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Teaching Can Be Murder; the Arvantes...

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Blurb;

Inducted into a secrete order of the church at the age of 21, Magnus figured his life was set. At the age of 21 he’d achieve more than Gereld could ever hope for, and the Avantes was the crowning success for Magnus.

Gereld couldn’t have been happier for him. At least that’s what he thought.

However, Magnus had a difference of opinion, and when he lit that Crepis candle, he had no clue it would forever change his life…

Excerpt;

Scotland 1474....

Edinburgh Cathedral...

  So, how does it feel to be inducted into the Flameni son?”  Abbot Barrette asked as he looked up from the papers he’d been reading on his desk as Magnus walked into his office. Barrette was very proud of his protégé despite his youth.

   To be inducted into the order at 20 was a feat, the abbot astonished at Magnus’ progress.

   Magnus walked fully into the room, went over to the abbot’s desk, then sat on the edge of it looking down on him.

      “But am I truly ready Abbot? I know this is what ye’ve wanted since ma birth nearly, but I have conflictions about ma abilities.”

      “This I know too son, but yer ready don’t think yer not. Not to mention, the Flameni wudna have chosen ye if ye werna son. Tis a very high honor Magnus.”

      “If ye think I am then I guess I am.”  Magnus replied sighing, as he got up and walked to the other side of the room.

      “Don’t worry boy, ye’ll do just fine. Now, when are ye to leave?”

      “In the marnin. The Council has sent werd I wus to be ready to leave immediately.”

      “Then we shall celebrate the good tiding since this is our last night together.” The abbot cheered smiling. He rose from his seat and placed his arm around Magnus’ shoulders, which was a bit difficult because the boy had grown nearly six inches in the last year. The abbot thought smiling as they walked from his office.

   As they entered the outer sanctuary, Magnus could see the preparations for the Yule festivities. The church was all a bustle, and each of the church attendants smiled as he and the abbot passed.  

   Magnus noticed they’d hung the banners, and as he looked up, he thought about the history of the church thus far.

   Edinburg had basically, been placed on the map because of it. The record was the parish church in Edinburgh was presumably built in the year 854, and was served by a vicar from a monastic house, probably in England.  They also believed the first church, a modest affair, was in use for several centuries before the bishop of St Andrews formally dedicated it on 6 October 1243.

   Magnus wondered what the church had looked like then, because the parish church of Edinburgh had subsequently been re-consecrated and was named in honor of the patron saint of the town St Giles, whose feast day they celebrated on September 1.

   St Giles was the patron saint of cripples and lepers, and his reputation spread through France and England, then to Scotland partly as a result of the Crusades.

   Nevertheless, as he stood gazing around the church for the last time, he marveled at the work that had been done since then.

   The oldest parts of the building was its four massive central pillars, which were built somewhere around 1124. In 1385, the building suffered a fire and was rebuilt in the subsequent years.

   The octagonal shape, the buildings façade and the apse were all from its former years.  

   In 1466, the church was granted collegiate status. In response to this raising of status, a lantern tower was to be added soon, and the chancel ceiling raised, vaulted, and even a clear story would be installed at a later date.

Magnus sighed; he would love to see what the church would look like once it was done. Although he would only be in Italy, he knew deep inside he would not be coming back here.

As he looked at the people rushing around the church, his heart felt heavy, and he sighed again. He looked out the window then frowning.

    There was even talk about a crown spire in the near future. Since then the patronage of the church had grown, and thanks to this many of its now residing chapels were added, sponsored by the artisans’ guilds of Edinburgh. 

   Magnus sighed for what seemed like the hundredth time, because this meant in some way the church owed a debt, whether abbot Barrette believed it or not to the prominent merchants and nobles.

   He looked out the window again and saw the large statue of St Giles, which caused him to look back at the reliquary.

   He was to leave in the morning, and although abbot Barrette was enormously proud of him, he still felt a little apprehensive.

What did he really know of the order, except what the abbot had groomed him for these last fifteen years.

Was this truly what he really wanted, or was he doing this to appease the abbot; and the fact that he had taken him in after the deaths of his parents?

     “Something wrong son?” Abbot Barrette asked, and Magnus looked up.

     “No sir just a wee bit nostalgic tis all. Alas, I must be off to ma quarters if I am to be ready in the marnin.”

