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A Practical Guide to Sorcery Bonus Content Bundle[EBOOK BUNDLE]

A Practical Guide to Sorcery Bonus Content Bundle[EBOOK BUNDLE]

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In Codename: Moonsable

Thaddeus plans to introduce the second exercise of the term to his Intro to Practical Will-based Casting students. But when the rogue magic sirens go off, he is called away to deal with the particularly fascinating source of the turmoil.

In The Honeymoon Suite

When someone tries to blackmail Titus (Damien’s older brother), he finds out about the “honeymoon suite” misunderstanding involving Sebastien and Damien.

Worried, Titus decides to dig deeper to keep his brother safe from Sebastien, suspected seductive conman.

Misunderstandings cascade.


Get these bonus content stories and more with the bonus content audiobook bundle!

Book 2.1 - Codename Moonsable Short Story

Book 3.1 - Good Advice Deleted Chapter

Book 3.2 - Preventative Measures Deleted Chapter

Book 3.3 - The Honeymoon Suite Bonus Novelette

Book 4.1 - Harry Harold Had no Hands Bedtime Rhyme

Book 4.2 - Immovable Objects (Honeymoon Suite Sequel Short Story)

Book 4.3 - Recruitment Drive Blooper Scene

 

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Read a Sample

Frome Codename: Moonsable

Thaddeus

Month 12, Day 7, Monday 12:40 p.m.

As Thaddeus actively went about avoiding grading the most recent papers from his Introduction to Practical Will-based Casting class, he found himself looking forward to the time when most of the introductory students would be dropping out. After that, he would have at least until next term before he was required to take on more dimwits who didn’t realize how in over their heads they were. 

His provisional apprentice was one of those dimwits, but in an entirely different way, purposefully allowing a magically weaker but more politically powerful student to best him. Damien Westbay might have been the child of Thaddeus’s old friend, but that kind of idiocy only hurt both young men. It served no purpose to Westbay, only making him look slightly more capable in front of those who couldn’t see the farce for what it was—and those people did not matter, anyway. Why Thaddeus still sometimes slipped into the mistake of expecting better from people—who, as a whole, had proved repeatedly that they would disappoint him—he did not know. 

Thaddeus let out a small huff and returned his attention to the work at hand. 

He was attempting to write a guide to translating a pre-Cataclysm language. Neither history nor languages were originally his area of expertise, but his research into unraveling the mysteries of existence had required he accumulate a breadth and depth of knowledge that few ever obtained. Quality references for such obscure topics were exceedingly rare and of suspect quality, so Thaddeus had decided to create his own. Besides, teaching a topic could significantly help the teacher solidify their own grasp on the subject and bring to light any areas of weak or missing comprehension. 

Perhaps he would even be able to get the work published when he was finished, though he had doubts about how many copies such a thing would sell. Still, there were non-monetary benefits. The University would appreciate him being published, as a matter of prestige. They prided themselves on having the best professors in the nation, after all. He had avoided publishing before because of—

The piercing screech that suddenly tore through the air made him jump. He calmed quickly, but it was too late for the accidental jagged line of ink scratched through the diagram he had been so carefully drawing. “Fantastic,” he muttered. 

Thaddeus checked the University faculty token hanging against his chest to see if he was needed for an on-campus emergency. That did not seem to be the case, so whatever had caused the alarms was most likely somewhere in the city below. For a moment, he wondered what dangerous thing might be out there, and his bones itched for the old days, to stretch his skills a little, away from the tedium of the University. But no, he would leave it to the Red Guard’s field response team. 

He used a simple spell to erase the ink marring the diagram, then finished drawing it out, ignoring the continued screeching of the sirens. After so many years of spell arrays, his hands were steady and sure, the lines of his pen following the image in his mind. 

When Thaddeus had finished, he reported to Eagle Tower, where one of the department chairs was assigning tasks. He was late to arrive, drawing a sharp glare from the woman, but he only scowled back, seeing no value in pretending to be cowed just to protect the woman’s sense of self worth. 

She assigned Thaddeus to patrol the University grounds—which was at least better than being forced to guard the perimeter, he supposed. He did so, finding no danger because there was none. At least the sirens stopped after a while. Some time later, the Red Guard finally sent the University the all-clear. 

As Thaddeus made his way to his classroom, having lost almost two hours of his irreplaceable time, he set aside his irritation. The University’s caution might inconvenience him, but the lives of thaumaturges were precious. The children here were the continuation of their society and the minds that would influence the future. Thaddeus could spare a couple hours if it gave them some moderately increased likelihood of survival. Most often, however, it seemed that the University was simply running through token safety measures, play-acting at caring so that none of the Crown Families could blame them if something happened to one of their scions. 

Thaddeus was almost to his classroom’s door when the inner pocket of his long jacket vibrated and flashed with a muted red light. He stopped mid-stride. 

Reaching into the jacket, he removed the rectangular metal artifact within, opening it at the hinge. One half displayed the red shield symbol of the Red Guard, as well as Thaddeus’s identification sequence, and the other half held a crystal disk within a tiny, complex spell array. 

