The Second Mage War

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Re: The Second Mage War

Postby morrisoni » November 25th, 2017, 6:52:49 pm

Chapter 12: Shade
"I swear on everything I've ever said, done, or thought. I'm going to find out who's responsible for what happened to Brit, and I'm going to kill them!" I'm in my room, ranting at Dichotomy, my Elder Phoenix. A birthday present from Kai. She was named Flare before I transformed her.
"My uncle is a little paranoid. I wouldn't bother with the Brotherhood members that I don't know. I'd just go for two. Aaron, and whoever owned that hellhound." I'm not sad anymore. The crying's done. Now, I'm madder than I've ever been. It's payback time. Dichotomy's giving me that look again, that 'seriously?' kind of look. "What? Okay, so I was eavesdropping. Get over it." She just rolls her eyes. This bird is too smart for her own good. I hear a voice, suddenly, like a birdsong almost, but it's words.
"Shade. Over here." If I didn't know better, I'd think Dichotomy was talking. But that's impossible. For one thing, her beak's not moving. "Shade. On the windowsill." I look over, and there's a blue pygmy phoenix.
"Where did you come from? How are you talking?"
"I've been here for a while, to answer your first question. To answer your other question, Existizers." That's a good enough answer for me. On the second one, anyway. But the first one?
"How did I not see you?" In response, he disappears, then reappears on top of Dichotomy's head.
"How did you do that?"
"I can bend my firelight. I'm a rare subspecies of pygmy phoenix called an illusion phoenix. We don't come around very often."
"Why are you here?"
"I know you quite well, Shade. I've been watching you for a long time. Most recently from your uncle's shoulder."
"So that's how he took out that Trident boy!"
"Yes. Illusion phoenixes have more firepower than most pygmies." Strange. "Shade, I know something you'll want to hear."
"The hellhound that killed your sister. I know who it belonged to." I'm not even going to bother pointing out that Brit isn't actually my sister. Or... wasn't. I fight the wave of tears that comes surging forward at that thought.
"Perfect. Who was it?"
"You're kidding me."
"No, I'm not."
"I'm going to kill him."
"Shade, hatred will get you nowhere. There's an expression. Unforgiveness is the poison we drink, hoping the other person dies. Ever heard that?" Yeah, right. Aaron has it coming, 10 times over. Then it hits me like a baseball bat. Crap. Eleven now. Counting Brit.
"There's another saying. An eye for an eye. Sound familiar?"
"People who live by that, die by that, Shade." That stops me in my tracks. "Brit never held a grudge against anyone. She wasn't even capable of hate. Do you really think this is what she'd want?"
"Well..." He's right. Phoenixes usually are. Brilliant birds.
"Is it?"
"No. It's not." I can't help it. I start crying again. I hadn't realized until now, but I can hear crying coming from the other side of my door, too. It's Thomas. He must have really been attached to Brit too. And now I feel like a total jerk.
I've been sitting here, not thinking of anyone but myself. It never occurred to me that other people were affected just as much by this. Until Thomas came along, I was the only one who really cared about Brit. But I never stopped to think that he might be friends with her in his other world. Even if it wasn't the Brit he knew, seeing his friend like that... And he didn't even think about himself. He was just trying to comfort me back there, make me feel better.
"Shade. Talk to him. Let him into your life. Other than Brit and your uncle, you've been pushing everyone away. You have to rely on other people."
"You're right. Thanks... What's your name?"
"Your uncle calls me Spark."
"Spark. I owe you."
"Just doing my job. Trying to make everyone's lives better. Now get out there." I don't see as I have any other choice. I obey. I open the door, and out I go.
Last edited by morrisoni on November 26th, 2017, 9:54:19 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: The Second Mage War

