Board Writing :: Aftermath: The Prologue :: Page 4
"Vincent, where your friend? I was going to kill you three" she glanced at Ever, "two," she quickly looks around for her meddlsome ex,"he isn't here either-so he could see just what he has done to me."
"I don't suppose that you'd let us go and just tell him-"Vince started, but abruptly ceased talking as a fist full of titanium came flying his way. The pyromancer hit the dirt and scooped up a handful of gravel which he flung at the metal clad mistress. Like lightning, Maria's arms moved infront of her rapidly, deflecting the miniture meatorites in random directions, at which point everyone hit the dirt.
"Maria, vatch vat you are do-ving!" crabbed Gunter as he put out the fire in his trousers with a chill.
Recovering quickly, Ever turned to Vincent. "Seems like she can still move her arms, but I doubt that she can still shoot electricity like her old better ones." Catching on, Vince continued to throw stones at Maria, who felt the need to show of and blast them out of the sky. "Hey try this one!" encouraged Ever after he threw his rod. Nonchalantly, Maria blasted it, even more so when it kept on coming. She blocked it with her arms which conducted the power surged back into her, taking her out. "Feedback is a bitch ain't it?"
"I told you it vas a bad idea." Gunter snapped at Doc. "Let's get this dealt vith ourselves." The mountain of a man stampeded towards the duo....
"So why do you want this book?" Questioned Jules to Tanner as they walked away from the rubble.
"Well, the orginization that Vincent and I work for wanted it."
"Why? I mean what did the Thanox plan to do with the book?"
Tanner adjusted his "borrowed" shades. "Not entirely sure."
"-and what does your organization plan to do with it?"
"Not too sure either."
Jules stops walking. Rubbing his new scar. "Then give me the book. Who is to say that your organization doesn't have the same intentions as Thanox and just want to beat them to it? Worse comes to worse I could destroy it I have I figured out just what it said."
Tanner laughed. "Even if I did, you couldn't open it-"
"Why not, I did it before," he takes the book from Tanner and begins to open it "See! I-MOVE!" Jules tackles Tanner out of the growing shadow which is quickly replaced with a large rock that had exploded from the forsaken rubble.
"What in the name of hel?" started Tanner, as the boulder cracked open to reveal the unconscious Sasha. "How she worked that little trick, i'd certainly like to know, looks like flying a plane without any windows." Jules begins to put down the book to go heal her when Tanner grabs him. "What are you doing? Don't get the book close to her."
"She is in bad shape, I know that she is a cold bitch, but she is only following orders as a pawn in this, this, what is this anyway?" Try as he may, Jules could not free himself from Tanner's calm but firm grip, at least in the state he was in at the moment.
"I'm not going to let you get close to her with the book, she might be tricking us. If you are gonna do anything, hand over the book and I'll wait further away. What's the problem?"
"No."Jules replied, eyes firm.
"I don't believe this, is happening. Jules! What are you getting at?"
Never faulting in his resilience, Jules waited for the perfect oppurtunity to get to Sasha. He watched Tanner closes, and as soon as the maniac's eyes blinked, he unleashed a quick elbow to the gut with all his might -- which, in reality, was not much at all -- and took off running after a quick stumble to the ground. Tanner just looked up, gripping his stomach, grinning devilishly.
The healer crashed into the debris, tripping over odd parts of roof and wall, next to the earthern witch. Her suit was in tatters, more red than anything else. He smoothed a mess of matted hair from her forehead calmingly and held her hand in his, as he was on the rebound although far out of his league.
"Hey," he whispered. She stirred. From beneath cracked lenses, Sasha's eyes quivered. She turned, finding it was Jules stooping over her.
"What are you doing?" she squeaked, slightly unsettled by this turn of events.
"Don't worry," Jules assured, "I am here to help." A gentle glow surrounded his hand as he hovered it above Sasha's many wounds.
"You... you would heal me?" she managed, still weakly. "Even after everything we have done to you?" Her eyes filled with water; a lone, rolling tear that escaped from beneath her glasses cleared a path of dust and grime from off a swarthy cheek.
"What did you think I was going to do?" Jules responded. "You're hurt too badly." Sasha stared straight up at the healer, lightly swaying her head from side to side.
