Ritual SpaceBy: Viola Grace
She was relieved to find that she had not put the book down while cuddling with her buddy.
Adrea sat at the kitchen table and started to read. It was time to find out what she was in for before she started working on who killed Neadra. That was what she would do in the morning.
The elegant handwriting laid it all out for her in a few sentences.
If you are reading this, I have met my end. You are now the manager of Ritual Space, and there are a few things you need to know.
One, I am sorry, but the life you knew is over. Your life has joined to the land, and it will keep you close until that bond is strong enough to stretch a little. That should come in a few months, until then, the back of this book has a number of nearby businesses that will deliver to you.
Two, you don’t need to renew your link to the land every year. Once was enough. I simply needed to show you what you had to do, in the most non-threatening way possible.
Three, your father wanted to inherit Ritual Space, but it can only be passed along through the female line. Normally, larger families make this easy, but your father was an only child and you were his only child. In a few decades, you may want to look into fertility spells.
Four, you will live an average of two hundred years. There isn’t any getting around it, we live for a very long time and usually leave when we choose. I have always known I was destined for a violent death, so I hope that I have managed to wait until you were over eighteen.
Five, the book is designed to fill you in on all the detailed questions that you may have. Each is grouped by subject. Ask the book, and it should flip to the correct page.
In closing, I wish you had not been dumped into this situation, but feel free to ask the house or the rabbits for anything you need. Mr. Grant will handle the details of my funeral, so put your trust in him. His family has been handling our accounts for centuries.
I love you. I wish you well, and I know you will be fine.
All my love,
The rest of the book had an index, tabbed pages and leaves pressed into each one.
She sat and read through the night, the lights of the kitchen came on as daylight faded to nothing. Adrea paused occasionally to have a drink of water, but she didn’t feel tired, so she kept reading.
The book was full of family lore as well as a description of how to do a cleanup and renovation of the ritual spaces. The tale of how the spaces had been brought together for the purpose of giving mages somewhere safe to blow up while they were learning. From that point, it turned into a sheltered area for shifters to have events and the mythical beings enjoyed being themselves for days at a time.
How to take bookings was also included in the book. The list of repeat clients could be found in the office along with the other numbers used for the business side of things.
Adrea closed the book and let out a heavy sigh while she ran her hands through her hair. Her mind was spinning with a thousand bits of information, and she needed to sort them out.
She looked down at her clothing and sighed. She should have packed better.
Adrea shoved herself up to her feet, took the book with her and headed up to the third floor where the bedrooms were located. If she was lucky, the house had saved all of Neadra’s clothing. Her aunty had been a clotheshorse, and she and Adrea were the same size.
The third door that she opened was Neadra’s. The tears started the moment that she set foot over the threshold. Everywhere she looked, she saw her aunty, her mentor and probably her best friend. Just like that, she was gone.
Adrea sat at the edge of the bed and let the sobs come.
★ ★ ★ ★
Hyl looked up at the rain coming down on the house in the most magical place he had ever been. Adrea Morrigan was finally letting the loss hit her. The rain was the side effect.
He could feel the strength in the containment of the walls surrounding the space. With the spell holder in control, nothing would be able to breech the defenses.
The strength of the protections just left him with one question as he stood in the shadows of the porch. How had a killer gotten to Neadra Yoder?
★ ★ ★ ★
Adrea woke when the sun tickled her face. Her soul felt lighter for the grieving. There would be more tears, but they wouldn’t have the same power as the first wave.
She gathered some exercise gear and looked until she found her room. It was neat, tidy and empty aside from a bed. She located her ensuite bathroom with towels waiting for her, and she took a quick shower to clear her eyes.
Her hair towelled dry in a few seconds, and the moment that her skin wasn’t damp, she pulled on spandex shorts and a sports bra. The shoes and socks didn’t fit quite right, but then, they weren’t hers.
With a deep sigh and a settling sense of grief, she went down two flights of stairs and out the front door.
“You are up early.”
She shrieked and jumped to the other side of the porch.
“What the hell, Hyl?” She panted and pressed her hand to her chest. Well, she tried to. She wasn’t actually scared at all. Her senses knew that he was there the entire time. She had acted like she would have if she was still completely normal. Normal had been blown up yesterday.
He stepped out of the shadows as if he lived in them, and he inclined his head. “Pardon me. I didn’t mean to startle you.”