DISCLAIMER – This story features images of violence, adult language, and some adult situations.
The following story is Copyright © 2015 Padraig O’C. Copying this story without permission from the author is strictly prohibited.
The stairs passed through one more floor, and she ignored the locked doors on either side. Running past the landing she then made her way further while the tension in her body only served to place her more and more on edge. Destiny was calling, that or the desire of suicide. Whatever could summon such monstrosities as what she had seen that night, and hold two Fae Ladies at bay was not something to trifle with. The fact that it felt like Bozena Knezevic was deigning to see her was even more reason for her to hold onto the fury roiling in her muscles. So much pent up aggression, and not enough targets.
Finally, the last step, and a heavy wooden door carved with scenes straight out of the rise of Zeus depicting the King of Olympus casting down his father and the other Titans into the realm of Tartarus. She pushed on the door while trying the handle. The thing would not budge. She knocked on it once and then tried again, no response. Whoever was on the other side was not letting her out onto the balcony.
“I KNOW YOU ARE OUT THERE BOZENA!” she cried at the door. There was a shifting of sounds as foot steps made their way toward the door. A response? Perhaps. Or perhaps it was someone readying to blow the door back down upon her, Nyla would just have to find out. Her eyes closed as she took a step back and glared at the window. It was completely frostered over and was reflecting her image. Her mind blinked as she smile, that would be more than usual. Slowly she cleared her mind as she tapped into her abilities and blinked before muttering, “Lord Lugh guide me true.”
Then she touched the glass and breathed slowly. Her fingers quickly and acutely drew out the word ‘Ocain‘ – Open in Elder Tongue. A lance of energy danced off her fingers like small charges of electricity the color of violet as her Enam or soul sang to the reflection. Slowly the glass quaked and shivered as if it were alive as it became less rigid and more viscous. Soon it looked like a vertically displaced pool of silvery milk waiting to be dove into. She side as she grasped the frame of the window and pushed into the Shadow.
There was a splash and she almost choked. It was always like that when one entered the Shadow. The magic that charged the gate way then sealed behind her as she suddenly found herself on the opposite side. She saw nothing and then looked around. A pool of water sat on the ground near an altear. Her eyes suddenly bled smoke as she reversed her Shadow sight to view int othe mundane. The her soul’s energy quavered as she pushed herself closer and closer to the edge. Nyla flung back her resistance built up over years of practice that allowed her to control and prevent Soulburn. Now she would drain her Enam and do something foolish.
She lit her hand in violet fire as her contract charged with energy from her own being. Slowly she traced out the word Ocain before a pool of water on the ground, likely from a fire causing the ice to melt nearby the altar. The water began to shiver as she took a step toward it and breathed slowly outward. Her focus came streaking to her as she could feel a great awakening of her senses piling onto her from the depths of her body at the base of her spine. She would need it. Dropping back into the milky substance of the gate between dimensions she would quickly find herself surfacing behind the altar to a obviously bizarre scene. On either side of the altar was one of the two Fae ladies, Lady Snow to the right, and Lady Emerald Eyes to the left. Either was standing upon a small circle inscribed with ogham, and ancient chinese. More damn blood sorcery.
To use incantations and channel magic through proxies was the act of sorcery. To use the Enam in a direct mean was the act of charms, and magic in full. The Alchemist used sorcery to as a means to combat their growing mental instability. To fight off the briars that were not only consuming their body, but their soul in its entirety. Upon the altar and causing both woman physical pain was a single large ingot of cold iron. A pale visible distortion wavered in the air from the two Fae woman toward the ingot. Iron ate or more appropriately devoured the magic of Fae, it essentially gobbling up their life essences.
Nyla herself could feel the iron making her ill as her fae blood brimmed with a slowly ebbing pain. Only her mortal half kept her from keeling over in nausea from the mere presence of the Cold Iron.
“You arrived late,” the words were concise, and impatient. Nyla looked around the opposite side of the altar and saw Bozena in her full glory. She was clothed in a stereotypical cloak of wool, and a hood hung around her neck. Around her neck hung a strange mutated visage of the all-seeing eye of the Illuminati.
“An Illuminatus, I thought you were all dead after the massacre in Bavaria over a hundred years ago,” she said to the wanna-be mage.
“I’m not one of those foolish Illuminated ones,” Bozena spat. Her thin oval face was drawn, and her eyes were hollow. All around her neck up to her chin were the briars, and even as the woman spoke a line was starting to form just under her right ear. Her eyes were blood shot and her sclera had a weird series of blackened veins within it.
