After a short flight across the water, the dragon flew on across the moonlit countryside for perhaps an hour.  The magician alternated his thoughts between wonder at the flying beast, concern for the boy, and a sick feeling in his stomach that would not go away.  Then he could tell by the growing smell of pine trees that they must be coming down to the ground.  The dragon landed softly next to a small stone church, and the magician slid down the creature’s sleek furry side.  A man stepped out from the door  of the church holding a candle, and walked towards them.  The magician’s eyesight had long since adjusted to the dark, and he quickly recognized the man.  It was his brother.  The man now stood in front of the magician and the dragon, and his priestly garb was clear even in the dim light.

“Ambrose,” said the magician, without emotion.

“Gaufridus,” came the reply.  “I am so glad that you have arrived.”

“Why am I here?” asked the magician, looking from his brother to the dragon.

“Do you want to help save Aithan?” asked the priest in return.

“Save him from what?  And why do you ask such foolish questions?”

“You must decide how badly you want to help him.  You must decide how much you are willing to give up.”

The magician grumbled at this.  He felt the sickness in his stomach spreading.  Without warning, he vomited.

“Do you know why you are sick, brother?”

“Leave me alone!”

“You do know.  You have known for some time, and for some time you have forced the knowledge out of your mind.”  The priest looked at the dragon, who’s gaze was fixed on the magician.

“You know that you are possessed by a devil, brother.  The devil is the source of what you think of as your magic powers.”

A terrible pain shot through the magician’s body and he collapsed to the ground.  He moaned and pulled himself into a ball.  “Go away!” he called, feebly.

“Will you allow me to exorcise the demon, brother?  This demon must be driven out if you are to help the boy.  It must be driven out if you are to live.”  The priest paused, and the magician began to wail and rock on the ground.

“You must decide, brother.”

The magician cried out and rolled about.  The candle in the priest’s hand flickered and went out, and he fell to his knees and began to pray.  Then the dragon carefully lifted the magician and cradled him as he sobbed.


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