Some answers - I know I've been quiet with the responses to questions (my bad) so if in the next few chapters, will try and answer them. Otherwise I'm quite active on discord if you wanted to ask me stuff.
Just a query, as you have incorporated "Fringe" elements in the story, will you be including the observers in this story.? Or is it an alternate alternate reality where the fringe characters are there but the elements are not.?
- Answer: No observers. Wouldn't really work in this universe anyway since the main characters of Fringe are magicals. Plus...I think my brain would melt trying to tie plot point into the story. haha!
do you perhaps have experience writing Cultivation stories?
- Answer: I'm not even sure what a Cultivation story? You can msg about it.
Been following for a while now. Wished i discovered the story when after it was completed. Waiting for updates abd windering if u will suddenly lose interest is kinda tense ahaha but great work as always!
- Answer: i am two chapters away from finishing the story. It would be terrible of me to leave it unfinished at this point...lol. Wouldn't do that to you guys :)
Note: If you would like to read ahead, the next chapter is available on discord whilst at least the next three chapters after it are available on P^A^T^R^E^O^N / Boombox117
The NEW discord channel LINK is d^i^s^c^o^r^d^.^g^g^/6^x^8^m^K^V^w^X^
14th of November, 1972 – Trieste, Italy
The sun unhidden by absent clouds was outshone by the blazing light in the distance.
The smell of ash, the smell of burning wood and stone that almost bore traces of the smell of burning flesh carried far in the winds as she approached in tremendous speed, the smells an unnecessary yet harrowing beacon to the sight of a city aflame.
Her expression was set in granite as she took hold of flames in the shape of chimeras as high as skyscrapers raged at the centre of the city, hulking, bulking flaming beasts that burnt all around them even if their flames did not lick or touch their surroundings.
The fires were simply that hot, that consuming and the Fiendfyre was still slowly growing in scale as flamelet chimeras and other creatures sprouted from the great chimera flames. It looked like the image, the incarnation of the seventh circle of hell.
Thousands must have died.
Thousands more would die.
Her eyes trailed across the chimeras, hunger and malice stretched across their beastly faces as their rage reverberated across the city in an angry bellow, and she saw the hungry fiery creature fed and emboldened by turgid strings of magic that radiated hate and power, strings that she followed towards the centre of the city.
"My Queen!" she heard through her coms from Commander Adrianus as she soared down towards the epicentre of the Fiendfyre "Trieste and the surrounding regions are cut off from the rest of Italy and the world."
The electrical grid, highways and radio were all cut off from Trieste and the surrounding regions. The ships that left the city and the surrounding regions would be boarded and the individuals obliviated whilst the city proper itself would be warded to prevent outside travel. There would be nowhere to go for Cullaica.
"Good. Do what you can to ensure that remains the case for the next few hours" she ordered. The fight would not take so long but restoring the Statute of Secrecy would.
A flicker of irritation crossed her face as she approached the all-consuming flames.
This was not the only incursion by the Ravenites, only the one successful incursion.
Münster, Constanta, Thessaloniki, Varna, Szczecin, Brno and two dozen other cities in Europe were all attempted to be burnt down by the Ravenites in a fit of childish rage, a rage that grew into an inferno much like the inferno she was diving into once they'd stopped the first two attacks.
They'd known of the attacks, all of them including the ones that would have been attacked but never were as a consequence of the cascading effects of their interventions, but with each one they stopped, another three other cities were attacked in a seemingly never ending game played by Atticus and the Far-Seers against the Ravenites and the madness that spawned them.
They were winning, having stopped all of the attacks but it was little more than winning battle after battle with only marginal steps forward towards victory.
The number of captured or dead Ravenites was well into the thousands but there were still at least several hundred more within Europe, each one in deep hiding until commanded to act by their insane leader.
She veered to her left, towards the fiery creature that surged towards the inner parts of the city, towards the suburban homes and set a course to plunge within the heart of the chimera.
Her wand arm rose, the magic coiled around her centre springing loose, akin to a basilisk unfurling itself from the coils of its body as its head rose and its death glare latched onto its unaware victim, and a blinding light poured forward, the flames that she dived into died a sizzling death as its oxygen and the magic that fuelled were extinguished like the life of a tick was extinguished in between human fingers.
Idly, she mused as liquid power thrummed in her veins and her magic rose like the raging tsunami, she admired the pettiness, the tenacity and the cleverness of Cullaica, to figure out a way to get himself into a position that took advantage of the disadvantages stacked up against him even if he knew that he'd eventually lose.
Her magic continued to rise as she twisted around, the tip of her wand crackling with the same blinding light that extinguished the hungry flames around her, and she came to a stop within the vacuum she'd created within the heart of the Fiendfyre chimera.
Her slightly aglow eyes looked at her surroundings beyond the vacuum, towards the raging red hot flames that whizzed and whirled around her momentary sanctuary she was maintaining.
