Authors: Joe Prendergast
The snow was covering her slowly and Arish Doom watched the castle in dismay. She would never get there in time. She was going to die here.
She told herself,
you will not die! Not ever! Never! You will not die! Keep walking.
So she built herself up and managed something that resembled a walk.
She was stumbling along to the castle gates when she heard footsteps. A creature was coming towards her. It had long wavy hair and human proportions, though its skin was crumpled and pale, and, like a vampire, it had sharp fangs but this wasn't a vampire. A vampire had nearly killed her before so she knew precisely what they looked like.
The creature looked around while it ran. It turned and saw her and she screamed a scream that would wake the whole castle.
The creature hissed. It was only a metre away from her now, closing in quickly. Then it stopped and clenched its hands together, as if pulling towards the air, and as it worked up a whirlwind of thick black smoke, it wrapped it around Airish and gave a satisfied grunt.
Arish started to feel the breath being sucked away from her.
Within a split second however the creature had dropped her having been interrupted by a passer-by walking his dog. It could not afford to be spotted by a human and so turned its attentions to him while Airish made a run for the castle.
The commotion brought Paolo, Dave and Vivian to the door where they were almost bowled over by Airish. Beyond her, outside the gates they could see a strange looking creature envelope the stranger in a similar whirlwind of smoke and as the two collided within it the passer-by was sucked into the creature's body.
10 seconds later he was thrown back out of the creature's body and as his skin turned pale and crumpled he grew long fangs and sharp nails. He now looked identical to the creature.
Paolo's heart started beating fast in his chest. For a fleeting moment he wondered if this was the work of Victor Left, a previous enemy, but he knew deep down that it wasn't his style â this was the style of something, or someone, with a lot more magical power than that â this was the work of Richard Blake
All attention was turned to Airish, who was standing cautiously in a corner, as the creatures bounded off into the night.
“Who is that?” Paolo asked, sitting down beside Vivian in the grand entrance hall of Mahogany castle.
“I don't know her,” answered Vivian but she doesn't look well.
“What just happened there?” Paolo continued with the questions.
Vivian shook her head.
“I'll tell you what happened there,” said Dave. “That creature, the semi-human looking pale thing with fangs. That's a member of Richard Blake's Twisted. They are humans empowered by Richard with the âTwisted Touch,' which enables them to suck their prey into that powerful whirlwind where they collide and, if they are successful, morph into one another transferring powers. Then the victim also become Twisted, and therefore under the power of Blake, who plans to Twist the entire nation and then the world.”
Dave drew a breath and as Vivian and Paolo tried to take it all in Airish approached them.
“What are you?” demanded Dave as he turned to look at her.
“I am human,” she replied.
“Do not lie to me!”
“I am not lying to you.”
“Are you working for someone?”
“Are you in The Purple Army?”
“You are certainly not working for The Three Circles.”
“No. I work on my own. Fine. I am a fairy. Well, half fairy, half elf.”
“OK. What do you want?”
“May I stay here for tonight?”
“Why? Don't you have a home?”
“No! I'm barely alive. The Purple Army is after me.”
“Then why did you come here? If there's one place The Purple Army will want to destroy â it's here,” chimed in Vivian, looking at Arish like she was stupid.
“I didn't intentionally end up here I am on the run,” she answered. “I thought that that creature was something to do with The Purple Army but then I heard what you said â I have heard of this Richard Blake and if you give me shelter for the foreseeable future I will work with you to protect this place of safety.”
“Ok,” relented Dave. “For now, yes but what is your name?”
“I am Arish Doom.”
“Doom?” He pondered for a second. “Doom,” he said again and all of a sudden a twinkle of recognition in his eye and before he could say anything the same twinkle was alight in Airish's eye.
“Is that you Dave? Dave Brackett?”
Dave turned away. He stared out the window. A minute passed and all he came back with was, “You can stay for as long as you want, old friend.”
“Thank you,” she replied “I will do everything I can to help.”
“There'll be no need for that, we can handle our own problems,” said Giuseppe, who had just walked down the hall.
Angeline stood up. “Arish, I'll find a bedroom you can call your own, OK?”
“Thank you, Angeline.”
“No problem, Arish. This magic thing is all new to me.” Angeline set off down the hall, turned a left and introduced Airish to her new bedroom.
Too Many Cooks Spoil the Broth
There was a bake going on in Evergreen Castle. Everyone was baking â except the owner. She â the Baroness, as she was known â was sitting in a chair, shouting at her head servant Zachary Spoken.
Zachary had had a rough past. When he was picked up by the Baroness â he was the first to learn of her plan to take over the world. No one knew of her. The Baroness's plan had been in work for 80 years. She kept herself looking young. She had the power of Victoria Richards but she refused to become a sorcerer like her. She wanted to keep herself unknown. She refused to say her name â for fear people would spread it and the sorcerers would come after her for her abilities. That was exactly what she didn't want. Everyone would know of her â and soon her plan. So, she decided not to pose a threat to anyone, until it was time. She just sat there, making potions so's that when people came to visit, they forgot the endeavour.
Her loyal servants were making a potion to stop The Three Circles from noticing her. She was sure that if they knew they would be straight onto her. They could get to her before the plan was activated.
Zachary sat down on an armchair to the left hand side of The Baroness. A man walked in. He had a stocky figure and red curly hair with a bushy red moustache. This was Quite Harmless, the confectioner.
He looked nervously at The Baroness. “We have a slight problem,” he muttered.
“Sorry! Speak UP please!”
“Excuse me, Baroness. I said that there has been a hitch in something. We have learned of someone else's knowledge of you. They will probably come after you. I suggest you hide because,” Quite looked out the window and gulped, “They're here.”
