“This is a witch’s sanctum all right,” he said in disgust, glaring down at the worktable and the paraphernalia still piled on top of it. He swept everything off with one motion of his arm, looking satisfied as the glass ink wells shattered and the loose papers curled wetly on the damp dirt floor. He smashed the barrels and tore apart the wine casks, soaking the books in alcohol and fragments of thyme and basil.
Brigid flinched, but said not a word. Riordan behaved as though she weren’t there, and she quickly understood that the demon had somehow turned them both invisible.
Her skin was so far intact; Mordecai’s black talons touched her lightly, delicately, with no more pressure than an insect on a leaf. As they stood there, silent and immobile, she became aware that he was hardly breathing, and his body temperature was just short of boiling. He was embarrassed. She wanted to laugh, because surely a six-foot tall, bat-winged demon had no need to worry about anyone’s opinion save his own. Besides which, his claw was still pressed to her lip, though his hands trembled slightly.
Riordan sat at the worktable and took an iron stylus from his belt. He carved a rune into the wood, his strokes precise and angry; the symbol looked like a wound when he was done, so deep were the gouges. Riordan pressed his index finger to the grooves he had etched and the symbol flared to life, first burning itself and then consuming the entire table. Riordan made the sign of the cross over the ashes and whispered, “May your evil die with this cleansing.”
He looked momentarily tired, burdened. His shoulders sagged, and he dug the palm of his hand against his closed eye.
“Why?” he said. “Why are you on this wicked path? We sat in church together. We praised God!”
Brigid kept still.
Riordan strode around the room, knocking books from their shelves and stepping on the spines until they broke. He circled the area until he was in front of the altar, in front of the spell book that Brigid’s mother had written. Riordan flipped through the pages, his lip curled in disdain.
“A litany of sins! A trove of iniquity,” he declared, and began to shred the pages, tearing them until they were no longer recognizable, letting the tattered remnants fall like snow on his boots. Brigid stiffened, wanting to cry out.
“You mustn’t move, my lady,” Mordecai whispered urgently. “Else the spell will break, and he shall be upon you.”