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    THURSDAY, DECEMBER 3rd, 2018, 1:00 A.M., THE CITADEL.

    The soft glow of the gibbous moon filtered through the clouds casting it's cool glow upon the tall brutalist building that had come to be known as the 'Citadel'. Windowless, the pale moonlight would not lend it's light to the soft shine of the computer screen before which Trystan’s fingers wearily tapped ‘command’ and ’s’ on the keyboard before emailing the last and final report. Just one of the several cases that had accumulated over the past month; a renewed popularity to which the Eye had mixed feelings. After all, they were a skeleton crew attempting to handle the load of a staff reminiscent of Order’s past grandeur in New York. He alone had closed three cases this week alone, a personal record, and one he didn’t ever care to surpass. There were more sitting in his inbox but all he cared about at the moment was getting home and curling up on his couch with a hot cup of tea and one of his favourite shows. Unfortunately, that imminent departure was about to be delayed.

    Leaning back in his plush leather chair Trystan ran his fingers through his thick wavy locks. Futilely he rubbed and shook the fatigue away while yawning loudly. Tired eyes momentarily drawn to the slowly rotating medallion hanging from the old-fashioned desk lamp, an ornate talisman imbued with an enchantment that dampened residual mana. A similar symbol, on a larger scale, was beautifully etched into the surface of his desk. The romantic notion of typing up his reports floated through his sleepy mind. The nostalgic sound of electric keys… then the silhouette of a man stood before his opaque glass door; a thunderous boom of a rapping knuckle stirring him back to consciousness. He had nodded off but eyes shot open in time enough to witness his forecasted dream become reality.

    Three soft raps followed.

    [trystan]It’s unlocked.[/trystan] Trystan answered, curious of whom was still lurking about at this late hour.

    [disposable]Sorry to disturb you. I saw the light.[/disposable]

    The rich Italian accent was familiar and the Eye was surprised to have, none other than Salvatore Avara himself enter his office.

    [trystan]Chancellor.[/trystan] Trystan acknowledged, politely motioning to rise.

    [disposable]Please, please.[/disposable] Salvatore beckoned, settling the younger Magus back in his chair with a gentle wave of his hand. [disposable]Please, sit.[/disposable] He then pointed to one of the seats before the desk, [disposable]May I?[/disposable]

    [trystan]Of course.[/trystan]

    [disposable]Thank you.[/disposable]

    The Arch Magus settled slowly into the leather upholstered chair, his eyes noticeably scanning the decor and keepsakes of the office, while Trystan sat in silent inquiry. Much like him, the office was void of personal touches, at least nothing defining, but the Eye really wasn’t so much an enigma as he was apathetic to such trappings. The silence between the two was just beginning to become uncomfortable when Avara spoke, [disposable]When my family purchased this building I never imagined this.[/disposable] He admitted, hands gesturing to all around him.

    Trystan had of course heard the story of how the Avara family had years before the Resonance purchased the Delmonico building. Most of them had, but never straight from the Chancellor’s lips. He would have preferred the silence to conversing with the intimidating man.

    [trystan]It’s provided us a home.[/trystan] Trystan considered but deep down he was still seething over the fact that ARMA had taken the Federal Reserve building from them.

    [disposable]That it has.[/disposable] Avara disparagingly agreed, [disposable]And we are fortunate that it exists upon a ‘crossing’.[/disposable]

    [trystan]A crossing?[/trystan] Trystan asked, blinking slowly.

    ________      ________



    Winter's damp cool hung in the air and seemingly immune to the cold, Atticus kept the window of his facility vehicle down, delighting in brisk wind through his hair. He was driving back to the dock where his boat awaited him, anxious to get home. Before his exceptionally long hiatus the doctor was rarely so eager to leave the workplace. Most days the trip seemed almost pointless and the Pharos Treatment Facility provided him everything he could have asked for but after being gone for long he had returned with a renewed interest. The wearing doldrum of his home had waned with passing of the sea and rekindled an old experiment.

    [npc]Have a good evening Doctor Gale.[/npc] The man standing in the opening of the garage door bid as he left the vehicle center.

    All the cars on the island used by employees of the Disease Center and Treatment Facility were electric. There were several and people had the option to taxi to their place of work or drive themselves; usually arriving earlier than most Atticus went solo.

    [atticus]Good evening, Mitchell.[/atticus]

    Unmooring the black and white coloured Sea Ray Sport Cruiser Atticus stepped onto the deck and tucked his brief case in it’s usual place in the cabin. Living on Shelter Island it was far more convenient to take a boat to work and revving up the engine he slowly made his way out of Plum Island harbour and into Gardiner’s Bay. The water was calm, the sixteen kilometre drive would take him about twenty minutes at full throttle. He wasn’t in the mood to take the scenic route past Long Beach Bay and before long he’d come around Ram Head, through Shanty Bay and entered Coecles Harbor. There were many homes built on the points jutting into the natural body of water where many of island’s marinas were built. His own was in a small bay past Congdons Point and from there it was short walk up the road, home, where Clark Road intersected Cherry Lane.

    A quick supper and Atticus would be off. He had been anxious all day to test out his new theory and at long last the time was right. Just a few more readings and he’d be able to pinpoint the source.