The crystal disk displayed a terse message under its transparent surface. 

Proceed to field base GB3

Precedence: Priority

Threat Level: Minor

A spark of excitement rose in Thaddeus’s chest. If they were calling him in, that probably meant they had found something interesting. That it was marked priority but not urgent meant he had enough time to let the University know he was leaving, but not enough time to teach his class. 

He marched quickly to the library, where the Administration worker he notified of his upcoming absence and the reason—“Red Guard duties”—practically fell over herself to accommodate him. 

The woman stared at him with a mixture of lust and gossip-hungry avarice that he was too familiar with, smiling brightly, making too much eye contact, and bending over so he could see down her shirt if he so wished. 

He did not wish. To the contrary, he made sure to scowl at her and her curious coworkers with extra force, but they weren’t cowed for long. As he left, excited murmurs trailed after him. 

Thaddeus jettisoned down one of the transport tubes that lined the white cliffs below the University grounds, dropped to the spongy ground below with composed poise, then hailed a carriage to take him to a nondescript area of western Gilbratha, where he proceeded on foot. 

He stopped outside a shabby little ground floor office that advertised private detective services but looked about as uninviting as possible. He breathed in the air, almost able to smell the mild compulsion spell that was trying to force a sense of distaste and anxiousness on him. The effect was intended to make the office so unappealing that he would be all but sure to look elsewhere for his answers. 

But he was not there to hire detective services, and the aversion spell was nothing in the face of his Will. 

The receptionist within, chair tilted backward onto two legs and feet propped on the counter, looked up lazily when Thaddeus entered. “I’m on break,” the man said, lifting a pipe packed with etherwood leaves and blowing a lazy blue smoke ring, through which he stared at Thaddeus insolently. “You can leave a note with your issue and your contact information and one of our detectives will contact you when they’re free from their current cases, if they feel they have the expertise to handle it.” He gestured with his foot to a pile of prohibitively tiny cards scattered about the far end of the counter. 

Thaddeus ignored the man, striding past the counter to the door at the back of the room, not even slowing down as he flashed his Red Guard badge at the purposefully frustrating receptionist. 

The back room was ostensibly full of dusty, poorly maintained files, but Thaddeus stomped heavily on one floorboard, which sank down and gave a distinct clicking sound as the lock slotted into place. 

A section of the floor rose up a couple centimeters, and Thaddeus reach down to lift it fully, revealing the stone ramp beneath, wide and gently sloped enough that it wasn’t awkward at all to descend, even if he had been wearing armor or carrying something large. 

The tunnel below was rough hewn and dimly lit, with light crystals set into the edge of the ceiling at regular intervals. He caught the faint glimmer of glyphs at the corner of his eyes, meant to keep the tunnel free of water, vermin, and other intruders. It smelled disturbingly similar to frog poop—earthy, wet, and carrying a hint of decay. 

Thaddeus didn’t have to walk too far before reaching the edge of the white cliffs, where the dank tunnel expanded into an even larger, sharply cut hallway with clear lighting and railcars that were used for the quick response teams when they left the base. 

That hallway quickly met another, coming to a “T.” Huge metal doors blocked off each end of the lengthwise hallway a few meters down, leaving only an unassuming door in front of Thaddeus. 

He stepped past the tingling magic of the threshold, his badge shuddering in his hand as he entered a room that, contrary to what one might expect, was large, high-ceilinged, and flooded with natural-seeming light. 

Couches, chairs, and a few tables made up a comfortable reception area near the door. Beyond that, people wearing clothing with the eponymous red shield sat behind desks, doing paperwork and chatting. 

The chatting cut off as soon as he entered, and all attention turned his way. A young man stood with a huge grin, clearly oblivious to the tense silence. 

“Welcome, Grandmaster Lacer!” he called, his voice slightly too loud.

Across the room, a woman wearing a bulky artifact on her head like a helmet jumped at the announcement, stabbing herself with the letter opener she had been using. She hissed, cursing and clutching the minor wound while waving away the attention of her teammates.  

Thaddeus was still considering the device on the woman’s head as the young man hurried on with his introduction, speaking over the noise with booming enthusiasm. 

“Terrence Berg, at your service! I’m the one who called you in.” He strode forward and shook Thaddeus’s hand, pumping it up and down with that huge grin still on his face. 

Thaddeus cleared his throat, forcibly freeing himself. “Well met, Agent Berg. What prompted you to request me?” 

“You’re the expert on all kinds of extra-strange and interesting things! And you’re in a research specialist position right now. The protocol is clear. We have to call in the closest Red Guard expert when there’s danger of an uncontained anomalous effect!”

Thaddeus’s eyebrows rose in interest, even as he free-cast subtle shields around his body. “An Aberrant, then? What is its anomalous effect?”

Berg rubbed the back of his head awkwardly. “Well, that’s the thing. We’re not entirely sure. It’s rather different from any of the Aberrants I’ve seen before.” 

Thaddeus’s interest sharpened. “Elucidate, please.”

“It has two forms. One has an Eldritch-type effect, relatively minor, but we’re worried the other might be a Nightmare-type.”

“What leads you to believe that?”

