tagSci-Fi & FantasyBishop Ch. 01

Bishop Ch. 01


Chapter 1: Opening Moves


The crime scene was located in suburbia Virginia, in a nondescript middle-class cul de sac. I pulled up in my beige sedan as a team of agents with "FBI" on their windbreakers were loading up. They all gave me one look. None of them gave me a second. I try to be unworthy of second glances, both through my attire and a few magical charms. I'm six foot one, lean without being too thin, and have a face that's instantly forgettable. It was a warm sunny day; too pretty to need my special abilities.

"Hey Bishop." I turned to see an agent talking to two women, both lookers, both in their late teens or early twenties.

"Hey Charlie." Unlike me, Charlie only has a little of "The Gift". Just enough to get a "hunch" once in a while and to know when to call in me or someone like me.

My name is Bishop. That's not a first name or a last name or even a title. It's a codename. Some magical theorists over at the National Security Agency came up with the idea that throwing around your given name might give a bad guy a better chance of learning your secret name. Which is not a good thing for an agent wielding magic. So when I joined the Bureau they gave me a list of randomly generated code names to pick from. Bishop was my automatic choice. I prefer to handle problems from an angle rather than straight on. Plus, I'm just a notch below being the King. Good enough to be a chief research assistant, but not good enough to be the project head of my own research. I've gotten over that now. Being a field mage for the bureau let's me be my own boss. Plus I get to see lots of interesting things.

Charlie left the two women standing talking to themselves and joined me. "Missing person case here. Three co-eds at the local college sharing this house. Third roommate was in the backyard. When her roommates called her in for lunch, she had disappeared."

I rubbed my chin, thinking to myself that I needed a shave. "So? What's that got to do with me, Charlie?"

"Follow me." Charlie led me into the backyard where I could see a hole in the ground and part of the back fence was missing. And then it struck me. The missing portion was a perfect cube. The sides and bottom of the hole were smooth as glass.

I whistled. "Forensics find anything?"

"Nothing in the realm of science," Charlie replied. "And the roommates never heard a sound. Neither did any of the neighbors. With that and the shape of the hole , I figured the best thing I could do was call you in."

I closed my eyes and did a quick reading. This was complicated magic. Nothing an amateur could have pulled off. We were dealing with a major player. "The disinformation team here yet?"

"Just around the corner, Bishop. They wanted you to get whatever you needed from the scene before they moved in."

I nodded and started collecting samples. The government's official position is magic exists but the public doesn't need to know that magic exists. Not just our government. That's pretty much the position of all governments. And from what I can tell, the public is happier and safer that way.

For the record, the gnomes in Zurich don't run the world economy. But they do have someone sitting on all the boards of the major corporations.

I collected dirt samples, air samples, and bits of the fence. I nodded to Charlie to let him know he could call the disinformation team in. Then I climbed in my sedan and drove to my lab in West Virginia.


I drove my samples and myself to an underground facility in West Virginia. The road leading up to it looks like a dirt road leading to an abandoned barn. Most people don't even see the road and those who do forget they've seen it five second after they passed it.

If you go down the road, you'll find it's guarded by---well, you'll probably be happier not knowing what's guarding it. But trust me, it's very well guarded.

Once inside, I made my way to my office and laboratory, nodding to my fellow federal mages along the way. Walking into my lab, I put the samples on a table and looked at the picture of our attractive abductee, one Ms. Amber Wades, provided by her roommates. It's an old picture, from her senior prom. By the surroundings I can tell she's petite, maybe five foot to five foot three, olive skinned, long dark hair and brown eyes. She's what would be called in polite circles as statuesque. Being an admirer of cleavages, I admired hers in the picture before I reluctantly put it away.

Running tests, I can tell a teleportation spell has been used, and one reaching over a fairly long distance. Which means the mage who cast it was capable of powerful and complex spell crafting. Not good news at all. The federal government is very good at ensuring that budding mages are either working for the forces of good or are working at pushing up daisies. And at this task the government is very, very good. Which means that someone got past the government's screening. Not good. Not good at all.

