Part 19 |
The night stretched into early
morning quite peacefully for the San Francisco Legacy house.
It was only as the sun slowly began to appear over the horizon
that the calm was shattered. The event which occurred woke every
last sleeper in the castle, and bed clothes flew as more than
one confused mind lurched for consciousness. Rachel was the
first out of bed as she followed the instinctive urge that her
daughter needed her. The man who had been holding her in his
arms only a few moments before did not comment on her reaction,
but hurriedly pulled on his clothes, and followed her into the
Further round the house, Philip
was half dressed before he realised that he'd even moved. He
came to a halt as the buttons on his jeans refused to do up
under his frantic fingers. It was only then that he caught sight
of Jas staring at him worriedly. There was no question in her
face, she knew what was going on, she was just anxious about
her lovers stark reaction. They held each other's gaze for a
moment, and then she moved to join him.
Alex and Nick appeared from
their rooms at the same moment, both looking rumpled, but very
alert. The psychic knew what had woken her, but it was obvious
by the expression her companion wore, that he didn't really
know why he had so hurriedly climbed into his clothes.
"Let's go find the others,"
was all the female of the two said, and they headed off down
The seven people came together
at the top of the stairs. Only Rachel was still in a robe, her
instinct to reach her daughter far greater than her need for
clothes. It was obvious that Kat had experienced the same clarity
of vision as the other three sensitives in the house, and she
clung to her mother as if for dear life.
"What was *that*?"
Nick asked the question that was bothering him.
Philip and Alex let Derek provide
"That was the someone
trying to destroy the circle at the University," the tall
man responded simply. "The fact that we have the box in
this house has connected us to it, and in consequence we all
seem to have felt it."
"Felt it!" Nick was
obviously upset by the experience, he wasn't used to events
making themselves know in quite such a fundamental way. "That
was not what I call a pleasant alarm call."
Nobody was arguing with that
"Quite," even Derek
agreed, "and I doubt very much if it was without reason."
It was obvious that his mind
was moving in deeper circles than his ex-SEAL compatriot, and
it was mirrored on the faces of those who had seen exactly what
had happened. There was going to be trouble, and Derek, Kat,
Alex and Philip all knew it all to clearly. The visions of fire
were all too close for comfort.
"Nick, Philip and Jasmine,"
the Precept began to make decisions, "go to the University,
they're going to need as much help as they can get. Alex and
I will move the box to a more secure location."
He looked at Rachel for a moment,
and the white face of her daughter.
"I think Kat may be safer
away from here," were his final words.
They dispersed quickly, there
was no time to waste.
The helicopter was long gone
with it's three occupants, and the launch stood ready to take
Rachel and Kat back to the mainland, when the first repercussions
of the morning's events were felt. The front door didn't so
much open as exploded inwards, removing itself from it's top
set of hinges completely. The creature which entered through
the opening was Guardian, or at least a parody of the entity
which Nick had seen in the study room.
It's form seemed to be even
more amorphous than before, holding to the male shape only for
fractions of a second. The dark lines that defined it were ragged
and incomplete, flowing into vivid splashes of colour which
seemed somehow alien to the creature. It was almost as if it
was coming apart at the seams.
Rachel and Kat had been about
to descend the stairs when the explosion forced them backwards.
It took the psychiatrist only a second to grab her daughter's
hand and flee back up the corridor towards the control room.
Derek and Alex had just moved the box to the basement, but they
would make for the technological haven if they could. The war
had come to the house.
At the University there was
chaos. The police and the fire department were everywhere, searching
for the cause of what could only be described as a bomb. The
initial outflow of power from the circle when it was attached
had shattered windows from one end of the campus to the other.
The creature that had raged through the main building after
that had left was resembled a battlefield. Thanks to the early
hour of the incident no one had been hurt, but the authorities
wanted someone to blame for all the destruction. One more helicopter
in addition to the police, the traffic radio and the news people
was not noticed.
