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MAGE 20 - The Tomorrow Unknown - By Moonlight Pale and Blue

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Cade snapped out of his surprise faster than the others, and nodded.  "Let's go."   Any other time he'd not have bothered with it, but he quickly found Radu, and bowed his head slightly in respect.  "Events have transpired that require the presence of my friends and I at home.  We thank you for your gracious hospitality, sir, and understanding."

Radu bid him goodbye, certain that they'd cross paths again, which Cade didn't particularly like, but time was of the essence, more than ever.  At the head of the group of Magi, he led them out to the van, exactly where Simon had said it would be, and hustled everyone inside.  "Let's go, we can try to make some sort of plan on the way home." 

Simon's words haunted his mind, even as he started the engine, ready to get home, and get to the truth of whatever the hell was going on.  

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Always preferring to be doing something rather than nothing, Kaitlin was in ready agreement about leaving their impromptu club tour. Radu seemed regretful that she was leaving, his eyes lingering appreciatively but not intrusively, and the tall, young woman awkwardly gave her farewells. She preferred older men, it was true. Since her magically enhanced puberty, she'd gone from looking younger than her age to somewhat older, and older men tended to be more confident hooking up with a woman who was usually taller, fitter, and stronger than they were.

But Radu looked to be more twice her age and who knows how old he really was. Oh, and he was a fucking vampire!

Kaitlin claimed shotgun and climbed into the passenger seat next to Cade. She pulled off her strappy, high heeled sandals and stretched - she might be able to maneuver well enough in heels, but she wanted her bare feet for what might be coming next. Cade couldn't help but notice the muscles rippling in her long, strong legs.

"We ain't going home yet - we're going back to the Atlantis Plantation," Kaitlin corrected, amber eyes bright and body tense and taut. "Akemi suggested we talk to Not-Anson and from what Simon said, that room Equinox showed us below the plantation seems like it's Mather's prison or where he's trapped." Her lips grew into a tight, contemplative frown.

"Simon says we can't kill each other," she says, then adds in a mutter, "with Magick at least." Her voices rises back to a volume that everyone in the van can hear clearly. "And Mia can't seem to spy on us with Magick, either. But that doesn't mean she doesn't have access to any security feeds or anticipates where we're heading. It's night now - I say we park some distance from the Atlantis Plantation and hike in overland on foot."

She seems annoyed that direct confrontation doesn't appear to be a viable option, but eager to be prowling about, her eyes narrowing with feral intensity. "And in the spirit of preparation, just in case Mia is one, anyone know what the hell a Nephandus is?" After a moment, her lips quirk in a crooked grin, and she adds, "and what the hell Simon is, if 'what Mages fear' and his talk of agreements and contracts is a clue?"

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"I'll tell you what I've heard," Triessa offers. She has a big grin on her face, clearly enjoying herself in the course of all the madness. "But...can I just say how AMAZING this all is?! I mean, I've met mages who get all, 'oh oh oh, I know the secret of magic, I've stared into the heart of the universe and now everything is just so DULL,' but that is so NOT what we're about and that's great!"

Catching the looks on the faces of the others, she cleared her throat and toned it down a notch. "Anyway, nephandi are supposed to be mages who got...infected kind of, by the Abyss. I mean, you know the thing that stands between this world and the Towers? So one of the mages i learned form called it the Abyss. And sometimes mages...fall to it. I mean, probably not literally...but maybe...but like Nietzche said, when you stare into it, it's also staring into you? It's like they lose their souls, and it gets replaced with...that. Or that's what he said."

Triessa shrugs. "I never saw one, so I can't give a firsthand account. And he was...prone to arguably overdramatic descriptions of things. But basically they're insane, homicidal mages."

"As for Simon, I dunno! Paradox spirit maybe?"

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Akemi is wondering what Triessa is talking about, what are these Towers she speaks of? She addresses Kaitlin.

"They are Fallen mages, Kaitlin, they serve Oblivion. Before you ask, Oblivion is entropy itself, a constantly churning force of destruction and madness from which there is no return. Some mages sell themselves, their souls or avatars if you will, for power. The power which they, in turn, use only for destruction, seeking the end of everything. Yes, they are mad but in the way of the sociopath, don't think they are insane and non-functional. They can be or appear at least as normal as you or I, or as Ms. Vail. A single Naphandi should prove no more difficult for the likes of us to handle, however, Naphandi are seldom if ever alone."

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Kaitlin slumped back in her seat, frowning as she watched the landscape flowing past them, considering. So Nephandi were corrupted mages or whatever. Maybe Mia was planning on wresting control of the Atlantis Plantation and Astrarium House, twisting their power to her ends - there was obviously power there. Or maybe Mia was just susceptible to the influence of the Nephandi and Anson had been trying to shield her from them... and failed. Whatever the case, they didn't know enough now, but perhaps they'd find out more at the Atlantis Plantation.

"Don't know if Mia is one of these Nephandi or not. Yeah, we hardly know her, but she really doesn't seem like she has many - or any - friends, or, what? Minions? Guess we'll have to stay alert and hope Not-Anson and Mather can shed some light on her motives."

