masterofgunfu: (Default)
"What happened to barely winning?" Jim growled at Kate, Curran, and Dali as they came back from the first match of our team.

We had two qualifying bouts, a semi-final, and then the big match to get through with all seven members of our team intact, but we couldn't field the entire team for each of the first three fights. Instead, we opted to split our team pretty much in half and Kate, Curran, and Dali fought our first match, and it had been a glorious smack down.

"You said sloppy!" Kate replied in mild outrage. "Look, I didn't even use my sword; I hit him with my head, like a moron."

"A man with a sword attacked you and you disarmed him and knocked him out cold in under two seconds," Jim snapped back before turning to Curran.

The Beast Lord shrugged. "It's not my fault that he didn't know how to fall."

Jim's gaze slid from Curran to Dali. "What the hell was that?"

"Crimson Jaws of Death."

"And were you planning on letting me know that you can turn people's elbows backward?"

"I told you I did curses."

"You said they don't work!"

"I said they don't always work. This one worked apparently." Dali wrinkled her forehead. "It's not like I even get to use them against live opponents anyway. It was an accident."

Jim looked at them. The clipboard snapped in his hands. He turned around and very deliberately walked away.

"I think we hurt his feelings," Dali said, looking at his retreating back, before sighing and going after him.

Curran looked at Kate. "What the hell was I supposed to do, catch the were-bison as he was falling?"
masterofgunfu: (Default)
The next morning I stood outside what had once been called the Cooler, Atlanta's ice skating rink. It was brick and oval in shape and rose at least four stories, stretching into the morning sky for what seemed like forever. Buildings this size were rare in Atlanta. Magic had a way of eating and collapsing anything past two stories.

A hundred yards from the Arena was a wooden tower and perched atop was a set of mounted machine guns and cheiroballistra. Tall enough to cover nearly the whole of the parking lot and close enough to cover the roof of the Arena. I also spied the distinctive red and black uniforms of the Red Guard. In the highly competitive field of mercenary work, there were few corporations and among them, the Red Guard were the best. From every report I've read and every encounter I've had with them, they've earned their pay and reputation. Looks like blood sport paid well though, as the Red Guard charged a premium.

OK, enough rumination. I stepped over a two-foot wide, fluorescent while line (obviously marking where the Red Guard's responsibility began and ended) and headed for the service entrance. I doubted the fighters were expected to enter through the front doors.

I quickly found the check in and gave my name and team to the woman working the checkin desk; Red Guard, again, and someone high in the chain of command, if I didn't miss my guess.

"'The Fools'? Is that a description of your team's intelligence or your need to amuse?" She asked me with a completely blank face.

I smiled, completely friendly-like. "No clue. I wasn't part of that decision."

"Fair enough. Go through those doors and I'll have someone meet you to escort you to your team's rooms," She said, eyeing my three duffles worth of weapons. "And just to be clear, there is no fighting outside of the sand. During a match, you guys can try and kill each other all you want. Outside of one, stay out of each other's way. That clear?"

"Crystal."
masterofgunfu: (A-oh shit)

[OOC: All dialog and situations taken from Magic Strikes. I've merely switched the POV from Kate to Andrea.]

It'd been a rough few days for me. Yes, Kate was a big girl and could take care of herself—heck, she likely could take better care of herself than I could of myselfbut I still worried. I knew all too well how quickly things can turn in this world. Regardless, I was relieved when she finally called me at home three days after she went off the reservation.

"I've got your results right here," I said after we had exchanged out initial 'heys'. "It's not silver. It's electrum."

Electrum was nasty stuff for those who went furry. Lyc-V has trouble with all coinage metals but silver typically is the most bothersome. That has more to do with its availability though because electrum added magic to the toxicity mix.

"You don't rank high enough to know the rest, so they won't tell you," I continued, "but I do. This particular alloy is very old and very poisonous to shapeshifters. You know how high my silver tolerance is. I couldn't even hold it, Kate. Do you remember the agreement we made during the flare?"

"Yes," Kate said carefully.

"There is only one person who has access to this allow in a large quantity. The composition is very specific. It's—"

"About fifty-five percent gold, forty-five percent silver, three percent copper, and the rest is random crap."

"Yes," I said confirming what Kate obviously already knew. It was Samos electrum, from the coins struck on a small Greek island in the North Aegean Sea in 600 BC. Which meant there was a very good chance the electrum had originally come from Roland. Why he was giving a fighting team in the Midnight Games very expensive and rare metals was another thing.

"I guess you know what that means, then," I added to fill the silence.

"Yes. Thank you," Kate replied.

"Be careful," I said just before Kate hung up.

masterofgunfu: (Default)
[OOC: All dialog and situations taken from Magic Strikes. I've merely switched the POV from Kate to Andrea.]

It was Sunday morning when I walked into Kate's office saying, "Raphael called. Apparently an order just went down the chain of command." I had to pause when Kate gave me a 'Raphael, eh?' look; to which I replied with a, 'Go ahead and ask, I dare you' look.

Her look was understandable, given what I had said at lunch the day before, but after we had deserted her with the Beast Lord (which she totally deserved for waving Raphael over), Raphael had invited me to go book shopping. I felt a little guilty for using his attraction to me to gain information, so I had decided to play along and he had been a perfect gentleman. Didn't try any moves. No getting into my personal space, no casual brushing against me, nothing, just us looking for books. In fact, he played so nice, I gave him my phone numberswork and homewhen he asked. I knew it was never going to go anywhere, I wasn't going to sleep with him and he'd lose interest, but that didn't mean I couldn't have a little fun, right?

"The Pack?" Kate asked, bringing me back to her office.

"Yeah. Any member of the Pack who attacks you is going to have a long, unpleasant meeting with Curran."

Kate grimaced and raised her pen in a mock salute. "Yipee. I had no idea I was a fragile flower in need of His Majesty's protection."

