This is part of the adventures of the wizard Edwyn Le Fay. It is strongly suggested that you read the chapters in this order:
The Dark House
The House On The Cliff
Mr Naith and Mr Naith
Searching For Gideon De Ville
The Evil Plans of Gideon De Ville
Edwyn Le Fay At The Trismegistus Club
An Enforced Vacation
Edwyn Le Fay In Oxford
Back To London
The House Of Edward Lang
The Captive Edwyn Le Fay
The Other Lair Of Gideon De Ville
The Human Infernal Device
De Ville’s Master Plan
The End Of De Ville
Return To The Dark House
The End Of De Ville
Edwyn Le Fay had stepped into the shadows of the tomb and, from there, into the world of Shadow.
All shadows are connected. That was what that shadow construct of Edward Lang had told him. Le Fay had taken in everything which had been said. But it was different listening to somebody explain Shadow Magick and to using it himself. Still, though, he had already used Shadow Magick successfully, to get to Highgate Cemetery (and elsewhere) in the first place. He knew that he could do this.
Edwyn had concentrated as he had stepped forwards, using all of his talent, and he had successfully conjured a shadow door. He had stepped once more into the world of shadows.
The place looked the same as before, confusing overlapping shadows – but, this time, of tombs and gravestones. He was in the place in the world of shadows equivalent to Highgate Cemetery.
Edwyn knew where he wanted to go to, first, and that was back to the house which had once belonged to Edward Lang. He tried walking forwards, but it felt as though he was walking through treacle. Then he recalled that this was not a physical place, but one of chiaroscuro and Magick. He could not impose physical actions on the world of shadow. He had to use that part of his mind that formed the thoughts of Magick.
Le Fay visualised the shadows of the door on the wall of the cellar, the door which he had bravely stepped through. That was all he had to do, to find his body whisked forward, faster than he could think. Within a moment he was stepping out of the shadow door, back into the cellar of the house.
He began breathing again. He had briefly held his breath while moving through the world of shadows. Was there air in that place? Edwyn Le Fay doubted it. But he had not had any problems while learning his Shadow Magick. Still, though, Le Fay found it to be a scary place. He did not think that he would ever get used to that strange shadow world which Lang had discovered.
He checked his body, but it was all there. He had not left any of it behind.
He lit a match, bringing light to the cellar. He really wished that he had an ever-burning taper at the moment. Using matches and candles was not the same.
The candle which he had used before had burned down to just a dried puddle of wax. Le Fay got out another candle and lit it. He dripped a bit of wax on the cellar floor, and tried setting the candle down. But he had not set the candle correctly. It fell over, and began to roll towards the dynamite.
Le Fay quickly snatched the candle back up. Open flames and the dynamite were two things which did not go together. He used a bigger blob of wax, and held the candle until he was sure that it wasn’t going to fall over.
Then he sat down on the dank, damp floor of the cellar, trying to think what he was going to do next. Once again Gideon De Ville had escaped, using his Portal Magick to disappear into thin air. Le Fay suspected that the police would never catch De Ville, and that the wizard would always use that Magick to get out of danger. Le Fay could not rely on Steel to catch the Black Magician.
Le Fay realised that if anybody was going to stop De Ville then it would be him – and this was something which he would have to do, and do soon, after he had, once again, helped stop one of De Ville’s plans coming to fruition. De Ville would definitely want him dead, after stopping the evil wizard in Highgate Cemetery.
Le Fay realised that he would have to kill De Ville. That was the only way that he would ever be safe. That realisation was a shock, as Le Fay was by no means a murderer. He did not want to go around killing things, especially if those things were human beings, even human beings like Gideon De Ville.
It was either Le Fay or De Ville, though. The younger wizard realised that only one of them was going to survive this. He much preferred that it would be him.
Le Fay tried to think what he was going to do. The wizard now knew Shadow Magick. But, even with that advantage, Le Fay thought that De Ville was still the more powerful wizard, by far.
Then, suddenly, fatigue hit him, as the excitement of the past few hours wore off. He had conjured shadow doors all over London. He had cast far more spells than he should have, and it had exhausted him.
Le Fay managed to sit down in the cold cellar, rather than just faint away, his back to a dank wall. Then he closed his eyes, and he was asleep.