 

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Cade drove on, mostly in silence.  "Paradox spirits are feared by virtually every mage.  Only the most powerful can hope to delay or possibly defeat one.  I must wonder though as to why one would be  a party to whatever bargain was struck, and I worry more about what part of said bargain was nullified, and how it will affect us.  Did any of you notice just how easy it was to use your magic before?  What if that too is part of this?   I mean honestly I cannot imagine the level of power Mia has to have to have done what she did to us, without fear of backlash, because clearly she'd not have done it just on a whim if she had such fear."

"Nothing any of us have seen.  Now though, who knows what's waiting for us."

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As they drive on toward the plantation they discuss the probabilities of Mia beng a Naphandi but after a while and realization that it is all conjecture, the mages lapse into silence.

"Akemi, who had been slightly irked at Kaitlin's jumping into the front seat beside Cade, had been watching the road behind them. Several times she thought she had seen a car  without lights following them. But she wasn't sure. "Cade," She leans forward between the two front seats, "it may be nothing, but i think we are being followed."

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Cade sighed and adjusted the rearview mirror so he could see the lights following them, and noted that he could see nothing.  'I cannot see anything.  Can one of you look into the minds of whoever is behind us and see if any of them have ill intentions on us.  I'm going to continue driving normally for now, to not arouse suspicions."

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"Sure. This normally requires contact, but I'll see what I can do."

Reaching to his jagged stone pendant, Montrose squeezed it between his hands. The skin of his palm broke slightly and he used the pain of his actions to loosen his perceptions from his body, trying to quest back to the sense-clusters of the vehicle following them.

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As Montrose pierces his palm and twists around to look at the car they are talking about, his mind reaches out and for a brief second he feels a touch but before he can latch onto any coherent thought the darkened car seems to vanish from sight. No longer able to see the car he can't locate the mind or minds within.

Suddenly the sound of metal striking metal fills the van as several bullets smash into the back of the van. one smashes one of the windows and  careening  through the van until it strikes  Kaitlin in the shoulder.

Spoiler

Kait needs to roll soak vs Lethal. it is initiative for everyone else. the car you all think was there was about 10-15 yards back. since it had it's head lights turned off none of you know what model car it was. since you now know there is soemthing there you can atempt to see through the obfuscation by making a wits + awarness roll diff 7

 

 

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Making a yowl of pain that sounds suspiciously feline, Kaitlin ducks low in her seat, one hand reaching over her shoulder to see how bad her wound is.

Cade looking furiously trying to spot the car behind and seeing nothing begins jinking the van evasively nonetheless.

Kaitlin finding a shallow furrow bleeding some but not anything she can't handle twists around trying to get a look at their pursuers in the side mirror. All she sees in the mirror is empty road she twists the other way to look out the back window just in time to see the flash of gunfire!

For a brief instant, the flash of gunfire from behind illuminates at least two ghostly figures. Bullets whiz by a couple striking the van and one follows the exact path of the earlier round which hit Kait.

This time, a twist of fate sends the bullet through her seat where it strikes her left side just below her breast before continuing on into the dash.

Aja ducks as the bullets go by quickly working a spell to shield his mind then looking back sees the dark caddy with two of the vampires from the club hanging out the passenger side with submachine guns.

Akemi workes a rote spell and her sword appears in her hand she leaves her seat and moves to the rear doors preparing to throw them open.

“It's not invisible it's some kind of simple magic affecting our minds” calls out Triessa.

In response Montros his palm bleeding as the rock tears the, skin throws the spell which obliterates the obfuscation hiding the caddy.

Spoiler

Kait needs to soak again and i swear it was random. all of you can see the car now there are at least four of the vampires from the club three are hanging out window ith guns and one driving. there could be more.

it is next round make sure you include fluff for posting in your entries in the combat thread.

 

 

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Kaitlin' snarl of fury was hardly any less feline-sounding as she felt a line of fire along her ribs as another bullet grazed her. There was hardly any blood this time, but a large rip in her new - and only - dress appeared. Kaitlin bit down on her and Pantheris' fury and forced a calm focus on her mind despite the speeding van and whizzing bullets.

With more Bullets winging past the van or hitting it but not penetrating Cade presses the pedal to the floor to pick up speed. Reading the situation and seeing the rest of the group start to move, Cade nods more to himself than anyone in particular.  "Considering they've shot at us, and hit us twice, I'd say these guys need to be punished.  I'm game to pull over and sort these assholes out, or we can keep going.  I'd rather not lead them to our destination, though."

"No, keep going!" Triessa declared. "Get ready to take a sharp turn!" cries Triessa as she twists around to face the back of the van.

Kait unbuckled her belt and crawled over the seat into the back of the van, heading towards Akemi by the doors. Kaitlin pulled on her personal stores of arcane energy to enhance her physical capabilities, using sheer will to allow her to exceed mortal limits. She maybe has just learned Vampires were real, but she had taken down a werewolf, once. She was going to show the Undead they were no easy meat.

Her lips curved into a fierce grin and her amber eyes were bright. Besides, every parkour enthusiast had dreamed of jumping from one moving vehicle to another at some point, but she was actually going to do it.

Triessa joined Kait and Akemi stopping them from acting further for the moment. Looking out the broken back window, barely flinching as a bullet winged past her cheek, ruffling her hair. She'd always been an imaginative one...and magic gave her the means to bring that imagination to life. Triessa dipped a hand into her pocket and closed her fingers around a little leather pouch she kept there. Power invested, kept safe for that time when it was needed. Energy flooded her Pattern, and her Will directed it out in a sudden flare.

