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Sunday, July 24, 2011

Rise of a Rector

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Here are the first few pages of Rise of a Rector:

It was raining, again. The rain made it hard to track her prey and it always seemed to be raining in England. She’d take the snow of her homeland over this wet mess any day. Sure it was still hard to pick up an energy trail in the snow, but not nearly as hard. Grinding her teeth in frustration, she stepped inside the pub as she attempted to ring some of the water from her long braid of black hair. Little irritated her more than having to resort to asking the locals if they’d seen her prey. Yet, here she was, forced to do just that.
All heads in the crowded room turned to her. Eyes narrowed. She ignored both their looks and the hostile energy rolling off them. Small towns were always like this and she was growing weary of it.
Doing her best to look charming and friendly while soaking wet, she made her way through the crowded room up to the bar. On the way she subtly scanned the room, taking note of how many people were in it and where they were located. Broken up by the liquor bottles and glasses, the wall to wall mirror behind the bar gave her a great view of everyone who was packed into the tiny room. ‘He’ wasn’t among them. But she knew that without looking. At this range she’d feel him long before she saw him. He had an unmistakable energy signature, and he was her twin brother after all. That was what made this so hard. Not that it was her first official Hunt, but that it was her brother she’d been sent after.
Smiling sweetly at the bartender, she slipped onto a stool and asked for water. The middle-aged man lifted his bushy eyebrows and crinkled up his large nose.
“Not enough falling from the sky for you, lovely?” he asked.
She tried to blow a lock of hair from her face and laughed as it clung. While she didn’t feel the slightest bit light-hearted or humorous, she was good at faking it when she needed something. The bartender smiled and relaxed under the weight of her charm. When he passed her the water she touched his hand. Her fingers lingered on his a moment too long. He blushed and she knew she had him where she wanted him.
After drinking half the water she reached inside her trench coat and pulled out a picture. She set it before him and waited for his eyes to shift from her chest to the picture. It took a while.
“I wonder if you could help me. My brother and I are backpacking and got separated. Have you seen him?” she asked.
“Ah yes. You missed him by little more than an hour. I recommended Mandy’s B&B to him. It’s just across the street,” the bartender said.
It was just as she suspected. This was the only pub in town so of course he’d been here. Since their parents had died he’d taken up drinking. There was no way he’d pass up the only pub in town. Such a flaw made him almost too easy to track. Catching him was an entirely different matter though.
“Thank you,” she said as she stood.
Tucking the photo back into her coat, she placed a few Euros on the bar and turned to leave. Pulling her hood on, she stepped out into the wet darkness and melded into it. She crossed the cobblestone street and slinked onto the opposite sidewalk. It was raining so hard had she not possessed the ability to see the energy of living things, she may not have been able to read the sign for Mandy’s B&B which was edged in moss.
This time she couldn’t just walk in the front door. He would hear or feel her long before she could discover what room he was in. From this distance she was safe from detection, but once she came within a hundred feet or so of him, all bets were off. While she had extensive training as a Hunter of her own kind, unfortunately so did he. This was the problem she faced any time she got close to him.
Taking note of all the doors and windows on the front of the two-story building, she ducked down the alleyway. Around the back were several balconies overlooking a river and a grove of trees. In the daylight it was probably a lovely view but on a stormy night like tonight it just looked sinister. Peering into the rain, she tried to catch sight of his energy trail. She picked up a trace of it on one of the balconies on the second story. A faint light emanated from the room, probably a lamp. Could she really be lucky enough to have finally caught up to him? She didn’t dare hope, not yet.
Pouring a touch of her power down into her legs, she used it to help her leap up to the balcony some twelve feet above her. She landed with practiced ease just inside the railing. The French doors were ajar, their sheer curtains billowing in the breeze. In only a second her eyes scanned the cramped room and she determined it was empty. Traces of his swirling red energy clung to things in patterns that criss-crossed the room. Slinking inside via the shadows, she headed for the bathroom door. Only darkness spilled from the tiny crack beside it. Going completely still, she reached out with her power, searching for the weight of his. But he wasn’t here anymore.
As always, somehow he had known she was coming. Their skills as Hunters were almost equally matched but he possessed a cunning desperation that kept him one step ahead of her. It wasn’t surprising considering how much he had to lose. Her heart sank, anchored down by the despair of failure.
A bright trail of his red energy caught her eye. The trail led to a piece of paper on a desk up against the head of the bed. It fluttered in the breeze as if trying to escape the paperweight that anchored it down. His energy swirled about the paper in a bloody-looking maelstrom. Stepping into the cone of light the lamp cast, she reached for the piece of paper. It was a note. Frustration raged through her and her body shook as she fought the impulse to channel the energy rising inside her.
He had time to write a note! How can he be so much better at this than I am?
Forcing herself to calm down, she read the note.

Elisabeth,
You can’t change my mind and you can’t stop me. I release you from any sibling obligations. Stop hunting me. It isn’t I who need to be saved, it’s our kind. Together with Eren I will be a part of something great, something that is going to change the world as we know it and elevate channelers to their rightful place in it. Be happy for me.
–Luke

It took a lot of effort, but she made her shaking hands fold the note and place it in her pocket. Everything was always about Eren. How had his mind become so twisted up around that girl? Eren would be the death of him if Elisabeth couldn’t stop him. How could he be such an idiot?
Soon she wouldn’t be the only Hunter on his trail and the others wouldn’t be satisfied with stopping him. While he had done terrible things and probably planned on doing worse, he was still her brother. If she could just catch him before it was too late she was sure the elders of the Romanian channeler Society would go easy on him.
But if I don’t get to him in time. If he kills someone, or worse. . .
She refused to let her mind go down that path. She would catch him in time. Even if he wouldn’t fight to save himself, she would fight for him.

She ran out of the room and leapt from the balcony into the darkness. He couldn’t be more than an hour ahead of her. If she hurried, tried just a little harder, maybe she could catch him in time. 

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