Gender: Male Age: 35 Location: Sin City itself, Las Vegas
Another Chapter down, hope those of you who like the story are continuing to enjoy it. I got a little more character development done and brought another important player for the direction I have in mind for the story into play. I know the story is going slowly, however I’m writing that way because I want it to unfold properly and keep the quality of writing up. As always please leave feedback or Message me with questions. Thank you all again for reading.
I turned and put the envelopes into one of my bags before heading to the Valet with Sindee to retrieve my car. We drove back to Sindee’s and moved my bags in. Besides the two from my room there were 4 more bags in the trunk of my car. When I decided to move to Las Vegas, I packed up my clothes and personal belongings, sold everything else. Traveling is a lot easier if all you have to carry with you are 6 bags. We spent the rest of the afternoon getting my stuff organized and relaxing. My mind was on the letters sitting in my bag. I didn’t know which one worried me more, the one from my brother or the one with the old wax seal. I hadn’t seen or spoken to my brother since I was 16 until chance brought us together at the hospital a few weeks ago. We barely said anything to each other at that time either. It was unlikely that the letter contained good news.
The one with the wax seal presented a different issue. The archaic seal could have been used by almost any type of supernatural being or even a mortal with a flair for the overly dramatic. The first thing that concerned me about it however was that among the Supernatural races the ones most like to use such a seal were Vampires. While there are many younger vampires in the world; they are usually the foot soldiers and modern face of the species. The older Vampires are much more dangerous than the young lady I fought with. The older the vampire the more time they’ve had in order to gain in strength and abilities; and to make matters worse they have the patience to play the long game. Marcus taught me to avoid Vampire politics at all costs; to not reveal what I am to them. Thinking back to the night I fought the bloodsucker in my hotel room; I had yanked the curtains open to give me light to see by meaning someone could have seen the fight if they were watching her. There were too many possibilities; I needed to stop speculating and do some research.
I also had to tell Sindee about my world and soon before we moved any further in our relationship. If I was going to try to awaken Sindee to the greater reality I needed to prepare a few things and make a couple of calls. I wanted to make sure that if and when I did this, it had the highest chances to succeed without having a detrimental effect on Sindee. What scares me about doing this is simple to explain. Most Mages I’ve met are singular beings. While some Mages form cabals, basically a group of mages working together sharing knowledge, they are still disparate individuals. I have yet to meet a Mage is a relationship other than casual hook-ups. This concerned me when I first thought about why that would be and I came to an answer I didn’t much like. Because as Mages we had the ability to impose our will on the world, including on other people, we tend to do so without thinking about if we should do so. This idea bothered me because of what I did the first night here in Las Vegas. I didn’t actually change her mind as much as lower Sindee’s inhibitions leaning her in the direction of doing what she felt like over what she thought was best. I always saw the distinction as a gray area before. Now, if I knew a Mage or other supernatural being used a power on Sindee I would seek their destruction with the full measure of my abilities and willpower. It’s strange how emotional ties can alter ones perception easier than Magick.
The first call I made an attempt to get ahold of Marcus again. Many Mages, including myself, tend to stay on the move. It gives us more opportunity to learn and makes it less likely that someone will come to know us and accidentally discover our secret. The longer one stays in one place the more complacent and relaxed they become. The measures taken to keep our secret become lax. There are so many dangers in our secrets getting out that we are very protective of them. I’ve spoken of Hunter’s briefly before, I’ll go into a little more detail now. I had been staying with Marcus training for 9 months and was learning how to manipulate the Spheres at this point. Learning to Sense each of the Spheres comes quickly as once you understand that while they are each different, sensory magic is very similar no matter what you’re trying to detect. We had gone into the woods outside of town so he could teach me how to manipulate Life so that I could learn to heal myself and others. He was showing me how to speed up growth and regeneration on plants before we moved up to complex life forms. Never perform Magick on anything unless you understand what it is you are trying to do. While we were working a man stepped out of the woods into the clearing. He was around 6 feet or so, looked to be in his 60’s though he could have been older; it was hard to tell in the shade of the trees. He wore a pistol on his hip and had an old Winchester rifle aimed at Marcus. “Been a while Marcus, you aren’t an easy man to find,” he spoke loudly from across the clearing. “You gonna try to hide from me forever?” There was a trace of southern accent in his voice but I couldn’t place it exactly.