“You are either that or a Thule wannabe,” Nyla retorted. The words angered the Alchemist quickly as Bozena snapped her fingers and a flash of light sped at Nyla. She ducked as a stream of searing heat shot over her head and boiled a pile of snow on the railing behind her. Nyla glared as she gripped her hand and felt the dark blood of the Seal Person still there. She kept it behind her just so the Alchemist could not see it. Bozena returned to reciting whatever she had before speaking.
I need her damn blood, sierd. She would need to get it somehow. Emerald Eyes was looking quite drained as her dark skin was already appearing pale, and clammy. She must be trying to drain her Enam to complete the incantation. Nyla bit her lip and sighed, she would need to push the edge. Push to Soulburn so she could exude her Fae side unless. I could give into the Fury. If she shunted a bit of magic into herself she could push her Fae features outward. Cat fight for real this time.
Nyla mentally gripped what remained of her Enam, and unthreaded the energy of her soul within her depths of her brain. Her eyes started to throb, her teeth joined in, and then finally her hands and fingers. A burst of pain road up her spine and out to her extremities while she suddenly fell to her knees. Gritting her teeth as they sharpened, and became more pronounced.
“Giving up already?” the adept asked as Bozena took a step toward her while Nyla fell forward shuddering onto her hands. Her fingers tingle as she focused harder on funneling her Fae side out from under the skin of normalcy.
“So fucking sad you know that right? I’m about to bring about what I have been at for well over thirty years, and all you can do is kneel how damn quaint.” The Alchemist was getting more than just smug, she was getting foolish. There was obviously not a lot of brain matter left in that thick head of hers. She was monologing. Thirty years. How is that possible?
“What are you doing?” Bozena was getting just close enough. There was then a hand on Nyla’s shoulder and she let the nails dig in. Just one more second, and she watched her nails warp into the talons of her true-self. It was time.
“This,” Nyla croaked as she pushed off the ground and raked her clawed hand across Bozen’s face. The Alchemist fell back with a long wailing screech as Nyla started to scribe a series of ogham wording on her right arm. Each emblem when completed seared into her skin like a brand and she fought back the pain. The blood began to unlock what she needed as Bozena removed her hand as she glared at Nyla.
A swift kick was delivered to Nyla’s chest as the investigator feel on her back and her head nearly smashed into the cold wood of the ground. Snow clang to her as she felt the cold chill of it wet and soak her dress which was becoming torn already. Her arm was twitching as she bit her lip and lick the arm with the black blood. The magic in her body traveled to the blood of the Seal Person, and suddenly she knew she was almost ready. STOMP! Pain exploded across her hand as she realized her wrist was nearly broken as Bozen drew a knife and nearly pointed it at Nyla’s neck. The razor edge tickling her throat as the woman knelt down in front of her.
“You are such a meddling little piece of shit.” The knife was drawning closer as she could feel he heart pounding in her ear.
“I am going to rip you apart,” the woman’s face was completely lacking in empathy. It was fixed into a position of utter contempt, malice, and murderous desire. Nyla knew that she had to end this soon, or she would likely end up gutted and on the altar.
“You talk to sierding much,” Nyla spun her leg out and tripped Bozena’s legs out from under her. Just a bit longer. The thud and oof that came after were just signs of further delay. Faster,that was her only option. What were the first words of the poem? An old addage in stories was speaking things backward to unwind them. That notion was only partially true. Incantations were crafted from physical things or emblematic symbols. They could be unwound if one used the basis of their creation. Such as poems.
“Just like the others,” Bozena said under her breath.
“Others?” Nyla asked. That made little sense, unless. The idea ran through her head as she stared at the blood covered face. Depths of utter wrongness were revealed in that face.
“The rest that failed to meet my requirements,” Bozena said as she reached and held her bloodied face once again. The last line made it all click into place. Bozena’s marks were not her own passed to her from her father they were her father’s brands.
“You took your own daughter,” the words passed quickly between the two. Meanwhile Lady Snow was working hard to release herself from the iron. Watching the interplay between the Changeling, and the mad Alchemist was certainly giving her enough time to pull off an escape. As old as she was, Lady Snow bore not a single bit of interest in anyne else at the moment. Nyla caught a glance at Lady Snow’s movements and drew back to the Alchemist.
“Bozena provided a lifeline,” was the reply. Now it was evident, Radovan had stolen his daughter’s body. How? The man was more than mad he was lusting for a means to save himself. To sacrifice his own flesh and blood to save himself was one of the greatest sins in the world, even among the Fae. Her eyes narrowed as she started to put the finishing touches on the work. She would then call upon her contracts to add to Dweomer.
Lady Emerald Eyes quaked near the Iron, as her skin was starting to look paler then before. It was no longer a viable option to wait much longer. Her veins were starting to turn white as the life was being sucked out of her. Color depleting from her face in a rapid and frightening manner. Even her skin was starting to appear patched with dried bits of flesh growing as if she were wasting away from leprosy.
