Tuesday Tidbit: Those Who Don’t Work Magic

The negotiations are wrapping up, and the power is back on. All should be well . . .

The next morning, Rich returned from his constitutional and hissed, “Kabanos was-slash-is a coven warlock. Heard other Pole talking to Jelen. And road’s clear so decent breakfast.”

“That’s good to know. At least there was enough caffeine to keep people from being too grumpy.” Whoever had been sneaking up on them returned to the main courtyard. “You find enough worms?”

“Fewer than yesterday.” Rich drooped. “Like home worms better. Nightcrawlers rock!

Gagging sounds came from behind them. They bared their teeth in matching not smiles. Their better mood lasted until the meeting reconvened. The Poles seemed optimistic, based on their relaxed shoulders and calm smiles. The Belarussians glowered, but more at each other than the others. Mike stood in a corner, opposite Capt. Sluka. He counted noses. Huh. He counted again. All the chairs for the Belarussians had been filled, but … Where’s Turko? He didn’t see her. A different woman sat in the interpreter’s position beside Petrov, the military advisor. Rich lay under a radiator, hiding.

Ear-numbing discussion and debate began at eight. Just before eleven, the lead Polish diplomat, Ryszard Nowak, shook his head. “No, my government cannot agree to—”

Bang whoosh! Petrov tossed something underhand toward Sluka. The charm carrier hit the floor and released an anti-magic spell. The Czech mediator’s aid, Lukas Pavlovsky, threw a hard blocking spell between the charm and the other Czechs. Mike drew power from Rich, who launched from hiding straight toward his mage.

The room rocked as raw magic erupted from below! Foulness and pure abyssal evil fountained up. “Holy shit!” Custiss gasped.

“Anything but holy,” Tik-Tik snarled.

The evil took form as an abyssal beast, purple-green spotted and covered in mismatched spines. Eyes stared from the tips of half the spines. It lurched on eight legs. Petrov froze, then knocked his chair over as he jumped to his feet. The Belarussian turned white, then green, and mouthed denials as he and the others scrambled to escape the creature.

The flat, eyeless avocado green head swung back and forth, then locked on Kabanos. He knocked aside his chair, trying to get to the door. Capt. Sluka stared, paralyzed, white with terror. “She’s never seen abyssal,” Tik-Tik hissed.

“Lady of life, give me aid,” a woman called in Polish. Coven magic swirled, then took solid form as Marija Kaminskia cast a shield between Kabanos and the beast. It hesitated. Kabanos threw open the door and fled. The creature followed, more abyssal power surging onto the room, drawn by the witch’s spell. Tik-Tik distracted the beast, dancing and hissing as if he attacked a snake.

“I’ve got it,” Mike called. “Pilum de umbra.” He spun power from Tik-Tik into a spear and impaled the creature as it clambered toward the door, chasing Kabanos.

Seeeeeee! The thing shrieked, the writhed, clawing at the spear.

Mike surged more magic into it, shattering the manifestation’s body. “Lux argentumque.” Light and gold, he poured cleansing magic into the remains.

“The seal on the gateway!” Marija called, casting a hard shield over the other Poles.

“Get them out, shield. Go, go, go,” Mike ordered.

“Source, Defender, to the source,” Tik-Tik shrieked. Mike grabbed him and ran, pounding toward the stairs to the chapel and what lay below it. “Have to replace the seal, can’t close the breach, replace the seal.”

(C) 2023 Alma T. C. Boykin All Rights Reserved


7 thoughts on “Tuesday Tidbit: Those Who Don’t Work Magic

  1. Replace the seal, AND a Belarus delegate is missing? There goes the goosebumps again! I get the impression that something was primed, waiting for any use of magic to give it a focus or entry path. The beast sounds like it cues on motion, which might be the only thing saving Cpt. Sluka.

    • Lux arumque. You drop the “i” in that construction. I don’t recall why. And yes, I was typing one thing and thinking another. I’ll correct the manuscript.

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