Sorry about the long wait to all of my readers. I have been distracted and unable to write with the proper inspiration and wanted to do the story justice for all of you and for my own personal pride. I don’t enjoy doing something unless I do it properly. I would hate to give you all a sub-standard story. I don’t know how much time will pass between chapters or when this particular storyline will come to an end, however I will try to keep everyone informed whenever possible. I think with the practice I’ve gotten here I may try to write that book about the Hidden War I mentioned in stories I’ve posted. I will have to change some of the concept of Magick and what the different creatures of the world can do as not to infringe on the copyrighted material that inspired this storyline. Keep the feedback and comments coming and let me know what you think. If you aren’t a member of the website, please sign up and feel free to message me via PM or on my profile page or post in the forum.
After leaving the existence late that evening I realized that I had a lot to accomplish as quickly as I could. First Sindee and I had to move the rest of our stuff into the new house and then assist Natalie with moving in. Second was the transfer of properties and bank accounts into my name from the ID I had used for the last five years. Third was to continue training Sindee in Magick to ensure her safety. Fourth I needed to set up training for weapons and hand to hand combat with as many of my new allies as I could to ensure their safety and abilities in the coming fights. Most importantly and concurrently with everything else that was going on was to plan the wedding with Sindee. I loved her too much to allow even a war to stop me from marrying her.
The next several months flew past quickly with everything going on. First was the moves, Natalie was ecstatic about moving into the house and threw a large party which of course we had to attend. Natalie was like family to Sindee and as such I took to her quickly as well. While we had to hide our secrets from her we were able to enjoy the time we spent relaxing with her. Nat treated me like family which it had been five years since anyone treated me as such, especially my own father and brother. After the party Natalie and Sindee started the wedding plans in earnest, including me when choices need to be my input such as guest list, colors and food but otherwise left me out of it. I didn’t mind at all as I loved Sindee and wanted the wedding to be special for her. Planning that kind of ceremony and celebration were skills I didn’t have. It didn’t take long to get some of the details settles. We had decided to have the Ceremony on the last week of January as it would allow time to get everything ready and allow all those coming to arrive. Arthur offered the Existence as a reception hall and Guido offered to prepare the menu. After eating there Sindee jumped on the offer and the reception was taking care of with the only remaining details to discuss were the menu with Guido and provide the wedding colors and flower types to Arthur for decorating the club. We send the invitation’s out about two weeks after the planning started including to my Father and brother.
While all the wedding planning was being done I continued with Sindee’s training as a Mage. She was a fast study as evident from her career as a doctor and how well she took care of things. While she was a naturally gifted mage and took well to it she was not strong in the areas of Spirit and Matter Magick. She excelled in Life Magick however and could do things that I hadn’t the knowledge to do. I started to learn from her in Life Magicks as I taught her to manipulate reality in the other areas. I was even more impressed and amazed by her because once she realized that she could change her body however she wanted she had such self-confidence and awareness that she was as happy with her appearance and body that she wouldn’t change it. Sindee is the most amazing woman I had ever known and every day I fell more in love with her. She progressed quickly in most areas of her training and was more than capable of defending herself should the need arise.
I made all of the property and account changes over this time and contacted the allies I had gathered from around the world to update them on my contact information. From a few of the groups I asked them to send a few volunteers who could assist in training my allies here for what may be coming. I wasn’t looking to turn everyone into soldiers, just enable them to defend themselves and each other should it become necessary. Four people moved into the area near the new house and came around daily to train with anyone who was willing. I spent some of my time learning from them with everyone else that was interested. You may have noticed by now that while I am trained and can fight I am not the greatest at it so I spent a few months getting my ass kicked along with everyone else in order to learn to defend myself better. Everyone who intended to aid in fighting the war not just defending the node was required to train with firearms so no one got shot accidentally. I had heard Sam telling a story about JD at the Existence and didn’t want that to happen here.
