Darkness Calling Ch. 17bymadam_noe©
My first novel is now available. Check out my bio for more information. Updates to this story should be biweekly as I'm in the early stages of co-authoring my second novel.
As always, comments/feedback are welcome...but remember, what's posted here is a first draft. Yes there will be some spelling, punctuation & grammar errors. Pointing that out is a waste of time.
"He can't be!"
"Jonathon, I don't know how, but he has no pulse, he's not reactive, somehow the immortal man is dead."
"I felt dark energy," Selene said, still half buried in her husband's shoulder. "My father opened his aura, his life force, he made a tunnel. Something came with Sigrid's life force; dark energy, darker than anything I've ever felt."
"Sorry, my dear," Jonathon kissed Sigrid but left her to scramble to Bram.
"There's energy here...I feel Bram's but it's faint. There is a dark spell on him. He's not dead but unless we can get it out he may very well be."
"Selene!" Soren clasped her as she tried to run to the other men. "Selene, Jonathon may still have an imabalance, more white energy. Whatever this dark energy is, white has to fight it. He's the only natural level 10 white witch we have."
The words made sense but bounced off her mind. Her father couldn't die, not like this. He wasn't supposed to die, ever, it made no sense.
"Jonathon?" Sigrid, rising to join them.
He opened his eyes. "He's alive; it's the spell that makes him appear dead. He's trapped."
"Can you fix it?" Soren asked.
Jonathon smoothed his long hair back. "I think so. Go and find the initiates; send every white witch to me."
Sigrid nodded and ambled out, too shaky to cast a transport spell. Jonathon glanced at Selene. "You should go, I mean no offense but this may be long and difficult."
"Selene, he's right."
"No!" She began to struggle but within a second they were in their chambers. "No!"
"My love, we can't help them. We're balanced, and whatever did this is pure darkness. We need an imbalance of white."
"It makes no sense! He's a level twelve and even with a hole in his aura it would take an equally powerful witch to spell him. No witch at that level could be pure dark!"
"Sit." He put her in the chair at the table and poured her a glass of water, forcing Selene to drink it. He put his hands on her neck and shoulders and began massaging out the knots. "What you said has merit. We have two possibilities. Either a witch has natural power even greater than Bram's or someone found a way to boost theirs and is still fully aligned to the dark side."
"This was the same witch that found a backdoor in here and sent the spell to kill a witch. Why target Sigrid?"
"Perhaps she was not the target."
She looked up at him. "You think it was me? But I'm nobody!"
He chuckled and kissed her forehead, still massaging. "You're married to the next head of the COM and your father is the most powerful, oldest witch alive. That was before; now you are a powerful, immortal witch in your own right and you have all the ammunition you need to push through your views on the archaic of magic."
"A political assassination?" Her head was swimming.
"Yes, my sweet. Everything that has happened in the last few weeks has taken you into a very dangerous place in our world."
"It doesn't matter. This bastard attacked my father. I can't just sit her wringing my hands waiting for him to be trapped like that forever!"
"I know you want to do something, but all we can do is wait and trust that Jonathon knows what he's doing. He's the most powerful white witch I've ever known."
"We have to do something!"
"Shh," he kissed her temple. "We'll wait for word and then figure out a plan of attack, my little warrior."
"What? 'Little warrior'? How dare you!" She came out swinging, hands flying as she stood, magic an afterthought.
Soren smiled; this wasn't going to be pretty but she needed this, needed to burn off her rage.
"Concentrate!" Jonathon shouted to the four witches Sigrid had rounded up.
They were all young, naturally powerful white witches, training but not yet in perfect balance. He didn't understand it, but somehow until they took a blast from Bram with another witch helping them it wasn't complete. He supposed it was lucky for them now, but even with the five of them this force was dark and powerful, like viscous evil in every cell of Bram's body.
With their power boosting him he explored Bram's aura. To his horror he could feel the dark spell poking at it, trying to create holes. To escape and infect others he didn't know, but he was sure it would leach out Bram's life force. Whether or not the invincible man could die he didn't know, but at best if left untreated he'd be in the suspended state for a long time, possibly eternity.
The walls shook from magic elsewhere and he knew Soren was letting Selene work out a fine rage. After two hours he sent Sigrid to them and the shaking and rumbling stopped.