"Not nearly as hurt as you are going to be." A column of stone sped over the prone geomancer, crushing Jules into a nearby pile. Letting out a wincing giggle that hurt as she did (but would have hurt her more if she didn't), she lifted up on a rising wall of earth. She lerched forward when under her own power again, still no where close to her full strength, loosing the broken spectacles from her head. No longer hidden was an intent look of malice that burned in her eyes focused on her attempted aid.
"Tanner," wheezed Jules whose chest could hardly move. It did not matter, for his ally was already well off on his way. He was left alone with the stone-hearted Sasha, and all he could do was keep himself from dying to live for more suffering at her hands. "You really are a cold bitch." While feigning a kiss the healer's way, she took a few, shaky steps toward Jules and slipped her hand into the narrow crag. When she emerged, she was holding the tome.
"Dumb kid," she demeened, exitting from the rubbled hole. "Next time, just stick to healing yourself." Before leaving entirely, she glanced back at Jules over her shoulder. Touching two fingers between, she formed a crystalline band over her eyes. "Gotta run, hun. Thanks for the gift, tho'," she teased, filled with a new sense of confidence at all the attention she had been receiving recently.
A partially remaining column was entirely destroyed in one fell punch. Vince had been able to dodge the fist, but not the icy shards that exploded from the pillar. Ever had his hand busy fending off the even larger opponent, which was proving quite trying for the cursed one as his powers were not yet back in full from his earlier, miraculous display. Doc single-handedly lifted the ancient by his waist and hoisted him into the air; he would have been crushed if not for the armor he donned. Although it would soon prove useless, a well placed shot tore through the massive limb, flinching the giant enough to release Ever to a round landing.
Vin spun the chamber of his revolver; his rounds dwindled, and Firebrand faired no better. Holstering his pistol and stashing his newly acquired weapon true to its origins -- at his pant waist -- Vince took to his magickal training, which was proving a dead-match against the frost giant. The Fireslinger would erupt in a ball of flame, consuming all but what hid behind a sub-zero defense just as Gunter's most chilling assaults were reduced to a steamy gust against his searing shield.
Maria was still out of the game; the match of immortals proved a most frivolous fight. Witts were the pyromancer's best weapon in this battle. He scorched a path behind Ever met with an onslaught of icicle missiles as it the wall of flame traveled. Pressed to the limit of the burning barrier, Ever only looked up to the half-cocked grin that grew of the Doc's face as he raised both fists above. A tortured seeming overcomed the ancient; the whites of his eyes widened. His back arched. He screamed into the night. The pinpoint glow in the middle of the armor of Samael that at first puzzled Doc completing the crush exploded into a torrent of flame. His eyes grew back soon enough to catch a glimpse of a kneeling Vincent, poised for attack, through a closing hole in Ever's body.
"Did you have to do that?" croaked Ever, clutching his abdomen.
"Probably not," is all he had to say for himself.
Realizing that he had been chasing a fiery phantasm, an angered Gunter, returned his attentions to his charred comrade. Vin more than anticipated this charge, growing a sphere of flame in a hidden palm behind his back. It all went awry when his arm was restricted from throwing the spell by a chain that snaked around him. Ever rammed his shoulder into the approaching foe, still in too much pain to do much else. With Gunter taken care of for the moment, Vince turned to find the foe he more than expected -- Sasha.
"Three against two?" he posed. "That's not very fair."
"Shut up and die." She ripped the chain back with the strength of stone; the mage tangled at the business end nearly dislocated his shoulder but instead escaped with a only a face full of rubble. With a commanding rise of her free hand, a large slab of sheet rock flipped up and crashed down toward the fiery gunman. He rolled from out under the attack, back onto his feet, and into a run around the girl. Her attacks where just not fast enough, always striking just in his wake.
He built up temperature, trying to melt off the chain, but with the unfortunate side-effect of molten metal on his skin. Fortunately for him, the links soon burst apart in an orangish dust.
"About time you got here, Tanner," Vince noted to his ally, recognizing his friend's magick.
"What, you dinna think I'd miss out on this fun, didja?" he cackled in response. Sasha sent over a stern stare for the damage done to her weapon. "Dig the new specs," he noticed with a sly smirk.
