Excerpt from Encyclopedia Magi, page 1456 sub section C: Taboo Magic’s, Blood Sorcerers.
Blood Sorcerers are the oldest known class of mage, appearing as early has 245 BC. It is believed that the first Blood Sorcerers, or Prima Magus as they are called in Latin, used primitive Runes and Wards to better chase, hunt, and trap game. Modern Blood Sorcerers use their heavily enchanted blood to cast all manner of Spells, Curses, Runes, Wards, and Charms the power of which goes unmatched by any other class of mage. However, due the amount of magic energy in their blood, most individuals can expect a normal life span of only 30-40 years. This reduced life is caused by the strain that enchantments place on living tissue and affects Chimeras and Minotaurs as well. However it also means that Blood Sorcerers develop much faster than ordinary humans, sometimes reaching a mental age of 16 at the age of 4 or 5.
Since the introduction of elemental magic, Blood Sorcerers have been ostracized and oppressed by other mages. To further compound this Blood Sorcerers have been vastly outnumbered in all eras. This position was due to the fact that all Blood Scorers are decentness of a single lineage.
Today, after nearly being wiped out in the Purging Wars, there are only 3 Blood Sorcerers in existence. The following articles will cover the history initiation, behavior, and common magic’s of Blood Sorcerers.
Alex closed the thick volume; he didn’t have the patience to read anymore. When he had asked his father why they moved so often and why Alex never went to school, his father had told him to ask the Encyclopedia. The Encyclopedia was not a book in the traditional sense but rather a spell that summoned the information one was searching for. All that was needed was a blank page and an incantation. Alex knew the spell, he’d used it often to learn about the many fantastical beasts that he only saw out of the corner of his eye. But those pages had been filled with colorful pictures and terrifying tales of before the assimilation. The article on Alex’s ancestors and eventual future, on the other hand, looked long and tedious and had only a small black and white illustration of a deer being trapped in a low level Rune. And a five year olds mind has little patience for such boring reading.
Ever since his initiation when he was one and three quarter years old, Alex had been fascinated by the magic world around him, and furious the he was not allowed to explore it beyond the presence of his father. Only through the Encyclopedia Magi was he able to stand face to face with werewolves, harpies, and Minotaurs. The Encyclopedia had also told him how nearly all of these creatures had been hunted to extinction and then had their memory magically erased. It did not, however, tell him why. At least the pages he had access to didn’t. So he had made it his life goal to search out the few remaining magical beings and find out for himself.
But he couldn’t do that if he wasn’t allowed the leave the house. Not that he hadn’t tried, but his father had placed dozens of Runes around the property to prevent Alex’s escape. None lethal of course, but magical fire still hurt, even if it was only has hot has a warm day in summer. And his father had always managed to lock down new houses even before they moved in. Despite all his scheming, spell casting, and tricks, Alex had never managed to leave the confines of his home.
But today Alex had a new plan: today instead of evading or breaking free from the traps he would walk straight into them. Well, to be fair that was only half the plan. He had been reading up on Runes, and as it turned out, in order to keep them from going off when anything other than the intended prey entered the circle, Runes had a very specific set of criteria needed to activate. Higher level Runes could identify individual people and target them and only them, they also tended to have much more lethal penalties. But low level Runes, like the ones surrounding Alex’s house, were less capable. Most likely these Runes were triggered by intent. More specifically, blood pressure; anyone who was not supposed to be leaving would be nervous and their blood would show it. So in theory one needed only to act like they were doing nothing wrong and the Rune would ignore them. In theory. Alex knew the Runes that stood in his way were simple, but how simple was up to how much time his father put in them, and that was a mystery. But Alex wasn’t about to let that stop him, he’d been caught leaving before. At the most he would be left without a story that night.
Alex giggled under his breath as he strolled towards the front door, it was silly how his father still thought this a valid punishment. There was a time when the idea of losing his story would be enough to scare him stiff, but he was five years old now- one night without a story wouldn’t kill him.
Before he opened the door, Alex took a deep. The first Rune would be on the handle as it always was. He put his cunning scheme into motion, first by thinking not of sneaking out but of walking through his own bedroom door. That was all this was, just any old door. He forced himself to keep his eyes open, and when he felt as calm as he was ever going to get, gripped the handle…nothing. His plane had worked.
