David felt the taste of bile rise up in his throat when he laid eyes on them. He had seen them before, in Diagon Alley, but at the time, they had not been feasting upon several rotting corpses that lay scattered about the large chamber. The room was rank with the smell of rotting meat. Imagine bloated corpses, ripe with raw, squirming maggots. The air itself tastes like the smell of mildew, rotten eggs, spoiled milk, and human waste, and they were not even that close. They were pinned in the corner, watching in horror as the nearly shapeless creatures enjoyed their sickening meal. In the light, at least they had a form, something like a hooded monster he saw in a book called a Dementor. They had no form down here. They were like blobs of black sludge, constantly shifting their form as if they could no decide what they were. When David caught a look at their faces, it made his mind lurch and spin, he had to look away from such horrible concentrations of evil. Looking at them was like nails screeching across a chalkboard inside your brain. Millions of them.

Their faces warped and changed constantly, as if they were running through every facial feature combination possible trying to decide which one they wanted. There was an absolute wrongness to them, and it took him a few minutes to discover that it was his mind doing the shifting, as it was having difficulties dealing with what he was seeing.

David turned away as a seizure overtook him, causing him to black out. When he recovered, his face was wet, whether from tears or from a foaming mouth, he could not tell. The world came back to his eyes like twin daggers piercing through his ocular orbits. He remembered why he was like that in the first place, and the mere memory of them forcefully drove him into the fetal position like a 2-ton hammer slammed against his skull. His bones aches painfully and pure fire burned his muscles, as he attempted to recover. He tastes blood and realized that at some point he must have bitten his tongue.

"We can't stay here." Castiel whispered so quietly that David had barely caught his words. His voice was raw, as if he had been screaming, but the fact that they were not being swarmed and eaten alive meant that he had cried out. Manly.

Slowly, David reached his hand over and carefully signed a message back to him. He did it slowly, so that the movement would not draw any attention.

'What do you suggest?' He wondered, holding out the last sign for emphasis on the question. Castiel shifted uncomfortably on the balls of his feet and peered back over the ledge of table they were using for cover. He flinched and clenched his eyes tight, and David shivered and covered his mouth to prevent an outcry as the images flooded back to him.

Evangeline seemed to pick up what they were talking about and acted before either of them realized that she had even moved. Evangeline confidently strolled towards the group and tapped her foot as she waited for them to notice her. She looked straight at them, without flinching or cringing.

As a matter of fact, she did not react a single bit to seeing the shapeless atrocities before her. Instead, there was a cool heat blazing in her eyes.

"Evangeline! What are you doing?" David hissed, trying not to be too loud. She looked back at him and simply smiled the saddest smile he had every seen. She was filthy from the grimy rocks, her hair was a mess from the water, she had cuts and scrapes from the climb and their earlier fall, but her eyes were hot and fierce from a deep seeded anger. Standing there, she embodied pure angelic wrath and intense purity. David was struck by her true beauty that nothing on this earth could tarnish, saw through the veils she hid behind to the real beauty underneath. Her cute bow of a mouth moved to shape words, and it was a few moments before his brain comprehended what she had said.

"Saving you, dumb ass." She giggle, drawing her wand. Behind her, a black tidal wave of featureless things rushing towards her. David heard someone screaming, and noted that it was probably him as he watched her wand point between the eyes of the closest of them.

"Fuego." Flames, thick and orange, burst from the tip of her wand and snaked around anything that came at her. They screeched and hissed as the flames made their skin boil and pop, but they barely slowed down at all. Their hands formed into angry claws and raked out towards her.

"Vigoare!" A shield of unseen force blasted from the tip of her wand out in all directions, blowing them all away before they could touch her. Cracks formed in the floor and in the roof around her, shaking dust from the surrounding stone.

David was mesmerized. Castiel came up and dragged David away forcefully, leaving Evangeline alone.

Evangeline had always had troubles with magic. It seemed that no matter how hard she tried, if she messed up in the slightest bit, things blew up or caught on fire. In Charms class, when everyone was instructed to have butterflies fly out of their wands, beautifully color butterflies would appear for everyone but her. When it was her turn, butterflies made of pure fire erupted from her wand and shot around the room, setting desks on fire. It all made complete sense when he thought about it.

