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A Threat of Monstrous Proportions (In Future Use Spellcheck Chapter 4)

When several minutes had elapsed without feeling the ice cold warning of an incoming torture spell or the less magical feeling of the sorcerers hands around his throat, Bran cautiously opened his eyes. The sorcerer was still seated in the chair, though he had put down his wine glass and was stretching his arms over his head, an indication that he definitely was significantly more mobile than Bran. He didn’t seem to be looking Bran’s way, so it appeared he’d been granted a stay of execution, or at least that was what Bran hoped it meant.

Exhaling a breath he’d been unaware he’d been holding, relief stole over Bran. It was short lived however as he focused back in on where he was and the predicament he’d gotten himself into with the sorcerer, whose name, he’d come to learn, was Medrorn. Bran realized there was little he could do about the situation, even with magic, until his body was again under his control. If it ever was.

While he would have given almost anything at the moment for something that would remedy the amount of pain he was in, at least it reassured him that he wasn’t paralyzed. And he could still open his eyes giving him the ability to see some of where he was. His concentration on maintaining his glamour which made him appear to be his uncle. and the complexity of what he was supposed to accomplish once he’d unexpectedly been dragged through the mirror had prevented him from noticing his surroundings before. Then of course the demon had materialized, almost killed them both, and then gone, further drawing Bran’s attention.

The basement in which he lay was impressive or at least would have been had a demon not destroyed much of it. Near a collapsed wall was a large stone fireplace, big enough to roast a steer. The huge masonry stones were deep red with white veins traveling through them. Against the smoky white stone of the wall, the fireplace stood out and while initially Bran had thought the feature rather spectacular, now all he could think of was blood, specifically his blood. This, of course, led him back to thoughts of his death at the hands of the sorcerer or rather how to prevent it.

A large antique desk stood in front of the fireplace, once holding books neatly stacked, now a jumbled up pile on the floor. Other antique pieces that had originally been placed carefully around the space were scattered, upended or overturned completely. One particularly nice redwood cabinet lay on its side, a broken off door displaced halfway across the room. Looking at it, Bran considered himself lucky it hadn’t been his arm instead. Or my head.

Too tired to maintain the effort of determining where he was exactly and how best to get himself somewhere else, Bran closed his eyes again and tried to concentrate on just breathing. It hit him that the inability to move made you focus on what was in your head and prevented you from avoiding topics you preferred not to face. He wasn’t particularly happy about this since introspection was another less than strong suit of his.

Now, forced to face the reasons for his predicament, he realized much of it had to do with his self esteem. If he was being totally honest about his misplaced enthusiasm to recover the sorcerer’s magic, he would have to admit that this most recent misstep stemmed in no small part from the desire to alter his family’s impression of him. They often referred to him using terms like “magically clumsy,” read “lacking in ability”.

In an effort to hide the truth from himself, he’d used the excuse that he was an adolescent male, and everyone knew that adolescent males used whatever tools they could to attract the attention of adolescent females. Figuring the discretion part of things mentioned in the message would be immaterial once he’d succeeded in returning the magic to its rightful owner, in addition to correcting his families misperceptions of him, he also had designs on using his accomplishment to impress the girls at Strawgoh. When the Sorcerer began to speak however, thoughts of girls and his families re-evaluated judgements of his magical talent faded away. Bran would have happily returned to the silence and forced self-evaluation.

“Did you hear me, boy?”

Bran wondered at the question since he couldn’t fail to hear the sorcerer given the raised volume not to mention the scathing threat implied by Medrorn’s tone. “This is your only chance, well hypothetically it’s a chance. Oh let’s just stop pretending shall we? You know I’m going to kill you, I know I’m going to kill you, so why don’t we just get on with the . . . “

“I can get someone who can really summon the demon back!” Bran shouted in a last chance Hail Mary.

The sorcerer picked up his glass again, raised it and considered it’s contents. “Really? And I should believe you why exactly? Not that you haven’t been, oh, so honest with me thus far. Though I wouldn’t hold simple dishonesty against you, it being the elixir of life. . .”

“And here I thought the Dom Perignon ’92 Oenotheque was the elixir of life. . . “

“At least you apparently know something about a good vintage, even if you know absurdly little about magic . . . “

“You haven’t seen what I can do at all as far as magic is concerned . . . ” Letting his anger distract from even the most pressing issues at hand was another one of Bran’s flaws. Though it had managed to cover up the terror he had been feeling.

“. . . And whatever spell you used before wasn’t half bad as you did look somewhat like the great archmage. . .

“Somewhat? I looked exactly like him.” Offended by the suggestion that he hadn’t become a doppelganger in exactitude, it escaped Bran’s notice that he’d essentially just admitted that he wasn’t the mage in question. Though since he’d dropped the glamour that really wasn’t an issue.

