A GRIT Thread Fic.
Compiled by John W. Conner.
It was a typical day in Nerima.
RL-Skribulous: Should we add anything more than that? The next part should be obvious by now... <G>
Random Lurker: What do you mean by that?
RL-Skribulous: You know, whenever we are in a Takahashi setting, and if it happens to be a good day, or typical day, like today... Never mind. Tsu, you there?
RL-Tsu: ANOTHER LURKER!!! MINE!!!
Random Lurker: Aieee!!!!!
RL-Skribulous: Now, that's that... anyways, back to the story...
In the dungeons below Mystic Manor, our favorite mercenary group, The Blazing Crescents, are hard at work in their task of renovating the underground floors.
RL-Note: Other than Leo, everyone else mentioned here are members of the Blazing Crescents. Any similarities to familiar characters (or RLs, for the matter... ^_^) are coincidental and intentional... ^_^
Lieutenant: That looks like the last of 'em. (uses an energy blast originating from his eyes to finish off yet another monster) Tom: Yeah. This level's as good as cleared. (wiping blood off his claw blades)
Lieutenant: Chu! Salvage the area for valuables. (looks back) Hey, Ah! Get that gear here, on the double!
Chu: Yes, sir! I'm on it!
(As Chu complied with the leader's orders, Ah runs up to them, panting.)
Ah: <pant><pant> Here are the <pant><pant> ammo, sir. <whew> Gotta rest...
(All the other mercs went for the supplies, then quickly reloaded their weapons.)
Chris: About time. You're really slowing down, girl.
(Ah bristles from the remark.)
Ah: <pant><pant> What was that <pant><pant> you were saying? <pant><pant>
(The other mercs snickers.)
Corey: What Chris was meaning to say is that we're saying that you could get a good job as a seiyuu for a hentai outfit, with all that heavy breathing you were doing.
(Automatically, a gun appears in Ah's hands.)
Ah: I don't find that funny.
Chris: Oh, is that so? (a gun appears in his hand) Go for it, sweetcheeks. I dare you.
(The others fell silent at the scene. Some went for their weapons. Suddenly, their leader interrupts the exchange, oblivious to what could potentially deteriorate into a full-scale free-for- all.)
Lieutenant: Alright, rest is over. Let's move it!!!
(The rest of the Blazing Crescents quickly fell in line, following their leader's commands. The formed a single file and marched down the corridor.)
Lieutenant: Ah, come on!
Ah: Hey! I haven't rested up yet! Wait up!
Mike: Well, you shouldn't have carried all that with you, you know.
Ah: Well, I have to bring all the ammo.
Mike: Who volunteered to bring the ammo then, hmm?
Ah: <piku> ...
Corey: You're showing you're age, Ah.
Ah: (reddens) WHAT!
Chris: Corey, stop embarrassing the sourpuss, man.
(Everyone laughs as the last remark, embarrassing Ah even further.)
Ah: At least, I'm a lot better-looking than that girl you were trying to pick up last week, _loser_.
Corey: (shrugging) I've seen a lot of prettier-looking _guys_ than you.
Ah: (growls) That's it... (Takes out an even bigger gun than the sidearm she carried a while ago.) TAKE THAT BACK NOW, OR DO I HAVE TO STICK THIS WHERE THE SUN DOESN'T SHINE, YOU JERK!
Corey: Take what? Speaking of which, I wonder why I never saw you wear _feminine_ clothing...
Tom: Corey, shut up. Ah, put that down...
(Ah fires at Corey, who simply moves a fraction of an inch away. Fortunately, in her anger her aim was so bad she totally missed him and blasted the wall in the distance instead. A distant rumbling could be heard as the whole place began to shake and crumble.)
Lieutenant: AH! Watch where you... Huh?
Chris: What the hfil...
(The wall collapses.)
Tom: What is it, sir?
Lieutenant: Hmm... (peering at the hole created by the blast) a passageway. Tom, Chu... get in there and check it out. The rest of you, gather 'round. This could get dangerous.
Tom: Yes, sir.
Chu: I'm on it.
(Taking out flashlights, the two mercs slowly enters the hole. The rest formed a semi-circle behind the Lieutenant, name-calling and making faces good-naturedly all the while. After a few minutes, Tom and Chu returned.)
Tom: (emerging from the hole) Hey, Lieutenant, it's the sewers.
Chu: It's clear.
Lieutenant: Alright, then. The rest of you, move in. Since the sewers had just become part of our mission... (turns to glare at Ah before continuing)
Chris: Can't imagine why. (snickers)
Lieutenant: (continues) ...we'll just have to secure the area as well. (signals) Move in!
Corey: (snickers) Lousy shot.
Ah: (seething with anger) If I didn't miss, you wouldn't be here right now.
Corey: I know. (gives her the finger)
Ah: I hope you die. (growls, cracking her knuckles) Horribly.
Corey: Don't worry. I'll let you keep my gun when I go. (pauses) If I go.
Mike: Will you two stop that! You're giving me a damn big headache. (shakes head) Sheesh...
(Everyone files into the sewers, one merc at the time. It was a small passageway, although the ceiling was high enough for them to stand. Still, they could walk only in single file, as the tunnel was small.)
Corey: Man, it's so friggin' dark in here... (waves flashlight around) At least we have these.
Mike: (points his flashlight to the shallow muck at their feet.) Man, this is disgusting... like the stew Chu cooked last time.
Chu: (grinning) You like it, don't you? Well, if you don't mind...
Chu: Darn it... (snaps fingers) no appreciation for gourmet cooking, nowadays...
Mike: (sniffing) Eww... what the hfil's that smell?
Chris: Don't tell me you haven't been to the sewers before.
Corey: I've smelled worse.
Chris: What could be worse that a smelly sewer?
Corey: (grinning) Ah's underwear during her period.
(Everyone laughs again at Ah's expense.)
Ah: HEY, I HEARD THAT! (turning red with anger)
Mike: I don't know... smells kinda fine to me.
Tom: The sewers?
Tom: You don't mean...
Chu: Shhh... be quiet.
Lieutenant: What's wrong Chu? You heard something?
(Everyone fell silent, listening expectantly for something. They could hear something sloshing in shallow muck towards them. In the distant darkness, they could see... something... approach them. Everyone went tense as they felt the menace and danger, as if a cold wind suddenly blew over them.)
Lieutenant: YOU! Who's there?
(The strange figure was finally close enough that they could finally here the sound.)
(The mercs relaxed as the figure was merely some human, probably lost and found it's way underground. The lieutenant and Chu stepped forward, lowering their weapons.)
Lieutenant: Hey, you should come with us. It's dangerous to stay around here. There are monsters in the place.
Figure: I... hunger...
(Everything went crazy as the figure suddenly lunged towards Chu and the Lieutenant, who were in the front and taken completely by surprise. Guns quickly opened fire, and energy blasts and other psionic attacks flew left and right in the small area. The lights went out, and the mercs began screaming... Ah, who was in the rear, dropped the gear she was carrying, and quickly hoisted up the cannon that she was carrying.)
Ah: What... What... the... hfil...
(A flash of light revealed the face of their attacker... looking straight at her. Ah froze. The light then disappeared. She could hear Mike's strangled cry as Chris kept screaming and firing at something. Ah finally pulled the trigger, then realized that she had already fired the cannon a few minutes ago.)
Ah: Aw, $h!#... damn it...
(Panicking, she threw the cannon towards the darkness, hearing an audible "thunk" as the heavy weapon connected with someone's skull.)
(That was the last thing she heard from Corey, as she heard a meaty slapping sound from the darkness, and she knew what it could only be. Shuddering Ah quickly turned around and ran back to the hole, blinking back tears as she could only imagine what happened to her fellow teammates.)
(Leo was bored. After clearing up most of the mess in the eight floor from that "baby shower" party Tegan held for Akane a few days ago, he had nothing else to do. Everything is finally going smoothly and well -- nothing to fix, nothing to repair -- that the most he has done over the past few days have been sweeping up the corridors. Not that he minded, of course, but he was getting restless. He was hoping that the new residents would use the training room more often, but they're just staying in their rooms or somewhere else, doing what normal tenants are supposed to be doing. What a waste, not availing the resources available to them.)
Leo: Ho, hum... I'm bored.
(He was currently lounging around nearby the entrance of the dungeons. He would guard the entrance from the occasional monster going upstairs from the lower levels. But even then, the monster-bashing days were few and far between, especially recently, now that the mercenaries Tegan hired were doing their work most efficiently.)
(Leo was getting tired, and was about to call it quits when he heard something coming upstairs. He readied himself for anything as the dungeon door swung open. He tensed, then realized that the figure rushing at him was not a monster.)
Leo: Wha... (grabbing Ah, who was practically hysterical by this time) What's wrong? Where are your fellow mercs?
Ah: They... they... It was awful... oh, I...
Leo: What do you mean? (shakes Ah, trying to make sense of her words) What happened?
Ah: We were... attacked... massacre... mamono no onna... shojo busaiku...
(Unable to withstand the stress, Ah collapsed in Leo's arms.)
She is satiated. Walking back the long way towards her home, she frowned, feeling full, yet very depressed about it. It was a grand feast, worthy to be remembered, yet she couldn't be happy about it. The act felt so wrong, yet she couldn't help herself from doing what she just did. It just felt proper at the time. The faces, screaming in fear...
Maybe next time she will be able to control her urges... maybe.
But she will be back. Something about that place... She could feel the energies from the upper levels... Plenty of energies...
Mysterious Figure: Maybe Cologne-sama is there. If so, finally my search shall be finished, and maybe I can finally... (yawns) So tired... must get home to rest...
Today, she leaves. But she will be back soon. Oh, yes, she will be back.
Count on it.
Meanwhile, Leo carries the unconscious Ah upstairs to the office. Tegan and Feathers are going over paperwork. They look up and see Leo holding Ah. They run over to them.
Feathers: Oh, dear!
Tegan: What happened? Isn't she one of the Blazing Crescents?
Leo: I think so... she ran out of the dungeon hysterically screaming about some kind of massacre and demons.
Tegan: We better check it out. Feathers, call Boris or Kaasha at the Blazing Crescents' headquarters and tell them something's up. I'll call you as soon as we find out more.
(Leo sets Ah gently down in one of the chairs while Tegan pulls some flashlights out of her drawer. She puts them on the desk next to her cell phone and a map of the dungeons. Finally she picks up a glass of water and splashes herself.)
Tegan-C: (handing a flashlight to Leo) Ready?
