Chapter Forty – Merry Christmas
Noah’s composure was shattered as well. Never before had they seen his gorgeous face contort into a combination of panic and disbelief. He had no idea if Kevin did what he did on purpose or purely through luck, but Noah was left dumbfounded by the breaking of his spell. There were no signs that there would be a spellbreaker amongst his targets, and unless a wizard can compete without his or her spells, a spellbreaker was simply too much, especially one with allies.
“No…” mumbled Noah beneath his stuttering breath.
Eldrian finally regained his senses. He wiped a trickle of blood from his brow, and pulled himself up to stare Kevin directly in the eyes. He was just as surprised as Noah, and Kevin had rarely seen his friend surprised by anything like that.
“What did you just do, Kev?” he asked. “Did you just break his spell?”
“I don’t know. I didn’t mean to.”
“Well, don’t stop now.”
They stood in a brief silence. Renatta and Daveon were still bound together by anti-magic handcuffs. Deena pulled herself up from her knees. Alchia and Poppet were still on the ground. Eldrian and Kevin stood side-by-side, even if the wizard was bloody and beaten. Their foe squeezed the umbrella in his tight, trembling grip.
Kevin took the initiative. He galloped forwards, and saw something he hadn’t really noticed before. Magic wasn’t a godly, unseen force. It was able to be felt, and seen. He saw Noah start a spell, and with a swing of his sword, he sent out a bizarre wave of force that interrupted whatever magic was being cast.
“How dare—“ snapped Noah.
He then did something he always wanted to do, and that was to smash his Aegis of Light directly into Noah’s smug, handsome face. The collision of metal against his cheek rang over the field, and the man flew backwards to tumble into the snow.
Noah wasn’t stupid. He’d been doing this exact thing for years, but he simply miscalculated this time around. As he stood, he assessed the situation, and started to take cautious steps backwards.
“I admit,” he started. “You caught me by surprise. You hid your trump card well. But what you may not understand, is now we know. There’s no place on Earth you can hide where the government won’t track you down and bring you in. All of you. And now we know there’s several working as one, which is something that never happens. So we’ll see each other again. Farewell.”
The group flinched forwards, but it was too late. Noah fell into snow-covered ground as if he stepped back into a hole, but when they looked, there was no hole to be found. He was gone.
When both Alchia and Poppet came to, they were laying in the center of a ring of very angry wizards, and a spellbreaker of course. Daveon stared daggers.
“Keys, please,” he said simply.
While he undid the cuffs binding him, Deena looked over to Eldrian.
“What happened to you?” she asked quietly.
“I met a very angry elf, who’s now even more angry than before.”
“Tyreth,” Kevin said. “Arlandria knows him. I left her back at the house, just in case. She told me the whole story between them, and it wasn’t good. So what do we do about these two?”
“Who are you guys?” asked Eldrian as he crossed his arms.
“I’m Alchia,” the taller one said. “And that’s Poppet. I’m a wizard, and a chemist. We were only working for Tyreth because he promised us wealth and power, and people to experiment on.”
“That does not sound good in the first place,” Renatta chimed in.
“Like you guys would understand!” Poppet shrieked.
“You know what he said? Tyreth, I mean. He called you tools,” Eldrian stated. “He considers everyone to be tools. He was using the both of you to get what he wanted, and I have no doubt that afterwards, he’d just… stab you in the shoulder.”
“What are you going to do then?” Alchia asked.
Eldrian gathered his allies. As a group, they moved away, and Eldrian opened back up his mahogany door. He pulled it open, but turned a gaze back to the two sisters sitting in the snow.
“Go, but don’t return to him unless you want to be nothing but tools. Follow your own ambitions. But if we find out you were capturing wizards, or attacking people with skeletons, we will find you again.”
They walked through the door, one by one, and Eldrian was the last. He closed it behind him, and after all of that chaos, they were left only in silence. The group had travelled back to Eldrian and Kevin’s apartment where they took a much needed rest.
Each of them found a chair to lay back on, while Renatta simply laid on the floor. But during this, Arlandria stared in shock at their condition. The elf looked to Eldrian and practically shrieked in terror.
“What happened?” Arlandria shouted.
“I’m fine,” he grunted, pressing a hand against his knife wound. “Just feeling a little stabbed, burned, and blown up.”
