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Introduction:

Complete
I found the trunk in side room off the basement. It must have been a secret room at one time, but the door had crumbled with the passing of time. I was eighteen and lived on an old sail boat in a boatyard. Not that that was bad, the boat was fifty feet long and was really nice.

I lived on a trust from my grandfather and had moved out of my parent’s house a year ago when they started fighting. I still had a couple of weeks of school left and then I planned to go to the local college.

Anyway the trunk, I was exploring the basement of grandfather’s old farmhouse late on a Friday. The trunk was huge, at least seven feet long and three deep. I was careful as I pulled and pushed it until I had gotten it upstairs. I had to be real careful getting it across the floor since some of the floor was rotten and could not hold the weight.

Out on the screened in porch I finally stopped and looked at my find. It looked old, maybe even older then my grandfather had been. The latch looked simple and I did not see any lock. I moved the latch and heard a dull thud. I did not see any hinges and was surprised when I raised the lid. The hinges were made of wood and were actually part of the lid and the chest.

I grinned and turned my attention to the contents of the chest. On the top was this six foot long staff with a milky white crystal inside a wooden lattice at the top. Under the staff was what looked like a thick book. The edges of the pages had that metal shine like you see on some bibles.

When I carefully reached down to lift the cover I saw that the pages were made of thin metal. The rest of the stuff in the chest was dark cloaks, well except for the bronze dagger. I pulled the staff out. It felt warm and I got an impression that it was alive. Picking up the heavy book I moved to the steps into the house and sat down with the staff across my lap.

I opened the book and tried to make sense of what I saw. Because of the way I had grown up I could read Latin and several other languages. What I saw on that first page was like a mix of languages. Latin, Arabic, Chinese, maybe Sanskrit, also some letters that looked almost like they could be Cyrillic.

It was very frustrating looking at those pages and not being able to read them or understand what the person that wrote them had been trying to say. The staff in my lap became hotter and suddenly I could read everything. It was not just that I could read the book. It was like I could not, not read it or could not stop reading it.

As I read each word it was as if they were burned into my mind. Word after word sped past and then I was turning the page. As I continued, my body became hot, like I was on fire. After awhile I started getting cold as if I were made of ice. Than everything slowed and I felt heavy and more… solid as if I were some statue or made of stone.

That lasted until I saw the sun start to rise and I started feeling lighter. It felt like my body was just a cloud and still I read, the words burning their way into my brain. My body seemed to go back to normal, except that I could feel things differently now. It was another day before I finally closed the back cover of the book and I knew what had happened to me.

I stood and put the book back into the chest before gesturing. The trunk disappeared and I knew it was waiting for me back on the boat. I hesitated and released the staff with a flick of my wrist and it disappeared. Unlike the chest, I knew it was still their waiting for me to call it back. I looked around grandpa’s farm and sighed. Maybe one day I would fix it up.

I walked to my car, an old Toyota hybrid. When I got home to the boat I made a large dinner and ate. I was still thinking about what had happened and what had been done to me. If people knew, it would not be good. I was trying to think of what to do when the news on TV caught my eye.

They were talking about another girl’s body being found. She had been killed by a serial killer. That really made me think and I knew I had to do something to help. That night my dreams were filled with strange creatures and different people. Monday’s always start slow but not this time.

My classes seemed a lot easier and when the last bell rang I was still in a good mood. I had thought about this all day. After I had driven home, I put on one of the old cloaks and sat on the deck of the boat with my eyes closed and murmured a spell. Images of buildings swirled around me and then stopped to show me one.

Than it was like I was walking into the building and taking an elevator with several other people. When I got to the office I wanted, I looked around carefully. I opened my eyes and I was back, sitting on the deck of my boat where I had never left. I concentrated and murmured a spell that caused my face and hair to change.

I stood and with a flick of my wrist, the staff was back. I took a step that was not there and was standing in the room I had seen. I looked at the man sitting behind the desk as he looked up. With a flick of my wrist the staff disappeared and I bowed slightly, “I came to offer my services.”

He cleared his throat, “How did you get in here?”

I shrugged, “You would not understand or believe if I told you.”

He stood up, “Who are you and what do you want?”

I smiled and gestured to the stack of folders on his desk, “I want to help you catch these killers. My name? Well, strangely enough you can call me Merlin.”

I glanced at the door as two other men stopped in the doorway and the man came around the desk, “Mr. Adams, I am here to help.”
I gestured at the folders on his desk and one appeared in my hand. I tossed the folder up in the air and it hung there. I spread my hand and the contents of the folder spread out and hung in place. I could see pictures of crime scenes and victims as well as other reports. I looked at Mr. Adams as he stood staring at the file, “Which was the first victim?”

He stirred but did not respond, “Mr. Adams?”

He looked away from the file and at me. Slowly he walked forward and pointed to the picture of a young woman. I gestured and murmured a spell before gesturing to the other side of the office. An insubstantial image of the woman appeared and I walked across the room to her. I walked around her slowly, murmuring another spell.

When I was done, I turned and gestured to the back wall. A large map with glowing dots appeared with a ghostly image of a man next to it. I walked back to the files as the woman disappeared, “Who was next?”

Mr. Adams looked from the image of the man to me, “Who is that?”

I glanced back, “Your killer. Well, what he looked like when she was killed.”

I gestured, “The next one?”

I repeated my spells with the next eleven victims and when I finally turned. I glanced at the dozen women and men crowding the doorway. I looked at Mr. Adams, “If I give you his address, can you arrest him?”

He hesitated and then shook his head, “We would need evidence. We would be able to put him under surveillance though.”

I nodded and turned back to the map. I put my hands together and then separated them while whispering a spell. The map zoomed in to one house. I held one hand flat towards the map and gestured to another wall. The map seemed to split and a second map appeared on the other wall.

Still facing the first map, I gestured and the map turned to show the street. I made a gesture, ‘like come here’ and the map moved down the street to the corner and showed the street signs. I looked at the crowd, “would one of you mind writing those down.”

