Jamie Harper walked down Peach Tree Lane in the outskirts of El Paso, Texas on a hot summer night. He was wearing his grey cloak for the first time on official Warden business, but it just made him feel hot. The houses on the street were McMansions built last decade, but many of them had For Sale signs and some were clearly abandoned. The address he had been given was still several houses away when he heard someone behind him say “What is Harry Dresden’s favorite restaurant?” Jamie stopped and turned on his heel to face a young Hispanic man with a sly smile who looked like he was in his early 20’s. He also wore a grey cloak with black BTU’s and appeared to be armed to the teeth. Jamie responded by saying “A rat infested Burger King near his….home.”
The Spaniard’s smile broadened and he then said “You must be Harper.”
“And you must be Warden Commander Carlos Ramirez.”
“Indeed the famous and most handsome Warden in North America and perhaps the world. Did Harry tell you why you are here?”
“No, only that you needed backup and all of your Warden’s are busy. He did say in his corny Gandalf voice that I would know why he sent me once I arrived.” Jamie said.
“What a nerd. Well, I have a bunch of little teenie girls who think they are a coven of witches and have read too many Secret Circle novels. They are about six houses down and have Enthralled some players from a local high school football team to be their personal servants.”
“What about outer defenses? Are there any Thresholds, Wards or Landmines in place?”
Carlos replied “No Thresholds, but they have thrown up a pretty good Ward that I think does have a Landmine included”.
“Ah, that is what Dresden was talking about. Wards are specialty of mine so I can take those apart for you. How many Warlocks are there?”
“There are five in this little group, but I am not sure each has violated a Law so no summary executions. Disable them if you can and then we can get all Judgy on them.”
The two Wardens then discussed a detailed plan of attack and moved towards the house where the girls were holding up.
Thirty minutes later a wet thud accompanied the head of Rosa Lopez hitting the hardwood floor of the abandoned house. “Jamie, you want to take a minute. I know the first one you…..judge can be pretty rough” Carlos said in a concerned voice. The muscle bound football players and other potential warlocks were spread throughout the room in various states of unconsciousness. Carlos had brought several pairs of handcuffs, blind folds and gags that would keep the others restrained till they could be questioned.
“This is not my first rodeo. I killed a few Warlocks before I became a Warden.” Jamie thought this sounded cold, but he did not want to appear weak in front of one of the other Wardens. In truth killing a teenager was not high on list of things he wanted to be doing tonight.
As Carlos was about to pull the next potential Warlock for questioning he saw something out of the corner of his eye. “I wonder….” he started to say as he picked up a wand that Rosa had used in the fight to launch a few spells at the Wardens before being over powered. The wand was about 13 inches long and clearly made of wood, but was a muted red color that was clearly not the wood’s natural color.
As Carlos picked up the wand Jamie sensed something amiss, but it was too late. Ramirez’s eyes rolled to the back of his head and fell to the floor unconscious.
Jamie rushed towards Carlos who sat up like he was a zombie in a horror movie. His eyes were rolled back up in his head and then a voice that was not his own began to speak. “Ohhhhh…..I have never had a Warden before. Oh, he is so young. And a virgin, that will be fun…….Oh pipe down in there I will give you your body back in just a moment. I am just inspecting what I have to work with.”
Jamie crossed his hands in front of him in preparation for a magical conflict. “Who are you spirit and what do you want?”
“Oh, another Warden….the one who killed that little girl. My thanks, she was completely clueless and weak minded.”
“Shall I just go ahead and tear you out of him or are you going to answer my questions.”
A female sigh escaped Carlos’ mouth. “Fine, yes, questions. First, I am not a spirit, I am an artifact. Previous owners have left something of themselves as a…..imprint on what makes up my….personality. I guess that would be a way of putting it. For the purposes of conversation you may call me Serena. May I stand up?”
“No you may not. You still have not explained what you want.”
“You really are no fun. I want what any tool wants, to be used. I hope you do not think I made that little girl take over the minds of those boys. She did that all on her own. In fact she failed to control me properly so I was not very useful to her. I can be good as well. Let me tell you about when I was owned by a healer named Cecilia….”
Jamie interrupted “Another time. So what will you do with Carlos?”
“Sadly, I do not think he is ready for what I have to offer. That being a virgin made defeating his mind too easy.….Oh, please do not be under the impression that I go around taking over Wizards, Sorcerers and Warlocks. I test them to see if they are worthy of my services. I may talk, but I am not entity in my own right. I just want to be in the hands of a Master. You look like an enterprising young Wizard. Do you think you are up to the challenge of possessing me?”
“If I say yes will you release Carlos? Also, how can I trust you? If you are not an entity you have no power to swear by.”
“I am a physical object. Once I am not in contact with a person any mental link we have is severed.”
“Sounds great in theory, but I will put a few safeguards in place.” Jamie then took out a blue piece of caulk and began drawing of a warding circle on the other side of the room.
“Oh, you did not trust me. So what sort of spell are you putting together? A ward of some sort?”
“Actually something of the reverse. It is a magical trap that you will be stuck in for a very long time if you try anything I do not like.”
“But what if I win? This does not seem fair.”
“Who said anything about fair? I am a Wizard after all. Also, I suspect that you would respect me a little less if I did not take such precautions.”
“An excellent point oh so devious Warden. I guess my options are this or try to fight you which would be uninteresting. Very well I shall wait.”
Ten minutes later Jamie stood in the circle with his spell completed. Without preamble he thrust out his hand and telekinetically pulled the wand from Carlos’ hand at a high rate of speed into his own. As soon as the wand crossed over the circle the spell locked into place trapping Jamie and the wand inside.
What ensued was a battle of wills with the wand flooding Jamie’s mind with images of it’s former owners including a Black Court Vampire, a Disciple of Kemmler, and a French Healer.
These memories shattered on the mental wall Jamie had brought up. He retaliated with images of his fights with demons, vampires and spirits. He showed the wand how he defeated the spirit Sycorax during Prospero’s performance of The Tempest. He then broke the wand’s defenses with images of how he killed Eric McCulloch, defeated a goblin in single combat and did not back down from the threats of the The Erlking’s Daughter.
What seemed like hours passed in a few seconds and Jamie opened his eyes. The wand was still in his hand and he knew he had won. The wand voice echoed in his mind “Oh you are so much more than a Warden. You are…complex. Oh Master, we are going to have so much fun together.”