“No idea. We met a government-working spellbreaker. He tried to arrest us, but, well, how about we explain everything later?”
“Oh goodness. Please sit still, Eldrian. Let me tend to your wounds. You’re going to bleed out at this rate. You need to be more careful.”
The elf hovered her slender fingers over the wounded body of Eldrian. A rippling glow emitted from her palms, bathing the wizard in a heavenly light. It felt warm, and comforting, like wearing fuzzy pajamas. Eldrian felt his wounds gradually close, and much of the pain faded away.
“That’s amazing, Arly,” he said.
“Thank you. It’s nothing, really. And I can’t do anything crazy, like bring back a dismembered hand, so…”
“I’ll be careful.”
“No. You won’t. But that’s okay. Tyreth might be after all of us just because of me. It’s my fault.”
“It’s fine, Arly. Let’s just take a rest. We’ve got a lot of problems, but when you’re a wizard on the run, you get used to it. So don’t sweat it. And you know what tomorrow is? Christmas. Let’s all celebrate it together and try to forget about these Noahs and Tyreths.”
Kevin was lost in thought. He stared over his hands, as if he was trying to see an energy that wasn’t there. How had he done what he did? He was baffled, and actually quite afraid. Suddenly, he didn’t feel so useless, but he could swear some of the others were avoiding him.
“And we’ve got a special weapon now,” Eldrian continued. “Kevin. I can’t believe it.”
“Yeah,” Kevin muttered.
“You’re a spellbreaker! That’s so amazing, isn’t it?”
“I’m still at a loss for words. Does this mean I’m like a natural enemy to all of you?”
The wizards looked amongst each other until Deena spoke up. “In a way. Wizards fear spellbreakers only because they negate their magical abilities.”
“But it’s the ones that work for governments that are the natural enemies,” Eldrian added. “Not you. It can make wizards uncomfortable, though. Maybe just don’t open with it in conversation.”
“I don’t want people to fear me,” Kevin said.
“Maybe with these people coming after us, fear is just what we need. I bet it’s been a long time since a spellbreaker hunter was afraid of their prey. And we’re not afraid of you, Kev. You’re one of us.”
Arlandria, having just finished up healing the wizard, placed her hand on Kevin’s shoulder and looked to him with her warm smile.
“Thanks,” Kevin muttered. “You’re right. But I don’t even know where to start. Should I just know how to use my abilities right off the bat? I’m overwhelmed.”
Deena shook her head. “Spellbreakers can go their whole lives without knowing they have such abilities. But the more you practice, the stronger they become, and that also goes for your magic eyes. Skilled spellbreakers have been known to have magic eyes as strong as or even stronger than an average wizard’s.”
“I don’t know what to say.”
Eldrian gave Kevin a grin. “How about merry Christmas?”
The morning came. Stars moved from the sky to the snow beneath as the sunrise lit up Alberta’s winter blanket. The streets were illuminated further by a rainbow of coloured Christmas lights, and bizarre inflatable snowmen and other festive characters. The entire city was ready for the holidays.
Kevin and Eldrian were even prepared. They had a colourfully decorated tree with wrapped gifts beneath it. Eldrian made some hot cocoa—six mugs in all. Soon, all their friends would arrive, and this time, Eldrian wouldn’t resemble someone ran over by several cars.
He wore a deep blue sweater over a yellow t-shirt, and black pants. He also had his feet tucked into pink unicorn slippers. Kevin dressed in a gaudy, red and green Christmas sweater, with trousers the same as his friend’s. The two of them waited with their mugs in-hand, and in that festive moment, they were truly able to forget about all of the magical chaos.
Ding dong. Their doorbell rang. Eldrian opened it up, and on the other side was Renatta garbed in a button-up red dress ending about where her boots began, just above the knee. The bottom, as well as underneath, was black. It wasn’t often they saw Renatta actually wear something else, so they came to a silent, mutual guess that somebody else helped her, like Daveon. She did, however, keep her hair up.
“Hi!” she shouted. “Merry Christmas. I have not really celebrated this much, so thank you for having me.”
“No problem. Head on inside and grab a mug of hot chocolate,” Eldrian said.
