The spell weavers dropped into defensive stances in front of the antiquities vault force field; knees bent, arms upraised and poised to cast. From the blazing bright rotating orbs emerged six shadowy figures. Janet and Andrea shielded their eyes from the blinding light. It gradually dimmed, until they could make out the six identically cloaked warlocks forming an offensive line in front of the spell weavers.
Simultaneously, they raised bell-sleeved arms, threw back their hoods and sent forth coordinated streams of energy at the centermost spell weavers. Unprepared for the concentrated wave of superheated energy, four spell weavers were blasted backwards into the forcefield protecting the antiquities vault. Janet covered her ears to block out their agonized screams and the unsettling sound of their crepitating bodies trapped between the electrified vault and the onslaught from the warlocks.
Before the remaining spell weavers could react, the warlocks renewed their attack on the forcefield. They began scoring a pentagram onto the forcefield previously guarded by the dead spell weavers. A fissure began opening in the wall of electromagnetic current. Marko, Janet and Andrea joined the spell weavers’ efforts to launch a counterattack. Each warlock struck absorbed the blast energy and split into two warlocks, combining forces to exploit the aperature in the forcefield.
“We’re wasting our energy. Someone has obviously cast multiplier spell. We’ve got to break it,” shouted Marko.
“How do we do that,” panted Janet.
“We converge our flow and target the originator of the spell. One of those bastards is the real warlock. The others are replicas. Strike down the real ones and the others will dissipate.”
“How the hell are we supposed to figure that out? They all look the same,” snapped Andrea.
“Look for the one thing that isn’t duplicated.”
Janet and Andrea looked on helplessly, as Marko bent his gaze on the cloaked figures. They shifted their attention to protecting him from attacks, while he concentrated. The forcefield stuttered and winked out. After moments which felt like hours, he subtly inclined his head towards the warlock furthest from them on the opposite side of the room.
“That’s the one. C’mon, help me knock the bastard back before he realizes I’ve spotted him!”
Wordlessly, the sisters joined him in a triumverate attack. Caught off guard, the warlock stumbled. His clones momentarily faltered. They quickly recovered, pivoted and aimed at the three of them. Andrea cursed under her breath. The two nearest Doorkeeper warriors saw the shift in attention, turned and joined forces to shield the trio. Marko grabbed Janet and Andrea, roughly pulling them aside in his haste, as the warriors around them were buffeted by a retaliatory strike. More warriors joined them in a counterattack, following Marko’s lead in continuing to aim at the same warlock who aggressively fought back. Two warriors were felled, by the time they managed to defeat the warlock. The clones abruptly spluttered and winked out like blown candles.
Realization dawned slowly that five Doorkeepers, Marko, Andrea and Janet were the last ones standing. The floor around them was littered with the bodies of their enemies. The warriors let out a celebratory yell, fists pumping. Andrea grinned at Janet, who let out a shaky sigh of relief. They were stopped short of joining in the celebration by the look on Marko’s face.
“What’s wrong,” Janet asked anxiously.
“You’re joking right? What is wrong with you all? I didn’t even know Mukesh but judging from the way he just swarmed and damn near defeated us, I’d say this isn’t over. Do you really think he’d go to such extreme lengths and then just give up this easily? Something about this feels wrong,” shouted Marko glaring at the warriors.
“Like what,” asked Janet.
“Like maybe all of this was just a distraction, to get all of the warriors in one place, while the real attack is happening somewhere else,” Marko replied.
As if on cue, the floor beneath their feet began to tremble. One by one, they looked down and then around at the rest of the group, staring in gape mouthed confusion. Around them, their foes still lay motionless where they had fallen. What was happening? The vibrations erupted into seismic tremoring, sending them stumbling. Shock waves telegraphed up the walls, dislodging heavy picture frames and shelves. Their eyes widened in alarm, worried the entire building might collapse.
“It’s coming from inside the antiquities vault,” shouted Marko.