>Subject: The Author's contract
Thintrí connected with a blade that was wicked. As sparks flew I had to draw back. The blade scraped apart with a terrible screech and I leaped back a good twenty feet to re-evaluate the situation. He had pulled out a double edged sword, one side was the traditional straight edge, useful for slicing and stabbing, the opposite side was a wicked serration for sawing a grinding through bone.
With the unsealing of my power my magical batteries were back to full strength and I tried to bend the pavement under his feet into a sphere that I could trap him in but nothing happened. He just sighed and sliced open my armor with an ultra-thin tendril of fire, "Amateurs, you're really quite something don't get me wrong, but you have no practical experience or skill. You're a novice. No offense but I'll this is going to be fast. I show you how a pro does things."
He fell through the floor. I furtively glanced around and sent out pings of magic. Suddenly he came flying out of the wall of a building to my right and passed through me with a smile to fade through the ground again. The next one came from below. I swung at him but Thintrí just passed through him. It was odd that my blade was silent when he had no effect but that wasn't on my mind at the moment. Suddenly I felt pain in my right shoulder and swung again to find that there was nothing there, and by nothing I mean I didn't have an arm anymore. The pain hit me and the shock just locked me in place. I wanted to scream but I couldn't my throat closed up and I stared in terror at the bloody lump that was my shoulder. Suddenly the pain dissipated when a ghostly hand touched my shoulder. A voice spoke into my ear, "Don't worry the next bit will be painless, a flashy finish, but painless." I saw all across the ground around me a spider web of cracks. Lines of glowing energy pulsing with life. With a tremendous roar my world was consumed with light and the world fell to pieces.
I awoke in a brightly lit room. It was filled with recreational furniture pieces, pool tables, sofas, TVs, and other things. I was lying on a sofa with all my armor still on and Thintrí buckled to my hip. Next to me was a twenty year old man, he had sparkling grey eyes and a shock of short-mid length hair that was a bright white radiant as bright like the sun. He was sitting right next to my head and I scrambled up to a seated position quickly. He looked at me with a very bored expression and yawned. "That match was pitiful just pitiful. Do you know anything about combat and magic other than the most basic of basic mechanics?" I blinked in surprise, "What?" He took a sip from a previously unseen coffee mug and started scratching something down on a tiny note pad, "I said that you are a terrible combatant, the only reason the fight even lasted as long as it did was because your opponent was being nice. My descendents tend to be that way unless riled up. But then again, you would know yourself wouldn't you?"
"Who are you? You're a little young looking to talk about descendents." He heaved a pleasant sigh, "Now this is some good stuff. Oh, you were saying something about being young right? Well, therein lies the story. I am currently disguised. If any of my former acquaintances were to know I were here they would accelerate their plans by a factor of ten. Leaving no time for you to get the training essential to the Academy's survival. Now, quiz time. I talk about descendents, I seem to know what I'm doing, I like to drink from a purple coffee mug, and I have a notepad. Who am I? Go on. Take a guess."
I scratched my head, "I don't entirely understand why the purple coffee mug would be a clue. Can I get a hint?" He tapped his chin with the back of a pen, "How about a demonstration? I will right down on my notepad a word." He scratched away and suddenly a cheeseburger appeared on his lap along with a plate ketchup bottle, French fries, and a quill pen. Now I was thoroughly confused, "I don't understand why the quill pen is there but that's a rather neat talent. Are you a famous chef?"
He threw his hands in the air in exasperation, "How dense are you man?! You were just talking about me a day or two ago."