I turned to the other map and with a flick of my wrist the staff appeared. I quietly murmured another spell and made a gesture. The address number glowed for a second and the angle change so that we were looking at the front door. I moved the display and it looked like it was moving towards the door and then the door was gone.

Slowly the display moved through the house. We saw the suspect and a woman in the kitchen. I moved out the back door and into the detached garage. At the back of the garage I could see a different shaded area to one side and looked at Mr. Adams, “Do you see the secret door?”

He looked at me and shook his head, “No. Where is it?”

I pointed out the area and took a minute to locate the switch to open it. I moved the display through the secret passage and had to turn it to go down some steep stairs. At the bottom of the stairs it turned again and slopped down to a door about thirty feet away. The door was locked when the display reached it, not that that stopped it.

After the display had gone through the door, I stopped it and we stood in silence. I glanced at Mr. Adams, “Wait just a minute, you can get ready to call a judge for a warrant when she escapes. We can probable call the local cops and ask them to do a drive by.”

He stared at me, “She is naked. How the hell is she going to get untied, unchained and escape?”

I smiled and looked at the display before murmuring a spell. I could hear his hurried call as I watched the chains on the woman’s feet in the display shake and then just fall off. I whispered, “Listen to my voice and you will be free.”

I heard her answer, “Who are you? I do not see you. Where are you?”

I gestured and the ropes around her wrist fell away, “I am Merlin. I am watching from far away. Wait until I unlock the door.”

I gestured and the display moved back through the door. Another murmured spell and the lock snapped open and dropped to the floor. I moved the display back into the room, “Now push open the door.”

The woman carefully stood and took staggered steps to the door as I turned the display. I watched as she hesitated and then pushed the door and it swung open, “Now go up the hall and turn onto the stairs.”

I followed her with the display as the agents around the room kept whispering and trying to urge her on faster. At the top of the stair she stopped facing the doorway, “Look to your left, do you see the magnet?”

The woman nodded her head, “Yes.”

“Slide the magnet down onto the plate next to the door.”

As soon as the magnet touched the plate the door popped open and surprised her, “Go to the garage door on the right.”

It took her a long time to reach the door and I knew she was running out of energy, “Lift the door.”

She struggled for a couple of minutes and then stopped, “I can’t, it is too heavy.”

I looked at Mr. Adams and he was staring back at me. I sighed, “Listen closely, in just a moment you will feel lots of energy, you will feel much better. This will not last long and when it leaves you will not be able to do anything. After you open the door go straight to the street as fast as you can.”

She nodded and I started murmuring the spell. She suddenly stood up straight, “Oh my!”

I shook my head to get rid of the disorientation, “Quick, open the door and get out.”

She just yanked and the garage door rattled up. She started walking and it quickly turned into a drunken stagger. I looked at Mr. Adams and the other agents, “Close your eyes now!”

I whispered a spell and they disappeared. I closed the display and stepped after them. I stepped out onto the street in front of the suspect’s house. The agents were looking around and I saw the woman staggering down the drive with the suspect hurrying after her. I flicked my wrist and my staff disappeared. I ran towards her, “Stop!”

That seemed to get everyones attention. The man started talking quickly, saying that the woman was his deranged sister. She collapsed and he bent to grab her, “You touch her and it will be the last thing you ever touch.”

I stopped in front of him as he stood scowling, “get off my property!”

I looked down at the woman at my feet, “I will, just as soon as the ambulance arrives.”

He reached to his back and the next thing he knew several agents were pointing guns at him. I slipped the cloak off and knelt to wrap the woman before I lifted her into my arms, “You are safe now.”

She leaned against my chest as I turned and walked towards the street with her in my arms. A police cruiser was just pulling up as I knelt in the street with several female agents around me. I glanced at the agent next to me, “I think it is time for me to go.”

I smiled at the woman at my feet as I stood and flicked my wrist to bring back my staff. I took one last look around and stepped away onto my boat. I walked down into the boat to make dinner, I was starving. After I had eaten, I lay down and before I knew it I was asleep. I woke to my alarm and got up to get ready for school.

I watched the news while eating a bowl of cereal and it was full of reports about the woman I had saved. Something strange happened in my first class. I was sitting next to the wall and had an outlet next to me. I felt a tingling and looked down to see a tiny arc of electricity from the outlet to my ankle. It did not really feel like I was getting shocked, it was more like the arc was feeding me.

I knew from the book that there were many ways to recharge the magic energy in my body but I did not expect this. By the end of the day there were no more arcs and I felt really good. When I got home I did something I had only been thinking about. I used salt and a few herbs to make a circle around the boat before doing a few spells that made the circle flare and then disappear.

I checked the news and then changed my face back to the one I had used before. With a flick of my wrist my staff appeared and I stepped between. I looked around the hospital room and then moved closer to the bed. I absently picked my cloak up from a chair as I passed and reached out to touch the sleeping woman.

Her eyes snapped open as she opened her mouth to scream. I smiled, “Really?”

She looked at me for a minute, “It is you.”

I nodded, “Are they treating you okay?”

She took a breath, “besides thinking I am crazy you mean?”

I grinned, “Everyone is a little crazy.”

She reached out to touch my arm, “You are real aren’t you?”

I let her feel my arm before I pulled away, “I am very real. I came to make sure you were okay. I need to go now, others need me.”

I stepped back, “Live well.”

I stepped between again and stepped out into Mr. Adams office. There were several strange men there. They scrambled out of chairs and reached for weapons. I whispered a spell and gestured to the shelves behind Mr. Adams desk. All the weapons in the room were suddenly on the shelves. I looked at the men and then at Mr. Adams, “Am I interrupting?”

He smiled slightly, “Not at all. These men were here asking about you.”

I shrugged, “You have my name. I came back to see if you are willing to let me help you now.”

One of the men stepped closer, “We are from the National Security Agency…”

I held up my hand to stop him, “I know who and what you are. I am not permitted to help you and no, I will not tell you how I do what I do.”

