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Myfanwy 2

July 2018

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Myfanwy 2

Ways of Light and Darkness - Chapter Twenty-Four

Ways of Light and Darkness - Chapter Twenty-Four
Author: Milady Dragon
Rating: PG-13
Pairing(s): Jack/Ianto; Gwen/Rhys; one-sided Lisa/Ianto; past Master John (Doctor)/Rose; other canon pairings.
Warning: Fantasy Violence, horror, angst
Spoilers:  Some could be for Torchwood S1 "Cyberwoman"; "Countrycide", "They Keep Killing Suzie"; Doctor Who S1 "Bad Wolf" and "Parting of the Ways", S2 "Army of Darkness" and "Doomsday"; and S3 "Utopia";"Sound of Drums", "Last of the Time Lords" and possibly other episodes, although they have been warped into a fantasy setting.
Disclaimer: I don't own either Torchwood or Doctor Who, although I wish I did....
Author's note:  This is the sequel to The Immortality of the Deathless, the chapter list to be found here.   It's Torchwood and Doctor Who twisted into a fantasy setting, where everything that could be considered alien is actually magical.

Summary:  When mercenary Captain Jack Harkness vanishes while on a mission, Wizard Ianto Jones has to choose between his lover, his duty...and quite possibly his destiny.



Chapter Twenty-Four

Jack didn't scare easily.

Perhaps it was because he was just so jaded about being Deathless, or maybe it was because he'd simply lived so long that he'd seen pretty much everything. But no, Jack really didn't get all that frightened anymore.

He was now.

Seeing that small pile of dust, and knowing what it meant, sent a frisson of fear through the immortal's body, setting off a flight response that had been dulled over the centuries. Memories long buried came back with a rush of dark wings: his back against the sun-warmed stone of Gateway, surrounded by the Nameless Demons, armed with sword and shield and knowing he was going to die…being overwhelmed, and the hot pain of magical weapons burning his skin…the sudden darkness…and then pain, once again, as if his body was being dragged over broken glass, jerking and gasping as life came rushing back…confusion as he rose, and saw the piles of dust surrounding him…

"Jack?"

He came out of the memories as Ianto called for him. He shook himself, eyes skidding toward his lover and being grounded in that blue and gold gaze. A hand on his shoulder fully awakened him back to the here-and-now, and Jack pulled the Wizard forward into a quick hug, his face buried in the crook of Ianto's neck, grounding himself even further within the younger man's arms and scent.

Then he released his grip, and Ianto stepped back, looking at him closely. "I'd ask if you were all right, but I think the answer to that is obvious."

"Just…remembering." Jack released a shuddering breath. "I'll be fine."

It was a lie, and it was apparent that Ianto knew it was. But Jack knew he had to get his wits together, and do what they came to do.

"Lord Harold shouldn't be able to do anything like this," Ianto said hectically. "He's a Void Wizard, and they can't control life force like this. It would have to be a Cardinal Wizard doing this, but there isn't anyone powerful enough in the Deep Ways to accomplish it. Hells, they all seem to think I'm the strongest Wizard of this age," his voice adopted some of its usual sarcasm at that pronouncement, "and I can't do it. The only person in known history who was, was Lady Rose. And that took her channeling pure Magic and being pushed beyond her abilities and almost burning out. As much a traitor as my ancestor was, at least he had the common sense to get the Deep Ways out of her immediately…"

Jack glanced back down at the pile of ash and shuddered again. Ianto must have felt it as well; the Wizard stepped even closer, putting his arm around the immortal's waist in support.

"This is beyond us," the Wizard went on. "We should go back to the Quorum and report – "

"Report what?" Jack asked. "That there are little dust piles all over the deserted town? And how do we even explain that this happened at Gateway a thousand years ago, let alone getting them to actually believe me? Sure Donna and Omega would, and maybe some of the others, but the majority of the Wizards simply don't trust me. We need more, Ianto…and I think you know that."

Ianto looked into Jack's eyes, and Jack knew that he was seeing past the brave words and to the man who really wanted nothing more than to leave, and never come back. Jack was frightened, and he didn't like the feeling one little bit.

After a few heartbeats, Ianto nodded. "You're right, damnit. I just…don't like this place. The magic here is making my skin crawl. And knowing that somehow Lord Harold managed to destroy these people…people he should have been protecting…Jack, it's sick. It's wrong." The outrage in his lover's voice made Ianto's rich Cardiff accent even thicker than normal.

That would normally have been enough to stir Jack's libido, but not there. Ianto was right; the entire island was just plain wrong. While he didn't have the magical senses his lover did, Jack could feel it; a cold prickling against his exposed skin, as if he were standing outside in a freezing rain. Only this rain was dark, and horrible, and needed to be stopped.

