This chapter is a bit shorter but not lacking for content and information. I appreciate all of you who are still following this tale. Anyone who is reading who has any questions or feedback please comment. If you want to send a PM you can register on the Forum and do so as well. I am enjoying the writing and letting the tale unfold and hope you are enjoying it as well. Thank you as always for taking the time to read my strange tale.
There we were, Marcus and I, out in the middle of the desert and mountains outside of Las Vegas. I had survived my Seeking; I still didn’t know what I gained from it other than knowledge. Sitting there; in the middle of a protective ring of Magick looking at an entire pack of Werewolves circling right outside the barrier. Now these weren’t the monsters of Hollywood movies and literature. I knew only a little about Were-creatures; the main point being that despite what the myths said, you were either born into a bloodline of were-creatures or not. Surviving as attack was pure chance and you didn’t become a were creature because of it. Second difference was they could shift forms at will, hence the 9’8” monster standing there looking at us at sunrise. Marcus turned and looked at me, “Trying for the understatement of the century Andrew?”
“It’s worse than you think, I’m too exhausted to focus on Magick and the power infused into the crystals is going to run out before I’m ready to help.” I wasn’t joking either; I couldn’t even pull enough Magick to refresh my mind and body enough to move normally. The thing about Magick is that while you are powerful, using too much at once takes its toll on the body.
The look Marcus gave me spoke volumes about his opinion of that, “I’ve never done a ritual like this circle for anything. If I was planning to do anything as dangerous as what you did, I went to one of my Sanctums. How long do we have?”
“I don’t know. You think they’ll have the patience to wait us out?”
“They started arriving right after you cast your spell last night and went into meditation for the Seeking. The first few just trotted out of the desert, sat down and starting howling. After that, several more arrived just appearing like a Mage using Correspondence. I didn’t sense any Magick in use; however there are spirits all over them and this place now. What exactly did this ritual of yours do?”
I had the decency to look chagrined when I sat up and looked at Marcus to explain. “In addition to the protective aspects that I told you about it weakened the barrier between planes. I figured it would make communicating with my Avatar for the Seeking easier.”
For the second time in a few minutes Marcus looked at me like I was insane, “You weakened the barrier between Planes?! How in the hell did you even come up with an idea like that let alone find the power to do it?!?! And what the fuck made you think it was a good idea to do so?!?!?!?!” Marcus voice increased in tone and volume as he yelled those questions at me.
“For one, you taught me that the only limits to what could be done with Magick were imagination and knowledge. I’ve been doing some reading on theoretical physics. You know we can get into this later, we have bigger things to worry about right now.” I said as I pointed out the situation that started this conversation in the first place. Leave it to Mages to lose sight of the immediate problem and focus on the minor issues.
Marcus looked around us thoroughly assessing the situation we were in. While we both knew either of us could simply move us away instantly through Correspondence, after his describing the arrival of our….friends, we didn’t know if that would help. There was the distinct possibility of them being able to follow us through the traveling. I stood and looked at the big Werewolf, what were wolves doing in the desert around Las Vegas anyway, and looked him in the eyes. Right after I made eye contact he looked a lot angrier than he already had been. I broke eye contact; that calmed him only a little. I thought back to what I knew about wild wolves and canines in general and realized that I had presented what could have been seen as a challenge to a 9 foot tall being that could palm my chest in one hand. “Marcus, don’t look them in the eyes. Wolves see that as a challenge and I think it would make them angrier.”
“Could you have remembered that before you pissed off the big one Andrew?” Marcus’s tone was one of pure sarcasm, no way to mistake his meaning. The strangest thing happened next, and I realize just how strange that has to be when you consider the reality I live in, the wolves surrounding us let out low barking yips. And I swear on all that I care for and believe, the large werewolf actually laughed at us. I wasn’t comforted by the reaction. Marcus however was a little faster with an idea than I was, in my defense, I was still exhausted. Marcus turned toward the big werewolf and looked him squarely in the chest, not making eye contact and said, “If you’re willing we’d like to talk and resolve this with as little bloodshed, ours as much as yours, as we possibly can.”
I was impressed by his quick thinking and glad he was here with me, otherwise I don’t think I’d have gotten through this. The wolves spread out, moving a little distance away from the barrier and lay down in the sand. This gave us a better view of the larger wolf, there was a scar running from the right hip across the chest to the left shoulder. It was about 4 to 6 inches wide as it crossed the intestines and stomach area, that wide of a scar also meant deep. That wound would have killed almost anything, yet he stood there daunting in all his glory, the stories about werewolves regenerating injuries quickly must have been true. That was another point against us if this came to a fight. The strangest thing I noticed was the weapon; a huge jagged, ruggedly forged blade that was attached to his side looked to be made of silver. That made no sense to me so I assumed it was some kind of highly polished steel. My energy was returning slowly as we waited to see what would happen when the barrier failed, I touched the matter sphere to sense the blade. When my probe stopped before getting to the werewolf I thought they could use counter magic of some kind. A few seconds later I remembered that my ritual designed to keep us safe also kept Magick in, my brain just didn’t want to get into gear this morning. As I was berating myself for being so slow today three people and 4 more of those large bipedal wolves stepped out of nowhere into the space the others had cleared. Marcus jumped in surprise as he saw this and turned to me, “I didn’t sense anything this time either Andrew. What’s going on here?”
I managed a brief laugh, at least I had realized one thing faster than Marcus for a change. “The barrier keeps what’s inside in and out there from entering, that was the intent. A Mage could cause a tempest as we watched and we wouldn’t feel anything.”
The new Werewolves varied in size, though they were all well above 8 feet, I think one of them topped 10. Of the 3 people who arrived with them, they varied in age and appearance. One of them stepped up to the barrier and spoke, “You asked to speak with us, what are you doing here Mage?”