Keeping his excitement from raising his heart rate turned out to be harder than lowering it in the first place, but he managed it. This was where things got tough, there would be three more Runes to deal with. One on the front mat, one three or so feet beyond it, and one at the gate. And Alex had to keep up his charade through all of them. Of course Alex wasn’t thinking this, he was walking. Perhaps a little faster than someone who was supposed to be there, but none of the traps were sprung, no circles with flowing text came into being. Sooner and easier than he had expected, Alex was free.
This was not the first time Alex had seen the outside of is home, he’d accompanied his father on outings to practice sorcery and of course during his initiation too. But this was the first time he’d been out on his own, able to go anywhere, do anything. His well-maintained poker face vanished in an instant, and for a moment he just stood in place. The late fall wind breezed lightly over his face; Alex inhaled through his nose taking in the crisp smell. Not even the relative cold seemed to affect him in this moment.
Alex had come out on to a lonely street with nothing but emptiness for miles around. He never knew why every new house they moved to had no neighboring homes, or why the building itself was always the same. The last time he had asked his father to explain he got nothing more than a lecture about “necessary sacrifices” and “accepting the status quo”. Needless to say, Alex neither understood nor cared to learn the meaning behind his father’s words, and had simply nodded and swore to obey the house rules. An oath, Alex reasoned, he had never meant to keep.
Right, he thought, first things first, let’s get moving. Alex pulled a thermos sized flask of light red liquid out from under his jacket. The liquid was, in fact, roughly 6 parts water and 4 parts of Alex’s blood. Fully-realized Blood Sorcerers used blood straight from their veins, but initiates like Alex had to use a diluted mixture to avoid overstretching their manna pool. Even so the highest concentration Alex had ever used before now was 2 parts blood. He had mixed in more this time to ensure he had adequate power if any of the creatures he met were less than friendly.
He opened the top of the flask and willed the mixture out into the air, a thin stream of pale crimson liquid flowed out of the container. For a moment it hung in the air, then, as per Alex’s spell, swirled into two separate masses, turned to vapor, and spiraled down to be absorbed into his shoes. He gave his feet a few experimental taps with his finger. Satisfied, he looked ahead at the road before him.
Okay, just pick a direction and go. Alex started off at a slow jog, but with every step his feet took him a little further. In no time at all he was covering dozens of yards in one step, they weren’t quite seven league boots, but his spelled shoes would allow him to travel far faster than any bike or car.
After the initial exhilaration of speed, Alex began to regret not casting a ward to protect himself from the constant assault of the wind across his face. It was becoming increasingly difficult to keep his eyes both open and free of tears. In his haste to stop and clear his vision, Alex unintentionally found himself on the wrong side of Newton’s first law.
As his feet flew out from under him, his upper body continued forward, and without the necessary support beneath it, fell over. Alex tumbled for maybe thirty yards before coming to a rest in a position that would have made any contortionist quite jealous. Only the full body Rune that his father so carefully cast on Alex every fortnight kept him in one piece. As he unwound himself, grumbling under his breath how, if the ward had kept the wind from his face none of this would have happened, Alex failed to notice where he had come to such an unceremonious halt.
He was standing, or lying, in a small town that lay along the road he had been following. Fewer than a dozen homes and a single rundown gas station pot marked the landscape in an area of less size than a football field. A smaller road ran perpendicular to the main street for 200 feet before ending in front of a large white building. Not fancy enough to be a mansion, but not humble enough to be a warehouse, the building seemed to serve as a town hall judging from the flag flying in front of its two large main doors.
Once Alex was on his feet and ready to observe his surroundings, he became instantly aware that he was not alone. There was no one on sight, but his blood tingled with the presence of sorcery. As he took in the scenery, he tried to see if there were any faces in windows or obvious hiding spots. He didn’t have to look long. Three men came out of the large white building and began to walk the thin path towards Alex. Rather than run or hide himself Alex stood in curiosity. He had read in the Encyclopedia that there were many other types of sorcerers, some who used sand, water and even fire to perform their magic. As the men closed to within speaking distance Alex wondered if any of these people knew where to find the mythical beasts he was searching for. Then the middle man spoke.