There was also another spell at play here, but I couldn't quite figure out what it was. So I reached into the drawer of my file cabinet and pulled out a bag of charcoal briquettes. Then I summoned my "Tinkerbelle."

My advisor in college would be aghast that I didn't refer to my "tinkerbelle" by its Latin name or a derivate thereof, but all the investigators I knew called them "tinkerbelles". They're tiny fire elementals that look like a rough outline of Tinkerbelle, except composed entirely of flame. They possess the ability to shape time and fire (though on a very limited scale), making them very handy assistants in reconstructing crime scenes.

As soon as my "tinkerbelle" (though you can no more own a "tinkerbelle" than you can own a cat) appeared, I tossed her a charcoal briquette. She caught it, embraced it, and happily consumed it. For some reason, charcoal briquettes are to a "tinkerbelle" what catnip is to a cat. So it pays to keep plenty on hand. After she finished, she floated in front of my face and asked me what I wanted. A lot of times I summon her just to feed her treats. I have fellow investigators who tell me I'm too soft, that I should use the stick as well as the carrot. It is true you can compel assistance, but I've known more than one colleague who suffered from having to use compelled assistance. Besides, I like my "tinkerbelle." In the end, I believe mutual respects pays off bigger.

I pointed to the samples and told her what I thought had happened and could she find out more, admonishing her to be sure she was careful. She sniffed disdainfully at this last warning, and then floated over the samples. She had actually saved me from a nasty magical trap one time on her own initiative. Compelled "helpers" will do exactly what you tell them to do, and not one iota more. Another argument for treating "tinkerbelles" and other magical beings as friends and not tools.

Once she was finished and told me what she had found, I whistled low and thoughtfully. Tossing her another charcoal briquettes with my gratitude, she disappeared contentedly.

This was a very powerful mage I was facing. One out of my league. I was going to have to call in help. Lots of help.

A quick discussion on the nature of magic would explain why.

The spell cast on our beautiful abductee had three parts.

The first part was a sleep spell. This is relatively easy magic. Putting someone to sleep or compelling them to tell the truth doesn't alter reality. It just channels reality in ways that already exist. Your just picking the way you want it to go.

The second part was a teleportation spell. This doesn't alter reality permanently, but bends it for a short period of time. Our abductee was transported somewhere between fifty and a hundred miles. I could probably pull that off with a booster potion and three days research. Maybe. But you're still not altering reality. Not permanently anyway. Just bending it a little, then letting it snap back into place.

The third part was the kicker. It had altered reality permanently. I could tell that our abductee had been shrunk.

Remember all those old fairy tales about princes being turned into frogs and swans? Keeping someone's intelligence intact while changing their form, especially to a much smaller form was not an easy thing to do. And none of the old spells are in existence anymore, though you hear legends of mystical grimoires in hidden, demon guarded caves from time to time. And even if you had a copy of such a spell, you would have to possess the ability and the training to wrap your mind around it in order to cast it. Or the ability (and the resources) to research it. Not an easy thing to do. Trust me on this.

Lots of help was going to be needed here. Lots of it.

I updated my untimely demise file (which magically forwards the cases I'm working and all the information I have so far to my superiors in case of untimely demise, hence the name) and then gathered up my samples. At some point I would turn all this over to my boss, but not right now. I wanted to know a little bit more before I did.

III: I checked my GPS receiver and got the coordinates for the abductees' house and then called the cartographer's office, telling him I needed a satellite picture of a hundred and fifty mile radius of that point. I needed the picture as fast as possible, I told him, as I was dealing with a kidnapping case. Time was of the essence.

Waiting impatiently, I was reviewing my Grimm's Fairy Tales when the picture arrived. I stretched it out on my desk and then went and got a crystal. The one I got was diamond shaped, hollow, and on a silver chain. I put a splinter of the fence in the crystal, as well as a few grains of earth, and a single thread from a sock of hers, again provided by the roommates. Hanging the crystal over the picture, I waited. The crystal hung motionless, then began moving in circles, before pointing to one spot. I circled the spot in red, punched in the spot on my GPS receiver, and then folded the picture and put it in my untimely demise folder.

