The Hidden World: St Louis

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Re: The Hidden World: St Louis

Post  ValleyGirlBlondie on Tue Mar 21, 2017 6:22 pm

Bundled up in a sweatshirt, overcoat and thick scarf, I walked back around the block for the last time. Since The Enchantress' Gaze went up in flames, I've been careful to check around the shop for any signs that arsonists would target it next. So far, nothing. If I'd been more focused on the arsonist rather than the arson, maybe I'd be in a better position. Granted, there wasn't much I could do against fire when all I had on my side was grass and plants, which usually burnt up pretty quickly.
Huffing, I knew I'd have to talk to the plants and salvage some sort of story before I went to Lola. "Ay, who you kidding, Lita?" I mumbled to myself, knowing that Lola had warned me, meaning it wasn't her problem now, but mine. I always hated having to sort my own problems out, but that was just the way this was going to have to be. Getting my key out of my pocket, I opened the store doors and went inside, locking them behind me. I made sure the 'CLOSED' sign was visible, and then went about getting information from the plants by the windows and doors.

After about a half hour of interviewing plants and making a rough timeline of the events, I'd ended up with not much else than I already knew. It seems I wasn't going to figure out who the arsonist was anytime soon. The best I got was a vague description of the arsonist. It didn't help much, since I knew more than a few people who could fit the description. "sh*t." I said to myself, rubbing my forehead with my palm. It really looked like I was just going to have to play sit and wait, which never ended well in any area where supernatural beings were. Everyone knew that.

Seeing as the flowers in the store gave nothing, I went down the list of places I'd tapped so I could listen in and see if anything came up. The first few were a dud, but when I got to my latest place on the list, I picked up something worth interest. I'd missed out on most of the conversation, but I picked up a sloppily said 'Flores para' in the dialogue, and realised that there was something going on in that spot. Right now, I couldn't get in, seeing as there was something currently going on by the sounds of things. But now that I knew something was up, I could figure out a plan and play Nancy Drew.

This was going to be risky, but if I could figure out what the deal with the attacks on businesses was, then I'd be one step closer to avoiding it. Of course, I'd most likely endanger myself in the process, but if it meant keeping my business - and income - properly kept, I'd have to do it.

'Flores para los muertos' I thought to myself, knowing full well it wasn't out of respect.

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Re: The Hidden World: St Louis

Post  Damxge on Wed Mar 22, 2017 2:38 pm

She sat there for a moment, then laughed. It wasn't a chuckle or a giggle, either, she straight up laughed in my face. I blinked a few time, unsure of what to do.

"What was that?" She asked through her laughter, "Floras dos hombre," She mocked in a fake male deep voice. I was in shock, what the hell had happened to her personality?

"Chill out, I'm not done asking questions," I said, leaning forward and grabbing for her bracelet, assuming it was the source of her wards. I was usually pretty good about avoiding defensive magics, most good warlocks were. Trying to stop a warlock with magic was like trying to drown a fish, it usually didn't work. Unfortunately for me, her bracelet wasn't anywhere near normal, and I wasn't near good enough a warlock to expect what came next. A howling screech filled my ears and I was thrown backward across the room by an impossibly strong force that knocked the wind out of me and scattered my mind. I couldn't think straight for almost five seconds, all spells escaping me as if clutching at straws. I hit the wall, putting a sizeable hole in the drywall, and fell to the floor in a heap beside the arm of the couch. Coughing, I hauled myself up and, staggering slightly, rounded the couch toward her, blinking rapidly, trying to make sense of what had just happened. Not only had I emulated the woman's magic signature perfectly, but I'd even suppressed the magic in the bracelet. The magic, though, didn't seem to care about the suppression and was coming out anyway. The charms were glowing brightly and standing straight out from her wrist.

"What in the everliving f*** was that?" I wheezed, still out of breath.

"That would be telling," She said snidely. No wonder she was cocky, she had something special there, and I couldn't tell if it was her or the bracelet that I was going to have issues with. Angry now, I marched to the kitchen and snatched up the phone, dialing a two and letting it ring.

"Frank's Pizzeria, how can I help you?" Came a bored sounding teenage voice from the other end.

"Yeah, this is Grott, I have an issue here that I need some help with," I said, keeping my voice low to avoid the woman hearing me.

"What is it?" Came a more interested adult female voice.

"Female warlock invaded the apartment, I've subdued her but I don't know for how long, I need a team over here immediately, she is an A-level threat," I said, staring at her in the other room while she returned the stare unflinchingly.

"A-level? That implies a ancient magic, are you certain?" The woman asked, skeptical.

"I wouldn't be calling if I wasn't certain. She has an artifact of unknown power and origin, get over here and get her. She knows at least a bit about the arson and Union Black," I looked down at my hand, checking that I wasn't being eavesdropped on, as soon as my eyes moved from the woman, however, I felt all of my wards shatter, as if a meteor just rocketed out of the building, "No!" I yelled, dropping the phone and teleporting. I landed in an abandoned warehouse, which is where the intense magical 'meteor' seemed to teleport. As soon as my feet hit the concrete I saw the train and the dots connected themselves, and everything went dark.

"f***," I groaned, trying to open my eyes, but it didn't work. I was tied down rather firmly by both magical and physical bonds, an intense ward was sealed over me, keeping me from teleporting out. I was completely f***ed.

"Now you'll answer the questions," came the woman's voice, she sounded proud of her handiwork. I couldn't believe I'd fallen for the trap, I should have known, but here I was.

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Re: The Hidden World: St Louis

Post  LordTomyh on Sun Mar 26, 2017 10:16 pm

Ella glided around the trapped man, two staffs floating at her sides. One was the staff she used to get into the warlock’s apartment, the staff of Abjuration, while the second was the bigger staff I used at the warehouses, the staff of Evocation. I kept him pinned with a powerful ward, as well as a covering of concrete. Just to be safe.

“Now, tell me why you set fire to the Enchantress' Gaze.”

“Why are you so interested in that shop?” he asked, trying to turn his head to look at Ella as I floated passed. She shivered; ‘did he know where I was?

“Because some little sh*t!” she said through clenched teeth, her hands tightening at her sides. The Evocation staff glowed softly in a pink light, and the concrete around the pinned warlock cracked. “Decided to light up a shop! Put people’s lives in danger! To join some f***ing GANG!”

The whole warehouse shook, the ground around them buckling and rising like waves as spikes burst in a circle around the pinned warlock, pointing outwards. Breathing heavily, Ella turned and floated away, closing her eyes to the damage she had caused.

Calm down, Calm.’

“So. Sounds like you have a thing against arsonist.”

Ella opened her eyes and turned to the pinned warlock.

“Yeah, that’s one way to put it. Now, tell me. Why?”

“Why don’t you tell me how you got your hands on an a-level artifact?”

“A what level?” Ella asked, cocking her head. She swears she heard him bang his head.

“You have an artifact of ancient magic and you don’t even know how powerful it is?”

Ella crossed her arms, the staffs crossing behind her back.

“Oh, I know how powerful they are. That is one of the two things I’m sure of in this f***ed up world. Now, before I lose my temper again. Tell me why did you-”

Something hit Ella in the back, knocking her to the ground as she felt something trying to subdue her magic. Screaming in panic Ella pushed up into the air and turned on her attackers. Nine Tutores elite mages stood in a semicircle around her, spells in hand. Ella’s blood ran cold.

“No,” she gasped, backing up from the mages, the colour fading from her skin. She looked to the warlock, now freed looking up at her. “You’re, one of them.”

“Subdue her!”

Another spell hit Ella, this one more powerful. For a second she lost touch with her magic, her heart skipped a beat. Feeling the power flow through her again Ella threw her hand out to the the train. Purple runes appeared across its surface, steam beginning to billow from the chimney as the wheels started to turn.

A tendril of concret wrapped around Ella’s hand and pulled down, dragging her to the ground. Her head hit hard, her vision flashing. Worse, she lost the connection with the magic, with the staves. She felt them dissipate, felt her heart began to quicken her muscles tense up as her chest constricted her breathing. Rolling to her hands and knees she threw up, swearing and cursing in between.

A pair of hands grabbed her arms and twisted harshly, dragging her backward. Someone stepped in front of her, grabbing her face roughly and yanking her up.

“Hang on, this is Isabella Stephens. She’s wanted for several robberies, and for acting out in the Human World illegally.”

“Get your hands off of me,” Ella said weakly, trying to escape the mage's grasp. The one holding her face let go and stepped back, grabbing her wrist. “And don’t you dare touch those!”

The mage ignored her and grabbed the bracelet. The beads light up with rainbow light, throwing the man clear away into a slab of upturned concrete. Ella laughed faintly and tried to break the mag’s grip holding her again, to no avail.

“Don’t touch the bracelet. It’s a class-A,” someone said, someone else saying ‘holy sh*t in shock’ and the arsonist warlock stepped in front of Ella. the younger warlock stopped struggling to glare venomously up at him as she was handcuffed and bound with magic. Ella and the warlock continued to stare at each other, neither saying a word as she was dragged away through a portal.

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Re: The Hidden World: St Louis

Post  Damxge on Mon Mar 27, 2017 4:07 pm

"Hello, Ella," I said, gently closing the door to the cell. She sat bolt upright on her bunk, the heat of her glare almost physical. The bracelet clamped with a heavy anti-magic shell that took six or seven people to get on since no one could actually take the jewelry from her. It was contained for the time being, but who knew how long it would stay trapped. She may not have known how to access its full power to break free, but the beings contained within it would certainly know. They were waiting, they wanted to see what would happen.

