The ritual complete, the tattered old man limped forward and placed his hands across the cheek of burnt out flesh before him: then with unabashed fury shattered the corpse with a tremendous kick and bellow. Crows sprang from the limbs of the orange trees surrounding the silo. Another attempt, another failure. It is well that we have moved to this desolate post. The newspaper headline from the afternoon subscription still rankled his nerves; they had been far too public about these experiments.
“Forgive me, Master,” a bum in a bandana cringed and gesticulated, “the evocation is in need of a more powerful talisman, if it is to be successful. Perhaps something of the Drachr’s from this world would help lure him to us.”
“I must discover the method that he uses,” eyes fired fiercely, “He manipulates the portal with such ease. Do you really believe there is a way to evoke such a man? Can it be done?”
“If my Lord would allow for one more endeavor in the spot I have chosen,” drool ran from his eye, “I was almost able to regain the shape, so close; but, I believe we have found a surrogate.”
“Then how do you explain your failures,” the full majesty of the emperor emerged from the frame of the sodden bum, “when you have not one success to be a braggart round.”
“Forgive me Lord,” a bum slavored and bowed. “As I said, there is a surrogate force at work which deviates from the proscribed path.”
“And what is that?” the fury abated for the moment.
“I do not know, Cesarz,” A slight nod of the head, “perhaps the Drachr has gotten wind of your scheme, countered our efforts. He appears to be ahead of us at every turn.”
“I will return shortly and call an audience,” the Cesarz stroked his chin, “after I have dealt with some unfinished business.” The power in his limbs belied the frail decimated body he had subjugated.
“Clean up this mess!”