Archive for November, 2007
The End of Sunday Update
I promise I’m not doing this because I’m out of cheesy horror movie titles.
. . .Well not just because I’m out of cheesy horror movie titles, anyway.
Moving on. By now any of you that give 2.5 shits have figured out that I’m not going to be finishing Solomon in time for NaNoWriMo. But that doesn’t mean it’s going away. I’ll be migrating the Solomon posts from the Blogger site to this one. After that I’ll be posting one chapter of Solomon every Sunday until I think it’s finished. Thus, no more Sunday Upates, at least not until Solomon runs its course.
Normal posting of Aldain resumes on Monday. Hopefully I can get Chapter 16 into a working, non-sucky form by that time.No comments
Solomon: Chapter 10
“Silver?” said Solomon, looking into the pocket mirror that the boy had given him when they first met.
Silver’s smiling face stared back at him through the tiny rectangle of glass. “Hey, Sol. What’s happening?”
Jacob shook his head. “None of that. What happened with Vivian? Is she in or out?”
Silver’s smile widened into a grin. “She’s in. What about Mort? Is he in or dead? I figured those would be the only possibilities with you two.”
Now Jacob allowed himself to smile a little bit. “He’s alive, and he’s decided to help us. How soon can we get the pact forged?”
Silver’s shrug was barely detectable from the limited view Jacob had of him. “I’m not sure. I think Felicity seemed okay with the prospect of doing it today. You should probably go talk to her about it. I’ll be here waiting for you.”
Jacob chuckled. “You don’t want to come with me, then?”
Silver shook his head enthusiastically. “Absolutely not. I have some very important business to attend to here.”
Jacob grinned back at his friend. “Well. If it’s that crucial, don’t let me tear you away from it.”
“Not a chance that I would,” Silver jovially assured him. “Gotta go, talk to you later.”
The mirror was now lifeless, reflecting only Jacob’s face back at him as he looked into it. Jacob turned his head and called to the Necromancer. “Mort, you up for a visit to our Fateweaver?”
“I suppose,” Mort said. “It will be interesting to meet this prodigy you speak of.”
Jacob made his way to the door, pausing to put on his jacket and hat.
Mort locked the door behind them. The two magicians made the entire thirty- minute trip without exchanging a word between them. It was something of a relief to Jacob. Silver was well and good, but it was nice to spend a bit of time with a fellow practitioner of the darker magics. Mort and Jacob both understood the value of silence. Any prolonged experience with the forces they regularly wielded almost universally destroyed a sunny disposition. As a user of the dark arts, one learned to interact with the magical world rarely but forcefully. Given the choice, neither Jacob nor Mort would make smalltalk, but when they did speak, it would be abrupt and powerful.
They reached Aidan and Felicity’s house and Jacob knocked on the door. Felicity opened it and smiled when she saw it was Jacob.
“Hello Solomon,” she greeted.
“Hello, Felicity,” he responded. “May we come in?”
“Certainly,” she said, stepping aside and motioning them in with her arm.
“This is Mort,” said Jacob as the Necromancer entered the house. “Mort, this is Felicity, our Fateweaver.”
Mort bowed to the little girl. “It’s a pleasure.”
“Nice to meet you, too,” she said.
Jacob took off his hat and hung it on a rack of pegs by the door. Strange, he hadn’t noticed it the first time he’d come here. He proceeded to hang his coat in the hall closet. After that, Jacob led Mort into the kitchen with Felicity following them. Aidan was already seated at the kitchen table, waiting for them. He stood and extended a hand as Jacob introduced Mort.
“Mort, this is Aidan. Aidan, Mort.”
Aidan glanced at Felicity, then back to Jacob as he broke off the handshake. “So what kind of caster is this guy?”
“I am a necromancer,” answered Mort. “A worker of death magics.”
Aidan nodded respectfully. “That’s pretty cool. We’ll set up a system: I burn them up, you animate the bones.” He grinned widely at Mort.
Mort actually cracked a smile. “That sounds like a workable plan to me.”
Jacob interjected and spoke to Felicity. “How soon can you be ready to cast the Pact, Felicity?”
Felicity looked up at Jacob. “I’m ready now. You just need to get everyone here so I can perform the ritual.”
Jacob nodded. “Fine then. I’ll go to get Lucinda. Someone go pry Silver and Vivian apart. I’ll be back in under an hour.”
With that, Jacob retrieved his jacket and hat and left the house again.
Jacob walked briskly in the direction of Lucinda’s apartment, neither slowing nor stopping till he reached the front door of the complex. He rang the buzzer and conducted himself in a very businesslike manner.
“Hello?” came Lucinda’s voice.
“Lucinda, it’s Solomon. You should come on down. We’ve got some work to do.”
There was a brief pause. “I’ll be right down.”
Lucinda was at the doorway within three minutes. She was wearing a sensible, black, ankle- length skirt, a light hooded jacket, black blouse, and white sneakers. She was ready to walk as soon as she closed the door behind her, which is exactly what happened.
Jacob and Lucinda immediately made for Felicity and Aidan’s home. As they walked, Jacob brought Lucinda up to speed.
“We’ve got all seven now. You, Silver, Aidan, Felicity, and me you already knew about. Silver brought over Vivian and I recruited Mort. It’s a nice, balanced Cabal.”
“Well that’s–” Lucinda stopped mid- sentence. “Iz, do you feel that?”
Jacob nodded, moving his hands into a ready- to- cast position. “Someone’s here.”
With a start, Jacob realized that they had ended up in a particularly deserted section of the park near the woods on their way back. At three o’ clock in the afternoon on such a mild day, an empty park meant one thing– magic. Figuring that the enemy obviously knew where he and Lucinda were at this point, Jacob slipped into magesight, his eyes glowing dimly with Hellfire. Lucinda did the same, her eyes becoming faintly luminous with a soft white light. Both of them saw what they feared most: There were three fateweavers spaced evenly around the perimeter of the park. They were keeping the mundanes at bay. Emerging from the woods were four magicians.
Tactical error number one, thought Jacob. They’ve decided to take on a Luminary during the day. Tactical error number two: They’ve decided to fuck with Jacob Absolom.
“Come on,” said Jacob as the four of them circled up around Lucinda and him. “Let’s see what you’ve got.”
Two blood magi, a shocker and a screamer according to his magesight. Not more than he could handle, though the screamer would give him problems. Lucinda would be able to take care of him, though.
The screamer sneered at Jacob. “We hear that you’re trying to start a cabal, Solomon. The Baron can’t have that sort of behavior going on on his turf. You’re to be made an example of, along with all of your little friends.”
How did they know?
One of the blood magi spoke up, as if answering Jacob’s mental question. “The Baron has spells set up to let him know when one of his servants dies. This morning, Tim Frost met his end. We tracked it to you.”
So Timothy had been in with the Baron all along. It figured.
“Enough talking,” said Jacob. “Are you going to talk at us all day or are you going to do something?”
On cue, the shocker sent a bolt of electricity crackling from his fingertips toward Jacob. The look of surprise on the magician’s face when his attack was deflected by a giant flaming axe made Jacob wish he could capture the moment for ever.
Jacob rushed the shocker who narrowly dodged a blow that would have rent him in two. The blade came so close that the magician felt the heat of the Hellfire as it passed through the air where he had been an instant before. The shocker rolled into his dodge, coming up and loosing another volley of pure electricity at Jacob, who was not able to deflect this one.
Meanwhile, Lucinda had opened the battle by shoving her palms into the eyes of the screamer when he was momentarily stunned by Jacob’s manifestation of the axe. Blinding light flared from her hands, leaving the screamer writhing on the ground, living up to his name through no magical prowess. She drew a silenced pistol from her coat and dispatched the blind magician.
The blood magi had knives out and simultaneously slit the soft flesh of their left palms, chanting as they squeezed their left hands into fists seeping blood. Lucinda’s gun aged and corroded, crumbling into rusty dust in her very hands. Lucinda held her hands to the sky and seemed to redirect the sun’s rays, concentrating them on the two blood magi, and burning their faces.
Jacob was shaking off the effects of the electrical blast when he felt another start to gather. This time he was fast enough, once more acting with almost preternatural speed to deflect the bolt. He launched himself into the air, turning himself completely head over heels and twisting midair as he completed an impossibly high arc over the shocker, who had just enough time to turn around with a look of bewilderment on his face as the axe came down on his head, bisecting him vertically.
Lucinda had manged to knock the two blood magi to the ground and manifested a sword of light in each hand. In one quick motion, she snuffed out their lives. She held her right arm straight in the air, index finger extended. Three beams of light raced forward from it and sniped the fateweavers. Lucinda fell to her knees, drenched in sweat as Jacob dismissed the axe and ran to her.
The high- damage spells that Lucinda had cast had taken considerable toll on her. She was tapped out; she had nothing left to give. Jacob held her close as she struggled to catch her breath, then helped her to her feet.
“We’ve got to try to keep moving, Lucy,” he said urgently. “They might have gone after the others too. We’ve got to try to get to them as fast as possible.”
Still too out of breath to speak, Lucinda nodded mutely, using Jacob as a support as they continued on their way to Aidan and Felicity’s house as quickly as they could.
-This Chapter: 1683
-Overall so far: 20555
Solomon: Chapter 9
Meanwhile, Silver was dealing with the aftermath of passing a different sort of test.
“Where did my pants end up, Viv?” he asked, picking up his shirt as he came out of the bathroom, towel around his waist.
The nineteen- year- old finished refastening her bra and tossed Silver the boxer shorts by her feet. “Those come first, love,” she said informatively.
“Thanks,” said Silver as he tossed away the towel and slid into the shorts. He commenced rooting about the room, searching for his absent trousers. Vivian watched, bemused, as she began pinning up her long red hair. Vivian was the sort of person who managed to stand out in a crowd, but not too much, without resorting to a subculture stereotype. She frequently experimented with new stylings of her vibrantly red hair. Her green eyes sparkled from behind cat- eye glasses with bright red frames. She was fond of the color green in her clothing. This was probably due in no small part to the affinity for life magics she exhibited. Plants delighted Vivian and her ability to influence them with magic simply solidified this love. She wiggled into a tight floral print miniskirt, a white blouse, and a vivid green jacket.
Vivian was the sort of girl who didn’t trust makeup, so she didn’t wear any.
By this time, Silver too was dressed. He and Vivian had met when about a year ago, not long after he’d met Jacob. They’d danced around a relationship with each other for most of that year and had finally found said relationship to be unavoidable for any longer about a month ago. Saturdays were the days they always made time to see each other. Regardless of their relationship, or perhaps because of it, Silver was reluctant to bring up the idea of the cabal. He didn’t want to think he had just been using her.