     “Yes, but do come back later son, and we shall do a bit of celebrating.” The abbot grinned; Magnus nodded, then made his way around the hustling clergy.                                                     

                                                         * * * 

   The next morning the Flameni were there before daybreak, and as the carriage rattled on its way Magnus took one last look at what had been his home for the last fifteen years.

   He suddenly felt the sting of tears, then chided himself for being a sentimental fool.        

                                             

Vatican
City Italy


   The weeks and the months began to fly by, and Magnus began to feel at home with the routines. He’d met another student named Quillan, and they’d become fast mates. They were practically inseparable. Any time you saw one, the other wasn’t too far behind him. By year’s end, Magnus realized he would be just fine. He had a best mate, and he was actually having fun. Italy was nothing like he’d imagined. He’d gotten into enormous trouble because of Quillan and the beautiful Italian girls.

  The Bishop waved off Abbot Grey’s demand for reprimand, smiled and told him and Quillan to keep to their studies from now on. Magnus grinned. He would never in a million years decide to take the full pledge.

To live without women, ahh no, he thought laughing behind Abbott Grey’s back.

   He would hear from Abbot Barrette from time to time, but his studies kept him so busy most of the time he had very little time for socializing; that is of course outside of girls, Quillan, Waverly, and Roman.

   Tonight he’d be initiated into a special order, and he was quite nervous about that. The Cardinal said of all the students thus far, he, Quillan, Waverly and Roman had been the most impressive. He’d met Roman halfway through the year, and he, Quillan and Magnus were even worse than he was with Quillan.

   Had it not been for pledge Khristensen, who was placed almost at the end of the year, the lot of them would have been jailed, because Roman had actually gotten them into a pub fight over a pretty Italian barmaid.

   Khristensen pretended to be from the rectory, reprimanded them in public, then commenced to drag them off by the ears apologizing profusely to the bar keep. Once they got outside, and out of earshot from the pub, all four of them killed over with laughter. Waverly Khristensen could mimic Father Gadocious almost to an exact science.    

   Magnus was sure he wouldn’t see Waverly tonight, because he’d been pledged to Jade. Magnus didn’t know much about them, but he knew you had to be very powerful to be inducted into their order. Magnus just hoped he’d at least get to see his friends before each of them were placed.

   Magnus walked up the stairs towards his dormitory, then paused on the landing as he saw Cardinal Beletinni.

     “Well chao master Magnus, I expect to see you in my class on Monday. I also hear you are to be inducted into one of the special orders as well?”

     “Yes sir, I have already been informed by the Bishop.”

     “And how does that make you feel, being so young?”

     “Tis a bit overwhelming, but I believe I’ll do just fine sir.”

     “I too young man, I too.” He said with a smile as Magnus bent to kiss his ring. “I shall see you later.” He called over his shoulder, and Magnus nodded.  

Three

Hours Later...

 

Magnus was led down a dark corridor, and once he reached the inner portion of the hallway he was suddenly blindfolded.

   “Do not be afraid young master, all is well.” Someone said, and Magnus swallowed the lump in his throat.

   Once they reached the inner sanctum the blind fold was removed, and he noticed the others. Simmons from his mythology class, Quillan, Roman, and Malfoy from his ancient text and history class.

What was this?

He wondered as he looked around.

   The elders were dressed in long flowing burgundy robes. He noticed the candle light, a long bench that looked more like a bed, and hooded men in the corner. He looked at Malfoy, and was sure Malfoy’s terrified expression mirrored his own. Quillan swallowed hard, while Roman just kneeled frowning; as his eyes darted to Magnus.

    Magnus immediately looked for the Cardinal, but he didn’t see him. He instantly wondered why he didn’t.

 Magnus was motioned forward, his robe removed. It suddenly hit him; the others were naked as well.

 He was placed in front of an altar, Malfoy, Roman and Quillan kneeled next to him.

   At the end of the room, a man came forward. He removed a long instrument from his robes, and Magnus was aware of the six bowls sitting on the altar, as the men gathered around it.

    “It is with great honor we welcome our new inductees.”Abbot Grey announced, and Magnus was surprised to see an actual smile on his face. He could feel the icy fingers of dread creeping up his spine, but it was too late for that as he was the first one beckoned by Abbot Grey. He swallowed his heart, as he rose to his feet and stood before the smiling abbot. An instant later, he saw the woman in the corner. He noticed Maria and gasped. She looked as if she was dazed. Magnus looked at the Abbott again.