I looked at Mr. Adams, “Do you want my help?”

He was grinning and held up a folder. Like before I brought the folder to me and tossed it into the air. As it spread out, I looked at the other men, “If you are going to stay please remain quiet and move to the doorway.”

I looked at Mr. Adams, “The first?”

It was almost an hour before I turned away from the map. It had been different this time. The killer had never taken any of his victims home. We did have his name now and they were getting his address. There was more than enough DNA evidence on his victims. I nodded to Mr. Adams, “I will let you take it from here.”

A flick of my wrist brought my staff and I glanced at the other men before stepping away. I stepped onto the deck of my boat and looked around to see a couple of men wandering around. It was almost as if they were glowing with magic.

I carefully looked around and saw a shadow that did not belong. I used the staff and stepped between. I appeared a little way from the shadow and gestured. It seemed to shatter and melt, in its place stood a man that was tattooed with blue spirals and glyphs. He smiled and bowed, “Well met.”

I nodded, “You were looking for me?”

He shrugged, “I was curious.”

Somehow I knew it was more then that, “Satisfied?”

He looked at me and took a step closer. I gestured and we were surrounded by a glowing sphere of fire and light, “What do you want?”

He looked surprised and a little upset with the shield I had put up keep everything out or in if you looked at it that way. He licked his lips, “I thought that since you are new I could give you some pointers.”

I smiled, “You want to know how good I am.”

He only looked at me and suddenly gestured and murmured a spell. I gestured and caught the spell before murmuring one of my own. We were suddenly standing on the edge of an abyss with flames and fire everywhere, this was the world of chaos. His eyes went wide as I continued to murmur another spell. The air around him darkened and he grabbed at his throat.

He gestured and tried to do a spell but with no voice that was not possible. I held out my staff and started a long and difficult spell. When I finished the other wizard screamed as flashes of light and power began leaving his body and entering mine. It did not take long and left him crumpled on the edge of the abyss. I stepped away and onto my boat leaving him behind.
The area around my boat was clear and I sat down to think. The other mage was not even close to being as strong as I was. What he had been was a dark mage, one that siphons another’s power and knowledge. What I had done to him was the same thing he had planned to do to me, only not as drawn out or painful.

I went into the boat and to the trunk. I opened the trunk and pulled out the old spell book. In the back were a couple of new spells that I knew came from the other mage. I put everything away and made dinner before going to bed. I dreamed of a tall man wearing what I considered my robes. He only watched me as if judging me.

I woke suddenly and rolled out of bed flicking my wrist summoning my staff. The small room was quiet and I relaxed thinking it was only a dream. I moved out of the bedroom and stopped as I looked into the kitchen lounge. The tall man I had dreamed about looked back at me from the table where he sat sipping coffee. He smiled, “Hello Simon.”

I blinked and nodded, “Hello.”

He gestured to the other side of the table, “Sit.”

For some reason I did not feel threatened, it was as if I knew him. I sat, sending my staff away and he took another sip of coffee before sighing, “I really missed coffee.”

I smiled, “I am partial to tea myself.”

He smiled and set the cup down, “I did not expect you to be the one.”

I waited and he turned to gesture. The trunk appeared beside the table and he bent over to open it. He lifted the old spell book out and set it on the table between us. He looked at me, “This was mine once.”

He waved around us, “We are not supposed to be in this world Simon.”

I waited and he caressed the book before reluctantly pushing it towards me, “Many centuries ago our world was slowly being eaten by darkness. In this world you would say it was the death of our sun.”

He sighed, “We formed a bridge to the only world we could find, this one. Unfortunately the mages that tried to hold the bridge were attacked and the bridge collapsed killing many. Only a few on us survived to step onto this world. Some of those wanted to rule this world but others fought them. Even more were killed and the few remaining separated. Now, those that wish to rule hunt us and we take their power. We pass our power from parent to child, in your case, great grandchild. Our family is one of the strongest.”

He smiled and extended his hand. I looked at him and then down at the hand. I put my hand in his and it was like being back at the farmhouse. My body glowed with power and felt as if it extended beyond me. My eyes snapped open to look across the table. No one was there but the cup of coffee still sat on the table. I stood and flicked my wrist to summon my staff.

I stepped between and gestured. Mr. Adams office was alive with gas and wires from tasers hanging in the air. I murmured a spell and the office was suddenly clear. The men that stood around the walls, stood frozen. I looked around and gestured, making the men start and begin to move. I turned my hand and a glowing sphere of fire appeared, “touching me would be a very bad idea.”

They hesitated and another man stepped into the office, “would you try your tricks on me?”

I could see the aura around him and bowed slightly, “You wish to challenge me?”

He looked amused, “You really do not want to do that.”

I dismissed the sphere of fire, “No but I will not be held.”

He tilted his head and one finger began a gesture, “I would never…”

I murmured a spell and held my hand out. The sparkling of magic splashed harmlessly in front of my hand. I continued to whisper another spell as he looked startled. The glowing sphere of fire and light surrounded us and he almost panicked and threw a hasty spell I countered simple as I murmured another.

We were suddenly standing by the abyss with the charred remains of the last mage. He began shouting a spell as I carefully crafted mine. I gestured as he threw his spell and it deflected away from me and headed down into the abyss. I finished my spell and the air around him darkened and he grabbed at his throat. It was the same spell I had used on the other mage.

A short walking stick appeared in his hand as I started the long hard spell to draw his power to me. When I finished he was gasping on his knees. He screamed as flashes of light and power began leaving his body and entering mine. His walking stick shattered and a streak of lightning flashed to strike my staff.

It glowed as it absorbed the magical energy from the walking stick. Rings on the mage’s hand exploded, making him scream louder as the spells melted and joined the flashes of power that came to me. When everything stopped and quiet returned, I looked at the sobbing man, “checkmate.”