Halloween came and went with a costume party at the Existence and I have to say a bunch of supernatural beings dressed for Halloween is an incredible sight. There were some who dressed as the clichéd version of what every category they fell into. There were a couple of Lugosi style vampires as well as a few who mocked Twilight with body glitter and yellow or red contact lenses. There were some Old Hag Wicked Witches and Glinda the Good Witch costumes, Warlocks and Wizards the like of Gandolf and Dumbledore types. The werewolf costumes made me laugh after having seen and met the real thing, then again most of the costumes were funny especially as they were being in most cases worn by the real deal. There were plenty of Fae costumes from the nightmare creatures to the winged fairies and pixies. The was no lack of the Sexy Witch, Vampire, schoolgirl or anything sexy really among the mix. It was a fun evening and I took everyone from the property into the bar for the party.
At Thanksgiving Sindee and I were joined by a large crowd at the house. She had invited Natalie over and a few others from the hospital were invited but they were spending the holiday with their family. Arthur arrived with Jaq as his date and Sam came along as well. Arthur and Jaq have been spending a lot of time together and I couldn’t be happier for either of them. Arthur was a very good man even if he didn’t believe it himself all the time and Jaq was such an amazing woman and made him smile despite all that her has to worry about in the world. Marcus and Kyra of course came together as they were growing very close. Marcus was an old man in a young body and Kyra’s influence has brought him around to acting his apparent age instead of his actual one and that could only be good for both of them. Talia and George showed up together as a couple, Sam had given him the night off from protecting Arthur and seemed happy that the lonely wolf was finding someone to spend time with. I think despite her gruff and distant seeming attitude she was the one that held their group together at its heart. Guido came over but we wouldn’t let him in the kitchen, no matter how great a chef he was. Sindee and I prepared dinner for everyone that came. There were about another dozen people there all told, some from the werewolf pack and the four volunteers who came to train my people. The evening was very nice as we all spent time learning about each other as people and not discussing any of our strange realities since there were a few uninitiated humans around.
The first week of December arrived and we started getting responses to the wedding invitations. While it didn’t surprise me, it bothered Sindee that responses from my father and brother were that neither of them would be attending. I sat and spoke with her regarding the situation.
“Why would they not attend the wedding?” Sindee asked with a look somewhere between angry and upset.
“I don’t know how to fully explain it but since the attack that took the rest of our family they and I haven’t gotten along. It could be survivor’s guilt for them or anger at me for failing to protect everyone. I know I did everything I could as a sixteen year old kid, but now after what happened with my trip through time I feel guilty because I know now I could have stopped it easily. I can’t blame them if they are angry anymore because I blame myself for not changing things even though I know I did what was right. I tried for the time I remained at home to rebuild the relationship I lost with them and have attempted to remain in contact since but as you’ve seen it has changed nothing….” I trailed off not knowing what else to say.
“I met you right after that happened and was amazed by what you attempted to do. You were a sixteen year old kid who stood up to what you thought was a killer and who turned out to be more dangerous then you could have ever imagined at that time. It doesn’t matter what else happened you succeeded in saving them.” Sindee stepped up and wrapped me in her arms. She tilted her head up to look me in the eyes before continuing, “As for being guilty about not changing the past when you had the chance, let us discuss that. You have told me that if you had you might not be a Mage now, is that correct?”
“Yes, but..,” I started but she put her fingers to my mouth to silence me.
“No interrupting or explanations, just answers for now. So there is the chance you may not have awakened at all. If you hadn’t awakened that night you would not be around to have made that trip back in time and would all of you would be dead including you correct?” She gave me an expectant stare.
“Probably yes” I replied, fighting the tears in my eyes.
“Even if you had stopped that night from happening you would most likely have disappeared from this timeline on that night if I understand Time Magick correctly from your explanations. You can elaborate a little on this answer,” she gave me a smirk as she finished that statement.
“When dealing with normal Time Magicks yes, I would most likely have ceased to exist on this timeline as I was because what created me now had been changed. However since my trip through time was the result of something other than Time Magick I may have continued to exist here as I did even if I changed the past.” I answered.
“If either of those two things occurred you would not have been in the hospital for me to help you. While I fell in love with you after seeing you again here in Las Vegas, my feeling for you started with the admiration I had for a kid standing up to a serial killer to defend his family. That would mean that we most likely would have never found each other. I know in my heart that I would not be happy never having known you. Your act inspired me to stay in medicine to help people over going into research like my parents; you awakened not just me to the greater truth of the world but also my heart into what true love is about. I wouldn’t trade that for anything and I hope you feel the same way and allow yourself to let go of the guilt. Do you believe in your heart that you made the right choice?”