Ever, limping away from the persuing Gunter, was confronted by the already regenerated Doc. With one hand, he crushed Ever's head, who retaliated by exploding his platemail into an array of metallic spires, piercing the brute multiple times through. Doc flung Ever aside, screaming as the spikes tore from his flesh, rolling the ancient to the feet of his allies. When he recovered to his feet, three and three stood in ranks on either side of the field. Then, the rain started.
"You take the Doc," Tanner told Vince. "I havna a chance to rumble with Frosty yet." He pumped his Winchester and went off at Gunter. A double blast was quick to seperate the cryomancer from his group. With a wave of his hand, the rain was transformed into a cascade of daggers. After first blood, Gunter built his drenched suit into a freezing armor. He swung at Tanner an icy gauntlet, connecting but doing little to phase his deranged assailant. He just smiled through the blow and forced his hand up, whirling a puddle to drill up at Gunter.
Ever still felt like crap, but that was not any different from usual. He swatted Sasha aside with his cane, shattering the solid defenses summoned by the girl. She looked back with fury from the ground, ripping wide a pit beneath Ever's feet. He saved himself from the fall for a time by thrusting his cane into the earth, which the witch was quick to compromise. Content with her enemy's defeat, she turned back to the one remaining, just a little too soon.
A swirl of debris rose from the open grave in a billowing, black cloud. Loose pages of lost books clumped together in the wet air, eventually forming two large, flat masses. All sorts of crumbled construction formed the frame of a twisted avian that surged from the pit carrying Ever by his one arm. He was released and fell to a float over the mouth of the abyss which now bubbled over with a pool of hot pitch, spilling out to the geomancer's feet. The froth burst off into a tiny, tarry swarm that attacked the woman in droves. She felt their searing bite as their bodies melted on her skin, unable to stop the entire droves they attacked in.
Vince twice tilted his head, cracking his neck for the battle ahead. He refused to believe any foe unstoppable; he just needed to find a weakness, the one part Doc could not heal. He began with a blazing round square into his chest, but it did little to slow the giant's advance. A flurry of percision shots took of his arm, but it grew back soon enough to deliver a cruel pounding to the pyromancer. Vin lept over the Doc, planting the final three rounds of the mugger's gun into his foe's brain and spine; his failure was apparent when the five, small, metal clanks on the rubbled floor could be heard over the rain. A bear hug squeezed the breath and a burning defense from out of Vincent. The doctor's grip did not loosen, but the disappearing flesh made room enough for him to slip out only to be buffeted by the now exposed bone in Doc's arms.
He sprawled out onto the ground. The rain washed clear his face as he looked back up from the mud to meet a crushing boot. Even blinded, Vince let loose the power of his explosive pistol, enough to shatter Doc's hip. He stumbled off-balance, attempting to grapple with the leg that was healing lame. Doc just tore it from the socket; a new one would be better. Vince opened the pistol to run a swift count of his ammo. Swift it was with only one bullet left. He knew he would pay dearly for it later, but saw little other choice now.
"Hey Doc," he called out, never loosing that smug ring to his voice, "tell me, can ya come back if there is nothing left of you to come back from?" He threw a super-heated revolver into the doctor's face; it was the best use it had now. While Doc rubbed gunmetal from his eye sockets, Vince took to his feet and ran his hands down his black coat, opening four pocket's down its length. "Fuel to the fire," he muttered, throwing up two revolvers. "Weapons of war," next passed his lips as he produced two, brilliant carbuncles from the next set of pockets that steamed in the rainfall. He crossed his arms, uttering "Irony of justice," pushing aside the chamber of each gun, showing themselves to be empty; it was not conventional ammo he ever used for them, but rather the gems that slid into the apperatures with ease.
Finally, he brought up trusted Firebrand between the other two weapons that seemed to suspend themselves in air. His eyes burst open, flowing with a red energy. "Father of Law," he chanted. A pentagram traced the ground surrounding him, raising an emblazened wall around him. It parted and was readily absorbed into his sidearms. A burning bridge connected the three weapons, growing a final flame vertically from the center gun. Doc cleared his vision soon enough to see his fate, standing amid a pillar of light cast down from parted clouds.
