>Subject: The Duel
>Source: Direct Memory of Peter Krowley
>Timeline: 2 years prior to the Skyl incident.
>Location: The Academy: Earth Designation 7:8:1:1:N/A #214
That day was looking great for the duel with the HA combat team. It was like a swim meet or a track meet. There were set events: double battles, fray or FFA, 1v1, and other events were the contestants compete to defeat a set amount of pre canned beasties in the fastest amount of time with the fewest injuries. I was slated for a one on one match against a junior student, it sucked.
Either way I was stuck in the Arena getting outfitted by Michael. So far he had two focus chips(spell amplifiers), five knives to be kept on my person in case I was disarmed, the fade cloak, my EMIs, and the sword I had created using the catalysts. It was now resting in a sheath that came with the sword, the sheath was black along the sides with a line of gold and rubies up the middle. The pommel was a golden dragon head leading to what appeared to be a black leather grip and a T guard to protect from other blades sliding down to cut my hand. The blade itself was a flat, straight, double edged sword coming to a point at the tip. It appeared to be made of glowing golden crystal with a center line of black and red. As I was looking at the sword Michael walked over in armor that matched my cloak black as the abyss with blood red and gold accents on the shoulders and various other locations. "Have you named it?" I looked up "What?" He motioned to the sword, "The sword, have you named it?"
"No, should I?"
"Yeah, blades here are sentient, the need a name before they awaken and begin to talk," he nudged his sword, "say hello Reaper." Suddenly a voice sounded in my head, cold and raspy like death. (It is a pleasure to meet you brother of my wielder. I would greatly appreciate you naming that sword, a fellow compatriot is always welcome.) "Oh," I thought aloud, "in that case..." I noticed a small spark that arced along the blade. "Thintrí." The blade arced violently and a bright glow suffused the room for about three seconds then faded to a pulsing glow in time with the electricity sparking along at intervals. I noticed something new about Thintrí the T guard now had a hexagonal slot, I formed a spell catalyst of fire and inserted it, an orange glow added to the gold and tongues of flame began to appear with the electricity. I dissolved the catalyst and experimented with others all producing a similar result. Before I could say anything a voice began in my head, weak at first then booming like thunder. (What? Where am I? You, are you my wielder? I would have expected someone older, you know, with more style. But, it does not matter as long as you are effective.) Soon Reaper started talking as well. (You are powerful new forge, but you have only just awoken and not yet truly tasted battle. He will be enough. As I said before, you are strong, perhaps the most powerful blade I have yet to meet, you have an important destiny ahead of you. You will learn your ability in time, and I suggest you let Peter know as soon as possible. It may save his life and keep you in competent hands. )I felt as close to a nod as a blade could give come from Thintrí and then the blades were silent.
Michael picked up where the blades left off flaring his right hand, from it came a hologram of a teenager in a red hooded cloak with silver tiger stripes down the arms and back. Off to the left was a chart with numbers but I ignored them. It was a girl, pretty though, she a pale, yet dark skin, she appeared fairly lean ,and had long hair similar to her skin color falling down her around her face.. But three things threw me off. The first was blood red eyes, and upon closer inspection, no skin, fur. The final ticker was her ears. They came off the back of her head and resembled Physhbole's.
It was then Michael began talking, "This is Luna. Her surname is not known. She is from the dimension of Lupyne. Technically, her kind was the inspiration for werewolves, but don't believe any of the myths. She is quite immune to silver. She is part of the Acolytes, the Prowler division to be exact.(He pointed to the tiger stripes as the identifier) As such, her strong points are stealth and intelligence gathering. Her magical type is metal and you also need to watch out for her speed, her species is renowned for it. She also has extremely convincing puppy eyes, don't fall for them."
I laughed, "I don't think I will but I'll try my best. But I have one question, how did you get the screen to appear?" He got a puzzled look on his face then brightened, "OH! I used my TacCom!" He pulled off a glove from his right hand and waved it a bit. "Technically it's part of my armor but for briefing purposes I brought this with me, I acquired it while working with the Lanterns. But that's a long story and you need to get this done. Good luck out there! Oh, and one final note, the ring is an ever changing world, currently your battle will be at night in a forest around a clearing so be on your guard for her stealthy maneuvers." With this last warning I walked out of the room with Thintrí to face my hand-picked opponent.
I entered into a large white washed hallway with a fifty foot tall wooden door at the end. As I approached the door swung open and I found myself in a forest in the dead of night with moonlight streaming through the treetops, at least there was some light. I tried to move but heard a woman's voice in my head, (Wait for the match to begin please. You will hear a buzzing once it has commenced.) So I waited, once the buzz went off I moved to draw Thintrí but he stopped me, (I wouldn't recommend that, I emit light and if this is stealth I would suggest using the knives Michael handed you. Also you might want to cast a spell to dampen your sound and smell.)
"Thanks Thintrí. I forgot about the knives, do you think I need a set spell for sound dampening or could I just wing it?"