The air around the vampire's car darkened, and a thick bank of clouds erupted from nowhere around it, hugging the vehicle in a mass of storming, writhing vapors. Tiny flashes of lightning cracked and boomed around inside as if the car had been transported into the heart of a thunderhead. It obscured the vampires of course...but more importantly, it completely blocked their vision...both of the car, and of the road.

A sharp eye might have seen a tiny cackling figure on a broomstick in that vortex, along with the debris of a house spinning around and around and around...

Catching onto what Triessa had in mind, Aja closed his eyes and played it out in his head, movie-style. This was the moment where the Bond smokescreen foiled the pursuers, the police motorcycles flipped across corners and into water hydrants. Repeat it with his will enough, and it would happen.

Triessa sucked a breath in and brightened as she felt the magick flow. That was a hard spell too!

"Now!" she yelled to Cade. "Turn!"

Cade spun the wheel and took them off the road onto the grassy shoulder breaking the van to a bone jarring stop which would have sent Triessa flying had Akemi and Kait not braced her.

At the same time, the cloud covered caddy blew passed them swerving randomly almost out of control. When suddenly the front wheel turned sharply away from the vehicle's direction of travel. As the caddy skidded wildly the front tire blew and shredded causing the rim to dig into the soft blacktop.

Like a scene from a movie the caddies rear end carried on with its original momentum swinging around the wheel dug into the road, the force flipped the car which now rolled several times before coming to a stop still wreathed in the magickal cloud. As the car rolled bodies were flung or jumped from the wreck their movements so fast only the heightened senses of the adrenaline pumped mages saw them as blurs, any normal mortal wouldn't have seen them at all. The four vampires from the club stood between the car and the van. A fifth, the misshapen one, could be seen trying to crawl from the caddy.

Akemi suddenly moves flinging open the rear door of the van and flipping out to land on her feet where she makes a martial arts display with her empty hands. At the same time, Cade had stepped from the front leveling his big pistol and firing not at the vampires but at the caddy.

The caddy erupts in a huge ball of flame incinerating the vampire still in the car and hurling the other four to the ground in another Hollywood moment.


 

Spoiler

round 3 starts now

 

 


 

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Deep in her trance, focusing on muscle and sinew, to make them harder, stronger, Kaitlin balanced in the rear of the van with instinctive ease, despite the bucking and sharp turn off-road. Using one hand to brace herself against the roof, her deep, amber eyes tracking the vampires' vehicle through the obscuring illusory storm, Kaitlin caught Triessa before she could fall. The van hadn't even come to a complete halt before Kaitlin leapt out of the back in a graceful arc.

As soon as Kaitlin's feet hit the ground in a running landing, she ended her spell and the potential of the arcane energy raced through her to drastic effect. Through arcane manipulation of puberty development and constant exercise and physical trainer, Kaitlin naturally has the physique of an Olympic champion while retaining the curves of a swimsuit model.

Now, she was growing into something... more, primal and powerful and dangerous, a tiger in human skin, a heroic demigod of legend, a female Herakles. Her muscular figure swelled taller, harder and more defined, looking like she had just left the gym after an intense workout, then grew still more until it was clearly undeniable, each striation of muscle as clear as on an anatomical drawing.

The rips and tears in her red dress grew tighter and wider under her mythic proportions, and hem split on either side right up to her hips as the dress struggled to contain her bulk. Despite her rippling bulk, Kaitlin moved more swiftly and dangerously than a gazelle as she closed in on the vampires at a slight angle to engage them from the side, so they would have to split their focus between her and the van.

The first Explosion had outlined the vampires as they were thrown to the ground, Kaitlin saw them clearer than any of the others she easily recognized the woman from the vampire club, Penny is what Radu called her, but not the other three. Kaitlin decided that the vamp you know is the vamp you beat and set her sights on her.

Triessa had been a bit startled to be caught by Kaitlin and just as quickly set down, watches the effects of the other mage's spell with some professional interest. Such transformations were within her power as well, but she didn't really have the skills to back it up. Hand to hand fighting wasn't her 'thing' as it were. Fighting in general, really...

When a fight broke out, she preferred to help OTHER people fight. But against vampires, people might not be the way to go.

Her eyes focused on the far side of the road, where a few tall trees reared up against the starry sky. Vampires didn't like wood, did they? Wasn't that a thing, where wooden stakes killed them?

Wasn't that interesting?

She produced one of her crystal-tipped wands, the one with the emerald for resonance with the earth and nature, and some other things from her witchin' bag. A circle of pure sea salt hurriedly flung down, and some herbs she added in each of the quarters.

The spell was sent through the earth, to the roots. A song to the old wood, to lend it strength and flexibility. An imperative...here were things that stood beyond the touch of death and life. Threats to the great cycles, to the beating heart of the planet.

come and murder them

As the flames from the explosion rolled out over the four vampires, Cade knew that wasn't quite all there was, and He immediately aimed his pistol again, using it as a focus, aiming at the upturned vehicle's engine block.   There was still a little fuel, and a lot of oil, plus the battery... more than enough to put some shrapnel into these bloodsucking leeches.  He focused his will intently, feeding a bit of primal essence in the pattern of reality he wished to weave, and just as he fired he saw Kaitlin run out toward the Vampires Toward what was about to happen! There was a brilliant flash as reality warped, and what remained of the vehicle exploded into a large improvised fragmentation grenade.