I gestured and stepped away to appear on the deck of my boat. I hesitated and then gestured and opened a window into Mr. Adams office. He jerked and looked surprised as he looked across his desk and into my face, “What…”

I shook my head, “The mage they sent will not be returning.”

He looked confused, “What mage?”

I looked at him calmly, “Listen to me Mr. Adams. In this world there are two sets of magic users. One wants the power to control and rule it and the other set faces them and fights for everyone to be free. The men that were in your office were being directed by another mage. His attack on me was a challenge to take my power and kill me. Now, I still want to help you but if I keep getting attacked every time I come there…”

He looked at me strangely, “They were national security agents.”

I smiled thinly, “They were controlled by spells.”

He shook his head, “I am sorry…”

I nodded, “I understand.”

I waved and the window closed. I headed down into the boat and made a cup of tea. While I sipped it I thought about what had happened. I finally sighed and showered before dressing and heading to school. My classes were easy but I kept my eyes open. When I headed towards my car I saw the men lounging around and stopped to lean against another car.

One finally started for me while the others began to surround me. I murmured a spell before he stopped and he stood there looking at me, “Are you… Merlin?”

I smiled, “Well, my parents named me Simon James before that but Merlin is part of my name.”

He frowned, “You are a sorcerer?”

I laughed, “Sorcerer? I do not think so.”

He smiled, “I was just joking. Have you been in contact with Agent Adams?”

I smiled again, “Agent? What agency?”

He sighed, “Never mind we must have the wrong person… again.”

I shrugged, “Sorry.”

He turned and started off and the other men hesitated and looked at each other before following. I watched and then headed to my car, I whispered a spell under my breath as I started it and the tracking device fell off.


I drove away but watched behind me, as I went under an overpass I murmured another spell and the car changed color just before I came out the other side. I stopped at a grocery story and after that I drove home. After a nice dinner I sat back thinking and finally sighed. I summoned my staff and stepped away to appear outside the farmhouse.

I carefully drew a pentagram in the dirt while murmuring a trap spell. I opened a window into Adams office and as expected a flash of magic burst through the window. In the middle of the pentagram stood a large grey breaded man. I gestured and began the difficult spell that began drawing the magic and arcane knowledge from the mage that stood frozen.

The shattering explosion of his staff caused mine to flare white with power and grow a little taller and thicker. Finally it was complete and the man slumped to the ground. I murmured a spell and the man lifted and went back through the window. I stepped away after the window closed and appeared in a large park I had played at as a child and let my staff go.

I walked around thinking and finally sighed and walked down to the corner store. I bought a few things including a paper. I left and started walking and when I turned down an alley and no one was watching I summoned my staff and stepped away onto my boat. I made a nice cup of tea and then did a simple scrying spell on the newspaper page with the stocks.

Early the next morning I used my school netbook to purchase stocks. I did another seeking spell, this time in central park. When I appeared in the park no one even noticed. I walked to a secluded spot and began the huge pentagram. I carefully incised the difficult draining spell in several dead branches I found and placed them in the pentagram before tying them into the capture spell.

I finally stepped out of the pentagram and activated it. I took a breath and whispered the spell that opened a window into agent Adams office. As expected a bolt of magic blasted through to be caught in a seemingly transparent web. There was a blast of fire and five men appeared in the pentagram.

They screamed as the world around them exploded and ripped their protections away as bolts of magic and power flashed to strike me. They continued to scream as items that stored magic exploded and their staffs glowed white before exploding and hurling them to the ground. My own staff took the huge bolts of power and only glowed brighter as it grew.

The world around me flicked as if filled with tiny bits of lightning. My vision was clouded as if fogged and I almost felt bloated as I desperately channeled magical power into my staff. Finally it was over and the five men lay on the ground unconscious. I gestured and they floated back through the window before it closed. I turned and with a single gesture erased the pentagram and everything that had been in it.

I knew they would not try that again and sighed before stepping away to my boat. My staff was almost seven feet tall and over two and a half inches thick. The milky white crystal was larger and glowed softly. I slept peacefully that night and in the morning I turned on my netbook and checked the news. I checked the stocks I had purchased and sold them for a large profit.

After scrying again I purchased stock in another company. I did an illusion spell and stepped away to appear outside the FBI building. I walked in and through the metal detector before walking towards the elevator. When I got off on Mr. Adams floor I saw several people around his office and two men standing on each side of his door.

Mr. Adams was talking to another agent in the large open area with desks around them including his own. I smiled and headed towards his desk. When I stopped and picked up a folder that I knew was a case file, Mr. Adams turned towards me. I whispered a simple spell and set the file down while holding another that had appeared. I looked at Mr. Adams and bowed slightly before turning to leave.

There was no alarm and no one tried to stop me as I left. Outside the building I headed down the street as if I was going to walk. When I turned a corner, I flicked my wrist and my staff appeared before I stepped away. When I appeared again, it was in the large lecture room at school. I tossed the folder up and gestured as the papers spread out.

I went through everything slowly, summoning the last image of each victim. Slowly a map appeared and the ghostly image of a man took shape. When the last victim faded away I looked at the image of the man and felt a chill, this one was different and dangerous. I collected all the papers and made them vanish. A simple spell of seeing let me watch the neighborhood the killer lived in.

As the spell approached the front door I felt the present of a ward spell and backed off. I stepped away to appear on the sidewalk in front of the killers house. The feel told me a lot and I realized that this was a mage as well as a serial killer. I smiled as an idea came to me and stepped away to go shopping. When I returned I knew he had another victim.

The pentagram and spells I drew on his doorstep faded before I finished and I smiled. I knocked and turned as if walking away. I was almost to the street when the door was yanked open and an old man stood there. He stepped out as I turned to face him and flicked my wrist. He sneered and gestured to summon his staff. Fire flared from the unseen pentagram he was standing in and he screamed.

Magic and power flashed from him to me like thick lightning bolts. His staff glowed and seemed to swell before suddenly exploding, ripping his hand off. A huge pendent he wore around his neck glowed an angry red before exploding in a tower of fire. He rocked back and only the magic in the pentagram kept him from falling. My staff glowed a bright white and grew taller before he dropped to the ground unconscious.