(You don't even know this much about magic? I guess it's to be expected, just imagine covering yourself in odor blockers and soft padding while placing magical energy into your mental image. That should work for now.) I did as he told me and took a step, not a sound. With a smile I pulled up my hood and set out to find my enemy before she found me.
As it turned out, she wasn't even looking for me, I found her in the center clearing rolling in the grass and wagging her tail, I didn't see the bushy softness under her cloak in the image Michael showed me, with a pleased expression on her face. As she rolled around her gaze swept over me and moved on, I let out a breath, she hadn't seen me. As I watched her though, I got an urge to join her, she was pretty cute, nice figure, I wanted to pet her. I walked out of the woods towards her, (Peter!! What are you-)I ignored the blade and walked over, I waved and awkwardly stood until she acknowledged me, eventually she stopped rolling and gasped, obviously embarrassed, "Uh, this isn't what it looks like, I mean it just smells so good, I-...OH, come here." I walked towards her and she kissed me, I was so deep in La-La Land and didn't even hear Thintrí screaming at me. Suddenly blinding pain coursed through my spine. And I recognized I was slumped down at the base of a newly broken tree and without feeling to my legs. I shook my head trying to get a hold on my surroundings through bleary eyes, "What the-?"
Then she laughed, it was a beautiful laugh as she walked towards me with swaying hips and wagging tail, with a smile. "I can't believe you were trapped by it! It's almost too easy." I forced my throat to work and managed to croak, "By what...?" Thintrí answered my question this time(Her innate ability you fool! It's Puppy Eyes! She took you over when she made eye contact!) She was close enough by this time to deliver a kick to my throat, crushing my wind pipe. She then proceeded to bend down and look me in the eye while I fought to keep conscious through the pain and maintain breath which was to say, pretty impossible though the healing allowed a little wind flow after a few seconds. "I really did hope you could beat me, Shale had such high hopes, but that doesn't matter anymore, I might as well have fun with you. Let me ask you a question. Do you know what it feels like when you blood flows backwards through your vessels at five hundred miles per hour?" I just gurgled and lolled my head.
She made an irritated noise and kicked my face, I fell onto the dirt as my body exploded in agony, however, it was what I needed, the pain and lack of eye contact finally jolted me out of her trance. I tried to move my legs but couldn't, I struggled through the pain to reach down into my pocket for an EMI while my blood vessels started to rupture. All the while Thintrí was in my head keeping me conscious and moving, (Once you take the EMI and repair your spinal damage I will keep the pain at bay and correct the blood flow. She is using magnetism to manipulate the iron in your blood cells, a powerful electromagnetic pull can counter this. Once I begin I will be preoccupied until you can hit her with something powerful enough to disrupt her concentration, then we will fight truly.) I managed to reach the EMI and was about to take it when the pain and blood loss finally overwhelmed me, and I blacked out.
I found myself standing in a room watching a man argue with my father, the man had large resemblance but with shining golden hair and golden scaled reptilian wings protruding from his back, he was waving a similarly colored tail in agitation while holding a small child. "I do what I must Jonathan! You do not realize how large the Darkwood's army has become! We need more pure blood on our side or they will overwhelm us! Trust me, it goes against all my morals but neither you nor Adam will breed and we don't even know where Daniel is! The three of us cannot take on thousands of them no matter how hard we try. I am begging you, his mother died giving birth while I was fighting them off at the West wall. She was the one! I was going to stop with her and give him proper siblings this time." He looked on the verge of tears, but he clenched his fists and went on in a shaky tone," I need you to do this for me brother, please! You have fallen off their radar, he will be safe with you. " I was shocked, my dad wasn't my real dad? Was he my Uncle or something? He nodded and said, "Say your goodbye to the child, I suggest sealing his true power, he will not know how to hide it and will draw them like a beacon if it isn't hidden."
The golden haired man truly did cry now, sobbing and giving my (adopted?) father a one armed hug, "Thank you brother. Thank you." He took the baby to the side and started talking to it," Peter, my son. You have the blood of a proud race inside of you. You will live next to another of your brothers, so please get along. The few Noble Dragons are dying out with the Fallen on the rise, I am sorry I had to deceive you but my life is no way to raise you. Your power is a gift, Peter, a gift for the good of the world," he placed his hand on the baby's forehead and a glow pulsed once, "When your life is on the line, the dragon blood will awaken within you. And you will remember this." He turned to look me in the eye. "Son, I love you. And don't ever forget that. I don't think I will see you again but I hope I can. You have grown so tall and I bet you will soon have beat off the girls with a stick." He chuckled, "Just the male version of your mother, she was so beautiful. Son, you will not be an easy fight for whatever, or whoever your opponent is now." His eyes glowed and I noticed that in the background there was another him handing the child to my other father, who suddenly changed his appearance to look much younger. "Go out and show them what we are made of son." He patted me on the shoulder and the world exploded in light, "Kick some ass!"
