Chapter 1: Prologue - A New Assignment
“Zene! Zene! Get in here!”
Maggie Zene, 24, journalist, snapped her head up quickly, blowing her brown bangs out of her eyes. Her editor was calling loudly from his office and her cubicle walls did nothing to muffle his shrill screeches. She dropped her pencil, careful not to smudge the sketch of the flower on her desk she’d been carefully shading. The other writers gave her pitying looks as she slowly stood, making her way to her editor’s office. Calling this early in the morning meant one of three things – a new assignment (which meant more work), a transferal between departments (which meant an abrupt shift in an otherwise boring day), or some negative performance review from the higher ups (which meant she’d be cleaning out her desk before lunch).
“Yes sir?” Maggie asked wearily, entering the office. “Zene, I have very exciting news for you,” her editor, a forty-year-old bespectacled mouse of a man greeted her. That eliminated the last one then, Maggie thought, feeling relieved. More than that, she started to sense stirrings of hope in her heart – was today finally the day? “I-I’m being transferred, sir? To the crime section? I’ve been applying for months now.” One of Maggie’s dearest wishes was to write about crime and legal proceedings, but for now, she was shackled to the culture section, writing nothing but celebrity gossip and movie reviews. It was drivel, but it paid the bills.
“Oh Zene, you’re so funny. No, no transfer, not today. A new assignment, actually.” Although her heart sank quite a bit, Maggie couldn’t help but feel the familiar interest that accompanied a new assignment. It was an opportunity to investigate something, even if it was just what Klavier Gavin had for dinner at the new restaurant downtown last night.
“What is it, sir?”
“There’s a magic show opening at the Penrose Theater in a couple days and they’re doing a dress rehearsal open to the media. I want you to cover it. You did the Gramarye show last time, just…please don’t get yourself kicked out by asking unrelated questions again.” Maggie surreptitiously rolled her eyes. Just because she’d asked a few too many questions about the accident with Thalassa Gramarye and Magnifi Gramarye’s murder, Valent Gramarye had actually demanded that she leave. At least she’d been able to write the article. “That way we don’t have to brief anyone else on Troupe Gramarye, you’ve already done all the research.” Maggie nodded. Good thing she still remembered all the pertinent information. “Anyways,” the editor concluded, standing, “you should head over to the Penrose as soon as possible. The show starts in two hours.”
Maggie gave her boss a cheerful mock salute, grabbing her notebook and sketchbook from her desk before hurrying out of the building and hailing a cab outside. As she directed the driver to the Penrose Theatre, she took a deep breath, getting herself in the writing mindset. Time to get to work.