Vivian could see that something was bothering Silver. He was distant and distracted. This was even more unusual for Silver than other people. The Reflector was rarely the brooding type, especially not after sex. She sat down on the bed beside him as he pulled on his socks and shoes, running a finger through his silvery hair, still damp and darkened from his shower. “What’s wrong, Silver?”
Silver shifted uncomfortably on the bed. “It’s just that I have something I need to talk to you about, but I’m afraid you’ll get the wrong impression when I do.”
Vivian laughed and wrapped her arms around the boy.
“What?” Silver was genuinely confused.
“You’re so adorably dumb sometimes, Sil.” She gave him a peck on the cheek. “When have you ever known me to get caught up in some kind of misunderstanding with you? I’m not the type to leap to conclusions. I’ll let you explain whatever this thing is before I make a judgement. Even if it seems fishy at first. Especially if it seems fishy at first. Okay?”
Silver smiled and leaned back, resting his head on the portion of her chest exposed by her blouse. “Okay, you’ve caught me. I guess I forgot it was you I was dealing with. But this is going to sound fishy on the surface.” He sighed as the both fell back onto the bed and rolled to face each other. It was a natural position, one they were used to talking in. “Solomon and I are forming a cabal. We want you to be part of it.”
Confusion saturated Vivian’s voice. “Why would that give me some sort of terrible hatred towards you?”
Silver shrugged. “I dunno. I just didn’t want you to feel like I used you. Like, got close to you just to get you to join our little pact. I didn’t, I mean, we just decided to do it yesterday. What?”
Vivian was laughing so hard that tears were streaming from her eyes. She took off her glasses and placed them on the bedside table while she sat up and wiped her eyes. Silver sat up too, looking indignant. “Seriously, what?”
Vivian shook her head. “Just you. Acting like you’re a smooth enough operator to seduce me just to pull me into some crazy scheme you and Solomon cooked up. You’re very dear to me, Silver. But you are just not that kind of guy. Magician or not, honesty is what comes naturally to you, at least emotionally. You may be able to obfuscate, lie, and conceal with the best of them, but not when it comes to your feelings. You feel what you feel and you let that show. So no. You don’t need to worry at all about me thinking you had some ulterior motive for getting involved with me.”
Silver tried to stay indignant, but ended up laughing after a few seconds. “You’re right,” he said, rolling his eyes. “I’m just not that good at hiding my feelings. I shouldn’t have worried. But you didn’t quite tell me everything I needed to know yet.”
Vivian raised an eyebrow. “I didn’t?”
Silver shook his head. “No. You didn’t say whether you wanted in or not.”
Vivian chuckled. “I guess I didn’t. Well I might as well make an informed decision. Who all do you have so far and how many are you shooting for?”
“We’re trying for seven,” Silver explained. “So far we have Aidan and Felicity, Lucinda, Solomon, and me. Solomon went to go talk to Mort. He seems pretty sure of winning him over.”
Vivian nodded. “There’s something that happened between those two, I think. Something neither of them likes to discuss. But I don’t doubt that Solomon will bring Mort around. So I guess that would make me the seventh. How did you get Sol to agree to Aidan and Felicity? I would have thought that the age thing would have really turned him off of them.”
Silver sighed. “Well it did, actually. But I got him to go see them. After some demonstrations of Felicity’s talents, he came around. He really seems to like her, actually. The two of them get along much better than I could have imagined.”
Vivian cocked her head to the side. “Yeah, I can see that being the case though. She thinks a lot like he does. All business when it’s time for business.”
Silver was suddenly reminded of Jacob’s news this morning. “Solomon astounds me. Nothing phases him at all. Adam was killed last night. Apparently a demon got loose and Sol had to take care of it. He actually bound it to his body. Got some shiny new powers out of it, too. But I don’t understand how he keeps going, cold and collected. As if he hadn’t cremated his mentor last night before bed. I just don’t know how he does it.”
Vivian frowned slightly. “He’s been at this for about six years now and his specialty has a high mortality rate on top of that. You don’t do any of the darker magics for over half a decade without getting quite a bit of desensitization to death.”
Silver shrugged. “I guess. It just worries me sometimes.”
“He’ll be fine,” Vivian assured him.
Silver looked at his girlfriend with a start. “You still haven’t given me an answer. Are you in or out?”
Vivian laughed. “Fine, fine. You caught me. Sure. I’m in. You guys are going to need someone to patch you up when things get rough. I’ll be good for that if nothing else.”
Silver grinned. “I’m sure I can think of a few other things you’re good for.”
Vivian looked at him sharply. “We just got cleaned up and dressed. At least wait until after lunch before we start fooling around again.”
Silver sighed. “Okay, okay. You’re the boss. What do you want to do about lunch, then?”
Vivian hit him with a pillow. “Perv.”
Silver grinned and shook his head. “Not what I meant at all! Why don’t we go out somewhere?”
“You mean like an actual date?” Vivian said, cocking an eyebrow. “That would be a change of pace.”
Silver nodded. “I think it would be nice. What do you think?”
Vivian thought about it for a moment, then smiled and nodded. “Sure, that sounds wonderful. How about that Italian place downtown?”
“Sure,” said Silver. “Let’s head out.”
They caught the bus and held hands all the way to their stop. Silver told the enthusiastic young woman who greeted them that, yes, it was just the two of them today. They were seated immediately.
“I’m really glad you decided to say yes to the pact, Viv,” said Silver after they had received their food.
“Was there really any doubt?” asked Vivian, genuinely curious.
“Well, yeah,” said Silver, twirling pasta on his fork. “I mean, it’s not exactly the safest proposition in the world. There are enough downsides that I thought it was a realistic possibility.”
Vivian looked at Silver with that bemused look she got sometimes. “Silver, honey,” she said with practiced patience that stems from dealing with the perpetually naive. “We’re fucking. Neither of us is the sort of person who can do that without forming significant emotion attachment to the other person. On top of that, we only see each other one day a week. How would I be able to turn down a guaranteed way to deepen our emotional bond and cause us to spend more time together?”
Silver finished chewing his pasta, then answered. “Well when you put it that way, I guess not.”
They made smalltalk for the rest of the meal. It was nice, for both of them. They hadn’t actually been out on a real, honest- to- goodness date until today. They resolved to do it again soon.
The bus dropped them off again in the vicinity of Vivian’s apartment complex. Silver sighed when they reached her door. “We should probably let Solomon know you said yes instead of. . .y’know. . .going back inside.”
“Yeah,” Vivian reluctantly agreed. “You’re probably right.”
They looked at each other for a few minutes. Silver spoke first, slowly. “Although, I’ll want to set up the spell circle for the mirror inside, of course.”
Vivian’s reply was quiet, almost a whisper. “Of course. So we’ll have to go inside for that.”
The two of them entered the apartment, hands still clasped tightly. An hour later, Jacob’s mirror shook violently in his pocket.
-This chapter: 1732
-Total so far: 18872
Gah! So far behind! On top of that, this is probably some of the worst trite and stupid bullcrap I’ve ever written in my life. Enjoy life while you can, Chapter 9. Come December your rewrite will be swift and merciless.3 comments
Solomon: Chapter 8
NOTE: THIS CHAPTER HAS UNDERGONE REVISION AND EXPANSION SINCE IT FIRST APPEARED. IF YOU READ THE FIRST VERSION OF THIS CHAPTER, YOU WILL LIKELY WANT TO REREAD THIS ONE.
Silver thought about his next choice carefully. After about a minute of deliberations, he slowly began to speak.
“I think I know who to go to next,” he said. “But I need to do this one alone.”
They had sort of been meandering in the general direction of Aidan and Felicity’s house, mostly out of a strong desire to put distance between themselves and Frost’s apartment.
Felicity was inquisitive. “Why must you go alone, Silver?”
“It’d be better,” answered Jacob, “if he didn’t say.”
Felicity nodded sagely. The four of them had reached the house. The little Fateweaver took Aidan’s hand and pulled him towards the front door. “C’mon big brother, let’s go.”
Jacob and Silver watched the door close, then began walking away from the house, South, which would take both of them to their intended destinations.
Jacob quietly to Silver without turning to face him. “So. You’re going to talk to Vivian, then?”
Silver’s answer was equally subdued. “Yeah.”
“You sure you want to go alone? No backup?”
“Yeah. I trust her.”
Silver had lost completely the cheery disposition that was normally his most defining characteristic. He was completely serious. It was a strange contrast for most of his acquaintances, but Jacob had seen the boy like this before, though it was rare.
Now it was Silver’s turn to ask a question. “You gonna need any backup for your part?”
Jacob shook his head. “I’ve got to do this one alone, too.”
Silver turned his head to look at Jacob. “Who is it?”
Jacob made eye contact with his friend. “Mort.”
Silver nodded. “Of course. You sure you’re gonna be okay if things go South?”
“They won’t,” Jacob said immediately. “But even if they do, I think I can handle it. I’ve got a few new tricks up my sleeve.”
Silver smiled and rolled his eyes. “Don’t I know it.”
They came to the point where their paths diverged. Jacob sighed and smiled at Silver. “Good luck, to both of us.”
Silver grinned at him. “I think, with Felicity on our side, that goes without saying.”
Jacob grinned back at him. “True.”
Both of them laughed for a few seconds, but soon their laughter faded. They turned wordlessly and headed in opposite directions.
Jacob had to walk for another thirty minutes before he reached Mort’s home. Mort had done well for himself. He lived in a rather large two- story deal, all bricks and no- nonsense architecture. Like most magicians’ homes, it was unusual in that it had sparse and small fenestration. Large windows and more windows meant more points of entry, which meant less security.
Jacob stepped up and knocked on the door. It was opened by a rotting man.
Jacob was halfway through a destructive incantation when he realized it was wearing a fresh and clean tuxedo. He aborted the spell and sighed.
“Ungh?” asked the zombie.
“I’m here for Mort.”
“Uhnh?” it inquired.
“No, I don’t have an appointment,” responded Jacob, indignantly. “I’m an old friend.”
“Unh.” The butler closed the door and Jacob heard it shamble off to talk to Mort. Jacob sighed. He questioned the wisdom of an undead doorman. He heard footsteps and soon the door opened once more, this time revealing Mort.
Mort was twenty- five. He, like Jacob, favored dark grays in his clothing palette. Unlike Jacob, Mort was wealthy enough to never wear a tie. Mort’s sandy hair and gray- blue eyes fell well outside of the the stereotype of the dark, brooding Necromancer. Mort’s face lit up with a smile when he saw the demonologist.
“Jacob!” he exclaimed, extending a hand. “Good to see you!”
Jacob cringed at the use of his real name, but he forced his features into a smile as he shook Mort’s hand.
“Mort,” he said as means of greeting. Mort ushered him in. Jacob hung his jacket and hat up on the rack by the door.