"I was? I'm pretty sure I would know if I was talking about you." He planted his face in his hands and groaned, "Fine if you require a more eccentric way of identifying myself I shall do so, I enjoy leading one to the answer so I shall sacrifice some of my allotment for this." He penned two words, Terra Draconus. Suddenly we were sitting atop a mountain staring down at a glittering city filled with giants. And by giants I mean dragons. They ranged in size and shape from humans, to humans with wings and tails (at least that I could see from the distance I was at), to full beast dragons in sizes of about a horse to one that was twice the size of the city sleeping next to it. As quickly as the transition between worlds occurred the activity in the city stopped and all eyes turned in our direction, even the sleeping giant awoke. And despite the distance I knew they could see us clearly, and that we were the object of their attention. The giant began to speak, a low rumble that shook the world, "The Author of Reality has returned with the second of the Twelve Fangs. Progeny of the Golden Blaze we honor you and welcome you to our home. Hail Peter Krowley and The Author of Reality!" The giant bowed his head and the multitudes of the others followed suit, either kneeling or bowing. It was awe-inspiring. Through some twist of fate I had become a cross-dimensional VIP in only a few days. I never would have guessed that something like this could happen on the day Michael had come to see me.
I turned to look at the author to find him in a different form. He was human still but this time he had crystal clear scales on wings and a tail, they glittered like diamonds and sent rainbows of refraction in every direction. His irises were the same with slit pupils and a glow from deep within. He smiled revealing a row of sharp teeth. "This is the home of our people. The realm of the dragons. " His smile faded a little, "Fortunately the Molder is fairly sentimental and a pact was made early on. This is now the only dimension off limits to military movement for either side. It is the only place that we can come together as, at least, a shadow of what we once were. Unfortunately the war is coming to a head. Without your help the Noble Dragons will fall within three years. Michael is already doing all that he can for our cause. But you are not a strategist or the best warrior so your role will mostly be one of indirect action. You will stall Skyl inc. in their attempts to take over dimensions. Will you do this?"
I thought about it, then I turned to him. "I have a score to settle with Shale for what he did to Luna. I will do it for you." He laughed, "If only it were as easy as Michael would make it seem. Fortunately unless Skyl changes the tables suddenly they will abide by the contract I made with The Molder at the beginning of the war. To make it easier I'm going to call him Nathan from now on. I did give him that name after all, it's almost a waste to call him The Molder of Worlds constantly. As much as I hate to admit it. It was my fault I let him get to the point he is at now. I was blind to his failings in my pride for him. And when he turned it was more like turning on his father than if his father had actually been there to raise him. My son never got emotionally attached to things. He had burnt himself out magically in an accident just before Nathan was born. It changed him, he became cold and logic bound. Not even giving his children an ounce of affection, and when he did it was a hollow movement that he had predetermined was necessary to the healthy development of a child's mind. I took over for him in the care of Nathan.
I should have seen the signs when he was small. He had an affinity for darkness. Unhealthy when you never learn how to use it to remove the taint from yourself. When he declared himself the sole ruler of the dragons, I believe he called himself Draconus Rex, or Dragon King. I tried to mitigate the damage that would happen and only ended creating even more of split than would have occurred. In the first week of the war more damage was done than in any other decade. Thousands of us fell as the most powerful waged war. But the true forces were Nathan and I, we destroyed entire dimensions and races as we pitted our power against each other. We made a contract after that week. That protected this world and laid out the ground rules for the war. After all, what point is a war when there is nothing left after it? One of the rules pertains to how many attempts can be made at controlling a dimension, there can only be one attempt on a world from a subterfuge stand-point. So your mission will be to prevent their success in this field. But in order to do this you will need to be away from the Academy."