“That’s quite the spell you’ve got there junior, this the first time ya used it?” The man had unnaturally broad shoulders that were offset oddly by an almost feminine waist. His face looked like one that had for too long been giving the impression of laughter, but it was the eyes that caught Alex’s attention. They weren’t describable in any ordinary terms. Head on they appeared normal, but shift your head slightly and they would shimmer, never the same way twice, but always with a hint of green. Alex jerked himself out of his silence suddenly aware he had been staring.
“No, I was just in hurry is all.” After hearing the big man’s deep voice Alex suddenly became aware of how small his own was and immediately attempted to lower his tone. “And don’t call me junior, I’m nearly six.”
“Well a’course you are, I never said you wasn’t.” The other two men still had yet to speak; the man to the left was staring somewhere over Alex’s head while the right man just stared at Alex. The boorish gaze of the man caused Alex to lose some of his initial curiosity. Something told him he should leave as soon as possible.
The middle man spoke again. “Ah don’t mind my mates, they’re just a little shy around new people is all.” He paused, the forced mirth on his face slacking slightly. Alex was about to make his excuses when the man’s face snapped back. “Say, why don’t you show me that nifty trick you used to get here so fast, I’d sure love to see it.”
Alex’s uneasiness vanished at the prospect of showing his spell to someone interested. “Yeah, I’d love to!” Alex hastily brought out his flask of diluted blood, oblivious to the sudden shift in attention as all three sets of eyes focused on him. “My dad says that nobody’s interested in sorcery any more, but I could tell you were, I felt it.”
“Well a’course we love sorcery, don’t we boys!” Neither of the other men confirmed this but the man on the right curled his lip ever so slightly. Alex didn’t notice, he was too busy focusing on casting the speed spell. Once the red mist had absorbed into his shoes he beamed up at his audience, a bead of sweat trickling down his cheek.
The middle man let out a low whistle. “Well that really was something, say what exactly was in that liquid you used there?”
“Oh that,” Alex ignored the feeling of rising tension in the air around him, “that was some of my blood, mixed with water. I use it to cast all my spells.”
“That’s just what I thought. You know there’s a man who would really love to meet someone like you, he’s just up there in that big house. Why don’t you come with us and I’ll introduce you?”
For the first time since the mention of magic, Alex felt the feeling that he shouldn’t be there. “I-I actually have to head home, my dad will be worried if I stay out much longer.”
“Oh I really must insist.” The man placed an enormous hand on Alex’s shoulder. “The boss wouldn’t like to miss meeting ya.”
Panic rose is Alex’s throat as he realized that he couldn’t move his feet. Too late he saw the man on the right casting a Rune that locked Alex’s legs in place. At the same time the man on the left drew out a long rod that could not have possibly have fit under his thin jacket.
“Now, how’s about you stop stugglin’ and come with us.” The big man grinned, his mouth taking up much more of his face than could be human.
Alex stood in shock, he had long since given up trying to break free. After the three men had brought him into the large white building, he had been handed over to tall thin man dressed in all black. The man, who paid Alex no more attention than was necessary to keep him from running of, led him through a series of corridors and rooms with no determinable pattern. The rooms themselves bore the impression that they once housed grand parties that were only attended by the highest of high society, but had since been forgotten and left to slowly fad into the history. The walls were adorned with portraits of broad shouldered men, some on horseback some glaring accusingly out of their frames. The red and gold paint had faded from the trimmings and door frames and left a fine dust on the floors. Alex couldn’t help but feel sorry for the old building, with its days of grandeur past all it could do was wait for its walls to collapse and its ceilings to cave in.
After what seemed like half an hour, Alex was brought to a small, high-ceilinged room with nothing but a large rug on the floor. The rug, he noted, had several concentric circles with flowing text shimmering in a counterclockwise motion. Alex knew the words weren’t actually moving, but that a Rune this powerful could affect the mind of whoever stared for too long. He looked away halfheartedly; he knew escape from such a trap was impossible. Unless…
“Wait here.” This was the first voice Alex had heard clearly since entering the building. It was the butler. His voice was soft, but with the unmistakable hint of someone who didn’t think much of his company. “Mr. Matter will been in shortly.”