Those who knew what had happened
all headed for the same place, and thanks to the delays from
well meaning police, most of the players reached the pitch at
the same time. The Legacy team caught up with Holland hurrying
up the hill, and they met Rhyanna and Sam as they reached the
clearing. For all those in tune with the area, it hurt to be
there, and the younger witch could not hold back her tears at
the scene. Two of the trees were completely shattered, attacked
by a chain saw they had both been too weak to take the following
explosion. There was nothing left of them except ragged stumps
and splinters. Each of the other guardian oaks had a raw, glistening
patch where their name sigil's should have been. The saboteur
had obviously taken to heart the chaos the loss of one symbol
had caused and decided to multiply it one hundred fold. The
power the trees had knitted together in such beautiful harmony,
now wailed about in a heart wrenching cacophony.
Yet that was not the most telling
sign of what had happened, nor the most pitiful sight to see.
At the centre of the circle was a figure. No longer radiant
blue, but more a dull glassy colour she lay huddled around the
altar stone. Dark, jagged streaks ran down her perfect form,
and the wide, white orbs that took the place of eyes, were filled
"She's dying," Holland
voiced what they could all see just as Nick mobile phone decided
Philip's whole being cried
out for him to help, but Jasmine's hand was very firm on his
arm. The destruction was too great, to try and put right all
the damage would undoubtedly kill him. Yet he couldn't stop
himself from walking forward to see if he could at least do
something. When he saw what was sprayed onto the front of the
tree they had been behind his whole body went cold. There on
the bark in red spray paint was the sigil the Legacy had been
investigating, in two halves. His eyes flicked from the sign
to the injured entity and back again as all the pieces fell
into place in his mind. He had to try and help, there was no
longer any choice.
"If she dies," he
said to those who had followed him into the circle, "all
hell breaks loose, literally."
But as he went to move, it
was not Jasmine's hand that stopped him, it was Holland's. There
was a look of complete certainty on her face as she stepped
"You can't help her,"
she said calmly as she wiped away her tears, "but I can."
Slowly, the young woman knelt
down beside the crippled being, and looked into it's slowly
dulling orbs. All around just watched, and Nick was too busy
on the phone to realise what was happening. Holland reached
out her hands and placed them on the female's arms, then she
gave herself up to it. The only one of them outside the circle
nearly dropped his mobile when he heard his girlfriend scream.
By the time he made it through the trees he was far too late
to stop it, as he too watched, mesmerised as the slight blue
glow receded into Holland's skin.
The deep gashed of darkness
on the entity had become real, although superficial wounds on
the witch, and she just knelt there for along time. This was,
however, something Philip could deal with, and he moved quickly.
Within seconds the injuries were completely gone and Holland
was as well as could be expected, of course except that she
wasn't exactly Holland anymore.
"Thank you," she
said quietly as the ex-priest's touch left her.
Then she opened her eyes and
clear white light was revealed.
"I must find him,"
the peculiar mix of spirit and woman told them all.
This time, however, her power
was not as great as before and she was confined by a corporal
body, she could not just vanish. Nick was looking totally aghast,
but her words brought him back to the reality of the situation.
This was no time for personal feelings, the problem was much
bigger than that.
"He's on Angel Island,"
the ex-SEAL provided quickly, "that was Rachel on the phone,
she and Kat are holed up in the control room."
"Take me," were the
only words which came out of Holland's mouth.
They left Rhyanna and Sam to
try and do something about the circle as they piled back into
the helicopter and headed towards the castle. As they walked
through what had been the front door, they met Alex and Derek
in the hallway. The house was surprisingly quiet.
"He went this way,"
the entity was not wasting any time with human niceties, she
was completely focused on what had to be done.
Even as the Precept of the
house stared, she walked straight past him towards the stairs.
"Wait," he said as
she began to climb, "what can we do?"
"Nothing," she responded
without pausing. "He is confused, unsure, I must rejoin
with him and all will be as it was."
The looks that passed between
the Legacy members as she disappeared didn't look quite so sure.