He squeezed the trigger. From the center of the burning crux, Firebrand grew an energetic sphere to each branch. A brilliant beam launched out, wide enough to consume the whole girth of the Doc. The display had undoubtably attracted the attentions of the other combatants, but all there was to be seen now was white. When the flash died down, only Vincent was seen, surrounded with three guns, lying in a swath that fumed in the rain.
"Our vendetta can wait," growled Sasha, still covered in pitch that the rain refused to remove. "We've got what we came for." What she really meant is that they stood no chance.
"You don't have the book," challenged Ever, who tried to tell himself that Jules was trustworthy enough to keep it safe, but a revealing by the witch confirmed what he already knew.
"I knew that Jules couldn't be trusted," scoffed Tanner, "so I guess it is a gud thing I swiped it from him." A disbelieved Sasha grew a blank expression as she looked to the tome in her possession; its authenticity was revealed as the cover easily swung open.
"Why did you have to tell them that?" attacked Ever.
"Can't let'cha get us inta all da trouble," responded the ally with a wink. Ever showed his approval of his reasoning with a harsh stare. Behind him, Gunter charged in for a grapple, but Tanner just flicked his wrist backwards, sending the Russian back in a stormy gale. The contentment at such an easy defeat was soon lost on the combination wizard, who began to choke on his own breath. He soon collapsed, with no apparent reason in sight, yet.
Beating rain struck out a distant shape that could easily be determined as a man in a top hat. A sickly wisp of vapor trailed from the tear in his otherwise impeccable suit. With his opposite hand, Canydman clutched close the fabric that now turned in color.
"Do you see what happens when you ruin my garments?" questioned the apothecary, approaching the fallen Tanner. He pressed a shoe, that kept its pure shine despite the rainy conditions, against the fallen's body, causing the maniac to moan a slight. "Where is the fun if the fight is out of them before they even see me?"
"What are you doing back?" asked Sasha, hopeful that she was free of him for at least the moment.
"You should already know the answer to that, doll," Candyman responded with his typical smile. "The tome is far too powerful for me to abandon now." He bent over to retreive the tome from Tanner. He held the tome close to his face and adjusted his spectacles, grinning even more. The apothecary cast down the tome to a patch of ground he turned dry with hardly a thought. Reaching into his suit, he produced a small, red vial. Before opening it, he eyed to each of his sides to ensure that neither side made any move; although nonlethal, Tanner was enough of an example to keep them at bay. The only one who stirred was Jules, freed from his prison by the softening rain and now tending the badly injured Vince.
"It all ends here." He slanted the vial over the resting tome. Its contents poured carefully onto the cover, spreading out evenly to coat the book in a layer of red. His face contorted as he tried to contain his maddened bliss, but he gave in, filling the dark sky with his laughter. When his returned his attentions to the tome, it turned volatile; flames lept from out of it. The whole thing smouldered into a black, ashen pile.
Jules gulped. Surely, Candyman would realized that he had been duped again at such a reaction to the potion. Jules knew neither Sasha nor Tanner could be trusted with the tome, and so left a fake himself for Tanner to switch. Now, his farce was exposed.
"And it is done," echoed the Candyman, standing vigil over the destroyed book. He tipped his hat with his free glove and set out away from the others, who did not know how to react.
"You... you destroyed it?" Jules spoke up, making himself known to the others. "But... you're not good. You're evil." The Candyman stopped long enough to respond, although he did not bother to even look back.
"Child, I do not know good and evil," the apothecary narrated, "just what I want to do and what I have to do." Then, he started his departure once more.
"Joo vere supposed to recover da Tome for us," an incited Gunter called out.
"It is still there," the Candyman called back while motioning his hand back in response, never breaking his steady pace. "Have at it."
"Candyman," a delirious Vince mumbled, "he destroyed the Tome?"
"No," whispered Jules in a low voice. "I have the real one right...
