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These Bloody Streets: Requiem for Allies! [IC]

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- Arafel -

He didn’t know how long it had been since he had sent his message in the hopes that it would reach Michael, but Arafel was beginning to wonder whether he had actually received it. The burn on his arm still felt red hot and the pain the man called Caine had subjected him to still pounded strong in his head. Combining that with the aches and pains he had suffered over his days of torture and Arafel felt like he would meet his end at any minute. Normally in such a situation he would use his Time magic to heal himself but he had none currently in his system.


Arafel attempted to pull out of his bonds again, the leather straps that kept him firmly in the chair, but as with his previous attempts they didn’t yield. Not that he had much physical strength at the moment. He gave up quickly and settled back into the chair, turning his head slightly to aim his ear at the door he was pretty sure was in front of him.


Since his face had been beaten and his eyes swollen shut, Arafel had been listening carefully to anything that might indicate someone was approaching. He had heard nothing since Caine had left but now he thought he may have heard something else; something akin to a scream perhaps. When the scream ended, Arafel became suddenly aware of another presence in the room. Someone was very close to him. He tried to say something but he couldn’t manage a sound.


- Michael Sanderford -

It didn’t actually matter where in his father’s realm Michael was in order to exit into the right part of the human world, but apparently the low level servant elemental had used most of its energy getting into that part of the realm; so it was that Michael had followed it to one of the lesser controlled areas where not as much energy was needed to cross the borders.


After delivering Arafel’s message of need, the elemental wanted to lead Michael directly to the Time mage; apparently it had taken a liking to him for some reason. However, now they were at a place where they could cross together, Michael sensed something was awry on the human side. He ushered the elemental to wait and sent a few feelers through the barrier. As he had suspected, Michael had sensed a protective barrier around the location Arafel was being held at. It was formed similarly to the Prideux Estate but was by no means anywhere near as potent. He considered his approach carefully.


It would not take much effort on his part to simply burn his way through the barrier. However, that would alert the occupants to his presence and if they knew who Arafel was, it wouldn’t take a huge leap to guess who was approaching them in a fury of flames and thus they might react negatively. Michael struck that idea of the list and moved to the second one; he could weave his way through the barrier as it had done to the Prideux barrier when he’d first announced himself to Ryuzaki’s crew. This was appealing but then a thought occurred to him. Now he was trained in the art of the elementals he had a much easier way of entering the property. With that in mind, he moved his exit point until he felt he was out of the protective barrier and stepped through into the human world.


Michael appeared in a forest that he immediately thought was artificial; the trees were exactly spaced and seemed to be exact copies of each other. The grass was long and wild and directly in front of him was a large brick wall topped with a metal fence which in turn was topped with deadly looking razor wire. Apparently the owners of wherever Arafel was held had built a physical wall to mark where their magical one ended.


Since Michael was still in his flame form, his new elemental servant friend hovering beside him, he floated upwards and saw the artificial forest extended into the property for a few metres before opening into a vast clearing that housed a rather large mansion at its centre. Michael floated back down, ensuring not to burn the grass beneath him, and started reconstructing his human body.


He started with his feet, the flames forming into a pair of heavy black boots of thick leather, and then continued up his body like he was being printed. Michael ended up with his black boots, a pair of black leather trousers, and a short-sleeved black shirt with the collar open. His hair was long, hanging freely around his face, and was black with the exception of the hair-tips that glowed white hot. His eyes were not human, instead they were seemingly endless pits of writhing flame, spinning and rotating in every direction. Michael held up his hand and a pair of mirrored sunglasses appeared and he placed them over his eyes, ensuring his hair was not trapped in the frames.


With his arm in front of him he considered them too bare for his liking and so with a thought, leather bands appeared around his wrists and then three beaded bracelets appeared on his right wrist while a metal ring appeared on his left. With that done, he held out his hand and the servant elemental settled on it for a second before it slowly sunk into the flesh; Michael absorbed it and stored it safely within his body, he didn’t want it to cause any trouble while he was infiltrating the house.


Michael then focused his senses and sent them out to the house in front of him. He started on the left and swept slowly across the entire length of the building; there were four entry points he could choose from. With that sweep done, he changed to a different sensor and did the same thing again, this time trying to pick up anything from Arafel. A very minute spike showed slightly to the right of the centre of the building and Michael guessed the Time mage was being held underground. The closest entry point was about 4 floors too high, so unfortunately he would have to move through the house. Without a better choice, Michael focused his mind and aimed his energy at his chosen doorway.


Inside the house, in a room set out like a library but much smaller and personal, a maid was collecting the remains of a meal when the low flame in the fireplace suddenly raged as if gasoline had been thrown on it and spewed out into the room. The maid scrambled away from the flame as it suddenly curved in mid-air and then formed into a man.


Michael looked around and then his eyes fell on the maid who was looking at him with a look of surprise. “Pardon me, but you couldn’t point me in the direction of your prisoner could you? Young man, master of Time? No?”


The maid jumped to her feet and in a surprising move, her hands blurred and Michael found four deadly knives flying in his direction. He frowned, but as the knives came within a couple of inches of his body a red membrane lit up and the blades evaporated into gas. “That was surprising.” He said and before the maid could do anything else, he lowered his glasses to reveal his eyes and she burst into flame before being reduced to ashes. “Even the maids want to kill you here apparently.” Michael muttered to himself as he exited the library room and came out in a long hallway lined with wooden doors.


As he was considering which way to go, ultimately his aim was to go down, a man dressed in a black suit stepped out of a room nearby. When he saw Michael stood there, he froze for a second before reaching into his jacket and pulling a pistol out. Michael raised his hand and suddenly the metal of the gun superheated and the man cried out as he dropped the weapon to the floor. While he cradled his hand in pain, Michael walked up to him and gently rested a hand on his chest before pushing him against the wall.


“You saw what I did to your gun from afar, imagine what I could do if I’m touching you?” he said with a small smile. Fear crossed the man’s face. “Good, now, I need to get to the dungeon. You are holding a friend of mine.”


“I’m sorry, I’m not prison staff, I don’t know anything about that.” The man said quickly, clearly hoping he wouldn’t be killed if he told Michael all he knew. “But Travis is, he’s in the kitchen one floor down.”


“Thank you.” Michael said before his hand glowed red and the man joined the maid as ash. “To the kitchen’s then.”


As he proceeded a floor down to where the guard had said the kitchen was, Michael couldn’t help but notice the severe lack of people; not just guards, but anyone at all. It concerned him but he pushed it out of his mind as he stepped into the kitchen and found a pair of men at a table drinking coffee. Both were in suits, sans jacket, and had their sleeves rolled up; one of the pair was covered in blood. When they saw Michael stood in the doorway they jumped to their feet and pulled their pistols.


As before Michael raised his hand and the two yelped as their guns burned them. Unlike the last one however, they both pulled long knives from their belts and charged forwards. Michael guessed the bloodied one was the one in question so he sent a light flame wave at him that sent him flying backwards into the table he had gotten up from. The second guard got close enough and aimed to slice Michael’s throat with the serrated blade. As with the throwing knives from earlier, when the blade came within a couple of inches to cut into his neck, his membrane lit up and the blade that entered it apparently disappeared. The guard looked at the knife in surprise and Michael too the opportunity to pierce his chest with a beam of white hot fire.


The bloody guard was back on his feet but he didn’t approach, instead he looked at Michael warily. “Ok, let’s just say that if you attack me you die.” Michael said. “Judging by the blood on your shirt, a pain to get out by the way, you’ve had some dealing with a particular uncooperative individual lately. Perhaps someone adept in the art of time?” At the mention of time, the guard perked up and Michael smiled. “So it is you, good. I just need to know where he is.”


“I’m not telling you anything.” His voice sported and Eastern-European accent but Michael didn’t pay it any mind as he approached slowly.


“I’m not going to ask again.” Michael said, the joviality that had been in his voice previously completely gone. While he walked, he sent out another probe and stopped when he felt the spike stronger. A smile returned to his face.


“What?” The guard asked.


“He doesn’t happen to be directly below us, does he?” the guard’s eyes widened and he glanced down. “Say, 3 floors?” the man looked up and Michael took his look to be confirmation. “Thank you.” He said and whipped his hand forward sending off a tendril of flame that wrapped around the man and he managed a scream before he burnt. Michael frowned. “Oh well, I don’t plan to be here much longer.”


Using the energy spike as a location, Michael picked a spot a couple of feet away and drew a circle big enough for him with a little extra space. It lit up with a ring of fire and Michael took up position at its centre, stranding straight. He clicked his fingers and the circle shot downwards, slicing through the floor like it was butter. The circle of stone Michael was now stood on started to fall and a couple seconds later he was stood on three discs of stone in what was clearly a dungeon.


In front of him was a chair with a figure strapped to it but blocking Michael’s view was another figure that was leaning dangerously close to the prisoner’s neck. Apparently whoever it was wasn’t paying attention as Michael leapt forward and summoned a sphere of flame in his right hand. When he was close enough, he held the sphere to the ribs of the encroaching figure at it exploded with enough force to send it flying into the far wall. Michael stepped up to Arafel and placed his hands on his shoulders.


“Arafel, can you hear me?” The wounds on the young man was extensive and if Michael couldn’t see his chest rising and falling, he might have thought him dead. “Arafel?” The figure that Michael had sent flying struggled to its feet and Michael turned to find he recognised her. “Miss Misa?” he questioned just as the door exploded inwards and six armed men entered the room.


“Stop right there!” One of them shouted but Michael’s body suddenly alit with raging flames. The guards open fired but the bullets simply hissed away as they got close to him.


“Burn.” He said and a wave of his flame rolled forward and engulfed the men who screamed as they burnt. Michael had deliberately made it slow so that they didn’t become ash straight away. They continued to scream as Michael turned back to Arafel. “Hey, you still alive?”


A rasping breath escaped the man and Michael thought he saw a smile. “I…hoped you…got my…message.”


“Indeed, your elemental flame was rather insistent. You can reunite later, for now, let’s get you out of here.” Michael said and replaced his hand on Arafel’s hand. Then he remembered Misa. “Oh, give me a second.” He walked over to the woman and as he stopped in front of her she lunged forward and latched her teeth onto his shoulder. “Oh, you’re blood deprived.” Michael said as Misa pulled away with a scream and spat what appeared to be liquid fire to the floor. “I’m not exactly viable as a food source, Misa. Come now.” Michael grabbed her upper arm in a firm grip and pulled her across to Arafel. When she lunged at him, Michael pulled her away. “Behave, I’ll feed you back at the tower.”


With that, he placed a hand on Arafel and looked up to the hole he had created to enter the prison. “Well, it’s not like I have to be discreet now.” He said and he engulfed both himself, Arafel, and Misa in a circular flame before shooting upwards like a bullet, smashing through the building like it was made of glass. They shot into the sky like a flare and once they had pierced through the protective barrier, Michael aimed the ball of flame towards his Tower. As they flew, he gave the elemental servant a new message and fired him towards the Prideux Estate explaining what he was doing.


- Axion -

Axion’s boy-form removed his hand from Zennith as the old man placed a hand on the small of his back and complained that the pain always intensified whenever Axion took him anywhere. Axion was currently dark skinned and sported brown eyes and ruffled black hair. He was wearing a pair of denim dungarees over a black t-shirt and white trainers. As was always the case when he travelled with Zennith, he had taken him just outside the location he had asked for.


“Thank you, Axion. Now, shall we go and get things ready.” Zennith was an old man with a completely bald head but wielding a magnificent white beard that hung to his chest. He looked like someone’s grandpa with his beige chinos, red jumper, and a blue collared t-shirt underneath. His shoes were sensible, brown in colour, and he walked with a wooden cane in his left hand.


The street the two of them were on was busy, despite the more industrial nature of the location, but Zennith paid it no mind as he starting making his way to the corner of the block. Axion followed, using his short stature to nimble step between the legs of the pedestrians that passed by. Together, they reached the corner and would normally cross the street to reach the building they had been heading for in the first place. This time, however, Zennith stopped and gestured to the building with his cane.


“Someone is in there.” He said and Axion followed the line-of-sight the cane indicated and saw one of the windows of their building was lit up with harsh LED lighting. “Would you check it out?” Axion didn’t move and just turned his head to look up at Zennith who, after a couple of seconds of nothing, turned to face him with a look of realisation. “Oh my apologies, dear boy, here.” He reached into his pocket and pulled out gold-wrapped piece of toffee.


Axion took the piece, tore the wrapper off quickly and popped the toffee into his mouth. Then, he changed his perspective.


The world stuttered to a stop around him. People no longer walked, cars no longer drove, birds no longer flew; they all stopped in their tracks. Zennith had frozen with his hand half in his pocket, probably pulling a toffee out for himself. With everyone stuck in their positions, Axion headed across the street, weaving between cars and people. Axion’s small stature made it easy to step between people and he did so until he was stood at the base of the building Zennith had pointed out. He didn’t head for the door, instead he simply stepped onto the outer wall and began to walk up it.


He zig-zagged around the windows until he was below the lit up one and stepped through the glass. The window didn’t break as Axion passed through it, it was as if it didn’t exist for him. The room he had entered was clearly some kind of hideout as it was filled with unmarked crates, maps were pinned to the walls, tables were set out with various equipment, and there were miss-matched dining chairs set around a low coffee table. Sat in one of these chairs was a girl.


She looked to be eighteen years of age with an athletic body and hard muscles. The left side of her head has been shaved to a buzz cut and was brown, while the rest of her chin-length hair had been pulled to the right and its tips were a shocking pink; her left eye was green while the right was hidden beneath her hair but presumably matched. A white mask was perched on left side of her head. She was wearing a black crop top that showed her pierced belly button, a long sleeved denim jacket, tight white trousers, and brown boots with loose laces. A harness around her waist held two short-swords and two six-shooters while a deadly looking naginata rested on her shoulders, supported by her hands resting on it.


Axion did not recognise her, he would definitely have recognised her stern expression, and when he walked over to the door he found it had not been forced or anything. He walked back across to the girl and pulled both her swords and pistols free, laying them by the door and then removed her naginata and placed it next to them. This left the girl sat in a very strange position with her arms held up and crooked with her wrists bent forward limply. With that done, Axion exited through the window again and made his way back down to Zennith.


He crouched down behind the old man and put his head between his legs, lifting him up onto his shoulders like he weighed nothing at all. Axion then carried the man to their building but this time entered through the door and up the stairs. They reached the door to the hideout and Axion unlocked the door with a key from Zennith’s pocket, putting it back afterwards, and entered the room to place Zennith down in front of where he had placed the girl’s weapons. When he was happy both of Zennith’s feet were on the floor and the door was closed behind him, Axion looked again.


The world moved again and the girl jerked backwards, tipping her chair over and dumping her on the floor with a yelp. As this happened, Zennith groaned and rubbed his back again. “Warn me next time, would you?” he said to Axion as the boy stood next to him. The old man looked around and then at the girl as she scrambled to her feet with a thunderous look on her face.


“Would you control your pet, old man!” she said, pointing aggressively at Axion who simply looked at her with a bland expression.


“He is not a pet, girl, and he is far above us in existence so watch what you say.” Zennith replied calmly before shuffling to a chair and taking a seat. “What are you doing here anyway, Seraph? I thought you had a job to do in London.”


Seraph, the girl in question, stomped over to her weapons and picked them up in one go before moving back to the table and placing them there. “Unlike you, I get my jobs done quickly.” She said angrily as she carefully picked up the short-swords and carefully replacing them in their scabbards at the back of her waist; she missed the first two times but managed to get them in on the third. She followed this by slipping the pistols into their holsters and then grasping her naginata. As soon as it was in her hand properly, she turned on Axion and levelled it at him. “I should skewer you where you stand!”


Axion didn’t say anything but Zennith chipped in for him. “Like you could. Anyway, did you receive a new mission?”


Seraph kept her angry stare on Axion for a couple of seconds before pulling the naginata up and resting the shaft on her shoulder and turning to face Zennith. “Malduiwel told me to come here, apparently he’s dropping by.”


“My, my, that is rare.” Zennith replied. “When is he due?”


“Now.” A male voice said as its owned closed the door quietly behind him. “The boss is visiting.”


At those four simple words, both Zennith and Seraph looked at him in surprise. Axion simply walked across the room and stood beside Zennith’s chair.

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-----The Knight-----

He stepped through the front door of the hide out, all in the room whipping their heads at his appearance. This would come as a shock to them, he knew, after all is was very rare that the Right Hand of the Crescent Moon made her appearance to anyone besides Raphael himself.


He wore plated metal armor that was dark gray and worn, a crimson red sash went across his chest. At his waist were strips of crimson red fabric that hung loosely and Incorporated themselves into his belt, the clip of the belts was a red gym that radiated a glowing orange. Seeping out of the cracks of his armor was glowing red energy. In his left hand he wore a large shield and at his side was a medieval sword to match. His helmet faceplate was down, concealing his face.


Upon stepping through the room he scanned the entirety of it; spending nearly thirty seconds doing so before taking a position with his back to the window, nearly all eyes in the room on him.



Her feet touched the ground gently, making no noise as she moved through the crowded streets, people moved away from her like the current of a river flows around a rock. They were doing so on a completely subconscious level, her magical stature and power forcing others away from her and her escort naturally.


She wore a long road cloak with sleeves for her arms. The cloak had a large hood and it was clipped in the center of her chest by a large, red clip. Underneath her cloak she had on a black elastic top designed like a one piece bathing suit. In the center of her head was a red gem, embedded beneath the skin. On either side of the gym was a pair of eyes consisting entirely of orange-red energy.


The man next to her, whom she was interlinked arms with, was a true behemoth.


-----The Brawler-----

He was nearly six and a half feet tall, well towering over the average person. His shoulders were broad and his body was dense with muscle. He was wearing a sleeveless red vest with large crimson red shoulder pads. His bare chest was covered with a heavy metal armor and his sleeveless arms had a sort of leather and metal gauntlets on them. His left arm was held in a crook with the small women's--next to him she seemed dainty.


His right arm hung loosely at his side, orange and red energy wafted off of it like smoke from a burning candle. Over his face was a large metal helmet with a cross cut into it for him to see out of. They approached their destination and the woman broke off, opening the public door and walking up the steps.


The man waited outside, standing in front of and blocking the doorway with his massive frame.


-----The Assassin-----

She lurked hidden in the shadows, completely unseen and unknown by all around her. She would move from alleyway to alleyway, rooftop to rooftop, always within range of Samantha, never letting her get but a few yards away and staying concealed as an expert would.


A black cloak hid her body from site, but every few steps a part of her dark red, leather armor would stick out, or her black boots, or her belt that housed many different weapons. Wrapped in a coil around the belt was a roped weapon of sorts, dangling silently. On her face she wore a cloth mask covering only her mouth. Here eyes were a dark red.


When Samantha entered the building, the assassin moved to take up her position, moving around the brawler without even the faintest breeze of wind to give her away, slipping between him and the door frame like a snake, and crouched in the shadows under the stairwell.


-----The Marksmen-----

Across the building where Samantha had entered stood a figure clad in a mix of heavy and lightweight armor. Over his shoulder and arms were heavy, crimson red plates with orange runes etched into them. His face was covered by a metal mask, a scarf covering the top and side of his head, wrapping around the front. Over his body he had a grey and brown tattered tunic, with heavy black boots. In each hand was a lethal weapon--a large gun of glowing orange energy, modelled to look like a flint lock pistol.


He stood with each gun in hand, ready to fire, staring across the street at the building Samantha had entered.


-----The Berserker-----

His massive frame flung itself through the air. With a single leap his mighty strength sent him flying until crashing onto the roof of the building Samantha had entered, shaking it to its foundation.


Over his head was a massive helmet of corroded metal, it was bolted in place to his collar bone. He was bare chested, wearing nothing except for a pair of tattered red pants and worn, black leather boots. In each hand was a mace that dragged onto the building, chains of orange energy connecting them to a massive steel ball.


-----The Fencer-----

He was about a mile down the street, sitting on a bench, blending in with the people as if he belonged there. He didn't have swords or fancy armor, at least not with him currently he didn't, he was dressed completely plain with a pair of black boots, blue jeans, and a dark red T-shirt. His black hair was scraggly and hung loosely across his face.


His eyes didn't let anything escape, they scanned every person that passed, ensuring that no threat would by pass him unnoticed. The road to the building Samantha had entered was a dead end, completely inaccessible from any other Street except this one. He would act as their forward, covert security.


-----The Valkyrie-----

Her body was positioned atop the Sears Tower, her heightened eyes peering in every direction; looking down at the populace like a hawk to a field mouse. Her body was clad in crimson and black armor, across her back was a long spear and sheathed at her side was a slim and sharp longsword. From her back sprouted massive wings of orange and red energy, they were coiled in. Her head moved slowly from side to side, scanning everywhere. She had on a metal mask with a large X for eye slits.


-----The Archer----

Atop the John Hancock center stood a woman who’s longbow was nearly larger than her. She didn't wear much armor, instead she she wore black pants and a black shirt. Over that she wore crimson red gloves and a long crimson scarf that was wrapped completely around her head, only exposing a small slit for her eyes--they shined through the shadows of the scarf, a fierce and fiery orange. Her bow string radiated a burning red energy and the arrows in her quiver did the same.



She stepped into the impromptu safe house gracefully, her otherworldly four eyes casting light in the dim room. She walked over to the table where Sophia was sitting and took a seat, "Honestly, Sophia, could you not have picked a more dismal location for a safe house? I mean really? There are so many abandoned estates that would do nicely, castles in the European country side, maybe even the White House?" Samantha laughed, "Oh well, I suppose it won't matter anyway, we have Ryuk's corpse in custody now. I've already planted the bait to trap Sookie and draw her out. That's two thirds of the formula. The last remaining thing we need for the ritual is the location. I do hope you lot didn't manage to screw that up as well?"



Misa’s thoughts were scrambled as she lay in the bed asleep. Her tortured mind speaking to her in fragments. In an instant and a spark of reality, it pieced itself back together and she regained clarity as to where she was, what she was doing, and why she needed to do it. She flashed back to a few months ago.


“That’s it Misa,” Arafel and her were inside what used to be a top secret bunker on the island of Nirvana, now it was an abandoned husk--hidden away from society and completely in tact, a time capsule of a previous time when mundane and supernatural kept their distance from one another. Arafel was bent over at a large computer terminal, the monitor sixty inches across and the key panel a complicated array of buttons, dials, switches, and key boards. He had his own portable computer plugged into the larger one, and several cables connecting them. “I’ve just finished downloading all the information I could possibly get, thirty terabytes worth of documents, videos, spreadsheets, blueprints, and who knows what else.” He shut his laptop and began to put it away inside his backpack. Misa was acutely aware of him, instead focusing her attention on the outer passages ways. “There’s only one more place we need to go,” As he punched keys into one of the panels and a holographic map appeared in front of him, projecting three dimensionally from the screen, “It should be about five floors down, room B895.”

Misa nodded to him, “Let’s get going then, I think something followed us in here. I can’t hear, see, or smell it, but I definitely feel it.”

“We better hurry then,” Arafel said stepping away from the terminal and walking towards the entrance, this was just the icing on the cake, the real reason why I needed to get here is where we are going next.”

Misa stepped into the deserted hallway and Arafel followed, “How sure are you that you’ll be able to rewrite this miserable future?” Misa asked.

Arafel smiled at her and followed, “Not sure at all, but we need to try something. As it stands everything we’re doing is causing the timeline more damage.” He paused for a second and got serious, “We need to make a more drastic change, and for that to happen I need to know more about the past. More than what I got just a glimpse of. I have to know for sure about Ezralda.”



He woke up to find his face bandaged. He could see out of his left eye, but his right one was covered up. He mumbled an incoherent babble of, “Jesus Christ, fucking shit donkeys.” He could hear some type of mumbling next to him, but he couldn’t quite make out what was being said. He self diagnosed himself with a severe concussion, staying awake was hard enough.


“Arafel,” He could see a little better now, his blurred vision focusing together to form the face of a small child. Well, the body of a small child that is--long straight blonde hair and bright green eyes--but the mind of something inhuman. “Arafel,” She repeated and he muttered more incoherent babble, “Arafel, can you hear me?”


He finally was able to get his senses together and he said, “Yes, yes,” He brought his hand up to his head and touched the bandages, “Yah, I hear you Ariel.”


Ariel sighed, “Good, the things are talking still. Even Wind is scared of what’s to come.” Arafel looked at her and she kept speaking, she was visibly concerned, “Who caught you guys? And how did they find you anyway? And how did they fight both you and Misa and beat you both?”


“Ariel,” He said, legitimately confused, “what the hell are you talking about?”



“Whatever you saw,” she said, “it seems to have both you and Ariel on edge.”

“Not on edge, Misa, it’s giving us some hope.”


The world had gotten increasingly more on edge, Ariel had noticed, and the only person that Ariel shared these concerns with were Ryuzaki, Misa, and Arafel--Misa and Ryuzaki because she had known them the longest, and, Arafel because he was the only one with the ability to change it. Elizabeth couldn’t know, or so Arafel said, the less people knew about them trying to change the future the better. He said multiple times how near impossible it was. She recalled the last time they were all together discussing this.


“You gotta’ remember,” Arafel said, “time is a weird thing, changing it is nye impossible. The course that it wants to take will be the course it takes ninety-nine percent of the time. It just has a way of warping itself around whatever we change and doing what it wants to anyway. I think the only way we are going to make such a big change is by changing something equally as large.” He paused for a moment, saying, “I don’t think that this was the course time is supposed to take,” Arafel said, “I think that something happened that wasn’t supposed to. Somebody, or more likely something, changed the course of time to result in the disastrous reality we live in today. I’ve been working on a pretty complex theory that time is a living thing, and like any living thing it has a serious sense of self-preservation. It doesn’t make sense to me that it would create in its own course, its own destiny, such a terrible reality. After all as Ariel has said the ‘things’ as she refers to them are screaming that time is coming to an end.” He rubbed his chin and said, “Here’s what I think happened, I think that the time stream was altered somehow, something BIG happened that wasn’t supposed to, so now time thinks that that is what has to happen, so it’s keeping us on course for that to happen. We just have to find out what that big thing was. Maybe it’s the Master Vampires, Ryuzaki it might be and it’s worth checking up on, and maybe all these warning signs are for not, but I think that that our best bet is my current theory.”  


“Misa,” He snapped her back to reality, she had been following him and they were near the room they needed to be in now. A large “B895” placard onto the wall above the door. Arafel stepped through and Misa followed, there was nothing in the room except for a small desk, a filing cabinet, and a DSLR camera. Arafel walked over to the camera and picked it up.


His eyes got wide as he touched it, as if he was seeing something. “This is it!” He exclaimed, it was in the room in my vision, they were recording it!” He tried to turn it on but it wouldn’t work. “Shit, dead batteries.” He opened the bottom of the camera and removed the SD card out of it. He then went over to the filing cabinet and began digging through the files.  She could see him closing his eyes and concentrating. Mumbling something to himself before exclaiming, “‘Case File F-1365-Princess’! That’s what was written on the dry erase board in my vision!” He dug through the file with increasing devotion now before he found the one he was looking for.”


Misa had her back to him, standing in the doorway, her hand gripped at her hip around her falchion. “Arafel, we need to leave here quickly.”

He nodded, walking over to her and handing her the SD card, “Split up the results, that way if one of us doesn’t make it back--”

She took it from him and nodded, hiding it in a sash around her waist, “Makes sense.” The both started walking away, Misa speaking to him again, “We’ve learned a significant amount over these last months. The Crescent Moon--a group we previously barely knew existed--are extremely close to creating an ‘Eternal Night’ and to do it they need Ryuk’s corpse, also they are hunting Sookie for her blood for the same reason.”

Arafel couldn’t help but smile, “Misa that is just the tip of the iceberg! With what I just found out I think I know what we can change to fix everything! It all makes sense now, those visions I had a while ago, Ezralda going crazy, the Crescent Moon. It’s all connected, something has been playing the whole world all this time! Getting all it’s chess pieces into place for this one moment. Jesus Christ, Misa, if we don’t get back soon to stop all this there’s going to be some real shit going down.”

“Arafel,” Misa said, ending his rant “Stop talking and start walking faster. We need to get out of here, now.” She was careful not to raise her voice, though, maintaining as normal a tone and volume as possible.  

Arafel looked confused, “Misa what you talking about? You’re worrying me. In fact, you’ve been acting strange the whole time we’ve been down here. What’s up?”

