Prologue- Where is my Grimoire?

all was lost. You will not sleep as the others do. ”

His proximity sent spiders of fear to run through her scalp, not to mention the massive fiery hound he had summoned. Her muscles were too frozen to respond and her eyes seemed to be glued to his face. Out of all of her co-workers, she had been the only one to manage to get a glimpse of his uncovered countenance. She doubted that she would ever forget it.

He could have been described as beautiful but his cheekbones were like knives on either side of a strong, straight nose. His emerald eyes glowed unnaturally in the darkroom and seemed to read her very mettle. His mouth twisted down into a frightening scowl lending his mien a demonic look.

Again he brought his left hand down as if striking a staff to the floor, ”Tremble. ” he intoned, ”Sleep in your wakening fear. ” With his right hand he placed atop the hounds head, the giant creature stilled, sitting upon his haunches and began to cough. The creatures massive sides heaved.

Dr. Harper could make out an oval shape being pushed from the hounds stomach. Dr. Harper thought that the object would get lodged in the creatures throat but after a final gag, a large golden egg the size of the hounds head sat at the feet of the Arkane.

The Arkane turned towards Dr. Harper and said, ”Take careful note, what you are about to witness you will never see again. Now pay attention, this is an Arkanes power, the power you sought after while keeping me immobile. ” He bent swiftly at the waist, picked up the massive egg and promptly smashed it over his knee.

Dr. Harper was expecting some more magical light, glitter and sparkles or maybe just egg yolk; but she certainly did not expect to see a woman, especially one who looked like a tree.

She gasped.

”This is a Dryad, keeper of the forest, under her care this facility will bloom and your workers shall sleep. ”

The small form of the Dryad rose, stretching long slim limbs. Her hair was moss, with bits of twigs and leaves flowing from random upwards bursts of growth. Her skin alternated between various hues of greens, yellows and browns which held the texture of bark. She wore slender vines twisting around her breasts and slung lightly around her narrow waist. They did nothing to conceal her womanly form but she did not seem to mind or notice. She walked around the Arkane, sizing him up and as she walked an assortment of grass and flowers bloomed beneath her feet.

”I am not just a Dryad, I am a spring Dryad but I doubt this human cares. ”

She sauntered around the Arkane once more before placing her hand on his robed sleeve. ”Why Arkane Vyncynt Solitude! Where is your Grimoire? How did you summon me? ”

The Arkane now known as Vyncynt grimaced and said, ”I don know, I can remember. ” Voice somber bringing tears to Dr. Harpers eyes. ”I summoned you through him. ” He pointed to the fiery hound that now lay napping at his feet.

”But he belongs to your Grimoire. ”

”I have her Athamè. ”

Instead of saying, impossible as Dr. Harper thought she would; the little Dryad crossed her arms over her chest and tisked.

”Now now Vyncynt, you have got yourself in a bind. How are you going to find your dear Grimoire if you have her Athamè? ”

”She has mine. At least, I still hope she does. I have been in this facility for twenty-six years, I can only hope. ”

”Well aren you a clever boy but you will find it harder to locate her this time. Humans have been mining mana from the biodomes our magic is becoming weak. Furthermore, Arkanes and Grimoires are disappearing, many have yet to wake. With the balance fading, Pendulum will fall. ” She turned towards Dr. Harper as if noticing her presence for the first time. ”Why does this human remain awake? Should I put her to sleep like the rest? ”

”No, she was the only one who knew I was fully conscious if not immobile during my captivity. She had also devised many escape plans, though unsuccessful, the sentiment is appreciated. She also attempted to kill me to be able to move my body. We do not die as humans do but it allowed me to access enough mana to burn the serum from my cells. ”

”Fair enough. Do as you will. ”

”What are you going to do with me? Though this facility is isolated it is still part of a bigger whole it will be investigated and I am sure they already have the Enforcement on their way. With the power outage of this magnitude, they will be here in force. ”

”Are you trying to make a threat? ” the Dryad asked.

”No, I am simply stating that if you want to leave then it must be soon, the longer you tarry the more chance you have of being caught. ”

”Silly human, non can enter here. ” The Dryad said, ”All who attempt with ill intent shall fall asleep. Keep that in mind human, should you attempt harm, the Arkane cannot protect you from my spell. ”

”Nor would I. ” he responded.

”In answer to your question, ” the Dryad replied, ”It is obvious that we aren going to anything to you. You have been free to leave. We are certainly not keeping you here against your will. If Vyncynt had his Grimoire, it might be a different story. Every single human here would probably be dead. ”

”You mean that he would kill me? ”

”Oh no no, Vyncynt Solitude would never do that but his Grimoire would. She is one of the most unforgiving and ruthless Grimoires I have ever met. ”

”Careful of whom you speak of Dryad Zypher. That is my Grimoire you insult. ”

”It was not an insult, Vyncynt. She is only that way to the ones who have injured her loved ones. Besides, she would not have killed anybody because you would have stopped her; but in all honesty, she would have killed a few before your command could stop her just to make a point. ”

”I understand the personality of my Grimoire far better than you. She has been mine for many centuries, you have known her for one. ”

”I love her as well, so I am going to give you a present. ” She pulled her hand through the air and plucked an apple so red that it appeared black.