Marcus turned to face this man and spoke clearly, “I told you last time Jackson, stop following me or it will end badly for you.”
“That was 30 years ago, and I didn’t have a clue as to what you could do then. I know now and you’re going to pay for what happened.” I looked closer at Marcus closely when Jackson said this. Marcus looked like he couldn’t be older than 25, even when using my senses with the Life Magick we were practicing today I wouldn’t put him any older. Marcus stood about 5’8” and weighed in around 180. “You’re all abominations and shouldn’t be allowed to live in this world.” As he said this he pulled the trigger, I felt Marcus pull Magick and knew he was doing something. I immediately turned to dive behind the closest tree. As good as my reflexes were, they were no match for that old man’s speed with a rifle. Jackson worked the lever on the rifle as he swung it towards me; guilt by association I assumed. I was in the air as I felt intense pain in my left shoulder from the back. This being the first time I’d ever been shot, I was unable to focus past the pain to help Marcus.
“Jackson stop now or I stop holding back,” Marcus was back on his feet staring down the older man. “You have no idea what happened or why I left. It happened before you were born, and all you’ve been told are the memories of a bitter man.”
Jackson swung the rifle back at Marcus firing as soon as he was lined up in the sights, “You’ve been too long in the world and it’s time for you to die!!!!!!” he screamed as he worked the lever firing 4 shots in quick succession.
They each stopped about a foot in front of Marcus as though they hit a wall. I felt and saw Marcus throw a crackling bolt of Prime energy itself at Jackson. He screamed and fell to the ground curled in pain as Marcus walked over to him. Marcus tossed Jacksons rifle and pistol away and placed his hand directly on the man’s forehead. I had no idea what Marcus was doing and couldn’t concentrate enough to read the Magick he was performing. A few minutes later Marcus stood up and walked over to me. He placed his hands over the wound on my shoulder and I felt the flow of Magick. The pain ceased immediately, but the shoulder started to itch as I could feel the wound start to close. The itching came for torn flesh and tissue stitching back together. When it was finished even the skin of the surface showed no sign that it had ever been damaged in the first place.
When we stood up and I looked around, Jackson was gone along with his weapons. Marcus looked like he was in pain, his joints were creaking and his movements were slow. I understood then what the Prime energy he threw at Jackson was. It’s one of the first active spells of Prime mages learn. It makes you feel as though all of your bones are rubbing against each other, grinding into dust in the body. Nothing is actually happening except the sensation is excruciating to the subject. Because he actively threw the effect it caused a backlash for Marcus. Marcus would be suffering similar effects as Jackson. Marcus could have avoided the backlash by casting the spell in a way that if blending with reality instead of breaking it. The more seamlessly our spells blended into reality and were acceptable to everyone the less likely or severe the backlash. There are other ways to reduce the likelihood or severity of backlashed but those take time and power to learn. I had known Marcus was a knowledgeable and power Mage, I now knew he was a Master of at least the Sphere of Life to be as old as the conversation hinted at.
“Marcus, how old are you in years, not body,” I asked.
“I’m a little over 80 years old and have been a Mage for more than 60 of them. I told you when we met that most Mages don’t die of old age or natural causes.” He smiled, “It’s up to each mage to learn how to extend their life on their own because there are many ways magic can do so. We aren’t immortal as you just learned the hard way. I had known his family before my change and shared my secret with them after. His father was a friend as kept wanting me to bring his the same kind of power I had, not willing to believe that I couldn’t do so. Mages can’t just be made at will. While a mortal can be awakened to the greater reality, it is rare that this becomes the Awakening of a Mage. When I explained this he accused me of betraying him and his family and tried to kill me. I was forced to stop him and it put him in a wheelchair the rest of his life. I didn’t have the knowledge to repair the damage I’d done. That’s what started my wandering. Now you know my sad tale as I know yours. You’re ready to continue on your journey Andrew, as I need to continue on my way.” With that he handed me a simple card that had a phone number on it, “That is so you can try to get ahold of me if you need to. It’s not a direct line, but a point of contact that I check from time to time. Leave no details, just a way for me to get back to you.”
