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.

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The Fall of New Brooklyn, Day One, 12:45pm

By JKolasch

“We need to lower the Damp Fields.  For whatever reason, they’ve been altered to allow magical use within them, but they still prevent magic from entering them.  Right now, we’re giving the Soulless perfect bases of operation.”

Fin and the other Conduits were sitting in the large auditorium at command.  It was a large briefing, where the higher ups were trying to decide how to handle what could quickly become all out war.  This was an unusual meeting, beyond the reemergence of the Soulless.  For the first time that anyone could remember members of the mundane police and military forces were present.  And right now, they were arguing with the head of the Conduits, Magister Rochester.

Magister Rochester shook his head.  “We don’t even know how the Damp Fields have been altered.  I understand your concern, General, but we need to investigate.”

“Investigate?  You want to investigate?”  General Matthias slammed his fist on the giant, oval oak table the leaders were sitting at.  “We’re on the brink of a war that few of us are equipped to fight!  Your Conduits stand the best chance.  The rest of us might as well be throwing rocks and sticks at the Soulless.”

“I can understand the desire to investigate, Magister.  But I have to agree with the General.”  Commissioner Wallace had been sitting quietly.  “But, my officers were the first responders.”  He glanced over at Fin.  “Perhaps with one exception.  And, I believe, that we should hear what that exception has to say.”

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Rise, Rise – Chapter One

By JKolasch

His cigarette was burning low.  He took the final drag and flicked the cigarette into the street, watching the last metro bus of the night drive by.  Blowing out the smoke, he looked up at the large house in front of him.  He didn’t want to be here.  He fumbled in the pocket of his cloak for another cigarette, but the package turned up empty.

“It’s bad for you anyway,” whispered a light seductive voice.

He smiled slightly, the hint of oak trees filling his nose.  “Not as bad as this Halloween party idea of yours.”

He turned and found himself face to face with a stunningly beautiful woman.  Her brilliant green eyes gleamed in the moonlight, and her bark brown hair wafted down over her shoulders.

Her smile was radiant.  “It’s good for you to get out and actually see the humans you spend so much time saving.”

He laughed and looked back to the house.  “You just want the chance to show off your clothes.”  He smiled back at her and shook his head.  “I’ll never understand a dryad that actually enjoys wearing clothing.”

She laughed and bounced over to the door.  “Well, you ready, Mr. Savior?”

“Nope.”

“Oh good!” She threw open the door and waltzed in.

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The Fall of New Brooklyn, Day One, 10:17am

By JKolasch

Fin slipped back into his dirty, torn, and burned clothes.  The nurses and doctors had made short work of healing Fin, using their unique blend of science and magic to regrow his skin.  All that remained from the Thief’s attack was a long, pale scar.  A nurse walked in, smiled at Fin, and unhooked him from his IV.

“As I’m sure the doctor already told you, everything checks out.  Your skin grew back just fine, and there’s no permanent damage.  You had lost quite a bit of blood, but the transfusion worked.”

Fin rubbed his hand where the IV needle had been, and nodded.  “Thanks, I appreciate it.”

“Well, if the rumors are true, we’ll need all of our Conduits ready to fight.  Your other Conduits are in the waiting room.  You’re all set to go.”

Fin stood up, wondering briefly at her comment, but he was ready to get back to Grace and Xander and head back, so they could get a full report of what was happening in New Brooklyn.  “Thanks again.”

The nurse nodded at him, writing in a chart, as he walked out of the room.  Fin walked down the white halls, sidestepping scrambling nurses and doctors.  The sound of paper, feet, and voices echoed down the halls, as the medical staff read through charts.  Fin caught bits and pieces of conversations as he headed toward the waiting room.

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The One Hundred Fears of Brandon Jacobus, Fear One – An early preview.

By JKolasch

“No one asked you.” Brandon Jacobus sat up and stared at the smoldering tobacco pipe in his hand.