He created a sheet of paper with a wave of his hand. And handed me the contract, "Earlier you said you would do this. Due to the nature of my ability I have developed an...affinity for written documents. They are binding and indestructible. If you would be so kind?" I took the pen he offered me and signed my name at the bottom of the contract. Suddenly my armor and Thintrí were gone and I was standing on the mountain in normal clothes lacking shoes. "What the-?" I heard a laugh in my head, (Don't worry Peter. This is only a temporary separation for us. Just like you need training I can do many things that need refining. He will teach me schematics for weaponry and how to use my abilities more efficiently.) The author also had some input to give me. "You were absolutely pitiful in that fight with the Arena Champion, you don't deserve to wear this armor or wield Thintrí. But if you follow directions, which you have to, you will after a while, stall the Fallen enough for me to give you advanced training for a year or two. But until then you're going to have to learn on the fly. Your first assignment is to join the Academy Security Force in order to receive training on more basic magic and combat capabilities." He placed his hand on my head, "And here, in order to get through school without studying." Suddenly my brain was blasted with knowledge on all core subjects in high school up to bachelor's degree level college courses. I gave him an appreciative thanks, "Why can't you give me training this way?" He made a tsk noise, "Because it's not fun that way. Now...Off you go!" With a wave of his hand I found myself back in the lounge I had woken up in with my shoes now on my lap but still missing my weapons.
I let out a sigh and tied my shoes contemplating how to get into the ASF. I had just finished tying my shoes when I was greeted by two, yes I said two, Michaels. The younger one was listening avidly to the older one as he was talking. When they noticed me they jogged over to me and started talking at the same time, "How you doing Pete? So you met the old man huh?" I had to blink a few times from the double onslaught but I eventually got out a "Yeah, he was...interesting."
They both doubled over in laughter. After about a minute they recovered and started talking again in unison, "You should see him in his more eventful moments. It's hilarious. He definitely enjoys using his powers to cause excess stress, mindless chaos, instant and disastrous love bouts, and hilarity." When they finished they eyed each other and concluded with a fist bump. I raised an eyebrow, "You guys sure are in sync." This time only the older one responded, "That's because we are the same person. And by that I mean the exact same person. We're not an individual that happens to exist in two worlds, I am him but I have come back in time at the Author's request to prevent a certain dirty move from occurring. But first, I should welcome you to the ASF. In case you didn't know I also head the security force on the world here. You're first assignment will be sent in two hours." He waved a farewell and walked out of the room.
I turned to Michael and he nodded. "It's all true. But there is a problem I have to tell you. Our assignment in the ASF, before you ask the Author asked me to join it and gather intelligence for him. There will be an attack on the Academy and I apparently have to tell you the details." Michael led me out of the room we had been in and we made our way outside and began to walk towards what I eventually recognized as one of the Academy's transit stations. It was there he began to fill me in on what was going to occur. "The transit system is built with a two functions. One, is to transport students around the Island. The other purpose is to transport them off world from a series of gates at the central hub. Last time Skyl Inc. messed with the gate programming creating fifty gates leading straight to their home world and they just poured in overtaking the minimal security already stationed there and overwhelmed the Academy using our own transport system. The other me, I'm just going to call him the Chief for now. I mean, he IS the security chief and all. So anyways, the Chief already installed a system shutdown that only a pureblooded dragon can activate.
Next we added extra security to the gate area. But that's where we'll be. We each will head a sweep team consisting of five. A lead, you and me. A medic, for random accidents and the like, that much is standard practice. A sniffer, they are exactly what one would think, the sniffers will catch the scent of contraband magic and goods. Next is a tech specialist, for managing cameras or operating the system in case something bad happens. And finally there is the S.W.U., think of a S.W.A.T. team in a single person and that is your S.W.U. Now that your mini brief is done meet me at this station when you receive your orders and we'll head on over. "
He seemed about to leave when suddenly he came back with an exceptionally serious face, "Look, I didn't want to voice my suspicions because I know you do kind of like her but," he paused.
"What is it?" I asked. He looked at his feet then at me with a coldness in his eyes I had never seen before, "Don't trust Luna. I offered up the solution for why she had suddenly turned all nice on us but I know Shale. He would never let go of a valuable asset and those eyes of hers are VERY valuable assets. I have been watching her for the past day or two and she has been up to something. I sent out some spies I have working for me but they haven't reported back about her activity yet. That is highly suspicious. Especially considering the fact that I trained them myself. Just be careful around her okay?"
