The Naacaleur: Prologue
The master was on the beach, a stream of opium-smoke rising from her pipe as she contemplated the ocean. Jaime Sinclair sat down beside her, and explained she was going to San Francisco. They watched the ocean, two pairs of grey eyes on a sea like slate and a sky like an endless expanse of seagull shit, white clouds streaked with black. The master took the pipe from her mouth for a moment.
“What spell has Oakland on a daughter of Paris?” she asked.
“I’m fucked out,” Jaime explained. For the last two years she’d been sleeping her way through the ranks of impressionable undergrads at the University of Paris while working her way towards a doctorate. “I need to get closer to the source. There’s a lot of jobs for people that speak Naacal in America. Mexico, China, the Pacific…everything comes through the Sanford Institute.” She finished rather lamely.
The master considered. “Another boy, another scare?”
Jaime blushed. “Yeah. Broken typewriter for two weeks, all the drama.”
The master nodded, sighed. “Write the letter of recommendation, and I’ll sign it.”
Jaime, took her hand in her own and gave it a squeeze. “Thanks.”
The sky darkened, the tide going out, and the master stretched out her hand, pointing with the pipe. Jaime followed the line to a chunk of green-grey stone, just jutting out of the water as the tide began to go out. It was a carven stone, a great spiral like a fossil ammonite the size of a manhole cover, but there were hieroglyphs carved along the rim of that arc, too small and faded to be made out at this light.
“Remember, Jaime,” the master said, squeezing her hand back. “Where you go, you take this with you. Run from nothing. Your destiny will find you there, in California.”
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