Chapter Thirty-two:

(A/N This is a short chapter but I just wanted to give you something to sink your teeth into while I finish up the next chapter. Short but sweet. Haha. I hope all of you had a good Thanksgiving and so on. Enjoy the chapter and don't forget, READ AND REVIEW!)

The cloak that wrapped the thin figure huddled in the icy cave wasn't enough to warm him and his shivers rocked his body. Lucius couldn't remember the last time he'd eaten, and his constant attempts at making the spell work were eating away his energies. The quiet patter of small feet scurrying in one of the corners made him lift his eyes and he caught sight of a large rat sniffing at the walls. His wand hand rose up from the depths of the cloak.

"Avada Kadavra," he whispered and the rat give one last squeak before it fell to its side. Lucius crawled over to it. He skinned the dead animal and then placed it over the fire to cook. Soon he was feasting on its meagre flesh. His energies somewhat restored, he arranged the crystals around the fire and sat cross-legged, his hand on the nearest one. His mouth began to move quickly the words of power hanging in the air before him before disappearing into the flames. The ice on the walls dripped down as the fire grew hotter. There was a terrible crack and the fire turned black. A creature appeared in the flames. It was talk and lean with black scaly skin. Its lips were drawn back in a grin displaying long, sharp teeth that glittered silver. It had black wings that arched out behind it with feathers that looked like they were made out of metal that had been sharpened to a razor sharp edge. The creature's red eyes shone with power and evil. Turning its head from side to side it released a vicious scream and clenched and unclenched its formidable talons. Lucius held up a hand and a string of black power curled out from the creature's torso. The power fed into Lucius, turning making his hand glow purple in the darkness of the cave. Stopping the flow of power, Lucius raised his hand to the wall and closed his eyes. He thought the spell in his mind and suddenly the wall disappeared once more he focused his thoughts and the wall reappeared. As he opened his eyes he laughed, he'd barely used a tiny fraction of the power he'd absorbed.

"Yes…" he murmured excitedly. By harvesting the creature's power day by day, he would be invincible. He turned back to the servant of Set who was caught in the dark flames and stretched out his hand. Once more the power flowed into him and Lucius tossed his head back in ecstasy. Unseen to him, the creature thrashed in his prison and a claw escaped the confines. It struggled some more and the prison of fire began to fall away. Suddenly Lucius eyes snapped open as the stream of power was caught off. He had no time to do anything as the creature lunged at him and sunk its teeth into his arm. Lucius cried out and slapped the creature away, before it could attack him again he made a slashing motion with his hand and the last of its dark power was ripped from its body and its body exploded, its matter and blood splattering Lucius and the walls around him and making the fire hiss and spatter. With a curse, Lucius looked down at the wound in his arm. Already it looked red and sickly, making his stomach churn. He heated some water and poured it on the wound, hoping to clean it. Weariness spread through him and he leaned back against the wall and let his eyes fall shut.

Lucius woke some time later and his body felt like it was on fire and he was sweating profusely. Raising a hand to his forehead he felt the fever burning there and he swallowed weakly. Sitting up he let his eyes fall on his wound and gagged. Swollen, putrid flesh pushed through rotted skin and black rot had spread down his arm, towards his heart, and up his neck. Whatever had been in the creature's bite it had tainted the wound severely and made the rot spread faster than it would naturally. Lucius tried to move his arm but it was leaden and when he touched it he bit through his lip in the sudden flash of pain. Lucius spent the day trying to clean the wound using magic and whisky and even the fire. Nothing stopped or slowed the rot that was spreading through his body. As the midday sun eased towards the West, Lucius tried to look away from his arm but his eyes were drawn to his fingers, they were black and leathery and the texture seemed to be spreading to the rest of his arm. The fever had only worsened and Lucius let himself fall to the floor. His consciousness faded and he dreamed.

Racing through the tunnels, hunger his driving force. The small animals that inhabited the caves fled him and tried to hide but he was fast, faster than normal. Talons ripped into the flesh of the animals and they screamed as their skin was torn and devoured, their life force consumed. He feasted on the flesh and power, and still hungered.

Lucius jerked awake and winced, his body felt battered and the pain in his arm was incredible. The copper taste of blood was in his mouth and Lucius wondered it he'd bitten his lip again. Sitting up, he glanced down at his arm and saw that the black skin had spread through both arms and long talons extended from his scaly fingers. Blood dripped down from the sharp claws and was smeared on his clothes. He realized his dream had not been a dream at all. In his mind ran a single line, mocking him and judging him. Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. His hideous laughter chased the sun into the horizon as night fell.