"You-" She started, but I held up a hand to stop her, "You were a-" she carried on, unfazed.

"You blew my cover," I said, leaning against the sink opposite her. This stopped her and she simply glared at me, "At least, in terms of Vlad and his people,"

"If you wouldn't have-" She started talking again.

"I've been undercover working with Vlad's people for the last few years with my partner," I explained, trying to get her to understand, "And now it's f***ed, when I was so close," I stared her down, "One of Vlad's people saw the Tutores when they came to get you, they know who I am now,"

"Why are you telling me this?" She asked, crossing her arms, the weight on her wrist making it look much more awkward than I'm sure she intended.

"You intervened in matters you had no bearing in," I said loudly, standing upright, "You're just a child with a big gun, no discipline, no reason. I've been demoted because of you, they want to put me in a desk job, take away my clearance, and take away my career. Because instead of seeing you and that thing on your wrist, they see a flubbed cover and years of wasted resources. They needed a scapegoat so they went for the lowest man on the totem pole,"

"It's not my fault!" She returned, "How was I supposed to know?"

"You-" I started, but was cut off as the door swung open and in strode a woman. She was tall and elegant, dressed in a pitch black suit with a red bow tie, long black hair cascading over her shoulders and hanging down to her butt. Her skin was a velvety red and a pair of small black horns protruded from her forehead. She carried a briefcase in one hand and a piece of paper in the other, long black nails glinting in the harsh light of the cell.

"Ella, I presume," She asked as I stood there in shock, staring at her. She glanced over to me and gave me a smile before refocusing her attention on the girl.

"Yes?" She asked, just as confused as me.

"My name is Marau Grott, I've been assigned to be your lawyer," She explained, snapping her fingers. In a puff of fire, a chair appeared beside her and she sat down, facing Ella.

"I can't afford a lawyer," She said, creasing her brow.

"My services have been acquired in full by the Eternal Thirst. As an employee you will receive the best in legal defenses that can be provided," She explained, her silky voice filling the room the way only a demon's can.

"He sent you to help me?" She asked, tearing up a little, her hardened shell cracking a bit.

"He has," Marau said with a smile, "Do you accept my legal council?"

"Yes, of course," Ella responded, wiping her face hurriedly.

"Well then, I'm happy to tell you that you're free to go," She said, standing up, the chair disappearing just as it had appeared, "The charges have been downed to a misdemeanor as long as you plead guilty, resulting in some fines that our employer has graciously agreed to pick up. Your artifact has been confirmed to belong to you and the Tutores are under no authority to take it from you, though they will want to investigate it further,"

I just stood there, unable to breathe, staring in horrified anguish as the single redeeming factor in the last few hours slipped away from me.

"As an agent of the Tutores Latet, can you verify that all actions taken here fall fairly under the law?" Marau asked, turning to me.

"If the paperwork supports what you've said, then yes," I said, my voice catching in my throat as I stared at the floor tiles.

"You'll be out within the hour, you know where to go, I presume?" She said, smiling at Ella.

"Yes, I do," Ella said, the joy in her voice sickening to my ears. I looked up to find Marau holding a hand out to me, a business card between her fingers.

"What's this?" I asked dryly, taking it. On the front it simply say The Eternal Thirst, and on the back was scrawled in spidery handwriting, "Tell the doorman you've been summoned.".

"We'll talk soon," She said, her voice taking a softer tone, "I know this is hard," I just nodded and she left. I stood there staring at the card, holding back the anger and frustration I felt. I looked up to find Ella staring at me intently. Rather than satisfaction or joy, however, I found she looked upon me with what I could only interpret as pity.

Disgusted, I crumpled the card and jammed it into my pocket and left the room.


After filling out paperwork for a solid three hours, I was finally released to do as I pleased, within reason. Dejectedly, I left the Tutores offices and wandered out onto the cold street of downtown Saint Louis. It was Christmas Eve and the roads were jammed, despite it being rather late. Snow fell heavily from the darkened sky, speckling my hat and jacket as I stood at the bottom of the steps staring up into the void, letting the passersby walk around me, splitting the tide of people.

With a sigh, I teleported away, landing in the blindingly bright clubbing district. Multicolored lights were strung between the streetlights, pine and holly adorning everything, people wandering to and fro in their revelry. The clamor of the crowds drowned out my negative thoughts as I approached the front door of the night club, skipping past the line.

"f*** you doin kiddo?" Laughed the bouncer, raising an eyebrow at me.

"I've been summoned," I said, his attitude changing immediately.

"Follow me," said a silver haired elf immediately, poking her head out of the employee entrance to my left. Shrugging the snow off of my shoulders I followed her through the door and into the cramped back hallway, racks of dishes and assorted decorations lining the walls, making the corridor even more narrow. She led me past the busy main floor and into a lavishly decorated back room where a man sat, sprawled comfortably on a couch with a blood red drink in his hand. He raised an eyebrow at me as I entered, standing awkwardly by the door as the elf simply left me there. Someone sat in an armchair facing him, but all I could see was the back of their head. Anger welling up inside me as I realized who it was.

"Please, sit," The orange haired man said though a thick Russian accent, gesturing to the chair next to Ella, "I presume you know one another," I just nodded as I took the seat, wondering what this whole thing was about, "Good, then I'll begin," He smiled, showing a pair of gleaming white fangs.

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Re: The Hidden World: St Louis

Post  LordTomyh on Wed Mar 29, 2017 10:21 pm

“First of all, mr Marcus Grott, let me apologize for your demotion and treatment by the Tutores. I sent Ella as my glaza, my eyes, to gather information on the Black union. She was suppose to observe and spy. Instead she confronted you on her own accord.”

Ella felt Marcus’s eye boring into the back of her head. She didn’t look up as he walked over to the chair but did not sit down. She did feel sorry that she got him demoted to a desk job. She could only imagine how boring that must be.

“What are you going to do about it?” Marcusa asked.

“I will get to that in a moment,” Ivan said sternly looking to Ella. who shrank in her seat. Turning back to Marcus he continued. “For now, I would like to offer you some freelance employment.”

“Doing what?”

“Information scouting and reconnaissance.”

Ella’s head shot up. Information scouting was one of Ivan’s top jobs. His Razvedchiki, his scouts were his most trusted employees; to give a job to someone else outside of that circle was unheard of and often lead to disastrous results. She was proof of that. Marcus glanced at her, narrowing his eyes then turning back to the vampire.

“Why me?”

“I am impressed with your skills,” Ivan smiled. “When miss Toni Flowers came to me to dig up some information on you, I found very little, nothing that could link you to the Tutores. At first. Nothing eludes me, and I don’t like knowing. But you hid long enough for miss Flowers to be convinced of your conviction, and she never came back. Though, I expect she will soon.”

Ella glanced between the two, trying to judge their reactions to this Flowers woman. Ivan looked his calm gentle self, but Marcus. Was that a hint of fear?

“Plus, you know how to hide, how to blend in, not stick out like a naked lycanthrope.”

Ella shuddered. She was never going to forget that day.

“The pay is good, enough for a comfortable life. Plus, any information or knowledge you want to know, free of the usual charge.”

Again Ella glanced to Marcus, trying to judge his thoughts. He stood with his hands on the chair looking down at its back but deep in thought. He remained like that for a few minutes before looking to Ivan.”

“Do I have to answer now?”

Ivan shook his head.

“Take a week to think of it.”

Marcus started nodding.

“Ok. Is that all?”

Ivan laced his hands in front of him.

“There is one other thing. Do this, and I will owe you a favour.

Ella almost jumped out of her chair as she turned to Ivan. Ivan never owed favours, Ivan never gave out favours. Ivan received favours, he cashed them in.

“What the f***!” Ella exclaimed. Marcus chuckled.

“Judging from her reaction that is something pretty damn good. What is it you want me to do?”

“Ella’s punishment.”

Marcus’s smile dropped.

“I want you to take her in, help curb her recklessness. And maybe teach her to be a better warlock.”

Ellas chair tumbled to the ground as she stood up.

“ARE YOU f***ing KIDDING ME!”

Marcus jumped and swore at her reaction. Ivan calmly turned to look at her.
“Ella.”

“YOU WANT ME TO-”

“Be, quiet,” Ivan said, calmly, but with an unquestionable edge that demanded complete command. Ella shut her mouth with an audible CLAK of her teeth. Ivan turned to Marcus.

“Ella is homeless. The warehouse you found yourself in, the one she ruined, was technically her home.”

Ella bowed her head, cheeks starting to burn from anger and shame as she felt Marcus look to her.

“She has been in and out of the Tutores foster care system since a young age.”

Marcus winced.

“And has committed crimes to survive. Now without her artifacts she is untrained in magic, and this city and these worlds are turning into battlefields. I want her to be safe. So, will you take her?”

Ella didn’t wait to hear the answer. Turning she stormed out of the room, almost bowling over Meriel and a dark-haired woman with golden eyes. Pushing past the people, not caring if she was rude Ella made it outside and teleported, not caring who saw her.

Arriving in her home she looked around, her breath starting to hitch. What once was flat concrete now resembled a series of frozen waves, their crests spiked and jagged. Looking past the destruction to the far corner, largely untouched, Ella looked for her train.

It was gone.

Her train was gone.

Albert was gone.

Ella’s chest began to restrict, the room started to get hot. She held out her hand to summon her train from whatever hell the Tutores had put him.

The air in front of her split open. The shrill whistle, the clattering of wheels, and out came her steam strain, smashing one of the concrete waves as the rift closed behind him.