Then came Deena. She wore a pitch black, buttoned coat with pants to match, and around her neck was a silver necklace covered in bats. As usual, her hair was done up in a different but still elaborate manner
“Hey, Deena,” Eldrian greeted. “Come join us for some hot chocolate.”
“I will,” she said quietly.
Next to arrive was Arlandria. Her white jacket was incredibly fluffy around the neck, and beneath was a pair of dark blue jeans. She offered a polite bow as the door opened for her. She seemed to prefer whites and greens, though it did fit her well, like a blonde-haired angel.
“Greetings,” she said. “Thank you for inviting me, even though I haven’t been here for long.”
Eldrian laughed. “Hey. Renatta hasn’t been here that long, and she’s mostly just tried to kill me.”
“Did you call me?” shouted Renatta from within the apartment.
“No. Don’t worry about it!” He looked back to the elf. “Oh. And go grab some hot chocolate. It’ll warm you up.”
Finally, Daveon arrived. He sported a fashionable green coat over black trousers, around his neck was a blue scarf. Instead of a toque, he wore a festive green and red hat with a fuzzy ball at the tip.
“Sorry if I’m late,” he apologized.
“No problem,” Eldrian said with a smile. “You’re not late. Just the last to arrive, but that’s not a big deal. The hot cocoa is still hot.”
“That’s because you keep heating it up with magic,” Kevin said.
“Practical uses for magic. Nobody ever talks about that. If you were a wizard, you’d use it to heat up your drinks too. Or cool them down.”
All of them sat around the living room, whether it was on the carpet, the sofa, or a chair. They had moved the coffee table out of the way, and created a pile of presents within their circle. They laughed, drank hot cocoa, and had fun opening up their gifts. It was much needed.
“From Deena,” Eldrian said aloud as he tore open a present.
Inside was a hefty brown tome. He placed it on the ground with a thud. With interest, he opened it up, and began to skim it over.
“It’s a book on demons. A rare one that I got kind of recently. I just thought you should have it, since you seem to not know nearly enough about that sort of thing,” she said bluntly.
“Thanks, Deena!” Eldrian replied. “You’re not entirely wrong…”
“Look! Daveon got me my own, red toque!” Kevin exclaimed.
Renatta wiped away tears from her eyes. “Eldrian got me a box of special, gourmet donuts.”
“From Kevin,” Deena muttered.
She carefully peeled the wrapping from the box, and then pulled open the flaps to reveal something black within. She pulled it out, and it popped back into shape. It was a spider plush, but spherical, incredibly soft, and with big shiny eyes. Deena stared at it for a long moment, and it to her. Eventually, a tiny bit of pink came to her cheeks.
“So cute,” she muttered.
“Sorry. I’m not good with presents. Do you like it?” Kevin asked.
“Yeah. Whatever. It’s fine,” he replied quickly.
Each of them opened multiple gifts. Some where from each other, while Kevin received ones from his parents. There were some oddities, but also thanks yous all around. The final gift was from Arlandria to Eldrian. He ripped the small box open. Inside was a blue ocarina.
Kevin and Eldrian looked to one another, and then both began to laugh.
“Is something the matter? I thought it was a beautiful gift,” the elf said in a panic.
Eldrian placed it down, and he stood up to approach her. “It is. Thank you. I like it a lot.”
“That’s a relief.”
He did his best to replicate the elf’s previous gesture. He slid her hand onto his before cupping it between both of his palms. “I hope you enjoy your stay here on Earth, even if it’s a little crazy. Welcome to the party, Arly.”
Arlandria’s face lit up. “Thank you.”
They ate. They laughed. They relaxed. Christmas eventually came to a close, and each of them returned to where they were staying at the time. They knew deep down that with a government-working wizard after them, their lives would never be the same again, but they also knew that if they could have days like that one, it wouldn’t be so bad. Perhaps each of them knew being discovered was inevitable. Unfortunately, a group of wizards fighting against a country’s, or even a world’s, oppressive force, may have been less of a battle and more akin to a war—one that wasn’t going to stop anytime soon.
Eldrian. Kevin. Deena. Daveon. Renatta. Arlandria. They weren’t just runaways with knowledge of magic to be squished beneath the world’s boot. These outstanding individuals were much more than that. Perhaps all of those who sought to squelch magic should have been trembling as well.