Chapter Eight: The Druidmage

In a hidden apartment far away from the Stagwood mansion, there sat an unknown druid. No one knew he lived there, and even if they had, they wouldn't have known who he was. He had been there for centuries, absorbing the lorla of beings everywhere to sustain his life force.

He sat now, old and withered, in his poofy leather chair, his fingers steepled together as he stared into the crystalline depths of his cube, flipping back and forth between all the main news channels.

A snake slithered up to his chair and then up his skinny leg into his lap, and he paused his musings to stroke it's head with a hand that was barely able to bend its fingers. "Soon, Chandi … soon," he whispered to it in his cracked voice that had survived countless centuries.

A gray lorla floated in, led by three purplish ones. The color was a sign that they served this ancient druidmage, who demanded a fresh lorla every two days. The three roughly shoved the struggling gray one forward. Realizing there was nothing it could do to escape this fate, it looked around with a mournful look, and then, as the druidmage opened his mouth, it flew in. The druidmage shuddered slightly as the melding process was completed, for to have another soul invade your own –even for your nourishment- creates a considerably uncomfortable feeling.

When the melding process had finished itself and the gray lorlo had been totally broken down into the thing that renewed the druidmage's body's will to live, he stiffened, and then reopened his eyes with a new vigor. He flexed his long fingers that were like white spiders, and he smiled to himself.

Invigorated, the druidmage waved away his enslaved lorla, and began the energy-draining task of contacting his various servants, situated in various homes. As he looked into his cube, he muttered something—it was an incantation, or a call of some sort, much like the ones he had used long ago in his youth to summon the dragons to him. None of his lorla ever heard what exactly it was he said to call to someone through his cube that day, but one thing they were certain of: it contained the word "Stagwood."

After Tham finished little excursion into the Jacuzzi, he toweled himself off and walked into his room to get dressed. Hmm… I wonder where my stuff is? He went to the closet and opened it. Oh… the butler –what was his name? Oh, Santino- brought it up.

Tham picked out a pair of jeans that were baggy but not so far as to fall down when he walked, and a rather tight clay colored shirt that said, 'Everything is bigger in Texas.' It had been a present from his father when he left after his high school graduation, to earn his way into college. After getting dressed and combing his hair, Tham checked his e-mail on the computer, logged on to AIM to see if anyone worth talking to was on. No one was. Then he flipped channels to see if any good shows were on. There weren't.

Well, according to Zannon, I'm supposed to sit in this room till someone needs me. I might as well try and explore, even if he did tell me not to. I mean, I'll have to learn to get around this old mansion at some point, right?

And that's just what he did. Tham opened his door, checking that no one was coming from either end of the corridor before stepping across the threshold. Remembering the direction that the suspicious red door was in, he turned left, expecting to catch sight of the noticeable door in a matter of seconds. Suddenly, Tham thought that he'd better be sure he knew where he was at all times. Tham turned and walked in the opposite direction a few paces, but his green door was nowhere in sight! Whirling around, he couldn't see either the red door OR his green door. T'Arvit! Apparently these halls do make you get lost. Fuck.

After panicking for a few moments, Tham calmed himself down. Although he still hesitated to make any noise, Tham decided to walk around for a bit. After all, he reasoned, I'm not the only person in the house, so at some point I'll run into someone else.

After climbing a staircase and making a few turns through some random halls, Tham noticed an elaborately carved door of a glossy reddish wood on his right. Looking up, he noticed that there were strange looking runes carved into the wall above it. He stopped for a second and wrinkled his nose. Yup, there definitely are voices coming from this door.

Of course, being the curious guy that he was, Tham leaned over and pressed his ear to the door.

It was a female voice, talking to what seemed to be an elderly man. The woman's voice was warm, and yet cold at the same time. It was soft, and yet had the slightest hint of a hidden, razor sharp edge underneath. He knew he'd heard it before, but where? The man's voice was soft, so soft that Tham couldn't make out any full words, just a low hum. It was raspy, and the man paused for breath every few words. Suddenly Tham's eyebrows leapt up, and his eyes widened.

That's Millie's voice! With that realization, Tham guessed that the man had to be Sir Alano, Taijaura and Zannon's father. He seemed to be giving Millie instructions … but about what? What's she doing in there? However, before he could listen more to try and figure out why, he heard a door open and shut from somewhere beyond the elaborate door his ear was pressed against.

Tham nervously backed away from the door, staring at it as if it was a piece of rotting and putrid flesh. Turning on the soft toes of his black Converse sneakers, he came face to face with a painting on the wall opposite the door.

Whoa… that certainly wasn't there before. The painting was of a stern-faced young man, with piercing yellow eyes. The eyes were the only unusual part of the painting; the man's face was perfectly ordinary except for those creepy eyes. Scanning the wall around the painting, Tham noted there was a plaque below it that read Nigelo Kalasek.

Suddenly jumpy, Tham whirled again to see if the intricate door was still behind him. It was. Phew… Breathing a sigh of relief, Tham turned to the left and walked down a hall. Seeing a staircase, he stealthily descended it; and at the bottom he found a green door.

Hopefully this is my room, he thought. Checking inside it, Tham saw the (now almost familiar) green everything inside. There was a tray full of snacks –smoothies and sodas and chips and dip and candy- sitting on the desk next to the computer. Oops . . . now they know I was gone. Sending a guilty look in the door's direction, Tham closed it before sitting down.

"Oh well," Tham said. He said it out loud because he was getting sick of the quiet. Sitting down at the computer, he turned on some Maroon 5 music, and then grabbed a vanilla coke and some Doritos. He took a swig of the coke, and then opened the bag of Doritos. He had some chips in his hand, they were so close he could see the individual flecks of flavoring and he could almost taste it. His open mouth was tasting the chips already, when suddenly, his world went black. Tham toppled off the swivel chair onto the green carpet, the chips dropping from his now limp fingers.

From its spot on the dresser, the sickly green lorla leered at the still body on the floor. It made a few more evil faces at Tham, and then muttered something that only a druid would have understood, at the same time shaking its index finger at Tham like a mother reproaching her naughty child. Then, it faded exactly as the time before, with another small 'pop!'

A/N: Well, here's the second chapter of the double update. Don't forget to read and review, yada yada yada. I apologize that this didn't get posted last night, my dad turned off the internet and I couldn't convince him to turn it back on so I could post it. Stupid dad… Anyway, this is the end of the planned chapters, so I apologize in advance if I get writer's block or something. It happens. Well, I have tennis practice early tomorrow morning (I made varsity as a freshman!), because we have our first match on Tuesday and we don't know our lineup yet. Gotta go now! Much love~ flameluvr ^_^