The Curse of the Dacron Gem

Castle - Book Two

by J. H. Wear

When Lord Troy Sussex buys a recovered gem with unique powers, he believes it will free him from the spell that confines him to his castle. But the strange power the gem possesses has an unexpected result and the fate of Domum rests with a thief, a sex slave, and a warlock in exile.

Every action has consequences. When Gilbert steals the Dacron Gen and then sells it to Lord Troy Sussex, he initiates a disastrous chain of events. To maintain his youth, Lord Sussex is restricted to his castle by a poorly worded spell. In an attempt to give himself freedom he makes use of the Dacron Gem by using words from an old spell book. Overnight the world of Domum outside the castle property begins to revert back to a state before humans arrived.

Gilbert and Marisa, a sex slave of Lord Sussex’s castle, are convinced to make a perilous journey to a gateway to Earth to obtain help from a Council Madoc, a warlock in exile, to reverse the curse of the strange gem.


Chapter One 

The three-quarter moon peeked between the clouds after the late-night rain. Buildings of various shapes and sizes pressed against the road, not leaving room for a sidewalk. Some stone buildings needed repair, though the two and three-storey structures looked like they had been standing for centuries and could last another easily.

The adjoining roads and lanes weren’t even, twisting with rises and dips along them. Occasionally, they narrowed or widened as the buildings jostled for position. At intervals of about a block the cobbled road intersected with another, more or less, at right angles. Not all the roads had equal width. Some were wide enough to sport sidewalks while others were so narrow two people could barely pass one another. The late hour meant empty roads, except for one of the smaller side lanes where a small figure came out running.

Gilbert stumbled and slipped as he ran, trying to peer into the dark street behind him as he gasped for breath. The spirit that chased him didn’t have trouble seeing him nor did it slip like Gilbert did as it glided through the air like an ill wind.

The dwarf regretted the six ales he consumed earlier that slowed his reflexes, truly regretted he didn’t bring a protective crystal with him when he ventured out that night and now almost regretted the gem he stole from the headstone in the graveyard.

“Go aways! You’s dead now, don’ts need no gem.”

Gilbert, dressed in baggy brown pants and a leather vest over a green shirt, all rather worn and in serious need of cleaning, wasn’t sure if the ghost could do him any real harm; some could, some couldn’t. It depended on what power the ghost possessed, and he couldn’t find out if this one was bluffing or not until it was too late.

Gilbert rounded the corner, sliding on the cobblestones slick from mud and rain. The ghost, dark grey in a human shape, passed through the outside edge of the brick building and was within ten feet of the fleeing Gilbert. The ghost let out a low moan resulting in a shriek from Gilbert as he looked back to see how close his pursuer was. The backward glance caused him tripping on one of uneven cobblestones and sliding hard on the palms of his hands. The ghost looked as unforgiving as the cobblestones as it floated in front of him wrapped in a cloak over a dark pair of pants and shirt.

Gilbert rolled on his back and pointed a dirty, stubby finger at his adversary. “Lets me be, lets me be. I’s wants nothin’ to do with yous!”

The ghost reached out with its arms; its fingers stretched in length as it neared Gilbert. The dark grey figure was partially transparent except for the centre which remained impermeable.

Gilbert let out a yell and rolled away. “Leaves me alones!” He scrambled back on his feet and ran again. This time he resisted the temptation of looking behind him and headed straight down the street. After two o’clock in the morning, most businesses or buildings were closed, though Gilbert tried the doors on two rooming houses. But there was still one definite possibility, the inn and the adjoining tavern where he had consumed his ale and came up with the inspiration to rob the tombstone. It was several blocks away and though Gilbert normally didn’t do much physical activity he felt inspired to continue to run the rest of the way.

The door to the Greenrock Inn was unlocked, and Gilbert grunted with effort as he pushed the heavy black door open. Like most inns and places of business, the door had a pentagram painted inside a circle on the door. The symbol and similar ones prevented unwelcome spirits and creatures such as vampires from entering. Homes didn’t require the symbol since they weren’t open to the public and thus hadn’t an open invitation for any spirits to wander in. Simple symbols could not stop all spirits. To protect against stronger spirits, a more complex symbol had to be drawn and, for added protection, be sanctified by a wizard. That cost money and not all proprietors were willing to do so.

When Gilbert ran into the inn’s lobby and turned around, he could see the ghost stopping at the threshold, looking frustrated at its inability to move forward. Gilbert grinned at it and shoved the door closed.

“What be going on there?”