"We should check out Lord Harold's home," Jack suggested. "Doesn't he have a wife?"

Ianto nodded. "Lady Lucy. I only met her once, but they absolutely doted on each other…"

"Would he have taken her to the Quorum?"

"No." Ianto's eyes went wide. "You don't think – "

"I…don't know what to think. I know we all thought Lord Harold was mad, but this…this is so far beyond mad I don't know what to call it."

"We should check on her."

Together the two men left the inn. Myfanwy was waiting for them outside, sitting stiffly on the wooden walkway, her green eyes wary and darting everywhere as she kept watch for enemies. She turned and looked at Jack, and aimed a questioning chirp at him.

The immortal rubbed her head. "I'll be fine, girl," he reassured her.

She didn't look convinced, but she spread her wings and leapt back into the air, the better to keep an eye out for anything dangerous that might threaten her humans.

Lord Harold's personal residence was halfway up the extinct volcano. They managed to find a path that led upward, and they took it, carefully making their way toward the imposing edifice. Jack had his sword out now; while they hadn't seen any other sign of life as they progressed, his uneasiness was growing, making him twitchy in ways that an experienced warrior like himself shouldn't be. He tried to calm himself, but nothing worked. He kept telling himself that nothing was going to attack them, but even as he tried to convince himself of that Jack realized that he truly had no way of knowing that for sure. Lord Harold would have put up any number of traps, and anything could happen.

It didn't help his nerves at all to see that Ianto was obviously thinking the same thing. The Wizard had his wand out, and his magical eyesight was active, the eclipses of his eyes darting back and forth, looking for anything that might have been set out to block their path.

Jack was sincerely surprised when they encountered nothing.

Ianto glanced at him; he could see the surprise reflected in his lover's bizarre eyes. They'd managed to get all the way up to the front door of the mansion, and hadn't found anything. "This isn't right," he murmured, shaking his head.

Jack had to agree. A Wizard simply didn't leave his home undefended. The immortal knew every spell and trap around Torchwood Castle; knew how many centuries it had taken Ianto's ancestors to build up such an impressive defense. And yes, Lord Harold's home was very new compared to the castle, but certainly the man would have made certain his domain would have been protected.

It seemed he'd put more magic onto the island than on his sanctum.

That just didn't make sense.

"This is a trap," Jack whispered, knowing without doubt that he was correct.

Ianto took a step back from the front door. "You mean the lack of protection magic?"

Jack nodded. "It has to be. What Wizard – stable or unstable – wouldn't make sure that no one could get into his home without setting off some sort of spell? And Lord Harold has already proved to be paranoid, what with the spells you've noticed blanketing the island."

"You're right." Ianto chewed his lip. "I'm not getting any sort of magical signature from the door at all. I'd bet my wand there's something just inside, though."

"We need to find another way to get inside. The evidence we need could be in there."

"With the house built into the mountain itself, I doubt the place has a back door…and getting in using magic is out of the question."

"Maybe a tunnel or something? This is an extinct volcano; there are bound to be lava tubes and other sorts of cracks running all through it."

"You're right. Besides, the prison door won't be inside that house anyway." Ianto seemed to come to a decision. "Let's try to find the actual door. Donna seemed to think I'd be able to sense it…"

"And it might give us a clue as to what Lord Harold is up to."

Ianto took one more look at the door; Jack could see the disappointment in the younger man's eyes as they turned and made their way back down the mountain. Jack knew that Ianto had hoped to be able to do a search of the mansion and quickly find some sort of proof about how the Void Wizard planned to release the Devastation; but more than that, he'd wanted to discover just how the man had managed to steal the lifeforce of the people of the island.

Jack suppressed a shiver at that thought. A part of him didn't want to know what Lord Harold had done; but he knew they had no choice. And it wasn't even just however it was done that needed to be discovered…it was why. What reason did Lord Harold have for killing the very townsfolk he should have been watching over?

"Do you really think you'll be able to sense the door?" Jack asked dubiously, once they'd made it back to the deserted town.

"Not sure," his lover answered. "Maybe. But the problem is with all the other magic permeating the place. If there's a chance…well, we have to try, don't we?"

Jack agreed, but he wasn't sure Ianto could do it. It wasn't that he doubted his lover; it more hinged on the fact that people were making assumptions about Ianto that Jack believed might not be true. Yes, Ianto was very powerful, but he wasn't super-human. Everyone had their limits, and while Ianto had yet to truly test himself Jack knew they were there. He didn't want Ianto to try…only to fail. In his way, the Wizard was a very prideful man, and jack didn't want to see his confidence shaken.

"How can I help?" he asked, keeping his doubts to himself.

Ianto smiled. "Do you think you can tune your own power back a bit? Your own Deathlessness could drown out what I might be able to sense."