“By the way Mort, do you really think it’s a good idea to have a zombie answering the door? What if I’d been the mailman or something?”
Mort shrugged as he led Jacob through the house. “Then you wouldn’t have been able to tell he was a zombie.”
Oh, right. Sometimes Jacob forgot how apt the designation “unaware” was.
But still, he was reluctant to cede the point. “Yeah, okay,” he allowed. “But what if I had been aware and ignorant? Also squeamish.”
Mort turned his palms skyward in a universal gesture of exasperation while saying “I would have killed you. Look, Jacob, what’s the big deal?”
Jacob couldn’t really argue with that logic. The name thing had to stop though.
“Mort, you need to start calling me Solomon.”
By now they had reached Mort’s study. Mort sat in a comfortable recliner and gestured to one set up near it for easy conversation. “Have a seat.” Jacob sat. “Now why must I call you Solomon? I understand you don’t want your name common knowledge and I’ll call you by your pseudonym in public. But in private, I’d like to call you by your proper name.”
Jacob shook his head. “That’s not going to work. You need to be in the habit so that my name doesn’t slip out accidentally.”
Mort rolled his eyes. “Get to the point. Why are you here?”
Why was everyone in such a hurry? Jacob never got to just skirt around the issue for hours at a time the way he planned to.
“Silver and I,” he said. “We’re forming a cabal. Seven magicians. We’ve got five already and he and I are both working on the last two right now. You being one of those two, of course.”
“Of course,” said Mort.
“Are you interested?”
Mort stood and began pacing the room. “You know you’re asking for a lot, don’t you?” He increased his pacing speed, talking not quite to himself and not quite to Jacob, but a bit of both. “On the one hand, there’s no denying the power and convenience. Without even knowing any of your other members, I’m half tempted to say yes immediately just because of how useful it would be to have a pact with a Reflector.”
Jacob sat silently, leaning forward in his chair, elbows on his knees, chin in his hands, eyes tracking Mort as he moved back and forth across the room.
“On the other hand,” mused Mort. “There’s the larger factions to consider. Especially the Baron. Any of them might try to have us killed. Of course, they’ll have very little chance of succeeding once the pact is forged. When would you be carrying out the ceremony?”
Jacob spoke without moving more than his mouth. “As soon as possible. Tonight, if I have my way.”
Mort nodded. “You’ve been swift about this?” He inquired.
“We started yesterday.”
Mort whistled. “I’ve got to hand it to you, you’re going about this in the right way.”
Jacob rattled them off one by one. “Myself, Silver, Lucinda. We’ve got a Pyro named Aidan and his little sister, a Fateweaver called Felicity who will be casting the pact. They’re both kids, but I’ve seen then in action. They’re more than competent. Silver’s working on recruiting Vivian right now. And I’m trying to win you over.”
“The risks are still very great, Jacob. Even after the Cabal has been bound to a pact, we will be a target for a time. An object of hatred.”
Jacob shook his head. “I know that. But you have to do this. You owe me. I wasn’t gonna call this in, but I have to. Adam’s dead and I need this to come together today.” After a beat he added “and stop calling me Jacob.”
Mort stopped in his tracks. “Adam’s dead? How?”
“Demon got loose. I dealt with it.”
Mort snorted. “You took care of a demon that killed Adam?”
Jacob bristled. “You’re acting very inappropriately towards the man who saved your life not once, but twice in as many years.”
Mort was silent. At length he responded. “I’m a man of action. You know that. I’ll join the cabal. But first you have to pass my test.”
Jacob was indignant at this point. How could Mort be such an ungrateful ass? Money had made him too arrogant.
“Fine,” was all Jacob said. “But if I pass you join and you stop calling me Jacob. Got it?”
Mort nodded. Jacob didn’t have to ask what would happen if he didn’t pass the test, but he did anyway.
“If I don’t pass. . ?”
Mort grinned at him. “You’ll be joining my staff.”
Jacob failed to suppress a shudder.
“Let’s get started,” said Mort, climbing a spiral staircase in the study/library. He continued from his relatively safe vantage point. “Your objective is to survive for five minutes or until I run out of things to throw at you.”
Jacob’s expression hardened, but he was smiling. Despite himself he was looking forward to this. He hadn’t had a chance to really put Alastor’s weapon through its paces yet. “Do your worst.”
And it began. The maid was the first to come at Jacob. The butler was standing in the doorway, holding a tray with a white cloth over it. He pulled off the cloth to reveal a variety of weapons. The maidservant grabbed a wickedly barbed and very sharp dagger and rushed towards Jacob with speed that was all the more surprising given her deceased condition.
Jacob smirked and suddenly his eyes were alive with Hellfire as the burning axe appeared in his hands. He brought the enormous weapon down, contacting the dagger with a clank! The maid ducked and weaved, trying to get inside of Jacob’s guard. Alastor’s spirit was strong and use of the axe came naturally to Jacob, who had no problem utilizing the entire weapon, haft and blade. Try as she might, the maid could not penetrate Jacob’s defenses. Finally, Jacob caught one of her strikes in the inner curve of the blade and twisted it from her grasp, wrenching free the entire hand at the wrist.
Wasting no time, Jacob thrust the axe deep into the zombie’s abdomen. Flames flooded her body, escaping her mouth along with her final screams as she was incinerated from the inside out.
Next up was the cook. Already holding an oversized cleaver in his right hand as he dashed in from the kitchen. The sight of a skeleton dressed in a chef’s coat and hat snatching a hatchet from a silver plate as he rushed past the butler was a strange one, to be sure. The chef flung the cleaver directly at Jacob, who ducked to the side just in time for it to whiz past his head and embed in one of the bookshelves. Without pausing, the chef transferred the hatchet to his right hand and began a relentless attack on Jacob. The chef was just as quick as the maid, but he had a little more power and a little less finesse. The handaxe he was using had an extended blade on the bottom, giving the head of the hatchet a way to hook and hold an enemy’s weapon. It would have been a much better tactical advantage if Jacob had been using a sword or a dagger instead of a huge executioner’s axe.
While still in the middle of fending off the chef, another undead house servant joined the fray. This one was another zombie, rotting flesh stretched tight across occasionally exposed bone, and had been of slight build in life. It snatched an ornate steel mace, the flanges gleaming menacingly in the dim light of Mort’s study.
You’ve got to be kidding me, thought Jacob. This is just ridiculous.
Now he was fighting with both ends of the weapon. Continuously moving so that his back was never to either assailant, Jacob used the long haft of the axe to block one servant and the head to hold off the other. Which was assigned to which was constantly shifting as the agile undead danced deadly circles around him.
This wasn’t going to work. Individually, Jacob could have dealt with either of these and he could hold them off for a while, but probably not the remainder of the five minutes. After all, he got tired; they didn’t. It was time to change tactics. Jacob could feel a plan suddenly crystallize in his mind. He knew it must have come from Alastor, but he didn’t really care. It was a good plan.
Jacob ducked low as the axe vanished from his grip. He howled in pain with Alastor’s voice as red-hot iron talons erupted from his fingertips. Now free to be considerably more mobile, Jacob renewed his onslaught, catching, deflecting, attacking. Finally, the moment he’d waited for came. The mace- wielding zombie was behind him, the skeletal chef in front. The zombie raised its weapon and brought it speeding down. Jacob sidestepped at the last moment. The flanged head obliterated the chef’s skull while Jacob simultaneously thrust his claws into the zombie’s heart and head.
The chef collapsed into a disjointed pile of bones and the zombie slid from his burning claws and landed on the carpet with a wet thump.
The gardener entered the doorway, almost comical with his half- fleshless face and wielding a razor- sharp hoe with both hands. Jacob dissolved the talons on his right hand as the axe reappeared there, but kept them on his left. The claws hurt, in fact every second with them was pure agony, but their effectiveness and utility were undeniable.
“ENOUGH!” Mort bellowed. The gardener immediately reduced speed and coordination to a shamble and started making his way back into the gardens. The butler bowed, covered up the weapons once more, and headed back into the kitchen.
Jacob sneered at Mort, eyes still bellowing smoke and Hellfire, axe ablaze. “That’s all? Come on, Mort. I thought you had a few more disposable soldiers than that.”
Mort stared at Jacob in disbelief. “I saw no reason to continue when you had clearly won my challenge already.”
“So you’re in?” Jacob was grinning, fire visible in his mouth. It was a fully terrifying sight.
Mort nodded. “My services are at your disposal, Solomon.”
Damn right, thought Jacob.
“But first,” said Mort, coming back down the spiral staircase. “Let’s talk about that Axe.”
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Solomon: Chapter 7
Jacob woke to find himself refreshed, but a bit melancholy. Adam’s death was fresh in his mind as soon as he regained consciousness. He was a magician, he told himself. People close to him died. It was a part of the job, and he had to get past that. Yet Adam had been like a father to him for almost six years. It was understandable when Jacob found a few tears leaking from his eyes.
No time for that, he chastised himself. The untimely death of his mentor made it even more imperative that he finish organizing the cabal, preferably today. They only needed two more pactmates and between himself and Silver they still had plenty of candidates.
Jacob showered and got dressed. He decided to let his hair air- dry before putting on his hat. He had just tied his tie and was reaching for the phone when it rang.
“Hello Solomon. This is Felicity.”
Jesus that was creepy. It was not inconceivable that a large portion of Felicity’s renown as a Fateweaver stemmed from people always wondering if her actions were coincidence or magic. Jacob was hoping that this particular instance was coincidence, as he was stubbornly refusing to give this girl any more credit than she actually earned from him.
“Felicity. You caught me just as I was about to call Silver.”
“I know. I’m calling because I would like it if Aidan and I accompanied you and Silver today. We are going to be working together a lot after this, after all.”
Jacob did not like this idea. But it was very hard to come up with a valid reason not to go along with it. Reluctantly, he agreed. “Fine. I’ll call Silver and tell him what’s going on.”
“Silver has already been informed of this. He will wait for you at his home and the two of you can meet us at ours.”
She was a pushy little one, wasn’t she? Before Jacob could respond, Felicity took preemptive action.
“We’ll see you soon. Goodbye.”
Jacob rolled his eyes as he hung up the receiver. He decided to call Silver anyway.
Shit. It was Annie.
“Um,” began Jacob. “I need to talk to Silver.”
“Yeah? Well who’s ‘I?’ I don’t just let anyone get a hold of the kid.”
“It’s-” he almost said “Jacob,” but caught himself. “It’s Solomon. Can you put him on the line?”
“Oh? Tall, dark, and socially inept from yesterday. How you doin’, cutie?”
Jacob was not dealing with this well. There was much sputtering and stammering. Christ, he thought. That has to be her fae blood. I’ve never been this bad. With that thought a beacon in his mind, Jacob suddenly found himself able to articulate.