"Have you been attacked?"

"Yep. I was good and didn't kill anybody."

That sounded like a story so I closed the door behind me, stepped forward, and sat in her client chair. "What's going on?"

Kate sat a moment, deciding if she wanted to spill, before standing and activating her office's wards. A wall of orange surged up to seal the door and all the low level office noise disappeared. Then, she leaned over to unlock the top drawer of her desk, removed a thin case folder, and dropped it onto the desk. "Do the hand."

I was tempted to raise my eyebrows but instead raised my hand. "I will not disclose the information I am about to receive, unless authorized by the person who surrenders this information to my discretion. I will not use this information for personal gain, even under duress, coercion, or to save myself or others from imminent physical harm. I do so swear by my honor as a knight of the Order."

It was a hell of an oath. More people flunked out of the Academy on oath breaking than any other test of will. When you've been beaten, drowned, whipped, and then branded with a hot iron, most people will say anything just to make the torture stop. There was a narrow band of pale skin on my back, despite the Lyc-V in my system; a reminder of where a hot iron had kissed me. It proved I'd passed. I knew Kate had a identical scar. We both would remember the secrets we had keep for our test oaths to the end of our days and never reveal them. Not even through a stray thought.

Kate nodded and handed me the file. I read it, the abridged version of the Midnight Games. I knew there was a bigger file locked away but Kate didn't have enough clearance for that. Of course, I could accidentally mention any stray information she might need.

Once I was through reading what was there, I looked up at Kate and arched an eyebrow. Then she told me about the rest. How Jim, her old mercenary partner and the Pack chief of security had planted a team in the Midnight Games, suspecting outside shapeshifters of using the Games as a way to check the Pack's strength. Which was really bad. That meant the Pack's chief of security was breaking the Beast Lord's first law; no one touches the games.

But that wasn't it. Their plants in the Game kept getting killed and they hadn't told Curran. And the latest was Derek, Curran's protégé. Well, Derek wasn't dead yet, but he was severely injured. Kate told me of this team competing in the Games called the Reapers and her best guess is that they cornered Derek, beat him, broke him, and then poured molten silver on his face. Derek currently lay in a coma and Doolittle, the Pack's senior med-mage, couldn't figure out why Lyc-V wasn't healing the damage.

Then she told me about how Curran had been sneaking into her home to "make sure she was alright" and how he walked in, bold as you please, last night to scare a few years off her life. After wrestling and fighting, Curran had kissed her and by the look on her face I could tell it was bad.

"Shit. Fuck shit," was all I could manage.

"'Shit fuck' would also have been accepted." Kate replied with a sigh.

"The head of Pack's security has gone rogue, Derek is near death, and you're mated to the Beast Lord."

"Jim hasn't gone rogue; he's just not following orders at the moment."

I gave Kate a look. "That's what going rogue is!"

"And for the record, I'm not mated to Curran."

I just shook my head. "What planet are you from? He's slipping into your apartment to tuck your blanket in at night. That's the protective urge at work. He thinks you're mated."

"He can think whatever he wants. That doesn't make it true."

"I just realized: he's treating you like a shapeshifter alpha. You're playing by the rules of not-quite-human courtship here. Has he asked you to make him a dinner yet? Dinner is a big deal."

"No, he hasn't. Look, I'm not a shapeshifter and he's dated humans before."

"That's just it," I said, tapping my fingers on the desk to get her attention. "A direct come-on like that is a challenge. That's how an alpha male would approach an alpha female. They are all about power struggles and the hunt, and they don't do subtle well. I realize this sounds twisted, but it's a backhanded compliment on his part."

"He can take his compliment and shove it where the sun don't shine."

"Can I quote you on that?" I asked with a smirk.

"Be my guest. I've worked too hard to be his passing fancy."

A sudden thought made me frown and I had to ask. "So where does all this leave you? Are you going to disappear for a while?"

Kate nodded. "I have to see this through, and I can't do it with Curran breathing down my neck."

"Need any help?"

"Yes. I'm putting in a request to analyze some silver samples to the computer database. It might take a day or two to process. If you could pick it up…."

I waved my hand dismissively and scowled. "Of course I'll do it. I meant shoot-somebody type of help."

"Oh. Not at the moment. But I'll call you if I need a bullet through somebody's head."

"You do that. Try not to get killed."

"Will do."

We looked at each other and I felt like this would have been where we hugged had we been hugging sorts of people. There was once last thing I had to know though. "So how was it? Kissing Curran?"

"I can't let I'm kiss me again, because if he does, I'll sleep with him."

I blinked a few times. "Well, at least you know where you stand."
masterofgunfu: (A-Yes keep talking)
[OOC: All dialog and situations taken from Magic Strikes. I've merely switched the POV from Kate to Andrea.]

It was Friday lunch and I could tell something was bothering Kate. We'd been having lunch every Friday afternoon since Kate not only saved my life but kept my secret. She had her own secrets, some of which I could almost guess the nature of, so we were kind of keeping each other's secrets, but she didn't have to save me when she did and so I decided we needed to know each other better. Plus, what friendship isn't made from shared secrets. True, those secrets were usually shared between the friends but I didn't really care. I needed a friend and from what I could see, Kate didn't have anyone either. So I made Friday lunches a thing.

"The Midnight Games," she said finally.

I finishing chewing my gyros as I thought of all I knew about them. "One of my mentors was in it. The Games are held in the Arena, a bunker of some kind. It's run by the House, which always consists of seven members. They make most of their money off betting on fighters. There are individual bouts, but the big banana is their team tournament. It's held once a year. Fourteen teams participate. Each team consists of seven fighters, all with specific roles."

"They enjoy the number seven, don't they?" Kate quipped and took a bite of tzatziki laden gyros. I tried to think of what the roles were.