Postby morrisoni » November 25th, 2017, 7:12:09 pm

Chapter 13: Thomas
"Thomas?" I jump and turn around in one motion. It's Bella. I didn't hear her open the door.
"Don't do that!" I say.
"Are you okay?"
"What do you mean?" I don't think there's any way she could have heard me.
"Don't play dumb, Thomas. I have ears." I stand corrected.
"Okay, okay. It's just... I'm really good friends with Brit in my world. Courtesy of you."
"I introduced you?" She seems surprised.
"She's like your little sister."
"Well, that's the same." She seems to have dropped the Shade persona she's been hiding behind. That's a good start.
"I figured. The way her face lit up when we walked into the cafeteria yesterday, and the way you reacted back there..."
"Yeah. She was such a sweetheart."
"I know. How could anyone just up and leave a girl like that?" I couldn't believe it when she told me her parents had abandoned her.
"I don't know, Thomas. I really don't know. But back there, in her room... I meant what I said." I assume she's referring to the 'thank you' earlier.
"Yeah. But seriously, are you alright?"
"No. Not really. But I will be eventually. Just like I was when Mom and Dad died. Well, no, not quite the same. I'll be better. You, my uncle, Brit, and..." She pauses there like she doesn't want to finish the sentence.
"And who?"
"Liar." She was obviously about to say another name.
"You all helped me see that bitterness is the wrong way to handle these situations. Forgiveness. Moving on. That's what matters." She's avoiding my question. Oh well. It doesn't matter.
"Do you want to go for a walk or something? I'm getting restless just sitting here, to be perfectly honest."
"Yeah, that might be good. We'd better leave a note or something, in case we don't get back by the time your shift is over."
"How did you... You were listening in, weren't you?" She flinches. She's caught and she knows it.
"Uh... Yes."
"Shocker. Spy to the core, aren't you?"
"Yeah. Sorry."
"It's no big deal. Let's get some fresh air," I say, heading down the hallway.
"Right." She follows me. I really don't know what else to say. We head out to the courtyard, and we sit down on a bench. We just stay there for a while, not saying anything. Then a voice comes from behind us, yelling loudly.
"Hey! What are you two doing out here?" I know who it is before I turn around. It's Malcolm. Aladon's son. Oh, joy.
"Bug off, Malcolm," I say as he advances toward us. I don't want to deal with this fool right now.
"Where do you get off, telling me to..." He stops dead when he recognizes Bella. "Oh. Shade. Sorry." He actually acts scared. I'd guess he shot off one too many insults about her parents or something and got his rear end beat. Wouldn't surprise me in the least. He's always doing that in my world. "I'm on guard duty for tonight." I wonder if there's a reason for that. "Drew the short straw." Sure. "I thought you were intruders or something. Why aren't you in at the party?" The very idea. But maybe he doesn't know. I'm not his biggest fan, but I'll give him the benefit of the doubt here.
"Bug off, Malcolm," I say again. Dense though he may be, he can take a hint. He leaves us alone.
"You know him, do you?" Bella asks.
"Not the brightest bulb in the box. Gets put on guard duty a lot does he?"
"Well, we sure don't trust him with anything else," she says. I would laugh under normal circumstances. But normal this is not.
"He seems intimidated by you."
"He was picking on Brit a while ago. I kicked his sorry behind into next week."
"Yep, that's him all right." We sit for a while longer in silence. "So, do you want to talk about it, or..."
"I don't want to talk about what happened if that's what you're asking." Her armor is coming back out.
"How about this. We just talk about Brit. We can swap stories. That sound good?" She softens up again.
"Yeah. That sounds good. You start."
"There was this time last year when she got lost in Voltar while she was on a trip with her parents."
"Oh, no," Bella says, looking at the stars. I'll bet she's trying to imagine it. Brit, on a family outing with her parents. That never happened in this world.
"Yeah. She came back with some nasty burns and, more importantly, a fire hydra egg.
"She always was good at picking out valuable eggs."
"Oh yeah? Well, what really killed me was that she didn't even know what she had!"
"Yep. She was totally clueless about it. And when she figured out what it was, she promptly traded it to Remy for a gold torveus dragon egg."
"That's little Brit. We all called her the Dragon Tamer."
"I guess it's my turn. Where to begin. Oh, I know!" she exclaims suddenly. "The Great Gemdragon Invasion."
"The what?" I say. I can't help but laugh, in spite of everything.
"The Great Gemdragon Invasion. It was about... two years ago. The Herbalists released a massive swarm of pygmy gemdragons in the Keep."
"You said it. It was absolute chaos until Brit stepped in. It was amazing. As soon as they saw her, they calmed down immediately. I've never seen anything like it. They were in a trance, almost. She just had some kind of aura or something. We never worried when she was around dragons or wyrms or wyverns. We knew she wasn't in danger. She could even stand up to an eldritch dragon's fear magic somehow."
"That's Brit all over. Never could figure out how she did that." We talk for hours like that, laughing and reminiscing about little Dragon Tamer until the sun comes up. We almost forget why we started talking about her in the first place. All the sadness and bad feelings just kind of fade away. It feels good, getting to see the Bella I know, the Bella I've wanted to ask out for years. The walls, they're a-crumblin'. Thank goodness.
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Re: The Second Mage War

