Read Harm None: A Rowan Gant Investigation Online

Authors: M. R. Sellars

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Harm None: A Rowan Gant Investigation

BOOK: Harm None: A Rowan Gant Investigation
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HARM NONE

A Rowan Gant Investigation

 

A Novel of Suspense and Magick

 

By

M. R. Sellars

 

E. M. A. Mysteries

 

 

 

 

This book is a work of fiction. Names,
characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the
author’s imagination or are used fictitiously.

Any resemblance to actual events or locales
or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

 

HARM NONE: A Rowan Gant Investigation

A WillowTree Press / E.M.A. Mysteries
Book

 

All Rights Reserved

Copyright © 1997, 2000 by M. R. Sellars

Cover design by Johnathan Minton, Copyright ©
2000

 

Excerpt from
Veteran of the Psychic Wars
Copyright © Michael Moorcock, Used With Permission

Paraphrased Excerpts
from
Buckland’s Complete Book of
WitchCraft
Copyright © Raymond Buckland,
Used With Permission

 

This e-book edition is licensed for your
personal enjoyment only. This e-book edition may not be re-sold or
given away to other people.

If you would like to share this book with
another person, please purchase an additional copy for each
person

This book may not be reproduced in whole or
in part, by any means, electronic or mechanical, without
permission.

 

For information contact:
WillowTree Press on the World Wide Web:
http://www.willowtreepress.com

 

Smashwords Edition – 2010

 

 

 

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

 

I would be sorely remiss if I didn’t take a
moment to thank at least a few of the individuals who were there to
act as my sounding boards and as my moral support staff throughout
the writing and editing of this novel—

 

Officer Scott Ruddle, SLPD without whom
Detective Benjamin Storm would be just another one dimensional
pseudo-cop; Jacquelyn Busch Hunt, Attorney, for the legal advice
and mighty strokes of her blue pencil; Roxanne and Sharon for
reading, re-reading, and then reading some more; and of course, my
wife Kat, who put up with me throughout it all.

 

 

 

 

For my parents.

Thank you for teaching me

that the true value of the

written word is priceless.

 

 

 

 

AUTHOR’S NOTE:

 

While the city of St. Louis and its various
notable landmarks are certainly real, many names have been changed
and liberties taken with some of the details in this book. They are
fabrications. They are pieces of fiction within fiction to create
an illusion of reality to be experienced and enjoyed.

 

In short, I made them up because it helped me
make the story more entertaining, or in some cases, just because I
wanted to.

 

Note also that this book is a first-person
narrative. You are seeing this story through the eyes of Rowan
Gant. The words you are reading are his thoughts. In first person
writing, the narrative should match the dialogue of the character
telling the story. Since Rowan, (and anyone else that I know of for
that matter,) does not speak in perfect, unblemished English
throughout his dialogue, he will not do so throughout his
narrative. Therefore, you will notice that some grammatical
anomalies have been retained (under protest from editors) in order
to support this illusion of reality.

 

Let me repeat something—I DID IT ON PURPOSE.
Do NOT send me an email complaining about my grammar. It is a rude
thing to do, and it does nothing more than waste your valuable
time. If you find a typo, that is a different story. Even editors
miss a few now and then.

 

Finally, this book is not intended as a
primer for WitchCraft, Wicca, or any Pagan path. However, please
note that the rituals, spells, and explanations of these
religious/magickal practices are accurate. Some of my explanations
may not fit your particular tradition, but you should remember that
your explanations might not fit mine either.

 

And, yes, some of the magick is “over the
top.” But, like I said in the first paragraph, this is fiction…

 

 

 

 

Eight words ye wiccan rede fulfill,

AN IT HARM NONE, DO WHAT YE WILL.

 

Final Verse

The Wiccan Rede

Lady Gwen Thompson

Original Printing— "Green Egg #69"

 

 

 

 

PROLOGUE

 

B
e
it known to all that the circle is now to be drawn,” stated the
slight, robed figure as she raised her arms upward to the sky. Her
dainty hands held tight to the leather bound handle of a dirk, its
brightly polished blade reflecting the light of the full moon high
above. “Let no one be here but of their own free will. Blessed
be.”

“So mote it be” came a solemn chant in unison
from the coven members gathered around her.

The air was still in the large, semi-wooded
Saint Louis backyard as the Priestess slowly and purposefully drew
the ceremonial knife, her athamè, through the air above her,
scribing a five-pointed star, starting and ending with the top
point. With the imaginary Pentacle drawn, she fluidly lowered the
dirk and brought her arms to rest outstretched before her and
pointing to the East.

“R.J.,” she said to the young man directly
before her. “Would you please light the circle candles?”

The young man gave a perceptible nod and
pulled back the hood of his robe to reveal his mane of long black
hair. Turning, he struck the end of a wooden fireplace match,
bringing it to life, and as the flame settled to evenness, merged
it with the wick of a yellow votive candle resting in a homemade
stand.

“At the East, I bring light and air to our
circle,” spoke the strawberry-blonde priestess from the center of
the group. “All hail the Watchtower of the East, element of air.
May it watch over us in our circle. Blessed be.”

“Blessed be,” chanted the gathering around
her.

The young man worked his way to the South,
and touched the burning match to a red votive.

“At the South, I bring light and fire to our
circle” came the priestess as she made a clockwise quarter turn.
“All hail the Watchtower of the South, element of fire. May it
watch over our circle. Blessed be.”

