This chapter is a little longer than the first 2, with a lot more explanation of what his world is and introduces some of the dangers the denizens of the world face. There is no sex in this one, it’s more character development. The primary point of this story is the morality of having power and how to use it. Please leave any constructive feedback or let me know what you think of the story. If you have anything you want to see PM me and if it fits in the tale I’ll see about including it.
After looking into my past and seeing nothing but the nature of time and entropy bringing me to Vegas I was able to settle my thoughts and focus on getting settled in. I began by pulling out my laptop and searching for a real estate agent to assist me in finding a new home for myself. After searching and finding a suitable agent I settled down to meditate and work on my next investments. I sat my computer on my lap with my hands on the keyboard. While investors are losing money in the current economy I was doing well by using my ability to look through time as well as to alter probability in small ways. I never tried to make large changes as there was a double backlash for doing so. The first backlash is very mundane; if I do to well I have authorities looking at me and my past. Mages like myself must not draw attention. There are men and monsters out there that would kill us for being what we are, as well as others that would want to use and control us. While this is important to avoid the other has to do with the nature of Magic itself. As I’ve stated before, the nature of reality is that for most of the world it’s consensual, where Mages can tap into Magick and alter the world at will. The problem is that the farther we push what people accept the worse the backlash. My friend and mentor Marcus had told me stories about backlashes where the mage had pushed things too far and had done so where Mortals could see. The backlash caused the mage to suffer painfully, some mages have even died. The worst backlash he had ever heard of was a mage that tried to bring Magick out into the open and it had shredded his connection to the Magick, he became nothing more than mortal who knew the monsters were out there. They also knew of him as he was abusive with his power against them, not hiding it and being careful. Rumors are told that he is now the mindless obedient lap dog of a Vampire somewhere.
Marcus’s first lessons to me were about what the Spheres of Magick were and how to sense all of them before teaching me to actively control any of them. Marcus told me that many mages each believed that one Sphere of Magick was superior to the others and focused their skills there, paying little attention to the others. His opinion was that they left themselves weak by blinding themselves to other areas of power. From the story I told him of my awakening, he said I had a natural talent for what he called Forces. Forces is the Sphere of Magick dealing with energy fields of all types. This meant everything from light and gravity to radiation and even kinetic energy. He taught me to sit and sense everything around me until I could feel the slightest manipulation he made of energy fields that surrounded us. That was how our training sessions went until I could sense each of the 9 Spheres of magic around me. He explained that the limits of my power we’re my own understanding of each sphere hence teaching me to sense all 9, the amount of Magick I could pull through my connection to it at any one time, and as important as the ability to touch Magick, the imagination to shape it. While I am fairly competent in manipulating all the spheres a little, my aptitudes are for Time, Entropy and Forces. Enough of the history lesson for now, I’ll tell you more as the story continues, but you must be getting bored of dry information for the time being.
After sitting there focusing my power through the laptop, I started typing and making a few small investments for my clients and myself. Keeping us all in a comfortable lifestyle, none of us would get rich this way, but this was more a way of showing an income as a competent mage has no need of money if they can manipulate their reality. It was just after noon when I went down to the Valet to get my car and look at a few of the property developments around the area. I wanted to see some of my options before I decide to either buy or build my new home here. I drove through the communities surrounding the hotel and casino I was staying in. I liked the neighborhoods I was seeing as I drove through but the houses were still crowded close, not allowing for the kind of privacy I’d need. I decided to get ahold of the real estate agent I found and arrange to look for properties where I’d be able to build my home; or for a community where the homes had larger plots of land and more space between them. Having made my decision about the property search I headed back to the hotel.
While I was driving back to the casino, my mind kept returning to waking this morning and looking into Sindee’s eyes. I’d never felt a connection to someone like I did with her. I realize only being 21 and having a tragedy dominate my life since I was 16 didn’t allow me to form many connections with others. The major problem with starting a relationship with Sindee, or any sleeper as we call those who haven’t been exposed to the greater truth, is that it would put her into great danger if anyone or anything came after me again. While we Mages are powerful we suffer from what weakness that most of the other monsters out there don’t. We are as mortal as any other human being, we can increase our chances of surviving things that would kill many people but in the end we can be killed. Most Mages don’t die of natural causes or old age. I liked Sindee a lot and knew I could easily fall in love with her if we spent more time together, but was it fair to put her into that kind of danger for my feelings.
