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Greymalkin - EBOOK

Greymalkin - EBOOK

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PREQUEL for MAGI ARGENT

My name is Atticus Argent, and I’m not to be trusted.
Some call me a malcontent, dealer or grifter. But most of all, I’m a Magus.
And I’m just trying to survive.

After years of dealing and grifting on the Magical Black Market, I was apprehended by the Magi authorities. Placed in a respectable coven, with a high-ranking mentor, they tried to set me on the straight and narrow.
Hah! Yeah, that didn’t work.

I still trade and deal. Who knew, but even amongst these goody-two-shoes Magi, there are still people hooked in Prime Pills and looking for a new Magical trinket.
I found my niche, and I provide.

But when an old flame wants information that only I can provide, I don’t see the harm.
That was a mistake.
Now people’s lives are at risk, including my good friend and his cat.

Now I need to step up and do what’s right for a change.
This will be interesting!

Magi Argent is a new Urban Fantasy series from author Andrew Dobell. If you enjoy Jim Butcher, Shayne Silvers, M D Massey, or Kevin Hearne, you’ll love this series.

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Side Hustle
1995

“Where are you going, Argent?”
The guard on the door narrowed his eyes in suspicion as he looked at me.
“Out,” I said, as if it was the most obvious thing in the world, which it was. But that wasn’t why he was asking.
I wasn’t to be trusted.
Things had gotten better over the last six years, and I’d built up a certain level of trust with the coven, but I was still seen as an outsider by many. Especially the guards and security.
Thing was, they were right. I wasn’t to be trusted, and I wasn’t about to dissuade them from their opinion. I kind of liked being the outcast. I wasn’t quite ready to be a fully-fledged Arcadian lackey yet, despite who my mentor was now. Being an Arcadian just didn’t sit right with me.
“Cute. Out where?”
I sighed as dramatically as I could, without it looking too over the top, and fixed him with a stare. The guard—Leo, I think—flinched at the look, and pulled back just a touch. He was all in my face a moment ago, acting the big tough man. But he was an Initiated Riven, and he knew damn well what a Magus like me was capable of and he’d just realised he’d attracted my attention.
“It’s just protocol, Atticus. You know that.”
“I do,” I agreed, and sighed again. “I’m just running an errand for Victoria. Picking up some sensitive reports from someone in the Capitol Building. Is that enough info for you?”
He shrugged. “Yeah, that’s fine. I just have to ask these things.”
I nodded once, letting my face express my displeasure at being interrogated. “I know.”
“Have a good one,” he said, brightly, as if he was my best friend.
“Mmm,” I replied, and made my way through the front entrance, out into the crisp morning air. I looked across the wide-open space of the National Mall. I could see the White House from here, way ahead of me, beyond the Washington Monument. To my right, way up the Mall, the enormous domed Capitol Building stood tall, its white stone façade bright in the daylight.
Looking away, I made my way down the steps, away from the coven house, and stepped out into the endless parade of DC natives and tourists taking in the sights. As I walked, I glanced back. Just another faceless building that blended right in with all the others that lined the Mall. Little did the tourists know that a coven of Magic-wielding people lived and worked there, infiltrating this and all other governments around the world.
It was impressive, really, in this day and age, that the Magi had continued to remain hidden. I wasn’t totally sure on the full details of how they did it, and frankly, I didn’t much care. Not my business, really.
Besides, I had my own worries and concerns to keep me occupied. As I hit the street, I turned left, away from the Capitol Building, and made my way towards the Washington Monument, and the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool beyond.
As always, the wide-open spaces of the Mall were packed with tourists, taking photos and generally getting in the way. I grunted and tutted several times as people just stopped right in front of me to take another picture.
I could sympathise, I guess. I wasn’t an American either, and the first time I came here, I found the place just as fascinating. But, as always, time had a way of dulling that sheen.
I’d been away from my homeland for six years now, and I did occasionally wonder when I might return. I missed the sarcastic, cynical British sense of humour and the constant moaning about the weather.
Still, being British in the States had its benefits, not least of which was my accent. It still amazed me how many doors that simple thing could open.
Leaving the Monument behind, I finally reached the long, rectangular pool that I’d seen so many times in countless movies, and smiled to myself at the irony of me taking a secret meeting here.
Wasn’t this what all spy movies did—have the hero take a clandestine meeting here to show how close to the halls of power they were? It was cliched, but I loved it. It was why I always organised my meetings to happen around the Mall somewhere, it was just too good of an opportunity to pass up.
Looking ahead, I spotted my contact sat on the correct bench, which made a nice change, he often ended up waiting on one that was close, but not always on the right one, usually because of the damn tourists.
He sat in his long black coat, looking out over the pool, his short blond hair catching the wind slightly. As I approached, I concentrated and worked my Magic, pulling on the veil of Essentia to use my Aetheric Sight.
Around me, colours and energies previously hidden to my Riven sight, materialised, giving me a much more comprehensive view of the world. As a Magus, my hands glowed with excess Essentia. Likewise, my contact’s body also glowed, revealing his nature as a Magus. It was something that could be hidden when needed, but there was little need for that here, today.
“Callan,” I said, stepping up to him.
“Argent,” he replied, looking up. He seemed a little fidgety, as his fingers played with the corner of his coat, and he struggled to maintain eye contact.
“Everything okay?” I asked.
“Yeah, fine,” he replied, but his voice and body language said otherwise. What was going on here? I wondered and took a moment to look around for any hint that something was amiss. But everything seemed normal.
