Now, to get on with the plan, she thought. To begin with, I need to strengthen powers I already have. With the container of web cradled in her right arm, Swirl made her way through cold stone hallways that twisted and turned deep into the center of her prison fortress. At the end, a solid wooden door stretched from floor to ceiling and wall to wall. In the center, a long brass chain dangled from a gargoyle’s mouth. Carved into the surface, creatures, human, amphibian and other reached to her, pleading. Swirl grabbed a massive link and jerked. The door swung in to another hallway that grew increasingly smaller and smaller until another door, barely as tall as she, added another blockade. A soft tap of her left thumb and it opened to her laboratory. A sizzle wrapped around for identification, stretched to the ceiling, then settled gently to her shoulders when the spell she kept in place recognized her.
A protection spell locked the one refuge they hadn’t been able to take. This and everything in her power kept it under her control. On a high bench, several beakers overflowed with vapor. Two large crystal containers glowed, one crimson and one yellow. Popping sparkles ran over the top of a third and sizzled when they touched leaving more marks on the already scarred surface of the table. A sweet floral fragrance filled the air from the candles in the wall sconces.
Swirl coughed and forced herself to draw in slow steady breaths, but that did little good, so she picked up the beaker and threw it against the wall. Chunks of light disintegrated, and dark flooded in. “Now calm down, she said. Hatred burned deep, but uncontrolled it would do her no good. It’s time… Pointing at the wall where the beaker had shattered, she twisted her fingers around, from palm down to palm up. The shards of glass gathered and reformed into the original container. Right hand extended, she aimed and a stream of popping light flowed out to refill it. Illumination grew. Brighter than before, it hurt eyes that had grown used to the dark. Swirl sighed. Pain calmed anger that twisted in her belly.
Memory triggered another plan. Swirl chuckled. Something she’d used in the past to rob Finny of a good night’s sleep would help now. With the cup returned to its place on the table, Swirl held out both hands. “Come to me, sweetness,” she called with a voice as silken as the thread produced by this friend. She used the pointer finger on her right hand to add a gesture to her request. With her left, she tapped out a rhythm on the table. The tune she longed to sing wouldn’t come out of her mouth, but that didn’t mean she couldn’t enjoy it until… “Ha ha.” Again, she laughed and stared into the depths of the ceiling above.
A solid form descended and a graceful shadow grew on the wall.
Swirl fought to contain her glee. If she moved too fast, her friend would retreat back to her lair. It would take much longer to coax her out, time Swirl didn’t have.
The shadow grew and grew, until in full form, a massive green spider, with limbs twice as long as Swirl’s fingers, settled on the furthest corner of the table from the popping light. Fur covered, one leg reached to touch Swirl’s left hand. “It’s been a long while since you’ve needed my assistance,” said a silky feminine voice. “Who are we going to terrify now?” Devious enjoyment caressed the words.