Eyes starting to water, Ella began to calm down, but also feel the effects of overusing mana. Shakily she climbed into the cabin of the train and curled up on the floor. From the engine came a gentle growl and several hisses, bringing a soft smile to the young warlock's face.

“I’m ok Albert,” she said, drifting off to sleep. “I’m ok.

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Despite this mask of happiness I drown in dark despair.
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The pen is mightier than the sword. It has no limitations.
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Re: The Hidden World: St Louis

Post  Damxge on Thu Mar 30, 2017 4:05 pm

"May I ask a few questions?" I asked hesitantly, turning my attention back to the orange haired Russian.

"Naturally," He nodded slowly, taking a sip of his drink.

"Am I allowed to know your name, first off?" I started.

"I am Ivan," He said simply, swishing his drink around in the glass.

"And will you expect me to turn over Tutores information to you?" I went on.

"No, I have my people to gain information in the Tutores Latet, what I require from you is information on Union Black and any other organizations you may get mixed up in," He explained, a bit more enthusiastic now, "From what I've heard, Flowers has been detained by the Tutores for an undetermined amount of time, so for the time being you're safe to operate under Union Black within the city. No one outside of a Tutores cell knows you are actually an agent,"

"Was, an agent," I sighed and he nodded grimly.

"My apologies, again. I do hope that I can make it up to you with this employment opportunity," I said, leaning up and sitting his glass on the coffee table between us.

"A man of your stature wouldn't put himself in this position unless it directly benefited him, why is it you need me?" I pressed a bit, drawing a frown to his face, the first real expression I think I'd seen him make.

"I'm having difficulty getting some ears into the Union," He admitted, "Their recruitment is erratic and obscure. It appears you must prove yourself in some way prior to being accepted, and I'm not talking about the attack you have to perform to gain contact,"

"I think I know what you mean," I nodded slowly, I'd put up a hell of a fight during their "recruitment", and this seemed to pique Black's interest especially. Perhaps when people went along willingly, they were rejected.

"As well, my staff have a soft spot for Ella. Not only has she grown to be a part of the family here, she has an important role to play in the coming years. A power like the one she possesses cannot be wasted," He continued, "I employ many a warlock here," He waved a hand in a general 'here' manner, "But none have been trained quite to the degree as you,"

"You're welcome, Ivan," Came a silky female voice as Marau appeared in a puff of black vapor by the door. As if gliding, she strode over and righted the chair Ella had knocked over in her haste to leave.

"Indeed, your mother is to thank for your thorough understanding of magic, an understanding she refuses to share even with me," He sounded a tiny bit spurred at the thought, but his calm demeanor returned quickly, "Your virtue and deeper understanding of magics will aid in Ella's development immensely. And not only that, but she'll finally have a dependable person in her life to help her through her struggles,"

"If I turn down the job," I started, but trailed off.

"I would still ask you to mentor the girl," Ivan understood my train of thought.

"And if I say no to Ella, and yes to the job?" I asked.

"The offers are independent of one another, pick one or both, it is up to you," He explained, waving a hand loftily, as if it mattered little to him.

"The job will essentially be a continuation of my work with the Tutores, only without the backup?" I decided a chance of topic was necessary.

"No," He burst out laughing, "You are expected to continue your work where you left off, only with my backup instead of the Tutores. I do believe you'll be far happier with my people,"

"I can vouch for Ivan and his people, if that's any consolation," Marau chimed in, reaching over and laying a hand on my forearm, a smile on her face. She orchestrated this, I could tell already, even if it wasn't all her idea, she had an influence.

"I'll let you know in a day or two, how can I reach you?" I said, easing myself out of my seat.

"Be creative, I'm not hiring you so I can tell you all the answers," He said with a clever grin, scooping his glass up and downing the contents in one go. With that, he was gone.

"You're welcome to come home until you get situated in a new place," Marau said after a moment of silence, "Your room is still the way you left it,"

"Thanks, mom," I laughed, "The Tutores are setting me up in the barracks until I find an apartment, so I'm just gonna go with that for now,"

"I'm always here for you, Mark," She said with a smile and gave my arm a squeeze. I nodded and turned to go, weaving through the crowded hall back to the street.



"Ella," I said firmly, the girl jumping awake, smacking her head off of a lever.

"Wh-what?" She sputtered, looking around wildly.

"It's Marcus," I said, sitting on the step leading into the cab of her train.

"What do you want?" She asked angrily, hugging herself tightly against the cold.

"Is this Ivan guy trustworthy?" I asked, looking at the ruined warehouse, illuminated only by the streetlights outside.

"What? Why are you asking me?" She sounded confused.

"You know him better than I do," I shrugged, fiddling with my cellphone.

"I don't understand," She blinked a few times.

"He's offering to pay me to do what I've been doing for years, and pay me well if I heard him right," I explained, "It could turn this very bad situation into a very good one,"

"Why do you have to talk to me then?" She asked, her teeth chattering audibly.

"Well, that's the kicker, he wants me to help you or I can't have the job," I sighed.

"So?" She was getting irritated.

"So if you won't let me help you, I can't have the job," I said flatly, "And I figure you owe me at least a bit,"

"What do I have to do?" She sounded like she was actually considering it.

"As far as I can tell, help me with my Union Black work, keep your nose clean, and try to learn a bit about magic," I shrugged, it was left kind of vague.

"So we're partners," She half asked, half asserted.

"Essentially, I guess," I nodded slowly, if she wanted to word it that way.

"I have to think about it," She huddled up against the cold metal wall of the train, watching me from the opening in the doorway.

"Think fast, because the Tutores are going to notice the train is missing and track it down," I hauled myself to my feet, "This place reeks of magic, it's not going to be hard for them to trace it straight here, and if you're here when they find it, I don't think my mother will be able to get you off so easily,"

"Your mother?" She asked, confused.

"The demon lawyer who got you out of jail earlier," I explained.

"I can't leave Albert, I won't abandon him," She shook her head, wrapping a hand around a lever, as if it would do anything should the Tutores show up.

"Albert? The train?" I asked, a bit taken aback, she'd named the train that she had some weird connection to?

"Of course," She spat back, sounding offended. I had just assumed she kept the train to live in, not that it was like her friend or something.

"What if I can help you hide Albert and find you a warm place to sleep tonight," I said, cracking my back and taking a good look at the train, trying to think of a place to hide it.

"You can do that?" She asked hesitantly.

"I work for the Tutores, I know exactly how they track teleportation magic," I laughed, "So I know the loopholes," There was a minute or two of silence before she finally answered.

"They won't find Albert?" She asked, finally.

"Not a chance," I assured her.

"And I'll stay with him?" She went on.

"No, you'll come get a bed at the barracks with me. I'll get you your own private room and bathroom. Should be able to score you free food, too," The food comment seemed to be the deciding factor and she climbed out of the cab.

"The Tutores ask a lot of questions," She said, eyeing me suspiciously.

"Maybe at the public housing, but I'm talking military housing that I still have clearance for. They always have room out there with how many people are leaving the organization," I explained.

"You're sure?" She asked, shivering visibly now.

"Absolutely, now let's get this train- err, Albert, to a safe location and we'll get you warmed up," I said, rubbing my hands together.

"How do you hide from the Tutores though?" She asked, looking at the train with what I could only describe as a loving gaze.

"They track magic in two ways, by signature and by location. They kind of cover each others weaknesses. If you try to hide the signature, they'll just track the location, if you try to move the object repeatedly to disguise the location, they'll just track the signatures without actually having to go to each place you moved it," I explained it as simply as I could, "What you do to get around it is you simply teleport a whole lot of objects to a whole lot of places with a whole lot of different signatures and then you teleport objects from the location you're actually hiding at so they won't bother checking there, even if they get that far. It can take months to check every endpoint thoroughly, then they have to check midpoints, of which there can be thousands,"

"So you just overload them, basically," She summarized.

"Basically, yeah. And you've gotta be clever about it," I shrugged, she picked it up pretty easily.

"But how do I change signatures and what objects do I teleport?" She looked back at the train, "And can't they tell how big something was that was teleported?"

"Forging a magical signature takes years of practice, if you don't know it already, I'll have to show you later. As for objects, I use these," I lifted a hand, a red mist forming on my palm before solidifying into a smooth red gem, a soft glow emanating from its center.

"What is it?" She asked, staring at it, almost entranced.

"Blood," I smiled at her, "If you use your own blood to infuse something, you'll have control over it no matter where it is. So this is just water, blood, and magic,"

"That's," She paused, staring at it, "Gross,"

"Little bit, but it works," I shrugged, the pebble vanishing in an instant, immediately replaced by another. I continued this for a good ten minutes, teleporting the permafrozen blood gems to locations all over the city, and then branching out to places across the countryside. After several thousand places had been "marked", I turned to the train.

"Where are we sending him?" She asked, looking to me.

"First we're sending him to a few neighboring warehouses, then we're taking him to an old underground bunker the Tutores used to use for munitions storage," I explained my plan.

"That's safe?" She looked concerned.

"Safer than anywhere else in the city. Plus they won't be able to find him in there even if they track him there. The place is a maze and it's jammed full of old sh*t," I tried to lay her fears to rest.

"Fine, but I'm going there whenever I want," She said decisively.

"I wouldn't keep a woman from her-" I looked at the giant steam engine, "Train..."

"Okay, let's go," She crossed her arms defiantly. She was in charge here, apparently. I just sighed and performed the spell, dropping us into a room barely large enough for us and the train.