These thoughts led me to one of the things Marcus said to me about the nature of having power and the morality of how you use it. Mages are no longer simply human and many gain the power to ignore society and it moral guidelines. This of course brought up the old adage: Just because you have the power or ability to do something, should you do it? The answer is as simple as it is complex; it’s up to the individual who reaches the decision. No person has ever seen themselves as Evil, in their mind and morality what they are doing is the right thing. This applies to mortals, Mages, Vampires and the other beings that exist in the world. This brings me back to the situation concerning Sindee. I could continue the relationship in many ways with her not knowing any more than she does now. Second option is to end it, do my best to break her heart so she never wants anything to do with me again, not an option I like; however, it would protect her from my world. The third option is the most dangerous for both of us; I could work and try to carefully awaken her mind to the greater truth of the world. I mentioned in passing before not all awakened beings become mages. Many mortals have been exposed to portions of the greater reality, survivors or attacks by monsters, witnesses to a piece of Magick work that their minds couldn’t rationalize away. The few real psychics in the world are such awakened beings as well, they were born awakened. The mortals are the most interesting cases because there are a few paths that they choose once they know what’s going on. Most mortals who reach a greater understanding continue with their lives just more wary as they go about their daily lives. Some lose control and wind up in mental hospitals. The last two groups are the most dangerous; the first group tries to work with the monsters to gain power or protection. Those that fail are usually killed, those that succeed become dangerous as most remain mortal and can’t be differentiated from others, acting as spies or errand runners, and others become monsters themselves. The smallest group and perhaps the most dangerous of the awakened mortals are those that become what we call Hunters. The people are usually, but not always, survivors of some kind of attack. These hunters were dangerous because they didn’t accept that these monsters and other beings were just like mortals in which they had their own morality to live with. I have to admit that some Vampires are as helpful to mortals as others are deadly. I speak mostly of Vampires as examples because they are the easiest of the other beings in the world for mortals to accept as a possibility, got to love Hollywood for that.
That explains part of the danger in awakening Sindee or anyone else for that matter. In regard to that possibility my concerns were that she wouldn’t be able to accept the knowledge of the greater world, or that she would reject me just because of what I am. Those concerns aside the second danger in trying to awaken the mind meant that I could suffer a backlash from what I would need to do to open her eyes and mind to this greater reality. This backlash could easily kill me because while the Magick would affect the mind the main Sphere used in this process is what we call Prime. Prime is the Sphere that encompasses the nature of Magick and power itself, suffering a backlash from this Sphere has killed many Mages or done even worse to them. The nature of Magick meant that there were actual worse possibilities than death when one messed up. There was one other possibility that was remote but it was there. As I said before Mages aren’t born with the connection to Magick, when some mortals Awaken they are so ready to accept the greater truth or they have such powerful wills that a connection is made to the Magick itself. I may explain how this connection works down the line but I want to save that until your mind is ready to handle it.
These thoughts filled my head as I drove back to the hotel. I knew I didn’t have to decide now, but the time I would was going to come fast. I know most of you are thinking that I should look to the future and see what happens. Unfortunately it just doesn’t work that way when looking ahead. When looking into the future you see the possible paths that may come about and when using Entropy as I do for investments it lets me see the most like outcome so I can bet in that direction. When trying to awaken a mind however the nature of Magick itself came into play and that is unpredictable. A useful tip about time Magick is that the future is always harder than the past. I dropped the car back at valet and headed into the casino. It was getting to be near time to eat, I called Sindee to see if she would be available for dinner. Unfortunately she started back to work that evening. I had interrupted her “Girls Night Out” the previous evening so she wasn’t able to go out that evening. We made plans to meet up on her next day off as she worked 12 hour rotations as a doctor. I decided to go to the Strip and check out the local nightlife. I guess the best way to put it is that Mages and other Supernatural beings traveled and hid in plain sight. It boils down to the fact that nobody expects their neighbors of being anything else but normal people, while the guy living in the cabin out in the woods id regarded with suspicion. That is how so many of us manage to hide in plain sight and remain unnoticed in the world.
