Henry stopped pacing in front of his bookcases, dropped down to his knees, pulled a few books off then found another graphic novel and pointed at the computer, "Vicki, go back to the first gaming page."
Vicki hit the back icon several times until she found the game at home site and stopped. "I've got it."
Henry flipped through the book as he looked from the screen to the pages and then shoved the book under Vicki's nose as he said, "I thought it was familiar. Look can you see it. The backdrop for the page is from my book."
Vicki looked from the monitor screen to the book several times and had to agree. She took the open book from Henry's hand and looked at the publication date. "Henry, this is almost thirty years past publication. Why is it being used now?"
"Who knows? But someone with a touch of real talent for magic used this story as instructions for a game and somehow it worked."
"You didn't base the book on something real did you?"
"Kind of, yes. I was just getting into graphic story telling and I think I pulled up some memories that should have been left alone. Anyway I never completed this series."
"Why do I get the feeling that might not be so good?"
Across town, three boys were staring at the thing locked in a symbol drawn on the floor as it wreathed in agony.
"At least the screaming stopped." Bill looked at Jim, "Did you bring the laptop? Maybe we can find the Master Mage and get more instructions."
Jim gave a big geeky grin and pulled out the latest laptop with all the connections a serious gamer could ever want. "All I need is a power source and I'm good to go."
George set the book down and looked at the laptop as it powered up. "How did you get this? It's just out."
Jim shrugged and looked at the screen, he didn't want to tell his friends about catching his dad doing something with the woman next door, "Dad got it for me."
The thing started screaming and trying to move either forward into the room or retreat back into the floor and Bill said, "Could you speed it up?"
Vicki was about to shut down the web page when she heard a ping letting her know a chat room opened.
BiJiGeo: Master Mage is called forth
Vicki looked at Henry and typed, Vortex*-of3!: Master Mage hears .
BiJiGeo: Gr big prob .
BiJiGeo: demon won't do anything but scream.
Henry looked at Vicki and said, "Find out where they are and tell them you have more levels of the master text."
Vortex*-of3!: Where are u -I've got the text for next level.
Jim looked up from the screen, "I've tagged a Master Mage, he has the next level and wants to come here."
The creature gave off a flash of changing colors, a foul smell, and ear splitting moans. George and Bill covered their ears with their hands and held their breath. Jim said, "What should we do?"
Bill said, "We've got to get this thing out of here and the room cleaned. Take a chance. Tell'm where we are and tell'm to hurry."
The next entry gave Vicki the address of a small town about fifteen minutes from where they were.
Henry looked at the book on the table and said, "Wait a minute. I need to find the draft for the next part of the book. I'm sure I had the story line written, but never got back to the drawings." Henry went into his work area and opened filing cabinet that held his handwritten notes. Mumbling as he pulled files to check them and discard them he finally pulled the bottom draw completely away from the cabinet and found the file lying on it's side along the back. He glanced at it and gave a sigh of relief to see that he had done some sketches in the margins of the story.
Vicki waited by the door looking at the yellow obsidian crystal with it's very faint shimmering cloud and hoped it would work. She'd taken the time to look on line to see that yellow obsidian was real because she always thought of obsidian as pure black. This was clear and almost looked like a summer day. Linden's notes told her the crystal would give the Styx chance it needed to live.
Driving up to the little meeting hall and Henry shook his head. "That's not very impressive for the site of saving worlds."
"Who cares what it looks like? Lets get this done."
He parked the car and opened the trunk pulling out a long black cape for Vicki and a brown robe with cowl for himself. Raising an eyebrow in question he answered, "I use models for some of my graphic work. It helps to get the flow of fabric right when draped over a human form. Henry pulled the cowl up over his head and concentrated on creating an allusion of great age. With a shaky, cracked voice he said to Vicki, "Project the image of a warrior princess doing battle against the dark forces of unspeakable evil."
She protested, "I don't have that kind of skill."
"The vampire does. Use it."
"Why haven't you told me about this before?"
"You didn't need it while you were still with Mike. I've always planned to complete you education when the time was right."
Vicki made ready to get into a major argument when Henry added, "Put away your temper. We don't have time to discuss my teaching methods."
