The Sorceress and the Fallen One
hat do you want of me? Esmé was careful to keep her voice as expressionless as possible.
Youre going to help me restore the jewels in these robes and bring Ignarius back to life.
Esmé was unable to hide her surprise. Is he dead then?
He might just as well be. The sorceresss voice was hard and bitter and her eyes blazed with hate-
Esmé ignored the hand but struggled out of the pile of feathers with as great a show of difficulty as she could, grabbing the lamp as she did so. She didnt miss the glint of scorn in Mirabells eyes or the curl of her lip. Thats a good start, she thought with satisfaction.
She was surprised to find the eagles feathers had been placed on top of what looked like a pile of hay. She held out the lamp to see if she could work out where she was, for her surroundings looked strangely familiar.
Then she saw, with shock that went through her like a bolt of lightning, that Mirabell wasnt alone: behind her stood a tall, slightly stooped man in a black hooded cloak. He stepped past Mirabell and gave Esmé a mocking bow, sending out a stench of death and decay that almost caused her stomach to revolt. From within the depths of his hood his face was well hidden but his freakishly large eyes, like black orbs, were surprisingly noticeable. Esmé had to suppress a shudder at sight of them.
The voice from inside the black hood was harsh and grating. She felt her eardrums shrink at the sound. Welcome again to the Kingdom of the Dead. I dont believe youve had the privilege of meeting me: I am the Lord God and Guardian-
Esmé glanced from the half-
Come! the sorceress commanded, turning away. She opened the shade on her lamp and held it up.
And Esmé found herself staring straight at one of the huge black doors that were the entrance to Nidari, the Underworld. Both doors stood wide open. Clutching her own lamp tightly and forcing herself to keep her head high, she passed between them in Mirabells wake. Fallanein took up the rear, every movement of his black cloak wafting his stench over her. The doors clanged shut behind them.
The stone floor of Nidaris great hall was uneven enough to be unpleasant to walk on. The echoes of the doors closing died until nothing but the sound of footfalls could be heard
Take off your boots
Reluctantly Esmé did so, wincing as Fallanein scooped the offending footwear under his cloak. They walked on, the chill of the stone floor seeping quickly through Esmés socks.
Presently they came to an archway in which was set a heavy door. This, Esmé guessed, was the refrigerated room in which Mark had glimpsed the bodies waiting for Fallaneins terrible resurrection techniques, and where he had locked in two of the guards.
Mirabell stopped at the door, thrust her lamp into Esmés free hand, placed her palms against the smooth metal of the door and closed her eyes. After a few moments the edges of the door gave out a faint glow. When it had died, Mirabell took the lamp back from Esmé and pulled the door handle with her other hand. The door opened smoothly.
Esmés whole being revolted at the idea of stepping through that door. But even in her confusion
The room was really a huge cave. In the centre, beneath a golden canopy with deep back and sides, was a large and elaborate bier with candles burning all around. In the centre of the bier lay Ignarius in a simple white robe. The Godkings treasures surrounded him. The gold of the canopy reflected the candlelight so that the intensity of the light was almost blinding, setting the jewels in the treasures ablaze with all the colours of the rainbow. Because of the canopy the light reached no further than the bier itself, making it all the more startling against the surrounding gloom.
A silver coronet was Ignariuss only adornment. No king could have looked more regal or dignified. He lay as though dead, not even breathing. It was hard to believe, looking at him in sleep, that so much evil existed within him.
Touch him! Mirabell hissed into Esmés ear.
Esmé felt herself move forward as though something other than her own muscles propelled her. Reluctantly she put out her hand to the hands folded on the still breast. With the tip of her middle finger she touched them
Mirabell whispered into her ear again. Were going to drain the warmth from your body to warm him, transfer the beat of your heart to his, drive the breath from your lungs to make him breathe again.
Esmé felt her heart lurch in shock. Did Mirabell mean what she thought? She turned to look at the sorceress
© L A Barker Enterprises