Apologies to those who have been waiting for the final parts of this story. I managed to get them written by the end of last week, but I had no time to post them, or read everyone else’s responses to the prompts, or respond to comments. Sigh. I will catch up this week, but for today, I will share Part 11, 12 & 13. Then it’s time to make a start on my NaNo goal 🙂
This is the eleventh part in an ongoing serial I’m writing. To read from the beginning, click here. Or find the story index at the top of the page.
‘Crispin, will you do the honours?’
It was over before Damon had a chance to protest, let alone react to what was about to happen. A small ceremonial dagger cut the top of Damon’s arm. Then the knife was handed over to the Master.
‘And so it begins,’ he said, holding the knife above the book. Damon watched entranced as the tiny amount of blood on the blade trickled ever so slowly downwards. Then it gathered in volume until one large drop spilled from it and splashed upon the dark fur.
An eye appeared on the cover of the book. Damon screamed because it was quiet horrible.
‘Who thinks himself fortified with such wisdom as to dare trouble me?’ The words seemed to emanate from within the book itself.
‘I do, Artemon of the Black River.’
‘And you think yourself worthy?’
‘I know I am.’
‘Then let us find out.’ A clasp appeared on the side of the book, which opened itself. Then the cover lifted and pages began to turn quickly as if stirred by a gale.
‘Destiny picks the ritual that will prove your worth,’ the book proclaimed. ‘If it ends without your destruction, you will have all that you seek. Fail and you lose everything.’
‘I hardly think so, but I do not exist to remind you of your stupidity. Only to bring into effect what this book decrees.’
Damon saw the man he now knew as Artemon blanch in the candlelight. Had he believed the consequences of failure might be less fatal than the book suggested? Still, he could not back out now.
Suddenly the grimoire fell still. Artemon leaned closer to see what ritual the book insist he performed. ‘The Spell of the Well of Unending Riches,’ Artemon read aloud. ‘Deep inside the Forest of Knowledge, at the source of The River of Understanding, there lies the Well of Unending Riches, where the wise may go and draw power and wealth without limit…Yes, I have heard of such a place and long have I desired to take my rewards from its waters…Yet in order to receive both in such vastness as only the Well may grant, something of great value, of equal value, must be given in return…Surely nothing can equal such a gift,’ he mused, looking up from the book and scratching his chin, before he continued reading. ‘Work the rite on the night before the Samhain Veil falls…yes, yes, that is tonight…And have with you a worthy sacrifice, a sacrifice you have chosen.’ His head snapped up and his eyes, burning red and gold with the reflected light of the candles, locked on to Damon.
Artemon’s arm stretched out towards Damon. ‘Crispin! Bring him to me.’
Damon stepped backwards, only recalling that they was a ring of candles behind him, just in time to pause.
‘Damon, don’t you think it’s a little late in proceedings to decide that you don’t wish to be part of tonight’s main event?’ Crispin asked, stepping towards his brother.
‘I don’t remember ever saying that I wanted to be here, brother. Now, if you would kindly point me in the direction of the exit, I’ll make my own way out.’
Crispin lunged at Damon. Damon sidestepped him and leapt over the candles and into the clear space beyond. Just when he thought he had a moment to get his bearings and make a plan, a creature the likes of which he had never seen before, came bounding out of the shadows towards him. This time he wasn’t quick enough to get out of the way, and together they fell to the floor, scuffling.
‘Don’t harm him, my pet,’ Artemon called out above the din. ‘I need him alive.
Sharp teeth snapped inches from Damon’s face. He aimed a punch at it’s nose, but the thing didn’t seem to register it. As it sat on the demon, Damon could tell the creature was all muscle for it was heavy as hell and crushing the breath from him.
Stars started to swim before his eyes. He could feel his strength leaving him. Then, just as he thought he was about to breath his last, Crispin was standing over them.
‘Leave! Drop!’ he shouted at the creature, as if it was some sort of dog, but to no avail. In the end Crispin had to haul the beast off him, flinging him back to the shadows from where it had come.
Then it was Damon’s turn to be hauled, this time back on to his feet. ‘Now that’s enough silliness for tonight. Promise you’ll be good?’
Damon made no answer. He was breathing heavy and could barely hold himself upright.
‘Is he undamaged?’ Artemon called.
‘He’ll do. Go on,’ he said, pushing Damon back towards the circle of candles. Yet neither he nor Crispin, ever reached it.
There was an explosion of stone, flashes of light, rumbles of thunder and the screaming of banshees. Something else had been unleashed in the cemetery that night. Something none of them ever expected.
To be continued…
Written for: 13 Days of Samhain vol ii: Day 11 – The Rite Rituals