I stood still and sent a seeing spell seeking into his house. It was easy to find the bound man that had been his next victim. I gestured and the hidden door clicked as it was unlocked and opened. The man woke and started screaming as a cell phone appeared and dialed 911. I turned and stepped away to appear on my boat. I relaxed in a seat and murmured another seeing spell.

I was looking at the outside of the federal building. I went it in, first to the directory and then up to the floor where DEA had their offices. I went into the office of one of the agents and moved to the desk. He was taking to someone on the phone with an open file in front of him. I whispered a spell and a copy of the folder appeared beside me.

I slowly looked around the office before letting the spell slip away. I picked up the folder and went down to make tea. I sat at the table and opened the folder, it was on a major drug supplier. I finished my tea and moved back up to the deck of my boat. I summoned my staff and began a seeing spell with the image of the drug dealer as my focus.

The man lived in a huge mansion with guards and women everywhere. I moved the spell away and went searching. I found every safe in the place before heading back to the drug supplier. I whispered a spell of compulsion before sending him into an empty room. For the next half hour he told me where every stash of drugs were and where all his money was.

I moved the spell around summoning the money and moving the drugs to the mansion. I finally gestured to the desk phone and dialed 911 and let the drug dealer start talking. He confessed to more than just dealing drugs too. I banished the spells when the door burst open and cops began coming in. I sent my staff away and gathered the money before going back into my boat. I summoned the chest and moved everything out of it before completely filling it with money.

That made me grin and head out to a furniture shop. I bought another six foot long chest and when no one was watching sent it to my boat. I drove back to the boatyard and loaded all the money into the new chest and sent it in to one of the bunks. I repacked the old chest and sent it back before relaxing on the deck.

I woke in the morning and after a warm breakfast of oatmeal I checked my stocks. I used the illusion spell and summoned my staff before stepping away. I stepped out in front of the FBI building again and went in. I let my staff slip away and went up to Mr. Adams floor. He was still at a desk in the outer office when I walked to it.

He glanced up and I smiled as I picked up a fresh file, “How are you today Agent Adams?”

He grunted, “Someone found the serial killer I was looking for.”

I nodded and almost absently murmured a spell that duplicated the folder. I set the original back down, “Was there enough evidence to put him away?”

He laughed and sat back, “More than enough. The stupid fool was trying to cast spells on everyone and had a new victim in his home.”

I shook my head and glanced at the two mages beside his office door, “Are they ever going to let you have your office back?”

He frowned, “I doubt it.”

I shook my head, “I am sorry about that.”

Mr. Adams looked at me, “I am not.”

He looked around and then shrugged, “You are putting these killers away.”

I smiled and turned away, after I left the building I just walked and glanced back every now and then to see the man following me. I walked to the courthouse and went in, I lost the man in the crowd and went to a restroom. In a stall I summoned my staff and stepped away. I stepped out into the deserted lecture room. I tossed the file and spread my hands.

Like I had before I started going through the file. One thing that came to me was sooner or later the other mages would use this to trap me. I found the killer and dismissed the file before stepping away. The house I appeared in front of was an older house on a large plot of land. I sent a seeing spell into the house and found the killer relaxing in front of a large television.

I found many bodies in the backyard, but the three decomposing bodies in the separated garage were what I needed. I summoned a burn cell and sent it through the spell after dialing 911. I moved away to watch as almost a half hour later the cops arrived.

They talked to the killer at the door and I grinned before whispering a compulsion spell. The next thing the killer knew he was confessing everything and the two sheriffs stood there unbelieving until he walked them into the garage.

I stepped away and appeared in the alley behind a nearby grocery story. I went shopping and then went back to my boat. After a comfortable dinner I sat back to think. I was up early the next morning and used another seeing spell in the DEA offices. I went through several files before the right one caught my attention. I copied the file and closed the spell.

I stepped away to my grandfather’s farm and sat on the porch before tossing the file up. I spread my hands and the report opened and papers spread out. I went through everything before closing the file and gesturing. It burst into white hot flames and ashes drifted to the ground. I murmured a seeing spell aimed at the image I had seen in one of the pictures.

The man that I saw was in a bedroom with a young woman asleep beside him. I whispered a spell of compulsion and like before I took everything he had before I had him call 911 to confess everything he had ever done. I sat back with a sigh and then went for a nice drive. This time I went to a self storage place and rented and large unit. I bought a lock and summoned the one chest I had already filled.

My next trip was to a lumber store where I purchased a large stack of inch thick cedar boards. I also purchased stain and a sealant. While no one was looking I sent it all to the storage unit. I went back to the unit and used magic to bring the wood boards together into several chests. I stained and sealed them and then stepped away onto my boat. I sent all the money that was all over the boat from the last drug supplier to the unit and went back.

I finally left after putting the money in the chests and stacking them up. I locked the unit behind me before driving home. I made lunch and then went up on deck to relax. I finally sighed and stood before summoning my staff and stepping away. I appeared in the world of chaos, I ignored the smoking skeletons and did a seeing spell. I changed things up and had it appear behind Mr. Adams desk and across the room by a filing cabinet.

I was right, they were waiting. They had learned though and had glyphs and symbols on the floor around the desk to trap me. I began moving around, using the bottom of my staff to etch the glyphs and signs into the ground. I finished and went back to the seeing spell to watch. There were several people in the room, two mages at his old office door and two more outside the glyphs around his desk.

The rest of the people were real agents. I whispered a spell and pointed at each real person and then waited. Ten minutes later they walked out and I snarled the compulsion spell I had planned. The four mages appeared in front of me in the center of my glyphs and went white faced before the magic shields around them exploded. They began screaming as their magic was ripped away.

Staffs appeared only to explode in towers of flame as I turned. The eight mages that appeared around me gloating, suddenly realized they had been tricked as well. I stood in the center of four interlocking symbols of power that ripped magic and knowledge from every mage around me. Several of the older mages just burst into huge plasma balls of fire.