After saying her goodbyes to Albert, I took us to the Tutores compound on the Mississippi river, disguised as a water filtration facility just outside of the town of Alton. As promised, I found her a room and a warm meal consisting of chicken, potatoes, and peas, fresh out of the microwave. With all of that taken care of I found myself a room and collapsed onto the bed, completely exhausted.

She may decide to run, or ignore my help, or whatever, but for the time being she was safe. And that's what Ivan wanted. I probably should have just taken the job and said 'screw the girl', but my conscience wouldn't let me. Plus, it was good to get the power she had off the street before she killed innocent people.


[That was so long winded. I hope I portrayed Ella well enough and it read smoothly. I guess lemme know on facebook what you think.]

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Re: The Hidden World: St Louis

Post  Damxge on Thu Apr 06, 2017 3:29 pm

"Rise and shine," I said, knocking heavily on the door to Ella's room. I was greeted only by silence. Sighing, I took a step back to wait for a moment, maybe she was just slow in the mornings. I glanced up and down the stark white hallway. It always reminded me of a hospital corridor, white lights, white tiles, white bricks painted with white paint. The only off colors were the thick brown wooden doors and the blue number plates next to each of the doors. A weird color scheme, I thought, but what did I know? I wasn't an interior designer. I just assumed the person who painted the hall wasn't either.

I waited a solid three minutes before letting out a sigh, looked like she'd dipped. I turned to go, only to find the skinny teenager standing next to me, watching me with an obnoxious smile on her face. In her hands she held a microwave pastry and an empty cereal bowl.

"Whatcha doin?" She asked, she seemed far more chipper than last night.

"Come on," I responded, the groan implied.

"Where?" She asked, opening the packaging on what looked like a cinnamon danish.

"Letting Ivan know what's going on," I explained, marching up the hall with the girl at my shoulder, nibbling on her breakfast.

"You eat yet? They've got a whole buffet upstairs," She commented through a mouthful of her food.

"I don't eat breakfast," I returned, smacking the elevator button as we reached the end of the obnoxiously long hall.

"Yeah, I usually don't either," She shrugged, looking down at her food, "Dinner either, and sometimes lunch," I just sighed as the elevator arrived with an obnoxious metallic DING.

"Did you set up an appointment with him?" She asked as the elevator started upward.

"No," I said shortly.

"Oh," Was her reply, and the elevator cart became quiet for almost a whole minute.

"How are we going to see him then?" She asked as the door opened. I shoved through the group of people waiting to enter before replying.

"We're going to his nightclub, then we'll go from there," I shrugged, marching quickly through the lobby of the Tutores barracks and to the sliding glass doors that led out to the street in upper St. Louis, the barracks cover business a high end banking skyscraper.

"He doesn't stay there," She commented as we walked up the packed sidewalk to the entrance to the parking garage my car was in.

"I didn't say he did, I'm just gonna pop in and see if he's there. If he's not I'll find out where I can get in touch with him," I looked around on the lower level, taking note of the green painted pillars and the numbering on the rows.

"Didn't I park here last night?" I asked, staring at the rows of cars, none of them my old shitbox Jetta.

"Yeah, right there," she pointed to a spot now occupied by a big black SUV, "I don't think I've met anyone who can just contact Ivan," she continued on her speal about the man. With a building sense of dread, I pulled my phone out of my pocket and hit the Tutores contact.

"Charlie's Office, how can I help you?" Came a chipper female voice.

"Since when does Charlie have someone answering his phones?" I asked, a bit confused.

"I was hired on as his assistant just this week," She responded happily, "Now, what may I help you with?"

"Uh, yeah, this is Grott, could you get Charlie on the line?" I asked, the clicking of keys immediately following.

"Well, Mr. Grott, it says here that your clearance is currently at level five and that Mr. Russel will only take unscheduled calls from level eight and above," She responded, a hint of concern in her voice.

"f***," I hissed under my breath, almost kicking the bumper of the nearest car, but I restrained myself and took a deep breath, "Well, maybe you can help me then," I said as calmly as I could, "I've had an older model VW Jetta assigned to me for the last three or four years and it seems to be missing from the parking garage outside of the barracks in S-T-L,"

"Let me run that real quick, what did you say your first name was, Mr. Grott?" She asked, the clicking of computer keys coming back. I looked over at Ella, who was busying herself watching passerby's outside.

"Marcus, M-a-r-c-u-s," I spelled it out to make sure she didn't try spelling it with a K.

"Your vehicle has been returned to storage and you've been removed from the assignment ledger," She said in a worried tone.

"Do I get a replacement?" I asked, my chest tightening.

"Uhmm," she said to herself, tapping a few more keys.

"No, you're not on any assignments that warrant a vehicle assignment, I'm sorry," she seemed sympathetic enough.

"How long do I have left on my assigned phone?" I asked, assuming that's what they would come for next.

"It looks like the subscription has been cancelled and will run out at the end of the month, the phone should be returned to-" I held the phone out as it melted in my grip, falling to the cement, hissing as it hit the cold stone before solidifying into a puddle of plastic and metal.

"What-?" Ella asked, staring at me with a confused look.

"They're f***ing lucky that's the only thing I'm breaking," I growled, shaking the molten plastic from my hand, "Looks like we're taking the fast way," I reached out and tapped her shoulder, teleporting us both to the alley next to the club, startling a cat on a nearby dumpster. The Tutores had some rather heavy restrictions on teleporting willy-nilly, which was why they put a huge emphasis on using portals rather than teleporting yourself. They were lucky warlocks were really the only people who could just teleport around. I marched up to the side door and gave it a hard knock, the silver haired elf popping her head out immediately. This made me wonder if she were very quick or always standing there. She didn't say anything, just raised an eyebrow.

"Is Ivan available?" I asked, hoping for a lucky break.

"No," She snorted, glancing at Ella, who had herself another pastry. I rolled my eyes, she must have pocketed a few.

"Do you know how I might contact him?" I went on as she stood there impatiently.

"No one contacts Ivan, he'll contact you if he needs you," She responded, closing the door abruptly.

"Next plan, Mr. Detective?" Ella asked, cocking her head.

"We look around," I said, placing my hand on the wall, immediately sensing powerful wards in place to keep people from teleporting in or out and to sense those who enter. Probably monitored by a warlock at all times.

"How?" She asked, taking a bite of her danish.

"We do exactly what you did to my wards," I responded, cracking my knuckles.

"Put a hole in them?" She asked through a mouthful of food.

"We destroy them," I smiled at her, relishing the opportunity. I didn't get chances like this at work, "Watch," I reached out and tapped her shoulder, teleporting us straight into the back room of the club, the same one I met Ivan in the previous day. The wards shattered around us, the air sparkling with magic as whoever owned them tried desperately to repair them. I didn't let them, however, I used the fragmented magic from the initial wards to saturate the air, keeping their magic from cutting through it to reform the protection. This was the problem with having a single person in charge of wards, all it takes is one person to hit them really hard and they collapse without another strong source of power. This told me immediately that Ivan wasn't here. The wards had been far, far stronger when he was in the building. Once we were in, I placed my own wards around the room, people bouncing off of it opposite the doors as soon as I placed it, a bit of sweat dripping off of my forehead as I strained to maintain it against the immediate magical assault.

"Find anything we can use to get ahold of him," I ordered Ella, who stood there, wide eyed, next to the coffee table.

"He's gonna be really mad at us!" She said, glancing around.

"Don't care, help me find something," I moved to the bar along the wall, vaulting over it. Ella began searching the room, though I wasn't sure if she knew what she was looking for.

"Any piece of his DNA can be used to find him, his fingerprints, or-" I cut myself off as I found what I was looking for, the glass he'd been drinking from while speaking to me, "Got it, let's go," I snatched up the cup and ran round the bar, the ward had begun to fail, two warlocks assaulting it now while seven or eight people tried to physically push through it. I'd begun to develop a mana migraine and my vision was narrowing, saturated with static. I stumbled as I grabbed Ella, teleporting us out as soon as the ward fell. We landed in an alley two blocks up the street, seven or eight blood gems appearing in the air around me, vanishing as soon as they were fully formed, and then we teleported again. The energy loss causing me to flash in and out of consciousness.

"Teleport us again, I don't care where," I said, completely out of breath, leaning heavily on Ella, who looked panic stricken, staring about wide eyed, "Now!" I yelled.

"I-I-I," She stuttered, starting to buckle under my weight.

"Get us the f*** out of here!" I tried to teleport us, but the energy loss would kill me at this point, I was barely staying awake at this point. Finally she did it, taking us exactly the place I figured she would, to her warehouse.

"We've gotta keep moving," I said, "Again," this time she took us somewhere I wasn't familiar with, it was in the woods, the snow coated ground spotless and untouched, until we came crashing in on it, that is. She was beginning to pant, her facing having gone pale.

"Can you go one more time?" I asked, reaching into my pocket, pulling out a silver watch.

"I don't know," She panted, dropping to her knees. I wasn't able to catch myself and dropped to the ground with a dull thud.

"That's okay, don't overdo it," I said, clicking the winder on the top of the watch. Immediately a tall, dark skinned man appeared beside us, a scowl on his face, his black suit immaculate.

"You know the deal, Grott?" He asked, his hands in his pockets.

"Yeah, take us home," I said, the watch disappearing from my hand in a wisp of black smoke. He just nodded and reached a hand down, gripping my shoulder firmly. We dropped onto a wooden floor, dust puffing up around us as we hit. A single beam of light illuminated the room, streaming in through half drawn curtains over an old, fogged window, condensation heavy on its surface. The tall man was nowhere to be found.