I woke in the forest clearing but it was as bright as day now. The pain had subsided and I could feel my legs again. I stood to find Luna backing away with a frightened look on her face. Out of the corner of my eye I spotted something golden and instinctively flexed an unknown muscle bringing a scaled golden wing into view. I laughed, "Thank you dad. Just wish this was a little sooner." I drew Thintrí to hear a massive explosion of excited sword in my mind(What just happened? I thought you were dead! You're far more powerful than before! You're literally shining with magical overflow. Beyond that a man came to me and told me my ability! Do you know him? He was impressive! Anyway, I can change shape! Be anything inanimate! Try it quick! While she's distracted!)He was so excited if he was human he would have been jumping up and down. I obliged him, I simply thought, shield and Thintrí shattered into a multitude of glittering golden fragments to reform as a shield. "Well this is useful," I mused, "Tell you what, I don't feel like swordplay so give me something more...hands on." He reassembled as a blade that ran from six inches beyond my hand, down my right forearm to a foot past my elbow. Razor sharp and infused with five catalysts of Fire and Lightning each. Flame and electricity rolled off my arm constantly setting the grass alight and glassing small patches of earth. I looked up at Luna who was still gibbering with shock, I smiled viciously, my teeth were sharper too, and just taunted her appropriately, "It's my turn now, BITCH."
I rushed forward as fast as possible but by the time I got there she hadn't moved a muscle, I turned around to realize that my perception was so sped up that the fires took a full minute to flicker. "Awesome." I grabbed the scruff of her neck and forcefully slowed back down. She was shocked, "M-m-m-m-m-my lord dragon! I-I didn't know! I beg mercy! Please!" I pondered it a second before remembering Michael telling me it was all reversible. She would pay for the pain she caused me. Far less, but she would die in the Arena. I smiled and stroked her cheek. I let her go and prepared to slice her in two when she fell to the ground beside me in a crouch wagging her tail. What did Shale do to these people? She was acting out of habit to a superior, it was beyond disgusting. I gave her a scratch behind the ears and she seemed beyond elated. Her tail was now beating a solid thump every half second. I couldn't kill her in cold blood, not when she was like this.
I asked one question, "Do you submit?" She merely whimpered, nodded and pawed the ground. And suddenly I was standing in an empty and wide room facing a silent crowd of thousands. I turned Thintrí back into a sword and slammed him home into the scabbard. I walked toward one of the doors that led out and noticed a brown wolf now following me. As I walked out the door I heard an announcer's voice break through all the quiet. "Well then everybody! The Victory goes to our very own PETER KRRROOWLEEEEY!!"I got through the door to find a bemused Michael. "So you unlocked the blood did you? Imagine a lock on a box full of your magical energy to seal it away and lose the wings, that's what works for me." I did so and found myself feeling very tired and very sore. But there was something I had to do first, "Where does the other combatant get out? I need to talk to Luna." He gave me a rueful smile, "I'd like to talk to her as well, but there's no need to find her, she's right behind you." I turned around to see the brown wolf sitting obediently as my left heel. "Luna?" I asked. The wolf suddenly turned into a girl with very slightly tinted skin and remarkably less fur, she still had the ears and tail. But her eyes were now a golden brown like an average wolf's. Oh, and one more thing, she didn't have any clothes. I freaked out and spun back around to find Michael calmly walking over and giving her his cloak, "How can you be so calm? You're not even slightly embarrassed?" He shrugged, "She's a Lupyne. I had an old squad mate that was a Lupyne she was also female. I guess I got used to her transformation after a while." I turned back around. "But why does she look so different now?"
I probably shouldn't have asked because Michael launched into full lecture mode. "That is Shale's influence. Being such a powerful being his magical emissions will change the surrounding world. Same with you when you unlock your power. Only problem is he uses the element of darkness. Darkness is tricky, when one uses it the element leaves a corruptive taint. The Darkwood family has so much taint running through them by sheer hereditary inheritance using it once sets them over the edge.
As a result of the taint in them their aura changes the world negatively, the sun shines less, disease is more prevalent and beings, such as Luna here, take on the traits of a corrupted. For humans, or dragons in a human state, our eyes tend to turn black and our skin becomes pale and clammy, we become sickly looking but are much more powerful than we look. There is also the possibility of a compatibility in which we look better instead of worse. For Lupyne they tend to look more like werewolves, gain red eyes, grow fur, disposition is changed, etc. When you released your power it combated the taint and actually washed it away, if you ask her she could tell you more."
I turned looking at her questioningly. In a surprisingly girly tone she giggled and said, "WEELL, if you MUST know it was very wonderful for me. Not the corruption, having your mind taken over by darkness isn't pleasant but when you freed me it was wonderful. You're magical aura is cleansing, like it washes away everything makes you clean and whole again... then I decided to follow you," she jumped over to me and hugged me causing me a great deal of embarrassing stress, "I will follow you wherever, and always be there for you." Michael smiled, "I should also tell you Lupynes are imprinting and fiercely loyal. Like a puppy. When you cleaned her you essentially rebooted her brain and she was imprinted on you. You are either the luckiest or unluckiest bastard in the Academy but I have a feeling stuff like this will keep happening around you." He waggled his finger and motioned for me to follow him. The three of us walked down the hallway with me all the while stressing over what to do with the clingy, cute, but utterly alien companion wrapped around my waist.