(Nodding grimly, Leo takes the flashlight. Tegan-C follows him down into the dungeon. He looks a the map)
Leo: This is the area the Blazing Crescents were supposed to be working in today. Really the last major area to be cleared.
Tegan-C: I guess that's where we start.
(Leo and Tegan-C make their way through the hallways. Leo's experience in the dungeons helps him find their location quickly. He stops short.)
Tegan-C: What is it?
Leo: (sniffing the air) Death.
Tegan-C: He's down here? I thought he was supposed to be out most of the day. His horse isn't in the stable.
Leo: -_-;;; No... I smell corpses. Don't you smell it?
Tegan-C: (tentatively sniffing the air) I smell something. The BC's are supposed to be killing whatever creatures Madame WWW left behind.
Leo: These are humans I smell.
Tegan-C: Oh no!
(They hurry through the corridors of the dungeon towards the area the BC's were supposed to be working. They turn a corner.)
Tegan-C: Oh...my...god.... are they all... (She covers her mouth, swallowing back her nausea at the sight before her.)
Leo: (kneeling over a body and feeling for a pulse) I think so...
Tegan-C: (leaning against a wall for support) What could have done this?
Leo: I don't know. (he sniffs the air) Something... supernatural... was here... (he tracks the scent to the enormous hole in the wall) Whatever it was came and went through here.
(Tegan-C calls up to Feathers to tell her about the situation. Ah is still unconscious. Feathers promises to relay the information to the BC headquarters)
Tegan-C: You go get what you need to seal this wall back up. Get Ro to give you a hand. I'm going to get someone more knowledgeable in these things to help out.
Leo: What about the bodies?
Tegan-C: He may want to look at them. (Tegan-C opens a small catspace portal and puts her flashlight inside. Then she shifts to cat form and enters the portal. She exits outside apartment 5D. After shifting to cat woman form, she knocks on the door.)
Corindaen: Who... Lady Tegan is that you?
Tegan-C: Oops, Sorry that's right you haven't seen me in my cursed form yet have you?
Corindaen: Cursed hmm...Jusenkyou? I've heard about the cursed pools but this is the first time I've actually seen the results.....Fascinating.... <shakes his head> I'm forgetting my manners, please come in.
Tegan-C: Thanks. (She follows Corindaen inside) I need your help.
Corindaen: What can I do for you?
(Briefly, Tegan-C tells Corindaen what she knows so far)
As Tegan-C speaks, Corindaen's face grows grimmer and more stern.
Tegan-C: Leo seems to think it's something supernatural. I have him getting what's needed to repair the hole in the wall. The girl is still unconscious. She's in the office with Feathers. I was hoping you could help me.
Corindaen: I'll see what I can do. May I see the scene?
Corindaen: Let me get some materials. <as he speaks a shimmering blur washes around him. When it passes the clothes he was wearing are gone. and in there place he now is wearing a set of black robes worked with silver flames on the arms. Just visible beneath the sleeves of the robe are a pair of silver bracers, while at his waist is belted a dagger with running cat worked into the hilt. Turning his head Corindaen calls out to Greymist. With a running jump the cat leaps to his shoulder. Holding out one hand Corindaen summons his staff and then looks at Tegan-C>
Corindaen: Shall we go lady?
(Tegan-C nods. She escorts Corindaen down to the dungeon.)
As Tegan-C and Corindaen proceed to the Dungeon, Tegan quickly fills Corindaen in on it's history, both from the time of Madam WWW, and more recent. As they reach the site where the BC's where attacked. Corindaen slows and then stops and holds up one hand to halt Tegan-C.
Corindaen: Hold a moment my lady. <as he speaks, Corindaen looks at the dungeon walls and the hole into the sewers. Holding one hand up he speaks several words softly under his breath and suddenly a bluish light wells up from several points in the room, from the walls, floor, and ceiling comes a soft steady glow, save only the wall where the hole is. On that wall the glow is badly dimmed and complete gone at several points around the boarder of the hole.>
<As Tegan-C looks around she notices that the bluish glow is emanating from Corindaen and Greymist, although far stronger than that from the walls, as well as from herself.>
Corindaen: Simply a spell to detect the presence of magic. There are wards built into the walls of this place but they are badly faded. Where the wall has been broken open they are gone completely, and they seem to be fading fast from the rest of the dungeon.
Tegan-C: I'm not surprised. Anything here was set up by Madame WWW who knows when. The Wizard tried to keep them going, but he was more knowledgeable than skillful. I don't know how good a job he managed to do.
<Holding out his staff in one hand Corindaen begins to chant in a language that Tegan-C has never heard before. As she watches tendrils of silver light begin streaming from the staff and into the hole in the wall quickly forming a web of silver light.>
Corindaen: There, that should ensure that nothing else will come through that hole, at least for now. Still....Greymist ward.
<At Corindaen's words Greymist leaps from his should and stalks towards the hole in the wall, with each step she takes she begins to increase in size until, where before there had be a small cat there now stood a huge Panther.>
Corindaen: Now to check the bodies. <as he speaks Corindaen's, eyes begin to glow with a silver/blue fire and he kneels and begins to examine the bodies. The first few are obviously dead, from very visible injuries. However several of the bodies have no discernable injuries. Working quickly Corindaen checks each of the bodies, suddenly he gasps and speaks>
Corindaen: Lady Tegan can you aid me here this one is alive. <looking around he spots two other BC mercs who are also still alive.>
<As Tegan-C moves towards the bodies, Leo and Ro come back carrying tools and supplies to repair the hole in the wall. As he sees the bodies Ro's Steps suddenly slow and his eyes widen in shock.>
Ro: Madre de Dios! Que paso?!?
Tegan-C: We have survivors. <she glares at Leo> Thanks a lot, Dr. McCoy...
Leo: <growling> I never said I was a doctor...
Tegan-C: For which I'm profoundly grateful. Now give us a hand here....
Corindaen: <Holding his hands over the bodies of the survivors, speaks to Tegan-C> I'm not sure what they ran into but it was definitely supernatural in nature. Their life-force has been almost completely drained.
Tegan-C: Is there anything you can do for them?
Corindaen: Possibly...<Still holding his hands over the bodies, Corindaen begins to chant softly, as he does so more tendrils of silver light pour from his hands and begins to play over the mercs bodies. Finally after several long moments of this the light fades and Corindaen, sags. Speaking tiredly.> There I have done all I can for now. We need to get them somewhere where they can rest.
Tegan-C: <Standing quickly, and helping Corindaen to his feet.> Leo, Ro help us move the survivors back up stairs to the office.
[Meanwhilst, Kaasha and Boris have just arrived at Mystic Manor following Feathers' call.]
Feathers: (hand to her heart) Oh, thank goodness you're here! Ah's over in the office, I don't know what happened to the other children.
Kaasha: Boris, check up on Ah. I'm going down to the site to see what I can.
Feathers: This way, Boris. Oh dear oh dear...
[They part ways and Kaasha heads into the dungeon. Being familiar with the layout, she gets to the area in question quickly enough, just as the others are starting to lift the survivors off the floor.]
Kaasha: Hello again Tegan. (waves curtly in acknowledgement and immediately kneels down next to a corpse to inspect it, frowning) Any survivors other ;than Ah?
Leo: Three. They're barely alive.
Kaasha: (looks around the area, then stands up suddenly) Something's wrong. We're missing two bodies here. Where are the rest?
[Everyone looks around in confusion, then almost as if on cue they all turn to face the hole leading to the sewers.]
Corindaen: I believe there might still be more of your comrades in there.
Kaasha: Probably right. The ones here seem to have been fleeing.
[Corindaen, knowing full well Kaasha's intent, removes the barrier.]
Kaasha: (heading to the hole) Thanks sir. Sorry, but I'm in kind of a rush right now, so if you'll excuse me...
Corindaen: Shouldn't you wait until... (trails off as Kaasha disappears into the sewer) Headstrong girl. I hope she knows what she's doing.
Tegan-C: Kaasha helped me and the others against Madame WWW. She usually knows what to do. Meanwhile, Leo, Ro... get these guys upstairs and call an ambulance.
[Kaasha sloshes down the tunnel with her pole drawn, a hammerhead of ice formed from the large amounts of water available. Not very far down the tunnel ;Kaasha comes across the bodies of Chu and Lieutenant Sven.]
[Kaasha frowns as a particularly morbid spark of insight strikes her. The bodies should be beset with vermin by now, but oddly enough there aren't any rats around. Except for that dead one floating over there, and another one a bit further down, and...]
[She concentrates and uses her water shaping ability to induce strong undercurrents in the sewer's waters, parting them for a few hundred feet down the tunnel, revealing whatever lies on the tunnel floor. In this case, a veritable trail of small lifeless animals.]
Kaasha: (icy glint in her eye) Bingo.
[Kaasha lets the waters fall back in place and makes her way back to the others, carrying the late Chu and Lt. Sven on her shoulders. The hunt is for later, she thinks to herself. But it shall be the prey next time, whatever it is.]
(Back to Mystic Manor, Boris enters the office.)
Feathers: She's resting now on one of the chairs in the office.
Boris: I see. Why don't you get something for her, maybe to calm her down when she awakens -- if she is still in shock and have not fully recovered.
Feathers: Yes, yes... I'll get some soup, and maybe some ice-cold juice...
Boris: (moves over to Ah's side) -_-;;; That'll do.
Feathers: ...or maybe a tasty fruit, or a sandwich... I'll have to ask Tegan what to do...
(Feathers leaves, still undecided on what to get for Ah.)
(Boris leans closer to Ah, kneeling down so as to see her more clearly. He was awestruck by the fragility and innocence in her plain features as she slept. She seemed like a child, barely a teenager, and not a vicious battle-hardened merc as she is so well-known. Ruthless and cunning, Ah was infamous in Nox as the merc with the heart of copper -- she always sides with the one with the most power, abandoning her unit if she has to.)
Boris: (to himself) Question is, did you betray your teammates by abandoning them, or did have no choice in the matter?
(Boris slowly reaches out with his right hand to brush off a stray wisp of hair on Ah's cheek. He found himself touching her left cheek, feeling the softness of her skin. His hand began trembling as he caught himself at the last moment and stopped.)
Boris: So beautiful, yet so cold...
Ah: (still unconscious) Jay...
