The two sat in a lotus pose on the floor with the three tools laid out between them. Ged’s eyes were half closed as he focused on the bell. Emily’s eyes were locked on the sword trying to comprehend it’s secrets. The two mages nearly glowed as the focused their magic around themselves and into the physical devices.
“Disruption,” Ged said plainly, “But not severance. This must be how he created his labyrinth.” Ged picked up the bell, careful to keep it silenced, and set it aside before turning his attention to the knife.
“I’m only getting distance,” Emily muttered, “Like this sword would be able to hit a target across the room.” She turned to the knife as well.
Emily’s vision clouded. Darkness crept in from the edges of her eyes. Emily’s breath came fast, but she couldn’t look away from the knife.
Emily watch out! Violet pushed forward into Emily’s mind, realizing what was happening just as her vision went black and her mind finalized a connection to another being.
Emily opened her eyes to see an alien feeling hallway. It felt black, but somehow she could see clearly. It reminded her of mind space, but completely different.
“It’s so cold…” Violet’s voice hit Emily’s ears. She turned and saw Violet standing next to her. Violet was shivering, but there was also a look of terror in her eyes that Emily didn’t recognize.
“I don’t know where we are Vi, but we will make it through this. Together,” Emily walked up to violet and put her arm around her. “I can tell something else is wrong, what do you feel.”
“This place. It is alive but not like a mind. I have no power here.”
“Well, let’s see if we can figure out what it is,” Emily supported Violet and started walking.
The cold, steel hallway seemed to stretch out forever in both directions. Emily chose one and started walking. Movement felt harder in this space, but it still felt like space. There was no other being in the hallway with them, but it felt like they were being watched, recorded, analyzed by unseen eyes. Their footsteps echoed into their ears with a melodic but twisted beat.
Then there was a door. Not in the wall, not at the end of the hallway, but standing in the middle of the hall. Emily looked at it in awe, unsure of what to make of it. The backside looked the same, but it was a freestanding door. “Should–” she paused and looked at Violet, “Should we open it?”
Violet’s eyes were locked on the door but she could only nod at Emily.
Emily reached out and touched the handle. It felt warm and inviting, which was strange in this cold alien world. The handle felt stuck, like it hadn’t been turned in a long time and had a desperate need of oil. Turning it made a grating noise that seemed to grow in volume the further the handle turned until finally there was a click. The door didn’t open the way you’d expect a door to, instead it seemed to fade away until Emily was only holding a copper ball in her hand and a green field stretched in front of her. She stepped through with Violet under her arm.
A grass covered hill stood in front of them and a figure in a hooded cloak stood atop. The two mages slowly and carefully climbed the hill and approached the figure. They seemed to take many steps and no steps at once, as if the space they were in were playing with them, adjusting space constantly around them.
“Have you come to gloat over me? Like the last one?” a voice boomed out from the figure as they approached.
“Honestly, I don’t even know who you are,” replied Emily as truthfully as she could. “I’m just trying to help my friend.”
The cloaked figure turned around revealing a glowing black void under the hood. It looked intensely at the two women through nonexistent eyes. “You are disciples of the golden city, but there is something else…” The figure moved closer, or rather the space around them shifted to place it closer to the mages. “You…You’re here?” It reached out its arms and felt Emily’s aura around her. “You can free me? Set this right?”
“Yes,” Emily replied without thinking, the words barely felt like her own, “But first I need your help.”
The figure turned to Violet who was looking more sickly the closer she was to it, “She’s the one that last one wanted to remove. You want her back. I will help you, and you will help the universe. I’m glad the Zenith found it’s way back.” It’s words caused a shiver to run down Emily’s spine, but she tried to focus on the task at hand.
“Tell me what I need to do.”
Emily’s eyes opened milliseconds before Ged’s, his face flush with fear.
“There’s a powerful spirit in this one Hypatia, Don’t try to engage it.”
Emily looked at him with a smile, “I’ve already made a deal, master. it was more than willing to help, as long as I broke it’s bond to the knife. We must get to The former site of Violet’s house.”
Ged looked warily at Emily, “You’ve never had a connection to Spirits, how did you talk to it?”
“It found me. It claimed I was going to help the universe. Something about a Zenith.”
Ged’s eyes went wide as he muttered, “two, in my house?” He snapped out of his surprise, “Okay. Let’s go. We’ll run protection for you while you do what must be done.”
Emily picked up the knife and walked out the door, followed closely by the four other mages.