Two more hours later and the witches around him were weakening. "Fuck!" he broke the connection and stood, the sudden snap knocking the others to their backs.
"It's too strong!"
"There's another way," said one of the witches, a pretty litle blond he knew as Dorianne.
Her twin, Dorian, nodded. "Bram told us the old ways. Every spell depends on the strength of the caster. Somewhere the dark witch that dealt this is powering it."
His sister sat up. "In the old days the only way to end such a spell was to kill the caster."
"Or if one could distract him, it might weaken the spell enough for us to fight," Dorian concluded.
Jonathon thought on this and jerked a nod. "Go, relax, rest for an hour, get food. Then come back here, we're going to need to be in fighting shape."
The witches opted to conjure beds and food there, refusing to leave as he sent the information to Sigrid. He had no idea just who or what they were fighting, but he knew he could trust Soren and Selene to find it.
Trust was all they had, he thought as he looked at Bram's prone form.
"Where are we?"
Soren cast a small light spell. They had worked long and hard to track the original spell path, mostly from Selene's connection to her father at the time he had located the caster.
They had found another entrance to the realm, one ripped open on the human world side like a wound in the very fabric of the air. Stepping through they had found a dark, dank place that smelled like a stone attic.
The spell of light revealed a large platform that looked to be built over a well, long narrow windows, and the night sky. He walked to a stone wall and felt it as Selene cast her own light ball, large than his.
"We're in COM headquarters," he murmured with surprise.
"What is it?" he was by her side in seconds and when he saw the prone body he felt shock roll through him. Kneeling he turned him over to see a very familiar face. Nearly shaking with panic he felt for his father's pulse.
"Or under the same spell. Perhaps when we find this bastard and deal with him the spell will be broken."
He looked up at her. "Would you really do that? He wants you dead."
"I don't want anyone dead. First things first; we find this dark caster, save my father and hopefully yours and then we can deal with what comes next."
He stood and pulled her into a hug. "I can't believe your strength sometimes."
"It's not strength, it's purpose. We have something to do that can help my father, and I refuse to lose him."
He kissed her, gently but firmly, a kiss of love. She felt the power of his love and let him feel hers. There was no tinge of passion, but the power of love was strong there.
She broke away and gave him a wary smile. "We best keep going."
He nodded and pulled back. "He'll be safe here. Come on, can you pick up the link to the caster?"
"I can try. This level of magic is still unfamiliar." She shook slightly.
"I'll show you what to do."
With Soren's help she located the point the spell was cast to the platform. "What is this?"
He looked at it, jumping down to study the stone ring. "If I'm right we're in the attic above Blackfoot's quarters."
"The Head of the COM? Who has access?"
Soren shrugged. "Blackfoot, me, the other councilors, his staff, and any witch enterprising enough. Few know of this place, this is the Dragon Well."
"It's said that when this place was sparsely populated, when even the natives were few and far between, dragons flew the sky. Beneath us is the old roof, kept flat so they could land. The well was for them to drink from, according to legend."
"How come I've never heard of this?"
"Only the High councilors now about the well, but the dragons are a story you would have learned had you attended a COM school."
She made a dismissive sound.
"However there are those of us who think the well itself is called Dragon because it is the source of great power. It's no accident a long ago head placed his private rooms around the well, beneath the old roof."
"So theoretically the Head, white or dark, could get extra juice from it?" Her silver eyes met his in the dark and they both glowed, casting shadows on the wall dancing with those of the light spells.
He slowly nodded.
"So much for hiding...seems Blackfoot found Bram and wanted to stop him. We're going to have to move up the plan," Selene added.
"We have to do this quietly. Come on." He helped her down, and they began to look for a door. They found one in the floor and Soren cast a sensing spell, finding it empty. "I'll go first."
He had to conjure a rope ladder but they made their way into the lush apartments. It was dark and the light spells illuminated an Edwardian library; red walls, ornate chairs, tons of books and a heavy desk.
Soren looked around. "No one's here. There's always someone here. Except..."
"What? What is it?"
"Come on, we have to go." He grabbed her hand and they made their way through a maze of rooms, impossibly lush, passing by in a flash as he ran. She saw marble, crystal, rare woods; a hall of magical artifacts and to her shock a brief glimpse of a door to a conservatory.
