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.”

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

Negative Space Department – A story.

The adjusters of the NSD work tirelessly, day and night, to restore Negative Space. They put their lives on the line for us every time they respond to Negative Space.  These are their untold stories.

Grayson shook the dust from his black felt trench coat.  The NSR was not responding well to normal positive stimuli.  He had just tried reading Dr. Glabberstone’s positive reinforcement treatise on every space having a purpose.  Instead of adjusting the Negative Space Resident, the treatise had only angered it.

        “Look, next time you don’t like what I say, just say so.  You don’t have to drop the ceiling on my head.” Grayson slipped the leather-bound book of positive reinforcement treatises back into his black felt satchel.  He reached in front of one of the cameramen lying on the floor, whom he could only assume was trying to get a more dramatic shot, and scooped up his black felt fedora, brushing it off before jamming it back on his blonde head.  “You could just make this easy on the both of us and leave.  Let me adjust the Negative Space and be on my way.”

Continue reading “Negative Space Department – A story.”

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.

Continue reading “The Fall of New Brooklyn, Day One, 2:13pm”

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”

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.

Continue reading “Rise, Rise – Chapter One”

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.

Continue reading “The Fall of New Brooklyn, Day One, 10:17am”
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