“Blessed be.” The chant in unison came
stronger.

Evenly, the young woman turned to the West as
the young man brought a blue candle alight.

“At the West, I bring light and water to our
circle. All hail the Watchtower of the West, element of water. May
it watch over our circle. Blessed be.”

“Blessed be!” Stronger still the chorus
echoed.

“At the North, I bring light and earth to our
circle,” the priestess melodically spoke as she turned. The young
man applied the fire to a green candle fixed securely in its
holder. “All hail the Watchtower of the North, element of earth.
May it watch over our circle. Blessed be.”

“Blessed be!” The coven’s chant lifted
skyward, harmonious and strong.

The Priestess kissed the blade of the athamè
and lifted it upward, scribing the Pentacle in the air once
more.

“All hail the four towers, and all hail the
God and Goddess. We welcome and invite Pan and Diana to join us in
this rite we hold in their honor. Blessed be, so mote it be!”

“Blessed be, so mote it be!” chimed the
coven.

At this point, the dark-haired man had
returned to his original position in the circle, and the members
had joined hands, interlocking their fingers, left palm up, right
palm down.

“Ariel,” his gaze leveled on the priestess,
“may I ask that you lead us in the weave.”

The young woman gave a nod and after once
again kissing the blade of the athamè, laid it reverently on the
altar before her.

“Weave, weave,” she began the melodious
chant, “weave us together. Weave us together, together with
love.”

The remaining members of the coven joined in
and they sang the verse twice more. When the last note had drifted
away on the still air, no sound was left but for the midsummer song
of the crickets.

“The circle is cast,” Ariel finally said.
“You may release hands and we shall remain as one.”

The group released their grasps on one
another and while remaining alert and attentive to their priestess,
began to relax.

“Our circles are a happy time,” she
continued, her strawberry-blonde hair drifting lazily about on a
sudden breeze as she turned around the circle, bringing her eyes to
bear on each member’s face. “A time for us to rejoice in our
kinship with nature...with the Mother Goddess Diana...and with Pan
the Hunter. Our circles are meant for exchanging knowledge.
Tonight...” Ariel caught her breath and looked down at the ground.
She paused for what seemed an eternity to all present as a single
teardrop began its slow journey down her cheek. Sadness welled in
her voice as she began once again to speak. “Tonight, we come
together to make a decision; a decision that will affect the
direction and future of this coven. We have all discussed this over
and over, so I will spare you the details.”

The members of the coven lowered their gazes
to the ground as she once again paused and angrily wiped away
another tear that had escaped her eye. They knew how much she hated
losing control of her emotions, and they felt a great empathy for
her. They remained quiet and kept their gazes averted as she
struggled for her composure. However, one member among the group
refused to grant her the reprieve. He stared at the back of Ariel’s
head, unblinking, with cold grey eyes. His face remained
expressionless, and to the coven, that cold countenance was the
most frightening thing of all.

“Let it be done,” stated the young
dark-haired man known as R.J. in a compassionate attempt to assume
her painful burden.

He stepped forward to the altar and lifted a
pewter goblet from its weathered surface. One by one, R.J. stepped
before each member of the coven and held the goblet out to them,
and one by one, each member deposited a single stone. When he came
before the expressionless, grey-eyed man, he waited. The man
continued to stare, as if looking straight through him to remain
fixed upon Ariel.

“Go on, Devon,” R.J. said, “you still have a
vote.”

Momentarily, the expressionless man’s eyes
unglazed, and he focused his glare on R.J.

“I don’t recognize this vote” was all he
said, and once again he seemed to stare icily through to Ariel.

R.J. fought back his desire to tell Devon
just where he could get off. This was going to be over soon enough,
and he knew there was no need for an altercation now. He continued
around the circle and came finally to rest in the center.

Standing at the altar opposite Ariel, R.J.
held out the goblet and let a stone fall into it from his own palm,
silently casting his vote. Slowly, Ariel lifted her hand to its rim
and dropped in her stone. It rattled and clinked in the tense
silence of the circle, then fell still. She brought her gaze up to
meet R.J.’s, drew a deep breath, and then gave a slightly
perceptible nod. R.J. tilted the goblet down to the altar and
poured the stones out upon its surface. The pebbles glittered, as
if winking back at them in the candlelight, each of their polished
surfaces obsidian black.

Ariel turned and faced Devon, summoning every
bit of strength in her being and borrowing from her fellow coven
members as much as she could.

“You know the most basic law of The Craft is
to harm none.” She stared at him coolly as anger seeped in to
replace sadness. “You have violated that law, Devon.”

He continued to stare back at her, pupils
large in his irises like puddles of ink in dirty grey ice. The
circle candles flickered as a mild breeze began to blow.

“So I sacrificed a dog,” Devon answered her
frostily. “You little wimps are just afraid to take the next step.
You’ll never be anything but a bunch of wannabees.”

Ariel continued, ignoring his comment. “For
your disregard for life and the most basic of Wiccan laws, you are
hereby banished from this coven. Your punishment is that which you
bring upon your own self, as anything you may do will return to you
threefold. May the God and Goddess take mercy upon you.”

“So Mote It Be,” the members of the circle
solemnly chimed.

Devon looked slowly around the circle,
resting his cold gaze for a moment upon each member of the coven;
finally, leveling it once again on Ariel’s face.

“You’re going to wish you never did this,
Ariel,” he said. “Fuck you... Fuck all of you.”

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