Fiendfyre consumed everything and anything, be it magic or physical materials.
It was a near sentient manifestation of rage, of the desire to destroy, and with that near sentience came its will that could be suborned only by the strength of the caster – or that of any individual who was strong enough to wrestle away control from the caster and the fiery construct.
But even then, suborning Fiendfyre to your will was a taxing affair and the fiery constructs' hunger was endless and so its will would grow the longer it went on.
And what she was seeing now was the result of Fiendfyre allowed to be what it was designed to do that aligned perfectly with Cullaica's desire to simply destroy.
To consume all that stood in its path.
With blinding speed, her wand traced a series of rings above her head, rings of striking blue white magic that pulsed like throbbing veins and within a flash, she whirled her wand and the rings immeasurably fast began to expand in diameter, like waves rushing forward from the epicentre of an earthquake.
The rings cut through the inferno outside of her vacuum, the angry shriek of the chimera a pleasing note to her ears, and the rings bar one continued onwards.
She flicked her wand upward, and the one ring that remained began to expand, its shape altering as it fed onto the destructive malicious magic. Her wand arc forward and the white blue magic that hungered grew into a massive shield all whilst the fiery chimera dwindled in strength and in size until all that remained was a bubble of white-blue magic that surrounded her.
She gazed through the distorted bubble and paid witness to the rest of the fiery creatures being consumed by her rings one by one until all that there was left was ash and smoke and dying flames. She turned her gaze downwards towards the source of darkness that she knew was peering up at her.
She began to descent towards him, her eyes lazily flickering towards their surroundings. There was a monument, half molten, half burnt, amidst a cemetery and what most likely had once been a cathedral.
Her eyes narrowed as she saw more than a few still alive muggles within the ruins of the building. It was impossible that Cullaica wouldn't have noticed.
She heard clapping and she turned her attentions back towards the culprit as her feet touched the ground. With a wave of her fingers, she dismissed the shield and was met with a wildly grinning Cullaica who wore what seemed like dragon-hide armour, though what stood out was the odd metallic bracelets that were around each of his wrists. She had an idea of what they were and she'd keep alert to them.
She returned her gaze towards the man. His intense – and hungry – mauve eyes bored into her, the plastic-like expression on his face was unsightly. Like a deranged Cheshire kneazle who had just caught its next rat to play and torture.
It was amusing and she merely cocked her eyebrow in response.
"My…my" Cullaica said in a sing-song voice as he slowly began to walk towards her, his sinister magic rising as his grin, a grin that somehow managed to stretch from ear to ear, gained a malicious quality. "You are quite the impressive woman. I didn't think it would be so easy to dismiss my Fiendfyre so readily."
"Wouldn't want to give you the opportunity to run again, now would we?" she said with a light smile, one that lessened the manic grin on Cullaica's expression and inversely increased the magic exuded by the madman.
There was a hum in the air now, a frigid hum that was moments away from turning the low vibrating air into a heavy cloak as she considered the man that evaded her for far too long. Pinning the madman down had been difficult.
…As much as she hated to admit it.
Cullaica had a network of vanishing cabinets esque outlets that the man utilised any time she arrived to stop him and his followers from unleashing an attack like today.
There was never an opportunity that guaranteed success of getting to the madman, his skill in magic, his cleverness and his power made him enough of a wildcard that they had to sacrifice the perfect war in return for victory.
It seemed like Cullaica was completely intent on burning down a city and wouldn't rest or face her until he did so. A decision had to be made, one that her people – and Atticus – didn't like…to sacrifice a city to end Cullaica once and for all.
In a way, however, it served to provide a much needed lesson for the Office of Far-Sight, a bitter lesson about the consequences of failures.
"Ah…" Cullaica waggled his finger, his mauve eyes beginning to turn darker and aglow, resembling the sight of a drop of blood sunk into a pool of milk.
The magical power he began to exude was doubling, tripling, ripples of acidic putrid cyan magic, magical manifestation that could only be described as resembling the poisonous fumes of sulphuric baths, began to pour of him.
A flash of regretful thought passed about her mastering of her innate talent to discern who and what a person was within a single moment. Her expression had instinctively hardened in the close proximity that she was to his magic.
He reeked of poison. Of inhumanity in a way that surprised her.
Only some of the darker wizards – however lost to history they may have been – that she and Atticus came across in their travels had such…offensive aura about them.
Had she not been able to see Cullaica's soul, she would have suspected that Cullaica had created at least one horcrux to strip away his humanity and she mused idly if even a full cleansing and reincarnation could remove the taint.
"What else did you expect?!" Cullaica exclaimed with a faux outraged tone all whilst his expression remained manic and insane. "You were so intent in preventing my courtship dance from taking place!"
Cullaica made a show of throwing up his hands in frustration before looking at her with a gleam in his eyes and magic roiling off of him before he licked his lips and finishing with "How else was I declare my fitness as your soon-to-be mate?"
