Dawnfire

The year is 1885, and New York is about to get a serious shock in the form of Magnus Bane. Coming straight from London, he makes a dramatic first impression - but as he settles in, he discovers a secret about the High Warlock of Brooklyn - a secret haunting him from his past. One of my entries for the Battle of the Fandoms.
Cover by ATarnishedSoul

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4. I like the View

Magnus was chained into an uncomfortable wooden chair. The chair was tilted, four weak legs stood on uneven, rocky ground. The dust swirling around in the hot air was red, and had an annoying habit of getting into Magnus’ eyes. In front of him was an enormous black throne, swirling with runes of red; but unlike the angelic runes used by Shadowhunters, these were evil runes, speaking of malice and corruption. To his left was a sheer drop, a hundred metres off the edge of a cliff.

 

Suddenly, the dust stopped. It didn’t fall to the ground, merely hung, unmoving in mid-air. Then, slowly, the dust started to move in the direction of the chair. It slid along his arms, and when he held up his hand, trying to stop it, it simply moved around.

“Fascinating.”

 

The dust crawled up onto the throne, forming a vaguely humanoid figure, albeit far larger. It’s thick red skin was similar to that of an elephant, it’s bloodied, clawed hands were at least twelve inches wide on the palms and black, lidless eyes hid the terrors of a thousand lifetimes. As details took form, the figure stood, gargantuan feet crushing rocks with every step. Magnus smiled, hiding his terror.

“Hello father.”

 

His father boomed, peals of laughter echoing of red mountains in the distance, turning into tortured screams.

“The boy recognises his father.” The voice was gravelly and harsh, an unnatural sound that fitted perfectly with the surroundings. “That, at least is heartening. But does he recognise him by name?”

Magnus gritted his teeth. Evidently he wanted Magnus to recognise his superiority, and Magnus didn’t have much of a choice.

“Prince Cassiel of the second plane of Hell, Lord of all conspirators.”

 

“Correct! But I walk no longer, I am afraid. The Shadowhunters have grown strong, their numbers swelled by that infernal Cup,” he spat. “No, instead I sit here, biding my time and growing in power.”

“I noticed the last part.” Magnus nodded in the direction of the cliff, which overlooked an enormous, reddish-brown valley. “I like the view.”

“Yes, my very own dimension, a gift from the Morning Star. You should see it at night. It comes alive with demons, all slaughtering each other to survive. A beautiful sight.”

“That seems a little harsh.”

“Only the strongest can join my armies.”

“Why did you bring me here?”

“Can a father not spend a little time with his son?”

“When he’s a demon in the higher tiers of hell? No.”

“Fine. I have a proposition. I want you to join me. Soon I will rise up against the other dimensions, with the favour of Lucifer himself, and with a battalion of warlocks at my disposal, I would be unstoppable.”

“You might not have noticed, but I am not a battalion. I am not even close to a battalion. A battalion,” continued Magnus, ignoring Cassiel’s stares, “is about the farthest from what I am as you can get. In fact, I am slightly insulted that you should call me a battalion. Are you trying to insult me? I would not do that. In my rage I have been likened to a battalion of soldiers.” Cassiel raised what would have been an eyebrow, if he had had one. “Oh. I see your point.”

 

“Whilst you might not be an army of warlocks, my son, you are certainly a good start. I have been watching you since your birth – a good start to life that, killing your stepfather. So young, and yet so powerful. Naturally, I did not approve of your affiliation with the London Nephilim, but I now see why you did it.” Magnus blinked surprised. He doubted that the Prince of Hell was talking about William.

“You do?”

“Why yes, of course. You did it for the creature. The cat you brought overseas. It’s incredibly powerful, you know, created by the Grey Sisters. That cat is immortal. It’ll probably outlast you.”

 

Magnus gaped.

“Church. This is Church we’re talking about, right? Fat, Persian blue?”

“Ah yes, that is the animal. Why?”

“Well… nothing I suppose. It’s just that,” Magnus hesitated.  “he’s a bit of an asshole, isn’t he?”

“He was held prisoner by the Grey sisters for years. Tortured, tormented, infused by the blood of both angel and demon. He’s a right to be a ‘bit of an asshole’ as you put it.”

 

“The point remains, Cassiel, that my answer is no. I will not join your infernal army, and nor will any self respecting warlock.” Cassiel shook his great crimson head sadly.

“In that case, my son, I have no choice. I must imprison you until you see sense. Guards!” Two eidolon demons, shape changers, stepped forward and ripped through Magnus’ chains. Though as shape shifters they  could choose whatever form they liked, they had for some reason picked a truly hideous form. Looking similar to giant, humanoid spiders, they were cobalt blue, furry antennae sticking out from sharp, spiky exoskeletons. They grabbed both his hands, twisted them behind his back, and rewrapped the chain around his wrists, tight enough to draw blood when they pulled them. “Now, if you’ll excuse me.” Cassiel crumbled back into red dust, flowing smoothly away.

 

The two eidolon demons escorted from his chair along a small gorge, leading him away from the view of the valley. After ten minutes or so of walking, and attempted conversation on Magnus’ part, one demon let go of the chains and walked in front of Magnus, chittering angrily.

“A fight? I know how you feel,” said Magnus empathetically, “I just left my girlfriend.” The demon stared at him. “Oh, right. No English.” The demon continued staring. But not at Magnus, at his friend. Or rather, the space where his friend had been. Now there was simply a plume of black smoke, wafting through the dusty air. More chitters.

“For pity’s sake, will you stop chittering? I can’t understand you.” The chittering stopped. “Thank you.”

 

“You’re welcome, Magnus.” Magnus turned around to see not his demonic captor, but a tall, slim figure. Green skinned, white haired and small horns poking out from his forehead, stood the High Warlock of London.

“Ragnor?” Magnus’ disbelief was so thick you could’ve cut it with a butter knife. “Ragnor Fell?”

 

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