"My mentor fought as a shoote…" I started to say before I caught sight of the tall man with dark hair lounging across the street. Raphael. Damn. I had been avoiding him. He was bad news, plain and simple. He had 'bad-boy-let-me-make-trouble-for-you' eyes and just being near him was unsettling. He made me want things I couldn't have. The simple fact was, I was a mess. I was held together by stubbornness, duck tape, and not a whole lot else. And he had a way of pulling that apart. "Can you believe it? I think he's stalking me," I said with a hiss.

Kate, my BFF and greatest ally, waved him over.

"What are you doing?!?" I asked, hoping the hint of panic I heard in my voice wasn't noticeable.

"I want to find out if he knows anything about the Midnight Games. He'll tell me anything if you let him sit with us. I think he really likes you."

"Yeah," I said with scorn. What was this, middle school?

"You really don't like him?" Kate asked confused.

That was the trouble. I did like him. Badly. "I don't want to be his TWT-IHFB."

"What does that mean?"

"That Weird Thing I Haven't Fucked Before."

Kate choked on her gyros at that, which served her right. Then Raphael showed up and I had to focus. I could do this. I was trained in interrogation techniques. "Hello. Andrea. Kate. Didn't expect to see you here."

Oh, so smooth. "Sit down," I hissed and he did so, perching on the edge of the seat and setting the heavy backpack beside him.

We sat there like that for a few moments before Kate asked, "What's in the backpack?"

"Portable m-scanner," Raphael said. "Picked it up from the shop. Been in there ever since the flarethey couldn't test to see if it worked until a magic wave hit."

He sounded tired and unsure of himself as he spoke. It made me want to hold his hand and tell him it'd be okay. I hit that thought in the solar plexus and stood before anymore like it decided to show. "I'm going to get desert. Kate, you want anything?"

"No," she said.

"You?" I nearly barked at Raphael.

"No." He answered so I spun on my heal and marched off. Downstairs at the restaurants counter I studied the desert menu and a wicked idea came to mind. So Kate wants information from him, eh? And he thinks he can handle me? Let's find out.

I climbed back upstairs carrying a milkshake and a bowl of peach slices, and was just in time to see Raphael shove a pen into his backpack and look shifty. Kate was looking rather focused as well, which made me glare at the pair of them. "Give," I heard her say, as I took my seat, Raphael replied, "The Midnight Games are forbidden. By the direct order of the Beast Lord, no member of the Pack may participate, aid, or bet on the Midnight Games."

"That's it? That's all you got?" Kate said. Raphael shrugged, so Kate gave me a pleading look. Game on.

I took a slice of peach and licked my lips slowly; seemingly oblivious to the pointed stare Raphael was now giving me. He, and any information he had, was mine. I bit into the slice of peach and licked my lips again. "How come they're forbidden? Is there a story behind it?"
masterofgunfu: (Default)
"It's a big responsibility," I told the little girl as we watched the little balls of fur and feathers tear at the jerky I had passed over. "If you don't train them right, I'll have to come back and take care of it. I wouldn't want to, but it's my job. People deserve to be safe."

"I promise!" Evie replied with eyes nearly brimming with tears.

Things had been quiet for nearly two months after the flare of magic and the near destruction of Atlanta by the Irish sea demons. Magic had faded, leaving technology dominate around the clock. Cars worked, radios played, and TV stations were actually able to broadcast for more than a few hours. Heck, two nights ago they even played Terminator 2, proving that things really could be worse than the world we lived in. Then a magic wave hit and things were back to normal…well, what amounts to normal in this post-shift world. The first 18 hours after the return of magic waves, things were chaotic and so the Order was in high gear; cleaning up after all the magic left behind. I was kept in the armory, handing out weapons and ammo to the knights who were out making a real difference in the world.

Now it was the day after the first magic wave and the Knight-Protector, my boss, decided I could finally go home. Have I mentioned how much I love my job? Okay, I do love my jobif I would be allowed to do itit's just my boss I could do without.

Anyway, on my way home, I came across the residents of an apartment complex searching for a little girl who had disappeared a few hours ago. Funny how when the world goes to shit, we're back to the village raising, caring, and protecting the child. Yes, there were still assholes in the world but there were also a lot of good people and good communities.

I, being a decent person and a knight of the Order, immediately joined in the hunt and even managed to find the girl. She had found a gryphon nest with two nestlings and their mother shot. At least the nestlings were old enough to tear off and chew their own meat. The knight in me knew this was a bad idea. Gryphons are classified as dangerous but then again so were pitt bull terriers, once, and everyone knows it's how you raise them that defines if they become a danger or not. So I decided to give the girl and the gryphons a chance.

"OK, and I'll help you when I can. I live just down the street anyway, so I'll be checking on you. Got it?"

"I got it," she replied in a tone that sent the nestlings squealing as she leap up and hugged my legs. I froze, both in surprise and uncertainty, before I rubbed her head. That's what you do when kids hug you right?
masterofgunfu: (Default)
 A name for the shape shifter orphanage fund? Maybe Dobri Dobrev.
masterofgunfu: (A-Sad eyes)
 Andrea wakes to a sound she hasn't heard in years; her mother singing. Her mother sung rarely, even after they escaped the pack, but she always sang with such a beautiful voice that Andrea would be still and quiet, to catch every note she could. She lay there, pretending to sleep and hoping the song would go on forever but her mother stopped, knowing in that way that mothers always do that her daughter was awake.

"Come on, Angel, I know you're awake," her soft voice cooed. "We haven't much time."

"What do you mean," Andrea asked, sitting up and yawning.

"I mean I'm just visiting and have to leave soon. How are things? Are you happy?"

She feels a vague sense of alarm and confusion at her mother's words but ignores it for now. "Things are good. I'm a knight-defender in the Order and I'm living in Atlanta. I've made a friend, her name is Kate."

"A knight-defender?" her mother says confused. "You should be master-at-arms shouldn't you? You've put in the time, what's holding you back?"