“I can feel something hunting us.” Arafel nodded and didn’t reply, he’d known Misa long enough to rely on her sense of perception.


It was too late, though, because that was the last time Misa saw Arafel until she was captured and tried to rip into his flesh. A man clad in black swooped him, and nearly her, up a net and tendrils of shadows--like tentacles they came out and grabbed him, pinning him to the wall and crushing him. They tried to work their way around Misa but she cut them down with her kukri before any could get near her.


Arafel froze time.

“Misa, I’m accelerating time for you and your body by an exponential amount. You’ll be able to leave this place in a matter of seconds.” Misa tried to protest but Arafel wasn’t having it, “No, Misa, you need to get that information to Ariel and the others,”

“Arafel, if you get captured then it doesn’t matter because we can’t do anything to change it!”

“Just  go! I can’t stop time for much longer and we can’t risk losing! Take that video to Ariel and Ryuzaki and then come get me with the others. I’ll be fine!”


She didn’t want to leave him, Misa wasn’t one to abandon her friends, but she knew he was right. Just as time was beginning to unfreeze itself and she could feel her body be accelerated she said to him, “I’m not leaving you, Arafel, we will be back for you, I promise.”



“Elijah, get me more bags of blood from the cellar!” She was yelling at him, flustered. Her hair was curly and sparking with purple electricity. She had a metal wire in each hand and they were connected to two pads on Misa’s chest. Misa was laying face up, eyes glazed over and semi-conscious. She was stuck in some weird coma-like state for a while now. Elizabeth was attempting to shock her back into reality.


Elijah bounded through a gate, several bags of blood in hand, “Izzy, I got seven.”

“Good,” She said, “rip one open and dump it on her.” Elijah looked shocked for a moment before doing just as she said, pouring the red blood all over Misa’s chest and face--drenching her in the smell of blood. “Michael said she was starving so let’s hope that the smell of blood along with four hundred and fifty volts will wake her up.”



She came back to reality in a rush, her body burnt and bruised. For a moment she was conscious enough to realize that she was no longer in danger--she vaguely remembered in an out-of-body-sort-of-way that Michael had shown up and saved the day, but that reality was slowly fading as instinct took over and the smell of blood washed over her.


She had forgotten how hungry she was.


Someone was holding her down, but it only took her a brief moment to overpower him. She sent him flying across the room with a crash. She made a dash for a curly haired women, however she was met with a repulsive shock of electricity. She was frozen in place by it, her muscles refusing to budge and frozen by the sudden surge of electricity coursing through them.



Elizabeth had both hands extended and was pumping a strong and steady current into Misa’s body, immobilizing her. “Elijah,” She called over to him, and he rushed over to her. His head was bleeding from his crash. “Elijah, open a gate under her into the dungeon, then throw some of those blood packs down with her!” Elijah did as commanded, Misa hitting the floor with a thump and six of the blood bags with her. In an instant she was tearing into them. Elijah closed the gate, giving her privacy.


Elizabeth sighed, exasperated, “Jesus Christ, that was insane. I hope she can recover from that level of insanity.”



Arafel was completely baffled as Ariel tried to explain the reality and gravity of the situation. He had no recollection whatsoever of the events of the past six months. As far as he was concerned he’d been in a coma. She put her face in her hand, it was a rare display of emotions for her, she usually was stoic. Depravity was beginning to set in and she wasn’t prepared for that--her job as someone who can Speak the Name of Things is to coax them into safety, maintain the balance.


How can I do that if everything is truly this lost?


She took a deep breath, trying to think. This could have been a temporary memory loss, that much would make sense, except what didn’t make sense is who suffers a six month memory loss? Maybe he forced himself, somehow as unlikely as it sounds, to forget mission so as to not give away information to his captors? Maybe if I reunite him with Misa it will trigger something and he’ll remember?


Arafel reached out to Ariel and said, “It’s hazy, but for some reason I feel like I did something, learned something, really important. It’s on the tip of my tongue Ariel, but I just don’t know. I honestly don’t know what happened before I was captured and tortured. I can’t get their faces out of my head!” Ariel regained her composure, trying to comfort Arafel as much as she could, “I was so dizzy and sick, that little boy had some type of trance he could put me in.”


Ariel’s eyes popped open, “Arafel, do you remember anybody else?”

“Of course, I remember them all.” He began to describe his assailants, “There was a man, he had pretty long, black hair. He tied me up and pulled on strings, it felt like they were connected to my nerves and he was ripping out my bones.”


He kept going on and on explaining in detail the men and women who kidnapped him, Ariel listened intently. It was clear, she relieved, that the same people who kidnapped him also attacked the estate. There was no way this could be a coincidence. Arafel and Misa must have discovered something that unnerved them and forced their hand. The attack itself seemed sloppy, Ariel and Elizabeth had discussed that in depth the other night.


Arafel’s eyes shot open and he grabbed Ariel, jarring his body and sending jolts of pain through it from the sudden movement, “They’re coming back! Ariel they’re coming! That’s why they left I remember hearing them talk about it!”


Ariel tilted her head, “Good,” Her eyes went cold and dead, “we weren’t able to kill any of them last time, now we get another chance.”


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- Eleanor Pengallion -

“Master!” Ellie exclaimed as Michael walked into her living quarters. She ran forward and wrapped her arms around him in a bear hug.


“I’m not your master anymore, Ellie, you graduated remember?” Michael managed before Ellie released her grip.


“You’ll always been my master, at least until I’m stronger than you.” She smiled and then looked Michael up and down. “You look…different, younger. It’s a little bit weird.”


Michael smiled in return. “Well, I haven’t held a physical form for a number of years so I thought I’d mix it up a bit now I’m back. Not bad, eh?” He did a little spin and Ellie laughed.


“What are you doing back anyway? I thought you were training your Elemental side?” Ellie asked, taking Michael by the hand and pushing him onto one of the Sofas where she joined him.


“Indeed. My father has guided me well in that side of my life. However, I returned because I received a distress call from one of my friends.” Ellie looked at him quizzically but said nothing. “Arafel was the one who contacted me.”


“Arafel!?” Ellie said, her eyes widening in surprise. “I haven’t heard anything about him since we left you after the war. What has he been doing? And why did he need help?”


“A story for another time.” Michael said and stood up, gesturing Ellie to do the same. “But it was important and we may have encountered a problem if my suspicions are correct; Ariel should have confirmed it by now. Join me.” Ellie jumped to her feet and followed Michael as he headed out the door. As they exited, Zane came to a stop in front of them; clearly he had been about to enter the room.


“Michael? I didn’t know you were here.” He said.


Michael nodded. “I didn’t arrive that long ago. Since you’re here, Zane, would you please gather everyone else in the house, with the exception of Ariel, Arafel, and Misa, and take them to the main study.” Zane looked surprised at Arafel’s and Misa’s names but nodded and turned on his heel to head back to the main part of the building. Michael walked off with Ellie in tow and a couple of minutes they walked into the room with Ariel and Arafel.


“…f that’s the case, I’ll need someone who knows their way around; this isn’t something you can just speak to.” Arafel was saying, pausing to look at Michael and Ellie as they entered. “Ellie, good to see you.” He said, tentatively ignoring her look at his condition. “Michael, thank you again for coming to my rescue, I owe you a big one.”


Michael nodded. “That you do, Arafel. But we can talk about that another time. Ariel, what’s the deal?”


Ariel turned to face him with her stoic expression replaced after her lapse with Arafel. “He remembers nothing from the last six months.” Arafel nodded with a frown. “But we think it may be self-inflicted.”


“Arafel, what the hell happened?” Ellie butted in, recovering from her shock.


“It’s a long story.” Arafel replied solemnly.


“Too long for now; if you did this yourself, Arafel, how did you do it?” Michael interrupted.


“If I did this to myself, I would trust only one way to ensure that my memories couldn’t be accessed by just anyone; I would have locked them away in a Time Vault.” Arafel said.


“That sounds secure.” Michael said, rubbing his chin in thought. “If you did it so pretty much no-one can get it, how do we?”


“Memories are funny things, in that they’re not actually things.” Michael nodded as Arafel explained. “It’s a weakness that I don’t tell people, obviously, but since they aren’t ‘things’ I can’t actually lock them away in the traditional sense. What I actually do is seal of the connections with my Time magic; the way to retrieve them would be to rebuild the bridges to the part of my memory that stored the last six months. I was telling Ariel as you walked in that I’ll need someone who knows their way around an abstract vision of my mind and be able to link the memories.”


“Ok, a little more complicated than I first suspected but the gist of it is still the same. Ellie will build your bridges.”


Ellie’s eyes widened in surprise. “Me!? What do I know about going into someone’s mind to manipulate memories?”


“I’m with Ellie on this, Michael, is this something she can do?” Arafel added.


“Are you sure, Michael?” Ariel put in from where she had been standing at the head of Arafel’s bed.


Michael nodded. “Ellie’s original surname, as you know, is Wake. What you may not know is that her family was one where magical power was passed down through the female line; generations upon generations of witches learnt the power of the mind, literally.” At the mention of her family, Ellie’s face became stern as she prevented herself of thinking back to when it all ended, that feeling didn’t last long as Michael continued. “The reason you likely do not know of them was that when Ellie was young, I killed every single witch in her family.”


Even Ariel couldn’t hold down her surprise at Michael’s statement; Arafel’s jaw would have hit the floor if it could have moved more than an inch due to the bandaging. Before either of them could say anything, however, Ellie piped up.


“He did it with my blessing.” More surprised looks. “I don’t want to go into it, but living with my family as a young girl was hell. The only way I could cope was when I snuck out and met with Michael, who began teaching me the way of the flame. Of course, I found out that he was only there because he had a mission. When I found out what it was, I let him do it; I even gave him a way into the family house without causing a ruckus.”


Michael nodded again. “The Wake Witches had become warped in their power to delve into people’s memories; the Mistress at the time, ‘Mistress’ being the title bestowed on the leader, was an old woman called Eveline Wake. Eveline was Ellie’s great grandmother and a woman who craved power in a world that favoured men.”


“Eveline was a monster. Her way of teaching was to beat it into you until you were perfect.” Ellie added, now resting on the edge of another bed. “I was only young but the lessons had already started; my hell had already started.”


“Admittedly I only befriended Ellie because of her family name, but she became quite proficient with the small flame magic I taught her and I grew attached. That, mixed with an innate need to preserve magic in all forms, meant I didn’t not include her in my cull.” Michael crossed his arms and looked at Ellie, whose eyes were still on the floor. “She knows the way of a mind.”


“I only had a few lessons before you…involved yourself, Master, I could do major damage to Arafel’s mind.” Ellie said, finally looking up at Michael and then turning her gaze to Arafel. “I couldn’t anyone in that kind of danger.”


“There will be no danger, Ellie.” Michael said and she turned to him. “Mind magic is only dangerous on entry and exit, while within a mind it is practically impossible to do any real damage. I will get you in, and I will pull you out, but only you can rebuild the bridges to Arafel’s memories; assuming they are broken at all.”


“How will I know?” Ellie asked, masking her fear. She didn’t want to do this but she knew Michael had made up his mind. And he was technically right.


“It will be clear once you are linked. As far as I know, there is no set image to a mind, but it will be an obvious distortion to everything around you. Come, take a seat.” Michael gestured to a chair that was next to Arafel’s bed. Ellie only hesitated for a second before standing and moving over to it to sit down. “Now both of you close your eyes, any visual prompts may interrupt the process.”


Ellie did so but Arafel didn’t, instead looking to Ariel once before back to Michael. “The family that captured me, they are planning to attack here. For a second time according to Ariel, but this time all of them are coming.”


“I will get Ariel to fill me in once you’re under, but you are forgetting an important factor.” Michael said, smiling at Arafel’s look of confusion. “I am here.” Arafel paused and then nodded, his return smile only half-hearted. “Now, eyes closed please.” He obeyed. “Ariel, once the both of them are under, I’ll leave you to watch over them until I return. Unfortunately you won’t know if something is wrong as it will all be happening in Arafel’s mind, but keep a keen eye out for anything.”


“Of course.” Ariel said with a sniff.


Ellie heard all this but kept her eyes closed as Michael had instructed, she instead focused on the minor teaching she had received as a child. Thinking back to that traumatic time was horrible, but she knew it was important that Arafel get his memories back; she just hoped she wasn’t doing this for nothing. As she concentrated she felt Michael’s magic roll over her and sensed the same was happening to Arafel. Nothing happened for a second and then it felt like someone and grabbed her by the collar and yanked her towards Arafel. Except, her body didn’t actually move but she felt like she was falling through water, tumbling into an abyss of unknown.


The last thing she heard was Michael’s fading voice. “She’s in. Be careful, Ellie.”


- The Boss -

He was clad in all-black as was his preference; a black turtleneck, black cargo trousers, black combat boots. All this was accessorised with thin black leather gloves, a long black cloak that rested on his shoulders and a mask that covered his whole face. The mask was silver, reflected the light of the street lamps as they passed, with small crescent moons etched into the surface. His hair, a few inches in length, was black and was left wild. His eyes, piercing through the holes in the mask, were orange and seemed luminescent in the shade of his mask.


The black Mercedes he was in, driven by one of his staff, rounded the final corner of the journey and pulled into the sidewalk. He scanned the sidewalk carefully before spotting what he had been looking for; a man on a bench who saw everything with hawk-like eyes. Touching the driver on the shoulder as thanks, he opened the door and exited onto the sidewalk; the moment the door clicked shut behind him, the car pulled away from the curb and disappeared into the traffic.


He got a couple of strange looks from people walking past but not too many, this was America after all and stranger people and walked where he had. Ignoring the man on the bench, who had only glanced at him for a millisecond before focusing back on the rest of the people, he made his way down the street and a gentle stroll until he came face-to-face with a figure more than half-a-foot taller than him. The armoured individual looked down and then took a single step to the side to let him pass.


With the air that he was in command, which he was, he walked into the building and proceeded upwards until he came to the door filled with his loyal soldiers. He didn’t knock, he didn’t need to, and walked into the room slowly. Everyone’s gaze slid from The Knight to him as the door swung shut behind him.


“Raphael.” Malduiwel said and dropped to one knee, saluting him by pressing his closed fists against each other, knuckle-to-knuckle. No-one else knelt, but all saluted.


After the salute, Seraph looked from Malduiwel to Raphael. “Ok, considering he isn’t a stain on the floor right now, what happened to codenames?”


“There is no need.” Raphael said, his voice raspy but strong. “Our time in the shadows draws to a close now all the pieces are nearly in my grasp. The site is secure, Seraph?”


Seraph nodded. “Yes, boss. Everything is set up to the instructions you gave, excluding the stones, of course.” From beside her, Samantha scowled but said nothing.


“They are on route, on a cargo plane; I will meet them on-site soon. With the site secured and the Undead in my possession, the only key left is the She-Wolf. Samantha, you have that in hand, correct?”


“Of course, boss. She should be captured very soon.” Samantha replied, any animosity towards Seraph completely gone now she talked to her leader.


“Uh, just a small thing, boss.” Zennith said from his seat. Raphael looked at him and when he didn’t speak, the old man took it as a cue to continue. “Not that I’m questioning your method, of course, but does it need to be this particular werewolf? Would not any do?”


“Sookie…” Raphael’s voice curled around the name. “…is of a rare species of Lycan that will provide the most potency for the ritual. Yes, there are others we could locate, but do you not think it poetic that it is she?” Zennith nodded with understanding in his eyes. “The She-Wolf’s link to the Undead may well speed up the process.” Zennith nodded again. Raphael’s eyes slid off the old man and onto the small boy next to him. “Have you convinced him to fight on my side?”


Zennith frowned. “I’ve asked, of course, but Speedlings are not known to take sides in conflicts of the world; they say it holds no meaning to them. Axion persists he is simply curious about the whole thing.”


“A pity. He would be useful.” Raphael said. “As soon as the Night falls, the Vaunik family will assault the Prideux Estate and kill those Winter Heroes present. And anyone else, for that matter.”


“Even after their previous failure?” Samantha asked.


Raphael turned his head towards her. “There will not be a third attempt. It has been assured that the whole family attends to ensure my will is carried out.”


“And what of the Master Vampire?” Malduiwel asked.  “Will he be…removed?”


“If he is at the Estate, they will try. But I have something specific planned for that particular adversary. Now, report to your positions, I will attend the site to receive the stones.” Raphael turned on his heel and as he was about to exit he stopped and turned to look at Seraph. “Remember what I told you about the mask.” She nodded and then joined the salute the rest made as he exited completely.


- Michael Sanderford –

After linking Arafel and Ellie, Michael had allowed Ariel to fill him in on what he had missed in regards to recent events. Now caught up as much as he could be in a short amount of time, he was making his way to the main study where he had asked Zane to gather everyone who was not doing anything around the Estate. However, he heard a voice he recognised and when he stuck his head down a corridor he was passing, he spotted Sookie’s back through an open door. He changed routes and headed towards her, meeting Zane as he exited the room.


“We’ve gathered here, Michael, Sookie didn’t want to leave her kids.” Zane said


“Kids?” Michael questioned but waved away Zane’s answer. “Don’t worry, I’m about to find out.” With Zane on his heels, he entered the playroom and took stock of everyone there.


Sookie, Willow, and Reason had already been in the room when Zane had come to collect them and they had now been joined by Liz, Elijah, and Jinkama. With Michael and Zane, this made a total of eight of them. Michael then lowered his gaze to the gaggle of young children that had been running around Sookie moments before but now stared up at him.


“Well, fuck me, look who it is.” Sookie said “Zane was telling the truth then.”


Zane raised an eyebrow at her and then moved to the back of the room where Michael could speak to all of them at once. “Yes, I have returned. Liz, how is Misa?”


“Recovering. She’s feeding in the dungeon right now.” Liz replied. “Elijah will retrieve her in an hour or so, once she’s back in her right mind.”


“Misa is here as well?” Sookie added. “This is like some fucking reunion or some shit.”


“Arafel is also in attendance; he is with Ellie and Ariel attempted to fix something right now. But what I have come here for is to prepare you. The family that attacked you before, Willow’s family, they are going to return; apparently this time all of them will come.”


Willow’s face darkened. “They are dangerous, especially if all of them are coming.”


“Yes they are, but fortunately, you have me this time. Since the old Prideux family protections are not reliable, we’ll need to post watchers to see them coming. We’ll create an extended circle around the building and as soon as you see one of them, you smash this.” He raised his hand and 8 balls of fire formed before changing into eggs. “When one of these is smashed, the others will break and form and arrow in the location of the smashed. Sound like a plan?”


“It’s a stupid plan, we’ll never see them coming. I can move in and out of buildings crammed with supernatural creatures and not one of them will notice me; my older siblings and parents are better.”


“So, do you have a better plan, Ms Willow?”

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She paused for a brief second, thinking about what to say and how to respond. It was clear that her guidance would be invaluable, “My family is going to do a divide and conquer type tactic, that much I can guarantee you. If all of them worked together simultaneously they could take out even Ryuzaki.” She let that sink in for a minute, most in the room just scoffed or thought she was exaggerating. “I mean it.” She said, more seriously, “If my father, mother, older brother, younger brother and sister all struck at the same time, as long as they had the element of surprise on their side, Ryuzaki would go down.” She paused again, thinking about what to say next, “But that’s also their weakness. They divide and conquer, pick off extremely strong enemies one at a time. If Michael were here during their last assault, there wouldn’t have been a last assault because the cards wouldn’t be in their favor. As it stand we are at a mild advantage now that Michael is here, however that is to assume they don’t know he is here.”

Elizabeth chimed in, “There’s no way they could know, I spent the four, sleepless nights theorizing how they broke through and as far as I can tell they used my magic to create a form of anti-magic barrier around themselves, it’s sort of like covering yourself in mud to mask your scent. It also meant that they weren’t fighting at their full potential…”

“That is the next thing I was going to bring up,” Willow said, “my grandma is not a lightweight, she’s a heavyweight sorceress who could probably bloody Michael’s nose a good bit. It doesn’t make any sense at all why she stepped back on the sidelines. My brothers also seemed a bit weighted in their movements as well. And taking into consideration, Michael that you are part elemental, something that is all magic, you are quite literally the worst possible matchup for her in a fight.” Michael was about to say something in his defense but Willow cut him off, “You’d win, I’m not saying you wouldn’t, but by the time it did the rest of us would all have our throats slit.”

“My father always used to say when he was teaching me or before our family would go out that you have to have your ‘Aces in their places’. If we want to win against them the first step is positioning ourselves so that they are at a disadvantage.”

Sookie buted in, “No shit, Willow, now tell us how to do that.” She rolled her eyes, “You’re only stating the obvious.”

Willow ignored Sookie’s outburst and continued, “Against my grandmother, Jinkama,, Cern, and Elijah you three will be best suited.” The two of them looked up, both were distracted and not paying attention. “As long as you keep moving you shouldn’t have too much trouble.” She scratched the side of her head, “Against my eldest brother, Ellie, Elizabeth, and Zane probably. I don’t really know, honestly.” She shrugged her shoulder and Elizabeth looked visibly annoyed, “I’m sorry, but I don’t know the full extent of what he can do. All he’s ever done is tie me up and pummel.”

She continued, “As for my younger brother and sister, again I don’t know what they can do either.” Sookie groaned, loudly, “But Reason I’m thinking you and I will tag team them, I realize we’ve never fought together before, but I’m sure we can make it work.” She looked at Michael, “Michael you need to take on my father.” He seemed unimpressed for a moment so Willow elaborated, “Again, I don’t know what he can do, I just know that he’s strong and fast, and he has eyes seemingly everywhere.” Willow now turned to Sookie and said, “Sookie you’ll need to fight my mother, and--”

“Let me fucking guess, Willow, you don’t know?!” Sookie was visibly angry, standing up and scaring her children, “How in the hell do you not know a damn thing about any of your family?! I mean really?”

Willow was visibly shaken, an uncharacteristic emotion. “It isn’t like that…”

Sookie dug in, “I have children to protect an we don’t even know when they’re coming back or where they’ll hit us at.”

Willow said, “That’s why we’re going to set a trap for them.”

Sookie was up and across the room in an instant, had it been anyone besides Willow, Sookie probably would have rung their neck. Instead Willow was now behind Sookie, “We are already trapped Willow.” Sookie growled turning with a fury to face her, Sookie’s random aggression surprised most of the room as the two girls had grown close over the last few years. “Remember what we saw? They are watching us! Waiting for us to leave. Tracking our--”

“We get it Sookie,” Elizabeth said, “you’re mad. We are all mad. Hell, no one unwanted has stepped foot on this property in hundreds of years. How do you think I feel?”

“More of the reason why we have to incinerate all of them, everyone of them.” Michael’s words were absolute, an end to the discussion. “Is that all Willow?”

“No, not quite.” She said, “As Elizabeth said there is no way they can get through the wards again, so we are going to know when they are coming. Either my grandmother somehow has found the ability to throw around anti-magic equivalent to a nuclear bomb, or we are safe here. And I’m certain that it’s the latter.”

“I think our best bet is going to be drawing them out outside the wards, and striking then. Sookie you’ll be in your wolf form, Elijah, Ellie, Zane, and Elizabeth will be accompanying you. When my family moves against you we will move against them.”

Jinkama asked, “Can we assume that your family is as perceptive as you are?”

“They are even more perceptive.”

“Then that would mean that we all need to remain here inside the wards, exactly where they think we would be until they actually attack.”

“Leaving us on our own for a good while in battle,” Elijah said, “Assuming I can’t gate back to the estate and grab the rest of them.”

“No,” Willow said, “The second they notice you’re gone for more than a minute they’d bolt.” Willow said, “The reason why I put you in the group to begin with is because they’d want to see you away, they’d know then that you couldn’t bring back up. And the five of you are easily the most cohesive teams--obviously you’d break off, Elijah and Elizabeth, Ellie and Zane, and then Sookie you’d be solo for a moment. Draw the fight out for a minute, the rest of us will arrive and by then a strategic retreat will be nye impossible for them. The next step is to regroup during the fight into our predesignated positions, that’ll be the hardest part.”



Ellie’s surprising revelation gave Ariel a tiny flicker of hope. She made sure not to speak or even breath heavily, giving Ariel as much silence as she would need to concentrate. Arafel’s mind needed to be fixed, Ariel needed the answers that lay dormant in it, no the world needed those answers. She stood up from her seat next to the bed and left the room. Hopefully by now Misa would have regained control of herself--Ariel had never seen her friend that out of control before.

The walk to the lowest level of the castle, the dungeons as the family called them, was a solemn one for her. She reflected a lot, about her teachings, about her life, and the day before Arafel and Misa left for their expedition…

They stood in the shadow of what once was the greatest civilization of it’s time, Sumer. The ancient Sumerians power and influence guided the world for years to come. They had traversed deep underground, through a hidden and complex maze of tunnels under the desert sand dunes. Cryptic symbols, runes, and hieroglyphs littered the walls and told a story no modern cryptologist or mathematician could decipher, it was the story of the rise of Magic, where it came from, why it was made. It was a story of Fairies and Vampires and Werewolves and Demons and Gods and everything else that this strange world harbored. It was the story of how man pushed them back into the dark and ushered a golden age of power and influence and beauty and growth and law and order. It was a story forbidden to be told to all but the uninitiated, to all but those who know The Name of Things. To all but the Master Vampires. To all but the Queens of the Fae.  

The Things were screaming at Ariel for it.

Screaming at her for allowing not one, but two outsiders within these sacred walls. Two people that were both uninitiated and unholy, one tainted by a demonic lust, the other just ignorant to his situation. The temple they were in was underground hidden from modern society, hidden from all but someone who knows The Name of Things.  They’d been walking through the tunnels for hours, Arafel tried speaking several times but nobody responded, instead they all just solemnly kept walking.

After three and half hours of walking and hundreds of winding turns later, Ariel stopped and finally spoke aloud, “The last time I brought someone here, Ryuzaki, it was Ezralda after we slayed the Winter Queen, and before that it was you when you first donned the mantle and prestige and power of Master Vampire. As is custom and is my duty as the sole remaining Speaker to Things, now known as the Keeper of Things, to tell her the Story of things and I taught her of Things and of The Balance of Things and of her Origins, your Origins, my Origins, the Origins of everyThing.” Ryuzaki didn’t respond, no one did, everything Ariel was saying was rhetorical, she still had more of a story to tell, “It was then and it was here that I first felt the Things scream at me to stop.

“This is the place, you see, where no deception can take place. As you may have noticed Arafel it exists outside Time itself. No one except someone who knows the Name of Things can read the Map of Things written on the walls and come here. This is it’s own dimension, Elijah couldn’t gate here and no matter how fast you run or how many walls you break you could never get out of here if I didn’t lead you, Ryuzaki.” Both Ryuzaki and Arafel nodded, clearly each had come to the same conclusion. “I didn’t bring you here to teach you of anything Arafel, you cannot know of Things, it goes against the very fiber of my being, the very magic that binds me to this body, it was a hard enough battle with my inner self to bring you in here in the first place.” Arafel nodded his head, about to speak, but the room itself wouldn’t let him, it bynded him from opening his mouth or doing anything except intently listening to Ariel. In this room, he realized, Ariel was god. She continued, “Misa, I brought you here because no one must be allowed to leave this place, if during our trance you receive the slightest urge or inclination you must kill us, all three, swiftly. If what I fear worked its way here then it must die here, along with all of us. In this space Things are everything, and I speak to Things.”

“When I brought Ezralda here, she scared the Things, she made them scream and cry and tell me to kill her or make her leave. Things are not scared of the most dastard Master Vampires or the most malicious of Fairy Queens, as you can imagine this was disconcerting. It was to late though, for once we crossed the threshold of this place I was already beginning the transgression into Storyteller and it couldn’t be stopped, she was told of Things and that was that and then as we all recall years later we went to war and ended her cruel rain--only after she forced humanity into an Ice Age and crushed all forms of civilized mankind, an event that is likely leading to our utter and current demise. The Things speak to me of an end of the Story of Things, something that is impossible--or so it was believed. And this, I fear, is because of strange, otherworldly force. I bring you here, outside of our own world, to discuss it somewhere safe that this strange force can’t sink its claws into.”

Ryuzaki nodded, the dimension easing its grip on him and allowing him to speak, “Then let’s talk. Arafel, you’ve supposedly been working on this for a while now, let’s hear what you have to say.”