With a relieved sigh, I flopped back onto the boards, the glass clutched in my right hand. Ella just sat there on her knees, shaking violently, her eyes flicking about.

"Relax, we're safe," I said through heavy breaths, gazing up through the dusty air at a popcorn drywall ceiling.

"Who was that?" She asked, hugging her arms defensively.

"Family friend, owed me a favor," I rolled over and pushed myself up onto my hands and knees, my vision blurring momentarily as the blood rushed from my head. Mom wasn't kidding, the room looked exactly how it did when I left, even the bed was still unmade. It was a simple room, there was a chest of drawers, a bed, a nightstand, and a desk. All simple dark wood and coated in gray dust. The desk rested under the window, piled high with papers and opposite the door, the nightstand and bed rested against the left wall while the dresser was on the other side of the room next to the closet door.

"Where are we?" She looked to me, uncertainty on her face.

"Where I grew up," I managed to get to my feet and stumbled to the desk, grabbing a vial of liquid out of one of the draws. Popping the crystal stopper, I downed the contents and flopped into the chair as the potion took effect, restoring a bit of my strength. Not much, but enough to clear my head and let me stand.

"Are we safe?" She was full of questions.

"Yeah, no way to track a demon's teleport, unless you can go to hell," I nodded, grabbing a second vial and taking it to her.

"Hell?" She asked, a new edge to her voice.

"Yeah demons teleport by warping to hell, then back to the overworld to keep from being tracked. So now you can say you've been to hell," I laughed, handing the potion to her, which had a silvery, mercury look to it. She just stared at it questioningly.

"It's liquid energy, drink it, you'll feel better," I said as I walked back to the desk, finding that those were my last potions. Hesitantly, she took a sip, scowling and puckering her lips.

"I didn't say it tastes good, just gulp it down," I rolled my eyes to which she responded by sticking her tongue out at me.

"Jesus, how old are you, twelve?" I asked, sifting through the papers on the desk, just curious to see what I was studying before I got my job with the tutores.

"How do we find Ivan with that cup?" She asked, ignoring my sarcastic response.

"The fingerprints on it," I responded, picking up a book, on teleportation magic, no less, "You can use magic to look for specific patterns in the world. As long as the pattern is small and the range is short, it doesn't eat up too much energy,"

"Like facial recognition?" She asked, gulping down the tincture and twisting her face in disgust.

"In real time," I said, handing the book to her, "All we have to do is enchant something with the spell we need and place it somewhere we expect Ivan to go, like his nightclub,"

"Then have it alert us when his fingerprints show up," she finished the thought for me, flipping the book open .

"Exactly, then we just pop down and talk to him," I nodded.

"That's awfully complicated, why are we going through all this?" She asked, furrowing her brow.

"He challenged me to contact him on my terms, and I love challenges," I responded, stretching the stiffness out of my back.

-------------

It only took us a few hours to set up a trashcan lid with the specific detection spell we needed, Ella proving to be a quick learner and was able to replicate a few spells I showed her almost immediately. Luckily, getting Ivan's fingerprints wasn't too difficult. Despite having no oil on his skin to leave imprints, a drop of liquid on the outside acted just the same and we got a solid half print. We dropped off the lid as inconspicuously as we could and then bailed to a nearby diner. We were both starving from our activities an needed some sustenance. I tried to engage her in some conversation over our burgers, but she wasn't really in the talking mood, she was tired and changed the topic quickly whenever her past or feelings came up.

"So," she started, eating a fry, "How do you keep from getting caught for what you did?" She asked.

"What do you mean?" I raised an eyebrow.

"You-," She paused, "We, broke into Ivan's own business, stole his glassware, and planted a bug outside," she ate another fry.

"Ivan won't get the Tutores involved, he knows he can't trust them to just come in for the investigation, they'll want to snoop around his business and will ask a lot of questions," I explained my train of thought with the plan, "And his warlocks will be able to track us down pretty quickly, they'll also be able to find the bug,"

"What?" She paused, a fry halfway to her mouth.

"He should show up any-" I looked up to find the man in question walking toward us from the entrance, just as suave as when I met him yesterday, though completely out of place in the diner.

"You thought that would work?" He asked, sliding into the booth next to Ella, raising an inquisitive eyebrow.

"Did you really plan that?" Ella asked, blinking rapidly. I just smiled, Ivan shaking his head slowly, an amused expression on his face.

"If you were anyone else, it wouldn't have," he sighed, picking a tidbit off of Ella's plate.

"But I know who I am and I know who you are, and you were expecting me to try something," I said, holding my hands up innocently.

"To be honest, I didn't expect that," he said through his thick accent, "But you do have some flare,"

"I've decided to accept your generous offer," I said after a moment pause.

"Excellent," he said, obviously expecting the answer, "Your first payment will be deposited directly into your account, it should be adequate," he grabbed another fry and got to his feet, "You'll be paid the same amount weekly, if you have any expenses related to business, just drop the bill off at the club and I'll pay you back. Use your own digression on what constitutes business spending," and with that, he walked away. Which was weird for a vampire, they were usually sprinting at the speed of sound or standing still, there wasn't really an in-between for them.

"That was easy," I said, leaning back in my seat, finally able to relax. Somehow I'd expected more. A test, some sort of rigorous training, a talking to or briefing, anything but a "your payment is on the way, get to work".

"What now?" Ella asked exactly what I was thinking.

"I think we need to find a place to live."


[3150 words. Longest post I think I've ever written on here.]

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Re: The Hidden World: St Louis

Post  LordTomyh on Thu Apr 06, 2017 10:24 pm

Ella woke with a start. She didn’t recognize the room she was in, she didn’t see Albert anywhere. Breath hitching she frantically looked around the room, looking for an exit when her eyes fell on an old Tutores banner hanging from the wall. Everything that had happened night before and yesterday came back to her and she let out a breath to calm down.

Sitting on one of the bunks Ella pulled her knees to her chest. She felt numb, didn’t know what to think. Like everything in her life she had tried to do good, but she had f***ed up and got caught, and had to be bailed out by Ivan again. And this time she had f***ed up some else's life.

She had put on a smile and a show yesterday for Marcus, and for a second there she did feel happy for the first time in a long time, laughing even. But it all soured when his place to get Ivan’s attention worked. Breaking into Ella’s equivalent of Fort Knox, of stealing something from the vampire, planting a bug, and then getting away with it AND earning himself a job well done. She couldn’t even break into Marcus’s apartment and get information out of him without getting caught and captured by the Tutores.

If she tries she fails.

But if you don't try, you’ll never get it.

Ella didn’t jump or flinch or scream as an elderly woman sat down next to her. Her silver hair was pulled back in a bun, her fair skin lightly-wrinkled but her violet eyes as bright and sharp as youth. She wore a white dress with colourful floral patterns and a black cardigan.

It is good you tried my dear. You tried what you-

“Please stop,” Ella said softly hiding her face in her arms. “Please go away.”

The woman looked at Ella with sadness on her face, but did not leave, nor did she say a word. The two sat in silence for several minutes. Ella peeked over her arms.

“Why is it always someone I’ve never met? Why is is never my father?”

The woman let out a sad sigh.

He wants nothing more than to be here for you. But it is still too soon.”

“It’s been 14 years.”

“But you still cry for them everynight

Ella buried her face again.

“I miss them. God I miss them. I still feel her grandma, holding my hand as she died.”

“Who are you talking to?”

Ella did jump this time. Marcus was standing by a door, holding a bag of McDonalds and two drinks, while her grandmother was gone. Ella sighed in frustration and went back to hiding her head in her arms.

“Ghosts of the past.”

“Ok…” Marcus said, drawing out the syllables as he put down the bag. “Eat up. I want to see what you can do so I know what I need to do to train you.”

Ella raised her head and opened the bag, grabbing the first burger she saw.

“Fair warning. I suck. I can manage a handful of teleports, some parlor tricks and summoning Albert before feeling like I need to puke.”

“And those?” Marcus asked pointing to her braclet. Ella froze unwrapping the burger and looked down at her wrists.

“Only if there is no other option,” she said harshly, then taking a bite out of the burger, making it clear she didn’t want to talk anymore.

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Despite this mask of happiness I drown in dark despair.
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Re: The Hidden World: St Louis

Post  Damxge on Fri Apr 07, 2017 9:08 am

"How did you become a warlock?" I asked, trying to make small talk while I nibbled on a chicken sandwich.

"Same way everyone else does," was her sarcastic response. I rolled my eyes and asked again.

"What's the story behind it, most people don't just go around making warlocks," I took a bite of my food and gave her a look.

"I don't know, mom and dad never told me, I was infused when I was a baby," she said in short, fractured answers between bites of her burger. For being a tiny thing, she ate like a bear.

"Mhm," I just nodded, "They pass away when you were young, then?" I asked, knowing it was a touchy matter, but decided to pursue it anyway.

"Yeah," She said flatly, staring at her sandwich, "Can we not talk?"

"No," I shook my head, "If I'm going to help you, I need to know you. The basis of a warlock's power comes from the strength and control they have over their emotions. Basically you pick your strongest one and use it to fuel your magic, along with your magic, of course,"

"What one do you use?" She asked, turning it around on me, "If you're going to teach me, I should know you, then,"

"Anger, which is why a lot of my visual magic is red," I responded honestly, "It's easy to focus on an emotion, it's harder to focus on something as obscure as magic, at first anyways," She looked up, a question written on her face.