We left the woods shortly after that and parted way at his home. He took a few bags out to his car and headed north as I did the same and headed to the west. We haven’t seen each other spoken since, the only contact we’ve had were the deposits I made into his accounts from the investments we made together. That was the first encounter I had with hunters, there have been others but Jackson was the only “Witch” hunter. Most hunters I have run into were Vampire hunters. I’ve seen many of them die because they were messing with things beyond their understanding. I’ve also seen groups of hunters that were very well equipped both with knowledge and weapons. These groups are the most dangerous as I’ve seen psychics and hedge wizards and others working with them as I traveled. I had a close call or two in my time travels but have so far as I know remained unidentified to them.
The second call I made was to the realtor to check on the purchase of the land and to get the architects number to schedule an appointment with them. I wanted to get the land purchased and include the mineral rights in the deed. I also wanted to get with the architect as a lot of design went into a Mages home. We needed to have all the usual amenities that every home had, but also needed some space to build a Sanctum. A Sanctum sounds so mysterious and I know you just pictures a dark stone room with an alter and strange symbols carved into the wall, or something similar from literature or movies and while some magic users; hedge wizards and Mages alike; go for that kind of gothic or dramatic look as that’s how they were taught a Sanctum doesn’t need to be that. A sanctum can be as small as a closet however I do prefer a little more space. What takes a sanctum and turns it into a Mage’s Sanctum is the time and power expended to place Wards all around the room. Again, I’m not speaking of carvings or spells written in blood or other such materials, wards are protections from each Sphere imbued into the physical construct. When you have a room properly and powerfully enough warded you can practice all forms of magic in there both coincidental, the blending of magic with accepted reality to hide it from sleepers, to what would be called vulgar magick, spells that break the fabric of accepted reality. A good example of this would be if a mage had to fight in the open and had no choice but to resort to using fire to stop their enemy. While a mage of even moderate power could easily throw a fireball down the street after an enemy everyone who saw it would create such disbelief that the backlash could easily kill the Mage as the spell backfired on them. A smarter mage would look for a way to make it blend into reality to be possible, like as the person was running past a utility box or near to maintenance access, having a gas line burst, engulfing the target in a ball of fire. While unlikely this is more acceptable to the masses and the mage may get away with no backlash at all or one of minimal effect on them. Even when there are no sleepers around outside of a properly warded sanctum, Vulgar spells usually cause some form of backlash as it is the break in reality not just the witnesses that cause this.
The next item on my list was to get registered as a student at UNLV. I was already an Investment Broker and Councilor as a profession, that had nothing to do with taking a couple of classes while here in the city. Students have access to the colleges’ library including any special collections related to the classes they take. As I have said before what a mage can do is limited to the Magick they could draw upon and knowledge of what they were trying to do. You’ll find that if or when Magick becomes acceptable to the general world that most of the Mage’s are students of some kind, always trying to increase their knowledge there by allowing them to cast many more spells based upon that knowledge. I still had to choose other classed, however I chose economics as 1 class as it dealt with my profession in the event anyone did look into my while I’m here in town. More than anything I was hoping to find some other Mages to share knowledge of the city with; it was a long shot but still possible.
