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204 pages, ebook
First published September 3, 2013
“There are a number of recommended methods of dealing with ghosts—salt and iron, harmonic resonance, some people swear by exorcism, and not just the priests—but that's the fist time I've seen anyone try a left hook.”
“Is there a reason you’re making this a private compartment?” Stephen enquired warily.
“Yes,” said Crane. “Is there a reason your sleeve is soaked in blood?”
“I do a job that makes me hated by quite a large number of my peers, including many who aren’t even warlocks, because I don’t think anyone is entitled to exploit his fellows because of an accident of birth. You’re an earl, I’m a practitioner, both of us were born this way, and neither of us is entitled to feed off other people because of it.”
“What the fuck, what the fucking, bloody devil-shit, what in the name of Satan’s swollen cock was that?”
“Do you speak in the House of Lords with that mouth?”
“Anyway, the point is…power is addicting. It’s hard to drag it out of the ether, but it’s so easy to tap people. Easy, effective, evil. And once one begins, terribly hard to stop, because the sensation of being without power is such a very horrible one. And of course it’s tempting for any practitioner to see the unskilled as lesser—less talented, less able, less worthy of consideration—and if you tap them for power, you start to see them as lesser beings altogether. Cattle, they call them—you,” he amended hastily. “There to feed on. There to use and discard. And that’s a warlock, more or less.”
“Is there a reason you have seven magpies tattooed on you?”
“Seven for a secret never to be told.” Crane shrugged, making a magpie ripple. “Actually, I just ran out of useful space.”