Read Parts I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII

 

Oetho trembled.  The pain in his heart was his only sensation.  He allowed the stone to slip from his grip and dangle from the chain.  “Alright,” he shouted.  “Just let her breathe.”

The Ban-Tho smiled.  It lessened the grip around Amana’s throat and drew its other arm around her waist. Amana sucked in deeply and the wailed, “Oetho, don’t you dare!  Kill it. Kill it!”

Oetho held the stone to his forehead and closed his eyes.  “Amana, please,” he said.  “I must concentrate.”  She fell silent, though proceeded to kick her feet at the creature.  The Ban-Tho growled.  “I’ve not done this in a while,” Oetho said, “and the time before was mostly dumb luck.”  His jaw fell slack and he slurred, “I think I’ve …”

Oetho opened his eyes.  A glow lit up the stone, red and throbbing.  His arm quavered as he pointed it away.  A heartbeat later, the glow transformed into a brilliant halo of smoke that engulfed his hand.  As the disc expanded the center transformed into an opaque blackness.

“Let her go.” Oetho said. “The portal is open.  Go ahead.”

The Ban-Tho sneered.  “I not trust you.  She comes with me.”

Oetho was about to protest when a thunderous crash interrupted him.  A large fragment of a pillar slammed into the wall at the window cavity, crumbling the masonry in a wide gash.

“Then go.”  Oetho waved the creature on.  “We have no time.”

The floor quaked beneath his feet and large patches of roof peeled away above.  Oetho glanced upward, yet was unable to appreciate the devastation.  People, animals, entire buildings were lifted into the blackened sky, as the ground itself was torn apart.  None of it mattered. The creature holding Amana stepped into the portal, its body and hers bleeding away like paint poured into a dark black pool.

The moment they were gone Oetho knew he had to act quickly.  He darted back toward the cabinet even as the floor itself cracked open.  There was one more thing he had to get.

 

Continue to Part X