    Adding a little bit more parmesan cheese to his bowl of left over gnocchi the scientist intensely studied the readings on his lap top perched on his island kitchen. Beside it, his portable device was receiving was the same information relayed from a series of satellites fixed with specialized hardware that he’d been able to adapt. It was actually working! Of course he couldn’t take all the credit, he’d had a lot of help from some the techy gurus at Ward Institute who for the sake of their own curiosity had indulged him. He wanted access to what was failed experiment, the satellite tracking hardware never functioned as they had been designed to, but Atticus had drawn a parallel between spontaneous ‘Zombie Risings’ and a fluctuations in otherwise extraneous variables. He’d been using the system for months prior to his 'European Vacation' trying to predict these rampant zombie waves with little success but then he noted something else. On the laptop’s screen was a map of the New York area with prominent lines in blue listed as telluric currents. Extremely low frequency electric currents that occurred naturally beneath the surface of the Earth. These were then overlaid with fewer yellow coloured lines that Atticus had designated as a post-resonance occurrence. These ‘currents’ were different, stronger, and fluctuating with a pattern unlike that of electrical energy. Atticus had seen this pattern before on a cellular level while studying the super-viruses. Minute tracings of an energy transfer between the infectious agents enhancing their mutational factor. It was unlike nothing he or anyone else had ever seen before. He had in fact found the same effect occurring within in his own cells and became convinced that this had to be a further effect of the ‘Resonance’. It had to be ‘prana’ or ‘mana’ as it was more popularly termed and so Atticus' research into understanding the 'super-viruses' could only be attained by understanding the very nature of the Resonance. The nature of the Nevus. The nature of magic.

    Magnifying the screen, zooming in on the buildings and streets Atticus had discovered more minute traces of these currents flowing through the city. They were most prominent in such places as Shoreham, where the Wardenclyffe Tower, better known as the Tesla Tower was built, they also congregated beneath the Federal Reserve Building, the past home of the Order of Light, now controlled by ARMA. There was a definite relationship between these ‘prana currents’ and the buildings existing at their epicentres. What Atticus couldn’t know for sure, however, was what came first, the structures or the currents.

    These smaller currents, or tributaries were also static. One day they could be pulsating at full strength, in the next 24 hours, nothing, not a trace of them, and he had yet to discover a pattern of any kind. He had been waiting over a week for any significant activity and this night he hit the jackpot. He had to move quickly. For all Atticus knew, he had approximately six hours or so before these currents might fade once more and he wanted to investigate one of these areas while it was still hot.

    Atticus slowed down the silver SUV, glancing over at the open laptop sitting on the passenger seat. The tracking map revealed his location in relation to the pinpointed source of the largest mass of these ‘tributaries’ he’d yet to see. These weren’t along the major lines, passing beneath and intersecting at a few well known structures in the city. If he had to make an educated guess, Atticus would say he was tracking what very well may be the formation of a brand new telluric current. These ‘tributaries’ seemed to be like residual energy fluctuations leaking off the main lines, the ‘prana’ and ‘electrical’ energy trying to establish their own sustained channel.

    He was now near the heart of the largest mass of currents this night, the channels all intersecting at a specific point in Lower Manhattan specifically 165 Grand Street. It was right on the edge of Little Italy, so he wasn’t  at all surprised to see a grand old building designed in a beautiful Italian style.

    Quickly looking up the location he learned it was the old ‘Odd Fellows Hall’, built back in 1848. After the Resonance the area had been plagued with repeated Zombie outbreaks; one of the first places that Atticus had studied due to the unusually high frequency of the effects of the ‘morteximius-virus’. Years after the initial event zombies continued to haunt the area as if materializing out of no where but after the fifth year ‘post-event’ things had pretty much normalized. Seven years later the neighbourhood was starting to bounce back but the ‘Odd Fellowship’ had since disintegrated leaving the building abandoned. Surprisingly it was in relatively good shape considering the amount of time that had passed without any maintenance. Somebody had been looking after it, possibly the city since it was such a prominent location.

    Atticus parked on Baxter Street which ran along the east side of the six story building and studied his surroundings. It was late, but the area wasn’t exactly quiet. The ‘Odd Fellows Hall’ butted up to a series of older classic red brick apartments and Grand and Central Street on the other side still fairly busy even at this late hour. No back alleys, everything well lit, not exactly an easy place to break in, not unless you were the wind. Unfortunately even the wind had it’s limits, especially when it had to carry something along with it.

    Slinging his black equipment bag over a thick shoulder Atticus closed the back hatch of his SUV and proceeded to nonchalantly stroll down the street. He was looking for an opening, a gap in one of the sheets of plywood sealing up the street level entrances, a broken window. It didn’t take long. A short walk from his vehicle he found just what he was looking for, a busted out window eight feet above the pavement. It was far two small for a man, or even a kid for that matter but Atticus only needed an opening for one thing.

    With a quick scan of the street, confident that no one was watching, Atticus deftly lobbed his satchel though the hole and kept moving. His destination was just ahead. Two large metal doors offering access to the basement just near to the corner of the building, securely locked with heavy chains. Not much of an obstacle. Atticus was through in no time, dematerializing and reappearing on the other side in a mere moment.

    It was pitch black. Eyes burning a soft indigo envisioned the world through the movement of the air itself. Swirling shades of grey and blue revealed a long, narrow corridor ahead, running to the west, and in order for Atticus to locate his bag he needed to turn to his left and proceed in a southerly direction.

    Gracefully he glided down the corridor, unnaturally silent steps carrying the large man to a junction. Atticus wasn’t taking any chances. He didn’t know what to expect. Security guards or perhaps something else? This building was at the moment a ‘hot spot’ of sorts but the scientist couldn’t be sure what effects this might produce, or whom or what it may attract. There were others out there sensitive to such anomalies, to be sure, but he had yet to come across any physical disturbances that would alert the likes of police or vanguard.

    The resounding noise that followed seemed to be conjured by his own speculation. The sound of hollow metal striking the floor, followed by a few more distinct bounces. Something had been knocked over, an object too large for your typical four legged night-stalker types. He wasn’t alone.

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    • 3 weeks later...
    There was a heavy feeling in the air tonight. A sensation holding enough intensity that the air felt, and tasted, thicker; creating a nocuous vibe that was unsettling, and stirred up all the crazies. Tower had been kept busier than usual lately when these odd pockets of increased activity appeared. There was nothing to explain the unusual moments though. Or if there was nobody had taken enough time to look into since the occurrences were sporadic. Not entirely without understanding since ARMA was not without reason for keeping busy in other areas given the effort to keep publicity up while continuing the "war" with the OFL in the background.


