The Rule of Three (Amber Lee Mysteries Book 2)

By: Katerina Martinez

CHAPTER 1





Damien, Frank and I were sitting around a cauldron on a cold December night. Between the three of us we had hoisted it all the way into my attic, jammed it through the opening as best we could, and were getting ready to call down a spirit known as the Dagda. So not only were there three witches sitting around a huge iron pot, but we were also flanked on all sides by candles, crystals, and bowls filled with herbs.

Could the scene have been more cliché? Yes, it totally could have.

For starters, we could have had a black cat running around in the attic with us. There could have been straw brooms floating along the floor, autonomously sweeping the dust that seemed to never to want to leave my attic. Or we could have all been wearing black hats—the tall pointy hats. But there was no cat, no brooms, and unfortunately no hats.

At least, Damien and I weren’t wearing hats. But Frank was. It a little blue and white sailor’s hat he had chosen to wear along with a pair of colourful leggings and a plain black vest. The sight of him, with his square face, messy silver hair, and a hat clearly intended to be worn by a child, was pretty mortifying, like seeing a duck resting on the head of an alligator. But I had come to love his weirdness and embrace it much as I had my own.

Damien crawled over to the side of the room and lit a stick of cinnamon incense while I lit the pine and cedar. In moments, the three scents intermingled and infused the room with a warm, woody smell; like cookies baking on a tray over a crackling fireplace. I leant into the aroma, closed my eyes, and smiled.

"I love this time of year," I said, "There's a whole foot of snow outside and the three of us are in here, warm and cozy."

"Don't get too comfortable," Frank said, "We're invoking the Dagda tonight so we’d better be at attention. He's a big deal."

Frank wasn't kidding. I had learned a lot about the Spiritual side of Magick from him in the last few months since we met. It was one of his passions, he had told me, to learn about the invisible forces living in our universe and figure out how they may have informed the myths of yore. I soon learned that the strange witch was a veritable encyclopedia, if encyclopedias could go to clubs and wield Magick.

"So, okay, how do we do this?" I asked.

"Hands," Frank said, like a surgeon requesting a scalpel.

The ritual was Frank's idea. I had a cursory knowledge of the Dagda, but it was Frank who decided to lead this ritual. Neither of us had ever attempted something like this before, but the sailor hat wearing witch seemed pretty confident he knew what he was doing. So Damien and I complied, and the three of us joined around the iron cauldron. It had to be made of iron "for authenticity's sake" Frank had said. But it meant the thing weighed a shit-ton.

My arms hadn't yet stopped aching from the effort it took to hoist it up.

I wanted to use Magick and just wish it into the attic, but Frank and Damien had scolded me for being reckless. I didn't think I was being unreasonable, though. What good was telekinesis if you weren’t allowed to move things around with your mind whenever you wanted to? Unreachable itches would be a thing of the past, for one. As would be getting up and walking over to bookshelf to pick up, or put back, a book.

But no. No telekinesis for Amber Lee.

"Close your eyes," Frank said. "Clear your heads. Let the incense fill your nose…. and… all that bullshit."

I did as Frank said and closed my eyes. I had meditated a thousand times, so this part wasn't difficult for me. It would always start the same way. All around me was water, and I was a little ship. The waves would lick at my hull, and I would listen to the gentle lapping sound until my mind began to float. Once I had started to float, I would be able to tell my invisible body where to go; higher into the astral Nether--that place where invisible things live--or lower into the self, into the deepest reaches of my psyche.

I never went lower.

Frank cleared his throat and started to speak. "We call to you, Dagda, father of Brigid. High King of the Tuatha Dé Danann. Hear us."

"Hear us," Damien and I repeated.

"Dagda," Frank continued, "Oh great Earth-God, we ask you to lend us your Undry so that we might be satisfied on this night. Hear us."

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