Philip took the opportunity to explain the conclusions he had
"The box contains the
sigil to bind a demon," he told them rapidly. "The
male half of the entity is the destructive power, tamed by the
binding, the personification of which is the female half. She
channels his energy into being the guardian of the thing which
actually keeps him caged. While she exists he probably still
feels the pull of that, which is why he's come here."
Derek did not look surprised
as he realised the logical course of thought that had brought
Philip to his rationalisation. He also chose to agree.
"I think our best course
of action may be to leave," the Precept decided quickly,
"and to take the artefact with us."
"Rachel and Kat are in
the control room," Nick provided helpfully, "I'll
go and get them." The ex-SEAL desperately needed something
to keep him occupied, or he knew he was going to do something
"We all will," Derek
put in rapidly, "I do not want the group split up. We'll
collect the box last. Guardian seems confused as to where it
is, if we move it, that might change."
Nobody disagreed and they all
piled up the stairs very quietly.
The look on Rachel's face said
she was thanking every deity in heaven when the rest of the
Legacy members appeared. Her relief was almost tangible.
was all Derek said as he rapidly typed some commands at the
The plan might have been to
make sure there were no people left to witness what going to
happen, but the security system would hopefully do that for
them. It was Nick who found he had to ask a question.
"What about Holland?"
it was obvious that he was holding back the anger which always
threatened him when he felt powerless in a situation.
The ex-SEAL already knew the
answer, but he had to ask anyway. The expression on the faces
around him could have told him if he needed to be sure, but
Derek spoke anyway.
"She must have known what
she was doing," Philip had given his superior a very quick
run down of what had happened at the circle on the way to the
control room, "we have to leave her behind. If everything
goes to plan she'll be here when we come back, if not there
is nothing we can do for her and we are no good to anyone trapped
here. If we can get the binding away from here we may have a
chance at helping her cause."
For once in his life Nick did
not comment, he just turned back to the entrance, his pain written
on his face. Very soon they all walked through the hologram,
for what could be the last time, resolute in what they had to
do. It was as they were about to leave the library that Philip
realised they didn't have the book, it had been placed back
on the shelf. With a quick word to his companions he hurried
over to pick it up. He was facing away from the door when it
opened with an almighty crash, but he didn't have to be psychic
to know what had entered the room. Every person in the library
The deep black holes in what
was sometimes a head, fixed each of them under it's gaze. It
power had grown, and it seemed to have found a taste for games
as it held all the humans in it's thrall. Derek was the closest
and the creature almost glided towards him. As he looked into
it's eyes the Precept felt it reach for his mind. It wanted
his knowledge, and after a fearful second he knew it wanted
his soul. This being was closer to the demon it had once been
than it was to the entity the had been Guardian, and it revelled
in it's power. Only Derek and Alex knew where the box actually
was, and the head of the house knew he had to keep that information
away from the invader. He threw up every mental trick he knew
as the energy raged through his mind. He would have cried out
if he could, but every muscle was held immobile, only his thoughts
gave him any protection. Then, just as it could have touched
him, the entity paused, it's attention drawn away by someone
just behind Derek.
What the precept could not
see was the fire in Nick's eyes as he looked at the beast, the
pure hatred that radiated through his soul. The ex-SEAL's anger
was what had distracted Guardian, it burned more brightly than
anything else in the room. The half demon liked anger, it could
use it. In a flash the burning radiance was gone, straight into
Nick, who began to laugh like a mad thing. The creature's power
was still in the room, but it seemed more interested in the
body it had just taken over, freeing the others from their paralysis.
Yet, there was nothing they could do. Alex tried, but even as
she moved to try and help her friend, it just looked at her
with cold back orbs, and threw her across the room with the
power of it's mind. The laugh was mocking them, and it seemed
to go on and on, never ceasing. The noise clawed at them, daring
each of them to try anything, spiralling from deep chuckles
to hysterical pitch ... and then it just stopped. One second
there was sound, the next the entity had lost interest in it's
The expression on Nick's face
was one of shock which evolved into malicious pleasure. It no
longer remotely cared about it's human victims, it had found
something in Nick's mind that gave it far more interesting things
"She's here," it
said, and ignoring all else, ran for the door.