“I’m doing fine. How about you, Annie?” It’s all in how you approach it mentally, he thought smugly.
Annie seemed a bit surprised at his sudden composure but she recovered nicely. “Oh I’ve been better. People keep calling for Silver, boys and girls. It’s enough to make a girl feel a tad jealous.”
“Next time I call, maybe I’ll ask for you then, but I do need you to put Silver on if you can. This is kind of time sensitive.”
Annie giggled, actually giggled into the phone a little bit. “Okay, I’ll put him on. But you better follow up on that phone call bit, buddy.”
“Solomon?” Silver’s voice was a relief to Jacob. His morning had been going far too wrong.
“Silver. I just talked to-”
“Felicity, yeah, I know. Creepy kid. She said she had to go very suddenly because you were about to call me and she ‘wanted to make an impression.’ So you’re meeting me over here?”
“Yeah, but meet me outside. No offense to Annie, but there’s some serious shit that you don’t know about yet that we’ll need to discuss. I can’t risk her distracting me until after we get this cabal thing taken care of.”
Normally, Silver might have poked fun at how quickly Jacob had warmed up to Annie, but he could tell whatever his friend was worked up about, it was serious enough that it would be inappropriate.
“Sure thing, Solomon. I’ll be waiting. Let’s get this done.”
Jacob grabbed his hat and headed over to Silver’s. He made it there in record time to find Silver sitting on the stairs of his porch, wearing black jeans, a white “Styx” t- shirt, his Chucks, and a light jacket. Silver was able to see the dazed and slightly shell- shocked look that Jacob was unaware he was wearing.
They immediately started walking to Aidan’s house at brisk pace. Silver wanted to know what had gotten Jacob so frazzled. “Sol what happened? You look like Hell.”
Jacob laughed for a good minute and a half, leaving Silver staring at him confused.
“What the fuck, dude? Are you losing it on me?”
“It’s just,” said Jacob, wiping tears from his eyes. “You have no idea how appropriate that is.”
“Solomon what are you talking about? What is going on with you, man?”
“If I look like Hell, Sil, it might be because I’m carrying a little bit of it with me. Adam was killed last night. Murdered by a demon. I did something I’ve never done before. I made sure the demon wouldn’t hurt anyone else anytime soon, but not in the way you think. I’ve bound its spirit into my own body. I’m carrying around the Executioner of Hell right now.”
Now Silver was worried that Jacob really had gone crazy and it showed plainly on his face. Jacob thought that was fair. To be honest, he wouldn’t have believed it if he hadn’t lived through it. Deciding to forgo words, Jacob held out his right hand and materialized the oversized axe. Hellfire flames sprung up along the axehead and blazed in his eyes when Jacob closed his hand around the haft.
Silver’s eyes grew wide with panic. “Okay, okay, I get it! Put that away, Jesus! Anyone could see us out here!”
The axe vanished as quickly as it had appeared. Within instants there was no evidence here had ever been an axe in Jacob’s hand.
“Yes. Please don’t do that again.”
Jacob shrugged. “I’ll try not to.”
They walked on. Silver continued his line of inquiry as the entered Aidan and Felicity’s neighborhood. “So Adam’s really dead?”
Jacob’s face was cold and impassive. “Yeah. He really is.”
“You gonna do a service for him?”
Jacob nodded. “It’ll take me a couple days to get in touch with all of his contacts, but once we get the cabal put together I’ll give him a proper send off.”
They found themselves at the house. Felicity and Aidan were sitting on the front steps. Aidan was wearing a red windbreaker jacket and black jeans. Felicity had on white pants and a purple sweater. It was Felicity who rose first and spoke.
“Good morning Silver and Solomon. It’s good to see both of you. Who are we going to be visiting first?”
Silver checked his list. “I was thinking. . .maybe Timothy Frost?”
Jacob nodded. “That’ll work. Tim Frost is an Icer. If he gets out of line I’m sure that between Aidan and myself we can take care of him. Although from what I remember of him, it’s possible that we might well have to kill him. He’s a cocky little brat.”
Silver shrugged. “Can’t make an omelet without melting a few ice sculptures?”
Aidan laughed, Felicity looked slightly confused but decided not to ask.
Jacob narrowed his eyes at Silver. “Aren’t you the same kid who got mad at me for even mentioning that we might have to take out Lucinda last night? And yet you’re making jokes about murdering Frost.”
Silver put both his hands in front of him, palms out. “Look, that was different. You’ve slept with Lucinda for God’s sake. Honestly I don’t even like Frost that much, but he’d be bloody useful to have around. That’s the difference here.”
Jacob sighed. “Whatever. Let’s just get going. How far is it to Tim’s?”
“A few blocks. He’s in the apartments to the west of this subdivision,” Silver explained. “Basically the same distance as Lucinda’s apartment complex, but in the opposite direction.”
It took the four of them about fifteen minutes to get to Frost’s first floor apartment. Silver knocked on the door.
“Frost? It’s Silver. You there?”
The door opened to reveal Timothy Frost. Frost was nineteen years old. He was dressed in blue jeans and a plain white tee shirt. His thick, shaggy, blond hair looked like he’d forgotten what a comb was long ago. Jacob knew a bit about Frost. He was young, he had talent, he was overconfident, he was reckless, and he was more than a little stupid. He didn’t even blink at the sight of four magicians standing at his door, though to be fair, Felicity couldn’t have looked like much of a threat.
“Silver. What do you want?”
Polite, too. Jacob had forgotten to list that virtue.
Silver decided to cut straight to the chase. “Tim. We’re organizing a cabal. You’re either in or out, right now. If you say no we’ve got a Fateweaver to bind you to an oath of secrecy that’ll expire when we do get the thing thrown together.”
Frost snorted. “Are you out of your fuckin’ head, Silver? A cabal? And who’s this bozo in the hat? He looks familiar.”
Fuck you and your poor taste in haberdashery, thought Jacob. But he said “Solomon. We’ve met before.” He even extended his hand to the asshat.
Tim didn’t shake the offered hand. Instead he opted to sneer at Jacob. “So is this the fate-y that’s gonna bind me to secrecy if I say no?”
Jacob’s eyes flickered to Felicity, who simultaneously made eye contact with him. She moved her head a fraction in an almost imperceptible nod. She really was a sharp kid. Jacob was glad she was on his side. At least, he thought her plan was the same as his. If it was, then he was really glad she was on his team.
“Yes,” Jacob said. “That’s me, the resident Fateweaver.”
Tim shook his head. “Forget it. I’m not interested in your little cabal.”
“Then you’ll swear not to tell anyone about it?” Silver was hopeful, but he didn’t think the chances of Tim agreeing were very good.
Frost smiled a wicked grin. “I’m not going to agree to any oaths until I know what this information is worth to you. I’m sure somebody will find it valuable.”
The anger was plain on Aidan’s face. “Fuck you! You have no idea what you’re about to start here!” Jacob had to place a hand on the younger boy’s shoulder to pull him back from hitting Tim.
“Tim, c’mon,” began Silver, but he was cut off by Frost.
“No, you come on. Now I happen to know of a band of rogue magicians who are intent on starting a cabal. This information is of great value to certain individuals in the magical community. What if someone let slip that you were gathering a group of magicians big enough to challenge the Baron? It could really do some damage. I’m afraid if you want silence you’re gonna have to make it worth my while.”
“How about this,” Jacob offered. “If you take the oath option, we’ll let you live?”
Frost’s eyes shimmered briefly as he used magesight to identify their auras.
“You brought a Fateweaver, a Bloodletter, and an unpowered little girl with you, Silver? Not the best bargaining team. I offer you a counter- proposal: You sweeten the deal for me and I don’t subdue you and collect the reward the Baron has posted for the capture of challengers to his territory.”
That meant that Felicity had been thinking the same thing Jacob had. One of the things Fate magic could do was disguise a magician’s aura. It could create the appearance of a different specialty or even mask the presence of magic altogether. It appeared Felicity had decided to make the group appear less threatening. Now Jacob was sure that he was lucky to be on her side.
“Tim,” warned Jacob. “This is your last warning. Submit to an oath or die.”
Frost laughed at them. “What you have are two support magicians and one utility. No one that has the sort of offensive magical power I’m capable of.” He sneered again. “Do you even know how magic works, hat- man?”
“Yes,” answered Felicity. “But apparently you don’t.” With that, she released the spell masking their auras as flames sprung to life in Aidan’s palms. Silver and Jacob each stepped to either side of the doorway, making sure they didn’t get in the way of either Aidan or Frost. Felicity, too retreated to the wall, standing next to Jacob.
Frost’s eyes widened. “A Pyro? Silver, you’re smarter than I thought!” With that, he chanted and rapidly moved his arms, forming a solid wall of ice in front of him just in time for Aidan to slam his now burning fists into it. With a violent chopping gesture, Frost froze the water that melted from Aidan’s attack and flowed onto the sidewalk, solidifying it into an icy slick. The tactic had its intended effect, causing Aidan to lose his footing and fall onto his back. Frost dissolved the ice wall and tumbled out of his apartment. He stood and threw both arms out to the side, gathering chill around him.
While Aidan was regaining his footing, Jacob leaned over an whispered to Felicity. “Are we going to have any problems with bystanders? We’re doing this in an apartment complex parking lot at 9 am on a Saturday morning. Consider this the last test of your magics.”
Felicity grinned at him and whispered back. “Due to a series of bizarre coincidences, this area should be completely deserted and unobserved for at least half an hour more.”
Jacob was genuinely impressed. “If you honestly pull that off, I’ll never question your abilities again.”
Both of them returned their attentions to the battle.
Frost was holding his own against Aidan, but Aidan was clearly the more skilled magician. Tim’s edge came from the 6 years of martial arts he had under his belt. By using his ice magics to augment his hand- to- hand combat, he was keeping Aidan from pulling off any really huge spells that would spell instant death for the Icer.
“Shouldn’t we do something?” asked Silver, anxious.
Jacob shook his head. “This is his fight. This kind of duel between two magicians, ones with opposing elements, is a sacred tradition. The winner must win and the loser must lose of his own merit.”
Aidan took a risk, letting Frost hit him with a hard, ice- encased punch to the jaw so that he could get a more complicated spell gesture completed. The gamble worked. A stream of fire erupted from Aidan’s hands, carrying Frost across the empty parking lot and dropping him in a crumpled and smoldering heap on the asphalt.
Breathing heavily, Aidan walked over to the moaning, shattered form of Timothy Frost lying huddled on the ground. He kicked the wounded magician until he was facing up at Aidan. The Pyro leaned in close.
“This is what happens to people who try to blackmail my friends. Remember that in your next life.”
