Chapter Seven Continued
The Towers of Learning
The next floor was chaotic, not at all like Drake remembered; the two burgundy sofas had been slashed, their foam innards spewed up over the dark wooden floor. Ripped pages of spell books and ancient vellums were strewn all over the place and smashed jars of pickled scorpions, mugwort and other magickal ingredients had been swept off the shelves. The small oak table, that Alchymia used for reading the cards and scrying, had been cleaved in two, the scrying ball discarded in its ruins. In the corner of the room, a small Rarog was whirling around and around the jagged glass remains of what had been its home.
‘They’ve been here!’ Drake spat. The dwarves’ grubby little hands had been rifling through Alchymia’s stuff like burglars. He stooped down and picked up the large scrying ball lying in amongst the broken ruins of the table; a large crack spiked across its surface. It felt cold to the touch, lifeless, like the house, like its Soul had been ripped out.
‘But we heard the dwarves saying they hadn’t seen her, so she’s got to be safe, hasn’t she?’ said Willow as she scooped the Rarog up in her hands. She began to hum Twinkle Twinkle Little Star to it, a favourite lullaby of Wind Spirits, and immediately it began to slow down. Once it was fully relaxed and had morphed back into its usual form of a minuscule green man with pointy green ears, she grabbed an empty jar and placed the Rarog carefully into it. She screwed the gold top back onto the jar, made sure Drake wasn’t looking and slipped it into her rucksack.
‘I don’t know. We don’t know where she is, or if she’s okay.’ He shook his head and dropped the ball. It landed with a dull thud and rolled towards the corner of the room. ‘Without her, we‘re lost.’
He turned to look through the window; The view of Nowhere had been replaced by a surreal landscape of a barren land scattered with the skeletal remains of dead trees. Above them, a purple sky whorled menacingly and heaving clouds drenched the landscape in silver rain. Fork lightning streaked across the sky illuminating the faint wisps of beings that glided eerily over the black mud. These were Alchymia’s enchanted windows, designed to entrap the viewer into staying there, glued to the scene for eternity.
But Drake didn’t see anything through those windows, he could only see the thoughts that were trapped in his mind. He clamped his fists into tight balls. Damn it, what were they supposed to do now?
He rubbed his forehead and tried to straighten out his thoughts. The pain was building into a brain exploding crescendo.
‘We’ve got to find her,’ said Drake sifting through the rubbish, ‘there’s got to be a clue here somewhere-’
Suddenly, and from nowhere, a bright flash of orange leapt across the room like lightning and headed towards Willow.
Drake turned quickly, just as the golden blur began to circle her, burning like fire. ‘Don’t move!’ he hissed.
‘What the?’ asked Willow, her eyes struggling to keep up with whatever it was that was circling her.
Once, twice it circled around her and then, it stopped and for the briefest of seconds the figure of a large cat could be seen blazing at the heart of the fire. It leapt up behind Willow and gave her a sharp slap on the top of her head with its huge padded paw.
‘No!’ shrieked Drake as Willow’s legs buckled under her and she crashed to the floor unconscious.