”Is this. . . ”

”An apple that your Grimoire created. ”

”She can use mana. ”

”She did not use mana, she grew it with her own hands. She visits my daughters in the orchard biodome, she watered and tended their leaves. She spoke kind words of growth and love, she nurtured this apple with the love she holds for you, she may not remember you but her body and soul do. Use this and find her, she has placed her very essence into this fruit, eat it and find her. You said I don know her as you do, but I truly do. I was the one who heard her voice when you could not. ”

”Arkane, let me eat the fruit. I can find her faster. ” A new voice spoke, it was deep like a gong and caused the hair to stand upon Dr. Harpers neck.

”I cannot let you eat it all. Surely you cannot begrudge me my Grimoires essence especially when I have lived without her for so long. ”

”Of course not Arkane, I would only need a bite. Since she was my creator her essence is tied closely to mine. ”

It was then Dr. Harper realized that it was the hell hound speaking.

”You can speak!! ” she exclaimed.

”Of course he can. ” The Dryad Zypher spoke, ”You humans with your narrow vision. You see a magnificent creature being summoned, yet it cannot have intelligence. A dog in any form is still a dog, right? ”

”I am not a dog, I am a hell hound. ”

”To a human, you are still a dog, not a guardian to the Beyond, ” she replied.

”Enough! Time flows and I need to find my Grimoire. Here Demarious eat half of the apple, Ill take the rest. ”

”As you will. ”

The Arkane held out the apple, the flaming hound raised his massive head and with surprising delicacy placed his teeth around the fruit, chomping down. He had cut the fruit exactly in half, he tossed it up into the air with a sharp, whip motion of his head and caught it in his mouth.

The hound burst into mauveine flames and gave a satisfied belch. ”This will be more than enough. I thank you for your kind gift. ”

The Arkane raised the other half of the fruit to his mouth but Dr. Harper stopped him.

”You are going to put that in your mouth? ”

”Why not? ” he asked.

”It was just in the mouth of that. . . ”

”Dog? ” the dryad finished for her. ”Do you find it disgusting? ”

”Well, yes. ”

”At least you are honest, for a human. Let me clue you into the Beyond creatures. We never place our lips upon an object and share it with another being; that is reserved for lovers and close friends. What you find disgusting is the utmost act of trust between us. ”

During this exchange, the Arkane managed to take a large bite and swallow the contents. He gave a short cry and burst into mauveine flames as well.

He coughed a few times before saying, ”She is so strong, even without the use of mana. Here. ” He offered the rest of the apple to Demarious, ”My body is weak; I cannot consume any more, if I do it will become most difficult to shield my mana use. That apple had more essence than I expected. ”

The Hell Hound turns to Zypher and says, ”Without you and your daughters we would not have such a gift. I do not mind, my mother has always held you in high regard ” the wolf replied.

”I will not question you. ” The slender Dryad took the last fourth of the apple and consumed it in three solid bites. She then too, burst into purple flames.

”By the great Maker!! That was much more than I expected. Please give my regards to your Grimoire, she has given me a gift that I do not know if I can repay. ”

”You already have, ” both hound and Arkane replied in unison, ”You gave us a way to find her. ”

”I only ask this, please keep this facility in slumber until I find my Grimoire. I need her to be safe before the hunt begins. As soon as these men wake they will hunt me down and they have the means to do so. ”

”Of course, you have the power to summon me and you have the mana to command me, I could not disobey your wishes. ”

”I would never force you to perform an action which you were against. ”

”Oh, I understand. Will you grant me a boon? ”

”It depends. ”

”Give your Grimoire a kiss for me. ”

”She will love it. ”

”Humans approach Arkane, we must leave if Zypher is to perform magic, ” the hound interrupted.

The Arkane turned to Dr. Harper and plucked a single feather from the air.

”I will not forget the courage you displayed. If you have a need of me then use this feather and say, Arkane Vyncynt Solitude, I require your aid. You can only use this once so think carefully about what you want. ”

”I will delay them to the best of my abilities. ” She responded, taking the feather from his hand.

”Demarious lets fly. ”

”Yes sir. ”

There was no flash, no sparkles or gleaming light. The Arkane and the hound were simply gone.

”What happens now? ” Dr. Harper asked.

”Well since you are still here, you are going to help me. Oh, and you have no choice in the matter. We are going to keep the Enforcement off of Arkane Vyncynts trail, do you understand? ”

”Completely. ”

”Perfect! ”

With that said, the Dryad leads Dr. Harper by the arm and explained to her exactly what she was to do. Dr. Harper, fascinated with these creatures, readily agreed.

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