Kaitlin had heard the whizzing whine of Cade's second shot but hadn't changed course in the slightest, yet the towering Amazon seemed completely unfazed from the explosion. Her mass and velocity enabled her to bull through the concussive blast as she weaved and flowed around and between shattered fragments of Fire and car with terrifying and preternatural grace, as fluid as Neo in bullet-time, some pieces missing by bare millimeters, but missing all the same. As she watched the flame engulf the vampires she saw the one named Penny, sink into the ground straight through the blacktop!

Then she was among the Vampires, her Totem Pantheris riding her soul, yearning to break the undead with her bare hands. She roared with feral ferocity and aggressive joy.

Burning pain flames of agony seared the dead flesh of Tay and his brothers the bitch Penny had fled into the ground leaving them to burn. Fucking mages They would learn who ruled the night. Before penny had called Tay and his brothers had fed and fed good and now that blood burned and rage tore at his soul.The Beast wanted out! Tay saw the female mage running weaving through the flame and shrapnel saw her physically changing she was moving in slow motion. If she thought she could go hand to hand with a brujah she was sadly mistaken. Blood burning through his veins his fingers became talons his fangs bared he launched himself to meet the mage bitch.

With the disappearance of the Penny, Kaitlin marks the next nearest as she closes the distance the vampire moves. Kait is stunned as she back peddles nothing can move that fast she sees the claws on the things hands slashing toward her when steel comes between them!

Akemi seeing an unknowing unprepared Kaitlin rushing headlong into a bunch of fire frenzied vampires called upon her magic and interposed herself between the attacking vampires. Weaving a web of steel she parryed the claws of he vampire and in a heroic effot reached back and using her forces propelled Kaitlin back away from the evil creatures.

Kailin saw Akimi appaer as if from nowwhere her sword parrying the claws of the vampire sparks flying when steel met metal hard claw. The vampire blurred as it rained blow after blow on the petiit asian swordswoman. Suddenly Akemi swung an arm at Kaitlin and the young mage felt a blanket of force surround her and lift her sending her flying back toward the van. As she flew away she saw the monsters claws cut across Akemi's abdomen. The mage faltered and a second blurring vampire slashed around his claws slicing into Akemi, blood spraying. The Thrid vampire screamed but did not join its brethren instead it raised it's submachine gun and let loose a burst of rounds at Cade.

Aja kept back, not exactly interested in getting close like Kaitlin or Cade. Or in combat for that matter. He had always done his best to keep away or get away. But with fire... vampires hated fire, and Cade would be setting up an explosion.

A simple shot of "burn!" as the car went off stroked the unease the undead must feel.

The vampies knew fear and confusion.

They Frenzied. The two ripping apart Akemi fell onto her now prone unmoving form and fed with abandon. The third after empty his clip charged cade suddenly as fast as his broters all panin banished by the Frenzy completely oblivuous to anything ecpt the blood flowing through Cade's veins.

One of the trees, a great knotted oak, stirred restlessly, despite there being no wind. It twisted slightly, and its branches waved, dislodging numerous loose twigs and leaves that pattered to the ground around it. And then, it heaved, and there was an explosion of soil. Great twisted roots emerged from the ground and lifted the bulk of the trunk like massive spider's legs. From between the foliage of its larger branches extended new, smaller branches that were devoid of leaves...but came to wickedly sharp points. Like sword-tips.

Or stakes.

Triessa sagged...feeling at once the loss of quintessence from her Pattern. But the deed was done, the spell was wrought, and the Earth's guardian was present. So mote it be.

So this is what a wizards' duel feels like?

The prismatic flow of willworking prickled at Montrose's skin and reminded him of the smell of tangerines. The image was quite at odds with Kaitlin pulling a Lou Feringo and Cade doing the James Bond thing.

He'd been in plenty of fights, but this was turning into something on a whole new level. There was also the fact that he used his magick to see and feel and experience, not attack. Besides, there were too many cooks in the kitchen. Rather than try to force his magick to do something it wasn't suited for, he went a different route. Ramming his fist into the side of the vehicle that he remained close to, he let the momentary explosion of pain loosen his senses to once again try to interface with those of their attackers, he whispered to them, and if the movies were right, vampires would hear it.

"We aren't here. We are there. We are everywhere. We are gone. We are beside you. We are behind you. We aren't here."

All three vampies suddenly jumped up and looked around as if unaware of where the enemy was their minds confused the frenzy pushed aside they turned and turned unsure which way to go.

Suddenly the Two standning near Akemi's body were covered in Shadow. The angry Tree animated and unleashed by Triessa, reached for them. Branches of hardwood ripping into them piercing hearts, slim flexible branches like tentacles grabbed necks and ripped heads from bodies. In a flash, two of the Vampires were destroyed the third still spun Montros's magic blinding it to the threat that was Cade.

 

Spoiler

Cade needs to dodge and possibly soak. Cade has intiatie for next round and the remaining vamp is helpless if cade doesnt kill him the tree will.


