Kara’s story continues…
And a completely unrelated story, starring Kara and Mun, can be found here.
Writing Prompt: A Druid’s Spell – part 4
Kara knew she had the right place when she spotted two guards standing watch at the entrance to the south tower. Both men wore matching black suits and ties and were nearly identical. She wondered if Montgomery provided the apparel, or if all his henchmen shopped at the same store.
From the obvious lumps beneath their jackets she knew they were armed, but she could also sense the pull of magic and knew they were also witches or mages of some kind. Double threat indeed.
Currently hiding around the corner of the hallway with Mun heavy on one shoulder, she looked around before dropping her stealth spell and wove a field holding spell. It would freeze any targets in a small area for a short time. Enough time for her to place individual, lengthier, holds on them while they were unable to fight back or raise an alarm.
Mun’s nose twitched and he watched her hands with interest. She often wondered if her magic was what had drawn him to her in the first place. Or if he had just loved the chocolate chip cookie he had snatched out of her hands so much he kept coming back for more. It must have been a bonus to the little thief that his target led such an interesting life.
The two men were watching a game of some kind on a tablet and didn’t notice when she stuck her hands around the corner and launched the spell at them. They did, however, notice the extremely loud crackle and the rainbow light show her spell gave off as it smacked into an invisible boundary halfway down the hallway.
Cover blown, she dashed down the hallway, and passed through the detection wall unharmed. Her signature holding spell already flying at one target as both men went for their guns. They seemed stunned to be under attack and she wondered at their poor response time. Maybe Montgomery wasn’t paying enough for decent thugs.
The first guard fell flat on his back, frozen, reaching for his gun, but the second one had managed to draw his. A split second later, Mun vanished from her shoulder to appear on the man’s, screeching and biting in a white blur. Dropping his gun, the guard grasped Mun and flung him against the stone wall.
Or tried to. Mun halted a hair’s breadth from impact and spun upside down, grinning widely at the man’s shocked face. Using his distraction, Kara kicked the gun from the man’s hand and threw a right cross with all her weight, and a smidgen of magic, behind it. Falling back against the wall, the guard clutched his broken nose, groaning loudly. He looked up just in time to see her throw a second holding spell at his bloodied face.
Mun floated closer, chittering at the man and grinning like a loon. Kara eyed him a moment, then weaved a stronger holding spell. It took longer to create, but would hold both men for days if they weren’t found. She was fairly certain that a change in guards would have them discovered and a release spell used by the end of the party though. She’d place an anonymous call after they left, just to be sure.
The door they were guarding was locked, but a quick search of the men and she was jingling the keys into the lock. Climbing the stairs with soft feet, Mun a reassuring weight on her shoulder, she reached a second door at the top of the tower.
Dark wood framed a window of iron bars, beyond which, a dim glow relieved the darkness, but not enough to see much of anything. A rustle sounded from within along with the clink of chains. A prisoner in chains? Why Vax, how very medieval of you.
This door was also locked and unfortunately none of the stolen keys were opening the door. That must mean Vax had the one and only key. Even more intriguing.
One glance at Mun and he vanished from her shoulder. A second later and he was grinning at her as he unlocked and swung the door open from the inside. She grinned at him in return and whispered, “Okay, so you’re handy on occasion.”
Once inside the room she saw that the light source came from a small lantern next to the door, it’s wick turned low. A shadowy assortment of objects sat on the table with the lantern: a cube of some kind, a book, a bottle, and some unlit candles if she had to guess. Kara found it strange that the whole castle seemed to have been updated and modernized except for this one tower. She figured her chances of finding demon summoning paraphernalia just went up. Apparently Vax liked it old school.
The rustle of chains had her peering into the darkness across the room. A vague shadowy shape moved against the far wall. Wondering if she was about to see a demon first hand, she turned up the wick.
An old woman lay on a thin pallet against the far wall. She had long gray and white hair that ran every which way in wild tangles. Pale and wrinkled beyond belief, she lay sleeping under a thin grey blanket that didn’t seem to do much against the chill in the air. As she watched, the frail woman shivered so hard, the clinking of chains sounded across the room.
Letting out a startled squeak, Mun vanished from her shoulder, taking his warmth with him. A shiver raced down Kara’s spine, but not just from the cold breeze Mun’s departure had made.
The pull of magic coming from the withered figure was stronger than anything Kara had ever felt before.