When Le Fay woke up he was, once more, in darkness, as the candle had gone out while he had been asleep. He felt cold and damp. A cellar was not really the sort of place where you wanted to rest. He shivered. He hoped that he was not coming down with a chill.
He stood up, lit a match, and put another candle upright in a blob of wax. He had gone to sleep not knowing what to do. But, surprisingly, he had woken up with a plan in his mind. It might not be a particularly sensible plan. But it was a plan, nonetheless.
Le Fay undid the dynamite from the string which it had been tied up in. Could he take a stick of dynamite with him into the shadow world? He did not see why not. It was not like he was using Portal Magick. This was an entirely different branch of Magick, something which, of living wizards, only he knew. If he was wrong, though, he was probably about to blow himself up.
Le Fay paused. He knew what he had to do, and he thought that he knew where he had to go, a memory having come floating up to the fore. He knew where De Ville was hiding out. Or at least he thought that he did. He would soon find out if he was correct or not. He would also discover if all shadows truly were connected or not, or if there was a limit as to how far he could travel.
First he would have something to eat, though. He was starving. All of that excitement, of before, had left him with an appetite. But Edwyn Le Fay was not going to have the chance to eat any breakfast,
He heard voices, talking loudly. The voices had to be in the hall at the top of the stairs.
“Have you got your gun, Long Larry?” one voice asked. Le Fay, even through the cellar door, recognised that voice. It was the voice of one of the two thugs who had twice abducted him.
“Yeah, I’ve got the irons, see? I know what De Ville said – don’t take any chances with this one, not any more, but snuff him as soon as we see him. Well, De Ville might have failed, with all of his fancy Magick, but no wizard can survive havin’ a bullet put in his chest. I’d like to see this little wizard laugh that one off…”
The voices moved away. They were searching the house – Le Fay had no idea how hey had known that he had come here – but the fact that they had not come straight down into the cellar gave him a couple of minutes in which to prepare for them.
Perhaps once Le Fay might have tried to sneak up and out of the cellar, and get away. But he was in a fighting mood, this morning. Besides, knowing his luck, the two men were in the hall, with a gun trained on the cellar door, waiting for him to show himself.
He picked up another stick of dynamite, and held it in his hands. He waited, crouched next to the candle. He waited for the cellar door to open.
The cellar door opened quicker than Le Fay had expected. But there was not really all that much house to search, was there? Just two rooms downstairs, and two rooms downstairs… and the cellar.
Le Fay lit the fuse on the dynamite, using the candle flame. He threw the dynamite onto the floor, next to the other eighteen sticks. This had not been the original plan. But Le Fay was now making things up as he went along.
“’Ere, Larry, there’s a light on down here. He must be in the cellar. De Ville was right.”
The two thugs ran down the steps, expecting to find Edwyn Le Fay cowering in one corner of the cellar. But Le Fay was gone. He had conjured a shadow door to get out of there.
“He’s not here.” Larry said, staring around the cellar. There was absolutely nowhere to hide. Just a lone candle which had been stuck to the floor.
Then Long Larry looked down at his feet. He noticed the dynamite. The fuse was almost gone.
“Run!” Long Larry shouted. But that was the last thing that he ever said, as he and his compatriot was blown into very small pieces, as the dynamite went off, turning the former house of Edward Lang into rubble.
Edwyn Le Fay was in the shadow world. He did not see or feel the explosion. But, looking back, he saw the shadows change where he had been. But that did not matter. He was not going back there. It meant, with the destruction of the cellar wall, that nobody else would ever discover the secrets of Edward Lang. But that, perhaps, was for the best. In the wrong hands Shadow Magick could easily be used for evil.
Le Fay concentrated, trying to recall what the shadows had looked like when he had gone on that trip through the sewers of Paris. That was where he was headed for, because he believed that he had briefly glimpsed Julius the gorilla down there. He thought that De Ville was hiding under Paris.
It made sense to Le Fay that De Ville might be down there. One secret lair had been beneath London, the greatest city in the world. Why not have another secret lair underneath one of the greatest cities on the continent?
Le Fay concentrated, and shadows flew past him. He was in a world of darkness, with very little light. He should have cast the spell which he had learned from the Naith twins’ spellbooks. But that would have to wait, now, until he was in Paris.
