Excerpt from Betrayal of Magic,
Book 1 of the Department of Magic
His second trip through a fairy portal was only slightly better than the first. The speed in which he recovered from the dizziness was in large part due to the giant ogre that stood on the bridge of the highway.
The hour was late and the area was nearly deserted of all light. The stars and the glowing globe of the moon loomed behind the ogre, who was hunched over a car that held a screaming woman. The ogre towered at least twenty feet high and that wasn’t even standing straight up. His skin was a light, scaly green and he wore a patchwork of brown fabrics around his groin. His face only appeared human in the way his features were arranged. His nose stuck out disturbingly far, and his wide mouth bared teeth as sharp as swords and at least a foot long.
Other than the one under the ogre, there were only three other vehicles nearby. The three Knights had arrived in time before any more traffic could pile up on this stretch of roadway. Malina had deposited them onto the shoulder of the highway just a few dozen feet from the bridge. They were close enough to the ogre to hear his low snarl. Cadan could even see the slobber that was dripping from the right side of the beast’s mouth.
“What do we do about those people?”
“We save them first and then take this ogre down,” Jude said as he sprung forward. “We’ll save damage control for when the reinforcements show up.” Cadan knew he was referring to the mind magic it would take to make these people forget this tragedy.
They ran along the shoulder of the road. Once on the bridge, they cut across the highway. Jude pulled his staff from behind his back and as he stopped on the opposite side of the car, he was in his battle stance. Cadan unsheathed his sword and was prepared to use it. Madison’s bow was already nocked with an arrow.
“What’s the plan?” Jude turned to Cadan.
“What? I don’t know what I’m doing!”
“You’re our leader.”
“You could have told me this before we got here.”
“I’m telling you now.”
What the hell? He wanted to scream at Jude. There was no time to figure out how he was going to lead. Instinct kicked in.
“Madison, take cover behind the car, and pump arrows into the ogre’s face,” he said to her without looking over.
“Unless I can get a good shot at his eyeball, the arrows won’t pierce his skin.”
The hood of the woman’s car was smashed in. The ogre had been using it for boxing practice. He slammed his fist into the hood again, and the rear tires of the car left the ground.
“They don’t need to pierce his skin. You’re just providing cover. Jude, when the ogre is distracted, get that woman out of there.”
Cadan ran towards the left and away from the ogre. He went around an abandoned van and approached the ogre from behind. It was dark and the street light on this side of the highway was gone, so his presence went unnoticed.
He swung his sword back and then towards the ankles of the ogre. The edge of the sword made contact with the ogre’s Achilles tendon, but was unable to pierce the skin. The creature was busy with the annoyance of arrows hitting his face. Both of his arms were up to block them. He looked like he was simply swatting flies away, not even noticing the tiny human hacking at the back of his ankles.
Cadan’s heart was racing. He was actually fighting a creature almost four times his height and more bulk than an elephant. If the creature took one step back, Cadan would be squashed.
To some degree, the fight with the ogre elicited memories of sparring matches with Simon. Sword training began at a young age, and when Cadan was younger, he would go up against Simon, who was nearly double his height. The man formerly known as his father had told him the best strategy against a much larger foe was to use that foe’s weight against them.
He continued hacking at the back of the ogre’s ankle. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Jude helping the woman out of the driver’s side window. The door was caved in so far that it was nearly impossible to open. He and the woman disappeared into the night.
How were they supposed to take this creature down? Swords and arrows were no use. Guns wouldn’t be any better. Maybe that was why DOMA didn’t bother much with modern weapons.
He could try ruhk-fire. There were still a few people running around who would see him using magic, and that would just be more for DOMA to have to cover up. But then again, it would be a feat to cover up a twenty-foot monster on the highway.
Madison had run out of arrows. They were all lying in a pile around the ogre’s feet where they had fallen.
The creature stopped flinching and turned his head each way as if looking for something. His head dropped in Cadan’s direction – and the ogre noticed him.
With a roar that could be heard for miles, he stomped his right foot. He was pissed.
Cadan stepped back a few feet and the ogre crouched as if ready to lunge for him. All of the civilians were far enough away that they would be safe if the ogre occupied itself with him.
He turned and ran for the edge of the bridge – the first pounding of a foot on the pavement told him that the ogre was chasing him. He reached the guard rail and could see the slope of the ground underneath that led to the road below. He could make the jump, but it would definitely hurt.
He glanced back and saw the ogre take a swing in his direction. He clutched the guard rail with both hands and propelled himself over the side.
Once he hit the ground, he began rolling. Pain shot through his left arm the minute he hit the slope and his sword slipped from his hand. His body didn’t stop until he hit the pavement of the road under the bridge.
Cadan tried to pick himself up as quickly as possible, but his movements were sluggish from the fall. The ogre had not followed him over the side, which was a relief. He needed to find his sword and get back up there in case Jude and Madison were in trouble.
He heard a noise behind him. He whirled around and was confronted by several dark figures of various sizes. One figure appeared human and was flanked by two shapes at least twelve feet tall. There were several smaller forms closer to him. The dreams from the past week came back to Cadan in that instant, and he was reminded of that night in New York when he feared someone had been following him.
“Who are you?” Cadan called out.
“We are not here to harm you, Cadan.” The voice was male. Cadan didn’t recognize it.
“Then what do you want?”
“Our master Nolan Burrell requests your assistance on a certain matter.”
“Did you bring the ogre?”
“Why?” Cadan asked.
“To get you here,” the shadow answered.
“People could have died.”
“Oh, people will most certainly perish in the coming days, my dear boy. What lies ahead is for the benefit of magic kind only.”
“What does Nolan want?”
“Your help. You must come with us to discover specifics.”
“Why would I go with you without knowing first what you need. That would be stupid.”
“I am asking you nicely,” the man warned, his patience waning.
“And I am telling you a little less nicely.”
“No one denies our requests, boy. If you tell us no, then we have no choice but to force you.”
“How would you do that?”
The man laughed; the noise was deep from the throat. He raised his left hand in the air. Suddenly green ruhk-fire burst forth in all directions. The energy lit up the area under the bridge, and Cadan could see for the first time.
The man talking was older, with short graying hair and glasses. He was average height. The towering figures on each side of him looked just like the troll that had chased Cadan in Manhattan and the half-dozen shapes crouched in front were unmistakably goblins. All of them were growling and slowly moving in his direction.
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About The Author
Brian Dockins is the author of the DOMA: Department of Magic series. He has been writing since he could pick up a pen, and Betrayal of Magic is his first foray in to publishing. He currently lives in Texas, where he received his Bachelor of Arts in Historical Studies and a Masters in History at the University of Texas at Dallas.
To learn more about the author and the DOMA series, please check out his blog at www.departmentofmagic.blogspot.com or follow the Department of Magic on Facebook.