She moved her hands in the beginning of a holding spell and then startled when the woman’s eyes snapped open. White milky eyes met Kara’s and she froze in shock. The woman couldn’t see her, she knew that for certain, as blind as she obviously was. However, that didn’t stop the woman from seeing her.
“Who’s there? What do you want?” Her voice as ancient as she looked, the woman attempted to sit up. Her struggle became clear when the blanket slipped, revealing manacles encircling the woman’s wrists and waist. In addition, her hands were bound, wrapped in gauze and tied together. As she sat up, the cover pulled back from her legs, revealing her ankles were also chained and hobbled in such a way as to make walking difficult. The only concession Kara could give Vax was that though the chains were metal, each manacle encircling the frail figure seemed to be a padded leather. Only the finest for a “guest” of Montgomery’s!
“Vax, you bastard. Is that you? Speak up!” The woman barked orders as if she was in charge and not clearly at the mercy of her captor.
Moving a step closer, Kara finished her holding spell but kept it at the ready. “No ma’am. My name is Kara. Who are you? Why are you chained here?”
Kara knew most people would have moved immediately to help an old woman, locked and chained up in a tower. Most people didn’t see the way evil could hide behind an innocent face the way a hunter did though.
Cocking her head as if to listen better, white opaque eyes bored into Kara’s. “Kara? I don’t kn…”, a look of understanding suddenly lit up the wrinkled features. “Ah, Kara! Now I remember. Yes, yes. The guild hunter, right?”
Heart racing, Kara was so startled she almost let go of her holding spell. “How do you know who I am?”
“We’ve met, child. Will meet… are meeting now!” Cackling gleefully, she made to gesture with her hands, the chains rattling and bringing her up short. She held out her bandaged hands. “Would you be a dear?”
Kara wasn’t stupid. “How do you know my name? Why are you up here? Are you a demon?”
This just made the woman laugh even harder, but she dropped her hands into her lap. “No! Heavens, no! Not even Vax, that fool, would dare keep a demon in chains. No, just foolish old women.”
“You may be old and a fool, but you are no mere woman.”
A cunning look crossed her face and she nodded in acknowledgement. “Ha! No. My name is Morgaine. I am a Seer dear.”
“A seer?” That explained how she would know Kara’s name. It didn’t explain why she was chained up in Vax’s tower though. She eyed the bound hands. “I’m thinking a bit more than a seer.”
Chuckling, the woman raised her hands slightly. “Aye. I know a spell or two.”
No doubt. “Why are you chained here? Answer me or I’ll leave you here to rot.”
“I’ve been in one prison or another for centuries, my dear. Passed down from generation to generation of Montgomery assholes.” She slowly rattled her chains, a look so sad and yet so resigned on her face, that Kara actually felt sorry for her. “It’s been so long since I felt the freedom of chains, that I can’t remember a time when I didn’t feel their weight.”
Finally releasing her spell, Kara dropped her arms. “I don’t understand. If you’re a seer, why do they feel the need to keep you chained up?”
“Long, long ago, I made a prediction about a Montgomery heir, then called Mot de Grumere. It came to pass, and he wanted more and more predictions. He paid well, but I got tired of being his pet.” Grinning again, Morgaine waved her hands back and forth, making the chains sing. “He insisted, I refused, he insisted with force, I made some false predictions that nearly wiped out his entire line.”
Clearly enjoying her memories, the seer chuckled to herself for a moment. She’s insane.
“Let’s just say, things escalated until I was clapped in irons and forced to cast predictions.”
Edging closer, Kara stopped just out of reach. She wasn’t stupid, but it was hard to be afraid of someone who looked like your nana just waking up from a nap. “What’s to stop you from making more false predictions?”
“They’ve spelled a cube to determine when I’m predicting truthfully.” She waved towards the door.
Glancing over, Kara saw a very old, very worn looking, wooden cube sitting on the table next to the lantern. Symbols were etched all over it.
The rattle of chains had her turning back to see Morgaine raising her hands in supplication again. “So, Kara the Guild Hunter, we don’t have much time left. I will give you one prediction in exchange for your help out of here.”
The temptation was strong. Perhaps the seer could help her with the investigation on Eukithor. And she kind of wanted to help the woman anyway. If her story was to be believed, she was held against her will, forced to serve Montgomery for Gods knew how long. If she was telling the truth. Her eyes went back to the cube.
“Time is wasting, child. What’s it to be?”
Kara walked over to grasp the cube, surprised at it’s warmth. “If you’re truly a seer, then you already know the answer.”
Morgaine’s laughter echoed throughout the tower.
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