It seemed, shocking as it was, the most powerful witch in "polite" society may have held the same leanings as she did, Selene thought.
When they exited it was into a hallway that looked like a high end human hotel. Soren led her to a stairway and two floors down it changed into a the familiar office building she'd seen in pictures of the COM building.
The noise began too. The sounds of shouting, vociferous and angry beat at them from the lowest level. Then the magic, inherent in a large gathering of powerful witches, building on a single emotion, wound up the stairs to them.
"This way." Soren pushed through a door on the third floor, and they emerged into a second hallway. The noise was incredible, and then they opened yet another door.
Selene was about to complain but bit it back as they slipped onto a balcony. Soren cast a spell, she could tell it was one of to block their presence, and what greeted her was shocking.
As a child in human schools Selene had toured Washington D.C. and seen the floor of the Senate. Though the Council on Magic was run similarly it looked more like how in childish fantasies she'd assumed British Parliament looked in the 18th century.
Every witch of consequence was there; not just the COM members and the staff, but the representatives of the orders of Light and Dark. Regional governors from the outlying cities too, and more, impossibly more Selene could not recognize by official robes or garb.
"What's going on?" she whispered.
They listened but the argument seemed to only have two words come again and again: Bram Darkwind. From her time in the human world Selene was all too familiar with barbaric cruelty, and recognized this for what it was: the formation of a lynching party.
We have to do something, she told him over the link in their mind.
She followed his eyes and found the head of the COM. The room was so full of energy she took the chance no one would notice a small spell and cast one to amplify his conversations.
The people around him were asking for Soren. Those strongly against her father were vilifying him; those who were wary demanded he brought back to the council.
Soren saw what she was doing and linked hands.
Now," he said through the link, and she sent the sensing spell following the flow of dark energy. It hit Blackfoot with a ping and he looked startled, but they knew he was their man when he looked up at them on the balcony.
"It's Nightraven! Arrest him!" Blackfoot called and quickly the crowd silenced, following his finger. "Soren Nightraven!" He added when no one moved.
Soren turned to Selene and gave her a deep kiss, pouring his love into it. Even as her body responded she read his intent and horror crept into her heart.
"No! You can't!" she cried as he broke off.
Soren just winked at her. "Remember, I'm immortal now. Stay here."
With that he disappeared, instantly appearing on the floor next to Blackfoot.
"Witches! Priests! Priestesses! Blackfoot has been conspiring! He has used his power for evil and sent a deadly spell to kill my wife. He hurt my sister and is now his spell is draining the life from another witch as well as my father." He turned to Blackfoot, his boss, the most powerful man in the room. "I ask you to release them."
"It'd Blackfoot! I've captured Blackfoot! That is what I've been trying to say!"
There were gasps all around and pandemonium broke out. Blackfoot used the chance to send a bolt of deadly energy at Soren as he was shoved aside by panicking members of the council.
Duck! Selene cried in the link and Soren did. The bolt went through, striking a woman and sending her flying to land with a sickening thud behind the leaders' dais.
The exits were flooded by witches too powerful to use magic. Selene saw people being trampled and immediately began to cast a calming spell. Slowly it worked as those closest to her began to teleport out, some leaving behind green dust floating in the air.
It spread and spread, trying her until her arms shook. The power was exhilarating, terrifying, and difficult. At last the room was empty except the highest members of the priesthoods and Council of Tens.
Still they moved aside as Soren and Blackfoot were locked in a deadly battle. A line of three put up a wall between them, allowing the rest to bear witness in safety.
Soren may have become immortal but the bolts and spells he took did wound and slow him down. Blackfoot was slinging everything he had, a repertoire with a few extra chapters the rest of the world never got to read.
He was sweating, his large face turning read, his silver hair falling loose, but he was not wounded. What the hell was Soren throwing at him?
She tried to contact him but he blocked her, concentrating.
Blackfoot sent a spell shaded red with a dragon's face out, and it opened its maws to breath fire. Soren countered with a shield spell, but it slipped, and the fire reached him.
"No!" Selene cried, drawing notice from below. Two of the women closest to her widened their eyes, and then Selene felt a sharp pain in her head as the world went black.