Postby morrisoni » November 27th, 2017, 7:54:36 pm

Chapter 14: Alan
"Mary. Mary, wake up!" She's been sitting there for half an hour, staring at the mirror, not moving.
"I'm not asleep, Alan. I'm..."
"Who cares? You're going to miss this!"
"Miss what?" I can't believe the uproar didn't wake her up.
"Look!" How oblivious can she be? "There's a bunch of new prisoners coming in, and they're all wearing Brotherhood robes!" She sits up instantly. That's got her attention. A parade of pitch black robes files past our cell interrupted here and there by the sundry colors of Keep garb. The guards. There are also some green robes, indicating the Herbalist Guild. Maybe prisoners of the prisoners?
"What's going on?" I ask. "It looks like they've captured the whole Brotherhood!" And it really it does. The black river seems neverending. One of the guards must have overheard us because he turns from his wards and starts talking.
"Right on the nose, little boy. We've got every single one of them. They're out of the picture. Permanently. We got Belmos back too, and we got all of their Herbalist inmates."
"But how?" I ask. Mary Keeps silent. The guard smirks.
"That's for the Corps and the Brotherhood to know, and the Herbalists and Tridents to find out, if necessary. But believe me, you'd better hope you don't find out. I'd pass that message on to your daddy when you get back if I were you." I know these guys have tricks up their sleeves. I'm more than willing to tell our father to be careful.
"How do you expect to fit all of them in here?" I inquire. I know there's no chance they can do it.
"This prison is larger than it looks. The man who designed it had space-warping magic. Most of the cells are bigger inside than outside. A lot bigger. You have one of the only real-space cells." Well, that's interesting.
"Why didn't you make them all space-warped?"
"We only use those when we have too many prisoners for the normal cells to handle." That makes sense. I guess. The guard turns to leave, and I turn around to Mary. Just then, something she said earlier pops into my head.
"Wait. You said you weren't asleep," I whisper. "Were you..."
"Scrying? Yes," she whispers back. "The mirror in here made it easy."
"Good idea! What did you see?"
"The Brotherhood had launched an all-out attack. They cashed in all their chips. Soldiers, hellhounds, I even saw some cerberuses. And they brought Existizers too."
"Yeah. That blast we felt earlier? That was a massive fireball from a Soulflame pack."
"Yeah. They were on the verge of breaking down the barrier, but then, from out of nowhere, came the council members on this... it was like a combination of the most powerful creatures you can think of. Dragons, pegasi, rocs... and it had the power to control pretty much all the elements."
"Yeah, right."
"I'm serious!" Now my sister has always been a smart kid. But I'm starting to think this prison stint is making her go wacky. "I'm not crazy!" She says. I hate how she can almost read my thoughts like that.
"There's no such thing, Mary!"
"They created it, Alan. They made it with their combined power. I saw them do it."
"You could have said that!"
"Back to the point, they sent their best spy, Shade, into the enemy camp. She captured the leader."
"No. Apparently she's dead, and Shade has a personal grudge against the guy who took over. It's complicated. Point is, the guard was right. The Brotherhood is out of the fight. Forever."
"Nice! Now we've just got to get out of here and back in the fight ourselves. And we've got to warn Dad."
"The problem, though, is that we don't have any hostages from the RUC. We have some Brotherhood prisoners, but no Corps members."
"So a prisoner exchange is unlikely."
"At best. But maybe they'll trade the Brotherhood members for us. They'll be taking up cells, and we don't need them for bartering anymore, but the RUC can use them. For information, or just to make sure they have everyone."
"Yeah, that makes sense." Awkward silence.
"So I heard that a certain Trident boy tried to escape a little while ago. Without his sister." Oh no. She found out. She must have faked being knocked out when I was brought back. She was watching the whole time!
"I-I don't know what you're..."
"I get it, Alan. You would have come back for me, right?" See? I told Kai she would understand!
"You'd better believe it!"'
"That's the answer I was looking for."
"Yeah. I know. I did find out how Kai was able to defeat us. Kind of."
"Kind of?"
"He's got a pygmy phoenix, that can appear and disappear. But still, he shouldn't have been that powerful."
"Okay, lights out!" The head guard says. For the second time tonight. All the lights came back up when that blast came. We wait for him to leave the area, then we go right back to talking.
"Hey, Alan." She's staring at the mirror again.
"I think our cavalry is here."
"What do you mean?" As if in answer, the blinding lights come back up yet again.
"Okay, you two," the guard says, unlocking our cell. "You're free to go."
"Why?" I ask. Once again, Mary stays silent. She probably knows the answer.
"Your father just brought in about twenty Brotherhood captives in exchange for you two. Not the most brilliant move, in my opinion, but it works for us. Now shoo!" We don't hesitate. We run up the stairs, and sure enough, there's Dad. He hugs us both and starts shooting questions.
"Are you alright?" "
"We're fine dad."
"Good. In that case, then, how could you let yourselves get captured? What in the world happened?!" Mary answers for both of us.
"We couldn't help it. That fire mage we captured was way, way too powerful. He must have some kind of help, but we can't tell for sure." He seems to accept those answers.
"Okay, kids. Let's go home. Your mother has been worried out of her mind." Sounds like a good idea to me! I really need to change my clothes. I've been wearing the same outfit since we were captured, and I'm tired.
I pop in and out from time to time. If I don't immediately respond to something, don't take it personally. I'm just busy.
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Re: The Second Mage War