I was stunned with what she told me. She says that I inspired her, but her words and love have done more for me than anyone else in my life. Sindee’s heart and love reminded me of the way my mother treated everyone and I knew now more than ever that she was irreplaceable to my heart. Wrapped my arms even tighter around her and stared into Sindee’s grey eyes, “Yes, I made the right choice, really the only choice as what happened made me who I am today.” Once I said that I felt the presence of four beings around us and shivered as I felt like four more people wrapped their arms around Sindee and I. Sindee shivered as she felt it as well. I used Mind and Spirit Magick to allow Sindee and I to see who was here with us. We saw my mother, both sisters and my brother wrapping their energy around us before fading and moving on. I won’t say my guilt disappeared because that would be a lie and I know I’d revisit it from time to time, but the burden seemed to be lessened.
Sindee smiled and me and that alone made the world seem a better place, “Then if they wish to avoid the wedding that’s fine. They may be your blood but that doesn’t make them family. You have created a real family with me, Nat, Marcus and Kyra, Talia and even Arthur and his people treat us all as part of their family.”
I had to admit that she was right as usual, I’m not sure if I’d ever come out right when we argued in the future but just being with her made it more than worth it. The month passed even faster with the Christmas shopping and decorating. We made the rounds on Christmas to all of our friends or they came to our house for dinner or drinks. While I had a large family as a child before losing them I had never had so many people as an extended family. I counted myself lucky in that regard as not only did I have the friends I’ve met since coming to Vegas some of the people I’ve met traveling around the world came to visit in the Holiday season. New Year’s Eve was on us in a blink and went to the Existence for the party night. During these months Sindee and Jaq had grown to be close friends which was no surprise as they were both incredibly strong women who worked in difficult careers. The wedding was coming up very fast and I had some additional shopping to do as Sindee decided she wanted Emerald Green as the color for the wedding. I had the Tuxedo already but had to get the right color accessories as well as pick up some items from the jeweler. Marcus was standing as my best man but Arthur was also going to be a groomsman. I purchased Emerald studded cufflinks and closures for myself and all the groomsmen and placed an order for Sindee. I had an earring, necklace and bracelet set made for her. The earrings were platinum with small diamonds surround an emerald. The Necklace was a single platinum chain with a teardrop cut emerald hanging at the front and the bracelet was also platinum with alternating diamonds and emeralds alternating settings. I knew these would be the something new for her to wear and would go with whatever gown she chose for the wedding. Sindee being very traditional when it comes to weddings would not let me see the dress before the ceremony. I planned for a trip to Hawaii for the honeymoon so that we could get away from the city and I could show her the property there. She had confided in me during one of many conversations that she had always wanted to go which was the reason I had chosen to buy it during the five years I needed to stay gone.
Sindee’s parent’s arrived back in Vegas three days before the wedding so we took them out to dinner and caught up with each other for the last several months. We had the Bachelor and Bachelorette parties two day before the wedding so there was no one that would be late or missing come time for the wedding. As much fun as was had at those parties I will not be discussing them for as everyone knows “what happens in Vegas, Stays in Vegas.” The day before the wedding, Sindee, her mother and Jaq as well as the other bridesmaids went to stay with Natalie in the house so they could get ready for the wedding and arrive from there while the men all stayed at our new place so we could all head out from there. The Ceremony was simple as neither Sindee nor I were overly religious. While it was a simple ceremony it was a large one as many of Sindee’s friends from work and her home came to the wedding and some of the people I met among my travels came too. In addition most of the staff regulars from the Existence that had become friends were here along with most of the pack of werewolves that were staying on or near our land. I never knew how many people I had met and befriended until we had most of them gathered into one room for the wedding. Sindee was wearing a white dress with emerald silk belt wrapped around the waist with the platinum and emerald jewelry I had Natalie give to her that morning. The dress was a simple and classic cut that just made it more perfect for her. When she started up the aisle all eyes were on her, no one’s more intently then mine. I’m sure I stopped breathing once I saw her as I was getting lightheaded until Marcus quickly jabbed me in the back with his finger and whispered into my ear, “Breath Andrew.”
