The Fall of New Brooklyn, Day Two, 5:47pm

By JKolasch

The command room was a flurry of activity.  Soldiers, Conduits, and police were running back and forth between the General, Commissioner, and Magister.  Live satellite feeds, maps, videos, and Damp Field indicators flickered across the screens.  In the middle of the room, the leaders gathered around a large desk, a digital map of New Brooklyn sprawling across it, with dozens of red lines running outside of the city.

“It’s too late to think about evacuation.  Over half the city is dark, and skirmishes are everywhere.  Every time one ends, another pops up somewhere.  Those pale bastards are everywhere.”

“Then what do you suggest we do, General?  Allow civilians to be massacred with no hope?  No chance?”  Commissioner Wallace’s arms were crossed tightly over his heavily decorated jacket.

General Matthias tapped on the screen, and pulled up a feed of New Harlem.  It was desolate and barren.  Burning rubble and debris filled the screen.  So did bodies.  Arms, legs, hands.  Not attached to anything.  Carnage and blood littered the ruined section.

“I know what happened in New Harlem, General.  Why are you showing me this?”  Wallace covered his mouth with his hand and turned away.

“That,” Matthias said, switching from feed to feed, showing more and more death and carnage, “was a victory.  The Conduits won there, remember?”  He glowered at Magister Rochester.

Continue reading “The Fall of New Brooklyn, Day Two, 5:47pm”

Rise, Rise – Chapter Six

By JKolasch

The cigarette was bitter in his mouth.  It had become harder and harder for him to enjoy his one, simple pleasure in his eternal life.  He sighed, looking over the top of the neighboring buildings, and took another drag, trying to drown his lungs in smoke.  Even though it was snowing lightly, it was warm on the roof of the apartment building.

Demons had been slipping into the world with frightening increases in activity.  Even the mortal world was slowly becoming aware that something was going on.  Xanthiilus watched the fifth patrol drive along the road several stories below him.  He sat on the ledge of an apartment building he had visited only a few weeks ago.  The patrol car had slowed to a stop a short distance away.  The last four had as well.  This was happening all over the city: increased patrols, the sense they were looking for something even though they were unsure of what it was.

Xanthiilus grimaced and flicked the cigarette into empty space.  He watched it fall, sparks trailing in a spiral.  It flared briefly with life before landing on the pavement below; small flakes of fire burst around it and died.

Continue reading “Rise, Rise – Chapter Six”

The Fall of New Brooklyn, Day Two, 1:23pm

By JKolasch

“Is this real?” Grace was sitting next to Fin, flipping through the delicate pages of the book.  She brushed a stray, blonde strand of hair aside, tucking it behind her ear.

“It looks so old.”  Xander scratched at a page, bits of parchment and ink flaking onto his chipped fingernail.  “It wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t real, though.  The archivists are very particular about what they keep in here.”

The illustration of the pale figure with flaming red hair stared at them from the page.  Fin could feel the coldness of those black eyes staring into him, the same half smile as it had created a Thief out of the ash and vanished.  “It is strange.  There are creatures and magics I’ve never heard of.  And the Soulless are right here with them.”

Grace’s brows furrowed.  “How did this get into the archives?  Different magic?  There aren’t any other kinds of magic.  Just us.”

Xander grunted, sitting down.  He pulled the book toward him.  “Well, let’s see what it says, and if anything lines up with what we do know.”

“Here.”  Fin pointed.  “The Soulless are former humans, typically Conduits, that used Soul magic.”

Xander shrugged.  “Everyone knows that.  Wait, what the hell is this?”  He pulled the book over.  “There’s a note in the margin: Soul magic.  What a bloody twisted sack of lies.  They wanted people to burn their souls.

Continue reading “The Fall of New Brooklyn, Day Two, 1:23pm”

Rise, Rise – Chapter Five

By JKolasch

It was snowing.  Those nice big, fluffy snowflakes that make the world suddenly seem so peaceful.  Xanthiilus was walking in a park, the fresh snow crunching softly under his boots.  He glanced around, his silver eyes taking in as many details as they could.  He was almost completely alone.  There was a jogger ahead of him, and a couple sitting on a bench farther along.  It was a fairly open park, with trees spread sparsely around the walkway.  The playground was quiet, and had collected a fair amount of snow.  Even though he was in love with a dryad and had lived for thousands of years, nature never ceased to amaze Xan.  It had just started snowing a few hours ago, and already there was a good five inches on the ground.  He stopped in the middle of the path, and listened to the silence.  He reached into his cloak, and grabbed his pack of cigarettes.  He smiled, looking into it.  He had picked up a fresh pack on his way to the park.  He pulled one out and put it in his mouth while he searched his cloak for a lighter.  A frown crossed his face.  He couldn’t find his lighter.  With a sigh, he glanced around the park.  The jogger was far gone now, and the couple looked like they best not be interrupted.

