Draden is enraged by the deceptive and cunning tactics that lured him. He makes several attempts to reverse the spell, his efforts are nothing but a waste of breath; the bars remain. He savagely pushes and pulls at them as if his strength alone can free him.
As the frenzied tantrum begins to wane, a large oblong space in front of the cage flashes into existence and shimmers with yellow sparkles. It intensifies, warping the air around it. The remaining fog is drawn to it like a whirlpool. Once it's all consumed, the shimmering abruptly stops, and the sound of howling wind commences. There is barely time to blink before the dense fog returns, swirling together and forming the outline of a man. It's Bralfir.
The two stare at each other with unforgiving tension. Words of wrath are written across their expressions. Draden is the first to break, his speech fills with angst.
“I can't believe the fool I was to think you would help me! Release me, Sir!"
Bralfir remains silent. He walks closer to the cage. Draden calms down after realizing his words are not worth the boiling blood in his veins.
"Hear me out…please, my lord! I can't explain what came over me. It’s like I became protective over something that belongs to no one. I never wished you harm. You are like my father, and I have betrayed your undivided trust!”
Bralfir finally speaks while walking the perimeter of the cage. He is contemplative in his approach as if he's consulting a higher power. Draden follows him within his metal prison.
"What went wrong with this one? He confuses the realm…His intentions are egocentric and impure." He turns to face Draden. "What is it that your soul craves? The Chalice is not a child's plaything, young man. To possess it requires great responsibility. Your unfledged wisdom is tainted with the hopes of false power... The assembly is confounded over this entire chain of events, but you have left an observable impression... Droves of exalted men before you have failed in evaluating a method of approach to this age-old conundrum. Which is why... the only choice left for you is to accomplish what you have started... You will unravel the remaining script and you will remain under strict conditions. Unless you can prove to me your civility, I see no reason to think differently."
Draden doesn't like what is said about him. He comes to his own defense.
"The picture you paint of me is absurd and spurious! You know me, Bralfir. I am a hard worker and a valuable student. I'm...I’m just experiencing some kind of mental barrier, initiated by the lack of self-worth. I see the world slightly different than others. Is this a shameful trait, or a declaration of individualism?”
Bralfir raises his voice.
"It's a declaration of selfish pride! These are hard lessons maintaining the role of a Tortian conjurer. Your capacity to excel has grown exponentially, yet you demonstrate the actions of a dark lord. How do you correct this? If you can answer this question with convincing merit, I shall release you!"
Draden is at a loss for words. He feels cornered but understands his quandary.
"I can't correct this! It is forever written in the etchings of the akashic records. I can only give reasons and apologies for my actions... I ask you a similar question. Does the daylight equal the starshine? Do the lives of elders govern the rights of humanity?"
Draden conjures a ball of light that rests inches above his palm. He releases it to the ground. It bounces and forms a wooden chair made of cypress branches. He sits and sulks for a moment before speaking again.
"Let's say I do your bidding and finish the puzzle, what then? Do you release me into the wilderness of lost souls. Will my work override the confusion I've caused, or will you banish me from Callista forever? And what will become of me if I disagree with your demands? In all actuality, you already have the means to move forward."
Draden stands again, holding onto the bars as he awaits a response. Bralfir fails to answer any of his questions.
"These are not demands! This is one of the undermining flaws in your immature process. The assembly is about brotherhood and not about the strongholds of hierarchy. With the Chalice, our society will flourish. Starvation will become a thing of the past. Enemies will no longer threaten our way of life... Zanith will be assigned to you as your aide in accelerating this effort. He is our best mathematician. You will have access to the archives and will share your progress on a daily basis. This is your one and only chance to rectify the situation and move into the higher ranks of noble causes.”
Pygmid eagerly returns. He descends through an opening in the tree line. The sight of Bralfir speaking to Draden through bars is unsettling to him. As he approaches them, Bralfir extends the open palm of his right hand, never taking his eyes off Draden. Pygmid drops the book of Wedowin into his hand. He shrugs his shoulders towards Draden and lands on top of the cage. Bralfir gazes at the book with petty annoyance. Without the need for words, he tosses it between the bars, it lands on the floor inside the cage.
“SIR WATCH OUT!”
A protective, mother Umblee charges from beyond the dense brush. Bralfir shouts just in time.
The bronze cage instantly doubles in size, containing both Bralfir and Draden. The Umblee crashes into it and is temporarily stunned. The magic prison withstands the force of the thousand-pound beast. Her teeth are dripping with slime. She's famished...
Thank you for stopping by 😍. Stay Tuned for part IV
About the Creator
Creative writer in the Northeast US who loves the paranormal, mystery, true crime, horror, humor, fantasy and poetry. Take a chance, you'll be thoroughly entertained.
"Life is Love Experienced" -LW
Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!
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