With his eyes closed in something closely related to meditation, Brother Brendan does his best to feel for The Destroyer. He knows he’s alive and real, and if finding him will get him fully accepted and inducted into the Order, then he is willing to take the risk of getting caught disobeying the order to remain behind while the experienced Readers conduct the hunt. But he is the one who realized The Destroyer is alive, so he should be able to find him the fastest.
Brendan opens his eyes, feeling that indeed the target he seeks is inside the structure before him. He forces himself to take the stairs one at a time. Most people don’t run into the library, after all. He takes a moment to look around almost casually until he spots the computer station to search topics, titles and any content the library has on their shelves. Trying to ignore the discomfort of the jeans and polo he had donned to blend in, he slowly approaches the computers.
He touches the mouse to the first computer, a shock of recognition coursing through him. The Destroyer had sat at this very computer—a residue of energy still lingered where the keyboard had been touched. Brendan awakens the screen, and the words on the screen make his heart speed up in anticipation. A search for black magic.
“It is as the prophecy said,” he whispers to himself. He turn his attention to the middle-aged woman behind the checkout counter. “Excuse me, could you possibly tell me who used that computer last?” He smiles warmly, hoping she doesn’t ask him why.
She doesn’t. Instead she tilts her head slightly. “It was a young woman—long black hair, pretty. She used to come here all the time during the summers when she was little.”
Her words wash over him as if they were ice water. Young woman? That couldn’t be… “Are you sure it wasn’t someone else?” he stammers, his mind denying the contradiction to the prophecy. He composes himself, and with another smile he thanks the librarian before turning back to the offending computer screen. Making a note of the titles on the screen, he asks her a final question. “Reference section?”
Hand in hand, the couple walks into the same abbey they had those many years ago. Their goal this time remains the same as it was then—to keep their only child safe. They are soon approached by a young Sister of the order, her plain robe and head covering symbolic of her sacrifices to serve.
“Please, you must help us,” the man blurts, before the Sister can speak. “We need to speak with someone who was here twenty years ago. It’s a matter of grave importance.”
“Y-yes of course,” the Sister replies, taken aback by their abruptness. “Allow me to get the Matron.” The woman scurries away, walking quickly but never running, and ten long, tense minutes pass before the Matron arrives.
An older, stately woman arrives, her stride slow and measured. “How may I help you, my children? Sister Mary said you had a matter of some importance.”
“Yes. We need help finding our daughter. We brought her here twenty years ago and were promised that she’d be given a good home.”
A hint of suspicion and distaste cross the Matron’s face, but it passes quickly as she schools her features. “The Sisters of this order rotate stations every few years, so none that are here now were here then. I’m afraid we can’t help you.”
The woman, who has so far remained silent, lifts her eyes to the Matron. Her husband feels her hands grow cold on his arm and mentally braces himself for what’s to come. Softly, she begins to chant, and her husband recognizes a variation on a spell of truth. As the rhyme completes, the Matron appears unchanged. “Where is our daughter?” the woman demands.