Bran hadn’t the energy needed to keep it in place after the tornado in the form of a demon had blasted into him on its way through the stone basement and out the hole which hadn’t previously existed in the wall closest to the two injured parties. The upper two floors had also collapsed at that point, sealing off the hole and re-trapping Bran in with the Sorcerer.

That area of the huge catacomb-like basement now looked much as if a bomb had exploded at close range, which is also what it had felt like, not that Bran had been in a bomb explosion before. Some things you didn’t have to experience first hand to have an understanding of and as bad as his entire body hurt he couldn’t imagine a real bomb being much worse short of killing him,

Bran had barely enough energy left to hold onto the very edges of the spell disguising his appearance just enough so as to render him unrecognizable. Not that Medrorn would know his face but still he’d wanted to prevent that from happening so the sorcerer couldn’t find him after Bran got out of here. But he’d realized it wasn’t worth the energy it took.

Maintaining anonymity wasn’t really all that important if you were dead. If he did manage to get out of this alive, it didn’t look likely it would come about through escape. The sorcerer would have to be exceptionally pleased with him to let him walk away. Not that Bran would be doing much walking in the immediate future. He dropped the glamour.

“As if I needed confirmation. . . ” Medrorn muttered under his breath. “Why should I give you another chance? You almost got me killed with the first one. I don’t know who you are or how you came to know about my invitation to the Grand Archmage but knowing my business is worthy of death itself.”

“Death? But, but. . . ” Bran stammered..

“Oh, now you just sound pitiful. Surely you knew the cost of an unsuccessful attempt to fool me. Then there is the business of my home being destroyed. You must have some serious magic in you somewhere, I’ll give you that. No one has come close to killing me in over 1000 years. Of course, you didn’t actually do it. You just opened the gates of hell without any idea of what you were doing, summoned a demon here. . .

“. . . I did didn’t I?” Bran was impressed with himself.

“. . . and not only failed to get my magic back but let him escape into the human world. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t much care what happens to the non magical humans he might barb-b-cue or flay or what not but I have no intention of chasing him down should summoning not be an option and you’ve proven that you are certainly not up to it. So, surely you see my position.”

“Uh, what position is that again?”

“The one where I kill you.”

“No, no . . . I can’t say that I do see it. Why don’t we talk about this rationally?” The talk of death, specifically his, averted Bran’s attention from his successful summoning, (for you couldn’t deny him that, regardless of what happened after). He began to sweat and became breathless again.

“You somehow gained access to a confidential message sent to the Grand Archmage of Windsor, tricked my spell into recognizing you as the Grand Archmage despite endless evidence proving you aren’t fit to shine his shoes. . . “

“Hey! You grabbed me and dragged me through the mirror! I hadn’t even decided to accept your silly invitation. You can’t hold me accountable for anything that came after. Had you not kidnapped me. . .”

“. . . Kidnapped you? Kidnapped you?”

“. . . and brought me here to what was obviously the subterranean lair of a dark sorcerer . . . “

“. . . lair? How dare you call my home a lair? I’ll have you know it is the utmost in modern infernal chiq! And had you not engaged my spell with an intention to act on it – a mistake only a novice magician would make by the way . . .”

“. . .Novice? You’re calling me a novice? Not even the greatest of Mages is spot on all the time. Look at you! Some mighty evil sorcerer you make, turning to an Archmage – a fully light Archmage by the by – to do your demon summoning for you. You must be a half-rate, second class . . . “

“That’s ENOUGH! You have precisely two minutes to get whoever it might be who can clean up your mess here! And this person better know what he’s doing or I’ll call forth my pet Mongolian death worm who will tenderize you with its electrical discharge, spit acid on you to corrode your skin off, then suck you like raw meat into its maw. “

“Did you really just use the word maw? And Mongolian Death Worm? That’s the best you got?”

“1 minute 45. Test me if you want. I wouldn’t suggest it.” Medrorn lifted a hand towards the far wall recessed in darkness. Behind, there was the slightest glow and suddenly the wall became translucent. 

Hi All –  So it appears that Bran has insight into his flaws, though it takes a demon laying him flat with the power of a tornado and a sorcerer’s house to fall on him to get him to admit them to himself. Of course, said sorcerer, whose name we learn is Medrorn, is not happy and threatening to kill Bran, unless Bran gets someone to fix his problem. And just what exactly is a Mongolian Death Worm? We’ll learn all about them in the next episode. But beware they are monstrous and deadly creatures!

A word about where I get the names for my characters – Some I come up with through random name generators, choosing one that sounds right for the character. Others I use because the name means something closely related to the character. This is how I named Bran and Isi. You’ll learn about their names later on in the story. More on this later.

Now what is Medrorn doing at the end of this episode? If I didn’t know any better, I’d say it seems like he’s using magic. But that’s not possible right? Stay tuned to find out! As always, thanks for reading. 

– Taye

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