12: Binding Chains
Oliver found himself alone in his bed; Andrea had already left his side. He looked around his room; random items still lay scattered across the room from last night’s events. Oliver remembered he had disarmed the devil trap at his window to let Andrea out of it. Now Oliver was almost defenseless against Heather and her minions. He dressed and headed downstairs; Oliver had practically expected the smell of breakfast. His tummy rumbled as he entered the bare kitchen. Oliver grabbed a piece of bread from the pantry and explored the shop next. The sign hanging in the store window was still set to closed.
Oliver heard sounds coming from downstairs; the workshop door was wide open. He listened to the sound of chains rattling around, much like the sounds he heard last night, but not as loud or as plentiful. He continued down the stairs chewing on his loaf of bread.
Oliver entered into the doorway and could not dodge a metallic iron chain wrapping around and locking on his waist. Oliver followed with his eyes the restraining chain to a dark hole in the above ceiling. He looked a bit worried as Andrea had a thin twisted grin. The smile reminded him of a cat that had just caught a mouse.
She commanded “Retract!” The chain pulled Oliver at frightening speeds upwards and locked him to the ceiling.
Feeling a bit uncomfortable, he first spat out the bread in his mouth and shouted, “ANDREA! LET ME GO!“.
Andrea used another command, “Extend!” The chain ungracefully lowered Oliver quickly to the floor. Letting a grunt out, he landed hard on his butt.
Oliver glared back at Andrea disapprovingly as he tried to slide out or break the magical chain. He could not slide his fingers between the chain and his waist. The enchanted chains only got tighter the more he moved. If these chains had wrapped around his chest, he would not be able to breathe.
She came over to him, grinning; she kneeled. “Release!” the chain loosened and unclasped.
Oliver stood up, “What is that spell? I have not seen it before.”
Andrea glanced at him with another smile; she pulled a small piece of silver out of her pocket and cast again. ”Infernal Arcana: Serrated Chain.” Andrea pointed at the wall then pointed to one of Oliver’s empty water buckets. A silver serrated chain darted out of the wall from where she pointed from. Andrea again pointed at the bucket. The chain extended quickly, wrapping the bucket and locking around the round body. Andrea commanded the chains again, “Shred!” The serrated chain began unnaturally circling and slicing the wooden bucket. “Retract!” The bucket heaved back against the wall where the chain extended from, all the while slowly crushing and cutting the bucket.
Oliver gulped; this looked like a very painful spell. A spell fit for a demon sorcerer, on that, could cause a large amount of pain and fear.
Andrea ended the spell, and the crushed, broken bucket fell to the ground. “I call it Ka’Azalins Binding Chains, came to me this morning. Katalina helped me refine the basics of how to make the magic work. The strangeness about it, the spell felt very natural to me. When I embrace the rumbling in the back of my mind, new ideas begin to surface. I find myself thinking about how to bind things together. Not just how to tie things up, but how to bind different compounds together. Is that strange?” Reaching into her pocket and producing a piece of wire, “Using a thin strip of metal, I can create a chain made out of that metal. I can use any metal strip like cold iron, elven steel, or even gold. This spell has both utility and offensive abilities. I have had a fear of chains, bindings, and such. I can’t be afraid of these anymore. When I was locked up, my fear possessed me, and I became completely useless when dealing with Victor. If you had not come for me, I would have become his plaything.”
Oliver thought he could see something new in Andrea, a confidence that had not been there before. A new and dangerous power has awoken inside her. The recent series of events has defiantly changed her. Oliver could see a fire in her eyes as Andrea demonstrated her new spell.
Andrea moved one of the stools and climbed to sit; she decided to change the subject. “I am good at setting traps. This is something different; taking on Mr. Morgan and Heather is on a whole new level. In Blackthorn, I knew my opponent before I set my plans in motion. Victor was not a variable I had factored in just yet. I had heard of him but had not met him yet.”
Andrea lifted her head revealing her sadness, “You want to know what I had been doing down in that dungeon. You may have already had a good idea. Mr. Morgans’s idea of an offering to me, all I can eat. At first, all I did was feed, then as the weeks progressed. The victims I was probing got worse and worse. The violence they did to others was more than I could stand, so I started to hurt them. Then I started to kill them. I was passing judgment on these people. I felt I had the right to do so. The excitement I got from causing those poor fools suffering, I don’t know, but I felt so good about doing it. I enjoyed the pain and suffering I was causing to these poor souls.” Andrea started to choke a bit; tears began to fall from her eyes. “I was so wrong. I am such a monster.”
