The clamoring sounds of the hasty footsteps echoed along the long dark corridor. A loud banging. A deep growl. The whole castle was awake now.
A flickering light emerged at one end of the corridor, footsteps growing louder.
A balding man, walking as fast as his faded robes would allow him,
emerged, holding a faded candlestick. The hot wax streamed down his fingers, dripping onto the faded tiles. But he seemed unaware.
Up two hundred faded steps. Past three faded doors. He finally reached the only hope.
The locker seemed as old as it was supposed to. The wood, as faded as the rest. He frantically shoved the rusted keys into the rusted hole,
hoping it was the right one. The key was right. But would the spell be?
Groping for his dusty spectacles he placed the book on the dusty table.
As he delicately sifted through the ancient tome, his exigency overcome by awe, he heard another pair of footsteps retracing his own, another candlelight reinforcing his own.
A young man, burst into the room. Gasping for breath, holding onto the door frame.
"The beast has almost got through the doors! The Holy water of the spring is powerless! What can we do, father?!"
"Leave our prayers to the elders. And hope they have not left us to the hands of this nightmare." Eyes did not leave the parched paper. Hands did not leave the dusty surfaces. Expression did not betray any fear. The young one seemed to tremble with every loud thud that echoed around the castle.
The old one could not allow his hands to tremble.
Finally a crash and a scream. An unearthly roar shook the foundations of the castle . His hands moved with more urgency, his calm now unsettled.
The pages seemed to speak about faith, and good. What about the dark?
The pages mentioned strength and discipline. What about the source?
There seemed to be none. But there was a spell.
Ahh.....the spell! To ask the elders to lend their strength. He had it.
He gazed up confidently at the quivering youth."I have it."
They hurried back down the stairs, and into the corridor, trying to ignore the screams. The roaring grew louder. Was he getting frightened as well? What could he do, when even the flames trembled around their wicks, when even the solid walls shook with disbelief. But, the spell….the Elders do not fear. He won’t either.
They reached the entrance hall. The sparkling grand door had been shattered. The sacred marble fountain had been blackened. The holy flames threw sinuous shadows across the bloody golden rugs. The roaring had stopped. It was replaced by the steady sound of the demon breathing, like the bellows of a forge, the dark breath of hell sucking life out of the fires.
The two turned to the glossy spiral staircase, that led to the second floor. There, perched on top of the rail, was the demon. Dark, almost black with horns twisting malevolently outward, claws dripping with blood of the holy and wings spread, throwing everything around into darkness.
The old man hesitated, spectacles slipping quietly off his finger. The youth stiffened, quietly reaching out to a shard of the marble fountain, ready to fend for himself. The old man held out a quivering hand, the sacred thread dangling dangerously.
"Don't be a fool." He reached into his robes, pulling out a faded locket, shaped like the staff of the elders. A circle, a line, a semi circle. The symbol of power.
With the same quivering hand he reached out to the demon, looking into its burning eyes.
The demon growled quietly, unsure of what the misinformed old fool had deluded himself to believe.
The old man, whispered, sure that the elders will grant him the strength.
Amron, Belurith athovaer ce brogardia et puritier mur voce.
The demon stood, snarling. Annoyed with the mindless faith with which the old man raised the meaningless symbol, uttered his meaningless incantations.
Amron, Belurith athovaer ce brogardia et puritier mur voce!
The demon leaped off the rail, gliding across to the blackened fountain. With a final desperate flourish the old man screamed again..
AMRON BELURITH, ATHOVAER CE BROGARDIA ET PURITI-
But the last words were cut off by the demons blazing claws. He was struck down into the ground, the holy symbol of eternal power clattering feebly onto the blood splattered floor. His faded robes fluttered slightly before they too turned motionless. His faded spectacles lay cracked, near his faded talisman. His faded book lay ripped open next to the faded candlestick. And the youth fell along with them all.