Chapter One: Rita Lauren

Me and Venkat wanted to try our hands at writing something, so we came up with a splendid fantastical crime-solving magical mystery story idea. He and I will take turns writing it, similar to the other story. So it has no real plot yet.

Please don”t take this story too seriously. It”s not meant to be accurate at all.

Okay hope you enjoy!

 

Chapter One: Rita Lauren

What cannot be erased shall not be forgotten.

A life is made up of moments, and in a moment a life can end, sometimes naturally and sometimes at the cruel hands of others. There are all sorts of dangers out there lying in wait, but we don’t always have to be the victims. We can choose to be the protectors.

I, Rita Lauren, have taken the oath to be one of those protectors. I didn’t do it out of a sense of purpose. But now that I’m here I might as well act like I should – like a detective of the local police department. Fight the baddies (read as “sit on my ass all day”), get paid a somewhat decent salary, and hopefully, if I’m lucky, find my purpose and live life happily ever after.


~~~

“Lauren!”

I groan from my slouched position in my cushioned office chair and proceed to drag my feet from their resting position on the top of my desk and put them back on the floor. I make an effort to sit up straighter. “Yes, Captain?”

Captain Rich Rhymer, head of the Four Lakes Police Department’s Magic Investigation Unit, parades toward my desk with a manila folder in his hand, which he readily deposits in my lap. “Report just came in about a green, glowing light sighted in South Lake. We need someone to investigate the situation.”

Just what I had been looking forward to all morning! Mystical green lights. I pick up the folder and open it. It contains a small slip of paper which was most likely the “report” of the “sighting.” I give the captain a dry look. “Is this even a legitimate case?”

“Don’t give me that lip Detective, unless you want to go back to local town patrol just after making this team. Check it out and put the report on my desk when you’re done,” Captain Rhymer commands before he continues his parade toward his office.

I sigh, looking hopelessly at the manila folder in my hand. Since leaving patrol and making this dead-beat squad, I’ve done nothing short of…patrolling! I essentially made the step up from “bad” to “pointless.”

“Looks like we got ourselves another fine, fun day, Jeff!” comes a light-hearted chuckle from the half-elf who sits across from me. He pats the head of his “dog,” which looks more like a Monster Wolf under the delusion that it’s a domesticated companion animal.

My partner, Lander May, is a strange man but gifted with talent I must admit. He claims his dog, Jeff, to be his guide dog, but I don’t believe May actually needs Jeff as much as he lets on. May is blind, due to an accident in his teen years. I’ve only known him for the last six months but I would say we get along well enough.

“Fun?” I direct toward May. “If you call this fun, you’re a more pitiful man than I imagined.”

May turns toward me. “Better pitiful than a cantankerous boor.”

Yeah, we get along about as well as cats and dogs. It’s a wonder how we ever get anything done.

“Come on May. Let’s get this crap over with. Why they even created this unit if all they’re going to do is send us on assignments like these I’ll never understand.”

May stands up and slips on his jacket and hat. “Oh, it isn’t all that bad. And you know magic doesn’t just pop up everywhere all the time. It’s not so common. And think! When it does occur, how exciting it will be!”

I roll my eyes and send him a scowl that he can’t see. If only I could be so optimistic. But it’s a bit hard to do when one is sent on a mission to inspect a case of glowing green lights.

“Don’t roll your eyes at me lass!” May scolds, not forgetting to swat at my leg with his walking stick as he walks out the door with his pet dog.

“Ow!” I yelp as I harbor my injured leg. I look at him incredulously. How did he even know??

~~~

South Lake is an affluent area of our Four Lakes region. It is not somewhere I visit often, but it always manages to leave me awestruck whenever I do.  We left the station to travel there by carriage, and now as we roll through the town, the scenery of pleasant homes, people milling about the streets talking to neighbors or selling wares are set alight by the early afternoon sun. It is an atmosphere of peace which makes our coming all this way to identify the cause of a “magic mystery” seem a bit absurd to me.

