Book One – The Cimaruta
A crack of light, surrounded by black, billowing smoke filled the area in front of Persephane’s window. Angelica jumped up, shoved Persy behind her, while folding Persy’s hand closed over her Cimaruta.
In seconds, a female shape, all in black, formed.
“Melanthios!” yelled Angelica. “How dare you…” She scowled and started to raise her wand –
Snap! Blue light filled the room, Angelica fell on her side to the floor. Persy’s face crunched with fury, she leapt over her Mom, holding the Cimaruta straight-armed at Melanthios.
Melanthios swung her wand to point at Persy and smirked. “Why, niece, how lovely to finally meet you. I’ve been scouring the earth for that amulet. Should have figured my miscreant sister had it.”
“Disarm,” screamed Persy, having drawn out her wand.
Melanthios easily swooped out of the way of the casting, coming back with, “Fixatious.” Persy was not about to get frozen in place, so Melanthios could grab her Cimaruta. Not happening. Not today.
Persy dropped to the floor, rolled away from Melanthios, but the casting caught her lower left leg, which now dragged on the ground.
Melanthios’s mouth twitched up on the right as she moved in for the snatch.
She didn’t see the green and turquoise, foot long vortex form behind her head. As it rose, the whirring became loud and louder. “Stopiare!” The maiming curse. Melanthios dropped like a stone to the floor, her body faded to a ghostly hue and vanished.
Benson appeared out of the vortex, fluttered like leaf onto Persy’s lap.
“Benson,” she cried. “Benson. Are you ok?”
Slowly his large composite eyes refocused. “Oy. That took it out of me, Perse. But, yeah, yeah. I think I’m good.”
Persy gently laid him on a cushion and went to her Mom, who was struggling to sit. “Mom?”
“Hey, my darling. I’m good. De-fogging,” Angelica gave a small smile.
Persephane reached for her Mom to give her hand a supportive squeeze, then the air around her shimmered. “What…?”
It was as if she was watching the whole scene again. The flash of blue, Melanthios, her Mom falling and Benson, but this time, Melanthios turned in time and cast the Death curse. “Terminata!”
Benson’s vortex vanished. A candle snuffed out. He fell to the floor, motionless. Persy screamed. She was back in her room, her time and Benson was fine on the pillow.
“What, Persy?” asked Angelica.
“I saw…I saw…I, I.”
Benson flew over, landing on her hand. “What, love?”
Persy’s eyes flicked down at Benson. “You were dead. She killed you.”
Book Two – The Cauldron Of Ceridwen – Chapter 10 – Lato
“Should we have a peek?”
“Well, seeing as we’re here,” replied Thad, with a wry grin.
They slipped inside the room, closing the door behind them. Darson found a desk lamp on the table on the diaz and turned it on. It illuminated the room just enough to see, but not call attention to them by flooding the space under the door.
“Now what?” asked Darson. “How or where would it be hidden?”
“Well, obviously, with magic. Let’s do an energy search.”
They closed their eyes and put their hands out in front of them, slowly turning to run a general check over the room. Nothing.
“Ok, let’s try the ceiling and floor, then go close to each wall. It may be really well covered and we need to get closer to pick it up,” said Thad.
Thad gave Darson a sideways glance. “Not done this much, have you?”
“Can’t. Told you that.”
They slowly pointed their palms over the ceiling and then the floor. Nothing.
“Fine,” said Thad. “Let’s check the walls closely.
They started at one corner and walked very slowly along the wall. About halfway along the second wall, Thad picked up a small, but persistent vibration. It was as if you’d loosely cupped a small dragonfly in your hands and it kept beating it’s wings.
“ ‘Alo, ‘alo…what ‘ave we ‘ere then?” remarked Thad, sounding very like Benson.
“I’ll grab a candle. We need to be able to see this better,” said Darson.
He lit it close to the wall. Still, they couldn’t see any seam or evidence that something opened there.
They both ran their hands over the wall, sensing the vibration, but unable to detect anyway to get to it.
“Ok, let’s get serious. Keep the veil up and hold your purple crystal. I’m going to peel some magic back.” Thad reached into the back of his jeans, pulled out his wand and said, “Aperios.” A small bright blue light shone from the tip of his wand. Energy waves appeared over a space of about one foot by one foot on the wall. The waves diminished and a small door was revealed. Thad lifted a small brass latch and pulled. The door opened and inside it was lined in black velvet. In the centre was a scroll, about eight inches in length. Thad put his wand back, and extracted the scroll.
Darson came up behind him, looking over Thad’s shoulder as he unwound the scroll. Both of them read for a few minutes, then Darson commented, “Huh? This is crazy”.
“Indeed. Obviously a code,” Thad narrowed his eyes, hoping things would be more clear. Nope.
They stared at the scroll for another few minutes when Darson took in a sharp breath and said, “Wait! I think I’ve seen something like this before. We need to get back to my Grandfather’s books.”
Book Three: Lapis Draconis
Hayden sighed. “Oh, for cripes sake. Just do it already.” Persy glanced at her, turned and faced the sigil, put her hand on the middle ring and shoved.
A grinding, crunching noise started behind them. They all jumped and turned. Dust and grit was falling from the wall, and slowly a door became apparent, one side coming out toward the path and one falling into the wall. The door was on a centre support and laboriously turned a full one-eighty so they could see another corridor.
“Well, then,” said Persy. “Our next move, I’d say. Right?”
“Lead on, McDuff,” said Thad. “We’ve come this far.”
They entered the new pathway and checked out the walls.
“Well, this is interesting,” said Hayden, her head switching from side to side. Persy followed her lead. “Indeed. Six doors on each side, each with a moon over it.”
“Yeah,” said Darson. “And each with a different animal sign on it’s door, why’s that?”
“Dunno,” said Thad.
Sniv stepped up and looked more closely at the doors. “These are the animals of the Chinese Zodiac or Sheng Xiao, and are based on a twelve year cycle. You’ve heard ‘this is the year of the tiger or rabbit’ and so on? That’s what people are referring to. It’s going to be important here.”
“Ok. Right.” Persy glanced at the walls beside the doors and ran her hand along them. “Look at these indents. Must be a hundred of them. There’s something quite pointy in each.” Thad, Sniv and Darson looked into one close to each of them.
Sniv sighed. “Spears. This hallway is booby-trapped. If we get this wrong, those will probably will be released. It’s common in Asia, in the protection of some sort of treasure.”
“Common in the West, too,” added Hayden. “I remember one of my Nan’s books going into all kinds of traps and dangers set up to protect important artifacts. Some are just plain lethal, like this one seems to be.” Rix’s eyes widened and her face flushed. This was not good.
“So we have to choose the correct door, or we’re shish kabobs?” asked Hayden. Sniv nodded solemnly.
“Well, it’s meant to be solved,” said Persy, tapping her index finger on her lip and scowling. “What do we know?”
Sniv cleared his throat. “The twelve signs in order are: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Pig.” Thad and Rix checked out each door. “Yup, that’s what’s here.”
“Then doesn’t it make sense, seeing as we’re here for a treasure for Carnifex, that the correct door would be the fifth? With the dragon on it?” said Persy, with her arms spread out.
Hayden shrugged her shoulders. “Best guess I can think of. I’d second the dragon door.”
Darson grinned. “Sounds good to me. What’ve we got to lose?” Rix swivelled her head toward him. “Only our hides, but hey, no big.”
Thad laughed and gave her a hug around the shoulders. “C’mon, we’ll be fine. It’s the only thing that fits.” He coaxed her down the hallway after Persy. They crowded in front of the fifth door. They activated their amulets.