12. Consumed

Lord Bradán awoke to find herself atop a circular stone disc inscribed with floral patterns and stick figures. Magical winds encircled her, roiling with heat and whipping about quickly enough to set the air alight with small licks of fire. She looked ahead of her to find Catalina with her arms raised and her eyes closed. She chanted as she waved her arms about, as if stirring the magical winds with the motions.

Lord Bradán stood up and attempted to step off the disc, only to find it impossible. An invisible barrier prevented him from leaving.

“It’s you, the Spaniard,” the lord said as he rose to his feet. “What is the meaning of this?”

“Ah, you’re awake,” Catalina said slyly as she opened her eyes.

“Why are you doing this?” Lord Bradán asked.

“As subjects of King Pelles of Listeneise,” she seethed. “You must pay.”

Lord Bradán blinked.

“No,” he corrected her. “We are subjects of King Ban of Benoic!”

“Do not lie to me, Lord Bradán,” Catalina continued. “You are a member of the Fisher King’s court, are you not?”

“No!” the lord insisted. “We are not!”

“I recognize the symbol from your daughter’s gift to my son,” Catalina said. “That talisman had the symbol of King Pelles upon.”

Sweat streamed down Lord Bradán’s forehead. Wisps of flames whirled dangerously close to his body. He found it difficult to breathe without singeing his lungs.

“What talisman?” Lord Bradán asked, confused as he looked about at the fiery winds spinning about him. “What are you going to do with me?”

Lady Viviane arrived, along with many other villagers who had come to see the source of such a great, black pillar of smoke.

“The same thing I intend to do to your daughter,” she said. “I saw good in my dear husband Balgaire. But your king sent him to fight the Fomorians, and to his death. When I took my sons south to Logres, I made a vow to kill every single one of the Fisher King’s lackeys, and destroy all that they held dear.”

Lord Bradán drew his heavy sword and swung it against the wall of flames. The metal blade melted instantly. Then, he made a last ditch effort to douse the flames by summoning a liquid serpent. It rose up from the earth and curled up around him, roaring as steam rose from its watery scales.

“Father!” Lady Viviane cried out as the villagers held her back for her own safety.

“It’s hopeless!” Catalina shouted. “Your magics can’t save you now, Son of Danu!”

The flames intensified around Lord Bradán.

“Balgaire,” Catalina exclaimed as she lifted her arms. “This is for you!”

“No!” Lady Viviane screamed.

“Run, Viviane!” Lord Bradán cried out.

The flames around the lord burst into great fiery plumes that were so bright, they forced everyone around them to wince and cover their eyes. The liquid serpent erupted into a giant plume of white steam. The heat that spilled out from the blaze washed over the witnesses of Lord Bradán’s death.

The enraged Lady Viviane was dragged away by the fleeing villagers.Reports of the incident quickly reached Camelot. And so, Sir Percival, Sir Lanceor, and Sir Ulfius went from the castle to locate Catalina and bring her to justice. The latter was particularly good at finding people. The knights left the Isle of St. Catherine, and galloped down to where Catalina’s house, cautious in their approach knowing that the woman was capable of using magic. They found the woman walking home, carrying large bags of food, when the knights apprehended her. She smirked, unimpressed, as she dropped the bags and surrendered with both hands in the air.

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