This is a raw episode that kicks off Season 3. This means that it hasn’t had a final revision or been edited yet. Check out the page for the series, here at The Wizard Killer.
As always, post a comment and let me know what you think. You can also find it on WattPad.
In Season 2, I started laying the foundation of explaining how the memories/flashbacks worked and the background for the Wizard Killer. Now, in Season 3, I can start giving the answers to a lot of your questions and set the stage for seasons 4 and 5.
— Season 3 – Episode 1 —
The wind kicks up, throwing some fine dusty remains of the magically burnt tent-city into my eyes. The sickeningly-sweet smell of its corpse bites at my brain, but I don’t flinch from Ania’s gaze.
How the yig did she get a wizard’s robe and command of soldiers? Last time we crossed paths, I ended up killing her two friends and she took off alone. The dark rings under her eyes, her thinned face, and grey hair all tell me a story of a driven survivor.
The wizard robe creaks like worn floorboards as it floats ominously behind her, ready to swallow her up again. Its hood slowly lifts and faces westward sending a chill through my spine.
Sun glints off the edge of the lightning rifle sitting on the hood of the levi-car and the anxious soldier on the other end. The driver and the three bandaged soldiers in the flatbed of the levi all quickly glance at their feet. The exhaustion on their leathery faces is pushed back as their shoulders push back and they give me narrow-eyed stares. I’ve seen that look on beaten dogs waiting for a chance to strike, to reclaim their sense of self.
Ania pulls my short-sword out from behind her and looks down at it, amused. “Such a simple looking thing at first glance.” She runs a finger along the grey/blue etchings of its blade. “I know you healed with this, but it’s devoid of mana now. Can you charge it? How does that work, weslek?” She gives me a piercing stare, but I say nothing.
“I have to admit,” she continues, “I was skeptical of the tale of the stabbed statue in the deserted lands. A perfect sculpture, a treasure lost in among the wind spiders. I was ready to dismiss it when news came to me, but I kept wondering, was Fate going to be kind, for once?”
She offers a tight lipped, menacing smile. As we stare at each other, I sense something at the back of my mind, past the wall of fog blocking my memories. It’s in her eyes. Behind her angry ambition and her steely will is… familiarity. Do I know her? Or is this just a ploy? Who cares? She’s not your friend. Her threats to tear you apart are very real. She’s not a lost puppy, she’s a rusty, spiked mace wrapped in a dark blue, threadbare dress. Stay sharp.
I blink silently at her, thinking. She didn’t stumble upon that Wizard’s Robe. She scratched, bite, and clawed her way to it. So where do I come in? She didn’t know me last time, not like this.
The sun glints off the edge of my short-sword, grabbing my attention, just as Ania striking me right in the heart with it. I slam into the ground with unbelievable force, the wind knocked out of me. I’m immediately shrouded in a cloud of dust, coughing and blinking hard. My ears are ringing with the whisper of a demonic child. Where did she learn to unleash magic so quickly and powerfully?
The pain in my chest is weird, off somehow. I reach over and touch my chest. It feels wet, but the sword’s not there. What’s going on?
I squint and look up, rubbing my face with the back of my bloody hand. Ania’s still holding my short-sword, staring at its tip, her eyes are a faint red. She’s got a twisted smirk on her face.
“It’s true… It’s actually, true.” She’s gently shaking her head gently back and forth as she cleans the blood from its. “You are him.”
The memory of my tussle with the Jackal come forward. When she tried to stab me too, and hit something hard in me. It broke her blade. What did the Blindfold Man say? Yig, I can’t remember. Something about crystal, wasn’t it?
I go to roll on to my side when I notice two of the bandaged soldiers are standing over me with their lightening rifles drawn. So they were packing some fun.
“It really is him?” asks one of the soldiers, his voice trembling with excitement.
“Looks like it,” replies his buddy.
These guys look pretty shaky. What type of ghouls could take on guys like these?
“Of course it’s him,” barks back the driver. “You think we fought our way to the edge of Burning Man’s territory to hunt down some random idiot?”
Ania leans forward, her eyes smiling devilishly. “There’s been a lot riding on this moment, weslek. You are the key to the world I’ve been promising. We couldn’t do anything until I was absolutely certain.”
She drops the short-sword on my chest, knocking the wind out of me again. Yig that thing’s heavy.
“And now I am. Absolutely certain.”
“Get the chains and—” A loud noise from the levi’s cab interrupts and scares the yig out of the driver.
All eyes turn to him as he fumbles with a screaming box the size of a loaf of bread. He flips a switch on it. Opening the door, he holds it outstretched, turning about.
“Which perimeter alarm was it?” asks the soldier with the rifle on the hood.