Postby morrisoni » November 28th, 2017, 3:01:14 pm

Chapter 15: Kai
Okay, so now we really have every member of the Brotherhood. We've checked the records and after hours of laborious counting, we're sure. Counting in the prisoners we just received in exchange for the Trident kids, we've got everyone. Now we don't have to worry about them anymore, so our plant magi are much safer. So is the RUC on the whole, with a third of our opponents out of the way. Right now I'm headed toward Izzy's room. It's my turn to guard. I'm most of the way there when I hear a whistle, and Spark appears in front of me.
"Hey, Kai. Just thought you should know, Thomas and Shade are in the courtyard. Your guard duty is unnecessary."
"Say what?"
"I told her about the hellhound. Then Thomas and I talked some sense into her. Individually. He still doesn't know I exist."
"Okay then. Thanks. I've been trying to do that for a while now."
"Well, you and her sister both helped get her started."
"Sister? She doesn't have a sister."
"Brit wasn't her sister?"
"No. I mean, not biologically. She might as well have been though."
"Shade didn't correct me. The way they acted, I just assumed they were."
"Logical assumption, but an inaccurate one." And now I hear noises from the courtyard. If I didn't know better, I'd think it was laughter. I listen for a few seconds, trying to figure out what it is. Then I realize, it is laughter! I guess the two of them are trying to push the pain away. I get closer to the courtyard, and I figure out that's not quite right. They're sharing stories about Brit, and some of them are pretty funny. Well, they're okay, so I think I'll go see someone else who might want to hear about what happened.
"Where are you headed now, Kai?" Spark asks.
"The prison. There's someone there I think will be interested in hearing about Brit."
"Who would that be?"
"You'll find out." I walk down the stairs, make my way through the checkpoint, and finally locate the person I've been looking for. He seems to be asleep. I knock on his cell bars, and he quickly sits up.
"What do you want? It's the middle of the night!"
"Paul. It's me." It takes him a minute to recognize me in the dark. I can barely register when he does.
"Kai." That's all he says. Just my name, plain and simple, with no emotion whatsoever.
"In the flesh."
"What do you want?" he asks again in the same monotone voice.
"It's about your daughter."
"Brit?" Still no inflection.
"You have another one?"
"What is it?"
"She's dead, Paul."
"What?!" His voice finally has some emotion in it.
"She snuck out into the battle, and your leader Aaron had his hellhound attack her."
"He would never..."
"I beg to differ! He betrayed my brother, and nine other people who he was close friends with, Paul. The man has no moral compass."
"You have no proof it was him, Kai." I can't believe this.
"Listen to yourself! Your daughter is dead, and all you care about is your leader's reputation!"
"I trust Aaron."
"Misplaced trust. I feel the need to point out, he's the reason Sarah is dead. If he hadn't botched up that mission, she'd still be around, right?" That'll get him. That's a hit where it hurts.
"No one's perfect." You have got to be kidding me!
"Wake up! You've been blinded by your loyalty to the Brotherhood. Your brethren have done things that no one should ever do."
"People make mistakes."
"Yeah. For instance, abandoning a 4-year-old girl to follow a secret society that's greedy for power."
"Now wait a minute! We didn't have any other options!" And I snap.
"Delroch crap! You could've taken her with you, you could have just not left!"
"No. We... we didn't want to leave. But when Jesira found out about her, she blackmailed us, saying she would hurt her if we didn't join back up. She forced us to leave her behind, too. We only did it to protect her." Wow. I never thought...
"Oh. Paul, I'm so sorry. Now I really feel like a jerk."
"You weren't wrong, Kai. After I did join, I should have done more to try and help you all. I don't know what was wrong with me. But the spy you had giving you information from the Brotherhood up until recently? Darkflare?"
"That was Sarah. She always stayed true to the cause. She wasn't killed in a screwed-up mission. It was an execution."
"Oh my gosh. I didn't know, I swear."
"No one did. I didn't even know until it was too late." And now I really feel bad.
"Hey, maybe I can get you out of here. I've got some pull."
"Don't bother. I'll get out when and if the council sees fit. In the meantime, I'll serve my sentence. I've earned this." It's good to hear that.
Paul was an old friend of mine before the war, and he seems to be coming back to the light. I'll admit I'm glad I made it down here before Izzy raked him over the coals. He's just as alone as anyone in this world now.
"Hey, Paul."
"What?" Now his voice is just kind of empty.
"I think it's probably a good thing you left her behind. She would have been dead a long time ago." He doesn't respond. "And I owe her a lot for keeping my niece from going berserk. Numerous times." Still nothing. "So... See you."
"See you later, Kai. Nice talking to you." I leave. Spark materializes on my shoulder again.
"Nice job."
"Thanks. I just thought it might be a good wakeup call. I was right. Now let's get some breakfast."
"Sounds good to me!" he chirps. We're both getting hungry, so to the cafeteria I go. I can only hope that with the Brotherhood gone, the war will end soon.
Last edited by morrisoni on December 22nd, 2017, 2:19:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Second Mage War