    Then again Cassandra didn't spend tons of time discussing certain things with those of Tower as the information often went over her head. Lack of intelligence wasn't the issue as much as there were just aspects of science that weren't a strong suit for her. Add in discussion about the scientific study of magic? Well, she was definitely confused by it considering she was still wrapping her mind around understanding, and accepting, the changes to this once ordinary world. Of course, tonight was an evening spent out of the HQ; put on patrol to help combat the insanity and distract her mind. She suspected the latter was courtesy of Alistair wanting her to take a break from looking through old case files relating to her time. . . away. Something she'd been doing a lot lately since the Vatican had sent an assassin into her life.


    Trying to further dig into the period of her life when she was a demon's flesh suit wasn't the wisest of ideas, and going down that road was a persistent invitation for madness, but she also couldn't stop. After that vivid memory she'd had in Central Park the nightmares had begun assaulting her with glimpses of that time when Nyxeris inhabited the shell left by those OFL and Vatican goons. While it was so far the worst recollection to come back, the therapy sessions she'd been having since had been helping to open her mind to more that took place until after the day Rhome revealed himself. Some had been casual and others horrific that left her shaken in their intensity. But now, she didn't want to open her mind to that stuff, or other things, and so was avoiding her therapy appointments when able. All she wanted to do was keep looking. . .


    How could she stop digging when it was clear that people had been hurt, even died, at her hands? When the Vatican had sent someone to kill her?


    Oh, some could argue that Cassandra hadn't been herself even when the demon wasn't in control. That didn't assuage the guilt or horror eating at her insides though. If anything it only made matters worse. Static on the radio distracted her from the dark thoughts, but it was the words of the NYPD Officer that helped focus her attention on the road.


    [npc]"-killing and attacking."[/npc]


    Cassandra's ears perked, but the static took over again before becoming clear again.


    [npc]"Think you sho-"[/npc]


    Glaring in exasperation at the old-style radio, she shook her head while turning onto the next street on her route.


    [npc]"-contact Vanguard or some. . . SHIT! This thing is like 7 feet tall, covered in spikes and fur, has four arms with claws, and has a pair of horns on its head. It's whole body is all cracked-"[/npc]


    [npc]". . .lava-"[/npc]


    Cassandra didn't need to hear the rest. In fact, her mind filled in the rest of the officer's description:


    cracked, covered with runes, and looks to have lava running though its insides. . .


    Perhaps that wouldn't be the exact words the man used, but the description was the same. The man might even mention that sometimes the beast walked on all fours while other times it moved only on its hind legs.


    His voice had held a good deal of shock; something not common these days given some of the stuff seen in this ever-changing world. Cassandra wasn't lingering much on his reaction as much as his description. Already the hairs on her arms were standing on end and the fingers of both hands gripped the wheel tight enough that each one was slowly turning an angry shade of red-white. On the fringes of her memory lurked an image that sent chills through her body until she felt jittery from the effort not to vomit. Cassandra couldn't be sure how she knew what the thing was let alone looked like, but something inside of her just knew without a doubt what this creature was terrorizing people. That it was wreaking havoc on the streets was enough to make her choice though: she had to go after it.


    NYPD Dispatch came over the radio, words rushed yet clear.


    [npc]"Contacting now. Location, Officer Scott?"[/npc]


    [npc]"Lost it somewhere around Little Italy."[/npc]


    Part of Cassandra knew that she should call for back-up then pursue the beast. That was the safer, smarter decision that any other time she'd make, but there was an unreasonable voice drowning out any other thought. The urge to just get a look at it, or a get a few shots off, before contacting ARMA was powerful.heightening the urge to just get a look at it or get in some shots before calling Alec or Alistair or Wes or Togh or Kelly - well anyone at ARMA. While she couldn't be sure, there was every chance it could be the same beast Alistair had cast out of her and that it'd found a way to fully manifest itself in this world; to cross the veil as itself instead of possessing a body.


    Seconds later Cassandra was turning onto the street closest to where it was last seen. A trail of destruction guiding her in the right direction. Parking a block away, deciding to hoof it instead, she holstered her Sig Sauer P239 and grabbed her bag off the passenger seat before sliding out of the little 4-door car. A quick check to be sure the doors were locked was done then she hurried up the street at a jog.


    25 Minutes Later


    Screams led her down a couple streets, fleeing and injured civilians bumping against her as sneakers pounded against the pavement in the direction they came; undaunted by their fear though her racing pulse made doubts crowd into her mind. Rounding the next corner brought Cassandra a glimpse of the beast's backside just before it. . . vanished. Blinking once she stared at the spot in consternation before closing and opening them again. The beast was still gone. As if it'd just disappeared into thin air or poofed out of existence! Unable to fathom this possibility, she approached the spot cautiously.


    Crouching down to observe the area for any sign of the beast it became clear that it had been here. There was evidence in the scuff marks left by the claws of its hind legs, and when she pressed her palm against the spot there was residual heat emanating from the concrete, but even more clear was the still smoldering drops of lava nearby. That the beast had been here though didn't explain where it'd went. . .


    [cassg]How the fuck is that possible?[/cassg]


    Cassandra kept her voice to a whisper as she took a moment to think, blue eyes appraising the surrounding street in search of any place large enough that the beast could've squeezed through to disappear that might offer a simple explanation. There was nothing though. The building was pressed against the next building and looked to be boarded up thoroughly. As she stared at the place another idea popped into her head; one that felt a little more plausible — to her. Figuring that the beast might've been able to disappear then reappear in the building, she began to search for a way inside. While the place felt abandoned it wasn't lacking care like most other places, and the location wasn't convenient for intruders given its position on a corner near multiple cross-ways. The first floor windows were close enough that she could pull herself up into one, but the area was well-lit.


    A look at the street around her, as she wiped her palms on the thigh of her jeans, let her know the businesses across the street from this spot would have a clear view of anyone climbing in windows so close to the corner. Breaking in was not the best idea, but she had good reason to think the beast could be in this building and there wasn't any reason to call people here without proof. If she did get caught there wasn't anything on her immediate person that pointed to her ARMA affiliation which could be an upside or a downside. She chose to see it as an upside for the time being.


