Looking down at the streets from her London apartment Mag felt the near audible thrum of magic as the first stage of her geas took hold causing her body to shake from the strain that her body had finally realised it was under. ‘Twelve hours of channelling magic from the black will do that to you‘ she thought to herself as she looked over the ritual that the book was still open to, the Grimoire, the only thing her mentor had left to her to ensure that she was ready to face the world as a fully fledged, well what ever they would label her as. She was the first of her kind, one to pull apart the veil of the schools of magic, she was none of them and all of them at once and her mortal vessel was struggling to contain it once she had jammed that door open. But the book hadn’t taught her how to deal with the world and after the witch hunts that had happened in Salem nearly thirty years ago it was only a matter of time until the ripples of that resurfaced in England and her ruse would be up.
This is why the ritual was so important, it took the power away from her physical form and bound it elsewhere creating something, more. But there was a price with the binding of her sorcerous power to her astral self, her soul as all religions call it but she knew it was merely an anchor for power, to access the black, to pull down what she needs for her craft, well what she needed. After the second part of the Grand Geas she will lose her connection to the black, to her astral self and she will be as mundane as these so called scientific breakthroughs that were happening. Her reverie was broken as she felt a familiar presence rushing towards her hide out, not quite human but not exactly inhuman at the same time. A few moments later the door behind her burst open before closing forcefully a heartbeat later, the heavy breathing – a mimicry of what the creature was sculpted to represent but it had worked until now it seems.
Even before the creature spoke she knew it to be her creation, her finest work she might add – well second finest after she completed the second part of this spell with the last of the buzzing energy that coursed within her body now. ‘Mistress’ a voice sounded from behind from the creature. ‘I have failed you, I was discovered whilst getting the last of the materials you requested by four gentlemen who have some craft.’ the six foot tall creature thudded its way into the middle of the room, careful not to disturb any of the outlines on the ground. ‘I lost them as I travelled across the harbour but I believe we are not safe and must leave now’ the creature said as it stood behind her.
‘Don’t you get tired of running Jack?’ Mag asked as she looked down at the four figures who buzzed with an inner light, it was as Jack said – they had some craft indeed. ‘With the final parts of my spell we won’t have to run any more but you need to trust me in this. No more running, well not next time any way.’ she said turning around to the flesh golem that was easily six inches taller than her.
‘But mistress, they intend to kill you.’ Jack stated, logic battling with the bindings that were sewn into his flesh. ‘It’s my job to keep you safe and ensure that you survive, that is why you created me.’ he continued as he buzzed with energy, a biproduct of being so close to Mag.
‘I need time Jack, I will be altering your bindings, creating a new one so you wont be alone for the next few hundred years. Unfortunately this is the only way. This cycle of being born, learning, living for a few years before being discovered again and then behind hunted down has got to end and this will ensure it will. Go buy me some time until I can complete this second ritual and when its done you will know what needs to be done.’ she said as she lay a small delicate palm against the massive bicep of her golem.
‘As you wish mistress. Shall I kill them?’ he asked indicating the four men a few hundred metres from where they were looking out from the loft of a warehouse had Mags owned.
‘Distract them for long enough, you will know when the spell is over. Then head towards the cemetery to the north. You wont be alone for long and you will have everything you need brought to you for the next time we meet.’ Mag muttered as a sliver of doubt came into her mind. ‘When we..’ she began to say but turning around she only saw the door close softly as her creation was already charging towards the intruders. ‘Well that will be a surprise to him them..’ she said. Using a portion of her power she began to pull apart the threads of her geas before muttering archaic words that left a the taste of burning fat and soot in her mouth as her eyes shone golden, a nasty side affect of her drawing from the black, something that she was now building into the geas – a condition of her resurrection and a break in this endless cycle of death and power. As the final clauses were added to the geas she turned to the circle that was scrawled on the ground, it was time. Grabbing the Grimoire, a few letters, money and three talismans she had crafted she stuffed them inside a leather bag and placed it just outside of the circle to her right. She didn’t need her book any more, now that she was breaking the cycle of one Magnus being the mentor for the next in a never ending cycle of magic and death. No this spell was different, a common summoning, one that many would balk at due to the taxation of energy but she didn’t need to care for that, not since she had the connection to the black established.