David felt his head try to split open as they tried to envelope her again. Some of them seemed to noticed Castiel dragging David, half conscious down a corridor and tore after them.

"Pyrolancium" A beam of solid orange fire as thick as David's thigh pierced through the middle of the ground, the heat from it causing them to burst into flames. Even David was forced to shield himself from the pure heat of the spell. Their hearing returned slowly. Evangeline was following them, back pedaling down the corridor while she filled the tunnel before with fire from her wand.

David reached up and gripped Castiel's collar, pulling him close so David could easily be heard.

Castiel searched David's eyes for only a moment before setting David down and running to assist in the assault. He planted his feet next to Evangeline and fired stunning spells in rapid succession wherever her fire did not reach.

"There's no end to them!" He cried out, pointing at a loose stone in the ceiling not far from where they stood. Evangeline nodded and filled the entire passage with a blast of fire as Castiel fell back and dragged David out of danger. When David was secure, he turned and pointed his wand at the stone.

"Forsotra!" The stone was pulled from the ceiling with enough force that it exploded into powder, followed shortly by a wall of stone as the passage began to collapse. Dozens of black globs flew past the falling debris and swirled around them at a dizzying pace. Castiel and Evangeline went back to back as they fired spells at them as they sped by. There were only a few of them, but they moved at such speeds that they just avoided the spells. Evangeline filled the passage with one last gout of flame before they turned to retrieve David.

He was gone.

David awoke feeling sick. His stomach was making his entire esophagus feel tight, like he could throw up at any moment. Not only that, but there was a heat to it that made short upwards waves heave from his stomach. It was like being filled with hot water and your body was trying to find someway to heave it out. The sickness left his dizzy and disoriented as he lay on the cool floor. He did not want to get up, but he could barely remember something that forced him to sit up and pay attention to his surroundings.

He was in near complete darkness. The only light coming from a long vertical line of blinding brightness.

His arms and legs were sore, several spots were extremely tender with what felt like the after effects of an extremely powerful grip that nearly crushed his limbs. Mentally he shivered as he felt the physic odor of something extremely vile circling him in the darkness.

David managed to shamble along the floor until his back was pressed straight against hard stone, the light source directly in front of him. This bought him a little bit of time while he struggled to get his brain moving. He heard a low rumbled, almost like a humorless chuckle, and that threw his thoughts into disarray once again. He was just like those helpless frightened children he had seen somewhere, being chased by terrible actors in monster suits.

Monster. A single, violent image of many horrid things tearing into flash. The world slammed into him hard enough to make his eyes clench shut and his jaw to lock. He did what came naturally, he threw up. Several eons later, the world stopped spinning enough for David to lift his head off of the floor. Those things had touched him. Their filthy hands had carried him away from his friends, their touch bordered on poison, and he had absorbed enough of it to nearly immobilize him with intense illness.

One of them had stayed behind to watch him.

He could feel it in his mind, circling him like a buzzard waiting for its meal. Occasionally, it would drift close enough for him to practically feel it touching the edges of his mind. He had to get away. If he stayed in this room, he would wind up just like those bodies. Briefly, David imagined the way it would feel, having that many ravenously hungry mouths tear at his flesh. He flinched and clenched his eyes again, turning his head away. With an effort of will, he pushed it out of his mind and regained its focus.

Carefully, David managed to slide his feet close enough to put his weight on them and stand up, most of the work being done by the wall behind him. Now standing, David's perspective changed, allowing him to perceive where he was.

It was an old store room. The source of light was from a barely cracked door on the other side of the room. Not only that, but he was alone. He could hear faint breathing of a few other people somewhere in the room. Evangeline and Castiel. It made sense, he thought, they had to have been pulled along when he was captured. It was the only way they would still be alive.

Even with the dim light, David squinted and looked around the chamber. He barely made out two shapes, darker than the blackness around them, and immediately headed over to the closest one. He stumbled over to it and dropped to his knees next to its back. It was a girl, but she was taller than Evangeline. David rolled her onto her back and recognized the hair immediately. It was Shyla. She was barely breathing.

