Grimm let go of the vampire Patrick and fell back in a defensive position in front of Cerdic. Veron was up and running away from the confrontation. He knew he couldn’t help and motioned for Cerdic to follow.
With a small shake of his head, indicating he wasn’t going to leave, Cerdic watched Jeremy as he started to cast a spell. The geometric shapes forming in the air in front of his waving hands reminded Cerdic of the residual shapes on the tire, and they were aimed directly at Eric’s center of mass. Without hesitation Cerdic yelled, “look out!” and tackled Eric to the ground. The magic went over the two of them and hit a nearby fence post, reducing it to ash.
Eric looked at the fence post and back at Cerdic. “Uh, thanks…how did you…?”
“Later, Eric!” Henry yelled. “We need to deal with Jeremy first!”
Cerdic rolled off Eric and helped him to his feet. “He’s using some sort of aging magic. Be careful.”
“I see that now…my only question is, how did you? But Henry is right. We have a more immediate concern.” Eric moved his left hand and gripped his grimoire with his right. As he made motions Cerdic saw a barrier appear in front of Eric. It covered his body, but his arms were on the outside. He decided that was so Eric could cast through the barrier.
“Grimm. Be careful.” Cerdic turned and joined Veron behind a nearby rock.
Giving a small bark of recognition, Grimm tried to bite Jeremy in the leg, but Jeremy was prepared. He sent a blast of energy at Grimm then turned to ward off a spell from Henry. Grimm was pushed back towards the rock Veron and Cerdic were hiding behind and stood there, menacingly.
Veron nudged Cerdic. “Jeremy is a powerful warlock. Grimm probably wouldn’t be able to get into his inner defense. Let’s just watch.”
Henry grabbed his grimoire from his side and flipped it open. He turned to a page near the middle and cast a spell on Patrick, the now prone vampire. Tendrils of dark energy erupted from the ground and bound him in place. “We shouldn’t have to worry about you recovering, now.” He turned towards Jeremy. “Two on one, do you think you can take both of us?”
“Maybe. Let’s find out.” Jeremy grabbed his grimoire and opened it to the last page, then he stuck his arm elbow deep into the page. When he pulled his arm back out it was covered in dark black ink, and he held a strange bone in his hand. “The bone of a great old one, broken.” He snapped the bone and Cerdic saw a rush of shapeless energy engulf Jeremy. “Blood of the warlock, freshly spilled.” He took a bone fragment and stabbed it deep into his forearm.
“We need to stop him!” Eric yelled at Henry. “Hit him with everything you have!”
“Okay!” Henry began making exaggerated motions with his hands. “Veron! Run!” He shot a deep red mass of energy at Jeremy. Cerdic noticed, as he turned to run, that the geometry was jagged and unfinished. It seemed to him that the spell was not yet perfected, like Henry was still working on it.
As the mass of energy splashed into Jeremy the energy surrounding him dissipated it into his surroundings. A deep gash appeared in the ground in front of and to the sides of where he was standing. “Impressive. I didn’t know you had spells that would kill, Aelfson.”
With Jeremy’s attention on Henry, Eric attempted to shoot smaller, more precise spells at the energy surrounding their foe. He was casting many small, slightly different iterations trying to see what would get through his shield.
“Now, where was I? Oh, yes. Just after blood of warlock freshly spilled.” Jeremy stuck his arm back into the page of his grimoire and pulled a wand from it. “Wand of wizard, ground to dust.” He cast a spell on the wand and it started to disintegrate, leaving a small pile in the palm of his hand. “Ingested for power unleashed on good.” He swallowed the pile of dust with a slight cough then strode over to his vampire companion. “Sorry, Pat, but I need you to hold still.”
One of the small missile spells Eric had been pounding the energy with broke through. The green flames it was sporting burned up Jeremy’s arm for a moment. “Dragonfire spells! They break through!”
“Shast!” Henry began flipping through his grimoire. “I have one in here somewhere.”
Eric began mumbling something in Latin and moving his arm in very specific, practiced ways. “Draco,” was the last word he mumbled as he shot a green ball at Jeremy.
Laughing hysterically Jeremy reached up and grabbed the ball of dragonfire. “Oh, yes. It breaks through, but I knew it would. I have wards against dragonfire all over my body, Eric!” He gripped the bone in his other hand. “With the bone of Bugg-Shash I sacrifice this vampire and call you forth again!” He began moving the bone down towards Patrick’s prone form when an arrow flew through the air and shot the bone from his hand. It landed in the dirt a few feet away.
In surprise and anger Jeremy looked up to see Cerdic holding a small crossbow tied to his wrist.
“Where was that?” Veron looked at Cerdic’s arm. “You definitely didn’t have that before.
“Parting gift from Tibdast. Said I would know when to use it.” Cerdic loaded another bolt into the crossbow. “Apparently that energy doesn’t protect you from mundane weapons.”
“I was with you the whole time. When did he give you that?”
Cerdic shrugged. “Remember when we went out to the car? You went outside first, and he came back and gave it to me.”
“Mundane weapons, eh?” Henry smiled broadly and pulled three throwing knives from his jacket. “Perfect.” He tossed the three knives at once and they buried into Jeremy’s right chest, shredding his lung.
“Stupid treefting Usual!” Jeremy shouted as he started coughing up blood. He took a few steps away from Patrick then fell backwards.
Eric nodded at Cerdic. “Good job. You have a good head on your shoulders.” He walked over to Patrick. “Well, let’s see what the council wants to do with you and your friend, shall we?”
Patrick said something intelligible.
Henry cautiously approached Jeremy, who was still coughing up blood. “Is the energy gone?”
With a glance Cerdic saw the energy was dissipating into the ground. “It will be soon. Give it a moment.”
“I wasn’t asking you, but you seem to know what you’re saying.” Henry waited a few seconds then approached the warlock. “We’ll get that lung fixed up at the council hall. Let’s go.” He carefully picked Jeremy up and teleported immediately.
Eric shook his head. “I’ll be going too. I’ll send a car to pick you two up…” He looked at Veron’s car for the first time since the spells started slinging around. “Uh…and I’ll see about replacing that.” The back-passenger door fell off the car. It was the last door still on it, and the rest of the car was covered in dents and burns.
“Great. I guess I better get my stuff out of it.”
– – –
Veron was able to talk the driver into giving him the car and teleporting back to where he had come from and was currently sitting behind the wheel of a sleek black car with tinted windows. “This is a nice car. I’m pretty sure it’s also warded up.”
“Yeah, it seems to be.” Cerdic looked around the car and saw a lot of overlapping triangles and squares.
“What do you mean?”
Cerdic shrugged. “I started seeing things. I think it has something to do with Grimm.”
With a nod of understanding Veron took a right turn on the road. “Yeah, bonding with a supernatural creature can do things, for sure. Never heard of a Usual having the Eyes of the Magus, though.” He paused. “You do have a bond with a church grim, though. That’s extremely unusual for anyone, especially a Usual.”
“It’s starting to sound like I may not be a Usual.” Cerdic said, jokingly.
“You jest, but that may just be true. I think we need to take a short detour.”