My fault Marcus was here, my mess to clean up. I stepped up the barrier in front of the one who spoke. She appeared to be around 35 to 40, long dark hair braided, blue eyes so dark they were almost black. She was dressed simply in a peasant skirt and tank top. I asked her, “Who are you and how do you know I’m a Mage?”
She smiled, while beautiful, it somehow didn’t set me at ease. “I am Seeker of Truth of the Desert Moon Pack, since you are wanting introductions, who are you?”
“I am Andrew Graves and my companion is Marcus. I ask again, how do you know I’m a Mage?” I kept my face impassive, trying not to betray me feelings when dealing with an unknown.
Seeker of Truth simply waved her hand pointing at the barrier and sigils etched into the sand, “This barrier I have never encountered before but the Spirits tell me they cannot enter the circle, nor can those inside with you leave. This is not the gifts of my people doing this. I can hear your hearts beat and smell the scents from your bodies meaning you are alive. I know some of the Sigils in the ground represent the Magick of mages as I’ve seen them before. And you spoke of Magick with your companion, as my companions have told me.”
Score several points for her, I couldn’t exactly deny what she had said and I needed to be honest if I was going to try and get us out of here alive. “Fair enough, you are right about all of that. I was here to perform a Seeking, communicating with a Spirit of Magick from another plane. The spell is dangerous to the Mage and if things go wrong to those around them. I chose to come out here into the desert and cast the protection ritual to reduce the risk to other. Marcus came along to aid in protecting me from the Seeking itself. If we are trespassing on your land I apologize, the protection spell will leave no trace that we were ever here once we leave.” I spoke as though I was sure we were leaving peacefully as that is what I wanted. I didn’t posture or threaten.
She laughed at the, but it was friendly not threatening. “You are so sure you’re walking out of here, but not acting as though we are helpless before the powers of a Mage. We may actually be able to be friends. We too seek knowledge from Spirits and wish to know why the barrier between planes was suddenly weak here. If you can help us with this you may leave in peace, we may be able to arrange a way for you to become a friend of our Pack in time, but let us start this slowly. Can you, or will you tell me how the veil became weaker here than anywhere else in the area?”
I chose to continue the honesty, if we could become friends and possibly allies it was important for me to make this happen. I wasn’t sure what she meant by the veil, but I guessed she meant the barrier between plains. “The ritual that I performed to for the protective barrier had other effects as part of it. First was the protection, keep my Magick within and anything else outside of the circle. Second was weakening the barrier between the planes to make communication with the Spirit I sought easier. I bound all my knowledge of Magick into the spell to focus my mind and power into the Seeking, maintaining my body and life while I was not conscious of either. I can drop the barrier at any time from within, however the effect of the spell will also disappear when the Magick stored in the objects I used runs out.” As the last word came out of my mouth the barrier dropped, the glass etchings in the sand turned back into dust and blended with the rest of the sand. “Just like that,” I said, keeping the worry out of my voice.
“Can you repeat the process of weakening the veil, or does that only work with this ritual?” Seeker of Truth asked with some excitement in her voice.
“I can do so most of the time; right now as your companions have no doubt informed you I am tired and unable to focus on Magick. I will give you the information needed to contact me and discuss this further if we can go so that I may rest.” I was just about to fall over and lie down in the sand if this took much longer. I slowly reached into my pocket and pulled out my wallet. I pulled out a card with my numbers on it and handed it to her, “Have someone contact me when you wish to speak more and I’ll work on a way to assist you with the barrier and we can go from there, it that is acceptable to everyone.”
Seeker of Truth stepped back from me holding the card, turning to face the other two people that arrived with her. The first was man about 25, dressed like a ranch hand. He has a deep tan as you would expect from someone who worked outdoors, was around 6’3” and 190 pounds. After a brief conversation between them that we couldn’t hear she turned to the other, a young lady no older than 19. She was beautiful, bronze tanned skin with long legs. She stood about 5’11” with a swimmers build. Dirty blonde hair halfway down her back, and cool blue eyes flecked with grey completed the look. She was wearing tight denim shorts and another denim blouse over her tank top. They spent several minutes talking when Seeker handed the young woman my card and walked back over to us.
“You and your companion are free to leave these lands. Do not return here unless invited to do so. My granddaughter Kyra,” she pointed at the young woman she was speaking to, “will contact you soon to arrange a meeting between us. Kyra is a student in Las Vegas so it will be easier for her to call you. I am very interested in discussing how we may be able to work together in the future. Go in peace.” After she finished speaking they all took a step and disappeared. When I say all of them I mean the wolves, bipedal werewolves and even the people. Now with the barrier down I felt the working of spirits in their travel.
Marcus and I headed back to where the car was parked, and though he looked about 15 I handed my keys to him as I was in no condition to drive back into the city. Marcus and I discussed the events of the previous evening with me explaining everything I learned of the Ascension War and Stasis as well as the fact that I warned myself of the attack on the night of my awakening. I felt sorry for anyone trying to figure out that Time Travel Paradox and remaining a shred of their sanity. As with all Magick I accepted that it happened and didn’t try to explain why it was or wasn’t possible. I told him that the warning I got the other night may have been from another version of myself on another timeline or Plane letting me know something else was coming and soon. We couldn’t figure out if it was luck or fate that let us survive the encounter with Werewolves and just agreed it was both. I went to sleep right after this as he drove us all the way back to Sindee’s house. He woke me once we pulled into the driveway. I took him inside with me and made a brunch for three waking Sindee for the day to start he weekend. She was getting more and more beautiful every day I spent with her. I decided that Marcus and I were going to attempt the awakening this weekend. Now I just had to be prepared to lose her because she couldn’t deal with the reality of what I was or the world I live in……