Turning around to see Jack hammer into one of the men, sending him flying into a pile of crates was reassuring, knowing that the golem was at least listening to her command and distracting, not killing these men, a pang of regret shot through her with the lie to her companion, she needed them to believe they had caught her, and that they had succeeded but she needed Jack to believe that she would be safe. Turning back to the circle in front of her she closed her eyes and began the chant to cement the spectral bonds into the wards around her, creating a barrier that many novices forget to do in their rush to summon forth a demon. Reaching up with her astral self she grabbed at the inky darkness of the black and plucked a strand of raw weave, the magical stuff that was used in all spells and by all living creatures without them realising, before feeding the power into the centre of the circle causing a boom of energy to pulse through the room, causing the windows behind her to explode outwards sending slivers of glass down to where the men and Jack were fighting. Pushing the tendril of weave deeper she pushed through her bargain, freedom for a price, release at a contract. Closing her eyes and ignoring the sounds of battle outside she felt the time window of her geas closing which would see Jack compelled to retreat as fast and as directly as he could away from this area, and the beginning of her end.
A presence moved through the dark, the tendril of energy and the contract, the promise of freedom was tempting to many but the raw amount of energy present caused the week mindless demons to retreat away from it, the scent of power was too strong for them – but Magnus wasn’t fishing for a weakling – she had a particular specimen in mind and it was drawing close. The moment the creature hovered next to the energy Magnus’s geas took effect, the crunching of wood and the sound of stones hitting pavement was signal enough that Jack had pushed himself through a building. Inwardly sighing she wished that Golems didn’t take their orders soo seriously – something she would need the next Magnus to fix next time. Suddenly the energy that threaded through the circle connected with something, it didn’t take a witch as powerful as Magnus to know what was on the other end but she had expected this overwhelming presence and opened the circle, pulling forward the creature of evil.
The room for a second was bathed in heat as the circled permitted a single creature to come forth and true to its nature it lashed forward at Magnus, as expected. The chains that had been sewn into the circle around the demon crashed down and wrapped around the flaming sword, wings, tail and torso of the demon, well demoness to be exact, forcing her down to her knees so that she was the same height as Mag.
‘I would like to say that your appearance was shocking, and that I was surprised that you would attempt to attack your summoner but evidently I would be lying. So I want to cut to the contract on offer’ Magnus stated as she stared at the naked creature in front of her. The creature grinned wickedly as her forked tongue tasted the air.
‘You are different to the others who have attempted to summon me before, many are not prepared for what they bring out of the abyss but you are different. Go ahead make your bargain and let me get to rejecting it so I can return back’ the demon snarled with a sadistic grin.
‘For three hundred years you will be fed a constant source of energy, the same amount as you are getting now. You are permitted to kill and dispose of the body of any who wish to kill you or my creation harm, Jack – a flesh golem, and if they possess magic you can harvest it and add it to the amount you are storing for those three hundred years. But, you can not murder in blood lust or hate and you are to avoid detection. If you are detected or my grand geas detects that you have broken these agreed terms your connection to the power will be cut for a dozen years and the energy you have received up until that date will be taken from you until those years are up’ Magnus said, taking in a breath as he control on the weave was dwindling, she could feel three of the four men just outside her warehouse, the wards she had placed on it keeping them out for now.
‘Thats it? What type of deal is that. Why would I agree to being your lapdog for one hundred years for a trickle of energy?’ the demon hissed, straining against the chains.
‘I am not done yet. As soon as you agree to this contract my powers will be sealed, you will be placed under my geas as part of the contract and the geas will let you know what to do. Apart from going against it you are free to do what you wish, live how you wish except for the other contractual obligations,’ she stated looking over the demon, the Erinyes as they are categorised as, ‘I will die tonight, so you will have no master as such and just the, very loose I might add, interpretation of the rules. I have seen glimpses of the future and the nations of this world will war with each other. I know what you are Erinyes, if you believe that these wars may threaten yourself, my creation Jack or the geas then you are free to engage in these wars. The one condition is..’ she paused as she watched the battle lust of the warrior demon rise, the promise of three hundred years of war to indulge in was nearly enough to get her to agree to the contract already. ‘the one condition is that at one hundred years you will have a new master, but for 16 years you do not have to take orders from them but you are to protect and provide for them until those 16 years are up at which point it is up to them about what you are to do but until you are given orders you are more or less free to do as you please within the geas’
The Erinyes considered the deal flicking her eyes across the chains, the seal, and the door. A wicked grin spread across her face. ‘You’re going to die. I can sense it. Those men down stairs are here to kill you. So why bother summoning me in the first place?’ the Erinyes said, as the hostility died down in the creature the chains relaxed and she was able to stand, Magnus stood but was still a good two feet shorter than the creature.