“Well… We figured it’s likely to be a Nightmare-type, because we can’t detect any anomalous effect at all. But Aberrants always have an effect. So if it seems like there isn’t one… Well, hopefully it’s just a really weird Eldritch.”

Thaddeus nodded, though in fact he did not share that hope. He was already thinking over the next steps. “You understand the protocol? I will need to place you all under quarantine while I review the situation. Is there anyone who has had no interaction with the being?”

Berg pointed out the woman who had stabbed herself. “Agent Fike is clear! She’s been looking over all of our notes with the memetic suppressor on, so she should be clean, even if it’s got some sort of Blight-type abilities.”

The woman stood, moving to Berg’s side and bowing respectfully to Thaddeus. “I’m honored to meet you.”

Berg continued, “Captain Goldfisch and Agent Vernor are still at ground zero, clearing everything up and doing the exit interviews on the witnesses. We extracted the Aberrant before they arrived, so I don’t think they would have been exposed. Of course, you never know with these things, but it’s only Apprentice-level, at best, so I’m optimistic!” 

Thaddeus doubted Agent Berg was ever anything less than fully, loudly optimistic. “Agent Fike will be aide enough. No need to wait for the captain. I hope none of the rest of you feel the need to protest against a temporary quarantine while I look things over.” 

While none of the squad members were particularly enthusiastic about it, none of them protested against the safety protocol. They went through a door to the side of the room, each entering into their own small cell with a cot, table, a nice chamber pot artifact, and a sturdy door with a small slot for food to be pushed through. 

Thaddeus put on another of the skull-cap artifacts that Fike wore, since even he couldn’t free-cast the breadth of powerful protective spells that the ugly, bulky artifact could provide. He commandeered some of the field base’s sensory equipment, too, in order to examine Agent Fike and the surrounding area. Everything came back clean. Of course, that didn’t mean much considering the staggering range of possible abilities an Aberrant could manifest. Thaddeus himself could already have been compromised, as unlikely as that might have been for someone with his skills, strength of Will, and expertise, who hadn’t even interacted with the Aberrant yet. 

A being at Apprentice-level shouldn’t have either the power or the reach to overcome his strength of mind and Will, even with possible Nightmare, Blight, or Mystic-type abilities. Still, it paid to be cautious. 

After that, Thaddeus and Fike spent some time going through the reports the Berg and the others had made on their observations, ensuring that they were consistent and internally logical with each other. Thaddeus quickly formed a hypothesis about the nature of the Aberrant, but didn’t express these thoughts to Fike, attempting to keep an open mind. Deciding on an answer too quickly, without all the relevant data, was one of the easiest ways to believe a falsehood. And once you believed a falsehood, realizing the truth sat somewhere between difficult and impossible. Humans were not built to change their minds, and were more likely to pick and choose the data that reinforced their beliefs, even to the point of absurdity. Even knowing this, Thaddeus himself was not immune to that fallacy. After all, he, too, had a human brain, with all of its shortcomings. 

Thaddeus and Fike found nothing anomalous about the reports from the other agents, and were about to move on when Captain Goldfisch and Agent Vernor returned. 

Captain Goldfisch looked nothing like his namesake. He was a short, dark-haired man with a wide jaw and sunken eyes. Those eyes narrowed as soon as he saw Thaddeus. He stalked over, managing to look down his nose at Thaddeus despite being almost a foot shorter. “Thaddeus Lacer. By what misfortune are you darkening my doorstep?” 

The two female agents shared looks of surprise, though Vernor’s gaze toward Thaddeus quickly turned suspicious. 

“Nothing more than protocol, Captain. You do still follow protocol here, do you not?” Thaddeus said, his words enunciated and razor-sharp, the dark mockery in his eyes clear as he looked down at the other man. “I am a specialist, and your base is in need of my expertise.” 

“Where are my agents?” Goldfisch demanded, his gaze never leaving Thaddeus. 

Fike cleared her throat. “In temporary quarantine, sir. The others interacted with the Aberrant during capture.” 

“And what, exactly, warranted bringing him in? Someone vulnerable to exploit? Power to seize? Dark experiments to be carried out under my nose?”

Fike looked between Thaddeus and her superior nervously, but steeled herself to answer for the second time. “We were unable to quantify part of the Aberrant’s effect. Protocol states we call in an expert, and the resident best candidate for that is Special Agent Lacer. Berg requested him,” Fike added, throwing her absent teammate under the metaphorical carriage. 

Thaddeus gave her a reassuring nod, which brought a flush of anger to Goldfisch’s face. “Your team did the right thing, Agent Fike. The captain might not appreciate me personally, but no one can deny that the safety of the Red Guard members is above any personal opinions or vendettas.” He raised an eyebrow at Goldfisch, daring him to rebut that statement. “Especially with the horrors that a Nightmare-type Aberrant can inflict.” 

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Customer Reviews

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R
R.Holmes
A welcome addition to the series

This material deserves to be part of the main books. It fleshes out some of the side plots nicely with different perspectives.

C
Charlie Harrison
Great story telling

Really enjoy her stories and can’t wait for more to come