Bloodmaiden: Part 20

Harcourt blinked. “It was effective, wasn’t it?”

Reliquary nodded. “Remarkably so. It’s a pity that the magical establishment is too stuck in their ways to appreciate the options that new approaches offer us. Am I right in guessing that you’re not from this universe?”

Harcourt froze for a moment. Amy could see well enough in the darkness to know that his eyes widened.

Not waiting to find out if he’d lie to preserve their cover, Amy said, “That’s true.”

Harcourt caught her eye, mouth tight, but smiled at Reliquary, and gave him a nod that hinted at a bow. “As she said, you’ve guessed correctly. It’s not something that I’ve made known. Blood magic isn’t appreciated in this world.”

Reliquary smiled. “No. It’s not appreciated at all. Of course, in this world, it’s more often taught by vampires to their human servants and acts as a gateway to becoming involved in necromancy… Let’s say that as much as I think that the magical establishment is hidebound, I understand their fears.

“Nonetheless, I don’t share them.”

Reliquary walked closer to the porch and to Phil’s desiccated remains. He held his staff above the dust. Then he looked up at Harcourt. “As I said before, that was an impressive display of magic. On the surface, it appears to be a simple removal of life from the undead, but it’s more complicated, a multi-layered spell that released what was left of the poor man and destroyed any connection between the remains and replacing spirit. That’s a flexible tool, and distinctly different from what vampires use.”

He turned toward Amy, holding the staff between them. She could sense magic in the staff, and that she somehow had the staff’s attention. It didn’t have a red glow. It had a white-blue glow that emanated from constantly moving parts. She could see the glow whirling around within the staff, sometimes twisting and separating only to rejoin itself.

Even as Amy wondered if the staff were in some way alive, Reliquary said, “What we see isn’t her, is it? It’s an inherited magical construct, created with blood magic, tied to a family line… I don’t suppose you might be willing to show me the basics of your methods, would you? I know a number of magics that you might want to learn.”

Harcourt shook his head. “I’m afraid that I have a duty to protect the mysteries of my craft. We have firm traditions about who we teach.”

Reliquary sighed, but then said, “That’s not unusual.”

Amy took a step, standing next to Reliquary. “I’d be willing. I’m not a master of blood magic, but I do know the basics, and I’d like very much to learn anything you’re willing to teach me.”

Harcourt’s fists clenched. “No!”

Amy looked up at where he stood on the porch. “You’re doing your best not to teach me anything at all. I have better things to do than wait ten years to learn the basics.”

Looking down at her from the porch, Harcourt said, “I forbid you to do anything of the kind. You are my responsibility. Your father placed you in my care.”

“My father,” she said, “gave me instructions too, and you’re making it harder to follow them, not easier.”

Harcourt glowered down at her. “What did he say?”

She said, “I can’t tell you.” Then she turned toward Reliquary. “Teach me. Please.”

Reliquary took a breath and gave a slow smile. “That’s the primary reason I’m here.”

“What?” Harcourt stared.

“I teach magic at a school for superheroes, and I was told by one of my fellow teachers to watch for you. It took some time to figure out where you were, but I did in the end. Your change was an excellent beacon.”

Amy raised an eyebrow. “How would anyone in the school know I was here? Was this a sorcerer?”

Reliquary shook his head. “No. It was one of the combat instructors. His codename is Immortal, but he told me to tell you that Captain Jason Lee vouched for you.”

Harcourt gritted his teeth. Amy said, “Oh.”

Reliquary stepped back from the porch. “I’m glad that we’ve got this sorted out. I’ll be dropping by your house with forms to get you involved in the Stapledon program as well as for college. Once you get to Stapledon, one of my apprentices will teach you the basics, and I’ll be involved in advanced courses. There aren’t as many of us learning magic as the people learning technology, but I think you’ll enjoy it.”

* * *

One month later, she found herself moving again. All of her possessions were packed in the back of the BMW she’d been bought. Both Harcourts had helped her pack, but she had a feeling that William would be grateful to have her gone. He’d barely spoken to her since they’d met Reliquary.

She leaned against the car. It was parked in the circular driveway in front of the house, and she was torn as to whether she should simply leave. It was tempting. She felt almost certain that William wouldn’t be able to leave this alone.

She was right.

He walked out the front door carrying a thick book. It was black, bound in leather, and had no words on the outside, just a representation of the Bloodmaiden’s spear.

He opened the passenger door and put the book inside.

“Hey,” she said, “what was that?”

“It’s yours.” He walked back to the house, shutting the front door.

Letting him go, she opened the book, recognizing the smell and feel of vellum. After flipping through the pages, it became obvious that it was a manual for training Bloodmaidens.

She wouldn’t have expected that. If she’d known it existed, she would have expected him to have mutilated it or never shown her the book in the first place.

She considered walking back into the house to thank him, but then she noticed that the entire last chapter, “Advanced Magics,” had been cut out with a razor.

She put the book back in the passenger seat, walked over to the driver’s side of the car, and drove away.

24 thoughts on “Bloodmaiden: Part 20”

  1. …Is it just me or is Harcourt just bloody stupid ? I mean the guy gives her the Bloodmaiden Handbook and cuts out the advanced stuff, but thing is he left all the basics which by definition are what the advanced stuff is based upon which means that she has what she needs to figure out the advanced stuff with the help of her new teacher and the basis present in the Book, she might even create her own techniques by using the basics and taking inspiration from the other forms of Magic Reliquary knows, not only that but she also has the previous BloodMaidens who may decide to help a bit. so in short all Harcourt did was unecessarily antagonize Amy and forcing her to innove which might be a lot more dangerous for everyone if she decided to take the throne as at least the Old advanced stuff is known and probaly has counters that have been deviced against it while what Amy may come up with might have none whatsoever. In short he sould either have given her the whole thing or nothing at all.