I took a shallow breath and started to bring my racing heart under control and getting my lungs back into working order. I know I am biased but no matter how long my life is, I will never find a woman more beautiful than Sindee on any day let alone how breathtakingly gorgeous she was at on that day. Angels couldn’t compete with Sindee’s beauty as she was the Angel who possessed my mind, heart and soul. The ceremony was also a traditional affair as we spoke the vows as read to us, we had exchanged our own promises with Marcus, Kyra, Jaq and Arthur as witnesses a few days before so that we could speak openly about what we truly were and how that effected our future. While we spoke the traditional vows at the wedding we both held in our hearts and minds the promises we made to one another.
After the ceremony we went to the Existence for the reception and there were even more people there because some of them were unable to come to the ceremony itself. Some of the Vampires that we had come to know had stayed in the side rooms while the main areas were cleared and decorated in order that they could attend the reception and wish us well for the future. As many problems and run ins I had with vampires I have to admit that after coming to know some of them through the club; they aren’t all automatically evil. Many vampires simply wish to continue living and exist off of bagged blood and willing donors. Those that feed from the living don’t go around leaving a trail of dead bodies as they have no need to kill just to feed. The ones who do are usually dealt with by other vampires before they can get out of hand. I’m not saying that I trust them implicitly, just that if you follow a few simple rules you’re fine befriending some of them. All the denizens of the club knew to keep the conversations out of the supernatural as a few of the guest were sleepers and we all preferred it be kept that way for their sake. As the party wound down and everyone was ready to head out Arthur came over to walk us out to the waiting Limo at the door. As we were walking out he told he made arrangements for us to use his private aircraft for the flight to Hawaii and made arrangements for the tickets to be refunded from our reservations. It was one of his gifts to us and he would supply a few others when we returned as they were for use not leisure. Every one of the guest as well as most of the staff followed us out when we left to wish us well.
We flew out to Hawaii where the best week of my life was spent. No, I’m not referring to the sex, while it was amazing, what made the week the best of my life was seven whole days where it was just Sindee and I and not a worry beyond what we were going to do for the day. We didn’t do much sightseeing, after we landed at the executive airfield for private aircraft we went to the docks where I had a seaplane waiting so I could fly us out the home. I had arranged for food to be delivered and the house prepared right before our arrival. Once we landed and Sindee climbed down from the plane onto the dock, I picked her up and carried her up the dock, across the beach and into the house. It wasn’t a mansion or anything large. It was a single story home with an open living room, dining room and kitchen. There was a large master bedroom with windows all around with one of the walls being able to open entirely to the beach. The house was an hour or so away from the nearest town and there were no neighbors closer than a twenty minute drive. There was a gate set out at the road access so there would be no unexpected guests. While we did get out a few times over the week, we decided that we would have to come back for a real vacation when we could make the time. The week past entirely to quickly for both of us. I flew us back to the big island and we took Arthur’s jet back to Las Vegas.
So here it is February first and we were, back home in Vegas. We headed straight for the house to make sure everything was fine there. When we arrived the house was dark and quiet, it was barely seven in the evening but everyone may have just been out for the night. Sindee and I were dropped at the door and the driver followed us with the luggage. We opened the door to shouts of “Surprise” and “Welcome Home” from most of our close friends. It’s nice to be missed. It wasn’t a huge gathering, consisting of Arthur, Jaq, Marcus, Kyra, Sam, Talia, George and Natalie; our closest friends. The celebration was simple and consisted of around two hours of drinks and conversation about nothing more important that everyday life and how we enjoyed the time away.
The next morning things went back to the routine of training and working our respective jobs while planning how to fight a war without the world seeing it being fought. I went down into the sanctum placing myself dead center of where we created the node and sat down to meditate. I closed my eyes and just opened myself to the flow of Magick, not trying to direct it alter the flow. I had done this kind of meditation before and while it refreshes me either way, it has also given me some answers or warning about things. I had even done so near a node. I had never been near a node of this power before and never within the node itself. I wasn’t looking for anything specific, just letting the magick flow. Sometime the world reveals it’s secrets to those willing to be patient and listen instead of trying to force it. I felt the energy flow through my body and mind, through the connection to my avatar, into the portion of my mind where all the knowledge of magick that I knew lay.
