In the Shadows

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Chapter 19

Asmodeus stood watching Iselora, terrified of what could be happening. All she had done was touch the dragon and her mind froze. There was nothing he or Svila could do but watch and wait. Iselora began emitting a white glow across her skin. Her eyes opened to reveal shining white light in place of her eyes. A sharp intake of air sounded to his side, Svila was beginning to panic. Asmodeus placed a hand on her shoulder in order to steady them both. He wanted to rip Iselora away from the dragon, it was too dangerous for her to control. Asmodeus stared at the small frame gently holding her hand to the still dragon. The transition was so subtle that Asmodeus almost missed it. The dragon began to emit the same glow as Iselora, when it opened its eyes, they were the same white emptiness. Iselora must be winning her companions favor.

Several minutes passed in silence. Asmodeus and Svila studied the scene, waiting to see how the events would unfold. Asmodeus found himself holding his breath when a pained gasp suddenly came from Iselora. Her eyes closed and her breathing turned ragged before Asmodeus coud register what was happening. “Something must have happened.” Asmodeus ran to her side but she did not budge from her standing position. The white glow began solidifying itself around Iselora’s ankles. Asmodeus realized too late that if Iselora stayed in this state, that she would be lost to him. Without hesitating, Asmodeus attempted to insert himself in Iselora’s subconscious, but failed. Her mind was building its barrier around her as a form of protection. Unfortunately her mind was overcompensating and would end up immortalizing her in stone instead. Asmodeus attempted to insert himself into the dragon’s subconscious, as soon as his hand touched the scales a hissing sound filled the cavern. Echoing off of the walls.

The sound came from Asmodeus’ skin burning at the unwelcomed contact. He pulled his hand away, looking back to the woman he loved. Asmodeus reached out, cupping Iselora’s face.“Iselora? Wake up. Please wake up for me.” Asmodeus began choking on his words, “Honey? Can you hear me? You need to fight, I need you to fight.” Asmodeus felt tears spill over his cheeks. Her skin felt cold, as if she had just come in from playing in snow. Asmodeus stood there watching as Iselora’s body steadily turned to stone.

A crackling sound caught his attention. Asmodeus turned to see that the dragon was also beginning the transformation to stone. Desperation must have built too high in Svila. She came over attempting to wake Iselora from her trance, tears falling in floods. Svila took a step back and materialized her spear. Asmodeus rushed to cover Iselora’s body. “That will only harm her. There is nothing we can do except hope that they are strong enough to break free.” Svila stared through Asmodeus as his words sunk in. Without a word, she dropped to her knees and sobbed.

Several empty minutes were filled with only two sounds, the growth of the stoning process and Svila’s crying. Asmodeus simply stood there staring helplessly. He could feel his own heart threatening to harden. He had finally found someone to love and she was being taken away by her own selfishness. He blamed himself the most, it was his fault she was here in the first place. He was the one that made that contract with the Minders. He would never forgive himself if Iselora died right in front of his eyes. He had vowed his life for her service but he was not able to live up to his honor.

Asmodeus pulled himself from his thoughts as he looked towards Iselora once more. The stone had made its way to her jaw line, it was almost complete. Asmodeus cupped her face once more, leaning down and kissing her cold lips for the last time. He let the kiss linger before he noticed slight movement. Asmodeus jerked his head back and gasped at the sight before him. The stone had fully encapsulated Iselora, but maintained the faint white glow.

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