Jack nodded. This wasn't something he wasn't usually asked to do; although he'd learned a long while back that it was sometimes best to shield himself in the presence of other Wizards, the better to avoid any more conflict than absolutely necessary. He'd worked hard on being able to hide the lifeforce within him, and knew that Ianto wouldn't be asking unless absolutely necessary. In fact, his lover often encouraged Jack to open himself up fully, and it was one more reason why Jack loved him.

He reached deeply within himself, feeling the Deep Magic that kept him Deathless. It felt almost unnatural to dampen himself but did as Ianto asked, pulling the power back as far as it would go, hoping it would be enough to keep it from distracting his lover.

Ianto grimaced. "I hate when you do that," he confessed. "I can't feel you as strongly."

"It's only for a short while."

"I know. Still doesn't mean I have to like it."

"Then get your arse in gear and start sensing," Jack teased, trying to alleviate some of the tension.

Ianto rolled his eyes. "Pushy," he teased back. He took a deep breath, then let it out slowly.

His eyes changed once more.

Jack loved Ianto's eyes; he sometimes thought he could stare into their blue and gold depths for hours at a time. But it was the black and gold eclipses that drew Jack's complete attention; that made his nerves sing with power; that reinforced the connection they'd felt since Ianto had been born. He watched as his lover stood there in the middle of the deserted street, arms slightly away from his body, head thrown back and those magical eyes scanning the mountain before them.

It was quiet. The wind blew between the buildings, making an eerie keening sound that caused a shiver to make its way down Jack's spine. He wondered if the townsfolk had been able to move on, or if they were ghosts walking the street around them, waiting to be released from whatever hell they could be trapped in.

Gods, when did he become so superstitious?

He lost track of how long they stood there. Every once in a while a loud call would be heard overhead, reminding Jack of Myfanwy's presence. The dragon would fly over the volcano's flanks, then come back to circle their heads, and Jack knew she was reacting to Ianto's magic. Once he thought he saw her scales flare, a sure sign that she was about to take on her fire drake form, but nothing happened.

Eventually Ianto came back to himself, physically shaking himself back to full cognizance. His eyes went back to normal, and Jack could read intense confusion in them.

"What is it?" he asked quietly.

Ianto's brows drew down. "I…don't know. I'm sensing a large life course from within the mountain; it's almost like a beacon, it's that strong."

"Another trap?"

"It could be, but how did Lord Harold get it there? It's not one single creature..." His eyes suddenly flew wide. "Of course! It's the lives of the townsfolk, bound to one place!" His face grew thunderous. "But how? And why? This doesn't make any sense!"

If Ianto didn't know the how, then Jack certainly wouldn't. But he could make a guess as to why. "Could he need all that life to release the Devastation? Would that have been part of the spell that sealed the door in the first place?"

Dawning comprehension colored Ianto's features. "Yes. I'm sure you're right. But that much life…just who did Master K'anpo kill to make sure the Devastation was trapped?"

"We'll never know," Jack pointed out. "All we can do is make sure that Lord Harold isn't able to reopen the door."

"You're right, of course." Ianto smiled self-deprecatingly. "I do have a tendency to over-think things."

"Yes, you do," the immortal teased. "But let's not worry about the 'how' at this point. We should be tracking down those lives and helping them to pass on."

"Once again, you're right. We need to find a way into that mountain."

Ianto strode forward, and Jack followed, glad to have some goal in mind.

*****
 

It was surprisingly easy to find the cave entrance that led to their destination.

It was an ancient lava tube, almost perfectly round except for a scree of dried and brittle magma coating the bottom. Ianto used his wand to light the way through the dark stone, Jack walking just behind his lover with his sword ready to defend the Wizard if needed. Myfanwy's claws scrabbled against the loose rock, the only noise that accompanied them as they moved forward, deeper into the mountain.

Jack wasn't claustrophobic, but there was something about the passage that disturbed him. He could feel it, like a scratching at the back of his head, as if something was crawling just below the surface of his skin. He resisted the urge to scratch it, knowing there wasn't anything truly there, that this was his own personal magic trying to tell him something. He could tell that Ianto was feeling the same, just by the less than normally graceful way the Wizard walked, his wand held out stiffly before him. The whole place was just disturbing, as if they were slowly descending into some ancient grave.

And again, Jack had to wonder just when he'd become so superstitious.

The lava tube eventually opened out into a large cavern-like structure, but it was more closely in shape to a crystal geode Jack had once purchased at a fair in Cardiff; he'd broken the almost perfectly round stone in two, revealing just such a space. There were no crystals within it, however, just columns of stone where the stalagmites and stalactites had grown together over time. It was like walking into a cathedral, it had that sort of hush that only a holy place could cultivate.

But the eternal beauty of the place was marred by the gigantic metal door set within one of the curving walls.