(Boris froze at mention of the name, then relaxed as he remembered something about Arikah Sumeragi's past. She used to have a crush on Jay, and would follow him constantly. Then, she was altruistic and more likable in character. Jay, of course, never knew about it, probably treating her as if she was just another Faceless Minion(tm). As her efforts towards him became more frustrated as he ignored her many attempts for him to notice her, her attitude changed. She volunteered to be sent to Nerima as "combat research", mainly because she wanted to get over her infatuation over Jay.)
Boris: (to himself) Or maybe not. (Leans over until his face is but a few inches from Ah's.) Ah...
(Ah's eyelids fluttered open slowly as Ah regains consciousness. She quickly opens her eyes wide, as if still in shock, and immediately swats at Boris' hand. Before Boris could recover, Ah pushes him out of the way, causing him to stagger and lose his balance. A sidearm quickly appears on Ah's hand, and she lowers the barrel towards Boris' surprised face.) Boris: Wha... (thinks: Where did she get that gun?)
Ah: HENTAI!!! Don't... don't you dare... you... you...
Boris: Ah... It's me, Boris.
Ah: ...you... huh? Sir? I...
(Ah realizes where she is, and drops the gun, causing it to clatter harmlessly down to the floor. She then swoons.)
Boris: Easy now... (catches Ah in his arms)
(Feathers enters the room, carrying a large tray of... er, stuff... piled on top of it.)
Feathers: Here you go... Oh, I see that she has recovered.
Boris: Thank you.
(Ah looks up at Boris.)
Ah: Sir... I... Sorry. Forgive me. My unit has... failed. I have...failed. My commanding officer, his second-in-command... my fellow teammates... all of them...
Boris: Don't worry. Your pay won't be affected by this... incident.
Ah: It's not that... it's my fault. I shouldn't have...
Boris: Shouldn't have what?
Ah: ...Bu... Sai... Ku...
Boris: Ah? Ah!
Ah: ...(falls unconscious)
Feathers: Oh, dear...
(Boris slowly settles Ah back on the chair, absently checking her for any more weapons. Out on the corner of his eyes, he notices something white scuttling on the floor.)
(Boris attempted to follow it, but the fluffy white object shot out the door and out of sight before he was able to catch up. He did notice though, that the mouse had a ribbon. Whatever it was, the mouse probably followed Feathers into the office.)
Sumire: (walking into the room) I wouldn't think we'd have any mice here, with Te-chan as landlord. Well, it's probably a pet, lab rat, or familiar.
Boris: <piku> Excuse me, but...
Sumire: Oh! Feathers-'bachan! I thought you might be around.
Feathers: My, my, that is, yes. Is there another problem?
Sumire: Well... sort of. It's about my roommate, Ro-chan.
Feathers: Oh, dear; surely, he hasn't...
Sumire: He kind of snores. Really loudly.
(Feathers, Boris, and even the still-unconscious Ah facefault.)
Sumire: (continuing) So I wanted to find out whether there was a way to soundproof a room, or something.
Feathers: I... I'll look into it.
Sumire: <beam> Arigatou, 'Bachan! (turns to leave, then stops) By the way, what's the 'busaiku'?
RL-Note: This is more like an attempt to add background info on our charas. I know, it's a bit OOC for Boris and Feathers, but I have to wing it. Whatever happened to both "In This Corner..." and "Magical Girl Hop-Skip" threads? Anyway, RL-TL and co. mentioned three survivors. There are about seven members in Ah's unit. Obviously, The Lieutenant [Sven] and Chu [The Scout] are dead, but what about Tom [The Melee], Chris [The Sniper], Mike [The Commo], and Corey [The Rifleman]? Not counting Ah [The Ammo Carrier], which of them died, and who survived? Who knows?
Jingai: Ne-san? Spying again?
Leo and Ro take the survivors upstairs. Tegan-C and Corindaen wait for Kaasha.
Tegan-C: How much longer do you think these wards will keep working?
Corindaen: In their current state, all the wards could fail at any time. The method the witch used in their construction is rather esoteric and inefficient. I'm surprised the Wizard managed to keep them going so long. (he studies the hole in the wall) The construction may have further weakened the wards on this wall, causing the final collapse.
(Kaasha returns through the hole with the bodies. She tells Tegan-C and Corindaen what she observed in the sewers)
Tegan-C: My God... what if whatever did all that got loose in the building....? Corindaen, is there something more... permanent that can be done to replace the wards? (she looks into the hole) I have to be concerned with my tenants' safety, and I don't want to take a chance anything like this happening again. The guys can fix the hole in the wall, but they can't fix the wards.
Corindaen: I believe there may be. Hmm. <Corindaen looks at the dungeon walls for a long moment and nods to himself.> Yes I believe I can do something about the wards. It will take a few days to set up and I will require your assistance in the later stages. However for now I will reinforce the wards that are already here, I will also erect and energy wall in the sewer tunnel so that your maintenance personnel can repair the wall.
<Closing his eyes for a moment Corindaen begins to chant softly under his breath, as he does so Greymist shrinks down to her normal size and leaps to his shoulder where she begins to glow softly with a green/gold light. Suddenly Corindaen raises his staff and, crying out a single WORD in a loud voice, brings it down so that the heal of the staff slams into the floor. Where the staff strikes the floor a blazing wave of energy suddenly ripples outward spreading across the floor and up the walls. Then turning towards the hole in the dungeon wall, Corindaen raises his free hand and points. Suddenly a shimmering wall of light forms and begins to move down the sewer tunnel a short distance before stopping and forming a barrier that spreads from wall to wall in the tunnel.
Corindaen: There, that will prevent anything else from attempting to enter the dungeons from the sewer. At least for a short time. I have also renewed the wards already here, so that they will last until I can setup a more efficient and permanent set. <As he speaks Corindaen suddenly sways>
<Moving quickly Tegan-C catches the mage's arm before he can fall.>
Tegan-C: Are you ok?
Corindaen: Yes. I'm just tired. Renewing the survivor's life energy and then all this spell casting has tired me out. I will be fine shortly.
Tegan-C: Let's get out of here.
<Leaving the dungeon, Tegan-C and Corindaen pass Leo and Ro on their way back to fix the wall. Speaking quickly Tegan-C tells them that there are wards now in place to prevent anything from entering the dungeon.>
Tegan-C: Still I don't want to take any chances. Leo after you two finish the repairs lock the entrance to the dungeon and don't let anyone down there without my permission.
<A Short time later back in Tegan's office she and Corindaen are sitting and speaking of what can be done concerning the wards.>
Tegan: <Having changed back to normal>Now you said there might be something you can do about the wards in the dungeon?
Corindaen: Yes. The wards that the witch had in place, and that the Wizard appears to have been maintaining are very easy to setup. The problem with them is that they have to be constantly renewed or they fade after a period of time. What I can do is setup a set of Ward Stones that should do a much better job.
Tegan: Ward Stones?? What are they?
Corindaen: The Ward Stones, are magically constructed anchor points to a set of wards. Properly constructed they will generate a continuous self renewing set of wards, over not only the dungeon but the entire building. Once they are in place and active creatures or beings of a magical or supernatural nature will be unable to enter here without your knowledge and consent. There are some things to strong to be stopped simply by passive wards, but even if something does manage to get through the wards you will at least know about it and be able to act.
Tegan: How long would it take for you to set them up, and what would you need from me?
Corindaen: The actual raising of the wards only takes about a half hour. However the preparation before hand can take 3 - 5 days. There are several steps involved in the process that I would need to complete first. As for what I would need from you, in the initial stages I would not require your assistance, although I may have young Lisa help as it would be good training for her. In the final stage when the wards are actually activated I would require your presence as well as that of any other persons you wish to designate as guardians.
Tegan: I see...Will the wards in the dungeon last long enough for you to complete your preparations and raise the wards?
Corindaen: Yes I believe so. Unless something actively tries to break through either the force wall I placed in the sewer, or the wards on the dungeons themselves they should last at least for 10 days. In the event that something does attempt to force it's way through I will know and be able to alert you to it.
Corindaen: If you would like I can provide you with some material on the nature of the Ward Stones, and they process involved in their creation.
Tegan: Please I would appreciate it.
Corindaen: Certainly lady. <Raising one hand Corindaen, reaches out as if grasping something, and suddenly a book appears in his hand. Rising from the chair where he was sitting he hands it to Tegan.> If you will excuse me lady I need to go rest. Please let me know once you have made your decision.
<As Corindaen leaves, Tegan looks down at the book laying on her desk. Covered in Black leather, there is written on the cover in silver letters the following: "THE LOREBOOK OF TORAS: ON THE CREATION OF WARDS AND PROTECTIVE MAGICS" Opening the book Tegan notices that all of the pages are blank except for one section. At the top of the first written page is the line: "ON THE CREATION OF WARD STONES" Sitting back in her chair Tegan begins to read.>
<Several hours later, Tegan knocks on Corindaen's apartment door, the book under her arm and a covered basket in her hand. Corindaen comes to the door, still somewhat tired from his earlier activities.>
Tegan: I hope I didn't wake you.
Corindaen: No, no. Please come in.
Tegan: Thanks. I didn't know what kind of condition you'd be in after everything you did, so I brought you and Greymist some dinner. <She sets the basket down on a table. Greymist leaps onto a chair by the table and sniffs at the basket.> It's lasagna, with garlic bread, salad, and some cake for dessert. I hope you both like it.
Corindaen: I appreciate the gesture. It is most kind of you.
Tegan: It's the least I could do for your help.
Corindaen: <Looking into the basket and gauging the amount of food, looks up at Tegan> Would you care to join us lady? It looks as if you've brought more than sufficient food for all of us.
Tegan: Well... All right.
Corindaen: <smiling> Please be seated while I get some plates. <standing Corindaen, looks towards the cabinet against the wall and claps his hands together. Suddenly the doors and drawers on the cabinet open and plates and utensils begin drifting out and setting themselves on the table. As they do Corindaen, goes into the kitchen, only to return a moment later with a bottle of wine.> I came across this vintage shortly after I came here, I believe it should go well with the food.
<Pouring a three glasses of wine, Corindaen sits himself at the head of the table with Tegan to his right and Greymist to his left. As he sits, he looks at Greymist and speaks.>
Corindaen: You had better shift little one. Remember what happened the last time you tried to eat something like this in your normal form.
<At his words a shimmering blur washes around Greymists form and she begins to expand. When the blurring effect fades where there was a small cat, there now sits a beautify young looking woman, in simple clothes of brown and grey. With a merry sparkle in her eyes Greymist speaks.>
Greymist-W: Your never going to let me live that down are you?
