, , , , , , , ,

The Necromancer’s Lair

Quinn was considered a cold-hearted bitch to everyone who managed to get on her bad side, which really wasn’t that hard to do. Rumours of her vengeance spread like wild-fire throughout the magic and spirit communities. She was known to behead her lover for not performing on command, changing people into some inanimate object for ignoring her request, even binding some ghost to those whom she really had a deep hatred for.

Alia had only seen the Necromancer once. She had entered Maalik’s shop for some supplies, tall and thin, Quinn had bright red hair, with black tips that she kept tied back in a neat, bun that made her angular face all that more rigged and stern. Alia remembered the look Quinn had given her with her steel-blue eyes, one of disgust and contempt. As soon as Maalik showed up to cater to her every whim, she was forgotten.

Now the two were off to pick a fight with these fearsome Sorceress. Alia was not keen on going to her lair, she knew enough of what she bought off of Maalik to know it would be filled with as much foul and illegal magic, and more Shadow Reapers amongst other demons. She doubted that her strength as well as Narx’s magic would be a match.

“So you have a plan?” Alia asked as the two exited the subway. They were in the east end of the city, and she was blindly following Narx. “You do have her address, right?”

“The plan is to get Apep’s remains back.” Narx replied bitterly and kept walking.

Narrowing her eyes on the back of Narx’s head, Alia followed and kept quiet. They had entered what looked to be a residential neighbhourhood, a high class one filled with turn of the century homes. Having never been to Quinn’s home before, she had no idea where it was, but none of these places seemed to suite her style. Narx turned down a street, then another, zig-zagging his way until the high end homes began to deteriorate with age and lack of care until they reached their destination. An old Victorian home, that looked almost new but everywhere around it was dead. No grass grew, whatever flowers used to be in the bed around the walkway had withered and died away leaving only a few hearty weeds. A massive oak tree was to the right, bare as if it were winter. And before them, blocking their way was a large iron gate.

This was Quinn’s lair.

“So what now big guy? Going to knock on the front door?” Alia asked, her voice low and full of sarcasm. Narx stared through the iron bars at the front door, his eyebrows furrowed deeply as he thought. Alia in the meantime leaned against the brick pillar wondering how many more rules she was going to break this night.

“No, not exactly. We are going to burst in and take back what is mine. Do you have a problem with that?” Narx asked, his head turned to meet Alia’s stare. She frowned, and held back a shiver. She did not like that look he gave her, he was planning something else.

“Fine with me.”

Narx raised his hand and the chain that locked the iron gate together broke off with a spark and fell to the ground with a puff of smoke. The iron gate then creaked open and Narx took the lead once again. Instead of heading to the front door, Narx snuck around to the right, past the dead oak tree and withered flower beds towards the side of the house.

“Quinn wouldn’t practice in her home, she’d have a workshop, somewhere nearby, possibly underground.” Narx explained, his eyes darting around at the yard, looking for something to alert them to her workshop.

“Like a cellar door?” Alia asked, stopping in front of two metal doors next to the brick house.

Narx stopped and turned back. “That would be too simple.”

“It’s the only access inside we’ve got. Either Quinn is here or your informant gave you the wrong information.”

Alia stood by as Narx opened the locks of the cellar doors. There were five of them, which confirmed in their minds that this was indeed the right place. Or some other Necromancer’s hideout, Alia thought as the doors shot open. This time Narx seemed to hesitate, making Alia the first to enter the darkened stairwell.

The stairs curved around and went far deeper into the ground than a typical cellar would have been built. Pitch black, Alia had to hold onto the stone wall to keep herself steady.

“You know some light would do wonders.” Alia whined.

“We don’t want to give ourselves away.” Narx answered back, his voice so close to her ear she could feel his breath on her shoulder. A few minutes later and a soft yellow light could be seen in the distance, the sound of voices echoed off the walls as the two approached an opened archway. Huddled on either end of the arch, the two peered through the opening cautiously. Torches lit the circular domed room, their light dancing upon ancient ruins and scripture that had been carved into the stonework. Below them, sounds similar to chanting continued to echo around them, the tones changing at particular words during the chant. Easing out slowly onto the platform that circled the room, Alia and Narx glanced down at the scene before them.

Quinn stood out in the centre of the horde of Shadow Reapers, her dark red-black hair flowed loosely down her back, softening the harsh features of her face. She wore a black cloak over a white dress. A dagger was held high in her hand, and bowl of liquid in the other. It was the Shadow Reapers that were chanting, Alia had never even knew they could speak. But they were not the only dark creatures in the room. Standing guard around the pillars of the ceremony taking place were two golems covered with cloaks. Whatever odds Alia had calculated in her head on their success vanished at the sight of them.

“This isn’t good.” Alia whispered. “We need backup. Call the Order, we know where the mummy is.” It was a test, as well as a hope.

“They won’t get here in time. She’s trying to awaken it. We can’t let that happen!” Narx said, not missing a beat. “We have to stall them, give me some time and I can cast a teleport spell.”

“What! You want me to take on a dozen shadow reapers, two golems and a necromancer by myself?”

“I’ll provide backup, just keep them occupied… ten, fifteen minutes tops.”

Alia grumbled, she didn’t like this one bit. She would have to take off her amulet in order to stand any chance, but she still only had her dagger on hand. What she wouldn’t give to have her two guns at her side right now. Before Alia could figure out a strategy she felt a hand grab her shoulder, she barely had time to glance back at Narx before he tossed her over the edge of the platform. She landed, hard on her feet and knees, directly in the centre of the ceremony next to the dark spirit’s remains.

All chanting stopped abruptly. Alia glanced up at Quinn who’s face seemed to turn to ice as her eyes opened in rage. Alia got to her feet, drew out her dagger just as Quinn’s mouth opened.

“Stop her!” She yelled at the top of her lungs. The two golems moved on the command while a group of five shadow reapers jumped at her.

Alia stabbed the first Shadow Reaper as it flew at her face, but the others were already digging into her skin with the bladed arms. At least the golems were slow, she had a handful of more seconds before she had to deal with them. As she twirled, and kicked at the nearby shadow reapers, trying to give herself some room to fight she felt the amulet fly out of her shirt. The metal chain sparkled in the fire light while the ruby at the heart of it seemed to absorb the light and make it glow a dark red on it’s own. Alia didn’t have time to readjust it, or put it back in her clothing, the golem to the left had sprinted the last few steps and was bringing down a massive stone hammer onto her head. A Shadow Reaper hacked at Alia’s leg as she fell to the ground, just as the hammer swung down against her head.

She rolled, but not fast enough, the hammer came down and crushed he ruby amulet, the metal chain stopping her from fully getting away from the giant golem. With the amulet in pieces, the spell was broken, and a wave of energies, scents, strength and power flowed through her veins. Alia stood a different person than who she was just seconds ago.

Her hair was silver, her eyes yellow and her mood was edging into anger. With her dagger in hand she leapt into the air at the golem who had broken her amulet. Eye to eye with the beast, she stretched out her arm and buried her dagger into the golem’s eyes. It swung it’s head back as a howl of pain erupted from it’s mouth. Pulling the dagger out, Alia landed gracefully back on the ground.

“You owe me an amulet!” Alia shouted with rage at Quinn.

“You idiot!” Quinn shouted back. “You ruined everything!”