    A quick check of her bag reassured Cassandra that her cellphone, secured in its shielded case, was tucked into the inner pocket. When ready the call could easily be made to ARMA. First though, the matter of getting inside. Pulling the edges of her long-sleeved, green military coat more together, not wanting to button it for fear of restricting access to her gun, she sought to avoid the cold air without resorting to using her shield and focused on the building. The first floor windows were ruled out; entirely too close to the sidewalk and the street, and there were places across from the building that had a view which meant someone could call the cops if they spotted her. Casually moving along the street in consideration, she slid a pair of leather gloves onto both hands and flexed her fingers in an attempt to relieve the tension building in her body.


    As she came near the end of where the building melded into the next one, Cassandra's gaze finally shifted to the second floor as the edge of a fire escape ladder caught her attention; slow, satisfied smile appearing as she did a quick glance at street level for a way up and spotted a dumpster just ahead. An about face let her know that this part of the street wasn't at risk of being observed by any locations across from it, and there weren't any passerby's on the road or street — at present. Not wanting to waste this opportunity, she quickly moved to the dumpster, and using a few crates nearby to boost herself up, positioned herself atop it. Carefully she jumped upward, arms stretching toward the bottom rung of the ladder and groaned as she missed by a couple inches.


    If I wasn't so damn short this wouldn't be an issue, she grumbled to herself.


    Not wanting anyone to see her and grow suspicious of the fact that she was standing on a dumpster, Cassandra rushed into constructing a rope using her magic; crafting it only in limited detail to get the necessary durability and efficiency needed. Tossing part of it over the rung, she pulled it down and grasped both ends before planting her feet for leverage. . . and pulling as hard as she could. It was a little harder than expected, rust probably accumulating on the ladder from years of disuse, and when it finally gave it was unexpected enough to throw her off-balance a little as the ladder slid downward at rapid speed. Hurriedly she reached out to grab the ladder to keep herself aright so that she didn't break her fall on the pavement below.


    Letting the rope disperse, she climbed up slowly then edged out onto the landing; placing her feet inch-by-inch to be sure it'd hold before relaxing enough to hurriedly pull up the ladder before someone noticed. Crouching near the window, she fiddled with the edges a moment and tried to get it to budge to no avail. If she was right this window would open onto the second floor. Praying the owner didn't have some type of security, she formed a medium-sized brick with her hands and slammed it against the glass before any doubts could wheedle into her mind. Glass shattered loudly; body going stiff as panic took hold and she listened intently for an outcry of alarm. When none came she hastily used the brick to knock any loose shards into the building before climbing inside.


    The inside was pitch black except where outside light penetrated the shadows, and the air was stale from a combination of old air and dust; what few furnishings remained covered by white sheets that fluttered from the breeze coming in through the broken window behind her. Cassandra's sneakers crunched over broken glass and the floorboards creaked beneath her weight. Each step caused her to wince as she waited to get jumped either by lurking security or the beast she was hunting. There wasn't any sound outside beyond the normal, any fuss caused by the beast having calmed down, and if an organization had been called about its rampage their search hadn't yet led them here. She couldn't even be positive the thing had come inside this place, but it was still worth checking out the premises. As the place where a veil-crossing beast had disappeared that made it of interest.


    Moving forward gingerly, she considered pulling her flashlight out of her bag before dismissing the idea. Better to avoid alerting anyone or anything to her presence for the time being.


    10 Minutes Later


    Cassandra had been wandering through the place fruitlessly; the silence getting creepier with each empty, eerie corridor she turned onto or empty room she stepped into, the latter not as limited by locked doors with her ability to construct keys though she'd come across nothing unusual in them yet. After a bit she came to a staircase with two options: up or down. Figuring it'd be wise to clear the lower floors before trekking higher into the building, she quickly turned on the flashlight and pointed it down as as she moved cautiously down the stairs. Hand gripping the rail in case a step was broken or rotted through. A sound drew her attention as she reached the bottom and turned off the flashlight again. It had been a light thud that echoed the length of the barren corridor to her left, and tip-toeing down it she came to a room at the end that looked vaguely like it'd been some type of waiting area formerly.


    Like the others it was empty, nothing unusual to be found besides a slightly broken window. The hole looked too small for anything to have crawled through from the doorway. As she moved closer for confirmation though her shin slammed against the sharp edge of something hard; some piece of furniture she figured while air hissed through her teeth at the pain. Pain that was quickly forgotten as an item, atop what Cassandra now assumed was a stand or desk, rattled a couple times then crashed to the floor. The noise it made far louder than the light thud that drew her here. Sucking in an anxious breath, she clicked off her flashlight and threw herself against the wall opposite the door; crouching there with one hand on the grip of her gun, though she knew she'd go for her magic first, as she waited to see if someone would come to investigate.

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    • 1 year later...

    ’Shit!’ Some one or something was close. All Atticus wanted to do was test his theory and he didn’t have time to stand around explaining himself with the law, or worse, dealing with a delinquent.

    Not too far away was a corridor and within it a door. Seemed as safe a place as any and so swift and quiet as the wind the big man made his way toward it. The door handle squeaked as he slowly twisted it opened. It was unlocked. Soft glowing eyes peered into the dark room, the air currents revealing several rows of shelves and many stacks of boxes. It was some kind of storage room. A perfect place, if any, to set up shop.

    Closing the door behind him Atticus opened up his duffle bag and blew a heavy layer of dust off the top of a stack of boxes in the corner of the room. A single, large box served as a chair while he set up his laptop, an uplink device and a small electric lantern. The cool illumination brought detail to the hazy elemental world in which only those things that disturbed the air could be seen. By the light, the dim outline of a second door on the other side of the room became apparent but he paid it little mind. Other than to note that it was in fact, closed tight.