David shook her with far more force than he intended. Fear clenched at him that she would not wake. That he had been to late, and had arrived only just in time to watch the moments of her passing. She was in really bad shape. She had cuts everywhere. Her clothes were tattered, and he could see far more beneath than he felt comfortable with. Nevertheless, his teenage hormones did not fail him as he tried to cover her up as best he could, trying not to touch her. He shook her once more, and nearly cried out when she made a noise of discomfort and began to move around.

She breathed in sharply when she first woke up and her head jumped up off of the floor. David instantly saw the rise in panic, and quickly gripped his hand over her mouth to prevent her from crying out. Her head snapped to his face and her eyes frantically searched his as he made a slow and quiet hushing noise while placing his finger to his lips. Whatever he was feeling from the toxin, he imagined it was a lot worse for her. Knowing she was awake and would not give them away, David moved over to the other form in the room.

It was Vladimir. He was laying on his stomach, his back covered in blood. David quickly checked for any protrusions before carefully rolling Vlad onto his back. The motion seemed to rouse Vlad, and his hand slowly rose to rub his eyes.

"What...what's going on?" He asked sleepily. David quickly hushed him and continued inspecting Vlad for injuries. Besides all the blood on his back, and the hundreds of cuts and scraped, there appeared to be no other serious injuries. David stood back up and looked around the room as a cold chill settled into the pit of his stomach. Where was Snow? Where were his other friends? Involuntarily, he remembered the glassy stare of Yuri's dead body and wondered briefly if they were dead.

Shyla simply sat there blankly, looking around the room and shambling around as if lost. David cursed and shifted his attention to Vladimir, who was still dusting himself off.

"Yuri..." Vlad asked fearfully. "...is he...dead?"

"We can't stay here." David said, his voice cracking. He walked over to Shyla, who stood shakily on her feet and swayed like she was off balance. David checked her for a fever and looked into her eyes. They were dull and glazed over, like she was having trouble understanding what was going on. David sympathized, but two dull thuds slammed into his heart along with the thoughts that came with them. Either Snow killed Yuri, or someone else had killed Yuri and Snow might not be far behind. Both thoughts made the sick feeling return in force, but this time he clenched his teeth and tried to power through it.

David checked his hip and his suspicions were correct. His Aegis was missing, and so was his wand. David carefully examined himself and found that the only weapons that remained was his boot knife and the enchanted ring he picked up in Oasis. Thankfully, they hadn't noticed his bracer or his Tome.

The light was not as bright as he had thought it was. It was simply a candle that happened to be in the right position to provide light through the doorway. He slowly pushed the large wooden door aside and went completely still.

Before him stood the doorway into the Inner Sanctum, the sealed off area in the center of Oasis. It was sealed shut.

Just by looking at it, he could tell that is had been shut since it was sealed centuries ago. Not even the dust on the floor had been disturbed. A quick examination would have resulted in the knowledge that almost everyone who laid eyes on the doorway had stopped at the same distance as David. No one had dared to get closer.

The door was a giant circle made of metal. The size of this door was hard to describe. It was the first time in his life that he actually felt small. Not small like a child. Small like a house cat or a puppy. Its size was truly cowering, the unclean feeling of unworthiness crashed into David as if he were sand in the ocean storm. The power of the movement knocked him to his knees as the strength rushed out of him like the air in his lungs.

Then he let the image sink.

The size of the door had overloaded his brain so much, it had taken it longer than average for the thought process to begin. The images flooded into his retina so fast that he flinched and felt hotness coming from his eyes. When he opened his eyes everything was cast in an electric blue haze, like a filter had been placed over his eyes. There was a lot of light coming from an overhead source of unknown origin. It cast a pillar of light in the darkness of his mind. Gave him something to focus on as he recovered from the experience. The light was illuminating perfectly a massive landscape. There were thick lines of silver crafted into giant names that were pinned into the land so deep they were almost flat. The most sickening thing was that it almost looked real, as if he were looking on it from very far away.