>Source: Direct Memory of Nicole Smith
>Timeline: 2 years prior to the Skyl incident.
>Location: The Academy: Earth Designation 7:8:1:1:N/A #214
"So you're giving her to me?" I didn't quite understand what the two of them were after, when did they get a dog? "I don't need a pet. I do pretty well on my own." They exchanged a look, I didn't know Peter all too well but when Michael made a face like that there was always something interesting afoot. "It's not just a wolf is it?" Michael smiled and made an after you gesture, "Luna?"
Next thing I know there's a naked girl sexually abusing Peter while Michael is trying not to laugh. It took about a minute for Peter to escape her grasp and not after a few embarrassing hand placements. "So why do you want me to take her? It looks like Pete could, ahem, enjoy her company." Michael just sighed, "Pete's a pretty stand up guy and he can't take advantage of a freshly imprinted Lupyne in heat."
"SHE"S WHAT!?!?"Came a simultaneous response from me and Peter. Michael just gestured at a rather embarrassed girl looking at the floor and making circles with her large toe and a little magic. "See? Now you've embarrassed the poor girl. Pete wasn't supposed to know that. And now you've made it even more awkward for her with him."
"I'm pretty sure you're the one that let the cat out of the bag with this one." I muttered. But then I smiled, "Come on in. Luna was it? Let's get you some clothes and away from these rude boys." I brought her into my dorm and shot a withering glare at a grinning Michael. He waved and stole away with an air of mischief to come. I gave Pete a look of sympathy and was about to shut the door when he spoke up, "I know it's a lot to ask of you and I'm sorry. But please take care of her until she's enrolled in the Academy." I assured him I would and turned back to my apartment to find...no Luna. "Luna?" I called, "Where did you go?" I heard a rustling from the kitchen and discovered a furry, brown tail sticking out from behind an open refrigerator door. "What am I going to do with you?" I thought she was stealing my food but she was just enjoying the cold air. As it turned out she felt hot,(no kidding she was blushing so much she looked like a tomato), and felt the need to cool down using my fridge. It was looking bad for my future solitude, and my hidden stash of yogurt that she had already sniffed out.
"Now," got her standing up and looking at me, "I take it you don't have any clothes at all?" Nod, "So I'll have to buy you a whole new wardrobe. Well then, let's get to work!"
So proceeded the next three hours stuffing this adorable girl into all kinds of outfits and using a good portion of my bankroll. It was all in the name of decency so it was okay right? She was just so adorable and awkward in her new clothes it was fun. And I had fun messing with her tail, which it turned out was a very sensitive place for her. Unfortunately she got me back because said implement is also an insanely effective device for tickling.
And eventually, as it was already past midday, I began to grow hungry. "Hey Luna, I'm feeling pretty famished. I was going to cook something up, what do you eat?" She turned around and got a crazy gleam in her eyes and started drooling, "MEAT!" I was a bit surprised by the ferocity of the claim but I wasn't surprised by its contents, she was a wolf-girl after all..."Okay, so you eat meat, anything else?" She had turned into a canine and was chasing her tail. "HEY!" She stopped chasing her tail and sat staring at me. "Do you eat anything other than meat?" Luna scratched her ear in thought, "Nothing much that I can think of."
"Okay then, do you eat fish?"
"Fish isn't meat?"
"Okay, so fish is on the menu...any veggies or fruits?"
"Fruits yes! Veggies mixed with meat." It was beginning to get a bit repetitive. "Do you eat any dairy products?"
"Milk and milk based stuff."
"Yes! Can we have steak tonight?" I had to think about this long and hard, steak was expensive. But then again there was also a guest and a "reason" to celebrate. It wasn't as hard as previously thought. "Yes. We can have steak." At this she began to romp around jumping and wagging her tail, "STEAK! STEAK! Steak, steak, steak, steak, steak, steak! Hurray for meat!" She was one obsessed puppy.
Chuckling to myself I sent a note via PADWEB, sort of like the internet just only accessible with PADs, to Mike and Pete inviting them over. Mike appeared stocking my fridge in, literally, seconds. Pete on the other hand poked his head in and had to stave off a puppy licking before being able to converse. I remedied the situation by asking Luna to revert (with a pair of clothes handy), and magically locking her into her humanoid form. Mike, being himself, decided to showboat and forgo any conventional means to magically cook the meat in a spectacularly flashy way. He had Pete fling the cuts of meat towards him like Frisbees, from there he would magically flame it while in air, then whip out his sword to slice them into artful smiley faces and shapes. For split second sword work it was impressive, but it still ruined the meat in Luna's eyes and she chewed him out thoroughly, verbally and literally gnawing on his head.