Postby morrisoni » December 2nd, 2017, 2:47:13 pm

Chapter 16: Shade
"I'm not hungry, Thomas." I'm really not. I can't stomach any food right now. The pain faded for a while back in the courtyard, but it still hurts. Thomas doesn't seem to get it, because he dragged me to the cafeteria and is trying to force me to eat breakfast. It's worse, not seeing Brit there. Just a painful reminder.
"You've got to eat something, Bella. I know it doesn't feel right just moving on like nothing's happened, but you can't go skipping meals." Okay, he does get it. And yes, I'm letting him get away with Bella. It kind of helps, hearing a personal name from somebody. Even Brit always called me Shade. Uncle Kai's the only one who calls me anything else.
"Fine, Tommy," I reply, mockingly. He doesn't respond. Maybe he's just letting it slide, maybe he's used to that nickname, I don't know. I turn to the young man behind the counter. I don't even know him. "Gimme an omelet with bacon and Voltarian peppers and a Triple Trouble."
"Coming right up," he says. "And for you, Thomas?"
"Same as her."
"You got it."
"You're having a Triple Trouble, Tommy?" I can't hide my surprise. This kid has some guts after all!
"Yeah. I order those regularly in my world. I just wanted water yesterday because I was dehydrated, and the peppers don't help with that." True. Still nothing about the nickname. Well, I don't feel like changing the subject.
"Makes sense."
"Order up!" the boy says.
"Thanks, kid." I lay some gold on the table for a tip. I never bothered with Brit, because if she needed cash, I'd just give it to her, and she knew it. I've got more gold than I know what to do with. Espionage pays well.
"No problem, Shade." I resume my conversation with Thomas.
"Kai said that the funeral is going to be later today."
"Yeah, I heard."
"Won't be very many people."
"Kai told me they're letting her father, Paul out of prison for a few hours so he can attend." Kai already told us both about what happened with Paul, why they had to leave, and how Sarah was killed.
"Yeah. And to think I held a grudge against him for so long. After everything he went through."
"Poor guy."
"Never thought I'd hear myself agreeing with that statement in reference to a Brotherhood member, but you're right."
"They aren't all horrible people. Just like the Herbalists and Tridents have some decent folks, so do they." Once again, he's right. A common occurrence.
"I know that now. But before, I just couldn't picture it. The only people I knew personally that were halfway decent were my father's friends."
"And Brit's parents."
"Right. But until recently I didn't think they were, either." This is met with silence, until we hear someone calling across the cafeteria.
"Kai! Kai!" It's Kim, one of the council members. I hadn't even realized Kai was in here, but now I see him stand up.
"What is it, Kim?"
"It's Paul. He was left alone for a few seconds, and he somehow had kept a dagger hidden, and he..."
"Did he hurt himself?"
"Yes. He didn't manage anything serious, but we actually had to shoot him with tranquilizer darts to get him to the infirmary. He doesn't want to keep going. The doctor said you need to see him, now."
"Okay," he says, surprisingly calm as he exits the cafeteria.
"Maybe we should follow him?" Thomas says. I don't miss the fact that he phrases it as a question.
"Yeah, let's do that," I reply as we both finish off our omelets and take our drinks with us. The boy behind the counter starts to say something, but I just wave him off. "We'll bring it back, kid, chill out." He starts to say something again, but Thomas and I walk out.
"Maybe we should have..."
"I do that all the time."
"Okay then." We follow Kai into the infirmary, and sure enough, there's Paul, with conspicuous gashes on his arms. Kai calls out to him.
"Paul! What were you thinking?"
"Kai, you've got to talk some sense into these people!" he answers.
"Talk some sense into them? How about yourself?!"
"Kai, I can't go on like this! I don't have anyone now."
"You have us. Me, Izzy, and the rest."
"No. I'm alone. My wife, my daughter, my whole family. Gone." He just seems... broken. I feel bad for him.
"Kai, I don't think he's going to listen," Thomas says. Kai finally notices us.
"What are you two doing in here?" he demands.
"We decided to follow you," I say.
"You never could keep out of other people's business, could you Izzy?"
"Look, just let me try to talk to him. I might be able to bring him around."
"Be my guest, Izzy." I turn to Paul, and I walk toward the bed.
"Paul. I think we need to talk."
"Not you too, Bella." I'll let the nickname go for now.
"Paul, I know you feel alone. But let me tell you, you're handling it all wrong. I'll admit, I was going to try and kill Aaron, but Thomas, Kai, and Brit all helped me see that I shouldn't hold on to it. You can't stoop to their level, because that means they've won, Paul."
"You talk a big game, Bella."
"I'm serious, Paul. Brit was like my little sister. It hurt me just as much as it did you. But you can't let it take control of you."
"Oh please."
"You can't let them win this fight. If you just give up, then they get exactly what they want." Silence.
"Paul, just think about it, please. And stay in here," Kai says. He seems to grasp that we aren't getting through to him. "Izzy, let's go. We're not going to make any more progress here." I can't argue with him. He and Thomas turn to leave. I follow, but not without one last look back at Paul. I can empathize with him a bit. He's lost almost as much as I have.
This war. This fight, these stupid Existizers! I can't stand it anymore! I want this war to end, for crying out loud! But that won't happen. Not unless we can bring down the other two guilds. And I intend to do everything I can to make that happen. It's go time!
Last edited by morrisoni on December 22nd, 2017, 2:20:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Second Mage War