The remaining Legacy members
were left to put themselves back together. Jasmine helped Alex
off the floor while Rachel juggled a terrified Kat, and a less
than one hundred percent Derek. The last person in the room
would have tried to help as well, except at that moment he was
totally overcome by a vision. The book he was carrying dropped
onto the table with a heavy thud as images he did not want to
see flooded through his mind.
"Oh, sweet Jesus,"
he said as the ideas piled into his thoughts, "he's going
to kill her ... he knows."
That brought even Derek back
to his senses, but Philip wasn't finished yet.
"And there's someone else
here ... the cause of all this," the ex- priest struggled
to push the vision to the back of his mind and regain control,
"they're going after the box."
What no-body in the room could
know was that they were too late to prevent that as a dark figure
moved up the hallway. The saboteur had already been in the basement,
it had seen Derek and Alex take the box down, and now it was
just waiting for the entity to find the key to ending it's imprisonment.
Philip's mind threw up one
last image, that of an altar cloth adorned with the sigil, torn
in two, and he knew what he had to do.
"I can buy us some time,"
he said with complete certainty, "but the binding must
Without another word he ran
out of the room, towards where he knew his Precept had taken
the artefact. After only a moments hesitation, and a quick glance
at Alex, Jasmine followed her lover. The young looking woman
didn't know if there was anything she could do, but she had
to be with him. Neither had time to notice the robed figure
which lurked outside the door. The other three adults were left
with the book, and a task the *had* to complete. There was no
time to waste, and Derek pushed away the headache that threatened
to burst his skull and picked up the book. The relevant page
was marked and it didn't take him long to find the section.
of Part 18
Guardian had been all over
the top of the house and the entity inside Holland had no way
to know exactly where he was. She was inside one of the bedrooms,
investigating the upturned chest of draws when he made himself
known. As he entered the room at a slow walk, she turned and
looked at him, then she smiled.
"Come beloved," she
said and opened her arms, "it's time to go home."
He just began to laugh.
The scene at the bottom of
the cellar steps was enough to stop even Philip's hurried flight.
The saboteur had been busy whilst they had been upstairs and
the basement bore an uncomfortable resemblance to the ex-priest's
vision. The altar was a block of stone from an old archaeological
did, and two burning candles were stood on two different sized
candle sticks, but the cloth that covered the granite was all
too familiar. The box from the coven lay open and discarded
on the floor, it was no longer of any importance. The piece
of linen which it had hidden for centuries was plain for all
the world to see. As Jasmine came to a halt behind her lover,
what was all the more obvious was the fact the cloth was splitting
in two from one end, and it was taking the granite beneath with
"I think I can slow it
down," Philip said, all his confidence leaving him as he
surveyed the problem.
As if to spite him, there was
a tearing sound as another centimetre of the fabric gave way,
succeeded by a grinding as the altar followed suit. Jasmine
thought she heard Philip whisper a prayer as her walked forward,
but she could do nothing to help him. Almost like a condemned
man before the gas chamber, he knelt down, and taking a deep
breath he placed one had on each side of the divide. It was
like being cleaved in two, as forces he could not hope to contend
with tore away from each other. He could not heal this, he was
not even sure he could hold it. It was beyond agony as the energies
played with his very being, but with all his strength he willed
them to be united.
All Jasmine saw was the heart
wrenching sob that the effort drew from her lover. She could
almost feel his pain, and yet all she could do was watch.
Derek was halfway down the
first page when he heard Rachel gasp. The Precept looked up
to find himself on the wrong end of a gun. The robed intruder
had pulled back his hood, it was James Moulton, a thirty-something
coven member, and probably the most unlikely culprit. Alex could
barely believe she was seeing the same man she had spoken to
previously. He had been the sweetest, kindest, most helpful
person, which was very different from the smug faced man with
a gun that now stared at her.