Akin to a light switch, the atmosphere suddenly changed, her entire being radiating darkness and malice, and just as the atmosphere switched from anticipatory to one of ominous darkness, so did Cullaica act with suddenness as his arms rose, runic symbols on his bracelets slightly aglow, and fired objects from his bracelets.
They were faster than the fastest spells, faster than the amber bullets they fired yet it mattered not for her left hand rose with imperceptive speed.
The objects came to an immediate stop, the runes that were engraved on its surfaces washed away by the heat generated by the instant conversion of speed to zero velocity. Her expression tightened slightly. She could sense that the objects were capable of piercing through her Adamantite armour. She'd have to keep an eye out.
Cullaica's aglow eyes widened incredulously at the act and with a snap, she dissolved the objects into dust as her magic began to seep out of her like serpents wading through the depths of the ocean towards the surface.
Black serpents, black snake-like wisps began to eke out of her form, the air around her turned heavier and heavier just as the range of her magic touching the world grew larger. Her magic ebbed and flowed like the unstoppable tides of the seas, the taste of magic lingering thick in the air. Cullaica got a hold of himself and snarled as his own poisonous dark magic began to rise as he got himself ready into a stance.
"I will enjoy this" she said softly, like a lullaby sung to a child, her black eyes akin to that of twin singularities at the centre of black holes. All consuming. Inescapable.
Killing him would be trivial with the technology and magi-tech they had on hand.
Annihilating particle beams sniped from ten miles away. An orbital strike. Creating a fissure underneath the city that would subsume the city whole with Cullaica.
All she had to do was draw him out long enough for it to happen.
None of those kinds of solutions satisfied her.
"You…" she said musingly as a cruel uptick of the corner of her lips formed, the malice and darkness she felt and burbled under her skin unable to contained within her. "…will not."
Cullaica waited no more and the volume of the magic that rose within him was apocalyptic, his cyan magic rippled out of him with a soundless shriek that tore up reality surrounding them.
The tip of Cullaica's wand shone with brightness and power, like the moment the dance between two planetary objects came to a merging end, fizzing and crackling as he unleashed a hail storm of murderous spells.
The ground shook and rumbled as beasts and spears and knives ripped out of the ground towards her and the air sizzled as flames and dark curses that left bodies unidentifiable ate up the distance between them.
She leapt backwards and sideways, her wand brandished methodically across from her body and fashioned a thick cushion of air in front of her stretching for over a hundred metres that took properties of perfect reflective materials.
The deadly spells that raced towards her gonged against the reflective air before being sent back towards Cullaica. Cullaica snarled before he apparated out of the away and disapparated a few metres behind her.
Emily twisted around, dodging the sickly spell, censumosis, she noted, a spell that caused victims to feel as if their bones were on fire, and as she twisted around, her left hand clenched as she swept her hand behind her all whilst her crackling wand was brought to bear towards Cullaica.
A devastating shockwave ripped out of the tip of her wand, a shockwave that tore into their surrounding with the devastation of multi-tonne explosion and took Cullaica off of his feet and flew into the distance towards the buildings like a ragdoll.
The spears and knives and weapons that raced towards her back were shattered into pieces by her sweeping hands before she opened her hand and flicked her fingers upwards, causing the shattered pieces to be turned into unbreakable glass before sending them after Cullaica who was righted himself after a few moments and was floating a metre or so from the ground in the middle of the burnt street.
His breathing was heavy. His chest heaved animatedly like a sponge squeezed and un-squeezed, his aglow mauve eyes wild and insane with fury and hate.
With a wild lash of his wand arm, the unbreakable glass shards were hit with a wave of turbulent magic that disrupted the enchantments, dissolving the shards into molten embers of glass before they flashed like tiny stars out of existence.
She felt his uncontrollable rage through his turbulent magic, a rage that began to turn his surrounding into a noxious miasma. His cyan magic swirling around him like an odious physical blanket woven with silk threads made of physical hate.
The trees around him began to wilt and wither, their leaves blackening and their bark whitening. The grass crumbled into ash and the earth cracked as nurturing life fled from the harmful aura he so effortlessly exuded.
She felt the harm his magic had on the world, the depths of the vileness of his being that permeated through his magic like smoke through warm winds.
In this very moment, he was the very embodiment of Pestilence.
A disease, a plague, that destroyed all that it touched.
Dark magic had a place in the universe. There was no light without darkness. No life without death. It was as natural as neutral or 'light' magic. But this…?
It was beyond dark magic.
It was a twisted abomination spawned from the abyss of hopelessness.
It was fascinating.
Her eyes darkened, the whites in her eyes disappearing into a pool of impossible blackness as a black blue tempest of magic swirled around her that crackled with the weight and ferocity of lightning. Her wand rose.