The next week flew by as I waited to hear back from Marcus and started my first class. Sindee and I didn’t see each other as much as we did before I moved in and I was missing the time we spent together. Between my classes and meeting with the Architect during the days and her working night shift at the hospital we only saw each other in the early mornings when she got home and sometimes for dinner before she left for her shifts. I know I was getting depressed by this, as I wanted to spend more time with her. I decided to surprise at lunch this evening. I picked up dinner from one of the restaurants I knew she liked and took it in to her at work so we could spend sit and talk. We laughed and talked and all too soon she had to return to work. When I left for the evening, I felt better but all the more urgent about trying to arrange for her to be awakened. I didn’t want to lose her, and while that could still happen, it would if she didn’t know about my world and how to protect herself from it when I wasn’t around. I went back to the house after we finished and pulled out the letter from my brother. I’m not going to go into what was in it other than to say two things. My father was still ok, and it wasn’t good news that could bite me in the ass down the road some. Basically, it was for the most part what I expected as well as something I didn’t. We’ll come back to this in the future, say at the time that it bites me in said ass.
When Sindee got out in the morning it was the start of her weekend. We both decided to get some sleep before going out for the day. We took Sindee’s car and went out to Lake Mead, spent some time on the water with rental jet skis. When we arrived back at her house there was someone sitting on the trunk of my car, mostly hidden in shadows. I told Sindee to pull up along the curb and stay in the car. I hit the power locks as I got out of the car, “If any trouble starts call the police on your phone and drive away.” I closed the door before waiting for a reply. I moved sideways into the yard, putting distance between Sindee and I, yet not moving closer to the person sitting on my car. I called out, “Can I help you with something?”
The figure shifted, sliding of the trunk still standing so that the face was still covered in shadow. I called out again, “If you’re here looking for trouble you’ve chosen the wrong place. It that’s your intention, leave now or else.”
“Strong words from someone so young,” was the reply from our shadowed visitor. There was something familiar about the voice, but I was sure I’d never hear it at the same time. Then the figure stepped out of the shadows into the light, “Is that how you talk to all your old friends when you called them, and they drop what they are doing to come see you.”
The young man that stepped out looked to be around 14 to 16, he had short trim black hair, was about 5’6” and I couldn’t give you weight but he looked healthy, not heavy or muscular but he wasn’t skinny either. I was about to tell him I didn’t know who he was and we weren’t old friends when I noticed his eyes, those I knew. You know how they say the eyes are the window to the soul, in some ways it’s true. A person’s years can be read in their eyes if you know what you’re looking for, additionally, even as your appearance can change though many means, the eyes don’t unless you intentionally cover them. “Marcus!!!” my surprise at his appearance filled my voice at first, “How nice to see you again.”
Marcus laughed at me, “that’s at least a better greeting between old friends. Who’s the young woman in the car, and what does she know?”
“Sindee is the reason I called you as she doesn’t know anything yet.” I turned to wave Sindee into the driveway smiling as I did so to reassure her nothing was wrong. I walked over and opened the car door for her. “Sindee I’d like to introduce you to Marcus, he was a neighbor before I moved her. Marcus, this is obviously Sindee.”
“It’s my pleasure to meet you ma’am,” was Marcus’s statement and he took her hand. His body jerked a little as he had to stop himself from kissing the back of her hand. Something of an old fashioned gesture for someone appearing as young as he did.
Sindee took his hand, “Nice to meet you as well Marcus. Please call me Sindee, ma’am makes me feel like an old lady. So what brings you to Las Vegas?”
Fortunately she was looking at Marcus as I’m the look on my face revealed that I had no idea what to tell her. Marcus on the other hand was apparently better at thinking on his feet this evening as he replied, “I’m getting ready to start classes at UNLV. I’ll be staying in dorm on campus; however the room won’t be ready until tomorrow, fumigation. Andy there had sent me an email when he moved into town and then again when he moved here. I can’t check into a hotel, they won’t allow minors to stay alone even if they graduated high school at 15. I came hoping to ask him to get me a hotel room for the night.”
Thank god for Marcus’s brain and Sindee’s heart because her response. “Nonsense Marcus, you’re staying here tonight, and you’re welcome to stay a few days to visit if you’d like. I’m sure Andy would like the company.” She smiled as she called me Andy, so did Marcus as he knew how I felt about that particular nickname.
“Thank you Sindee, I appreciate that. Tell me how is it you know Andy please.” Marcus picked up his bad from beside my car as we continued the conversation.
