This too shall pass.

Osterley spoke first - words tumbling out in a rush.

"Something's happened at base. Or the spell was interfered with -"

Silvertown's voice rode over her, tone steely and gaze hard.

"There's nowhere we can go, and we don't have time to carry the wizard back to town. Mornington, you have to operate here."

Her declaration seemed to echo and come back at them from the smooth tiles. Damning them to impotence, and Newkirk to death.

Beckton coughed discreetly.

"That's not strictly true."

When the others turned to face him, he pulled something out his pocket and held it up. It was a circular roundel of metal, giving every impression of being a challenge coin of simple design.

Agent Beckton allowed it to spin between thumb and forefinger, showing them an accipitrine skull of some sort that seemed to remain stationary while the coin moved. The movement highlighted a certain shimmering iridescence that seemed to go deeper than the coin was thick.

"Do you know the story of Hadrian's Veil?"

Comments (2 so far!)



Osterley's allusion to techniques for disrupting spells is a broader category of magic that we have seen once before in "Python 2" (#42069). In that case, we see a much more dynamic use of counterspelling - Yorck reacting to a spell whose nature she did not know and had not yet been cast, but that she could sense and watch being put together. Mornington's route home had to be disrupted from afar, but it was done at the leisure of the attacker who (presumably) had ample opportunity to observe and probe its structure. It is not an unreasonable suggestion.

The Legionary Dead will be explained in a future chapter.

Operation Konrad was a series of mostly unsuccessful operations carried out during the Second World War by German and Hungarian forces to relieve friendly forces that had been encircled and trapped in Budapest.

  • #4153 Posted 3 years ago
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Additional comment for the story edit dated 2019-07-24:

I have changed the previously-named "Legionary Dead" to "Hadrian's Veil" as I plan out future plot points. For the same reason I have now described the skull as being hawklike, and used the possibly very rarely-used word "accipitrine" to do so.

  • #4206 Posted 3 years ago
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Inspired by (sequel to):

Mornington found a syrette from his bag. He pressed lightly and drew a single shining bead of its co…

  • Published 3 years ago.
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