Set in the middle was a titanic diamond, basking in the bright light and fragmenting it in all directions in the form of sparks of every color imaginable. This was incredibly blended into the painting on the door in the form of clouds. The clouds were wispy and lightly spread about the landscape liberally and eventually disappeared in a sea of fog that lined the outer rim of the circle.

He blinked as the idea hit him. He blinked again when he realized that he had not understood it instantly like he had done before. Then, a chill began in the small of his back, creeping his way up his back, squeezing through his shoulder blades, whipped up his neck and felt it smash into his brain with a unearthly amount of force.

It was so intricate. There were hidden images and subtle hints that were actually the wire frame of the true image each layer contained. David sucked in a breath, closed his eyes for a second to mentally prepare his brain to begin cataloging all of the imagery and committing it to memory. When he felt ready, he opened his eyes.

The image was really quite simple. It was a massive painting of a beautiful landscape. Enriched with Magic, the painting was moving. You could see the breeze rustling through the far trees and track it across to the golden grass of open plains. The bottom was all snow and ice. There were glaciers that eventually melted into a raging ocean filled with frigid icebergs.

Moving clockwise, black magma and steam was rising out of the sea. It turned into lava on a jagged distant mountain range. The sky was black from soot and ash. Volcanoes belched fire and brimstone into the sky and giant explosions of fire magma. There were burnt out forests all over surrounding hills and the land was black for miles. The smoke rose to the top of the circle. It spread apart and the warm air brought moisture and a breeze. The entire sky was in front of him. He could look up at it as if he was gazing at it from a hillside. The light from the fires tinted some of the clouds pink, but mostly they were made of the purest white cotton. They got thicker and thicker until they met the rising forest of towering snow-capped mountains, where everything disappeared behind a veil of fog. Unable to carry the weight through their ascension, the clouds were dumping all of their moisture. It landed on the Highland forests. Rain became puddles. Puddles formed into streams. Streams formed into rivers. Rivers rushed over waterfalls that disappeared into a thickly wooded mountain range. It was vibrant and full of life. The river eventually reappeared from the forest and met up with the ocean.

Did you ever seen something that struck the cord in the center of your being? That sensation of harmony and resemblance within that scene? This washed through David and became a swirling maelstrom in the pit of icy stomach. His breath puffed out in a mist as the sound of the moving waterfalls and chirping birds graced his ears. It was a masterful display of magic and technique. It was harmony and balance.

David slowly began to walk.

Most people who laid eyes on the landscape often found themselves too captivated to even consider that this was possible. This action proved to be the key element to solving the riddle before him. The different position moved enough to reveal that it was all an illusion, and sitting no more than four feet in front of them was a modest wooden door with a tarnished metal handle.

David was breathing heavily as water flowed from his eyes from the power of the experience. He recovered instantly and quickly wiped away the tears from his swollen red eyes. He had never experienced an exhaustion close to this in his entire life. He felt leathery and worn, frayed on the edges and heavily creased with age. His tongue was numb and thick in his mouth, it was far too limp and useless to perform speech to his companions, who just watched him blankly.

Taking a few more steps, everything turned pure white as he finished passing through the illusion. Vlad and Shyla looked like they were fading away behind a thick white haze. The door looked far more ragged compared to the clean white edges and polished white walls and floor. David reached out to touch the doorknob, but his fingertips froze a moment from contact.

The door slid open.

Davis pushed the wood back, the rusted hinges of the ancient door creaked in protest as it slowly swung open.

He was standing before the Heart. The bottom half of the crystal tower pierced through the ceiling and nearly made contact with a glowing purple pool of liquid Mana. Streams of twinkling stars and flickering white lights weaved around the pillar several times, all flowing slowly in the same direction. The walls were adorned with nothing. Despite the importance of this room, it was barren and empty.

There were no monsters preparing to attack Trinity Academy. There was no sign of any evil at all.

Vlad pushed past him and moved into the chamber with haste. Vlad walked to the center of the chamber and stepped onto the platform that overlooked the Mana. He looked up at the pillar before him and he began to laugh quietly. Slowly, at first. It seemed to grow confidence as it turned into a chuckle, then into a laugh. David stood there, staring at his friend in horror as he began to laugh insanely, his body curved backward, hand covering his eyes.

