The very next moment Abigale and Ray feel a heaviness fall over them. Every wound, every sore, every burden that had been buried in the subconscious of everyday life suddenly reemerges. They feel the dank air of the sea cave, smell the salt of the surf, taste the lingering flavor of their last meal, feel the ache of old wounds long thought healed, all sensations as vivid as the day they were born.
Anafiel however feels none of this; he is still pure spirit, his body occupied by another. In fact Abigale and Ray no longer see him even though they know he is near.
The two women choke back a sound as Grimme backs away from the glyph, smeared with the ichor of the chunk of flesh he pressed against it.
“We…we should leave.” Abigale manages to say.
“Yes…yes,” the voice murmurs in agreement, sending a chill through the dank air. Abigale and Ray stand aside and it purposefully strolls past, fingertips brushing against the sword hilts.
They return outside, the walls of churning water on their right and left, reflecting the color of the sky, a dull, gray uniform cloud layer. It walks ahead of them, starting up the path to the top of the cliff.
Abigale, Ray, and Anafiel feel the exact moment that the water changes, like an electric charge sent through the air, the moment when it almost drowned them before. In one fluid motion Ray lifts her portal machine and fires twice, shouting.
It turns around, seeing Ray’s shortcut to the top of the cliff and runs back to them.
Ray and Abigale jump through, vanishing and reappearing just below the top of the cliff. It follows right behind them, then it falls backwards; Anafiel has remained behind and prayed for his friend’s safety, sealing the way.
It snarls viciously as the waters swirl around, white foamy crests hovering for a moment. The water makes contact and sends a shock of pain through Anafiel and he propels himself upward, out of the water towards the cliff top where Ray and Abigale watch.
“I WILL DESTROY YOU!” it screams up at them, a split second before the walls come crashing down. Anafiel sees a streak of red shoot out from his body, soar up into the air, and streak towards the south, Lost Angels.
For a moment the water churns and Abigale and Ray watch Anafiel’s bob up to the surface.
“You have survived.”
Ray and Abigale nearly jump out of their skins. So much time has passed and yet has not passed that they forgot about the Chinese ghost woman who pointed the way to the glyph. She looks past then at Anafiel with mild curiosity.
Ray lifts her gravity gun and levitates Anafiel’s body out of the surf, setting it down beside them. They kneel down next to it and a barely a moment passes when the body spasms and coughs up water.
Abigale leans towards it. “Anafiel…are you all right?”
“Yeah…yeah. I think I am…”
“What’s the password?” Ray demands.
The body freezes and a split second later shoves past the two women, taking off in a sprint.
The ghost woman shrieks.
“GET OFF MY ISLAND!”
Her small, petite face becomes a vision of terror with wide, fierce eyes. Her hair unravels from its bun, spreading out in a wide fan of tendrils framing her outstretched arms.
The fleeing body freezes before it is flung up into the air and then crashed back down.
“Wait! Wait!” Abigale and Ray jump between the enraged woman and the body.
She pauses, not out of regard for their lives, but rather out of perplexity.
“Why should I?” she hisses. “It is like the thing that terrorized me before.”
Behind them Anafiel floats up next to his prone body.
“What thing?” Ray asks.
“Something that is keeping this body alive.” They hear a familiar voice, so very different from what they had heard before. Ray and Abigale turn to see the Anafiel sit up.
“Anafiel!” They exclaim in relief and see him slowly stand to his feet. He gives them a small smile as they approach him. The ghost woman gives them all a piercing stare.
“I do not know what is transpiring here…but you all need to leave.”
Anafiel nods. “Yes, we will go now and trouble you no further. We do not intend to return.”
- The three heroes return to Shan Fan to the White Lotus Society and inform Pennington-Smythe about the real danger of Grimme and their quest to visit the glyphs. He promises them some help, but has been bogged down with Santa Ana’s invasion of California that has just begun. They depart that very night to Quarrytown in the hopes to warn Reverend Monroe and go through the portal to reach the glyph at Dragonhold.
- On the way they hears a call for help down one of the narrow channels. What appears to be a trapped injured woman turns out to be a Siren, a watery giant creature, ensnaring travelers. The heroes seriously injure the predator before they continue.
- At Quarrytown they discover that the Reverend’s church is in flames. Going just inside they discover that one of Grimme’s angels tried to attach Monroe, but has been held up by a barrier in the entranceway. A fraction of the flaming sword’s attacks have been able to pass through the barrier, causing the fire.