Series: Magic and Machinery #1
Author: Jon Messenger
Published: March 10th, 2015
Publisher: Crimson Tree Publishing
Content Warning: Non-graphic gore/violence
Age Recommendation: 16+
Synopsis: In a world of science, magic is an abomination.
Magic is an abomination. It spread from the Rift, a great chasm hundreds of miles long that nearly split the southern continent in two. The Rift was a portal, a gateway between their world of science and the mythological world of magic.
On the northern continent of Ocker, King Godwin declared that no magical monstrosity would be allowed within their borders. The Royal Inquisitors were formed to investigate reports of mystical occurrences and, should they be found, to destroy them.
Inquisitor Simon Whitlock knows his responsibilities all too well. Along with the apothecary, Luthor Strong, they’ve spent two years inquiring into such reports of magical abominations, though they’ve discovered far more charlatans than true magical creatures. When assigned to investigate Haversham and its reports of werewolves, Simon remains unconvinced that the rumors are true. What he discovers in the frozen little hamlet is that the werewolves are far more real than he believed; yet they’re hardly the most dangerous monster in the city.
Simon stepped into the hallway and pulled his door closed. He reached across the divide and straightened Luthor’s tie, which hung askew from the center of his neck. As he straightened the tie, he caught a scent of something foul in the air. He wrinkled his nose and glanced over his friend’s shoulder.
“Do you smell that? It’s atrocious. It’s a mixture of spoiled milk and gangrene. Please tell me that isn’t coming from your room.”
Luthor blushed slightly and looked over his shoulder. “I accidentally broke one of my vials when I was unpacking. It’s an unpleasant scent, to be sure.”
Simon frowned. “Please don’t tell me that was one of the liquids in that foul brew you gave me on the zeppelin.”
Luthor pushed his glasses back up his nose but remained silent.
“Luthor?” Simon asked, arching his brow inquisitively. “It wasn’t, was it?”
When the apothecary didn’t reply, Simon threw up his hands in disgust and stormed down the hall.
“In my defense,” Luthor said as he hurried to catch up, “you told me not to tell you.”
“I swear that you’re trying to poison me. You slip these terrible concoctions into my drinks just to kill me slowly.”
“There are actually indigenous tribes along the far eastern shores that intentionally ingest poisons in an attempt to build a resistance to the natural venoms that exist in their flora and fauna. Despite a wide spread acceptance of the practice, only a very small percentage of them actually die.”
“You find the most remarkable ways to try to defend your inane actions,” Simon said. “I’m not an indigenous tribesman from the eastern shore. Please stop trying to poison me.”
“I’d never poison you without your knowledge,” Luthor said before reconsidering his word choice.
“I guess I should be pleased that my friends will stab me in the face, rather than stabbing me in the back.”
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