“Wait.” Alex didn’t know why but he knew the longer he could avoid meeting this Mr. Matter the better. “Where am I?” The man didn’t answer, he didn’t even turn around. Alex was left standing in middle of the small room, alone and isolated.
Alex sat, cross legged, and tried to take stock of the situation. No one’s actually hurt me and all they’ve done is put me in this room. Who is this “Mr. Matter guy anyway? He had nearly convinced himself that everything was alright when he remembered something his father had told him after he had successfully completed his first initiation trial.
“Remember this if nothing else, Alex. If you should ever be separated from me, from our home, use this spell. Even if you think all is well, trust in me and use it.”
The spell his father had taught him right after his initiation. His father went on to make Alex promise to never use it unless he no other recourse. Alex didn’t understand at the time why his father would teach him a spell he couldn’t use. The way his father insisted that he use the spell immediately and then followed up by telling not to use it unless he no other option seemed odd. He had considered trying it out before just to see what it did, but had never gone through with it. The spell itself was simple. His father had called it a luck spell, and although Alex felt in no immediate danger, something about the look of urgency on his father’s face when he made Alex promise told him he should take this seriously. Unfortunately, his blood-water had been taken from him by the man with the large shoulders. Which meant Alex only had one option, use his own blood.
Alex had used his blood to cast spells before, but they had only been simple magics for creating light or warmth. But this spell required a lot of manna to use, and if Alex over stretched his manna pool, he could lose the ability to cast magic entirely. His diluted blood had restricted how much manna he could access with any given spell, but if he used straight blood, he would have full use of all his power.
Alex sat in near darkness, his mind racing. He would have to use just the right amount of blood. But more than that, he would have to control his fear. Fear would inject itself into his magic, charging it making it stronger. He needed to measure and weigh his energies to get the spell just right.
“Right”, Alex stood up, first things first, he would have to find and erase the Rune that prevented use of magic within the ward. Now that he had a plan, Alex felt energized. He could do this! He could escape! The anti-magic Rune would most likely be far from the center and mirrored along the compass lines, but he need only destroy one to break its affect. Luckily Runes that blocked the use of magic were relatively easy to destroy, as they could only negate spells of equal or less energy than was put into laying them. But first, to find it, Alex focused. He tried to cast a simple spell for sight, manipulating the blood within his eyes. There, he felt it; a draining force coming from right in front of him. Alex opened his eyes and saw a flowery written symbol glowing ever so faintly. Gotcha!
Now came the hard part, Alex put his thumb in his mouth and, before he could hesitate, bit down with all his strength. Pain exploded in his digit, spiking up into his hand; it hurt far more than he had expected, but the pain resigned itself in the back of his mind. To break the Rune he simply needed to overwhelm it with a pleasant reprise. Shaking his head to rid his mind of these thoughts, Alex settled on the first spell he’d ever learned. A simple levitation charm, he would pour more and more energy into it until the Rune couldn’t absorb any more.
Closing his eyes this time, Alex raised his bleeding thumb into the air and willed his blood into form. The thin streams shimmered and danced, shaping into letters for air, sky and freedom. Every time a new letter formed it joined its predecessors swirling in the air. As the spell grew in strength, the four Runes that blocked their effect glowed brighter and brighter. But they did not yield. Alex felt them fighting back. Desperately, he racked his brain for more marks to reinforce his spell. Just a little…more…
A massive thunderclap, the Runes flashed in one final effort to fulfill their purpose, and faded, leaving nothing but a charred reminder of their presence. With their departure, Alex felt an intense pressure he hadn’t been aware of before suddenly relax. He still couldn’t leave the circle, but he would be able to cast spells without opposition. His levitation spell, although the majority of its effect had been canceled, had managed to lift Alex a few inches of the ground. With this new perspective, he was able to see that the ceiling of the room he had been imprisoned in was cracked in several places. This gave him an idea. The nature of the trap Rune prevented Alex from directly destroying it with either his body or magic. But if he could cause the ceiling to collapse in just the right way he could destroy the Rune and escape. Unfortunately he didn’t know any destruction spells. It was possible that the spell his father had taught would help but there was no guarantee. But with a plan and a possible shot at escape Alex felt more than ready to take a chance.
