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The Wanderer & Golem

Book One of the Wanderer series

By Isaac LawrencePublished 11 months ago 7 min read
My first novella in series, by Chapters


Book One of the Wanderer Series

‘Worlds change … words change … I change’


The old man walked at a measured pace through the sweating jungle foliage, his weathered face was interlaced with cratered wrinkles that grew thicker on the laughter lines. Yet it was not humour the old man radiated; the jungle recognised his presence, parting at the slightest touch of the oaken shillelagh he carried to ease his passing years.

With his decrepit, bent frame, he looked like he was holding up the world. Fierce, determined black eyes, set in withered skin, soon came to gaze upon an open clearing in this dense jungle.

The old man brushed his wrinkles with a nonchalant gesture, causing a cascade of jungle sweat that spilled over his features. He blinked some of the fluid from his eyes to confirm his location, though that was hardly necessary.

In the centre of the clearing stood a block-cut pyramid, patched with dark green moss despite being weathered and worn. Around the pyramid dedicated warriors exercised, their eyes fixed on the movements of those they tussled and sparred with.

Displays of martial prowess, accompanied by the click-clack of obsidian swords on wicker armour, sparked the old man’s curiosity. He approached the pyramid, a stone eyesore, thought the old man, warped by centuries of sacrificial worship by these people. There was a macabre wonder about these layers of black.

He leant heavily upon his cudgel as he made his way to the dark opening of the pyramid, feeling every movement of his aching joints. As he reached an echoing tunnel and made his way into the silent tomb, his footsteps resounded in his ears as if to presage his own arrival.

The darkness enveloped him until he was approaching the heart of the ancient monolith. As he approached, the warmth grew and subtle voices slipped through the corridors until, finally, a circular chamber opened before the old man. At last, he was here.

A central cauldron supplied the chamber with radiant heat. For a moment he gazed into the flickering body of the cauldron’s smoking fire, a fire smouldering blue with two halos of orange and red that crackled and moved as though alive. The old man knew what kept it burning. A sorrow moved him, for even voluntary loss of life was life lost, though the old man knew that the fire would one day extinguish, despite the sacrifices. It was inevitable.

Some of the learned magicians who had made the choice to maintain this cauldron’s flame, tied as it was to the sources of magic, were here now, representatives and envoys from around the world.

The old man acknowledged those assembled. With a barely noticeable glance he took in their familiar nuances. Yes, good, they had all come:

The Sisters, with their Owlven features wide eyes, and red-dyed hair.

The Skull, clear cranium and absorbed attention in the corner.

The Tattooed, muscled magician inked in torturous detail, with thick, wiry eyebrows.

The Blood Priest, taut paper skin and armed with the Athames of countless rituals.

Yogic, clad in white with sandalled and strapped feet and he, the Druid. The ritual circle would be complete. All the most powerful magicians of the age.

They all bore the look of great strain, their brows were furrowed with the weight of stress in their eyes; it was unlikely to change now, they had met to discuss what needed to be done.

It had been a weary meeting, hours wasted with procrastinating attempts by the others to forestall the inevitable. Why did these learned practitioners feel the need to do this? It was a simple mark of their humanity, a clinging to hope against reason. However, they eventually accepted the crushing conclusion, once again, that the magick had to be protected, locked away – apart from those necessary provisions that had brought the Skull and the sisters here.

Those provisions might see the return of the Magick someday, it was all they could hope for now.

The incantation began, in the ancient tongue with the Magicians in unison

“Isy, rele tatou ny dwar orisonte, hin”

A gradual stirring of powers came with the words that would signal to any magicians of a less benevolent nature of the ritual’s beginning even from long distance. They could be any one of a string of adversaries. The Druid pondered this a little more; his guess would be the Theurge would be the first to respond.

Still, the Druid needed to focus, as the Incantation continued.

“Mu, mu orisonte hin…embe-hin”

This great act would require all their efforts. The Blood Priest unsettled his uneasy bones from an obsidian laced, white charred seat, shambling forward like bones jangling in a cloth bag, thin withered arms raised forward to give the sought-for signal. A stony-faced and inscrutable warrior rushed out of the pyramid, hollow footsteps resounding through the halls of the tomb, to be followed by terrified wails filling the night from outside. The Druid shut his eyes to quench the horror of this part of the ritual and to quell his heart’s impulse to go and save those willing slaves being put to death outside.