Arafel nodded, “Right, so as I said, Time doesn’t like to be messed with, it has a set course that it wants to follow and, try as you might to change it, it will 99% of the time just reroute and you’ll end up at the same destination with the same result. So that pushed me to get a little more mathematical with this and create an equation and, with the help of some brilliant minds from the past that I sort of ‘hacked’ into, I came to the conclusion that 1% of things you change in the past will have a real effect on the future, and only ten percent of that one percent will be of a noticeable and large impact. I wasn’t pulling 99% out of my ass, that’s a real result I got through A LOT of research. That ‘Butterfly Effect’ garbage is complete bull shit, if it were real then my future self coming back and alerting all of us of impending doom would have actually done something.”

“So the real trouble here,” Ryuzaki said, demanding silence with his air of power and authority, “is finding that tenth of one percent that actually makes a difference.”

“I’m not done yet, Ryuzaki,” Arafel said, smirking, “This isn’t what Time wanted, I’m sure of it. Time doesn’t want to destroy itself, and my current workings and discussions with Ariel only confirms that. Her Things which, theoretically anyways, ARE Time don’t want an end to things! And Time maps it’s own course. It wouldn’t chart its own course for disaster unless--again these are all theories but I’m willing to bet, and I am betting, anything and everything on them being true--some bad shit was about to go down that was worse for Time, worse our dimension, our universe, our reality--whatever you want to call it--than the complete and utter ceasing of existence of our reality!”  

Ariel nodded, “The Things only agree with you Arafel.”

“And to add to that,” Arafel said, “Time does not like to be messed with. I have a feeling that if we did somehow locate that one tenth of one percent, that magical time and place that things all went to shit, it would be damn near impossible for us to actually change anything. Time will throw curveball after whirlpool after elephant at you to stop you from trying to change--that isn’t a theory it’s a fucking fact.”

Ryuzaki said, “I agree, but I think we need Michael here, I’ll light a beacon for him--”

“No!” Arafel said, with more authority than most would speak to Ryuzaki with, “This”--he waved his hands around--”is already making things difficult enough. Let’s say that we do fix everything and Time goes back on it’s normal course and all his well again, then that means that all of us will have the memory of changing it, which--again, guys this is just like theory and I don’t even know if it’s true, but I stole the brains of some really smart mathematicians and physicists and they all point me in this direction--is catastrophic to the flow of time.”

“That makes no sense,” Misa said, finally breaking her silence, “if one were to change the events of the past then we should have no memory of the very events we changed. That just seems like common sense.”

Arafel nodded to her and said, “I agree, but can we really risk it? As it stands Ryuzaki, Ariel, and I are all outside this dimension in terms of the timeline--we are beings of magic that transcends the bounds of what should be capable within reality. So us knowing about a change of events doesn’t really affect anything, again we exist outside of this dimension. You, Misa, you are the only one here who would hurt the Timeline or strain it or anything along those lines.

Misa made a face of confusion, “Then why even bring me?”

“Why indeed?” Arafel said, looking at Ariel.

She said, “Because, Misa, I was planning on having Arafel show us the past, only briefly and guided by the Story of Things, into what exactly went wrong and where. You will be watching, if anything is amiss you will kill us.”

Misa nodded, “I assumed it was for something along those lines.” She unsheathed her kukri from her thigh and her falchion from her hip. She sat cross legged, putting the kukri at her side on the floor and her falchion resting on her knees. She said, “Then these will be the last words I say, I will focus on watching all of you, act as if I am not here.”

Arafel seemed a tad bit irked by the situation, “Ariel I’ve never done anything like that before. For one I barely think that I have the capability to have that clear of a view into the past by myself, let alone carrying three people with me.” He shook his head, “It just isn’t possible.”

Ryuzaki rested his hand on Arafel’s shoulder, “You are right. It’s not possible, it’s necessary.”

Arafel took a deep breath, “Alright, here we go.”


-----Inside Arafel’s Mind-----

Ellie had been fumbling around for what felt like days now.

She was inside of Arafel’s head, piecing together this and that, laying the brick and mortar for his mind to physical repair his own damaged connections and synapses. The landscape of Arafel’s mind was strange, the color scheme was probably the strangest, if she had to single out the most obscure feature. Everything was black, grey, and a golden yellow. Parts of his mind were cities, other parts were plains and rolling hills, and in between all of them were large gaps, a vast ocean of nothing but blackness. Across them were elaborate golden bridges, some spanning kilometers and others hardly at all. There was place, though, that was the most extravagant and the largest of all bridges. It was built to model a suspension bridge--near identical to the Golden Gate bridge in San Francisco. The cables were snapped and the center of the bridge was caved in, falling and disappearing into the abyss below. Ellie came to the quick conclusion that if she didn’t do something fast, Arafel would most likely lose that part of his memory forever.

“This,” she said, “is probably what needs repairing.” She stepped onto the bridge and immediately felt unsafe. Her body was beginning to tremble before she took a deep breath and remembered her teachings. “Everything here is fictitious,” she said to herself, “Everything. It’s just a figment of Arafel’s imagination and cognitive abilities. No physical harm can come to me in this place unless I believe it to be true.” She looked around the bridge as she walked down, no longer tricked by appearances. As she approached the broken part, she kept walking, as if it wasn’t there and as if it was complete. She stood on seemingly nothing, the cables suspending the bridges snapped and broken, dangling with the invisible breeze. She closed her eyes and eased the structures in place. Pictured in her mind a completed bridge and the projected that thought.

It wasn’t perfect, but slowly pieces of wood and stone reshaped and reformed,  mashing together one on top the other, connecting together to form a makeshift repair across the canyon. “Wow,” Ellie laughed, “I really have a knack for this.”


His mind snapped back together, with a rush of nausea and a splitting headache he realized everything. The first thought, and the most important of them all, hit him first in a wave. Unfortunately, Ellie couldn’t get swept out of his mind in time and, thus, was stuck feeling the revelations with him. She, soon enough, would know everything too.


“Alright, here we go.” He said, Misa sitting cross legged to the side watching Ariel, Ryuzaki, and himself, ready to cut any of them down if need be. He never tried anything like this before, but Ariel said she’d help, so hopefully he’d be able to. Something, or rather someThing, came over him and he could feel a strange surge of power enter him--no not power just an ease of pressure, as if he was holding his breath and now he could breath, as if the weight of gravity was lifted off his shoulders. Suddenly, Time magic became that much easier.

The first part did, anyway, he felt like he could take an army with him now. He searched relentlessly through flow of time. It was represented in a way he’d never seen before, not once in his lifetime had he ever seen magic coalesce like this. He was on a road, Ariel and Ryuzaki at his side. The road was yellow, golden, like the Wizard of Oz. it went straight in both directions, continuing on forever in both the past and the present. There was nothing around them off the roads, over each side was just a swirl of strange colors, mixing and dancing around them, overhead and underneath. The road was yellow, reality around them was a rainbow, and Ariel, Ryuzaki, and Arafel were black and white. No pigment showed on them--except their eyes, their eyes were all colored normally. “Weird…” Arafel said outloud. Ariel opened her mouth to speak, but no words came out, instead strange letters and hieroglyphs did, they flowed in a direction behind them. Arafel didn’t need to be told that he needed to follow him.

He kept following them, and Ariel continued speaking. The words eventually stopped, breaking and shattering, unable to continue. “So,” he said, “this must be it.”

Ryuzaki spoke to him, Ariel was clearly occupied, unable to stop her rambling. “Listen, Arafel, she’s speaking The Story of Things,” Arafel looked confused, he had no way of knowing just how important of a secret Ariel was entrusting to him, “She only speaks this to beings of extreme power and influence, beings whose fate affects the world, Things like Me, Things like Ezralda.”

Arafel nodded his head, “So obviously whatever is happening here isn’t supposed to be happening, and it’s really important.”

“Exactly,” Ryuzaki said, “that’s what I was trying to get at, whatever is behind there is literally breaking the Story of Things, it isn’t supposed to happen.”

Arafel nodded, “Then let’s go find out what it is so we can stop it.”



She didn’t want to see anymore. It hurt having another person’s memories forced into your own. She was bleeding into Arafel’s mind, literally, unable to pull away, when she touched her hands to her nose she found it bloody. The same was for her ears and eyes. She tried and tried and tried, but she couldn’t pull away; couldn’t pull wretch her mind away from this, she was scared that her conscious was about to merge with Arafel’s or Arafel’s with hers. There was a very real chance of her literally becoming a voice in Arafel’s head.

Arafel’s strange and most prominent recent memory continued, forcing Ellie to her knees, leaving her completely motionless in pain, but also completely aware of what he was thinking:


Arafel reached out and touched that part of the rainbow swirl, sending the three of them tumbling into the events of the past as flies on the wall, ghosts of the future sent to observe, unable to interfere.

A young girl was strapped to a chair in what looked like a research lab. She wasn’t unconscious, she was awake and her eyes were moving back and forth. “Ezralda?” Ryuzaki said, “Is that her, from years ago?” Around her were several people. A man in a suit, “Erevis.” Ryuzaki growled. Behind Ezralda, with her hands around her head, looking down into her eyes, was a fairy. She wasn’t huge, her skin was an opulent pearl and her hair was a shining blue, her eyes were glazed over and glowing a shining ceon. She had a massive set of wings, they were resting on the ground and they were resting, dragging on the ground at her sides. They were angelic in grace and appearance. “The Queen?!” Ryuzaki said, more confused than anything. “What is that we are witnessing?” The usually calm Ryuzaki was beginning to grow angry. The events in the room began to play out, as if someone pushed the play button on the remote that controlled the past, and Ryuzaki silenced himself to watch.

“Your Majesty,” The scientist standing awkwardly in the corner said. He was old, wrinkled face and graying hair. His stereotypical white lab coat was stained with a dark red blood--Ezralda’s blood to be specific, there were lacerations down her arms and in her sides, around parts of her head. “Nothing of modern medicine can remove that right eye of hers; it repairs itself to quickly. A shame too, because I think it will really help us control that alien metal we discovered--they appear to be of similar origin and biological makeup.”

The Queen nodded her head, “Then we will use matters of Magic to deal with it.” The room got colder, glass beakers begin to crack and the scientists’ glasses did as well. Frost appeared on Erevis’ hair. “If she somehow incapacitates me, Erevis, kill her. Something this radical is a threat to our plans and shouldn’t be allowed to live.”

Ezralda was suddenly able to speak again, and she yelled. “Get out of my head!” The Queen simply smirked, “Get out. Get out. GET OUT. GET! OUT!” Even as she spoke it it became clear to all witnessing that she was losing the battle, the Queen laughing and Ezralda’s black eye beginning to freeze and crack, more so than it originally was--pieces flying out in all directions haphazardly.  Ezralda suddenly went limp; her black eye oozing and dripping to the ground, evaporating.

Erevis sighed, “That was close.” He laughed, “Is all well now, will she continue down the path as a normal one of your monarchs or do we still have to worry about her in the future?”

The Queen shook her head, “She will never be suitable for the crown, I’m afraid,” Erevis frowned but she continued, “Do not worry, I will strip her of the powers of the Royal Fae, of course the Magic of Winter will still course through her veins, but she’ll never be powerful enough to fight me--or any of the rest of the royal family for that matter. I will exile her to Earth, again, only this time there is no Dragon to protect her. She’ll live a terrible life of exile and distrust.” The Queen laughed, “After I tamper more with her mind and break it, shatter it, freeze normal impulses for regular cognitive abilities. In the next decade or so it probably won’t create to huge a difference, but give it a while and she’ll cause an inevitable self destruction ”

“Good,” The scientist nodded, “now that we have the last variable under control, it looks like we can continue on  our plan to reveal the paranormal to the public. Ezralda will be on of our case files. Perfect.”

“That eye,” Erevis hissed, “what is that thing?”

The Queen said, “It’s a genetic marker amongst us Fae,” Erevis’ ears perked up, “it means she’s the reincarnation of an old and ancient Queen, she’s inevitable to one day rule the Kingdom of Winter and usher in a new Golden Age for the world of both the Supernatural and the Humans, the last time we had on on record was when all four Kingdoms of the Fae were in a war that threatened to destroy the whole world. The Fae at that time, brought into the war with with them every supernatural and magical force conceivable. Each of our worlds participated in this war, it’s a well kept secret, Erevis, one that like many others you’ll learn about when you become a Master Vampire. A fairy of Summer Court rose up though, she had a black eye identical my daughters, and she had such great power that she ended the war, defeating each ruling class of fairies herself. She ushered an age of fairness into the Fairy and Human worlds that put them back on the path  of mutual growth.”

Erevis nodded, “Ahh, good thing this threat has been taken care of then. Next we--”


Arafel lost it, and in the next instant they were all back in the underground temple, gathered in a circle, Misa watching intently. Ryuzaki’s rage was palpable. “I only met Ezralda once when she had that eye, and I never thought anything of it.” He shook his head, “I know exactly where that is too, it’s on Nirvana, underground somewhere; probably the main island. We were there doing recon before some things went wrong and I had to escape--barely with my life for that matter. I thought Ryuk was dead until he reappeared later; that strange black metal on his left arm.’

Ariel nodded, “We must stop the Queen from doing this to Ezralda.”

“And,” Arafel said, standing up, “We have to stop the world from revealing the secrets of the supernatural.”

Ryuzaki nodded, “But we must first think, and plan, and understand everything that could possibly go wrong.”

Arafel shook his head, “This revelation about the story of things, it’s making me think, and here’s what i think. The Story of Things was only broken in that one spot, right, it rebuilt itself around that?” Ariel nodded her head, “That means that all of us meeting, you becoming a Master Vampire, all of this--”He waved his hands around--”It’s all part of the Story of Things and it’s going to happen.” Ariel nodded her head and so did Ryuzaki, “We’ve gotta do it guys. Me and Misa are gonna’ go to Nirvana and check this out.” Arafel shook his head, “I know this is the right thing to do, and I still think that all of us will meet each other, all of us will fight some epic battle together and meet again--only this time it won’t be against Ezralda it’ll be with her.”

Ryuzaki nodded his head, “It never did feel right killing her.”

Arafel shook his head too, “I felt the same way.”

Ariel was physically shaking, “The Things have been speaking this to me the whole time, and it took me until now to listen…”



She knew she was going to die.

Now that her bloodlust had worn off and her bestial instincts were subsiding, she began to feel the after effects of everything she had done. “So this is it,” She says to herself, laying on the floor of the dungeon, “This is what we get for trying to change something in the past.” She coughed and threw up, she couldn’t tell if it was her blood or the blood she had just ate, “Arafel was right, Time really doesn’t like to be fucked with.” The extremities of her body were for the most part healed, but it was inside of her that wasn’t ever going to. Using her demon as recklessly as she did took a serious toll on her body, her legs and arms were essentially wet noodles--the muscles no longer functioning to do anything except letting her stand for a few seconds at a time. Had she been able to receive proper nourishment after the battle perhaps she would have been able to heal fully.

She subconsciously reached to her side to pull out her falchion and use it as a crutch. “Damn,” She coughed, “forgot. Looks like I don’t have that anymore.” She fell down on the ground. She put her arms under her and tried to get back up, “I haven’t not had those swords at my side since the Sultan gifted them to me after the Battle of Tours.” She was able to roll on her back, “This is a fitting end, I suppose.”

Even though she was close to death, her sense were just as sharp and she could hear the pitter patter of Ariel’s tiny feet coming down the stairs. Damn. The world won’t just let me die without having to make me sad first, huh? Next she heard her strange mumbled speech and the bars disintegrate into sand. She wasn’t going to let Ariel see her like this, she wasn’t going to be picked up by her friend who had already done so much for her. In her last moments, Misa would give Ariel at least that.

Misa was able to pull herself up and walk out, she may be dying, but she was still a Hero of Winter, and she wouldn’t be reduced to crawling. Maybe for any of the others, but not Ariel. She would see one of her truest friends--her truest living friend--on her feet, as if nothing was wrong.  She’d known Ariel since before the concept of Algebra existed, although back then they weren’t on the best of terms, but as time went on and as the world has a way of doing it thrust the two of them together, or rather Ryuk did, and since then the two of them had become close. She learned quickly that you couldn’t hide anything from Ariel, Misa knew that, however you also couldn’t read Ariel’s face for anything, even seeing her friend knocking on death’s door would barely make the woman frown.

Or so Misa thought.

Misa saw Ariel’s body shake with frustration and rage, she whispered something, but Misa didn’t catch it. Instead, Ariel just hugged her.   



This was it.

Her brain was breaking, shattering, her psyche separating and crumbling apart. She was reverting the child-like version of herself--a version that was very impulsive and powerful, guided only by the Nature of Things and her own selfish desires. She could feel herself losing her grip on reality and delving into that side of her, deeper than she ever had before.

“NO!” She screamed inside her head, “Not now! There is still too much to do, to many wrongs to right, I need to be whole for only a little longer.” If she snapped now she knew it would be for the last time, she would never completely become one with her psyche again.

She snapped herself back to reality.

They were inside Ariel’s room, it was extremely basic. A small, twin sized bed, wooden floors, and a stand up lamp were all that was in the room. There was a window, to that the bed was placed under. Ariel was constantly arguing with Elizabeth about her room, Elizabeth hated that she lived in such a small and cramped space--it was probably as big as Izzy’s closet. Ariel wouldn’t give it up though, a ghost of  Prideux’s past showed it to her, and ever since then she just felt at home in it; besides she spent most of her time in Izzy’s workshop anyways. The only thing personalized about it was a a large carpet that she had stuck to the wall, it was an elaborate tapestry of the Kaaba in Mecca. It was small, but invaluable to her. The Things it spoke of were Friendship, someThing that didn’t usually speak. Misa had given it to her.

Misa was in her bed, awake but distant. Ariel didn’t know how much more time she had left. Misa handed her a small square, it was an SD card. “I forgot until just now, or well it didn’t really matter until just now.” Misa laughed, and Ariel took it, “Arafel said that this is it and that he found it. Whatever ‘it’ was.” Misa smiled and Ariel did not, “All is well, he said he did it. He said he found the exact time and place and that it was recorded on this.”

Ariel was still at a loss for words, Misa spoke for her, “Please tell Elizabeth thank you for always having a bed and warm meal for me. Thank all the others for all they’ve done and all the blood they’ve spilt and that if I could do it all over again, the only thing I would change is that I’d spend more time here, and I’d spill more of my blood so all you could spill less of yours.”  

“Of course, Misa.”

“And, Ariel, tell Ryuzaki, not to lose and to change this garbage.”

Ariel laughed a little bit, and said, “When you get to wherever it is that we go when we die--for some reason it’s the one Thing the Things don’t know--say hello to Ryuk for us.”

Misa closed her eyes, ready to fall asleep for the last time, and as she did she remembered. She popped them back open, startling Ariel a little bit, she tried to speak but it had become unbearably hard. No, not yet. How could I forget?! Then she remembered, Time. It didn’t like to be fucked with, it put these thoughts at the back of her mind so she wouldn’t think about them, took advantage of her emotions and had her spill her heart before she could say what was most important, what she had spent all this time and made this sacrifice for and now it was strangling her, pushing her closer and closer to death.

She wouldn’t let it win.

“Samantha!” She said, “She’s alive Ariel!”

Ariel was blank for a moment before realization hit her, “Samantha? She died, we all saw it! You, Ryuk, and I.”

“Yes, but it appears not. She has control over the strangest and most powerful of things I’ve ever seen! I lost in battle to them, before I was captured. I know she has something to do with all of this” Ariel shook her head, thinking, and it hit her in a wave.

Ryuk’s corpse was missing.

It consisted of a completely Nameless Thing.

Something that she often considered otherwordly.

Samantha was alive.

She was so close, what else was she missing?

Misa was fading, and Ariel was shaking her, trying to get her to say more and explain what she meant. She had to have had three quarters of the pieces to the puzzle but she was just missing a few more pieces. Misa tried to hold on, she just had a little more.

Crescent Moon.

She could only think it, for her thoughts were not able to be verbalized in any way shape or form. This was it for her, if she was knocking on death’s door before, now Death was opening it and she was stepping across the threshold. I’ll say hello to Ryuk for you, Ariel. She said internally, since that was all she could do, I wish I could have said more.

Ariel shook Misa more and more, but she was gone. Ariel pounded her palms on her head and said in a whisper, “Samantha?”



“If I leave Reason stays. Period.”

Elijah shook his head, they’d been arguing with her about this for a while now, “Sookie, we need all hand on deck for this, they will be safe here. Elizabeth has family here who will watch them.” Reason was off to the side of Sookie, awkwardly not trying to take a side, it was clear to Reason that at this moment she didn’t have much of a choice, she was at the whim of an angry Sookie.

“No,” Sookie said, “even if Reason is with them they won’t be that much safer, I know that, but they like her and they are scared. If Elizabeth is going to dedicated elsewhere than at the very least Reason will stay.”

Elijah just sighed and said, “Alright, alright, I don’t really fucking care right now, Sookie.” He took a deep breath to focus his thoughts and said, “Alright, well we have to go to South America anyway right now and investigate the hideout of these people who attacked us. Sookie we need you for that. There isn’t anyone else with your tracking skills.”

Sookie was shaking she was so angry, “Alright, whatever, but we’re there for two hours, at the most, I’m not up for being away from my children, Elijah.”

“Yah, that’s fine, Sookie, it shouldn’t even take that long. And if it does I’ll just gate you back.”

Willow walked over, “What are you talking about, South America?”

“Yah, that’s where our interrogation of our hostage led us to.”

“No, no, absolutely not, Elijah.” Willow was taking an uncharacteristically firm approach, “That is a trap, if I had to put money on it, my family will pick off whichever ones of us are stupid enough to go there.”

Sookie butted in, “Willow, we don’t have much of a fuckin’ choice here. We are all forgetting that they took Ryuk’s corpse. They violated it and  they are going to pay for that. One more step in the direction of the people who have it is reason enough for me to risk a trap.

Willow shook her head, “I think that was just to antagonize us, Sookie.”

Sookie’s rage was palpable. “I’ll antagonize you, Willow.”



She stepped in the room in the midst of a heated argument between Willow and Sookie. She ignored it though, and her appearance distracted them enough for their tempers to cool. She went straight for Michael. Elizabeth tried to come up to her and speak, but Ariel blew past her, “Michael we need to speak of summoning Ryuzaki immediately.” And that quieted the room in an instant. Even Sookie didn’t have much to say to that, things did seem dire, however. “And also, Ellie’s work on Arafel needs to be completed now.” Her tone brokered no argument, Ariel was angry, she was determined.

Time. She cursed, It’s getting in the way of everything, now that I’m not clouded by its misconceptions I can see it. The docile and cohesive team that the Heros of Winter are were at each other's; throats arguing over tactics and strategies, something that was entirely strange for them to do. Even the usually mild mannered Elijah is frustrated. Can I afford to tell Michael about our revelations? But what if he is influenced? No not yet, not until I’m sure.

Elizabeth was at Ariel’s side now, Michael just opened his eyes wide at her question and said, “First thing’s first Ariel, how is Miss. Misa doing? I assume you went to visit her?”

Ariel took a deep breath and said, “Misa is dead, she was unable to recover from her injuries sustained in her last battle.”

The room was shocked, yet again, into silence. Elizabeth reached out her hand to Ariel but she just tried to ignore it. Mourn later. “We need to get Ryuk’s body back.”

Sookie stepped forward, “Fuck yeah, we do.” She said, “we’re going now, come on Elijah.”

Elijah said, “I really think Reason should come along, in terms of fighting, she’s a wild card and that’ll keep anyone else their on their toes.”

Sookie nodded, Reason stepping up towards them. Ariel cut them off though, “No, Reason you have another job.” This is how they are supposed to work. Ariel internalized, Time may be persistent, but it’s also subtle. If i nudge it along it looks like it’s subtlest of things won’t seem to work. It still got Misa killed though. “Reason you need to go to the Land of the Fae and speak with the now Winter Princess. Mostly this, you need to tell me what her eyes look like.”

Michael finally spoke, he seemed disturbed by the death of Misa, everyone did. It was clear though Ariel was distraught, she was just trying to deny it by focusing on other things. “Ariel, good graces, what fire has been lit under you?” He shook his head and chuckled, “Do you wish to hear of our plans for the coming attack from the assassins?”

“Yes, but in time,” Ariel said, “First and foremost, Samantha, a powerful witch whom we all thought was dead--well not really all, just Misa and myself as we are the only ones who met her--is alive and is the one who killed Misa.”

“Wait, do you mean?” Sookie asked, stepping forward, “You can’t really be fucking telling me that she’s alive. It’s not that Samantha, is it?”

“Yes, Sookie,” Ariel said, “it is that Samantha. Ryuk’s beloved.”

“Alright, alright, alright,” Michael said to Ariel, “While Misa’s death is disconcerting, what is even more disconcerting is that you you wish to summon Ryuzaki--when you know damn well that he specifically said not to.”

“Yes, I understand that,” Ariel said, “however desperate times, Michael.”

“We could significantly compromise whatever it is he’s doing, you know as well as any of us just how secretive those Master Vampires can be and whatnot.”

“Michael, we can’t waste time discussing this any further, I cannot disclose things in detail, however I don’t think we have much more time left. Literally.” She turned to Sookie and Elijah, “Get to South America and back quickly. We can’t afford for you guys to be absent for too long.” She then turned to Reason, “Remember what I told you about her eyes, get there and back just as quickly.”

Ariel turned to Michael, waiting for his response and if he had any idea on how to get ahold of Ryuzaki. They all powerful vampire always did have a way of showing up just in time to save the day, so perhaps he would walk onto the property any minute now.



The moment Raphael dismissed them she left as well, she didn’t care too much for the company of the Crescent Moon. She did, at times though, miss the young girl Sophia. She wondered what she was up to at the moment. Samantha was on her back to Brazil, trying to guess if she was going to take Sookie alive or dead. “For Ryuk’s sake,” She said picking her nails, “I should take her alive.” She leaned back in the posh seat. She was on a newly stolen jet--well not so much stolen as enthralled, she overpowered the pilots and forced them to fall into her control. “Such a pity that the world had to delve in this direction, I really miss travel back in the early 2000’s and even up until the discovery of our ‘kind’.”

As she neared the drop off point she, and the rest of her escorts followed her. The massive behemoth of a man known as The Brawler scooped her up and jumped backwards--tearing through the metal hull of the aircraft and sending them tumbling down below. The remaining six followed suit as well. As the dense jungle and beach began to come into view Samantha couldn’t help but think just how beautiful of a country this was.

“You would have really loved it here, wouldn’t you, Ryuk?”


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Reason nodded to Ariel. She knew her job was important. “Don't worry, Ariel. I'll get it done.”

Reason put her hand onto Sookie's shoulder. “Don't worry Sookie, I will get back as soon as I can. Your children will be safe. I promise.”

Reason let her hand drop to her side, and then she cracked her neck to the left, and then to the right.

She addressed the group. “I'm not sure I can help with anything else, so I'll take my leave, and do what must be done.”

She left the room where everyone had gathered and made her way into the courtyard of the manor. A large swath of land, covered in flowers and a beautiful arrangement of bushes and flora. No work was ever done to it, as magical charms were put in place to keep it in a constant state of beauty.

Reason knew she could make it to the Winter Kingdom, but not as quickly as other fairy. Her affinity to Fairy Magic did allow her to enter into their realm, but only at the Spring Kingdom, since that was where her connection to Fae Magic was the strongest.

Reason took a deep breath and closed her eyes. The wind around her started to swirl, rustling the flowers and the grass, and causing her clothes to flap around. Her skin faded from it's pale white to a light gray and rain started to fall around her. The Spring Stone that hung around her neck began to radiate warmth as she focused on her Spring Fairy ancestry.

In a split second a single, bright blue flash of lightning, struck Reason, and she was gone. On the grass where she had been standing, were two black smoking spots on the ground where Reason's feet had been.


Reason arrived in the Spring Kingdom just as violently. The thunder rang in her ears as the bright light from the lightning bolt left the image of the Estate's courtyard burned into the back of her eyelids.

She sat up, once she realized she was lying on the ground. She could feel her ears narrowing into a point, and her skin was darkening, but still gray. She brought herself to her feet, shaking the dizziness out of her head.

The world around her shimmered with magic. Rows of trees stretched out as far as she could see, in a constant state of full-bloom. Large, snow-capped mountains towered over the horizon to one side. In another direction, she saw the Spring Castle topping over the trees. It was once a huge tree grown from the magic of the original Spring Court, that the Spring Fae built a massive castle around. She heard the sound of a running river from one side, and felt rain lightly falling from the sky, though there were no visible clouds.