What would happen, though, if he could not find his way into Paris? Could he become lost in this world of shadows? Or would he simply be ejected from this other world?
The journey to Paris was, by far, the longest journey which Le Fay had yet down through the land of shadows. The journeys across London had seemed to be almost instantaneous. But this wasn’t. It seemed like hours to him although, in reality, it was only minutes. Perhaps it did take hours as time did not pass the same way in the shadow world as it did elsewhere.
Then he was out of a world composed entirely of shadows and into an entirely dark world. It was pitch black were he was. But the smell informed Le Fay that he had come to the right place. He was in the sewers beneath Paris.
He listened, first. But everything was silent. He felt that it was safe to have a little light, as the two spells which he knew to modify his vision – one learned from the Naiths, and the other from the shadow construct – did not function in darkness which was complete.
He lit his ever-burning taper with a word of Magick. Its sickly green glow illuminated where he was. Yes, he was down in the Parisian sewers somewhere. He did not know where. But he recognised the style of sewer architecture from when he had taken a tour of the sewers on that Wednesday, weeks ago.
He wished that he had paid more attention to the place. But he had not known, on that trip, that he would ever have to search the sewers for a secret lair of Gideon De Ville.
What had the guide told him, as he had gone on the trip, concerning how big the sewers were? He had said that the sewers were four hundred miles in length. Le Fay realised that he might not find De Ville in a single night. In fact, if he was to search all of the sewers, then he might have to spend weeks searching the place.
That was not a good idea. It would give Gideon De Ville time to regroup, and perhaps to strike again at London. No, whatever was going to happen, it had to be done now. But how on earth could he search four hundred miles of sewers? He did not know.
Then, suddenly, Le Fay had an idea. He wished that he had had the idea before leaving London, though, as his idea would involve him returning to London, and to Highgate Cemetery. He was not sure that he had the energy to go back to London. Using the shadow world to travel so far took it out of him. But what choice did he have?
Edwyn Le Fay sighed. Perhaps he should simply leave the country, and emigrate to the New World, or something. Canada offered a great amount of land in which to hide. Except that he knew that, wherever he went in the world, Gideon De Ville would eventually track him down and kill him. De Ville was not the sort of person to let bygones be bygones.
Le Fay groaned, with thoughts of how tired he would feel. He put out his taper (as he was not sure how it would function in a world of shadows). Then he summoned his courage, once more, and entered the shadow world again.
The journey was as long as ever, as shadows flitted past Le Fay. He had the image in his mind of where he wanted to go to, and that was enough. Eventually he came to a stop; he was in the shadow world equivalent of Highgate Cemetery.
The shadows looked different than before, though. There did not seem to be as much darkness. But he could see shadows in the doorways of mausoleums. He could step out of one of those. He did just that.
Immediately he was dazzled by the sunshine. He had spent so long in semi-darkness and darkness, of late (or that was the way that he felt) that he had almost forgotten what sunshine looked like.
At the same time he was hit by physical fatigue – something which he had not experienced in the shadow world. Confused by the bright sunshine, struck by tiredness, Le Fay fell forwards onto his hands and knees. He stayed there, gasping for breath, trying to stop his head swimming.
“Are you alright, my dear?” a kindly voice asked. Edwyn looked up, and to his side, to see a little old lady, all dressed in black, looking down at him with some concern.
“Yes.” le Fay replied.
“Up you come, then.” Edwyn Le Fay was helped to his feet by a woman old enough to be his grandmother.
“Thank you. I felt… a little faint. But I am quite fine now.” Edwyn said. His face reddened in embarrassment, at having to be assisted by a sweet little old lady. He thanked her again, and then moved away, to get his bearings.
He was in Highgate Cemetery. The sun was high overhead, so it must now be the middle of the day. There was no trace of the battle of the previous night, apart from the fact that some of the graves in the central area had a newly dug appearance. Steel and his men must have reburied all of the skeletons which De Ville had animated with his Necromantic spell.
Le Fay went to the centre of the area, where De Ville and Julius the gorilla had been standing. Le Fay searched the ground, hoping that his trip back to Highgate Cemetery had not been in vain.
At first he thought that it had been. Then he found what he had been searching for – a single hair which he hoped had come from Julius the gorilla. Like found like, and Le Fay was not bad at the art of mystical detection. He hoped that, once he was back in the sewers beneath Paris, that he would be able to use the hair to lead him straight to De Ville. Le Fay was hoping that De Ville had not thought that he might be traced in that manner, and that he had taken no mystical protections against it.
