The Doorkeepers- Chapter Twenty-Five

Ethan was relieved when Nadya opened her eyes.  He needed someone to tell him what to do next.  They couldn’t stay in the circle forever.  Nadya looked up into his face for a few unfocused moments before she became fully aware.  She smiled reassuringly and beckoned for him to lean in closer.  Ethan eagerly obliged.

“Oh, thank heavens,” he breathed.

“Why thank heaven? What you just uttered was closer to a curse than a blessing.”

“What? You mean, I freed you? How?”

“There must have still been some residual magic in the air from the spell you uttered in order to close the portal. Doing that inside the circle kept the energy concentrated in one spot. Prohibre is an activating word. So when you shouted it, the intention behind the things you muttered, when your hands were burning, was activated. In other words, it acted as a spell.”

“Well, I’ll be damned!”

“We both just might before this ordeal is over.”

“That’s not funny.”

“It wasn’t meant to be. Now listen, I want you to get a message to Marko.”

“You can tell him yourself, once we get out of here,” interrupted Ethan.

“Just listen please, there isn’t much time.  If I don’t live long enough to tell him myself, I want you to tell him.  I should have told him a long time ago about the part I played in the death of his mother.  But I was afraid of losing him.”

“I really think this is something he needs to hear from you.”

“Duly noted, now pay attention please.  I’m going to give you a little background.  My brother Emilian and I come from a long line of healers as does Marko.  I consider it an honorable profession.  Emilian only sees it as a way to make a quick buck.  For as long as I can remember, he has sold various elixirs to the norms.”


“Normal people, those who don’t possess any gifts in the magical arts.  Anyway, he has always cheapened the gift of healing by hawking tonics.  It’s a sore point between us.  Emilian knows how disreputable I think he is for doing it.”

“How much money could he possibly make selling useless tonics?”

“I never said they didn’t work.  Granted, they aren’t nearly as potent as they could have been if he had applied himself more to studying the craft.  Emilian doesn’t really care.  His focus is on making them quickly and cheaply so that he can claim as much profit as possible.  I have to admit, he managed to make a very comfortable life for himself.  That is, until about a year ago.  Emilian managed to get himself into a spot of trouble and needed to make a lot of money fast.”

“What kind of trouble?”

“He would never tell me.  That one is always up to his elbows in something foul, so I didn’t really pay much attention when he mentioned it.  To make a long story short, the people to whom he owed a favor had demanded that he make them a reviving potion.  It is against the healers’ code of ethics to make such potions. Emilian knew it but evidently, his debtor was not the kind of person whom you could refuse a request and continue to breathe.”

“I don’t ge it. Why is reviving potion forbidden for healers to make?”

“We work within the bounds of the Creator’s will. If it is the Creator’s will that our treatments heal then it will be so. However, if it is time for the patient to cross over into the great beyond then we cannot and should not keep the patient here. A reviving potion pulls the soul back from the brink of death without the spirit. Reviving potions cannot reverse spiritual death. Moral decay quickly sets in and any trace of humanity withers away. No healer wants to play any par in the creation of such abomination. Emilian knew I would never knowingly help him make reviving potion. So, under the guise of visiting me, he secretly rifled through my things.  When he realized I didn’t have the ingredient he was looking for, he drugged and tricked me into telling him who had it.”

“Let me guess, Marko’s mother had it.”

“Yes…I passed out and the ringing of my cell phone woke me hours later. The anguish in Marko’s voice was heart wrenching. To this day, I don’t know if she died by the hands of my brother or the warlock to whom he was indebted. It doesn’t matter, he’s equally responsible either way…just as I am.”

“You couldn’t have predicted what your brother would do.  You’re not a bloody mind reader are you?”

“No I’m not, but  you’re still wrong. I know my brother inside and out. When he showed up out of the blue, I knew he wanted something from me. That’s the only time he ever contacts me. Him visiting this time rather than calling told me it was something big. It’s my fault for letting my guard down.”

“Even if that were true, what’s done is done. You’ve got to stop beating yourself up over something that was clearly taken out of your hands.”

“I don’t deserve to be forgiven. I never had a chance with Marko…”

“You mean romantically? I didn’t realize you had those kind of feelings for him.”

“Marko doesn’t either. There was no point in telling him because his mother always hated me. Without her blessing, a relationship with him would never work.  She saw me as a bad influence because I always encouraged him to pursue his heart’s desire, even if it meant not following in her footsteps and becoming a healer. Part of me always resented her for her efforts to keep us apart.  She didn’t even want him associating with me.  I’m ashamed to say that I fantasized about life without her.”

“A little fantasizing doesn’t make you a killer.”

“I’m not finished. Once I realized what Emilian wanted, I knew he would stop at nothing to get it..even if it meant hurting Marko’s mother. I’d like to say that I never even imagined that she might get killed but I can’t. That makes me responsible for doing nothing to protect her.  Marko deserves to know the whole truth. I just…I could never find the words.  I knew once I told him, he would hate me and that was too much to bear.  I kept putting it off.  Then days turned into weeks which turned into months.  After a while, I convinced myself that not telling him the truth would somehow be doing him a favor.  My plan was to take the secret to my grave.”

“Then why don’t you?  I won’t say anything.”

“I don’t want to die with the burden of this horrible secret weighing on my soul.  Please let him know that I deeply regret what I did to his family.  All I can say is at the time, I was under the sway of my own selfish desires.”

“I don’t understand why you wouldn’t be able to tell him yourself.”

“Because I’m going to have to let that creature slither back inside of me.”

“Are crazy? You don’t have to do that.  Surely there’s some spell in the book I could use to…”

“As much as I hate to admit, it we need that demon’s help to get rid of Charles once and for all.  None of us is powerful enough to do it. Besides, if we sent this creature back, then someone else would get tricked into unleashing something far worse.”

“So you’re going to just turn it loose?”

“Of course not, that’s why I have to let it possess me again.  I’ll be able to rein it in.”

“So what do I do, follow it around?  What if it turns on me?”

“I won’t let that happen.  Just go through the motions.  You don’t want to arouse its suspicion.  You’re a pro at reading people.  This creature used to be a human being.  It’s no different from working one of your cons.  Now come on, you’re going to have to hand me back over to Enmerkar.”

“Give you back over to what?”

“Oh sorry, I forgot to tell you that Enmerkar was the creature’s name when it was human.  Remember that name but don’t use it until you have to.  Knowing a magical being’s name gives you a degree of power over it. Unfortunately, you don’t have the skills to exercise much control.  Call the creature’s name when you need to throw it off balance.  Just remember that it will only work once.  Now come on, ditch me and make it look convincing or the creature will think you tried to double cross it.  We need it to trust you.”

Ethan nodded and made a big show of tossing Nadya back outside the circle, accusing her of ditching the demon and crawling to him when it wasn’t looking.  She didn’t resist the creature’s possession of her body.  Ethan found some solace in the fact that the process appeared to be less painful for her.