At the Edge of All Things

Not While I'm Around

Not While I’m Around

Nothing’s gonna harm you, not while I’m around.
Nothing’s gonna harm you, no sir, not while I’m around.

Demons are prowling everywhere, nowadays,
I’ll send ’em howling,
I don’t care, I got ways.

No one’s gonna hurt you,
No one’s gonna dare.
Others can desert you,
Not to worry, whistle, I’ll be there.

It’s the Thursday before the Consilium. Forge is at his studio. He lets BJ in, wiping grease off his hands with a blue paper towel as he does so. “Sup?”

“I am here to see if the rings have been completed.” Unwrapping 8 units of Tass from his hallow. Doesn’t remove his jacket, simply endures the heat. Forge nods.

“Lemme show you.” He goes over to a table made of sawhorses with plywood on top and produces a battered metal tray. On it lay four flawless golden rings, each with the sigil of the Searchers painstakingly worked onto it.

“Your work is excellent.” Kneeling in close to examine them, clearly satisfied with them. “There may be a person contacting you for a fifth ring, is there anything of the original left?”

He squints. “A fif—? No, not without melting these four down again. I mean, I can do it if you want, but it’d be twenty Tass….”

Waves his hand. “No, that would be a crime. The fifth may simply be a lacking in sympathy. I do have two other projects I am pondering. How are you with cars?”

Forge lights a hand-rolled cigarette. “Cars? I know enough to get by. Why?”

“I have a 69 MG and while it is a beautiful car, it is a bit lacking in power as I learned last week. I was hoping to see her improved.”

“That’s a nice one. Ok, what are you looking to do?” He chuckles lightly.

“Improve the acceleration and top speed. Handling as well. I plan on some other improvements but I can do that myself.”

“You want it improved mundanely? Magically? Both?”

“Ideally both.”

He shrugs. “I’m a Moros, so I can’t give you the full Knight Rider experience, but…I can definitely beef it up. Okay. It’ll be six Tass, payable on delivery. Plus expenses.” He looks BJ up and down. “I doubt that’ll be a problem for you.”

“Reasonable. My other project may be less so. Do you have much experience working with Thaumium?”

Forge whistles. “A bit. You’re getting pretty serious with this stuff, huh.”

“I like to be prepared. A Thaumium blade. Made in this style.” Taking out a reference work and opening it to show the Model 1850 U.S. Infantry Officers sword.

Forge frowns. “Okay, well….this is going to take a bit more doing. If you get me the Thaumium, I can forge the sword, but creating Thaumium requires relinquishing a spell. That isn’t something I can do lightly. Not for however much Tass you might have.” He puts a conciliatory hand on BJ’s shoulder – it’s a bit greasy. “If you know someone who has some, or can make some, or maybe you just…you know, stumble across it? I can do something with it.” Forge nods, taking a huge drag off his amazingly stinky cigarette before stubbing it out. “…All right, man. You got the keys for the car?”

“I do, but I am not quite ready for that project. Finishing these rings is going to leave me a bit drained for a while.”

“Sure thing, man. Just come back whenever you’re ready and we’ll get you squared away.” He picks up an acetylene torch and lights a second cigarette with it. “Catch ya later. And uh, thanks for the business. It’s been good practice.”

Nods to him and heads home to prep for the ritual casting. It’s a quick trip, he checks to make sure the Sanctum is empty not counting Sabrina. Finding it empty he goes to his work space, sitting in the middle of the room as he reaches out to the hallow with his magical senses., touching it as he begins to put himself in sync with the resonance of the sanctum, slowing his breathing as he focuses. Opening his eyes as he nods he feels right.

BJ takes out his ritual supplies for this, bags of sand and candles and begins to form a circle with the white sand, then a pentacle in the circle, colored sand representing each of the Watchtowers at the points. Candles placed on each of the piles of colored sand. A carved metal bowl placed in the center, filled with purified water then the rings. He strikes a single match, guiding the flame to each of the candles, then forming a circle of fire connecting each of them for a brief moment. Closing his eyes as he focuses on the imagios for the spells to be place on the first three rings. He begins chanting in high speech as he prepares the spells.

From the forces arcanum, he weaves a spell to deflect energy away from the wearer, then from the prime arcanum armor against magic, then the ability to draw mana from objects, channel it into the bearer. Following that with the supplemental spells, invisibility, the ability to reduce friction in an area, a spell to draw mana from objects, the ability to channel it into the wearer and then finally a spell to allow it to contain mana. Feels the spells woven into the metal, begins to pour his power into them, creating a link between his pattern and the rings, letting them draw power from him.

For Sinon the spells would be different, a different need. He reaches out to the fourth ring, preparing another bundle of spells. Preparing the imagos in his head, picturing them working into the metal as he chants in high speech. Forces to see in the dark, to hide from machines, read data from computers, to cloak himself in silence, to hide himself from view, and finally to stealth himself from sight. Prime let it draw mana from objects, to channel it into the bearer, and finally to prepare it to store mana.

Releasing the spells into the metal, he binds them to his pattern as the mana flows into them. Then taking a ritual knife and pricking his finger, letting five blood drops fall into the water. Telekinetically stirring it before reaching in with a pair of silver tongs, taking out each ring and bringing it to the candle signifying the future owner’s watchtower. The flames of the candles dry the ring before placing it on a piece of black silk.

BJ picks up the silk and carries it over to the work bench where a pair of black gloves wait. BJ slips them on and takes out four carved wooden boxes bearing symbol of the cabal, the extremely simple yet well made boxes screaming the work of a mastercraftsman. Each one set carefully in place before the box is closed with a click. Then inside a larger wooden box, done in the same design but with five spots. Closing his eyes as he puts them in place. The candles are picked up and extinguished in the water. The ritual circle swept up and disposed of. The larger wooden box is carried downstairs and locked in the gun safe there.



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