"All of the warlocks I've read about, all of the strong ones anyway, have been really angry people. Is that the best emotion?" She asked, steering the conversation about as far away from herself as she could. I figured I could let it slide for now, I'd get bits out of her at a time, though I'd have to be clever about it.

"The guy who wrote that book," I pointed at the teleportation manuscript I'd given her to study, "Marvarak, he claims that emotion is the biggest weakness of magic, and people use it as a crutch. Once you can get away from that crutch and stand on your own, that's when you become a truly powerful warlock,"

"So why should I start with using emotion? Just skip over it," she questioned further.

"Because you'll only learn to crawl that way, with the focus on emotion, you'll know what it feels like to stand, even if it is supporting you," I finished my sandwich and threw the wrapper across the room into the wastebasket, where it lit on fire in a huff of flame.

"Was that necessary?" She fixed me with a skeptical look.

"Gotta get your kicks somehow," I shrugged, "Now come on, it's almost ten, we gotta get a move on,"

"Where we going?" She asked, not budging from her bed, looking at me suspiciously, as if I would turn around and take her to jail now or something.

"I need to run to the bank and see just how much Ivan is paying me, and I'm taking care of you. I wouldn't be doing a very good job if I left you here alone," I responded, motioning for her to follow me.

"I'm an adult, you don't have to drag me everywhere like a child," she said, the pout in her voice almost painful.

"Well I was going to talk to you a bit about magic, but if that's not your-" I started, but she cut me off.

"Fine," she lugged herself out of bed and marched past me out of the room. I just smiled and followed her, closing the door firmly as I left.

------------

"I need you to memorize these page numbers," I said as we exited the barracks buildings, handing her a thick folder of papers, one of the Union Black files I was given and may or may not have stolen from the Tutores evidence locker.

"One, two, three, four," She started counting off, ignoring folder.

"Not quite as easy," I sighed, my breath forming a cloud in front of me as we walked up the street, "They've got numbers on each page, I'm not sure what they mean yet, but I need you to memorize them all on our way to the bank,"

"There's like fifty pages here!" She exclaimed, flipping through the pages.

"Just do the first fifteen, that'll be fine," I shrugged.

"Why do I have to do it, why can't you?" she huffed, staring at the first page, on the top of which was printed a three digit number. A different one on each page.

"Because I'm busy right now and I need your help, it's really important," I responded, a bit of an edge in my voice.

"But-" she started again, but I stopped and turned to her, ignoring the disgruntled moans from the passersby that had to go around me.

"Please Ella, just help me here. Take my word that I need the help and just help me," I pleaded. Rather than talking back, she just set her jaw and nodded, "Thank you, it means more than I know," and with that, we were off, walking up the street to the ATM on the corner. She struggled to read the pages and walk at the same time, much less walk without running into people, poles, or stumbling through holes. It was actually pretty funny to watch her try to keep up while flipping through the pages.

When we got to the ATM, I whipped out my debit card and punched in my pin. After the machine processed it for a moment, I requested my balance. Taking a deep breath, I snatched the receipt that was spit out and turned it over.

"Two thousand dollars?!" I hissed under my breath, turning my surprised gaze to Ella, who was still reading the papers. Doing the math quickly in my head, that was close to a six figure salary, if not slightly below. Ivan wasn't kidding about paying decently, "Does Ivan pay more the longer you work for him?" I asked Ella, wondering if raises were possible.

"Yeah, I think it has more to do with what you're doing and how much he likes you, though," she replied absentmindedly.

"f*** yeah," I said, almost to myself, as I started up the street again.

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Re: The Hidden World: St Louis

Post  LordTomyh on Sat Apr 15, 2017 3:47 am

Ella pretended to read through the Tutores report, having stolen one or two about herself to know what it was. She could understand parts of it, but the rest was too dense, so she didn’t bother with it. Instead she amused herself watching Marcus’s reaction to his pay check, swearing she’s never seen someone light up like a kid at Christmas around an ATM. Usually it was the opposite reaction. Flipping a page Ella leant against the bank but turned her senses to the people on the street. A mix of oblivious humans and hidden supernatural she caught snippets and tidbits of their conversations. Humans were beginning to notice the actions of Vlad’s army. The Tutores were clamping down. Some human singer called Ceres was touring in the North. People talking about the arson, the war in Australia both human and supernatural, what did someone think of their hair, a man in a faceless mask, what did someone-

Ella looked up from the file, starting to shake. She didn’t just hear what she thought she heard, did she? She looked left and right down the street, trying to find the conversation about the man in the faceless mask and who was having it. But the noise of the street turned to static, blocking out every conversation.

“It’s ok,” she told herself. Violet sparks starting to dance from her fingertips. “They weren’t talking about him. Nothing’s wrong. Nothing’s-”

The front of the bank exploded. Glass, steel and masonry pelted the street, denting vehicles, smashing glass and cracking skulls. Ella fell to the ground screaming, but unable to hear herself over the ringing whining noise. The violet sparks were dancing and jumping more violently, coming off of her hands now. She needed to get out of here, she needed to get somewhere safe.
A man stepped in front of her, facing away, and began spraying the sidewalk with an assault rifle in cold-blood. Ella faintly heard the gunshots and the screaming. She tried to push herself into the wall, away from the man wearing the colours of Vlad’s Army.

A sudden calm came over the young warlock, and she stopped struggling, the sparks stopping entirely. She rose to her feet, and slowly, stepped behind the man, a chunk of masonry in her hand. She saw Marcus out of the corner of her eye gesturing for her to get down, but she ignored him, and he was cut off as a hood and mask formed over her head. In the back of her mind she heard a voice egging her on, telling her to protect the innocent.

She didn’t even realise she has bashed the gunman over the head till she felt felt him hit the ground in front of her. Another gunman next to him turned, saw his companion on the ground, then looked to her and raised his gun.

Ella held out her hand, eyes and hand flashing purple and red with a hint of gold, and the gun exploded in the mans hand. Ella felt sick to her stomach, the spell taking more out of her than she thought. Taking a deep breath she stood to her full height.

And copped a gun barrel straight to the face, knocking her down but not out. That hurt.

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Re: The Hidden World: St Louis

Post  Damxge on Sun Apr 16, 2017 5:38 am

"f***'s sake Ella!" I yelled, ramming my shoulder into the distracted gunman, hammering him against the broken bank wall, knocking his weapon out of his grip. I slammed my fist against his stomach, his body going limp and ragdolling to the ground, the force of the magic knocking him unconscious. Smoke and dust were thick in the air, the screams of innocent bystanders a distant echo over the dull buzz that filled my head from the concussion of the blast. Bodies littered the slush covered pavement, pools of blood staining the dirty snow on which they laid. Reaching down, I pulled Ella up off of the sidewalk, lugging her onto my shoulder and sprinting around the corner as the pop pop of gunfire started again. I ducked into an alley with the girl, laying her as gently as I could against the brick wall. Panicked, I looked around, making sure she was safe for the time being. I could teleport us out, now that onlookers weren't- a voice cut off my train of thought.

"Help them," It said, distinctly male, probably middle aged. I looked around, finding that we were still alone.

"What?" I asked, my own voice muffled and dim compared to the clarity with which I heard the speaker.

"Help the innocents," it said again, more aggressively, "This is what you trained for, this is why you joined the Tutores Latet,"

"f***," I spat, running my hands through my hair, unsure of what to do. There was a magical aspect to the bomb blast, so this wasn't just your run of the mill bank robbery.

"Marcus Grott," He said, practically yelling now.

I didn't reply. Instead, I ducked back out of the alley and around the corner, running toward the gunshots, back into the haze left by the bomb. I couldn't use magic to save the people, at least not directly, there were too many humans around, so I grabbed rifle dropped by one of the robbers, the one Ella clubbed in the head. Throwing the sling around my neck, I paused to get my bearings, crouched behind a large chunk of marble that appeared to have come from within the bank. It seemed the gunfire was coming from inside the bank now, so I was relatively safe outside, the whine of sirens barely audible in the distance. Taking a calming breath, I vaulted over my cover and ran to the closest body, grabbed the man's arm, and hauled him onto my shoulder. While half dragging, half carrying him away, I infused him with some magic, enough to keep him alive despite his grievous gunshot wounds, the paramedics would take it from there.

I carried five more people away, another man joining in my efforts. He carried three or four people at time, despite being a small man. Likely a vampire, but appreciated nonetheless. Once the street was cleared of wounded, I made for the entrance to the bank, cloaking myself in invisibility to enter, several more gunmen were set up behind the counters, watching the hole in the front of the building. I heard the tires screech as police finally arrived, the bullhorn echoing out, telling people to take cover, as if someone were just standing in the middle of the street wondering what to do. I almost had to roll my eyes, despite the dire situation. Another blast shook the building, from deeper in the bank and somewhere below us. Looked like they were going straight for the vault.

I pulled the mag out of the gun to check if there were actually any bullets as I made my way deeper into the bank, several hostages were tied up on the floor behind the desk where the gunmen were camped out. Swearing silently, I crept up behind them, I couldn't just leave them there at the mercy of these animals. Once I was close enough, I took control of the left bankrobber, turning him and opening fire on his companion before knocking himself out on the edge of the counter. I didn't want to kill, but if it came down to it, I wouldn't lose any sleep over a dead murderer. Straining my muscles, I grabbed the pair of hostages, a bank worker and who I could only assume was a patron. I couldn't pick them up, so I grabbed the backs of their shirts and started dragging them to the door.