“I don’t think you understood…”

Brandon cutoff the pipe. “No, I understood you just fine. I said no one asked you.” Brandon tapped the pipe into an ashtray and started packing it with fresh tobacco. “I don’t care what you think you saw in Nigeria. Zombies don’t exist. Never have.”

“Whether you call it a zombie or not, it was eating that man’s brain.” The pipe let out a puff indignant smoke as Brandon touched a match to the tobacco. 

Brandon sighed, sliding his legs off the edge of the bed. “Just because it was eating someone’s brain doesn’t make it a zombie.”

“Sure.” The pipe seemed to sigh, embers glowing as Brandon inhaled. “Fine, not a zombie. Still, eating brains…”

“All manner of creatures eat brains.” The spellbook had remained silent until now. “Real creatures,” it said, before the pipe could say anything else. 

“Right.” Brandon puffed on the pipe, smoke swirling through his long beard. “This is something very real. The police just don’t know what they stumbled on. We’ll need to get moving before this creature claims one of them as its next meal.” Brandon tapped the pipe in the ashtray, perhaps a little harder than necessary. “Don’t even say it. Again, not a zombie!”

The Fall of New Brooklyn, Day One, 9:07am

By JKolasch

Fin woke to a feeling like being submerged in an ice bath.  It crept across his wound, starting in his leg, creeping across his chest, and then chilling his arm, causing him to gasp for air.  He opened his eyes, and was greeted by silver eyes fading back to violet.

“I told you to get out of here, you jackass.”

Fin smiled weakly.  “I missed you too, Grace.”

“You’re just lucky we got here when we did.  Accelerating your body like while wounded?  You almost bled out.”

Fin pushed himself onto his elbows resisting Grace’s attempts to push him back down.  “It was either that or let the Thief kill me.  I took my chances.”

“If you had left when you were ordered to, you wouldn’t be in this mess.”

Fin ignored Grace.  “When did you guys get here?”

“Right after you chopped that Thief in half with some crazy ash sword and passed out,” a gruff voice responded.

“That’s just like you, Xander.  Always showing up late to the party.”

Xander guffawed, slapping Fin’s back causing pain to shoot across his wounds.

“How’d you think of the ash sword, anyway?  Did ya know it would work?”

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The Fall of New Brooklyn, Day One, 8:47am

by JKolasch

Fin stood in the middle of the street, watching the ash fall.  Cars were covered, like a fine powder from a first snow, and muffled sounds made their way to Fin’s ears.  The ringing kept the screams and sirens far away.  Moments ago, an explosion had torn through the quiet city block, shattering the morning routine.  Spilled coffee cups littered the sidewalk, kicked aside by scuffles in the ash from people running.  The concussive force had startled cars; the alarms and flashing lights dancing amongst the muted white.  Fin brushed ash from his coat, smearing it grey instead of black, and he started walking toward the people running.  Reaching down to his hip, he grasped the hilt of his sword, silver eyes scanning the street for signs of the explosion.  He walked silently past the screaming and running people; police and military would be here soon enough to offer them aid.  Right now, he needed to find where the explosion originated, and determine if it was a magical or mundane event.

“Sir!  Stop right there!  I need you to slowly turn around and identify yourself!”

Fin stopped.  He held his hands away from his body and slowly turned around.  A young police officer had a gun leveled at him.  “My name is Greyson Fin.  I’m a Conduit.”

The gun dropped, but was leveled again almost immediately.  “Do you have your credentials?”

Fin smiled.  “Of course.  Just put the gun down.  I’m sure people need our help, after the explosion.  I still need to try and determine the source.”

The officer shook his head.  “I can’t do that, sir.  I need to see your credentials.  If you are a Conduit, why did you respond so quickly?  This section is under a Damp Field.  There’s no way you could have gotten here so quickly.”

Continue reading “The Fall of New Brooklyn, Day One, 8:47am”
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