A few moments passed, the silence that pervaded around them would have been deafening had it not been for the howling whirlwinds of magic that surrounded the pair of them, until Cullaica landed down onto the ground and sped towards her with an explosive speed, shattering the cobbled stones left in his wake.
His trailing wand swept forward, broken pieces of stones were caught by his magic, thinning and sharpening before he disapparated with the pieces of rubble that was caught in his apparation sphere.
She twisted around, her wand arcing around her as air condensed into a shield made out of mist just before the transfigurations clashed against her shield and she disapparated away moments before lighting burnt in the place she once stood.
She reappeared to Cullaica's left and her wand was a blur as she unleashed destructive spell chain after spell chain, the tip of her wand fizzing as she twisted her wrist from one spell into the other.
Cullaica disapparated again and again, letting off curse after curse in each moment's reprieve but she danced out of the way of them, never once faltering to continue on relentlessly with spells that barely gave him half a second of time to apparate away as she latched onto his magical signature the moment he appeared, like a shark catching the scent of blood from miles away.
It appeared to be a cat and mouse game but in reality, she mused as her eyes gleamed and her lips curled into a vicious smile, it was nothing but a serpent stalking its unsuspecting prey.
As the last spell chain left the tip of her wand, she moved and her wand twirled above her head, great arcing electric sphere of magic manifesting itself into existence and she jabbed the tip of her wand into the sphere before she disapparated and closed the gap between herself and Cullaica.
She whipped her wand with the attached electric ball of power forward and a massive thunderous explosion ripped away from her in a blanket of blue white electric fire before she transitioned her wand movement to erect a weak but effective anti-apparation field.
Cullaica tried to apparate into the air but found himself unable to do as the blanket of blue white electric fire fried and burnt all that it touched. He snarled as he scrambled to raise a shield around him and do so in the nick of time.
The electric fire burnt through the homes and buildings of their surroundings, the sounds of crumbling buildings echoed as spidery cracks appeared in his shield and Emily pressed on as she threw dark piercing curses after another at the shield with blinding speed and volume, a dozen piercing curses left her wand every second, forcing him to focus on maintaining the shield rather than give him a window to brute-force the anti-apparation field and disapparate away.
Her blue-black magic began to roil off of like billows of thick smoke down the edge of a cliff as her curses gained in power and in speed. The naked look of frustration and anger on Cullaica's face excited her and her anticipation and interest rose as she waited on what he'd do to get out of the tight spot that he found himself in.
But that was not where it all ended for the well of magic within him bloomed, the light surrounding Cullaica – and Emily – inverted as the haze of his cyan magic blackened and seeped with tendrils of sickly swirling magic.
The earth buckled and shook with an ease that reminded her of fluttering paper and she apparated away, breaking the anti-apparation field and appearing on top of the husk of a building, her eyes gazing down at the madman.
She could have ended this several times already had she so desired but she was interested to see what he was truly capable of. She'd seen the memories of Atticus fighting Grindelwald more times than she could care to count and wanted to know the depths of his legacy, however non-existent his teachings may have been.
Cullaica shot up towards her, the tip of his wand crackling with a black bolt of magic, and the only thought that went through her mind as she whirled her wand above her head was that he was disappointing.
He neither possessed the speed nor the intuitive understanding of magic to even approach Grindelwald level of skill and power, let alone her skill level and power.
She should have pushed Atticus to let her deal with the Obscurus.
Cullaica's snarl drew her back in, a snarl that echoed in the air as he jabbed his wand forward, the black bolt of magic whizzed through the air towards her, a bolt of magic she could sense was necromantic in nature, the eerie sound of the spell whizzing through the air was haunting like the sound of air caught in the bowels of a pipe but she was serene when she twisted her wand arm around.
She brought her wand down the moment before the spell would have hit her and she caught the spell at the tip of her wand and apparated away before Cullaica's follow up curses could strike her and reappeared below Cullaica who was still in flight.
Cullaica felt her before he saw her and unleashed a wave of free-formed magic as he spun around and disapparated away. Emily caught the trace of the disapparation destination and followed him.
Cullaica was ready for her as a white hot fire whip lashed towards her neck but she dispassionately snuffed out the heat of the fire whip with a wave of her left hand before forming her hand into a sword that she slashed diagonally, the air howled as blades of crystalized air rushed towards Cullaica.
Cullaica swept his wand upward and the ground shifted, great slabs of steels rose up one by one like domino pieces in the path of the blades and by one, her blades cut through the slabs of steel like warm knives to butter and Cullaica disapparated once more before reappearing to her right.
Her left hand clenched into a fist and a shockwave rippled through the air, waves of compressed freezing air that reflected Cullaica's spells through sheer density alone.
Cullaica snarled hatefully as he shot forward, jabbing destructive spell after destructive spell at her as he disapparated again and again in an erratic zigzag in a three hundred and sixty degree pattern, and she ducked and weaved her way out effortlessly as she clung onto the black bolt whilst her left hand cast wandless curse after wandless curse.