Something about it seemed very black.

There was a flash of green light and David spun around as he heard something slam hard. Shyla was standing behind him, her wand was out and had been pointed at his back. A little bit of smoke trailed from its tip. David felt his torso frantically, searching for holes or any blood that he had not noticed. Shyla shifted forward slightly, forcing David to freeze in place. He did not have his wand, but if he needed to, he would use his bracer to defend himself. Shyla's eyes slid closed and she feel face first onto the hard stone and did not move a single twitch. Something about someone not catching themselves when they fall was oddly horrifying. Behind her, face of his face covered in alarmingly red blood, was Snow. He limped heavily forward and felt Shyla's pulse before stepping over to her and placed a steadying hand on David's shoulder.

David's mouth continued to move, trying to find the words to ask what the hell was going on, but no sounds were coming out. Snow calmly pressed David's shoulder, kindly moving his friend aside so he could pass by without bumping into him.

"Is this worth it?" Snow called out to Vlad. Vlad's laughter slowly lowered into chuckles, which then died out silently. Vladimir slowly turned his head until it was almost turned too far and David felt sick to his stomach. Vlad's eyes were maddeningly too-wide, a giant smile split his face, and there was a burning insanity behind his movements that David had never seen before. There was a shift in his demeanor and the smile broke. Vlad's face slid into a inhumanly neutral face, his eyes grew intensely distant as all life in them vanished.

"Yes." Vlad's response was almost like an automation, emotionless and measured. David felt like he was falling apart inside, but Snow stepped forward and took charge.

"You killed Yuri." Snow accused him, his fists clenched tight in silent fury.

"Yes." Vladimir replied again.

"What about Shyla?" Snow motioned with his head to the unconscious girl behind him.

"A simple Imperius Curse, I assure you." Vlad replied again. "It was easy to bend her mind and have her cast all the spells."

"Why?" Snow wondered. David could feel a small flicker of the hurt in Snow's words.

"I exist solely to do my Master's bidding. Such a question means nothing to me." Vlad responded coolly, but a smile split his face. When he spoke, it was in a different voice than before.

"Did you like my golem, maggot?"

"What are you." David murmured, watching his old friend slowly become someone else before his eyes.

"Simple, idiot. I'm dead." Vladimir cackled madly. "Dead -dead. Long gone. Passed. Rotted. Wormy, maggoty ruins deep in a unmarked grave somewhere. What you see before you is what happens when you give a rotting corpse to a mad genius with a lot of time to kill." With the end of his sentence, Vladimir gripped his clothes and tore them open, revealing his ashen skinned body. Large parts of the person Vladimir had been were gone. He was covered in deep unhealed scars from where someone had apparently stapled on the parts they needed. His undead skin was covered in pinkish scars where he had cut himself over and over again, overlapping and crisscrossing each other occasionally, like someone had been keeping a tally.

"I will have too more to add to my wonderful collection when my Master arrives." Vladimir cooed. Something inside of Snow snapped, and he spat a venomous curse at Vladimir as he drew his wand. "STUPEFY!" A red jet of light soared toward Vlad, who quickly drew his wand, and dismissed the spell with a lazy sideways flick.

"YOU ARE A BOY!" Vladimir roared at him, a jet of green light missing Snow by a few inches. "I have had countless centuries in which to perfect my craft, and you, Yukio Hiruma, are a third rate piece of shit wizard who knows next to nothing about magic! In what universe do you dare think that your fucking piece of shit novice magic compares to mine?!" Snow roared in challenge as he dove out of the way of another Killing Curse and fired another Stunning spell before diving behind cover. David flexed his left hand and held it out toward Vladimir.

"Don't make me do this!" David called out to him. Vladimir spun around with inhuman speed as if he had forgotten David was even there, and turned to face him almost as if it were the first time.

"Don't you worry, Crowley. My Master shall be here to take care of you very, very soon!" Vlad cackled gleefully. "You just wait there patiently, tay-tay?"

"The hell I will!" David replied. "Incarcerous!" Ropes appeared around Vlad and tightened around him, binding him in place. Vladimir's face was purple with anger as he began to tear his way free screaming at the top of his lungs. "YOU FUCKING HALFBREED!"