"My Knight-Protector doesn't trust me," she answers, though the truth would be her boss is a paranoid bigot who thinks anyone with Lyc-V is less than human, "but you're right. I'm true to my duty though."

"Duty is well and good but are you happy?"

"Happy enough." Andrea admits, though it's nearly a lie. She is dissatisfied with her life and happy is just a thin veneer hiding the hollow emptiness.

"Oh Angel," her mother says, taking her into her arms. "You should be happy. Don't settle for anything less! I didn't risk our lives for 'enough'. Never forget that."

"But..."

"No but. Promise me you won't forget."

"I won't Mama."
masterofgunfu: (A-just the facts)
A few days later and the knights returned. I had kept the Order's HQ in good order and, as expected, things had been quiet post Flare. Kate and I had hammered out a report that left her knowing nothing about Roland nor showing any hint of unusual magical power and me without a scent of being a shape shifter let alone a beast kin. Every knight had returned, looking tired and bruised but alive. All of them, alive. I felt guilty for the hint of anger at this considering more than thirty of the Pack hadn't survived the battle with the Fomorians.

I now stood at a parade rest before my Knight Protector, Ted Moynohan, as he reviewed the report. He acted like he didn't believe a word of it and if it hadn't been for the physical evidence, he likely would have said the whole thing was hyperbole. Still he grilled me, looking for something though I knew not what. Maybe he thought Kate and I were secret Fomorians or shape shifters. Okay, one of use was a shape shifter but that was beside the point. He also seemed damned upset that I had not only left my post but had the gall to act as a representative of the Order. Or maybe he was just pissed cause he missed the fight.

Either way, he was dressing me down, threatening disciplinary action when his phone rang. Picking it up with a scowl, he yelled into it, "I told you no calls! What? Fine put him through."

I stood there and fought to keep my face neutral as I heard the Beast Lord on the line thanking the Order for their aid and requesting in the future, for the times Kate was unavailable, that I be sent as liaison. Finally, the Beast Lord hung up without so much as a good bye and Ted slammed the receiver back down. He rubbed at his temples and covered his eyes. For a minute, I worried he had forgotten about me but then he spoke. "Nash, get your ass to the Armory where it belongs. We're done here."

I turned to leave but before I got to the door, he had one more thing to say. "But this isn't over. I've got my eye on you and I will find out what you are hiding from me."
masterofgunfu: (A-I will kill you)
The gray, false light of predawn found us standing and staring at the gray bubble of the druidic ward. It filled the valley, or Gap as the locals called it, below the Honeycomb--a maze of a trailer park infused with magic--and was solid yet translucent. Cracks were beginning to form and we could see the faces of the monsters within; snouts, heavy lips, mandibles and more were squished against the bubble as the Fomorians stood shoulder to should, packed tight like mints in a tin.

We had ridden buses to the Honeycomb above and walked the trail down to the Gap where we spent the next few hours clearing the floor of the Gap of all the trash tossed down from the trailers above. Anything sharp or dangerous we pushed up against the bubble. Now we waited.

We stood in ranks, all hundred of us. Well, one hundred plus me, Kate and Curran. The plan was simple. We hold the line, keep the Fomorians from leaving the Gap while Bran, Kate's honey from the Mists, and a group of vampires snuck in a backdoor to swap the lid of the cauldron, turning it from a cauldron of rebirth to a cauldron of plenty. Unlimited food is great but not when you are fighting for your life.

As we stood, a group of women strode through, witches. Each was wearing leather and chain mail, carried bows and swords, and their faces were painted blue. With a grim determination, they pushed their way to Curran and spoke with him for a few minutes before climbing up the walls to take positions on the walls of the valley.

Witches, vampires and the shape shifters, all putting aside their differences to protect the city. This was where the Order belonged not out fighting some other battle, I found myself thinking before I shoved the thoughts aside. I had no idea what the Order was fighting and as long as I breathed, the Order was here.

Raphael stepped up beside me and offered a smile and a nod. I remembered the last few hours with him, laughing as we ate and sparred. There were worse ways to spend the hours before an apocalypse. I offered a slight smile in return.

A loud crack interrupted my reflections and my head whipped around to see a chunk of pale gray, like dirty ice, break from the top of the bubble. It plunged towards the ground with an eerie whistle, where it pierced a rusted garage. It hissed and fizzled, evaporating into tin air. Silence filled the valley and we trembled with anticipation.

"We have a job to do," Curran shouted, his voice clear in the pale light. "Today we avenge our own! They came here, onto our land. They tortured a child. They killed our Pack mates. Nobody hurts the Pack!"

"Nobody!" Screamed the shape shifters.

Curran pointed to the bubble. "They are not men. There is no human flesh on their bones."

My mouth gaped at what Curran was saying. Was he really going to go there?

"What happens here, stays here. Today there is no Code. Today you can let go."

Holy Shit. The Pack lived the Code. They followed it with fanatical discipline. Obey, perform, account for yourself. Ever diligent. Always in control. Never let go. But Curran wasn't done.

"Remember: it's not your job to die for your Pack! It's your job to make the other bastards die for theirs. Together we kill!"

"Kill!" breathed the field of shape shifters.

"Win!"

"Win!"

"Go home!"

"Kill! Win! Go Home!"

"KILL! WIN! GO HOME!" We chanted over and over, our voices merging into a unified avalanche of sound. Despite myself, I felt tears in my eyes and didn't bother to hide them. I wondered what it would have been like to grow up with the Pack before I realize it wouldn't have changed anything. I was still beastkin.

More of the bubble cracked and fell. The Pack stripped off their clothes and I followed suit. An ear-splitting shriek split the morning and the gray dome fell, revealing the sea of Fomorians. They shifted forward a few steps and stood silent, a chaotic mass dappled with green, turquoise, and orange. A Dali or Bosch painting come to life.

"TURN!" Curran roared and fur burst along our ranks as we let the monsters slip free of the shackles of humanity.