My staff was white and bulging as it grew a foot taller, the head even changing to show several different colored gems emerging. I looked on as the twelve corpses fell to the ground smoking. I gestured and murmured another spell and a wind exploded around me scouring the ground clean of bodies and symbols. I sighed and stepped away to my boat.

I think they had just gotten my very blunt message. The feel of my body vibrating with new power made me move carefully as I summoned the book of spells. I sat back and opened the book to the first page with the new spells and began reading. It was the middle of the night before I closed the book. When I woke in the morning it was to check, scry and buy new stocks.

I headed to school and dropped my classes before driving out to my grandfather’s again. I looked around and finally nodded before slowly walking around the old house drawing glyphs and symbols. I started a long hard spell and watched as the house seemed to shimmer and start to look almost new. I nodded when I finished and turned to the second set of glyphs beside the barn.

This spell caused the air to blur and then my boat was sitting there. I walked into the barn to find all the old rusted farm equipment. When I finally finished, it was lunch time. The plow was out in the field without the tractor as it began turning the soil. The barn looked new as did all the equipment. I went to my boat and made lunch before sitting back to think.

I finally went into the house and down to the secret room. I thought of the storage room and brought all the trunks to the basement. I moved them into the small room and went out for more materials. I placed the materials in the barn and stepped away. I appeared outside the federal building and murmured a spell before I walked in. I went up to the offices of the DEA and started walking around making a list of names and sometimes places.

When I finished I went up to the BAU and stopped in the doorway. The two mages by the door to Mr. Adams office were gone as well as the symbols on the floor. A whispered spell caused the room to shimmer and I shook my head. I flicked my wrist and stepped away to the world of chaos. I began drawing symbols in a spiral out around where I had appeared and finally finished and closed it with a glyph.

It was not long before a dozen creatures crawled over the edge of the cliff and moved towards the glowing symbols that drew them. As they reached the center they flickered and disappeared and I knew they were appearing in the BAU. I waited as minutes slowly passed and then the creatures were back dragging several mages. I watched as they headed back to the cliff where others of their kind waited.

I still waited and a flicker appeared and then a huge explosion. I smiled because I had been prepared for something like that and all the symbols were still undisturbed. The three men that appeared were not just mages, they were much older and much more powerful. I gestured and the world seemed to stop, “Now is the time and place for all to judge.”

They turned slowly and smiled, one opened his mouth to speak and they all froze as no sound escaped his lips. I gestured again and they were suddenly frozen and could not move. I planted my staff, “By my family’s staff and my power I defend the right of the world of men to rule themselves.”

I pulled on my spells and the arch mages screamed in agony as they seemed to explode in a blinding flash of power that was like a huge bolt of lightning. It struck me in the chest and I screamed as it filled me. The world around us seemed to shake and tremble as the spell continued to drain the three arch mages. I desperately gestured aside and murmured a powerful spell to drain some of the power overwhelming me.

The form that appeared was glowing as it slowly took shape and the small egg cracked open. The small kitten uncurled and opened rainbow colored wings on its back. The lightning stopped and the three men dropped to the ground, just three dried up, burnt bodies. I had never even seen their staffs of power but realized they had somehow changed them into something that was on them.

My staff was almost a foot taller and an inch thicker. I was exhausted and murmured a spell that scoured the rock clean of symbols and the bodies burst into ash as they were swept away. I knelt and the kitten scurried to me. I picked her up and stood to step away and appeared where my boat used to be. I looked around and stepped away again to appear in the frontyard at the farm.

I went into the house and set the kitten down before heading into the kitchen. I summoned a few things and started boiling water for tea before warming milk and setting it on the table. I picked up the golden furred kitten and placed her beside the bowl. I sat and sipped a cup of tea as I thought about and remembered what I had just done. It had been a challenge and those linked to the arch mages would still be suffering, but they had heard my words.

I finally put the kitten on the floor, cracked the back door open and set the cup in the sink. I headed back to the bedroom and undressed before climbing into bed. A moment later the kitten scampered onto the bed and came to curl up beside me. I slept with dreams of a slim woman that seemed to keep calling to me. I woke with a start and looked around before sighing.

The small kitten was purring beside me as it slept and I reached out to gently caress it before climbing off the bed. It was barely dawn with just a hint of the sun peeking over the horizon. I made tea and started breakfast. When the kitten wandered in, I bent and picked it up. I sat and fed the kitten milk from my cereal. When it refused to eat anymore I set her down and finished eating as she headed for the open door.

I went to the barn and started making more chests. Hours later I started a spell aimed at one name on the list from the DEA. Like before I enspelled him and took his money. The money he had in the bank I transferred to another account. All the rest I brought to the barn before moving all the drugs to the mansion he was living in. I had him call the police and start confessing before releasing the small window I used to watch him.

I glanced at the tiny kitten as she tumbled around trying to chase a mouse. I gestured and the now full cedar trunks disappeared. I bent and scooped the kitten up before summoning my staff. I stepped away and appeared in a park I once used to go to. I set the kitten down and sat on a bench. After an hour I finally stood and glanced around before gesturing.

The kitten floated out of a nearby bush and meowed at me. I tucked her in my shirt and whispered a spell that showed me a vast empty desert. I stepped away and appeared in the desert where the sun was just setting. I shook my head and started the huge glyphs and symbols. They would glow until I moved on to another and then they seemed to just sink into the sand as broken glyphs appeared above them.

It was hours before I finished and stood in the center. I began a spell of seeing and looked into Mr. Adams office. Nothing happened but I knew better, I closed the spell and waited. They came as suddenly as the wind, stepping out of between as I had. There were dozens and they looked around before facing me.

One that looked almost ancient smiled as he leaned on a hugely thick walking cane, “Well, young mage you have been most impressive. To bad you made a mistake.”

I smiled and looked around, “I did?”