Oliver started to come to her; Andrea put her hand out, halting him. “Don’t. I deserve it. I don’t deserve you. Katalina knew these people were innocent; she eventually showed me. All these memories I studied were fabrication done by Victor. He had played with their minds to make them more desirable for me to hurt them. Oliver, I enjoyed the sensation. The feeling was that of joy and bliss, the more pain I caused, I.” Andrea broke into a full cry. “Is this what I am now? I am as bad as Heather. Your right not to want me.”
Oliver now moved over to her and wrapped his arms around and held her. She buried her horned head back into his chest. “I can’t let them continue. Mr. Morgan, he does this to people. If this is what Heather did to you, she must be stopped too.”
Oliver spoke in soft words in a comforting voice, “Yes, I understand all too well what you are going through. I have done things to others that I enjoyed and have to restrain myself as well. Heather left me with a scar on my heart and mind. Even after being free from her grasp and I am not entirely free and never will be.” He patted her back, trying to provide her some support. “Mr. Morgan is a different story; he is rich and hard to reach. He will have contingencies in place when he dies. He has died before and has been resurrected. He has the money and the connections to do so.”
Oliver was speaking about Resurrection; it is possible. Many of the gods offer these services to their followers. Though each time you come back, you come back a bit weaker than you were before. It said the soul dims to the point where it is impossible to be returned to the land of the living.
Oliver spoke, “You have nightmares, and so do I. Mine has been recently dark and not about Heather. They have been about you killing me in horrible ways.”
Andrea stopped her head snapped up to look deeply into his eyes, “Never, I can’t hurt you. I won’t.”
He continued, “Mr. Morgan stood next to your side as your Master. Repeatedly in different situations and locations. I see him using you to kill me. Last night you said you wanted to serve him.”
Andrea’s eyes flared red for a moment, she stifled her anger, and the color returned. “Sorry, I don't want to serve him or let him be my master. I am wrestling with my own broken soul; you heard my demon last night. When I was reborn, a piece of my own soul was shaved off to form this new body; the demon is the darkest part of me. I will have to fight harder to maintain control."
She balled her hand into a fist, "I can’t allow this to happen. I know what you can do. You can summon Katalina to kill him; it should be so easy. You have the command sigil. Summon her to do the deed, and this will be over.”
Oliver had thought about it, “What happens next time somebody wants to kill me and take my place at your side. I got a feeling there is more to this than just Mr. Morgan’s desires.”
Andrea’s eyes became a crimson red. Katalina’s presence filled her vessel. “Master Martin, this disturbs me. Our pact prevents me from entering directly into your mind. Explain these dreams.”
Oliver let Andrea go and stood back. “Started a few weeks ago, about the time Andrea joined the Guild.” Oliver went into details about the dreams, the feeling, and the details.
Katalina responded, “You described the entrance to Calidor with such precision as if you had been there, but I know you have not. Another god is trying to gain favor with my Hand. The god is taking advantage of the free will I give her. This disturbs me greatly. You were not the only suiter that would have made a good choice for my Ka’Azalin. I had considered Samual Morgan as a potential companion, though he would attempt to control her and use her and me for his power. I will have to find out which of the fellow gods is trying to sway my Hand. It looks like I have a mystery to solve, as well.”
Katalina paused to catch her breath, “I can answer you this, Master Martin, what you see in your dreams are potential futures that could happen. As gods, we can predict what might come to pass; some events will happen; others may occur. The stronger the thread of fate is, the more likely that event will occur. As gods, we tend to try and manipulate fate to change the outcome to our advantage. Master Martin, your and Ka’Azalin’s fate is intertwined, but the threads of choice still have yet become bound. Another god is showing you what could happen; these events are not yet set in stone.”
Katalina’s presence left Andrea, her tears had ended, and the goddess had flooded her mind with several new possibilities and ideas. “I have to rethink my strategies now. There’s more going on than even I thought. My traps for Mr. Morgan and Heather will have to change. Katalina showed me some of the probable outcomes for what I had planned. The events do not come out in my favor or yours.”
Oliver leaned against one of his workbenches. “Well, we will have to deal with Mr. Morgan and Heather when we get back. We head out on the big guild mission tomorrow.”