    I love that it is Lee that gave the intel on Amy to Reliquary as it shows the various interations are linked.

    A pity Amy’s arc is ending already because I loved it, oh it will be good to see Nick again but still this Other PoV was my favorite one and I really like Amy not just her powerset but as a character and I truly hope she’ll be around a lot in the main story. Given what’s happening in Turkmenistan she should be for some time but afterwards since she is rather far from the others well…Here hoping she somehow manages to become a fixture in the league and that the next Non Nick Story will be about Jaclyn.

    1. Yeah, it’s a very real mistake people make. Finding a compromise which annoys their enemy/opposition without actually hampering them; the target is no less annoyed than if they’d been opposed outright, and their position is stronger from the compromise. Happens all the time.

      With so many characters in common between the realities there might just be an Amy native to this world. Maybe even if this one doesn’t stick around there’ll be a Bloodmaiden in the League. Or maybe they swapped worlds and there’s an American Amy in the Summerlands.

  2. I presume Amy will have access to the Advance sections anyway, once the “Previous Bloodmaiden that doesn’t speak much” thinks she is ready?

    1. It’s far from impossible. In all honesty, I’d be tempted to do more Amy stories one of these days, so it’s probably best not to say. That said, it’d be a ridiculous waste of resources if she didn’t use everything she safely could of her predessors’ experience and skills.

      1. If she ever mentions the whole inherited memory thing to any of the more scifi oriented characters I hope they pass her copies of Dune Messiah / Children of Dune as a bit of a cautionary tale… and because suggesting Dune to friends is always the right thing to do.

        As for folks saying Harcourt is being “stupid” with the book… he may be reactionary, but I don’t think stupid, either emotionally or politically survives to his age in his line of work. I suspect he is playing a deeper game with multiple different players, which requires him to both be obviously obstructionist, and subtlety building her Independence, resourcefulness, and difference from previous BM archetypes…

        Jim this world / Character really does deserve their own story… Maybe a standalone novel developed out side the constraints of this serial? I’d pay for my copy on Amazon. Let you branch out into may be a little more intrigue oriented genre if that is a temptation 😉

        All the best, hope the interviews went well!

        1. It’s an interesting idea. I can think of a few different ways to go about it. The key thing is that if I really were going to give Amy and her world their own series, I probably wouldn’t want to have Legion’s universe be involved. Superheroes would be too distracting.

          Thus, a few different ways to do it:

          1. Amy might never leave her own world, and might be hiding in the Summerlands (alias North and South America) for a time. We didn’t even get a tenth of what’s there in this story. That could be very fun.

          2. If Amy does leave her own world, she should go to “our world”–a world with no magic or superpowers of any kind. Going back and forth between a normal universe and hers could be fun too–especially if her presence makes the world turn considerably less normal.

          3. Do a series of novels that are set in the Legionverse, but downplay the connect to the point that someone can read it without being familiar with The Legion of Nothing at all.

          It’s definitely worth a thought. Of course, option four is simply to do it as side stories for Legion readers. That would be fun too.

  3. Problem there is that you’re assuming that Amy is capable of getting from basic to advanced on her own. She has no other source of blood magic knowledge. While she can no doubt figure some of it out herself, and plug more of the holes with conventional magic, she still is going to have holes in her education compared to a fully trained blood mage. This means if she does try to go home with ill intent, she’ll be easier to take down, raw power or not.

    Amy is smart, we have seen no evidence she’s a genius. This is an actual brake on her power, ‘advanced’ probably contained the measures blood mages use to combat each other.

    —–

    Next POV I want to see is Chris, or the Drucker half-sisters

    1. IMHO, he did it more to make it harder for someone else to learn them than to prevent her learning. She has the previous bloodmaidens to help tutor and now the first ?half? of that book, so figuring out the advanced magics is doable for her. He did state that it was his duty to protect the knowledge. He’s simply trying to do his job, made so much harder by the circumstances.

  4. @ club
    in the short term maybe. But we saw here and in the other chapters that Amy can use what her predecessors are willing to teach her. If anything not having the advanced section will make her more open to manipulation from them. Something Harcourt may be counting on if hes looking for a reason to justify killing her and going home.

  5. Wow… Harcourt mutilated a book. Probably a one of a kind book too. I definitely dislike him now. 🙂

    Amy not having ready access to advanced stuff is still an issue. It slows her down which is what Harcourt wanted in the first place so that does make sense. Her inner voices maybe should be able to teach her but then not everyone is very good at teaching what they know. And different people are better at teaching at different levels of learning. Perhaps one of her inner voices can take it from basics to advanced work but it’s still easier with a book. Instruction without an organized plan can skip things or hit things in an order that makes them harder to understand.

  6. I’d imagine Reliquary would be reading the book as well and is probably experienced enough with other forms of magic to extrapolate based on the basics.

  7. So far, this is absolutely my favorite side story. Your voice with Amy is one of the strongest of all the different side characters. Rachael comes close, but Amy’s is stronger.

    When introduced, I thought this was going to be a pure fluff anime character for giggles. I am shameful for doubting your literary powers. This is good stuff. I was so much more committed to the Amy/Nicholas romance of a few hours over the Haley/Nick relationship over several Arcs.

    I cannot wait to see more.

    Thanks so much for being so talented. I appologize for commenting on something written so far back, but I just got to this part and couldn’t contain my thoughts.

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