"You're foolishness surpasses the point of amusement," Candyman stated, pivoting around while his feet remained flat on the ground. "It nears disgust." After all of the deceit and lies and book switching, Jules had ruined it all by risking the Candyman's hearing ability. The white dressed man advanced on Jules with single filed steps. "I would have been satisfied in the Tomes destruction alone," he explained while he lifted up a hand. Tanner, having strained himself to aim his shotgun found the trigger to be dysfunctional as the chambers became dampened. "But, now, I 'twill mean nothing more to me if you are erased as well." Above his head, a bubble began to swell in size, filling with waters. Jules was petrified as the fiend came closer. Samael feared this man, one without fear of death. What hope could anyone else have against such a foe. The answer was apparently some.
"Ever, what are you doing?" cried Vince as a weakened and sore Samael hobbled in between the apothecary and his prey. "You can't-"
"Can't," Ever agreed, "but will, Vince. Now get the hell out of here." Throughout their insightful conversation, the ancient never took his barely opened eyes off the smiling man. He had faith in Jules, and it seemed as though he delivered. Despite his incompetencies, Samael knew he was worth protecting. What did he have to fear from the Candyman, anyway? His touch was death, thus fate would never allow such an outcome. He ran the gambit of countless years of suffering, but with his arm now far past the point of reattachment and hole through his body, pain could not get far worse. Vince and Tanner, healed by Jules, took to foot, getting as far away from the area as possibly. Those in Thanox followed closely, not wanting the Candyman or the agents with the Tome.
"You must really hate yourself," the gaunt man informed. "Do you really want it to end like this?"
"I just want it to end," the old man returned, grasping his cane with his only arm. Resting his own cane against his shoulder, the Candyman saluted his opponent with a tip of his hat before he brought him misery. Lifting his staff into the orb that had continued to grow above him, it segmented into a multitude of smaller spheres. Uniformly orbiting his body, they passed by the rip in his suit a number of times, turning solid black at the first revolution as they absorbed his lethal essence. The dark beads raced from their circular path to Ever who tossed his arm, the lost one, at the speeding balls, seeing it fester and burn to nothing but sickly bone. Raising his hand, a purple haze drifted into the battlefield. Beams from the razed building twitched, bending and forming into a shambling mass. He had no time for aesthetics and sent the inorganic creation at the hatted man. The mess of metal enveloped the tiny man, closing up its many openings before spinning wildly to bore itself into the earth. The ground itself seemed to turn putrid in color as the Candyman jetted forth from the soil on a stream of water. Ever was hoping that would buy him a little more time than it did. He still needed more time. Too soon had he taken heavenly power in his body. His mortal frame could not take the strain of the sheer power just yet. It would be a long before he could summon that might again. Days was the least amount of time he had waited before. He feared if he did not wait, something may happen, something worse than death.
"That parlor trick was not as amazing as I've heard your capable of, Samael," Candyman mocked, still up high, as a wisp of droplets made his suit pristine once more. "Is something the matter? Do you need a nap before we continue?" A grumble was the most he could incite from the old man. "So be it." The peak of his boost met, the slim man crashed down to Ever with his walking stick raised.
"How do you think he's faring?" question Tanner as he jogged a slow pace, still not fully recovered.
"I'd assume well," responded Vince, struggling with his steps the same. "We have yet to see the Candy-" Before his words could finish, a body was hurtled overhead, crashing into a building that did stand much further down at the end of the street, now just rubble. The debris shattered as an elderly man broke from the pieces. Another body flew overhead, in a soaring bound, garbed in shining white. Trailing him were several tainted globes of water. As the barrage was unloaded, Ever held out his hand, erecting a wall of mist. As the balls passed through, their course became lost, causing them to crash into buildings at random. Taking a sip from bottle already at his hand and half drained, the apothecary sped forward, planting a gloved fist into Samael's chin, rocketing him to roof of some deprecated structure. Knowing that he would not want them to stay by the battle, they deflected their course, still pursued by those of Thanox. Jules, being dragged by the two agents in order to keep up with their fleet movements, lazily lifted his head. His eyes caught the rising peak of something he felt strangely drawn towards.
"Guys," Jules uttered, vaguely pointing a finger, "there. Let us go this way."
