely at odds with the uptight, focused young woman I’d first met in the Academy over a decade ago and to whom Kett had directed me when he gave me the contract.

I was, however, completely certain it was absolutely none of my business.

Ember finally looked up from her notes, seemingly surprised to find me pacing rather than seated in one of the chairs before the desk.

“I’ve still been unsuccessful at finding another example of a contract with the Conclave,” she said without any preamble. “Not in any of the vaults of any of the branches of Sherwood and Pine. Not even in the London office. And everyone knows that London is held by the oldest vampire in existence, along with his brood. His …” — she paused to scan her notes — “… his shiver.”

“Not everyone,” I said wryly.

Vampires were largely enigmas in Adept society. And though I might hopelessly wish that they had continued to remain a mystery for me — and for the only two people I held dear in this world — that was not to be. My name, placed without my permission on the contract now spread across Ember’s desk, irrevocably associated me with the vampires — a part of the magical world universally feared and scorned by the rest of the magically Adept.

Ignoring me, Ember shuffled through her notes. “I’ve uncovered accountings of such contracts, though. Written histories. I apologize for it taking so long when you’re on a relatively tight timeline, but I had to dig deep. Others have taken notes, though they had no more luck replicating the exact wording of the contract than I have.”

One of the first things I discovered upon meeting with Ember three months ago was that the contract completely blanked out if anyone else touched it while I was more than a few feet away. The second unfortunate discovery was that no copies could be made, magical or otherwise.

“The senior partners are still incredibly excited about it,” Ember said. “I’ve managed to contact every one of them, and from Washington State to New York to Amsterdam and London, they’ve all confirmed that it’s unbreakable.”

“But I didn’t sign it!”

“Your coven leader must have a talent for true naming, then, or for tying spells to specific targets. Because usually the names have to be spoken out loud during the construction of a spell. Oh! Maybe he did evoke your names while he was inking them.” Ember grabbed her pen and excitedly jotted down more notes to herself on a legal pad. “That’s more of a sorcerer-held talent, of course. But the magic contained in the parchment, let alone the ink and the specific wording, is remarkable. So perhaps whoever drafted it aided your uncle with the binding.”

I sat down, suddenly unable to keep pacing the office for another moment. Three months later, and I still couldn’t believe that I was once again entangled in my uncle’s machinations. He’d found a way to reach me, to rip away the freedom I’d sacrificed everything to obtain. He’d insinuated himself into my carefully constructed life simply by jotting my name on a piece of parchment.

 

To be continued …

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. Megan Hayes permalink
    April 26, 2017 1:14 PM

    More! I can’t wait to read it all!

  2. Susan Sander permalink
    April 26, 2017 3:10 PM

    May 4th, get your butt over here NOW!

  3. Kendall Jarish permalink
    April 26, 2017 4:10 PM

    Wow! The drawing….will Rochelle be making an appearance soon?

    • April 26, 2017 5:01 PM

      Just a reminder for readers where they know Ember from, really. But you never know. 😀

  4. Jacquie Cook permalink
    May 1, 2017 7:20 AM

    May 4th can’t get here soon enough!

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