Cullaica appeared right in front of her, the tip of his wand less than a metre away from her face as the curse ripped towards her, a curse she instinctively understood to be Coepia a dark blasting curse, and she arched her back just enough for her to intimately feel how close she'd let herself be to Cullaica.
Cullaica groaned as a stone pike cast him off of his feet and with smooth motion she twisted around, her left hand aglow with power and she jabbed her left hand forward, hundreds of spears made of ice materialising before her and she launched them towards Cullaica who forced himself to stop and back on his feet but was only fast enough to erect a shield after the first ice spear burnt and cut through his left thigh.
Cullaica snarled in pain and in a hate filled rage and twirled his wand.
His white blue shield twisted into a blood red dome before it condensed into a single point before Cullaica. Emily narrowed her eyes and shifted into a stance as she recognised the power Cullaica poured into the spell, whatever it was.
With a flash Cullaica slashed his wand forward and red point whined as it expanded into a lancing beam with the kind of speed that took Emily aback but she'd been ready and with a scowl she soared into the skies but the lancing beam followed her.
She ducked and weaved out of the spell's path all whilst she flicked and twisted her fingers before she disapparated and returned to the ground where she'd been and swept her left hand upward. The earth cracked and a dozen pillars rumbled out around Cullaica before snaking inwards with tremendous speed heading towards Cullaica forcing him to disapparate and consequently ending the irritating spell.
He apparated to her right side, less than a few feet away from her but her reflexes were beyond him and she felt him reappear milliseconds before the tip of his wand lit up with the intent to unleash a barrage of spells and she swivelled around, the whizzing hum of the black bolt attached to her wand let loose towards Cullaica and moments after she let go, she disapparated away.
Cullaica had sidestepped the necromantic spell, as she expected, and twisted around to face her when she appeared behind him. Cullaica brought his wand to bear, spell after spell spewing in a kaleidoscopic storm of deathly magic.
She weaved her way out of the spells, her left hand batting or reflecting the spells all whilst intermittently sending waves of elemental magic that burnt and froze all around them whilst her wand was in the midst of preparing for her next major attack.
She could sense the unease, the agitation within the depths of his magic about the way, the ease with which she evaded him and dealt with his attacks. The air grew thicker as it became overfilled with their clashing magic, a clash that begun to shear and shake the world around them in earnest as the battle grew in ferocity.
The hues of the world around them, the light of the naked sun that cast upon the city seemed to darken, luminosity and warmth brought down to a low as Cullaica's fury and frustration fuelled his magic to higher heights.
Her spell was reaching its zenith, the slow thrum of her alight wand drew Cullaica's attentions and his spells became more destructive as he reached the end of his patience. Yet for all the destructiveness of his spells, it was without the smoother spell transition that she knew he was capable of as anger crept into his casting.
Emily found a wide opening in this misstep and her hand swept upwards, as if to beckon one forward, the ground beneath Cullaica rumbled but before he could apparate away, a skeleton hand gripped his ankle causing him to falter in his spell-casting.
Emily clenched her left fist and the air cooled dramatically before a trail of explosive ice that could pierce through bone and metal raced towards Cullaica.
Cullaica freed himself and apparated away a second before the first of the ice shards or the explosive ice bombs could reach him and reappeared some feet above the ground to her northwest.
His wand arm descended into a blur creating a host of silver glowing objects that gleamed like stars and teamed with power, and he jabbed his wand forward.
The glowing objects flashed forward with tremendous speed and Emily tapped her feet onto the ground. The ground audibly groaned as every droplet of moisture was drawn out and a geyser of steaming, superheated water erupted beneath her feet and lifted her up into the skies and away from where Cullaica was, opening the distance to several hundred feet.
The glowing objects hit the geyser and shattered it into a million droplets but with a quick wave of the hand and precise control over her environment, the shattered geyser transformed into a smouldering dragon as she rode it towards Cullaica, her hands in motion as she prepared the final piece of her spell.
Her eyes were ablaze akin to twin black holes around an accretion disk made out tempestuous blue black haze of arcane energy, a disk of power, of magic, that was growing and rippling with each beat of the heart that passed, twisting and bending reality ever more so like how gravity and mass bent space and time.
The luminosity and warmth of the sun that had been reduced by the display of their power was now reduced to that of darkness and arctic cold, her magic continuing to unfurl itself further and further casting and forcing the world around them into an extension of her will and power.
The smouldering dragon cracked as steaming hot water froze and hardened into unbreakable ice, roaring deafeningly amidst the haze of arcane energy that shifted the world into her will.
Cullaica snarled almost knowingly as he set upon his hateful aglow mauve eyes on her before apparated away to some distance behind him and he slashed at his hand, blood dripping into the ground before twsting his wand in a series of flicks that she witnessed shape magic into something interesting.
