PART FIVE: THE ANCIENT TOME
Avery gaped in awe at the Ancient Tome that had fallen onto her lap out of thin air. It appeared to bound by a variety of skins which befuddled her due to the fact that they did not appear to belong to any species she had ever encountered on Earth. Furthermore, the Ancient Tome had an insidious air and a irresistible promise of forbidden power that Avery, being an Alison witch, could not quite so easily dismiss.
A thick sweat emerged all over her body and Avery’s hand trembled as the Tome lay docilely on her lap. She sat incredibly still and felt as if the Tome was thrumming on her lap. In no time, Avery began to question her own sanity as she could suddenly hear voices which began as whispers but grew louder with each passing moment emerging from the Tome.
No longer able to simply stare down at the Volume, she gently pressed her fingers along the spine of the book, idly caressing it as if it were a pet. Before long, her fingers held the corners of the book ready to open the Tome and delve into its secrets. Her heart beat as fast as drum as the voices she could hear coming from inside the Tome’s pages turned to Gregorian-like chanting.
Avery had nearly opened the Tome to its first page when suddenly, the door bell sounded and she nearly jumped out of her skin in fright, audibly screaming and throwing the book across to the other side of the couch. It took Avery several moments to console herself enough to check on who her visitor was and she was surprised to find that it was Purity, her best friend’s daughter and her son’s former best friend.
She quickly gathered herself up and desperately sought a hiding place for the Tome, flabbergasted that she thought she could fool a Messenger of the Creator at all. However, Avery noticed that the second she thought about wanting to hide the Tome, it responded by blending so well into the background, it was practically camaflouged.
Avery shook her head as she went to open the door. Purity’s smile was so radiant and reassuring, she almost forgot about the Tome.
“Hey Auntie A. How are you?”
“Purity, this is a pleasant surprise. Do Messengers of the Creator ring doorbells now?” Avery asked nervously giggling.
Purity’s smile intensified and Avery gawked at her sheepishly.
“Well, I thought it polite not to just budge in. May I come in?”
“Oh… of course dear…” Avery stated letting her in.
Purity got into the home and Avery did the best she could to make it appear more presentable.
“You’ll have to forgive me, Purity dear… Living with two rowdy men…”
“It’s not a problem, Auntie A. I don’t mind at all. Actually, I won’t be here long,”
“Oh? Must be busy being a Messenger, right?”
Purity simply smiled but did not answer Avery’s question directly.
“Auntie A., you’ve been through so much with the Shtriga and that awful stowaway Shritgu. Please forgive me for not intervening but it was a challenge you had to face on your own for your own growth,” Purity stated. Avery could feel the compassion in Purity’s words and thanked her for it.
“What is even more unfortunate is how that monster clung to you. It was desperate to cling to its futile doomed existence. And the consequences of that…”
“Well, sadly, your interactions with those monstrous creatures has wrought terrible consequences, Auntie. You were able to see the Shtrigu’s mind because of your sharing life-force with that Shtriga that nearly turned you. A psychic bond was forged between you and those infernal creatures you see that appears to be irrevocable…”
“So I am connected to them… like forever?”
Purity nodded, her face a discernible mask of sorrow.
“Not that you have to worry about those creatures ever again. So long as you cease interactions with that accursed Reality, you should be safe from their dark influence,” Purity stated. Her statement filled Avery with hope.
“I assure you that I have no intention of ever interacting with that world ever again,” Avery emphatically stated.
“That’s great, Auntie A. The Shtriga are monsters that prey on all living creatures. They are immortal themselves but have that accursed hunger for life-force for as long as they exist.”
“Can they reproduce?” Avery asked Purity petrified by her revelations.
“No. They do choose mates for themselves but only for companionship. However, even companionship is not enough for those selfish, damned creatures and they would betray each other if only for a precious drop of life-force from victims. They are selfish more than anything else,”
Avery nodded and accepted Purity’s words.
“Auntie A., you don’t want anything to do with those creatures again, right?”