I nodded in affirmation, "Got it."
I turned from Michael and the station to take in the bustle of the city around me. I was standing on a corner to a four-way intersection of the road. They didn't exactly have cars here, more like adaptable transports. It was portable when needed as it could be converted at the flip of a switch into something the size of a small card. When needed one would just flick the card down on the ground and it would open up the pocket dimension where it kept all the parts and assemble into any vehicle of choice, frequently motorcycles, sports cars, and flying vehicles. The occasional party bus rolled by pumping music and sometimes swaying due to its' occupants motions.
Over the near non-existent noise from silent vehicles came the bustle of people. A dull roar of conversation, walking, and breathing. Within a five yard radius were five non-humans, and plenty humans. The Academy drew most of its' students from my world due to its' direct link to it. The other species were in mixed amounts after that. Three of the ones near me were some of the more common. There was a male Lupyne with sleek white fur and floppy ears. On my right was a Royde he was tall with bulging muscles and a hideously red complexion. On his head was a mess of long, unkempt, black hair. Roydes are known for the unexplainable and violent bouts they experience at random. Thus coining the term which has been changed throughout dimensions, of a Royde rage. The third was an Parakahn. It appeared to be a female, she was human except for the fact that she had a bird's head, wings instead of arms, talons instead of feet, and feathers covering her body. She appeared to be happily munching on a to-go bag from the popular Parakahn restaurant Snag-A-Mouse. I heard the crunching of bones as she bisected the rodent through its' midsection and swallowed.
The fourth and fifth were far more rare sights. One was a Primean. He stood about eight feet tall and had mixed features between a human and ape. They were remarkably intelligent and specialized in creating simple and effective magical implements. The fifth was only remarkable due to the fact that he was in the Academy instead of at Hellfire University. It was a male Sanguinem Comedentis, Latin for Blood Eater.
If humans were lions the Sanguinem Comedentis would be Tyrannosaurus Rex compared to us. They were a race that was exceptionally beautiful. But with a nasty reputation. Their world had been one of the first to be taken by the Fallen so by and large they are mainly corrupted. They usually get their food by drinking the blood of lower life forms. With this they gain not only sustenance but access to one of the most powerful forbidden spell forms that exists. Blood magic. By feeding their power stores with the living power of other beings, they can regenerate and recuperate at levels far beyond the norm of most species. And unlike most beings, where being corrupt doesn't make any true difference in their physical capabilities, the Sanguinem Comedentis become more powerful when they are corrupt.
This happens for two reasons, one is because they have had the taint of darkness build in them until they have become dependent on it unless they are born with a mutation that keeps them purified. The second, is that when corrupt they have no morals. They kill and feast without care. Stealing blood from far higher beings than the clean ones. They were the ones that started the myths of the Vampire. But believe it or not, most of those myths make them weaker than reality by a factor of hundreds.
There are not many full Sanguinem Comedentis. Most now are hybrids between the Fallen lesser dragons and their own now. But a full blooded Sanguinem Comedentis is a force to be reckoned with. There are only six races that can defeat one in terms of sheer physical and magical force. They are the Chimeras, the Angelic, the Rocs, the Stonehearts, the Elementals, and the Dragons. Dragons have long been powerhouses but many times a young pureblood has been slain and eaten by a mature and experienced Sanguinem Comedentis. I honestly hope I never have to experience that.
I instantly realized that I had become a walking encyclopedia on species. So the Author's stuff really did work. Go figure. I noticed out of the corner of my eye something strange. I whipped to my right to search for it. Michael noticed my sudden movement and turned that way as well. We saw in the crowd, with some difficulty, a figure in a red and silver hooded cloak lined with black. The hood was up and your eyes seemed to slide off of it. Bad news, very bad news.
