Jane’s adventures have gained her many loyal allies and unique abilities, and both will be put to the test as she finds herself at the center of an eight hundred year old mystery.
The adventure starts with an urgent message from one of their old friends, the exorsage Gina von Corvinus, that brings them back to the edges of Perdico. Their friend informs them of troubles in the paradise of the Spiritus Academy, the training ground for the exorsages. A spirit has them stumped, and Gina wishes to try Jane’s unique abilities against the fiend.
Jane reluctantly accepts, and they leave behind Caius and Sage for the women-only campus of the spirit defenders. There they find their elusive ghost, but matters aren’t as easy as sending them on their way. They’re bound to an oath made in life and won’t leave until the job is finished. To make their job harder, there’s something amiss in the administrative halls of the academy. Something that hides a dark secret that threatens to destroy anyone to get what it wants. Jane must fight to free the spirit, otherwise she may just lose her own.
This was the winter of my discontent. I was damn cold, and not happy about it.
"Brr," I mumbled for the twentieth time that day. "Could somebody turn up the heat?"
My companions and I were traveling down a lonely, snow-covered road, and had been since early morning. I still hadn't gotten the hang of not having a watch, and the sun was but a dim memory hidden behind the gray clouds that hung over us.
Finn sat behind me in the saddle of our shared unicorn. He wrapped his arms tightly around me and pressed me closer to his warm chest. "I could use a nice drink, myself."
"We are almost there, I assure you," Sage called out from their own celestial steed that trotted close beside us.
I burrowed myself deeper into my soft cotton coat and looked around. Around us were white rolling hills of snow dotted by thick patches of brush and birch-like trees.
They hid small pools at which the local herds flocked for a drink and to cover themselves from the falling snow.
I looked up at the gray skies and a snowflake kissed me on my nose. A sigh escaped my parted lips. "At least the view is nice."
"It just got better," Caius told me as he nodded at the horizon. "Look."
I squinted into the distance and my heart leapt for joy at the sight of a few dim lights in the distance. That was our destination, the small village of Rondaburg.
I looked over at my grandfather. "You think she's there already?"
He smiled. "If she is as we saw her last, she is no doubt waiting impatiently for our arrival."
I thought back to the last time we had met that raven-haired troublemaker and shuddered. "Let's just hope there are no gods involved this time."
The snowy road led us into the quaint village that stood some ten miles from Perdico. The largest building besides the livery was the inn, and it was there that we turned our feet after dropping off our wonderful steeds. We entered through a thick, heavy wood door and into the warm, lively atmosphere that was so common among the inns of that world. The front of the building housed the tables where the guests were treated to food and beer. A narrow set of stairs against the right-hand wall led to the second floor and the rooms. I longed to stretch myself out on one of those beds, even if they were the hardest in the land, but my thoughts, and my group, were directed elsewhere.
A short figure rose from one of the tables and waved at us. Her dark hair glistened in the candlelight, and a relieved smile spread across her lips. "Jane! Over here!"
I smiled as we walked over to her. "Hey, Gina. You're looking good."
It was indeed the young exorsage from our past adventure with the revived god. Gina wore a thick white traveling cloak and her hands were covered in the same color of gloves. She nodded as she resumed her seat and we joined her. "I'm quite well, thank you. I was very glad to hear of your being pardoned by the church and Library."
"They didn't like doing it," Caius spoke up.
Gina chuckled. "I had heard something of that sort."
"Even in the halls of the church?" I wondered.
She nodded. "Yes. The Edict of Gad had far too many witnesses to your heroics for even the church to attempt some concealment like they had with the High Librarian Gaius and his treachery."
Caius arched an eyebrow. "I didn't expect you to talk that way about the church."
She cast a mischievous smile at him. "Let's just say I have been around my teacher of late, and she encourages an open mind."
"Is she why you sent us the urgent message that stated you required our assistance, Miss Corvinus?" Sage spoke up.
She sheepishly smiled. "To be honest, I would like all of your help, but only Jane and Bee can come with me."
Caius frowned. "Why just them?"
"Because the problem is at my old school, the half where it's only women allowed," she explained. "We have had a small problem with a resident spirit."
Sage arched an eyebrow. "Is Helen's Light not capable of giving peace to the soul?"
She bowed her head and fidgeted in her seat. "To be honest, I'm not sure if there is a ghost."
"You mean you haven't seen it?" I guessed.
She nodded. "That's right. Some of my classmates have, however, and a few monitors." She raised her head and looked at me. "So when suggestions were asked for what we could do, I offered to fetch you to help."
I blinked at her. "Me?"
"You infused your powers with that of my tag. I could think of no one more in tune with the soul than someone capable of merging with another soul."
"You did not inform your peers and the monitors of Jane's unique ability, did you?" Sage questioned her.
Gina shook her head. "No. I merely told them that she was very sensitive to spirits and would at least be able to prove whether or not there was one in the building." She turned to me and clasped her hands in front of herself. "Will you come? Please?"
I winced. "Well, I guess I could try. . ."
"You could see if that new power of yours works on both daiad and the dead," Caius pointed out.
Gina looked between us. "New power?"
"It's a long story," I told her.
"If you yourself have not seen this spirit, then how do you know Helen's Light will not vanquish it?" Sage wondered.
Gina shook her head. "Helen's Light does not vanquish spirits, but releases them. As for how I know, several of the teachers attempted to use their own ability, but the spirit merely passed by them without even acknowledging their presence, much less reacting to the Light."
Sage cupped his chin in one hand and furrowed his brow. "How mysterious. Perhaps Caius and I should venture to go with you, rules about men notwithstanding."
"That I cannot allow. The matron would have you thrown out," Gina insisted.
"And then we'd be back on their most-wanted list," I added. "Or at least on their most-hated list."
Caius nodded. "I don't think we got off that one, but you're right. We wouldn't really be welcomed there."
Sage dropped his hand and frowned at his grandson-in-law. "That is very ignoble of you to admit defeat so quickly."
Caius shrugged. "We don't really have a choice. Besides, the girls can handle some rumors."
Bee smiled and gave a nod. "Of course we can! And it'll be such great fun to have a sleepover at Gina's house!"
Gina perked up and looked to me. "So you'll come?"
I sighed, but nodded. "We'll come. When do we leave?"
Gina stood. "Right now. I wish to hear this long story you have to tell."f