The casting was fairly simple, while the spell required a great deal of manna, Alex needed only a small amount more blood to complete the three spell marks. Rather than glowing like his previous spell, these marks seemed to vibrate the air around them creating a low hum that was matched by the rest of the room. Then, the marks vanished, no flash, no thunderclap. Alex stood with is right hand in the air, a thin trickle of blood snaking down his arm. Nothing happened.
Alex had no idea what to expect. As more time passed he grew more and more anxious. Why had his father been so insistent he cast this spell? Was he actually in danger here? Thoughts like these continued to fill his head, multiplying and feeding on one another. What if he never got out? What if he never saw is family again? The minutes ticked by and still the Rune held him. The elation he had derived from his apparent success had quickly turned to anxiety, fear, and now hopelessness. The feeling permeated his whole body, leaving it tired and motionless. What had he expected? He was only five, it would have taken a fully-fledged sorcerer to escape a Rune of this power. Even with everything he’d learned, even though his father had always told him he was smarter than any adult, he was trapped and there was nothing he could do about it. As this thought entered and refused to leave his head, Alex, for the first time, truly felt powerless. His father had always said he had real talent, well clearly talent and power were not mutually inclusive.
The door abruptly swung open, silent but not subtle. Alex started, his head rising so quickly out of his arm that he sprained his neck and was left rubbing it as two figures walked through the opening. The first person, a women, was dressed like she had just come back from an important meeting, her tie slightly loose and her suit wrinkled around the middle. The second was a man, the same broad shouldered, narrow wasted man who had first spoken to Alex on the street. Inside, he looked even bigger and disproportionate. He had a nasty looking grin on his face, made only worse by the constant smile his mouth seemed disposed to make. The women spoke first, her voice flat and her face untelling.
“So I hear you are a blood sorcerer…” She paused as if she expected Alex to respond. He did not. The women’s lips remained still, but her eyes seemed to flash with annoyance. “Are you aware of why you’ve been put here? Are you even aware of how long I’ve waited for this day?” At these questions the man’s grin widened to nearly inhuman length. Alex realized he couldn’t get away with not answering when the woman’s eyes once again flashed, this time with something akin to malice.
“N-no, I thought tha—” What had he thought? Had he even considered why he had been kidnapped and imprisoned? Before he could try and think of a reason, the woman spoke again.
“What you thought is irrelevant, I’m going to be blunt because I fear we are short on time. The fact is blood sorcery is taboo, and by practicing it you deserve nothing more than capital punishment.” Alex’s head reeled. Taboo? Capital punishment? What did she mean? Whatever it was it sounded bad. He had always known that blood sorcerers were few and far between but he never knew why, and now that he did, he couldn’t wrap his mind around it.
“Let me do it now, ma’am.” The man spoke, his grin growing even larger. “He’s broken the anti-magic marks, maybe he’ll put up a fight!”
“Calm yourself Maximillian, I’ll be doing it. We don’t want to leave a mess.” Maximillian’s smile vanished to be replaced with a pout. Alex snapped out of his shock, suddenly aware that he may only have moments to act.
“You’ll what?” The woman’s voice only now sported a minimal inflection of impatience. She raised her hand and snapped her fingers, creating a spark that let out thin tendrils of fire that began forming a curse in mid-air.
“I can work for you?” The idea had come to Alex, uninspired and unwelcome. Was that even a plausible bargain? Did people even make that kind of offer, let alone accept it?
“Why would I ever want a sinner like you working for me?” The woman’s curse had reached completion, and Alex knew it would only be seconds before whatever malicious effect it intended struck him down. But all he could do was watch, no spells jumped to mind, no devious plots formed. He just sat staring as the curse’s flames grew brighter and longer. He could feel the heat wafting onto his face and, in the final moment before his end was met, he was forced to look away.
But death did not come, no fiery sending burned his skin. The heat had changed, from a scalding pain to a warm breath. A soft fizzle sounded in front of Alex. When he looked, he saw a tall figure surrounded by a soft light. The figure’s head turned to look Alex in the eye, and smiled.
As the light around the newly arrived member of his execution dimmed, Alex realized that he knew the man standing before him.