"Petrificus Totalus!" Vlad's arms once again snapped to his sides and he began completely still. Snow pulled himself from behind his cover, but kept his wand fixated on Vladimir's still form. "David," he called, ", are you alright?"

"Yeah." David replied weakly, his eyes staying on Vlad's. They darted about madly as he tried to struggle. He could see the hate seething from his eyes whenever they made eye contact. Inside his frozen prison, Vladimir was raging against his cage, chomping at the bit, trying to find a way to break himself free.

Clapping made David flinch. It was steady and measure, with just enough strength to make it audible. David turned slowly to see a figure slowly walking through the door.

He was stooped with great age, depending heavily on a wooden staff. His shoulders were covered in a thick dark purple cloak that looks like it would always remain warm and dry. Flowing from the dark reaches of the hood of the cloak, long silver hair matched an equally impressive beard. The man's skin was partially translucent with many liver spots and wrinkles everywhere there was exposed skin. But, there was no frailty in the movements or figure. A lion with a limp was still an extremely dangerous animal, and David could not help but recoil as far out of the way as he could as the elderly man approached them.

"We can not have this." the man spoke softly as he approached Vladimir. He waved a hand and Vlad dropped into a heap on the platform like someone had cut his strings. His voice was not weak, or broken, or tinged with age. It was strong, resonate, and clear, much like it always was in David's dreams. Even if the image in his mind was not the same as what stood before him, David felt a cool air of certainty that it was Gylel'drazi.

"Rise." the dark master said sternly to the crumbled heap that lay at his feet. Vladimir reacted instantly to his master's command. He floated off the floor onto his feet with ease and dusted himself off before turning and bowing deeply. Gylel'drazi reached out and patted his servant with a withered hand. "You have done greatly " he continued, "once again, you have proven thyself worthy. Did they give you trouble, my pet?"

"Not really. " Vladimir replied. "I would have had them in a few minutes time. You needn't tire yourself coming in person, Master." Vlad seemed to have overstepped his bounds as a withered hand struck him across the face, sending him to the ground where he began to spasm as if he were in great pain from an invisible force.

"We do not have enough time for you games, Myr." Gylel'drazi snapped angrily enough to make David flinch back as if he had been struck by a whip.

"F-f-f-f-f-f-forgive m-me..." Vladimir replied as he shook. Not once did Vlad cry out or ask for the punishment to end. Gylel'drazi walked past his construct and began examining the Crystal Tower carefully.

"Quickly, Myr. We are low on time." Gylel'drazi breathed. Vlad's seizure ceased instantly and he lifted himself off the floor before wiping the foaming spittle from his mouth. His form contorted impossibly just before he exploded into hundred of spiders and insects that raced out the door with supernatural speed. Snow and David made eye contact after watching Vlad leave and the look said it all. What the hell?

Gylel'drazi seemed to have forgotten that they were there. Instead, he had began to draw on the circular platform with purple light that reminded David of those OPEN signs you see at all the stores. It took only a few lines for David to realize that it was the beginnings of a Spell Circle. David thrust out his left hand and snarled, releasing a thick gout of raging fire from the palm of his hand. Gylel'drazi spun around in a blur and batted the flame aside. The thick cluster scattered apart and Snow had to jump behind a large boulder to protect himself.

"You are not ready...Boy." Gylel'drazi said in a low warning as the flames continued to burn on his invisible shield . Snow leapt through the flames and began firing any jinx or curse that came to mind. Gylel'drazi negated each of them calmly, each with a completely different color and effect, without uttering a single word. David withdrew his power from his spell and ran towards Snow.

"Can you buy me twenty seconds?" David called out as they passed each other. David pulled out his boot knife and tossed it up in the air.

"Easily!" Snow replied, catching the blade and twirling it to a better position in his hand like a practiced expert. David pulled out his Tome and began flipping through the pages for something that was nagging in his mind. Some sort of spell that he really wanted, but he did not know it yet. His fingers flipped through the pages before his eyes could even see them, taking right to where he wanted to go without even knowing what he was doing.

