Another chapter for all of the people who have been enjoying the story. Sorry about taking so long to get it posted but I do have to take care of things in my life and can't write full time yet. Enjoy the reading and please leave constructive feedback if you have any.
Sindee and I were sitting and enjoying the atmosphere of the Existence while we waited for Arthur to come back. The place was filled with a fascinatingly eclectic clientele. Though I didn’t recognize every type of being in that I saw, there were a few I did. Among those I knew were of course vampires and a few of the shape-shifters. There were a few other Mages; however we were definitely the minority among the patrons. There were also a few fallen among the patrons though they seemed to be relaxing like everyone else so there were no worries. For all that was going on in this place everyone seemed to be relaxed which I attributed to Arthur and his staff. This place is the truest Elysium I’d ever heard of let alone been in to.
We had just finished our meal when he came back to join us with a vampire in tow. The Vampire looked to have been in his mid to late fifties at the time he was turned. He had gray hair and dark eyes. He was dressed in a suit or a more modern cut, but the ring he was wearing had a distinct similarity to the seal on the letter. Arthur sat to the side of the table allowing the gentleman with him to sit across from Sindee and myself. The Vampire made a short half bow to us prior to sitting down, “My name is Alexander Angeletti; Arthur says you wish to speak with me about a,” he paused for a moment to think, “Misunderstanding, I believe that’s the right word?”
I nodded, “That is about as accurate as word as I can think of.” I reached inside my jacket and pulled out the letter placing on the table between us. “The incident describes within was not one I had sought out. I was visiting the Strip for the first time since I had just arrived in town. When I spotted the young woman and realized what she was, I grabbed a cab to get out of the area. She had tried to affect my mind to keep me there, however she was not successful. Somehow she managed to find me where I was staying and followed me there. She had tried to attack me in my sleep; it was luck or chance that I woke up when I did. In the ensuing fight I was forced to destroy her to defend myself. For me it ended there, I’m not here to hunt your people or to start a fight and wish to resolve things. Unfortunately someone else saw the fight and decided I was a threat to your people. I hadn’t opened the letter to read it at that point due to other things in my life I’d forgotten about it until someone came at me in daylight with the intent of killing me and mine. I won’t apologize for his loss as again I was defending my people. I opened the note and decided to look for information to meet someone of high enough status to find a way to end this without further bloodshed.”
Alexander picked up the note to read it, “I was aware of neither the two incidents you speak of, nor of this letter. I do however know this seal and I’ll handle this issue with the owner. As for any further issues between our houses; I will not allow anyone to seek retribution for the past and in the future I suggest we meet here before starting anything. While I know my people have the numbers, you have twice now survived attacks so you have certain skills that protect you. Maybe in the future we can find a way to benefit each other. If the individual continues to press the issue despite the warning he is going to receive, he forfeits any protection from us. Is this an acceptable agreement?”
I looked over at Sindee and she nodded, “More than acceptable. Perhaps we can work together is our interest ever coincide in the future. Thank you.”
Arthur as well as Alexander looked pleased with the result of our conversation as they got up to leave the table. I looked over to Sindee after they moved away, “That went better than I expected. I won’t say it’s over as he stated that he wasn’t guaranteeing the letter writers behavior. The good news is that if we are attacked again we can defend ourselves without fear of retribution from the entire clan.”
“I’m glad that your mind is at ease. Now why am I sitting here with my fiancé looking hot in this dress instead of out on the dance floor with his arms around me?” She smiled, grabbed my hand and dragged me out to the dance floor which I was all too happy to follow her on to. We spent the rest of the night dancing and having fun together. It was shortly before sunrise that the club even thinned out. It was around 9 am that we finally left and went to get breakfast before heading home. We finally got home and crawled into bed around 11:30. Both of us were unable to keep our eyes open and were out cold within seconds of our heads hitting the pillows.
I opened my eyes and knew immediately that I wasn’t awake; however what I was experiencing was no mere dream. I was standing in an open field, scrub grass and tumbleweed all around me. The moon was high and full, what has been called a harvest or hunter’s moon. The sky was filled with stars, but the constellations I’d known all my life weren’t there. That could mean far into the past or future or the possibility of an alternate plane or timeline all together. While I’ve had visions in the past, they usually weren’t this real to me, usually just a feeling or quick flash of something that guided my decisions like the one that brought me to Las Vegas and Sindee. I didn’t know where this field was, but it was a real landscape not just something created for the vision. I scanned the area around me and spotted two significant things. The first was a ruined cityscape in the distance; silhouettes of crumbled towers and destroyed houses standing visible against the starlit horizon. The second was the being standing between this city and where I stood. Who or what this figure was I didn’t know. I felt power radiating from them as well as a sense of malevolence. Power I was used to feeling, and this being radiated more than I could face on my own at this time. The feeling of evil was new to me, I’ve never been empathic and wasn’t sure how to interpret what was happening here. While facing this being it hit me that I’d seen the crumbled city before. I saw it in my seeking; this is what happened when the ascension war moved from the shadows into the prime material plane. I shifted my attention the figure across the way. I reached out to sense the mind using Magick and hit a wall stronger than any I had faced. The strange thing about the wall was it seen to have two separate signatures to the resonance. I switched tactics and cast Mage sight for the Spirit, Prime and Correspondence spheres. I chose those three in order to get specific information. The first thing I saw should have been the worst part of this situation, he had no Avatar yet his power was Primal Magick. This was disturbing because it meant that this being was what we called a Nephandi. Nephandi are the worst kind of mage and evil all rolled into one. A Nephandi is a Mage who chose to sacrifice their avatar to Infernal Beings for the pure greed of more power. While most mages fight with the goal of Ascension whether for themselves or all beings in the Tellurian the Nephandi aren’t interested in Ascension. They are trying to destroy the Tellurian which is the whole of reality. In the Ascension war while most are fighting for ascension or stasis the Nephandi fight for the Descent and fall of all existence. They have only one goal, to spread destruction and evil into the world. The only thing that saves them from being the worst thing that we have to face is that they suffer backlashes like any other mage. What made this being the worst I’ve ever seen is the plane his infernal benefactor came from. I had only heard the horror stories of the place as it actually wasn’t truly a normal place. It was Todash Space, better describes as the eternal darkness between planes, the space between spaces and only the greatest horrors of Cthulhian mythos dwelt there.
