Another chapter written, please enjoy. For those who have been following the story thank you, the same for those who have left me comment. As for the person who left the email in the comment, it was no good, I got an unable to send message when I entered it. I suggest signing up to the forums on this site for free and I'll be able to PM you through them. I have a few other tales and stories to tell within this world and once I reach a point where this tale can be reasonably stopped for a while I will be doing so, but I will give a heads up to my readers before hand. There are other characters and Supernatural races I'm sure you'd like to meet in this same world, and even some of them here in Vegas as well as that was the setting for many of our games that inspired the stories I'm writing.
Sindee and I met with her parents for a late breakfast before spending the day playing tourist on The Strip with them. For those you who aren’t familiar, The Strip is the unofficial name for Las Vegas Boulevard. We visited casinos, did some shopping, pretty much just spent the day with her parents. Letting them get to know me and I them. It was a good day; however I was very distracted by everything that had happened the day before. My mind kept going back to the fact that Sindee could be dead because of me and the fact that she’s in more danger now than ever before. Mages hide that we exist for a multitude of reasons. Not even all the other Supernatural Beings believe we exist, those that do want to kill or control us. I checked my phone for texts, emails or anything from Marcus every time we stopped for more than a few seconds. This behavior did not go unnoticed.
We had stopped in at the Mirage to visit the white tiger habitat when Sindee’s mother stopped me as her husband and daughter entered the hall before us. She turned, tilted her head so she was looking me in the eyes, “Andrew, you seem very distracted today. You keep checking your phone every 20 minutes, and you’ve been looking around like you expect someone to jump out and attack you at any second.” She just stood there staring me in the eyes, waiting for an answer.
“I’m waiting to hear back from a researcher on an important matter in why I can’t stop looking at my phone. As for the wariness or watchfulness; we told you how Sindee and I met initially and it relates back to that. I’ve been a little paranoid in large crowds since then,” I replied in a quiet tone. While not entirely true, there was enough of the truth in that answer that I didn’t feel guilty for lying to her.
She gave me one of those appraising looks that only mothers really know how to do properly before she replied. “I know what you just said is mostly true, however you’ve left something out of what you’ve told me. I don’t expect you to tell me all your secrets, but you best make sure that my little girl doesn’t get hurt.” In her words and tone I realized where a lot of Sindee’s strength came from. I also now knew not to underestimate this woman again.
“Sindee’s life and well-being matter more to me than anything, including my own life. She is also a strong, powerful woman whose love I will never take for granted.” I said this to her without any reservation or attempt to hide any part of my emotions.
She stared into my eyes for another few seconds before replying, “I believe you.” With that we strolled slowly along the habitat. By the time we caught up to Sindee and her father it was as though nothing was said. I made a mental not to find out what field of research Sindee’s parents were in. I’ve never had anyone, even those who knew me well; call me on a lie so casually.
I could bore you with details about the rest of our day, but since you can look up Vegas tours and travel ideas on the internet I won’t. During dinner that evening we spoke about their vacation and when we planned to hold the wedding ceremony which we haven’t figured out yet. Her father was a bit of a traditionalist and insisted on taking care of the wedding despite all my protests. I managed to get him to agree to share the costs, he could take care of the ceremony costs and I’d handle guests and reception costs. This agreement was acceptable to him. I would have preferred, just as I’m sure he would have, to take care of the entire wedding myself; however when Sindee kicked me under the table I decided a compromise was reasonable. I’m willing to bet that her parents had a similar exchange of opinion as well.
When we got home at the end of the day, Marcus still hadn’t called me back on anything. I didn’t expect him to have any information so quickly but one can hope. As we walked to the front door I stopped at my car and pulled out a small locked case, Sindee gave me an inquiring look as we headed in. I walked into the dining room and set the case on the table. I pulled out my keys to unlock it as Sindee stepped up beside me. The case held a few items that could be used for protection, the two obvious ones were a pair pistols that I’ve been lucky enough to have used only at the firing range so far. First time I got shot pissed me off so I purchased my own protection. They were not, however, what I wanted from the case. This was a converted rifle case holding the pistols and a few other useful items, and I was after some of those. Quite often Magick is not the best tool for a mundane situation. I pulled out 2 packets of single use pop alarms. If you’ve never seen them, they are designed for over the road travel to be placed on the door and windows of hotel rooms in the event someone tries to open them. They are a lot like a fire cracker in they have a small charge that does nothing more than make a high decibel noise to warn the person who set them up. I placed a few on the front and back doors and on the door and windows in our bedroom. If anyone tried to get in, we’d hear them. I placed the extras back in the case and relocked it. “I’ve led an interesting life before we met the second time as you heard from some of the stories Marcus and I told you. I’m going to need to take care of the current problem before we start your training because we need to keep the fact that either of us are mages quiet. If they somehow know that the assassin managed to shoot me they’ll assume I had a spell hanging to save myself if they even know I’m a Mage. In the morning I’m going to make sure the letter is safe and open it to read the so called warning. I’m then going to hunt down those who sent him into our home and put you in danger.”
