Y'Zark the Apprentice Ch. 5byrexfelis©
Y'Zark the Apprentice, Chapter 5
I had never seen such a thing before, never heard of such a thing, so this creature was as if straight out of a nightmare to me at the time. It was at least twice my height, standing most of the height of a nearby tree, even stooped as it was. Impossibly scrawny, it's arms were far too long for it's body. Portions of it were devoid of flesh, and other parts had wrinkly or baggy skin... it's skull was horrendous in it's lack of proportion to the rest of it's body, huge, carrying four horns arranged almost as though it were wearing a crown. The only flesh there was the muscle that was responsible for closing the jaw. Dish sized orbits held only fiery points of brightness on a field of utter darkness. It seemed to be impossible that such a thing could exist, could stand on it's own, could move, never mind display the monumental strength that it would shortly, but it did.
It regarded us for a moment before taking a step forward. Yaaron seemed to be considering it, and I was growing nervous again. This was the stuff of nightmares and I had had enough of it. But where could I go? This multi-layered sphere might do something to me if I tried to exit it. Would it keep this thing out? I moved a little back away from the advancing beast, but there was not far to go. It stepped forward a couple of steps and then stopped, again considering.
"By what name are you known, fiend? I do not recognize your form." said Yaaron. The thing was silent for a moment, and then in my mind I could hear the response. It's "voice" was alien and ancient, a strange combination of wheezing, whining, and growling.
*My name is not of concern, little human. Your defenses will not last forever, and when they fall, I will clam the boy as my prize and be on my way. If you are cooperative and hand him over now, I will consider letting you die quickly. If you do not, I will take you with me, and spend a decade paining you in ways you cannot imagine before devouring your body and then drinking your soul. It would seem to be a simple choice. What say you?* replied the demon.
"My defenses will last long enough for me to return you to your pit for enough years that you will never threaten the likes of me or my apprentice again before time claims our souls first. It will be my pleasure to send you back whence you have come from, in a moment, but first, I must insist. What is it you are known as? My curiosity is bothering me, you understand. I have read extensively on demons and I have not seen your like mentioned anywhere."
*I will down your defenses, rip off your head and shit down your throat, human! Do as I command before I lose my patience!* cried the demon in a shrill mental voice. It advanced a couple more steps threateningly. Now I noticed the horrible claws it had at the ends of each arm as it raised these in a threatening manner.
Yaaron began a chant that produced an eery sensation through the pit of my stomach and made my skin tingle. Up went the volume, and down. Faster and slower, and the words twisted and turned and I wondered at his ability to pronouce them even as I forgot them as they landed on my ears, somehow.
The beast sent forth into our minds a cross between a scream and a growl and pointed at Yaaron. A black sparkling beam of anti-radiance shot forth, and the red sphere was destroyed. It laughed maniacally inside our heads. Yaaron's chant continued, his arms making passes in strange movements.
*Only six more layers to your defenses, human scum. Can you finish that spell in time to save yourself? Hahahahaha! I'll eat your liver as you watch!*
Again it pointed, and again the almost blinding anti-radiance sparkled blackly across the distance and the orange sphere disappeared with a pop. Yaaron's chanting continued still, his staff standing upright without his help while he worked the weaving of his magic. Somehow, without knowing how much longer the spell would require in casting time, I had the sinking feeling that he could not hope to finish it, and I realized that if he should fail, I would either have to do something or perish. But what to do?
Down went the yellow sphere, pop! Another ray from it's clawed finger and the green one died, pop! Pop, and the blue sphere was gone. Only two left... I was becoming frantic, terrified, my gut telling me to do something, anything, but I did not know what! I knew that running would be futile, but what was I to do against such a thing as this? Yaaron continued the chant, never speeding up his words, though I almost screamed for him to go faster, finish before we were doomed!
Pop, and the indigo sphere was gone, and it laughed maniacally again, somehow knowing that Yaaron still had several seconds of spell casting to work through before the first part of the spell would be in force. It knew the amount of time this spell required to be cast correctly, and it knew that it had plenty of time to bring down the last defense and devour us both. My gut screamed at me, "Do something!", but I was paralyzed, not knowing what it was I could do! It rasied it's hand one last time, and extended that claw-tipped finger. The laugh continued, perhaps more to distract Yaaron from his focus than anything else, but it unnerved me and just as the beam of radiance shot forth one last time, just as the violet sphere was struck, and time slowed to a crawl, I knew what action I needed to take.
The last pop was drawn out into a long sound. I found my feet knew my intentions and leapt to bring me forward to act on them. The sphere came down, leaving us with no defenses left. Just at that point, when it seemed as though there was no hope for us, with Yaaron continuing his spell, pronouncing each word with the exacting precision that it required, I reached my goal. My hands shot out and grabbed the Staff of Delrhynne, and as they closed upon it, I heard in my mind a scream of NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! from the demon. I could think of nothing but stopping the thing from taking further action, but I knew nothing of how to use the Staff. This did not matter, because as soon as I touched it, there shot forth a bolt of energy something like lightning, which passed through the thing and knocked it back a few steps. It screamed in pain and surprise, again inside our heads, and then the pain and surprise turned to insane indignant rage.
It quickly recovered from the surprise I had brought forth from the staff, and started to rush forth to tear me apart for my insolence. I did not know how I had gotten the staff to produce that effect, so I sort of half pointed it, half shook it at the thing. A few feet away there appeared a huge disembodied hand, and this rushed forward to the forward rushing demon and interposed itself so that the demon was stopped in it's tracks. Another scream of rage in my mind was followed shortly by the thing shouting a Word and the hand popped out of existence. It seemed to move from standing still to full speed run instantly, and was almost upon us inside of a second.
Without thinking, I wildly swung the staff at the creature and missed. There was no time or space left for a second swing; I had blown it. Again that laugh came inside my head, now in high speed as it raised a huge clawed arm against the two of us as we stood there. Yaaron's spell was still being spoken and his gesticulations continued in just as unhurried a manner as he had begun them. I was amazed at his self control and focus, but I wanted to scream at him that his efforts were worthless and that he should run, now, even though I knew it was too late. We would feel the demon's searing claws rip us to shreds momentarily, and it would be no more than one more notch in it's proverbial belt. I felt this incredible sense of dullness, slowing down everything, making me feel hopeless. That clawed hand, so grotesque and skeletal, with flesh covering part of it and shining light through the bones of the rest, swung in slow motion as time seemed to shift speeds to very slow. Instead of seeing only an instantaneous blur, I watched the horrid hand carve an arc through the air towards Yaaron's left side in perfect clarity. Through the hopelessness, I still felt a strong desire to stop this from happening, to save Yaaron from this fate. Somehow I had come from being a scared farm boy to willing to throw myself in the path of destruction to save this man I barely knew, and suffer possibly eternal torment.
And then, everything stopped. There was no sound, no motion, nothing. Yaaron had finished his incantation, and it took effect. The world was strange, unmoving. He turned to me, and without a word, took the staff from my hand. Then, taking my left hand in his right hand, he smiled, looked back at the demon, frozen just millimeters from having rended Yaaron to shreds, and stamped the staff on the ground. Again the sensation came that I was being pulled inside out and through a small hole. My vision was lost during this period of instant eternity. It began, and then halted, while I felt myself all twisted about. There was no change, yet I seemed incapable of pondering it in what seemed to me the span of a few minutes, and then as fast as it had started, I was returned to my normal sensation of myself and I stood in a corn field, with the sound of wind gently rustling the drying leaves on the stalks all around us.