“Okay, if you’re sure,” I replied, and moved towards the bench. As I approached, a cat with dark grey fur stepped out from the shadows beneath the bench. It hugged Callan’s leg and looked up at me with its bright yellow eyes.
Sitting, I reached down and petted the moggy, which also glowed, revealing it’s Magical nature. “Hey, Greymalkin,” I cooed and scratched her behind the ears.
Greymalkin purred her appreciation.
“Have you got what I asked for?”
Callan shifted uncomfortably on his seat at my question. “Yeah,” he answered, but he didn’t sound certain.
“Good,” I replied, still petting the cat.
“Well, mostly…”
“Mostly?” I replied, and pull my hand away from Greymalkin to look at Callan.
“I couldn’t get the full amount. I just didn’t have the chance.”
“I see,” I replied, keeping my voice even. I didn’t want to reveal my thoughts on the issue and I wanted to see how he would react. This could cause me some fairly minor issues with my buyers, and with a forthcoming deal I did not want to mess up. Nothing I couldn’t handle, but again, he didn’t need to know that. That was my problem. A problem he was causing me, admittedly, but I’d just need to roll with the punches. Besides, half should get me what I wanted, providing I was smart about it.
“I know. I know that’s what you paid for, but I just couldn’t get them. I’ve got maybe half?”
“Only half?”
“Yeah, sorry.”
I quietly sighed, feeling annoyed. Callan was usually good for it, and he’d never let me down before, so this was unusual.
“So, what do we do now?” I asked.
“Look, I’ll get them, I promise, but it’s going to take a little longer, that’s all.”
“How much longer?” If it didn’t take too long, maybe I could string my buyers along a bit.
“Not too long. But, it’s not easy. I’ll have to let you know. Look, I want to make it up to you, if you’ll let me?”
“Make it up to me?” Where was this going?
I raised an eyebrow at his suggestion. He seemed a little scared of me, which frankly, wasn’t a reaction I got from most Magi. He probably thought I’d react badly to the delay, but I had no intention of hurting him or anything like that. I might be a bit of a grifter, hustling and making deals on the side, but I wasn’t a thug.
It made me wonder who the hell else Callan was dealing with.
“Okay, firstly, look here,” he said and handed over a brown paper bag. “That’s half your order, you can check it if you like.”
I didn’t really need to with my Aetheric Sight showing me the ambient Magic in the area. The bag glowed brightly, but I opened it anyway, just to be sure.
Inside was another clear plastic bag of iridescent pills.
Prime pills.
Their glittering casing gave off a rainbow of colours in the light, while the pills themselves glowed brightly in my Aetheric Sight with raw Essentia. But not just any Magical Energy, this Essentia was Mana, the rare solidified form of Essentia that was only found near Poolings, where ley lines crossed.
Highly prized, Mana had all kinds of uses due to its concentrated Magical energy, and because it could not be reproduced by Magi.
These Prime pills were one such use.
“Half the amount, right?” Callan asked.
I nodded, weighing the bag in my hand and using a simple working of Magic that allowed me to know exactly how many pills there were. “Close enough,” I replied.
“Alright, then as a token of goodwill, and because I value you as a client, I want you to take this.” As he spoke, Callan pulled off his long black coat and handed it to me. It hadn’t been evident while he was wearing it, but as he gave me the coat, I realised it was enchanted, and glowed with Essentia of its own.
“Oh, nice,” I replied, reading the Magical signature it gave off. Enchanted items like this were prized possessions, and frequently traded on the black market, so this wasn’t a small gesture. “It’s Magical armour, right?”
“That’s right,” he replied. He wore a dark hoody under the jacket and didn’t seem too bothered by the freshness of the air. “Keep that until I get you the rest of the order, okay?”
So this was how he was going to make it up to me. I nodded appreciatively until a thought occurred to me. I eyed him and decided to try my luck. “You want it back?”
“Or, keep it,” he replied, raising his hands in surrender. Seemed like he didn’t want to push his luck after not coming through with the goods. But again, I was surprised by the apparent fear he had for me. I’d been put in touch with Callan by a mutual friend, and we only really knew one another through the few meetings we’d had. We’d always been calm and professional with each other, and I enjoyed stroking his cat when Greymalkin appeared, but I didn’t think I’d ever given him a reason to be afraid of me. So I started to wonder who else he’d disappointed with a reduced amount of product, and how they’d reacted.
Not wanting to scare him too much, I smiled. “Don’t worry, you can have it back once you get me the rest.” I could have refused it, but frankly, it was a nice coat, and I wanted to wear it for a bit. “Although, I could honestly do with one of these.”
“It’s yours,” Callan replied, all too eager to please.
“Well, we’ll see,” I answered. While I wasn’t going to cave his skull in over this, he had inconvenienced me, and depending on how long he took to get me the rest, he could cause me problems. So I figured the coat would be an acceptable insurance policy if nothing else.
“I’ll be in touch,” he replied and stood up, his cat walking with him. Turning away, Callan paused suddenly and then looked back at me. “And, um…thanks.” He smiled once as I nodded to him before he turned and walked away.
I looked at the coat, the bag of pills, and screwed up my face at the situation. I had a couple of people waiting on me to get my next shipment of pills, but now I needed to be careful how I divided them up, and inevitably, someone was going to be disappointed.
Still, the coat was cool, and I was pretty sure it would look good on me. Also, it would be useful for wrapping up the pills as I took them back into the building, so that was something, at least.

About the Author

Hi, I'm Andrew Dobell. Welcome to my website.

I'm the creator of the sprawling multi-series urban fantasy Magi Saga Universe, and the action-packed New Prometheus cyberpunk series.

I'm a storyteller at heart and have always loved creating worlds, characters, and thrilling narratives through both art and words. I enjoy spending my free time with my family and have a keen interest in cinema and genre fiction.

I'm also an artist and have worked for many years as a professional illustrator and cover artist for other authors.
I love creating art based on my novels.

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