His finger suddenly pressed down on the page, pointing straight at the spell he had been looking for. A strange static raised up his spin, and David felt his will flow through his hands as he released his hands on the book. It hung in space, exactly in the position he had left it in, which was David's preferred reading location in front of him. He raised up his left hand in front of him and a small blue spell circle appeared in the area above his hand. He focused it into a small ball of white blue energy and clenched it on his hand. It was extremely cold in his hand, almost like ice, but it was vibrating lightly. David's eyes rested on the spell, glowing red hot on the page, and instantly closed his eyes. His right hand came up and slammed the book shut. At the same time, he stepped forward with his right foot.

"Fulgoris Luxi Lancearmeno." David whispered, holding up his left hand with the palm up. He remembered the words in his book. All Latin. Each a word for an energy or an object, and he had simply put them together. The blue light crackled with electricity the moment before it burst into the shape of a incredible overly massive spear made entirely of blue light and electricity. It made the air hum and whoosh like it saw some kind of radioactive energy in his hands. Snow seemed to sense it and ceased his barrage of spells and began sprinting from the outer wall. The moment David was out of the way, Gylel'drazi saw David's spell. It also happened to be the instant David threw it. Pivoting his foot, David threw it like it was a baseball, but thrust his palm out, his will forcing the spear towards his target.

Gylel'drazi stepped to the side. It was simple. Just a step to the side, but it was enough to place him away from the focus point of the attack, and as simply and brushing it aside, he pushed his arms out before it hit him. His shield slammed into the attack from the side, and deflected it. It slammed into the far cavern ceiling, where it exploded and hundred of lighting bolts struck the stone. The invisible shield was smoking, but it flickered away after a moment.

"Impressive magic." Gylel'drazi acknowledged. "I shall like to have a take inside that book." He drew a wand, David's wand, and beckoned towards the book with his finger. The Tome did not move an inch. Confusion furrowed the old man's brow, and he beckoned again, much to the same fashion. David bounced the book a little and shook his head. The Tome belonged to David. It was invested with his magic, and no one but he was its Keeper.

Snow appeared in the background, in the perfect position for a blindside assault.

"Why do you have my wand?" David asked. "I thought you could do magic without it."

"Tis simply a focus. Whether I use it ...or not, it makes no difference, it only lightens the workload." Gylel'drazi replied.

"Did you take the Aegis as well?" he pressed, trying not to let his gaze shift to Snow and give him away.

"Your elven blade?" Gylel'drazi wondered. "I imparted that item to my apprentice. As a gift."

"And I thank you Master!" Vlad cried out suddenly, making David flinch. Snow spun around and managed to parry an attack with the dagger. Vladimir attacked with strong, swift attacks with David's Aegis in hand. Snow had more training and experience in using weapons, and quickly started to press his attack.

"Myr." Gylel'drazi said, his voice sounding like a command. Vladimir separated himself from the fight enough to toss over a staff. It was black and made of wood that was twisted and gnarled as if it represented everything corrupt in existence. Gylel'drazi tucked David's wand into his sash and gripped the staff with both hands. David could still hear Snow and Vlad fighting, but his instincts were screaming at him to run as he continued to examine the evil wooden staff.

"I prefer my own focus." Gylel'drazi said coolly, tapping it once on the ground. The sound of it, like rolling thunder, echoed. The silence that followed was instant. Snow was frozen in position about to deliver a killing blow on Vladimir, who was laying on his back and breathing hard on the floor. David tried to raise his arm to help, and discovered that he was equally immobilized.

"That...thank you, Master." Vladimir panted.

"Believe me when I say that it was not to save your miserable life. We can not afford any more distractions." Gylel'drazi hissed, turning once again to his spell work on the ground. David tried to remain calm. He could not even close his eyes. It was very similar to the Full Body Bind Curse, he noted. What was the counter-curse to that curse again? He thought about it and through about it again and again. He hardly noticed anything until he felt a cold steel blade slowly sliding into the hotness of his stomach.

David looked up to see the twisted mad look of Vladimir's insanity, caught on waves of lustful ecstasy. David could not react. He could not scream or do anything as he felt his blade's full length in his abdomen and the point piercing the skin on his back.