"Don't look so shocked,
Ms Moreau," he said with a broad smile, "I have two
distinct personalities. You met nice James, I've crafted him
since I was a child, ever since I realised that my true nature
made people nervous. He's very useful when people like you and
Rhyanna play mind games."
He turned his manic smile towards
"You won't be needing
that, Dr Rayne" he continued and waved the gun at the book.
"When I saw that you knew about the sigil I thought you'd
try something like this, so I decided to be here. The destruction
will be something to see: the power of hell unleashed."
"And you really think
that you'll survive that?" the Precept decided to try a
James just raised an eyebrow.
"I don't much care,"
he said calmly, "I was born to serve the darkness, and
that is what I shall do. I'm quite enjoying myself to tell you
the truth. Now be a good prisoner and step away from the table."
He seemed quite rational, but
it was quite obvious he was out of his mind.
"Do you know ..."
Derek started, he had no choice but to try and talk his way
out of the situation.
It was the wrong thing to do.
With absolutely no warning, James lowered the gun slightly and
fired. He didn't even blink. The shot caught Derek in the abdomen
and threw him backwards like a rag doll.
"No!" Rachel cried
and went to her lover's aid.
Alex just grabbed Kat's hand
and made a dive for the hologram wall. A shot followed them,
but the emergency door close shut them inside before another
could be fired. There was, however, just a chance that the door
might be opened again, so the young woman fled for Derek's office,
and the tunnels to the outside, dragging a voiceless Kat behind
Rachel knelt on the floor,
her lover's head in her lap. The fall had knocked Derek cold,
which left her alone with a madman. Even with all her years
of training she could not hold back the tears.
"Why?" she demanded
"Because I've always wanted
to do that," was the calm reply.
The look on Holland's face
turned from one of calm acceptance to one of fear, as the entity
realised that she could no longer control her other half.
"My turn," Guardian
said with Nick's voice. "Time to pay for the centuries
was pure terror in the witch's voice as the awakening demon
stalked her slowly.
"I heard about the coven
when I was nineteen," James had taken Rachel's question
to mean that he could tell her his life story, "and I thought
it would be amusing to play with the white witches. I even managed
to manipulate one into killing herself a few years ago,"
he seemed very proud of this fact. "There I was, nice little
James, wouldn't hurt a fly, and they couldn't even see what
I was doing to them. When I began to investigate the box I was
most pleased to find out it's potential."
The doctor was all but ignoring
him, she was more interested in preventing the flow of blood
from the hole in Derek. He was still out cold, but that didn't
stop his body pumping it's life into a growing stain on his
shirt. The only thing Rachel had to hand was a handkerchief
she had slipped into her pocket that morning, and it was gradually
turning deep red as she pressed it against the wound. The only
thing she had to be thankful for was the fact that Alex had
escaped with Kat. The rest of her mind was taken up by the desperate
realisation that she had to get Derek to a hospital soon or
he was going to die. Stomach wounds took longer to kill than
a straight shot to the heart, but he was going to bleed to death
if something wasn't done. She wanted to scream as the mundane
tone in James' voice as he just talked, and it took every ounce
of will power she had not to fly at him.
"I've always enjoyed playing
with people," there could be no rationalisation of the
cold hearted man, he was just evil. "My sister's in a mental
home," he laughed, "I scared her silly. Of course
everyone else thinks she was just unstable and an attack by
a burglar sent her over the edge. But then again, I don't think
anyone would be particularly surprised to find out what I am,
demon worship runs in the family."
Derek chose that moment to
stir, and Rachel put her hand over his mouth to make sure he
didn't distract James. In his own reverie, the gunman was a
lot less likely to start shooting again. The psychiatrist just
stared into her lover's eyes and prayed he understood.
The precept was seeing the
world through a haze of pain, but he knew the look in his companion's
eyes. He gritted his teeth and held her hand.