The round rumbled and shook and a massive Cerberus made out of blood and bone rose from the ground, groaning and roaring with a agape maw that showed rows of knifelike teeth that could rip through a beam of steel as it if were made out a string of cheese.
Emily disapparated off of the ice dragon that moments afterwards clashed with the Cerberus and appeared several dozen feet to Cullaica's southeast and Cullaica swivelled around, the tip of his wand a murderous violet hue, a curse at the forefront of his mind but it was too late and the slow widening of his eyes with each millisecond that passed made it clear that he understood the peril of his situation.
She was a rampaging tempest of magic that stretched into the skies, the image of power incarnate, and her hands alight with dark blue power spelled only direness for Cullaica. With a gleam in her aglow black eyes, she brought down her arms.
The dark blue magic that clung onto her hands dissipated into the ground within an instant, and merely a few milliseconds afterwards, the very earth shattered.
Cullaica tried to disapparate but found himself unable to amidst the sounds of stone and tar and concrete crumbling. Whilst apparation was effectively wormhole travel in the classical sense of point to point travel, the medium through which one travelled was through magic itself.
Magic that was accustomed to certain gravity in certain areas. With gravity as foreign as it was now, travelling through apparation now was practically impossible with the dissimilar gravity beyond this area she'd marked out.
Surrounding still standing buildings and broken buildings alike for over a quarter of a mile began to collapsed onto themselves, tree trunks shrieked and snapped under the pressure of their weight just as metal screaked.
Cullaica struggled to stay on his feet, the strength of his magic counteracting the effects of the magic was the only reason why he was not a puddle smeared across the ground with gravity having been increased by a factor of twenty.
The glamour that was on his face was stripped away revealing ghastly scars that made his appearance seem barely that of a human. How fitting.
With a flick of her hand, she crushed the bones in Cullaica's wand arm and ripped his wand from his broken fingers and towards her awaiting hand.
It was a poor fit but not as bad as she thought it might be.
She eyed the wand curiously. Rigid silkwood. About ten inches in length. The wood was known to grow with the caster though it never stayed true like some wands did.
Blue red flames erupted in her hand and it was only a few moments afterwards that the wand was reduced to ash, leaving behind only a faint string that she recognised was from a dragon.
The rage that she felt drew back her attentions and she saw Cullaica trying to aim his arms towards her but he was failing in getting them higher.
She eyed the titanic battle that was happening between the Cerberus and the ice dragon and with an absent wave of the wand, blades of crystalized ice swept across the broken ground, gouging into the ground before slicing into the blood and bone Cerberus that had been resistant against her ice dragon.
With another wave, she dispelled the ice dragon after it tore off the Cerberus' head from it corpse before she refocused solely on Cullaica.
She began to slowly walk towards Cullaica as if she was unaffected by the supernatural gravity – she was – her eyes boring into the struggling Cullaica who was doing all he could to try and ease the strain of the gravity onto him, straining grunts and angry groans were all that could escape from his lips.
She'd been tiring of the lack of substantial challenge Cullaica presented.
At best, he was only somewhat greater in power and speed than Dembe Habe which was a disappointment. She idly wondered how much better the Obscurus was before she dismissed that thought and raised her wand.
The spell wouldn't last long, only ten minutes at most, but she didn't need that long to break him before she killed him.
Hateful mauve eyes stared at her and she relished at the sight as she extended out her wand whilst casting a silencing spell on him. She began to rise into the air and so did Cullaica as she wrapped his neck with an invisible hand that threatened to choke him to death.
He wouldn't die so easily.
She rose and rose and Cullaica rose and rose just as well.
With a dispassionate flick of the wrist, she sent him flying towards the rubble of buildings, her eyes lazily following his flight path before Cullaica smashed into the rubble with a resounding thud.
With another dispassionate flick, this time upwards, Cullaica rose from within the rubble until she once more flicked her wrist and smashed him into another pile of rubble. This happened again and again.
By the time she'd thrown him eight more times like a ragdoll, painting the streets and buildings with his blood, she stopped and she'd thrown him onto a more even patch of the ruined neighbourhood.
It felt cathartic, she mused to herself as she descended down, the sounds of his ragged and struggling breathing invoked nothing within her as she stared his broken body down. Cullaica was still lucid, that much was clear from the way he stared at her. And his body, though broken, was still fighting the effects of the gravity and in a small way she was impressed by his fortitude and his innate control over his magic.
Perhaps she was a little hasty in her assessment about his skills.
To counteract the gravity like this required substantial focus, focus that should have been broken by now.
She slowly raised the tip of her wand upwards, causing Cullaica's arms to rise up, before she slashed her wand across, a stream of white hot fire searing through his arms and parting Cullaica of his lower arms along bracelets.
A silent scream was etched on his face and she smiled warmly at the sight.