A man brought out a chair and motioned for Magnus to sit in it. He looked around nervously, his eyes widened as the man retrieved a long needle.

   “All is well son.” The Abbott smiled, and Magnus nodded looking terrified at the long needle as the man walked towards him. He noticed the terrified look on Quillan and Malfoy’s faces too. Roman on the other hand just continued to frown.       

Our 

Lady of Hope 

10 Years Later

   

Magnus shook the memory from him as he made his way to the sanctuary.

  Those were thoughts he had no intention of remembering. Ten years had passed since that night, and not much had changed. Roman had been sent to the Council headquarters two years ago, Waverly had been sent to Jade three years ago, and he and Quillan were exactly where they were ten years ago. He was still pretty much in the same position, and he realized growth in the order was only what Bishop Grey allowed.  Both he and Quillan bemoaned the fact that they were still under his thumb daily.

  He still felt like his lackey, even years later.

Nevertheless, he wanted more!

He had studied Thigben’s Shadows until his fingers practically bled, and still he was limited. He wanted power.

  What he had studied for.   

  Bishop Grey and his superior ways.

Beletinni died three years earlier, and things had changed drastically since that night seven years ago. He’d contemplated leaving the order, but he was too deeply inducted for that. Both he and Quillan knew if they left, they would be on the run for the rest of their lives. Not to mention, they probably wouldn’t survive that. The Council was not one to turn a blind eye to defection.

 Magnus turned towards the Hall of Devotion, then paused.

 Why did he even bother anymore?

 He changed directions, briskly hurrying towards the inner sanctum. He unlocked the door, then quietly walked in. It was empty. He reached for Thigben’s Shadows, then walked to the desks.

   As he leisurely leafed through the pages, something caught his eye. He ran his fingers across the spell and frowned.

  Why hadn’t he seen this before?

  It was as if it just appeared. He quietly read the spell, then sighed.

  He could hear that tiny inner voice telling him, no more like forbidding him to do this, saying this was wrong; but he ignored it as he brought the black candle down. He frowned as he looked at the Crepis candle. This would bring him what he wanted though.

  Why shouldn’t he?

   The voice said because tis iniquitous, but Magnus lit the candle anyway.

   He watched the smoke rise then yellow, and he got the eeriest feeling. The candles flickered, then went completely out. The breath left him in a harsh whoosh, and as he fumbled for the match, he suddenly heard a noise. The light immediately illuminated the room, only he hadn’t lit the match!

The man standing before him smiled slightly, as he lit the candle in Magnus’ hand, then blew out the match and took a seat.

     “Who the bloody hell are ye?” Magnus whispered.

     “Bloody, yes well let us try to keep it from that shall we. You summoned me?”

     “Nae.” Magnus gasped.

     “Si’ senior you did, the minute you read that spell aloud. Do you know who I am boy?”

     “No, and I am nowhere near to a boy.” Magnus snapped, but the man only laughed.

     “I would beg to differ. Were you not, you might not have read that spell. And in a church too.” He grinned tisking his teeth as he shook his head wagging his finger at Magnus.

     “Who are ye?” Magnus demanded.

     “Malik…lord of the Underworld. However, truly I am…oh bother, I forgot. I can’t say that name here on this plain.” The man replied with a feigned frown.

     “And what do ye want here?”

     “Why yer soul of course boy. What did you think when ye read that spell?” He mocked.

     “Ye mean to tell me ye are a demon? How is it yer on holy ground?” Magnus inquired wide-eyed.

     “Holy ground?” He asked with a raised eyebrow. “I think not boy. Were it true, do you think I’d be able to sit in the flesh, so to speak? No my boy, this place hasn’t been holy for centuries. Although that fool Beletinni did try to make it so, but look what happened to him?”

     “What do ye mean?” Magnus questioned shocked.

The demon stuck out his tongue and made choking noises.

    “Surely you’re not that draft boy? What do you seriously think happens to a holy man surrounded by evil? He’s gotten rid of before he rubs off. Yet I dare say he’s in a better place.” The demon mocked sweetly as he put his hands together as if to suggest prayer.

Magnus was floored.

They’d killed Bishop Belitinni? Now wonder he wasn’t there seven years ago.

     “Ye lie demon, tis what yer made of.”

     “Do I?” He countered; Magnus suddenly got a glimpse of his true form, then took a step back.