"The box is older than
anyone thinks," James either had not, or chose not to notice
the fact that his victim was awake, "it's actually second
century Asian in origin. Some holy men trapped a very powerful
demon with their spells. Easy to find out when you know who
to ask. Turning it into it's own keeper was an interesting trick,
but of course it makes the undoing all that more spectacular.
Twelve hundred years of power, all about to be let go at the
same time. You have to admit it's an amazing thought."
Nick had backed Holland into
a corner and was taking great delight in just standing in front
of her, staring right into her eyes.
"Afraid?" the awakening
demon asked in a terrible whisper.
His hand snaked out with unnatural
speed and his fingers closed around her throat. They didn't
squeeze, they just held her, threatening to cut off life.
"It's incredible to think
that ..." James did not seem to realise he had dropped
into a psychotic monologue.
He took a breath to go on when
a piercing scream cut through the whole castle. It could have
made blood freeze, and it brought a victorious smile to the
"You loose," he said
with an unhealthy amount of glee.
The sound echoing through the
halls made Jasmine look up as her soul trembled. This was wrong,
it was not meant to be like this. It couldn't end, not so soon.
A stifled gasp and the crack of granite brought her attention
back to the basement and despair threatened to overwhelm her.
Philip had managed to slow down the division of the sigil, but
he could not stop it, and there were only millimetres of cloth
left. There had to be something she could do, something to help.
She was watching the man she loved fighting for his life and
all those of the others in the house. If he failed before Derek
could redo the bonding, they were all lost.
In the end it was a groan of
agony from Philip that made her move. She had no power to wield,
no magic wand, but she had every emotion in her body. With total
dedication she threw herself down behind him, wound her arms
around his body, and sent every ounce of love, of caring, of
sexual desire, of happiness, of joy, that she could muster,
through their telepathic connection.
The agony intensified in Philip's
nerves as the emotion poured into him, but it did not take away
his strength. The feelings found their kin in him as the raw
passion carved it's way through his soul. This was the essence
of human existence and it changed what he was trying to do.
For the first time since he had touched the cloth, Philip opened
his eyes, and they glowed red.
The crumpled form in the corner
of the room had nothing left to fight with. When she had realised
that there was no hope she had thrown every last measure of
power she had at her attacker, and it had just flowed over him.
The creature in Nick had picked her up and thrown her across
the room in a fit of anger. Holland just lay where she had fallen,
the human and spirit alike, waiting for the end. It was incredible,
even for the supernatural entity, when a force that could never
have been resisted surged into her. Just a passenger in her
own body, Holland suddenly found that something took hold of
parts of her being and threw them to the surface. The living
thing which looked up from the floor was neither the female
spirit, nor the human witch, she was both, and she looked on
the world with an entirely new perspective. When she looked
at the creature that was her enemy, she did not feel the hurt
or the defeat, she felt desire.
Guardian was frozen where he
stood as a battle raged within him. The demon found his hatred
and rage overlaid with alien emotions, and the body he had taken
was overcome with some confusing sensations. These new experiences
were all encompassing and they threatened to eclipse the purpose
which had been so foremost in his mind. There were parts of
another existence being thrown upon him, and Guardian did not
like that. He fought to push them aside, but the human had powerful
chemical messages which the demon had accepted when he stole
possession of the form. There was no winning a battle that was
already nearly over, and with a dark eyed glare Guardian became
something not tame, but not spawn of hell either. This new being
was taken by wild urges his human half urged him to follow,
and his demon half did not really understand. He stared at his
enemy with black eyes that sparked red at the centre.
Holland climbed to her feet
slowly, knowing with a strange double sense that the feelings
she felt were for Nick, and yet that the other mind that was
now part of hers, in a strange way, loved the abomination that
resided in his body. He looked almost confused standing there
in the centre of the room, and the air of danger about him just
excited her more. The female walked up to the male, the circumstances
didn't matter, the past, the present, the future: all were irrelevant
now. The only thing that was of any interest was him.
"Beloved," she said,
and this time there was no question in her voice.
of Part 19