The Fomorian's bellowed and a hundred and one defiant voices answered back; wolves snarled and howled, jackals yipped, hyenas laughed, cats growled, rats screeched, all at once, and through it all, unstoppable and overwhelming, came Curran's lion roar.

The Fomorians hesitated, unsure but their commander screamed and thrust his battle axe into the air. The front ranks started forward, first slowly, trudging, then faster and faster.

"HOLD!" Curran bellowed as the witches started chanting. Vines sprung up from the ground and wrapped themselves around the demons legs. The sky came alive with glittering shapes. Stymphalean birds took to the air and plunged at the demonic horde. But the attack only slowed them down and any deaths were pointless as the dead would rise from the cauldron in a matter of minutes. We needed to maim, not kill.

Next Kate ran forward, away from the front line and towards the Fomorians. What the hell was she doing? She stopped and threw her head back as some sort of seizure took her for an instant before she dropped her head back down to scream at the Fomorians. I couldn't hear her but the wave of magic that hit was unlike anything I had ever felt. The ground shook as the front ranks of the Fomorian army fell to it's knees, crippled as bones snapped with the force.

"Bring your army, little god! My sword is hungry!" Kate called out as she took a fighting stance, both her swords raised.

The flood gates opened and the battle began.
masterofgunfu: (A-Im here to help)
 It took another three hours after Kate left for me to begin to get feeling back in my legs. It started with my toes, which itched furiously. For the next hour and a half, I slowly and very carefully tested the healing; flexing my toes, turning my ankles, bending a knee. Finally I felt ready to try and stand but was interrupted by the medmage, Dr. Doolittle (I swear to whatever gods are listening that is his name), as he entered to check up on me. The look of fury he gave me was enough to freeze me in my tracks. I had read the Order's file on him. I knew better than to push it and it wasn't just because he was my doctor. See, he was a were-honey badger and even if my secret self didn't immediately want to back away from that look, I knew enough about the critters to want to stay far away. They were nasty and fearless, having been known to even steal food from lions.

"What the hell do you think you are doing?" He asked.

"I think my legs and back are healed now. I was going to see if I was right," I said weakly, knowing how stupid it sounded. Still, there was a big fight coming in a few hours, I wasn't going to miss it.

"I see. How many medical degrees do you have?"

"I have a certificate in advanced trama and first aid."

"Oh. I see," he dead panned. Entering the room, he placed the pitcher of iced tea on the nightstand by my bed beside an empty glass. "I'm so glad they're teaching physical therapy, neurology and orthopedics to EMTs these days. Do you mind humoring an old man and letting me take a look before you trip or collapse and undo all my hard work?"

At my weak nod, he gestured for me to lay back down. "Well, it seems you were right. I still want you to take it easy. The PT room is across they way. I will allow you access if you promise to stop whatever you are doing if you feel the slightest hint of numbness or sharp pain. You understand me girl?"

"I promise," I said relieved. Laying about was seriously getting to me.

"Very well," Dr. Doolittle said and reached for the pitcher to pour me a glass of tea. "Drink up and you can go."

I took a drink and my jaw nearly seized up on the sweetness. "There any tea in this or is it all honey?"

"There world needs more sweetness and you child, need more calories. Your body has just done a lot of work in a very short time. Magic helps but it can't do everything by itself."

Two hours later and the doc let me out into the Keep to try walking but only after I repeated my promise to stop if I felt any numbness or sharp pains.
masterofgunfu: (beast-fuck it)
 [Previously in Magic Burns]
[[OOC: All situations and dialog come from Magic Burns.]]

The fight with the reavers and fomorians could be going a lot better I think as my legs are pulled out from under me. Still, I'm holding Julie in my arms, so something was going right. I spin so I don't crush Julie when we hit the ground; since I am in my Beastform I know I weigh enough to break something of hers if I'm not careful. The claws on my feet rake at the tentacles which continue to try and pin me and I am rewarded with the lovely sounds of tearing flesh and a bellowing roar of pain.

Suck on that Shepard, Bulgar, Bullhorn or whatever the hell your name is
, I think just as twenty more tentacles begin to whip at me. I can feel them tearing into my back as I wrap myself around Julie to protect her. I throw out an arm to drag us farther away...just have to keep moving. Then I notice the ground is shaking and I look up into the bestial, bull-like face of Ugad who is now running at us. Looks like everyone wants in on the party but I'll be honest, I was partied out. Besides Ugad was so not my type. 

I was just about to tell him so when he kicked me off of Julie, his hooves crushing something in my back. She torn out of my arms and I went flying to hit a wall of junk cars. I tried to pick myself up but the impact did something to my spine and I couldn't feel my legs. Come on, damn you, I though to the Lyc-V in my system. Damn virus made my life hell, it could at least be useful and be quicker healing me.

I was just beginning to feel pins and needles when the black cloud of power hit and threw me in the air again. I had just enough time to think, Damn it, not again, before I hit the cars and the world went dark.
-------------------------------
Hours later I was sulking in a room of the med-wing of the Pack's keep when I scented Kate. Immediately, the shame of losing Julie again hit and I had to blink back tears. "I can smell you," I said and reached over to pick up her sword to offer it back to her. "I have your sword."

Kate just stood there looking conflicted before walking in to sit at the foot of my bed.

"Not even a thank you?" I quipped, hoping I didn't lose my friend cause I couldn't save her kid. If you're afraid you've lost something important, always joke. It helps. Really.

"Thank you," she said, taking her sword back. "How are you?"

"I lost Julie." I admitted. "I had her in my hands and lost her."

"I saw. You did all you could."

"You saw? How?" I asked amazed.

"The witches showed me and Bran a vision of the fight." With magic back in the world, a lot of witches banded together for strength and protection. They also took over the biggest city park Atlanta had to offer.

