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Authors: Rachel D'Aigle

Embrace

BOOK: Embrace
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Copyright © 2011 Rachel Humphrey – Daigle

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Embrace

Book III

1

Amelia Cobb’s attempts to gather her wandering mind failed.

“We should get this meeting underway,” she muttered, while staring dreamily through the single window in the room. “We do have much to discuss today,” she added, forcing her eyes away and taking a seat behind a simple wooden desk.

This action instantly quieted the group in attendance. The modest sized room was crowded with the nine seated before her.

Amelia fidgeted in her seat, again distracted.

“Cora,” she started, “let’s just open the window. I don’t know about all of you, but I am dying to feel the spring air this morning.” The rest agreed wholeheartedly, disappointed to be stuck inside on the first warm day of spring, after the cold and relentless winter typical to the woods of northern Maine.

Cora obliged at once; her thin frame popped up from behind a small desk and opened the window. Heavy scents of fresh pine rushed in, followed by hints of maple. Outside, the early signs of spring were calling to all who resided in the village built amongst the trees.

Young children laughed as they played. The nearly melted snow divulged unraveling fern tendrils, and Chickadee’s sang their morning bird song.

“Well, okay everyone,” said Amelia, drawing the group’s attention from the enchanting spring air and back to the meeting at hand. “I realize we all have a case of spring fever this morning, however, we do need to get down to business.”

Cora, Amelia’s assistant began taking roll call.

“Nina Tourner, check. Barrett Nuskey, here. Berta Prideaux, yes. Colton Fahlbush, leaning in the corner as usual.”

He winked at her, but she ignored him and continued.

“Curtis Bevins, yes. Heloise Peppernell, brought the coffee, and Wilbur Finn, needs a mug of that coffee. Late night again, Wilbur?” prodded Cora, her eyes narrow in amused suspicion.

“When do I not put in a late night, Cora?” the older man grumbled, accepting a mug of coffee from Heloise. His eyes smiled. “You sure know how to make a tasty cup of mud,” he praised, draining the mug in seconds. He accepted another instantly, although tiredness continued to plague his worn face.

After everyone’s mugs brimmed with coffee, the meeting finally began.

“Barrett, I believe you have a progress report for us today,” announced Amelia.

“Yes, yes I do everyone,” he replied, standing to address the group. His thin frame shook nervously as he spoke, hoping to please. “We successfully moved two more people into prime key positions in the government last week. Paula Bedgewood and Amos Durmuddy. They will not be around for the next few months. They will, of course, be sending in reports on their progress as often as possible.”

1

Sighs and adulation rustled through the group. Barrett breathed deeply and his nervous shaking slowed.

“Well done, Barrett. And please send my thanks to your zone for all their hard work on this project,” said Amelia, adding, “Without these government positions our success would be impossible.” She took a few sips of coffee before continuing.

“I hate to appear boastful, but it seems our plans are moving forward at the perfect pace.”

“Not that we still don’t have much to do,” reminded Barrett, feeling bolder. “We are still hoping for ten more positions, so with the eight we have currently, I’d agree, the perfect pace to be ready in time.”

“We’ll be looking forward to your next progress report then, Barrett. Next on the agenda, I have my own report today, from our informant with the travelers.” All in the room leaned forward, eager to hear the news.

“I have been advised that Meghan and Colin Jacoby are settling into their magical lives well, and their abilities are increasing rapidly. And most importantly, at least for now, they are safe living with the traveling Svoda.”

Sighs of great relief wafted through the enchanting spring breeze.

“So much of our plan depends on those two. Poor little dears,” said the plump Berta Prideaux.

Everyone nodded in agreement.

“Yes, it is a tenuous situation,” agreed Amelia. “They know so little and yet the success of our plan depends entirely upon them. I only hope we did right by hiding them from their destiny for so long.”

“Hopefully it wasn’t for too long,” added the tender faced Nina Tourner.

“We all agreed to bind their powers, knowing full well the spell would only be broken when they encountered their true destiny,” reminded Amelia. “We had no way of knowing how long that encounter would take.”

“It was the right thing to do,” insisted Curtis Bevins, his voice sure. “They deserved that much, at least; a few years peace. They’ll have to grow up too fast now, as it is.”

“And need I remind us all of the sacrifices made by your brother, Arnon,” said Heloise to Nina Tourner. The group hastily agreed. Nina returned an honored, yet sad, smile.

Before the debate could continue, rushed footsteps clamored up the narrow staircase outside the meeting room. The wooden door flew open and a young man stormed through.

Nina, who was sitting in front of Amelia’s desk, rose from her chair in great dismay.

“What is it, Owen?” she asked the young man, who was her sixteen year old son. His face was clearly distraught.

“The seer sent me,” he said breathing heavily, “with grave news.” The room tensed; their spring-enchanted demeanor giving way to acceptance of what

‘grave’ news often meant: death.

“What has happened, Owen?” asked Amelia, preparing herself for whatever news was to come.

2

“Something that will change everything!” he mustered out, still catching his breath.

“Something that hasn’t happened in over a hundred years. Something that even the Immortal Grosvenor will fear!”

Gasps and cries of disbelief flew through the room and out of the open window, which Amelia jumped up and slammed shut, before anyone outside their room could overhear and start a panic.

“No, it’s not possible,” stuttered Barrett.

