Prologue, Page 4Mature

Don’s head ached as he awoke, though he was nevertheless content, having risen from dreams of happiness at the touch of Terry’s green mana. He summoned his own reserves of mana, touched with the blue light of love. Reanna’s love. The healing energies restored his awareness fully, and he remembered what had happened before he was struck down.

“Oh, Terry. What have you done?” he whispered to himself.

He saw his friend’s body lying on the ground not far away and pulled himself to his feet. Upon inspection of Terry’s body, he found that his old friend had in fact passed from the world. It was only a corpse before him. Don knelt down to close Terry’s eyelids and laid a gentle hand on his head, drawing forth some mana to scan for any foreign presence within. When he found none, only burned out residual orange mana from Visnau’s corruption of Terry’s body, he breathed a sigh of relief.

“You stupid, noble fool,” he said softly, “though you likely said the same about me before taking my place. I’ll have to pay you back for that one when we meet in the afterlife, my old friend. You will be remembered by those that love you, I promise.”

Then he rose to his feet once more and looked a short distance away to see the crystal he had carried not too long ago. It’s blue structure was intact, though it was filled with swirling, raging orange energy. Don picked it up. The presence within screamed like the wind and rushed the confines of the crystal, but there would be no escape for him.

Don observed the energies within the crystal closely, looking for any sign of green mana or another presence. He found none and breathed another sigh of relief. Terry’s soul was not captured by the dark archon. He had indeed passed to the afterlife freely.

“You will work for me now,” he promised the trapped archon.

Don began gathering his things to leave. Likely, he had time before anyone would come to inspect the building, but there could be a guard or acolyte still hiding around there somewhere. He needed to get the trapped archon somewhere safe before the integrity of its prison failed.

He thought of Reanna. She was probably worried about him by then after not hearing from him for a bit. Then he remembered how her specter had faded from Visnau’s assault on her and became worried. He began running for the exit and fortunately found no opposition. When he made his car, he first checked the car phone and found three voice messages waiting for him, all from Reanna. He listened to the first.

“Don, I need you. When you are done, come home fast. The archon’s attack induced me. She’s coming now. Get home, soon!”

The remaining messages were inquiries to his silence, and each seemed increasing troubled about his safety. He tore down the street, using his mana to augment his reaction speed and better avoid a collision with another vehicle, though at that time of night there were few other cars on the road.

He dialed the house number on the phone as he drove, hoping Reanna would be there to answer.

“Hello? Is this you, sir?” he heard a woman’s voice answer.

“Who is this?” he demanded of the voice.

“This is Mrs. Tate, sir. I am one of your wife’s attendants,” the voice responded. “She is in labor, sir, and cannot talk right now. Are you coming home?” He heard the sound of Reanna cry out for him in the background.

“You tell her I’ll be there in an hour,” he said, and hung up the phone. Driving at the speeds he intended to reach would take all of his concentration.

The End

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