"Police! Don't move!" came the voice over the loudspeaker as I came into the open with the hostages. Instantly, I raised my hands above my head.

"Get them out of here!" I yelled back, my voice cracking under the pressure, "I'm not a robber," And then I was tackled to the ground, my face slammed off the concrete, stars flashing in my eyes as two men held me down, cutting the gun strap and getting the weapon away from me. I looked up as my cheek was mashed into the pavement to find Ella standing behind the police line, a determined look on her face.

"Don't do it," I mouthed at her, but she didn't listen. She teleported, inside of the bank, I could only assume. I swore as I was drug by the elbows to a police cruiser.

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Re: The Hidden World: St Louis

Post  LordTomyh on Tue Apr 18, 2017 8:50 pm

Ella appeared in the shadows of the bank, her mask and hood on again. SHe was on the stairs leading down to the vault, in the bank. Behind her she could hear the police or the Tutores amassing to take the building, and in front of her she could hear people yelling in anger and fear.

Rushing down the stairs to the vault room Ella pressed herself up against the wall and peeked around the corner. Two people were blasting the large vault door with fire, a man stood beside them gun in hand threatening a security guard holding an unconscious woman while a woman watched the hallway, sword in hand. The air around them had a slight waver to it, like heat distorting the air.

Ella swore. Wards, possibly against physical damage and definitely against magic. It was only four of Vlads army, at least two of them with magic of their own. If not for the wards she could take them out, well most of them. With the wards she’d be lucky to take down two and keep them down.

She was outnumbered, outgunned, and outclassed.

“sh*t sh*t sh*t sh*t sh*t,” she muttered, pulling back behind the wall. She knew the smart idea was to get the hell out of their and leave it to the Tutores. But if it turned into a battle between Vlad’s militia and the order then the hostages were as good as dead. Ella couldn’t leave them, and she couldn’t wait for the Tutores. She had to take out the militias. It had to be her, someone else would get it wrong.

Peeking around the corner the young warlock assessed the hallway, the room, every detail of the guards. Going through idea’s and plans of attack and scrapping them. Everything she though, everything she planned, it all failed because she wasn’t strong enough. Not without the staves, and that was the Pandora’s box of plans. If she used the staves anymore, she’d be found out. He’d find her.

Her throat closed up, her fingers starting to tingle as the world started to swim around Ella, falling into her memories. She clawed her way out of that dark pit, sliding to the ground as quietly as she could as she tried to regain control. Slowing her breath she closed her eyes, and in her mind's eye saw the book Marcus had given her, open to the page on magic and emotions fuelling the abstract and immaterial force. Shaking her breath Ella reached out for her magic, everything in her mind taking on a purple glow as she felt the universal mana answer her. The small torrent that washed over her snapped her out of it, the connection to the magic fading as she opened her eyes in shock. It hadn’t been much mana that had come to her, hardly a pebble in a pond. But it was more than she had ever felt by herself. Taking a peek back to the vault room to make sure she hadn’t been heard or spotted the young warlock did a quick calculation, and quick plan. It would still be hard, with a chance to fail. But there was chance she could pull it off and take down the guards, if she could draw on the extra mana.

Taking a quiet breath Ella closed her eyes and picked a locked purple chest edged with silver. Black tendrils laced with purple emanated from it, wrapping around the lock trying to pry open the lid; every now and then the box would shake, the sound of chilling laughter and a child’s scream coming from within.

Steeling herself Ella took a mental step towards the box, trying to skim across its aura of fear enough to draw on more mana. Taking another step she tried calling on her magic, but got no more than she normally would. A sliver of ice formed in her chest as she took another mental step towards the box, then another for good measure.

The young warlock again called for her magic. This time the same small torrent washed over her, washing over her small mental figure threatening to drown her.

Opening her eyes she gasped for breath, her skin starting to take on a sweaty sheen. She was drowning in magic, in the lifeblood of the universe, and on so little. She tried to shape it to her will, tried to cage its chaotic power, or else she would lose it, or lose her life.

“Freeze!” Ella jumped, screaming. The air around her crystallised and exploded, flashing freezing everything around her, including the swordswoman. Ella scrambled to her feet and away from the frozen woman, her eyes glowing purple. The young warlock looked to her hands with a surprised horror written across her face. She wasn’t expecting that, hadn’t meant to do that. She Felt for her magic again. It was sluggish from being used, but was escaping her poorly-made cage.

“No,” Ella hissed clawing the mana back into her grasp. The purple energy again tried to drown her, but this time she was prepared, throwing up mental walls to keep her safe and strengthening her cage.

The magic lashed out at the cage, trying to break free. The young warlock inhaled through her nose and stepped around the corner, stepping right in militia woman sent to check on their comrade. The woman’s eyes bugged in surprise, her mouth opened in a curse. Ella held out her hand to the woman’s chest, letting out a little of the lashing magic shooting a fireball that knocked the woman across the room to the man trying to melt the vault door. The man watching the hostages turned to his comrades, swearing.

Ella run in, using the distraction to get close, and kicked the man in the back of the leg, dropping him with a cry of pain. A smile of satisfaction spread across the young warlocks lips as she turned on the other two. The woman she sent flying had rolled off of her partner and was trying to get to her feet. Again, Ella held out her hand to her. The ground beneath the woman shifted and split open into a portal, another forming perfectly above it. The woman screamed as she fell through the portal, growing faster and faster as she became a blur between the two holes in reality. Ella felt a great tug on her body, felt the magic escaping her cage faster than she could keep it in. The portals were drawing too much out of her. Ella reached out, hoping for more mana. She felt somewhere above her head an open source of mana and grabbed for it, tying off the two portals to the source. She felt an out-of-body sense of surprise before she pulled herself back to the room.

The man trying to melt the vault had gotten to his feet and charged at Ella, his hands aflame.
Out of breath, Ella took a step back as the man swung at her and almost fell over. Her cage was breaking, exertion starting to take in despite the adrenaline rush. Falling to the floor as the man swung at her again the Young Warlock kicked out hitting the man’s leg and toppling him. As he fell Ella used her magic to spin on the spot and deck the man in the face, shattering his wards and knocking him into the wall, knocking him out.

Using her magic to push herself to her feet Ella turned to the last militiaman, only to find a gun in her face. The man behind it smiled cruelly.

“Not so fast you little b*tch.”

Out of breath, the last of the extra magic slipping away, Ella huffed in exertion and raised her hands above her head, taking a step away from the man. A cruel smile on his face he too a step forward, reaching for her when he paused, cocking his head a twinkle of recognition in his eyes.”
“I know you,” he said. Ella raised an eyebrow under her mask as the man nodded and took a step back.

“Yeah. You’re the one that attacked us at the docks. The one who dropped a train on us.”

A faint smile played at the edge of Ella’s lips. That’s a good idea.

“Then you should know what comes next.”

He hands flashed purple, a rift appeared in the roof above the man, big enough to drive a train through. The man looked up fear on his face, a swear word on his lips. The portal closed as soon as it opened. The fear on the mans face morphed into confusion, then white-faced pain as Ella took a step forwards and kicked him in the crotch. Wards or not, that still hurt. The man dropped the gun and fell to the ground, holding his crotch as he swore under his breath.

Ella smiled, but stumbled back, putting a hand to her head. The whole world swam before her, and she again felt out of breath. Still she looked to the security guard holding the woman dressed in a clerks uniform. The man was staring up at her with a mixed look on his face, awe, fear, confusion and gratitude all mixing together.

“You ok?” She asked. The man slowly nodded.

“Thanks to you,” he replied his voice shaky. “What the hell did you do?”

Ella smiled and stumbled away. “Magic. Smoke and mirrors, all that jazz.”

“FREEZE! GET ON THE GROUND!”

Ella jumped, slipped and fell to the ground, banging her head. Groaning in pain she rolled onto her side, then felt her arms get violently ripped behind her, a cold piece of metal binding her wrists.

“You are under arrest. Anything you say may be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to consult an-“

Ella blocked out the Praetorian reading off her rights. She had heard them all before. She groaned in pain and in frustration. She had done good, she had saved people. She had even called on more magic than ever before. And she was still being arrested. She had f**ked up somehow. Again.

oOo

Ella sat in the interrogation room, rubbing her head. She had a splitting headache, and word must have spread around because her magic and her bracelet was once again bound in powerful enchantments. So she couldn’t get rid of her headache, or escape Tutores custody. Ivan was not going to be happy with her, if he bailed her out again.

The door swung open and Ella sat up, expecting a Tutores guard or the woman Ivan sent last time. Instead in stepped a beautiful man dressed like a Praetorian officer, but with a golden laurel wreath where his badge should be and two red horsehair circlets looped around his shoulders. Ella suddenly felt very afraid sitting in Tutores custody. This man was Centurion Shawn L. Davis, the Nephilim leader of the Tutores Praetorian of St Louis and the current leader of the entire city.

Ella shrank in her chair, the Centurion chuckling as he sat down.

“Don’t need to be afraid of me,” he said in a calm gentle voice that sounded like honey and clouds. “I just want to get your part of what happened in the vault for my report.”

“Ok,” Ella said weakly, coughing to cover it up. The man smiled and opened up a file, a pen materializing in his other hand.

“So, miss Stephens. Tell me what happened.”

Ella took a breath and started from when the bank exploded, being careful how she worded her use of magic in front of the humans. Centurion Davis raised an eyebrow at this but smiled and wrote down every word. Ella continued, telling him how her carer, guardian, she wasn’t quite sure what Marcus was to her, was carried away, and she then teleported inside the bank and took out the last of Vlad’s guards. Her description of how she took down each criminal made the Centurion chuckle with real mirth.

