- Discussion-Child Abuse
- Alternate Universe
- Challenge Response
When the day came when their journey to Edom was about to commence, Alec wasn’t nervous. The Institute was in tip-top shape and the sentinel was certain he left it in good hands. His second, Underhill, stepped up after the Clave confirmed his appointment as the Head of New York Institute. With his siblings still in Idris with his parents, he turned to the older man, sensing there was something more to him than in other Nephilims. And it was comforting when Ziya approved of his choice.
Magnus’s friends, Catarina and Ragnor, were great help with making preparations, cutting down the time needed for it from weeks to only a few measly days. They were a bit sceptical when they first met, at Magnus’s insistence he might add, but they found a common ground with their caring for the glittery warlock. Although he could do without the shovel talk from both of them. For a healer, Catarina could be very scary. As for Ragnor, well, his ex-professor from the Academy cheerfully threatened him with feeding him to the pack starving of hellhounds, he would summon especially for him, should he ever be so callous to hurt Magnus.
Both warlocks agreed to split up Magnus’s duties until they returned back, so New York, aka demon central of the East Coast, wouldn’t be left unguarded in their absence. Alec put them in touch with his second and hoped it would be enough. He refused to even entertain the notion they wouldn’t return from the Edom.
Smiling softly at his guide, Alec let himself led to the centre of the pentagram, Magnus painstakingly drew on the ground. He had a hard time to contain his feelings towards his warlock. He didn’t want to distract him before the spell. But… He adored Magnus, magic and all, and that was his only motive why he was prepared to follow the warlock to the ends of Edom. Maybe it was too early for him to know, but, well… there was a reason they said Nephilim loved once and fiercely.
Magnus clasped the hands of his sentinel, calling up his magic. While he travelled through the portal innumerable times, he’d never voluntarily used it to visit his father’s realm. He layered protection after protection onto his Nephilim who was firm in his decision to follow him and plied him with potions designed to help him to adjust to Edom. Magnus hoped it would be enough. Taking a deep breath he channelled his magic into the pentagram. The image flared red and a portal opened under their feet.
Alec fell out of the portal rather ungraciously and immediately proceed to trip over an inconveniently placed stone. Magnus steadied him before he managed to make an intimate acquaintance with the ground. „Very graceful, Alexander.” He smirked.
The Nephilim blushed in embarrassment and murmured. „Thanks.”
The demon realm rebelled at their abrupt arrival, as it detected an unwelcome intruder and immediately started press upon the Nephilim, Magnus’s protections notwithstanding. Magnus was somewhat protected with his partly demon blood, but Alec was not. The sentinel choked out and staggered. Ziya appeared with a squawk trailing blue energy on the tips of her wings, flying in circles around her sentinel in an attempt to shield him against the realm’s undue influence.
„Nasya,” Magnus called his phoenix when he saw Ziya was quickly weakening. The young dragon was in grave danger, as the realm hooked its claws into the spirit animal to siphon as much of the heavenly power as possible. The phoenix chic appeared in the whirlwind of gold and blue sparks and landed on his shoulder. Butting her head against Magnus’s neck in greeting, Nasya sent him a picture of something he couldn’t conceive was possible.
„Are you sure?” Magnus asked. The phoenix sent a wave of reassurance through their bond. The warlock nodded and took a deep breath. He would have never attempted it if Nasya didn’t show him how. Drawing upon the power of Edom, Magnus twisted it in his hands and Nasya breathed a cleansing fire into it. The fiery red of the hell realm lightened into the blue of warlock’s magic.
Magnus channelled clean magic into Alec and Ziya, using himself and Nasya as a conduit. Edom was fighting back. Magnus snarled. His glamour fell and his cat eyes flashed golden, then blue. Nasya trilled in alarm and tightened her hold warlock’s shoulder, drawing blood, in her effort to support the guide. Magnus refused to give up and redoubled his efforts to tame the violence inherent in the demon dimension. He was the heir to the realm’s ruler. In Asmodeus’s absence, Edom was bound to obey the warlock. But his bonded was everything the realm and its inhabitants despised. So, the realm rebelled and fought back.