A chagrined Mike sneaked around and exploited her weakness, I should have known he was observing our interactions before he came over. After the meal though he had an announcement to make, he pulled some bottles of Myrdia from the fridge and handed us each a bottle. Before I go on I should probably explain what Myrdia is, Myrdia is one of the chief exports from the dimension of Myrth, it is no coincidence it has the same sound and a similar name to the word mirth. Myrdia is a drink that suits the drinkers' needs. If they need calories, expect them in the thousands, if they are on a diet, it's like water. Also it adapts its' taste to your personal preference, so imagine the best flavor possible, one you can't even think of because it's so awesome and that is the flavor of Myrdia, and because of all this a single bottle (20 fluid ounces) has a cost in the range of twenty thousand C. Michael was playing to smooth someone over, the question was...who?
After opening the bottles he raised his in a toast, "To friends and allies. That all will stay well and Pete will survive his battle with the Arena Champ!" Three splutters instantly erupted, "WHAT? Wait a second here I didn't sign up for any champion battle..." "Where did this come from the poor guy only just completed his first match!" and a confused whimper from Luna. He raised his hands with a look of innocence, "It's not me, the crowd saw his power and wanted to see him in a real fight, when the Headmaster heard he scheduled it instantly and now we're forced to fight each other." Pete looked up in surprise, "We? Who's we? Last time I checked I was the one going up against the champion, not you." Michael waved it off, "Slip of the tongue, I meant they. " Pete was skeptical and stared at Michael before going back to his drink. "So tell me Mike, what's the deal with Shale and all this dragon stuff." He looked at me for a short while and said, "This will take a while to explain, and remember that this is the short version. In the beginning, there was emptiness, nothing. Then, through a God or some other force, the first universe came into being, then the second, and the third, and so on. Our Universe created two worlds to begin, ours and the mirror opposite, the Void Worlds. In our world came the first split, one with magic and one without. In the world with magic, life was powerful with it, yet for some reason only one other magical dimension came close to matching its' ambient levels, and it surpassed them by astronomical levels. As a result all the world's inhabitants became extremely powerful. They are known as the bloodlines. The most famous are the Chimeras, the Angelic, the Rocs, the Stonehearts, and the Dragons. For sake of time I will only give you our family history.
It started with two, Draconus, and Pyrus. They had three offspring. Two male and one female. One ended with the female to create the two lines of pure bloods, the Noble Dragons and the Dark Dragons. The last male mated with reckless abandon with others, even non-magical entities creating the bulk of the dragon population. We are pure bloods. Down the line came the discovery of the only world with higher magical concentrations then even our home world, the discovery was made by four brothers. They built a shrine in the world to honor the occasion of finding such a source of magical energy, but in doing so accidentally created a spell to siphon the energy of the world into themselves. They became beyond powerful. The four of them became the rulers of the Dragons, the Aedyns.
The only way to pass the power on was to give it to a successor, usually when the particular Aedyn became tired of living. He would train an apprentice, in most cases a descendant, and then name him as his successor. Eventually, there came the mistake. At the time there were three thousand Purebloods, and the four Aedyns. Two were brothers, The Author of Reality, and the Prophet. The Author is our great, great grandfather. Before the Prophet died he gave three prophecies, and only one of them good, one foretold a war, a split of the blood. His power was passed to his brother's second son as he was a recluse and never passed on his blood.
The second son became known as the Molder of Worlds. He had a power similar to the author's and an ego to match. He believed himself a god and through a long series of events killed most of our blood, including his own children who wouldn't follow his crazy ass, except for one, and that line spit out Shale, and finally his actions split our great grandfathers descendents. Thus creating the Noble and the Fallen Dragons. They are called the fallen because the corruption has removed their wings. The first son, our great grandfather, had four sons, who inherited the Aedyns' power. Unfortunately, something similar occurred with the Fallen. Both the Author and the Molder were strict followers of tradition, in their own ways, so the Author used his ability to create enough power for one more Aedyn, allowing there to be four, excluding him though he still lived. The Molder did the same thing.
Of the Noble Aedyn they had children, but the Darks killed all but a set of quadruplets, our father and his brothers. They took on the roles of Aedyn and you saw the lineage issue that arose when our uncles became too preoccupied with who knows what to remedy the situation of size to the Darks' ever expanding number count. I don't know exactly what happened with our father, but I can safely assume that we have thousands of half-siblings. Oh, and if you didn't catch that earlier, I'm your brother." Peter was just looking at him with this odd look on his face, "Oh, okay. Wait, what?"
"I'm your brother."