“F-father?” He could not manage any more, a venerable tsunami of relief crashed over Alex. It’s all okay now, dad’s here, nothing bad can happen now! As the responsibility of surviving was lifted from his shoulders, Alex lost all remaining control. His first sobs were quiet, but they quickly grew. His father’s luminous hand rested on Alex’s own and its warmth was quick to spread threw his body.
Meanwhile, the woman who had been about to incinerate Alex, stood with her hand raised in the air, the curse ready to cast and yet she hesitated. Her eyes, though notably wider, remained as placid as always.
Maximillian on the other hand was far easier to read. Upon the arrival of the glowing man, he had jumped backwards nearly three feet. Which was impressive considering he had only been standing about a foot in front of the wall. The nearly seven foot hole he had just created was a mere six inches to the right of the door and offered a wide view of the hall beyond. In this hall, Maximillian, still shaking the plaster from his hair, roared with a volume well beyond that of mortal men. As he came crashing back into the room, the woman put out her hand to hold him back, and, like a well-trained guard dog, Max shuddered to a halt.
The quartet stood in silence, Alex at a loss for words, his father standing protectively between the still quivering Maximillian and Alex, and the unreadable woman still poised to strike. Finally after what seemed like several long minutes the woman spoke, slowly and with more than a hint of caution.
“Mr. DeCorde I presume…” The dimly glowing figure of Samuel A. DeCorde gave only the slightest nod in response. “Then I assume you know who I am, and why I can never let you nor your…offspring leave here alive.” At this, Alex’s father shifted his body to place himself in front of the woman’s still raised hand.
“And you must know, Mrs. Creed, that I will never let that happen.” The voice echoed from around the room, not emanating from any one place. Upon hearing the strange utterance, Alex immediately knew the truth, and his elation turned to anxiety. He remembered a special spell his father had shown him not half a year ago. A protective sending, born from hot blood to defend its charge. It sounded impressive, but since it was a spell and not a curse or a Rune, it could not inflict any direct harm on an attacker. It was also ethereal, not truly present, only sustained by spell power and the will of its caster. Alex looked up at the newly introduced Mrs. Creed, it did not appear that she had grasped the full truth behind her new guest. That was their only chance.
Mrs. Creed’s mouth twitched as if she wanted to smile and dismiss the threat, but something kept her from succeeding.
“Well…” She did not give any more warning; like the arm of a catapult, her flaming hand swung down, sending a cascade of fire straight at the sending’s chest. At the same time, Maximillian lunged at Alex, hands outstretched, mouth agape. Alex threw his hands over his face just in time to be saved from a light as bright and scorching as the noonday sun. He waited for the flames to envelope him and for two large hands to rend him apart. But once again no pain came. Unsure of whether or not it was safe to feel relieved, Alex lowered his hands.
He was being born away, flying at tremendous speed. Looking behind him, he could see the small town quickly shrinking. Below him was a golden stream, forming in the front and collapsing in the back, carrying him to salvation. For a brief wonderful moment Alex thought he was free.
Merely seconds after the last drop of fear had been swept from his body, a thunderous voice cracked across the sky. The words were not in any language that could be translated on paper, they were spell words, their enunciation impossible to make out, but their meaning clear.
Even before the last syllable faded, a sound unlike any Alex had ever heard before rose in response. A howl that started low but quickly rose, getting louder and more human but never truly becoming so. The sound did more than just terrify Alex, his benevolent river began to sputter, its speed dropped and it began to lower him to the ground. Even though he knew it would do no good Alex cried out to the rapidly fading sending that had just deposited him on the ground.
“Keep going, don’t leave me!” His voice cracked and trembled, drowned by the impression left by the terrifying howl. A thin trickle of gold wound it’s way up his arm, and then blew away in the breeze. Alex followed it with his eyes and his sight fell on a shadow approaching from the west.
Looking up into the setting sun, Alex saw the shape that cast the rapidly approaching shadow. It was vaguely human shaped, but there was something wrong about it. It flew through the air, its legs extended before it as it quickly descended. As it drew closer, Alex began was able to see what was so unnerving about its form.