Corindaen: <Grinning> Not a chance. <Turning to Tegan> A few years after Greymist learned to shift to humanoid form. We happened to be having a meal similar to this one with my children. At that time Greymist had only recently developed a taste for Human food and was still experimenting with what she liked. Instead of shifting to her Elven form she decided to eat in her cat form. Needless to say I spent the next week or so cleaning cheese out of her fur and whiskers.
<At that Tegan begins to laugh>
Tegan: I'll have to remember that the next time I'm eating messy foods when I'm in my cursed form.
Corindaen: Indeed. <Then he and Greymist both join in the laughter, and the talk turns to other things.>
---A Short Time Later After Dinner
Tegan: When you feel up to it, I d like to discuss putting up those wards.
Corindaen: Perhaps tomorrow then.
Tegan: Yeah... oh, by the way... you mentioned you would be working with Lisa and her spell jewels.
Corindaen: Yes. She will be training with me.
Tegan: Well, if you would like a place to work with her, on the eighth floor, there's a room that the Wizard closed off. It used to be Madame WWW's magic room. The Wizard set it up so only he, PATE, and I can open the door, since there's some stuff that we don't want to take a chance on people messing with. If you like, I can give you access to it.
Corindaen: <Smiling> Thank you lady. I would greatly appreciate that. My biggest concern with training Lisa, was that there are bound to be accidents. I was worried about finding a suitable place to train her in that I could properly shield. The witch's old workroom however should be perfect, as it undoubtedly already has shields in place.
Tegan: Ok. I'll show it to you tomorrow.
Corindaen: <Escorting Tegan to the Door.> Until tomorrow then Lady, and Thank you for the food. It was very kind of you.
Tegan: It was the least I could do after all you've done for me today.
Corindaen: <Smiles and bows slightly.> None the less thank you, and now Good evening.
Tegan: And to you.
<After Tegan leaves Corindaen finishes cleaning up the dishes and puts the basket to one side to be returned to Tegan in the morning. Then walking into the living room he gets a thoughtful expression on his face. Walking over to one of the book cases, Corindaen, looks at it for a moment and then speaks a word in an ancient tongue. Immediately the bookcase and it's contents, shimmer and vanish revealing a hole in the wall where none should be, filled with a strange Pearlescent mist. Stepping forward Corindaen pass through the mist, ignoring the half seen shapes that move and dart through it, coming at last into a large room that is lined with shelves and books. Walking to one of the books cases, he reaches up and removes several large tomes, then walking back through the misty passage, he close the passage behind him leaving no indication that it was every there. Taking the tomes over to a large overstuffed chair, Corindaen sits and begins to study the books. Nearby Greymist, in cat form once more, curls up to take a nap while her wizard studies.>
(In a convent somewhere in the outskirts of Nerima... several nuns are working over something on the table. Closer up, we could see that they are actually engaged in a mah-jongg game. :)
Nun#1: Hah! Straight! (Lays out her blocks)
Nun#2: Aw, shoot. I almost have it, then.
(Shiela suddenly bursts into the room.)
Nun#3: Sister! You're back!
Shiela: (enters door) Yes... (yawns) I must rest.
Nun#4: Busy day? Ate well?
Shiela: (pauses) You could say that...
--- 7C, Mystic Manor...
(The apartment was silent, seemingly empty. To the casual viewer, the living room looks as if no one has been around for a while, although a more careful investigation would show no dust on the furniture, as if it was regularly cleaned. Trained observers would also notice the small fluffy white mouse rushing quickly towards the bathroom.)
(Nezumi-M entered the bathroom. She clambered up into the faucet, turning the hot water onto the tub. When the bathtub was finally filled with hot water, she jumped into the water, quickly changing back to her normal form. Nezumi: Ahh... That was great...
(Nezumi paused, looking around as if expecting somebody...)
--- Downstairs, Tegan's Office
(Ah groans, waking up.)
Feathers: Thank goodness, you're awake.
Ah: Ohhh... Huh? What... (looks around) I remember. (settles in the chair) I'm so tired...
Feathers: Here, have something to make you feel better. (offers up some food)
Ah: Thank you. (takes the food)
(Boris stood aside, watching the scene.)
(Outside the bathroom, on every wall around the apartment, the wards began glowing...)
--- Somewhere in the streets of Nerima
(Uhm stops walking.)
Uhm: Huh? For a moment I thought someone called me... oh, well...
(Uhm continues walking.)
(Satisfied that nothing is going to happen, Nezumi wiped the last drops of moisture from her young body. Wearing only a bathrobe, she stepped out of the bathroom and turned towards her room. Stopping, she turned around to look at Jingai's room. A mischievous smile began to form on her face.)
--- Jingai's Room(tm) (http://www.geocities.com/Tokyo/Ginza/2415/grit.html)
(Jingai was seated in a yoga position on the center of his room. He was deep in meditation, his thoughts calm and serene, as quiet as his room. Unnoticed, Nezumi enters the room.)
Nezumi: Jingai-oniisan!!! <glomp>
Jingai: (surprised) Ne-san... what the...
(Jingai gives Nezumi the once-over. He quickly shuts his eyes, turning red with embarrassment.)
Jingai: NE-SAN! Please, you're not properly dressed.
Nezumi: Don't be silly, it's not as if you haven't seen me like this before. ^_^
Jingai: -_-;;; Stop that. (reddens some more)
Nezumi: Anyways, I've been looking around...
Jingai: (still with eyes closed) Spying?
Nezumi: NO! Er, I mean, no, not that... observing is a better term for it... like I was saying...
(Nezumi tells Jingai what just happened...)
Jingai: I see... (opens his eyes, then shuts them again ^_^)
Nezumi: You were peeking!!! ;D
Jingai: No I'm not.
Nezumi: So what do we do now?
Jingai: Not today. Tomorrow... and please get dressed.
--- Mystic Manor, the next morning.
<Tegan is downstairs in the office, going over some paperwork. Su Yee is sitting at one of the desks sorting mail. Corindaen enters, Greymist on his shoulder. He glances at Su for a second, appearing taken aback. Tegan looks up from her paperwork.>
Tegan: Oh, hey. How are you feeling this morning?
Corindaen: <Still observing Su> Much better, thank you. A good night's sleep will do wonders.
Tegan: Did you want to see the magic room?
Corindaen: If it is not too much trouble.
Tegan: No trouble at all. I need an excuse to take a break from these papers. (She takes out a set of keys and a flashlight from the drawer) Let's go.
(In the lobby, Corindaen turns to Tegan).
Corindaen: Your employee... is she a...?
Tegan: Yeah. Su's a ghost. Uh... will the ward stones affect her in any way?
Corindaen: Not if they are set to accept her. It is good that I know.
(On the 8th floor, Tegan leads Corindaen to a locked door.)
Tegan: This is it. I guess you could readjust the protection spell to allow you and Lisa in here. Like I said, I was worried about some of the less knowledgeable tenants getting loose in here.
(Tegan unlocks the door. Corindaen senses the echoes of rites performed by the witch previously. Arcane devices and cryptic bottles rest on shelves on the walls. The floor is bare, with a pentagram inscribed on one section. Skulls serve as candle holders. A moose head hangs on one wall. The walls and floor are painted gray. A purple draped table holds an ancient crystal ball. There are no windows.)
<Closing his eyes for a moment, Corindaen concentrates. When he opens his eyes they are glowing with an eldritch silver/blue fire. Looking into the room he can see mystic symbols, previously invisibly, glowing on the walls, floor and ceiling. Looking towards the pentagram, he can see a shadowy form trapped at it's center a darkness cloaking it's true form, from it he can sense a dark evil.>
Tegan: We decided not to touch anything until someone more knowledgeable came along. There's no electric lights in here, and Leo said restoring the windows would affect the protection spells on the room. According to Leo and Feathers, she stored some of her more valuable magic devices in the penthouse. My next task is going to be renovating up there.
Corindaen: It is well that you didn't disturb anything. I can see several magical traps, as well as some fairly powerful shield spells. Please stand back.
Tegan: <uncertainly> Okay...
<As Tegan, steps back Corindaen raises one hand and from know where his staff appears. Even as it does a soundless unfelt wind ripples his clothes, which change into the black robes that Tegan had seen him wearing before.>
Corindaen: Greymist, guard the door let nothing pass.
<At his words Greymist leaps from his shoulder and begins to enlarge to panther size, she then moves to face the entrance of the casting chamber, her entire form radiating watchfulness. As she takes up her position Corindaen, moves forward into the room, as he does so a blinding sheet of red flames washes up from the floor to engulf him.>
Tegan: <Horrified> Corindaen!!!!
Corindaen: I'm ok this is just the first of the traps.
<As Tegan, watches nervously the flames die down revealing Corindaen standing there unharmed. Even as she watches he begins to chant softly and a silver radiance begins to form around his body. Quickly growing in intensity the silver light soon illuminates the entire room, as it does so however a inky black mist begins to pour from the walls, floor, and ceiling where the shadow and the light meet red lightning's begin to erupt. Back and forth the darkness and the light duel, first one and then the other gaining the upper hand, until suddenly Corindaen raises his staff and with a final shouted word drives the darkness back. As the darkness fades away a wailing cry can be heard from the area of the pentagram, which is now blazing with a fierce blue flame. With in the flames a twisted, misshapen form can be seen. However before Tegan can identify what the form is it disappears, as it does so she suddenly hears the sound of glass shattering as the crystal ball cracks and falls to the floor.>
Tegan: Oh my god!
Corindaen: You can enter now Tegan, I've disarmed the various traps, and artifacts here.
Tegan: Are you okay? And what was that in the pentagram?
Corindaen: I'm fine, I more or less expected that. Although I must admit the witches protections where a bit stronger than I anticipated. The thing in the pentagram seems to have been some kind of minor demon. Probably what was powering the traps. I've destroyed it and dispelled all the magic from this room. It will still need to be cleansed however before it will be suitable for me to teach Lisa in. A great many dark rites where conducted here.
Tegan: I figured as much. Madame WWW was one nasty character. Feathers and Leo can tell you more about the witch.
Corindaen: Perhaps some other time.
Tegan: Hmm... Would you be willing to check out the penthouse for me as well and remove any traps that might be there?
Corindaen: Certainly. Just let me know when you want me to inspect it and I would be happy to.
Tegan: How about after you get this room finished and after the ward stones are set up. From what I've seen, there are all kinds of devices and things in the penthouse. When I'm up there in my cursed form, I can sense a lot of strange things up there. I can show you the penthouse whenever you're ready to see it.