"What? What's there?" Tanner questioned. "Do you know this place?" Jules never answered but hastened his step, surpassing the two well trained operatives with a new found energy. The building he led them to stood apart from the others, not physically but in appearance. High points stood on its top rather than a flat roof. Its windows were tall and thin. Amidst the many colors stood portraits of men long since passed. Following his heart, he climbed the cluttered stairs to the large doors that parted before him, eagerly accepting his entry. Vince and Tanner, who had grown more than a few paces behind, failed to breech the stairway. In full sprint, they both felt as though they were slammed into a solid wall.
"What the hell was that?" Tanner demanded after they had been thrown back by some force, rubbing his sore nose. Vince examined the situation, slowly reaching out his hand. The air shimmered before it, forming an invisible barrier that pushed against him with the more force he applied. His eyes raised, first to the landing at the top of the stairs where Jules stood inside a large chambers with a man in robes. The elder gave both of the agents a stern stare through the narrowing part in the doors as the closed.
"A Collar," Vince pondered, "Was that man a Collar?" His answer came as his eyes drew higher. A great rood stood on the center peak of the building, shining like a beacon among the human wasteland.
"Vince," Tanner spoke up, "what is this place?"
"A haven for the innocent," the Father answered Jules, whom had asked the same question. "You need not have any worries while here, young one. We are quite safe. Those two sinners shall not bother you within these walls."
"Two sinners?" Jules thought. "No, sir! Those two were not chasing me, they are-" his words never did reach the priest's ears as he mind was consumed with thoughts of ire.
"Those sinners, bring their war to our streets, ruining our neighborhood," he grumbled. Catching himself in a Deadly Sin, he turned to one of just many roods hung on the wall and performed a quick prayer for penitence. "Their devilry will not bother us within the sanctuary, young one, do not fret. We are shielded by the great one from their wicked ways." The boy was a slightly puzzled as to what the Collar meant until entering the ceremonial room. Its ceiling stretched high as the room was enormous and empty. The chanting that occurred reverberated throughout. Fifty woman dressed in full, black dresses that covered them from head to foot kneeled in a circle about a standing figure of old, course wood arranged with two beams crossing each other. In there hands were loops of string adorned with wooden beads. Their words were not in unison but rather each one slightly off set from the other. More of the black gowned woman walked about the church floor, returning from or heading to various tasks. Some would approach the circle, immediately replacing any who had finished their way through the many beads. From out the circle pulsed an aura, white and pure.
"You see, my lamb," the Father continued, "we are watched over. Only the innocent are allowed within these walls, only the things of goodness. Not even their devil's magick can pierce these walls. You are safe, now. Safe from everything."
"Safe," Jules spoke, unsure if he knew what the word meant anymore. A smile grew on his face. He pressed the Tome firmly against his body. He would be safe here. Everything would be safe here.
"It's no safe here!" screamed Tanner as the Thanox Corporation thugs caught up with them.
"I don't think that needed pointed out," declared Vince, lighting his hands on fire only to see their flame fade away. He turned he head slightly back, looking at the church, and scowled.
"That's not what I meant," Tanner explained, further expounding his statement with a skybound point of his hand. A battered figure crashed down from the sky, being ridden by the gaunt man. He struck Ever in his sealed wound, smashing him between his heels and the shimmering protective dome of the Sanctuary. Flipping off the badly beaten ancient, the gent stuck a perfect landing in the cleared out location, as none wished to be in the contaminating presence.
"What have we here?" The Candyman wondered, raising a gloved finger to his smiling chin in wonder. "Some unseen force?" Samael, wailing in pain, slid from the spectral barrier, his back smoking. Struggling, he turned his head about to gaze upon the holy building only to have his eyes stricken. Blood poured from his face as he clasped his wound. "What's the matter?" the apothecary mocked. "Your old friend isn't glad to see you?" Grabbing what little hair was on his head, he lifted Ever from the ground with a single hand. "Now then, if you'd be a good boy and stay still," he begged, "I can give you your medicine." His spare hand returning from inside his jacket, it carried out a long, slender dagger. No, it was no dagger, it was a vial, thin and conical. It was topped by a strange figure, almost like a locust. Busting the bottom of the vial over Ever's head, for the most precious contents within was given no lid, he whispered a cryptic message. "Abaddon sends his regard." With that, he drove the broken glass deep into where Samael should have had an arm and the eternal one let loose a most ungodly wail of pain as the hellish venom set to work. He felt the sin of ages burn in his flesh, his mind and body writhed in torment. Ever screamed until his lungs grew to weary to carry them, but the pain was still there and growing worse. The distantly spaced onlookers now uncovered their ears to see the Candyman dropping Ever to wipe a tear from his eye. "That was beautiful."
