Dragon Hoard Part 10: An Exercise of Will
Douglas Brodie, reluctant wizard, is having a rough evening at the casino. There's some sort of magic at work turning people greedy and violent and the casino's owner, who just happens to be a dragon, wants Douglas to figure out who or what is behind it. Simple right?
Read on to find out or follow this link to read from the beginning: http://www.eoghann.com/greed-good-part-1-mostly-dull-1st-draftPart 10: An Exercise of Will
Unencumbered by my body at its limited senses I was better able to grasp the scale of the threat against the casino. Then tension and anger growing throughout the building felt like a headache building deep inside my skull.
I still wasn't able to locate a definitive source though. The power was not native to this realm, but there had to be a loci somewhere that was focussing it. I tried to apply some simple calming to the energy flow of the casino, but the torrent of negative energies simply swept what little I could muster away.
My next thought was to perhaps divert some of this energy elsewhere and disperse it through a wider population. Risky, but it would buy me some time at least. Except that I couldn't. The casino was sealed in some way, magic was pouring in from another dimension, but within this dimension nothing was getting in or out. All my attempts to divert the greed and anger bounced off an invisible barrier and back into the seething mass off the casino guests.
The strain of trying to filter and control this much negative energy made my head pulse like it was going to explode. That sort of pain made it hard to concentrate. I clenched my fists, my nails digging into the palms of my hands in an attempt to refocus. I didn't want my essence swept away by this torrent of hunger and greed. But I was getting desperate. I didn't have the power to sweep aside this attack and I didn't have the time to chip away at it. More and more fights were breaking out, everything I could see was turning red. I pushed down the panicky feeling that was building in the pit of my stomach.
And then something happened, a small area of blue forming out on the casino floor. I wondered at first how someone was managing to resist the waves of negative emotion pouring into the building, but then that blue area grew outwards widening slowly into a circle. Someone was fighting back and they were winning.
It took me a moment to realize that Sante Drago had stepped into the fray. I knew dragons were creatures of powerful magic, but I hadn't understood what that meant. Somehow he was calming the people around him, expanding his sphere of influence ever wider as he resisted the torrent of hunger and greed.
I moved closer, making sure to stay clear of whatever Drago was doing, but close enough to observe. When I realized, I almost laughed out loud. It was simple and brilliant at the same time. Dragons are creatures of greed and lust. Right now, the casino was a feast for this dragon and he was eating it up.
As the blue sphere spread, the red subsided. For a moment, I thought Drago was going to be able to fight off this threat single handed, then I looked at him. A proper look. Not at what he was doing, but at what it was doing to him. Even a dragon must have limits and Drago was channeling incredible amounts of power, but there was still nowhere for it to go and his body couldn't absorb it all. It was like studying a battery that was being charged too fast. I wondered how long he would be able to keep this up.
It might not be a solution, but Drago's intervention had bought me some time and an idea. If I could get home and get my hands on some additional supplies I might be able to set up my own barrier against this attacker. Also not a permanent solution, but a way to shield innocent people caught in the middle of what looked increasingly like turf warfare.
My mind snapped back into my body and I opened my eyes. It was disorienting to suddenly be assaulted by the every day noise of the people the casino, not to mention the stale smell of smoke that was everywhere in the building. I stood, paused for a moment as the world swayed around me and then half ran, half staggered towards the nearest exit.
Sticking to the service tunnels I was able to avoid people and reached the exit in minutes. I wasn't sure how long I had before Drago's power was overloaded, but I wanted to be back here when it happened.
I reached out to push the door open and stopped. I could feel the barrier around the casino through my fingertips. The door would open for me of course, but once I was out, I might not be able to get back in. There was no way to know for sure without leaving. But if I did that I might be losing any chance of stopping what was happening. Of course, my plan to stop this relied on me leaving.
"Why aren't you leaving." I spun round in astonishment. The voice was Lee Anne's and she ought to still be unconscious. In a way, she was.
Lee Anne was standing staring at me, but she wasn't in control of her body right now. Whatever possessed her now was reasoned and calculating, not just a force of greed and hunger.
"Why do you want me to leave?" I countered. Not Lee Anne gave me a smile that didn't reach her eyes.
"If you leave, you won't have to die." She said. It wasn't a threat. That's what made it so terrifying.
"I don't have to die anyway." I pointed out. "Right now it seems like the dragon has you on the ropes."
Not Lee Anne laughed and any shred of hope I had that Drago could prevail vanished. "Let the lizard use up his meager stores. Soon he will have to give me what I really want."
"And what is that again?"
"I can't do that. You're hurting my friend."
"I can hurt her more." For a brief moment real anger twisted up Not Lee Anne's face. "Choose wizard." She stared at me and I felt myself drawn in.
I squeezed my eyes shut, shaking my head to clear my mind from the mesmeric effects. I hoped I had blocked the demon in time before he was able to get his claws into my mind, but a name echoed in my head. Now I had the answer that Sante Drago was looking for. But I wasn't sure it would help him.
Mammon had claimed the casino for his own and I didn't know how to stop him. #SaturdayScenes #DragonHoard #TheCaseFilesofDouglasBrodie #urbanfantasy #amwriting #amwritingfantasy