The Wizard responded by saying “I know exactly where I am going. I am a Wizard of the White Council and I am here for an audience with the one called Eli”.
The redneck with the gun says “So you are from the Klan?”
The Wizard coldy responds by saying “No, I am not a member of the Ku Klux Klan. Just tell Eli I am here to discuss his powers and an offer.”
This last bit was a complete lie, but it would probably get Jamie past this beast of a man without a conflict. The heavyset hick tells Jamie to wait and pulls out a cell phone and takes a few steps away while calling someone. He comes back a minute later and says the Jamie can proceed to the Church.
Pallas had informed Jamie that Eli and his flock were living in an old abandoned church that dated back to the 1930’s. Much of the wood was rotten and the windows were covered not in glass, but cloth that blew in the wind. The Wizard saw all of this as he brought his car to a stop and assessed the situation he had put himself in. Outside of the Church stood two more men armed with automatic weapons. As Jamie stepped out of his car a teenager in a navy sport coat and tan slacks emerged from the entrance of the Church.
In an exaggerated voice that sounded like it was from a movie about religious revival the young man said “I am Eli, pastor of The Church of the Righteous. Who might you be sir?”
The Wizard appreciated the formal tone and planned to use it to his full advantage. “I am Jamie Harper, Wizard of the White Council. I am here to discuss an incident that you and your followers were involved in earlier.” Jamie began looking at Eli’s followers and noticed some of them had fresh bandages presumably from the fight with The Freakshow. The Wizard also noticed something that was not quite right with the movement of these followers, but nothing he could put a finger on.
“Are you a Christian Mr. Harper or are you a worshipper of Satan or some sort of false idols?” the boy preacher asked.
Jamie responded with “I worship none of the things you mentioned, but I have seen enough to understand the power of your God. If you would invite me inside I would be happy to talk about this further”.
Eli said in return “Why yes, Mr. Harper please enter our place of worship.”
Amateur Jamie thought. Now any Thershold the Church might have would have no effect on Jamie’s magic. Despite the bad condition of the Church there were several new pews that were clearly new additions. As Jamie entered the Church Eli walked to his pulpit from which he could address The Wizard as if he was some sort of supplicant.
Jamie took start of the conversion by saying “It sounds like you had an interesting meal at the Waffle House earlier”.
Eli responded with “We were attacked by pagan followers of the Devil himself, however we forced them to retreat in cowardice. Do you know these demon followers, Wizard?”
“In fact I do” responded the Wizard. “I have already questioned them about this incident and found they have not violated The Laws of Magic. Are you familiar with the Laws?”
The preacher shouted “I obey no laws but those of the Lord. No man can supersede the Word of God.”
“I think Jesus and your God would rather approve of these Laws to govern the use of powers such as those that you wield.”
What followed was a discussion of the Seven Laws of Magic as if it was being conducted on the floor of the Roman Senate. Eli gestured wildly as if he was giving a sermon while Jamie slowly moved paced around the room as he lectured and great length about each Law. While this discussion was happening Jamie began to notice all of Eli’s followers exhibiting the strange movements he had first noticed outside. Something in the way they raised their left arm, swayed in rhythm with each other…..
After about 30 minutes of discussion Jamie had discussed six of the Laws in a somewhat random order. However, early in the conversation he decided to leave a specific Law for the end. Now that he was at the end however the Wizard knew that discussing this Law was not needed. Jamie was certain that Eli had already violated it and was ready to leave. A Warden would be much better handling this situation.
As Jamie wrapped up his lecture Eli said “Wizard Harper, I believe at the start of this discussion you said there were Seven Laws of Magic, but you only told me six. Did you forget one during our little talk?”
Jamie turned as he was walking toward the exit and said “Yes, there is now that you mentioned it. The 4th Law of Magic is Never Enthrall Another. I think we both know you have already violated this law at least six times based on the number of men I see here. Have you noticed every time you make that wild hand motion with your left hand that each of them raises their left hand?”
Eli exclaimed in his sermon tone “I have shown them God’s love and helped them lead righteous lives. God has touched these men through me and I shall lead them. If that is a violation of your Law then I reject your Laws as the work of Satan himself.”
At this point Jamie knew that he would have to lie his way out of this or that he would have to fight his way out. “That is unfortunate for you. The Laws are not selective based on someone’s feelings or even religion. It applies to all. Also, I know other followers of your God. I think they would disagree strongly with what you have done. Now it seems that you were in ignorance of the Law and that does count for something. There is also a legal system that can be worked through. I would say you might have a pretty good case. Now I will take my leave and begin these legal proceedings on your behalf.”
Eli responded by saying “I don’t think so. I think it would be best if you stayed here.” Eli then raised his left hand and made a finger gun gesture. Then all six of his followers pulled out guns and pointed them at the Wizard.
Several hours later another Wizard approached the Church, but it was daylight now. This Wizard was also well dressed but also wore a bowler hat which he removed as he stepped through the Church entrance. Inside this Wizard observed pews that had been blown apart and several of the load bearing wooden posts that were somewhat shaky. Near the entrance six men laid on the ground with their eyes wide open but with no sense of awareness. The Wizard in the bowler could tell they were still alive, but no one was home.
“Nice to see you Chandler. I did not expect them to send you.” came a voice from the right side of the Church. Sitting with his back against the wall was Jamie Harper. He had strips of cloth shoved up each nostril as if to stop a constant nose bleed. Also part of his dress shirt had a large hole that clearly had been caused by some sort of fire. Warden Chandler could also see that the skin visible through this hole was slightly burnt and that Jamie was covered in blood.
Chandler replied in his crisp British accent “Mr. Harper, top of the morning to you. This is quite a mess. I assume these gentlemen with empty eyes are the reason for your call?”
“In fact they are. They were enthralled by a preacher named Eli and have been in this state since….well see for yourself. He is towards the front” replied Jamie.
Chandler walked to the front of the church and found the body of a slightly overweight teen. The left side of his skull had been bashed in and much of the left side of his face had been mutilated by the blow. A bloody shaft of wood had been discarded next to the body that was clearly the implement used on Eli’s skull.
“Mr. Harper, perhaps you should start carrying a sword. They are much neater for this sort of thing” said the British Wizard. “How did it come to this?”
Jamie explained how he had talked to Eli and then Eli’s followers attacked him. What followed was a tale of brutal magical dual while having to hex Eli’s mortal follower’s guns. Jamie and Eli quickly ran out of the strength to cast spells and then just beat the hell out of one another.
“I can take care of Eli’s body, but I was not sure what to do with his followers. I was hoping a Warden such as yourself would have a solution” said Jamie.
“I suppose I should thank you for finding and eliminating this Law Breaker. The least I can do is help you clean up. Was this some sort of try-out to become a Warden, Mr. Harper?”
“We can talk about that later. For now, start moving bodies.”