Postby Raneth » December 3rd, 2017, 11:45:47 am

As this is a Magistream fanfic, I've moved it to the Den for you.
ImageImageImageImageImageImageImage Taste the rainbow! Thanks to Real and TimeLordSnowy for the beautiful recolors!
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Re: The Second Mage War

Postby morrisoni » December 4th, 2017, 10:40:02 pm

Thanks. I've been trying to figure out how to do that. Meant to put it there in the first place.
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Re: The Second Mage War

Postby morrisoni » December 21st, 2017, 6:31:41 pm

Chapter 17:Thomas
The war is easier for us now, but it's also easier for the Herbalists. The Brotherhood was their main threat aside from our fire magi, so we've got to worry about them even more with the Brotherhood out of the way. A necessary evil, I suppose. We're in the courtyard again, Bella and I. This time we're training with Kai.
"Okay, you two, give it all you've got," he tells us. We take our sparring stances. "Fight!" Bella rushes straight at me, but I sidestep her. She disappears into thin air.
"Did you really think that would work, Bella? I know exactly where you are!" To prove my point, I send a small fireball in her direction. Not hot enough to cause any damage, but it gets the message across.
"How did you do that?" she asks.
"I've taught myself plenty of spells to deal with stealth. You're a prankster in my world, and I have to be on my guard."
"Yep. I told you before, this world is nothing like mine."
"Sheesh. But seriously, how did you do that?"
"You ever hear of a spell called the Tenabre Reveal?"
"As the name implies, it was originally created to counteract Tenabre fox magic. Doesn't work so well for that, to be honest, but it does let the user see people that are using stealth spells. I keep it active all the time. Force of habit. It doesn't really require much energy or focus once you're good at it."
"Okay you two, can we get back to the training here?" Kai asks.
"Fine, Kai. Whatever."
"And this time, leave out the reveal spell and let's see what happens."
"Now that's not fair! You said give it everything I had!"
"I know what I said. But you need to be prepared for every scenario."
"I guess that makes sense. I have other spells I can use anyway." Okay, I'm bluffing. The only other anti-stealth spell I know is a prevention spell that requires my full focus during a fight. But she doesn't need to know that. I know Bella's fighting style too well to let on. I can probably predict just what she'll do.
"Round 2, Fight!" Kai yells. Bella hides herself again. Now let's see... I think. When she goes straight to the shadows, she usually tries to... I whirl around and blast a shower of sparks. Bella materializes as she falls back toward the wall.
"What the..." Bella asks.
"I know how your mind works. Anytime you blip out of existence right when the fight starts, you always go for a hit from behind."
"Jeez. Are you sure you didn't just use that reveal spell again?"
"Trust me, you would have known. I would have reacted a lot faster."
"Okay then. I think that's enough sparring for now. Let's try some target practice."
"How will you..." In response she draws a dagger from her belt and flings it at the wall. It sticks.
"Gotcha. What's the target?" As if on cue, an emerald wyvern flies down into the courtyard with a scroll around it's neck. I grab it and read it. "Okay... Scratch that."
"What now?" Bella looks over my shoulder. "Oh. Great."
"What's the problem?" Kai asks.
"Nothing," I say, "Unless you consider the fact that there's a pack of huge hellhounds outside the gates that appear to be intent on getting in and wreaking havoc a problem. The note says they're direwolf size."
"Uh-oh. I wonder..."
"What?" I ask. Bella answers for him.
"The Brotherhood stole some direwolf eggs from Remy a few years ago. We had heard reports that they were attempting to breed them with their hellhounds."
"Oh, well that's brilliant! And no one thought to investigate?"
"We did, but found nothing. Apparently they were hiding them better than we thought. I guess they escaped now."
I pop in and out from time to time. If I don't immediately respond to something, don't take it personally. I'm just busy.
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Re: The Second Mage War