    Atticus’ long fingers deftly entered a series of coordinates and other details into the software. The possibility of supporting his theory was extremely exciting and so anxious was the scientist to process his data that he failed to take note a strange sound emanating from the other side of the room. It sounded as if something was being dragged across the floor, like a series of stiff bristles brushing the smooth concrete.

    Just out of the range of the small lamp dark eyes glistened in the blackness. The aberration slowly skulked along the ground amidst the cover of the many stacks of boxes and shelves, it’s black flesh and fur melting into the darkness. Only the occasional scrape of it’s spiny quills upon the floor betrayed it’s presence; the scientist, however, far too engrossed in his work to pay attention to such an ambiguous noise.

    Drawing close to it’s quarry, the unnatural creature paused, long black tongue tasting the air. Canid nostrils flared and it’s ebon flesh beneath a sparse coat of fur and porcupine-like quills momentarily burned red from within. Unnatural fire raged within the beast, it’s skin burning as embers while a fiery spittle gathered in the monster’s black fanged maw. Feline hind quarters stalked low and four arms padded lightly across the floor as the thing drew near.

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    • 1 month later...

    Nobody came.


    That was the first thing that registered as several minutes ticked by slow enough to put her on edge. She couldn't put her shield up as it would be too bright in the darkness, and that made her agitation worse. It was only after five minutes went by that she finally moved from her hiding spot.


    [cassg]Alright, at least we know there's no security. . .[/cassg]


    She said softly to herself, flashlight clicking back on as she looked around the darkness of the room. It was a small space. Nothing fancy. There was the door she'd been about to out of next to her, but her gaze was drawn to a door at the far end of the room.

    [cassg]Well, just in case I'm wrong. . .[/cassg]


    It'd be better to go through a different door than the one they'd likely come through if there was someone here. Carefully avoiding any boxes or furniture, Cassandra moved quickly and quietly toward the door. As she approached the frosted glass of the window made her aim the flashlight at the floor as she stepped off the side of the door. The frosted glass prevented her from seeing anything clearly. Blue eyes looked up now, noting the window above the door.


    It was clear glass, placed along the top of the doorway. Four little panes split by thin white pieces of wood. What did they call those windows? Transom windows, or she thought cause she could vaguely remember Alec telling her something about a television show using them while they were driving to a case recently. She couldn't even be sure how they'd gotten on the topic, but nonetheless she now knew what to call these windows. Not that knowing what they were called matter at present. It wouldn't help her gain enough height to see through it. Sighing in the quiet of the room, she carefully brought her flashlight up to waist level and aimed it around until finally landing on a really tall chair on the other side of the door. She wouldn't even need to move it, which was good since it looked heavy, to see through the window.


    Carefully climbing onto the chair, she leaned to the right and held the door frame to steady herself. Pressing her face against the glass revealed little as it was intensely dark. Well, except. . .


    [cassg]That's odd.[/cassg]


    There was a light. Not strong, but dim. It didn't seem too far from the door. As her eyes adjusted some more it let her make out at least that beyond the door was what seemed like a large room. As she was stepping down though, Cassandra's blue eyes caught sight of something else.


    Red. Like fire. Different than the other light. The locations of it was different too. It was broke up in the darkness like scattered pieces of burning coal floating into the sky. And the way it moved from one spot to the next was not natural.


    Wide of eye, she stepped down, turned the doorknob and cursed under her breath — locked. Trying not to think about the fact that she needed to be fast, she fashioned a skeleton key and shoved it into the lock. A turn, a click, and she jerked open the door. A loud, harsh SCREECH! echoing through the room as it did so. Pulling her gun with her free hand now, flashlight held out along the front of it, she rushed into the room.


    Her voice calling out, [cassg]WATCH OUT![/cassg]


    She didn't know for sure if someone was actually in here. If that lamp belonged to a person in trouble, a person who'd brought this thing. . . or anyone at all. But it was always better to take the precaution.

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    Atticus’s fingers typed with fervour. He was on the verge of gathering legitimate proof of the relationship between telluric currents and the magical energy flowing from the Nevus. While people had long accepted the transformation of the Resonance those best described as ‘non-magus’ still couldn’t grasp the profound alteration of their own landscape. Magic moved like water, it trickled as a stream, flowed as a river. It gathered in pools where these ‘currents’ crossed and it was these areas in particular that Atticus was most interested. Hot spots of intense magical power either sporadic, cyclic or at times, permanent. Magus had known of them from the beginning. They had always been. Stonehenge, The Eiffel Tower, The Sistine Chapel, it would come of no surprise to anyone that such sites harboured an unseen force, a force that one with the proper knowledge could take advantage of. A new energy source and it was far more plentiful than anyone imagined but until it could be quantified, predicted and collected it was useless to the masses. All he needed was a few hours. A few hours to collect the necessary data and the scientist was confident that in a few months he would not only be able to develop a model that would pinpoint these areas of high magic but track the currents themselves. Then it was only matter of learning how to gather this magic and convert it into a source of energy to power the world. This new technology could change everything and once and for all unite the technological world with the magical! Unfortunately, not everyone desired such a singularity, nor believed it could even exist. Recently published papers of his work had attracted enemies. Enemies of a magical nature.

    ☸ "WATCH OUT!"

    Atticus’ body tensed as the door on the other side of the room burst open. ’NO!’ He was so close! How did they find him? How did they know?’

    Initially the warning had no meaning other than being recognized as two alarming words. The flashlight beam obscured his vision. As the gun in the other hand of the feminine figure in the doorway became apparent Atticus’ hands immediately shot up in surrender. His attention completely focused on what he assumed to be a Magus he failed to note the monstrous creature now lunging out of the darkness toward him.

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    • 2 weeks later...

    The man's hands shot upward and Cassandra shook her head. She couldn't make out his face cause of the flashlight, and switched it over a little; figuring that she was probably blinding him.


