“Oh no you don’t,” Danyel said, reaching out and grasping Deadrick’s arm, “You saved me, I’m not letting you die without returning the favour!”
Deadrick felt the pull on his arm, and he tried to scramble up the side of the building.
“Come on big guy!” He heard Nerui yell. He looked up, and saw her and Bruad trying to find a hold on his arm to pull him up.
They gave an almighty pull that was accompanied by a cry of exertion that rang out across the air. Deadrick kicked out with his legs one last time, and managed to grab onto the ledge with his other hand.
With one more great pull, he was dragged up to the ledge, where he swung his leg out and pulled himself, painfully, to safety.
He crawled away from the edge and carefully got to his feet.
He looked around.
The room around them was dark- the only source of light the dim, dirty green glow from the open wall.
Deadrick could tell that the room was big, their slow, careful breath echoed around them.
The top of the citadel served the same function as the m’esevers. Because of its height, it could collect the Ecrid energy from the highest part of the sky, then it would travel down the tower and aid the Mages with their magic, and basically power the entire nation.
This would have been the perfect place to summon Juhra, as the Ecrid could be channeled as a prison. Keeping him tied to the very tip of the tower until the Syndicate could fully use Juhra’s power to their advantage.
Then, something rippled through the darkness.
A whisper- a trickle of thought that had somehow found its way into reality- it seemed to dance around them, it got louder and stronger. It became a voice, a yell.
A scream that penetrated Deadrick’s ears, forcing everyone to clench their eyes shut.
It travelled through Deadrick’s mind, and thundered through his body.
It suddenly cut off, and the dead silence returned.
“Don’t…” Deadrick growled, trying to ignore the whistling sound in his ear, “Don’t taunt me,”
He stood up straight and stepped into the darkness, gaining him anxious looks from Nerui, Bruad and Danyel.
“I can get that sort of cheap mind game at a festival,” Deadrick said, his confident demeanor returning, “I’ve traveled a long way to see this Great Demon, this Prophet of the Unholy. So lets see him,”
There was another empty silence. Then came a voice. A raspy voice that seemed to have a million hidden whispers beneath it. It wasn’t a real voice, either. It didn’t pass through Deadrick’s ears to reach his mind.
As you wish.
Deadrick gasped as there came a burst of green light from in front of them. It spread out across the room.
It swept over them harmlessly, and ploughed into the wall all around them.
There was a great wrenching and crashing sound as the iron that covered the windows was pushed outwards. It shattered the glass and flew out into the air.
All around them, the boards were flung out into the night air, some even tearing the surround bricks out with them, and the grim light of the outside flooded in.
Gaze upon me.
Deadrick followed the voice to the centre of the room, not wanting to look at the shapeless mass of evil in front of him.
“Dear Halin…” Danyel gasped.
Juhra was worse than anything Deadrick could have imagined.
To quickly capture the essence, the Mages would have transferred it to a Ga, an imperfect host. A man or something close to the brink of death.
Juhra would have been forced into the shell, and the power would have deformed and mutilated the host- making a sight- and a smell, that made even Deadrick want to gag.
It looked like the host had been stretched two ways until it was a huge mass of broken, wounded flesh and visible bones.
Its two great, asymmetrical arms were tied to the wall by massive iron chains that shimmered with a green tint.
Then Deadrick came across its face- if it was much of one. The only visible remnants of a human face were the gaping mouth, now filled with vicious teeth and a lolling black tongue, and the eyes.
The left eye was slightly bigger than a normal human eye, and seemed to be gazing away from them- useless and dead. But the right eye was what drew Deadrick in the most. It was almost as big as him. Staring directly at them.
The pupil was black with flecks of green, and the whites were filled with broken blood vessels.
It seemed to pull Deadrick in, his whole body, mind and soul felt like it wanted to fall into that empty pupil. Behind it, he could see past horrors, past adventures.
He could hear screaming and he could see death. And behind it all, he could hear… silence.
The perfect silence of death.
“Don’t look in his eyes,” Deadrick gasped, pulling his gaze away from the observing pupil.
“What?” Nerui asked dreamily.
He turned to see the three of them staring directly at Juhra.
“Mind control, its mind control, look away from the eye!” He yelled.
He grabbed them all by the shoulders one by one, shaking them.
“Wha… what…” Nerui blinked as she broke away from the trance.
“Do not look at the eye,” He told them all again.
“Yeah, well I know a little something about Demons,” Deadrick said.
Juhra gave a little noise that sounded like a horrific laugh.
Do you know anything about me?
Juhra was playing with him, he could tell. But Deadrick was done with games.
“I know all this time you’ve been leading me here because you plan to take my body,” Deadrick said.
Juhra went quiet for a few moments.
“I also know that you are aware of my two weaknesses,” Deadrick continued, still, with great difficulty, not looking into the Demon’s eye.
“And I know that the only two ways that you can get control of my body is either through my willing consent, or through my death- but only if my death is against the Writings,”
You have done your research.
“Thank you,” Deadrick said, “Now, if I use my fantastic powers of deduction, I deduce that if I refuse my to give my body, you will force my hand and I will take my own life under your control,”
“Well you’re not having my body,” Deadrick said finally, with a small grin at the corner of his lips, “So bring it on,”