The damage to the house was significant, especially in the kitchen, but it would have been far worse if the building hadn’t been made of stone. It was exhausting to even make Kastor visible to the bishop, so I didn’t bother doing it again when I thanked Kastor for his help and let him run back to whatever he was doing. I insisted on not knowing what that was. The bishop wanted to have a long chat about the nature of the supernatural, but I was antsy about getting back to check on Alice, so we gave him a very brief overview and reminded him about the Hudsons as specialists and I gave him my number before we left. On the way, though, Akshainie insisted we make one more stop, and I could hardly deny the request.
So I called Alice and she confirmed that everyone was back, and that she was okay, though she really sounded shaken. I didn’t press. But with assurance that it wouldn’t be a problem for anyone currently fighting, Akshainie and I made our way through the security checks and back to the locus I had silenced. She believed she could cleanse it now that the cult wasn’t actively using it, after I opened it again. I didn’t know how to open it again, I warned her, but she asked if I had known how to close it and I had to admit I didn’t until I tried. So she was comfortable assuming I would figure it out.
When we got to the locus, she stayed behind at the entrance of the chamber to give me room to work. We weren’t sure what was going to happen, but she wasn’t comfortable being close to me while I’m using a lot of energy to undo something magical.
“I doubt I would do anything very harmful to you,” I pointed out.
“Tell that to the Hudson estate,” she replied. There really wasn’t much argument to be made there.
So I went back to the center of the locus and focused, trying to feel what I had done to the flow of energy. It took a few moments, but I was able to identify that the locus was essentially an antimagic dam now, functionally blocking and absorbing all the energy that was coming to it. And it felt like me. I can’t really explain it, but the sense of interacting with it almost felt like interacting with my own arm or something. Whatever I had done here, I think I had left a piece of myself behind, and that was what was actually cutting off the locus. So all I had to do was take my piece back, right?
How do you even do that?
It took about a half hour of me trying things, and Akshainie giving her input, and me trying something else, before I finally felt like I’d connected with the blockage. And then it was a few minutes of focus and pulling and willing the locus to open before I was knocked on my back by a sudden tidal wave of magical energy and an audible popping sound. Akshainie rushed past me to the locus point, by now in her naga form, and wrapped her coils around the center of the site as she started her invocation. I dusted myself off and walked out of the chamber, to make sure I didn’t cause her any issues, and made my way back to the car. I made it through half a cigarette while leaning on the car before she came into view, human guise up, looking tired.
“You okay? Did it work?” I asked when she practically fell into the side of the car, leaning next to me.
“Let me get one of those,” she said. So I pulled out my pack and gave her a smoke and a light.
“I didn’t know you smoked.”
“I don’t usually. And I rarely smoke whatever the hell these are. But we have something similar in Iravati.”
“Lung cancer not a big concern for you, then?”
“I don’t have lungs. What’s your excuse?”
“I have it on good authority that won’t be what kills me,” I said. She grunted, and we both stayed there for a quiet moment.
“It worked,” she finally said. “Thank you.”
“Of course.” With that, she handed me the rest of her cigarette and walked around the car, I took a drag off it and then climbed in to take us back to the estate.
Leave a Reply.
The blog of John Matteson.
Boost on TopWebFiction
Tall Tales: Volume Two now available