Michael wanted to send a driver with me, but I insisted I could handle it myself. I ultimately had to take a quick spin around his estate with him to prove I could adapt to driving on the other side of the road, but then he gave me use of a car and left with Benedict and Akshainie. I dropped Alice off at a church and made arrangements for me to pick her up, and then I was off.
The drive to the ritual site he’d originally found was pretty uneventful, just a pleasant drive through the British countryside and down some highway of theirs. I guess they’re probably not called interstates here, but it was basically that. I was largely operating from memory of how Michael drove us there, with an atlas on the passenger seat just in case.
I passed the security check-in with the new ID from Michael, declined an escort, and made my way down to the site. We had settled that this was a locus point, and apparently a key one for the network the Brood was using, so I was sent to shut it down. I wasn’t entirely sure about the plan; Jackie had been very adamant that while I could do things like this, it was unwise to do so, especially for any notable length of time. And I was certain Akshainie was going to flip if and when she figured out what had happened, and unlike Jackie, she’s nearby and armed and somewhat murderous.
So I had concerns.
But Michael had made it very clear that, as a designated protector of the Crown, he was prepared to fully flex his authority as our employer in this matter to see a swift and decisive conclusion to the threat of the Brood. And, really, the plan was one that seemed like it would work well. Effective in the same way dropping a nuke on a city was bound to clear up a rat problem at one of the local restaurants, sure, but effective. It feels irresponsible, what I’ve heard of loci suggests that there will be a ton of side effects from blocking one for even a short time, but he wouldn’t hear it.
I walked to the center of the locus and sat down with my legs crossed, rested my palms on the floor in front of me, and closed my eyes. It was difficult enough last night trying to hold back the flow of energy along a ley line, this was going to be a hell of a thing to pull off. I focused on pressing down, exerting my will against the magical energy accumulating and passing beneath me, and could feel the tension as it pushed back. I pushed, and pushed, and soon felt almost weightless. Like the whole world had fallen away, and I was just suspended in the energy, which was trying to press in on me from every side. I was no longer pushing down, but out, trying to expand the area in which magic was stifled, fighting against a pressure that wanted to crush me. I felt it start to give, and I screamed as I made one last shove with all my will, and I felt the energy crack around me. The pressure exploded off me, and I felt gravity return, and opened my eyes just in time to see the ground rush back up to me. I rolled onto my back, holding my knee and swearing, until I started to feel a little better. I lit a cigarette and stared at the ceiling until it was gone, and felt nothing. There was no active energy in the locus anymore. Satisfied the task was done, I made my way back to the car and left to pick up Alice.
The blog of John Matteson.