In Search Of The Master (Chapter 8)

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As the hour approached midnight, two desiccated cadavers rested atop of a granite plinth, with Di stood at their heads, with a hand rested atop of each of their scalps. Deep beneath the earth, in the ancient cellar, there were also gathered, six other figures in ceremonial regalia. Flames flickered in the darkness, to the left and aback of Di. The image of the fire reflected in a pool of water that swirled on her right flank. Alice, with a golden bowl in her left hand and a blade extended from her right, slow walked the circle of figures. From the feet of Simon’s cadaver, Alice proceed deasil round the circle, at each of the figures, there gathered, she stopped and cut their presented palms, gathering the blood, that was shed, in the bowl. Her ritual changed, after she had cut the fifth figure’s palm, for that person raised her palm, to Alice’s lips, thus enabling her to run her tongue along the line of the cut. With the first five offerings of blood, collected in the bowl, she continued her clockwise progress about the ring of figures until she reached Di for a second time. Upon reaching Di, Alice knelt and cut each of Di’s forearms, once again collecting the blood that was drawn. Careful not to spill the blood, Alice cleansed and sealed each of the wounds with her tongue. Thereafter, Alice continued her circumambulation, of the celebrants, until she reached the feet of the cadavers again. Ceremoniously, Alice placed the bowl between the feet of the two corpses, that done she slit her own forearm, to provide yet more blood for the sacrifice.

The potent cocktail, of the sacrificed blood was used to trace the sigla of the enchantment there were about to perform. Once the final siglum had been drawn, Alice returned deasil to the foot of the plinth, once she was there the celebrants began to chant and she performed the somantic component of the ritual. The ritual had been their last hope, everything else they had tried to separate the three trapped life-forces having failed; defeated by Di’s innate resistance to alien intervention. The ritual was a bastard; composed as it was from elements of diverse rituals, including those that were intended to heal the spirit, perform exorcisms and enable astral projection. It had never been performed before, four of those gathered there having composed it themselves; the inspiration for it being their desperation, as such its outcome was exceptionally unpredictable.

There were no perceptible effects form the incantation, throughout the whole time that the adepts spent reciting the first four stanzas the ritual. That being the case their desperation was all too apparent in their voices as they began the fourth and final verse. Unbeknownst to the other practitioners the enchantments targets were in the process of interfering with the magic.

«This will never work, with each word that is spoken, my teguments become more powerful.» Di began formulating a strategy to overcome her own resistance; «We’re going to have to take a chance, are you both willing?»

«Your suggesting that we merge, if I am correct in my reading of your intentions. » Eleanor answered. «We merge and you follow the calling of their spell, once we are mingled, your defences…»

«Simon?» Di repeated his name several times, but received no reply.

Eleanor tried to contact him, as well, but there was also no response to her calls.

«Become a vortex, we will entwine each other and pull him into our joint form.» By the fifth word of the first line on the final verse, both Eleanor and Di had both become whirlwinds inside their collective consciousness. When the seventh word was uttered they had blended and were in the process of consuming Simon. As the final word of the second line was spoken, they were battling their way through Di’s shields to escape the constrictions of that body. Halfway through the third line her defences were victorious and repulsed them. The last word of that line saw them trying to use stealth to escape. With the final stanza’s middle line completed, they were repulsed yet again. After two more attempts failed and the final line of the enchantment began, their last attempt at escape pitched them violently towards the core of Di’s inner wards. Upon contact with those wards they were cast out of her body, in total disarray, as the penultimate word of the incantation left the celebrants mouths. The power, of the final word, of the incantation sent the three spirits back, into their respective bodies.

For several agonising minutes, Alice and the others looked on convinced their efforts had been in vain. Their fears became heightened when Di’s body pitched forward and fell across the two cadavers. A crimson tear formed in the corner of James Redfern’s Eye, several of those who had worked the enchantment staggered as the enchantment devoured its price from their life-forces. Alice reached for the bowl, that had been used to collect the blood, only to be interrupted mid-motion when emotion took control. Di and the two corpses sprang to life. Several of those there screamed out of fear or surprise, as Di grabbed the flaming dish and Eleanor threw Simon towards her. Not realising the reason for these events Jo who had been behind Di leapt at Eleanor. The moment that Simon landed, at Di’s feet, she emptied the contents of the bowl over him. Almost instantaneously, Simon became a pile of ashes upon the floor.

Before the flames, that consumed Simon, had died down, James had flown to his beloved’s side. Harriet intercepted Jo mid-leap, before Jo could contact with Eleanor, Harriet’s mother. Rapidly, or rather as fast as they were able to, Julia Markham, with the aged Dean protecting her, moved to exit, from the cellar. As Alice joined the melee to protect Jo, Di cried out, “Stop! We had too. His mind… Stop! Jay you deal with them,” Di indicated Alice and Eleanor, who were at the opposite end of the cellar, “The other two are mine.”

Before James uttered, “Pardon?” Di had hold of the throats of both Jo and Harriet. That being the case he did as she had requested and separated Alice and Eleanor.

“Listen! Useful trick, this palsy, Eleanor can you hear when…”

“Yes.”

“His mind had gone. He had become feral. I am just glad Eleanor realised what I intended and so insured that he could not react, and hence escape.”

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