“Good to be home.” Reason said to herself sarcastically.

She reoriented herself. The Winter Kindom was passed the mountains. She also had to report back to Ariel as soon as she could. Reason pushed a few strands of her hair out of her face and behind her ear.

“Damn it,” she muttered. “I don't want to ruin more clothes.” She said, but knew it was inevitable if she wanted to get to the Winter Princess as fast as she could. She drew in a deep breath, pulling magic from the air around her. Suddenly, a huge pair of iridescent, insect like wings the stretched out past her fingertips sprouted from her back, near her shoulders, ripping holes in the back of her shirt. Bellow those, a smaller set of similar looking wings sprouted as well.

Let's go. She thought, and crouched low to the ground.

She launched herself up spreading her wings wide and she began to fly.


She flew over the canopy of trees for a while, but she could feel the temperature slowly get colder, so she was going to make it there. It was getting harder for her to pull magic out of the air, as the Spring magic was mixing with Winter magic.

As she passed the mountain range she slowed considerably. She had to slow down and stop for a second, and retract her wings. She must have been flying for hours. There was no telling how much time had passed in the human realm, since the Fairy Realm was so separate. While searching for her family ties, she spent an entire year in the Fairy Realm, and when she emerged into the Human realm, barley a month had gone by.

But regardless, she was winded.

She wouldn't be able to rely on the magic around her, like she had been before, meaning the rest of the journey would have to be made on her her own power.

Her skin was still gray, but her eyes had shifted, so one was a bright red, and the other was a shining gold. When she let her wings back out, they were different from before. This time, the one on the right was a feathered wing, like an angel, and the one on the left was leathery, like a demons. She retained the two smaller insect ones bellow them, though.

From there, she took flight and pushed on. The precipitation had all but stopped as she crossed the mountain range. Once she reached the other side, it began to snow. Lightly at first, and then more harshly. The wind blew ferociously. The landscape was was a brilliant white, while the clouds threw snow in every direction, and scattered throughout were the dark twisted remains of trees, long dead and frozen. In every direction, along the border of the Winter Fairy Kingdom, rose the massive mountains.

Reason's fatigue was getting to her, and the wind made it all but impossible to pass the rest of the way by air. She once again collapsed her wings, and waded on towards the large, towering castle, which appeared to be made of massive ice-based stalagmites.

She forced her way through, getting closer with every step and with every hour. She shivered, holding her arms close to herself, shivering. She tried to let the Spring Stone fill her with warmth, as it had done in the Spring Kingdom, but to no avail. It was not strong enough in the center of the Winter Kingdom.

It took a long while, but she finally made it. Her head was groggy, and her combat boots were full of snow, but that didn't matter. She had pushed on that far, she could get all the way there.

She heard someone shout “Halt! What is your purpose here? Who are you?” But before she could work up the energy to respond, her vision faded, and she collapsed on the ground, in front of the castle doors, unable to move.

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- Michael Sanderford -

Michael didn’t like being kept in the dark, there were very few things going on that he didn’t at least have an inkling of. As Ariel turned to Elijah and Sookie to tell them to head to South Africa, Michael turned away from them and walked across to a window to look out across the Estate’s grounds. Even when he felt Ariel’s eyes turn back to him he didn’t immediately return the favour. When he did, he let out a sigh.


“Okay, I will summon Ryu…” He stopped dead as a flux of magical power flooded the room. It took him less than a millisecond to recognise it as Ellie’s and flames burst around him as he shot out of the room like a meteor. If the furnishings had not been magically protected, no doubt they would have been reduced to a crisp; the people in the room made do with flinching away from him as he passed.


The med-bay that Arafel and Ellie were in was not far away and as he passed the threshold into the room, Michael extinguished his flame. He cursed when he saw the situation. Arafel’s black time magic had seeped from his body and Ellie was now engulfed in black smog. Michael darted over to her and reached into the smog to place his hands on her head; the magic apparently did nothing to him. Ariel and the others entered the room as he started the process to pull Ellie free.


- Ellie Pengallion -

She knew that it wasn’t real and she was desperately trying to instigate the lessons she had been painfully taught as a child. In someone else’s mind, they were god. But that only counted when they were aware of a foreign mind invading; Ellie knew Arafel knew she was here, but she didn’t think what was happening was intentional. The power of Arafel’s memories linking with the rest of his mind again was intense and Ellie couldn’t fight it with the meagre mind magic she possessed.


The worst of it was the truth she was learning, the secrets that Arafel had kept from nearly everyone. She didn’t want to know, and her mind couldn’t cope with such an influx. The bridges had now rebuilt as strong as ever, the Time Vault releasing had caused the proper connections to flow over and correct Ellie’s makeshift job, and Ellie was being dragged into a corner of Arafel’s mind that she knew she wouldn’t escape from.


A sudden aching in her head told her the threshold approached fast, if she passed it she was gone, but suddenly something attached to her back and she jerked to a stop. The magic felt familiar but Ellie couldn’t place it until a booming voice filled the imagined sanctum.


“Eleanor. Return to me.” Michael’s voice said as the invisible line that had snagged her lit up like a fiery rope. “Immediately.” Michael’s tone was demanding and Ellie was slightly offended and then became unoffended when she decided that it was probably related to the magic he was using. Now with the hope of being pulled free within her, she started moving in the direction of where the fire rope had appeared from. It felt like she was passing through honey but suddenly she burst free and a feat of mental agility, her mind sprung back to her body.


Ellie’s eyes snapped open and she drew in a gasp of air as the black smoke around her dissipated into nothing. Blood had started to dribble from her nose and ears and a slight headache throbbed but otherwise she didn’t feel any worse for wear. Michael was crouched in front of her with his hands resting either side of her head and Zane was stood behind him, a look of concern on his face. Ellie opened her mouth to chide him but the truth of what she had just learnt suddenly surfaced and she dropped her gaze to Michael.


“Master…!” she started when suddenly the room was engulfed in a tornado of black smoke. It disappeared quickly but apart from Ellie and Arafel, everyone and everything was covered in a thin black film. “What the…?”


“Apologies, Ellie, I’ve placed a Time Bubble around the two of us.” Arafel said as he pulled himself up into a straighter sitting position.


“Why?” Ellie said, remaining seated; partially from exhaustion but partly because Michael’s hands were keeping her there.


“What you learnt, by accident, in my head, you can’t tell anyone; not even Michael.” Arafel said, his normally relaxed demeanour replaced by a deadly serious look. “You saw me say it in my memory; if people knew, things could go askew. Just the fact that you are now aware could change things uncertainly.”


“But, they need to know! Surely?” She retorted.


“They cannot!” Arafel said intently. “We can’t risk it, Ellie. I can explain at a later time exacts but for now I just need your promise not to tell anyone about anything you saw. Can I count on you?”


Ellie frowned but eventually nodded; at least she tried to but was stopped by Michael’s frozen hands so she verbalised. “Fine. But I expect a full explanation.”


“When the time is right, of course.” Arafel replied and the black film covering everything faded away.


“Are you ok, Ellie?” Michael asked.  He pulled his hands away and stood up. “What happened in there?”


Ellie nodded. “I’m fine. I just wasn’t thinking strongly enough about escaping.” She looked past Michael and saw that Zane was still looking concerned. “But it worked, his memories have returned.” She nodded her head towards Arafel and Michael turned to look. Arafel nodded.


“It’s true, I remember everything.” He said and as Michael stepped towards him, Zane stepped past to stand close to Ellie.


- Arafel -

Confirming her understanding by locking eyes with her for a second over Zane’s hug, Arafel turned away from Ellie and towards Michael who now stood beside his bed. Ariel had entered the room but no-one else followed, Arafel guessed that Ariel had told them not to come for the time being; something he was glad of. Michael still hadn’t said anything so Arafel guessed he wanted him to speak first.


“Yes my memories have returned but unfortunately I cannot tell you what they contain.” Michael frowned and Arafel glanced at Ariel, who nodded, before continuing. “As Ariel has no doubt asked you, we need Ryuzaki back as soon as possible and by that and mean as damn near instant as he can do.”


Michael sighed. “You as well?” he looked between Ariel and Arafel. “You clearly have something going on here that only you know about, and Ryuzaki I would guess because none of us would hide anything from him. Now, I wasn’t there when you were playing time shenanigans the last time, Arafel, but I get the shrewd feeling that something is happening of a similar manner.” Arafel opened his mouth to reply but Michael held up his hand to keep him silent. “Clearly you can’t tell me, or I’m sure it would have happened already, but I’m not sure summoning Ryuzaki would be a good idea. Before he left again to find his fellow Master Vampires, he explicitly stated that he was not to be disturbed except in the most extreme of cases. I’m not sure this constitutes such a case.”


“All I need is for you to get a hold of him; if you can tell him a single sentence as a message he’ll know what it means.” Arafel said as he pulled free of his covers and spun, grimacing as his bruised body resisted. “I can confirm your suspicions that Ryuzaki is aware of what I cannot tell you and all I need you to do is communicate with him that ‘Time’s time has come’. Just that and he’ll know.”


Michael considered as Arafel stood up from his bed with another grimace. As he stood there, black smoke started pouring from his pores and a few seconds later, Arafel stood without the pain on his face. “Your Time magic has become powerful, it seems.” Michael said.


Arafel smiled. “It’s been a long time since the Winter War; I haven’t been sitting around doing nothing.” He pulled the bandages fee from where they had been wrapped and retrieved his clothes from the bedside table. “The Time Vaults around my memories were also limiting my abilities and apparently I also locked the memories about such things away at the same time; it’s a ploy to confuse enemies if they ask me to use my powers and I say I can’t with the apparent truth that I don’t know why.” He shrugged and pulled his beanie cap onto his head. “It’s a useful ability. Now, Michael, can you call Ryuzaki for us?”


“Since you are convinced and Ariel has also requested his summons, I suppose I can no longer refuse.” Michael said and held out his hand. In a burst of flame an object identical to a smart phone appeared in it.


“Wait, all we needed to do was literally give him a call? On the phone!?” Arafel said with a look of disbelief on his face.


Michael smiled. “It’s a little bit more complicated than that.” He moved his thumb and pressed the only button visible on the device. The screen lit up with a little spinning emoticon of Michael’s sigil, raising an eyebrow on Ariel as Michael let slip a small grin. The screen flashed a couple of times and then a pair of glowing eyes appeared on it. “Foruktashieedbaleen.” The word was foreign to Arafel’s ears but Ariel seemed to understand it, which made sense to him since she was all about words. The eyes started blinking, as if they were real, before closing completely. “Time’s time has come.” Michael said. A second passed and the eyes opened again but instead of being pure gold as they had been moments ago, the left held Michael’s magical symbol while the right held an extended cross that Arafel recognised as the symbol of the Master Vampires.


“What does that mean?” Arafel said, looking down at the two symbols.


“It means that Ryuzaki has received the message and will return to us as swiftly as is possible for him.” Michael replied and squeezed the phone back into flames where it disappeared. “What do we do while we wait; Willow’s family could attack at any time.”


“Willow says we have time, they will be preparing carefully for their next attack.” Ariel said. “Reason has gone to the Winter Realm to check the Princess and Sookie and Elijah have gated to South Africa to follow their lead from the interrogation.” She was looking at Michael but her words were also directed at Arafel.


“Excuse me.” Arafel said and everyone looked at him before he froze time again, except this time he left only Ariel free.


“Ryuk’s body had been taken.” Ariel said immediately and Arafel cursed.


“That isn’t good.” He replied.


“No, it isn’t. Misa also told me that a woman named Samantha is alive despite being thought dead. She was Ryuk’s beloved. I fear that she may be the beginning.”


“Hopefully Ryuzaki arrives quickly.” Arafel said and clasped his hands behind his back. “Things could go south quickly.”


- Ryuzaki -

The room had been carved in the centre of a very large tree and currently served as the home to Andrei; he always kept moving for reasons he kept to himself. Ryuzaki was laid back in one of the chairs with Ki across from him with a book in his hands. Andrei was sat across the room at the dining table devouring what appeared to be an entire deer. Ryuzaki was wearing his metal armour while Ki was wearing his leather counterpart. Andrei seemed to be dressed much more casually.


He, like the other two, had pale skin and golden eyes; he stood the same height and his black hair was cut to a near-buzz. Andrei was wearing a furred vest, open to show his muscled chest, combat trousers in snow camouflage and black combat boots. Fastened tightly around his wrists were fur-lined bracers of solid iron. A pair of spectacles sat on his nose without support, and he looked through them with every bite of the deer.


The silence filled the room and eventually Ryuzaki had to break it. “Ok, there is a question in the air which appears to be slapping me across the face.” He said, sitting up in his chair and looking across at Andrei as he stopped with one of the deer’s legs halfway to his mouth. “Are you going to ask me whatever it is you are going to ask me, or are you going to wait another couple of months?”


Andrei placed the leg down and stood up, wiping his hands on a towel that was next to him on the table, before walking across to stand near Ryuzaki. “As it is, I do have a question.”


“Shoot.” Ryuzaki said, leaning back again.


“When you arrived the first time, your blood is what led you to us. The Calling drives all of us on our first turn.” Andrei said, scooting around Ryuzaki’s chair to take a seat on the one opposite him. When he didn’t speak Andrei continued. “When you arrived, we taught you everything we know about our race and explained the rules.”

“What do you mean ‘we’?” Ki chipped in, not even looking up from his book. The light reflecting of his piercings flickered slightly as he moved.


“Funny.” Andrei replied and turned back to Ryuzaki. “Even after that you insisted on leaving to interfere despite the fact both of us told you not to.” Ryuzaki nodded. “Because it was people who knew you personally, we let it slide, but we never expected to see you again.”


“I assume a question will rear its head any second now?” Ryuzaki asked.


“So my question is what are you really doing back here?”


“What, a Master Vampire can’t hang out with the only other two of his kind on the planet?” Ryuzaki said with a chuckle. “Do you think I have some kind of nefarious pla…” he never finished his sentence, whoever, as his eyes suddenly exploded in a fiery light.


The other two Master Vampires had backed off in a flash, not sure what to expect, but returned closer when nothing apparently happened. “Ryuzaki, are you alright?” Ki said, leaning forward and jabbing Ryuzaki hard in the chest. “You still with us?” Ryuzaki did not reply.


“You ever seen something like this?” Ki asked and Andrei shook his head; he was the oldest of the three and yet had never seen anything like it. Suddenly Ryuzaki’s eyes closed and when they opened again they had returned to their normal gold colour. “Back with us?”


Ryuzaki stood up and stretched out. “Apologies but I need to leave.” He said.


“Leave?” Ki said, watching as Andrei stepped up to Ryuzaki.


“What this time?” he said, his somewhat child-like demeanour evaporated.


“No, the end of it.” Ryuzaki replied and started towards the door, he stopped when Andrei gripped his arm in a steel grip. “Excuse me?”


“You’re going to interfere again.” It wasn’t a question. “We explained to you why we do not interfere with the running of the world. I literally just said we made an exception last time, we can’t always make an exception.”


While keeping eye-contact, Ryuzaki reached down in a quick motion he broke all of Andrei’s fingers on the hand that had grabbed him. They healed in the same amount of time it took Ryuzaki to get to the door. “I’m not interfering with anything. I’m saving it.”


“That’s the same thing.” Ki said.


“Not this time.” Ryuzaki said before disappearing in a blur.


Ki moved to follow him but Andrei stopped him. “We’d never catch up; our speeds are the same after all. And we already know here he’s headed.” Ki nodded and moved across to a cupboard that held a variety of weapons.


- Raphael Ginta -

After leaving the makeshift safe-house, Raphael got to the end of street where his car pulled up nearly at the exact time he stopped on the curb. He got in and closed the door gently, ensuring his cloak did not get caught. He didn’t give any instructions; the driver had already been told what the next destination was. Not that the driver knew the significance of the location, he was lower than a foot soldier in Raphael’s organisation; he wasn’t even one of the Marked. Raphael had commanded this because a Marked was not expendable whereas everyone else was; the driver would most likely not make it to tomorrow.


Just over an hour had passed before the car pulled up against a curb and slowed to a stop. Raphael looked out of his window at the derelict warehouse that stood near the sea. He climbed slowly out of the car and closed the door behind him as the driver got out and stood by his own door.


“Leave.” Raphael said and the man looked taken aback. Raphael turned and locked eyes with the man. “I won’t repeat myself.” Without further hesitation the man got back into the car and it drove away.


Raphael walked forwards without haste or obstruction, no-one was around; partially because it was a practically derelict part of Chicago, partially because Raphael had had a magical barrier erected; nothing could interrupt the ritual. As he approached the set of metal double doors that constituted the only entrance and exit to the building, they opened on their own and closed again once Raphael was completely through.


Inside would have surprised anyone who had not been in before. The entire inside had been completely cleared out, leaving only the outer shell of the building and ground comprising of hard-packed dirt, rocks, and a few pathetic attempts at grass. Raphael paid no mind to any of these and continued walking until he was stood in the centre of the vast area; it was about the size of a football stadium and had cost him a lump sum of zero dollars to acquire. He could be very persuasive at times.


Remaining in the centre where he had come to a stop, Raphael rotated slowly, his eyes darting across the floor as if following an imaginary outline to something that was resting there. Then suddenly, the line wasn’t imaginary anymore. As if something heavy had been pressed into it, the ground became covered in elaborate patterns until a number of large concentric circles surrounded Raphael; there were 9 overall and were connected by various other lines. Directly surrounding Raphael where he had not moved was a firm outline of a rectangle about as big as a king sized bed.


With the floor complete, Raphael looked up to the corrugated iron roof that was above him; supported by a number of heavy steel beams. As he looked, a loud metal screeching filled the building and the roof started to fold back on itself and outwards. It created a large rectangular hole in the roof that allowed Raphael to look up at the sky. As if summoned by an otherworldly force, a plane passed overhead and six objects dropped out of the back of it.


Clearly dropped by an expert hand they fell directly towards where the hole in the roof was. They picked up speed quickly and were soon hurtling towards Raphael at a great pace. He looked unconcerned as they approached and even when they shot through the roof gap he simply looked at them. When they were within feet of the ground all six boxes slowed to a sudden stop, held in the air by an invisible force. Then, like being lowered in an elevator, the boxes touched down onto the dirt ground gently. A second later the thin wood that formed the boxes exploded to reveal their contents.


Five of the boxes contained large smooth stones all of an irregular spherical shape; none of them matched another. Raphael remained stood in the centre of the rings as the stones lifted a few centimetres clear of the ground and moved around until they settled at various points on each circle, none were on the same. The six boxes contained two things; the first was a large stone Alter with intricate designs carved into the sides and rusted iron rings embedded on its surface. This too lifted off the ground and floated across to where Raphael was standing. He stepped aside and the Alter settled into its position at the centre of the circles. The second item that was paired with the Alter was what appeared to be a human shaped cross constructed of iron. Most of it was rusted but at various joints, repair jobs had been made.


Raphael walked across to the metal contraption and rested a hand on it, closing his eyes to fully appreciate what he had. The power thrumming through it was clear, even to him. His thoughts were interrupted as his phone vibrated in his pocket. He pulled it out to see a text reading ‘Delivered’. He put the phone away and started walking back to the door. As he did so, the metal contraption lifted itself up and placed itself on top of the stone Alter; the rings on the Alter matched up with the legs of the contraption and a solid metal thump could be heard as they locked into place. This left the metal contraption about five feet from the surface of the Alter.


Raphael exited the door and came across a seventh crate of thin wood; this one was longer and thinner and a note was stuck to its top. Raphael stepped forward and pulled the note free to read it.




He crumpled the note and dropped it to the floor as the crate rose off the ground a few inches and followed him in. As before, the doors opened and closed on themselves and Raphael took the new crate all the way to the centre of the setup he had created. As before the thin wood exploded to reveal the content inside. This time, it wasn’t something old; the long white box was clearly of a modern construction.


It was six and a half feet long, rounded at the corners, made of what appeared to be white plastic and a small window had been installed near one end of the box on the upper surface. Raphael stepped up to the window and bent over to look inside. Visually confirmed, Raphael stepped away from the box and stood by the Alter with his hands clasped in front of him.


“Just the She-Wolf to arrive.” He muttered.


- Leona and William -

“Now, you may be new to all this Leona, but remember that you are equals; never forget that.”


Leona, William, and Elyssa had been shown to the small dining room they now sat in. It had taken a while to organise it but Elyssa had finally convinced the Winter Queen to meet her new counterpart of the growing Spring Fae. As with everything else in the Winter Realm, the room was constructed out of ice and looked rather spectacular as light shined through and around it. Even the tables and seats were made of ice, or at least they looked like it but gave off no cold or wetness as they sat on the chairs. Not that Elyssa was sat down; she was stood at Leona’s right shoulder.


The new Spring Queen, Leona, sat in as much a dignified way as she could manage. Despite her protestations, Elyssa had convinced her to wear something more fitting then her normal getup that made her look like a runaway child. So instead of her more practical style, Leona wore a knee-length dress of woven gold with patterns of leaves and branches sewn in. Her flat shoes matched in colour and Leona was already getting annoyed at the way they flapped if she moved her foot wrong. Her chocolate hair was still pulled into the loose ponytail she favoured, but instead of her usual string, it was tied with a length of golden wire. Sat atop her head was a crown of leaves and thin branches that indicated her station.


Sat on her left was a boy of similar age, his skin was darker and his thick hair was styled into a ponytail of dreadlocks. His normal dress sense made him look like a surfer, so when Leona had agreed to dress up for this meeting, she forced William to do so as well. Not that he was complaining, he quite liked what he was wearing. The clothes were tight fitting, woven of a darker gold than Leona but sporting matching patters, and consisted of a high necked jacket, matching trousers, and black boots shined to form a perfect reflection of the room. A leather belt at his waist held a pair of short swords on his left hip.


“Do Queens normally make other Queens wait so long before coming to meet them!?” Leona question as she finally grew tired of sitting and got up to pace around the round table. “I mean, this is getting close to insulting!”


“I may have mentioned you are equals but she is still much more powerful and thus traditionally higher in station than you.” Elyssa said, following the young Queen with her eyes. “Jayden’s recent sacrifice boosted your powers enough that you stand on the same platform as the other Fairy Queens, but you are still likely the weakest.” Leona frowned but Elyssa continued. “As you mature, your power will bloom and then you may demand what you wish. Until that time, however, we must wait.”


Leona continued to pace and William stood up, stretching off with a noise that made both Leona and Elyssa looking at him. “What, I was getting stiff.” As Leona was about to say something, all three fairies turned and looked at the same spot on the wall. “Did you feel that?”


“Of course, Spring magic.” Leona said.


William looked back at Leona with a question in his eyes and then turned them away, clearly dismissing it. “There shouldn’t be any of our kind here, right?” he asked instead.


“No, it is impossible.” Elyssa said.


“William, go and find out what that surge was.” Leona said, taking a seat once more.


“And leave your side, my Queen? I would never.” William replied, earning a stare from the Queen.


“Do not fear for her safety, William, I will look after her.” Elyssa said and stepped close to Leona to back up her words. “Be quick though.”


William nodded and cracked the knuckles of his fingers. His own spring magic, also boosted by Jayden’s death, formed around him and a pair of what appeared to be glass wings appeared at his back; free from his body but clearly linked. He lifted from the ground, hovering a few inches clear of it for a second, before shooting upwards at an angle. His magic parted the ice walls as he passed through them and soon enough he was out into the stormy weather of the Winter Realm of Fairies.


The snow and winds barely bothered him as he shot through them like a bullet, homing in on the source of the magic they had felt. He dropped suddenly, remaining in the air though, and saw a prone figure surrounded by three Winter Fae; guards of the castle by the looks of their armour. Without hesitation he dropped out of the sky and landed next to the prone figure with a sizzle of electricity and a small explosion of warm air that blew the snow away from him for a second before it returned.


“Who the hell are you?!” one of the guards said and William levelled his gaze on him.


“Calm down, idiot.” Another guard said and rested a hand on the first guard’s shoulder. “Apologies, Guardian.” The first guard’s eyes widened at the title and he bowed, also apologising.


William turned from them and reached down to the prone figure, turning it over to look at the face. It was no-one he recognised; a girl. Now he was touching her he could feel the Spring energy coming from her, and the stone around her neck, but something was off about it. He lifted her into his arms, his skinny boy-like body hiding his strength and his wings spread wide.


“This is no longer your concern.” He said to the guards and took off into the sky again. The guards followed his path for a second before he disappeared from view and they returned to their patrols.


William made a straight path back the way he had come and spotted the hole he had left in the castle upon his exit. It was smaller than it had been and William remembered Elyssa telling him that the Winter Castle was practically impossible to destroy thanks to its magical construction. He re-made the holes as he entered again and landed gently next to the dining table.


The Winter Queen apparently still hadn’t arrived as Leona and Elyssa both came across to him as he walked to the table and placed the girl on it; she was still unconscious but the breath escaping her lips told them she was alive. Both Leona and Elyssa stepped forward and confirmed with a touch that the girl was of Spring.


“But not quite…” Leona said as she circled the table until she was at the girl’s head and rested her hands gently either side of it. “There is definitely Fairy blood in her, but a million other things disturb it; like she was born of many races.”


“That’s not possible, Leona.” Elyssa said.


Leona looked up at William and he nodded; they knew who she was. “Jayden told us of a girl who had Spring blood in her but also had many others. Her name is Reason.”


“Reason.” Elyssa mused; apparently Jayden had never told her of the girl. “Well, even if she is only partially of the Spring, a bit of our energy should awaken her.”


“I’ll do it.” Leona said immediately and placed a hand on Reason’s chest. William, however, stepped forward and pulled it off.


“No, the Queen can’t give her energy to a mixed-blood. Certainly not when she’s about to meet her Winter counterpart.” He took Leona’s place and put his own hand on Reason. “I’ll do it.”


“Similar reasons apply to you, William.” Elyssa said as she walked over and shooed William away. “My energy, however, is perfectly suited.” She placed a hand on Reason’s shoulder and Spring magic filed the room as she gave the poor girl an energy boost.

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The Winter palace was extravagant, it was newly built as well; the old one being destroyed after Ezralda’s death, as a symbol to the Fae. Adelina was new to the throne, she’d been Queen for some time, but she spent the majority of it in hiding--scared that if Ezralda found her and the small remaining group of Summer Fairies she’d finish off her genocide. This was the first time that she’d agreed to step foot into the Winter Kingdom. She was by herself, the rest of her cabinet out serving their people and helping to regain control of the Summer Kingdoms brutal weather and plats. Her armor was battle worn and damaged--plate metal with a green leather in between. Around her neck was a dark green scarf. Her hair was long and blonde, tied back in a bun. She rode atop a large stallion, brown in color. As she approached the soldiers opened the gates to let her through.


She stepped off the horse, handing the reins to the nearest soldier, her feet melting the snow and green grass growing with every step she took. That palace was elegant, she noticed. “When we rebuild Summer Palace I will have to remember their architecture.” She said aloud. She bent at the knees and touched her hands to the ground, a large circle of the snow melted. Grass and then a tree sapling grew at her feet beneath her. It grew and in a matter of seconds became a full tree, the branches reaching out and grabbing her, pulling her up and towards the palace where the rest of the fairies had gathered. No sense walking through those annoying halls, I’d probably get lost anyway. When she reached her Apex she stepped off the branches and the ice parted, allowing her access. She landed softly, as if gravity were a tenth of what it actually was, floating down.


She landed to see a young women being given a boost of power from the Spring Queen. As Adelina stepped forward to the table she said loudly, “Hello Sister!” She set her helmet down onto the table and then unhooked her sword from her waist, she recognized the girl immediately as a Hero of Winter, “What?! Who has injured her so”, what happened, Adelina glared angrily at the Spring Fairies, assuming that they had something to do with it. “An attack on a Hero of Winter is an attack on every Fae, Summer, Winter, Spring, and Autumn alike.” She was reaching for her sword, ready to demand more answers, when the doors to the room burst open.


The Winter Knight burst through, a long spear of ice in his two hands. He yelled at William, “You dare bring an intruder, an invader into the Queen’s palace?! Such traitorous actions will not be tolerated! Prepare yourself!” He charged forward, the spear pointed at William’s throat.