He put the hair in his wallet, taking great care that he should not lose it. Then, making sure that nobody was watching him, he stepped back into the shadows thrown by the entrance of a mausoleum and, from there, back into the realm of shadows which had been discovered by Edward Lang.
Edwyn Le Fay, for the second time that day, went all of the way from London to Paris, a living man in a world otherwise only composed of shadows. He stepped out of the shadow world into the Parisian sewers. Where he promptly fainted, exhausted by his mystical exertions so far.
Le Fay slowly came back to consciousness. He looked around, wondering where he was, and why everything was black. Then he remembered what had happened.
He stood up. He still felt a little shaky, and his head hurt on one sound. Le Fay feared that he might have banged it when he had fainted. He ran his fingers through his hair on that side, but could not feel any blood, although his head was sore. He’d live.
He felt around in his pockets for his ever-burning taper. That could be lit with a single word of Magick; but one which would not tire him the least, as the Magick of the spell was built into the ever-burning taper.
The weird green glow illuminated the area around Le Fay. He was on one of the raised walkways, which had been constructed so that visitors to the system would not have to wade through the sewage itself.
Le Fay looked around. There was nobody else down there with him. He pulled out his wallet, and carefully retrieved the hair which Le Fay. He held it between the fingers of one hand, his mythometer in the other. Then Le Fay cast a spell of detection.
Immediately the needle on the mythometer moved. There was some gorilla hair close by, presumably still attached to a gorilla. The spell Le Fay had cast should seek out the greatest amount of the substance. Le Fay hoped that the mythometer needle was not pointing towards some gorilla in a Parisian zoo.
The hunt was on! Le Fay followed the needle of the mythometer, always trying to go in the direction that the needle was pointing to, when it was possible. Several times, though, he had to backtrack, as the sewers took him away from the direction which he wanted to go in. in all he spent some four hours walking through the sewers, slowly tracing his quarry.
Eventually, though, he was in front of an area of sewer wall which the needle pointed to, and where the needle moved if he walked even a few feet along. He had to be somewhere the other side of the other secret lair of Gideon De Ville.
The sewer wall looked no different to that of the rest of the sewers. There were no signs of any alterations. But, then again, Le Fay had not expected the entrance to be obvious. It would not really be a secret door if it was.
Le Fay studied the wall. He expected it to open in the same way as the one in London. It would be easier to remember, that way, if you pressed the same sequence of bricks for each one. But which three bricks? How could you tell? It would have to be bricks which Julius, the gorilla, would be able to recall.
There were three bricks which looked a slightly lighter shade. They were also slightly smoother to the touch. It had to be them.
Le Fay gathered his courage. He would only have one chance at this. It would all have to be over very quickly, one way or the other. Either his trick would work, and he would get De Ville. Or De Ville would see through the lie, and there would be a Magickal battle, which Le Fay would lose, and lose quickly. Just a few minutes and he would either be free of the Black Magician, or he would be dead.
He was scared. He didn’t want to do this. He wanted to go and hide somewhere, and forget all about Black Magicians.
He pressed the three bricks in sequence. A secret door opened, revealing a passage beyond. Le Fay rushed down the passage before he changed his mind.
The passage led to the room in which Le Fay had been in, once before, when he had been geased by De Ville to blow up himself and the Trismegistus Club. De Ville was seated in a chair, reading some old book. Julius was sat on the floor beside the chair.
De Ville shot up out of the chair as soon as he saw Le Fay, the book falling to the floor. Julius stood up, beating on his chest with his powerful fists.
“Le Fay! How the devil did you find me?” Gideon De Ville shouted, clearly shocked and surprised. He was obviously caught off guard. That was what Le Fay had wanted. Everything depended on not giving De Ville time to think, but to get the man to panic.
“He’s in here, Steel!” Le Fay shouted out. This was, without doubt, the most dangerous part of his plan to deal with De Ville, as it depended entirely on a bluff. Le Fay had to convince De Ville that Detective Inspector Steel was just outside the room, ready to burst in and deal with De Ville. If De Ville did not believe Le Fay, then the younger wizard would be dead.