    [cassg]No, no. Behind you![/cassg]


    There wasn't any time though as the creature lunged. She couldn't see it clearly, but she could make out the lava-like glow as it streaked toward the unsuspecting man. Instinct took over quickly as her hand moved to point the gun toward the creature, one finger switching off the safety and the other pulling the trigger twice in rapid succession. In the quiet the sound of gunfire was loud. Cassandra moved forward hurriedly, only knowing that she hit the beast by the sound it made.


    If both bullets had hit? She couldn't tell nor could she tell if it'd been a good hit or just a scratch. It was only as she came closer that Cassandra noted the man's face.




    The growl of the beast made her gaze look in the direction of where it lurked now, waiting to attack them again.


    [cassg]We should move, yeah?[/cassg]
    ooc note: sorry for the short, quick post! didn't seem suitable to post more.
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    • 2 weeks later...

    Hands raised in submission the scientist’s attention was focused solely upon the progress bar on the laptop. Ninety-seven, ninety-eight, almost there. Once the data was uploaded to the server it was safe. Ninety-nine percent. Gun shots flashed in the darkness and that’s when he saw it, something huge. A monster! It’s scaly hide radiating fire from within.

    The thing was upon him before Atticus could react. Arms rose in defence, black tongue licking across his face, then flames exploded from the creature’s neck. One of the shot’s struck home, piercing it’s thick skin. It screeched in pain, an unnatural howl unlike anything he’d ever heard before. Magma blood spilled to the floor as Atticus fell backward. He paused unnaturally in mid fall, his powerful form suspended upon a cushion of swirling air currents as he pushed off and flew through the air.

    The creature landed on top of his make-shift desk, smashing his equipment, but before that the data had been secured. Atticus uttered a sigh of relief for that as he gracefully back-flipped onto his feet. Bright glowing eyes flashed, the creature had melted into the shadows, subduing it’s fiery glow, darkening it’s flesh to black like a chameleon. Even peering into the world of air he could not see it amidst the many boxes and crates but it was still alive, he was sure of it.

    Suddenly a familiar voice called his name and eyes returned to normal to fall upon the visage of a magus he had briefly known.

    [atticus]Cassandra? Holy shit! What the —?[/atticus]

    He heard the growl and agreed with her. They’d catch up later. First priority, not getting eaten by the scary monster.

    Atticus followed her out the door and slammed it shut behind him. He sprinted after her, following the basement corridor that lead to the stairs. Behind them, the sound of splintering wood could be heard tumbling across the floor.

    It was coming.

    Able to bound up the stairs in one leap, Atticus kept pace with Cassandra, throwing a periodic glance over his shoulder.

    [atticus]What is that thing?[/atticus]

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    • 2 months later...

    A bullet struck, the creature howled with fury and pain as it retreated into the shadows. The glow in its cracked skin a beacon in the dark. Cassandra was relieved that Atticus was alive; uninjured as far as she could tell though the same couldn't be said for the equipment he'd had. It had been smashed to bits by the weight of that monster.


    "⚖ Cassandra? Holy shit! What the —?"


    That growl made her blue eyes widen and goose-flesh rise on her skin. It wasn't pleased. She knew they couldn't stop it — not alone. Not if it was what she suspected. Hell, even if it wasn't? She'd seen its size and the destruction left in its wake on her way here. There wasn't any time to talk or dwell. Only time to run. Racing out of the room into the hall, she paused only long enough to see if there was a way to block the door, but started moving again upon realizing there wasn't an option. And constructing anything would take too long. Already they could hear the thing moving; snapping objects in the room like kindling as it moved toward the exit they'd just taken. Sneaker-clad feet flew up the stairs and she could sense Atticus behind her by the sound of his steps in time with her own. She recalled his powers, suspected that he could move faster, but he wasn't leaving her and admittedly she was grateful for it.


    "⚖ What is that thing?"


    They kept moving upward toward the next floor, and while he glanced back she kept looking forward. Only her ears were on alert for the sound of the crashing door. . .


    That came a few moments later. Banging loudly as it slammed against the floor — she assumed — as the beast left the room and entered the corridor.


    Her breathing was labored, but she took the time to answer as her steps slowed at the landing in front of them to motion toward the door that lead to the floor above. It was only one floor up. She wanted to go further, but they needed off the stairs and as long as they were quiet hopefully the thing wouldn't follow.


    [cassg]Don't know. I think it's the full veil-crossed version of the monster that possessed me. . .[/cassg] She trailed off, hand pulling at the door fruitlessly. It was stuck. [cassg]Shit, shit, shit.[/cassg]


    She tugged again then glanced to him as she let go, moving toward the edge of the landing to point her gun down the stairwell.


    [cassg]Give it a try? If we can get through there, and keep quiet, we can block the door and leave. Call for help, maybe?[/cassg]


    Though she could hope that someone had heard the shouts and already called for help, but she doubted it. She wanted to ask what he was doing here, but now wasn't the time.


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    ‘Possessed? A daemon?’ A chill ran down the demi-god’s spine. A preternatural entity manifested in the flesh, or in it’s case, rock, was horrific news indeed. Damn, he had all the luck! All his work, but there was no time to lament the loss. Escaping with their lives was all that mattered and before Cassandra finished her sentence Atticus had already vanished, sifted beneath the door and opened it.

    [atticus]Blocking the door isn’t an option.[/atticus] he stated after a quick and futile scan of the bare hallway, a blueish luminescence to his eyes as he peered into the blackness. Turning back, they widened as the scrape of stony hide grating against tiled floor echoed up the stairway.

    It was coming.

    [atticus]Let’s get the hell outta here.[/atticus] Atticus called out in a hushed voice, leading the way to the right.

    Activating the light on his phone for Cassandra’s benefit he ran toward a boarded up window, ending up in a perpendicular corridor running along an outer wall. ‘There had to be an open window!’ They were at ground level and smashing a pane of glass while it was no nosier than busting boards, was much quicker. Hanging a left, Atticus searched for an open window but the situation quickly went from bad to worse as boards were replaced by bars.