“You craven little sket,” she hissed as Bozena was now standing over her. Nyla’s ribs hurt lot and she realized that Bozena or “Radovan” must have bruised her ribs or even broken one. Great more sierding injuries. Her arm was hurting even worse when she snapped her eyes open. A second was all she needed while Bozena moved to sneer to herself, or whoever she was now. A quick blow was deliver to her other hand as she cried out in pain. How much more could she take? The eyes of the Alchemist burned with intensity as she started to mouth a series of words that Nyla could not hear as a loud ringing started to filter out everything else she was hearing.
Fury overtook her as she gritted her teeth, finally everything just felt like it was in focus as the ring ended.
“Time to die,” her adversary spoke to her while starting to sound like a broken record. The Siren talked like this a lot, I wonder if the two are related. She sighed as she took in a breath and started to mumble underneath her breath. To rip apart what Radovan or whoever they were now was going to be difficult, but the last piece of the puzzle was almost there. She felt like things were just taking a bit too long, the stakes increasing with everyone moment.
The Alchemist suddenly stamped a foot down on Nyla’s right arm.
“What are you saying?” the pressure increased as Nyla was sure the woman was aiming to crush her arm. More pain, and she just channeled it into her growing desire to snap the Alchemist’s neck. A second passed when she nearered the middle of the poem. Luckily she had memorized it after coming to hate the Alchemist so much.
‘Wounds for the desperate, blows are for the strong.’
Balm, and oil for wear hearts all cut and bruised wrong.’
She sighed as her mind was finding it hard to stay on topic. Not much more time. The investiagor just needed to finish the damn poem. The complete part, now the select sections. She fought hardered for what the last parameter meant. The baron rebels, and then the king shows mercy. Mercy will undo it all. She just had one final damn line.
The Alchemist smiled, “Kipling, you are reciting KIPLING AT ME?”
‘NAY – said the baron kneeling in his hall.
But IRON – COLD IRON – IS MASTER of men ALL
IRON OUT OF CALVARY IS MASTER OF MEN ALL!’
Calvary, in other names, Golgotha, where the Cristos died for his faith. Cold Iron had no will upon the world, the tribes never agreed enough to grant that power. Her arms burned again as she expelled the last line with utter hatred toward the Alchemist. With a might twist she wrenched her arm up and then added:
“Radovan Knezevic, I unbind your works.” Her arm flashed as she rolled away. The magic of the Dweomeric Incantation coming to life as it latched onto the targets set before her. Pain rode across the glyphs marked into her skin lashed out toward the ingot of Cold Iron. Predictably the Iron pulled in the magic, and then suddenly it all started to unravel.
“I unbind your curses, and your hexes.” Nyla rose to her feat as her arm’s bleeding magic slowly started to unravel more, and more. The banishment was not targeting the Alchemist, but all of her works. The crazed magic was being unmaded, unsealed, and contracts cracked to reverse her works. Nyla’s Dweomer was not easily made, and she had to keep concentration. The Alchemist threw a punch at her, and connected with her jaw. Nyla went down again, and then used her slightly still strong left hand to catch the second, a downward jab aimed at her left temple.
Nyla then blocked a kick as the Alchemist apparently decided to reveal her skill in what appeared to be mixed Russian martial arts. Nyla could only blink as she fell back while trying to remember the final part of the incantation. Meanwhile Nyla’s already activated magic was busily tearing apart, and cutting the threads woven over the months by Radovan in the body of his daughter. Lady Snow suddenly freed herself as the Cold Iron ingot ceased to work its power upon her. Quickly the woman walked over and caught Emerald Eyes as the Loa Fae nearly collapsed on the spot.
“The Changeling saved us,” the Storm Court Lady said as she eased Emerald Eyes to the ground. Her ebony skinned companion made a glance as Nyla was being cirlced by the Alchemist around the altar. A question did remain. Why did the Thricebound simply not just finish the Alchemist? Was something wrong?
Truth was Nyla was having to piece together her incantation on the spot, and on the go. In many ways she was lucky it had worked to disassemble the work done by her foe. The final part of a reverted banishing was going to be difficult, more so after she realized the evil work done by Radovan to steal his daughter’s body. Was he possessing her, or had he ejected her soul? It was always an extreme price when the innocent lost to the unjust; and at that moment Nyla did not want to play white knight.
She wanted to kill the bitch, but that of course ran into a bunch of moral issues. And mayhap a reason why she was forgetting the final phrase for her Dweomer to be complete. Too bad magic never worked the way it was usually directed. Then she finally remembered the words she meant to say.