She was still looking at the case sitting on the table, “I understand that you’ve had an,” She paused for a few seconds, “interesting life since our first meeting. I would however like to know why you actually have guns when you can use Magick?”
It was time for her first lesson, the differences between coincidental and vulgar Magick and the need for mundane weapons. “While we have access to and the ability to shape Magick to complete our goals, we have to be careful to hide that ability. Hiding our powers is only related to avoiding the scrutiny of government agencies in a minor way. The prime reality is consensual, meaning that things exist at only because the general population consents that these things are truth. The greater reality is that other things do exist, and keep themselves hidden. The difference between a Mage using magic and the other supernatural creatures using their abilities is that those abilities are still constrained by the limits of the real world. Vampires can control people only so far as reality will let them. As a Mage we can ignore reality to a point, bending it to our will. Doing so has drawbacks, the more you bend or outright break the laws of reality the more likely you are to suffer a backlash for it. Magick should blend with the consented reality as much as possible. What we did yesterday, your healing my wounds, Marcus cleaning the entryway and my changing out clothes are all what we call vulgar magick. Things that break reality instead of blending with it fall into the category of vulgar spells. We were able to use them in here because I’ve been building wards here to allow the practice of Magick without interference from the consensus unless there were sleepers here to see it. Marcus taught me how to use blades while he trained me and I still prefer knives and swords over firearms. As we train you it will not only be in how to use Magick, but how to combine it with mundane fighting and to make that usage invisible to witnesses.”
“Andrew, you know I’m a doctor and that I take my Hippocratic Oath very seriously. I’ll learn to defend myself and help you how I can, but first and foremost I’m still a doctor. I will not intentionally set out to harm others.” She had a determined look on her face when she said this.
“I understand what you’re saying and agree with it for the most part. I don’t go out looking for trouble, but when it comes to my front door and endangers the woman I love I’m going to end that trouble. I’m not looking to kill or main anyone or anything, I just want them to know coming after me or mine is a bad life choice. Learning to use the weapons will aid you in a few ways. Learning to use a weapon will aid in teaching you to defend yourself against it both through mundane and Magick methods. As a doctor, seeing firsthand how they inflict damage will help you learn how to treat trauma cases that come to you with similar injuries. And finally, it will make me feel better about your ability to protect yourself, making me just protective instead of overprotective.”
I started her training on how to use sensory Magick that night. I started her actively using sensory spells from the Life Sphere to get her sure about her senses in a field she had knowledge of. I learned a lot more about living things from bacteria to bed bugs than I think I ever wanted to. Kind of puts a damper on any romantic ideas when a doctor explains the intricacies of dust mites and bed bugs. I didn’t sleep very well that night and now had new spells to work on for the house when it was finished being built. Like I’ve said, being a Mage isn’t all fun a games. Sometimes you learn things you never wanted to know about.
I’d say I woke early the next morning but since I didn’t really sleep we’ll just say I got working at around 4 in the morning. I took a quick shower and dressed for my morning workout which I had skipped since coming to Vegas. Getting shot put me back in the mind set of paranoia, meaning I needed to get back to some of my old routines. Sindee was awake by the time I came out of the bathroom. I walked over to her as she sat up in the bed and leaned down to kiss her, “Good morning my love. I’m getting ready to go for a morning run. Join me?”
