Ogden stopped before he entered the room. He sat the bag down on the floor. “My goodness. Who used this before?"
“A human who thought he could control the world,” Vincent said
“I see, a madman,” Ogden said.
Vincent and Ogden walked into the altar room. Beka paused at the door. The pressure from inside the room pushed her back. She turned to Steopa. He nodded once.
“Yes, I feel it too.”
“I don't know if I want to go in there,” Beka said.
Steopa laid his arm around her shoulders. Beka crossed the threshold with him and the pressure changed. It felt as if something was pulling her into the room.
Ogden walked around the altar, tapping the stones with his walking stick. He stopped and examined the step in the back. “This force is strong and it shouldn't be here. Do you think that human brought it here?”
“I don't think so,” Vincent said. “I mean, he had traveled all over the world and picked up some strange stuff. But as for what's here, I think it was here already.”
“A normal human should not have even known it was here,” Ogden said. “Was he a mystic?”
Vincent shook his head.
“Then he must have dabbled in magic,” Ogden said.
“He thought he was a great wizard,” Vincent said, rolling his eyes.
“He was lucky then,” Ogden said. “I really didn't understand the danger until I changed.”
He laid his hands on the altar and pulled them away as if he had been burned. Ogden rubbed his hands. “That was unexpected.”
He pointed to Beka, “Could you bring that box over?”
Beka picked up the box and forced herself to walk to the altar. Even though the pull was strong, her body wanted to get away from it. She shoved the box into Ogden's hands.
“Thank you,” he said.
Ogden removed a crystal ball and a shallow bowl from the box. He placed the ball into the bowl, then sliced his wrist open with his thumbnail. He let a few drops of blood drip over the crystal ball and down into the bowl.
“This power wants blood,” Ogden said. “The problem is that it had been getting the wrong kind. Animals would have only held it off for a short time. Human is what it craves.”
Ogden pulled his wrist away. “But what it really wants is our blood.”
Drops of his blood slid over the edge of the bowl and down its sides. The drops hit the top of the altar. The altar glowed. The pressure stopped pulling Beka, it surged against her.
“Are you trying to feed it?” Vincent asked.
Ogden shook his head. “It doesn't want to feed from us. But it does want our blood.”
“What's the difference?” Vincent asked.
“It only wants a few drops. Perhaps it needs to make a connection to us,” Ogden said. “But when it wants to feed, it wants as much as it can get.”
“Could there be a vampire buried there?” Beka asked.
Ogden shook his head. “Not likely.”
“When we hide in the dirt,” Steopa said, leaning over Beka's shoulder, "We shut down, just like a corpse. There would be no way of knowing if we were in the ground.”
Ogden studied the crystal ball with his finger pressed against his lips. He reached into the box and pulled out a clear crystal. He tied a piece of leather to the crystal.
“I think it is intelligent,” he said.
He held the crystal above the bowl. The crystal started to swing erratically. Ogden pulled the crystal back. He walked around altar.
“How well can you protect this spot?” he asked Vincent.
“So far, so good,” Vincent said.
“This vampire, Jalmari, correct? He is possibly looking for this item. Does he give up easily?” Ogden asked Steopa.
Steopa shook his head.
“We have to dig it up and move it,” Ogden said.
“I suppose you want it?” Vincent asked.