Culbertsen had laid a chain of spells about the summoning circle, which Anya perceived as glittering spiderwebs in the air. Glancing at each filled her mind with images of what snapping that gossamer string would bring, brought into her waking consciousness by the gentle, patient voice of the brooch. One would open up a fissure around the circle; another would call down a discharge from the stormclouds circling overhead. Still another would rouse the dead buried as part of the circle’s construction, murderers all slain in cold blood and buried with silver arming swords.

But Culbertsen hadn’t reckoned with the brooch.

Anya snapped each thread as she crossed it, and the brooch hungrily devoured the magical energy stored within each trap and contingency. Even the circle itself, which would normally present a barrier impassible to all whose blood was not part of its phylactery charm.

Culbertsen turned as Anya penetrated the barrier. The physical component of the summoning was clasped in one hand, but in the other was something wholly unexpected–something against which the brooch had no power: a handgun.