Posts Tagged ‘magic’

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Cages and Demons

September 27, 2008

Nathan made it back to his sisters without further incident. Linda was already moving quickly around the house, gathering up tools of the trade for her trip. One bag for books with her padded case of tools, a second back for clothes. Nathan closed the door and quirked a brow at his sister.

“Going somewhere?”

Linda nodded, settling the bags next to the door. “Yes, I have a client. I need to fly out and examine the item more closely to verify what it is.”

“Must be something pretty interesting to get you packing this fast. I wasn’t gone all that long…”

Linda shook her head, “Some of us work for a living, Nathan. I have a client with a piece that I can’t correctly verify or identify without examening it in person. It is too valuable to just ship back and forth across the country. I leave in the morning.”

“Oh,” Nathan frowned a little, then shrugged and walked past her. “Well, good luck with that.”

“Stop. I need the stones from earlier,” Linda said.

Nathan pulled them out and tossed them too her. “I didn’t do anything wrong,” he said and started walking away again. He stopped after a moment, “but you should know, there’s an old guy. Transient sort. He knows something. He was going to try a spell on me.”

Linda closed the gap with several quick steps. “What?”

“He tried to steal the stones and the started a binding incantation. I ran. Lost him in the city. Spent some time in a bar and circled wide on the way back…” said Nathan.

Linda bit her lower lip, going quiet and thoughtful, “Damn it. I don’t have time for this right now. I need you to just… lay low, stay away from the town until I get back and then we’ll figure something out. Practice your enchanting while I’m gone. There are some spare stones in the waterfall in my office.”

Nathan nodded slowly, “Ok. I’ll keep my head down until you get back. But if you know something about this, I want to know when you get back.”

“You don’t… Fine. We’ll talk when I get home. I’m going to bed,” Linda turned and walked quickly off to her room.

Nathan pulled out the bit of concrete from his breast pocket and turned it over in his hand slowly. Sometimes he really hated hiding this from his family. Being treated like a child just because he didn’t do the sorts of magic that they did. He shook his head slowly and crossed over to his room to settle in for the night. He set the enchanted bit of concrete on the bedside table and tucked the extra bits into a drawer. Much as he hated it, tomorrow was looking like a research day. His sister had the sort of books that might tell him something about what was going on so he would know what they were getting into before she got back.

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Cages and Demons

September 25, 2008

Snow swirled around Nathan and Jason as they stepped out of the door. Jason pulled his coat closer and shot Nathan and his lack of coat a concerned look.

“Aren’t you cold?” said Jason.

Nathan blinked, then huddled in on himself a little to feign chill. “Oh, I should be fine.”

Jason frowned and sped up slightly. “Maybe you should stop at my apartment and warm up?”

Nathan grinned a bit, then paused, putting a hand to the little bag of stones. The grin faltered a bit and he sped back up to keep pace with Jason. “I actually should get home before it gets to much later, now that I think about it. ”

Jason glanced at him, “Are you sure? I’ve got coffee and cocoa?”

“Maybe next time,” Nathan offered a smile. “I’ll be calling soon enough.”

Jason blushed a little and paused in front of an apartment building. “Oh. Um, well, this is me…”

Nathan swept a slight bow. “I’ll talk to you again soon.”

“I hope so,” Jason grinned shyly.

Nathan winked, then turned and slid back into the shadows of the night.

Jason watched him go, then gave his head a shake and turned to walk inside. He couldn’t help but wonder if he was just rebounding into this rather then thinking. He’d barely met the guy and he was already getting all fluttery even after the nastiness of the shouting and screaming earlier that same day. He chewed his lip and took the stares up to his apartment, giving himself a little time to think.

Outside, Nathan rounded a corner and stopped to lean against a wall, running a hand through his hair. It was already looking to be a long winter. Crazy homeless people who knew way too much in one part of the city and a cute boy uncomfortably near that same area. Nathan rested his head back against hte cold stone of the building, letting it soak into his head a little before pushing himself off and trudging back through the snow toward his sisters. He glanced at the phone number, commiting it to memory before snatching up some snow to scrub the number down to a faint black smudge. Hopefully his sister would stay busy enough to not notice that she was extracting the wrong promises from him.

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Cages and Demons (Linda & Nathan’s Story, working title)

September 2, 2008

The man flipped shut the cell phone and tucked it into an inner pocket of his suit coat. He was a solid six and a half feet tall with a rather lanky build, though the suit was certainly high end, navy blue with pin-stripes. He wore black leather gloves and his black hair was slicked back smooth and short. His nose was sharp and eyes a pale blue.

“We have her attention now,” said the man.

