The Equilibrium Files #2
The agents regrouped and followed the wounded Mica to a house in the desert just outside the town of Cerrida. It belonged to the local mayor, Arnie Blackmore. Now read on dot, dot, dot
Mayor Blackmore leaned back in his chair, took a reflective sip of his bourbon on the rocks and smiled quietly to himself. Everything was going to plan, except for the slight set back with the spirit Mica. It had been a shock when the master’s accomplice appeared at his gate, wounded and seeking shelter. However, he was now being looked after and would soon be back to full strength. As he surveyed the guests at his party Arnie couldn’t resist a bit of self-congratulation. He wasn’t even concerned when a misty form appeared before him.
"Yes, what is it?” He asked brusquely.
The watcher spirit hesitated, and then replied in a faintly echoing female voice, "There are mages on the trail of Mica, master.”
"What the f..!” Mayor Blackmore spluttered, spilling his drink, his composure somewhat disrupted.
"Where are they?”
"On their way here as we speak, master.” The spirit faded gradually to nothingness, its job done.
The man strode agitatedly around his garden, trying to fathom how this could have happened. Surely he and his associates had been careful. No one suspected where their wealth and success had come from. No one would believe it anyway. Mundanes didn’t understand or care about "the other side” and the benefits of such knowledge. That this should happen tonight of all nights. The conditions were perfect for calling the master, Iktomi, onto the physical plane. It was to the master that they owed everything and they could not fail him. The consequences did not bear thinking about. He rushed off to find his fellow conspirators.
In the main house the security guard swore as the picture on one of his surveillance screens dissolved into a snowstorm. At the main gate, another guard rested his shotgun against the wall and lit a cigarette. "Easy money” he thought to himself. "All we have to do is look after a crowd of rich bastards and make sure they don’t enjoy themselves too much.” He sank to the ground as an unseen assailant hit him with the butt of a weapon.
A disembodied voice whispered, "It’s OK, he’s out. Let’s get going.” Two figures emerged from the shadows and headed for the main gate. There was a momentary pause as the gate’s security was bypassed "Easy.” The gate opened and they moved up the long driveway, using the garden shrubbery to avoid being seen from the house. As they approached they saw a security guard exit the house. He looked their way and listened intently. Satisfied all was well the man relaxed and watched the darkness. The intruders moved on to an outbuilding which turned out to be the stables.
A magical scan revealed a hidden door leading down to a lower floor. After destroying the manna wall which protected the entrance they descended. There they saw the wounded Mica glaring at them. They felt a weak attempt to tamper with their thoughts but the spirit had not fully recovered its powers. One of the agents shot Mica, who screamed and disappeared back to his astral home. As they took stock of what had just happened they heard a noise from above, then the unmistakable sound of someone coming carefully down the stairs. The security guard, alerted by the gun shots, had come to investigate. Again, an invisible hand took him by surprise and he went down in a hail of gun fire. Cautiously, the three agents went back up to the stables where they were met by another guard crouching behind some cover. For a third time the invisible agent outflanked the opposition and the trio moved back to the house.
They searched the building quietly and methodically, working from front to back until they came to a utility room. They discovered a way down to a basement, protected by illusion and magical barrier.
Mayor Blackmore had warned his three associates and hurriedly brought them up to speed with events. "We must bring our plans forward. Get the stones and we’ll begin the summoning now, before those intruders can do anything about it.” They each dashed off to assemble the necessary equipment for their ceremony. Sometime later they gathered in the basement of the main house. The four celebrants began by placing the stones at four points around a shallow pit. In the centre of the pit was a totem with various animal images carved into it, prominent among them were spider carvings. The last stone was being positioned in its cradle when three intruders burst in on them.
The three opened fire immediately. Mayor Blackmore and his companions stood no chance and they fell to the dusty floor in rapid succession. The three agents took their time in searching the bodies and found rings on each of them. The rings bore a carved spider motif. They took them for further investigation. A further search revealed a magical lodge in another outbuilding from which they took a variety of books and other items of arcane significance. They left the scene before the police arrived.
The party guests were hard put to explain what had happened. They had come to celebrate the signing of a deal which would secure the town's future. At least that would go ahead, a fitting tribute to Mayor Blackmore who had pulled the deal together.