I turned to Michael and he nodded. We set off after what we hoped, at least I did, would not be a Skyl Inc. mercenary. As we headed in the figure's direction I hastily recalled all the details about it that I had seen. The cloak seemed to slide out of your gaze, indicating it was a fade cloak. Secondly, it was red and silver with black trimming. Those were the indicative colors of the Acolytes. And finally the pattern, I had only seen a glimpse but I was fairly certain that there had been a tiger stripe pattern. All of this added to the fact that we were dealing with a higher level Acolyte Prowler. And only Michael had any weapons.
We caught another glimpse of the figure in about thirty seconds and started making our way towards it. As we were going Michael pressed a small cube into my hand. It started unraveling in a thread that entered my hand. As it did so, his voice played in my head.
"Peter, you don't have any weapons and you suck at magic so listen to me very carefully. Whenever you want to cast a spell you will use a circle start. Your mental capabilities haven't grown to the point required to accurately wield magic on the fly so the circle you form will keep your spell within set parameters. This method has two drawbacks. It takes preparation if you are going to use one without using magic, or if you use magic to create a circle without carving it out or crafting one it takes a little bit more than usual. The second drawback is that your opponent can always read the circle and then they know what the spell will be. You can always call out the spell as well, but I suggest learning an obscure language for that so that they can't just listen to you and understand what you are saying. Now how to make a circle..." I listened to his instructions and later thanked him for his ingenuity as we had gotten close enough to our target that his voice would have alerted them.
It was approximately three seconds after his instructions had finished the crowd suddenly dissipated and our target had pulled out two knives. They were made of a dark, smooth, material and seemed to suck the light out of the world. As if it fell into an endless black hole. We were standing at another intersection and I started in surprise to notice that there were four of them standing on every corner. I turned, cautious not to draw attention to find three more approaching Michael and I. They passed by and stood next to the first each holding two of those dark knives.
For some reason I felt a sense of purpose guiding me away from the area, I had to fight it and guessed that was the reason the crowds were leaving the area. I noticed that we were now starting to get looks from the Prowlers on the other, now vacant corners. They were whispering to each other and pointing to us. I looked to Michael to find he was pretending to study something on the ground. I wobbled over to where he was standing and looked at it too. He had scrawled into the ground using magic, "SHHH! We're pigeons! Act like one!" I flapped my arms for a second then tilted my head and blinked. He gave me a quick thumbs up and then motioned behind me.
A single vehicle was approaching the booby trapped intersection on a now vacant street. The driver either didn't notice or didn't care and was enjoying the lack of traffic on a sleek sport motorcycle. It had the A.S.F. logo was emblazoned on the front left side and on the right was a crest of a falcon about to strike. As soon as he came into the center square of the intersection there was an explosion of actions.
First a large box appeared around the area sealing us inside. Second a blast of air forced the man driver off of the motorcycle. As the Prowlers quite literally jumped on him to stab him I slammed my hands down on the ground and, using the circle technique created a force-field out of electricity to keep them off the driver. Unfortunately I had only specified that it keep the Prowlers away. They quickly threw their knives inside the field and turned on Michael and I drawing swords from within their cloaks. Bad news for me, I had no weapons at all, good news though, Michael already had it covered. In a smooth motion he moved a single pointed finger up from the ground making a thin line in the air that suddenly split the air showing an armory. Seven men stepped out dressed in green and gold fade cloaks. They drew bows and let fly an insane barrage of arrows. "Pete catch!" I turned to see Michael poking through his armory and throwing me a belt knife and a sword already attached to a belt. I quickly put on the belt and drew the sword.
By this time the Prowlers had recovered from the sudden arrival of adversaries and had begun to exploit the number advantage they had on us. In a swift motion they surrounded Michael and the archers. I examined the area, three Prowlers were on the ground with arrows in them. That left ten surrounding Michael's eight and three headed straight for me. I raised my right hand forward and created a circle large enough to move through. I walked through and was covered in a suit of grey armor that would at prevent any fatal blows from the Prowler's blades. Unfortunately that had burnt my magical store and all I had left was enough to use one Flash Bolt (Cool name huh? I decided I should name my single shot lightning bolts, it sounded pretty epic at the time.)so instead of firing one off I decided to keep it surrounding my left hand. And so, with a sword in my right hand and my left coursing with electricity I engaged three Prowlers.
