We’re a little less than two weeks out from the release of the next Blood Magic episode: Who’s Afraid of the Dark? Instead of subjecting you to another of my lengthy, rambling, sometimes off-topic blog posts, I’m instead going to post a preview of that episode to maybe drum up some excitement for Blood Magic. I know that, coming off of writing episode seven, I’m once again excited about writing this series. So, without any further ado, I present Doil in Blood Magic S1:E8.

              Rationally, the days were getting longer, and for that matter they were theoretically getting warmer, as well.  With the snow falling gently outside, in a steady, light flurry, it should have been a beautiful, pristine, peaceful night, if a bitingly cold one.  Perhaps, under other circumstances, it would have been, but even knowing all of that to be true, it did little to convince Doil that there was anything benign about the present darkness.  There was something about the castle halls in the deepest parts of the night, especially in the heart of winter, that he found unrelentingly ominous.  It almost seemed like there was a weight to the halls independent of their physical masses of stone and metal, perhaps an echo of their long histories.  No wonder he studiously avoided leaving his chambers whenever he could.

              But he had finished the pile of books he kept in his chambers, and he hadn’t been able to sleep, so he had determined to put aside such an unreasonable fear of the castle halls in the dark, when he found them quite unremarkable during the day, and venture forth to one the studies to retrieve something else to read in the hopes that he would eventually be able to find some comfort in sleep.  It seemed increasingly unlikely; there was something about this night that was putting him on edge, and his journey out of his chambers had only exacerbated that irrational intuition of impending doom.  It would be more prudent, he supposed, to simply return to his room now, burrow under the covers like some kind of small, furry animal, and hope that hibernation found him before morning came and he had to go through a whole day without having slept.

              He had just determined to turn and return to his room, when a soft rustling sound filtered through to his ears, like cloth rubbing over stone, perhaps someone dragging a cloak behind them as they strolled through the corridors.  Doil hesitated, and crept reluctantly towards the corner to peer around towards the source of the noise, but when he looked, he saw nothing but empty darkness.  A cold wind filtered down, and he shivered, turning back the way he had come, when he heard the noise again, this time in a different direction.  He looked again, and there was again nothing there.

              “You’re just overtired and freaking yourself out,” Doil muttered, choosing to speak aloud with the thought that the sound of his voice would be reassuring, but it only served to make him feel smaller and more vulnerable.

              “You’re just overtired and freaking yourself out…”  The voice sounded almost exactly like Doil’s, but it definitely had not come from him.  He spun around towards the source of the noise, but there was nothing there, only a patch of shadow.  Doil pinched himself, scrunched and rubbed his eyes, and blinked hard, before looking at that patch of shadow again.  There was still nothing there.  Wearily, and warily, occasionally casting glances behind him that revealed nothing untoward or unusual, Doil made his way back to his rooms, and shut the door firmly behind him.  He bolted the door shut, too, which made him feel a little more comfortable, but he didn’t really feel safe again until he had crawled back beneath the covers on his bed.

              Still, he could not quite shake the feeling that there was something watching him.  Peeking out from beneath the covers, he saw nothing, so he swung his legs out of bed and scurried across the cold floor to his dresser, where he fumbled around until he found a candle.  A few more moments of fumbling around at the hearth produced enough heat to light a taper, and thence the candle; its flickering light was some small comfort as it pushed back the gloom.  “You must be really overtired now,” Doil muttered as he crawled back into the bed.  “Good thing Kiluron’s not here to see you being afraid of the dark.”

              “You must be really overtired now…” the voice was the barest of whispers, still sounded like Doil, and it was clearly coming from inside his room.  Doil sat bolt upright in bed, eyes straining for the source of the voice, looking around with frantic motions, but found nothing.  “Good thing Kiluron’s not here to see you being afraid of the dark…”

              “Who’s there?” Doil demanded, attempting to project more confidence than he in fact possessed at that instant.  “If this is some kind of a trick, it’s not funny anymore.”

              There was a long silence.  Then: “who’s there…”  A pause, of precisely the length that Doil had paused, before “Good thing Kiluron’s not here to see you being afraid of the dark…”

              Convinced sufficiently that whatever this was not likely to be deterred by a few blankets, if it chose to be threatening, Doil swung himself out of bed again, returned to the dresser, and returned to the bed with a dagger, which he gripped tightly as he sat cross-legged atop the covers, shivering slightly.  “Alright!  What do you want?  Who are you?”

              Again, the only response was his own words, parroted back to him in his own voice.  “Alright…What do you want…Who are you…”

              “Blood and balance!” Doil swore.  “What is wrong with you?  What is wrong with me?”

              The only response he received was his own questions repeated precisely as he had presented them, albeit softer and trailing at the ends of each.  Doil rested his forehead on his wrists before looking up again.  “Fine,” he snapped.  “I can sit here all night, if I have to.  I bet I can keep this up longer than you can.”

              “Fine…” the mysterious voice replied, in a perfect mirror of Doil’s own frustration.  “I can sit here all night, if I have to…I bet I can keep this up longer than you can…”

Don’t forget to mark your calendar for August 31st, when this episode goes live right here at IGC Publishing, to find out what happens to Doil in the eighth installment of the Blood Magic series.

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