Vicki closed her eyes and thought about a few of the sketches Henry made of her holding his father's sword as she fastened the cape around her shoulders and opened the bodice of her shirt and pushed her jeans down low on her hips. She shook her head and her hair fell lose around her shoulders. "What's my weapon?"
Henry rummaged in the trunk and pulled out his father's sword. "Try not to stick me with it this time."
She grasped the sword, made a few practice swings then pointed the tip toward the ground, "You and I have a lot of unfinished business, Fitzroy."
The dimple that usually remained hidden winked at her as he said, "I'm hoping we never get it all finished."
Henry's sharp hearing picked up the distressed sounds of the boys voices and the pitiful moans of the trapped creature as they moved toward the back of the building. Henry's grip crushed the door knob and the lock popped open. They moved forward in silence.
Bill said, "Any word on the Mage?"
Henry hissed, "I'm here. So's my warrior."
Bill, George and Jim turned as one to see the aged Master Mage and the Warrior Princess who look like every boy's private dream. They all started talking at once and pointed to Styx.
Henry held out his notes with the final glyph carefully drawn. "Whoever drew the summoning must add this using words of a counter spell."
George spoke up and said, "We all did it."
Henry used his power and spoke, "Then you'll all do it together. NOW!" He pointed to Styx, "It suffers needlessly."
Getting a bit of backbone George whined, "The text claims great power will come to those that can control a demon."
Henry snarled, "You have no control over it. By bringing it here without knowing what you're doing, you've sentenced it to a needless death. Take this page and complete the drawing. I'll give you the words of the spell as you draw."
They boys crowded around the picture and grabbed the colored chalks. Vicki moved closer to the Styx and held out the yellow obsidian. The crystal grew warm in her hand and a low vibration changed the sounds of Styx screams to words she could understand. Vicki said in the same language as Styx, "I'm here to give you this so that you can go back home." Styx shrieked in pain and clawed at the air. Vicki bared her fangs and growled low, "You don't want to take out the one sent to help."
"How can a human help?"
Vicki's eyes flashed silver green, "I'm not human."
"What are you if not human?"
"I'm vampire and I work for the ARCANES."
"I'm already dead in my world, the crystal can take my spirit home."
Vicki looked down at the floor as Styx form swayed and shrank away from the edges of the glyph.
Chalk dust filled the room as they boys drew furiously and under the spell of Henry's vampire they recited a melodic chant.
The Styx continued to sway and shrink, it opened its mouth for a final shriek and Vicki threw the crystal towards it. The crystal passed through what was left of the Styx and landed in the center of the drawing. Vicki felt more than heard a sound of relief.
Henry called on all of his vampire power to freeze the boys where they stood and turned to Vicki, "Take the laptop and delete everything you can about the website. What you can't delete from here forward to our home computer so we can make changes from there."
"What are you going to do with the boys?"
Henry's fangs gleamed in the low light, "Adjust their memories, and give them enough of a scare that they don't try anything like this again. What are you going to do with the crystal?"
"Taking it to Linden and tell him about these young men. When they grow up, they might be useful to the ARCANES."
Henry weaved a story that any 'dungeon master' would be proud of for the rest of the night's gaming as Vicki placed a message on the website that said it was being pulled for repairs. Moving at vampire speed Henry removed all traces of the glyphs drawn on the floor and took his old graphic novel with him leaving a newer book in its place that he was sure didn't have any directions for summonings.
Vicki looked at the crystal and saw a cloudy opalescence that sparkled in the reflected light. as she turned the stone over the cloud shifted and she felt at peace.
Linden took the stone from Vicki's hand and asked her if she and Henry were ready for the next assignment.
"Not yet. I'm going to spend time with Henry and see if vampires can learn to live together."
"What about the natural order of vampire territorialism?"
"You already know he's not your average vampire and neither am I. If there's a world crisis you can always get in touch."
Henry's hearing picked up Vicki's words just as she knew it would. Coming out of the office building she looked towards Henry as he sat behind the wheel of his car and tilted her chin to the side as if to say , "So? What's next? Are we going to try?"
Henry got out of the car and rested a hand on the roof, "Are you going to just stand there?"
Vicki laughed and moved at vampire speed toward the car as he met her half way.
Henry crushed her to him and said, "While you were talking with Linden, I've officially declared that this territory is under the joint control of Vicki Nelson and Henry Fitzroy. Share a home with me."
"I'd like that."