Corindaen: That would be fine, lady. I'm not surprised that you can sense things in there. Cat's tend to be aware of a great deal more than humans. With the feline nature of your cursed form combined with the magic that makes it possible, I would be very surprised if you where not sensitive to magic.
Tegan: <surprised> I.. hadn't considered that. Interesting.
Corindaen: However for now I will seal this room and begin working on the ward stones. <Turning Corindaen, closes the door to the casting chamber and then places his hand against the center of the door. For a moment nothing seems to happen, then suddenly a silver light washes outward from his beneath his palm. When the light fades Corindaen removes his hand and where before the door was completely unmarked there is now a symbol of an eight pointed star with a flame and rune at its center.>
Corindaen: <speaking to Tegan> There, I have sealed the room and rekeyed the door so it will only open for myself or you.
Tegan: Good. I still don't want people wandering in and out of there. Will you need anything else from me before you begin working on the ward stones?
Corindaen: Would you happen to have a map of the grounds?
Tegan: Sure, there should be a copy down in my office.
<The two quickly make their way back to the first floor and retrieve the map of the mystic manor grounds.>
Corindaen: <Looking over the map> Yes this should be suitable. If you will excuse me lady Tegan, I will begin working on the stones now.
Tegan: Okay, let me know if you need anything else.
Corindaen: I will lady, until later. <Bowing slightly to Tegan, Corindaen turns and strides from her office, studying the map as he goes. Greymist perched on his should seems to be looking at it as well>
<Back in his apartment Corindaen, sets the map on the table and begins to study it in detail. Sitting nearby Greymist also looks it over.>
Meanwhile, Tegan takes out another copy of the floor plan of the area where the construction is taking place. Red lines mark walls that need to remain for structural support. Blue lines mark walls to be removed. Green has already been taken out. She makes some notes in the margins about construction details, then folds up the plans.
<The Next Morning>
<The Mystic Manor Offices>
<Tegan and Feathers are going over some paper work when the phone on Tegan's desk begins to ring.>
Tegan: <answering the phone> Hello?
Corindaen: Lady Tegan, would you be available to come to my apartment? I have the anchor stones for the wards prepared but the will need to be placed around the grounds of the Manor.
Tegan: Certainly, I will be right up.
Corindaen: Very thank you lady. Oh, you might want to bring some help that way the job will go faster.
Tegan: Okay, I'll be there in a few minutes.
<Tegan hangs up the phone, then picks it up and dials Leo's cell phone.>
Leo: <answering his phone> Yeah?
Tegan: It's me. Is Ro with you?
Leo: Uh huh. We finally finished fixing the wall.
Tegan: Good. I need both of you guys. Meet me outside 5D.
<A few minutes later Tegan, along with Leo & Ro, stand outside of Corindaen's apartment, as Tegan rings the bell she can here someone moving inside the apartment. A moment later Greymist in her elven form opens the door.>
Greymist-E: Lady Tegan, hello come in.
Tegan: Hi. Thanks.
<as Tegan and the others enter they can see floating above the center of the living room a 3 dimensional image of the Manor and it's grounds. Sitting in a chair nearby is Corindaen, a look of concentration on his face as he studies the image.>
Ro: Madre de Dios!
<Leo doesn't comment, having previously seen similar of Madame WWW.>
Corindaen: <looking up and smiling> Lady Tegan, thank you for coming. I've finished the anchor stones for the wards and they now need to be placed at certain points around the manor. <as he speaks Corindaen gestures towards a table in the corner, sitting on it the others can see 8 small statues, shaped in the forms of sitting cats. They appear to be made of some obsidian stone. As Tegan moves over to look at them, she notices that the longer she stares at them the more detail she can see. The statues look as if someone froze a living cat in obsidian and left it to watch the world unfold.> I thought you might appreciate the form Lady, do you like them?
Tegan: They're beautiful. <Then frowning slightly> but they're so small will they do the job?
Corindaen: <laughing softly> Size is irrelevant in this type of spell, but as a matter of fact they will be larger shortly. After we place them in their proper positions around the manor, they will enlarge to about 4 times their current size.
Tegan: I see. where do they need to be placed?
Leo: <muttering to Ro> At least we won't have to lug big heavy statues.
Corindaen: <motioning towards the 3D image of the Manor> As you can see I've marked on this map where each statue must be placed. Two each need to be placed at each side of the grounds. They should be positioned so that they are looking outward from the manor. Lady Tegan if you would take the southern point, I will take the north.
Leo: I'll take the Eastern side.
Ro: I suppose that leaves the west for me.
Tegan: Okay. Do you have maps to show us the exact placement?
Corindaen: Yes, <hands each of them a small map showing the exact place where the statues must be placed.>
Tegan: okay, than lets get this done.
<shortly outside the manor>
<As Tegan places her second statue she notices that it begins to glow with a soft silver radiance. Stepping back quickly she watches in fascination as the small statue begins to grow. As it does so she notices that it's appearance changes slightly so that it more resembles a fierce hunting cat than a house cat. As she watches it reaches the size of a mountain lion and stops glowing. For a long moment nothing further happens, until suddenly she hears the sound of Lions roaring echoing from around the manor.>
Tegan: Weird. I hope this all works.
< A moment later a voice speaks from behind her causing her to whirl around in startlement.>
Corindaen: It is done, they are all placed correctly and now the next stage may begin.
Tegan: What happens next?
Corindaen: There is further work to be done on the setup of the wards. Have you decided who you wish to give keys?
Tegan: At this point, I think I want just Feathers and PATE to have access. Ro and Su haven't been around long enough and I don't know them that well yet.
Corindaen: And Leo?
Tegan: <hesitantly> Leo's been acting a bit strange lately. Call it instinct, but I'd rather not give him access to the wards at this point. A few months ago I wouldn't have had a problem. I don't know. Maybe he's missing Opus and the Wizard.
Corindaen: Have you spoken to Leo about your concerns?
Tegan: I've tried. But he seems to clam up when I'm around.
<Corindaen studies Tegan for a minute. Concentrating, he sees Gaeld's order of servitude on Tegan's forehead.>
Tegan: <continuing> Anyhow, I need to head inside. Tora's coming for dinner tonight and I need to do a bit of shopping.
<Tegan and Corindaen walk back to the building. Leo, who had been listening, steps out from some bushes. He growls in irritation. "Why can't I seem to tell her?" he asks himself. "If I tell her maybe she'd...." His cell phone interrupts his train of thought.>
Leo: <snapping> What?!
Feathers: <on the phone> Don't you talk to me like that young man!
Leo: Sorry Feathers. I was preoccupied. What do you need?
Feathers: The sink is backed up in apartment 7B.
Leo: *sigh*... OK. I'll take care of it.
<mumbling to himself, Leo turns toward Mystic Manor and goes inside.>
<Later that night, Corindaen, Tegan, & Lisa meet on the first floor of the manor.>
Corindaen: Lady Tegan if your ready, I will begin raising the wards.
Tegan: <A little nervously> I'm ready.
Corindaen: Very well. <Turning to Lisa and handing her a small pouch.> Lisa, take this powder and place it around the room as I explained earlier.
Lisa: Hai, Sensei.
<As Lisa begins to walk along the walls, she pours a glittering golden powder from the pouch that Corindaen, gave her. As the powder hits the floor. It leaves glowing golden trail of light. While she is doing this Corindaen for his part begins to pour a similar powder out, save that this powder is silver instead of gold, in a pattern on the exact center of the floor, chanting softly in a some unknown tongue all the while. Finally he and Lisa both complete their tasks and rejoin Tegan near the center pattern.>
Tegan: I hope your planning to clean this mess up when your done.
Corindaen: <With a soft laugh> If I do this properly lady there will be nothing to clean up. <Turning to Lisa> Now Lisa do you remember what purpose the powder I had you spread servers?
Lisa: <As if reciting from memory> When casting a spell of the High Magic, the wise and cautious mage is advised to raise wards to prevent interference by outside forces. These wards are generally temporary in nature and work better if they have some form of focusing substance.
Corindaen: Correct and do you remember how they are activated?
Lisa: Generally the casting wards are activated by a preset spell phrase.
Corindaen: <With a smile> Correct, you will make an admirable student.
Lisa: <Blushing slightly, ducks her head> Thank you sensei.
Corindaen: And now to begin.
<looking at the golden powder along the walls Corindaen, speaks another phrase in the language of magic, causing the powder to flare brightly and then to settle into a steadily glowing field of golden light.>
Corindaen: There now we are totally protected from outside interference and spying.
<Turning towards the design drawn in silver powder at the center of the room, Corindaen speaks another phrase, this one longer and much more complex, in the language of magic. As he does so the silver powder begins to pulse with a silver radiance. It quickly settles to a steady rhythm almost like the beating of a heart.>
<In Tegan & Pates apartment>
<Pate is sitting on the floor in her room meditating when suddenly she senses strange and eldritch forces beginning to move within the manor. Startled she opens her eyes and rises quickly to her feet. As she does so her armor and sword appear and with a muttered word she vanishes.>
<Back on the first floor, PATE suddenly appears near Tegan>
PATE: Tegan, what is happening, I sense powerful magic being unleashed here.
Tegan: Corindaen's setting up new wards. I told you what happened in the basement the other day, with the Blazing Crescents. The old wards that the Wizard was maintaining failed. These new wards should keep the problems like that from cropping up again.
<As PATE turns to watch Corindaen, suddenly stops chanting and looks at the now steadily pulsing silver light. Nodding to himself he then reaches out his hands as if grasping something. As he does so he speaks with out looking to Lisa>
Corindaen: As you know, there are many ways to cast magical spells, some requiring nothing more than an act of will or a phrase or gesture. Others can use complex rune patterns drawn on objects or patterns laid out with objects.
Lisa: Like my spell jewels.
Corindaen: Exactly. All of these are equally valid methods of casting, and I have used many of them. What you find as you gain in experience is that some spells react better with certain forms of casting method. For instance complex and intricate spells of this nature react especially well to casting through the medium of music.
<As he speaks Corindaen, draws back his hands. Where before they where empty they now hold a harp wrought of some golden wood and strung with silver/white strings. It is a thing of artwork and beauty. As the others watch Corindaen, closes his eyes for and instance and then begins to play. From the harp comes a haunting song of intricate beauty, that shows a skill of many years of development. The music is intricate beyond belief, notes, and complex harmonies dancing and intertwining as Corindaen's fingers fly over the strings.>
Tegan: <staring in awe> Whoa....