She got up and jumped in for a quick shower. Her workout attire was a pair of tight runner’s shorts that fit her like a second skin and a sports bra. She was a gorgeous woman and I knew no one would notice me while we were running together. I’m not going to say that I don’t get jealous, but I knew with Sindee there was no need. We loved each other in ways words couldn’t express and unlike some who say those words; we had the proof from when our minds were linked through Magick. Besides, being a typical guy I knew how much some of the people watching her would envy me and that did stroke my ego some. “I’m ready to go.”
I let her set the pace for the run which was my first mistake. The second was letting her pick the course as well. The pace was quick for her but forced me to shorten my gait to maintain speed with her. While this was good exercise as it caused me to use muscles differently than normal, however it caused them to burn and hurt sooner than my usual runs. As for the course she picked, it started off with a run uphill towards the foothills surrounding the area. Then she started picking a path where her shorter stride and height allowed her to travel easier. I on the other hand kept brushing against decorative trees or tangling my legs up in the brush. I liked this competitive side of her, even if she was trying to kill me. We had been running for about a mile when we turned back towards the house. Both of us were showing signs of exhaustion due to the time it’s been since we last exercised like this. The heat of the desert was new to me as well. I was starting to cramp due to dehydration from the heat by the time we got back to the house. After some cool down exercises and stretching we jumped into the shower again and got ready for the day.
I checked my phone before we left the house and headed for the construction site for our new home. The basement had be dug out and framed and the foundation for the rest of the house had been poured. I spoke to the foreman, getting an estimate of the construction time for the different stages. Marcus finally sent me text saying that he had preliminary information on the ring and the seal. We left and headed for the Campus.
When we arrived it was to see Marcus on the dorm steps flirting as usual. The surprise came when I saw the young woman with who he was flirting, Kyra. I couldn’t say I was totally surprised to see her, we were told she was a student here. Marcus walked over to the car with Kyra trailing behind him. He walked around to the driver side to speak with me while Kyra waited nearby. “Hey Andrew, I found a few possibilities for the symbols. It’s nothing definitive but possible, some of the options much worse than others.”
“How about the short list of the most likely and as it is likely the same list, the worst of the possibilities,” I replied grimacing.
“First two options are the Order of Hermes and or House Tremere.” My face must have shown how much I appreciated this news, which happened to be none. The Order of Hermes was one of the Traditions, or organized groups of Mages that focused on a particular Sphere. House Tremere just so happens to be a Major Clan and Bloodline among the Vampires. What makes the matter of their involvement worse is they are fallen Order of Hermes Mages who were trying to increase their power and became Vampires, and they are Masters of Blood Magic, a practice of Vampiric powers that can mimic to an extent the powers of true magick without the risk of a backlash. If those were the first two options I didn’t want to know the rest.
I dropped my eyes from his face and shook my head, “If that is the first two, what are the rest Marcus?”
I knew the next words her spoke were going to just ruin my day because he took a deep breath before speaking. “Next options come from the Illuminati, the Freemason societies. Your issues there aren’t as bad as the final possibility, the Technocracy.” I knew I wasn’t going to like the answer. The Illuminati was a group of rogue mages, nothing overly frightening, but they had numbers. The Freemasons were a slight issue as we still hadn’t figured everything out with them. We believe they are an organization of mortals and that there are fully mortal, but some of the Templars who left the Masonic tradition are hunters. The Technocracy is the bad one, I’d rather it be the Vampires. The Technocracy is the other side of the Ascension War and they wanted all free Mages captured and controlled or Dead. The thing that made them the worst threat is they had the power to do just that.
“Marcus, you’ll probably never hear these words again. I’d prefer the entire Vampire population of this city to be after me rather than the Technocracy. Here’s to hoping for good luck for a change.” The irony of calling a Clan of Vampires after me good luck did not escape me. The only thing I had going for me at that moment is that the Technocracy was unlikely, they have the power to stop Mages and wouldn’t have used such an ineffective weapon. “Thank you again. I’m going to go check out the letter and open it; I’ll let you know what it says later. You take that girl there and get her lunch as she might just be your type.” With that I waved to Kyra and pulled out of the dorm parking area and headed for the I-15 South. I figured heading out of town to the south would keep us out of the werewolf pack’s territory.
While we were driving I had Sindee work on her sensory Magick. I had her try to focus on forces as driving can cause a lot to sense. There was the kinetic energy from the movement, the heat caused by friction as the vehicles moved through the air, and more. Her aptitude for Life would make training in that sphere easier than the rest, she didn’t seem to have an existing talent for Forces though and that would make teaching her to sense it more difficult.