I saw several possible futures, some that I would welcome and others that I would fight against to my last breath. None of these showed me how these things came to be. After the view of possible futures I felt the magick flow through my mind into the memory centers of my brain, those associated with emotions. I felt as though the primal energy itself or maybe my Avatar we examining my mind and memories to understand what shaped me into what I am. I relived the night my family died from both perspectives; I went through the loss of my father and brother as they withdrew from me. I felt the loss of home in my heart as a prepared to leave the pain of the loss behind me. I lived through the loneliness I felt when I first started traveling and learning from those I met. I went through every negative experience reliving and reviewing every choice I made. After going through all of that again I started to experience growing up in my close family. I remembered being told that I was going to be a big brother and how that made me want to protect my new sister from anything that could harm her. I remembered every holiday, birthday and family event right up to my sixteenth birthday and the start of our trip. I saw how much fun we had on the trip, spending time with one another and reliving the memories of that last day together. From there it moved to meeting Sindee for the first time and the teenage crush I had on the woman who took care of me after such a horrid experience. How meeting her and feeling that way led me to realize that while I couldn’t change what I happened at the time I could move on and make my life better. There was no option of withdrawing from the world if I were live up to the examples set by those I lost that fateful night, nor by the example Sindee had set in caring for people as a doctor. I relived my travels, meeting new people, finding out what I was and what happened to me that night. I remembered fondly the friends I made in the places where I stayed for a few months. My heart soared when my memories moved to meeting Sindee once again the first night I arrived in Vegas, realizing now that at that moment I knew I could easily love this woman and that my heart wasn’t destroyed when I lost most of my family. How in the short time that I’d known her here, how quickly those feeling grew into love as I learned more about her and the person she made herself into. I felt another connection form from my Avatar connecting it to something else. I let my mind follow the flow of the magick until I found the other end of the connection and realized that it sought out Sindee and her Avatar binding together in a way I had never heard of before.
When all of this passed I continued to sit and let the Magick flow though me more. When I couldn’t take sitting in the flow of energy any longer I stood to step outside of the circle where we formed the node. I turned to face the stairs and saw Sindee standing there. I walked over to her and wrapped her into my arms, holding her tightly. I felt her heartbeat as we stood together both of our hearts started to calm and then to beat in sync with the other. We had been joined by promises made to one another, by the emotions we shared for each other and now by Magick itself.
I now felt like I would be able to handle this war to come. I knew I had the people and the skills; I’d made plans and set them in motion to allow this world to be defended. What I didn’t know was if I had the strength or character and willpower to stand before whatever was coming and stop it. I knew that I said I could do it, but now after reliving what made me who I am, I now believed that I could follow through on what I said.
Things had been too quiet for too long and I suspected that the other shoe was going to drop at any time now. I was thankful for the time we had as it allowed me to accomplish what I needed to do for Sindee and myself. It also allowed me to recruit and train some allies for what was to come. Sindee and I went upstairs after standing there in our embrace for several minutes at least. She went into the kitchen to make breakfast while I took a quick walk outside for air. I had barely stepped out the front door before I spotted the man standing in my driveway ten feet away. He stood a little below six feet, around 5’10 or so, his build was broad shouldered but athletically built. I couldn’t see his eyes behind the sunglasses he was wearing. He was wearing a pair of hiking boots, blue jeans and a flannel shirt. He could have been anyone friendly except for two things. He wore a look of aggression and contempt for me and he was holding a sword unsheathed with the point toward me. He stepped toward me as he raised the sword over his head. I wore a smug expression as he closed the distance between us as a sword was no threat to me. I tapped into the magick, using Forces and Matter to shatter the blade and sent the effect to the sword. I felt the power flow and hit the blade, expecting it to shatter I was shocked when I felt the spell simply fail. I sure my smug look vanished as dove past him on the off side to keep him from bring the blade down on me. As I rolled away to avoid him, I sent sensory magick from all nine spheres at the sword. My heart sunk as soon as the sensory magick failed. There was only one thing that could stop Magick that easily. The sword was made with Primium, a metal so rare that the sword he held was priceless and able to stop almost any spell I could throw at it or him without killing myself in the backlash. I was in trouble.
