Chapter 1 - Mistake
Jack Aurelio lived by a couple of fundamental rules.
Number One: Never be separated from everyone else around evening time except when you are inside your own home with bolted windows and entryways.
Number Two: Eat allium with each supper.
Number Three: Don’t remain out late, particularly with a date.
Number Four: Avoid nightclubs no matter what.
Number Five: Keep spare bandages on hand.
Also, Number Six: always remember your phone and keep it on you.
He infrequently, and at random points, told others a part of his rundown of the rules. The vast majority of people would not comprehend, and those that did indeed didn’t require any clarification. He did it as a sort of test but also as a reminder to himself not to forget.
Currently, he was in the process of doing his ‘doctorate research’. Jack delighted in the calm of the library on most days. He was formally researching Pathology and Pharmacology, yet the people who knew him best no doubt understood that he was investigating old Medicine found inside Occult scripts and myths. Jack was not a soothsayer or anything magical like that. Still, as a former student of Salutem Primum Academy, one learned enough about how to survive in the real world, and more importantly, to survive anyone with absolute power. To simplify, Jack is supposed to have reached the point that he ought to have known better than to remain alone in an obscure part of Lightfair library late during the evening.
In any case, he was too busy to realise that fact since, for the first time in years, he was on to a solid lead — at last. He had been investigating research, documents and specialists of normal blood coagulating and trying to link it to possible remedies for Cursed Blood bites. Still, up to this point, he had no substantial leads. In the past, all he’d manage to find is ‘eat this animals horn’, ‘boil this highly toxic mushroom’ and many such dubious recipes of questionable origin.
Last few weeks, he had tracked down an old original copy of a specific recipe/manual, which may help find a cure. Jack found it inside the filed records for medication at the Lightfair library. The problem was that those accountable for the documents would not allow him to borrow them due to the fragile nature of the paper. They did still provide him with copies, which was nice, but to be completely forthright, they were utterly useless for his research, and they might as well not have bothered.
The people who guarded and managed the library did not comprehend and did not want to listen to Jack because he needed the original as the vital part he needed to study was the composition of the substance the original document has on itself. The ink that wrote on the paper and any substances stuck on the paper were things he had to check out and were the indispensable vital parts of his research.
While the curators were using nitrile gloves to take care of it, he required actual contact with his fingers to check the composition of the materials, which is accomplished with the magic equivalent of a parlour trick. This type of simple magic is more accurately known as dolum. For the most part, the individuals who utilised nitrile gloves didn’t have faith in sorcery and prefered to neglect it. They were disciples of a new way of thinking that the material world was all there was and all that mattered. They refused to accept that the universe was a lot deeper than our five faculties could distinguish or had things we could not discover and master.
Since the legal way of gaining the original copy was forbidden, Jack was forced to acquire ‘exotic’ help to achieve his aims. This means he received a priufecit spell, which can even be used by someone like him, from his dearest friend’s new spouse (who turned out to be a very gifted, but supposedly ‘resigned’, witch), which allowed him to open entryways for a limited time. Breaking into the library himself during the curator’s last shift was relatively easy. He was working on the assumption that he would be in and out quickly and did not count on forgetting Rule 1 and Rule 3 in the same night!
As Jack poured over the papers, he felt a tickle on the rear of his neck and immediately checked his watch.
A shudder ran down his back as the young man realised his mistake. It was late. Incredibly late. He ought to have been home at this point.
Hopefully, this doesn’t prove to be the mistake that ends it all.