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Into the Void

(Continued from two Sundays ago)

The dragon opened her mouth to release a sheet of flame that washed over the icy wall for only a moment, causing the ice to crack in numerous places. As it began to melt away, it released Marcy from her confinement and dropped her gently to the cave floor.

"You did it!"  Gaius exclaimed excitedly, feeling a sense of relief. He had been all but certain that the dragon's fires would roast the poor girl.

She opened her eyes then and saw her three rescuers, but in her current state, she only registered one of them. "Gaius," she said weakly, a faint smile forming on her pale lips.  Marcy sat up slowly as Gaius rushed forward.

"You came to save me," she said unsteadily, as he took her in his arms and slowly lifted her to her feet. Marcy kissed him softly, oblivious to those who did the real work in freeing her--Walter and Lilly the dragon. They both looked at each other, Walter wearing a wry grin.

"Save the reunion for later," he said. "You two need to get moving."

Gaius looked up at Walter. "Marcy is in no state to walk out of here. She is very weak."

"Then carry her."

"What's the hurry, Walter?"

Walter grimaced then spoke. "I wasn't completely honest with you back there, Gaius. Circe didn't send me here to release Marcy."

Gaius started to respond but was interrupted by a newcomer.

"And you betrayed me, you lout," screamed Circe, who pointed a finger at Walter, releasing a bolt of lightning in his direction. He dodged nimbly out of its path.  The magic spear exploded against the cavern walls,  releasing a gout of molten magma,  which began flowing out in a steady stream. Circe continued to rage. "You were supposed to kill them both, you stupid drunken old fool!" She pointed again, preparing for a second strike.

Lilly roared and retaliated then, her dragon fires engulfing Circe. But the goddess was impervious to fire, and parted the flames like a curtain. She launched herself forward, knocking Walter to the ground,  her fingernails digging into the flesh of his face.  "You will regret this, you bastard son of Odysseus," she hissed.

Using all of his strength, Walter pushed Circe away, causing her to stumble, the ground trembling as she fell. Walter turned to Gaius. "Get out of here! Now!" he shouted.

Gaius nodded and picked Marcy up in his arms,  carrying her towards the exit Walter had pointed out earlier.  A violent earthquake struck at that moment,  nearly tossing both of them to the floor, but Gaius managed to keep his balance, forcing the door open with his shoulder.

He stepped through the doorway into blackness. Suddenly, he was falling...


Marco had come looking for Clovis, finding the old curator alone in Gaius' study, standing before a large picture window. In the distance, smoke poured out of a dying mountain.

Marco noted the erupting volcano, remembering their visit a few weeks back. "I suppose I should be glad you didn't decide to visit today," he said.

"You did warn me that it was still active," Clovis replied, as he continued to peer out the window.

"Yeah. But seeing you here watching it makes me think that this was no ordinary volcano. What is really happening out there?"

"Circe has met her match."

"I see. And what of Gaius and Marcy?" asked Marco.

Clovis frowned. "I don't know," he said.


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