General Vignette #3 (2019)

Greywood Institute

It felt like it should be dark, near midnight.

With a storm raging and lightning flashing in the sky, punctuated by the rolling clash of thunder.

But, it wasn’t.

Nor was it a lab in the tallest tower of a gothic castle.

No.

It was a clean lab in the heart of the Greywood Institute, in North America.

Alex McGuire felt that moment deserved some drama.  The greatest experiment and discovery in magical history deserved recognition.  Some pomp.  Some notice.

Not hidden in a secret lab.

He heaved a sigh

C’est la vie.

Time to get started and make history.

“Aimée, Wil, complete the circle runes.  Then positions one and three.”

He nodded in satisfaction as two assistant broke from their huddle to follow his direction.

“Valentyna, the volunteers.  Then position four.”

As his assistant led in half a dozen people, Alex turned to the rest.

“Miroslav, two.  Nanna, five.”

Alex stood in the center of the activity, ignoring the quiet economical moved.  He felt around, feeling for the well of magic the Institute sat upon.  Greywood had been built on the site for exactly that reason.  He tapped the well, filling and exceeding his own reserves.

The five aides reached their positions just as Alex felt the wave of power wash over him.  The volunteers had spilled blood.  The raw power available was heady, but decades of practice kept Alex in control, riding the ebb and flow of the waves.

In seconds, his assistants started a low chant, repetition of the same six syllables.  The sound helped Alex focus, to channel and guide the incredible amount of power at his fingertips.

He first sent a narrow stream into the circles and runes that surrounded the focal point.  Protection and containment flared bright for those with the ability to see.

That was the easy part.

The second element would require the lion’s share of the power, and the finesse of a delicate touch to shape a complex network.

Alex allowed the chant to fade from his consciousness.  It would still help the others focus, but now he needed to sink deeper than the repetitive sound would go.

He let the monumental energy build and infuse his being.  The euphoric state could only be maintained for a limited time before the power began to rip its vessel, his body, apart.

Years of preparation had gone into the spell, Alex reminded himself.  He would not let it crash by rushing, nor by waiting too long.

In a forced calm, the sorcerer began mentally drawing lines of energy into shapes.  This part, he had spent seven months rehearsing and refining.  For the last two months, he had even worked them in his dreams.  Drove everyone on the team nuts.

Two hours later, the final piece was in place.

Alex siphoned off a trickle of energy to revive his flagging assistants.  Then he opened the metaphysical flood gates into a channel, funneling power into his construct.

As the last drop left his body, he brought himself back to awareness of his surroundings.

The chanting had fallen silent.

In the exact center of the circle, a blue oval shimmered.  It was suspended a couple inches off the floor, like a mirror hung in midair.  Every couple seconds, a pulse rippled the surface.

The experiment seemed to be a success.

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