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.

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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.”

Continue reading “The Fall of New Brooklyn, Day One, 3:24pm”

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”

The Fall of New Brooklyn, Day One, 3:07pm

By JKolasch

“What the hell were you thinking, Fin?”

Fin felt his head being picked up, warm hands cradling his face, and then the back of his head was resting against Grace’s soft thighs.  “I had to save them.  I had to…”

“You could have turned into one of them!”  Grace’s voice was angry, but she was gently stroking his hair.

“Are they okay?”

He felt Grace sigh, his head gently rocking.  Bursts of gunfire reached his ears, and he could hear the whirling rotors of helicopters.

“Damn it, Fin.  Why do you care so much?”

“I took an oath…”

Grace’s hands trembled.  “Enough of your damn oath!  It’s not worth your life!”

Fin looked up, starting into Grace’s violet eyes.  Her hair had fallen around her face.  The way the sun glimmered through her blonde hair, she almost looked like she was in a golden cage.  Fin shifted, slowly sitting up, letting Grace’s hands fall away.  “If it’s not worth my life, then what’s the point?  Who else can fight for these people, if not the Conduits?  We were chosen to wield this power; it would be selfish to keep it to ourselves.”

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The Fall of New Brooklyn, Day One, 2:13pm

By JKolasch

The helicopter flew low, sweeping between buildings and fighting against updrafts that were swelling from the fires burning in Harlem.  Fin watched the streets.  People were out of their cars, pointing towards the pillars of black smoke.  Sirens filled the air from emergency vehicles weaving through the stalled traffic, snaking toward Harlem.

A voice cut over the radio, “ETA, 30 seconds.  We’re going in hot.  Be ready to bail.”

“If you guys can cover our exit, we’ll get grounded and protect your retreat,” Fin yelled back to the pilot.

“Negative, sir.  We’re not going anywhere.”

Fin looked around at the rest of the soldiers.  They wore grim faces, but their eyes were steeled.  They gripped their guns a little tighter, and got ready for the landing.

“Understood.  We’ll get grounded and provide support while you guys get clear.”  Fin unsheathed his sword and waited.

“Approaching clearing.  Get ready…  Now!”

Fin leapt from the chopper, sword stretched out in front of him.  His coat trailed behind him, billowing like a dark cloud.  The ground raced toward him, magical projectiles and bullets racing back and forth across the clearing below him.  He landed, sword point first in the ground.  A blast of energy erupted from him, arresting his fall, as the shockwave ripped through the ground scattering debris.  He felt a shock wave wash over him from the right, and then the left.  Xander and Grace had landed.

Fin spun around, pointing, a brilliant beam of light shooting from his sword.  He opened his hand, and the beam turned into a wall, shoving Soulless tumbling down broken buildings.  Similar blasts of energy came from Xander’s and Grace’s swords.  Fin touched the diamond on his sword.

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The Fall of New Brooklyn, Day One, 1:57pm

By JKolasch

The auditorium exploded into a flurry of activity.  General Matthias and Commissioner Wallace were on their phones, shouting at their people trying to figure out what was happening in Harlem.  Magister Rochester talked to the Conduit that had rushed in; his sword hilt held by white knuckles.

“What’s going on in Harlem?” Magister Rochester asked.

The Conduit shook his head.  “No one’s been responding, Magister.  All communication has ceased since the Field fell.”

“Keep trying.  We need to know what’s happening there.”  Magister Rochester waved the Conduit away.  “General, Commissioner, do your men have any eyes or ears in Harlem?”

Commissioner Wallace was still on the phone, and he simply shook his head.

“We’ve lost communications as well.  We’re tasking a satellite to get a visual.  It’ll be in position in thirty seconds.”  General Matthias returned to barking orders at his phone.  “We need eyes on!  Do we have any birds in the area?  Well get them over there!”

Fin, Xander, and Grace fought their way through the churning turmoil of Conduits, soldiers, and police officers to get to the command table.  No one had left the room yet.  They seemed hesitant to leave.  Each Damp Field in the city had been attacked by a Soulless, but they had left the fields and been off the radar for a while.  And now, an entire sector is dark?  No one was saying, but everyone was thinking it.  The Soulless had gathered.

Continue reading “The Fall of New Brooklyn, Day One, 1:57pm”
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