"Samael! What's wrong with him? What's happened?" Tanner, in panic, grabbed and violently shook Vince, expecting answers he knew he could not be given. Vince cast worried eye at his fallen ally, contorting in pain unimaginable.
"I don't think there's anything we can do," he grimly brought into realization. "If his touch would have sufficed, Candyman would have utilized that over some potion. If a healer could not save someone from his bane, what chance would one stand against something so carefully sealed?" Tanner did not wish to accept it although he knew it to be true. There was nothing that could save Ever from the pain. "At least he succeeded. He held off the Candyman long enough to get the Tome safe."
"Safe?" the striped man overheard with his sharp ears. Looking at the church, he nodded. Rapping his cane on nothing, he encountered physical resistance. "Ah, yes, yes. A holy wall. That would be quite a 'safe' place to hide something of such value from one such as myself." Running his finger down his cane, he thrust his fist into the wall of force. From within the building a woman could be heard screaming.
"What happened?" Jules asked, dashing into the main room. The Collar was tending on of the woman of the circle who had fainted suddenly.
"I... I don't know," he admitted. "She just-" Another nun was overcome by the evil of their attacker and collapsed. Quickly, the woman postponed their chores of the compound to replace the rapidly dwindling numbers.
"This was more fun than I could have ever thought," Candyman thought aloud with glee as he merely tapped the boundary with a single finger to incapacitate one of the wall's builders, his fingertip being met with an unsurpassable amount of resistance from the barrier. As he disposed of nuns, he felt something weakly at his pant leg. Still persisting in his removal of prayers, he looked down to see Samael blindly grabbing at his pant leg. Not even finding him worthy enough of his words, he swatted away the hand with his cane, returning to his business.
"We canna let this happen," insisted the Blade Master, enraged by own their futility.
"What do you suggest we do? We cannot even get close to that ... that abomination without him affecting us," the Fireslinger reminded. A gathering storm stood herald to their doom. Candyman let loose a wicked laughter as the shining barrier began to falter.
"'Twon't be much longer now," the apothecary stated.
"stop." Barely, the Candyman did not even think he had heard the command. Angrily, he went to see who had the audacity or foolishness to confront him. He did not have time to see much as a quivering hand clutched around his head, pressing a rod against it, crushing his hat and breaking the brim over his eyes. What he did see, shortly, was an old man barely able to stand, blood dripping from every orifice on his face, his skin peeling. Frantically clawing at his arm, he repeatedly asked how it could. Never answering, Samael lifted the Candyman from the ground, only to drop him and lift him again. He carried out this process a few times, words barely escaping his lips. Feeding the pain, his voice rose higher, defying the toxin's work. His voice rang clear as he lifted the gaunt gent over his body and into a shaft of blackening light.
"... he can't," Vince whispered, recognizing the origin of the words, then raising his voice to a scream. "No! You can't!" It was already too late, however, as the incantation had already begun and the cane already began to glow. The heaven's roared with disapproval as lightning clashed in the sky. The poison seeping from the Candyman made little difference on Ever in his present state. Nothing mattered to him right now. He saw no consequences to his actions. He only saw the one result, the end. Gurgling blood from his red stained lips, the final words were spoken.
Grant me now, this final hour.
Give to me that I may smite.
Unto me, the greatest power.
Unto me, your heavenly might.
A grand stroke of lightning illuminated the black shrouded surroundings as it cast down the shadow of the Church's rood over Samael as he drove down his fist, as he had done with the just the cane before, holding his stick and the Candyman's head, into the center of the shadow, erupting the earth as the shade seemed to gain mass, pressing down the ground. A shockwave tore through the city. The whole city. Windows shattered, the foundation of buildings was shook as the weaker ones gave way, and, the old organ in the church unleashed a most striking cord as the air was forced through its pipes. A deep scar of the black cross stained the ground, much deeper than before. The Candyman laid almost still, twitching a little, from within this hole. Ever remained kneeling by him, his hand still grasping still onto his head and the now war hammer. He, however, was motionless.
