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Prohibited Magic is the third book in the Grimoire Society of Dark Acts series. Episode 25 is up on my Patreon—it’s pay-what-you-like—and it’ll go up later on Kindle Vella.

Episode 25: Morton learns a couple of grim lessons about himself and makes a major decision with risky consequences.

In my Patreon post, you’ll always get exclusive content, like what an 1800s eye gouger looked like. That’s information you can’t live another day without.

What Prohibited Magic is about:

With Grimoire Society of Dark Acts’s magic book and crystal ball in the hands of the parasitic Ruin Rats, Carmichael’s decision to take the Book of Blessings and infiltrate the magical gang has left Dark Acts magically crippled. Gertrude is trapped in Grimoire Assassins’s magical realm; only the never-before-seen Grimoire of Blood can save her. Dark Acts and its allies split up to stop the worsening imbalance in the Magic Societal Universe, an unprecedented state with unfathomable consequences.Prohibited Magic Vella book cover

Episode 25: Head-On


Something smacked Morton’s shoulder, breaking the numb feeling throughout his body.

“Hey, what’s wrong with you?” Sean asked. He snatched up Morton’s dagger and sheathe. “Can’t leave those lyin’ around.” After sheathing the weapon, he tried to hand it back to Morton, who made no move to take it; his eyes hadn’t shifted from the dead Ruin Rat.

I did that. Me. He’s dead because of me. I didn’t mean to…

Noticing it only out of his peripheral vision, Morton took his weapon back without directly looking at it.

“Hey,” Sean tried again, this time shaking Morton by the shoulders until they locked eyes. Sean’s face relaxed. “Oh. You never killed anyone before, have ya?”

Morton shook his head. Finally his voice escaped from his tight throat. “It’s the one thing I never wanted to happen,” he said hoarsely.

“Whoever was there’s gone now,” Patrick said as he returned from the hidden area at the back of the alley. His head was raised as he looked up, checking the windows above for any further threats; one of them must have been where the Ruin Rat had dropped from.

Sean let go of Morton. “Would you want it so’s he killed me? Or you? You were who he was aimin’ for, ya know. That’s clear as day.”

Morton blinked, his eyes still dry. “No, of course I wouldn’t want anything to happen to any of us.”

“What’s goin’ on?” Patrick asked as he joined them, his gaze now on the dead attacker.

“His first time killin’,” Sean said.

Patrick looked Morton up and down. “First one’s hard, but it was just self-defense. Nothin’ to regret.” His eyes flitted back to the dead man.

First one? These people kill just to join a gang. I’ve been taking all of this too lightly, laughing along with them, and now look what’s happened. This can’t be real.

Sean pushed Morton’s shoulder hard enough to force him to stumble backward, then shoved his index finger at Morton’s face. “Wake up, Morty,” he said forcefully. “This isn’t your nice tidy, clean blacksmithin’ business. This is the streets, and every gang’s in a war against the rest of ’em. These guys aren’t our friends, and that one”—he pointed to the attacker—“thought nothin’ of killin’ you. He aimed himself right for ya. Just didn’t figure I’d back into you and push you outside his aim.”

Sean knelt next to the body and started rifling through the man’s pockets, then did something with the dead man’s hand. When he stood again, he came up with three different kinds of bladed weapons: a pocket knife, bladed brass knuckles, and an eye gouger. He held up the brass knuckles in particular. “Bet ya didn’t see that was on his right hand.”

A lump formed in Morton’s throat, heavy and solid. No, he hadn’t seen the man’s hands because they were wrapped around Sean, so he hadn’t seen the short, sharp rounded blades on the brass knuckles, never mind the weapon itself.

“If you hadn’t stabbed him, he woulda put this right into my face ’fore I could get him off me, bet ya anything.” Sean slipped it on and put his fist next to his right eye. “And it wouldn’ta been just one hit neither.”

Enjoyed this excerpt? Please join my Patreon to continue the story—it’s pay-what-you-like, and Patreon gets all episodes first before any other platform, plus exclusive details no one else will ever know about! 

Prohibited Magic Episode 25

© Christie Stratos 2023

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