STOP!” The voice was cold and angry, loud and absolute. At its utterance, the Winter Knight stopped completely, frozen in place by the powerful command. Behind him, through the doors, walked a young and elegant women, her skin was pale white and opalescent. She was wearing a heavy metal armor mixed with the pelts of sabertooth tiger. Her eyes weren’t the normal fairy eyes, they were more feline, one yellow and blue in color. She screamed at her Knight, “That ‘invader’ as you call her is a Hero of Winter, a royal guest of the highest honors here. Leave us, Now, Maximilian.” Maximilian was embarrassed, his face red and flustered, he began to stutter a response but the woman was not having it. With a wave her hand the floor beneath his feet opened up, leaving a massive crevasse that he fell into. She sighed, “I apologize for my Knights overzealous attitude. You must understand, there are many Ezralda sympathizers left amongst Winter, and many have made attempts at my head. She looked at Adeline and said, “Please, Adeline, I’ve observed everything that’s happened here from a distance, they meant no harm to Reason. It just appeared so to you.


Adeline looked down at Reason as she began to stir awake.



Arafel had out his laptop, a few minutes ago they had popped in the SD card and reviewed the footage. Arafel couldn’t stomach the dissections and attempted surgeries that the scientist had put Ezralda through, so he just clicked through until they got to the exact time and date of when the Queen and Erevis showed up. “Jesus Christ!” Arafel said, slamming his laptop closed. “Jesus Ariel how can you sit there with such a straight face and watch that?”


Ariel shrugged and ignored him, “Focus on getting that spell together, then it'll be just life when we were inside the temple, I'll use the Story of Things to guide your magic.” It had been nearly a half hour since Michael summoned Ryuzaki, at the request of Arafel they left Ariel an him alone, “Where is Ryuzaki,” She cursed, leaving the room, “I need to go see if Elijah and Sookie are back, we discussed a maximum thirty minutes.”



She was screaming at Elijah, “Give me the fucking letter, Eli!” She was in her human form, her eyes becoming animalistic and her energy skyrocketing, “I swear to fucking God, Eli, I'm not fucking around right now.”

Elijah stepped back, “Sookie, you don't want to read this, or see this, just--” She took a single, lightning fast step and grabbed Elijah by the wrist, amplifying her strength nearly a hundred fold, hurting his wrist and making him drop the letter. She snatched it with her other hand and step back, Elijah glaring at her furiously. “Sookie, calm the hell down!”


She could smell him, on the letter, Ryuk. Not the smell of his corpse—which didn't smell like him anyway, that just smell like rusty metal—but the smell of his living flesh. She would have felt mildly bad for hurting Elijah had she not been blinded by instinct to get the letter. She ripped it open. It was just pictures, of Ryuk, from a very long time ago, probably World War two era, he was with a women, she was beautiful. Sookie immediately recognized her as Samantha. Ryuk only kept one picture of her that she knew of, and it was from just after World War Two, black and white, the two of them on the streets of Chicago. It was taken a week before she died, Ryuk had told her. There were more pictures than that one, though, several of Sookie and him, some taken from high above from probably a satellite, others from across a street, locks of his hair, her hair. Whoever had exhumed his body had clearly been planning it for some time. There was another scent on the letter, though, it was faint and hardly their. In an instant Sookie focused and picked it up, transforming into her massive wolf state.


Elijah had coalesced his energy now; a massive green tentacle of energy extending out and wrapping around Sookie's back leg, catching her just in time before she dashed off. She turned her head her lashed down, her teeth tearing through Elijah's energy as if were butter. She let out a growl at him. Elijah said, “Sookie, it's been a half hour and we haven't found anything, we need to get back, what it--” Sookie flenched and Elijah reacted, drawing his sword, responding to her instincts. He'd fought alongside her long enough to know her subtle cues; something was close and she heard it.


Elijah extended his left hand and prepared to open a gate when he felt the sudden surge of arrows fly at him. In the last instant his energy came to him, lancing forward and creating a wall, catching every arrow as they drilled into them, strange arrows made of some type of red energy, they dissipated into nothing against Elijah's wall as they sat there for a second. Sookie ran forward after the assailant, throwing caution to the wind. Elijah stepped forward after her but suddenly found himself face to face with another enemy. Sookie was too preoccupied with tracking down the scent she just picked up, the same direction that the arrows came from, the same scent from the letter, to notice the man that delivered a stern kick to the side of Elijah.


Sookie turned around, hearing Elijah's grunt of pain, but she quickly found herself tripping over her two front legs, a roped weapon entangled around them. Sookie reacted quickly, shape shifting into her human form, freeing up enough space to slip her hands out from their bonds. Sookie, now ready for battle, forced her werewolf powers into her body, pushing her human form to the brink of transformation, almost transforming into a werewolf but not completely. Her arms grew hairy, teeth pointed and canine, fingernails turned to sharpened claws. Her eyes went feral.


There was no enemy to be seen, whoever tangled her legs had gotten out of dodge before she regained her bearings and see them clearly. She heard the whistle of arrows coming and she moved, she spun to the right, easily avoiding the arrows, she ducked down too, jumped up and then, to her dismay, found that that was exactly what the archer had wanted, nine arrows flew towards her and, given that she was momentarily suspended in mid air, all of them ripped through her flesh. Just before the moment of impact, she reach up and let the one that would have skewered her brains--a fatal shot event to someone with her healing factor--and let it piece her hand. The strange crimson arrows dissipated after a few seconds and she was left with gaping, bloody holes.


In less than five more seconds, though, her body had begin healing itself; bloody scabs healing over and clotting the wounds. She turned to see that Elijah was fighting another enemy, some strange Knight, and she ran towards him to be at his side.


She was hit hard, by what felt like a freight train. She was sent flying into the safe house they came to investigate, breaking through the reinforced door and through the drywall. She stood up warily and looked at her arm.


The moment before impact, she held up her left arm to block the man's punch--she got a good look at him even though he came out of nowhere. He was a mountain of a man, well over six feet tall and clad in a heavy red armor. His fist was illuminated with the same strange red energy as the arrows she was just impaled with--her scabs were reopened and she found herself in a lot of pain. Her arm was mangled and bruised, the forearm broken badly. Somehow that massive man had got the jump on her--something that given her abilities she thought was damn near impossible.


She heard a soft rustle behind her and she reacted, spinning and jumping back, through the hole her body created and trying to get back outside the building. A string of crimson energy shot forward and wrapped itself around her leg, an assassin of sorts stood holding it, stopping Sookie in mid air. Sookie slashed witj her sharo claws and easily severed the strinf. The women through four shuriken at Sookie and, the moment Sookie landed and ducked to avoid them, the assassin was gone.


Hundreds of arrows rained down upon her.


She could feel them coming, though, after hearing them whistle through the air once identifying them was easy. She was faster than them, too. In an instant she was out of the house, smashing through the walls in a blur of woodchips and blood, her body reopening all the wounds before they could fully clot and scab over again. The house collapsed behind her from the onslaught of arrows.


The man who had sent her flying before dashed forward again, faster than anything his size should be able to, and his fists lit up with the same energy as the arrows, the same energy as the string. She maneuvered easily though--her left arm uselessly dangling at her side broken. She mocked, “Jesus, if you guys have been watching me for this long you should know that you are, literally, fighting me the worst way possible.” She moved faster then, faster than she had moments ago, faster than she had in a very long time. She focused and concentrated forcing her magic into her legs and eyes, letting her see and react faster. She ducked under her opponent's right punch, she was a blur of motion, and dug the extended sharpened nails deep into his elbow, right where there was a gap in his armor. Her hand came away bloody.


She stepped out as the brawler readied his other arm to hit her she was planning to do the same thing again. Only this time she would go dig deeper under his armpit, aiming for the vital organs. She felt a sharp pain dig into her leg. She looked and it was the assassin again, her roped weapon, pronged at the end, digging deep into the fleshy muscle of her left calf. It slowed her down and when the assassin tugged it threw her off balance, allowing her other opponents punch caught her square the side of her head, sending her tumbling to the ground, twitching and unconscious.  


The brawler grabbed her, picking her up as if she were a feather. He disappeared into the dense forest.  



Elijah tumbled and fell, back onto his feet, swinging his sword in a horizontal slash. He ran forward after Elijah, his sword extended forward and his shield ready at his side. He parried Elijah's slash easily—his opponent was off balance and thus an easy target. The knight was taken back, though, by a massive flare of green energy. It hit him hard, sending him flying nearly thirty feet and tumbling across the sandy beach and into the ankle deep water. He stood back up and readied his guard.


Around Elijah's left hand was a long lance of energy, large and like a tentacle, he had used it to swipe away the knight. He rubbed his side, Definitely bruised a rib or two. The knight was back on his feet, covering the distance faster than Elijah thought possible. Elijah could react quickly, too, though. He put both hands on his sword and a swirl of emerald green energy went up around it. The knight met it head on, their words colliding, Elijah's green energy sparking against the knights glowing, crimson energy.


The knight pushed back and Elijah's let him, he fell backwards into a gate, and then landed four feet above him, both hands slamming his sword down hard. The knight swung his shield and, as if Elijah were toddler with a toy sword, batted it to the side. Elijah, surprised, nearly dropped his sword. The knight's sword jabbed forward and Elijah was barely able to deflect it with his green energy, it shot out and deflected the sword from impaling him directly, instead it just glanced deep into his side. Elijah desperately opened a gate, falling into it, and far away from the knight, towards Sookie. He put his left hand to his left side, right under his ribs, and it came away bloody.


He felt arrows shred through his stomach.


They stuck out, all seven, burning arrows of crimson red energy. Blood seeped down his legs. Her turned to see Sookie and his gut wretched at what he had to do. Her enemy had beaten her--something that he didn't even conceive as a possibility. It all happened so fast, within the course of fifteen minutes, and he had her body in his arms as he disappeared into the forest.


The knight walked slowly towards him, his sword at his side, he was getting closer, ready to deliver the finishing blow. Sookie, I’m gonna go get help. Elijah opened a gate beneath his feet, falling into the middle of the hallway just as Ariel was stepping out of the room with Arafel. He coughed up blood as Ariel reached down to grab him, and he shouted at her, “Sookie! Someone grabbed he, they ambushed us and in fifteen minutes they had--” he threw up blood, his body barely able to maintain its vital functions. By now, Elizabeth was at his side, her body charged with electricity and magic. She was yelling at Ariel to go to the Healing Chambers and get a bed ready. Elijah blacked out.



It had been nearly no time at all since Elijah gated back into the estate, battered and bloody. Ariel was in the workshop with Ellie, Elizabeth was busy at Elijah’s side. He would live, but he wouldn’t be moving around for some time. She refused to leave his side, instead yelling at Ariel, Ellie, and Michael to do something about it. Ariel had just finished giving Ellie all the things she need for a locator spell. Ellie seemed a little out of place in Elizabeth’s workshop, but once she got acquainted with everything she got right to work.


Ariel said, “The globe is already magically anchored to the pentagram in the floor, as soon as you empower the pentagram you should be able to easily attach it to the spell.”

Ellie nodded, “I could give us an exact location if we had a little more to work with than her hair from a hairbrush, but with this we’ll get at least a twenty-five kilometer radius.

Ariel nodded, “And we won’t be moving until Ryuzaki gets here, in which case we’ll have his keen instincts to rely on. Regardless we’ll figure something out.”  


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Reason was groggy, but she could feel the Spring Magic coursing through her, and giving her warmth.

As she came too she heard talking from around her. She opened her eyes and squinted. All she saw was a light blue. She blinked a few more times and pulled herself off the floor. She groaned as she was still in pain from pushing herself so far so quickly.

“I've got one bitch of a headache...” She muttered to herself, gabbing her head with her hand. She looked around the room. “I was definitely expecting more of a jail cell...” She noticed the Summer Queen and someone else she didn't recognize at first. “And a lot more Winter Fairies... Oh shit,” The realization struck her. “Spring...”

For a brief moment, Reason forgot her mission, she forgot her reason for venturing to this realm entirely, and was completely taken aback by the existence of more Spring Fairy. Suddenly she remembered the shift she had felt in the Spring Magic in the week prior.

She dropped to one knee in front of the Spring royalty. “I'm sorry, I didn't realize there were more of my kin even alive. I thought I was the last one.”

Elyssa motioned Reason to stand up. “We've only known you from tales, Reason.”

“Thank you,” Reason began as she stood up and looked around “But what are you guys doing in the Winter Kindom-” She dropped silence as her eyes fell onto Adelina.

“Adelina!” Reason rushed over, “errr, uhh... Queen Adelina?” She said, unsure of how to carry herself among all the surprise. “The last time I saw you was... Many years ago when I was looking for my family.” Reason finally deiced on extending a hand.

“Yes, Queen indeed, Hero.” Adelina said, taking Reason's hand and pulling her close. “I hope you found your family.”

“Yeah, you could say I did.” Reason replied. “What's going on here? Summer and Spring here in the Winter castle?”

“I could ask you the same thing.” A voice rang out from behind her. Reason spun on her heel to see the Winter Queen, clad in armor and orange pelts.

Oh right, that's why I'm here. Reason reminded herself of her mission.

My Queen.” Reason said, and walked towards her, dropping slowly to one knee, placing a hand on my chest. “I apologize for the intrusion, but-”

Reason was cut off by the Queen. “No need to apologize, Reason. A Hero of Winter always has a place of honor as long as I am in power, especially a Hero who has Fairy blood. Stand up.”

Reason stood up, using this opportunity to glance at the Queen's eyes. They were not normal fairy eyes, that was for sure, but Winter royalty sometimes has strange traits like that... Reason realized she wasn't sure exactly what she was looking for...

Perhaps you could stay for the negotiations?” The Queen asked her. “A Hero such as yourself would have a seat, akin to an ambassador.”

Reason was still not use to using her title as Hero for anything, even through all the years, but now was as good a time as any to start. “Sure. It would be an honor.” Plus it will give me good cover to gather more information. Reason thought to herself.

Excellent... Ahh, and our final members have arrived.” She said, turning her attention to the door.

Through the doorway strode a woman with pale skin and long legs. She wore a dress that went down right above her ankles, with a split along the right side. The colors danced between a dull orange and a burnt red. Her hair black hair was pulled into a messy bun at the back of her head, but she wore a flower crown of orange and brown leaves. Her black heals clicked along the ice floor. There was a soft yet somehow sadistic grin spread across her face, complimented by the large scythe strapped to her back. The hand for the scythe looked like a long black twisted tree branch with a single long silver blade protruding from the side of the top.

Zarina of the Autumn, at your service~” She sung, giving a short bow.

Behind her trod a man clad in full armor, with a scythe of his own in his hands who's entire personage screamed Autumn magic.

Good, good.” The Winter Queen said. “Please take a seat, and allow the negotiations to begin.”

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- Ryuzaki -

The water sprayed up behind him while his feet touched the surface every now and again to keep him moving. Ryuzaki was hurtling towards France directly over the Atlantic Ocean, meaning he was surprised when he came across a figure standing directly in front of him. He started to curve around it, there were more important things going on, but it moved with him to stay in his path. Now closer, he saw that the figure appeared to be a teenager, dressed in blue jeans and a blue hooded top. Suddenly he wasn’t in front of him and was crouched on Ryuzaki’s shoulders.


Before he could react the world blurred strangely, more so than normal when Ryuzaki was running, and he slid to a stop on the deck of an oil tanker. Ryuzaki was instantly on his guard, scanning the ship for any life signs but finding nothing; strangely, not even the teenager stood in front of him registered apart from the fact he could see him.


“I emptied the ship beforehand, so we don’t get interrupted.” He said, his voice sounding as young as he looked.


“And what exactly might be interrupted?” Ryuzaki questioned, standing straight but still ready to react to anything.


“My…” he paused as if searching for the right word “…brother, is hanging around with a group of individuals you are soon to come into contact with. He’s small, like a toddler, and wears denim dungarees. You needn’t concern yourself with him, he won’t get involved.”


Ryuzaki raised an eyebrow. “What the hell are you talking about?”


“We have our own personalities but we share a mind so he’ll know I’ve spoken to you. We don’t get involved in matters of your world. So I repeat, you needn’t have to worry yourself with him when you see him.”


“I still don’t know what you’re talking about.” Ryuzaki said.


The boy looked at him quizzically. “No, I suppose you don’t. Small boy, denim dungarees, don’t worry yourself.”


Then, before Ryuzaki could reply, the boy disappeared and a number of confused looking workmen were stood on the deck with him. Ryuzaki ignored their stares, and walked across to the side of the ship. He hadn’t seen the boy move, let alone the workmen return; just what was he? Shaking his head and putting it to the back of his mind, he jumped the railing and kicked off the side of the ship before hitting the water and accelerating again.


Soon the French coast passed beneath him and Ryuzaki turned slightly so he was on a direct course to the Prideux Estate; it wouldn’t take him very long to arrive now.


- Eleanor Pengallion -

Ellie had only been in Liz’s workshop a couple of times previously; generally speaking so had no need to since she had her own places to work. However, to successfully track Sookie, she needed the pentagram-tethered globe Liz kept. With Liz with Elijah in the Healing Chambers, Ellie had had to look through the storage shelves herself to find what she need. While she had been doing that, Michael had left the room without a word and Jinkama had followed shortly after. Zane was leant against the wall beside the door; seemingly at ease but tense with inaction. Arafel was elsewhere and Ariel was stood just outside the pentagram, ensuring she didn’t interrupt the magic flows.


She’d now placed the five objects at each point of the star, objects taken from Sookie’s room that held her Aura but not much else, and the hair sat at the pentagram’s centre. With the preparations complete, Ellie took her spot stood just behind the hair and raised her hand to summon her staff. Then she remembered that it had been broken in the Estate Assault from earlier and she hadn’t crafted herself a new one yet.


No matter, but I must get on that. She thought as she clasped her hands together in front of her instead.


Tracking magic wasn’t her forte, but as with most things she knew enough for a basic reading; the lack of Sookie’s DNA wasn’t helpful either. Ellie focused her energies on the pentagram and the carved lines lit up with a dull red light. Then, blue spheres appeared around each of the objects at the star’s points and like dust in a wind blew inwards until the hair was surrounded by the energy. The non-existent wind picked the hair up until it floated steadily in front of Ellie and she reached forward slowly, encompassing the hair in loosely cupped hands.


Magic travelled from her hands into the smoky blue energy and Ellie shook her hands like she was about to roll some dice. She pulled her hands away and the blue energy left the hair, its job done, and floated towards the globe where it surrounded it; the spell would take a minute or so to kick in and pick a point for them to follow. Before it had finished the door swung inwards, causing Zane to straighten to a standing position, and Ryuzaki walked in.


His presence demanded silence as his eyes locked on to the blue energy surrounding the globe. “A tracking spell? Who…?” he stopped his question as he focused in on the hair that had settled on the floor, back to the centre of the pentagram. “Sookie’s? Explain what’s happening.” He directed his last question at Ariel.


- Michael Sanderford -

After leaving Ellie to her magic, Michael had made his way to the top of the estate and then used one of the many balconies to gain access to the roof. He was now stood at the edge of the building, looking out at the vast grounds. The sky above him rolled with dark clouds but that was due to the protective charms around the Estate; they knew that something was coming, something bad.


At the noise behind him, Michael turned to see Jinkama walking across to him. Michael turned back to continue looking out and Jinkama came to a stop beside him. For a minute or two, neither of them said anything and then Jinkama coughed.


“Mm?” Michael said, the vague noise permission for Jinkama to speak.


“Has, uh, has Ellie told you about the last attack here?” Michael sensed Jinkama was unusually down, but he didn’t say anything. “About…about me?”


Michael turned slowly to face the mage. “She did; apparently you lost.” he said it matter-of-factly with a tinge of sympathy; he knew the barrier mage was proud of his combat ability.


Jinkama bowed his head. “Completely and totally; it was the first live run of my new magic and apparently it was a piece of garbage; Willow’s brother tore through it like it was paper.” Michael didn’t say anything and Jinkama continued. “For the first time in a long time, I felt…felt powerless.” He crossed his arms as his shoulders slouched. “I still do; if…when he comes again, I don’t feel like I can stop him.”


“You know, Ellie also told me her theory on that.” Michael said with a chirp. “What do you think of it?”


“Her theory? Willow said that her family are powerful and the ‘test’ Ellie did on was hardly on the same level.”


“So you think she didn’t try hard enough?”


“No, that’s not what I’m saying. I’m saying I don’t think she can try hard enough, not to match Octavius.” Jinkama sunk to a sitting position.


“So you’re saying she’s too weak?” Jinkama didn’t answer so Michael bent down to look him in the eye. “As her theory suggests, I don’t think strength has anything to do with it. Stand up.” When he didn’t comply, Michael lit a small fire beneath him and he leapt up with a cry.


“What the hell?” he asked but Michael ignored him as he took a couple of steps away from him.


“Suit up then.” He said and Jinkama just looked confused. Michael swung around and a lance of fire shot towards Jinkama like a bullet.


Instantly his skin turned golden and the fire lance split around him, causing no damage whatsoever. “Dude, what the hell?” Jinkama said, patting down the singes on his trousers. “Are you trying to kill me?”


“So you think I can?” Michael said with a coy smile.


“Of course you could, you’re the most powerful person I know sans Ryuzaki.”


“Yet you were confident that your Aura could block my attack; you made no attempt to dodge.”


Jinkama frowned. “Instinct I guess, until Octavius, nothing could break it.”


“So you think I’m weaker than Octavius?”


Jinkama frowned again. “Of course not.”


“So, by proxy, strength can’t be related to how your magic was beaten so easily. There must be something you missed. From what Ellie tells me, it was a surprise attack anyway.”


“Sort of.”


“Well, close enough. Come on, stop moping and let’s get back to the others, the locator spell should have been completed by now.” Jinkama seemed to be thinking about what Octavius did, but he did manage to follow Michael back inside and back towards Ellie and the others. When they entered the room, they found a new arrival speaking with Ariel, who appeared to be catching him up on current events.


“Ryuzaki, you’ve arrived.” Michael said and the Master Vampire glanced his greeting but continued to listen to Ariel. It was at this point that the locator spell finished up and a portion of the map was highlighted with blue energy.


- Raphael Ginta -

Raphael had barely moved since the arrival of his last package. He stood with his hands clasped behind his back, looking down at the white container, waiting for confirmation that the final piece was on its way. As if reading his mind, his phone began to ring and he pulled it out to answer it; a female voice was on the other end.


“Collection confirmed. I’m on my way.” She said, he voice somewhat obscured by what sounded like rushing wind.


“Good; make haste.” He didn’t wait for a reply and hung up. He hit another button and placed the phone back to his ear. It took the recipient three rings before they answered. “Inform the family that the night falls, this is the final chance.” The man acknowledged Raphael and then hung up, leaving Raphael to slip the phone back into his pocket.


“The time approaches.” He muttered to himself.


- Leona And William -

While Leona and Elyssa were occupied with the recovering Reason, William was the only one to turn as a young looking faery passed through the ceiling and landed like a feather on the ground beneath. With her battle-worn armour and blonde hair, plus the magic that emanated off her, it didn’t take a genius to know that she was the Summer Queen.  When Adelina saw Reason upon the table, apparently injured, her jovial expression changed to that of anger. She immediately gave out a some-what speech in regards to injuring a Hero of Winter.


Despite the fact that Adelina had started to reach for her sword, William was not worried, a simple word would calm the Queen when she understood they had not harmed Reason. However, before he could make that word, the set of doors into the room exploded inwards and revealed Maximilian, the Winter Knight. Righteous fury marred his features and the spear in his hand spoke of his intent. Leona and Elyssa had looked up in surprise and William immediately put himself between them and Maximilian as he charged. William’s hands went to the hilts of his swords, but he didn’t draw them; to do so meant he would have to draw blood, in keeping with his accords.


The Knight’s charge was stopped, however, as the Winter Queen entered with reprimanding words on her lips. William returned to his straight-backed posture, ready to bow, but was interrupted again as Reason stirred from her unconsciousness; drawing the attention of the room to her. William watched Leona’s face as Reason scraped and bowed before Elyssa, the one who had awoken her and she apparently took to be royalty. He couldn’t help but smile at her scowl and when she turned her gaze to him, he shook his head slightly to indicate that throwing a tantrum would do no good.


When Reason turned her attention from Elyssa to Adelina and the Winter Queen, William made his way over to Leona. “Not quite what we were expecting, right?” he muttered, indicated the stories Jayden had told them of Reason.


Her scowl remained. “Not exactly. I know I don’t necessarily look like one but to think she think that Elyssa is the queen! Bordering on treason, I’d say.”


“Now, now, let’s not get into a fight with a Winter Hero.” William said and turned back to the main body of the room as the doors opened and two more Faeries walked in; these one’s clearly of the Autumn.


“Please, take a seat, and allow the negotiations to begin.” The Winter Queen said and took a seat at the head of the table. The simple ice chair that had been there warped and grew until she sat in a throne befitting her station.


When Leona took her seat, she touched her crown and with barely a whisper of magic, it changed from its natural look to one of what appeared to be amber glass. It was a sign that whatever she did now was in her station as Queen of the Spring Fae.


“I think ‘negotiations’ is a bit of a strong word, don’t you?” Leona said as Elyssa took up station standing next to her and William took the seat to her left. The other Faeries had all taken their seats no as well. “After Ezralda attempted to destroy all the Fae but those of her court, and was subsequently defeated by the Heroes of Winter…” she nodded in Reason’s direction “…it was thought prudent by many that things needed to be discussed; things needed to be sorted so that sort of thing can never happen again; the world ending is not something any of us want.” She sat up straighter in her chair, her hands resting delicately on her lap. “But before that, I must inquire as to how you made this possible; from what I have been taught, Faery Queen’s tend not to occupy the same space lest their power cause irreparable damage.”


“That would be me, If I may speak, your majesty.” A figure stepped out of the shadows and bowed his head to the Winter Queen. She nodded so he continued.


He was a tall man, skinny as a rake with thin features and high cheekbones. He was completely bald and an intricate tattoo of black ink covered the centre of it, running from the tops of his eyebrows to the back of his head. His eyes were sparkling blue and sat behind a pair of circular rimmed glasses. When he spoke, he stood straight and enunciated each word carefully.


“I am Her Majesty’s Court Wizard, trained by the Council of Winter many years ago and until recently, was in hiding. It is my magic that makes it possible for the Queens to stand in the same space; with Her Majesty’s held of course.” He bowed his head again and Leona turned back to the table.


“Now we can begin fully.” She said.

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She was wary about discussing the state of their current time debacle with Zane in the room; he didn't, couldn't know. Ellie finding out was an appropriate risk that had to be taken, that much Ariel could allow, but no one else at this time could find out.


She was as vague as possible when speaking about it to Ryuzaki, “Arafel and Misa have returned from their journey and brought disconcerting news.” Ryuzaki stood with his arms folded, Ariel's small frame comical in comparison to his massive one, “Things are only degrading, we need to escalate--”


“Ariel,” His voice interrupted, silent and furious,his eyes emanated a palpable force that, had she not been accustomed to his overbearing presence, would have left her wobbling for balance, “That is the last thing I care about right now. Where. Is. Sookie.”


Ariel was careful not lose composure, “I understand your frustration Ryuzaki, but we really--”


“I'm not going to repeat myself.”


“Fine,” her agitation showed now, her body was tense. “we don't know, Ellie is searching for her now and--”


“What happened?”


“The only one who knows is Elijah and he's only half alive right now.” Ryuzaki turned to walk over to Ellie but Ariel spoke louder, getting him to turn around, “Misa is dead and Arafel nearly so--he only just healed himself” Ryuzaki’s eyes shot open for a minute and then narrowed, demanding a further explanation with just his facial expression. “We don't know anything yet, really, except that the same people who killed her are also the same ones who attacked her previously, and they are coming back.”


Ryuzaki nodded his head and she continued, “Now, with the revelation of Ellie's mind-magic-prowess and the information from Arafel I received; I have worked out a theory to fix and correct everything. If we begin now--”


Ryuzaki’s fury was evident in his voice, “And what of Sookie's?!” He stepped closer to Ariel, “I understand what your thinking, that if we go back and change everything then none of this will happen or matter anyway, but what if, Ariel. What if that doesn't?”


“At this point there is maybe a 1% chance of that, Ryuzaki, I've been careful and--”


He cut her off, “If there is a one percent chance, there is a one hundred percent chance.”