“Wish I had a light.”  Xan reached for the unlit cigarette, just as the tip burst into flame.  He barely had time to react.  In one fluid movement, he drew his sword and dove off the path, feeling the heat from the blazing fireball as it roared past.  He looked up just in time to see a tree explode into flame.

Continue reading “Rise, Rise – Chapter Five”

The Fall of New Brooklyn, Day Two, 8:29am

By JKolasch

Xander was sitting behind a mountain of books.  His scarred face peeked out as Grace and Fin walked into the archives.

“About time you two showed up.  I was wondering if I was going to have to read all of these on my own.”

“Did you find anything?” Grace asked, plopping down into an overstuffed chair.

“Well, did you know that the first Conduits were chosen to battle the Soulless?”

Fin sat down in a chair next to Grace.  “Uh, yeah.  We learned about that in school.  Long before we were tested to see if we could become Conduits.”

Feigned shock spread across Xander’s face.  “What?  We did?  I must’ve been sick that day!”

They continued to joke around and laugh for a bit, before settling into serious reading and browsing.  Occasionally, one of them would get the attention of the others, but most of their discoveries seemed to only be dead ends.  They were momentarily interrupted when the archive clerk brought them all lunch.  After thanking her, they ate silently, pouring through book after book.  They neared the end of their stack of books without finding anything of value.

Continue reading “The Fall of New Brooklyn, Day Two, 8:29am”

Rise, Rise – Chapter Four

By JKolasch

Xanthiilus was sitting by Saleena’s tree, trying to read a book.  It was one of those vampire books that the people of this era loved.  He never understood them.  These people simply did not know anything about the other world, the one he lived in.  Honestly, garlic?  He took a deep breath, relaxing.  The Soulthief was still fresh on his mind, and he enjoyed the limited amount of leisure time he had.  The warehouse they lived in was large, and half of it was dedicated to Saleena’s forest, dominated by her large oak in the center.  The other half was Xan’s living area, although he and Saleena slept in both areas equally.  Sometimes they liked the bed, and other times the soft forest floor was pleasant.  He tried to get back into the book again, but he was distracted by the frolicking Saleena.  She was beautiful, as always.  Her almond colored skin was smooth, almost creamy looking.  She was radiant this close to her tree.  He enjoyed her like this, naked and free in her nature.  Xan smiled, remembering their awkward meeting.

It had been several thousand years ago at this very spot.  The War of Darkness had ended.  Xanthiilus had just joined the order, but had already proven to be one of the most powerful members.  So, he had been one of several chosen to guard one of the seals.  The seals were scattered throughout the world, to better ensure that they wouldn’t be breached.  Each seal served as a lock to a prison of sorts.  The strongest of the order were chosen to guard the seals, with the aid of a dryad.  Xanthiilus had been nervous, stories of dryads filling his head.  He had heard they could be cruel, cold, aloof, and demanding.  His heart was racing when she walked in.  The others that were there to seal the ritual had told him nothing, save that a dryad was required to finish the binding magic.  And he was to guard them both.  Xan had accepted.  It was his duty to protect.  His heart stopped when he saw her.  She was all the beauty of nature concentrated into that single, nude female form.  His heart skipped into beating when she spoke.

“Hello, Xanthiilus.  I’m Saleena.  Looks like we’re getting married!” Her voice was full of laughter and the sound of wind singing through autumn leaves.  Her eyes gleamed with an alluring playfulness.

Continue reading “Rise, Rise – Chapter Four”

The Fall of New Brooklyn, Day Two, 7:42am

By JKolasch

Fin woke to silence.  He lay in bed, staring at the white ceiling.  It was a small room, white walls and white carpet.  His blankets and sheets were white.  In the corner was a small black marble desk next to a black dresser.  There were no windows in the Conduits rooms; the quarters were located within the command building, using the surrounding building as protection against outside attacks.  His alarm clock told him it was morning.  He stretched, his body tensing against the strain of yesterday.  A thin, pale scar crossed him, a reminder of his fight against the Thief.  A soft knock at the door startled him, and he sat up.

“Fin?  Are you awake?” Grace’s voice drifted through the door.

“Yeah, what’s up, Grace?”

The door opened, allowing Grace to slip inside, and it shut again.  “How are you feeling?”

“Sore.  But alive.  Trying to wrap my head around what all happened yesterday.  And what today will bring.”