They were approaching in a delta pattern. I ducked the leader's swing to deliver an uppercut with my left fist that would keep his nerves rattled enough to prevent any meaningful actions for a few precious seconds. With a portion of the electricity spent I put both hands back on my blade to block the other two who had flanked me and were attacking from behind. I had to twist my body to the right and step in that direction. Blocking a cut to my head and narrowly avoiding disembowelment. He still nicked my side but with my adrenaline pumping I hardly felt the wound except for the sting of the darkness that was contained within the blades. I swung high at the closest Prowler and when he ducked I shoved my left fist in his face and delivered a lethal dose of electricity.
Unfortunately I had left myself open and had to sacrifice my left bracer in order to block the second Prowler's incoming chop. I later thanked myself for foresight in strengthening my bracers. My side was beginning to burn now but I pressed on towards my attacker. With a sharp kick to the ol' nut sack. He doubled over and I drove my sword through his gut. I let go of the sword just in time to use my right bracer to block a swing from the final Prowler who had now recovered from the nerve strike.
My arms were now numb, my sword was gone and my side felt like it was on fire. I shakily drew my belt knife and steadied it at my foe. He smiled and my vision began to fade to black, I shook my head violently, I have to stay awake. I heard fighting and realized that the Prowlers had received reinforcements as well. I checked to see how much mu I had regenerated and it wasn't enough to kill my opponent. While checking I discovered another power source I could tap into, in the blade of my knife was a glowing purple crystal. I decided I was going to use its' power for defense if I needed it.
Before I could do anything though my opponent spoke, pulling back his hood, he had a smooth moderate voice, perfect for soothing and manipulating. "I find myself facing a worthy opponent. I underestimated you with your electric shock. I did not think an opponent of your magical caliber would think of something such as that." His face was shockingly pale. He had hair the color of pitch and dark eyes that released a faint glow. "Why don't you join us? Your friends will soon fall to the Over Watch team. The veterans like to ensure mission success, besides we can heal your side, in your condition I wouldn't even have to touch you and you would die."
I didn't even think about it, "No." Fighting the pain and darkness I lunged at him and he made a tsk-tsk noise. "Now I'll have to kill you. You aren't very bright are you?" I shrugged and smiled, "Guess not." Then I remembered something, something that proved my opponent to be an amateur as well, we weren't fighting with the enhanced capabilities that exposure to magic grants. I flipped the mental switch in my head and felt the world slow. I vomited as a wave of nausea washed over me. I fell to the ground as the Prowler walked over in slow motion. I drew all the power from the knife to find a massive store inside.
On a side note I should first explain, when wielding magic you get a different feeling depending on the element. Fire makes you feel warm and comfortable and electricity makes you energetic. But what was in the knife was vast, and...alien. It felt like a veritable ocean of power, and when it flowed through me it burned. My brain felt like it was on fire and it took all my strength to keep it from consuming me. I felt both ancient and new at the same time, eternal, yet temporary. I looked at the wound in my side and just simply willed it away. I felt the world altering as the existence of me even having a wound was erased from time. Now that I didn't have a wound I was standing, holding my sword and knife facing a wary, but frozen Prowler. I moved towards him and swung my sword. The blade cut clean through but frozen in time the head didn't move. By this time the effort to hold on to the power was almost too much to bear so I released it.
I fell to the ground with sheer exhaustion. The battle was took another minute to wrap up but in the end Michael and three of the green soldiers were standing. They had taken a prisoner as well. I gave a start as a warm hand gently touched my shoulder. Nicole and Luna were standing behind me with concern on their faces.