Gilbert whirled around and saw the innkeeper’s son standing behind the counter. The boy, perhaps fifteen years old, was trying to stifle a yawn as he woke up from sitting on a wooden chair. The counter sat by the stairs which led to the three levels of rooms above. To the left of the stairs and the counter was the tavern, now quiet from the evening’s festivities. It still smelled of spilt beer and whisky and a few chairs rested on their sides. To the right stood the dining room, holding a single long table of dark varnished wood with chairs on one side and a bench ran its length on the other. A kitchen and the innkeeper’s residence occupied the remaining space behind the counter’s back wall.

“Oh, nothin’ lad, nothin’ at all. I’ll just be going up to me room now.”

The boy watched him with scepticism. “What was it you closed the door on?”

“Oh that?” Gilbert casually made his way to the wood staircase. “Why me thinks that was just the wind blowing up some dust. Yes, indeed, just the wind.” Gilbert advanced up the steps and ignored the final question by the boy.

“What wind? I saw something out there that wasn’t dust.”

Gilbert closed the door to his room on the third floor with a huge sigh. The room was square of about nine feet along the side and with a seven and half foot ceiling. The yellow plaster barely hid the wood beams behind it along the walls, and the ceiling had a series of cracks exposing the attic above. The only furniture was a small table holding an unlit oil lamp and a bed where the centre of a mattress was slowly sinking toward the floor. Gilbert quickly went to the window to lock the shutters, and after a wary look around, sat down on the edge of the bed. He used a flint to light the lamp and examined his prize.

The gem was translucent yellow-orange and perhaps an inch in diameter. In the centre a tiny blue centre sparkled with its own light. The gem, known as the Dacron gem, had been lost for over a century. The last known person to possess it was a weak warlock, Dacron Thomac. Thomac used most of his knowledge to extend his life to over two centuries. He lived in moderate wealth, survived several marriages, fathered a dozen children and generally made his life comfortable. Unfortunately, like many warlocks, witches and others who practiced magic to extend their life, Thomac neglected to extend magic to protect his mental well-being and gradually became mad.

Rumours of what the gem and its crystal centre could do concentrated on moving back in time or teleporting. Gilbert wasn’t sure about the truth of the various stories of the gem, but he gathered enough information on Thomac to guess where he had hidden it. Thomac was jealous of his magic and his collection of enchanted items, choosing not to reveal their secret location as he approached his death. The Dacron gem he considered of special importance and vowed to take it and its secret to his grave.

Of course, after his death most of his enchanted items were found. Several thieves searched his grave for the missing gem to no avail and eventually the search for it was dropped. But Gilbert in a rare moment of measured thought when he was drinking considered the headstone itself might be the hidden spot for the gem. The gem was hidden underneath the family crest, a carved black stone attached to the headstone by iron bolts.

Gilbert pondered the use of iron bolts attached to the crest. Iron had the ability to dampen or neutralize magic spells and those iron bolts could hide the presence of the gem and its crystal centre. Inspired by this revelation Gilbert quickly downed his ale and hurried to the edge of town where the graveyard lay. He ignored the various spirits floating around and went straight to Thomac’s final resting spot.

Spirits generally left their bodies behind to go to better places, but a few would stay near their burial ground for a period of time. Fewer still would stay for decades like Thomac’s spirit did. His spirit didn’t stay constantly at the gravesite, even ghosts get bored, but the noise from Gilbert working the crest and then the gem being pried loose aroused his attention. Just as Gilbert managed to dig the gem free with his knife, Thomac’s spirit crossed the graveyard to defend his property. Despite being a warlock and knowing considerable magic, Thomac as a ghost didn’t possess much power and would have to depend on fear to get Gilbert to drop his gem. When Gilbert ran into the inn, Thomac was repelled by the simple spell on the door and left enraged at the theft as he drifted back to the graveyard.

Besides not being sure what the gem was supposed to do, Gilbert also didn’t know what spells could activate the gem. He pondered the gem in his hand and frowned, deciding even if he could find the correct spell it might not be safe to use it.

None of that really mattered. The reason Gilbert retrieved the gem—he didn’t like to use the word steal—was to sell it to someone else. He had a few customers in mind, though some weren’t available at the present time. Council Madoc, one of his better clients, was currently living in exile on Earth and was banned from the world of Domum until Lord Perry decreed he could return. Although Madoc was more inclined to barter for information, he would occasionally purchase some exotic items and the gem certainly qualified in that regard. It was risky for Gilbert to travel to Earth to find the warlock, and it would be more prudent to find a buyer on Domum.

Gilbert began to make a mental list of prospective buyers, mumbling adjectives attached to a few of the names. Gilbert gave a final peek at the gem and inserted it into a small pocket hidden on the inside of his shirt. He fell back onto the bed and the effects of the ale he consumed earlier plus the late hour pulled him into a deep sleep.

J.H. Wear - "Castle 2: The Curse of the Dacron Gem"



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