Chapter 2: Alasdair Comes Alive

Rhianon looked over the preparations. Her dragon-shaped incense burner sat just outside the elemental circle drawn on the living room floor. The Book that she'd bought from some bum on the street sat open next to the incense burner. A dark purple candle stood on the other side of the Book. Weasel stood nearby with Garen's clothes, bandages and peroxide, a change of men's clothing for Alasdair, and four packages of Maru-chan instant ramen.

And Garen stood in the middle of the circle, wearing nothing but his green plaid boxers and feeling very sorry for himself.

"You're mad," he told Rhianon.

"No, just desperate. And after how you described him, how could I not want to meet him? So it's partially your own fault."

"But why do I have to be in just my boxers?"

Rhianon laughed a bit. "What, are you suddenly modest? You've never cared about it before, why should it make a difference now?"

"Well, if this works, and Alasdair gets brought back from the dead—"

"You were blood brothers. Don't tell me you two never went swimming together." Garen shifted from foot to foot uneasily. Much as he hated it, Rhianon had a point.

"Enough stalling," Rhianon stated. She grabbed a small silver knife and motioned to her prisoner. "You, hold out your hand."

Garen grabbed the knife away. "I'll do it," he said. "You take care of the incense and the mumbling, I'll take care of the sharp, pointy objects."

"Fine, but don't cut until I say so."

"Yes, ma'am," Garen said, saluting with his left hand.

"Good." Rhianon knelt in front of the incense burner and lit the stick of Dragon's Passion sticking out of it, then the moved on to the candle. Sitting crosslegged on the floor, she propped the Book in her lap and looked over at Garen expectantly. The fey took the hint and drew the knife deep across his palm, biting his lip as the silver blade left a line of deep red.

"Aileah mortuena, Alasdair MacGregor. I call upon thee, Alasdair MacGregor. "Lialma marcreda wieshdha. Come claim that which is yours." She turned to Garen, who was waiting for further orders. "Drip a little on each of the symbols," she told him. Garen walked slowly around inside the circle, squeezing his bloody fist so that a few drops fell on each of the four elemental symbols around the edge. Seeing that her will was followed, Rhianon returned to her chanting. "Elementia kuarta mactori minius. Create a physical form from the four elements. Earth for body, Fire for mind, Water for blood, Air for soul."

Garen jumped out of the way as the symbols burst to life one by one, pouring heavy, brightly coloured smoke into the center of the circle. He tried to run, but Weasel caught him by the knees. Garen went crashing to the floor, nearly crushing the toddler-sized minion.

Rhianon didn't seem to have noticed. "Aileah mortwen, so it be," she half shouted. She was standing now, her arms oustretched to the pile of smoke that was rapidly diminishing to reveal the form of a young man.

"Good gods, I think I'm in love," she muttered.