"NO WAY! You're the brother he said he was putting me near? Oh man! Could my life get any more confusing?" Michael gave him a smile, "Never say something like that. If you think it can't get worse, it will. "
"The only way I could see it get worse is if the Darks came to attack the Academy I-"Then came the explosion, the world started rocking and Pete just put his face in his hands, "Why did I even say something like that? I should have known it would happen if I said it." Suddenly the violence stopped. I instantly turned to Michael who was grinning from ear to ear. "Sorry, couldn't help it. The opportunity was there so I just had to take it." Peter gave him a stern glare, "You can be a real jack wagon at times you know?" Mike got up to walk out the door. "Just remember to get a good night's sleep tonight. You still have to fight the Champion in the morning." Pete groaned and Luna gave him a condoling pat on the back. I just sat back sipping my drink wondering what Pete would think when he found out who it was.
>Subject: The Champion
>Source: Memory of Peter Krowley
>Timeline: 10 days before Nightfall
>Location: The Academy: Earth Designation 7:8:1:1:N/A #214
I was practicing my magic when my alarm clock went off. I hadn't slept all night and had forgotten to turn it off. Getting used to the changes was difficult, everything required a more, what's the word? Delicate touch. I discovered that I could easily crush a glass mug when I tried to get a glass of water at around midnight, I thought that I had grabbed it fairly normally but I crushed it when I gripped it. Beyond the physical changes there was the magic, like a warmth, sitting inside of my brain, just waiting for the moment to come out. I had discovered earlier that using it was sort of like moving a muscle you could keep using it until you ran out of energy, at that point it felt like trying to do a push-up after doing too many, your muscles were just too tired and though you may not have felt exhausted and your muscles didn't ache they just couldn't move you up or down no matter how hard you tried.
I could only guess the physical changes were brought on by an exposure to magical energy. My vision was sharper, I was stronger, I was faster and as a direct result of that speed I could increase my cognitive processing capabilities slowing down my perception of time as I started thinking and moving faster. And above all that was my Draconic blood. I had almost unleashed it when Michael gave me a lengthy explanation about why not to do so on a regular basis. He had this serious look on his face and a tone in his voice like I HAD to follow what he said or very bad things would happen. "Pete, let me give you a brief lesson, I can only guess that we will eventually be traveling across dimensions together fighting a war with our relatives in order to preserve all we hold dear so let me explain something to you. There are two forces associated with the Nobles and the Darks. On our side is the Crystal Throne, once the army on our home world, it is now a multi dimensional mercenary organization that specializes in aiding causes that are deemed valiant, noble, or just. For a small fee of course. Hey, don't give me that look, we have to be able to maintain our gear and feed ourselves don't we? Anyway, on the other side is Skyl Incorporated. A militaristic "company" that uses its' resources to set up its' employees as puppet rulers of various worlds.
Both sides are always interested in gaining more worlds under their control, in order to gain a higher troop count, more resources, etc. They usually go about this using undercover operations where a single individual or a group goes to that particular world and begins to redirect the flow of that world until it is under their control. That is where we come in. We are high value assets for either side. It is a natural reaction that when we go to a world we leak magic into the environment. Even without our blood unsealed we still attract a lot of attention when we don't seal our power to about the average person's level. When we unlock it we bring in even more attention than that. It's sort of like sounding an alarm in a magical world. And in a non magical world it's like dropping an atomic bomb. Our presence draws so much attention that it usually ends up ruining the world. Because if there is something there that we want, the CT will want to help us protect our interests there and Skyl Inc. will want to obtain it. See where I'm going? Maybe later on you'll finally understand just how important we are in this war, and then the scope of what I'm saying will get to you but just remember. Don't use your full power unless you need to. And don't use you draconic abilities unless you have exhausted literally all other options, escape it unviable, and you cannot defeat your opponent using any normal means."
So I was now stuck with a power that it was my responsibility NOT to use. Hurray. But beyond that it was time to go get prepared for the match. I had actually tried to avoid it altogether but after three tries and the day resetting itself from exactly the time when I was officially late I decided I would go through with it. The life of the man in Groundhog day was not something I wanted to experience. I made my way to the Arena which wasn't hard, considering it was just across the street from The Edge.
As I got near it I saw massive crowds pouring into the stadium, I guess gladiator fights really were popular on other dimensions. I pushed my way through the crowds to get to the participant's entrance. As I made my way through I was assaulted by the crowd. Some elated, others trying to injure me prefight, and others yelling how much they bet on me. By the time I got inside I was more afraid of going back out into the crowds than whatever my opponent could dish out at me. After walking through the winding tunnels of the underground I came to my prep area. Someone had already set out all my gear excluding Thintrí and my fade cloak which I was wearing already. I took off my shoes and moved put on the armored boots when I noticed something different about the armor. I looked almost the same with some minor aesthetic changes, the armor was a bit blockier, with more straight cut edges. It was no longer just magically reinforced leather. It was now a temperature matching padding with a thin strip of shock absorbing material(I discerned the material's purpose with a few magical tests) over the two of them was a thin coating of the magical leather and topped off with an extremely fine mesh of some metallic material. Finally there was a helmet. Lying next to it was a note describing the armor changes, that I had noted correctly, and the function of the helmet. Apparently the armor was now vacuum sealed for a zero-g vacuum fight. The helmet beyond being sealed allowed me to access more of the armor's systems that I didn't know existed, air recycling, it even had a container in it for a vial of nutrition filled fluid for prolonged use without food or water, it recycled the waste into nutrients for my body using advanced filters from some world I couldn't pronounce, and to top it all off, it had circuitry that transmitted magic faster and amplified it as I used it. How he got his hands on this stuff was beyond me.