 

 

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In his mind it was a moment Torn from hell itself.   Watching powerlessly as Akemi was brutally slain, Cade screamed inwardly.   What came forth from his mouth however was an inhuman snarl, like that of an enraged Wolf.  He dashed forward, faster than anyone there save Kaitlyn, Though it seemed it wasn't just him, but a wolf, composed of smoldering flames.  Everyone could feel the rush of the magic, his rage given form, as his hands seemed to be wreathed in avenging white flame.  The Vampire never saw him coming still befuddled by the magic of Montrose, and even the Enraged tree gave him a fair distance, as he didn't even stop, Simply thrusting his right Fist into the hapless vampire.  The Magically enchanted flesh cleaved undead flesh as if it were simply air. In that moment the Vampire seemed to gain a sense of himself, of the death that was there, but before he could raise his weapon, Cade's other hand entered what should have been his shoulder, but instead just became a smoldering ruin, dropping the arm wielding weapon.  "Go Back to Hell."    He snarled once again and ripped his arms through the body of the screaming vampire, The body falling away and combusting as the white flames engulfed and consumed ever part, leaving only a blacked patch of dirt upon the ground.   The Effect died away after a moment, Leaving the same Cade they'd known, backlit by the flames of the remaining wreckage of the, not a hint of the enraged, snarling mage that had savagely torn apart a vampire.  

What they saw was a man haunted by his past, who'd watched another loved one slain by the creatures he hated, that tormented him in his nightmares, a man who now held a true hatred in his heart.

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Huge and menacing, bulging muscles chained in thick veins and tendons, the anger and rage in Kaitlin's tautly beautiful face didn't look out of place. The shame, guilt, and bewilderment on the other hand was incongruous indeed. Kaitlin had always prided herself on her physicality and athleticism and using her Magick, had forged herself into the peak - or even slightly beyond - of physical perfection. Boosting herself even further temporarily, she had believed herself the equal or better of any creature, in any physical contest, at least.

She'd just been harshly disabused of that notion and it had cost a woman her life and her companion an enduring torment and hatred. Kaitlin had severely underestimated the lethality of the vampires. She had never seen anything so fast, save perhaps Samurai Joe at times. She just had movies and TV to go on, but had thought she had an idea of what to expect, discounting the more extreme versions of vampires that could be seen in various media. She'd been very wrong. Perhaps some of her fellow mages had known more, but if so, they hadn't explained the reality to her well enough, clearly.

Kaitlin tended to take things as they came and adjusted to situations on the fly. Impulsive yes, but not heedless. When freerunning for example, she trained for all sorts of situations and circumstances, but when decided to run a path, she didn't map it all out in advance and designate every single step and movement - such rigid planning worked at odds with the spontaneity needed to adapt to unforeseen circumstances...

After her first confrontation with Vampires, making and enacting some preemptive plans seemed like a much more reasonable and intriguing idea.

Kaitlin hadn't known Akemi long enough or well enough to call her a friend, so didn't and couldn't feel Cade's terrible and pained loss, built the guilt she did feel would linger for a long time. Akemi had saved her life at the cost of her own and there was no way Kaitlin would ever be able to make it up to her. All she could do was learn from this and not waste the extra breaths of life that had been granted her.

Gliding forward on the balls of her feet with ominous grace for such a large and powerful looking woman, Kaitlin's jaw grew so tight, she expected to hear her own teeth crack. She'd built herself into a human powerhouse, a paragon of human physicality. Now, she had a new goal - to forge herself into something even greater, more, that could challenge the phyiscal might of the Night Folk on equal footing.

Kaitlin wished she could let Cade grieve for his friend and companion - he did not know if they had been lovers - but the situation was not quite done yet. She padded almost silently to his side and looked down at him by more than the two inches she normally had on him, shame and commiseration clear in her expression. Her heavily muscled arms, shoulders and legs seemed in danger of bursting free of her straining dress with each breath the hulking mage took.

"I'm sorry, Cade, more sorry than I can say," she said in a deep, feminine rumble. "But there's one vamp left - one of the ones from the bar, Penny. She... went into the ground, melded into the earth or something. Dunno if she can move around under there, but I have no intention of letting her get away, if I have to dig her up with my bare hands." Kaitlin raised her voice, her stentorian tones booming through some of the mages' shock. "Anyone here have any skill with manipulating earth or summoning spirits or something? The Ent maybe? There's a vampire in the ground and I want it trapped or dragged up here!"

Considering the traditional vampiric connection to blood, Kaitlin cut her palm on her knife and then curled her huge hand into a fist. Blood dribbled from between her fingers and fell to the ground and as it did so, Kaitlin breathed out, questing out for the mind of the vampire, to find her and pinpoint her location.

Spoiler

Using Mind 1 to locate Penny's thoughts and pinpoint her location

[Asarasa] 11:33 am: Mind 1 to sense the location of
Penny's/Vampire's thoughts. Diff. 4
Asarasa *rolls* 3d10t4: 1,10,7.  Successes = 2 (or 3 if 10s count as 2 successes)

 

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The blood fell in slow motion.

Cade knelt by Akemi, her wounds grotesque but out of place with the look of peace on her face, her closed eyes.