Aidan traced a complicated shape in the air. The ground under Frost exploded with fire. In an instant, Tim Frost was nothing more than ashes in the wind.
Aidan came back over to his three friends. “Silver,” he said. “Your next prospect better not be such a fucking asshat.”
Jacob was inclined to agree.
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NOTE: I’m really not happy with this chapter. It will unquestionably undergo significant rewrite in December.1 comment
Solomon: Chapter 6
Jacob unlocked the door to his home and stepped inside. “Master?” he called. “I’m home.”
There was no answer from Adam.
“Adam?” Jacob was beginning to get worried. He closed and locked the door behind him and began to slowly make his way though the house. He moved with caution, calling for his mentor periodically. His arms were at the ready and his voice was prepared to incant at a moment’s notice.
Jacob eventually came into his master’s study and stopped cold in his tracks.
The scene before him was both horrible and gruesome. Splayed on the floor was Adam’s body. A hole had been punched clean through the older man’s stomach. The walls and floor were smeared with Adam’s blood. In front of the body was a summoning circle drawn in chalk.
Something had gone wrong here. Jacob rushed to his master’s body. He immediately began to search for some clues. Adam’s body had been rent with claws, but the flesh around the wounds had been seared by tremendous heat. The summoning circle told him more: a small error had been made on one of the sigils on the right side. Mistakes were not something a demonologist could afford. Ever.
Jacob felt a presence behind him. He quickly retrieved the gun Adam had used earlier and slipped it into the inner pocket of his own jacket then spun around as he rose from his crouch, spells at the forefront of his mind, waiting only to be cast. There in the doorway stood his adversary.
The demon was about seven feet tall. It stood on two powerful and thick goat’s legs, covered in dark, matted brown hair. Its iron hooves smoldered with barely contained Hellfire. The creature’s torso and upper body most closely resembled a well-built man, but every inch was covered in scales of a red so dark they were nearly black. An immense, powerful tail adorned with an even mixture of scale and hair swished back and forth menacingly behind the creature. The demon’s head was bestial, most closely resembling a wolf’s head but with a single red, slit- pupil eye between the normal two and the spiral horns of a ram. Smoke rose from the fires burning in the creature’s otherwise empty eye sockets. Long, curved, iron talons, each glowing red- hot, graced the end of each of the demon’s twelve digits. The beast had neither wings nor need for them.
This was a demon that Jacob knew well. One that all demonologists feared and guarded against.
“Alastor, executioner of Hell. I should have known it was you.”
The demon laughed. It was a terrible sound. It was deep and resonant, shaking the very walls of the house. Mingled with the bass sounds were the screams of the tortured damned. Alastor spoke with a voice that could frighten a legion of demons and did just that on a regular basis.
“The self-styled ‘Solomon.’ You are no successor to that King. You and your kind are all pretenders, unworthy to even know of Solomon’s legacy.”
Jacob held his ring- hand in front of him. He spoke to Alastor in one voice and chanted with the other three. “Speak, unholy Judge. It only gives me more time.”
Alastor laughed again as the red lines began to materialize a summoning seal around him. With a snarl, he lunged towards Jacob, screaming. “I know your name, human! Your master was using it to scry when he got me instead of his intended target!”
Jacob invoked the Name at the last possible moment and Alastor’s claw bounced back as if it had hit a brick wall. The demon screamed in agony as it withdrew its hand. Jacob used this time to duck down and run, rolling into his room and activating all of his wards at once. It wouldn’t hold off Alastor forever, but it would buy him some precious time.
Alastor wailed and pounded against Jacob’s door. Already the enchantments were beginning to fade. Jacob set to work with his chalk, drawing as fast as he could. In the meantime, Alastor screamed at him.
“Did you hear me, mortal? I know who you are! You cannot hold me back forever, Jacob Absolom. Who are you to invoke the very Name who issued the Edicts you defy? You, a mortal, daring to call upon the True Name of the creator? You shall not hide your blasphemy forever, Absolom. I shall take your life and the life of every other mortal who would meddle in the affairs of Hell!”
As he finished his last exclamation and punctuated it with a blow, the door shattered inward and Alastor stepped in, laughing his horrible, hell spawned laugh. Jacob sat calmly in his protective circle. The demon would not be able to touch him or tamper with the lines so long as Jacob remained inside its bounds.
“What’s this little magician,” taunted the demon. “You plan to stay there and wait for me to leave? You have to eat sometime, boy. And I’m not going to let you out of my sight until you’re dead.” The unholy beast twisted its features into the mockery of a grin, fire and smoke pouring from every orifice. “Come on out and die, Jacob. You’ll only prolong the suffering if you keep this up. I will drink down your life and devour your soul, just as I did to your dear, dead mentor.”
In one swift motion Jacob drew the gun and fired the remaining three shots, landing one into of the demons eyes. Alastor fell onto its back, clutching at its face, howling in pain and rage. Jacob chanted faster than he ever had before. Red light quickly traced circles and lines on the floor around Alastor. Before Alastor could recover, he found himself trapped in a summoning seal. Hell’s executioner was trapped and very not happy about it.
Now it was Jacob’s turn to taunt. But he decided to pass on that turn. Instead, Jacob regarded the demon silently and with a stern expression.
“Now,” said Jacob to his captive audience. “I’m not going to just send you back. That’s far too little retribution for you. First of all, release Adam’s soul. I know you’re carrying it within you for transport to Hell. Let him go.”
Alastor snarled at his jailor. “You will pay, Absolom! You and your kind are always meddling in things not meant for mortal involvement.”
“Do it, demon.”
Alastor slammed a fist against the invisible walls of the seal. With much screaming and wailing, he regurgitated the soul of Jacob’s master. Jacob briefly saw Adam’s face in the air next to the demon. He heard his mentor’s voice as it faded. “Well done. I may yet go to Hell, but it will be on my merit and not his. You’ve done well today. I’m sorry I let him learn your name.”
And Adam was gone. But Jacob was just getting started.
“Next, Executioner, you will forget my real name. Once again shall you know me only as Solomon or Master. Understood?”
Alastor bowed his head slowly, visibly struggling against the compulsion to do so. He spoke through clenched teeth, “Yes. . .Master.”
Jacob stepped outside of his own circle. Now that Alastor was safely contained, there was no need to stay in for the time being. He walked over to his styrofoam head and put his hat and tie on it. After that, he walked over to his shelf and pulled down a large book, thick with dust. He opened it to a page marked with an ornate cloth bookmark attached to the book’s spine. “What I have here, Alastor, is a description of the pros, cons, and how to’s of actually binding a demon.”
Alastor’s wounded eyes widened at this. Unable to articulate a true complaint against his master, Alastor instead roared his unintelligible rage and frustration forth, shaking the house to its foundations.
Jacob was now beginning to toy with the great demon. He adopted an expression of exaggerated incredulity. “You don’t know how that works, Alastor? Well let me tell you!” Jacob adopted a wicked grin. “Now see what binding you will do is seal you inside me. I could kill you, Alastor, but that would just set you back those six hundred and sixty six days it would take you to reform in Hell. I don’t have the means to kill you permanently right now, but I can sure as Hell make sure you don’t kill anyone else unless I want you to. That’s why I’m doing this. I know you don’t care, Alastor. I know you’ll hate me no matter what. Fine. But I have to explain. I need you to know why this is happening.”
Alastor had fallen silent and was staring sullenly at Jacob as he spoke. Jacob noticed this and shrugged. “At least you’ve stopped that infernal racket.” A beat later he laughed at his unintentional joke. “Get it, infernal? Come on, Alastor, it’s funny.”
The demon stared at him, smoldering eyes fully repaired, the center eye was still tightly shut and leaking blood. He was already recovering from the bullet wounds. That was to be expected. They apparently hadn’t been blessed or magically augmented. Jacob doubted that Adam had ever intended to use that weapon against anything supernatural.
Enough screwing around. Time to get to work. Jacob read over the relevant passages in the book one more time. Then he set to work. He added another outer perimeter to the seal around Alastor, then to the circle he had been standing in earlier. When the preparations were made Jacob stepped back into his own circle. Alastor had a peculiar look about him, as if he were feigning his anger. Jacob thought he might know why.
“Demon, I order you to speak your mind.”
This time, Alastor was happy to oblige. “You’re a bigger fool than I thought. Your body won’t be able to hold my soul. I’ll destroy you from the inside out and have your soul to take with me to Hell. But if you’d like to go ahead with this plan anyway, be my guest. I’d love to reap the rewards and have you do all the work for me.”
Jacob grinned a the demon.
“Why are you smiling, mortal? What could you possibly find amusing about that?”
“Alastor, next time you decide to kill someone, you should do some background-checking on their loved ones.”
The demon was confused. Jacob decided to explain further.
“My grandfather was Nephilim. I’m one-eighth angel.”
And with that, he began the incantations. Alastor roared in protest as the magics took hold, robbing him of his corporeal and binding his essence to Jacob’s body. First Alastor became shadow and translucent. Then, his body began to be tugged at, as if by an invisible wind. He was pulled thin and took on the semblance of a small whirlwind. Once in this form, Alastor, still screaming, flowed into Jacob, streaming spectral hellfire in his wake. The entire process took about three and a half minutes. At the end of it, Jacob had fallen to the ground on his hands and knees. His shirt had been burned off by the Hellfire. He was glad he’d taken his hat off earlier. Fire and smoke poured forth from his eyes and mouth as he fought to contain Alastor’s spirit. After a few minutes of struggle, Jacob was firmly in control. And more powerful than he’d ever dreamt of being.
He’d known of his angelic ancestry for some time and that it would give him physical edge he would need to bind a demon to himself. But he’d never intended to really go through with it. It was dangerous and unstable. But after seeing Adam’s body, Jacob couldn’t allow the Executioner of Hell to continue his work.
Deciding to test the powers this new development would give him, Jacob stood and held out his hands. In them materialized an oversized headsman’s axe, the head of which was on fire. Though the weapon seemed far too large to be realistically used in combat, Jacob found that it felt light in his hands. When he swung it, it moved naturally and he moved through several forms with it. The subjugated spirit of Alastor knew this weapon and that meant wielding it was now second nature to Jacob as well. Such was the power of the bind.
Dissolving the axe with a thought, Jacob put on a new shirt and went about the business of cleaning up Adam’s remains. In accordance with Adam’s wishes, Jacob burned the body to ensure it would never become possessed or used as a reagent in someone’s spell. Jacob was happy to ensure his mentor’s eternal rest, though sad to see him go.
Still, thought Jacob as he twirled the fiery axe once more, it wasn’t as if no good had come of the day. Four pactmates and a new set of powers wasn’t a fair trade for Adam’s life, but it did lessen the sting somewhat.
Jacob triple-checked the deadbolts and magical wards on the house before going to sleep that night.