“It cannot be!” cried out Berta and Heloise at once.

“I thought they were extinct?” questioned the tired-faced Wilbur.

Amelia, momentarily defeated, sank into her chair.

“This is grave indeed,” she moaned. “Only one thing could frighten the Grosvenor.” She took a deep breath, afraid to say the words aloud.

“A Projector could mean the end for us all.”

A barrage of questions then assaulted Amelia.

“What should be our next course of action?” demanded Colton, pushing his hand through his stiff, dark hair as he spoke.

“We may not even have time to take action!” retorted Wilbur Finn. His hands shook so badly, his newly filled mug of coffee spilled over the edges, dripping down his weathered skin.

“Should we put our plans on hold?” asked Barrett Nuskey. “Should we call our members back from their duties to fight this new enemy?”

Amelia motioned for silence. She paced around her desk, deep in thought, before finally speaking.

“Owen, what else did the seer say? Did she know the age of this Projector, or its location?” Owen, now calmer, explained all he knew.

“All she said was that a Projector was emerging, still young and not yet near its full power.

She also said,” he paused before continuing, “that she’s not alone in her discovery.”

“Not alone,” Amelia repeated. The fresh spring air in her lungs turned bitter. “Soon, the entire magical world will be looking for this child, to try and harness its power before it reaches full age, or to kill it before it does.”

“It’s not wise to try and harness the power of a Projector,” insisted Curtis Bevins. “It is a useless endeavor! No one has ever succeeded in using a Projectors power.”

“Curtis knows his history,” reminded Wilbur. “And I say we heed his warning! Even if we were somehow able to persuade a Projector to our side, there is no telling what would happen once it came into its full power.”

“All our work. All our sacrifice,” whimpered Heloise, trembling as she refilled cups of coffee that did not need refilling.

“It will all mean nothing if this Projector lives to maturity,” persisted Curtis, standing up as if ready for battle. He thumped his fist on the edge of Cora’s small desk, bouncing it off the floor.

3

“Never mind our plans,” cautioned Colton. “All life will be at risk, whether in the magical world or the non magical.”

The room went silent after this frightening reminder.

Birds, completely unaware of the dangers that now lie ahead, chirped happily outside their meeting room. Even with the window closed, the enchanted spring air now turned foul.

Amelia faced her fellow banished Gypsies.

“We must decide, then, all of us, what should be our next course of action. Do we join the hunt and kill this child before it has a chance to unleash its devastating potential upon the world? Or, should we attempt to locate and train the child, and hope that all hell doesn’t break loose upon us if we cannot control the Projectors power once maturity is reached.” She paused before asking, “Does the child live or die?”

2

Journal entry, the last day of May,

Eleven months into our Journey

By Meghan Chelcy Jacoby

I cannot tell if time is going faster or slower. On one hand, it is hard to believe that Colin and I have been traveling with the Svoda Gypsies for nearly a year now. In addition, it is even harder to believe that at the end of next month we will turn fourteen. It seems like just yesterday that we were waiting impatiently for our thirteenth birthdays.

Yet, time cannot move fast enough. We are still over two years away from getting the doorway to reopen: the one that will take Colin and me back home, to Uncle Arnon. We are still holding out hope that he somehow survived the Scratcher attack.

It is going to be strange not to celebrate our birthdays in Cobbscott, and even stranger without our uncle, Kanda Macawi or the Jendayas, especially Sebastien.

I think about Sebastien a lot, mostly wondering if he still thinks about me. I can’t believe I kissed him hours before I got stuck with the Svoda and never got to see him again.

After we moved on from Grimble, we traveled to a place called Beresford. It was boring in comparison. Frankly, though, I did not mind, as it was a nice break from the chaos of Grimble. We miss Uncle Eddy though.

We did not see much of Beresford, other than to know it was deep in a forest, as once again we had the luxury of staying inside the wagons. We also started school again. Don’t know why, though, as we are on a break here in Eidolon’s Valley, or the E Valley as everyone calls it. From what I understand, we pretty much have to repeat the intermediate level once we start up school again. No wonder it takes everyone so long to graduate.

4

The only good thing during school is that Juliska has been teaching me about Firemancy.

Darcy is totally jealous. I love it. The Firemancer’s Pocket Guide is proving a great challenge, but as long as I have Juliska to help me, nothing could be better!

One thing I have been worried about is the bird- human. I have not seen it since Grimble.

Maybe it did not move on with us, which would be sad. It was a comforting thought, knowing it was a small memory of home. Never mind that it saved my life!

Speaking of saving lives, Ivan is as bad-tempered as always. We are at least on speaking terms, although barely. Juliska put his initiation on hold until tonight. She told me herself that she needed to wait until we reached the E Valley, because she had a special challenge planned for him. I really wish she didn’t like him so much! I mean of all the people she could choose from … why Ivan?

Oh, and then there’s my brother. He spends most of his time alone these days. I have no idea what he’s up to because he is better than ever at blocking me out of his mind. His skill at magic is also improving, and apparently at a record pace. At least this is what I have heard people whispering behind our backs. There are also rumors spreading that the Svoda’s magical powers are weaker than they should be, and there seems to be no answer as to why this is happening. Just the other day I overheard Juliska discussing this with Pantin Hollee.

BOOK: Embrace
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