Sitting in a chair nearby was a woman. She lightly swirled her glass of red wine. She looked to be in her late fifties, dark hair lightly sprinkled with gray and pulled back into a severe pony-tail. She was dressed in a simple black silk robe, floor length and carefully tied off. She smiled at the news, fire from the fireplace reflecting off of her deep, almost black eyes.

“Excellent, Mr. Sydel, I knew she would come around when she saw the box. You may retire for the evening, I won’t need your services any further,” said the woman.

Mr. Sydel gave a stiff, formal bow and turned, leaving the room and shutting the large doors behind him.

The woman focused her attention back to the other man in the room, who had mantained his silence throughout the previous conversation. She sipped her wine, watching him squirm in the seat across from her, though he couldn’t squirm far against the ropes digging into his bare skin. She finished off the last of her wine, setting the empty cup on a side table before sliding to her feat.

The man fought harder, trying to pull away as she reached out and lightly ran her long-nailed fingers along his cheek bone. “I’m oh so sorry for the interuption. I promise, you have my full attention for the durration of your stay here,” she said with almost a purr.

The man thrashed in place the little he could, but the ropes all held and the gag in his mouth bit off any noise. She began down at his feat, which already looked raw from her previously interupted efforts, and resumed her soft chanting, scratching intricate patterns into his skin around ropes, slowly draining away the man’s life essence to feed her own, the years seeming to just drain away from her as the life drains away from him.

Through the very end he struggled as best he could, all through the night, but practice had left no chance for escape and by morning, the Lady Redd was looking ready to start a career as a young model. She licked off the tips of her nails, making sure they were clean, then patted the emaciated cheek of the man in the chair.

“Your sacrifice is most appreciated, in return I’ll let that lingering spark of your spirit go free rather than binding it as well,” she smiled darkly, then turned and left the room, steps much lighter then they were before. Now all she needed was to open the box and it was really going to be a great day.

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Linda (Of a still horribly nameless work)

August 27, 2008

Linda worked her way through the files steadily, each filed into a specific slot when done. Authentic, not authentic or requires more information. Phone calls happened the next day and any additional arrangements were handled then.

Everything was going smoothly until she hit a particularly thin file. It was a puzzle bocks, believed to be Chinese in origin. It was exquisitly crafted from precious metals inlade with jade. The phoenix featured in the inlays, along with the materials were certainly from the right area. The lack of information was what made it strange. Attempts to test it hadn’t gotten very far. Something about it seemed to defy most technological tests, giving different results and strange output. They also couldn’t open it.

Linda picked up the set of photos and laid them out in a row on the desk. She picked up the magnifying glass she kept on hand and closely examined the photos. Very faint text was etched around the jade inlays. Not that most would recognize it. It was a tongue that would make Sanskrit look young. The language of angels. Not some created knock off made to sell books, either. The thing a lot of people didn’t realize, is that it also made it the language of the fallen.

Linda set aside the magnifying glass and crossed the room. She opened a small antique wicker stand in one corner, revealing the very modern safe inside. It required a key along with a code to open. She fished the key out of her pocket and punched in the number. The loud thunk of bolts pulling back was a testament to how solid they were. Inside were three old, leather bound books, a chalice, and a very wicked and utilitarian dagger. She carefully pulled one of the books out, then re-locked the safe.

She crossed back to her desk and slid the picture up to make room for the book, but still keeping them close to hand. She began carefully flipping through the pages, occasionally stopping to compare sketches or skim a passage.

It took time to dig through the book, especially since she had to be carefull of the ancient pages. They were well preserved, but a few patched pages testified to the fact that it wasn’t aging with complete grace. FInally she stopped on a very rough sketch. She frowned and picked up the photos again, looking for anything else to make sure she was right. Deciphering the script would be too time-consuming and difficult without having the box in person. She returned her attention to the book and settled in to read the accompanying passage.

By the time she finished she was trembling slightly. If she was right, it was not the greatest news ever. She pushed herself up and hurried off to grab the phone. She brought it back with her and flipped through the folder to find a number. She punched in the numbers then took a slow steadying breath while the phone rang. It only took three rings for someone to answer.

“Hello?” said a crisp, efficient sounding man.

“Yes. This is LInda. I was just examening the file you had sent over for me to look at on the puzzle box. It looks like an interesting piece, I’d love to examine it more closely. Perhaps we can arrange something?”

There was a moment of muffled silence, then the man’s voice returned. “This would be good. We will arrange for your travel. Expect a car to be around to pick you up tomorrow morning around eight.:

Linda paused, a little suprised how quickly they jumped on it. Maybe they were more aware of what they had then she thoughts. Still, she had to know for certain. “Yes, that sounds fine. I will talk with you tomorrow then.”

