Alderon's Tower     
 The Adventures of Solo Jones Home  
Chapter 19 -- I Shoot Myself
Copyright © 2002 Chris Gonnerman. All Rights Reserved.

As I said, the spell controlling me seemed to have lapsed, and I was left wondering why. If it had actually expired, surely Dreamwalker would have come to recast it; otherwise I would be able to cast spells, to free us and thwart his plans.

If I continued thinking in this vein I might give away my secrets. It was time to act. He must be watching; so he expected me to free myself, I assumed, and then probably to try to destroy the zombie heads powering his unnatural life.

Why would he have risked putting me in the same room with the heads? Even if he were watching me like a hawk I might still be able to get off a Force Bolt and destroy some of them, before he could act to stop me. I focused my Mystic Vision, which was waning in power but still usable, and studied the heads carefully.

I became certain they were an illusion.

"Dreamwalker! I don't feel like playing this game. If you have plans for us, get on with it!"

It worked. Almost as soon as I called out, the door at the top of the stairs opened and Dreamwalker entered. "You are too loud, Solomoriah. You disturb me. Be silent!" With a wave and a word he cast Silence over us.

Without further ado he turned to the impaled corpse on the table. I realized then he was not paying attention to me; he thought, with the shackles and the Silence I was powerless. I tried not to smile.

Dreamwalker apparently hadn't prepared the Zombie Creation spell, for he was going through all the words and gestures. I waited until he began to pull out the knife, then I spoke a word into the Silence and the shackles dropped away. Before he could turn toward me I let fly one of my Force Bolt spells...

It disappeared, like it had been absorbed, just before it hit him. Antimagic! I had heard of it many times but never before encountered it. With my Mystic Vision I could see a blackness, sort of a blankness, in the mystic field surrounding him.

Evidently I had interrupted his spell, though. He stood there enraged, the knife in his hand, with Daniel's body obviously completely dead. Dreamwalker was screaming at me, but of course all I could hear was a faint ringing in my ears.

I circled toward the staircase, not wanting my friends to be in the line of fire, as I activated my Kinetic Shield. Why had he not attacked me yet?

Just as I left the area of Silence he pointed at me and spoke a word. I recognized the feeling of the Physical Dominance this time, and tried to resist, but it was no use. "You have ruined my zombie, Solomoriah. You must serve in his place. Come here and remove this corpse from the table." Of course I complied, as I had no choice.

What to do? Magic would not affect him, but physical injury would at least slow him down, perhaps disrupt his concentration or even render him unconscious. But I was not free to move... what could I do?

I remembered then that Dreamwalker had left the upstairs door open, and I remembered the last spell I prepared, and I remembered one other thing... so I silently activated my Spirit Servant just as I laid Daniel's corpse on the floor. I willed it to go upstairs and retrieve Mark's gun from the wheelchair.

Was Dreamwalker still reading my mind?

"Lay down on the table in his place." I did so, and he said "Take this knife in your right hand and stab yourself directly in the heart, between the ribs." As I reached for the knife I saw with my peripheral vision the gun floating down the staircase behind him. Shoot him, I willed, shoot him!

I had the knife in my hand, and I was moving it into position. Dreamwalker somehow sensed something and turned around. The blast was deafening in that small stone room. The bullet took him in the forehead, and he slumped to the floor.

He wasn't dead, of course, and with my ring he would make a full recovery in minutes, perhaps seconds. Meanwhile I was about to stab the knife into my chest.

I sent my will out to the servant... shoot my hand! It hurt, as much as I have ever been hurt, but the knife flew out of my hand and across the room. Dreamwalker's exacting instructions didn't include a contingency plan; he even said to use my right hand, which was now impossible. The spell continued in effect, but now I just lay there awaiting instructions.

I tried to will the servant to shoot him again, repeatedly, but before it could maneuver into position (for Spirit Servants aren't made for combat) Dreamwalker awoke and dispelled it. The gun fell to the stairs, bounced down a few steps and stopped.

Dreamwalker stood up. "If you want a man killed, you mustn't depend on him to do it right." He smiled at his joke, and went around the table to retrieve the knife. My doom hadn't been averted, only delayed; I felt despair creeping up on me.

I couldn't move even my eyes under the contraint of the spell; I had to look straight ahead until I was given instructions otherwise. I saw Dreamwalker in my peripheral vision rising up on my left side, and on my right, I seemed to see activity on the stairs...

The shot was still more deafening than the first; and Dreamwalker fell. Who was shooting? I couldn't look to see! It seemed like forever, and then I saw Mara looking down at me. She held the gun in her right hand, which was bleeding.