He turned and went to go to Ellie, to study the map and see where Sookie might be, ignoring any further attempts from Ariel, on most things he would listen to her advice--she was wise beyond measure--but in this decision he was adamant.


Ariel was exhausted, devaststed, and exasperated. She’d lost one of her best friends--all because of sokething she initiated, Sookie was being held prisoner somewhere--possibly dead, Elijah could still die--she hadn't even seen him besides helping carry him to the infirmary. And what have I been doing? She thought, tears welling at her frustration, I've been so focused on fixing everything that I'm breaking it even more. For the first time, she was lost. Never before had she not been able to speak to Things about someThing, never before had she been so conflicted with the decisions she made. She could feel her mind slipping to the brink of insanity.



Elijah was stable now, he wouldn't be any help in the coming fights--or any fight for that matter. He was in a magically induced coma of sorts, his body and cells dedicating everything to recovering the damaged organs, bones, and tissues. Elizabeth had never done a spell like this--it was her grandmother's from seven generations back; luckily in her time of need the spirits came her and told her of this spell.


Jensen was at her side, he stood with a stoic and angry silence--he and Elijah were good friends, close friends, Elijah had said he wanted Jensen to be the best man at their wedding. Jensen was angry and, when it was clear that Elizabeth was done with her spells he said he her, “Don't worry, Izzy, I’ll gut them alive. This, I promise you.”


“I'm not worried, Jensen, however I am angry.” Jensen nodded, she continued, building into a trade, “and I am fed up with being kept in the dark. Ariel has been hush-hush about something for a while now--and I'm sure Ryuzaki is in on it, too.” She walked out of the room, her body charging, arcing, sparking with electricity. She reached her hand up and touched her necklace.


Her body became surrounded in a powerful flash of light, overpowering and blinding. The form that emerged was not the same as the one who was previously standing. She hand on a purple bandana around her head--holding back her curly brown hair. Around her forearms several different bracelets, each tight. Several rings all across her fingers.  She wore a purple tank top with black jeans and a pair of black boots. Around her neck was a silver necklace and on each finger was a different ring. With each step she took, her heavy black boots pounded like thunder.


From Jensen's viewpoint he could see the vast amount of power stored in everything Elizabeth wore--from her boots to her jewelry, everything had some different type of enchantment worked into it. Every enchantment had the same overall goal; amplify her natural born magical abilities. This was her bread and butter, what earned her the well deserved title as the impromptu Prideux Guardian. Her boots, for a split second, became illuminated with a strange purple script, and in the next instant she vanished.


Elizabeth dashed into her workshop, her body still cackling with the electricity and her mind a fury. Ariel looked distraught, Ryuzaki just angry, Ellie and Zane were surprised at her. Before anyone spoke she screamed, “What. Have. You. Done.” Ariel was taken back and nearly speechless, Ryuzaki was about to speak before the room began to transform. It elongated, stretched out in the center, leaving all of Elizabeth's equipment alone, just increasing the amount of space in the center of the room. All eyes were on Elizabeth and her fury as she hurdled accusations at Ryuzaki and Ariel. In the room was Jinkama, Michael, Ellie, Willow, and Zane.


The Pentagram grew with it, and before long only Ariel, Ryuzaki, and Elizabeth were standing on it. In seconds her 4000 square foot workshop doubled in size. The house was responding to her anger, giving her what she wanted.


Ryuzaki was about to speak, but the Pentagram crackled to life, purple electricity coursing through it, “Shut up!” Elizabeth was irate, “That was rhetorical!” Ariel was trying to speak, but Elizabeth wasn't listening to her. She didn't want to hear whatever excuse she had, “You've been exceptionally tight lipped about something, Ariel, and I'm sick of the secrets.” Ryuzaki began to speak to her, but again she didn't listen, “I swear, if I don't start getting answers then I'll cast you out of my house and have the wards deal with the two of you.” She was breathing heavily, the Pentagram surging to life with her inadvertent magic--her frustration expressing itself as physical magic that escaped into it.



Is this the work of Time itself, or is it just me being a terrible friend? Ariel was at a crossroads, again, and she didn't know what to do. Ariel had never seen Elizabeth this angry, and she could tell that the threat to kick Ryuzaki and herself off the property was not an idle one. Her first thought was diffusing the situation, but she didn't know where to start.


This has to be the time stream working against us, how can Elizabeth accuse me and Ryuzaki of somehow causing this? She took a deep breath, On top of that how can I determine the right course of action if Time is always present? Should I abandon my theories--Arafel's theories--and just tell her, possibly corrupting the time stream. Ariel could see Ryuzaki glaring, she wasn’t sure what he was thinking. Just as the room seemed to reach the climax of frustration, everything just sort of changed.


Ariel found, for one of the very few times in her life, that she was at a loss for words. It was the middle of the afternoon, a bright and sunny day with a mild breeze that filled the large workshop--the window had been left open. It was subtle at first; the breeze stopping and the air becoming stagnant, the sunlight just fading into nonexistence, the chirping birds going silent. It was as if everything in the world had been put to sleep.


Everything began to scream at Ariel, it was an incoherent babble at first that stung like a sharp blow to her head, but after a few moments she was able to make sense of it all. They all, essentially, we're saying the same Thing.

“We told you so.”



She was in a rage like none other she had experienced before.


Her transformed body whipped and thrashed at the chains and manacles. The cacophonous noise was deafening and drowned out the chants of Raphael. They had explained to her, in some strange cultish way, her importance and the role she was to play. She was chained with heavy silver manacles, they were imbedded into the concrete of the floor. The platform she stood on as well was made of silver. She recalled that in her human form her entire body was blistered and inflamed from it. Now, in her transformed and more powerful state, the pain was gone. The silver simply held back her strength.


And strength the likes of which she had never experienced before! It surged through her, as if a drug in her veins, she was invincible. She felt as if she could take on an entire army by herself. Each sense was enhanced beyond its maximum threshold, every muscle flexed anew and surged to life. This “Eternal Night” that they were creating was doing something strange to her, transforming her, it seems, into an even more powerful form.


And with every passing second her strength just multiplied exponentially.



She was sitting inside the ritual chambers, watching the werewolf very carefully. Every one of her bodies was out somewhere patrolling--giving them a maximum amount of time to deal with any threat that could possibly come their way. They were fully prepared for Ryuzaki to show up on his white horse to save they day--and they would be fully prepared to end him tonight as well. Samantha had been training and studying for the last several decades with one goal in mind; to become the ultimate warrior. Raphael may be her King, however every King needs a powerful army, and she alone would be that army.



She was at Ariel’s side, she was kneeled on the ground clutching her ears. Her eyes were closed and she whispered her strange dialect, filling the room with a strange sensation of despair. No wait, Elizabeth assessed, that isn’t Ariel, that’s just the atmosphere. She then noticed the slow unraveling of every Ward around her. “Oh no,” She said, “Oh no, Oh no, oh no,” gradually she got louder as she reached out with her magic and tried to grasp at the fleeting spells--the generations and millennia of protections that afforded them all the luxuries they deserved. It was gradual at first, but in the next few seconds they were all gone.


Michael, it seemed, noticed just as quickly as she did and he began to speak before Elizabeth interrupted him, “This will be their cue,” She could panic later, but right now she was going to act, “Those assassins, they’ll be here any minute now that we’re defenseless!”


Michael stepped forward now, his presence demanding authority, “Ryuzaki you leave to go rescue Sookie, I fear that you must go it alone. We,” he smiled and the room suddenly got several degrees hotter, “We will hold things down here.” Ryuzaki nodded and glanced at the map with Sookie’s approximate location. In the next instant, before Elizabeth could blink, he was gone.


Elizabeth said, “Alright, so before they get here--”

Willow moved, her body a blur of black fabric. Her left hand landed on Elizabeth’s shoulder and forced her into a crouch, while her right hand whipped forward with a small dagger in hand. The dagger collided with something and a piercing metallic ring spread throughout the room--far louder than should have been possible. Willow said, “They are already here.”


Elizabeth looked everywhere, she couldn’t see anybody. “Where did that come from?” She said, however she could tell now that Willow didn’t even know. She simply saw the attack coming and deflected it. That loud ringing! Elizabeth sent a shockwave out from her body, sending a small shock into every person in the room, jolting them out of the strange delusional state that the loud clang of blades had caused.


She wasn’t sure the exact makeup of the spell, however it nearly got Ariel killed.



With the jolt of clarity she received from Elizabeth, Willow sent her mind and body into overdrive. She deduced that the spell, easily the work of her grandmother, would be hypnotic in nature--forcing them all into an instant dream. When it was broken. Regardless, she deduced, the past is the past, now assess threats. Dashing through the door, she could see, was her father. Not her father specifically, just a blurred figure that could only be him--no one else in the family moved like that. Hovering over Ariel was her youngest brother, his knife was inches away from her throat.


He smiled as he brought it down her on her. Willow began to move, however Elizabeth beat her to it. Over her left shoulder, she heard Elizabeth call out, “Lightning step,” in small whisper and then moved in a flash. She was on Willow’s brother before his knife could get any closer. He raised his hand, hoping to ensnare her in an illusion, however Elizabeth was ready. With her right hand she grabbed Ariel’s small frame and whipped her to the side, her left hand glanced her brother. The instant it made contact, it sent him flying across the room--a large burnt whole left on his forearm where she touched him, spraying burnt flesh all over the wall. A few moments later the sound of impact followed.


Willow moved, too, to cover Elizabeth as she recoiled from the sudden movement. Willow dashed and threw her dagger, coming inches past the back of Elizabeth’s head and catching her little sister’s shirt as she moved--pinning her to the wall. Willow followed through her attack and consumed her hand with the strange purple magic she always used. Her hand dug deep into her little sister's stomach. Her little sister wretched and pulled free, striking an elbow at Willow’s face that collided with her nose and reopened the old wound from before.  



He had been in the house the entire time, it was just now that he decided to make his move. For someone as trained as he not even the mythical wards of the Prideux Estate could keep him out.

The moment his child’s dagger flew through the air and, just as they had predicted, Willow rushed to block it and cast out the hypnotic spell his Mother had created he struck. He wasn’t expecting, though, for Michael to be completely immune to it.


He emerged from the invisibility of the shadows, his right arm swinging laterally with a curved six inch blade in it, he held it in a reverse grip and looked half heartedly committed to his task, instead he focused on the mediocrity of his children and how they were performing at the moment. He was, slightly surprised, to see that before the blade ever made contact it had completely melted. He laughed, “Well Mr. Sanderford, I suppose it was rude of me to underestimate The Salamander.”



She reached out and grabbed hold of the one remaining Ward she had left. It was the oldest and it required her input and power to use, however, seeing the disadvantage they were at she had no choice but to use it. She wasn’t even sure what it would do. She focused and in an instant she was somewhere else.


Ellie was at her side, they were in the courtyard. The courtyard of the Prideux estate was large, it rested in the back of their castle, surrounded by ornate walls three feet high. Stones were laid out for sidewalks and interweaved themselves through the luscious green grass. The light of the full moon beamed down on them. Ellie was slightly shaken by the sudden change of location, Elizabeth said, “Ellie get ready, I still think there’s someone here.”


Before Ellie could respond, tendrils of darkness--like the tentacles of mythical sea creature--coiled up from the ground, and dashed forward to grapple them.



Caine smiled, he and Michael were now approximately ten meters apart. They were standing in the front of the estate, the large castle behind them. Caine reached his hand into the ground, it disappeared into the ground, all the way down to his wrist. The moment he stuck his hand into the ground, a massive hand of decayed bones jetted from Michael’s shadow--cast by the bright moon--and grabbed him. Caine smiled and tensed, the muscles on his arms flexed and so did the massive hand that engulfed Michael.



She was alone, deep inside the basement--at least she thought it was the basement, she’d never actually been in this part of the estate before. It was cold and damp.






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- Raphael Ginta -


30 Minutes Earlier…

Raphael stood with his back to the stone alter and metal cross; in the time since it had arrived, alterations had been made to it so that it would behave the most effective when the ritual was in motion. The iron metal had been plated with silver and smoothed out to give it a look of a single piece of the metal, and chains had been embedded into the base of the alter; they were just long enough to fasten a small-ish figure to the cross with little room to move. Now laying on top of the alter, but below the metal cross, was a male body consumed in a black metallic-like substance. The 9 concentric circles and the five stones still sat as they had been when Raphael had set them up, except now the stones had started to glow with the moonlight that shone down from above.


The phone in his pocket beeped once and Raphael didn’t look at it as he looked up from the ground and glanced at the double doors at the far end of the building and they swung open on their own. Samantha walked in with one of her bodies, The Berserker, pushing in a trolley with the She-Wolf called Sookie strapped to it with thick leather bindings.


Raphael said nothing until they stopped outside the largest circle, careful not to interfere with it. “She is uninjured?” He asked, not moving from his own spot from within the centre circle.


“Pretty much.” Samantha replied. “She was roughed up a bit before her capture but she’s practically healed to full health now.”


Raphael nodded and the straps holding Sookie to the trolley split apart and she started falling forward before an invisible force gripped her, stopping her in mid-air. She was lifted just over a foot into the air and slowly floated across the circles until she stood in the centre circle with Raphael, still held up by her power.


“Leave now and prepare for the Master Vampire.” He said and Samantha turned on her heel with The Berserker, now carrying the empty trolley in his arms, in tow.


Raphael turned back to Sookie and she dropped into a heap on the floor, whatever had been holding her up was now gone. He stepped over to her and crouched down so he was near her face. With a quick movement of his hand he slapped her hard across the face and she was jerked back into consciousness with a cry. Raphael quickly took a couple of steps back as the werewolf recovered from her disorientation.


Her eyes landed on Raphael and without transforming she lunged at him with a snarl on her lips. Raphael simply looked at and the invisible force returned, slamming her to the ground, on her knees before him.


“Correct. People should bow before those with greater power.” He said slowly. Sookie tried to speak but something gripped her tightly around the throat preventing her from doing so. “No doubt you have a list of exotic words you wish to call me but there is no time. Look upon the alter.” Normally Sookie would have simply refused but the invisible force moved her head for her until her eyes settled on the figure laid upon the stone alter. “You recognise him, yes?”


Again, Sookie tried to speak but couldn’t, her expression gave everything away, however. “Yes, that is Ryuk Zomba’s cursed body.” He stepped forward and rested a hand on Sookie’s head. “You are the final piece.” The invisible force flipped her through the air and her back slammed against the silver cross and immediately blisters started forming on the skin that touched it. The silver chains lifted from the floor and fastened tightly around her wrists and ankles, once again the skin enflaming. Sookie screamed, this time her voice rung loud in the empty warehouse, and Raphael stepped to the end of the alter, looking up to the moon in the sky above them.


At this point Samantha walked in with a long, flat box in her arms. She walked up to the edge of the outer circle and held it up just as it was lifted into the air. Samantha remained where she was, simply taking a seat on the floor, and watched the box float over and land on the floor next to Raphael. The lid folded back and revealed five deadly looking stiletto knives made of silver and decorated with gold; at the base of the hilts were small irregular shaped rocks, all of them various sizes. The daggers floated into the air and moved across to Sookie until two hovered above each forearm, two above her shins, and one above her heart.


“These daggers have meteorite fragments forged into the hilts and were enchanted for sacrificial purposes. Normally the next step would kill you but due to the nature of the ritual it will most probably make you stronger. Take that as the, ah, silver lining if you will.” Raphael almost smiled beneath his mask but held himself back; he wanted to wait until the ceremony was complete.


With a sudden drop the five blades plunged down and pierced Sookie completely through, so their tips appeared on the opposite sides. She screamed in pain, more with the silver than the wounds, as her blood started to seep down the blades until a thick droplet dropped down and landed on Ryuk’s body. Immediately light akin to moonlight shone out from where the blood made contact and Raphael looked back to the moon in the sky.


“Luna. Maledictum. Lupus. Vitae. Potestatem. Divisus. Tempus. Immortalis.” He spoke each word as a drop of Sookie’s blood made contact with Ryuk’s black skin. As soon as he uttered the final word, Sookie’s blood started to pour from her wounds, down the daggers, and onto Ryuk’s body, staining it red.


It was at this point that Sookie’s body began to change to that of a werewolf; but nothing like she had ever turned into before. Raphael started up a continuous chant in a strange language.



Raphael finished his chanting, despite Sookie’s cries drowning them out in volume, and stood up. The circles around him were afire with energy, particularly the stones and central alter. He looked up and spread his hands wide.


“Deus Noctus Descendite!”


Beams of energy fired out of the five stones and alter and coalesced about ten feet above the centre of the circle. It held a sphere for a couple of seconds before firing a larger beam directly at where the moon was positioned in the sky above them. A minute passed of nothing before a sudden wave of energy high in the sky spread out at an alarming rate. The magical energy being expended would distort and no doubt destroy all permanent magical constructions across the globe; nowhere was safe. That and unless the enchantment was destroyed, everyone, everywhere would forever see the moon above them in the sky; regardless of their location on the planet.


- Michael Sanderford -

The magical wave came out of nowhere, passing over Michael’s body and causing him to shiver. It was massive and the fact that it had come from apparently nothing, from beyond Michael’s magical senses spoke of the power it wielded. A moment later, Michael realised that the wards around the Prideux Estate had begun to evaporate. Not activated, not destroyed, just simply removed. He opened his mouth but Liz beat him to it.


Once Ryuzaki left them to find Sookie, no doubt her capture was something to do with the immense magical surge he had felt, things started instantly. The sound of the daggers colliding in mid-air was filled with a magical energy that Michael detected and, with a series of quick hand signals on his right hand, negated it around himself. Everyone else had been caught by the strange magic but before Michael could whip up a counter for them, Liz sent out numerous small bolts of lightning that jerked everyone back to the real world. Michael deflected the one sent at him and nodded in approval.


His attention was drawn though as a blade appeared to pass through him, from shoulder to ribs. However his defense had done its work and the blade had been melted and evaporated before it had ever harmed him. Michael turned around as the man who had just attempted to assassinate him laughed.


“Underestimating me is usually for idiots, rookies, and the dead.” Michael said as flames formed a circle at his feet. “Of course, idiots and rookies who underestimate me usually die too so I guess I don’t need to separate them into a different class.” As he finished speaking, he waved his hand forward and a wall of flame sprung up between him and his attacked, rushing forward like a miniature tidal wave.


However before Michael felt any feedback from the attack, magic once again filled the air and he felt the warping as it launched him to a different location. When he landed, flames already alight in his hair, he looked around and found himself standing in front of the Priduex Estate, face-to-face with his attacker from previously.


Liz’s work. Must have been the last ward left. He thought as he focused his eyes on his opponent.


The man in question suddenly submerged his hand in the ground in front of him and Michael felt the magic form at his back. Before he could get out of range, a bony hand sprung from his shadow and clasped tightly around him. It was a death-grip, literally, as it squeezed until any normal man would have been popped like a water balloon. As it happened, Michael was no ordinary man; he wasn’t even all man.


As the hand closed completely, Michael burst into flame and escaped through the gabs in the bones. He reformed to the right of the large hand and placed his own upon it. Instantly, flame raced it’s surface and it was reduced to blackened ash and was blown away in the wind. Turning to his opponent, Michael reached up and removed his sunglasses, revealing the swirling fire pits that were his eyes.


“You know my name, but I don’t know yours; by your apparent age you must be Willow’s father.” He said before two condensed tornados of flame burst from his eyes and scorched their way to the man.


- Eleanor Pengallion -

Her location spell suddenly focused and a point appeared on the globe they could follow in order to find Sookie. A second later Liz started exclaiming in surprise and Michael stepped forward to tell Ryuzaki to go and save Sookie himself as they would be busy here. In that blink Ryuzaki was gone and the rest of them were left to face off against a family of master assassins. It appeared they would have no time to prepare, however, as the attack began nearly as instantly as Ryuzaki had left.


Ellie couldn’t react as Willow moved to intercept the dagger and save Liz’s life; she couldn’t even counter the magical spell that echoed out from the clash of metal on metal. It sunk into her, deeper than most magic could without another power source apart from the caster’s personal amount. Ellie’s eyes flickered and she found herself back at her mansion in England, Zane by her side. They were both sat in the library, reading as the afternoon sun shone through the large windows that lined one side of the large room.


The next second something struck her in the back and it felt like someone had jabbed her with a cattle prod. This wasn’t entirely inaccurate as she looked over her shoulder to see Liz lit up with her energy. Now she was free of it, Ellie could recognise and identify the illusion-dream magic and shook her head in annoyance that she had been caught by it. Then that annoyance dispersed when she realised that only Michael appeared to be unfazed by it.


After the brief skirmish between Willow and her younger brother and sister, Ellie saw Liz reach to one of the wards and she braced herself for what came next. She was only half surprised when she felt a pulling sensation and ended up stood next to Liz in the courtyard. She took a second to re-orientate herself and Liz voiced her concern that someone was there. In that moment dark tendrils of magic burst forth from the ground and raced towards them.


“I’ve had enough of being surprised!” Ellie called and stepped forward with a hand extended. Immediately a translucent wall of blue energy appeared and the shadowy tentacles crashed into them like it was a steel door.  It bent inwards slightly but held as the tentacles, that seemed to be multiplying, started to reach around the wall to get to Ellie and Liz. Ellie stepped forward again and made two separate gestures with her hands.


The first, with her right hand, was aimed towards the barrier in front of them and it started to change shape; stretch backwards until it began to cover them in a dome. Her left hand formed a small ball of fire that she lobbed over the top of the wall like a grenade. As it passed above her barrier it gained 3 small blue balls of energy that swivelled around it like a miniature solar system.


The dome finished forming around them, protecting them from the tendrils as they could no longer get past, and small spikes jutted out, causing the tendrils to pull back slightly. At this point her flame grenade exploded in a flash of white light and heat both of which were reduced by her shield so as not to harm them. The tentacles let out what sounded like a scream as parts of them were blown clean off.


“Liz, I’ll open a path and then you can give them a bit of lightning love, sound like a plan?” As she spoke, the metal net she wore in her hair began to light up with energy.


- Zane Pengallion -

Since he had kept himself out of the discussion between Ariel, Ryuzaki, and the rest, Zane had found himself out of range to help when the attack came. Cursing himself and summoning his pistols, he found himself too slow to help but was relieved when Willow reacted in time. He was not prepared for the magic, however, as it washed over him and he felt his mind bend and the world changed around him.


He was strapped to a chair with metal bindings, his hair was long again and he was wearing nothing except a pair a white briefs. Numerous devices for monitoring his vitals were strapped to his chest and head and the only light source was above him and was bright enough that everything else around his circle of light wasn’t visible.


“My son, why do you struggle?” A voice said as Zane tested the bindings strapped around him.


Damn it! What the hell is going on? He thought just as something ran through him and jolted his mind back to where he had ended up kneeling in the Prideux Estate. He shook his head to clear his mind and found others doing the same. Apparently they had been subject to some kind of psionic attack from Willow’s family. Now with the spell broken, Zane stood up and summoned his pistols, aiming them at the small boy and girl who and instigated the attack.


He saw out of the corner of his eye Liz focusing and energy filling her. Then he felt himself move and found himself atop the roof with Jinkama by his side; which was impressive since Jinkama hadn’t even been in the room.


“What the hell’s going on, Zane?” he asked, his skin already golden in colour and ready to fight.


“The assassins are attacking already and Ryuzaki has gone to save Sookie; I’m guessing Liz activated something to split the family up to weaken them since Willow was adamant that they were stronger together.” He said, moving his gaze to pick up anything that might move to attack them.


“Great, I’m guessing that magical wave had something to do with it.” Jinkama said, also keeping his eyes open.


“If you say so just keep you…” before he could finish his sentence, something grabbed him by the shoulder and sent him flipping through the air and crashing back onto the roof. At the same time, the same thing happened to Jinkama and they both cursed.


“Not this guy again.” They said in unison, both standing up as a laugh filled the air around them.


- Fiona Vaunik -

As with her husband, Caine, Fiona had already been inside the building and had simply waited for the rest of the family to enter before making her move. Her target was Willow, since her two youngest had failed already against her, and as Willow attacked her younger sister, Fiona came up from behind with one of her daggers drawn and aiming towards the base of her neck. Before she could finish up the attack, however, magic filled the room and she felt herself being dragged away and sent somewhere else.


When she settled she sensed she was in some kind of basement; it was cold, damp, and dark. She immediately sensed someone else in the room and retreated behind some kind of shelving unit. When she realised it was her daughter, Willow, in the room with her she couldn’t help but girn slightly. It looked like she would be able to punish her after all.


Fiona sheathed her dagger and reached up to clasp the metal helmet that encapsulated her head. With a quiet hiss, the locking mechanism released and she pulled it off completely. Her eyes were closed and tattooed around her left eye was a series of intricate patterns in dark red ink; similar patterns ran around her right eye but was grey in colour.  With that done she threw her helmet high and listened as it clanged loudly against the roof and fell away from her.

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- Ryuzaki -


Ryuzaki trusted Michael completed, when he said they would hold things down here, he meant it. With the Estate covered, Ryuzaki looked across to the globe just as the location spell cemented and noted the location; Chicago. In less than a blink of a person’s eye, he disappeared; racing away from France and back towards the United States of America. It didn’t matter to him that he had been there before his race to the Priduex Estate; when you could move as fast as he could, it bore little weight how far a destination was.


He passed across the water at full speed, this time no strange teenager stopped for a chat, and soon enough his feet touched down on American soil. The straightest route from the shores of France had landed him in Philadelphia, he barely had to alter his course to change to a bee-line to Chicago. Small moments were lost as he jumped, weaved, and dodged obstructions but the Chicago skyline appeared before him.


The location spell Ellie had cooked up had not been strong enough to pinpoint an exact location but now Ryuzaki was in the same city as Sookie, he wouldn’t need one. He raced up the nearest building and came to a stop on the roof, looking out across Chicago. He crouched down and closed his eyes, focusing his smell and hearing and spreading it out across the city. As a Master Vampire, this was only a fraction of his sense-related power.


Within the minute he had picked up Sookie’s sent and followed it through the city and to the outskirts where it settled on a large warehouse. He tuned his ears and picked up the screams, rage and pain, and stood up with a look of thunder on his face. He had also picked up the breathing of the man stood there watching Sookie.


“No mercy.” He muttered and with an explosion of brick at his feet he fired himself at the direction of the warehouse.


He moved with deliberate speed and ignored everything else around him, he passed a large man dressed as a knight in red armour but even ignored him as he aimed for the doors to the warehouse; if he turned out to be in on it, he would soon die anyway. Now within the warehouse, Ryuzaki quickly assessed the situation.


Sookie, screaming while chained to a stone altar. A woman, sat on the outside of 9 concentric circles that surrounded the altar. The masked man; someone Ryuzaki hadn’t seen in a long time. Even as his rage built, Ryuzaki’s first port of call was to free Sookie from her chains.


As he dashed forward, he felt an invisible force build up around him pushing him backwards as he approached the outer circle. He realised he had slowed down as the woman turned to look at him in part-surprise; although a look of expectation was also on her face. He pushed forward against the force but it suddenly increased a thousand fold and Ryuzaki felt himself come to a complete stop. His feet dug into the hard ground a couple of inches and cracks emanated out behind him as the invisible force stopped his movement.


The masked man turned from where he had been watched Sookie squirm and looked eyes with Ryuzaki; luminous orange with shining gold.


“Ryuzaki, running to the rescue; pretty much on time.” The masked man said. Ryuzaki picked up the slight strain in his voice but couldn’t explore it further as the force increased still move and he felt himself sliding backwards despite his efforts to push forward. “You are strong, Master Vampire, as expected. But not more than I expected.”


The next blow wasn’t anything Ryuzaki had felt before; not fighting OSSUM, not Erevis, not even Ezralda. It struck him at all points on the front of his body and he was lifted into the air and sent flying backwards at speeds nearly as fast as he could move voluntarily. His back touched the doors he had passed through to enter and the entire wall that housed them exploded outwards as he passed through it. It didn’t stop there, however, as he continued on through the next building, and the next, and the next. He actually lost count before he the force dissipated and he found himself lying in a massive pile of rubble consisting of multiple buildings.


As he pulled himself free his sensitive hearing picked up the Masked Man’s voice again. “As planned, he is yours Samantha; kill him swiftly for the longer he is alive, the more dangerous he becomes.”