The rest of the night passed with Sindee and Marcus getting to know each other. Her relating the tale of how we met and then came back together while Marcus told her, and by extension me, about his current back story shortened to match a 16 year old genius instead of the man he was last time we saw each other. I planned to talk to him at length and find out what happened to him soon. Sindee and Marcus hit it off like old friends, which would make things simpler having him around considering their age differences, both their visually disparate ages and well as the years that separated their actual ages.
We all spent the next day together just hanging out, introduced Marcus to some of Sindee’s friends and got him settled into his dorm room. He wasn’t kidding about setting himself up as a current student at UNLV. I still hadn’t had the time to talk to him about any of the many issues I was juggling at the moment, nor about what happened to him when we left him at the dorm that evening. We were leaving the campus when a feeling passed over me that I can’t properly explain. I know it came from my connection to the Magick but had no idea what it meant. My life was getting to be way to interesting even for me. We drove back to Sindee’s, the whole way that feeling becoming more and more oppressive. It didn’t feel like I was being watched either directly or by Magick as I would have felt that; not being able to identify the feeling was putting my nerves through the wringer to the point that I was unable to keep my face from showing some concern.
“Andrew, you look like someone stepped on your grave. What’s bothering you?”
“I’m not sure, you ever just get one of those feelings that you can’t explain? The kind that you know there’s something wrong or coming but you have no idea what it is?” I replied without thinking. “I just got this sense of something …..” I trailed off as I realized two very important things. First, I was very close to talking of Magick and my gifts with Sindee, and second I remembered when I felt something similar to this; the night it woke me up a little over five years ago.
As I went quiet, Sindee looked over at me and immediately pulled over. She put her hand to my neck checking my pulse, “Andrew, you’re very pale, is everything alright?” I didn’t know how to answer that one, my heart was racing at the thought of losing Sindee like I had most of my family.
I knew my heart had to be racing and I didn’t want Sindee to decide I needed to go to the hospital. I focused on my breathing and slowing my heart down. “I’ll be fine Sindee, just an Anxiety attack for some reason. Let’s just get home, have a glass of wine and relax. You’re the only doctor I want to see tonight.” I was sure about the feeling but didn’t know what it meant. Did it have to do with a new Mage awakening, was it something to do with another attack like back then. My heart rate was starting to pick up again so I looked over into Sindee’s amazing eyes and slowed my breathing. I used her eyes for a focus in meditating, thinking of the time we’ve spent together, the stories she told me of her growing up. My heart slowed and my breathing became normal after a few minutes.
Once I had calmed down Sindee reluctantly agreed to drive back to her house and not the hospital. The feeling faded as we moved closer to the house and I was able to relax more, it was still in the back of my mind but felt more distant. It still concerned me a lot as I didn’t know the meaning behind it. Sindee and I decided to go to bed early, after lying down I feel asleep easily with her in my arms but the sleep was restless. I dreamed of the night I awakened and lost my mother and sisters. Dreams and memory usually fade with time; however one of the Mind Magick spells I used on myself was to improve my memory giving me total recall. A very useful gift in most situations but when you have to relive the worst night of your life in horrifying detail, seeing things that you didn’t process at the time like the blood pooling out on the floor from my father’s skull or the look of pure terror in my mother’s eyes when that man grabbed me by the neck. Every second in the dream felt like an eternity and even though I knew it was a dream I couldn’t wake myself. I finally snapped awake after reliving the entire attack, Sindee was leaning over me looking at me face. She pulled me against her and held me tight after seeing the look of anguish on my face.