She pulled off the bracelets from the arms and eyed it for a second before crushing it totally. She'd have to let her people know that there may be bracelets around enchanted with that damnable piercing curse. Less than a dozen had died from the curse and that was bad enough as it was. Her people would be able to deal with the speed of the blasted things should it be amongst the remaining Ravenites.
The arms began to orbit in front of Cullaica before she set them on fire and burnt them to a crisp, drawing his attentions once more. Emily looked at him with a trickle of amusement lacing her expression.
A part of her was tempted to speak, to goad him but she knew that any kind of acknowledgement, however negative, of his existence would not hurt him as much as non-acknowledgement would.
She sighed silently before she raised her wand once more, this time the tip of the wand set in between Cullaica's eyes. She raised her left hand in preparation should the pain be enough to cause him to act unpredictably.
"Eradico Mens Mentis" she intoned purposefully loudly as she extended out tendrils of her Legillimency probe into his mind. Cullaica's scarred face contorted, as much as it could, under the pain which seem like a thousand knifes sinking into his skull.
The curse, a mental curse that effectively supercharged Legillimency probes and wrecked Occlumency shields, was known to be enough to drive men into insanity.
It was why, should anyone know of the curse in the first place, it was hardly used. After all, no one who employed Legillimency in the first place would want the mind they wanted to plunder to be so…damaged. Not initially.
Unfortunately for Cullaica, she had little need to plunder his mind. No, what she wanted was for his mind to be as open as it could be.
She ceased the spell after she felt the last of his shields break before she cast another, a spell that bore similarities to Preastigiae Cara, a nightmare curse that created illusions but one she modified to create illusions of the worst kind.
Illusions of those that were cherished the most twisted into nightmares that fed on the worst experiences and the worst fears.
Cullaica's eyes rolled back into the back of his head and she quickly lessened some of the gravity around him as she felt his magic waver and falter. It wouldn't do for Culliaca to be crushed to death before it was his time.
She watched as her surroundings began to shift, the illusion becoming more tangible as it leeched off of Cullaica's magic, altering the world around them.
She watched and listened as the illusions played out and Emily grimaced slightly.
She knew objectively that the illusions were manifestations of perception, not necessarily true occurrences yet what she was seeing…
Illusions of Cullaica's mother torturing his siblings before him, his father slicing his own face off, illusions that only touched very surface of the depravity she was witness to, it was enough for her to spark a glimmer of sympathy for Cullaica…Pierre.
He never had a chance, she mused as she watched Pierre and his younger sister feast on the corpse of their mother whilst his elder brother whispered into Pierre's ears that he'd should let his sister have more so that she'd fatten up.
Whether or not it happened didn't matter, perhaps it wasn't his mother he ate or perhaps he resisted eating human flesh completely, only that it was within his psyche did.
When she decided to end the illusions, the gravity enchantment had long since dissipated. Cullaica's breathing was still haggard but it was weaker. His expression was fixed into a horror struck contortion that she could barely make out with all the scars that ran across his face and his magic was erratic but weak.
He didn't have long left now.
She tapped onto her com connecting her to the commander. "I will be shortly finishing up here. Are we ready to clean the mess up?"
"Yes, Your Majesty. Support has arrived and everything is according to plan."
Emily smiled grimly at that. Well over two thousand mages would work together to memory-charm the mundanes. Not only to forget what had happened today but also to account for the deaths that occurred.
They'd only know that a series of attacks had occurred today. It was not an accident that Trieste was chosen as the place where she'd put down Cullaica.
Italy was gripped with social turmoil, political violence and upheaval. The Red Bridage, a far-left group, would be blamed for the murder of tens of thousands. They'd already done some of the legwork by memory-charming their leadership into thinking they were ones who planned to set entire buildings on fire, to collapse a football stadium and a host of other attacks.
"Good. Begin in five minutes." Emily stated before she cut off the comms.
Emily turned her gaze back at Cullaica and eyed him thoughtfully for a long few moments before she waved her wand. Symbols flew from the tip of her wand before they settled down around Cullaica.
She was curious now, to watch one such as Cullaica, as twisted and broken as he was, grow anew in a new body with new parents in a nurturing environment however tempted she'd been before to deny him reincarnation.
From what Atticus told her should she choose to grant Cullaica reincarnation, he'd be nothing like who'd been in this life, before or after his time at the internment.
Perhaps she'd understand better how it was possible for a soul, essence to heal. It was clear that the experiences that Cullaica accrued that stained and shattered his soul would become irrelevant the moment all of it was wiped away.
Did that mean nothing truly mattered what they did here, in the physical plane? That actions and consequences were nothing more than what one carried with them should their time on the physical plane end?
She raised both of her hands, and began to glow with a dull off-white hue. Cullaica may have posed little challenge to her but he'd provided her with another one regardless. He would not know it but he'd serve her well in his new existence.
The runes that surrounded Cullaica became alight with the same dull off-white glow as that of her hands. She let go of her breath and her magic lessened ever so slightly as she watched the world around her become a kaleidoscope of colour.