Ryuzaki frowned, he was sure he had heard the name Samantha somewhere before, somewhere significant. He shook his head and brushed the rubble off himself as he stood up and cracked his neck dramatically. Ramon. The last time he had come in contact with him, it had been on the Assault on Nirvana all those years ago. Clearly he was more than he appeared if he appeared to be the same age and had enough power to force Ryuzaki back when he didn’t want to be.


Ryuzaki couldn’t stop a growl from escaping his throat as he prepared to return to the warehouse.

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Elizabeth smirked at Ellie, “Sound’s like a plan El’.” As the situation stood, they were at a complete disadvantage--neither of them could exactly see their enemy. Hmm, an area effect spell should be best, I would think; serves the purpose of locating the enemy. She said to Ellie, “Alright, let down the bubble.” With a small whoosh of energy and pressure, the isolated bubble they were trapped in disintegrated; as it did, Elizabeth’s fingers tingled, arced, and sparked purple lightning. She stepped forward, past Ellie so she wouldn’t be in range of her attack. “Stay behind me, and within an arms reach.”


She extended both her hand out and as she did the lightning shot forward, in all directions, jutting from her fingers. It spread out and formed a net, jutting in uneven lines and forming boxes, bouncing off the walls of the enclosed courtyard and splitting the trees and bushes in half. It worked its way behind them as well, completely blanketing the courtyard in a patwork of electricity that formed a closed circuit. Ellie let out a nervous laugh--one of the lines of electricity was less than a foot away from her. Elizabeth closed her eyes and felt out through the circuit, when she did she found the irregularity. The electricity simply bent and curved around a small, person sized, area. She didn't’ expect this to hurt her opponent--no, this spell was to weak--it was just to find them.


Her follow up spell, was for that.


She inhaled a deep, cleansing breath, and whispered a small prayer in an old Franconian dialect. Her veins became transparent and purple, shining a purple glow in the night. When she opened her eyes, they too were completely purple--not one solid color, though, instead a constantly shifting and changing and crackling purple. Ancestors, give me strength. She thought to herself as she readied, I don’t want to use my bow yet, and I only have one of these. I need to make it count. She reached into her pocket and produced a large coin. She placed the coin at the end of her forearm, where the bicep meets the elbow, and it stuck as if there was a magnet under her skin. She stuck her arm out, palm up and straight, pointing it in the direction of their attacker. Well in theory this is supposed to work.  


By now their opponent had realized her electric net was but a minor inconvenience, they went on the offensive. Moving fast and shattering the electric netting as she did. She whispered and weaved many different spells, Elizabeth could tell, as she moved. In front of her was a small crystal ball. “Oh,” she said, “It’s this bitch again?”


“Eat shit.” Elizabeth said.


Elizabeth sent a powerful charge, gigawatts in strength, through her arm. The coin followed the current and became a superheated and ultra powerful projective--the only thing keeping it from tearing apart under the stress of the electricity were the layers of wards imprinted on it. The old women realized this and tapped her crystal ball, trying to work more of her strange magic. The coin ripped through her, though, she wasn’t fast enough. Elizabeth miscalculated on her part, though, and instead of splitting her skull it grazed her side--grazed being a subtle word, the heat and concussive force shredded her insides and left a deep third degree burn. It sent the women whirling in the air and crashing into the ground. The path from Elizabeth’s arm to the women was a crater and leftover fire smouldered.


The sudden surge of power left Elizabeth wheezing--she severely underestimated just how much several gigawatts was. She exchanged glances with Ellie, “I need” she coughed out, “a few” again several deep breaths separated her words, “a few minutes to recover.”


Elizabeth’s body suddenly went rigid as she felt a surge of magic come their way. The women’s haggard voice screamed in the shadows. “You won’t get an opportunity to do that again!” The old women--the mangled half of her body illuminated by the flames--flicked her finger on the crystal ball with one hand. She whispered to herself as she did it.


Shadows shot up around the women, tentacles whose sole purpose was to defend their conjurer. The flick registered as a sudden burst of force--completely visible as a wave of black essence slightly darker than the rest of the night, that cut through the moonlight as if it weren’t even their. As the wave got closer, it coalesced and formed into a single point--still ominously visible--and smacked into Elizabeth; sending her flying through the courtyard and smacking into a tree.


“Little witch,” the woman screeched at Ellie, “Please don’t make this any harder than it needs to be on me.” She she spoke her tentacles came alive, spreading throughout the courtyard in Ellie’s direction. Elizabeth struggled to get up, as this was happening, and the purple energy in her eyes and veins flickered on and off. She was still going to need a few minutes to recover from her--now possibly fatal--attack.





The small hiss of pressurized air escaping her mother’s helmet alerted her immediately to her position. She subtly brushed her arms and legs; the enchantments that simulate weight restraints disappearing. Out of habit she began to touch her stomach, she caught herself. No, not yet. Her mother’s helmet clanged and clattered across the basement floor. Willow dashed, not forward toward the sound, but adjacent to it.

When she caught sight of her mother she vanished. When she reappeared behind her, her hands were a purple blur of motion. Her mother’s strangely tattooed eyes was something that she wanted to steer clear of. She formed her hand into a spear and shot it upwards, aimed into the base of her mother’s spine. “I’ve been waiting for this day, mother.” She hissed, “Do you see how fast all of that running has made me?”



So far, he was entirely unimpressed.


The flame tornadoes came quickly, he’d give Michael that, however compared to the speed of even his children it was agonizingly slow. He hurdled to the right with a quick side step and jump, landing caddy-corner to Michael as opposed to being directly across from him. He bent down and again his hand submerged into the shadows, only this time when it reemerged it produced a long wavy blade. It was the shape of a squiggly line, long and thin. It had no guard where the wooden hilt met steel.

He held the blade loosely in his hands and said, “My name is Caine Vaunik, Michael. I am one of the last surviving Master Assasins. I killed the rest of them--competition is bad for business.” He began to walk in a circle around Michael, slowly, as he did his body doubled, then quadrupled, then it appeared that Michael was surrounded by the man; each one slightly faded. With the man’s non-occupied hand he reached into a pocket and through several needles at him--each clone it appeared threw three of them. Michael saw through the petty trickery instantly, however as the blades were thrown he realized they were all real. The instant Michael focused on the needles, the after-image clones vanished and Caine was underneath Michael, both legs bent and now forcing him down into a squat. He drove the tip of his strange blade upwards, aimed to pierce under Michael’s chin and through his head. His whole attempt was to overwhelm Michael’s senses--send Michael dozens of razer sharp needles as a secondary threat and then let the primary threat--Caine himself--deal a lethal blow.

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She smiled as Raphael blew Ryuzaki away. He said to her, “As we discussed. You are more suited to handle him, I also have other matters to attend to.” He turned away from her and refocused his attention on Sookie.Samantha nodded, walking in the direction that Ryuzaki had been blown. She was impressed, her Valkyrie could barely see him coming and by then there the Valkyrie couldn’t even intervene.


“This will be fun.” She said.


-----The Valkyrie, the Archer, and the Knight-----

Arrows of red magical essence soared through the air faster than a ballistic missile--hundreds of them, raining down from above the second Ryuzaki got back on his feet. When he brought his head up to look, The Knight moved in. He dashed forward and led with his shield, delivering a bone-shaking blow to Ryuzaki’s torso that caused him to step back. The Knight used his momentum to spin, swinging his long sword while he did to severe Ryuzaki at the hips and in half.


The arrows rained down around them, each hardly a foot long and they left no shaft only gaping holes from wherever they pierced Ryuzaki. The Knight was unaffected by them--the arrows simply passing through him without doing any harm. Ryuzaki smacked his hands together and caught the longsword--arrows still raining down around them. He was about to whip it out of the knights hands when the force of a freight train going mach five landed on top him.


The Valkyrie slammed into him--hidden amongst the thunderstorm that was the hail of arrows--her wings propelling her downwards and both feet kicking Ryuzaki in the back. She raised her spear that she held--a long, golden rod that illuminated the same red energy as the arrows and the Knights sword--and drove it downwards; aimed to pierce the base of Ryuzaki’s skull, where the spinal cord meets the brain.



The Archer was next to her now, walking alongside her and the Brawler. She unclipped her cloak from around her neck; last thing she wanted was to get strangled by it, it fluttered away behind her. Her maroon unitard she wore glistened in the moonlight. Her third eye, in the center of her forehead, opened now and shined a burning red energy. Her other eyes seemed to look at nothing at all. She put a hand on the Archer, his hands were bloody and swollen. As she did they slowly began to heal.


She put her hand to his cheek, “Excellent job, puppet, now quickly return they will need you.” Such a maneuver as using that many arrows in a short period of time is dangerous and requires a lot of my energy, I can’t make moves like that it anymore. It was only required because Ryuzaki slipped through our defensive perimeter, but now that he is within reach nothing of that level of risk will be needed again.

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- Eleanor Pengallion -

Ellie was still being impressed by Liz’s new attack when the old woman knocked Liz away and focused her attacks on Ellie herself. Cursing her rookie mistake, Ellie gathered her magic and did three things; she first fired herself upwards with a bubble of air, secondly she used one hand to send a small orb of her energy towards Liz with the hope it would help her to recover quicker, and thirdly she summoned her brand new staff with her other hand. It formed from a spiral of flame which constricted until it appeared as an inch-wide, four foot long, length of wood. Not only was it carved with flames, but interweaved within the flames were different magical characters; it was an impressive piece of work.


The staff was not something Ellie could have created in the time between when her old one had been broken and the assassin attack had begun. She had been content to live without it for now but when Michael had heard of her old staff’s fate, he couldn’t help but get involved. It had taken him a hair over ten minutes to construct the magical item with his own magic. The core of it was fire-based, as was Michael’s, but to assist with Ellie’s wider range he had added a number of extra enchantments and reinforcements. In the world of magic it was a formidable item.


Even as Ellie did all these things, the tentacles the old woman had created had been piling together below her to climb up themselves to reach her. Ellie was about to reach the peak of her magic-enhanced jump but just before she did, she dropped her staff.  With it pointed straight down, Ellie whispered a word and a burst of flame from its upper end fired it downwards like an arrow. It slipped through the tentacles like it was deliberately dodging them and pierced into the courtyard floor below them. The tentacles ignored it and still reached up to Ellie has she began her descent.


She formed a symbol with her right hand and held it out towards her staff. “Immolate!” she cried and a bright light shone out from between the gaps of the writhing tentacles.


A second later a pillar of fire erupted from her staff and encapsulated nearly all the tentacles and Ellie herself. Not that it harmed her as the pillar disappeared as she landed gently on the tip of her staff that was pointing into the air. The few tentacles that had survived writhed in flames so Ellie put them out of their misery by grabbing the far and closing it around them, reducing them to ash.


The old woman snarled in anger and reached forward to touch her crystal ball again. Ellie snarled herself and hopped lightly on her staff. The tip in the ground dug deeper and rings of solid fire spread out from around the point of contact; they stopped appearing when the old woman was within the circles. Ellie held out her palm and levelled it on the old woman.


“I won’t allow you to hurt my friends.” She said as the golden net in her hair lit up again and the rings exploded upwards with an intense light that shone hundreds of feet into the air.


- Fiona Vaunik -

Fiona couldn’t see her daughter, but she easily sensed her when she made her move. Willow moved much faster than Fiona had ever known, clearly she had been training this one particular aspect. However, she had clearly been lacking in her assassin department as she spoke before delivering the killing blow. Fiona used this to her advantage and opened her right eye; she had been hoping to be able to use her left eye first but Willow hadn’t given her the opportunity. As her right eye opened, a field of energy surrounded her body and exploded outwards, knocking Willow back and into a shelf, knocking the contents to the floor. Before she had settled, Fiona closed her right eye again.


One of the intertwined lines of the tattoo around her left eye faded away, invisible in the dark, as Fiona turned to face her opponent. Her assassin instincts told her to attack immediately, while Willow was still somewhat stunned, but she didn’t immediately; after all, this was her daughter.


“My dear, you hold such anger towards your mother? I do congratulate you on your impressive speed though, you clearly eclipse your siblings.”


- Michael Sanderford -

Once upon a time, Michael had been incredibly weak to close range, hand-to-hand combat. This always made sense to him because he was a wizard, they had no need to get in close to anybody; certainly with his power he could melt a person from a hundred miles away. Of course, then he met wizards like Jinkama who thrived on the closeness of battle. It had also come up in a number of battles of his years, where Michael’s opponent closed the distance and he had lost any advantage he had over a distance.


It had been many years since such a time however, so even as his deep instincts told him to pull away and gain distance, Michael chose to do the opposite; he drove his head down towards the tip of the sword coming towards him. As Caine’s eyes widened a fraction in surprise, Michael’s second instinct was to convert into his elemental state and pass through the man and his weapon and attack from behind. But again he chose to go against his instinct and reached out to grab the blade in his hands.


As he always did, practically unconsciously, Michael had an invisible flame barrier a centimetre from his skin that would reduce most physical objects to ash. It did so for the needles flying at him at incredible speed but Michael didn’t want to do that to the sword; not yet at any rate. So he deactivated the barrier around his hands and replaced it with a skill he had appropriated from Jinkama during a training session. Instead of burning, it allowed Michael to catch the blade without being cut.


This allowed him to move the blade to the side and allow it to pass by his head to avoid injury. At the same time it caused his arms to press against his chest and his forehead to rest on Caine’s shoulder; the flame barrier was designed for non-living things so only Caine’s clothes disappeared on point of contact. Michael kept his right hand clasped around the sword’s blade and reached forward with his left to pull Cain closer as if hugging a friend. This moved his mouth up next to Cain’s ear.


“I’d keep your mouth closed.” He whispered with a grin as flames exploded at his feet and he sent the both of them flying into the sky.


A second later, Michael pushed away from Caine and split them apart; Michael one way, Caine the other. Under the assumption that Caine couldn’t dodge in mid-air, Michael formed two long spears of flame and fired them towards the master assassin.


- Ryuzaki -

It was far from the first time that Ryuzaki had fought multiple opponents at once, even before he had become a Master Vampire, but he had to admit their co-ordination was off the charts. Even the teams who claimed to be as one looked sloppy next to the guys currently attacking Ryuzaki. Not only that, but each on their own was immensely strong as the Knight could push him back with a shield bash and the flying one also nudged him. That, combined with the constant rain of arrows that tested his regenerative abilities, started to annoy him.


He felt the air part as the flying one aimed something at the base of his skull but with the knight’s sword in his hands, he couldn’t catch it. So instead, he spun around in a blur and jerked backwards into the knight’s chest. It was a strong blow, if casual, and the knight staggered a step but more importantly, the winged-woman’s spear clashed with the front of his armoured chest-piece and stopped dead on the specially forged metal.


In the moment of peace that followed the strike, clearly the bird-woman had thought the strike would work, Ryuzaki let go of the knight’s sword and switched his grip to the knight’s sword-arm. Then he kicked one leg backwards and knocked the knight’s feet out from under him. This allowed him to rotate forward and flip the knight over his shoulder with a sort-of judo throw. The bird-woman attempted to get out of range but the knight was a large man and his feet caught her and slammed her to the ground under him.


Ryuzaki stepped forward and punted the knight in the right shoulder, sending him tumbling forward and through the building’s wall, and then reached down and grabbed one of the bird-woman’s wings. He pulled her to her feet and then spun quickly again and sent her tumbling through the opposite wall.


“Stay down and I won’t kill you!” he roared.


The arrows had stopped just before he had flipped the knight, but Ryuzaki didn’t care about whoever was responsible for that; he had to go and rescue Sookie.


- The Master Vampires -

Two figures stood next to each atop a skyscraper about 2 miles from where Ryuzaki was currently engaged in battle. Both Ki and Andrei wore their standard attire but both had added a number of weapons to their persons that now hung from belts and bandoleers. Ki stood with his hands cross in front of his chest while Andrei stood with them hung limply to his sides. Both were watching Ryuzaki carefully; the distance was no trouble for the eyes of a Master Vampire.


“Do we go in now?” Ki asked, keeping his golden eyes locked on Ryuzaki.


Andrei scowled. “Not yet; you felt that vast wave of magic, right?” Ki nodded and shrugged which Andrei took to mean sort of. “I’ve never felt anything like that, which is saying something. I’d like to know what’s going on around here. I don’t recognise the girl or her soldiers, you?”


“The soldiers, no, but the girl sort of looks familiar. Like I’ve come across her briefly but not for anything significant.” Ki replied, earning a snort from Andrei. “Hey, perfect recall is not one of our abilities, alright? I can’t remember everything I’ve ever done or everyone I’ve ever met; can you?”


Andrei didn’t say anything for a second before shaking his head. “No, I suppose not.” He scowled and looked back towards Ryuzaki. “Why is it him again? What draws change to him?” The last words were muttered to himself as he watched the battle unfold.


- Zane & Jinkama -

Zane let loose a couple more shots in random directions, but he had no idea where Octavius was hiding. In the end, he was a Master Assassin so Zane guessed he wouldn’t see him unless he wanted to be seen. Jinkama was still stood next to him, his bare chest gleaming gold in the moonlight and the expression of annoyance on his face clear.


“Coward, this isn’t a fight!” he said into the darkness. The laughter just came again and once more the two fighters were sent tumbling through the air by thin metal wires.


As the two of them pulled themselves to their feet, an idea struck Zane and he leant in to whisper it in Jinkama’s ear. Jinkama muttered back angrily and Zane shrugged, bringing a pistol up to fire randomly again. In a blur, Octavius suddenly appeared in front of them with a grin on his face and immediately Jinkama jumped forward at the same time as red light shot out of Zane’s pistol three times in quick succession. Octavius easily evaded them and Jinkama before disappearing completely.


“Coward!” Jinkama roared again.


This time Zane’s augmented eyes were focused on Jinkama and he saw the wires attach into his left shoulder. “Now, left shoulder!” he called and Jinkama reached up and managed to grab the wires in his hand.


Jinkama was strong, but not supernaturally so, however, neither was Octavius as Jinkama planted his feet and braced himself before dragging back on the wire. There was a cry and suddenly Octavius appeared in the air, being dragged back towards Jinkama by his own wires. His eyes turned to look at Zane as he levelled both pistols and fired six shots quickly.


Anger flooded Octavius’ face and he reached out a hand as if to grab the deadly energy bolts out of the air. When they made contact they seemed to fuzz like an old television set and they passed through Octavius without harm. He landed on his back with a heavy thump and quickly disconnected his wires from his hand and stood up to brush the dust from his poncho.


“How clever of you.” He said, looking at Zane with venom in his eyes. “It’s a shame your energy isn’t all science.”


“What does that mean?” Zane asked as he levelled his pistols again.


“You won’t live long enough to care.” Was Octavius’ reply before he flapped his arms up and a number of steel needles flew towards Zane at great speed.


Before they could strike, or Zane could respond, Jinkama stepped in the way and the needles bounced off his hardened skin. “I’ve got a bone to pick with you, bastard.” He said with a scowl. “Zane, stick to long range back-up only, please.” Jinkama had thought about telling him to stay out of it completely, but Octavius was very strong and he wasn’t about to die because of his stubbornness.

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“My dear, you hold such anger to your mother?”


It wasn’t her mother’s defense that stunned her, it was those words. They bit into her ears like a knife. She didn’t have an immediate response--regardless she wasn’t one for words, anyways. Willow instead stood for a solid few seconds, contemplating and thinking about that question. She knew the answer, she knew that anger wasn’t a proper word for how she felt.


“No,” She told her mother, “I hold no anger towards you.” Her mother blinked and she moved, by the time her mother opened her eyes Willow was inches away, her hands a purple blur, she bursted forward with a flurry of palm strikes--unaware if any made contact. After several palm strikes, she spun and extended her leg, sending a sweeping kick at her mother’s mid section. Her mother blocked the kick, and Willow said in the stillness, “Hatred. Loathing. Disgust. Agony.” Willow spit out each word, anger sending spittle at her Mother’s face, “That is what I harbour for you, mother.”


She had feinted and delivered blows at only about seventy-percent of what she could actually do, she needed to get her mother to move on the offensive, give something up about herself.


All I needed to do was land a few of those strikes, hopefully I got in close enough to avoid that bubble defense of hers. I still know nothing of her power or abilities, and the only way I’m going to find anything out is by taking some damage.



Elizabeth was impressed, to say the least. Whatever sort of enchantments were worked into Ellie’s staff and her hair net were top notch, easily a tier three enchantment, probably bordering a tier four. Elizabeth was surprised, too, Ellie and her hadn’t fought or trained alongside one another for some time now, so to see her new stuff was riveting to say the least.


She had her own surprises for Ellie, too.


Her powers tingled back into existence, surging through her body and illuminating the darkness around her. Just as Ellie’s light began to reach its climax, Elizabeth activated her most powerful enchantment.


Elizabeth wasn’t Mathew, she was a long range, support style fighter. She would get to a distance, bounce around and harass her opponents, letting the power houses like Elijah or Sookie really get in close and deal the most damage. Mathew was the iconic tank-style fighter. He would get in close and deal devastating attacks; Elizabeth just couldn’t do that, it wasn’t her style, it wasn’t in her abilities. As a result, she created a weapon to compensate for it.


Her thumb swept across each ring that was on her right hand in a quick, swift motion. When it did, lightning crashed down on her from the sky, purple and brilliant. When she emerged, she was bearing a long bow--easily half the size of her body. Across her back was quiver full of arrows. Her right arm that held her bow was covered in different black tattoos now, each a sort of magical shock absorber to compensate for the power that the arrows release when launched. Arcoss her body and her veins was no longer laiden with purple lightning, now it had strange runic and purple symbols, old Franconian in origin. As Ellie’s attack was winding down, She grabbed an arrow and loosed it into the  fray.


The arrow shot off from her bow like a ballistic missile, sending a concussive wave behind her that shook the trees and blew away any loose dirt. The silver arrow cut through the air and met its target dead on, at least it would have, had the women not stopped it in mid air somehow. She was straining under the pressure of stopping her arrow, Elizabeth could tell, however, she was still able to stop it--an extremely disconcerting fact to Elizabeth.


Damn, She analyzed, I thought that dividing the power by ten instead of four wouldn’t sacrifice too much. I should have done eight like Ariel had suggested. She winced at her fingers and arm, stretching it and bended it at the elbow, Damn, even added new layer of buffers and I’m still having side effects after the first blow. She refocused on her enemy, the arrow clattered to the ground uselessly. Elizabeth knocked another arrow and vanished, her body appearing in a flash of arcs and sparks next to where Ellie balanced on her staff.


She said to Ellie, “I have nine more of these, but I need a distraction to get through her weird--”


The woman closed her eyes and the crystal ball illuminated a strange glowing black. Suddenly, Elizabeth and Ellie were trapped again inside the strange bubble as before, completely immobilized. Elizabeth realized in that instant how stupid she had been for getting this close to Ellie--clearly the reason why the woman hadn’t done this before is because they were separated and, she assumed, the woman couldn’t keep up a spell of this magnitude over a large area. Elizabeth had probably just cost them their lives.


The woman barked a shrill laugh and her strange tendrils grew out of the ground around them in a circle. Below their feet a large mouth suddenly appeared, the tendrils wrapping around them and pulling them downwards into it. “Gah! Not even that demon, vampire, bitch put up this much of a fight!” She cackled to herself again, “It’s been fun, though, really it has.”


Elizabeth wanted to scream, if she could have she would have.


-----The Hive Mind-----

Samantha wasn’t surprised to see the two of her puppets get beaten back so easily, Ryuzaki was a top class opponent and as such he would require her full attention. That first assault was just to slow him down and give her a moment to set up the rest of her chest pieces. Which were, at this point, more or less, all in their places.


Her personal escort, The Brawler, scooped her up in his arms and ran in the direction of Ryuzaki with her, getting their in an instant; just as he was finishing screaming.


Samantha said to him, “Do try, Ryuzaki, but you won’t kill them, or any of us for that matter.” Her body illuminated a burning crimson red and as it did so did the bodies of her fallen warriors. They repatched themselves back together--bones snapping in place, wounds closing, completely rejuvenated. To Ryuzaki’s credit, he didn’t waist any time wondering and attacked. He was only a few feet away from Samantha, too, when he got slammed to the ground.


His feet had been tangled together by a string of crimson red energy. Ryuzaki put his feet together and instead of falling jumped forward with both legs, launching him faster than before, extended an arm for Samantha’s throat. The Assassin took advantage of this pose and wrapped herself around his arm, her legs wrapping it around it and her arms grabbing at the base of his elbow. In that position, and with his legs entangled, he fell to the ground. The Assassin yanks and twisted his arm--contorting the elbow in the opposite direction until it broke.


Ryuzaki wasn’t phased in the least bit. With a seemingly miniscule amount of effort, Ryuzaki broke his legs free of the rope and flipped himself upwards onto his feet, the Assassin still dangling from his right, now broken, arm. Just as she let go and began to dash away, Ryuzaki reached out and snatched her by the back of her cloak with his left hand. She wriggled out of it and and dashed forward, producing two kunai knives. She stuck them each in his stomach. His right arm, at this point, was now healed, giving him both arms to utilize again.


Ryuzaki grabbed her in a bear hug and broke her back as if it were a twig.


In the few seconds it took for this altercation to finish, Ryuzaki became surrounded. The Knight, again, was the first to move, leading with his shield again. “That trick won’t work twice!” Ryuzaki screamed as he came in. Ryuzaki grabbed the top of the shield with his right arm and slammed the point of it into the ground, stopping the Knight. The Valkyrie’s spear cut deep into Ryuzaki’s side and she let go of it; leaving it dangling and spinning in a clockwise motion, grabbing a short sword from her hip and driving it backwards into Ryuzaki’s other side from behind him. Ryuzaki reached behind himself with his massive arms and grabbed her by the head before she could move. As simple as if she were a dumbbell and he were doing a tricep extension exercise, Ryuzaki lifted her and flipped her over him, moving back and slamming her head first into the ground.


The Brawler probably his Ryuzaki the hardest, for a beast of his size, he should not have been able to move as fast as he did. Before Ryuzaki could reset himself from his attack on the Valkyrie, the Brawler had already delivered several quick jabs--each slamming him with the force of a fully loaded freight train, and forced him back. Ryuzaki returned the blows by moving faster and delivering a shattering attack of his own across the Brawlers jaw. The blow connected and sent out a shockwave of force. The Brawler took the blow without flinching, using the slight moment to recoil his right fist back and step into his next punch, delivered right to Ryuzaki’s chest as Ruyuzaki reset himself. The blow sent Ryuzaki tumbling back. Ryuzaki rolled and landed back on his feet in a crotch.


Ryuzaki raised his head and a scowl crossed his face. He screamed, “I. Dont. Have. Time. For This!”


The Valkyrie came at him from directly above, her spear leading her charge. The Knight ran flanked to the Brawler, his sword raised and gleaming a crimson fury. At the Brawler’s other side was a new face, a man how had two long and thin swords. In the center was the Brawler, his fists now looked to be on fire, burning a strange crimson energy. Ryuzaki assessed the situation and in an instant he had his battle plan.


This time, they weren’t going to get the first blow.


Ryuzaki dashed forward, only to find that The Assasin again had entangled her strange rope around his leg, she was leaning all her weight on the rope and was facing away from him. A very peculiar position in his eyes. He turned and ran towards her, making very aware of the enemies to his rear  but planning on using her as a shield against them. As he got close, he knew that there would be no way she could see him. He reached out his hand in spear and, to his shock, she dodged it. She spun and was behind him, still holding onto her crimson rope and entangling him. Ryuzaki flexed and broke free, completely baffled as to how she was able to see him.


By now, the others were on him.


The Valkyrie came first. Ryuzaki moved the spear to the side with his right hand, she came at him holding a short sword as well as her spear, anticipating his counter. She landed a few feet in front of him and charged with impressive speed. Ryuzaki punched her in the gut. His hand went completely through her stomach. With his other free hand he grabbed he grabbed her throat and crushed it. The Brawler, now, was on him and he couldn’t avoid his attack. The Brawler his Ryuzaki hard and fast, sending him to the ground. Ryuzaki’s body hit the ground and bounced.


After the first bounce, he vanished.


He was behind the Brawler now. His hand a spear and being driven into the base of his neck, severing his spinal cord. The Knight moved to Ryuzaki, slashing into his back with his mighty sword. The Fencer, moved like a blur and cut Ryuzaki several times before he even tracked his movements. When the Fencer moved forward again, Ryuzaki stepped into his guard. He moved faster than the Fencer, or any of them, imagined and placed the Fencers head between his two hands. As if her crushing a soft fruit, the Fencers head popped.