“Brésid má di gnaínní!” she yelled. The ogham covering her arms pulsed for only a moment as she then spung around a forward kick meant for her stomach. Nyla’s arm reached out and caught the Alchemist by the throat as she recited the wórds once again, “Brésid má di gnaínní. I break your works, I break your deeds!”
The briars entangling Bozena’s body seemed to reached out farther along the girl’s head as her mouth opened wide. A silent wail of pain, anguish and frustration appeared to suddenly pour from her as then a ghostl shimmer of energy shot out of the blonde Croatian, and out into the sky above. A deep thunderous sound was heard as Bozena, and then Nyla collapsed. The marks upon the Changeling’s arms slowly beginning to fade. Pain that had ebbed across her skin was slowly wavering back into her already beaten body.
“I sierding hate this sket,” she spat onto the weakening body of Bozena Knezevic. She took a few shuffling steps over toward the woman who had fallen upon her back just beside the right of the altear. Her face was gasping for air as if she were choking. A moment later her eyes glazed over and she froze while staring up glassy eyed up at the sky. Then the door to the balcony burst open and the warriors along with Laughing Crow enter. They were all beaten and battered, one was limping while another was heaving with several cuts along her chest.
“Is it over?” Laughing Crow inquired. His carefree visage was missing and replaced with a serious face masked for combat. His great war paddle was covered in more gore, and was dripping with black inky blood. Whatever they had fought while she ended the works of the Alchemist had likely had taken its tool upon the sortie.
“Your descendant broke the deeds of the madwoman,” Lady Snow said while holding up a shaking Lady Emerald Eyes. The leader of the Court of the Stars was slowly regaining her color as she was watching the scene play out before her.
“Lord Bronze Falcon fled the premises after we killed the shadow beings, most of the Dusk Courtiers with him,” Laughing Crow reported. The three remaining Fae Lords glanced from one another as Jack strolled into the scene with Aoife behind him. The tall willowy red-haired Fae was cleaning her nails using a sharp thin bladed dagger.
“The Seal People all left after whatever,” he froze and stared at the bruised and bleeding Nyla and shook his head. Her response was to give a weak smirk before nearly collapsing on the ground beside Bozena.
“You pushed yourself, -again-.” This time it was Aoife who was beside her berating her like a mother might.
“I did what I had to, the sicko was using his daughter’s body and was going to kill Snow and Emerald Eyes,” Nyla replied while divulging a tide of mish-mashed information. Aoife responded by clucking her tongue before helping the young girl up. Meanwhile Jack was sifting through as much of information as possible. There were numerous hidden details in the scene as the Fae warriors shackled the Alchemist. Meanwhile Aoife was turning to order one of them to retrieve some sort of draught from downstairs to help ease Nyla’s pain.
“Good job lass,” Jack told Nyla. He walked over to help her up while Aoife moved to sort through the various items found in a bag near the alter. From what Nyla could make of it while she was prevented from sitting up, the bag was filled with implements for Bozean’s ritual. Likely a bunch of knives and other nasty things in there. Nyla could feel the pain running along her muscles, in her ribs, her arms, and where else she was struck in the fight. Her strength was seriously pushed at the moment.
“Rest up now Ny,” she was told as she heard a clunk and saw a stretcher being laid out beside her.
“I don’t nee-” she was cut off as Jack silenced her with a quick gesture.
“Just be quiet Ny, and take the courtesy. You saved two -very- important people,” Jack told her. The young woman was carefully lifted up as the stretcher was pulled under her. Her mini-dress by now was fairly falling apart and had large rips in it. How she was not freezing Nyla was completely unsure. She sighed as she lifted up a hand and stared at the now long sharp thicken nails that graced her hands. Her eyes saw sharper, and her senses far more clear. Yet she had paid the price by eliciting Soulburn. Her body was so fatigued, she could barely concentrate.
“I feel like sket,” was all she said while being drawn back into the lodge. Bozena’s intervention had only dulled the party for a while, but it did not kill the Fae desire for revelry. Nyla sighed as her time at the part however was now cut short. Already she could already assume Jack convincing Aoife it was time to leave. Well I do have a cracked ribbed or two. And, and, I think my hand has gone numb. Her head was pounding, and even if she could muster the necessary strength to do much more than sit in a chair painfully.
She was in the main hall by the time she was given something to drink. The hall was cleansed, it appeared, of all the dead bodies from the battle earlier. Scorches, scratches, and other traces of damage were easily seen from her place on the gurney. The woman was gifted a small bottle of hard cider. Her one slightly still good hand was used to bring it to her lips. Cool bubbling liquid which was first sweet and then bitter touched her tongue. A good simple reward for nearly dying and then saving the collective ass of two Fae Lords. Much better than the Siren Raid at least.
Next Part: Chapter 24
Thanks for reading! If you have any feedback please leave a comment if you can, or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org