I scanned the area visually to see if there were any other threats, or possible witnesses in the area. While I would be unable to cast magick at my assailant, I could do a lot to help myself. Witnesses would be an issue because if I started doing things that went too far beyond what the mind can accept I’d be risking backlashes and death. I also wanted to ensure that neither he had help nor those under my protection were in any more danger than they already were just by this man being here. Seeing there was no one else in the area I focused on my opponent. His sword was modeled after a classic broadsword and he used a two handed fighting style. I could also see he was well armed with other weapons but as I couldn’t even get a sensory spell near him, I was unable to tell what else he may have had hidden under the jacket. I looked him in the eyes, seeing the cold detachment of a trained killer. This was not going to be a fun encounter and I was sure neither of us would leave unharmed and figured one of us wouldn’t walk away at all. I wasn’t sure I would be the one walking away either.
I was the first to break the silence between us, “What do you want here?”
“Your head,” he replied evenly.
“I’m sorry to disappoint you, but it won’t be that easy. Walk away, leave me and my friends alone and I’ll do the same for you. I don’t want you dead and you don’t want to die,” I stated in my normal tone. I kept my voice level and my gaze fixed on his to show that I was willing to let this end but if he pushed I would fight all the harder.
“I’ve been threatened by and then killed better than you, why would I walk away now?” He looked smug as if he had this fight already won.
“Make your choice and let’s get this over with,” I replied as I was tired of the conversation. I also wanted to get this done before anyone stumbled into this mess with me.
He started to close the distance between us while he raised the sword. I used Life Magick to push my body to the limits of agility, speed and strength as I dodged to the side, stepping past him. I backed away again giving me time to react. As fast as I now was at the limits of the human body, he was almost as fast. This man was trained to hunt and kill things that no one should even know existed. This man was a Hunter. I had heard of and seen hunters on the past. Most of those I’d seen were vampire hunters. I had never met a witch hunter before and hoped never to do so. His being here, after me specifically made the situation worse than it was in the first place.
He closed again, swinging the sword from the side just above waist height. I dropped to a crouch under the swing, spinning to turn it into a foot sweep. I felt a brief contact as my leg passed where he should have been. When I complete the spin I rolled out to my left side to ensure I wasn’t going to get hit with the blade by making a target of myself. I rose to my feet and looked for him again. He was just standing up himself, about ten feet from where I tried to sweep his legs. Great, I was dealing with not just a trained killer, but an acrobat as well. This was starting out to be a hell of a day.
“Why are you here?” I asked.
“I’m here to kill you, I figured that was obvious by now,” he smiled evilly as he replied.
“That part was obvious jack ass. What I want to know is the reason you chose to try and kill me,” I was trying to buy time to think as well as being curious as to why he specifically chose me, let alone knew enough about me to bring a primium weapon to block magick. “I’ve never done anything to harm you or yours that I know of, so why am I your target?”
“Because you exist,” with that reply he started to close distance with me again. I backed away and circled, maintaining distance with him.
That was not the reply I wanted to hear. To date I have not been forced to kill a human. I have fought and killed vampires and their ghouls when I’ve needed to in order to defend myself or others. I have injured some humans in my own defense but never killed them. I didn’t want to start now, but this man was a killer and may not leave me a choice in the end. I hoped I could find another way.
An idea came to mind and I let him close with me again. This time when he was close enough to swing I stepped inside of the swords range giving a quick jab to his windpipe to stun him before bringing my knee up into his balls. Call it fighting dirty or a cheap shot if you want. I’d rather fight dirty than die honorably any day of the week. The attack gave me the benefit of a few extra seconds in order to start working on my plan. Using the strength gained when I used the life spell, I shoved him back away from me. While he climbed back to his feet, I knelt down and used Matter and Forces Magick to draw the material I would need out of the earth creating a pair of blunt metal bars about thirty inches long each for me to fight with.