If I was to try and find this here and now I knew I was outmatched and outclassed in the Magick department. The Nephandi stared me down across the distance; I knew visions like this could be as deadly as the reality we lived in if it came to a fight in here. I had to get all the information I could from this before we started fighting or the vision ended. There was no ambient light from the cityscape, no lights at all that could be seen in the city. I pulled the Magick into a detection spell, spreading out using the Life and Mind Spheres to try and find out if there were any people left there. I was unable to find anyone but it could have been as simple as being too far away or counter magick from the figure. I tried one more thing, I used the Time sphere to locate when I was in this vision and that was the worst of the discoveries. This vision existed inside of a Mobius strip in whatever plane and timeline that had existed. This timeline had fractured and folded in upon itself.
That was the moment that all hell decided to break loose. The figure started to move toward me pulling a glowing sword as her did so. I drew magick into the time and life spheres to enhance my physical endurance and to alter the flow of time around me allowing me to move and more importantly perceive actions faster than normal. This saved my life right there as I managed to move out from under his blade as it sliced through my coat. For a change I didn’t lose any blood this time. As I wasn’t armed in the traditional sense I decided to attempt a rote I’d been working on, one inspired by Star Wars and some anime that I’d seen. I drew on the Forces and Prime sphere, using them to form the energy into a set of swords made of pure magick and charges with gravity, electricity and fire so that they would cause wounds that would heal human slow. Wounds caused by magick can be healed by magick like most other, but there are some types that even Mages have to heal normally or through extensive use of ritual magick that takes a lot of time. I came to my feet facing him with my weapons held at guard.
We started to circle each other, moving to keep the other in sight. You may wonder why neither of us was throwing spells all over the place and trying to rip each other apart with destructive magick. The short answer is that while spells alone are effective, combining them with more traditional combat makes counter spells less useful. I stepped in swinging low with my right hand trying to bisect his knee. His sword intercepted my swing as he reach forward with his left throwing a burst of electricity form forces. I managed to catch the burst on my left side blade, my arm burnt by the electricity flowing through me but less damage than I would have taken from it hitting me directly. I responded by bringing the right hand weapon slashing upward as a distraction while stabbing forward with my left. I got lucky as he caught right handed slash the left blade sunk into his shoulder. The smell of burning flesh filled the air with his scream. I felt a burst of Kinetic energy from him as I was thrown back across the landscape. I flung my arms wide in an attempt to keep my own weapons from cutting into me as I landed. As soon as I was down I accelerated myself to twice the speed I was moving for a moment, I was going to pay for this move for days. I charged the figure getting a friction burn on all exposed skin as I ran. He dropped into a guard position which is what I wanted him to do. I pulled on matter and the ground rose up around him forming a cage as I leapt, swinging both blades together at his neck. I was millimeters from him when the dream snapped and I was once again looking at my own ceiling. My arm was numb from the electrical burns and my entire body was screaming from the friction burn. Destruction was coming for this world and its harbinger wanted me dead before I could fight to stop it.
I tried to get out of bed, managing only to fall to the floor knocking a lamp over. The noise waking Sindee as I tried move into the bathroom, I tasted copper on my tongue. Sindee came around the bed and saw my abused body, “What happened to you?”
I swallowed a mouthful of blood before responding, “I was fighting with a Nephandi is a vision or sorts. It was more real than any vision I’d heard of. I know there are legends of Dreams where they are as real as the rest of reality and therefore just a dangerous.” I winced in pain, biting down tightly as she helped me to my feet. I stumbled into the bathroom with her support before continuing. “I don’t know who the being was, but they know me and wanted me gone before they put whatever plan they have into action. There is something or someone coming to town and they aren’t going to be friendly when they arrive.” I spit another mouthful of blood into the trashcan. I attempted to draw on magick to heal but wasn’t even able to focus enough numb the pain I was in.
Sindee grabbed a washcloth and wet it to wipe the sweat and little bit of blood from my face and body. She pulled on her own magick, managing to heal the electrical burns and the internal damage. “I was able to heal the more severe damage, but the burn to your skin is resisting the healing spells.”
I laughed at myself more than the situation, “I figured that would be the case as I did it to myself but moving too fast through air. There are more particles in the air than people realize and more so in a field of sand, scrub grass and tumbleweeds.” I gave as mischievous a smile that I could muster and jokingly continues, “Would you want to rub lotion on my burns Doctor Grey?” I’ll admit I wasn’t feeling up for anything other than healing but wanted to lighten the mood as I was feeling concerned about the coming dangers.
Sindee laughed then slapped my arm lightly, “You would think of sex with your dying breath.” I winced in pain from where the slap landed, “Oh, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to hurt you.” Sindee dragged me to the bed making me lay down as she started to rub a lotion from her bag into my burns. Whatever she was using was great as it soothed the flesh quickly, not to mention how good her hands felt running all over my body. I was still going to be laid up for at least a few days before I was anywhere near back to normal.