The GatheringFandom (is so, include details) or Non Fandom?:
Non Fandom (ie. Original)Chapter Number:
Chapter TwentyWord Count:
2,312 Words Rating:
M (due to language & adult content... not entirely sure where this thing is going)Summary:
In 1692 a group of witches sacrificed their powers to prevent death. Almost 3.5 centuries later, these powers have befallen new generations. Those that would be heroes are lost. It is up to those who are left behind to save themselves & the world they're in.Author's Notes:
This is nowhere near finished...CHAPTER TWENTY
The scattering of particles made her feel as if she had collided completely with him. She was not used to traveling like this, especially whilst she was in motion. As they landed within the dimly lighted cave she felt her feet hit the hard rock beneath her, and fell backwards moments later as she lost her balance. She was sure he had felt her tug on his jacket. She was sure he had heard her land roughly behind him. And as she expected, he turned back towards her.No! You can’t see me. You can’t see me. You can’t see me!
She thought vainly as she watched him, sliding her way back towards the large stalagmite. He walked towards her, every step closer bringing an even greater sense of fear within her. She stared up to his grim face, waiting for the moment when he would raise his hand and lift her body like a rag doll, waiting for him to speak to her with another stream of callous words as he choked the life from her. But he kept walking, coming so close that she thought his latest tactic was to stomp on her. Instinctively she curled into a ball as he kept his straight path, his legs brushing by hers. He glanced in her direction briefly and kept walking. What?
Penny wondered as she stared at him, though she could not tell if they were her thoughts or his.
“Come out, come out, wherever you are,” he called.
Remembering the nightmares she’d had over the past few nights, Penny automatically presumed he was talking to her. She feared he would attack her again, believing he had seen her but was simply pretending he didn’t; like cat and mouse he was just toying with her. She had followed him but did not know what she was expecting to see. Feeling her way up the limestone rock as she slowly stood, the sparkle of the jellyfish shaped stalagmite turning black and watery under her touch, she withdrew her hand quickly and heard the sound of loose stones scrape against the ground as someone appeared in the raised hollow before them. Grabbing the outer end of the rock, Penny quickly pulled herself behind it. The angle made it difficult to see, but as the woman jumped down to their level and partially into Penny’s view the young witch realized she did not know the new arrival. Dressed in brown and black, her dark hair splayed over her olive skin, she camouflaged well into the surroundings.
“You came sooner than I expected,” she said.
“I don’t think you gave me much choice. Flashing things under my nose when I’m otherwise occupied is nothing short of excessive irritation,” David returned. Mercy placed her hands on her hips and cocked her head to one side expressing a look so heated it was nothing short of annoyance. “What?”
“Don’t give me that attitude. I’m trying to help you, remember?” she said.
“My greatest apologies,” he replied with a bow of his head. “My attitude is simply reflecting the strain I’m facing dealing with the loss of a family member.”
“And what do you think I’m dealing with?” she returned, her voice cracking beneath her defiant attitude.
David’s face, once unreadable and compassionless, softened at her words. The stiffness of his body relaxed as their commonalities in character and situation aligned. He took her face within his hands as he stared into her eyes – the window that revealed what lay behind the mask of confidence. Mercy raised her left hand to cover his and curled the tips of her fingers around the top of his hand. She did not remove it as would be expected of her, simply held the warmth of his hand against her cheek as she watched and waited.
“Isn’t that what you wanted?” David asked quietly. “The freedom? The release from burden?”
“The fear they would hunt me down and kill me?” she added pointedly.
“I can protect you,” he offered.
“You want to be my saving grace?” she queried with astonishment.
Lowering his head to hers he answered her with a kiss. Though the move had caught her by surprise, Mercy reversed the motion as she pressed her lips harder to his, David’s hands dropping from her face to her neck and down her shoulders as he pulled her closer to him.
Penny flattened her back against the rock, cutting off her view of the pair. She couldn’t remember the last time her cousin had shown such tenderness towards someone. Perhaps he had hit rock-bottom on the day of his father’s death and was now trying to turn his life around. Perhaps Christian had finally managed to fix him somehow. It was easy for Penny to latch onto the idea that Christian had unbeknownst to everyone sent this girl to improve his brother’s disposition and was now currently waiting for them all back at Michael’s wake. It was easier for her to pretend that this clandestine meeting was a new path David was taking to peace and happiness. For all his bad points, Penny knew David did not have a deceptive bone in his body. What she had just witnessed was honest and true. To David everything was either black or white, good or bad, right or wrong. He did not believe in the concept of grey. Led wholly by emotion, she had witnessed many a time when he had changed from one state to another as quickly as a skater could kick flip. It was this very aspect of his personality which made him dangerous and unpredictable.
“He’s right down there,” Mercy said.
Penny peered back around the stalagmite to see which direction they were going. To her surprise the woman backed away from her cousin, leaving David to travel the path alone.
“You’re not coming?” he said, sounding a little disappointed.
“I’ve only got four of my nine lives left. I don’t want to waste one on a demon lord when I’ve got my own coven to worry about.”
He smiled, watching her place a hand on the rock edge and smile back at him before she slipped through the crack.
As he began to head in the direction Mercy had indicated, Penny moved to follow him. There was a faint sound of whistling echoing through the tunnel, barely audible to the ears. She felt her way along the walls as the light dimmed, heading in as straight a line as her other senses allowed her to travel. She stopped the moment she met with renewed light.