"If I had my guns...," I said through clenched teeth, unable to hide my frustration any longer, but then I sighed as reality forced itself in. "They wouldn't have worked regardless since the magic was up. Jesus, what a clusterfuck we made of it."

"Are you going to make it?" Kate asked me.

Her concern made me fall in on myself. "You're worried about me," I asked surprised. "Why? I'm beastkin. I heal fast. The flare is going full force, and the doctor worked his magic. I'll be up by tomorrow." Not bad for a broken spine.

"And Jim?" Kate asked with a shake of her head.

"Which one is Jim?"

"The jaguar."

"Heavy muscle damage. Ligaments all torn to shreds. He's in the next room." As I spoke I watched Kate and saw her forcing herself to sit still. She was nervous about something, or feeling helpless. "It was a good plan. Curran creates a distraction, occupies them while they key on him, and we grab the girl. Except those bitches wouldn't die and we failed."

"You tried," Kate said, guilt deep in her voice.

"Kate, I know what you are thinking. You're thinking that if you had watched Julie, she wouldn't have left with Red and we wouldn't be in this mess."

"No. Not at all," Kate said, sounding surprised.

"I just want you to know: when I took her off that cross the fomorians had tied her to, she was calling his name. Neither you nor I can do anything to break what's between them."

"Andrea, I don't blame you. I don't blame anyone. You went out there and tried against impossible odds and almost won, while I played footsie with Bran in the mist." Kate sighed and stood. "I'm going to see Jim and then I'll see about sending a runner to the Order, since the phones are dead."

That caught me by surprise. "Why?"

"From what Bran says," Kate replied grimly, "the gray bubble Morfran made is some sort of ancient druidic ward. Morfran is buying time and working the cauldron, packing the sea-demons into that bubble. When it bursts, they will spill out onto the Honeycomb and then onto the Warren. We'll need the knights and the Military Supernatural Defense Unit."

Oh. Shit. "There will be no help, Kate. Everyone's gone. Even Maxine," I managed to croak out.

"Where the hell did they go?" Kate said, her voice tight and nearly a yell.

"There's an emergency," I said softly. I was treading on dangerous ground now, dangerous classified ground. "All the knights and the MSDU are being pulled to counter it."

"Andrea, in less than twelve hours, Atlanta will be full of demons. They will kill, feed, and release more demons. What emergency is more important than this one?"

I chewed my lip trying to decide how much I could say...oh fuck it. "I'm not supposed to disclose this. There's a man. His name is Roland..."

Kate spun and I swear, she nearly punched the wall. "What is he doing that's so damn crucial? What, is he building another tower? It will fall like all his other ones. Or did his eye finally grow back and he decided to have a battle to celebrate?"

I gaped at her before slowly and carefully closing my muzzle. After another moment, I calmly asked, "Kate? How do you know that? Even I don't rank high enough to know about the eye and the towers. I was told because I would be staying behind alone. You're not even a knight. How do you know this?"

My questions hit somewhere deep within her and the look she gave me told me parts of her were wondering if she'd have to kill me. I kept my hands where they were. I've had to kill friends before, I knew how hard it was.

"Are you planning on walking into Ted's office after the flare and telling him that you're beastkin?" Kate asked finally.

I winced at the direct question. "No. He'd throw me out. The Order is all I know."

Kate nodded. "You have your secrets and I have mine. I didn't say anything about Roland and you didn't hear anything. Deal?" Kate asked, holding out her hand.

I took a moment to untangle my hand before taking hers and meeting her eyes. "And I'm not a beastkin. Deal."

Playlist

Apr. 26th, 2013 07:25 am
masterofgunfu: (Default)
 A Kind Of Magic - Queen
Straight To Hell - Lily Allen feat. Mick JOnes
Who's Laughing Now - Jessie J
God Is A Bullet - Concrete Blonde
Tomorrow Wendy - Concrete Blonde
The One Thing - INXS
The Only Exception - Paramore
The Gang Bang Theory (Madonna vs Nancy Sinatra) - Robin Skouteris mashup
My Happy Ending - Avril Lavigne
21 Guns - Green Day
Some Nights - Fun.
Payphone - Maroon 5
Curtain Call - The Damned
Wide Awake - Katy Perry
Knights of Cydonia - Muse
The Story of Crush Crush (Taylor Swift vs Paramore: "Crush Crush Crush/The Story of Us") - DJ MashUP
It's Time - Imagine Dragons
Blow Me (One Last Kiss) - P!nk
Bad Girls - M.I.A.
Search and Destroy - Skunk Anansie
Titanium - David Guetta feat. SIa
Catch My Breath - Kelly Clarkson
Skyfall - Adele
Like A Prayer - Madonna
Bring Me To Life - Evanescence
Raise Your Glass - P!nk
Never Tear Us Apart - Paloma Faith
masterofgunfu: (A-you okay-spooked)
  Watching your best friend - okay, you're only friend - disappear into mist is hard but I had to accept that Kate knew what she was doing. She had been the one casting the spell after all. I stood there clutching her sword and shivering slightly in the chill, night breeze wondering what to do now. Should I wait here for her or was she going to pop up somewhere else? I had no idea but I did know I was alone with the boudas again. Shifting nervously, I turned and saw one of them, a female, approaching me with a scowl. Here it comes, I thought.

  "The Cat is back and says the Beast Lord requests the presence of the Order representatives. What should I tell him?"