“Give me a sec,” says the driver, turning about again. “The signal’s not good here.”
“That’s a two minute warning.” His buddy straightens up and picks up his lightning rifle. “I ain’t getting eaten. Where’s it coming from?”
“The west,” says Ania as the driver stops, pointing in the same direction, his arms held high up.
“Of course she’s right,” says the soldier getting into the passenger’s side of the levi. “She’s always right.” He leans over. “We have to go your oneness. We don’t have enough armaments to hold this position.”
The driver puts the box away and gets into his set. “He’s right.”
“How the kinpak can anything smell mana that far away?” asks the talkative soldier standing over me. His hands are shaking now. Yig, this is going to get bad, isn’t it?
“Watch him. I need a moment to think,” says Ania, pulling away and heading for the floating robe.
The two soldiers over me whisper at each other and exchange glares.
“What’s got you babies pissing yourselves so badly?” I ask.
The talkative soldier takes the bait and tries to hit me with the butt of his rifle when I grab his collar, spin him around. I’ve got one arm around his neck and almost have the knife he’s predictably got at the small of his back when I get smacked in the face with the barrel from the other guy’s rifle.
“Let him go or I fry you.”
Reluctantly, I let go. As a thank you, the soldier hits me in the mouth with his elbow as he pulls away.
As the wizard’s robe opens to swallow Ania, I catch the shine of mana-batteries and webbing along the inside of the back. What’s she done? It wraps itself around her and she lifts off the ground.
“I will not have that crystal mastery in him damaged,” she says suddenly beside him and putting her hand on him.
He barely has time to gasp as he withers right before us. A moment later, he drops to the ground, his skin tight and looking like burnt parchment.
She turns to the other soldier. “Chain the weslek and load him on to the levi-car.”
“Of course,” he replies, the words barely audible.
“Your Oneness,” says the driver, smacking something on his dashboard angrily. “We… we don’t have the mana. The battery gauge says we only have two hundred and sixty picks. The outer gate of the fallen city’s three hundred. With him, we… we won’t even get that close.”
“How?” she asks, sending a chill right through me.
“The ghouls…” The driver wipes his face with a rough hand. “They must have cracked the mana-battery shielding before the last of the anti-magic grenades went off.”
I watch as the soldier standing over me swallows hard.
“Even with one body less,” the driver looks at the drained corpse, “we won’t make it.”
“Then we leave the weslek,” says Ania, her voice sharp and decisive. “We leave now. I can hear them coming.”
Narrowing my eyes, I know what she means. At the edge of my mind, I can hear something. I thought it was the buzzing returning, but it’s different, more like the melded voices of an angry mob.
The bandaged soldier abandon me and rushes on to the levi’s flatbed.
The driver stares at me in shock. “We’re leaving him? After everything?”
She turns, her eyes nothing but shimmering lights in the darkness of the robe’s hood. “We know he’s real and we will find him again. Our plans cannot move forward if we are dead. I have enough mana to make sure that we get to the gates.”
Sitting up, I glance at my pistol sitting two yards to my left, and my short sword sitting in my lap. I slowly wipe the blood off my lip with my thumb. My stomach feels like I’ve got milk curdling in it. Something seriously bad is coming, and I’m not going to let them leave me behind.
“Hey, Ania,” I say, scrambling to my feet, sword in hand. “You’re not a coward, are you?”
She casually turns towards me. As her hands thrust forward, palms out, I hear that signature demonic voice in my head as I’m thrown backwards, head over heels.
The sword goes flying as I manage to get on all fours. My hands, knees and shins scream at me in pain as I slide to a stop.
Sitting back on my knees, I glance at my bloody and burned hands. I look up. Ania’s standing on the back of the levi. I’m running out of time.
I force a bad laugh. “Really, Ania? After everything you went to find me, you’re just going to abandon me all because you have a bad feeling? Or because some box went ding?” I get up and put my hands on my hips. “Come on, where we going?”
Her hood’s facing me, but I can’t what she’s thinking. The robe’s eating whatever body language she might have given me.
Taking a step forward, I shake my head. “You’re just going to retreat? Snatching defeat out of the jaws of victory?”
The levi’s engine revs up.
My heart’s pounding hard, this isn’t working.
“I’ve realized I don’t need to bring you, weslek,” she answers. “You are a survivor. You’ll bring yourself to me at the fallen city of Banareal, or you will die here and we will find your carcass.” She points at the column of smoke rising in the distance. “You remember Banareal, don’t you?” She kicks the floor of the flatbed hard, twice and it starts pulling away.
I chase after it as it heads eastward, yelling. “What are you running from?”
Slowing to a stop, I wave the dust away. I feel like there are a thousand eyes on me. I don’t need to turn around to know what’s on that ridge. It’s death.