The tunnel opened up into an enormous cave structure, a green river circulating around the area like a moat with blue fire blazing on its very surface. Penny wondered how it was even physically possible and could only attribute such sights to some form of magic. David stood in its very center, looking up at a beast that was easily three times his size. It sat in a throne fashioned from rock on a plateau above them. A mismatched pile of stairs far too small for the demon lord’s feet led up to another opening high on his right – much like the one Penny had seen Mercy emerge from. The demon lord himself was like nothing Penny had seen before. He didn’t have a face, only a block of blue leather where his head should be. One horn rose from each side of his head, curling and meeting at the top as if forming some farcical image of a love heart with a flattened bottom. The rest of his body was much like the head, though his five fingers were sharpened to points with white balls on the ends. As he tapped his fingers against the arm rest, Penny realized they weren’t simply balls, they were eyes. Those very eyes turned their pupils in several directions all at once as Balfour raised his hands to gauge the new disturbance within the room. The line that segmented his blank face separated, revealing several rows of sharp teeth and a voice so deep it vibrated the very foundations of the room.
“You dare to enter my realm uninvited?” he asked.
“You haven’t installed a doorbell,” David observed.
The demon lord chuckled. “A failure to open plan living.”
“I see,” David said.
As he looked away from the demon lord and scoured the overhanging surroundings, Balfour wiggled his long fingers in the air, hands cupping and shaping like he were feeling some invisible object.
“You are the golden-haired child,” he said.
“So they tell me,” David replied, his hands clasped together behind his back as he returned his attention to the large demon before him.
Balfour’s fingers waggled excitedly as if he were greatly overjoyed with this realization. “What business does such a powerful witch have with a time lord?”
“Just that. I need to pull the past into the present.”
Balfour seemed to consider this for a moment. As she hovered in the doorway, Penny heard a group of heavy breathing creatures approaching through the same tunnel they had come through, the one she was currently standing in now. She had only two choices – to head towards them, or to head towards David and Balfour. She was likely to get killed either way. Panicked, she looked towards the wider expanse of the large room in the cave where she would have more room to move. She spied a metal grating beside the entry into the cavern which led over the moat of fire and covered a section of ground at the tunnel exit that didn’t appear very stable. Still, it was Penny’s only hope as she peered over the rail and judged how well she could fit into the narrow space. Using her better ankle, she hauled herself over the metal and used her arms to lower her body into the shaft. She pressed against the rock and bent her knees as much as the space would allow. Although she was slight, Penny also was unfortunately tall and it limited her hiding potential. Her hand hovered against the grating, reluctant to completely let go in case the ground gave way beneath her.
The snuffling sound grew louder as a pair of hairy feet plodded past her at eye level, followed by another and another. She gagged at the smell, raising a hand to cover her mouth. Once she was certain they had all passed, she fastened her hands back around the rail and lifted herself back up, her good black shoes scraping against rock and metal as she tried to gain a foothold. Once back in the archway she saw what had caused the stench – a mound of broken bodies were piled to the demon lord’s right, the hairy creatures whose faces looked like they had been smacked into the pavement standing around them. One hand pointing towards the carcasses and inspecting the new offering, Balfour leant on the other as he regarded David.
“What you ask would require an extraordinary amount of magic,” he said.
“It is power beyond my means which is why I felt I must seek your assistance,” David explained.
“You don’t need my assistance. You have everything at hand,” Balfour said. “But out of interest, what were you willing to trade me?”
“I have the blood of a prominent Phoenix in my keeping which should more than satisfy your palette.”
“I agree,” Balfour said. “But unless you’re keen to slay the woman who brought you here I wouldn’t so readily give that treasure away. It would be far more worthwhile using the blood as a key.”
“A key? Unless I’m mistaken, liquid cannot be used to open anything.”
“You have a chest in your possession given to you at birth. You were prided with protection of this rare object. Within this chest are the origins of many powers including the one you require to accomplish the task that you ask. Only the blood of the old ones can open it.”
“Any particular old ones? Or are you asking me to go to a nursing home and slaughter them all?”
“My, my. Such zeal from one so good.”
“Is it not easy to drive a revered man out of his mind with impassioned thought?”
“Then allow me to give you a directive. There are six roses crafted into the lid of the chest. Each one leads a path to the center seal. You will need the blood of six descendants to open the box and release the accumulated powers. You shouldn’t have to look far – like draws to like and I believe you are in acquaintance with them all. Admittedly some will be easier to find than others. The Phoenix are the greatest coven to rise from that time and fortunately for you have inbred enough that killing any one of them has already provided you with the first of the six. I’m eager to see how much you’re willing to sacrifice for this considering one of the gathering is your own. Would you dispose of your family so brutally?”
“That won’t be a problem,” David replied straight-faced.
Penny took a step back as grunts of approval sounded from the Pullai. The demon lord waved towards them and they dropped onto all fours, scampering towards the tunnel as Penny dashed away, trying to escape through the dark without hitting her head on the low overhangs. As she ran she realized she had been far too hasty in following David. She knew his violent plans but lacked the teleportation ability and knowledge of how to get out from the Underworld so that she could share this information. She was bound to get lost within the many twists and turns and it would only be so long before the creatures found her and made her into another disembodied carcass to add to their pile.