Alec closed his eyes trustingly and let Magnus’s magic sink into his skin. His guide’s protectiveness enveloped him in a cocoon of warmth. It spread through his body, lifting the demon realm’s influence from his mind and body. Alec breathed out in relief, as the power transferred through his bond to Ziya. The dragon roared joyously and took a flight. Alec opened his eyes in alarm to see Ziya circling high above their heads, growing rapidly from an adolescent dragon to the full-grown one.
Nasya, feeling Magnus had managed to subdue the wild power of Edom, took off, following after Ziya. The magic bounced back from the sentinel and his spirit animal back to Magnus and his phoenix. The chic trilled happily and invited the change to come. Between one breath and another, an adult phoenix soared alongside the dragon playfully.
„Well, that was an interesting welcome. Now, that we’ve got over this little hurdle…” Alec said trying to lighten a mood.
„A little hurdle? ALEC!” Magnus cried out indignantly. „You were almost devoured by the demon realm. Could you not take it lightly, perhaps?” And he added softly. „I don’t want you to lose you.”
The Nephilim looked down at the ground and said contritely. „Sorry, Magnus.”
Ziya landed nearby and cocked her head inquiringly. She sent Alec a picture of the landscape of the region, the portal spat them out. A desolate plain for as far as one could see, with a rather dangerously-looking castle in the distance, sitting on the edge of a cliff. Nasya flew few more circles around Magnus, till she decided to land on his shoulder and started preening his hair.
Alec raised an eyebrow at the picture he was getting from Ziya and posed a rather interesting question to his guide. „Isn’t it a bit risky to trap Asmodeus in his own castle?”
Magnus scratched Nasya thoughtfully and explained. „Of course, it is. This entire operation is very dangerous. And I loath to admit it Asmodeus is very powerful. On the bright side, this is Edom. Since the realm’s creation, it’s a law that the strongest demon rules. It breeds resentment and fierce competition in the demons residing here. I doubt there is anyone, even amongst his fellow Princes, who would be inclined to help him. And no lesser demon dares to venture so deep into a greater demon’s domain without explicit permission. I think, and Catarina and Ragnor agree with me, the permanent summoning circle should prevent both – Asmodeus’s escape using his own power or using the intermediary for disrupting the runes, as we designed them to be lethal for any demon attempting it.”
„If you are sure… Lead the way.” Alec drew out his knives. Ziya huffed and nudged the Nephilim, almost sending him crashing to the ground, and bent down. „Nevermind.” Alec corrected, as he climbed up on the dragon’s back and pulled Magnus up. Ziya took off in the direction of the castle, with Nasya following after them.
In Magnus’s opinion, the gruelling and nerve-wracking hours were well-spend in making sure the rune circle was perfectly done. Alexander stood in his defence while he worked, killing quite a number of demons attempting to enter the castle drawn to the smell of Nephilim blood. As soon as Ziya deposited them at the front gates, both – the dragon and the phoenix – flew back in the air. They took it upon themselves to monitor the wider surroundings of Asmodeus’s seat of power, so if something happened their charges wouldn’t be caught off guard.
All that was left was to activate the circle and trap the demon inside. Easier said than done. Tightening his hold on Alec’s hands, Magnus took a deep breath in preparation for the fight of his life. Trying not to think about implications of what he was hoping to accomplish, he drew his magic to surface. In response, Alec’s golden aura rose up, as he pulled power from Ziya and sent it to his guide. The runes lit one by one, blue and golden sparks forming a transparent wall.
The dark malevolent power fought viciously against the forcible summoning. A bead of sweat rolled down Magnus’s forehead, as he pushed more power into the runes. The struggles ceased abruptly, and a presence coalesced inside the circle.