Le Fay looked back to the passage which he had just come down, just for a second, as though expecting Steel to come charging down and into the room. That was the little touch which sold the lie to De Ville.
“And I am gone, fool!” De Ville shouted, raising his arms to cast a Portal Magick spell, to whisk him and Julius to safety – perhaps even to a third sanctuary, knowing De Ville.
Le Fay had seen De Ville cast the spell. He knew exactly when the spell activated – which was important, as timing was everything, here. If Le Fay mistimed things then De Ville would get away, to start developing evil plans anew.
Right at the very last moment, just as the spell was activating – and too late to cancel it – Le Fay reached into his coat and threw the unlit stick of dynamite at De Ville. If what De Ville had said was true, then the fact that it had not been lit would not make any difference at all.
The dynamite disappeared just as De Ville and Julius disappeared. But the portal could not have closed entirely, as Le Fay heard a faint “No!” from somewhere that was neither here nor there. It was followed immediately by a muffled explosion; and, out of a hole in the air no larger than a man’s fist, gore splattered out, seemingly out of thin air. A small amount of it spattered the right side of Le Fay’s face. The wizard hardly even noticed.
He stood there, staring. He could hardly believe that he had succeeded. Gideon De Ville was dead – although where his remains were would never be discovered. Perhaps his remains no longer existed in the world, but were in that place between places.
For a few minutes Le Fay felt nothing at all. Then a wave of mixed emotions swept over him – guilt at having killed another human being, however evil; but tempered with an overwhelming sense of relief. He was safe.
Le Fay collapsed into the seat in which De Ville had sat. He felt physically, mentally and Magickally exhausted. Also he had just killed a man. But if there had been any other way…
Le Fay was asleep in seconds.
Le Fay awoke, and looked around, some hours later. For a few seconds he wondered where he was. But he had slept in a few odd and uncomfortable places of late.
Then he recalled just what had occurred. He was in De Ville’s Parisian sanctuary, and the Black Magician and his pet gorilla were dead.
It was all over, near enough. But Le Fay supposed that he had better tell Detective Inspector Steel that De Ville was no longer a problem. Although why he should bother he wasn’t exactly sure, considering the way that Steel had treated him. He supposed that he was just tying up a few loose ends.
Le Fay saw the book on the floor. He picked it up to look at it. It was a copy of Daemonolatreiae libri tresby Nicholas Remy, a work on witchcraft and Diabolism. Le Fay had heard of the book, but never actually seen a copy. It was definitely going to go in his research library – and any other similar books in this Parisian sanctuary. Anything would be welcome. He doubted if there would be that much which was interesting, though. Knowing his luck, De Ville’s grimoires had been seized when they had gone into his London lair.
He could examine any such books which were here at his leisure, however. He wanted to get the meeting with Steel over and done with first of all, though.
A little later that day Le Fay walked into Steel’s office in London.
“Le Fay! Was it you who sent me that message last night?” Steel barked out. “I see that you did not bother to stay to bury the dead, once my men had defeated them. Scared, were you?”
Le Fay was not about to have a long argument with the police detective.
“Gideon De Ville is dead.”
“I said Gideon De Ville is dead. He blew himself up. An accident involving dynamite and Portal Magick. I saw it. You don’t have to worry about him any more.”
“What? Where was this? What has been going on?”
“Somewhere in Paris.” Le Fay turned to go. He had told Steel what the policeman needed to know.
“You haven’t had tome to get to Paris and back.” Steel said, standing up. He looked angry. It should have been him who had killed De Ville, he felt, rather than having some pale and weal wizard tell him that the criminal was dead. It wasn’t fair.
“Nevertheless he is dead, and that was where the incident occurred.” Le Fay said. He opened the door to Steel’s office.
“And what about that explosion in Blackchapel?” Steel shouted, finally losing his temper. “I suppose that you didn’t know anything about that, either! Two men were killed and a house was demolished. Was that you, Le Fay? And you’ve got dried blood on his face!”
Le Fay did not answer. He walked out of the police station before steel threatened to charge him with something which he hadn’t done – or, in this case, with something which he had done.
About a minute later Steel ran out of the police station, intending to quiz Le Fay some more about just what had been going on over the past couple of days. But there was no sign of the wizard. He had stepped into a darkened alley and vanished, his adventures finished for now.