The Disposition Of A Book
The Road Of Good IntentChapter 1:
The Disposition Of A BookDisclaimer:
The “Nights” concept belongs to Methos, who very kindly let me play in his universe once before, and now let me borrow it again.Disclaimer:
Xander belongs to Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy. Wicked belongs to Universal Studios, and the Gregory Maguire. Notes 1:
This is based on the Musical Wicked, not the book. Given the rather large changes between the book and the musical, the two can't be easily reconciled.The Disposition Of A Book.An indeterminate point in the past, when demons still ruled the earth
“Forward!” Rutan shouted, as he swung his sword, taking the head off the demon he was facing. “We've almost driven them back, do not falter now.”
His men, exhausted, wounded and nearing their own limits answered with a roar, the very act of defiance giving them strength to take another step forward, to swing their weapons again, to push back evil by one more step.
Behind the soldiers came the mages, wielding power like no human had ever seen. For time immemorial mankind had been enslaved by the ancient demons that ruled the world. It wasn't something any human ever really thought about, it was simply the way it was.
Until eight years before, when strange emissaries had appeared in various human slave pens, and had given mankind knowledge, and power to fight back. They had called themselves 'The Powers That Be', and had powers that no mortal man could ever have hoped to match. They taught mankind about weapons, about the weaknesses of the demons that ruled this dimension, and about magic.
Power innate to the young race of man which could let them take the fight to the demons, and for the last eight years, mankind had done exactly that. All over the planet, under the guidance of the powers, men had risen to power and led armies against the demons, forcing them back one bloody step at a time. While men with arms could fight the demons, only the mages amongst them could seal the demons portals, and after almost a decade, they had come down to this final battle.
Rutan was the last of the human warlords who had been approached by the Powers, and Teftan, his best friend had been his battlemage since they had begun this war against the demons. All over the planet mankind stood victorious, but it would mean nothing unless this last portal was closed.
And so he fought, beyond exhaustion and fatigue, beyond pain and beyond endurance, with no goal but to force a wedge through the demons to give Teftan a chance to use his magic to seal the vile doorway of the demons.
Two of his men fought their way to his side, and the three of them surged forward against the demons, and would have fallen if not for a shouted command from behind them.
“SOHNEN, VETAY, SOHNEN, VETAY,” and a hole appeared in front of Rutan as the magic spell blew several demons to pieces, and despite his body's imminent collapse, Rutan shouted in triumph, as more of his men forced their way to his side, and they drove for the gateway.
“Now Teftan,” Rutan shouted. “Seal the portal. Men, form a circle, and hold the line. The circle will not be broken.” It was not the polite request of a man, but the authoritative command of a leader, and the few dozen troops that had made it this far immediately went back to back, forming a tight circle around Teftan.
Immediately the mage began chanting, reading from the leather bound tome gifted to him by the Powers. Even now he only understood a fraction of the spells in the book, as it's text constantly shifted and rearranged itself.
One man fell to the claws of a demon, and the circle shrank to encompass his loss, another had his head bitten clean off, and once again the circle shrank. Rutan grunted in pain as he was raked across the chest, but his answering stroke felled another demon.
“I don't mean to rush you old friend,” he grunted out as he heaved the sword out of his latest victim. “But speed would be good.”
Teftan didn't answer, but he grinned while chanting. Rutan could feel the power building behind him, and with a screamed invocation, Teftan completed the spell. A blast of green fire shot from the book over Rutan's head and flashed towards the menacing red portal visible behind the army of demons. He had never seen the effects of the spell, but Rutan immediately saw a change in the battle.
As the green flame hit the portal, it seemed to bracket the vortex for a moment, and then the screaming began, as the demons stopped moving forward, and began sliding towards the portal. Slowly at first, but with gathering speed, they were drawn back, and no effort of muscle nor will could stop it. Claws dug in were torn off, hooves set in the ground simply gouged grooves as their owners were dragged back, even as the red portal began to shrink inside the green flame dancing at it's edge.
Within minutes it was over, and the last of the demons disappeared into the portal before it vanished in a flash of fury and fire, leaving the battlefield completely silent as every man held his breath.
“Victory,” Rutan said softly, then with a fierce grin he raised his bloody sword to the skies. “Victory,” he shouted and the cry was soon taken up by the entire army as they realized that they had done the impossible. They had driven the demons away, sealed the doorway, the mouth to hell, and liberated their world from darkness.
He turned to Teftan, only to find that he was down on hands and knees, sweat coursing off him, the book of magic lying open besides him as he heaved in great big gulps of air.
“Are you all right Teftan?” he asked in concern. His concern was met by a bark of laughter.
“By the Powers That Be Rutan, that could not have ended a moment too soon,” he heaved another breath and began to laugh between breaths. A few moments later Rutan joined him even as he helped his friend to his feet.
“We did it,” he told Teftan, who bent down to scoop up the book. “Between the troops and your magic, we've won the day.”
“Don't thank me,” Teftan said with a tired grin. “Thank the Powers, if not for their book of spells I could not have closed the portal.”
Rutan chuckled at Teftan's humility, and looked at the front of the book that he was holding.
“The first spell book. The one that will allow us to train mages down through the ages. Mankind need never fear the demons again.”
“Indeed,” Teftan replied. “This book will change the world. It will allow us to defend ourselves, maybe even allow us to augment some of our people, create a warrior to help us fight the demons. It will all be because of this book.”
He gazed at his book of spells reverently, “This Grimmerie will change the world.”
----The present, Cleveland
Elphaba Thropp, third descendant of the Eminent Thropp of Munchkinland, woke from her dream thrashing, and it took her a moment to calm down and realize that she was being held in the strong arms of Fiyero. It immediately calmed her down, and she took a deep breath to calm herself.
“Another dream?” Fiyero asked, his scarecrow countenance looking vaguely sinister in the dark of their room. She nodded sharply.
“We'll worry about it tomorrow,” she responded as she laid back down. “After all, it was only a dream.”
Elphaba didn't sleep again that night, images of the battle from her dream reverberating through her head like the sounding of the bells at Shiz. And always the same ending, with the strange man holding the Grimmerie.
She hadn't yet told her allies about the dreams, nor of the book. There was no point as the Grimmerie was still safely in Oz with Glinda.
And yet, the former Wicked Witch couldn't help but worry that something was going to happen, and that the Grimmerie was at the heart of it all.
To Be Continued....