Strands of magic invaded her sight, strands of magic that emanated from the runes and were bound to her magic along with the currents of magic that began to settle in the world around her.
She saw Cullaica's soul clearly now, a blackened soul that was lacerated with cuts that looked like the cuts he bore on his face. She didn't have Atticus' instinctive to see souls but she'd developed it with time.
She pressed an indentation at the side of her armour and a small crystal flew out from the spacially expanded pocket as magic around Cullaica grew thicker and thicker as the ritual gathered in strength and virility.
Cullaica's soul began to unthread itself from his body, magic of the ritual tearing his soul from his body with every second that passed and it was soon enough time for her to act. She slowly brought her hands closer as the ritual crawled to its zenith.
When it did reach the zenith, she clapped her hands, and an explosion of magic rippled and bound itself to the interplay of complex magic at the centre of the ritual.
Emily acted quickly, her hands moving in intricate motions, motions that punctured a hole in the fabric of the physical reality before she snatched Cullaica's black soul and pushed it into the Astral Plane before once more moving her hands with another series of motions that wrapped the black soul with laces made out of off-white magical energy and with some effort, she began to pull.
Pulling at the experiences interwoven within the soul, pulling at the identity that rested within the inner of the soul and the black soul writhed as the laces began to pulse with increasing speed.
The soul seemed as if it was being strangled as the off-white laces grew in size and in strength and it wasn't longer afterwards that black streaks began to coat the off-white hue of the laces, streaks that soon afterwards seemed to steam off of the laces like individual strands of spider silk caught in a summer's breeze.
This process took the longest and black oil like globules hanged around aimlessly around the laced soul that was now almost pure white.
With an exhale she pulled the soul out of the Astral Plane and depositing the soul into the crystal before returning her attentions towards the Astral Plane.
She pulled the muck out as well before eying it curiously. All that Cullaica was and had been, was now nothing more than a collection of 'ecto-plasm goop' as Atticus liked to describe. She waved dismissively at it and vanished it out of existence.
The runes began to die out though the magic of the ritual still lingered and would linger for some time. She paid no more attention to it and turned towards the crystal that floated in front of her which she studied with an intense gaze.
She plucked it out of the air and rested it in the palm of her hand, her eyes never wavering away from the essence that the crystal contained.
Creating new life was not difficult.
Her skill in flesh-crafting was likely only somewhat below the greatest of the Atlantean flesh-crafters themselves, those geniuses who created the likes of Phoenixes and such, and she'd created plenty of new lifeforms over the course of the past twenty years. Some successful and useful, like the Seelie and the Panthera Gryspelaeus – a species of winged lion – but most…?
Most of them were bitter disappointment. Even her two most successful creations lacked the one thing she hungered to create. The ability to use magic.
They always missed something.
No amount of DNA tinkering, no amount of cloning could produce a viable truly magical creature…or person. Magic, it seemed, needed more than just a biological component. It needed the Trinity…the mind, the body and the soul.
And within this crystal, she mused, was that last component that her creatures needed and what she and Atticus failed to recreate within them or the clones.
And even as she observed it exit Cullaica's body and was cleansed within the Astral Plane, she still did not know how to even approach the creation of such an essence.
What was it that made souls so special?
Especially magical souls?
Was it because they could perceive more? Understand more?
Or was it something else entirely, something unknown or maybe it was just a fluke hardwired into the universe that required the combination of mind – consciousness, body – life, and the soul – spirituality before reality would allow itself to be manipulated.
It aggravated her that she was no closer now than she was a couple of decades before.
If only she cou-
The sound of activity in the distance broke her musings and she sighed slightly as she realised that it was time to clean the place up just as it was soon time for Europe to be cleaned up completely.
With Cullaica's death, there were only a few more dominos standing. Italy was already all but freed for the most part and so were the majority of European Ministries.
The crystal began to float again before she placed it within the spatially expanded pocket. She looked up and saw the lithe ships fitted with enchantment arrays beginning to restore most of the city. The damage Fiendfyre caused was substantial and thus the repairs needed to be more a little more creative than simply Reparo or the like.
Had it not been for the deaths that the cursed fire caused – along with more than a few deaths their battle caused to those lucky enough to escape the flames but not the collapsing buildings – they wouldn't have needed to fake the terrorist attacks.
A faint gleam grew in her eyes as she began to levitate.
There would be traces left behind for anyone who was looking to find proof.
The mundanes were paranoid and the world was on edge and on the precipice of nuclear war. With that paranoia came technologies employed by militaries and governments that spanned the world…like satellites that orbited the world.
One of the American KH-9 Hexagon satellites had captured the city aflame and from that spark, it would lead them towards a rabbit hole that ripped away the blinders.
And that, she thought to herself with growing satisfaction, was a day she could hardly wait for.