There was a place in the border town where one could buy illegal ingredients for spells. Those ingredients being bits and pieces of monsters that hunters saw fit to keep aside instead of utterly destroying and removing from the Quarantine Zone. Hunters made a tidy profit this way, for the remains were useless to the dispatcher. Monsters, even in death, remembered their destroyer and did all they could to return the favor. A protective spell might fail at a critical moment. Things meant to be hidden were exposed to the wrong set of eyes. Or perhaps the spell just corrupted the user, making the hunter one of them, spreading like a cancer in his or her body.
The son of a marquis never had to recourse to such coarse places as this, where men drank and spilled blood morning, noon, and night, where half-naked fallen women plied their trade openly and without fear of arrest, and where neither group shed a tear over the disappearance of one of their number. Depredation by man or monster, the cause didn’t matter; death was, after all, a long resident of the dark houses and darker alleys. And it would outlast them all.
Derrick Drake Daracott, Jr. had never visited such a place before now, but then again he hadn’t been the son of a marquis since said father tried to kill said son a few days ago. A twenty-first birthday present, it seemed. A gift that kept giving.
Hunting was in his blood. It had been his fate since the first Queen honored the first Daracott with this long sweep of land that marched along the border of the magical Quarantine Wall. Despite all that had happened, he was a hunter still, and he was tracking something this early spring morning.
The question was, was it Father still?
The question was, what would he do if it were?
Drake rubbed at chest, at the magical tug that had led him here–at the something large that fluttered in a tiny cage, or so it felt. Something he had never felt before he woke on twenty-first birthday, still alive. He stood now in his week-old clothes, save for the hunter’s bangled and tasseled jacket that he had left behind. He stood as he had the last hour, staring at the leaning, peeling building a moment longer, always just a moment longer.
Then he dropped his hand to the silver knife on his hip and marched inside.
Originally posted: 10/18/16
Last revised: n/a
Spirit of the Sun is written by Jodi Ralston. It is set in a world where everything but an area protected by a domed, magic quarantine wall is beset by monsters and corruption. This is a work in progress. I intend to post it as I write it, and that means posts are subject to revision. My goal is to publish it as ebook and print book.
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