Postby morrisoni » December 27th, 2017, 5:41:54 pm

Chapter 18: Shade
"After all, with no one to guard them and keep them fed, they were bound to break out and look for food sometime," Kai says. 'Them,' of course, being the supersized fiery mutts outside the gate. The Brotherhood took it way too far with this one. Half direwolf, half hellhound. And we have no way to control them.
"Anybody got a pencil?" I ask. Thomas tosses one at me, and I jot down a reply note. "Okay, let's roll. The water and fire mages will be out there any minute. That includes you two."
"And where do you get off giving us orders, Bella?" Thomas asks.
"I'm on the council, that's where Tommy. Now move!" We head inside and find all of our water and fire magi, just like I said. "Okay everyone, listen up! We've got a problem here."
"What's going on, Shade?" someone asks.
"We have massive hellhounds, presumably half direwolf, throwing fireballs at our barrier as we speak. I want you to work in pairs, one water mage and one fire mage. Got it?" The crowd mutters a collective affirmative. "And whoever ends up with Thomas, try to keep him out of trouble."
"Hey!" he yells, apparently insulted. I roll my eyes.
"Put a sock in it, Tommy! You know as well as I do you have no battle experience," I whisper.
"Well you don't have to..."
"Shut it!"
"Kim, I think you should probably go with Thomas. You can cover both of your butts, right?"
"That should be fine, Shade," she laughs.
"Thank you. I'll be in the council room if anyone needs me. Move out!" They scramble, each pair heading toward a different exit, Kim dragging Thomas behind her. He's glaring at me. I ignore him. I hear a whistle from behind me. I turn around, and there's a little girl in front of me. I have no idea who she is.
"Hey Shade!"
"Can I help you?"
"I've got a delivery for you," she says as she pulls two eggs out of her cloak. "I'm being paid not to say who these are from. However, I am allowed to say that they know you've been wanting these for a long time." I finally get a good look at the eggs, and my jaw drops. One's dark blue, the other's off-white. Both have spider webs emerging from the bottom. Namista's spiders!
"What the... Where did you get those?"
"If you can figure out who they're from, you can ask them!"
"Here kid, go buy yourself a plushie bear or something," I say, tossing her a few gold coins.
"Thanks!" she says as she runs off. I head toward the council room, and all the way I'm trying to figure out who they could be from. I've wanted Namista's spiders since I was a kid, but I've told maybe 2 people. One was Brit, and Kai refused outright last time I asked. Besides, he would just give them to me. These games aren't his thing. But who else...
"You idiot! Thomas!" I say to myself as I walk into the room. No one else is there. "It has to be Thomas! There's not a single other person you told, and he's the only one who knows you that well." It all makes perfect sense. Except for two things: how did he get them that quickly, and why? My thoughts are interrupted by a voice behind me.
"Shade!" Please tell me that's not who I think it is. I turn around. It is.
"What do you want Malcolm?"
"Missing something?" he asks, waving a small object in the air.
"What is that?"
"Not a clue. You left it back there."
"Let me see it." I haven't been able to get a good look at it. He hands it over, and it appears to be a small statue, depicting what looks like a resurrection horse. "It's not mine, Malcolm. I'll hang on to it and try to figure out who it belongs to. Now beat it." It's a nice statue. Really detailed. Whoever it belongs to is probably going to freak out when they realize it's missing. I'm about to slip it into my pocket when I hear that little girl behind me again.
"Uh, Shade? Did you happen to find a little statue of a resurrection horse?" That answers that question. I toss it over my shoulder. I hear her catch it and run out right as Smithee walks in. He's our plant mage.
Funny kind of guy, Smithee. He's older than the hills, I've never actually heard him talk. And another thing, I don't think Smithee's his real name. I know he's not hard of hearing, but there have been several times where someone has called him by name, but it takes four or five times to get a response. Besides, what kind of parent names their kid Smithee for crying out loud?
"Hey Smithee, what are you doing here? You should be undercover from those hellhounds." As expected, he says nothing, just shrugs. "Don't give me that. Get to the hideout!" He shrugs again and walks out. I don't get that guy.
He's kind of a mystery to everyone. No one knows where he's from. I heard someone say his mother was a water mage from Boreus and his father was a fire wizard from Voltar. Supposedly both of his parents wanted them to follow in his footsteps, and it became a competition. He told them flat-out that wasn't his game, and started studying plant magic. Sometimes I wonder about his loyalties. He seemed reluctant to even try to do any fighting, he never shows up for training. And then there was that time Thane found those top-secret documents in his room, which is against the rules. Documents like than aren't supposed to leave the council room except in Thane's hands.
I'm in the council room for a while, waiting, for almost half an hour. I'm almost asleep when I hear Kim calling me.
"Shade, the hounds are under control."
"Good. Sound off the all-clear." As I say it, the horn sounds. "Never mind." Thomas walks in as Kim leaves. "Tommy, I need to talk to you." He grins. He knows where I'm headed. "Where in the world did you get Namista's spider eggs?"
"I haven't the slightest idea what you're talking about."
"Don't try to pull that over on me. We both know you sent those eggs."
"Fine, I sent them. Big whoop."
"Why and how?"
"I have my sources, and I knew you'd want those. Figured you earned them."
"You realize that Kai is going to kill you, right?"
"Like I care. I can handle him." I'm not sure what to say to that, so I just stand there for a while.
"Hey Izzy! We never did get those classes up and running did we?" says Kai as he walks in. With all that's happened the last few days, I'd straight up forgotten that Kai was supposed to be teaching new fire magi how to battle.
"No... You're just now mentioning it?"
"It occurred to me that we were short on fire magi. That's when I remembered."
"Yeah, well. Talk to Thane. He'll handle it." I turn around. "Tommy, so help me, I'm going to find out where you got those eggs."
"Eggs?" Kai asks. I show him the spider eggs. "Now wait a minute! I told you..."
"You have no control over Thomas deciding to give me a little victory gift. Besides, I'm 14. I do what I want. Kai stutters for a while, shakes his head, and walks out of the room. Thomas and I just stand there laughing for a good long while. And goodness knows I needed that.
I pop in and out from time to time. If I don't immediately respond to something, don't take it personally. I'm just busy.
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Re: The Second Mage War