I dressed comfortably for walking up and down the strip and headed that way. Once I got down there I dropped my car off at the valet of the Excalibur so I could just come back and get it later. I started to walk the Strip looking for all intents and purposes like any other tourist. I reach to the portion of Magick always within me and applied this passively to my senses. While this would tire me from the energy it used from my body, I could counteract that by grabbing food and such as I went along. The reason I risked this while it was passive it could warn me of any supernatural threats directed at me. This allowed me to protect myself without announcing to anyone actively searching for magic users of any kind.
I should explain a little more about the difference between Magick and other types of magic. When most people talk of magic they have a couple of ideas of what it is. They think of books like Harry Potter, or Merlin from tales told in family movies and horrors. Those are closer to hedge magic that anyone can learn than to Magick. A Mage’s Magick allows us to alter reality itself and in doing so we change the constant of the world. A powerful enough Mage can change anything limited only by their power, imagination, knowledge both of Magick and what they are trying to alter, and the backlash they are willing to risk for changing it. Other magic is limited in what it can do, for the most part it has a singular area of effect and requires specific knowledge or that you be a specific type of supernatural being. In the end run it is easiest explained as this, anyone can be taught to use magic. All normal mortals can use hedge wizardry, most supernatural beings as well. This is because it only takes knowledge and materials that can be acquired without any advanced knowledge beyond the simple belief that magic is possible. More than anything else all magic requires that the caster believe in what they are doing which is why most other hedge wizardry like voodoo doesn’t work for most people who try to use it. They simply don’t believe.
As I walked down the Strip, I watched the tourists going to and from the different casinos and shops oblivious to the world around them. I could sense several magic users as I walked and there were a couple of buildings that had their own connection to Magick. I didn’t enter any of those; I didn’t know the groups of Mages were or what their views on other Mages were and I wasn’t going to risk getting killed by entering their territory uninvited or announced. Most Mages are like most people, some good others not so much. When I meet another Mage I am willing to be friendly, share information, teach them if they want to learn, learn what they want to teach. There are some Mages out there who have forsaken all of their humanity for the sake of power going to unimaginable lengths to gain more, while dangerous they aren’t the worst and are easier to avoid. The Mages most dangerous are those who the power has driven insane. They have all the powers of other mages but can do anything without suffering a backlash as they exist in their own reality. I have never seen or met one of these Mages and hope to never have the misfortune of doing so.
As I started my way back up the other side of the Strip as night came. I started to watch everything around me as I knew this was the time that vampires would be coming out to hunt and feed. Modern fiction has gotten a few things right and some others wrong. If I had to guess it’s the Vampires themselves writing the books to make their existence more acceptable to humanity as well as make them seem less dangerous. I used my power to protect myself, to try and save others would expose me for what I am and a Vampire would love to get a true Mage under their control. I sensed several vampires in the first 15 minutes after sunset and realized that the strip was not a place for an unprepared Mage after dark. While I’d be able to stop a vampire with Magick, the most effective ways of doing so would create a backlash with this many witnesses around me. I made the decision to get out off of the strip quickly for now so. I wouldn’t normally worry about Vampires but with so many I needed to make sure I was prepared to be in their hunting grounds. I immediately touched the Mind and Prime Spheres and warded myself against mental and emotional powers being used against me. I turned into the driveway at the next casino I came to and walked up to the entrance to grab a cab. As I got into the cab I locked eyes with a woman coming out of the entrance. She was about my height with honey blonde hair and soft brown eyes. She had the trim athletic build of a dancer or model. I felt the push against my mind as she stared at me. I broke eye contact immediately and told the driver to take me to the Excalibur. I got my car and headed back to my hotel quickly. If I was going to live here I needed to find out more about the politics of the city, and I don’t mean mortal Politics. I now knew that there were several Supernatural communities sharing Las Vegas. This meant there was something special about this city beyond money and told me I was guided here for a reason. With the exception of seeing Sindee again, I was no longer thanking whatever brought me here.