<As he plays the others notice that the silver fire of the pattern on the floor is growing brighter and larger.>
<Suddenly, as they are observing PATE gives out a startled curse in the tongue of the elves of her homeland>
Tegan: <Looking at PATE with surprise> What is it?
PATE: He is creating a power nexus under the manor... I did not think I would ever see a mortal with the skill to do such a thing. Truly the mages of his homeland must be mighty indeed.
Tegan: A power nexus? What's that.
PATE: He realigning various currents of magical energy so that they cross directly under the center of the manor. Where they are crossing a node of power is forming I've seen such things occur naturally but it is very rare when you will see one created by a wizard. Usually most wizards will simply find and tap into a naturally occurring one since they take a lot of skill to create.
Tegan: But, what could he do with such a thing?
PATE: If a wizard knows how he can tap into it a node to augment his spells giving them more power or allowing him to cast even when his own power is exhausted.
<As PATE is explaining the nature of power nodes to Tegan, outside the manor the eight wardstones that Corindaen had created earlier begin to glow with a silver light of their own. Slowly the silver radiance of each of the stones begins to reach outwards towards the other stones.>
<Elsewhere in Nerima, those sensitive to the Currents of magic and power look up in startlement and curiosity as they feel the currents shifting and flowing under the will of a mighty spell.> ---
<Back at the manor Corindaen's music begins to move towards it's climax as it does so however, other events are also moving.>
<Outside in the manor grounds, Leo, still upset by his inability to tell Tegan how he feels, is pacing around the grounds in frustration. Never noticing the glow coming from the ward stones, Leo suddenly turns and violently strikes out at the nearest object. Unfortunately this happens to be one of the ward stones, his blow causing it to rock from slightly and cause the still forming wards to ripple.>
<Back inside the manor even as Leo strikes the wards and causes them to ripple Corindaen's spell reaches it's crescendo.>
Corindaen: <Crying out in a loud voice, that echoes with eerie overtones> LET THE WARDS OF POWER BE NOW RAISED.
<Suddenly from the silver figure one the floor comes a might flash of silver light and then it slowly fades until nothing is left but a silver mosaic on the floor.>
<Walking forward Tegan can see that where before the floor was unmarked there is now a figure inscribed in silver on the floor. The figure is that of an eight pointed start with an image of fire at it's heart. In the exact center of the fire image is a stylized rune, while running around the border of the star are other runes.>
Corindaen: It is done; the Manor is now protected against any supernatural incursion.
Tegan: That's good to know, specially now after...
Tegan is interrupted by a loud howling coming from the outside, it's a scream so unnatural that it chills the very soul, a yell straight out of the pits of Hell(TM), a hollering from the forgotten darkness from beyond. It's in Fa Minor, but a little off-scale too.
Tegan: What the... (her cell phone rings) Hello?
Feathers: (over the phone) I think you better come outside, my dear.
Corindaen: The wards seem to work perfectly.
A few moments later, Tegan is standing next to Feathers, facing a fascinating spectacle: on the floor in front of the building's entrance lies a smoking and twitching black Armani suit, in Takahashi-shock-pose, it's outstretched arms reach towards the sky, and where a head would be, there is nothing save a couple of little red glowing spirals. A standing Victorian black suit stands next to it, but the eyeslits look quite irate.
Gothwraith: Lady Tegan, this is preposterous!
Tegan: What seems to be the problem, sir?
Gothwraith: Just glance at my companion! What is the world coming to where two honest, rent- paying evil spirits are barred from their own dwelling!
Gothwraith: Honestly! If I didn't have any manners, I'd dispel this wards at once! Lady Tegan, I ask... no, I _demand_ these seals be removed or be recast as to allow myself and my companion free entry into our _own_ abodes! We have a contract!
Bizwraith: (with an itti-bitty croak) I'll... sue...
Tegan: <Turning to Corindaen> I thought you said the wards wouldn't effect any of the tenants?
Corindaen: <With a thoughtful look on his face> They shouldn't have unless something interfered with one of the ward stones as the wards where going up.
<Holding up one hand Corindaen, looks into a misty globe that quickly forms.>
Corindaen: <Suddenly curses softly> Leo, you fool....
Corindaen: <Turning towards the wraith> You should not be effected by the wards again, I have made the necessary adjustments to allow you passage through them. Now I must go a deal with a very foolish young man.
<Corindaen, turns suddenly and stalks off muttering curses to himself.>
<PATE looks at the scene with dark uneasy. She makes a motion with her hands and teleports back to her room. She locks the door>
PATE<thinks>:Damned Nazgul can go where they wish. I must watch their activities more closely, so I can determine what their plans are. I cant do it myself, I have other duties to perform, and this task will take up all of my time if allow it to. I must find a servant to help me, spy for me. But it cannot be an obvious spy...
<PATE paces the room back and forth for over an hour. Then she seems to come to some decision.>
<PATE walks over the pentagram(marked out in the corner of her room) ,then sits into center of it. After taking a few calming breaths, she vanishes>
<Corindaen, Comes storming around the corner of the manor, cursing softly as he does so. Seeing Leo standing near one of the ward stones, he roars.>
Corindaen: LEO, WHAT IN THE NAME OF EVERY GOD & GODDESS DO YOU THINK YOUR DOING?????
<Startled, Leo whips around to find the enraged Corindaen approaching.>
Corindaen: <Visibly trying to control his fury> Why are you disturbing the wardstones? Are you trying to cause trouble for the place?
Leo: What do you mean disturbing the ward stones? I just... uh... <glances at the statue> <quietly>uh oh....
Corindaen: <In a sarcastic tone> I must congratulate you Leo, you managed to do quite a nice job of frying one of the tenants with your stunt. Just what do you think you where doing?
Leo: <stammering> I... uh... well....
<Tegan comes running up, having followed shortly after Corindaen left>
Tegan: What happened? Why did the wards go crazy?
Corindaen: This young @#$(& managed to knock one of the ward stones out of alignment, just as the wards went up. I'm amazed he didn't manage to fry me, in the process. Fortunately I compensated when I felt the spell shift. I thought it was just a fluctuation in the magic currents, I didn't figure on deliberate interference. <Glares at Leo.>
Tegan: <also glaring at Leo> What the h-e-double hockey sticks were you doing out here?
Leo: <looking away, unable to face an angry Tegan> <quietly> I... uh... tripped and fell into the statue...
Tegan: <angrily> How the h-e-double hockey sticks does a statue that size get moved when you trip? Leo: I... uh... well... that is... uh...
Corindaen: <Looking at Leo, still angry but starting to suspect the source of his frustration> That is not what happened boy. I looked back in time and saw you strike the statue. Why?
Leo: <glancing at Tegan, but not looking her in the eye> I... uh... it's something personal....
Tegan: <shaking her finger, then poking Leo in the chest> Listen Mister Andrews... I don't know what your deal is, but if you don't start shaping up, you can just ship out. <Tegan turns on her heel and walks back to the building>
Leo: <watching her leave><in a whisper> Tegan...
Corindaen: <Looking more thoughtful than angry now> So.... I begin to see...
Leo: <talking to himself in a low voice, as if Corindaen isn't present> Why is it everything I do seems to go wrong...
<Corindaen, rubs his eyes tiredly, then walking over to the wardstone, touches it and speaks a word causing it to realign to it's proper position. As it shifts, a shimmering blur washes through the air.>
Corindaen: There, now the wards are locked and the stones can't be moved or damaged. <Looking over at Leo, with some compassion mixed with irritation> If you feel that strongly for her lad, then tell her. Greymist come.
<Greymist who had been watching the proceedings from the shadows, leaps to Corindaen's shoulder. With a last look at Leo, Corindaen, turns and heads back towards the front of the manor.>
Greymist: *Do you think he will talk to her master?*
Corindaen: I'm not sure. I suppose time will tell.
Greymist: *Indeed it usually does.*
<Frustrated, Leo kicks the ground. He picks up a rock and throws it at a tree. Then he lets out a roar. At last, he goes inside and down to the dungeons. Finding an area where the walls are marked for demolition, Leo does something he has not done in months. Angrily, imagining the wall is Tora, Leo hurls fireballs. The wall crumbles. He turns to another wall scheduled to be demolished.>
<As Corindaen, returns to the front of the manor he finds Tegan, talking with the wraiths.>
Tegan: I apologize for what happened earlier. The original wards that were in the building were failing, which is why I accepted Corindaen's offer to replace the wards. They were supposed to be set to allow existing supernatural residents full access. Someone threw one of the stones out of alignment at the point the wards were being erected, which disrupted the settings. All that has been rectified. You should have no further problems.
Corindaen: <Coming up and hearing Tegan's words> I also add my apology. I have personally checked the wards and they will give you no further problems.
<As the wraiths leave still complaining, Corindaen turns to Tegan>
Corindaen: As I promised lady you will have complete control of the wards. <As he speaks Corindaen hands Tegan an intricately made bracelet of silver and gold chain, set with a single clear crystal.> This will allow you to control the wards, as well as create new control bracelets. Since yours is primary you will be able to override any of the other bracelets. <As speaks Corindaen, hands her two more bracelets, for PATE & Feathers. These are much simpler.> If you would like we can go over the procedures for how to create new ward controls in the morning. I also have a few other things I will need to discuss with you about the wards.
Tegan: That's fine. I need a rest, right about now. <sighing> I think you can see why I said I don't trust Leo lately.
Corindaen: Indeed I can lady. <Thinking to himself, and will you trust him any more, when you discover the source of his problems I wonder> As for resting, I agree completely. That's the major drawback of High Magic, it tends to be extremely draining.
Tegan: Did you need something for dinner? I made extra.
Corindaen: <Smiling slightly> It would be my pleasure lady. <As he turns and holds the door for her> You realize if you keep feeding me these excellent dinners I'm going to have to start casting some of the more draining spells just to keep from gaining weight.
Tegan: That's one of the reasons I need to start working out. Anyway, Tora should be here soon. I'll bring something by your apartment in a bit.
Corindaen: Thank you lady, you are much to kind. <Corindaen bows, careful not to dump Greymist off his shoulder> If you will excuse me I will take my leave of you. I hope I get to meet this young man you mentioned, Tora was his name? He sounds interesting.
Tegan: We've been seeing each other since the summer. He's very special to me. <she glances at her watch> I better head in. I'll bring something by for the two of you before Tora comes. <she goes inside the building>
Corindaen: <Looking up at the nigh sky and the stars> A situation that has the potential to cause much grief, eh old friend. Was I ever that young?