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You may or may not have noticed that this isn’t a 3000 word post. Oh well. The best laid plans of mice and men. . .5 comments
Solomon: Chapter 5
“Say a number between two and twelve, then roll the dice. You may repeat this as many times as you require until you are satisfied with my abilities.” Jacob sat staring at Felicity for a few moments before she felt the need to speak again. “Well, what are you waiting for?”
Confusion showed clearly on Jacob’s face. “You’re not going to draw a spell circle or anything? Won’t you need time to tailor your magic to each roll?”
Felicity sighed in the sort of exasperated, world- weary, sarcastic way that only a preteen can do justice. “Mr. Solomon, if I needed to do any of that I would have mentioned it. Anyway, I don’t think it would be a very impressive test of my skill to put so much effort into a simple probability control spell. I mean with that level of prep you could successfully influence the outcome of a dice roll yourself.”
She had a point. Jacob rattled the dice in his hand for a few seconds then called out “seven” as released them. They landed on the table, one showing five, the other, two.
“Seven is the most statistically likely roll when throwing two dice,” he pointed out.
“That is correct,” affirmed Felicity. “And it is also the reason that I pointed out that this test is indefinitely repeatable. Continue until you are convinced.”
Jacob took her up on the offer. Every time he said the number, the dice came up showing that result. Even when he started naming specific number combinations, Felicity never so much as squinted with effort. Her ability to adapt her magic on the fly was indisputable and impressive. Her ability to do so without a spell circle of any kind was a testament to her power.
However influencing a die roll was, as she pointed out, a very simple spell. While her mastery of it was impressive, it did not necessarily prove her worth at other aspects of Fate manipulation. Jacob pocketed the dice and nodded. “That was impressive, Felicity,” he allowed, bowing his head slightly. “Though I think you will agree with me that it was far too limited a demonstration to fully win me over.”
Felicity smiled at him. She was, to tell the truth, more than a little creepy. It was obvious that she had outstanding intelligence. Talking to a ten year old that spoke like an adult was quite a bit unnerving. “Of course. In that vein, I’d like to note that weather prediction, while considerably improved recently, is still imprecise at best. This is because there are so many factors influenced purely by chance. There is virtually no chance of precipitation projected for today, correct?”
Jacob nodded. “I’m pretty sure you’re right, there.”
Felicity closed her eyes for a fraction of a second. A look of absolute calm suffused the child’s face and for that brief moment, Felicity was the portrait of perfect childhood innocence. Not the sort of blind, stupid innocence that adults often ascribe to young children, because that is a myth. Instead it showcased the truth of innocence, which is the purity of the emotions that children feel. A child’s emotions are no more or less complex than an adult’s, but they are more total. For that instant in time, Felicity did not just feel calm, Felicity was calm. Then Felicity opened her eyes.
Outside, it began to rain.
* * *
“So we’ve got two,” said Jacob as they walked away from the house. The smell of the recently fallen rain was strong and fresh in the early October afternoon air. Felicity had stopped the rain just as suddenly as she’d started it.
Silver snickered. “I told you, man. See I’m not that bad. My plans are often excellent!”
“Don’t get ahead of yourself there, Sil. That was a good plan. Not all of your plans are, but that one was.”
Silver rolled his eyes at the demonologist. “Whatever, Sol. Who do we hit up next?”
Jacob gave it some thought. His mind wandered. He drifted to remembered times past; images of light and the scent of perfume and sweat punched through his memory like a knife
“Maybe Lucinda?” suggested Jacob.
Silver cocked an eyebrow. “The Light mage? Didn’t you two hook up for a bit a while back?”
Jacob nodded. “We’re still friends. She’s helped me out of a couple tight spots.” He glanced over at the Western part of the sky. “Besides, it’s getting dark. She’ll be at a disadvantage if anything unpleasant should come up.”
The necessity to resort to murder was always a strong possibility when dealing with another magician. Especially when it was something as secretive and sensitive as forming a cabal. Magic was not easy and it was not for those with weak stomachs.
Silver shook his head. “I know that’s a realistic possibility, man. But fuck dude. How can you be so cold about it? I mean, this chick is someone you know pretty damn intimately. How can you talk like that?”
Jacob glared at Silver. “Look, Silver, the realities of what we do are sometimes unpleasant. It doesn’t mean I like it, but I’m aware of it.”
“Whatever,” said Silver. “Do you think about what you’re going to do if it becomes ‘necessary’ to kill me before every time you come hang out with me?”
There was another pause in the conversation. Eventually Jacob answered quietly. “No.”
“You don’t?” Silver raised his eyebrows at his friend. “Really?”
“No, I don’t,” Jacob’s tone was flat and emotionless.
“I feel like there’s more to that that you’re not telling me,” said Silver, matter- o- factly.
“Look,” said Jacob, exasperated. “Can we just drop it? It’s really not that big a deal.”
“No no,” said Silver. “Really. I wanna know why you feel that precaution is unnecessary when it comes to me.”
Jacob exploded. “Fine! You want to know the truth, Silver? You’re a mirror mage. Your specialty is very utility-based; it has almost no destructive power. If you ever decided to start shit I could kill you before you got halfway through your first incantation! So I don’t have to think about how I’d ice you every time I get ready to see you because I’ve had about the same plan ever since we became friends!”
Silver was stunned. A look of hurt and confusion dominated his features.
“Look, Silver,” Jacob started, much more calm now.
The younger magician cut him off. “No, it’s fine. I should have known it’d be something like that.”
“Really. It’s fine. You’re right. Fighting is not my thing. It’s not a big deal. Let’s just drop it like you said.”
Jacob was upset. He hadn’t meant to snap at Silver like that. Why couldn’t the kid have just dropped it when he asked? They made the rest of the trip to Lucinda’s apartment in awkward silence. When they got there, Jacob rang the buzzer for Lucinda’s apartment.
“Lucy? It’s Solomon. I’ve got Silver with me. Are you free to talk for a bit?”
Her voice came back through the speaker momentarily. “Sure, I’ll let you in. Come right up.”
Together the two magicians made their way up the fourth floor apartment where Lucinda lived. Jacob knocked on the door and was greeted by the sight of his smiling friend.
Lucinda was twenty years old and about five- foot six. Her shoulder- length hair was a rather darker shade of blonde, what most people would call “dirty” blonde. It was styled in a simple, no-nonsense center- parted style. Lucinda was wearing a purple ankle- length skirt and a plain white blouse.
Lucinda pulled Jacob into a tight hug as soon as she opened the door. “Hey, Stranger. I’ve missed you.”
Jacob smiled at her as she released him. “Hey, Lucy. It’s great to see you again. Can we come in? This is. . .kind of sensitive.”
Lucinda gestured the two of them in, still smiling. “Sure! Come on in. How are you doing, Silver? You’ve grown since I last saw you.”
Silver blushed as he stepped in and Lucinda locked the door behind him. “Um,” he began elegantly. “Yeah. I went through another growth spurt at the end of last summer. Probably my last one.”
Lucinda nodded. “Awesome. Well then, what was it you needed, Prince?”
Silver cocked an eyebrow. “Prince?”
“He wasn’t quite a king yet,” explained Lucinda with a twinkle in her eye. “If you catch my drift. . .”
“Okay. That’s enough of that,” said Jacob over Silver’s laughter.
“Dude, no. That’s entirely too hilarious.”
The sour look on Jacob’s face suggested he thought otherwise. “Look can we focus for just a little bit here?”
“Sure thing,” said Lucinda.
“. . .your highness,” added Silver, inspiring a new fit of giggles from both of the younger magicians.
Jacob rested his forehead on his palm and sighed. Eventually he decided to just try pushing on through their laughter and getting to the point. “Okay, here’s the deal Lucinda. Silver and I are organizing a cabal and we’d like you to join us.”
The laughter stopped abruptly. Lucinda looked at Jacob, then at Silver. “Are you serious?” she inquired, cautiously.
Silver nodded. “Yeah, that’s the truth. I thought maybe Sol would approach it a bit more delicately, but that’s the facts, no crap attached version.”
“I would have been a bit more subtle in my approach, but you two are apparently too easily distracted for that,” explained Jacob.
Lucinda blinked and shook her head. “You’re not just messing with me, right guys? I mean, this is serious.”
Jacob nodded in agreement. “Yeah, it’s not exactly the kind of thing to joke about. We’re very serious.”
“We’ve already got two,” added Silver, helpfully.
“Who?” Lucinda asked, her question clearly direct towards Jacob.
“A couple of Silver’s friends; a Pyro named Aidan and his little sister, a Fateweaver named Felicity.”
“And how many were you going to do, total?” Lucinda knew the answer even before she finished asking the question.
“Seven,” said Jacob and Lucinda together.
“Figures,” she commented, more to herself than either of the men. “You’ve put some thought into this, haven’t you?”
“It’s something we’ve kicked around from time to time,” admitted Silver. “I’m pretty sure most magician friends at least contemplate it from time to time.”
Lucinda was still gawking at them. “What inspired this, though? What made you decide to go through with it?”
Jacob shrugged. “I was tired of instability. I’m going to have to wean myself away from Adam soon and I’d like to have a support network rather than be on my own. Silver here is young and we all know that Reflectors aren’t the best fighters. The other two are young and don’t seem to have much for support other than each other. We all need people we can rely on. The strengths we’ll share should be enough to cover the weaknesses of our individual members. And I’d like to have you with us. I know you don’t have anyone to fall back on, Lucy. I know that better than anyone.”
Lucinda shifted uncomfortably in her seat. “What if I say no?”
Jacob shrugged. “That’s your choice. But we have to make sure we can trust you not to tell anyone else. One way or another.”
Lucinda shook her head. “See, that’s why we couldn’t stay together, Iz. You’re way too pragmatic about things like that. You’d bind me to an oath of silence or kill me and not think much of it either way.”
“That’s not true,” said Jacob calmly. “I’d much rather you said yes. Failing that, a binding oath would be my choice. But if you forsake both of those options, you know how it has to go down. It’s a fact. A hard one, but a fact nonetheless.”
Lucinda considered the proposition for a few minutes, finally she spoke again. “Fine. I’ll do it. What the Hell? I mean it’s not like I’ll be any worse off, right? And someone has to watch out for your soul, Solomon.”
Jacob smiled. “I’m glad it’s going to be you, Lucinda.”
“Jesus would you two cut it out or get a room?” Silver interjected, soundly ruining the moment. “If it gets any sappier in here, I’m going to have to start swimming.”
Lucinda rolled her eyes. Jacob punched Silver in the arm. The men stood and excused themselves, leaving Lucinda’s and heading back on the street.
They started making their way back to Silver’s apartment.
“So we’ll get the other two tomorrow, then?” asked Silver.