She had known she was going to die, thought Cade, the grief welling up as tears ran from his eyes, She had prepared for it accepted it, sacrificed herself to save Kaitlin. And now Cade was alone, He gently picked her up as Kaitlin worked her spell and the other mages looked on in various states of shock.

Beyond them, the caddy burned illuminating the dark empty road.

The Blood hit the ground and Kaitlin's mind seeped through the pavement, into the dank earth below. There was ...something ... yes, this must be her dormant below her feet.

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Triessa put her hand to her mouth, shocked at the speed that it had happened at. She hadn't even finished her spell and it was already too late.

Or was it? She could repair a body fast if Akemi wasn't already dead.

She ran to Akemi and kneeled down alongside Cade. Without looking up from the stricken mage, she called out to the tree, "Use your roots...dig wherever she tells you to!" and pointed at Kaitlin.

Meanwhile, magic crackled between her fingertips as she delved for some spark of life she could preserve in Akemi's form.

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Cade had stopped when Triessa ran up he could see the magic cracking a glimmer of hope made his heart skip. Triessa came close and recoiled at the horrid wounds the vampires claws had done she knew in that instant that there would be no lingering spark. Then she saw Akemi's face the peace she that was there.

She felt a brush of wind move her hair.Cade standing there felt it asw el. They smelled cherry blossoms where none could be. For a brief moment the chaos was gone the stench of burning oil, metal and flesh banished.

Then both of them, and only them, heard it. A whisper in the breeze.

“It is as it should be. Death is not my end.”

Then the sound of the tree ripping up the road drove the breeze and the voice away.


 

 

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The  burning hate in Cade's eyes died back, no longer a self-destructive all-consuming blaze, now just cold banked embers that would never forget, or forgive this.  "Right, the ringleader."  Akemi's death would be paid for, he'd find who was truly responsible, and show them true justice.  He looked over at the tree, then to Kaitlyn.  "Show it where to dig.  My Father once told me that Vampires couldn't move through the Earth when they're relatively young.  If she was strong enough to do so, she'd not have needed her compatriots to fight us." 

His face was blank, calm, as if nothing had happened, but his body seemed wound tight, like he was ready to lash out again if he had to.  "I want to know who put them up to this.   I don't see Radu as being behind this, though i have a feeling I already Know who it was."

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The Tree elemental ripped huge chunks of asphalt and earth from the road tossing them aside willy nilly once it determined that there was nothing in the earth. The mages looked on in awe.

then it stopped it held a huge armload of earth up to where it strangely human face was and started shaking the it. Dirt and rock fell to the destroyed road and little by little the vampire was revealed. The tree held the vampire out offering it to Triessa.

"Can you hold it secure? Bind it's arms and legs?" Cade stepped up talking to the tree, giving Triessa  sidelong look.

Catching the look Triess stepped up too. "Yes, please Mr. Tree can you do as Cade asks?"

At Triessa's request the tree acted. Smaller branches wrapped around the vampies throat, wrists, and ankles.

The monster was coming around from its self-emposed slumber. Her eyes flew wide she strugled the tree tightened it's grasp eaxerting pressuer threating to rip it apart.

"No, no wait," Gasped penny, "Don't I know things I can help you!"

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"Fuck listening!" Kaitlin growled, looming over Aja to glare at Penny with merciless amber eyes, her lock on the vampire's mind making her gaze seem particularly penetrating. "Tell us why we shouldn't just rip the things we want to know directly from your mind before we have Treebeard here give you a fatal hug?" The hulkingly large young woman smiled down at the captive vampire - it wasn't a friendly smile, she looked as feral as a Gangrel.

"I might not know everything about vampires," Kaitlin admitted, her smile growing bitter, "but I'm guessin' you don't know everything 'bout mages either. Penny. I assure you, it won't be hard for the lot of us to flay your brain. So get talking, and assume we'll know if your lying. You might buy some extra time for your unlife."

She wanted to rip Penny's head off, but if Cade was able to restrain himself, Kaitlin would force herself to do likewise. She didn't think Radu was behind this either - not that he wasn't capable of sending minions to deal with people he considered a threat, but rather that he valued his word too highly to try to have them killed so soon after leaving Elysium. But if it was Mia, it still seemed as clumsy as dropping them into a nest of Vampires. Her lips grew tight - though this time, it had cost a life.

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She struggled to speak "I can make all of this go away. If you kill me there's no one who can clear you of breaking the covenant. I can help you get what you want. But you have to let me live"

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Death. Muerte. Mortis. Teleute. The End.

He's been present at his great-grandmother's funeral when he was a teenager. His buddy Jordan had gone driving five beers south of sober and wrapped his car around a power post. When he'd volunteered at a retirement home, an old man that he'd been reading The Stand to had simply leaned over and stopped breathing.

This was a whole new level.

The blood on Akemi's corpse had a glittery, coppery sheen that brought the sound of grinding rocks to his ears. The expression on her face, not of shock or horror or even irritation seemed to make it all the worse, as though she'd simply had to pay a large credit card bill. For some reason, the image of a key dropping off of a ring assailed him and he shook his head to clear it.

