Pumpkin King

Chapter 59

Jekyll and Corwin stood back to back. All around them the fog spread, blinding them to their enemies. They searched for Taboo but the fog was too thick. That was until the screaming started. It was a high pitched screech that ran a chill up their spines.

It was Taboo. Screaming. Taboo didn't scream. They weren't even sure he could feel fear or pain. That just made things worse.

Jekyll glanced at Corwin, his eyes filled with worry. "Tell me…have you ever known Taboo to act like this?"

Corwin didn't seem worried like Jekyll. His eye was twitching and a vein bulged on his forehead. He didn't like not knowing what was going on. But he kept his voice level. "No. But…there's something in here that's making him freak out."

There was another bout of screaming.

And then the shades appeared. Armored knights, jousting cavaliers, swordsmen, all these men appeared around them, swinging various weapons from axes to swords to spears and flails. They were surrounded. They couldn't make out their features clearly, but one thing was for certain. They were enemies.

As one, the shadowy beings raised their weapons and struck. But Corwin and Jekyll weren't just going to sit and take it. The jumped out of the way and rolled to the side. But there were just more enemies waiting for them.

Jekyll struck out, wind wrapping around his arms before slashing out towards their assailants. But no matter who he hit, none of them seems to be damaged. "What is this? Who are these people?"

Then Corwin stepped towards him, just outside his field of view. He had a look of annoyance on his face coupled with slight embarrassment. "We have no need to fear them." He said briskly.

Jekyll was going to ask what he meant when he saw a knight with a broadsword rise behind his companion. He was going to shout a warning, but it was too late. The knight swung, Corwin not even taking notice of the oncoming blow. But there was no sound of steel hitting flesh. When the sword made contact with Corwin's flesh, it simply dissipated, turning to a puff of fog.

"They…aren't real?" Jekyll wondered hesitantly. A cavalier wielding a large mace rode by, his weapon raised to strike. But Jekyll didn't move. He watched as the warrior swung, only to be hit by a small puff of fog.

Now he was annoyed. "It seems we've been made fools of." He said tersely.

Then another scream cut through the air.

This time, they both snapped towards the source. It wasn't too far away from them, back towards the door. Without a word to the other, they both raced towards Taboo, but stopped up short to avoid getting hit. Taboo was lunging in every direction, one hand on his head, the other waving every which way, as if he were trying to blow the fog away with nothing but sheer will. His eyes were shut tightly.

"Taboo!" Jekyll shouted, trying to get his attention. "Calm down. What's wrong?"

The darker wizard's eyes snapped open at his voice. His hands clenched his head tightly, trying to block out the pain. "It burns." He hissed. "The light, it's everywhere. It's too bright!"

Jekyll raised an eyebrow. "How can everything be bright? You're -." He was cut off by Corwin.

"Quiet, you fool!"

But then Bertrand's voice echoed around them. "By all means, let the boy finish." The fog cleared slightly to reveal the Pumpkin King wizard standing nearby. "He won't be telling me anything I don't already know."

His eyes fell to Taboo. There was a mixture of scorn and pity in the way he looked at him. "You foolish child." He said sadly. "You can see magic. A gift like that isn't natural. It isn't something we humans are meant to have. In order to receive it, you'd have to give something in return." He shook his head. "You traded your sight for this ability, am I wrong?"

Corwin and Jekyll froze at the old man's words. But Taboo lunged, his arms flailing wildly. "Make it stop!" He screamed. His hands tore at Bertrand, but the moment he made contact, the guild wizard dissolved into a cloud of fog.

Fog condensed behind Taboo and took the shape of another Bertrand. "And I thought to myself, 'if his eyes can't see, then how can he see the magic around him?' Well it didn't take long to figure out." He narrowed his eyes. "You see it with your mind." Then he smiled. "Then, assuming all of this was true, I had to make a gamble."

Taboo lunged and destroyed the fog clone like he had the last. But another just took its place. "With magic like yours, there's always a downside. And I was willing to bet…that you can't turn it off." He gestured around him. "This entire area is flooded with my magic. How painful is it?" He asked darkly. "Too see so much and not be able to block it out?"

That's when it happened.

The rotting corpse of a long dead dog knocked the legs out from under Jekyll. He let out a scream before something bit the back of his cloak and dragged him back into the fog.

Corwin was about to chase after him when someone lunged through the fog and tackled Taboo, pushing him out of his field of vision.

He gritted his teeth together he heard the sound of a cane tapping towards him. He whirled around to find Bertrand's fog clone behind him. The tapping grew louder and the clone dissolved just as Bertrand himself stepped into view where the clone had been.

"Now I have a few questions for you…Man from the Magic Council."

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