“You have a job. Information is in the letter on your filthy desk along with the items you will need to get to the location. I’ll give you a summary because I know you won’t get out of that musty bed. A powerful demon has entered our realm. Remove it in a discreet manner. I don’t want another incident with the police or you on the international news.” The woman’s voice barked her orders through the phone.
Iris groaned as she dropped back onto her bed. If Josephine didn’t want an incident with the police, she should have sent another hunter on the job.
It had been about fifty years since she last went out of the country and became the Venatore’s latest target. Iris should have known that Josephine Borinda would remember everything.
“Get out of bed and get on it.” With that, the call ended and Iris had another job to complete.
With closed eyes and a heavy arm, Iris raised her hand to the chain around her neck. Moving her hand over it, she got to the trinkets that rested between her breasts. It was going to be another long job, wasn’t it?
Groaning, she got out of her lumpy bed and padded to her dust-covered desk. Indeed, two jars of dirt and an envelope were waiting for her to open.
Picking up the envelope, she saw Lockin’s seal. She traced her fingers over the blue wax sword that stabbed through the heart of a horned devil, its face twisted in a mixture of rage and agony. A chain surrounded the scene until it ended with a locked lock.
The school’s sole purpose was to train students in witchcraft and other forms of magic that would aid in their never-ending war with the demonic forces, if the sword in the heart of the devil was any indication of such things.
Josephine had previously informed her that the founder of the four thousand year old school was Mochán Lockin and that his family’s original seal was a locked lock. He and his family must have had a tasteless sense of humor if that was their family seal. Iris did not know how ancient Josephine was but knew that the woman was not one who didn’t know her history.
Ripping the envelope open, Iris pulled the letter out. Unfolding the thin paper, she read through her job. She immediately crumpled the paper and threw it into a corner. Picking up the phone, she dialed Josephine.
“I told you to get on it.” Iris heard Josephine’s grumble through the static.
“Aneria is out-of-bounds. It’s too dangerous. There aren’t any witches there, who cares if demons are there?”
“You of all people should know Aneria’s importance to the world and to the witches. If she should fall, the world would be thrown into chaos. Not to mention, all the dangerous weapons the country has. We don’t want the demons to get them.” Josephine grounded out.
“Send someone else then.” Iris growled into the phone.
“Who? You said it yourself — Aneria is too dangerous for witches and the world still isn’t ready to know about others who have similar abilities. Look, you’re the only one I know who won’t be caught and burned. If there was someone else, I would send them but there isn’t.” Josephine sounded so tired.
Iris should have known. Josephine would never have sent Iris on a job like this if there was another alternative.
Who was she kidding? Josephine was only sending her because she can’t die. Josephine didn’t give a rat’s ass about Iris, she only wanted the job done.
“I’ve never been to Hakan. Do you want a souvenir? I doubt I’ll be in the dazzling city for a long time after.” Iris asked cautiously. She smiled slightly when she heard Josephine’s rusty chuckle.
“The only souvenir I want is the heart of the demon that threatens our realm. Aneria has tightened security, you might need a good story to get through everything.” Josephine croaked before she ended the call.
Tossing her phone to the side and onto her bed, Iris walked to her rotting wardrobe. Opening it, she had to wave her hand to keep the freed dust from entering her lungs.
She scowled as she looked through her moth-eaten pile of clothes that she had never bothered to hang. If she had a care, hanging them might have saved her shirts and dresses from the monstrous creatures.
Iris leaned down and picked up a baggy black shirt and equally baggy and worn jeans. She brought both to her nose and sniffed. She flinched back at the shot of sweat, blood, and mildew. Iris looked at the pile of clothing before her and cringed.
She had lost herself in her work but in the thirty-two years since her last job, she had to really face her self-decay.
Sighing, she threw on the vomit-inducing clothes. When she got used to the smell, she reached to grab the two jars of dirt and a third she had resting in one of the four corners of the room that she called home.
She hated that she was the one to mix the contents of the third jar: vinegar, a single hair from her head, and a rat that was shoved in a pot and cooked alive. She remembered how she felt when her mother had done the same thing and felt the same pained emotions pool inside of her. She hated spell-witch magic.
Emotions and feelings aside, Iris had a job to do and she was the only one who was going to do it successfully. She shook her head as she walked out her tiny apartment and out into the capital city of Stila, the country of witches.