I’d not dreamed of that night since shortly after getting out of the hospital that first time. After reliving it in such detail I felt raw and drained, like I went through a wringer. Sindee just continued to hold me and whisper soothingly into my ear that I would be ok, she was here for me. I pulled her tight into me wrapping her tightly in my arms and just let the tension leave me. It had been a half hour before Sindee fell asleep. I already knew I wasn’t going to sleep the rest of the night between the strange sense I’d had earlier in the evening and the nightmare of my Awakening. I got out of bed careful not to wake Sindee. I walked into the other room and got a small case out of my suitcases. The case held what Mages call Foci, object used for focusing our Magick. Mages who belong to the organizations that specialize in different Spheres are trained from the beginning to use Foci. Those Mages are unable to cast spells safely without their Foci, the tradeoff for them was that it made learning to cast easier. I never learned about Foci until after I learned to cast. I kept the Foci in the case for use with certain spells and effects. I looked through the case to the Foci I used for Correspondence, the Sphere related to distance and space. I pulled out the little charm I had given to Jamie and brought with me when I left home. It was a gold infinity loop on a necklace. I had to reasons for giving it to hear, first as I used it for focusing my spells I had a connection that would allow me to find it over great distance. The second and more important reason is the infinity loop was a representation of my feeling toward Sindee. Somehow looking at the Infinity Loop I knew we were meant to be together.
I took the necklace and charm in their little box out of the case and put the case back in my luggage. I looked at the clock and knew Sindee’s alarm would be going off in about another hour. I decided to make her breakfast in bed, I know it’s not a grand romantic gesture but I’ve also come to know it’s the little gestures at the right moments that most women remember with the most fondness. I’m no chef but I can cook, so I made her a nice fluffy omelet with sausage, cheese and salsa. A glass of Orange Juice and the all-important cup of coffee as well as some toast completed the meal. I threw a robe on and quickly snuck out back to pick a rose for the tray. I found a small almost dead rose plant poking over the fence. I pulled a bud that hadn’t bloomed from it and went back into the kitchen. I focused on the flower and my feeling for Sindee into the flower. The dry stem turned from brown back to green and thickened as the Magick gave back the life that the desert had been pulling from it. I slipped the stem into a thin vase allowing the stem to pull in the water. The flower itself started to grow and open revealing a perfect white rose, as the spell came to an end a single petal of the rose turned into a copper red color like Sindee’s hair. I carried the tray in just as her alarm went off. Sindee reached over and hit the switch killing the alarm. She reached over to her side finding the bed empty I heard a mumble that sounded a lot like my name before she sat up in bed and looked around the room.
I walked over to her side of the bed when she looked around and spotted me, “Good morning Beautiful, I thought you deserved to be pampered this morning.”
Her eyes lit up as she changes positions letting me set the tray down in front or her, “Thank you Andrew, you know you didn’t have to do this.”
“Yes, I knew that, and you more than deserve it. Last night was hard, and probably would have been impossible if we weren’t together. I have no idea what I’d do without you. I have something else for you as well.” I pulled the little box with necklace out of my robe pocket and handed it to Sindee, “That was something I gave to Jaime when she was six, I told her that the infinity loop symbolized forever and that was how long I would love my little sister. I love you and want you to want you to know that love is also infinite.” I stopped talking and could see the tears in her green eyes as I said all this.
Sindee lifted the tray off her lap setting it to the side on the bed and stood up, “I love you too, I was afraid to say anything about it because we’ve only really know each other for a few months and didn’t want to scare you away.” She stopped talking and stood on her toes as I leaned down to kiss her. This was a slow gentle kiss, with all the passion and attraction we felt for each other tempered by the emotions we shared. I felt something strange in my connection to the Magick, but it felt right, not like the sensation from the night before. When we broke the kiss, Sindee pulled the necklace out of the box and handed it to me. Reaching back behind her head, she turned to face away from me and moved her long silken hair out of the way so I could put in on her. We sat down on the bed and shared the breakfast I made for her. We both wanted to stay in for the day but Sindee had an early morning staff meeting at the hospital today and I had to meet the architect again to work on the plans. Even being a Mage with an affinity for Time Magick there sometime weren’t enough hours in the day to do what you wanted.
Sindee and I got ready for our days, she had her meeting and lunch with the girls before needing to come home and sleep for work that night. I needed to see the architect then needed to go find Marcus and get the real story of what happened to him. Last item on my list was perhaps the most dangerous. I planned to do a Seeking…..
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