When he'd reached out to the vampires (Massassa, right? Man, fuck Anne Rice and Joss Whedon) to cloud their thoughts, the link hadn't been entirely one-way. In order to cloud their perceptions, he'd been forced to a brief eternity of sharing their senses to know how to confound them. For that never-ending tenth of a second, all he could think about was a time when he'd been marching from Maricopa to Tuscon beneath the blistering September sun. The agonizing squeeze of muscles dripping sweat and the tearing of his throat with sandpaper had nearly been the death of him on one of his first self-inflicted ordeals. Most of all, he remembered crying but having no tears from thirst. If a passing motorist hadn't picked him up, his journey to enlightenment would have ended on that road. And he'd never taken water for granted since, cherishing every drop in memory of that eternal thirst.

The same thirst that was these creatures' every waking moment.

He'd done the absolute worst thing that he could have done: he'd empathized and seen through the enemy's eyes.

Suppressing a shudder, he stood back, letting the surviving members of the cabal handle the interrogation. He wasn't about to stop them from getting answers, but he didn't have it in himself- didn't hate the dead thing enough- to force answers out of it.

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Cade moved outside her field of view, and spoke calmly.   "No one has said anything about killing you.  You're already dead.  That said, your unlife might continue if you answer us honestly."  His voice seemed to develop a menace the longer he spoke.  "We will KNOW if you lie to us." 

 

His eyes seemed to flash with an actinic flare, and he frowned.  "In the bar you were damn near about to attack us first anyway, nearly provoking a fight there.  Now you've followed us, shot at us and killed one of us.  You ran from battle, and left your compatriots to perish, which they did.  Why?   Who put you up to this?"

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She twisted around trying to see Cade, the one Radu had seemed to know. "I want your word. I live as long as I tell you the truth, you let me go free when this is over."

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"You have my word that I will not kill you as I did your friends, and that I will allow you to walk away from here if you answer me truthfully, and never come after us again."   It was said in that same cold monotone that he'd begun with.  It wasn't easy but they needed information.  If one of the others wished to kill her he'd not stop them.  He'd only said he wouldn't.

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Triessa spotted the loophole as well, but perhaps didn't quite grasp that Cade was hoping to wiggle through it.

She quickly added, "I won't either. And, uh, my...friend won't." She nodded at the tree.

Akemi's death was still a hollow ache to her. The pain would come later, as it sank in. It wasn't as if they really knew each other well, but they'd been co-passengers on this strange and amazing adventure, and now they'd never get a chance to know each other better. Okay, yep, that did make it hurt a bit.

And for what? Why? Maybe those questions wouldn't help Akemi now, but Triessa needed to know. Finding out would let them find some kind of closure, and maybe a bit of justice. It would have to be enough.

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The vampire twists her neck. "Can you loosen this it's hard to talk.' The Tree responds on its own by loosening the hold on the things neck while tightening the hold on arms and legs.

"Thank you. It was the witch, the one everyone is afraid of, the one who sent you to the club. She came to us two days ago and made us an offer. In return for killing the six of you, she promised to remove Radu for us along with the rest of the fucking council."

"Wait, you said two days ago, That's before we even met her." Kaitlin interrupts.

"She's telling the truth." Both Triessa and Montros reply at the same time.

"Did she say she wanted you to kill six of us or is that just you saying that because that's how many of there are...were?" This time, it was Cade stepping in front of the monster.

Penny looks at Montos and Triessa then at Cade. "Her words. She told us your names and showed us pictures so we could identify you specifically. She told us exactly what time and where you would appear. That's why we were so close ready to just rip you apart. with the club full it would turn into a frenzy no one would be able to pin it on us. Radu wasn't supposed to be there. Hell, he wasn't even there until right then, it was as big a surprise to us as to you when he stopped us."

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"What else did she tell you?  If she was that specific, surely she told you more.  Tell us everything you know about her."  His tone remained that flat uneven tone, which was quite disconcerting.

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Penney flexed her neck then locked eyes with Cade again. "She told us not to fail or we would pay. That's why we came after you. WeThought if we could shoot out your tires you would crash and give us a chance. Didn't work. Anyway after we had killed you we were supposed to go to this address." She recites the address of the Astrarium House. "We were supposed to kill everyone there and get a wooden box from the fireplace and bring it to her."

"Where? Where did she tell you to deliver it?" Cade asked coldly

"A warehouse in the Port district." She give that address. "It's in a bad part of the city I can get you there past the...guards."

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Kaitlin's noncommittal grunt following Cade's and Triessa's word to spare the Vampire's unlife sounded more like a tiger's chuff. She hadn't decided on the matter yet, though she had the vampires terribly speed and what they had done to Akemi well in mind. Kaitlin folded her massively muscled arms beneath her breasts with an audible tearing of cloth as one of the holes stretched wider, and cocked her head to the side with a frown as she considered the story Penny was spewing out to save her life.

As executor of Anson's estate, it wouldn't have been hard for Mia to get their names and pictures, but if she had made the deal with the vampires before they had even arrived for their inheritance, it certainly seemed to implicate the tiny and dangerous mage in Anson's death, and Mather's for that matter. Sending the vampires to Astrarium House posed twq scenarios that Kaitlin could think of off the top of her head, both involving Simon, whatever he really was.