„Magnus. And the company. What an… unexpected surprise.” Asmodeus purred out, calculatingly taking in the situation.
„Father.” Magnus nodded curtly in greeting, as he threaded his fingers with Alec’s defiantly.
„So, you had awakened,” Asmodeus observed idly, taking great delight at reactions he managed to incite. „I had thought I had smelled the heavenly taint lingering around you.” Flicking his eyes on the Nephilim, standing at Magnus’s side. „ I assumed it rubbed on you from the company you started to keep. But no… What a waste.”
Magnus went ramrod straight, glaring at the demon at the insinuation he made. His sentinel’s hackles were up at his obvious agitation. “What is it to you?”
„Ah, Magnus, Magnus.” The demon said patronizingly, unobtrusively checking the summoning circle he was trapped in. „You didn’t think I wouldn’t recognize your gift as soon as I laid my eyes on you and your spirit animal? Me, who was once counted amongst the greatest of the heavenly warriors. Where do you think you got your gift from? And really? A phoenix? Couldn’t you be more clichéed?”
Magnus snarled and Nasya squawked angrily. „You lie. If I was ever a guide I wouldn’t be able to spend time in Edom. Unless…” The realization drew upon the guide’s face. „You. You did something.” Alec grabbed his guide around his waist to stop him from going after Asmodeus and disturb the summoning circle.
Asmodeus smirked proudly, „I have to admit it was one of my better ideas. And it was so easy. You, a child starved for attention, freshly traumatized from coming into his powers so unexpectedly. A concerned father saving you from life on the streets. Taking you into Edom and suppressing your budding empathy was a child-play. And it did help me you were already so powerful for your age. You would have been a worthy heir to my throne.” Then he flashed an angry gaze at the Nephilim sentinel standing beside his son. „I didn’t count on you meeting your mate after the Clave made away with their Chosen.”
„Fortunately for all of us, you are going to spend the rest of eternity in this circle. You won’t be able to hurt anyone anymore.” Alec chimed in vindictively. His more feral side was all for making the demon pay for the pain he caused to his guide.
„When I get out of this trap, you’ll regret it, Magnus.” Asmodeus snarled angrily. His pleasant mask shattered, giving way to the demon to assume his true, monstrous form. Alec startled at the sight of his guide’s cat eyes staring at him malevolently from the demon’s face.
Magnus stepped in front of his sentinel bravely to shield him from his father’s hate. „You’ll never get away. I secured this place in such a way, it’s impossible.”
„Nothing is impossible given enough time. And I’ve already proved I can wait.” The demon hissed threateningly, clawing at the barrier confining him in the ritual circle. „There will come a time, I’ll be freed again. And then, Magnus, I’ll make sure you lose everything dear to you. Just wait.”
Alec grabbed his guide’s hand to pull him away from the greater demon. „Come on, Magnus. We are done here. Let’s leave.” He cajoled the warlock while glaring at the snarling demon.
Magnus slumped against him, suddenly feeling drained. With the last glance at his father, he said. „Yes, let’s go home, Alexander.”
The portal opened up and the sentinel-guide pair walked out of it confidently, if tired. After angels-know-how-long-time they spent in Edom, even the looming structure of the New York Institute was a welcomed sight for the warlock and his Nephilim. The familiar pulse of the city energized Magnus. He grinned wildly at Alexander, happy with new-found freedom, as the burden of his ancestry fell from his shoulders.
Alec hugged the life from Magnus in relief they made it back to New York in one piece. The familiar smells and noises grounded him, as he attuned back to his city. Not caring in the slightest, he was literally standing at the steps of the Institute, Alec rested his forehead against his guide’s and whispered, stealing the air from Magnus’s lips. „I love you.”
Giddily, Magnus answered with. „I love you, too.” And leaned up for a kiss. Their bond brightened between them shining with happiness and love.