The young man stood near the window, staring out into the
night. It was almost midnight, that time when magiks run the
deepest. Outside inverted crosses burned, illuminating the minions
of the dark that surrounded them. They were chanting incantations
and pressing against the wards set by the sorcerers, trying vainly
to bypass the powerful magiks. Even through the protective shields
surrounding the house, he could feel the massive evil emanating
from the black-robed cultists.
A hand rested on his shoulder lightly, gently squeezing.
"Are you ready?" The deep voice came from behind him.
The young man turned slowly from the window to face the
white-robed man behind him. Gray-bearded and scar-faced with a
hood covering his head, the old man leaned against the ash staff
he wielded. Concerned eyes searched the younger man's
"No." the young man said quietly. He looked over the
old man's shoulder at the group of young disciples preparing the
powders and candles for the upcoming spell. Older sorcerers aided
them, advising them as needed, acting as if this was just another
lesson and not the last lesson they would ever give or the
disciples ever learn. Six people, five just a little younger then
he, the last much younger--too young--stood clustered nearby,
waiting for him. "There must be another way. . .something we
can do here, now. . ." He caught the look in the old man's
eye. "This might not work!"
"No, it might not. But it also might." The old man
turned to look at their adversaries outside. "And. . .we have
no choice. They've grown too powerful. We can no longer fight
them." Pale eyes grew dark at the thought of friends no
longer living. . .and friends who, regrettably, did live. "We
must cast the spell. . .now."
The young man took a deep breath then nodded reluctantly. The
sorcerer smiled slightly, then turned and hobbled back to his
companions in the magikal arts. The young man watched him briefly,
then slipped his hands from his pockets and flipped a wrist,
sending the cane that had dangled from it into the air and
catching it on the way down. Setting it firmly to the ground, he
limped to the smaller group, the brace encasing his left leg
scraping lightly on the stone floor.
"All right, let's begin." The old man gestured the
group toward the center of the room. Obediently, the young people
obeyed, moving to the center of the pentacle outlined in powder
and candles on the floor. The young man paused, facing the old
sorcerer. He studied the scarred face briefly, intently, then
turned to limp into the pentacle, being careful not to disturb the
outline. Once inside, he turned to face the star's point. Behind
him, the rest of the group followed suit.
Around them, the white-robed sorcerers began the chants and
gestures that would activate the powerful spell. The pentacle
burst into bright silver flame. Outside the ancient house, the
forces of evil pressed against the rapidly weakening wards. The
chanting without increased as the coven members sensed the
sorcerers' attention turned elsewhere. Winds roared, sweeping
around the house, shattering windows and tearing shingles from the
The young man glanced around with a shiver. The evil was more
noticeable, his head throbbed with it. Looking around with bleary
eyes, he saw two of the older sorcerers were down, dead or dying
most likely. Three more were sagging, only sheer willpower keeping
them upright long enough to complete the spell. He returned his
eyes to the old man.
The old man was fully upright--one of the few who were--braced
on his ash staff. He meet the young man's eyes unflinchingly. We
do what we must do, his pale eyes said. Do what you must do. . .
The young man closed his eyes, hearing the shriek of the wind
the shattering windows, the chanting within and without. . .
A hand slipped into his.
Opening his eyes, he turned his head to look into a pair of
luminous green eyes set in a fine-boned, dark-hued face.
Wordlessly, he drew her close, enveloping her in a tight embrace.
She clung to him as he looked past her, past the dying flames of
the pentacle and into the swirling grayness. The sorcerers were no
longer visible, the chanting no longer audible. Another figure,
much smaller then the first, pressed against him and he dropped an
arm around the little girl's shoulders, holding her close. The
other four drew near, forming a tight cluster. All around them the
pentacle outlines faded and grayness darkened into blackness.
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