Postby morrisoni » February 24th, 2018, 12:55:58 pm

Chapter 19: Thomas
Standing in the Council room, I finally voice what's been going through my head ever since the attack. "So, Bella. I've been wondering. Now that we've got the Brotherhood out of the way, are we taking out the Tridents or the Herbalists first?"
"Well, the Tridents are weakened now, because the Brotherhood helped keep the Herbalists in check. Now the power balance has been upset, so the Herbalists can operate without much of a threat from anyone but us. I'm not in charge, but if it was my call, I'd take the Tridents out first, while they're vulnerable."
"That's what I was thinking. Of course, I won't be much help against them."
"Of course not, Tommy. You'll be on the Herbalists. We've still got to do something about them, even if we are focusing mainly on the Tridents."
"Right. Now, let's go get some lunch, shall we? I'm starving!"
"Good call." We head toward the cafeteria, when Bella turns to me and asks: "Who was the kid you hired to give me the eggs anyway?"
"Beats the heck out of me. I just found her in the hall and offered her some cash."
"And you trusted her to not tell me?"
"She didn't, did she?"
"End of conversation." We pass the Council Members' rooms and Thane flags us down.
"Shade, have you seen a group of kids running around? About five years old? Sending fireballs in all directions?"
"Let me guess," she responds with a smirk., "Kai's class got loose?"
"And they're wreaking havoc. If you see them, grab them, would you?" We both chuckle as he walks away, but he turns around. "Oh, and Thomas, Kai's drafted you as an assistant teacher once he gets them back."
"Wait, what?" Thane walks off, not responding.
"Looks like you've been volun-told!" Bella laughs. I hate when this happens. I say nothing as we continue toward the cafeteria. I'm in the middle of ordering when a fireball comes from the back of the kitchen and flies right over my head, followed by a round of childish giggles.
"Hold on a sec," the kid behind the counter says, clearly not happy. He heads to the back, and returns to the counter with three young kids in tow - dragging a boy in one hand and a girl in the other, another boy following of his own will. "I think I found your runaways, Shade!" he says.
"J.J. Burner," Bella says, looking the rear boy in the eye. "I might have guessed you were behind this little escapade." Now that I look at him, I do recognize him. He's a born troublemaker, and he always manages to get his classmates caught up in whatever stunts he pulls. I recognize the other boy as his twin brother, Joseph. Hardly surprising. You hardly see one without the other. The girl, though, I only recognized because she was the same one I'd enlisted earlier for the spider eggs.
"Are there any more of these little hoodlums in the class?"
"No," Bella responded, "Just these three for now. Think you can handle them?"
"I'm sure I'll be fine." The trio had climbed over the counter and were sitting next to us now. The kid behind the counter put out our orders on the table and Bella tipped him. We dragged the kids back to the classroom.
"There you are!" Kai exclaims. "I've been looking all over for you!" He's clearly not happy. I think I'll get out of here before he remembers I'm supposed to be helping him.


To anyone who's been following this, I apologize for not posting in so long. I've had a lot going on.
I pop in and out from time to time. If I don't immediately respond to something, don't take it personally. I'm just busy.
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