In the Shadows

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Chapter 8

Asmodeus left Svila to watch over the dragon as he raced back to the castle. Cerberus met him at the gate with a worried expression on his face. Asmodeus did not stop to figure out what was wrong. Asmodeus stopped in front of Iselora’s bedroom, terrified of what he would see when he stepped in. For the first time in his existence, Asmodeus knocked. Doc gently opened the door a grim expression meeting Asmodeus. The door opened wider, permitting entrance to the fractured man. The curtains had been pulled, the only light from the chandelier above the bed. Iselora’s body was in the same position as he had left her but there was something different about her. As Asmodeus got closer, he could see that her face was pale. “Doctor Farkett.” Asmodeus’ voice was tight as he faced the trembling troll before him. “I have decided, the spell must be removed. It is the only way now.” Doc nodded in acknowledgement and went to prepare for the extraction.

Asmodeus gently picked Iselora into his arms, cradling her close to his chest. Cerberus walked alongside his master, ready to defend both of them if necessary. Iselora whimpered a little, causing Asmodeus to quicken his pace. With every step his heart clenched even harder at the thought of him not being able to succeed, at losing the only being that has meant anything to him. He had just got her back, but nothing had gone right. All he wanted was to be able to look into the hazel eyes, to see nothing but love and happiness. The sun was setting low in the sky as he began the descent into the depths of the castle. They walked through a maze of twists and turns until finally coming to the end of a long corridor. Asmodeus saw Doc waiting for him, behind Doc was an iron door, the only thing that stood in their way of their destination. Without missing a beat Asmodeus turned towards Cerberus and passed Iselora into his arms. His heart hurt at the sight of her, a crumpled figure that could fall apart any second. A fragile hand weakly reached towards Asmodeus as he began turning away. “It will only take a second dear, please stay with us.” Asmodeus placed a light kiss on Iselora’s temple as she subtly nodded. Asmodeus turned towards the door he never intended to open again.

The door that stood before the group carried ancient carvings and pictographs that told an intelligible story. There was no door handle, instead Asmodeus seemed to study the face of the door as if he were searching for something. With a step back, Asmodeus stretched his shoulders and drove his hands into the metal, pulling open the invisible seam. Once the seam was large enough for him to get through, Asmodeus turned to take Iselora back. “Do not let anyone enter, no matter what you hear.” Asmodeus instructed Cerberus then turned towards Doc, “Carry the items down, then you leave also.” Both men bowed low in acknowledgement. There was no light beyond the doors but Asmodeus knew the path well.

After a series of turns, they came to a circular room lined with torches. In the center there was a backless chair with iron manacles. Asmodeus walked to the chair, gently setting Iselora down, supporting her weight. Asmodeus lifted his head before flicking his hand, lighting the torches in unison. Then turning towards the visibly terrified troll, Asmodues held his hand out, “Take the wraps and help me cover her wrists and ankles, I do not want the iron to harm her. This will not be a pleasant experience.” The pair worked quickly in securing Iselora to the chair, using extra straps to help support her body. “This is for her safety, I cannot allow her body to fight me more than it already will.” Asmodeus said in a solemn tone, the view of Iselora chained down made his heart cringe painfully. After finishing the minor preparations Asmodeus instructed Doc that it was time for him to leave. “I can assume that you can find your way out?” Asmodeus did not turn towards Doc and only asked as a trained courtesy. “Of course your Majesty. She is in your hands.” Doc bowed deeply before exiting quickly, using his nose to retrace the path that was taken.

Asmodeus walked towards Iselora and smoothed the hair on the top of her head before lightly kissing her forehead. “I apologize for the pain you are about to experience. I hope you will forgive me for I will not.” Iselora’s shallow breathing told him that she was unconscious. Asmodeus inhaled her intoxicating scent before standing, sighing as he tried to hold in the pain in his heart until after. Asmodeus closed his eyes, allowing heat to course through his body, smoke like aura began to poor out of his body. He could feel his body morphing into his original form. His height increasing, chest broadening, and curled horns sprouting out of his skull. His body was concealed behind the aura he emitted from his soul, creating an even more nightmarish appearance. Very few have seen this form and he hoped he would never have to show it to Iselora, he did not want to scare her away.

Asmodeus knelt behind the chair, placing both hands on her back, strategically on her tattoo. A connection was almost instant, causing a whimper of pain to come from Iselora, her body instinctively attempting to twist away but the restraints kept her in place. Asmodeus began to search for the spell’s breaking point. Every spell has one, but the challenge was finding it before the pain consumed its victim’s life. The Minders knew this when they designed the spell and hid it well. Iselora began to scream, arching her back as another attempt to escape. The tattoo was beginning to glow a golden color and the smell of burning flesh filled the room. Asmodeus took a deep breath before linking his consciousness to Iselora’s. His mind burned as her pain transferred to him, through gritted teeth, Asmodeus pushed deeper. Asmodeus could feel his hands becoming numb from the power that was being exerted. If he did not find the breaking point soon, she was going to break in his hands.

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