I knew it was stupid. There was no way I could face down a mage powerful enough to cast this spell. But one of the things I enjoyed about my job was the independence it afforded me. And I wasn't ready to give up that independence just yet. I'd drive up and check out where the abductee was, get the lay of the land, and then call in the cavalry.

* * *

I found myself driving in North Carolina, too keyed up to enjoy the scenery. I had checked out a Jeep Wrangler from the motor pool, one without a government license plate. My GPS receiver led me straight to a single wide trailer parked on a one and a half wide paved country lane. I was observing it through binoculars and feeling confused. There were two things I should have been detecting: Enough magical ambience to power a medium sized city, or nothing, because the mage inside was good enough to mask his powers from anyone except an equally powerful mage. Instead, there was a weak and scattered ambience. Something that I would pick up from a country hex master, who would stay below official notice unless he got into too much mischief. I started sneaking in closer to the trailer, ready to blast my way out with gun and wand if it was a trap. It wasn't so far. I peered inside a not too clean window and saw our abductee. Amber Wades, that was her name, I remembered. She and the missing part of her backyard (both definitely shrunk) were in an aquarium. Amber was cowered in a corner as a somewhat unkempt man in a plaid shirt and tattered jeans peered in at her, knocking on the glass with his knuckles from time to time. From the magic I detected from him, he was the country hex master I had detected earlier. But still no signs of our ubermage.

I moved toward the trailer's front door, and with a few words and a gesture, ripped the trailer door off its hinges, sending it flying. "Freeze! FBI!"

The man spun around and pulled out a charm from his pocket.

This is where I made a mistake.

I was waiting for a super mage, and had a spell ready, a giant ball of flames. I didn't expect it to defeat the super mage who had abducted Amber Wades, but I did expect it to stun him long enough for me to get out of there.

But instead of a super mage, I had a small-time warlock. When he went for the charm in his pocket, my instincts took over. I cast the flaming ball.

All that was left of him afterwards was ashes.

Inside the aquarium, tiny Amber went into hysterics. I didn't have time to address her situation right then and there. I was still convinced that this was all an elaborate trap set by the super mage.

I checked the ashes first. Yep, this local witch was dead. I looked around the trailer, still on my guard. No traps or super mages, but I found a blank parchment. Part of the mystery solved, at least.

Let me give you a short lecture here on magic: In order to cast certain enchantments, you must not only possess knowledge of the spell and whatever arcane ingredients are required to cast it; you must possess a mind powerful enough, complex enough, and trained enough to wrap your mind around that spell. Even if I possessed the legendary book of Solomon, I would have to possess the wisdom of Solomon himself to bind djinnis and efreets as he was able to do. I have a feeling the local mage I had just incinerated probably had enough power to find a lost set of keys, but not much beyond that.

However, it is theoretically possible to write a one-shot spell, allowing a less powerful mage to cast a spell (only once, though) that he would normally be unable to use. How powerful the spell depends on the mage who creates the scroll. Theoretically, I suppose, the bumpkin wizard back there could have shrunk and transported Amber with a scroll, but that would mean that the manufacturer of the scroll was unbelievably skilled. And writing scrolls is not for the uninitiated. It is a dangerous process, and until the scroll is used, some small part of your power is bound into that scroll. I couldn't have written a scroll on any of my spells that the country wizard could have used.

I was gaining more and more respect (and dread) of this unknown super mage.

Amber's tiny sobs were getting through my introspection and I returned to the aquarium. Around the aquarium was a fairly complex shielding, and a rather subtle trap for anyone trying to remove it. It was in my ability to remove both, but just barely. All this had been built into the parchment spell. Impressive.

Leaning over the aquarium, I told her in my softest voice, "Ms. Wades, it's all right. It's all right. I'm with the FBI. I'm here to rescue you." For some reason, I felt compelled to stroke her luxurious hair with my finger as I tried to reassure her.