One, Mia intended for Simon to wipe out the vampires and thus taking care of her patsies, perhaps to keep her hands clean of breaking the Covenant in Radu's eyes. Or two, Mia wanted the vampires to do just as she demanded and she had already distracted or trapped or otherwise disposed of Simon in some manner. But why would she need the Vampires to get the box of Keys? Unless she couldn't just take them from Astrarium House herself. Now that Kaitlin thought of it, Simon had handed her the box of Keys initially and he'd been the one to take it away and reclaim the Key from Jenna Li. Hmm...

"These guards," Kaitlin said in growling rumble, the address meaning nothing to her, but she assumed Cade would know it, "what are they? I'm beyond sick and tired of surprises."

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Penny shifted her gaze to the muscle-bound little girl, it was hard to keep the contempt off her face the bitch had everything Penny never had looks and real power. She said one word

"Ghosts"

 

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The words she said caused a spark behind Cade's eyes, and like a quintessence fueled movie he saw how things had really played out.  Mia hadn't simply moved them to the club, she'd stopped time in that singular moment, and gone back to arrange their murders.   It would have been seven, not six, if she'd actually done it the first time through.   This meant one of two things, and possibly both.  She was an incredibly powerful mage, and she had absolutely no fear of paradox.  The latter was far more disturbing to him.   He could see the act, and in a way simon's words made some sense.   She can't act against us directly, so she arranged it...  still in a court of law, what she'd done would at least merit conspiracy to commit murder.  "This explains some of what he said." 

 

"You're being awfully helpful now, for someone who was trying to kill us all not that long ago.   Why should we trust you to help us at all?  Radu's not a forgiving man.  Breaking the Covenant, even after he guaranteed our safe-conduct, that's going to put you in a bad way with him.  You really can't hide from him.   So I know you want something more than to just walk away from this. "

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Tilting her head, her red eyes peering into Cades soul. "Its all about survival. Every Hogwarts, every Fleabag and every Kindred in this city piss their pants when you mention the witches name. I can help you  with her. I help you, you help me."

"We are not going to help you go against the Covenant or whatever it is and we certainly aren't going to fight Radu for you," Kaitlin spoke holding none of the hatred she was feeling for this creature from her voice. She steps up beside Cade.

Penny shakes her head. "No, that ship has sailed. But you are the only ones who know that I was even here so you all can offer me protection. and I can be a good resource in this city."

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"Hogwarts," said Triessa, and she laughed. "That's pretty funny."

Looking at the others, she shrugged.

"I'm mad about Akemi too, but...there's just one thing none of us can do, and that's bring someone back from the dead. That applies to Penny too. If we kill her because we're angry now...we won't be able to do anything about it if we realize we need her later. I'm mad, but...I don't think the right outlet is keeping the wheel of violence turning."

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"You want us to Protect you?"  The incredulity in his voice was obvious.   He looked at the others.  "We can table that for now, you're going to have to prove you can be loyal, that we can trust you, before we ever agree to that."

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"I'll do whatever you want, I swear." Penny was sounding hopeful now.

"I hate to say it but she means it." Montros shook his head as he said it and the other mind mages concurred. "Whats our next move, Cade?"

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Cade sighed.  "Alright, we take her with us.  You get one chance Penny, Screw us over, and I promise what happened to the others will pale in comparison."  He had Triessa have the tree release her.  Once it did so, he looked to the van.  "Let's get going.  We still have somewhere we need to be. "  He looked down at Akemi's corpse.  "We need to decide what to do with Akemi.  She wasn't big on the material world, and taking her body with us is abit morbid.   He looked to Triessa, "Can you have the Tree bury her, then mark the spot somehow so we can return?" 

There was something about the idea, her body feeding new life that made him smile, it was how she'd want it, he knew.  Just as cremation was his own choice.

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Everyone looks sober as they release the vampire waiting to see if she runs or tries to attack them all of them ready to destroyer at the slightest provocation.

She just stands there looking dejected and hurt. Montros stepped up beside her.

“I'll keep an eye on her.” he tells cade.

Triessa is asking the tree to dig a grave while Cade and Kaitlin prepare the body. Aja is looking on feeling out of place and left out. The tree suddenly moves much faster than it should and disappears into the woods. “It will be back it is going to find a suitable place to lay her to rest.” Explains Triessa.

 

Several minutes pass and the tree comes back and walks up to Cade who is kneeling by his friend. The Tree leans close to Cade the look on its almost human face conveys sympathy and caring. Cade stands and the Tree stretches branches done to lift Akmi gently then it turns and slowly marches into the woods leading a silent procession. The woods seem to part for them leaving an easy path after a short distance the arrive at a small clearing the grave is dug on a hill in the center. The tree gently lays Akemi in the grave and steps away. The mages gather around to look at their fallen comrade.

“I knew her the longest, she was my closest friend. She dedicated her life to her ideals. There really are no words for this, and I don't think any is really needed. I will miss my friend.”

 

the hole begins to fill itself and the tree comes up and sticks a small branch in the ground in the center and breaks it off. As soon as this happens the clouds above part and the moon shines through. The mages gaze on in wonder as the tree grows before their eyes and blossoms.

Cade feels a familiar touch on his arm as if Akemi is there.

Once back at the van, there is a quiet discussion how to proceed. It is decided to go to the warehouse and confront Mia before any more deaths can occur.

 

As they get into the van Aja who has been silent through all of this speaks.”I think we should retrieve the keys first.”

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