There was no further pleasentries from the other end of the line, just a click. Linda set aside the phone and looked at the pictures again. If she was right, this wasn’t just a toy to entertain an emperor, it was a prison. One built to torment its captive forever. If they were aware and still trying to open it, that could be a serious dent in her preferred life style. Linda closed the book and gathered the file and hurried off to start preparing for the trip.

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Nathan (and I really should find a real title)

August 20, 2008

Nathan stepped out onto the landing and leaned on the railing. His sister owned the immense loft apartment over a small shopping center. The neighborhood was one that had slowly been renovated by people with money creeping in, leaving it full of trendy apartments and shops. The shops directly below Linda’s apartment were actually also her property, though it would take a keen eye to follow that particular paper trail. Where Nathan found almost no interest in the intricacies of keeping a low profile, Linda reveled and excelled, sometimes even taking on side jobs to help others trying to keep a relatively low profile or recreate themselves.

Nathan blinked up as snow brushed against his skin. He glanced up, just now noticing the storm. He glanced back to the door, wondering if he needed a coat to keep up appearances. A moment later he shrugged and started down the steps. If the muddle-stone couldn’t keep prying eyes away from a man without a coat in the snow storm, it wasn’t worth the rock holding the enchantment.

Nathan made his way up the street, peering in shop windows and curiously watching the various people scattering to escape the coming storm and night. Many of the little shops in this section of town were already closed or were in the process of closing, keeping just enough activity to hold Nathan’s attention.

Steadily, though, he found himself moving away from yuppie territory, more toward the actual heart of the city. To him, there was actually a soft sound drifting from deeper in the city. A faint drumming that drew him toward the darker streets, toward fast food and liquor stores. His smile widened as he was getting into the thick of the sound. The winter was certainly looking up.

Nathan leaned town and held both hands against the sidewalk, nodding his head slightly, eyes closed. Lost in the sound, Nathan didn’t see the man in ragged clothes wandering from the alley. The man was mumbling unintelligibly to himself and looked up and down the street before crossing over to Nathan and leaning down to check his pockets.

Nathan’s eyes suddenly shot open and he spun to his feat, catching the would be thief’s hand and twisting it sharply. The man let out a soft yelp and released the pouch, letting it fall into the snow. Nathan frowned and leaned in to examine the man’s eyes.

“Why did you grab the bag?” Nathan said.

The man tried to tug himself free, reaching down with his free hand to grab at the bag again. Nathan twisted more, forcing the man a step away from the fallen pouch of stones.

“Just let me see the stones,” the man grated his voice harsh, almost as if it hadn’t been pushed to audible volumes in years.

Nathan pushed the man back and quickly scooped up the pouch, brushing it clean. “What do you know about them?”

“Ancient keys. Forbidden arts. Power bound and fighting to be free. Hubris in stone…” the man said, eyes wild now, voice rising with each word.

“I think I best be going now,” Nathan said, voice soft, tension thrumming through his slender frame.

The man straightened and stepped toward him, straightening, drawing himself up, “I see you and I know you. I call you, with the names of the guardians,” he began intoning.

Panic flashed across Nathan’s face and he moved. Nathan lashed out his hand catching the strange man in the throat, then swung up his knee hard into the man’s stomach, driving the air from his longs. Nathan shoved the man over into the snow and fled deeper into the city.

He ran blindly until the drumming of the city flooded his ears, then found a shadowed doorway to duck into, stopping and panting. He crouched low and planted his hands against the frozen ground. He began singing along with the beat of the city, more straight sound then words. His hands slid along, finally settling on a loose bit of cement near the door and pried free the small piece. He pulled it close to his lips, continuing his strange wordless song. Before long a soft glow pulsed off of the rock once, then faded, leaving a strange sigil scarred in the surface of the cement chip.

Nathan examined it carefully, making sure he had channeled everything correctly. Most of his family would be horrified at the use of concrete instead of proper stone, but then none of them could hear cities the way he could. He tucked it into the breast pocket of his coat, next to the small velvet pouch, then leaned his head against the cold building, taking a small comfort in the solid presence of the building.

Finally, Nathan slid to his feat, carefully checking up and down the street for any sign of the man, then resumed exploring the city. It didn’t take long before he found his way into a noisy bar and settled on a stool at the bar itself. He sighed and finally let himself relax a little. The noise and crowd were the perfect way to loose himself for a while. He dropped cash on the bar and cleared his throat. “Barkeep, bloody mary,” The bartender started slightly, noticing Nathan for the first time. Any concern fled at the site of the large bill on the counter. The man quickly nodded and started on the drink.