When we closed with each other again, I focused on fighting defensively, hoping to wear him out after a short time. I still didn’t want to kill him. He may have been a hunter but he was still human and I wasn’t a murderer. The problem was he had no such compulsion about trying to kill me and the small wound he was getting through from time to time were not doing me any good. I was tiring faster than he was and being that close to the sword I couldn’t use magick to heal me. I fought to gain some distance from him so I could use the magick but couldn’t gain the ground I needed fighting defensively. I went on the offense trying to beat him back into a retreat so that he would open the distance I needed between us. I had no more luck with that tactic as he was well trained in the use of a broadsword. We kept going like this for what felt like an eternity but I knew could only have been ten or fifteen minutes when I heard the door to the house open to my right and I turned my head and body instinctively to put myself between her and my assailant. In that moment I gave him an opening he needed and felt the sword slice across my stomach drawing a line of excruciating pain behind as it passed.
“Andrew!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” Sindee screamed as she watched this happen. I could tell she was trying to reach for me with magick to heal me, but I was still too close to the sword.
I stepped back and started to twist sideways to come at my attacker on his open side since the sword was out of position, but his reflexes were quick as changed his grip on the blade allowing him to thrust it toward my chest. I felt the blade sink into to my side just below the rib cage. I knew I was most likely dead between the slice across my abdomen and now the stab into my organs. I was not going to let this man kill Sindee if it was the last thing I did before death took me. I moved forward, forcing the blade to sink deeper into my gut. I brought the metal spar in my right hand down upon this man’s wrists with bone shattering force causing him to release his hold on the sword in his hands. I also brought my left handed weapon around toward his neck with the intent of breaking it so he wouldn’t get up again. At the last second I felt something guide my arm and hand up enough that my weapon glanced off his head at an angle that delivered enough force to knock him unconscious without being fatal. I dropped to the ground beside this man staring at the morning sky. My vision grew dim, starting to fade to black on the edges as Sindee’s face appeared before me just before I lost consciousness.
I was in that horrid reality where Las Vegas was once again decaying and destroyed, however thing were different. I could sense life around me, some plants, a few desert animals and even some pockets Humans. I could feel Magick within the city, not the emptiness of before. I walked through the city, covering distance faster than should have been possible. I came across the Existence. It was still there, more or less. It looked as though it were a fortress. The entire block around it was surrounded by an immense wall with sigils, runes and other symbols carved into the exterior. I could feel the magick that was keeping the decay away from it. I wondered if I was seeing the manifestation of the magick that protects the place or if this was added later my warnings to Arthur of what was to come in the future that I saw. I traveled through the city, some portions were overrun by things that shouldn’t be able to exist in this world were people no longer believed in the existence of such things. That disbelief should have cause reality to backlash and remove them from the world the moment people first saw them. If this was a change to my earlier vision, it was not for the better.
I continued to move through the city, walking in the open but not being seen by anything around me. I moved toward my home, to the node I created there to see what changes occurred near it. When I neared my home I fell to my knees unable to move further. The hose was gone, not a trace left of the building. Where the house had stood, there was no a sloped pit leading to the node we had created. At the center of the ring stood dark gate so black that it seemed to draw in the light from around it. I could feel a malevolent energy coming from within. I managed to get back to my feet and turn away from this horrific site. I touched the magick within me trying to find the connection between my Avatar and Sindee’s. I needed to find what became of her. The connection was not the wellspring of emotion that I felt that morning before going outside; it was a feeling of raw pain as though I was being skinned alive by the energy I was connected to. I fought my way through the pain as nothing would keep me from getting back to her.