I suited up to find it was actually lighter than the armor I had previously worn and more easily maneuverable in. I was wondering what to do with the EMIs considering I couldn't open up my suit in a vacuum when a notice flashed on the HUD in my helmet. It showed schematics for the suit and a slot in the right shoulder was highlighted, I looked at my right shoulder to find a small port about the size of an inhaler nozzle, I placed the EMI on it and it sucked the stuff into an onboard container. I repeated the process until I had all the EMIs in the suit's container with room for a fifth. I buckled on Thintrí and my companion gave me a pep talk (We can do this man. ) He was getting used to the language and becoming more of a personality of late, (Just remember that it's zero-g and a vacuum I can't be a rifle or anything that relies on combustible material. Also you're probably going to have to use magic to alter your direction when you're off a solid object. You may want to magnetize your boots. Now let's do this.)
By the time he was done talking I found myself at the entrance to the Arena I heard a small beep and over my suit's radio(AWESOME!!) a voice played. "Mister Krowley, please enter through the door. You will find yourself in an airlock the air will be removed and you will hear a small beep once you are able to leave into the Arena." I followed the directions and entered the airlock. It was small and a very bright white I heard a hiss and took that to be the air draining. Suddenly all weight I felt vanished and an experimental lifting of my legs left me hanging in air. The door on the exit side opened and I heard another beep. I jumped back and planted my feet on the entrance door and sent myself flying out into space.
"WOAH." Was all I could say. It turns out Michael was right when he said that the Arena could create an entire world. I was literally in orbit over a sapphire blue world that I could have confused for Neptune had it not been for a small Island I saw, and about halfway to the moon. The Airlock was gone and I as now drifting towards a massive jumble of rubble that seemed to be riveted in place, by magic most likely. My radio crackled and a familiar, girly voice piped over, "Hi Peter! It's Luna! I'll be your support for now bringing you back if you get sent too far out or something. You're currently in orbit over a mirror image of The Academy and everyone is watching the fight from magically oriented cameras. There are no boundaries so you'll have to let me know if you need me to bring you back, if you can survive it you can both be sent crashing to the ground to fight, or go to the moon. Good luck!" I was nearing the rubble by that point so I oriented myself so that I would land on my feet. I hit and the rubble stayed in position so I magnetized myself to the metal inside the oblong shape I was currently situated on. Another crackle and Luna came back on, "The fight is starting now, so be on your guard, this guy likes to be invisible." I sighed, that was just great, I was fighting someone I couldn't even-WHAM! A shock ripped through my chest and I was sent flying despite the magnetic effects on my feet. I looked around and decided to try a different tactic than using my eyes. I sent out pings of magic like radar absorbing the surroundings. There! I picked up traces of a magical trail left from the cloaking spell. I kept it up and soon found myself barely blocking and invisible sword I had seen moments before. My assailant backed off and I started to throw bolts of energy in his, I assumed it was a him, direction. It looked like one of them hit their mark because the clean bolt splashed and one of the rubble pieces cracked with force.
I pushed off from my own piece of rubble as fast as possible and pinged to pick up my opponent doing the same. I swung Thintrí to hit him high in the left side of his torso, he moved his sword in a way that sent me tumbling over his head with my momentum. I pinged and used a burst of magic to send myself flying in his direction only for him to do the same and dodge me just in time. I hit a pile of rubble And gave off another ping but he was gone. Very weird considering that it goes through objects and accurately maps the entire battlefield. I turned on my radio, "Luna? What's going on? He just vanished."
There was a brief silence before I got the response, "Okay, it looks like he's far away from you heading towards the moon. I'm also able to give you this," a tiny airlock appeared and out popped two white and black spheres I grabbed them and they dissolved into my hand, "Those are catalysts for a spell called Eye of the Moon. It allows you to see the pattern of light and shadow and when our invisible friend comes in view you should see where he is warping the light to make him invisible." Sure enough my vision changed and I thanked her.
The next question was, how to get to the moon? I didn't think too hard and just ended up pushing off from the rubble pile as hard as possible and rocketing towards the moon, it still took a few minutes but due to my enhanced physical capabilities it was a much shorter time than it should have taken. When I got there an unfamiliar voice crackled across my radio, "I thought the crowd could do with a change of scenery, mix things up a bit. I hope you don't mind." With my enhanced vision I looked around for the telltale warp hoping that I could get him to disarm the spell if I could prove I could see him. "There is also the fact of the matter that if I throw you off balance with a constantly changing environment you would have to learn to adapt." I saw the warping effect just in time to raise my own blade and block his. Only problem was, on the moon I couldn't magnetically hold myself down.