    [atticus]Crap![/atticus] Atticus growled, hands going up in a gesture of ill fated defeat as he skidded round a left turn abruptly ending in, of all things, an air-tight set of fire doors.

    Locked air-tight fire doors.

    [atticus]Well, sh-i-i-i-t.[/atticus] He sighed, hands falling to his hips, hanging head glancing over his shoulder at Cassandra. [atticus]This just isn’t my night.[/atticus]

    They’d have to punch a hole through a door for him to get through and he doubted her gun possessed the sufficient caliber to do so. Then again, he was no ballistics expert. All he knew was that firing off that pistol would be like ringing a dinner bell.

    A street light filtering in through the nearest window cast a barred shadow across the floor. Maybe he could bend them, but it would take time. Time they didn’t have, especially if what he suspected of the creature was true.

    [atticus]This daemon. Is it able to track you?[/atticus] He enquired. A fair question, he believed, since it stood to reason in his mind that there would be some sort of connection between she and the beast. [atticus]’Cause if you can’t hide that doesn’t leave us with a lot of options.[/atticus] It pretty much left them with one.

    Checking his phone, Atticus walked closer to the window holding it up before him. No signal. Which didn’t surprise him one bit. Cellular service wasn’t what it used to be. Magical activity messed with technology and right now they were standing on a mystical hotspot. A crossroad of telluric currents ferrying the residual energy of the Resonance.

    Even if calling for back-up were an option they still had to survive until they arrived. The daemon had to die, there were no two ways about it but like Cassandra, Atticus had misgivings of their chances alone against the creature. All he knew for certain, was that though he was capable of escape, abandoning the magus wasn’t an option.

    They could double back. Head the other way down the corridor and take their chances but if the creature was trailing them they’d most likely run right into it.

    They needed to get out of this damn building!

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    • 3 weeks later...

    Bad to worse seemed an accurate descriptor for the night.


    Cassandra had walked into the situation willingly though. Madness though it seemed now. Ah, hindsight. Of course, regretting that irresponsible decision helped little now as they ran for their lives only to find themselves trapped. If the damned thing came this way? They would be perfectly cornered for its devouring. A nice little buffet.


    Or they would be if there weren't other options that Atticus might be unaware of at present in terms of her abilities.


    "⚖ This daemon. Is it able to track you?" He enquired. A fair question, he believed, since it stood to reason in his mind that there would be some sort of connection between she and the beast. "⚖ ’Cause if you can’t hide that doesn’t leave us with a lot of options." It pretty much left them with one.


    Cassandra continued to stand facing the direction they had come to keep an eye out for any sight of the creature.


    [cassg]Its been wreaking havoc, but not anywhere near me. Actually I came looking for it. . .[/cassg] She trailed off with a humorless laugh and then added more clearly, [cassg]To answer your question, don't think so.[/cassg]


    When she heard the beast shift again, it was easy enough to gauge that it was still far enough away that they weren't in any immediate danger. She turned now, turning on the safety of her gun and slipping it in her holster, as she considered the door and the barred windows. A thought was given to each one before she met his gaze.


    [cassg]Okay so, several options. I can either cut through the door or the bars of the window. Both will take a little and might need you to distract the thing if it comes this way. Have a preference?[/cassg]


    That was when the other thing dawned on her as she glanced back down the corridor.


    [cassg]I still don't know how it got into this place. Didn't see any holes in the building or broken windows or. . . anything when I came in here.[/cassg]


    The idea that even if they got out that beast could get out too was unnerving. She'd already seen the trouble it'd caused on its way here. Though she still didn't know what had drawn it to this building or how it'd managed to fully cross-over in the first place.

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    • 3 weeks later...

    She had sought the thing out. Atticus was skeptical of the ‘connection’ between the two but he could only trust Cassandra’s judgement on the matter.

    [atticus]Good.[/atticus] He acknowledged with an anxious nod, slightly luminescent eyes peering into the shadows of the long corridor.

    ‘Cut through?’ Atticus had learned not to question people of their extraordinary abilities. If she was confident she could get through either the doors or the bars then he was behind her plan. In answer to her question concerning the choice of ‘bars’ or ‘door’ [atticus]Which ever is faster.[/atticus] was all he could suggest.

    Fast was the all important denominator in this equation, especially when he was about to put on the ‘rabbit suit’. Normally, Atticus wasn’t too worried when it came to down evading an enemy but this creature was magical. This simply wasn’t the time for a fight, not his, but he couldn’t allow this creature to continue to harm innocent people either. He didn’t have many options. Distracting the thing would use the least of his abilities and so that’s precisely what he was going to do.

    He was about to break into stride when Cassandra expressed her curiosity concerning how the creature gained entry into the building.

    [atticus]It melted out of the floor.[/atticus] He reported. At least that’s the way it looked to him. [atticus]This building, right now, is sitting on top of a crossroads of powerful currents of energy. I think it used it to somehow pass through the foundation.[/atticus] At least that was Atticus’ theory, perhaps the Magus had a better one.

    [atticus]What ever you do. Don’t stop cutting no matter what you hear. Get through and get out. Don’t wait for me![/atticus]

    Atticus’ final instructions resonated through the corridor as his tall, powerful form vanished into shadow. Long, gliding strides bore him quickly across the smooth floor and he was soon at the intersection. It was quiet. The wind god’s noiseless footfalls crept toward the wall, creeping to the edge, slowly peeking around the corner.

    The creature lunged like a crocodile awaiting it’s prey. Powerful jaws snapped, flaming fangs sinking into Atticus’ abdomen but biting into nothing! Before the blackened teeth could penetrate flesh the elemental turned to air, unfortunately searing flames still damaged his airy form.

    Atticus reappeared behind the creature grimacing in pain, hand clutching the side of his waist. [atticus]That all you got![/atticus] He taunted, pivoting and sprinting down the hallway, leading the creature away from Cassandra.

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    • 1 month later...

    This had been the stupidest idea she'd had yet.