I walked through the city again, going down the strip seeing the crumbling casino buildings as I passed them. I forced myself to follow the path this painful energy flowed from until I was in sight of the old Stratosphere tower. I walked into it, surprised that it had power while the rest of the city seemed dark. I took the elevator all the way to the observation level, feeling more and more pain and pressure as I went. When the doors opened I stepped out to see the enemy from my previous vision sitting on a stone throne at the top of the stairs. Beside him locked in a cage was Sindee, but she was no longer herself. I could still feel her Avatar standing over her, but she was no longer a Mage. Her connection to her Avatar was shredded; the life, light and emotion in her eyes were gone. He skin was even paler than ever. She had been turned into a Vampire and starved; being kept as an amusement for the Nephandi. On his other side, chained to the wall was the hunter who came for me. His body was covered in scars and wounds. There was almost no place on his body that wasn’t injured in some way. I could hear the Nephandi speaking to him, thanking him for removing his enemy and making it easier for him to bring about the destruction he’s wrought. While the words were kind, the tone was punishing and the look on my attackers face was one of profound despair. I could sense that he was human now that he no longer had the sword with him. I could feel that magick was used to keep him alive, not letting him age as he should have. Again this Nephandi was keeping a trophy of his own evil and malevolence. The Naphandi’s face was still hooded in shadow not allowing me to know who this man was if I ever found him.
I knew that there was something I had to do to change this, as well as I needed to do something to escape this vision or dream. I knew I had to fight if I was to live though the sword in my gut and keep this from happening. I walked over to the cage where Sindee was being held, stepping through the bars as though they weren’t there. I placed my hands on here. My left hand with the wedding band over her heart and my right were her Avatar connected to her. I drew in every scrap of power I could from outside of me and everything I had left within not holding back anything. I directed the flow into her heart and through both of our Avatars into her connection to them and me. I felt her heart begin to beat and blast of a violent awakening. I flew back across the room to hit the wall, feeling pain throughout my whole body and blood flow from my chest and abdomen right before I stopped seeing or feeling anything and passed out again.
I woke in the basement on the cold concrete floor in the center of the circle where the node was created. The first thing I noticed was that I was face down on floor. Next I noticed that there was no pain in my abdomen at all, as though the fight was a dream. I tried to get up, that’s when I felt the pain. My entire body felt as though I had been dragged down the side walk for blocks (I know this feeling from a bad experience dumping a dirt bike on my way to the woods around town as a kid). I decided, instead of trying to stand, to drag myself to the wall and sit up against it. That was more painful than having the sword run into my gut. I leaned back against the wall and opened my eyes to look around. Across the room sitting in, or rather tied to, a chair was the man who ran me through with a sword. I closed my eyes, counted to ten and then reopened them. He was still there in the chair across the room. I couldn’t see his arms as they were behind the chair, but there was dried blood down the side of his face and his eyes were still closed. I heard movement to my right and turned my head to see Sindee coming down the stairs. I didn’t feel either her or the man across the room so I reached for the magick within me. I felt nothing but a faint connection. I couldn’t draw any power through it. My first reaction was fear that I had lost my Avatar, before my mind caught up with the fact that I could still feel the connection there. I realized that I had drawn both the magick within me along with everything else in the vision before releasing the spell and holding nothing back.
From the injuries I had to recover from the last time I had a vision involving the Nephandi I figured that the expenditure of energy had me exhausted on the Physical, mental and metaphysical levels and I needed time to recover. At least I hoped that was all that it was. Sindee walked over to me and crouched down. She pulled up my shirt to check the wounds there before looking up to stare me in the eyes. I just looked back into her silver grey stare and felt peace wash over me. The light and life that were gone in my vision were still there here and now. As long as that were the case I’d be fine. A smile spread across my face. It hurt to smile, but was worth it due to the smile she gave me in return. I put my head back against the wall, closed my eyes and went to sleep.
Awakening a few hours later sitting in the same spot, my body felt stiff from being in one position for too long. My friend, also known as the asshole who attacked me, was still tied up across the room from me. The blood on his face had been washed away and his eyes were open. He was staring at me with such venom and hatred that if looks could kill I wouldn’t have woken up this time. I attempted to get to my feet again, only to realize that the pain I was in wasn’t simply stiff muscles from sleeping on a cold floor in one position too long. I forced my way to my feet, fighting the pain all the way up. Once I got to my feet, I looked myself over. My entire body looked just as it felt, I was a walking bruise. I wasn’t going to try and take the stairs right now as I had enough injuries and didn’t need to add falling down the stairs to them. I walked across the room to my friend in the chair.
I looked him square in the eyes, “We have a great many things to discuss.” Then I pulled the gag off of his mouth.