Lander May is seated across from me, his dog resting on the floor between us. I gaze at him; something about him puts me on edge. He has a seemingly cheery disposition but I feel as if a shadow lurks beneath all the mumbo he spits out. And his blindness – I know that did not happen just from some accident like pokie games online to play for he claims, though I have no proof of the fact. There is a story behind his eyes, behind him. I aim to figure it out at some point, to keep myself preoccupied during my job if nothing else.

Soon the houses become increasingly sparser until we finally reach the edge of South Lake where the forest starts to become thicker. The sightings of “glowing green light” were said to have been spotted near here. The carriage parks itself along the edge of the road and May, Jeff and I step down. It is quiet outside save for the chirping birds and occasional insect buzzing. Nothing out of the ordinary. Bummer.

May points in a completely random direction. “Onward toward the mystery!”

I pick up a pinecone and toss it at his head. Jeff growls at me for my misdemeanor.

I venture off to the left of the road and ask May to follow me. The report mentioned that the “sighting” was somewhere in this direction. Fortunately the forests in our region are not too dense with vegetation, so it is easy to traverse even off of the main road. The crunching of pine needles and twigs beneath my boots are extremely helpful in informing of May of my location as well, I’m sure.

I walk slowly and take great care in looking at my surroundings, hoping that I don’t miss something that will help me to identify where this green light originated from. I look behind me at May. He has his hand in front of him, aimed toward the ground. As he walks he moves his hand around as if he is scanning for something. What is he doing? I ponder. Is it some sort of blind-half-elf ability? He looks like he should be holding a metal detector.

A loud bark pulls me out of my thoughts. Jeff barks again and more frequently and runs ahead of me. Thinking he might have found something, May and I run after him. After a minute of chasing, I finally catch up to Jeff and gasp at what I see in front of me.

It’s a clearing in the woods. But there are large stones with markings and huge wooden statues situated in a large circle in the clearing. It’s something that would be hard to spot from the road, as the ground level of this clearing is lower than the road so a hill directly blocks visibility, but a green light in the night would not be hidden if it shined brightly enough.

“May, watch your step around here,” I advise my partner. “It seems there’re leftover artifacts around. Could be evidence.”

The half-elf moves on ahead, following his dog toward the circle. “Not to worry. Don’t strain your small mind with your concern,” he comments jovially.

I shrug it off, leaving him to go himself. For a blind man, he somehow can see his surroundings surprisingly well.

I make my way to the middle of the circle. I have never seen anything like it. The stones have symbols painted on them. They are ones I recognize as worshiping the God of Light. I have no idea what to make of the statues, on the other hand. They model screaming people, sleeping people, praying people; there are probably around twenty of them in total.

On the ground I see burnt ashes in a fire pit and a myriad of burnt twigs and torches on the ground. I pick up a torch from the edge of the fire pit, one that has been burnt but still intact. There is a sulfurous odor from it. Then, I notice a strange shocking feeling sliding up my arm and through my body. What is it? I wonder; it is barely tangible. It is not uncomfortable, but I definitely feel something is not quite right.

“Lauren, put that down right now!” May yells at me.

I do so, but then turn to look at him with anger. “What the hell, May?”

“What you were holding, these statues, the stones, this whole place…I can feel a pulse coming from it all.”

“What this place is? Do you think some cult was here, maybe performing a ritual?” I guess.

“No. I have witnessed something like this before, long ago. You might classify it as a cult, but it is more than that. This is a magic summoning circle. From what it looks to me, they were trying to summon something into this world, but if they have succeeded or not I cannot say for sure just yet.”

I baulk. “Magic? Summoning? Are you sure?” I had read cases of this before, but they were over a hundred years old so I questioned their validity.

Jeff barks again. When I look over at him, I see he is barking at a rock.

“Oh look. A rock. May, your dog’s intelligence confounds me.”

“And if you’d bothered to look, you’d see the writings on that rock.”

“Just how the hell can you see that anyway?” I throw the question at him but don’t expect an answer. I walk to the blasted rock the wolf-dog was yipping at, but once I actually get a glimpse of it my blood turns cold.

“What in the world?…”

The letters glow with some unknown miasma. They are just words on stone but somehow I feel as if I have suddenly fallen into a void where all I can feel is my own fear. Written in dried, brownish blood are the words I can swear I’ve heard before:

“What cannot be erased shall not be forgotten.”

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