  Wait, she was asking me? "Take me to him," I said with a sigh. Like this won't be awkward at all. Sorry, your Majesty, you only get the Beastkin knight as Kate, the friend of the Pack, disappeared. Well, might as well get it over with.
~~~~~~~~~~~~
  The thing about the Beast Lord you don't notice right away is how big he really is. Or maybe that was just the situation in which I first met him face to face. When I was lead to the room he was in, he seemed normal sized. A big guy sure, but nothing out of the ordinary. He was sitting in a chair at a desk that was a good distance from the door. My first clue should have been how large the door was but being a runt like myself, I'm used to things being too large. Then I noticed how large the chair by the door was and realized all the furniture had been special made to fit his frame. He had to be well over six and a half feet tall if the perspectives were working right.

 He was also sitting and rubbing his forehead, as if he had a headache or didn't like what he was thinking. I drew to a stop before the desk, front and center while Jim, or the Cat as the boudas called him, took up a spot to my rear left. A good spot if I hadn't trained to be proficient in my off hand.

  I tried to speak a greeting but my voice squeaked which caused him to stop rubbing his head and look up at me. I cleared my throat and tried again. "The Order thanks the Beast Lord for his invitation and humbly offers its services."

  The Beast Lord stared at me for a long time before saying, "The Pack thanks the Order and requests the Order's representative explain what happened to our usual liaison." It was hard to say but I think the Beast Lord was a little relieved to have formal protocol to fall back on; as long as I was an Order Representative and not a Beastkin (I had shifted back, I'm not stupid) we could pretend the furry me didn't exist.

  Carefully, as briefly and as clearly as I could, I outlined everything I knew about Kate's plan and the case, as it existed. The Beast Lord nodded in a few places as I confirmed information and asked questions when he didn't quite get the picture. I did my best but some stuff, especially the mythic crap, I just wasn't up to speed on.

  Once I was done, he sat in silence again for a long time. He looked at Jim but I don't know what Jim's response was as I didn't dare take my eyes off the Beast Lord. Finally, he took a deep breath and sighed. "The Pack requests the Order's assistance in this matter. Until such a time as Kate Daniels is available, we ask you to fill her role. Please try not to offend too many Pack members as you do your duty."

  "Of course, your Majesty," I said a little light headed. "The Knight-Protector is currently unavailable, but I must point out his authority is greater than any agreement we make. If he initiates contact and feels I am unsuited for this assignment, I must obey his directive."

  The Beast Lord chuckled and said, "Oh I wouldn't worry about that. I can be persuasive in my demands."

  And then the Reaver came through the window.
masterofgunfu: (Default)
 Atlanta is a strange city. Anything taller than three floors is ground down by magic wave after magic wave. Electric street signs are busted, missing or replaced by their more primitive kin. The tarmac of the streets is cracked as are the cement of the sidewalks and plant life has gone wild. Yet despite all this, the humans of the city rebuild...except here in Unicorn Lane. Here magic and the wild are the apex predator and not just during the Magic Waves. Things hide and quiver in the shadows. What people live here do so because there is simple no where else in the city that will accept them. It is dangerous. It is unpredictable and it is where Andrea is hoping to buy some guns on the sly.

Point in fact, she's already bought the guns and is currently sitting in what is left of a small city park, or what was once a small city park. Now it's more a mid-sized city jungle complete with unidentifiable and eerie animal sounds. The animal sounds are leaving her alone for now and so she is making sure her purchases (two Glocks and a submachine gun) were worth the effort and cost. She's also got a perfect view of all the windows and doorways to the empty shells of three apartment buildings that surround the park's entrance.
masterofgunfu: (hyena-what)
[OOC: All dialog taken from Magic Burns, pages 104 and 105.]

Kate slid a beat-up book over from the top of the stack she had brought with her and flipped it open to the index. Some volume of myths and legends which, oddly, smelled of chicken.

"Your books smell like chicken," Raphael said from behind me where he had been rubbing my shoulders; which felt incredible. Had to give the guy credit, he really knew how to work a muscle. Okay, that sounded bad.

I reigned my thoughts in and shrugged off his hands. It was time to work. "If you're going to look for Julie, I'll help. She's my responsibility."

"No, she's mine," Kate shook her head. She was wrong of course since Julie had been in my keeping when she was kidnapped but now wasn't the time. "There is nothing I can do for her right now. But I can find Morrigan's bowman," she began and explained about The Sisters of the Crow, a coven Julie's mother had belonged to which was lead by a woman named--I swear this is the truth--Esmeralda and how they had done some ritual that started this whole mess. She then went into more detail about the reeves, their latest attack and needing Bran's blood, Bran being Morrigan's bowman. "When the reeves attacked us, the Shepherd mentioned the Great Crow. Let's see…"

We watched Kate flip pages back and forth for a few minutes, her forehead wrinkling in thought a few times. She stopped once to read and Raphael asked, "Any luck?" but she shook her head and said, "Not yet."

Then she had the expression that read like a face palm.

"What?" I asked as it was obvious she had found something.

She turned the book to show us an illustration of what seemed to be a boy being chased by an older woman as they both changed shape, ultimately ending with the boy (as a grain of wheat) being eaten by the woman (in the shape of a chicken).

"Birth of Taliesin. The goddess Ceridwen had a son of incredible ugliness. She felt sorry for him and brewed a potion of wisdom in a huge cauldron to make him wise. A servant boy stired the potion and accidentally tasted it, stealing the gift of wisdom. Ceridwen chased him. He turned into a grain of wheat to hide but Ceridwen turned into a chicken, swallowed him, and gave birth to Taliesin, the greatest poet, bard, and druid of his time."

I frowned, not quite getting the connection. "Yes, I see that the boy was reborn through the cauldron, but so what?"

"The name of the Goddess's ugly son. Morfran: from the Welsh mawr, "big", and bran, 'crow'. The Great Crow."

"This is the guy?" Raphael asked. "The guy in charge of the Fomorians?"

"Looks that way," Kate answered. "And more, he is a crow just like Morrigan. Very similar names plus very uneducated witches equals…"