Ryuzaki was overwhelmed with gunfire and arrows now. The Knight weaved in and out of the arrows and the gunfire, his sword biting into Ryuzaki. Ryuzaki moved away, dashing backwards with a powerful leap, the Knight, gunfire, and arrows, pursuing. When Ryuzaki had put a large amount of distance between the night and himself, he drove his feet back into the earth and leaped forward, tackling the knight and tumbling with him to the ground.


When they emerged from the tumble, Ryuzaki was holding the Knights decapitated head.


Ryuzaki panted, for the first time in a while he had actually broken a sweat. He stalked towards the woman named Samantha. She was standing amidst the carnage he created, red energy radiating from her body and feeding into the men and woman he had just fought--or the puppets, or whatever they were.


In the blink of an eye, between them stood a massive boulder of a man. He was bigger than any of the others and in his hand he held a battle axe. Ryuzaki stopped walking forward and closed his fists. Samantha flanked the behemoth and was smiling, “It is true what they say of your strength, Master Vampire,” Samantha Smiled, “However overwhelming strength doesn’t matter against me.” In the sky above the behemoth flapped the wings of the Valkyrie. “We will end you, we will end Sookie, and we will end the world.”



She was in the courtyard, too.


For the first time since she was child, noThing was talking to her. For thousands of years, she existed and was in constant communication with every living Thing and every non-living Thing. NoThing didn’t speak, NoThing didn’t have a name or its own story to tell.


Except now, except right now, in this moment and time.


She didn’t know what to do. She was watching from the rooftop, where Elizabeth’s ward had materialized her to, as Elizabeth and Ellie battled the old woman from before. Elizabeth had just used her railgun spell. Ariel closed her eyes. They’ll be fine, they’ll be fine, they’ll be fine. Whether Ariel knew it or not, at this moment, she was broken.


When she closed her eyes, she wasn’t on the dark rooftop alone, she was with her sister Sora, back at the temple, studying. It was when she just found out that she was selected to be a Speaker of Things.


“I’m so proud of you!” Sora beamed with pride at her younger sister, “Soon you’ll be smarter than me!” Sora had her head shaved bald, she had piercing red eyes, too, from the training she went through. She was a Protector of Things. Sora would never Speak to Things or have Things speak to her, but she would devote her life to protecting those that did.


Then Ariel remembered when Sora died.


Erevis had just tried to kill Ariel, but Sora stood in his way. It wasn’t a long battle, but it had given Ariel just enough time to run away. Ariel came back, though, right after the battle. He had disemboweled Sora and left her for dead, she was in the middle of the woods. Sora was whimpering and dieing, barely conscious. When Ariel appeared at her side, Sora regained her usual, big sister, composure. “Remember what they taught us,” Sora said to Ariel, coughing blood, “Everything has a story to tell.” The next events were hazy, Ariel just remembered crying and being kicked, hard, into a tree by Erevis. He had obviously set this as a trap for her. Ariel knew that going into it, but she couldn’t just leave her sister there to die.


In the next instant, as Erevis stalked towards her, he was hit with an incredible force of lightning, sending him flying. She was scooped up in somebody’s arms and taken to a safe place.


Ariel stood up, shaking, remembering. Matthew saved her that day, and she promised Matthew, once she regained her composure, that she would serve his family. And here she stood, whimpering while Elizabeth--her best friend--was fighting for life alongside another friend of hers. Just as the old woman was about to kill Elizabeth and Ellie, as  she said something about Misa, Ariel broke.


It was, probably, the woman talking about Misa that did it. Ariel nearly broke when Misa died, so being reminded of that, and given the current situation of things, it definitely didn’t help. When she broke she screamed. She beckoned out to everything, crying, pleading, begging, wishing, for them to talk to her.


And they did.


They came in a torrent, in a flurry of unintelligible words that only she could decipher. They screamed at her and she screamed back. The ground quaking beneath her feet and knocking the old women off balance. Ariel kept speaking and the ground beneath her feet wrapped up around them. Ariel ran forward, her body propelling itself as he continued to ramble, ground rising and turning into metal spheres that shot forward and peppered the old woman.


The old woman’s concentration broke and Ellie and Elizabeth were set free.


Elizabeth moved in and instant and grabbed Ellie, pulling her to stand alongside Ariel. The three of them stood, Elizabeth knocked an arrow and panted, “Same plan as befre, El, give me a good distraction?”

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- Eleanor Pengallion -

Liz’s new Bow enchantment was far more powerful then Ellie had previously known; however, her thoughts on the matter were cut short when the old woman decided to retaliate. She did even give Liz enough time to finish her sentence. As the bubble appeared Ellie recognised it immediately, it was the attack that had captures some of the team in their previous encounter. Unfortunately, this time, Ellie herself had been captured. It wasn’t necessarily as bad as it seemed because although now frozen in place, Ellie was still balanced on her staff. As long as she was touching it, she might be able to pass some magic into it and disrupt the old woman’s magic.


It would be difficult and would take longer than they had as the old woman summoned her tentacles again but this time she called forth a large gaping jaw that started to pull them downwards. Ellie focused desperately, trying to push her magic from her and into the enchanted staff. Movement made magic transference easier but it was possible.


Once again, before either Ellie or Liz could do something, another stepped in to help them. The ground beneath them seemed to explode in slow motion and then change form into metal spheres. These spheres paused momentarily before slamming forward and the old woman’s concentration broke immediately. Liz grabbed Ellie and moved with her speed, dragging her over to where Ariel was now stood. Ellie was glad to see the faux child.


When Liz implied the same plan as before, Ellie shook her head slightly. “Perhaps it would be similar, but this old woman is starting to annoy me.” Ellie lifted her staff, which she had grabbed when Liz had grabbed her and held frontwards, vertical. Magic gathered at both ends and Ellie started to spin it. The old woman looked up but Ellie paid her no mind as she released her staff and it continued to spin.


Ellie’s golden net then lit up, she held out her hand and a large flow of air buffeted forward directly at the old woman.


- Fiona Vaunik -

A moment after her daughter spoke, Fiona felt the magic flow from her and she suppressed the smile that had tried to appear on her face. Instead, she opened her left eye. Immediately, the purple energy that surrounded Willow’s hands flew away from them and into the iris of the eye. The palm strikes were still fast and stung lightly even as Fiona parried them with her forearms. With the energy now gone, Fiona closed her eye, a new tattoo line appearing around her right eye, and it didn’t seem that Willow had noticed before she delivered a heavy kick to Fiona’s stomach. It had all happened near-simultaneously.


The next set of attacks came fast and Fiona had to concentrate hard to parry them all. She didn’t wait for the young girl to finish though as she opened her right eye again and this time Willow’s own purple energy shot out in a torrent. Willow moved, still faster than Fiona thought her capable, but the energy caught her in the left shoulder. Fiona felt the link grow between them and taking advantage of Willow’s surprise she kicked the girl in the stomach and clenched her right fist, hoping that it would do what she thought it did. It was one of the drawbacks of her own ability, not knowing how the others worked.


- Michael Sanderford -

As the Assassin Master pulled himself away from the oncoming flame-spears, Michael couldn’t help but be impressed. He had really thought that by getting him into the air, he wouldn’t be able to dodge; he hadn’t seemed the type. He pushed this thought from his mind however, seeing as Caine clearly could, and focused instead on his opponent as he summoned another attack, this time in the form of some kind of tentacles that sprouted from his back.


Michael narrowed his eyes at Caine’s lamentations, Michael found that fighters who uttered those words tended to be stronger than most, and braced for the oncoming impact. Which never came. Caine disappeared, sinking into the floor, and suddenly his magic appeared from behind Michael’s back. The Fire Mage spun and quickly called up small funnels of flames that slipped over the deadly looking points at the end of the tentacles. Inside the vortexes the tumultuous heat caused by the flames generated a sort of gravity well that trapped the sharp points at their centre.


With a quick back step to avoid actually being skewered, Michael took control of the flame funnels and moved them outwards quickly, causing them to go around him instead of through. Just as he did that, the funnels exploded into nothing and the tentacles began to close in tightly. Cursing himself, Michael summoned a sphere of fire and held it in front of his stomach. He lifted it up above his head and it touched the uppermost tentacle, pushing it away slightly. With little will, Michael started the ball spinning and it quickly became a disc of fire spinning above his head.


While this had been happening, some of the lower tentacles had managed to get their points aimed once again at Michael’s flesh. As they closed in quickly, the flame disc violently fired up and down, creating a pillar of fire that shot miles into the sky. Apparently the tentacle appendages were immune to an extent because instead of becoming ash, they were simply forced away. Michael made note but was already in the air where his pillar had delivered him.


He was only a couple of feet above Caine, whereas his pillar looked to be travelling to space in height, and he crossed his arms in front of his face, palms outwards and fingers curled slightly to point at Caine.


“We’re over a minute now, Mr Assassin!” he laughed as balls of swirling flames appeared at his fingertips and then fired forward with streams of flickering light behind them.


- Ryuzaki -

Ryuzaki felt the pull of oxygen in his lungs as his had increased in tempo; the last time he had been on the verge of such was facing off against Ezralda. Now, he was more than surprised that another person, albeit with a myriad of puppets, could bring him to the same level. He had severely underestimated this Samantha if she was on the level of a Faery Queen. It also didn’t help that Sookie’s predicament was affecting his judgement, he could feel the anger flowing through him, telling him to break through at all costs to free her. He had always acted in such a way that she wasn’t personally important to him, but he had to admit that she was important.


As Samantha’s monologue started up, Ryuzaki took the opportunity to control his breathing, managing the air flow until it had returned to normal. Then he targeted his anger, focusing it into a fine point and then cutting it off and putting it to the back of his mind. That way it won’t affect him adversely in the battle against Samantha, but if he needed it, it was there.


Now under control of himself, Ryuzaki levelled his gaze on the Behemoth before him. “It’s quite simple…” he said, talking to Samantha but still looking at the Behemoth. “…you will lose.” As he spoke these last words his eyes suddenly darkened from gold to pitch black and the colour seeped into the rest of it until it was entirely lacking of colour. Then black smoke started to rise from his back and his normally light skin started to darken.


As the area around where they were clashing darkened, a sudden ripple of magic passed across them and the darkness that had begun to surround Ryuzaki, Samantha, and her puppets suddenly withdrew. At the same time, Ryuzaki’s body reverted back to his normal state of pale skin and golden eyes.


“What the…?” Ryuzaki started when the Behemoth suddenly sprang forward and slammed the side of his axe into Ryuzaki’s chest, sending him cascading backwards through the air.


While in mid-flight, the Valkyrie swooped down and her spear pierced through Ryuzaki’s armour completely. Apparently they had compensated for the special metal it was made out of and their glowing red attacks now completely passed through it. The spear continued on until it stuck into the ground and Ryuzaki came to a sudden stop, which the Valkyrie took advantage of and swung her sword down at his neck, aiming for a quick decapitation.


At the last second Ryuzaki came back to his senses and caught the blade with his right hand; the red energy covered weapon cut nearly all the way through before he twisted his hand and clamped it between the bones of two of his fingers.


“I don’t know what trick you just used, but I’m not impressed. I don’t need it to kill you.” Then to prove his point, he ripped the sword from her hand and back slapped her with his other hand. The blow was fast and strong and her neck broke practically on impact. Immediately her body slumped as her head dangled limply at the neck and Ryuzaki pushed her away as he started pulling himself off the spear. By the time he had done so, his hand had healed and his chest immediately begun doing so; by luck, the spear had missed his heart by a few millimetres.


As he straightened up and started to look toward Samantha and her Behemoth, Ryuzaki realised that more figures were now stood with her. It didn’t take him long to realise it was the people he had killed in the fight previously; clearly, the energy that was leaking off her and into them gave them some serious regenerative powers. Ryuzaki frowned and started walking forwards slowly. He had been hoping to finish it quickly by Regressing but apparently that wasn’t an option; however, he could still move faster than most and if he attacked before they could band together and make a plan, he should be able to separate and kill the again.


Then all he had to do was kill Samantha; then he remembered it. Why Samantha seemed so familiar. She had been Ryuk’s beloved when he was alive. As the thought occurred, the anger he had sectioned away suddenly bubbled to the surface.


“You son of bitch; what they fuck happened to you that you’d be so far gone from Ryuk’s ideals?”


- The Master Vampires -

“So, how long will it last?” Ki asked as he appeared next to Andrei where they had arrived in Chicago to watch Ryuzaki.


Andrei’s narrowed. “He’s a strong one, I don’t expect it to last longer than 15 minutes. Hopefully the deal will be fulfilled by then.”


Ki nodded with a frown. “I don’t like this very much.”


“Neither do I, that’s why we made the deal in the first place; we can’t get involved.” Andrei crossed his arms and gazed out again to where Ryuzaki and Samantha clashed.

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So far, Sookie had done a pretty good job of keeping her beast caged.


Raphael stood blankly, glaring at her with a strange look of contempt. She knew that it was about midday; the sun should be high in the sky, keeping the most uncontrollable parts of her power subdued. That's why it seemed so strange to her when she felt the moon rise and the sun set. The moon is linked to Sookie--to all werewolves--in a very unique way; if silver is their weakness then the moon is their strength. Even stranger, with each word Raphael spoke Sookie felt as if it were calling to her, her heartbeat matching his rhythm. It was a strange, longing, nostalgic tune that instilled in her a strange sense of comfort, power, and belonging. Then suddenly her mind wasn't on earth anymore. To Raphael it would look like she just stopped moving and her eyes glazed over, but in her eyes she was inside the Void.



“Finally,” Ryuk said to Sookie, “you're so stubborn, you know that?” He laughed, “If you just would have given up, like, twenty minutes ago we’d be done by now.” Doing this was pretty easy for him. Especially now that the two realities collided as they have.


Ryuk was standing in front of her, which was strange because to her it looked like she had no body, no arms, she was just a fly on the wall, a phantom in this realm that isn't her own, a ghost in a place she’d only heard Ryuk talk about once--but even so she immediately recognized it.


“Do you remember how I said the Void realm is another dimension, one that is am echo of our own--but it doesn't echo the good, just the evil?”


Sookie did what she thought was a nod at him.


“Well to put things short that bastard Raphael has merged these two worlds together, I've been watching him scheme it since I died--the fucking piece of trash.”


Sookie’s brain was still entranced by Raphael's spell and the moon, but she was able to form a complete sentence this time, the shock fully registering. “How are you alive! Wait, are you alive?” She shook her head--or at least thought she shook her head, “No, you just said you died…”


Ryuk smirked a sad smile at her, “Turns out this more to this curse than I thought.” He held up his left arm, the strange black metal shining in the strange grey light of the Void. “You were the only one I ever told about the Void and about how in my sleep, during a full moon, I could travel there.” Sookie nodded, she remembered eveverything--everything about Ryuk. She was about to say something, but Ryuk held up a hand, “Please Sookie there's some other things I need to take care of, and this won't last much longer.” He was becoming frantic, she could tell, but even still he maintained his composure, “All the supernatural in our dimension derive from here--ambient energy seeps into our reality from the Void realm and creates all the nastiest of ones--Vampires, Ghouls, Demons, Zombies, even Werewolves. You are one of the last pure breeds of werewolf from the Void, so you're going to be overwhelmed with an immense feeling of power, you have to control it.  Returning to here, Sookie, is going to make you strong, you and a handful of other ancient things--maybe Ryuzaki, I don't know, the Master Vampire race is something that is shrouded to even this realm, I think they are something else entirely.” Sookie tried to talk but when she did she found herself back in the real world, facing Raphael, the strange beat still hammering away at her chest.


Ryuk's voice faded into her mind with one last phrase, “Dont lose control of yourself, Sookie.”



The entire time she was chained on the mantle, she was thrashing--all except for the brief moment of conversation shed just had with Ryuk. She continued to thrash and squirm, attempting to break the chains. The silver drained  her of most of her strength--it seared like hot meat making contact with a skillet. Smoke rose and her flesh blackened around the shackles; the more she struggled the worse it would be. She was about to give up when she felt a strange sensation wash through her.


It started with her eye sight, suddenly everything in her field of vision became crystal clear. Next, her already amplified sense of smell became even stronger. Then, her ears picked up every minute decibile. Her muscles became less fatigued--instantly--and the searing around her wrists stopped hurting; it felt like a child was trying to hold her down.


Raphael, noticed this just a moment to late.


With hardly any effort at all, she pulled forward with her right arm and the chain snapped at the base. With her right hand she grabbed and crushed her left restraint. Raphael responded quickly, sending a pulverizing, crushing force down upon Sookie.


The mantle she was secured to was reduced to rubble.


Sookie delivered a powerful punch into Raphael's stomach, sending him flying and tumbling. Sookie was half transformed. Canine eyes, her blonde hair turning white, her fingernails extending into claws, her muscles tensing and growing and ripping through her clothes.


She wouldn't go all out, not yet, she needed to save that trump card. She was already experiencing a near sensory overload as it was.


Was this how it felt for Ryuzaki? She wondered.



In the short period of time since Reason had arrived, a lot had been discussed. First and foremost, they were no longer discussing unification; now they were discussing battle plans and strategies to help defend the Heroes of Winter.


Adelina said, “I wish circumstances were different, however as it stands not a single Fae Kingdom can dedicate an army.” Reason began to grow angry, visibly so, but Adelina raised a hand to silence her. “It is why each of us will guard the Prideux estate ourselves. Anything else would be an insult to the honor of the Heroes of Winter!”


The Winter Queen nodded as well, “It is as Adelina says, my armies are scarce and we have our own internal problems to deal with; however I will not, cannot, allow our close allies to go without aid in such a dire time of need.”


“Good, it's settled then.” Nyx said. The whole room jolted with a start, they apparently had not noticed Nyx sitting there. “Don't act so surprised.” She smiled.


Adelina shook her head, “Well, with Nyx being present we have all major parties in attendance.”


The Winter Queen said, “I recommend we divide the estate by cardinal directions; to the North will be I, to the South will be Adelina, to the West will be the Spring Court, and to the East will Nyx.”


Nyx was suspiciously quiet until, “I am quite excited to see what happens when we gather so much strength in one area.”


The Winter Queen nearly attacked her, “Consider yourself lucky, trader, that we haven't slaughtered you the moment you came in here.”


Adelina raised a hand, “Please, it is not her fault that she sided with Ezralda. It is the nature of Autumn, we all know that, Autumn is not bound by reason or logic--just impulse and desires.”


Nyx laughed at them.



He could hardly stand and with every step he took he could feel his stitches testing and his wounds reopening. He couldn't muster up the effort to make a gate--well he could but he wanted to save that for battle.


Cern was at his side, now, helping him to his feet, “Shit, buddy, you’ve definitely seen better days, huh?”

“We've gotta help the others, I just heard Jinkama scream.”

“I scouted ahead and they're on the roof, but, Eli, I really can't support you going out there, not in your current shape. That guy will tear you shreds.”

“I have a plan.” Elijah coughed.



Cern meditated for a quick moment, concentrating on nothingness, on the abyss of where his power comes from. Jinkama and Zane were going to need his help and he was going to give it to them, Elijah, too, in his own way.


Into Cern’s hand appeared a bow and in his other an arrow. He cocked the bow and the tip of the arrow lit up, shining a bright white. He loosed it and it flew, whizzing by Jinkama’s head and missing the assassin completely. The arrow jutted from the ground, then exploded.


It didn’t so much explode, as implode, it was a trick that Cern had been working on for some time now, using his destruction magic to create a  powerful vacuum that would suck his opponents towards it. The vacuum roared as it came alive, pulling anything not attached to floor towards it. Cern hoped that Jinkama and Zane were not to close as to be pulled in as well. His attack had about a twenty five foot radius.


Cern exchanged glances with Zane; giving him a nonverbal clue to use his ranged weaponry against their foe.




Samantha smiled at Ryuzaki, for whatever reason he wasn’t able to achieve his true form. A circumstance that was very fortunate for her. If he thought it went unnoticed by Samantha, then Ryuzaki was wrong.


“His ideals?” Samantha laughed, “His ideals were a fake and a sham. They led us to where we are now.” She paused for a moment before saying, “Think for a second, had his ‘ideals’ not led him to kill Erevis, his ‘ideals’ led him to a pact with Ezralda, and his ‘ideals’ turned the world upside down, to where we are now.”


Ryuzaki moved, but so did the Berserker.


The Berserker's club came smashing down where Ryuzaki had just been moments ago. Ryuzaki had spun to the side and delivered a punch to the side of the Berserker's head, sending him flying and tumbling. The blow was so powerful it had broken Ryuzaki’s right fist--which instantly healed itself. He turned and looked at Samantha, furious.


Samantha smiled, “His ideals,” she said sweetly, “can eat shit and die.”


Energy cascaded from her, the eye in the center of her forehead was burning a crimson red energy. The other warrior puppets around her did as well. Their weapons glimmered to life. The Brawler's fists appeared on fire, the Knights sword, the Valkyrie’s spear, the Archers bow, all her other vessels burned with a renewed strenght.  


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- Zane & Jinkama -

Jinkama parried the flat blows Octavius through at him, impressed that the assassin was as adept at face-to-face combat as he was being. Although he had trained and studied nearly all martial arts of the work, Jinkama had only briefly heard about the style Octavius was using; flat hands like knives, spinning and rotating. It was in this respect that Octavius’ attire helped him as his rising poncho hid and confused his attacks. Jinkama retaliated by switching styles every now and again, aiming to take advantage of any opening that presented itself. So far, none had. Despite facing strong odds, his skin remained normal coloured as he chose not to activate his magic.


Zane wasn’t entirely convinced that doing so was a good plan but then again, he suspected it was something to do with the last time the two had clashed in combat. So instead of worrying about that, Zane took the opportunity to fire pot shots in a hope of either striking or at least distracting the assassin. Octavius’ words from earlier were all that was really on his mind, however.


For as long as Zane had been augmented by his father, he had been told that he was an enhanced soldier designed and built to fight the rising supernatural threat. The greatest minds of science had come together and created technology to allow him to stand on the same level as them. For that he had been glad; he had suffered through the pain of his ‘upgrade’ but it meant he had been able to stand on the same field as Ellie, as Michael, as freaking Ryuzaki. He had never approached magic normally, he had shown no aptitude and of course, if he had, his father would have most likely killed him. To think that his abilities may come from more than science gave him pause to wonder what could have been. Then Jinkama took a lateral chop to the neck and cried out, distracting Zane from his thought process.


Apparently Octavius had got the upper hand and slipped the attack in but even as Zane levelled his pistols, he realised that Jinkama hadn’t cried out in pain, but in joy. The side of his neck, where the blow had struck, had turned golden in colour; he had activated his abilities. This had surprised Octavius who had created distance and was nursing his left hand, hiding any potential injures below his poncho.


“You son of a…” Octavius started but was interrupted as an arrow passed Jinkama’s right ear and landed with a dull thud in front of the assassin.


Both Jinkama and Octavius, as well as Zane, looked at the arrow before it suddenly imploded and a great force started pulling everything towards it. As Zane was attacking long range, he was out of range but the arrow immediately started dragging the two close combatants towards it. Zane looked to where the arrow had been fired and spotted Cern. At the same time Cern locked eyes with him and the message he passed was clear.


Jinkama jerked forward a foot before he curled inwards and invulnerable his hand to punch through the roof of the Estate to stop himself from sliding towards the arrow. At the same time, Octavius was jerked a lot close but he managed to stop himself from actually entering the imploding force by using a bear-claw weapon on his right hand which he dug into the roof. As he did this, the night arrow him lit up in red and he looked up to see what appeared to be hundreds of short red bolts of energy, clearly fired from Zane’s pistols. The implosion caught them and dragged them inwards, directly at where Octavius was clinging on with his metal claws.


- Raphael Ginta -

Raphael corrected himself in the air and then his body slowed suddenly as if he had plunged into water or something similar before coming to a complete stop. He floated in the air for a second before touching down gently and standing up to  glare at Sookie. Luckily he had reacted quickly to her attack and had stopped her fist from actually coming into contact with his body and spread the force out to minimalize the impact. He looked at Sookie’s wild form and frowned beneath his mask.


Of course, he knew that she was going to increase in strength, it was a magically induced moon after all; he had no doubt increased the powers of every werewolf on the planet. He had not been expecting silver to have no effect, however, the chains had been made to hold her down even in her powered up state. Not that it mattered a great deal, he could handle a super powered werewolf or two on himself without even passing his threshold.


It was at this point that he felt the magic fluctuation from the circle he had created for the ceremony; it passed through him in waves and he looked behind Sookie to where he had crushed the central altar. With its focus gone it would probably explode with gusto very soon and Raphael didn’t want that to happen. A backlash of magic from a tool he had used to bring the Eternal Night may well unravel or destabilise it. It wasn’t actually needed to maintain the Night but Raphael had been intending to keep the circle as a kind of trophy.  Now he would need to destroy it.


A roar from in front of him drew Raphael’s attention back to Sookie as she lunged at him with incredible speed. Luckily Raphael’s abilities were powered by thought and it to, was quick as he created an invisible buffer between him and his assailant which slowed her down a bit. At the same time he pulled to steel beams from the ceiling and pulled them down into a cross which slammed into the back of Sookie’s neck, forcing her to the ground and trapping her there like she was in a stockade.


It didn’t hold her for long as she wrenched her head up and roared again. Only, the short time she had been trapped, Raphael had grabbed what he had needed and now dropped the Ritual Stone on top of her. She started to push it upwards but Raphael dropped the second directly on top of the first, forcing both Sookie and the first stone down under the ground. Raphael didn’t stop there, however, as he slammed the remaining two directly on top until the uppermost stone was only fractionally visible from where it had dug into the ground.


With that done, Raphael looked at where he had drawn the circles into the floor and it suddenly collapsed inwards like a sinkhole, obscuring and then completely removing the indentations. Raphael then lifted himself up and placed himself back into the centre of the room, waiting for when Sookie would attack again; he was certain his attack hadn’t killed her.


- Leona & William -

As Nyx’s laugh died down, Leona cleared her throat and the gathered parties all looked at her. Leona’s back was straight and she had crossed her legs with her hands resting on the uppermost knee. “May I remind you all that Autumn was not the only ones to side with Ezralda when she went mad.” The other’s facial expressions did not change, they were all well aware that Jayden had indeed worked for Winter. “May I also remind you that it wasn’t Ezralda who killed the Spring King, it was the leader of the so-called Heroes of Winter, Ryuzaki.” Alyssa stepped slightly forward, no doubt to whisper in Leona’s ear, but Leona raised a hand in her direction and she stopped.


While she spoke, Leona completely ignored Reason and instead focused on the other three Faery Queens, specifically Winter. “You suggest tactics and make plans under the assumption that I will be willing to lend my aid.”


“Now, Leona…” Adelina started but Leona interrupted.


“Right now, I want to just return to my people and Ryuzaki and his gang can deal with this; he was strong enough to kill Ezralda after all, I doubt he’ll have a problem this time.” Leona stood up and William did the same thing on her right. “Don’t worry your pretty little heads though, I shall attend the western side of the Estate. But only because Jayden would have done so.” She looked around at the Queens. “Anything else that isn’t a waste of my time?”


- Ryuzaki –

A scowl passed across his face and Ryuzaki was about to call Samantha something incredibly rude when a sound reached his ears and his scowl changed to a smile. The sound  was of chains breaking and a roar that was unmistakably Sookie in Part-Wolf form. Samantha narrowed her eyes at his smile and Ryuzaki cracked his neck with menace.


“Oh don’t worry, it’s just that it appears Sookie is no longer your prisoner.” Surprise crossed Samantha’s face. “That masked guy may be strong but Sookie’s about to tear him in half I suspect, no doubt this eternal moon bullshit has made her quite the opponent.” Ryuzaki’s smile showed off his fangs. “And of course, if she is no longer a prisoner then I no longer need to rescue her; and if I no longer need to rescue her, then I can focus on the stupid bitch before me.”


Ryuzaki cracked the knuckles of his fingers and waved in Samantha’s direction. “Your little puppets are strong, I’ll admit that. But there is on big, obvious, glaring weakness to them.”


Samantha couldn’t hold back. “What would that be, oh Master Vampire.” The sarcasm was dripping around his title but Ryuzaki ignored it.




In less than a blink of an eye, Ryuzaki appeared behind Samantha with the heel of his boot swinging ferociously down towards her right shoulder with a kick that would probably split her in half.

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