Home > The Compelled (The Vampire Diaries: Stefan's Diaries #6)(11)

The Compelled (The Vampire Diaries: Stefan's Diaries #6)(11)
Author: L.J. Smith

Show us Damon, not for game, or sport, or play

But so from evil we can lift him away.

“Now let’s hope it works,” she muttered as she stepped back, al owing Bil y to stoke the fire. He circled the blaze in a counterclockwise motion, causing the room to fil with smoke. The grayish-white bil ows began to fan out. I blinked as a purple cloud formed directly above the flames. In its center was a hazy image of Damon. He was tied to a column, his eyes drooping, and his body trembling. He was clearly starving and wracked with pain. Ropes bound him to the scaffolding, and I knew from the enormous welts apparent in the vision that they must have been soaked with vervain.

I squinted, trying to pick out some sort of clue in the background. In the distance, far beyond Damon’s shoulder, was a hulking edifice. But was that stil part of the vision, or was it a trick of the light? I felt a painful pounding in my temple.

“It looks like the Tower Bridge,” I murmured, walking closer and closer to the image. I could make out the foundation and the deck, with Damon’s body affixed to one of the girders. Al of a sudden, I heard a loud sizzle. The image disappeared and I realized Jemima had poured a large bucket of water onto the fire. Sparks jumped around me.

“Why did you do that?” I’d only begun to pick apart the vision for clues. Yes, it was the Bridge, but why? Where was Samuel? How long had Damon been there? And how long would he survive?

“Saving you from yourself, vampire,” Jemima said, grimacing. “You were so close to the fire you were about to fal in. And then where would we be?”

I took a few steps back, seating myself in a chair in the far corner of the room, trying to figure out how I could use what I had seen in the fire to rescue Damon.

The door opened, and Vivian entered the room holding a tarnished silver pitcher. “I made the potion. I had plenty of the herb, but I had to guess the amounts of mugwort and dragonroot,” she fretted.

“It doesn’t matter,” Jemima said, but I saw her gaze nervously cut to Mary Jane. So far, al their spel s seemed to have worked. But what happened when one didn’t?

Vivian took a smal sip, wiped her Cupid’s-bow mouth with the back of her hand, and passed the pitcher to Mary Jane, who fol owed suit.

“Makes you stronger,” Mary Jane explained as she passed the pitcher to me.

“Real y?” I asked, looking dubiously at the liquid sloshing inside the container. The greenish color reminded me of sludge cul ed from the bottom of a pond. I sniffed it. It smel ed like burning leaves.

“You have nothing to lose, vampire,” Jemima said sharply.

“True.” I took a large drink, as if to prove to her I wasn’t afraid of the potion—or her. The liquid bubbled down my throat. It tasted fetid and vile, as if it were made of the refuse fil ing the streets.

“I’l need some, too,” Cora said, plucking the pitcher from my hands and taking several deep gulps as though she were one of the tavern girls holding her own in a pint-drinking competition with dock laborers.

“Good girl,” Jemima said, sounding impressed. The boys drank from the pitcher in turn. “And now that we’ve al drunk up, it’s time to go. Who knows how long he’l be at the Bridge.”

I felt stronger, and my throbbing headache had disappeared. The eleuthro was better than blood. It took the edge off my nerves and made me feel like I could take on anyone—or anything. I experimental y squeezed the arm of a nearby chair, thril ed to see the wood snap like a twig between my fingers.

“Confident the potion works, vampire?” Jemima asked, her hands on her hips.

“Yes,” I said testily. “And I’m sorry I broke the chair, but this makes a good stake. We need more weapons like this, just in case,” I said. It was true. The slim chair arm tapered into a sharp point that would easily pierce through skin. I hastily turned to address al the witches. “Damon wil most likely be tied up with vervain-soaked ropes. Vervain’s poisonous to me, so I can’t untie him. Could one of you set him free? The herb won’t hurt you.”

“I wil ,” Bil y volunteered, heading to the remains of the chair to create more makeshift stakes.

“Thank you,” I said. “Jemima, are there any spel s you can perform that could help?”

“Are there any spel s I can perform?” Jemima repeated sarcastical y. I sucked in my breath, annoyed at the literal way she took my words but knowing far better than to say anything.

“What spel do you think would be best?” I asked patiently.

“Leave that to me, vampire,” Jemima said. “I’m not sharing al my secrets with you. I know you’re honest, but I stil can’t trust you. And I won’t know what spel to perform until I see Samuel for myself.”

“What can I do?” Gus asked, stepping up to me.

I appraised the skinny boy, then glanced at Jemima. She nodded at me, as if giving me permission to speak. “Why don’t you watch out for Cora,” I decided.

“I don’t need looking out for,” Cora retorted.

“I know. But if Samuel and Violet are on the scene, then


“Then I want to fight them,” Cora said, cutting me off.

“And aren’t you forgetting something, vampire?” Jemima smirked.

“What?” I asked. We had stakes, we had spel s…

“How do you plan to carry this off at Tower Bridge?

There are always people around. You real y need a blocking spel , so no one walks in on us.”

“Yes!” I exclaimed. Despite Jemima’s sarcasm, her suggestion proved she was listening and ready to help.

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