Once I got back to my hotel I was able to calm down and relax a little. I decided to grab a late meal and take the time to think things through some more. I had several issues on my mind. First was Sindee, I knew what I wanted to do but wasn’t sure it was the right thing to do. I had feeling for her and doing what I wanted to could put her in danger more than just knowing me already has. Second was this city, there was something coming or so many supernatural beings wouldn’t be here. Supernaturals exist everywhere, but in limited numbers. That I saw several Vampires and felt at least one Stronghold for Mages so close together tells me that most likely all Supernatural races were represented in this city. I was going to need to find out who this Cities mages were, there were at least two groups as well as how many other possible individual mages. Third was finding a home and making my preparations to place protective Wards on it. The wards had two purposes, protecting the home and people in it from outside magic and powers, and creating a place where I and other Mages could practice without any possibility of a backlash.
I guess I should explain how I’ve avoided a backlash so far as you’ve seen me use Magick in the open world. First as you may have noticed all of the effects I produced were either passive or could not be seen such as effecting the mind. Not all magic that affects the mind is passive. If I needed or wanted to; I could communicate mentally with anyone. Doing this with a sleeper would cause a backlash as their minds wouldn’t accept it. For me or the mage who did this the backlash would hit them with an effect from the same Spheres of Magick they were manipulating. For the mortal a couple things could happen. In most cases the sleeper would brush it off and their mind would let it go as a noise they heard from someone yelling or a daydream. Some of those with stronger wills would be made curious and try to look into it but not worry. In a very few normal mortals this could trigger the epiphany that awakens them to the larger truth of the world.
After I finished my meal I went back up to my room for the night to get some rest. I texted Sindee telling her to have a good night and that I’d talk to her and see her again soon. I lay down and went asleep quickly as I was tired from the long day. It was still dark a when snapped awake for some reason. I stayed still as my eyes searched the darkness for whatever had caused me to wake. I felt the bed shift to my right side. I rolled out of bed to my left towards the window of the room. I felt something dig into my right ribs and back as I was just coming off the bed. I was hurting, in a lot of pain when I came to my feet in a crouch by the window. I continued to listen for movement when I heard the springs in the mattress creak. I looked in the direction of the sounds and saw a pale red glow in the darkness and knew what I was facing. I grabbed the curtain with my left hand and yanked it down as hard as I could letting the ambient light from the city into the room letting me see better. A few feet away from me on the bed looking like the dangerous predator that she was, the blonde vampire from earlier in the evening was crouched with her fangs distended. I knew this could go either way depending on what other powers she possessed. Once a vampire get this close all the power a mage has still may not be enough to save him. She dove at me from the bed reaching out with her sharp claws trying to get ahold of me. As soon as she moved toward me, I slid to the left as dove along the floor across the room as far as I could. She caught me on the right side again as I went past her, digging a few chunks of flesh from my side. As soon as I stopped sliding I did my best to focus past the pain to cast an effect to save my life. I reached out into the Magick and cast what I’ve come to call Friction Curse. This effect used Forces and caused kinetic energy to be converted into fire, so it was highly effective against Vampires. She charged at me just as I managed to cast the spell at her. One moment she’s charging at me, the next she’s a cloud of ash and gone. Unfortunately for me, the moment between the casting and her destruction was long enough for her to get another piece of me dislocating my shoulder and tearing my right arm up to match the ribs. She also let out a scream of pain so load I knew security would be coming to the room.
I had to act quickly as I was losing blood and getting woozy. I knew I was going to pass out and had to make sure that it looked like an accident and not like someone was attacked or the police would be getting involved. I grabbed onto the curtain I yanked and broke the glass lamp pulling it to the floor under me to make it look like I passed out and landed on the glass explaining my dislocated shoulder and the cuts along my side and arm. I couldn’t risk healing the damage with security coming so I raised my blood sugar to the point where it would explain fainting when I was found. I finished all this just in time as I heard pounding on the door as blood loss and the high blood sugar caused me to pass out. Last thing I heard was someone yelling security.