I drove until we were out in the open between the Vegas Valley and the Stateline area. I didn’t know what to expect from the letter which is why I was treating it like a WMD. Once we got out to the old Nevada Landing Hotel used to be I pulled off into the parking area. As the placed has been closed it gave us a conveniently private location where I could work. I pulled around to the back area of property where the pavement ended and the desert started again. We got out of the car and I pulled the letter out looking again at the archaic seal. Considering all the possibilities of where the letter came from I wanted to thoroughly examine this letter with all the spheres. I knew where I was strongest and my weaknesses, I also knew Sindee was a naturally powerful life Mage. I guess it was time to teach her how to work a spell in conjunction with another Mage. Crash courses in Magick are not recommended, it’s like teaching bomb disposal to a nervous individual with a live nuke. Sometimes you just do what you need to get things done. I told her to focus in her mind a firm image of the envelope and seal, hold the image in her mind until it was as real there as it was to her eyes. Then I told her pull her power through the Avatar connection and wrap the Magick around the envelope and hold it there letting it infuse the envelope’s pattern with Prime energy. As I’ve explained Prime is the sphere dealing the nature of Magick itself.
While she had the envelope wrapped in her Magick I touched my Avatar pulling the power through to prepare for the spell. The energy flowed faster and easier that it had before, a benefit of the seeking I assumed. I reached my mind out for Sindee’s not to connect to her but to connect to the spell she had already woven in her mind. I wrapped my power around her spell using the Prime Sphere to alter the two spells, binding our powers together. I bound my strengths on Time, Entropy and Forces to her senses; then had her repeat what I did with her strengths. As I had already discovered she was a powerful Life Mage and would be a Master of that sphere in short order, she was also talented in Matter and Correspondence spheres. I wove in my knowledge of the remaining spheres and since I had Sindee running the initial spell I told her how to infuse the envelope with the Magick so we could sense any power that wasn’t ours.
As the power passed into and through the letter and seal we found no hint of true Magick beyond our own. We did find that there was old dried blood inside as well as some kind of Spirit bound to the seal. I had only limited knowledge of altering spirits via Magick so I chose a simple spell to release the spirit before we broke the seal it was bound to. The blood gave me a clue as to who I was going to have the problem with but wouldn’t be confirmed until I read the letter.
I broke the seal and started reading the letter; by know you may have guessed that it was written in blood. Got to love the overly morbid Vampires of House Tremere; Blood Magic being their specialty would make my life interesting from here on in. The bloodsucker I killed in my hotel must have been one of theirs. They didn’t name me as a Mage in the letter so I hoped I still had some surprises in store for them. I was going to find the being who sent me the letter and handle things from there. It was time to find a local Elysium, I needed to find some info and it had to be from someone who knew what was going on the greater world. An Elysium is best explained as neutral territory. Using and powers within these places on anyone unwilling was not a good idea. Think of it like some rough bars that had a “You pull it, you eat it” policy on weapons. From my tale and explanation you have an idea of just how powerful Mages and some of the Supernaturals are. Imagine how powerful the individuals who run and enforce the rules in these places must be and you’ll know why the rules aren’t broken very often.
We headed back into town; I called Marcus and asked him if he wanted to come to lunch with us. He asked if he could bring Kyra with him. I liked her when we met and his voice sounded like he would decline to go if she couldn’t join him so the answer was an easy yes. We got back in to town around 2 and headed for the campus to pick them up. We picked them up and headed down to the Carnegie Deli for a nice mean for all of us. The conversation was great and Marcus couldn’t keep his eyes off of Kyra for more than a minute or two at a time. Her tall athletic build with the dirty blonde hair and blue eyes was attractive, her personality was even more so. She had a great sense of humor and was witty. That wasn’t the look he was giving her however. I recognized the look on his face as the one everyone accused me of when Sindee was in the room. I told all three of them who I figured the warning came from, explaining to Sindee and Kyra what House Tremere was. Kyra knew of Vampires and I’ll tell you, judging by her reaction, that Vampires and Werewolves got along better in the Underworld Movies than in reality. Unfortunately Kyra didn’t know where there may have been an Elysium in the city. I had my work cut out for me if I were to try to find one.