He gestured, “The puny trap you left is gone and you face more power than any other mage ever faced.”

I laughed, “What makes you think that matters to me?”
His eyes narrowed before suddenly looking around. He started to step away only to shimmer and freeze. I looked at the other mages as they realized something was not right. I nodded and planted my staff, “Now is the time to fight or surrender.”

My answer was lightning that laced the air above and around me as some tried to fight and others tried to flee. Four more ancient mages appeared in the distance and gestured as they began a spell. They froze and screamed as the whole plain exploded and the glowing glyphs rose up out of the sand. The sky overhead became dark as I knelt to set the kitten on the ground with my free hand.

I held her as the lightning strikes began to hit me and my staff. There were explosions as staffs and other items holding magic disappeared. My staff glowed white and the different colored gems created a rainbow around us. The lightning went on and on as it grew darker, my body jerked and spasmed as I was hit repeatedly and began to swell with power.

I was prepared for this though and began to chant slowly. One after another the minor mages began collapsing to the ground and disappearing. Small eggs grew before one by one they cracked open and brightly colored winged kittens spilled onto the sand. There was a loud crack from my staff and the entire top started falling towards the ground.

I released the kitten to catch the glowing rainbow that had been the head of my staff. A new white lattice appeared at the top of my staff with a clear crystal inside that glowed brightly as the lightning continued to strike it and me. I murmured a spell to pull all the kittens together as I slowly struggled to my feet holding the rainbow sphere.

The last four mages dropped to the sand and I was left standing alone as they disappeared. I gestured and the kittens floated up against my chest before I looked around and whispered the spell that erased the huge spell trap I had created. I stepped away and appeared beside Mr Adams desk. He looked up in surprise and then stood, “What happened?”

I looked around, “I think things will be different now. Most of the dark mages have lost their power and the ability to do magic.”

I looked at the glowing sphere in my hand, “And there is this.”

He looked at it, “What is it?”

I flicked my wrist making the sphere disappeared, “That is a seed for the very first Mage tree.”

He looked at me not understanding and I looked around, “They used you and this building as a trap.”

The kittens meowed and I glanced down before holding one out to Mr. Adams, “Would you like a miniature griffin?”

He looked at the small stripped winged kitten and held his hand out, “What does it eat?”

I smiled, “What do all kittens eat.”

Mr Adams smiled as he pet the cat, “I thought griffins were part eagle?”

I nodded, “Well, if you are going to be technical they are flying mage cats.”

He grinned as the kitten purred and butted against his hand. I looked around again, “I will be back.”

I stepped away only to step out in the farmyard. I stopped moving as three people turned from the gate. Two were young women and the third was a man. The man smiled, “We thought we missed you.”

I glanced around carefully, “I was busy.”

One of the women snorted, “Causing havoc the rest of us have to hide from.”

I smiled as I knelt and let the kittens go, “Now why would you have to hide?”

They looked at each other as I started for the door. The man cleared his throat, “Because we are outnumbered and they are stronger than us.”

I glanced at him as I opened the door and looked at the tiny symbol in the door. I smiled and flicked my wrist sending my staff away before looking back, “I doubt if you will need to hide much longer.”

I gestured into the house, “Would you like something to drink?”

I headed for the kitchen as they followed me. I put a pot of water on to boil before moving to pull out the tin of tea. I looked at them as they shifted from foot to foot and gestured to the table. I set everything beside the stove and crossed to sit at the table, “Tell me, what do you know about Mage trees?”

They looked at each other and the man cleared his throat, “Before mages crossed, an attempt was made to bring one with us but it was destroyed during the crossing. They were rumored to be attached to the mage whose staff brings them into being. It only takes a single decade to grow large enough to create a staff. It will create one staff each generation but that is not what makes them special. Wherever they grow magic becomes stronger, they create magic.”

He stopped talking and looked at the two young women, “It would take more magic than a single mage can produce to bring a mage tree into this world.”

I reached out and pulled and the glowing rainbow dropped into my hand. The three sitting at the table gasped and I shrugged, “what I have read was very vague. It said the tree would grow to be a thousand paces tall.”

I looked at the rainbow, “I was thinking I would plant it beside the house.”

One woman reached a hesitant hand out to touch the rainbow and whispered, “It is real.”

I smiled, “Yes.”

They looked at each other and stood. The man cleared his throat, “We need to tell the others.”

I looked at them carefully, “How many know of this place?”

The youngest woman smiled, “Only the three of us since at one time our families were connected.”

I looked at them, “we are related?”

The man snorted, “Only by magic.”

The youngest woman looked at him and then winked at me, “I am Amelia, your promised wife.”

I blinked and looked at her as the man snorted again and the other woman stood, “Do not tease Amelia.”

I grinned, “Promised by whom?”

Amelia laughed as she stood with the others and headed towards the door, “an old ghost.”

I laughed as I stood to follow them, “I met an old ghost not to long ago.”

She grinned and followed the other two out. I watched as they stepped away and carried the rainbow seed to the area beside the house. Somehow I know better than trying to bury it. I released it but it did not fall. Instead it floated sideways a dozen more feet before slowly dropping to the ground.

Almost as soon as it touched there was a strong tingling that went all the way to my bones. The rainbow seemed to slowly disappear and there was a shaking before a small sapling sprang up. It was only about three feet tall but I knew it would grow taller quickly. I also felt a sense of pleasure that seemed to come from the sapling.

The kittens were suddenly there rubbing my ankles and purring. I knelt and pet them for a few minutes before sighing, “how about some warm milk?”
There was a loud chirp from all of them that made me grin. I went back in the house and made tea before starting to warm milk. After I fed the kittens, I went to look at the fields and walked to the mage tree. I knelt and touched the trunk, “What should I grow?”

The tingle that answered me made me dizzy. I stood and looked out at the fields to see them covered with tiny shoots that were just breaking the ground. I grinned and looked at the tree, “Thank you.”

