When Darkness Ends(Guardians of Eternity,book 12)(60) by Alexandra Ivy
“Wait.” Draining the fiery liquid in one gulp, he abruptly turned his head as he heard the unmistakable sound of retreating footsteps. He glowered at the fairy who was clearly attempting to slip away unnoticed. “Where are you going?”
Yiant licked his dry lips. “I must return to my Court. It is a feast day.”
Anthony rolled his eyes. “Every day is some ridiculous feast day among the fey.”
“Traditions are important to us.”
“Not as important as keeping me happy,” he reminded the fool.
Yiant looked petulant as he straightened the thick folds of his elaborate robe. “What do you want of me?”
“I need you to remain here for the next few days.”
Anthony leaned against the edge of his desk. “I might need to travel.”
“What of my people?”
“They’ll no doubt survive without you sitting on the throne and basking in your own importance,” he mocked.
The fairy visibly restrained his temper. A wise choice. Anthony was at the end of his considerable patience.
“I will at least need a few changes of clothing.”
Anthony swiveled to touch a button that was hidden beneath the lip of his desktop. There was a faint creak, then a hidden door slid open to reveal a narrow staircase.
“I’m sure Keeley left his belongings behind. Feel free to use whatever you want. He won’t be needing them.”
Yiant grimaced, but the reminder that Anthony had just destroyed the imp who’d been locked in Styx’s dungeons, had him grudgingly heading toward the secret passageway.
“As you command.”
Waiting until the door closed behind the fairy, Anthony left the library and headed down to the tunnels hidden beneath his estate.
Halting at a thick, wooden door, he carefully unwrapped the layers of protective magic. It took nearly half an hour before he was able to enter his inner sanctum, and another half hour before he was safely sealed inside.
Only then did he light the candles that revealed the vast, cavernous room.
Dug deep into the limestone, it was larger than a football field and in the center was a ring of standing stones. Towering nearly a hundred feet high, they were precisely spaced with lintel stones that connected them at the top.
Even at a distance Anthony could feel the power that radiated from the circle. He smiled as he moved forward, intoxicated by the pulses of energy.
This was the true magic.
A mystic power that came from the earth.
Nothing at all like the vile, unholy powers that the demons used.
Such toxic magic had to be purged from the world, along with the creatures who spread their infection among humanity like a disease.
Stepping between the stones, he entered the circle. He grimaced as he realized the usual sense of peace that entered him in this place had faded since his last visit. For centuries the powers of the druids had been used to create harmony. It wasn’t intended to become a weapon.
An unfortunate sacrifice necessary for the greater good, he assured himself, stepping to the center of the limestone floor where he’d placed his wooden altar where a small fire was burning.
Anthony offered a small prayer before he was peering into the dancing flames.
There was no heat, no sound from the fire. It simply floated above the altar, feeding off the spell he’d cast months ago.
Leaning forward, he opened his senses, allowing the magic to seep deep inside him.
He trembled at the heat that scoured through him, a cleansing flame that threatened to melt his very bones.
Balanced somewhere between agony and ecstasy, Anthony first concentrated on the prison that kept the elder druids from interfering in his plans.
A smile touched his lips. He could see each of the four druids aimlessly wandering through the maze of magic. It had been his first attempt at creating a labyrinth. Now he understood why it’d been banned.
Confident the elder magic-users were effectively trapped, Anthony turned his attention to the spell that he’d cast in the depths of the Commission’s tunnels.
Unlike the labyrinth, the Compulsion spell was a complex spiderweb of magic. Dozens of filaments linking him to the Oracles, each one too fragile to force them to obey his commands. But with each layer of magic the filaments were threading together, creating an unbreakable bond that would give him complete control.
Choosing one of the threads, Anthony closed his eyes as he focused on the connection. Two thousand miles away he sensed the Mosnoff demon who was deeply asleep. He paused, making certain that the demon didn’t realize that Anthony was delving into his mind.
As the demon remained asleep, Anthony cautiously gave a tug on the thread. On cue the Mosnoff sat upright, his eyes snapping open as he rose from the narrow bed and crossed the barren cavern. Then, ignoring the sweat that trickled down his face, Anthony urged the Mosnoff to reach for the delicate crystal that was carefully stored in a velvet-lined box.
Anthony gave another tug on the thread, forcing the demon to pluck the crystal from the box. More sweat dribbled down his face as the demon instinctively tried to resist Anthony’s compulsion.
It’d been a battle they’d fought several times, although the Mosnoff had no memory of Anthony’s “tests.”
Usually Anthony could compel the demon to this point, and then the Mosnoff would refuse to go any further.
This time, however, he grimly forced the demon to cross the room to the fireplace that warmed the chilled cavern. Then, with one last burst of power, he coerced the Mosnoff to toss the irreplaceable family heirloom directly into the flames.
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