The Baroness cursed and walked over to the other side of the room. She opened the door, and fell. “STUPID ELEVATOR!” she screamed as she hit the bottom of the shaft and the lift started slowly making its way down. She heard the thud of the door closing and she clapped her hands.
Weak lights flickered on either side of the lift but they were enough to help her locate an exit and walk along a dimly lit corridor that led way to another door. This was the Hiding Place, a place where she came when someone knew of her existence.
The Baroness heard the hooves of a horse clacking. Good old sorcerers. They always went by horse. She tried to see through a vent at the top of the room.
She could just about make out the face of Richard Blake. He was dressed entirely in black â his killing attire, The Baroness presumed. She cursed and shushed herself quietly.
“Did you hear something?” she heard Blake say as he entered the castle. It wasn't easy to disguise noise in the castle with all the echoing so she climbed tentatively onto a stack of boxes, which enabled her to reach the air vent out of which she could see into the hall.
“I don't know?” shrugged a blonde individual curling her hair around her finger. All of a sudden she looked down and The Baroness fell to the floor. She hadn't been seen by the blonde girl, who looked about 20 years old, but she feared she had been heard.
The Baroness lay there, waiting for someone to say something. She was on edge because she knew that to get to the castle in the first place Richard Blake had to get past her soldiers â and if they were down who would now protect her? They knew she was in the castle but would they find her down there?
“Mr Blake!” she heard the girl say.
“There's some sort of door.”
The Baroness stifled a gasp, she had forgotten about the trapdoor under the carpet in the hall. They knew she was in there. She slowly raised herself up and her eyes darted around the room for somewhere to hide.
She saw an Egyptian box, one that a dead pharaoh would be placed in, and jumped quietly inside of it.
“Don't be silly, Cassandra!”
“No, I'm serious, Mr Blake. I really am very serious.”
“Let me see!” he said and he kicked the carpet aside.
The Baroness froze. It was a long time since she'd seen a sorcerer's face. She was regretting it. Then she remembered the potion she had tucked in her dress pocket. It would knock someone unconscious and, along with that, the drinker would never remember the encounter.
There, however, right in front of her was her dilemma. She would have to approach him. He would probably catch her before she could pour it down his mouth. No, she decided. Not if she got there first.
“I think it's definitely Richard Blake behind all this,” said Paolo who was greeted by mock-astonished stares.
“I agree with Paolo,” said Angeline politely.
Giuseppe said, “Yes, I agree.”
Angeline, Giuseppe and Dave all walked over to sit beside Paolo and opposite Vivian and Daniel in Room Five.
“I think we have a prime detective on our hands,” joked Daniel.
Room Five was pretty much empty other than the five chatting.
“So what is the plan?” asked Angeline, a novice to the world she suddenly found herself in, and she couldn't help but feel a little excited.
“We need to figure out a way to take away Blake's powers and there is only one way to do that.”
“How is that?” asked Giuseppe.
“There's a magical Cube which radiates light and with that magical, but dangerous, powers,” said Dave.
“It is the source at which The Grand Sorcerer and all of his Twisted Army charge their powers. The only way to rid Richard Blake and his gang of their evilness is to effectively drown the cube in its place of origin â the cylinder. It sounds strange to drop a cube into a cylinder but it will morph in shape once placed on the top and when that happens Richard and his cronies will finally be without power.”
“So where is this cube and cylinder Dad?” asked Vivian.
“At Blake's home.” He answered gravely.
Richard Blake was smiling and Cassandra had an evil grin on her face.
The Hiding Place was dark but they could see. The Baroness saw a light illuminate the sides of the pharaoh box. Then, without thinking she jumped out of the coffin and landed in a heap on top of Blake.
Blake struggled to break free. He eventually threw her off of him while Cassandra stood blinking with no clue what to do.
The Baroness picked herself up off the ground and dodged the shadows Blake sent her way.
She clicked her fingers and a fireball appeared in her hand. She hurled it at Blake but he simply laughed as his body illuminated with a blue shield, which glowed. The fireball bounced off it and turned to dust on the floor.
The only consolation for The Baroness was that Blake could not make any moves within the shield so if he wanted to fight then he would have to come out and she would make her move.
It wasn't long before he reached his hand out with a fireball of his own and the shield came down and despite Cassandra finally lunging at The Baroness she managed to step out of the way and Cassandra fell to the ground, hitting her head and knocking herself out cold.
Blake suddenly pointed at her and a ray of fire hit her body making her disappear and transporting her back to his home, guessed The Baroness. For a moment she thought she noticed something like concern in his eyes, she doubted it but whatever it was he was distracted and she took the opportunity to throw the potion at him. It hit him straight in the face. He was stunned for a moment and just as she was transporting him back to his carriage and away from her sanctuary he whispered â “I will not forget this. You will not take over the world â it is mine to take”, and he was gone.
The Baroness then stood by the army he had left for dead and one by one she placed her hand on their foreheads and the lifeblood within them started to flow again.
They were back but this time they were more powerful.
No one could beat her, she decided. Not even The Three Circles.
A very famous actress was lying on a sofa. She was cold. She needed a blanket but no one was here. Stephen Rice had not yet made his way home. Jacob Burke was out on business.
Dawn Hughes strode into the elaborate sitting room and took a seat by the fire. She switched on the television. She thought about the events of three months earlier and about how she was rescued from a kidnapping by the evil Victor Left and his Purple Army. She wanted to know more about how she had come to safety but the only way she could do that was to find where they lived. She remembered the car. It was just the place. If she tracked down the car she could find out where they were â The Three Circles.
She had decided that she wanted to pay them back. She wanted to become one of them.