I was turning when the mage appeared. I flicked my wrist to bring my staff to me and the old mage grinned evilly, “I knew if I waited you would not be prepared.”

He gestured and threw a spell. I threw up a shield to block the spell and we were both surprised when the spell unraveled and faded away. I looked at his shocked face as his eye flickered around and then locked onto the tree. His eyes widen and his voice was only a whisper, “A mage tree…”

Then he jerked and froze and I saw the sparkling all around his body. Somehow I knew he was being stripped of all his magic. I felt the tingling all around me as he slowly went to his knees. I walked closer and whispered the spell that would have normally given me his power, it did give me his knowledge as his staff seemed to vibrate and disappear.

I murmured another spell that sent him away after he was drained before turning to the tree that was glowing, “You are not hurt are you?”

There was a sense of well being that seemed to fill me and I smiled before turning to the house as I let my staff slip away. I ate a nice lunch and went to sit on the back porch to watch the kittens. They scampered and played in the tall grass for awhile and then seemed to tire and lay down. I shook my head and gestured to bring them floating to me.

I walked back to my bedroom and set them on the bed, “This is where you sleep.”

A couple chirped before they curled up together in a small group and went to sleep. I went out to make dinner and after thinking I added enough for another person. I felt it when she stepped out into the frontyard and knew it was Amelia. She knocked and I gestured the door open. She smiled as she walked in, “something has changed.”

I turned back to cooking, “It is the mage tree.”

She gasped, “you planted it!”

I laughed, “No, I released it and it planted itself.”

She smiled as she came to sit at the table, “Mom wants to come here and so do most of the others. I came to ask permission.”

I nodded, “They should know that a dark mage came here. He attacked me when I was out by the tree.”

She was wide eyed as I shrugged, “The tree drained him.”

She grinned, “Good for it.”

I gestured to the door, “You can tell them.”

Ten minutes later I was adding more things to the dinner as a crowd slowly gathered. The kittens wandered out, attracted by the noise and a striking woman with snow white hair knelt to gather one up into her hands, “mage cats!”

The others turned and gathered as the kittens wandered around them. Amelia came to help with dinner, “We have not all been together like this in a long time.”

I glanced back, “Well, besides groups of mages trying to kill me I have never seen this many together.”

She smiled, “We were sure your family had stopped producing mages.”

Dinner was interesting as things sometimes changed color and change into something else. I ate with the first mage kitten in my lap and Amelia had another. The rest seemed to have found willing mages to feed them. It was interesting to talk to other mages. When I told them about trying to help people they quieted. An older woman spoke up, “Helping the people here has killed many of us.”

I nodded, “I understand why. That is why I always use traps and precautions. Regardless, it is still worth it to me to find killers and help people.”

They looked at each other and I sighed, “Our gift is one that should be used not kept in hiding.”

Several nodded and I stood with the kitten in my arms, “Would you like to see why?”

They looked at each other and stood. I went outside and walked to the tree, I looked around and turned to the other mages, “magic breeds magic. If you do not use your magic it becomes stale. The use of magic is what brings life. Yes, I stole their magic but only after they attacked me.”

I gestured, “For every spell of combat or defense there are dozens to create.”

I nodded to the fields around us, “That was done by the mage tree.”

I looked at the tree, “It loves magic around it, I can feel it in my soul.”

I looked at all the mages, “Those that wish to use their gift to create can come here.”

It was late when they left and I lay awake thinking of Amelia with one of the mage cats curled up on my chest. I woke with a kitten patting my face. As soon as I opened my eyes she stopped and looked towards the door. I glanced at the door to see my great grandfather. He smiled, “mage cats are wonderful creatures.”

I grinned and moved the kitten off me before climbing out of bed. I followed the spirit of my great grandfather through the house and into the kitchen, “more coffee?”

He smiled as he sat, “there are only a few dark mages left.”

I sat across from him, “will they come for me?”

He nodded, “together. They know where you are now. One of those you trusted told them.”

I smiled as I thought of the mage that had attacked me by the mage tree, “attacking me here would be a mistake.”

He grinned as he nodded, “those that are left are young and do not know much concerning mage trees.”

I stood and flicked my wrist and the staff appeared. I nodded to my grandfather and walked out. I went to the tree and knelt, “dark mages may come. I will place trapping glyphs around the farm.”

I hesitated before standing and starting a spiral out from the tree. In the front yard I grew a yew tree until it was ten feet tall and then continued with the trapping glyphs. I was carefully and sank each one into the earth. I left one broken glyph over another completed one around the yew tree.

The sun was just rising when I finished. I turned as the kittens came out mewing and went to feed them before Amelia and several others arrived. I made sure they knew not to do any magic while on the farm.

It was after breakfast that I heard the dark mages arrive. I warned Amelia and the others to stay inside and walked out the door. I smiled as I walked down off the porch, ten young men stood facing my house with short staffs. I shook my head as I walked out of the yard, “if you leave now you might have a few more years.”

One snorted and gestured to the yew tree, “You did not even complete the ward around the mage tree.”

I glanced at the visibly broken glyph before looking at the mages and flicked my wrist to bring my staff to me, “I can still defend it.”
Three mages gestured and a fireball shot towards the tree. The other mages started murmuring spells and then they all froze with a look of surprise. The fireball floated several feet from the yew tree as the mages began to scream. Another scream from out in a field joined the others. I shook my head and as each mage was drained of their magic and their staffs shattered.

When it was over they were all kneeling and rocking back and forth. The real mage tree had grown another three feet and glowed for several minutes before returning to normal. I turned to murmur the spells to send all the former mages away. I went into the house and looked at Amelia, “it is over.”

She grinned, “we know, the mage cats started purring again.”

I glanced at the purring cats before smiling, “I believe that was the last of the dark mages.”

Amelia walked to me with a smile, “want a roommate?”

I ended up marrying her but that is another story. We work together with other mages and wizards to find truly evil people like serial killers. The mage tree grows taller each year and the mage cats have a following even among normal humans where they are almost worshiped.
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