Of course! The shackles were made to restrain strong men; her slim hands slipped through the large cuffs, causing only minor injuries.

She spoke, but I couldn't hear her plainly. I wanted to yell, "Get the ring!" but could not. Somehow she seemed to understand anyway; I could see her walking around the table carefully, the gun held at the ready. There was another shot and then I could just see Mara fall to the floor.

After a moment there were more shots, until I reasoned the gun must be empty. It seemed an eternity was passing... what happened? Was Mara okay? Then I realized, foolishly, that the Mind Reading was still in force, and that Mark was shackled where he could see. I reached out to him.

Through his eyes I saw Mara pushing the ancient wizard off of her. He was bleeding from multiple bullet wounds to the head, and anyone else would have thought him dead for sure. I knew better.

I was relieved when I saw Mara remove the ring from his hand. She put it on her own finger, and then stood up, backing away from him. Without the ring he would still heal; his own life-extension spell would ensure that he lived until that happened. But he might be brain-damaged, without my ring to cause perfect healing.

Even though he was helpless now, I felt he must be destroyed. If he regained his mind enough to do magic he would again be a threat, and his crimes were surely capital. But what court could he be convicted in? It seemed I would again have to be judge, jury, and executioner.

Assuming I ever got off the table.

Mara put the ring on my left hand (of course) as soon as she got up. Ah, that felt better! Her injuries were so minor that they were already healed. I looked at the empty gun in her hand; it looked strange, and then I realized that the slide must lock back when it was empty.

She searched the old mage, the corpse of the apprentice, and then the shelves, looking for the key to Mark's manacles. I could still hear her thoughts but that was all I could do. She carefully avoided the heads, not knowing that they were illusions.

This enforced inactivity was wearing on me. I looked at Dreamwalker through Mark's eyes, and silently raged at him.

Well, no point in that. The previous time Dreamwalker had placed this spell on us, it lasted quite a while; and this time I was the only target, so the duration might be even longer. I needed a counterspell, and I didn't have one.

So I decided to invent one. Creating spells on the spur of the moment is tough, but I had nothing better to do. Usually at a time like this I would have paper and a pencil, scribbling spell outlines, diagrams, and symbols; this time I had to work entirely in my own head.

Several times I tried experimental castings, probing the spell which controlled my body. It proved difficult to affect it at all... it was very different than the Domination and Compulsion spells I already knew.

Mara came and held my hand, having given up on finding the key. She didn't want to leave the room with Mark and I helpless, and I was grateful for that.

It seemed to take a long time, but finally I had a spell I thought would work. I focused, drawing in the power and forming the words carefully in my mind.

It worked on the first try. My muscles were quite sore from the enforced inactivity. Apparently the ring didn't help with that; I wondered why not. As soon as I could stand up I freed Mark with my spell of Opening, and dispelled the annoying Silence.

Dreamwalker lay on the floor, comatose. It would be a while before he woke up, and he would probably be brain damaged, I was sure. I picked him up and put him on the table. Mark dragged Daniel's body over to the wall, out of the way.

There was a heavy door under the staircase. Though it had no lock, I could not open it. I cast the spell of Opening, and it failed.

"This must be where he keeps the good stuff," said Mark. I focused, drawing more than thrice the power I usually would use for the spell, and cast Opening again. This time the door came open.

I heard Dreamwalker moan "No..." as I pulled the door open. Inside was a small room, bare save for two shelves on the far wall, each laden with three heads in jars. This was exactly the same as the illusion, and Mark and Mara were both confused. I explained it to them as I surveyed the room.

There was one difference between the real thing and the illusion... on a stool in front of the shelves lay a large irregular chunk of obsidian, wrapped loosely with silvery wires. Each jar had such a wire attached to the metal jar lid, trailing down to the stone.

Without a second thought, I released my Force Wave spell.

Naturally the contents of the room were smashed against the wall. The smell of formaldehyde was overpowering. As we stepped back I heard Dreamwalker breathe his last breath.

"Was that really necessary?" asked Mara, annoyance in her eyes and her mind. It was the first time she had spoken to me in anger.

"I needed to do it," I said, turning toward her. It was the first time she had seen the coldness in my eyes and my heart.

The best way to end the tension between us was to make ourselves busy. Mark had moved away, avoiding us. I closed the door behind us and looked around.

"What now, Solo?" asked Mark.

"Now, we clean house," I answered.

Next Chapter >>

Questions, Comments, or Complaints? Contact:
  Chris Gonnerman <>
The Adventures of Solo Jones Last Updated 07/18/2005