Grace was dressed in the black of the Conduits, the silver crossed sword and lightning bolt embroidered across her breast.  Her blonde hair half hid her face, leaving a violet eye to peer at Fin.  “There were a few more skirmishes last night.  The Damp Fields over Central Park and Queens fell.”

“We’re not going to be able to hold the city are we?”

Continue reading “The Fall of New Brooklyn, Day Two, 7:42am”

Rise, Rise – Chapter Three

By JKolasch

Maryanne lived alone in an old rundown apartment building.  The bricks were faded, and the fire escapes were almost a certain death if one tried to actually use them.  Her apartment was cozy enough, though.  She took joy in the simple decorations she had.  Plants abounded in the apartment, as did pictures of cute animals and stuffed bears.  She lived alone, but she never felt like it.  Her pictures and stuffed animals were company enough for her.  She stood in the bathroom, in front of the mirror, adding the finishing touches to her burgundy hair before she went out tonight.  She didn’t have a date, but there was a bar she enjoyed going to; they always played good music.  Maryanne was adjusting a bobby pin, making sure it was in the right place when a flash of white streaked down the mirror behind her.  She spun around, her heart racing, and she looked around frantically.  Nothing was there, save the doorway leading into her sparsely furnished living room.  There was the sofa, coffee table, and television that almost never saw use.

“Hello?” she whispered to the empty room.

Hearing nothing, she turned back to the mirror to finish her hair.  With a chilling scream, she spun around, her eyes wide and the blood draining from her face.

“Hello?” Her voice could barely be heard and her rapid breathing misted out in front of her face.  She had been so certain of what she saw.

Continue reading “Rise, Rise – Chapter Three”

The Fall of New Brooklyn, Day One, 3:24pm

By JKolasch

Fin sat in a plush, overstuffed leather chair, waiting outside of Magister Rochester’s office.  The reception room was fairly large, filled with twenty or so of the same chairs.  There were several paintings on the walls, abstract pieces that mainly consisted of splashes of red and black paint.  In the center of the wooden floor was a large circle of dark marble, inlaid with the silver insignia of the Conduits.  The large, double oak doors to the Magister’s office clicked open, and Xander and Grace walked out.  Their faces were taut, lips thin and straight, and their eyes were distant.

“How’d it go? Fin asked.

Xander shook his head, and he and Grace left the room.

“Conduit Grayson Fin, please, come in.”  Magister Rochester’s voice was flat, neutral.

Fin stood and walked through the double doors.  They closed silently, except for the soft click of the latch.  The Magister’s office was just as impressive as the reception room, only slightly larger.  Bookshelves lined the wall, filled with books of all sorts.  There were books on old wars, books on the theory and practice of magic and science.  There were even recreational books, like the popular series Moonlight.

“Have a seat, Fin.”  The magister motioned to more of the overstuffed leather chairs.  They were arranged in a half circle, facing the immense, car-sized, black marble desk.  It had the Conduits insignia inlaid in silver in the front.

Fin shifted his sword, and sat down.  “Sir.”

“Do you know why you’re here?”

Fin leveled his grey eyes at the Magister.  “I disobeyed you.  And insulted you in front of the mundane forces and the other Conduits.”

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Rise, Rise – Chapter Two

By JKolasch

Xanthiilus tossed and turned in bed, dreams brutally attacking his mind with vicious determination and clarity.  The memory had burned itself wholly into Xan’s mind, and replayed itself vividly with startling accuracy.  He was back in London, shortly after the Reformation.  He had been wandering the streets late one night, leaving the monastery he was a monk of.  The silver phoenix amulet glimmered and caught the flickering lamplight eerily.  He was a member of a secret order that masqueraded as a well respected religious brotherhood.  He had been ordered to patrol the streets, for his order was charged with protecting the citizens of the world from creatures of darkness.  He was low in the ranks, and was being punished for questioning his superior’s orders.  He had been ordered to patrol without any weapons.

He tugged his robes tighter about him.  It was cold, and raining just enough to make things unpleasantly damp.  He turned into a dark alley, almost hypnotized by the faint slap, slap of his sandals on the wet stones.  He stopped abruptly, pulling his hood down.  His long black hair was loose, and hung around his shoulders.  He peered into the darkness of the alley ahead.  He heard a faint sound of a girl laughing and her moans of pleasure.  He frowned, wondering about people doing that outside on a night like this.  He started tugging his hood back up and began to turn around.  He let his hood drop back and he stared back into the darkness in disbelief.

“No…it can’t be…” he whispered, lips barely moving.  His eyes slowly filled with a dim silver gleam.

Continue reading “Rise, Rise – Chapter Two”
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