In the darkness, the Being thrashed against its bonds. Every day brought its eventual escape from its prison that much closer. It was angry that the Knife Respers had failed in their mission. Now the FairyKnight had found her bondmate and things were more complicated. Still, the chances that this pretend FairyKnight might discover her true power were very slim. The being grinned, huge teeth were revealed from beneath leathery lips. It turned its thoughts to other things. Tonight was going to be a good night. Its dark servants had succeeded in their lesser mission of acquiring a young Mage. The shadowy creatures dragged the unconscious young Mage to the wet stone before their chained master.
Beaten, bleeding from many cuts at the sharp claws of the Knife Respers, the Mage groaned in pain, barely holding on to life. His eyes fluttered open and beheld the ominous creature before him. A strangled cry escaped his lips as he was quickly surrounded by the Knife Respers and forced to stand upright. Dim light from a scattering of torches revealed enough of the imprisoned one to turn the dying Mage’s heart to stone.
He struggled weakly as the Being grasped a single large scale from its own body and removed it. It easily reached across the cavernous enclosure and held the scale in front of the Mage. One Knife Resper pulled aside the Mage’s tattered shirt. The slumped body began to twist and turn convulsively. The Being placed the scale on the Mage’s chest.
Dark, venomous lightening arced across the Mage’s body, and the Knife Respers fell back from the display of power enveloping the Mage.
“Arise, my Minion. You are my chosen servant.” the Being spoke - a voice deep and powerful, and full of death.
The being that had once been a young Mage had been transformed. It was tall, muscular, with a shock of long white hair. But the most striking change had been his eyes. The lids opened to reveal twin pits of darkness.
The once-man gestured, and a violet-colored mist congealed around his body, becoming an ornate cloak with veins of black that moved and shifted in the half-light. He smiled a wicked, cruel smile with a mouth far too large to be human.
“Oh great and powerful Rath, I am your humble servant.” he bowed deeply.
“I shall call you ... Varun. I have high hopes for you, my creation. Serve me well, and you will be richly rewarded. Fail me, and...”
As one, all the Knife Respers in the room fell to the floor, screeching in agony. In a moment, there was nothing left but shriveled husks that gave off an acrid odor.
Varun laughed. “I live to serve, oh master. What is your will for me?”
Rath raised his mighty arms, his clawed hands clenched in fists as he pulled against the massive chains holding him in place. “My freedom.”
Trixie paced up and down the empty hallway nervously. She looked at the door through which Julia had passed hours ago. She could still hear the heated voices of the Mages, asking Julia over and over about what had happened.
“I tell you I don’t know anything about Remnants or what a Child of the Earth is!” Julia repeated tearfully.
“How is it that you could cut off the power of a dozen Mages with so much as a gesture?” The Mage questioning her slammed his fist on the table. He was a severe looking Mage named Spire with cold eyes and a long salt and pepper beard.
Julia held her face in her hands. She had been through two nightmares today. One where a giant creature from some ancient war had given her an amber necklace and somehow she had managed to effortlessly “turn off” a number of Mages just by “something” that had overtaken her and guided her will. She was tired, hungry, and ready to leave the Mage Institute forever.
“I told you, I don’t know! Something just - came over me.” she said between sobs.
Ungen, the second Mage looked at Julia and sighed. “You are free to go, for now, Julia. We will speak again tomorrow.”
Spire looked sharply at Ungen but said nothing. After four hours of listening to the blubbering girl, Spire was ready to chew nails. They would get nothing more out of her tonight.
Trixie was waiting for Julia as she left the room. Dumbly, she allowed the dark haired girl to walk her back to her room.
After a few mumbled thank yous, Julia fell into her bed, clutching the necklace to her chest.
“Poor Herbie” thought Trixie, “what a day. Who’d a thought she’d trigger that Remnant?”
Trixie left the sleeping girl’s room quietly and made her way back to her own room. It was unusually quiet and empty in the hallway, and something about that made Trixie pause.
“I guess everyone’s avoiding this floor tonight.” She quirked a half smile. “I don’t blame them.”
A door opened quickly as Trixie walked past. Two hooded figures leapt from the room. Trixie screamed as they grabbed her and disappeared back into the room.
Julia woke with a start as someone stood over her shaking her shoulder. For a moment, magic flared within her making every aspect of the room stand out in stark relief. The cracks in the wall, the movement of the air. Everything was amazingly detailed. Overwhelmed, she bolted upright to see Kyte standing over her.
“What time is it?” she said, trying to shake her fatigue.
“It’s 3 in the morning, Julia. Something is wrong.” Kyte said.
“You mean more wrong than giant creatures giving me ancient talismans and awaking some latent magic powers I seem to have?”
Kyte stopped glancing about nervously and seemed to look at Julia for the first time since he shook her awake.
“I’m sorry Julia. I know you are going through a lot. But something has happened to Trixie. She’s missing!”