Author Topic: Purging Day  (Read 712 times)

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Offline The Cedar Witch

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Purging Day
« on: February 26, 2020, 12:51:35 PM »
A glass of whiskey in one hand, Chtahzus’aak stood by his desk, spinning the Hollow dagger on its tip like a top.  The echo of approaching footsteps slipped in through his barely-open office door.  He made no move to look up, watching the slowing spin of the dagger as it teetered before clattering noisily against the surface of his desk.  A sigh escaped through his nose and he took a sip of whiskey.

A fire demon pushed their shoulder against the office door, crossed wordlessly to the fireplace and set the file box in their arms beside a stack of near-identical ones.  Purge days were typically more entertaining for him, but since the results of the election, Chtahzus’aak seemed perpetually in a foul mood.

“That’s the last of them,” Fler exhaled and stretched, gaze moving from the fireplace to the desk.

“Good,” came a curt answer.  The fire demon seemed unphased by his tone and gave Zeus a smile instead.

“You coming to the party?” 

Zeus shook his head and took another sip before setting the glass gently down beside the dagger.  He wouldn’t be seen in that nameless grungy underground (and unlicensed) bar, but neither would he forbid any of the demons at the compound from having whatever fun they desired.  No matter how he failed to see what was worth celebrating.  Some holiday that escaped his notice, perhaps.

“Alright, well, most of us are clearing out now so…”  Fler trailed off, watching Chtahzus’aak approach the pile of boxes beside the fireplace.

“Go ahead,” he murmured, “I can take care of this myself.”

“You sure you don’t want me to, uh,”  Fler grinned and gestured vaguely at the stack of files.  A fire demon would make quick work of paper but Fler was a dangerous one and there was too much that could go up in flame in this office.

Zeus raised an eyebrow.  “Go,” he urged gently, the semblance of a smile creeping into his face.  "Have fun."

“Alright--”  They cleared their throat and went to the exit.   Before crossing through they turned back, a hand on the door.  “Don’t work all night.”  Without looking back, Zeus waved Fler on and opened the first box.


---


A few hours passed and the fireplace blazed hungrily, casting an enthusiastic glow against the stack of empty file boxes.  Zeus watched the dancing flames, his face unreadable as he tilted his head back and sucked the last drop of amber liquid from the bottle in his fist.  A sluggish smile on his face, he fumbled in his pocket for his cellphone.  Perhaps he would see if his new drinking-companion was free for the evening.

Before he fished it from his pocket, a loud boom sounded from several floors below.  His shoulders dropped and he groaned, shoving the phone back into his pocket. 

“Never a moment’s peace,” he murmured, eyeing the empty bottle in his hand before placing it on his desk and heading to the elevators.

There was no doubt in his mind that the disruption came from the bowels of the compound.  It was the new moon -- the sorcerers were busy working on that same project on the thirteenth floor.  If this final attempt resulted in failure, he would have to look elsewhere for--

He knew something was amiss as soon as the elevator doors opened.  There was a noise, something he couldn’t quite recognize, that grew in volume as he approached the door to the circle.  The warmth from the whiskey soured in his stomach as the door flew open before him. 

Two bodies were sprawled on the ground, dark lumps in the dim candlelight, but that was not the first of his concerns.  Suspended in the center of the room was a fist-sized tear emitting a groaning sound not unlike an ancient tree bending to a gale.  For a moment the rift appeared stable.  Mending it would require a witch since he was now down to one sorcerer. 

Useless imbeciles, he thought bitterly, wondering if he ought to call on Sabrina for assistance.  But then there would inevitably be questions, if not accusations, and he was in no mood for either of those things. 

“Can you keep it stable?”  Chtahzus’aak crossed over to the last sorcerer, his eyes tracing slowly over the empty husks of the other two.  Before there was any reply, a low whine pierced the room and the demon-sorcerer paled.  Zeus took a step back from the rift, mouth set firmly in a scowl.  He opened his mouth to speak and the room began to tremble violently. 

The fist-sized tear unfolded double, then double again, splitting like a seam across the empty air.  With it came a pull, which was enough to necessitate a wider stance to brace against, but this too doubled in strength.  Fear, then anger coursed hot through his body, but there was no time for calculated action.  The rip cracked the full length of Zeus’ field-of-vision to reveal the incomprehensible darkness of an unknown void, and a howling wind sucked everything into its center.

From above, the handful of demons that remained in the Block felt the tremor like a great earthquake.  Most of the lower-level living quarters had been cleared out, leaving only guards for the Library and the Vault below to witness the aftermath.  Floors ten through thirteen had been swallowed up in the rift, destabilizing the structure above.  The Library and the Vault themselves sank slowly after through the steadily-shrinking tear before it vanished entirely with an ear-splitting crack.  With this terrible noise came the breaking of each blood-sigil that protected the entrance.

Chtahzus’aak was, once again, missing.
Anna/Odessa/Sonya || Astrid || Chtahzus'aak/Zeus || Extasis || Fler || Jeremiah || Laurent/Va'tamal || Malakai || Rachel || Vai
Old things have strange hungers. - Catherynne M. Valente