I woke up a few hours later and was positive I was dreaming or I was dead as there were two people hovering over me who shouldn’t be there. The first was Sindee who I was looking forward to seeing again soon. I the other was a face I hadn’t seen since shortly after my 16th birthday, and didn’t think I’d ever see again; my brother Matt. Sindee spoke as soon as she saw my eyes open, “Andrew are you alright?”
I looked around to get my bearings before I replied, I knew I passed out and saw from the clock that it had been a while. “Where am I and what happened and how are you here Sindee,” I asked.
Matt stood there silently watching while Sindee replied, “You’re in the hospital emergency room. You apparently passed out and fell on a lamp, you have several lacerations on you right side, back and right arm, and your shoulder had been dislocated. When you came in I recognized you and asked one of my colleagues to take care of you. You’re going to be fine,” she pointed towards Matt, “he relocated the shoulder back into the socket and stitched up the lacerations on your arm and the smaller ones on the back. The Lacerations on your ribs were deeper and required staples.” She smiled and continued, “I know you wanted to see me again before my day off but this isn’t the way to go about it.”
I smiled and laughed a little immediately regretting it as the damage to my side pained me a lot more that I thought it would. I groaned in pain briefly then replied, “It worked didn’t it. Don’t make me laugh though it hurts to move my chest right now.” I looked over to Matt, “Thank you for taking care of my Injuries Matt and congratulations on finishing med school, doing your residency here?”
Sindee got a surprised look on her face, “You know each other?”
Matt spoke up for the first time since I woke up, “He’s my brother Dr. Grey, though we haven’t seen each other in a few years.” He turned to look at me and in a stiff tone said, “You’re welcome Andrew. I have to get back to work.” With that he walked out of the room leaving Sindee and I alone.
“That went about as well as I could have expected it,” I stated to the room with a sarcastic tone. I took a deep breath though it hurt some as the lacerations stretched the stiches and staples. I looked back to Sindee who looked a little unsure of what to say, “We haven’t seen or spoken since just after we got home after the accident at the cabin. I had no idea he was even here in town.”
“I had no idea you were related as you were the only member of your family I met. I didn’t even think about the face that you both were named Graves, and there isn’t really a resemblance between the two of you. And….,” She was starting to ramble a bit.
“It’s alright; it’s nothing for you to worry about. I’ve missed him and my father but they both withdrew to themselves after what happened. I think I remind them of my mother and sisters because I look more like them and I’m the only other member of the family to survive that night.” I reached up to cup her face with my left hand as the right side was torn up, “I’m just glad that you’re here now. How long can you stay, and how long do I need to?”
Sindee cupped her hand around mine on her cheek and looked a little calmer, “My shift finished while you were being worked on so I can stay for a while. I can catch a couple hours here in the hospital before I start my next shift tonight. As for you Andrew, you’re injuries weren’t as severe as the amount of blood you lost. You’re staying here for at least tonight while we replace the blood and depending on what the doctor on duty decides; you may be able to leave in the morning.”
Sindee and I sat there talking for a little while, learning a little more about each other. I told her about my childhood before we met, and learned a lot about her. Sindee’s parents were both in Medicine, though they were researchers while she wanted to help people directly so studied emergency medicine. She was an only child and was curious about what it was like growing up in a big family. After about an hour or so I fell asleep from the pain killers, I wasn’t using Magick for a few reasons, most importantly being in the hospital in the first place. Others included not knowing if any of the staff had any special abilities or were supernatural beings themselves. I was going to need to at least start the healing process as slow as any other mortal.
I woke a few hours later when a nurse came into deliver a meal and to place another bag of blood on the IV hook. Sindee was sitting in the bed on my left side sleeping with her head on my shoulder. Looking down, seeing her sleeping there filled me with a sense of peace and contentment. I knew right then that I would do everything in my power to keep her in my life and protect her from harm. In the last two days my life had changed just as much as it had that night 5 years ago. I knew now that breaking her heart was out of the question, it would be like cutting out my own heart. I smiled at the nurse as she changed the IV bag, and waved the tray of food away. I settled back in the bed content with having Sindee with me. Now all I had to do was figure out what to do next and how to protect her from the world I live in…..