“You’re insane,” I said to Amanda. She scowled at me.
“We need to contain this!”
“YOU need to contain it.” A damn great pentacle; five practitioners, weaving a power net to contain an entity and send it back to where it came from – not always used for demons, I’ve had to kick some damn stubborn ghosts out with one.
She had her nerve asking me for help after the last time. Lauren died in the last one.
“I know damn well you don’t have the Christakos sisters helping you, who’s holding the other points?” Ariadne and Heliki Christakos had been horrified and furious after Lauren’s death. I wouldn’t want either one of them mad at me, let alone both.
“Cassie and Tam Lee.”
“Christ, Amanda! They’re even less experienced than Lauren was! Have you lost your mind?” She scowled and I knew why. The Council refused to back her on this with experienced practitioners so she came to me because we’ve known each other since we were seven.
“You pick last point,” she said; of course, good old Jenny to bail her out.
“Parker,” I said. Amanda gaped at me, then swore under her breath. She couldn’t argue my choice without scraping the whole ritual. I hoped she would do just that; oh, but that would mean admitting she was wrong and Amanda Wetherwax was never, never wrong.
It was a waning moon. I didn’t like that, one draws more energy from a waxing moon but we had to wait for Parker to heal from her sprained ankle. She was putting the sealing jar in the center as Cassie and Lin traced the points. They did a nice job. I sent the runes and candles in the points. I added a chunk of quartz too – better safe than sorry.
“Jenny!” Parker hugged me. “Do you still have the kitten?”
I nodded. Lauren’s familiar had run up my leg when she died. I named her Luna for the crescent of white on her chest. My big stripy boy Jupiter didn’t know what to make of her, but we worked it out. Familiars store potential energy for a practitioner; cats make the best ones because they sleep in the sun like miniature solar batteries. Dogs store a sort of kinetic energy; I think birds do as well. I’ve heard there’s a practitioner in Montana that has a horse – damn hard to bring to a meeting.
Luna peeked out from under my jacket and Parker cooed over her. Jupiter butted her leg and purred before sitting next to me with his tail around his legs.
Cassie’s parrot squawked on her shoulder. Lee settled her snake. Amanda came in with a troubled look. I knew why; Venus had been hiding under my bed for two days. It is not a good thing when your familiar runs away from you.
Parker took up her point.
It all went to hell. Amanda lost her grip on the web and the thing attacked her. I protected Cassie and Lee while Parker rewove the web and shoved the pissed off marid into the jar.
I picked Parker for that reason – she’s got over a dozen familiars. She’s got a connection with those spiders no one can understand; that’s why she can climb buildings. I picked the right point for the job.