I don't know if it was my voice, my touch or what, but she seemed to start relaxing. "Ms. Wade, I will get you back to normal. That's a promise," I continued, even as I wondered to myself if that was an empty promise. "But I'm going to need to lift you out of there so I can examine you and the spell that was put on you." Not even the mention of magic seemed to disrupt the calm that had come over her. I lowered my other hand into the aquarium and she quietly crawled into my palm. She felt so warm and soft as she rested in my palm. I lifted her slowly upward to my face and continued running my finger across and through her hair as I examined her. She was wearing a pair of overall torn off just above the knees. Underneath she had a red scoop neck blouse that did wonders in displaying her marvelous figure.

I continued stroking her hair as I added soothingly, "It will be all right, Ms. Wade, it will be all right."


(From Amber's Point Of View) The last four hours were a nightmare. I had been in our backyard, planting one of the flower beds. Jas and Del were great roommates. But I ended up doing all the yard work!

Then I ended up in this glass tank with this huge ugly face leering over me and ordering me to do things. I tried to hide but there was nowhere to hide. The only thing that save me was every time the huge ugly face's hand tried to reach in and grab me it was covered with lightning. But it was a nightmare that would not end.

And then the first giant disappeared in a flash of fire. A second giant appeared and I wondered what new nightmare was going to start.

The second giant disappeared and then reappeared gazing into the tank. I curled up and hoped he couldn't get to me too. But he said some strange words and sprinkled some kind of dust over the top. This one could get to me!

But he started talking to me in a low quiet voice, stroking my hair with his finger. A strange calmness settled down on me. I crawled into his palm and he continued petting my hair as he explained how magic had shrunk me down to five inches and teleported me here but he was going to fix everything. I know I should have freaked out when he said magic. But somehow I knew I could trust him to fix things or try his hardest anyway. The giant held me up close to his face and I noticed he had very green eyes.

I notice his finger had slid down my back and was giving me a very relaxing massage. By now the talk had died and I was just enjoying his touch. I tucked my legs underneath myself and leaned forward under his touch. And almost giggled when I saw him sneaking glances down my top. It's really hard to sneak a peek when the peeker's eyes are as big as your head. The only thing that I regretted was not having worn a bra to work in the yard. The coolish temperature and his finger on my back were starting to have a noticeable effect.

"I really should stop" he whispered as he continued massaging back. "Please don't," I responded, "It feels nice." He probably should stop but this was the first thing that had felt nice all day.

He started caressing my shoulders next and I noticed as he stroked down my arm he would pull one of my overall straps down my shoulder. I didn't know what to do or say and his caressing finger pulled one strap undone, then the other. Then he begins massaging my back with the thumb, slowly pulling my overalls down to my waist.

I leaned forward on all fours as he continues massaging my back with his thumb. He was very careful about not going below my waistline. I didn't know if I should be relieved or disappointed. I did know he was looking straight down my top and not trying to hide it. He moved his finger back to my head, brushing my hair with his fingertip. "You are so beautiful, Amber. So soft."

I sat back up and blushed self consciously, reaching toward my overalls and thinking about pulling them back up. I froze in place as his finger caressed one arm then the other. My hands fell limply to my side.

My breath caught in my throat as he caressed my collar bone with his fingertip. It felt like we were motionless for an hour. Then he slowly brushed the back of his finger down and over my breasts. I felt like bolts of pleasure completely consumed me.

I'm not sure what happened next. All I know was I was stretched out on my back in his palm and his finger was gently exploring one breast then the other. He seemed utterly fascinated with them and I was hoping he wouldn't lose his fascination with them anytime soon. I didn't have much experience. In fact, I'm a virgin. But I've never enjoyed any of my make out sessions this much when I was full sized. I moaned loudly when he started using his thumb to press down softly and massage my right breast and then the left.

His thumb would occasionally slide down my stomach and under my overalls, trying to tug them off. I giggled and sat up. "Let me help". I kneeled forward, unsnapped the bottom half of my overalls and started pushing them down. Once I got them past my hips he pulled them all the way off. He seemed mesmerized by my bare legs and bikini panties as I sat up again. He stroked them lightly, working his way up to my bottom. I leaned forward and moaned as he stroked up and down my back and buttocks. Then his finger moved to my front again.

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