Friday, December 16, 2011

Aftershock 7/16

Chapter Five

During the daylight hours the streets around the castle in Kilkenny swarmed with busloads of visitors. Jhaer bided his time until the dark of night grew long and the city as still as it was going to be. A modern city had grown up around the castle. As Jhaer strode past the art museum, the castle came into view just across the paved street, as if nothing more special than just another building in a sea of buildings. A high stone wall around the property blocked not only the back access to the castle but the long enclosed courtyard as well. Even as Jhaer approached the wall, he knew exactly where each footfall nearby struck the ground. Tracking movement through the vibrations in the earth came second nature. He had no worry about being seen as he teleported from outside the courtyard wall into the property.

With the three remaining wings of what had once been a square-shaped castle to his left, Jhaer veered right. A paved walking path stretched into the distance before curving back around the other side of the courtyard that served as a public park. The flat, center expanse of grass during the day hosted picnics and leisure games involving ball tossing or kicking. At night the open field provided no cover, so Jhaer traveled amongst the trees along the courtyard wall.

All the while his focus flowed through the ground beneath him. Searching. Seeking. Catching a hint of movement. A surge. A flow.

Not underground water. He’d feel the saturation of the mud if that had been the case. This had a throb to it. A pulse. Of course he’d encountered ley lines before; the earth was crisscrossed with them. For the most part he’d avoided them. Like lightning, the ley lines moved immense power. Just like the airborne equivalent, getting in the path of such a force had potentially deadly consequences.

Jhaer positioned himself above the crossing ley lines that had guided the druids, secretly consulted by the builders of the castle, to select this place of power. Jhaer raised his arms before him, simultaneously closing his fists. As he did this, the earth beneath him sank. Like a liquid, it gathered him inside the cool element until the ground closed over his head, leaving no sign of disturbance on the surface.

The residual power from the ley lines vibrated through the ground around Jhaer like a warning. There was nothing for it now. Turn back and Fade? Or go forward and risk instant death? Even as Jhaer thought it, he knew there truly was no choice. He moved through the layers of sediment to within a foot of the nexus of power. The rush of magic roiled through the ground like the wild flood of energy in a pyroclastic flow. Massive even at this distance.

Pain postponed was just pain prolonged. Same could be said of death, if that’s what came of it.

Part 8/16 of "Aftershock" coming on 12/20/11!

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