Greymist: * I agree, still they will have to work it out for themselves. And I seem to remember a very young Wizard who was extremely nervous when he began seeing a certain lady sorceress*
Corindaen: <Chuckling Softly> So I was, So I was.... <Turning away, Corindaen heads back into the Manor and goes to his apartment to rest for a bit. On the way he give Lisa some tomes to study and sends her home.> ---
<Some hours later>
<With a bright flash PATE reappears. She steps out of the pentagram carrying a small animal. The creature looks almost like a small white-haired monkey, except it has two brilliantly hued wings jutting from its shoulder-blades. If you looked closely you would see that its feet are more bird like than like those of a primate>
<The creature leaps from PATE's arm and scampers away into a corner of the room>
PATE<smiles>:Sorry if the journey was rough on you little fella.
<PATE frowns >
PATE: Now for the hard part.
<PATE faces the pentagram. She starts to chant in a soft monotonous voice. An opalescent shell of light forms over the pentagram. She stops chanting and starts to make a humming noise. She holds her hands before her, palms facing the sphere of light. Then she closes her eyes. A small mote of darkness forms in the exact center of the sphere. As it grows in size the brightness of the sphere seems to fade, as if its light was being consumed by this fragment of the utter Void.>
<Suddenly the sphere is filled with a hellish red light. PATE opens her eyes and makes a swift motion with her hands, and closes the opening to the Void.>
<Meanwhile in Corindaen's Apartment>
<Corindaen, is sitting in a comfortable chair, his eye's closed resting from the exertion of creating the node & raising the wards, Suddenly is eye's fly open as he sense's the summoning spell being cast. His eyes are glowing with a silver/blue fire.>
Corindaen: Greymist, do you sense it?
Greymist: <Who's eye's are also glowing, but with Green/Gold fire> *Yes master someone is calling something from the void.*
Corindaen: Yes. <Concentrates for a moment> Hmmm, It seems to be coming from lady Tegan's apartment.
Greymist: *Could lady Tegan be in danger?*
Corindaen: I don't believe so, I suspect that Lady PATE is doing something. Hmmm.... Would you investigate for me please little one?
Greymist: *Certainly* <Turning quickly Greymist moves towards the door of the apartment as she does so, it swings open of it's own accord.>
<Back at Tegan & PATE's Apartment>
<PATE stares nervously at the creature now occupying the sphere>
PATE<thinks>:I had forgotten that they were so large.
<The balrog looks outraged, at being locked within the small space of shield sphere. It glares, ruddy eyed, at PATE. It reach out massive clawed hands and starts to push against the shield>
PATE: Stop. The shield is for your own protection!
<The demon continues to push at the inside of the sphere>
PATE: Cease this at once demon! its your own Master who speaks!
<There is a sudden flaring of light as the shield is destroyed >
<PATE backs away from the balrog, her heart pounds>
PATE<thinks>: It doesn't recognize me!..now keep calm, you can deal with this.
< As the demon steps out of the pentagram, its body suddenly seems to be enveloped in a silvery light. The valaraukar scream in agony as the wards start to interact with his infernal essence. The creature manages to stagger onwards, towards PATE, its eyes filled with the cold hatred, born of the Void. It breaths out twin streams of hell-fire at PATE. She leaps aside and the flames blacken the floor where she stood seconds before>
Tegan: Perhaps those animated suits again....no, the wards recognize the wraiths now, so it can't be them. Wait!!.. It's coming from my apartment.
<In PATE's room..>
<The demon advances on her, the wards slowing it down, but not completely. Suddenly PATE produces a piece of paper from her pocket, and holds it up in front of the balrogs face. The demon falls back, its hands covering its face, as if suddenly blinded. There is a large thud as it hits the ground. The power of the wards still glows around it.>
PATE<sneering>:If you wont obey my commands demon, at least you shall heed the power of the Elder Sign.
<PATE quickly walks over to the demon and places her hand on it. The body is very hot, but she remains uninjured. She again starts to chant. The glow surrounding the demon, slowly, changes colour; from bright silver, to a dull pink color, then finally the glow disappears>
PATE: The wards act a little like the human immune system; when they detect a potentially harmful agent, they attack. Now the wards have, hopefully, accepted you as part of the Manor environment.
<PATE makes a twittering sound. The monkey-bird races out of the corner of the room and runs up to PATE's shoulder>
PATE<smiling>:Such trusting creatures, it is no wonder you are almost extinct on your own world.
<PATE turns to the semi-conscious demon, then she steps back a few feet. She mutters some words. The demons shape starts to become hazy ,as if the balrogs molecular structure was somehow becoming unglued. The creature starts to kick and convulse on the floor, causing the room to shake>
Feathers: My old nerves aren't used to this.
Tegan: I think I should investigate.
PATE: Sorry about this. It wont hurt..for long..
<PATE grabs the monkey-bird, and throws it at the dissolving demon. There is an explosion and PATE is flung back against the wall>
Tegan: Right, she has gone to far. She continues this and all of my guests will move to the Ken ni Kaze
<Tegan storms up to the her apartment>
Tegan: No... on second thought... *she'll* be the one looking for a new apartment...
<PATE pulls herself out of the PATE-shaped hole in the wall, and shakes some of the loose plaster from her hair>
PATE: tha..<cough>.was unexpected...
<The smoke clears, the demon is gone but the monkey bird remains>
PATE<grinning broadly>:It worked.
<The monkey-bird makes an angry chirping noise at her>
PATE: Stop complaining, feathers look good on you. <Meanwhile out in the hallway Greymist stops near the door to Tegan's apartment.>
Greymist: <Telepathically to Corindaen> *Master I'm here, whatever she was summoning, she seems to have gotten back under control.*
Corindaen: *Good, If you would permit little one, I'm going to use you as a relay point.*
<Moving over near the wall, Greymist settles her down in a relaxed position. For a long moment nothing else happens, then suddenly her right eye flashes with silver/blue fire as Corindaen merges into Greymists thoughts.>
<Suddenly as PATE is congratulating her self a voice comes out of the air>
Corindaen: Lady, could you please in the future use a stronger ward when summoning such creatures....
PATE: <Suspiciously> How??? Are you spying on me wizard?
Corindaen: Not at all, however your spell was a little, Uhm.... Noticeable
Uhm: You called?
<Out in the hallway Greymist sees Tegan suddenly come running towards the her apartment. Fading into the shadows she watches until Tegan goes into her apartment.>
Greymist: *Should I return now master?*
Corindaen: <Laughing softly> *Yes Lady Tegan seems to have everything well in hand.*
<There is a loud pounding on the door>
Uhm: who me????
PATE: No, now leave.
Uhm: <Sniffs> Nobody ever wants me around but they're always calling me....
<The creature runs into a corner of the room, and fades into the shadows.> Tegan: (on the other side of the door> PATE! WHAT THE H-E-DOUBLE HOCKEY STICKS IS GOING ON IN THERE!!!!!!!!!!!!
<PATE looks around quickly and freezes when she sees the damage to the wall and floor. Before PATE can hide the damage with an illusion or can cast a spell to repair it, the door swings open. Tegan's mouth drops when she sees the scorched floor and ruined wall.>
Tegan: <shocked and angered> Oh... my... God.... What the h-e-double hockey sticks did you do in here... ?!?
PATE: It's really not as bad as it seems....
Tegan: <shouting> NOT AS BAD AS IT SEEMS!!!!!!!! THERE'S A HOLE IN MY WALL THAT IS EXACTLY YOUR SIZE AND SHAPE IN MY WALL AND THE FLOOR IS RUINED AND YOU'RE TELLING ME IT'S NOT AS BAD AS IT SEEMS?!? PATE: Tegan, calm yourself...
Tegan: Calm myself?!?
PATE: I will take care of it. The room will appear as if nothing has happened...
Tegan: IT DAMN WELL BETTER! <doorbell rings> $h!t! That's got to be Tora... <to PATE> You better get this mess cleaned up... <Tegan turns and slams the door to PATE's room behind her. Pieces of plaster crumble to the ground as PATE finds herself alone, save her creature.>
<Still upset, Tegan goes and opens the door. Tora is waiting. A bouquet of flowers is in his hand. Looking at her he can instantly tell something is wrong.>
Tora: Bad day.
Tegan: Yeah, and it just got worse. Right now I'm going to kill my room mate.
Tora: Do you want to skip tonight?
Tegan: I already cooked something. I just promised one of my neighbors I'd bring him by some of the extra dinner I made to thank him for helping out.
Tora: <suspiciously> And who is "he"?
Tegan: <going into the kitchen followed by Tora> His name's Corindaen. <she takes out some extra dishes and begins putting in roast chicken and potatoes.> He's a wizard that moved in upstairs. He's a little wiped out after setting up the new wards on the building. After doing all that, a little dinner for him and his familiar is the least I can do.
Tora: I see.
Tegan: <cutting some slices of blueberry pie and wrapping them> You can come upstairs with me. He'd like to meet you. <she puts the food into a basket> Come on.
<Tegan and Tora go upstairs to Corindaen's apartment, leaving PATE alone in the apartment.>
<A few minutes later Tegan and Tora are standing outside of the apartment 5D, Tegan reaches up and knocks. After a moment the door is answered by a lovely woman with elven features.>
Greymist-W: Lady Tegan, come in. <sees Tora> and who is this?
Tegan: This would be Tora.
Tora: [extends arm] Hello. And you are?
Greymist-W: I am pleased to meet you Tora, Lady Tegan has spoken of you. I am Greymist. Please won't you come in.
<as she steps back and motions the pair to enter, they can see Corindaen is sitting in a comfortable chair apparently asleep, as the pair enter, Greymist goes up to Corindaen and speaks softly>
Greymist: Master, wake up we have guests.
Corindaen: <Snorts softly> Wha.. I wasn't asleep you impudent young woman, I was just resting my eyelids. <Looks towards Tegan & Tora> Ah lady Tegan, and this must be your young man that you told me about. <stands and offers his hand to Tora>
Tora: [shakes Cory's hand] Indeed. Although I haven't heard a lot about you
Corindaen: <Chuckles softly> I would be surprised if you had, surprised indeed. <as their hands make contact, Corindaen's eye's narrow slightly> Hmm.. You have a Jusenkyo curse as well eh?
Tora: [pulls his hand away] A wizard, neh?
Corindaen: Aye, but the surely Lady Tegan had mentioned that? <Glances over at Tegan>
Tegan: I'm pretty sure that I did. <glares at Tora>
Tora: That you did.