“Some of the men are admiring your portal drop as a creative way to deal with adversaries. Some are saying that you’ve been enjoying a human video-game too much. I find myself in the former, and found it highly entertaining to watch one of Vlad’s men screaming at us both to get her out of there and that her master will rid the world of us.”

“You did?” Ella asked carefully. Centurion Davis smiled and nodded.

“I do indeed. I watched the whole fight on the security footage. I don’t think I have ever seen a more creative or amusing use of magic. You should be proud of that.”

“Thank you, sir.”

Centurion Davis smiled and nodded again, closing the file. Suddenly the mirth vanished from his face, the smile dropping and his eyes turning hard.

“You however did tie the spell to one of my men, who became weak and passed out just as you were arrested. He is fine now, resting with the medical mages. I understand you did not intend to hurt another living being. In fact I believe you reached out for the nearest source of mana and accidently tapped his. So, I will let you off this once for endangering my men.”

The Centurian put his hands on the desk and leaned forward, making Ella shrink further into her chair.

“Just ensure that it doesn’t happen again. I have a responsibility to my men and to the people of this city. I do not take kindly to those that steal from others. Understood?”

“Yes sir,” Ella muttered weakly, her whole body drenched in sweat yelling run away. The Centurion nodded and sat leaned back in his chair. With a nod he gestured to the door.

“Thank you my dear, for doing what you did. You may go.”

Ella blinked, not quite sure what he had said. As the words sank in she looked between him and the door.

“Really?”

“Yes. The law passed in 1914 may say you acted outside of Tutores order in taking down these criminals yourself, but that it exactly the sort of behavior that the Order was originally founded upon. And so I will not criminalize you for doing your duty to keep both worlds safe. You may go.”

Ella again looked between the Centurion and the door and slowly rose to her feet. Slowly she crossed the room, looking behind her every now and then like this was just a cruel joke. But she stepped out the door without a hassle, Centurion Davis smiling the entire time. There weren’t any Tutores guards there to stop her stepping out of the van and stepping away from the crime scene, blending in with the crowd.

It wasn’t until she was a bit down the road did Ella stop and look back, still waiting for a guard to come and tell her she really was under arrest. When none came Ella smiled.

A smile which immediately dropped as she realized she didn’t know where Marcus was.

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Despite this mask of happiness I drown in dark despair.
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Re: The Hidden World: St Louis

Post  LordTomyh on Sun May 28, 2017 3:29 am

What do you mean you can’t find him?

“I mean I can’t find him,” Ella repeated into her phone, looking back to the Praetorian line. “We were seperated, now i don’t know where he is.”

“Are you looking for him?”

“The Tutores have the area locked down. I can’t get back in.”

She head the vampire sigh on the other end and put his phone down. Waiting Ella watched the Praetorian work, going over every inch of the battle scarred street. Centurion Davis was there talking with his men, every now and then looking in her direction. A few times Ella would flash him a smile of innocence, and he would shake his head before walking off.
Letting out a sigh the young warlock stepped into the doorway of a building. While she waited for Ivan she spotted two Praetorian heading her way deep in conversation. With nothing better to do she positioned herself so it looked like she was engrossed with her phone; of course she was listening in on their conversation. You last longer on the streets when you know the latest gossip, and the Praetorian and the Tutores always knows more than they let on.

“-they were terrified. Screaming and going on about how this one guy killed their gang.”

“See that’s what I’m not believing. One guy killed 20 warlocks by himself, and left three alive. Bullshit. They must have been high and another gang wiped them out.”

“They were tested. No drugs. So they’re not making a guy with a faceless mask-”

A deep intense cold pain wracked Ella’s body as her throat seized up and her head began to feel light from oxygen deprivation. A great roaring fire sprung up around her, a house collapsing as the body of a young girl, barely seven years old, lay before the young warlock.

Ella fell to her knees, her whole body trembling. The air around her began to spark and shiver with wild magic as a towering faceless shadow loomed over her, reaching for her.

Ella?

The phone exploded in her hand. Ella screamed, the world fracturing around her. Coming out of the teleport Ella clawed at her surroundings, trying to get to safety, to get away.

A pair of slender hands grabbed Ellas shoulders, a soft musical voice filling her ears. Ella screamed, a surge of magic erupting from her body. The person standing in front of her was thrown clear, yelling a chain of familiar poetic curses.

“Meriel?”

“What the f**k Ella?” the elf asked pulling herself out of a knocked over armchair. “What did you do that for?”

“You have to leave the city!”

Meriel stopped and gave Ella a quizzical look

“What?”

Ella rushed over to the elf and pulled her up.

“It’s not safe for you! You have to get out out of the city!”

“Ella? Ella!” Meriel said, trying to speak over the frantic warlock. But Ella wasn’t listening. She tore through the small living room and attached kitchenette, looking out the windows and closing them hastily. The lush garden of plants strewn throughout the apartment shook from the sudden loss of sunlight, flowers turning to follow the young warlock as she went

“No one can know where you go! Not even Ivan! You have to leave! Right now!”

“ELLA!”

Ella jumped, turned, and tripped over her feet. Meriel shook her head and helped Ella up, directing her to a chair.

“How bout we start with what’s gotten you so worked up?”

“There’s no ti-”

“Ella,” Meriel insisted, her tone commanding, but deeply concerned and even a little afraid. “What’s wrong?”

The young warlock tried to talk to explain the nightmare that has haunted her. Her throat seized up and her body began to ache with cold pain again.

“The. Man. With. Out. A. Face,” she forced out, each word a burden to say. “He. Came. To. Our. House. He. Killed. My. Family. He’s. Here. He’s. here. For. Me.”

Meriel was pale, paler than usual, a look of horror and shock fixed on her face.

“Why is- why is this man after you?”

Ella, taking deep breaths to keep herself from hyperventilating, bowed her head and held up her braceleted wrist. Meriel looked at the jewelry with a quizzical look.

“You’re braclet? I thought it was just some charm. That’s what Ivan told me anyways.”

“Ivan doesn’t know the truth,” Ella looked Meriel in they eyes.

“He can’t. No one can! No one can know about this!”

“I won’t tell anyone Ella.”

“Swear!”

Meriel blinked at the sudden request, not expecting that. Still she placed a hand over her heart.

“I swear on on my life as a daughter of Oberon I will not tell another soul the secret you are about to tell me.”

Ella held the elf’s gaze. Then blinked and looked away Ella looked to her left, her right, everywhere except Meriel. Her body shook and ached with fear, the great roaring of a fire filled her ears, and her mind was screaming for her to run, to flee. She tried to keep calm, to keep her breathing even, but her lungs and throat worked against her, drawing in short gasps of air. She closed her eyes, trying to push everything away. Like TV screens coming on in a dark store, memories of her family, of that day and the Faceless man played over and over. Mixed in with the purple-tinged memories were yellow-tinted ones of Meriel, laughing, teaching Ella to read and write. Scolding her like an older sister but having fun like a friend.

Ella snapped her eyes open, sat up straight in her chair and set her face with a determined glare. Holding up her braceleted hand again she shouted “This bracelet is the sealed or resting form of the nine Vegvisir staves, and I am their wielder and guardian. Like my father before me, and my grandmother before him.”

Meriel's jaw dropped, her pale skin going paperwhite. The air through the apartment quivered, the plants went dead still, every flower closing shut with sudden quickness. Ella felt her breath begin to hitch again.

“Y-You’re serious?” Meriel stuttered. “The vegvisir staves? The rods of ultimate power over magic? Y-you, wield them?”

Ella nodded. Meriel started taking deep breaths.

“And the guy that killed your family, who wants the staves, is here in St Louis?”

Ella nodded, lowering her gaze to the floor.

“And you’re first thought was to tell me to get out of the city. Because?”

“He’ll kill you!” Ella shot up out of the chair. “Because you’re my friend! Because you’re the only person in this city I care about! He killed my family, the people I cared about! And he’ll kill you!”

“Ok,” Meriel said grabbing Ella’s shoulders. “Ok. I’ll start packing. I’ll leave tonight.”

“You can’t tell anyone!”

“I won’t. What about you. What are you going to do?”

“I left my backpack at the barracks Marcus took me too. I’ll grab that, grab Albert and get out of the city. I’ll send you a message when I’m safe.”

“Ok.” Meriel pulled Ella into a tight hug. “Stay safe.”

Ella broke the hug and nodded. “I will.”

Closing her eyes Ella teleported to the barracks. At the wrong end. Growling in frustration she ran the length of the room, grabbed her backpack and turned to teleport again.

A man sitting on one of the beds stopped her dead, her whole body going cold with fear.

“Going somewhere?” Ivan asked, holding his phone. Ella let out her breath, steadying herself against one of the beds.

“Did I scare you?”
Ella nodded weakly, gasping for air.

“I’m sorry. When you cut off I got worried, and since I still can’t reach Marcus I came here.” The orange-haired vampire appeared at Ella’s side, steering her to one of the beds.

“Breath,” he instructed, gesturing and going through the motions himself. Ella copied him, taking deep controlled breaths, slowly coming back from the light-headed numb feeling. Once she was ok Ivan sat down next to her.

“Now tell me, what’s wrong?”

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Despite this mask of happiness I drown in dark despair.
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The pen is mightier than the sword. It has no limitations.
Imagination has cursed us all with life.


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Re: The Hidden World: St Louis

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