Counter-Hex [Covencraft Series]

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    Jade trudged through the hip-deep sewer water, her face a rictus of displeasure and disgust.

    “‘Join Counter-Magic,’ they said. ‘It will be fun,’ they said,” she muttered to herself.

    The radio transmitter in her ear squawked and she winced at the volume, but with her hands encased in thick rubber gloves, she lacked the dexterity to adjust it.

    “I believe we said it would be interesting. I don’t recall a promise of ‘fun.’”

    “It was implied! The fun was implied!” she said back.

    Josef chuckled in her ear and although she was up to her waist in muck and grime, she still found the sound warm and inviting. “Think of it as an adventure.”

    “I can’t hear you over the sound of how much this sucks!”

    He laughed again, his deep-timbered voice in her ear. “Ah yes, the glamorous life of a Counter-Magic Agent.”

    Glamorous was about the furthest thing from what it was.

     Not two days after Jade made her decision to stay at the Coven, Paris informed her that Josef from Counter-Magic had asked if Jade would be willing to join his department. Paris told Jade it was Counter-Magic’s job to seek out bad or tainted magic and contain it. Whether that meant counter-hexing or nullifying a spell, or perhaps using a specially sanctioned hex to clarify and cleanse magic was up for debate - each case was assessed individually. Working under Josef’s direction, the department stabilized the use of magic within the immediate Coven area and outside the city if necessary. To Jade, it sounded like it would be intriguing, fun and full of problem-solving.

    Also, at the time, she didn’t have anything to do on a day-to-day basis and the boredom was killing her.

She’d met Josef once before. He’d attended the ceremony where Paris stripped the power of a witch that had tried to get a demon to kill Jade.

    Good times. Fond memories. If she kept a journal, the entire thing would have been filed under, “Shit that went down and nearly killed me, Volume 3.”

    Volumes 1 and 2 were already taken up by her childhood, thanks.

    Josef reminded her of a fit Gepetto, or maybe a Patrick Stewart type. Older, in good physical shape, striking, white hair. He exuded a casual confidence that she found soothing and calming. When Paris had said that Josef wanted her for his department Jade had been surprised and blurted out, “Why?”

    It turned out Josef told Paris he thought Jade’s magic would be a powerful addition to his department. The fact that Jade was learning demon magic, and was the only witch in the Coven to do so, was a big selling point. Most witches couldn’t or wouldn’t touch demon magic. Some wouldn’t even speak of it whereas Jade plunged herself headfirst into it. It also helped that she seemed to have a knack for it.

    Jade also thought demon magic was fun, but she kept that little tidbit to herself. She’d brought it up once to Callie and the look on her face had been a mixture of horror, worry and apprehension. Jade spent the rest of the afternoon trying to take it back and convince Callie that she hadn’t really meant it and Jade was only learning the basics. Honestly. Pinky swear.

    Since then, the only person Jade discussed demon magic with was Paris and even he, with all his power as Coven Leader, got a little chalk-faced at times.

    Before she said yes to Josef’s offer to work for him, Jade thought she’d asked Paris and Josef the right kinds of questions about Counter-Magic. She asked what she would have to do and they answered that she would work on magic gone awry and learn how to counteract it. Jade asked if she would work in the Coven, and they said mostly, yes. She asked how much it paid and Paris explained that her salary was based on her experience, but she would also receive a stipend for hazard pay. He then he quoted her a number that was well over what she’d been making back in the regular world as a statistician. Jade couldn’t say yes fast enough after hearing that number.

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