<As Tegan glares at Tora, Corindaen gives a slight cough distracting their attention.>
Corindaen: So Tora, I believe Tegan said you where a Teacher at the local college? If I might ask what subjects do you teach?
Tora: Zoology. Something rather mundane considering some of the other things being taught there.
Tegan: [pointing to basket] Where do you want me to put this?
<At Tegan's word's Greymist, comes forward and with a slight smile takes the basket.>
Greymist-W: I'll take care of it lady Tegan, <Going to the dinner table she quickly and efficiently lays out the meal, then coming over to Corindaen, begins to shoo him towards the table> Come on old mage, it's time for you to eat and then rest before you fall over and embarrass yourself.
Corindaen: <moving towards the table> You certainly don't act like a proper familiar, my dear, young lady.
Greymist: <laughing> And when have I ever acted like a proper familiar, besides I'm sure these two have other things they would rather be doing than, being grilled by a grumpy old mage. Why one would think you where Tegan's father the way your grilling poor Tora.
Tegan: Trust me... he's already been grilled by my dad.
<Corindaen spluttering indignantly, none the less sits down to eat>
Tora: Familiar? [looks at Tegan, who just shakes her head in response]
Greymist-W: <Turns and looks at Tora with an impudent grin> Why certainly young man. <At her words her entire form seems to blur and shrink down until where moments before a beautiful woman had been standing, there now sat a gray cat>
Greymist: <Using Mindspeach> *And before you ask no, I have never been to Jusenkyo*
[Tora and Tegan sit down]
Tegan: Its definitely not something ... to be expected.
Greymist: <Laughing mentally> *My breed of feline is highly magical, combined with the fact that I have been with Corindaen for a very long time, I have learned quite a lot of magic, as well as having been imbued with a great deal. It allows me to do things most of my* kind can't. <the last words come out in verbal speech as she shifts back to her elven form.
Tora: Really. [to Cory] And just how long has she spent with you?
Corindaen: Hmmm.... Let me think. <Gets a thoughtful look> I... would say around 1700 year's give or take a century. One of the side effects of the Familiar's bond is that she will live as long as I do.
Greymist: <Shooing Corindaen, back to his meal> Enough old mage, don't you know you should never reveal a lady's age?.
Corindaen: <Shaking his head slightly, and sighing dramatically> I could have had a nice quiet crow for a familiar, but noooo, I had to be different and have an elven cat. <suddenly looks up at Greymist with a grin> and you know I don't think I've ever regretted it.
Tora: 1700 years... [mutters under his breath] Why is it that these mages are always immortal...
Corindaen: <Looking sharply at Tora> Believe me youngling, to live as long as I have is not always a blessing. You all to frequently are cursed to see friends and loved ones die due to the passage of time. While you remain unchanged.
<At Corindaen's words, Greymist comes up behind him and places a gentle hand on his shoulder>
Greymist: Master don't, it's not good for you.
Tora: Eh? ... Oh... Sorry. I didn't mean to imply...
Corindaen: <Sighing softly>Not your fault lad, It's just that I get so tired of eternity at times <looks at something only he can see, and mutters softly>Soon, my ancient enemy, soon. Then perhaps this long day will end, and twilight will come at last. <suddenly shakes himself out of his reverie> Enough, I'm sure you two, have better things to do than put up with a cranky old wizard.
Tora glances at Tegan, her eyes looking straight back at him. He adjusts his sunglasses.
Tora: Why don't you join us tonight?
Corindaen: <laughing softly> I thank you for the offer, Tora, but not this evening. Although it doesn't show very much, I'm only barely functional from erecting the wards. I need to rest an recover my strength. Perhaps another evening, you and Tegan would do me the honor of joining me for dinner.
Tora: Well, if you insist....
Tegan: [whispers in Tora's ear] The least you could have done was asked me about that.
Tora: [whispering back] I'll make it up to you, OK?
Tegan: [whispers] You had better.
Corindaen: <Smiling slightly and pretending not to hear their words, Stands slowly and escorts them to the door.> Thank you for the meal lady Tegan, if you will permit I will speak with you tomorrow concerning the wards and the information you will need. Tora it was a pleasure to meet you, I hope we have the chance to speak again. <as he speaks Corindaen holds his hand out to Tora.>
<Tora looks at Cory for a moment, then grasps Cory's hand.>
Tora: I hope so too, Cory. And doubtless, we will meet again.
<Corindaen, ushers Tegan & Tora out, and as he is closing the door the nickname that Tora called him finally registers and his outraged shout fills the apartment, only to be drowned out by the musical laughter of an elven woman.>
RLMDA: What? You'd prefer to be known as 'the fizzled wizard' instead? ^_^
Tegan: Would you mind telling me what just went on in there?
Tora: I'm not sure... he kinda spooked me there for a moment.
Tegan: I told you he was a wizard.
Tora: I know... I don't know what happened there. I guess a wizard like that, well, I think he reminded me of something, but I don't know what. Ah, well. [Tora smiles] I think he likes me.
Tegan: Do I want to know how you know that?
Tora: Hard to explain.[wraps his arm around her waist] Come on, my bike is out back.
Tegan: You're not going to drive like a lunatic again, are you?
Tegan: *sigh* That's what you said the last time.
<Back up in his apartment, Corindaen, looks over at Greymist, who is also eating dinner now>
Corindaen: So little one what do you think?
Greymist-W: An interesting person, you realize that the human form is his cursed form and his natural form is that of a tiger don't you?
Corindaen: Yes, I noticed that in his aura. Knowing him should prove.'interesting'.
<The next morning at Mystic Manor>
<Corindaen and Greymist are on their way, to Tegan's office. When they encounter her in the Hallway.>
Corindaen: Lady Tegan, Good morning. I trust you had a pleasant evening?
Tegan: Pretty good... except that once someone gets onto that motorcycle, he turns into a maniac.
Corindaen: <Big Sweats> I.. See, I will have to remember not to except any offers of a ride. Tell me would you have time this morning to go over the ward controls, with me?
Tegan: Yeah, sure.
<A short time later in Tegan's office.>
Corindaen: Allow me to explain, a few things first. One of the things I did while raising the wards, was set them to recognize all current patrons of the manor. I also set them so that they will not attack anyone who enter's the manor via the front door. I also created a power node deep under the manor. The wards in the dungeon are, by the way at full strength. So you should have no concerns from that quarter. <suddenly looks hesitant> That's another thing, in regards to the node, I.....placed a power lock over it. No one will be able to touch it but myself.
Tegan: That''s fine with me. With all the magic users around town, let alone in this building, I''d rather have access controlled.
Corindaen: <Looking deeply troubled> Lady Tegan, I don't think you understand, when I say know one can access the node, I mean know one. Including yourself.
Tegan: Trust me. I have no problem with that. I''d be more concerned with some of the others around trying to mess around with it. You created it... I know you can handle it.
Corindaen: <Sighing softly>I thank you for your trust lady. I should explain however. I had originally intended that you have access to the node. Although you are not a mage, I would have been able to link you to the node, so that within the grounds of the manor, your strength, reflexes and endurance would all have been enhanced by a factor of five. I decided against, doing so however due to the wizard's mark you carry. I could not afford the risk of the Dragon gaining access to the node through you. Not only would it be dangerous in general, but gaining access through you in such a manor, would probably kill you.
Tegan: I really appreciate that. Frankly, I still have trouble dealing with what my cursed form can do as is. And there is no way I would want the one who put this stupid mark on me having that kind of access to that kind of power... let alone my building.
Corindaen: <smilling slightly> Well once you are free of the mark if you wish I can setup the link to the node for you. I think you would find the advantages, it would offer to be very useful. As for other things that are possible, as per your request I only made the three control bracelets, yours, Feathers, & PATE's. If you need create others, it is a simple procedure. If you need to create a new key simply place whatever object you wish to empower in the center of the symbol out in the main hall. Then touch it with your own bracelet and will it to charge. You will know if the procedure is successful.
Tegan: Okay. That''ll work. Maybe as I get to know my staff better, I might give others access. But not at this point. Though right now, I don''t think there''s much chance of the wizard''s mark getting removed any time soon.
Corindaen: <Thoughfully> Hmmm... Perhaps. All things are possible in time. Another thing you may have already noticed. Is that you should have an awareness of the state of the wards, especially if someone or something is trying to penetrate them. You should also be aware of it when someone enters through the main entrance, although not as strongly.
Tegan: That''s going to take some getting used to....
Corindaen: You will find that as you get used to it, it will tend to fade from your conscious mind. It will become more of an instinctive awareness. That shouldn't take very long, probably no more than a week or so. If it become to disorienting, come see me and I will help mute the effects. I would recommend you not take the bracelet off, since that is the control key.
Tegan: As long as it''s water resistant, I won''t have a problem with that.
Corindaen: <Smiling> I considered that, when I made it. You will find that it will adapt it to your form, regardless of whether you are in your cursed form or your normal form. It also can not be forcibly take from you and will defend it's self if someone tries.
Tegan: Good. I didn''t think of what would happen to it if I went into full cat form.
Corindaen: <With a grin> Actually it was Greymist who suggested that I make sure the bracelet could adapt to whatever form you happen to be in at any given time.
Greymist: <Who had been resting quietly in Corindaen's lap up until this point> *Yeah, what would you do with out me old wizard?*
Tegan: I''ll have to thank her when she wakes up.
<At Tegan's words Greymist, lifts her head and looks in her direction.>
Greymist: *You are welcome, Lady Tegan. It's all part of my job, someone has to keep this old wizard in linek.*
<Tegan smiles at Greymist''s comment.>
Corindaen: So Lady Tegan, do you have any other questions or concerns regarding the wards?
Tegan: I think for now everything''s been covered. Something may come up later.
Corindaen: <rising from his chair> Very well then. I will be around the manor, If you have any questions, or need assistance please do not hesitate to ask.
Tegan: Thanks. After you''ve had a chance to rest up from all this spell casting, I''d really appreciate it if you''d take a look at the penthouse. There''s probably magic traps coming out the wazoo up there.
Corindaen: Certainly, Lady. Give me a few day's to fully recover, and then I am at your disposal. Until later. <bows and then turns and leave the office.>
<Tegan returns to her paperwork.>
This is not then end, nor is this the beginning. It is however the end of the beginning.
This story will be continued in future threads so keep your eye's open for it. For one continuation, please take a look at the "Dredging the Sewers" thread. Special thanks, to TL, Mark, Maramala, & and anyone else I might have missed for making this such an enjoyabled thread.
John W. Conner 02/20/98