The ritual continued with the Blood priests words.

“Kuh, Sevis ary mare Aga orisonte dwar, Embe”

Inside the Heart chamber, the Blood Priest ululated now, his face lit by the glow of the cauldron’s fire, which began to extinguish as he chanted. His voice counterbalanced the screams of the dying, and, with his echoing sound, the sorcery formed a mass of boiling blood, blue, black, and red above the dying fire. The ritual had begun in earnest.

It was not a short process. Exhaustingly, the practitioners combined their efforts with the Blood Priest in ritual convocation that was causing the chamber to reverberate with power. The Yogic strode forward, closed his eyes and plunged his hand into the burning blood, summoning the ephemeral and psychic powers at his disposal. The Tattooed grasped the cauldron, letting out a grunt of pain as the tattoos on his body snaked their way into the interior and outside of the cauldron. The Sisters stood aside, summoning to themselves their bestial powers by incantation. Slowly they wended their way to the cauldron, one step at a time until their powers combined and exploded from their bodies, draining into the blood.

The boiling blood had formed a solid and viscous pool inside the cauldron; only one more task was left.

The Druid nodded to the Skull, who began to glow with a luminescence that lit the corner, and then he drew forth the oaken shaft that his nation had carefully prepared for this. Planting it firmly on the ground, the Druid began to weave the Terrus into the blood, which would make it last the required length of time. Winds began to gather, first as a hiss of a breeze through the tunnels and building, and then to a final roaring climax of deafening pain.

The Druid’s body ached with the strain of this, his last conscious act, until finally his eyes fell vacant. The oaken staff smouldered on the slab stone floor with its bearer.

The Skull, still luminescent, perused the scene: five dead magicians in an obsidian tomb. He brushed past them, for they were not his concern anymore; they had done what was needed and now the sources of magical power (Infernus, Tempestus, Terrus and Aquis) were contained to await the crisis at the turning of the next Mayan sun.

In a pre-arranged ritual, the Skull touched the cauldron, adjusting the harmonics to the correct frequency that will allow him to draw into his skull, the memories of the dead adepts. With his task complete, he turned and left the now empty cavern.

* * *

The sounds of crying death, filled with pain, assaulted the Theurge’s ears as he strode with determination through the jungle clearing. The jungle was suffused with the miasma of death, yet it was but heathen death, unblessed by the Lord. To the Black Pyramid before him he came, his stride purposeful, as the Spanish conquistadors, holy warriors on loan from the Spanish king did the necessary hacking away of enemy warriors to clear his path.

His mission was clear: prevent the actions of the five heathen priests, enemies of the one true God.

The Theurge soon found himself deep in the catacomb of the pyramid that was filled with the musty scent of long worn sacrifice. He bore the cross before him in this damned place. This did not signify a lack of confidence; he was not shaken by this darkened tomb. He was with God.

The central chamber, which the heathens called the Heart Chamber, revealed itself emerging from the rock. It was filled with five rank and putrid corpses, which would have made him gag but such things were common on his mission.

He was too late.

The dead bodies before him looked in such decay, as if all the life essences were gone from them. For what purpose? He sighed. At the back of his mind, he wondered when his holy mission to purify the world, to sanctify it, would end. Probably only with his last breath.

A cauldron was revealed by the lighting of a torch, it was filled with rotting, discoloured blood, and scribed with what looked like strange, specialised runes that were unfamiliar to him; it was the work of the heretic, no doubt, and must be purified, made clean!

The Theurge could feel the threat of this place, its pagan workings in his very fibres; something powerful had manifested here.

Extending his senses, he pressed the cross to his chest to draw its power and felt the strong but subtle magic throughout the chamber. However, he quickly dispensed with the wards, unholy guarding magicks using the cross to untangle them like thread and marched forth to place the holy icon into the sickening blood. The Theurge chanted a blessing of sanctification and immense power into the cauldron.

A conquistador emerged into the chamber. “It is done; they are all dead. All those remaining, all the scum.”

The Theurge responded with a gaze filled with contempt, for the conquistador had caused the breaking-off of the blessing. “Burn this place and seal it NOW!”


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