August sits quietly in the interview room at the police station. The room isn’t made for interrogation; August expects a high powered CEO to bust in through a door shouting about mergers and profit margins. His sleep deprived mind allows a smile to skulk across his lips and Detective Worthington doesn’t appreciate it one bit. The detective leans forward; his fingers interlaced in a gesture that makes him seem like a television caricature.
“Mr. Kane took a look at the dragon lady’s wounds. He’s verified that they aren’t from a werewolf; your friend should consider himself lucky that Kane’s an honest guy. It wouldn’t take much for him to say ‘he’s our man’ and get a payday. Half the guys at the scene had already made up their minds.” says Detective Worthington, his cow-like gaze matching well with his constant gum chewing. Across town, Tobias wouldn’t consider himself lucky.
He feels like someone stabbed his brain with a thick needle and swished it around his skull. The next sensation he feels is a strange mixture of cold and warmth; looking up, he sees River shielding himself with a shimmering wall of purple, sizzling energy. Despite his protection, he looks to be in poor shape. Tobias cannot imagine what is keeping the conjuror standing. It is a moment before it registers who is assaulting River.
The old power courses freely through Minerva, using her magic feels like stretching her legs after a long car ride. She called on the elements, and they heeded her as they always did; she formed them into a stream of fire, ice, wind, and stone shards. Minerva’s grandfather Adrian had called this “The Winds of Hell” and when he taught it to her; he pronounced the name with a wide smile. There is nothing to laugh about the Winds of Hell; it is a gruesome and deadly spell.
Skin tears from River’s face and hands; blight blue flames lick his legs, leaving behind mixed patches of charred black skin and frost bite. He can feel his power fading. His arms feel heavy. He wants to just lower his shield and let the cold fire wash over him but he is connected to another power that has begun to grow. He can feel King Bodon’s power growing within him.
“Can you feel me in you?” asks a raspy voice that echoes through the corridors of River’s pain wracked mind. “You know who I am, my child. Say the word, and I will be there with you.” The voice is filled with temptations and promises; no promises are made, no temptations are offered, but there is a sensation that fills River, dulling his agony. He feels cool water being poured down his throat, drizzling on his brow. There is an implication in the voice of King Bodon that if River lets him through to this world that he will be rewarded.
Mr. Kane is a stern man dressed in close fitting leather clothing, a wide brimmed hat casting a shadow over his aged, pallid face. A sawed-off shotgun is holstered at his hip like a sword; a silver revolver hangs on his opposite hip. Heaped in a corner, his coat made of werewolf pelts lies in a grim heap. He has been examining Lana’s wounds and had confirmed that they were not made by a werewolf. Lana’s eyes open and focus on the delicate silver cross that hangs from the werewolf hunter’s neck.
She tries to shift in the bed, but every movement causes a bolt of pain to tear through her body.
“I should kill you now, before you do anymore harm.” says Mr. Kane, his hand resting on his revolver. “It took a while, and some things still need to be sorted out, but it’s clear that you are at the bottom of all of this. Right now, the doctors don’t know that you are going to live. So, if you don’t tell me what I want to know, you won’t see another night.”
Lana’s face becomes fixed with a look of defiance as she silently protests. Mr. Kane’s thumb seeks out a stitched wound, and he presses roughly against the wound. Lana writhes, biting her lip to keep from screaming. Mr. Kane remains expressionless; he was trained by the Inquisition, and they taught him that bodily pain was only an illusion and that it was not to be grimaced at or enjoyed. It was a tool, and he applied it as discreetly as a sculptor applies a chisel.
“Tell me what you know about King Bodon. Tell me why you were trying to call him.” demands Mr. Kane.
“He promised to change me.” says Lana weakly. “I just wanted to be able to be normal; those bitches deserved what they got. They say that God made man in His own image. If so, then I am an abomination, unfit for His Grace, and those women were spitting in God’s eyes. So I turned to another god, one that could fulfill my desires.
“He will empower me, and He will make you pay for what you are doing.” threatens Lana. Mr. Kane’s grip on his silver revolver tightens, be he doesn’t have a chance to loose it from its holster. August barges in, holding an amulet emblazoned with the image of a long dead god.
“Where is he?” asks August, heedless of the surly man. Lana’s eyes turn to August, but before she can speak, Mr. Kane presses his finger into the wound on her leg and she screams.
“I’m sorry my boy, but she is in no condition to talk.” says Mr. Kane. August is tired, and doesn’t have his full faculties. He doesn’t notice Mr. Kane’s subtle torture. “If she calms down, I’ll have the nurse go get you.” Believing that Mr. Kane is an honorable and just man, August heeds his words. He seeks a waiting area and sits. He feels sleep roll over him like thunderclouds across a plain. His head nods a few times, and then his slips away into sleep, unable to fight against fatigue any longer.