What had he done?

    “Yes…what have ye done boy? Nevertheless, I can give ye what ye want son, all ye have to do is give me yer soul. In addition, I will give ye power unthinkable. After ten years, ye’ll give me yer soul.”

    “Just ma soul? How delightful. Have ye lost yer mind? I willna give ye that, so ye can just go back to hell.” Magnus spat.

    “Oh no my boy, it doesn’t work like that. Ye lit that candle. Ye called me forth. I’ll not leave, until I’ve gotten what I’ve come for. Nevertheless, I will give ye a taste of what ye can expect. All ye need to do is say yes.”

     “If that is what ye came for, then ye shall leave empty handed. I willna give ye anything, so ye may leave me now.”

   The demon sighed as he folded his arms across his chest, then fixed Magnus with his icy silver stare.

   “I will give you till sundown on the commencement of Twelfth Night. You will have an answer for me, or else boy.” He commanded, got to his feet, then put his hand on Magnus’ shoulder.  

  Magnus screamed and fell to his knees panting. The demon was suddenly gone.

  What the hell had he done?

  Magnus got to his feet gasping, put Thigben’s back and hurried from the room.

  He had to get to the Abbot.

  He would know what to do.

  He could feel the dark magick flowing through him already, and as bad as it sounded; it was exhilarating.

Magnus walked into his dorm room, then quickly penned a note to Quillan. He needed to leave now as well. He ran into the hall, then the three flights down. He banged on the door, but there was no answer. He slipped the note under Quillan’s door, then quickly left the hallway.                                             

 Chapter One

Swindish College   2006

Merry old London England as they say.


 I thought as I headed up the steps of the museum to the connecting glass doors. I walked out the building, pulled my pea coat tighter around me, then headed for the dean’s building. I was just about done for the day, and my eyes hurt from reading. My last class was an hour ago, and I was so ready to head to my flat as the Brits say.

   My feet hurt because I wasn’t use to wearing heels all day long, and I just wanted to go home and soak my aching feet. I still wasn’t use to the weather mode here though, even after a year.

   Sunny California skies were a thing of the past.

   Nevertheless, I loved living here despite that.

   I’d finally finished my second dissertation last year, and was now accepting an assistant professorship at one of England’s most prestigious colleges. This was somewhat funny, since I was the only American on staff. I would hear them sometimes make fun of me with remarks like Yank, or the Merry one, but most of the time they were just ripping me so I was cool wit it.

   I wasn’t too cool however with the fact that they still called African-American people colored. I guess I didn’t really consider myself one race, so it rather puzzled me why people continued to do so. My mom is Puerto Rican, Irish and Black; and my Dad is French. The portion of black blood I did have was what, like a 10th?

I thought laughing, but people will always see color when they looked at me.  

   Not that it bothered me. My parents embraced our African ancestors, and I was taught to appreciate them. I wasn’t dark skinned, but a deep-bronzed color with grey-green eyes. Most of my friends called me a hobbit, since I was only 5’0 tall.

   However, to me, that was not short.

I walked up the second flight of stairs to the head master’s office somewhat nervous. She wanted to see me again, and I had no clue why. I tried remembering if I’d crossed the British taboo system again this week, and couldn’t think of a single thing.

   Although the students liked my colorful American slangs, euphemisms and profane arts, the establishment seeks to use a higher way of thinking to assuage the minds and characters of the youth. At least that’s what the headmaster scolded last week when I called one of my students a dickhead.

   I’d asked him four times to be quiet, but I guess his conversation with the pretty red head in the back of the class was more interesting then my lecture. Therefore, it was only natural by American standards, I would tell him to shut the fuck up! The entire student population, not to mention staff got a laugh from it. However, unfortunately for me his father had built the east wing, so I’ll be kissing ass for a complete month.

   I cleared the last of the stairs and saw the dean’s office door was open. I sighed, straightened my skirt, then walked to the entrance and knocked on the doorframe.

    “Yes Ms. Deveraux, please do come in.” She said motioning for me to enter.

    “Ms. Deveraux this is Professor Stevenson.”  She said gesturing to the man, I’d only just noticed.

  When I turned to look at him, I nearly stopped breathing. My mouth formed the word O of its own accord, and I just stood there stupefied.                                                                                  

  Oh, my, god! 

  This man could be the death of me.

  However, in a hella good way!