“Of course not. I want nothing to do with them ever again. I nearly killed Blaize because of them,”
“Then you must hand over the Ancient Tome you received to me immediately,”
Avery was taken aback by Purity’s words.
“The Tome that fell upon your lap came from the world of the Shtriga and if you read it, you shall be enslaved to them and to it forever,”
“The Tome came from that Reality? Then how- how could it come to me?”
“It came to you because of your interaction with the Shtriga you have encountered before. Like the Grand Grimoire, it has abilities of its own and can psychically attach itself to whoever it chooses. It chose you to carry out its nefarious mission to spread forbidden knowledge and magic to this world. It is in fact, the cause of the Shtriga curse in the first place,”
“What? You mean the Shtriga are not actually monsters?”
Purity reluctantly shook her head. It became apparent to Avery that she did not want to dive deeper into the history of the Shtriga but that simply ignited Avery’s curiosity more.
“It’s not worth knowing, Auntie A. All you need to know is that the Ancient Tome is evil and if you are not careful, you might end up a cursed monster like the Shtriga,”
“Who were they before they were cursed, Purity? Surely tell me that at the very least,”
“Renounce the psychic bond you have with the Tome and I will tell you everything I know about the Shtriga,”
Avery was stunned at Purity playing hard ball with her. If a Messenger so desperately wished to take away that Ancient Tome, then, Avery argued, it must have possessed great Secret Forbidden Power. Avery wondered whether she should truly give up something like that and for the first time in a long time, wondered why she could not give in to the secret desire for power her clan was so infamously known for.
“Auntie, listen to me, the Tome is already influencing you. It isn’t like you to seek power just for the sake of it. Please, renounce the psychic bond it is so desperately trying to establish with you,”
“It might help if you told me why you are so desperate to get this Tome. How powerful can it really be? And besides, I have come across a lot of forbidden magic in my day, so what makes this Tome that much more wicked? What specifically don’t you want me to know, Purity?”
“It is a cursed book of knowledge. Reading it is only going to lead you down the path of eternal damnation,”
“I would go to the hellish plains simply for reading it?” Avery asked stunned.
Purity nodded. “Please, Auntie… You have a beautiful family and so many wonderful possible futures ahead of you. Don’t give in to the lust for power which is not worth your soul,”
Avery thought about it and then sighed and picked up the book where it had been camaflouged.
“Is there a spell of relinqueshing the bond?”
Purity smiled and shook her head stating, “You just have to really mean it in your mind and that would purge any connection you have with it,”
Avery nodded and found it incredibly difficult to give the Ancient Tome away to Purity but ultimately did. However, the moment she had given away the book, it began to singe Purity’s skin, melting it away painfully.
Purity dropped the Tome, screaming in agony, running her arms up and down that had caught on fire which was invisible to Avery.
“Purity- are you okay? Oh my God, you’re bleeding. Let me go get your mom-“
Purity shook her head, her eyes heavy with tears she refused to cry.
“I’ll be okay. It’s a curse placed on the Tome, you see… A curse against Messengers,”
Avery nearly fainted out of shock. What creature was so powerful that it could literally curse a Messenger? Wasn’t Messenger magic second only to the Creator’s Magic itself?
Barely a second passed by before Delia appeared in the home as well and then another Messenger whose frame filled out the entire Apartment.
“Thank you, Avery Alison. I assure you that Purity shall be fine,” Delia stated. Delia’s influence spread to Avery like a healing balm, instantly relieving her of any doubt and instead feeling her with hope and reassurance.
Avery could barely speak as she watched all three Messengers eventually disappear with the third Messenger insulating itself with some kind of fire that combated the effects of the invisible fire still eating away at Purity’s skin and picking up the Ancient Tome.
TO BE CONTINUED…
What dark power does the Ancient Tome contain? Is this the last Avery shall interact with it? Shall Purity be healed of her wounds? Stay tuned to find out! Links to previous entries are listed below;