"Disaster," Raphael finished for her.

"Those idiot Sisters couldn't actually be that ignorant," I added doubtfully. "Fumbling spells--yes, but screwing up enough to accidentally pray to the wrong deity? Morfran and Morrigan aren't even of the same gender."

"Maybe the started out praying to Morrigan, and then fumbled just enough to give Morfran an opening. Maybe Morfran managed to make a deal with Esmeralda. She wanted knowledge and he offered it to her. Taliesin, Morfran's half brother, served as a druid for King Arthur after Merlin. It follows that Morfran was probably also a druid. Who else would've taught Esmeralda druidic rites?"

I leaned forward, playing Devil's Advocate to make sure we looked at this through all angles; a child's life was at stake here. "Okay, but to what purpose? Why go through all that trouble?"

"I don't know," Kate answered rubbing at her chin. "If you were a god, what would you want?" She picked up the tea pot and filled Aunt B's cup before doing the same for her own.

"Life," Raphael said.

"I'm sorry?" Kate asked. I looked up at him, pretty sure I knew what his point was but curious to see if I was right.

"I would want life. All they do is look down on us from wherever that exist but they never get to take part. Never get to play."

A good guess but impossible. "It doesn't work like that," I said looking back to Kate. "Post-shift theory says a true deity can't manifest in our world."

"You see reports of deities all the time," Raphael said reaching for my shoulders to massage them again. I leaned into his hands a bit but not so much as to give him ideas.

"Those aren't actual true deities. They're conjurer's constructs, wicker men for their imagination. Basically magic molded into a certain shape. They have no sense of self." I took a sip of tea before continuing.

"First, most people imagine their deity within some magical realm. I mean, what worshiper pictures Zeus strolling down the street with a thunderbolt under his arm? To manifest on Earth would require independent will on the part of the deity. That's a pretty big hurdle right there. Second, deities run on the faith of their congregations like cars run on gasoline. The moment the magic ebbs, the flow of faith cuts off. No juice, no powers. Who knows what would happen to a god? They could hibernate, they could die, they could be jerked out of existence. The magic is simply not that strong and the shifts are too frequent for a deity to appear…"

"Unless she does it during a flare," Kate said in a quiet voice that echoed off the kitchen walls.

I opened my mouth to argue but closed it with a click.
Damn.
masterofgunfu: (A-maaaybe)
[OOC: All dialog from Kate's reappearance onward is taken from Magic Burns, pg 102.]

I stared into the mirror as I slowly changed myself back to my beast self. My eyes teared a bit though I blinked them back. I didn't want to die and wasn't so sure this was the form I wanted to die in if it came to that. Hell, I wasn't even sure which was the real me. I had fought so hard for the human me to be the truth but the beast me kept coming back.

A knock interrupted my thoughts and Aunt B's voice came through the door. "I've made some tea, child, and I think we should talk."

Great, I thought. I knew what this talk was going to be. Join our pack, we have great benefits. I'd have to say, "No thank you" and she'd insist. If the Beast Lord didn't kill me, she'd do the job for not being a good little girl and accepting her "offer".

I opened the door and followed her to the kitchen. She gestured to a seat at a round table with a nice tea service laid out. Aunt B poured, herself first as befit her status as Alpha and then me. I lifted the cup to take a sip. This wasn't as easy as it sounded since I was in beast form and had a muzzle; hyenas don't have lips like humans.

We stared at each other. The simple fact was, I couldn't join her clan or the Pack. I was a knight of the Order and my first loyalty had to be the Order. To be in the Pack meant my first loyalty had to be the Pack. I hoped this conflict of interest wouldn't ever come to bit me in the ass. Of course, I likely wouldn't have to worry about that since I'd likely be dead once Kate told the Beast Lord about me. And still Aunt B and I  stared at each other, not sure where to start.

We were saved from ourselves by Kate coming back. I froze, my hour at hand. "How did it go?"

"With what?" Kate asked distracted by something.

Aunt B sighed. "She wants to know if Curran's coming to kill her."

"Oh. No, he isn't interested in murdering you. Believe me, right now you're the least of his problems."

I exhaled. Some big, bad-ass knight I was.

"Please tell me there is coffee," Kate begged walking to the table with a big stack of books.

Aunt B grimaced. "They're already crazy. If I let them have coffee, they'd be bouncing off the walls. We have herbal tea."
masterofgunfu: (Default)
Wow, I so did not expect the level of interest and so this has gotten more complex that anticipated! To head the beast off at the pass, I'm opening this up for dialog and organization. I am also including players and their journals for behind the scenes arrangements and plotting.

Confirmed Players:
Andrea ([personal profile] masterofgunfu )
Poins ([personal profile] poins )
Michael ([personal profile] luvs_yogurt )
Tyler ([personal profile] basic_powers )
Lohengrin ([personal profile] knightoftheswan )
Urquhart ([personal profile] scots_wolf )
Teja ([personal profile] ostro_goth )
Konoata ([personal profile] konatatheotaku )
Jack ([personal profile] againsttherules )
Alfred ([personal profile] battle_butler )
Voodoo ([personal profile] boston_bruiser )

Possible Players:
A pup of [personal profile] sdelmonte 's ( I will update when I have confirmation)
Jack Bauer ([personal profile] trigger_man )
Sariel ([personal profile] visible_sariel )

Possible guest appearances:
Teresa of the Faint Smile
Clare

So this leaves us with a confirmed number of 8 players and a possible of 14 later this evening. This means we have enough to set up teams. Also, Andrea is unfamiliar enough with this game that she didn't have an objective in mind, just a timed, shoot as many people as you can type of thing. Do we want to switch to a capture the flag arrangement or something more organized?

ETA: So we have 11 confirmed and likely 12. I vote we split into three teams of four and play last man standing, i.e. elimination and the team with the last man standing wins the round. Michael has already volunteered to lead one team, do we have any other volunteers? Once we have team leaders, do you want to pick your teams or should I  just assign them? I f we go with picking, I say Michael gets first pick and then whomever volunteers next gets second pick and so on.

On second thought  and with how folks are tagging, I think we'll stick with the free-for-all this time. I think it's fair to say there is enough interest that we can run future games with more organized planning.
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