I was sent flying a good hundred yards before even skipping off the ground the first time and by the time the moon's gravity got a hold on me I didn't know how far I had been sent flying. "Hmmm, you didn't send out a ping of magic that time. I take it your little helper got you a spell to see me? Even if it's with a little difficulty. Tell you what, if you can land a blow on me I'll remove the invisibility and we'll fight on even terms." I smiled, so he knew when a gig wouldn't work anymore, "Sounds good to me." I replied. I attempted to create an extra visible sign around him using magic to make him a glow-stick, but I found myself unable to create anything but a small puff of magical energy. I didn't know how they had depleted so fast but it didn't change the fact that I had to let my reserves rest and recharge. It looked like I had to go toe to toe with him physically, without a magical backup I was at a disadvantage.
The flicker moved quickly but left a small trail of dust clouds in its' wake. With a feint to the right and a blast left it finished sailing over me with a chop. I blocked it and jumped at the flicker before it could pass overhead. I rammed into a solid object and subsequently broke through the moon's gravitational pull to send us careening through space at a slow and mind numbing pace. Luckily the rubble was only minutes away from the moon but I had missed that completely and we had begun a slow drift towards the planet. I had a bad feeling about this.
I separated from my opponent soon enough and he stayed true to his promise to remove the spell. He was wearing a suit that looked like mine except with a steel gray paint job. On the right side of the helmet was a grim reaper with other custom graphics of a string of numbers and a skull with a flaming halo on the left side of the central chest plate. I took the time to study the armor, it's hard to describe it's exact look so I'll leave that omitted but the helmet, reaper and color aside looked something like this: It was rounded at the top and curved at the bottom where it split off, the back was fairly unremarkable beyond lines and grooves found all across the helmet. On the front were two golden, reflective "eyes" and a mouth/nose cover shaped like a triangle sitting on an oval.
We chatted awhile, brief comments and speculations on the Arena, or how long we thought it would take to get to the ground. Apparently he wasn't the best magician and had only been using a blood ability to stay invisible. The spell had five seconds left before he had removed it.
From watching the Earth's rotation we drifted for two days before the gravity truly started to take hold. I was sick and tired waiting and the suit had proved effective in recycling waste and the nutrient supply was doing it's thing. As I started to enter the atmosphere my opponent moved for the first time in days. His voice crackled across the radio, "I take it from your posture you didn't discover the suit's cryo function? No. Poor bastard. How long were you drifting?" "Two days, "I grunted. He gave a short chuckle, "I guess I owe you twenty bucks then, by the way how much exactly does an adult male deer cost anyway? I never had to buy one before. Anyway, let me give you a tip so you don't end up flattened. The suit has a glide system. Activate it on my signal if you want to get down fast and safely." He streamlined himself to fall below me and then held five fingers. It turned out it was five minutes before he gave a thumbs up and a glider popped out of his suit. I activated my own to find myself tugged back violently then smoothly gliding towards an island with a city on it. When I was over it I recognized it, Academy City. I tilted myself into a steep glide and pulled up about twenty feet from the ground where I disengaged the glide system and landed with a thud on the pavement.
There was a thud behind me and I turned to see my opponent. He gave a wave, "Let's take off these helmets and have at it eh? I would like to battle you face to face. And don't hold back, I want to see that dragon power of yours in action." He began to remove his helmet and I quickly followed. He was older than me, somewhere in his mid twenties if I had to guess, with a rough beard from two plus days without shaving and medium length brown hair. He had sharp, chiseled features and piercing green eyes. He approached me and held out a hand that I warily grasped and shook, "The name's Michael Drake. Pleased to make your acquaintance." My hand fell and so did my jaw, "What?" He stared at me quizzically, "You weren't expecting my name to be Mr. Fluffles or something were you?" I just brought myself back to reality and sternly pointed a finger at him (I know menacing right?), "You have some explaining to do after this. You ready?" He gave a nod of assent and I opened the seal on my abilities. All around me windows shattered and the pavement cracked from the wave of power released. Crystals of magic began to sprout from my feet and a golden glow was plainly evident even past the noonday sun's light. I looked to see that Michael had a similar effect, except everything was a ghostly green.
I studied him and instantly noticed a few things that he had and I did not. His teeth were sharper and more pointed, he had a scaly, whip like tail, and his nails had taken on the appearance of talons or claws. He was doing the same and at about the time I was done he looked interested, "You're new to your power aren't you? You haven't even developed a tail yet. Well then, I guess that means that I have one more advantage over you." Suddenly his eyes became reptilian or feline slits and began to glow. He waved his hand in an, after you, fashion and just asked with a smile, "Shall we?" I grinned fiercely, "Lets." Pavement cracked and flew, the end had begun.