  He stood at least 6’3, and as I took a closer look at his face, I was in shock at the pale sky blue eyes. It was as if he could look completely through you, into your soul. He had shoulder length dirty blonde hair, which was pulled back into a ponytail, because the dean wouldn’t have it any other way. Thick brows, and dark lashes, which seemed to rest on the lower portion of his eyes every time he blinked. He was dressed in a suit and tie, dark rimmed glasses that were perched a top his head; but as I looked down, I noticed he had on a pair of Chucks.

  I smiled at that.

  He wasn’t fully conformed yet. As much as she wished, he was. He carried a tattered brown briefcase, and a slight smile played at his lips. I composed myself, took a deep breath, then looked at the head master again.

    “Yes well, I have asked Professor Stevenson here to go over some things with you. As you know, we have recently procured the last known writings of Sir Wyatt. We’ve not shelved the last annuals yet, and I would like for you and Professor Stevenson to go through them and catalogue them as best you can. The new acquisitions were found to be in Lord Farthenton’s private collection, and were bequeathed to the university upon his death. No one has ever seen them, and some believe they may even be new to literature all together.”

  This she said with such glee, you could just see the greed rolling off her.

    “Now with Professor Stevenson being our head English instructor, and authority on Sir Wyatt, I have asked for his help in the cataloguing. He may well have a greater knowledge than you dear, but I believe you’ll manage.” She said and smiled tightly.

  I wondered if she actually smiled a real smile would her face suddenly fricken crack. Professor Stevenson coughed; my eyes flew to his face, then narrowed.

  Well that was just weird.

  It was as if he knew exactly what I’d been thinking.

  He looked at the head master.

    “I have taken the liberty of setting things up in the Surrey Building, because I must say, tis only fitting. Therefore, it only awaits the two of you. Since this is holiday weekend, might I suggest you get started now? We would like to have the first complete title to shelve on Monday.” She stated, and I wished she would immediately choke on that.

  Crap!

  This was the first holiday I actually had nothing to do.

  No studying, no lecture notes to go over, no students hovering, nothing. Leave it to her old ass to completely fuck me!

  Professor Stevenson frowned, then looked at me.

    “Shall we?” He asked, and I just stood there.

    “Well then, I shall see you at the weekend’s end with a report then?” She purred, and I did my best not to glare at her. I felt like that scene in Click where Adam Sandler pauses his boss, then beats the shit of him; because that was exactly what I felt like doing right now.

   She would take her old ass home for the weekend to some country side vacation spot, and do only god knows what, while I was stuck here going over musty old damp books.

Not that I didn’t love it, it’s just I was totally sacked.

    “Well then, off with you two then.” She said trying to smile again.

  I nodded and walked out of her office.

    “Ye look tired Ms. Deveraux, why don’t ye trot off and grab a wink, then meet me in Surrey Hall say about eight-tish?” He said looking at his watch.

  I looked at mine.

  It was a quarter to four, which would give me almost four hours of sleep. For some reason I was so tired this week. I hadn’t had a good nights sleep all week, and had no clue why.

  I smiled as I looked up at him.

    “Really?”

    “Of course. I shall see ye there.” He replied, smiled slightly, then went towards the stairs without waiting for me to reply.

  How strange.

I thought for the second time. He was completely nothing like I’d expected. Nevertheless, I was glad for the nod.

   I walked across campus to my flat, and as I came up the stairs, I heard Professor Gilberry. I nearly ran up the steps, because I really did not want to be caught by her. 

  Professor Gilberry was nearing 75 and hard of hearing. You had to yell almost at the top of your voice just to get her to even hear half of what you said, because she was always forgetting to turn on her fricken hearing aid. That made for a fun day for her students though, and her classes were always full.

   She yelled the first half of the class, then slept the next.

   She was at that moment yelling at Professor McAlister, and I was grateful for it.

   Professor McAlister was a hottie himself, but was engaged to Ms. Somersbey in financial. I was happy for them, because she seemed very sweet.

Always had a smile for you.

   I cleared the last two steps and unlocked the door.

   I stood in the middle of the floor, closed my eyes, and just listened.

   Nothing…

  Just how I liked it.

  I smiled as I headed to my bedroom, shed my clothes, then snuggled down into the comforter.

  I was surprised I was so tired.

  I got up, set the clock for 7:30, then got back into bed.

  I desperately needed to sleep.                                    


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