Ritual SpaceBy: Viola Grace
When they pulled up next to her, she lifted the set up and smiled. “Thank you. It is definitely appreciated.”
The bunnies bowed and scampered off, leaving the wagon behind.
Mr. Grant blinked. “Do they normally do that?”
Adrea chuckled. “They are the remains of dozens of incomplete sacrifices. They eat herbs steeped in magic and have developed their own society. Neadra doesn’t bother them, and they don’t bother her.”
She paused. “Didn’t. Didn’t bother them.”
She busied herself with the tea, and while it was steeping, she signed the account cards for seventeen different banks. The amount of money that the property had accumulated was staggering. “What am I supposed to do with all of this?”
Mr. Grant smiled, showing his deadly teeth. “Whatever you wish. The funds of the renters of the space are accumulated in these accounts. They are now yours to do with as you will.”
When the banking was complete, she looked at the next form and tears welled up. After Neadra’s body was released, she had requested that it be interred in the private graveyard in Ritual Space.
She brushed the tears from her cheeks and signed the document. She would bring her aunt home to lie next to her family when the guild had finished its examination.
Mr. Grant offered her a handkerchief, and she blotted at her tears. “I am sorry.”
“Don’t be. It has been a lot to take in for you. Time moves slowly for my kind, and this amount of change would have caused my head to crack. You are holding up very well.”
She chuckled softly. “Thanks. I am trying. There is an odd feeling inside me, like something is trying to get out.”
“That is the property. You are linked to the wall, but you haven’t taken control of the land itself. You will need to take care of that, but I am guessing that you are aware of it.”
She nodded. “As soon as I do, the house will change. I have to hold off as long as I can so that they can examine everything.”
“You are doing very well. When Neadra came to me and made these arrangements, I had my doubts that you would be a suitable replacement. Now, I am not so sure I was correct. You seem to have an inner strength that I was unaware of. You will do well in your new home.”
Adrea smiled slightly. “Thanks for that. I will launder this, and get it back to you.”
“Keep it. I always bring a few when wills are in the offing. There will still be an official reading of the will on the day of the funeral, but we have handled the portion that involves the corporation of Ritual Space.”
She exhaled, and he tucked the paperwork away.
“I will provide you with your copies on the day of the funeral. I will also handle the arrangements in the manner your aunt desired.”
Adrea quirked her lips. “You do know she wasn’t really my aunt.”
“Great aunt twice removed. Her lifespan was far longer than she admitted, but that is the bonus to this place. Your life mixes with the land and your body given its power of renewal. You can’t go far from it, but it will keep you alive and healthy.”
“Once I complete the ritual.”
She sighed and picked up her teacup, getting to her feet to look out at the gardens. “This was always my favourite part of the grounds.”
She looked around, and if she focused on the slight movements, she could see the rabbits tending the plants. Adrea took a few steps toward the wild roses, and she spun as if struck.
Pain ripped through her shoulder, and she went down on one knee.
“Ms. Morrigan, what is it?”
“Something else just hit the wall. It is trying to get out.”
Mr. Grant got to his feet. “I think that now is a good time for you to complete your link to the property.”
She gritted her teeth as the pain moved across her back. “Are they done with the crime-scene stuff?”
“It doesn’t matter. You must do this or the gates will start to feel pressure and you will be torn apart.”
Adrea grunted as the pain continued to travel, seeking a means of escape. “I think you are right. Please let them know to get moving.”
She stood up, set her teacup down and ran through the gardens, into the forest.
She was running to find the centre with someone trying to punch their way out of her skin. Thank goodness she was wearing the right clothing for the job. There was nothing worse than being overdressed when you opened your mind and body to join with a few hundred acres of land.
The centre was surprisingly subtle. A light growth of new trees in a circle and lush green grass in the centre.
As she passed the circle, she could feel something weird. Those trees were hers. They looked to be about six months old, but those trees were hers.
Sighing, she knelt in the centre of the ring and clawed at the ground. She had heard Neadra say dozens of times, the earth provides for us, and as she dug and tiny shards of stone pricked her hands, she finally understood.
She kept digging until she found a wide blue stone, the same colour as her eyes. Tiny smears of her blood covered the stone.
Adrea lay on her belly and breathed into the hole she had dug. She whispered the words that Neadra had said in front of her. “I trust you, I guard you, I watch those who walk your path. Bound by body, bound by blood.”