“Yeah, sure. That sounds like the best idea to me,” agreed Jacob.
When they arrived at Silver’s apartment, Jacob didn’t go up. He preferred not to risk a run- in with Annie so soon after the one this morning.
This post: 2140
I’m very behind. The goal was to get out 10k words this weekend. I’ll continue working on that after I post this. I may move the new chapter target up to 3k words daily to make up for lost time.3 comments
Solomon: Chapter 4
Silver looked at Jacob, wearing a look of equally mixed sheepishness and exasperation. He gestured with a “what do you want from me” shrug. “Hey, look. I know it has flaws. At this point though, I think it’s our best shot. I’m telling you, I’ve seen Felicity and she’s pretty great at what she does.”
“She’s ten years old!” It seemed like Jacob was fixated on that for some reason, observed Silver.
“She’s already strong enough to require hiding her name, man. It takes powerful mojo to inspire that sort of thing in a preteen.”
Jacob shook his head. It was times like these that he really remembered that Silver was only 17.
Silver sighed with an audible huff. “Okay, look. Let’s make a deal. You come with me to visit them before you for sure say no. It won’t hurt. I mean, they’re novices. I’m pretty sure that if things get hairy you can handle it, right?”
Jacob folded his arms. The two of them had by now stopped walking and were having their conversation stationary, facing each other.
“We’re going to go today. Right now if possible. Can you communicate with Aidan?”
Silver nodded and produced a small steel mirror from his pocket. It was small enough to fit in his palm, but polished to almost ridiculous levels of reflectivity. He and Jacob made their way down the path, departing from the designated trail when they reached the small stretch of it that went through a local woods. They made their way off the beaten path a few hundred feet, eventually finding a small clearing.
Silver grabbed a stick and sat cross-legged on the ground. Jacob stood off to the side, keeping an eye out for anyone who might accidentally see them and get curious. Silver set the mirror down directly in front of him and used the stick to trace the shape of a circle around himself in the ground. Once the basic outline was completed, Silver began adding to it. All of this was completed in complete silence on the part of both men. Soon enough, Silver had traced a complicated series of regular-sided stars with many strange-looking runes and symbols inscribed in them. All centered around him. And in front of him lie the mirror.
Silver raised the mirror in both hands, moving it until it caught the sun’s rays and redirected them towards him. He spoke a string of syllables and the lines traced in the dirt began to glow faintly. He lowered the mirror and looked into it.
“Aidan,” he said. “Can you hear me?”
All was silent for a few moments as Silver gazed at his own reflection in the mirror for the better part of a minute. Finally, though, a new visage began to resolve itself in the mirror.
“Silver? Is that you?” The voice was one that Jacob did not recognize. He assumed it was Aidan. He was still on lookout and was thus not able to turn around and look at what Silver was doing.
Silver, however was delighted to see the face of his young friend. Instead of Silver’s pale- skinned, blond, blue- eyed face staring back at him, he was seeing Aidan’s face. Aidan had slightly more color to his complexion. His hazel eyes were partially obscured by his the “devil lock” haircut he sported. His hair had been dyed a bright, unnatural red color. Silver smiled at the image of his friend in the mirror.
“Hey Aidan. Yeah, it’s me. Are you busy at the moment?”
Aidan shook his head. “No, dude. I got nothing really planned for the rest of the day, actually. Why?”
“My friend and I have some business we’d like to discuss with you. Is Felicity there too?”
Aidan nodded. “Yeah. What’s this all about? Should I be worried?”
Now Silver shook his head. “No, man. Everything’s cool. It’s just. . .the sort of thing you discuss in private,” he gave Aidan an emphatic look. “You understand, right?”
Aidan nodded. “Right, of course.”
“Okay, so is it okay if we head on over there?”
Aidan shrugged. “I guess. Like I said, I don’t have much better to do.”
“Good,” said Silver. “We’ll be there soon. Talk to you then.”
Silver pocketed the mirror and rubbed out part of the line of the circle with his shoe. The faint glow vanished. Together, Jacob and Silver smudged out the remnants of Silver’s spell circle.
The two magicians walked back into the open and Jacob allowed Silver to read the way to Aidan’s home. They continued talking as they walked.
“So you really think a ten- year- old girl is going to be able to forge a Pact for us, Silver? And you think that if she is able to do it, she should?”
Silver laughed. “Listen, Solomon. You are getting way too worked up about this. We’re on our way to their house for the sole reason of immediately demonstrating exactly why I think it’s a good idea. Let’s just think about something else until we get there, okay?”
Jacob shrugged. “Fine have it your way,” he conceded. “But you’re going to have to drive the conversation, because that’s very much dominating my current thoughts right now.”
“That’s fine with me,” said Silver. “You said this little stunt was inspired by something Adam did recently, right? Care to elaborate on that, Sol?”
Jacob began to explain. “As demonologists, Master Adam and I sometimes have to deal with some of the more theurgic magicians’ delusions for what constitutes ‘unacceptable’ magic. You know that, right?”
Silver nodded. “Yeah, it sucks. But some people. . .” he shrugged and rolled his eyes. “What can you do, right?”
Jacob continued on. “One such organization is, or rather was, the Holy Order of the Purifying Flame of the One True God.”
“What a name,” interjected Silver.
Jacob grinned at him. “They were exactly as competent as their name suggests. Judging from their complete failure to know how to properly handle a magician as a prisoner, I can safely guess that their membership was almost entirely composed of mundanes. Their leader, the Inquisitor, was the only magician I was able to detect. From what I could tell, he wasn’t classically trained. Probably discovered his talents in the context of a highly religious family and genuinely believed he was a prophet or miracle worker or something. His technique spoke of trial and error and against foes no where near what the magical community at large would generally think of as significant. Probably had some run-ins with a few of the shadier Darwinies and came out on top.”
Silver nodded slowly, looking at Jacob rather peculiarly. “Okay. But how does this tie in with what you were talking about earlier? Why you decided to start putting our pact speculation into reality and such?”
“I have a point, I promise,” Jacob assured his young friend. “Adam took measures to insure that I would be captured by this group of people. I’ll not elaborate any further on what happened during that time other than I’m the reason that their organization should properly be spoken of in the past tense at this time. Afterwards, Adam made some very good points about trust in the magical world. The point is this: He’s going to be gone sooner or later. Even if nothing happens to either of us anytime soon, I need to start learning to stand on my own, away from him, soon. I figure it would be best to have a support structure. By forming this cabal, we all agree to watch out for each other. No matter who we end up forming the pact with, all of us will have different talents. The combined talents of all of us will be able to compensate for the weaknesses of each individual.”
Silver shook his head. “But that’s not all. Everyone knows the main draw of a pact. But there’s something else you’re worried about, Solomon. Something you’re not telling me. What is it?”
Jacob sighed. Silver was the only person in the world he trusted as much as Adam. Maybe more than Adam after what his mentor had pointed out. In the interest of setting good precedent, Jacob decided to go ahead and confide in Silver his alternate motivation.
“I’m a demonologist, Silver. There’s always a chance when I summon a demon that I could be possessed. If that ever happens, I want to know there will be people capable of stopping me. People used to working together as a team who will be able to tell if something goes wrong and who know my weaknesses.”
Silver wasn’t sure how to respond. The two magicians walked on in quiet thoughtfulness for a while.
Between contacting Aidan and walking, about an hour had passed since they had first reached the park. They’d been walking for about half an hour. Jacob was the one to finally break their silence.
“Are we almost there?”
They had moved from the park into a residential area. It was proper houses, Jacob noted. Oh lords and lions, what if they still lived with their parents? This had been a bad idea to begin with and it was still a bad idea now.
Jacob was about to speak again to tell Silver so, but no sooner had he opened his mouth than Silver answered his question.
“Actually, it’s this one right here,” the blond magician said, walking up to the door.
“For the record, I was against this from the beginning,” Jacob grumbled as he grudgingly followed Silver to the door.
Silver rapped sharply on the door twice and it was soon opened by Aidan.
“Nice hat,” said Aidan, sniggering at Jacob.
He was, Jacob decided, probably just done with a growth spurt. He was the right age and height for it. He probably had one more big one coming before he was through, though. Aidan’s hair was dyed a bright, synthetic shade of crimson and it was styled long in front, a “devil lock” concealing one of his hazel eyes. The long lock of hair in front had had its tip dyed yellow and orange. Aidan was wearing a black t-shirt celebrating the band “Death.” In short, thought Jacob, this kid looked ridiculous. His manner and style screamed “plays with matches!”
Jacob’s hat, on the other hand, was classic.
Jacob was about to really give this little shit a piece of his mind when Silver cut him off.
“Hey Aidan,” he said, smiling. “Mind if we come in?”
Aidan stepped aside to allow them entry to the house.
It was pretty nice. The more Jacob saw, the more he was convinced that kids of this age couldn’t possibly be living alone. Not in living conditions this good. Then again, fate magic was poorly understood. It was said to be able to perform incredible feats with almost impossible subtlety if one was skilled enough. Maybe Silver really was right about this little girl.
Aidan closed and locked the door behind them and led the pair into the kitchen. Sitting at the table reading a book that looked far too thick for a ten- year- old girl was a ten- year- old girl that Jacob assumed to be Felicity. She looked both similar and very different from her brother, as siblings often do. She had a head fully of bushy brown hair and was dressed in a simple pink t-shirt and blue jeans. When the three of them entered the kitchen, she closed her book and looked up at them. Her eyes, Jacob noted, were just like Aidan’s; a striking shade of hazel, though hers were both visible behind her large glasses.
Silver gestured towards Jacob. “Aidan, Felicity, I’d like you to meet my associate, Solomon.”
Jacob bowed slightly and tipped his hat. Fuckin’ classy.
Silver continued on. “We’re here for a couple of reasons. What we’re going to propose is both dangerous and extremely confidential.” He paused and made eye contact with the siblings. “If you want us to forget we were ever here and move on, that’s fine. Tell me now though, because once this starts you’re going to have to follow it through or never discuss it again, one way or another.”
Aidan nodded. “I understand. I’m up for it. Sis?”
Felicity waited for a few seconds as she collected her thoughts before responding. “I am capable of keeping a secret. I would not like to betray your trust, Silver. You’re one of the few people to have made us feel welcome here.”
Silver looked at Jacob, who nodded, then continued. “Very well. We’re proposing a cabal. I’d like to extend an invitation to both of you. And I’d like for Felicity to forge the pact. But Solomon would like to see a demonstration of her talents before we agree to anything.”
Felicity nodded. “Understandable. Solomon, do you have any dice on your person?”
Dice were the sort of thing a magician carried with him. Well, a serious one at least. If you knew any spells outside of your specialty, you were likely to need them for one of the basic and simple fate enchantments that a non- fate specialist was capable of performing. Jacob reached into his pocket and pulled out the two pipped cubes he carried with him.
