Milham gave me a history on the staff. He couldn’t confirm if everything Eugenia and Cori said was true, but he could confirm that they probably didn’t make it all up. He said that Crane made the staff in New Orleans by way of blood magic sacrifice. The stuff they said about him killing all the other mages there he thinks is right.
Since every magic artifact I encounter seems to be evil, I asked if blood magic was the only way to make them. He said no, it’s just the easiest. “I’ve seen great feats of sorcery in my day Grace, but there’s a price, always a price, and it gets higher every day. That’s why I hardly bother keeping in practice anymore. Lawyers, guns, and money, that’s how you shape the world now, not with magic.”
I told him he was laying on the world-weary old wizard bit a little thick and he smiled and said that he hardly ever got a chance to break it out anymore.
After Pine and his cronies killed Crane, one of the other Confederate magic families took possession of the staff, until it was eventually stolen by another family – Stella’s family, I think – until being stolen again by the Wright family. There it remained until Laura took the staff from her mother to stop her wicked ways.
I asked why Raymond Pine didn’t take the staff and Milham said that he didn’t know. He granted that it didn’t seem to make much sense.
I asked him if Laura was going to give me the staff and he said that it depends. He said that if I want it to kill Eterno, she wouldn’t. But if I want it to save Eterno, she would. Then he added that if I decided to take it, she wouldn’t be able to stop me. He said that her talent was never strong and these days she doesn’t have enough juice to do much of anything.
He looked at me with a critical eye and added “Plus magic aside, you look like you could just kick the shit out of her if you wanted to.”
I asked him why he was telling me this and he said that he didn’t think I would take the staff from her if she didn’t give it freely. Which is probably true. He’s pretty smug about his ability to read people.