    What madness had overtaken her common sense and made her come chasing after the full-bodied version of what she thought was Nyxeris?


    Cassandra mentally kicked herself for such foolish behavior especially as Atticus spoke.


    "⚖ It melted out of the floor." He reported. At least that’s the way it looked to him. "⚖ This building, right now, is sitting on top of a crossroads of powerful currents of energy. I think it used it to somehow pass through the foundation." At least that was Atticus’ theory, perhaps the Magus had a better one.

    "⚖ What ever you do. Don’t stop cutting no matter what you hear. Get through and get out. Don’t wait for me!"


    Shit, he's going to get himself killed 'cause my dumbass didn't call for back-up, she thought to herself as she began form something that resembled a large box-cutter out of energy.


    She could've told Atticus not to go, but knew it'd be futile. Plus it made sense: time needed to be bought. The door was the obvious choice, but any part of it was going to take a little bit. A moment was taken as she debated where to cut before finally settling on the lock. There were two reasons: if the creature could get in-and-out as easily as Atticus thought then being able to lock the door back wouldn't help. And. . . the creature's roar.


    What had happened down the hall? Cassandra didn't know, but clearly it was angry. Atticus must've pissed it off. It's roar was followed by thudding that shook the building.


    The bait was taken.


    Hand moved quicker now to cut, minutes passing as she listened for any sign the thuds could be coming back in her direction. Finally, the lock was cut through, the door shoved outward as she stepped outside. . .


    and stopped.


    [cassg]Dammit. . .[/cassg]


    Cassandra couldn't leave Atticus in there to face that thing alone. However, they couldn't take this thing down themselves. Her bag had been left in the alley on the dumpster. The thought had only came to her earlier as they'd been running. She'd forgotten it in her haste to get inside without getting caught. Of course, now that made for an issue. Sneakers took off at a run for the alley; hoping that Atticus hadn't been hurt or. . . killed as she turned the corner into the narrow space.


    She knew what she had to do though.


    Grabbing the bag from the dumpster, she opened it with trembling hands and pulled out the cell to dial the number for ARMA.


    [cassg]This is Sergeant Cassandra Greene. Got a disturbance at 165 Grand Street in Little Italy.[/cassg] She didn't know the name of the building; had only taken note of the street signs when tracking the beast though knew if they got a Tower magus involved they could find her easily enough to let back-up know what building. [cassg]Giant veilcrossing beast. Need back-up. Lots of it. Big fuckin' thing.[/cassg]


    Cassandra stressed the size to let them know to bring the big guns. They'd need them. Afterward, she hung up, shoved the phone back in her bag, and up she went; back in the way she'd originally entered though this time once inside she didn't walk, but ran through the halls in the direction of increasingly loud noise. It sounded like the creature was slamming through doorways and into hallway walls. She could only imagine the structural damage being done. Stopping, Cassandra holstered her gun again. Bullets weren't going to do much of anything against it. No, she needed something far more magical.


    Of course, that took time too.


    Almost two minutes passed just before a dagger with a nine-inch blade appeared in her left hand; glowing purple-blue with hints of white and hot pink. Another three minutes passed before a brightly glowing buckler shield appeared in her right hand. Both made of the energy that she specialized in though. . . not a guarantee against what she was about to face. She considered the wisdom of both her daggers, but knew the buckler offered another option. The personal shield she could put around herself was left down for the present time in case it was needed for Atticus once she found him.


    Sneakers moved now in the direction she heard the loud noise coming from just down the hall.


    Let him be alive. . .


    Fingers of left hand gripped the dagger's hilt a little tighter now as she drew closer.


    Where Atticus was, he'd notice something odd all of a sudden. Where before there'd been pounding and thrashing as the beast chased him there was suddenly. . . absolutely silence. The building no longer shook from the slam of giant paws. Stillness embraced everything. There was nothing behind him or in front of him if he took the time to look.


    And then he'd feel it: heat radiating from above just as a large tail that was hotter than the rest of the beast began to curl rapidly around his waist.

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    • 2 weeks later...

    It had been a game of ‘cat and mouse’, no mistaking Atticus’ role in the hunt. The damn thing had caught him at every turn, it seemed to anticipate his every move. Mid-way through the chase the reason had become obvious, it could see him when he turned to air. It was like a goddam fire-elemental! Able to peer into the ethereal realm of his kind and strike his airy form with fire! Fortunately, he’d been able to out maneuver the creature down an elevator shaft.

    Atticus crept noiselessly down the hallway, the incessant drumming of the beast’s claws reverberating from every corner of the building. It seemed like it was everywhere! He didn’t know where to go, and he was so tired. The pain of being damaged while in his elemental form was indescribable. His inside’s burned. His muscles screamed as he slowly crept along the dark corridor, glowing eyes nervously flashing about in the black.

    ‘Where was it?’

    His only consolation was Cassandra’s escape. At least she’d gotten away but unfortunately things weren’t looking all too good for Atticus. He’d greatly underestimated the creature and now he was paying the price for his over confidence.

    He was drenched with sweat, blood trickled down the side of his face where he had narrowly missed being decapitated. He needed to rest.

    Leaning back against the wall, Atticus close his eyes and tried to pinpoint the source of the noise. He strained his ears, pushed his senses into the air, searching for it. Then, when believed he was finally getting close, all went silent.

    Atticus nervously looked around.


    It came from above. Clinging to the wall, the creature had scaled down the side of the courtyard, awaiting where the corridor met the open area. It’s carapace glistening in the moonlit glow beaming through the skylights above the creature patiently awaited it’s quarry. He had no time react. Passing into the larger area the creature struck like a snake, it’s fiery tail curling about his waist, searing his flesh.

    Atticus screamed in pain as he futilely gripped it’s red hot flesh, unable to break the grasp.

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    • RESONANCE - 18+ 3/3/3

      • A modern/fantasy, intermediate+ collaborative writer's rp. Caters to an experienced player base (25+) with a slower, more relaxed pace.

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