“Excellent,” said Felicity. “Let’s get started.”
Solomon: Chapter 3
Jacob made his way down the street, taking a longer route than was strictly necessary. It was his habit to do this anyway as a method to avoid being followed, and with Master Adam’s lesson so fresh in his mind, he wasn’t likely to ignore any precautions anytime soon. After taking about half an hour to complete what would normally be a five minute walk, Jacob found himself at the apartment complex he needed to be at.
He walked in and made his way to the apartment he was interested in. He knocked three times, waited two and a half seconds. The door was opened by a young woman with a lackadaisical expression on her face and spiky, dyed-black hair . She was wearing a black leather jacket over a ripped and safety pinned Ramones t-shirt, red hot pants and fishnet stockings. She was heavy on the mascara and leaned lazily on the door frame. She smacked her bubblegum loudly and quickly scanned Jacob head to toe, an expression of detached bemusement emerging on her face as she noticed his top hat.
“Well well. What’s got you all dressed up tall, dark, and sexy?”
Jacob was flustered. He blushed and stammered for a few moments. A hint of a smile crossed the girl’s face as she watched Jacob try to formulate a coherent thought.
“Take yer time, sweetie. Really.” The girl smirked as the hint of a blush began creeping onto Jacob’s cheeks.
“Silver,” Jacob finally managed to stammer out. “I need to talk to Silver.”
The girl chuckled once and turned her head around as she shouted. “SILVER! YOU GOT YERSELF A GENTLEMAN CALLER!”
Moments later the so-called “Silver” walked into the hallway. He was not an especially tall person, nor particularly short, though he was of slightly above average height. He had the sort of features that made him seem a few years older than his seventeen years. His hair was a particular shade platinum blond that led most to believe it was the source of his nickname. He walked to the doorway, hands in the pockets of his faded blue jeans. He wore a black “Whitesnake” t-shirt listing dates and cities from their most recent tour. His dark blue eyes lit up when he saw Jacob standing there.
“Oh! Hey Solomon,” he said slipping into a pair of black Chuck Taylors that had been placed by the door. “What’s happening?”
“Solomon?” said the girl with a barely detectable snort. “That’s one Hell of a name. Parents must have really loved you.” And with that, she turned and headed back into the apartment, walking to what was presumably her room and closing the door, but not without winking at Jacob before she did.
Jacob felt the blood rush to his face as the girl spoke and he was relieved that she had decided to leave. He turned to Silver as his composure returned to him. “I thought we might take a walk for a while, Silver. What do you say to that?”
The younger magician shrugged. “Sure, sounds fine to me. Anything in particular?”
Jacob glanced to either side of himself before answering. “I’d rather wait till we’ve been moving for a while to talk about it, actually. You know how it is.”
Silver’s demeanor changed as he heard those words while he was putting on his jacket. While his face and body language still conveyed the same sort of general cheeriness as they usually did, they was definitely a more serious edge. “Yeah, I know how it is,” he commented.
Silver followed Jacob out of the house and closed and locked the door behind them. “What would you like to talk about until we’re more in the clear?” he inquired.
Jacob wasn’t sure. So he started talking about the thing foremost in his mind.
“Is your . . .roommate always like that?”
Silver began his answer as the two of them made their way down the stairs.
“Heh. Yeah, Annie’s a real charmer, isn’t she? She’s single too, but a bit too old for me.” He grinned at Jacob. “You interested?”
Jacob turned a little red. “That wasn’t what I meant at all,” he mumbled.
Silver’s grin only widened. “I’ll keep my ears open. If she asks about you I’ll make sure I put in a good word.”
Jacob rolled his eyes and playfully punched Silver on the arm. To tell the truth, he was kind of interested. Annie was good looking, no mistake, but he wasn’t quite sure whether she’d been flirting with him or teasing him earlier. Still, his curiosity was piqued.
“So how old is she, then?” Jacob said, attempting to sound casual.
“Oh ho ho,” said Silver. “So you are interested, then? Well she just turned twenty a couple of weeks ago.”
Only two years difference, thought Jacob. But there was something much more important that had to be asked before he could even entertain the idea of considering her.
“Is she one of us?”
Silver paused and slowly a look of discomfort crept over his face. The two of them kept walking in silence for a full minute.
“Kinda,” said the adolescent, his voice thick with reluctance.
“‘Kinda?’” echoed Jacob. “What the fuck ‘kinda?’”
Silver looked wounded. “Look, I wasn’t thinking about this when we started talkin’ about her, okay? When you live with someone you forget stuff like this!”
Jacob was now more intrigued than anything else, though a little bit of anger and confusion were in there too. The mixed emotions had an interesting effect on his tone of voice: His voice came out wholly friendly and inquisitive.
“What sort of thing do you mean, dude? At this point I’m more curious than anything.”
Silver managed a weak smile. “You’re gonna be pissed at me, Sol.”
“No,” Jacob shook his head. “I’d be pissed if you had set me up on a date and revealed some shocking information after we’d done something. But this is me asking you, man. I’m not gonna get mad about your answers. Probably.” Normally, Silver was a very mature person, especially for his age. But sometimes he’d show his immaturity. Especially when he started to panic. All he generally needed were some calming words and reassurance to get back on track.
Silver shrugged. “Alright, alright. She’s faekin. Second gen, unpowered but aware.”
Now Jacob understood. Any mortal who got tangled up with faekin romantically was likely to draw the attention of the Good People, which was often not such a good thing. Then again, she was unpowered, which meant she couldn’t perform any magic. Being aware, however, meant that she was able to perceive magic even though she couldn’t perform any of her own. And she was second gen. That meant one of her parents had been a changeling. One more question, then.
“Do you know which parent was fae?” asked Stephen.
“Father, I’m pretty sure,” answered Silver.
That was good. A female child from a male changeling, especially an unpowered one, wouldn’t be nearly as interesting to the fae, and consequently, less likely to draw their attention to him.
Jacob smiled at Silver. “Put in that good word for me after all.”
Silver grinned back at him. “Will do.”
The two had been walking for quite a while at this point. Jacob decided that they had moved far enough for him to discuss why they were really out.
“Okay, Silver, let’s talk about why I came to you today.”
Silver dropped back into his jovial serious face again. “Yeah,” he said, smile still present but not as aggressively cheerful. “I figured it wasn’t just my inescapable personal magnetism that inspired this sudden urge to hang out with me.”
Jacob chuckled. “Adam’s made a few things very clear to me me recently. I think we need to establish a cabal soon, Sil.”
Silver frowned. He has seen this coming, but it was still a serious thing to propose. A cabal would, among other things, afford them greater protection against some of the more malevolent supernatural elements. However, some of the jumpier magicians and magical factions, especially older ones, got nervous and occasionally downright belligerent when youngsters started forming cabals. It was a difficult proposition to judge, one where the pros and cons had to be weighed very carefully.
“How many members were you thinking, Sol?” asked Silver.
Jacob shrugged. “Seven’s a good number. You can get a lot of power out of seven.”
Silver nodded in agreement. “So let’s see who we have here.” He started counting off on his fingers as he rattled off names of potential members. “There’s Viv, Frosty, Ter, Marko. . .”
“Mort, Lucy, Robbie. . .” Jacob added.
Silver snorted. The sound of disdain seemed utterly foreign coming from the normally perpetually positive boy.
“Robert Alderman, Sol? Come on, he’s not even powerful enough to necessitate concealing his name. Do you really want that bonded to you in a pact?”
Jacob shrugged. “We’ll call him a backup, right? We can only approach people that we really trust with even the idea of this, much less membership. I don’t want anyone who wouldn’t like it knowing what we’re about before we get the cabal fully formed and functional.”
Silver gestured a sort of vague arm wave. “Well we’ve got over seven candidates already, especially counting us. I’m sure some of them will say no.”
“Yes,” Jacob nodded in agreement. “So tomorrow you talk to your contacts and I’ll talk to mine.”
“Sure,” Silver responded. “But just promise me you’ll hold off on talking to Alderman for the time being. I’d really like him to be backup if at all possible.”
“Fine, whatever.” Jacob was somewhat annoyed by the kid’s disdain for Alderman. The fact that he was completely right only made it worse. “But assuming we get the five other people we need, how are we going to forge the pact? We don’t know anyone who’s got any semblance of skill in fate magics, much less something of the power grade we’re going to want.”
They walked on for a while longer, each puzzling over the problem. By this time their aimless walking had taken them to a local park. It was about three in the afternoon and being mid-October, there were few people out. It wasn’t quite cold — not really — just yet. It was just the kind of weather that didn’t inspire picnics. Every once and a while another pair or small group of people would amble by them on the trail. And then there were, of course, the ever-present joggers.
Suddenly, Silver snapped his fingers. “That’s it!”
Jacob raised an eyebrow at the teen. “What’s what?”
“I know who we can get to work the pact magic!” Silver seemed to be thrilled to have thought all of this up.
“Well,” said Jacob, growing impatient. “Out with it!”
“Okay, so there’s a relatively new magician on the local scene. He’s a pyro, calls himself Aidan. But his younger sister, she’s supposed to have this really awesome gift for fate magics. She calls herself Felicity”
That was appealing. Almost too good to be true.
“And you are acquainted with these two at all? Remember, this is serious business. We can’t just go asking every newbie we see to join up. We need to know we can trust them first.”
Silver shrugged. “Aidan and I have talked a few times; I’m still getting to know him. I don’t know much about Felicity. I’ll tell you this though: they’re new enough and strange enough that they’re far more in need of allies than enemies. I feel like they can be trusted.”
Jacob narrowed his eyes. “There’s something you’re not tell me, Silver. I’ve known you long enough now to know. You’ve got mannerisms that say ‘This plan has flaws!’”
Silver sighed. “Well they are a bit on the. . .young side.”
“How young, Silver?”
“Out with it,” demanded Jacob.
“They’re. . .well Aidan’s fourteen and Felicity is ten.” Silver attempted a sheepish grin.
Jacob just shook his head. “Silver. Your plans are the transvestites of the plan world. At first glance, everything looks great. On any closer inspection, though, it becomes immediately apparent that something is undeniably and horribly wrong.”
-This chapter: 2046
Getting better. This chapter wasn’t as far over 2000 words as I might have liked. But still, progress is progress.4 comments
As much as it pains me to do it, I think I’m going to take at least this week off from Aldain while I try to get Solomon rolling and get a “feel” for it. I’m reluctant to say that I’m taking the entire month off from Aldain, however, as that might lose me the few readers I have and cause me to lose steam. I still welcome reader comments and the poll will still be open until next . . .Sunday, I think. Feel free to weigh in your opinion; in fact, please do.2 comments