The creatures arms swung well below its feet and its wrists and hands were several times too large. It’s back arched high with spiny vertebra poking out at odd angles. Before Alex had time to gleam any more horror from the things appearance, it landed, not thirty feet from him. A huge cloud of dust and debris was ejected into the sky, and for the briefest of moments Alex lost sight of the creature. But almost immediately the monster came crashing out of the dust, loping awkwardly on all fours, and Alex felt true horror for the first time. For years to come, the image of Maximillian’s face, split from ear to eat by a gaping maw filled with all too human teeth, would haunt his nightmares for years to come.
Without even thinking about why, despite the obvious reason, Alex ran. His eyes open but unseeing, blinded, not by fear, but by the most basic human reflex of flight. The creature was gaining quickly and was not slowing, no matter how fast Alex ran, the crescendo of its four legged gallop only grew louder. Then the monster howled, a gut wrenching combination of a man screaming in pain and a bloodthirsty beast read for the kill. The sudden sound startled Alex, even in his unthinking state of terror, and he tripped over his own feet. As he fell to the ground a dark shadow flew over his head. He looked up instinctively; the creature had run over him miraculously not crushing him in the process. But its back hooves had cut Alex’s stomach in a wide circle, the bleeding was light but the cut was deep enough to make him cringe. Dirt from the ground worked its way into the loose flaps of skin, and a deep ache permeated his abdomen. Alex tried to cover he wound but his hands only brought a searing pain as the sweat from his palms entered his open flesh, so he just clutched his sides willing the pain away.
The beast was now grinding to a halt, its long arms pushed forward as breaks. As it came to a full stop, it started turning towards the spot were Alex lay. As the ache from his stomach subsided Alex opened his eyes, He couldn’t stay here. He slowly rose to his feet, still hunched over slightly, ready to run. Though it’s not like I can out run it, or even fight it. The casting of his father spell had left him magically drained. But I might be strong enough to try something. The beast was now facing him, but this time, instead of charging, it started making a slow circle its head turned to focus on its prey.
“Poor, poor little lamb, lost and never to be found…” Maximillian’s voice echoed as if a dozen people spoke in a unison. “Don’t fight it, let the wolf end your struggle!” The beast laughed, a score of men and women chorusing his voice.
Thoughts raced through Alex’s head; even though the schemes had returned, none of them offered even the slightest bit of hope. Every spell that he had the energy to cast was either useless or would only make the situation worse. And he knew the beast would not wait forever, eventually it would see an opening, and eventually his time would be up.
Just as Alex was beginning to once again lose all hope of survival by rational thought, the beast completed its first full circle around him. As the setting sun shone in its face, it angled its head down, as if to shield its eyes. Alex, teetering on the edge of fight or flight, latched on to the creature’s behavior. It doesn’t look like it’s using its eyes to see…but the sun hurts it. Like a flash it came to him. Why didn’t I think of it sooner! The perfect spell for his situation, so perfect he would kick himself later in life for not using it the moment he was attacked. Slowly, he raised his hand ready to cast. The beast reacted immediately, sure that its prey would be immobilized during its attack. But Alex was not still; he jumped back with all his remaining strength, thrusting his hand out before him. A massive flare of light erupted from his fingers, accompanied by a shrill howl.
“YOU BRAT, I’LL TEAR YOU APART!” The beast howled louder and tossed itself to the right blundering off in an uncertain direction. Alex used the opening he’d made to run, taking care to run in the direction of the sun so as to mask his body heat. “I’LL FIND YOU BOY! NO MATTER WHERE YOU RUN! NO MATTER HOW FAR! I. WILL. FIND YOU.”
Alex never looked back to see if he’d actually escaped, though he must have because he didn’t stop running until the sun had set and his sides were burning. He collapsed in a heap.
When Alex woke, he found himself in his bed with sunlight streaming through his windows. It took him several seconds to realize that the preceding night had not been a dream. He sat, silent, for several seconds. He only noticed his father’s presence when he stood to leave the room.
“Now you know,” his father whispered softly, “Why we can never stay put.” Alex opened his mouth, but froze when he found he had nothing to say. His father closed the door behind him. Alex lay back down. Maybe it was a dream…
He fell back asleep, his hand resting over his stomach covering a large, circular scar.
He woke again that afternoon to find moving van outside and his things in boxes. He merely accepted it. He and his father never spoke of that day again.