‘I am summoning you for your future master, not for me, well, technically they will be me.’ she corrected, careful to not lie or add anything else into the contract.
‘What happens if this new master dies within those sixteen years?’ the Erinyes asked, curiosity as opposed to hostility and violent evident on her face. ‘If this master was to die in those sixteen years then I wont have a master at the end of those years. And what happens to me?’
‘Very observant,’ Magnus said with a smile, ‘You get another one hundred years of freedom upon death of your master, after of which you are then summoned to look after your next master for sixteen years and so forth. This contract spreads into eternity or until the geas is broken at which point you will return to where you came from with the energy you have collected since the binding’. The Erinyes considered for a moment and was about to speak before Magnus interrupted, ‘oh, and you are not to harm your master, even if they deserve it. If you do you forfeit one tenth of your stored energy to them.’
The demoness looked taken back and was thinking of the contract and going through it in her mind likely looking for a loophole. Just then the air shimmered and strained voices rang from down stairs as the three men broke through the wards on the warehouse. ‘Time is up Erin,’ Magnus smiled the name fitting, ‘What’s it going to be?’
‘Done.’ The demoness said after a few moments hesitation, the sound of footsteps on coming up the stairs was enough to hurry her along. ‘I will defeat these men for you master..’ she began as the binding was complete and the chains snapped down into the seal below her.
‘no, take the bag, take one talisman and place it on yourself when you are with my golem, Jack, give him one and the rest of the content is for your next master when they turn sixteen. now go! The geas will show you the way’ she commanded and the demoness nodded before she took off beating her great leathered wings and flying through the shattered window and into the moonlit night.
Magnus sat down on the floor and crossed her legs in the circle – the geas fully taking over now she felt all her wards, her spells and her connection to the black and her astral self be severed. Powerless, shivering and alone she felt fear and worry for the first and last time in her life as she heard footsteps crossing the floor over to stand next to her.
‘Thought you could keep runnin’ huh love?’ one of the men said.
‘The order’s been after you for some time now. Never would have believed that there was some immortal necromancer in London if it wasn’t for that flesh golem and the scent of your foul magic in the streets’ another man said, this one had some bite behind his words. Looking up Mag noticed that he was holding a limp arm, from the ward or Jack she was not sure.
‘Well boys, it was a good run I guess’ she said as she went to stand. As the shot of a hand pistol rang out through the warehouse and down across the cobble streets Magnus fell to the floor, the third man holding a smoking pistol in his hand.
‘You boys talk to much, grab the body and lets take it back to the order. If rumours are true there will be another one of her in one hundred years we have much to prepare before then and the order wants the next one alive.’ he man said as he cleaned the barrel of his pistol.
As the three men moved to haul the body away, unknown to them the Great Geas began to activate sending messages to Magnus’s creations, triggering wards, spells, and machinations that only she had known in life. Jack looked back towards the warehouse, finally aware of the plan, aware of his next orders and even from this distance he could see the giant fireball that was triggered by the geas to detonate upon her death. Jack looked to the shadow that was descending towards him and could feel the presence of the demon in his bindings. As she landed a few paces away she opened the bag and retrieved a golden amulet, the talisman that had been crafted for her, and put it over her shoulders – causing her wings, tail, horns and scaled skin to shimmer and shift into being a pale pink of a human.
‘It seems our old master had some power indeed.’ she said handing a silver chain to Jack who pulled it around his thick neck – his transformation was far more drastic as his stiches, scars and mismatched body parts fused into a uniform and nearly symmetrical appearance making him look more human than what he had in dozens of years.
‘She is still our master, you will see her again when she returns’ Jack said as she wiped away a human tear from his eye, finally the rise and fall of his chest pumped oxygen through his body as his heart started to beat with power of the geas.
Thanks for joining me tonight for a bit of a creative write-up – something a bit special for my 160th day in a row posting and my 315th post.
I have had this story rocking around in my head for some time and I wanted to get the first little bit of it jotted down. Hopefully with some more time I will refine it a bit further and see where I can take it!
Don’t forget to come back again tomorrow for more Brazen Wolfe Tabletop content and, as always, don’t forget to roll with advantage,
The Brazen Wolfe