Jack's mouth dropped open without him realizing it. He took a cautious step forward, drawn to that door like a moth to a flame, the magic of it pulsing against his mind like a heartbeat.

There was not a trace of rust on it, testifying to its magical creation. It was a silvery metal, bound by three darker bands that crossed unbroken from side to side. There was not a bolt or rivet to mar its smoothness, but more telling there was no visible lock at all. It was perhaps twice Jack's height, and it was perfectly straight; Jack wondered vaguely if he went to one of the sides, if he could see behind it where the wall curved upward.

There was a stone plinth just in front of the door. There was something set upon it; something glowing, and Jack could feel the lifeforce radiating from it, and knew this was what Ianto had sensed from outside.

He heard Myfanwy hiss at it.

He could completely understand her reaction.

Ianto moved closer, and Jack went with him, not about to leave his lover alone to face whatever it was on that plinth. The glow obscured the object, until they'd gotten almost up right on it.

It was a dagger.

Jack was disturbed by it. It was long, with a hooked blade and two smaller blades up near the dark hilt. It just looked wrong, and that was without the magic spilling from it.

But, what was worse, was that Jack recognized it.

He said so.

Ianto turned to regard him. "From where?" he asked quietly.

"It was…just after I'd come to swear myself to your family," the immortal answered. "There was this Wizard…I can't remember his name, I'm afraid. But he showed up at the castle with this dagger and a gauntlet, and demanding to be allowed to…experiment…on me."

Ianto looked horrified. "I should hope my family refused!"

"They did," the immortal confirmed. "I remember the Wizard went away threatening to go to the Quorum, but I don't think he did. He never came back."

"What did he say the dagger and gauntlet did?"

"Apparently he thought that using them in tandem would destroy me." Jack tried to keep the quaver from his voice, but didn't succeed.

The anger in Ianto's eyes was gratifying. "It's a damned good thing I wasn't there! That Wizard wouldn't have lived to see the courtyard!"

Jack had to smile at his protectiveness. Then his face went serious once more. "The dagger supposedly steals souls…but I think we can infer that meant lifeforce."

Ianto was nodding as he examined the glowing weapon. "Lord Harold must have used it on the townsfolk…but how did he get them all to stand still so he could kill them? It would have to have been one at a time…"

Jack was sickened. "It's…evil."

"Oh yes," Ianto agreed. "We need to figure out a way to release the lives within the dagger – "

Whatever he was going to say was interrupted by a loud cry. Both Jack and Ianto spun around, to see Myfanwy being attacked by a small black form.

It was Lord Harold's dragon, Toclafane.

Ianto moved past Jack, in order to go to the aid of his familiar. Jack raised his sword once more, every sense on the alert. If Toclafane was there, then Lord Harold couldn't be far behind.

He heard the sound, before he felt the pain.

It was a horrible screeching, recognizable as metal on metal. There was a sudden pressure on Jack's back, and it was as he was moving to confront what could only be an attack, liquid agony slammed into him like a wave, knocking the weapon from his hand and forcing him to his knees.

The pain was overwhelming, and Jack couldn't react through it. He was barely aware of hitting the ground face-first, and his entire body felt paralyzed.

But he didn't die.

 



Comments

Argh Myfanwy! Jack! need more - great chapter
Things aren't going so well, I admit..

Next chapter in a couple of days.
You have truly embraced the dark side. Jedi's across the universe are going to feel the screams of a million fanfic readers from this cliffhanger. But we sense the good in you in that you will post really really soon.

Great build up for the story can't wait to read more.
I do admit, this fic is a lot darker than I thought it would be.

You sense good in me? Oh crap, better work on that! :)

Next chapter should be up in a couple of days, I believe.
And you tell me off for cliff hangers! Jack and Myfanwy! Life knife and risen mitten help!!! This is an evil cliff hanger so I need a new chapter soon as. I love the depth of this story and all the twists and turns. You must have to keep a large plan - I know I do.
Great chapter - write quickly!
It's kinda like the pot calling the kettle black, I know.. ;)

I do keep a plan, but I admit it's changed several times since I started writing this. And I mean majorly changed. Plus several muses flatly refuse to keep them going the way I want them to!

I should have the next one up in a couple of days, Thursday at the latest.
Oh no no no. Still loving the connection between the boys but you are evil.
I know, I can't help being evil.

Thanks though!
ühm I hate you, you are truly evil...no I don`t hate you, but please please please give us the next chapter and please stop hurting Jack *begs* ;)
I don't really want to hurt Jack, honestly...

Next chapter should be up in a couple of days.
Poor Jack! Go Myfanwy! Toclafane doesn't stand a chance against her!
Myfanwy kicks butt, but Toclafane gets his hits in...

Thanks!