"... Samael?" Vince advanced a few steps, still making sure to stay away from the toxins. Smiling, Ever stood up and approached his allies, with abnormal ease. He looked back at the Church, wondering why, after all the had to done to them and all they had done unto him, that he would again fight by its side.
"Had you worried there for a bit," he spoke, his attention back off from the Church, "did I?" They paid no heed to him or his words, still staring at the apothecary.
"Samael!" Tanner cried out louder than his partner, a look of concern in his eyes. "He... he canna die, right?" The ancient was growing both confused and angered at their words.
"Tanner, I'm-" turning back to where he had struck the apothecary. He still remained there, kneeling, his body at least. Standing next to him, to both of them, was a dark, hooded figure.
"I... I thought he couldn't," Vince responded, not sure of what he was looking at. "Death was forbidden to claim his soul." The hooded figure, who seemingly escaped the sight of the two, shook his head as he drifted backwards into the darkness.
"No? ..." he whispered. "No, it can't be..." The scar in the earth trembled as the two bodies were swallowed within it, leaving only his hammer, Rood Smite, Wrath of God. "No," the word passed through his lips again.
Jules stood stunned inside the church. About 50 some women were scattered around unconscious, with only about 30 left praying at the figure powering the aura. He looked at the Collar who was attempting to tend to all the fallen women, as if asking for his interpretation of the incident.
“…There must have been an immense source of evil attacking the barrier” the Collar explained after thinking while working. “Only such immense power would be capable of doing this much damage.”
“So this place isn’t completely safe, then?” Jules asked, distraught.
“Not true. We can replenish our forces indefinitely and withstand any evil attack.” With this, the Collar began chanting some incantations. Moments later, a grand white light shined above all in the church. Then it split into many little pieces and each one pulsed into each of the unconscious women. One by one, all of them regained consciousness and immediately set back to work, either at the aura or at other tasks. Jules was dumbstruck upon witnessing this.
“Is this…healing magick?” he questioned.
“No, innocent one. This is white magick, the kind bestowed by the Church.” The Collar explained.
“Huh? I thought there were only 8 types of magick: Water, Ice, Lightning, Fire, Wind, Earth, Heal, and Curse…” Jules trailed off.
“Yes, those are the inherited magicks, the magicks that people are affiliated with upon birth into this world.” the Collar said. “But white magick is a bestowed type of magick.”
“Bestowed? How?” Jules asked.
“It is a secret” the Collar merely stated. “I must get back to work now. You are safe here, my lamb.” With that, the Collar left Jules to himself.
“Safe…” Jules repeated to himself. He looked at the Tome. Safety, to him, became a miracle. Since he had gotten involved with the whole business with the Tome, Jules had lost his sense of security. He had been knocked around so much that he didn’t know if he was going to pull through. But now, he could rest at peace. Nobody could pester him for the Tome inside the Church’s doors.
But what about his companions? Vince and Tanner couldn’t enter the Church because they were “sinners”. They couldn’t obtain the same peace that he had obtained. They were out there, in the line of fire from enemies.
(Oh well.) Jules thought. (They can handle themselves like they did before in sticky situations. And besides, if nobody can get to the Tome, then there won’t be a power struggle anymore.)
As much as he tried to console himself that staying in the Church was the right thing to do, a nagging thought lurked in the back of his mind. Ever was still relying on him to help break him from his curse. Jules remembered from his previous conversation with Ever his apparent trust in him.
“Jules…I’m trusting you.” That was what he had said before sending him off. Jules felt uncomfortable with himself, not knowing what was going on outside. They had only been acquainted with each other for a short time, and he already had trust in him from there? Jules could not bear the thought of leaving him behind to suffer. And yet, staying in the Church, while providing protection for himself and the Tome, left Ever out there, still depending on him.
“So…” Jules muttered to himself, “…it comes down to this decision. Should I just stay here and save myself? Or go outside into harm’s way to help my friends?”
Friends. That was the term Jules used. Upon realizing this, Jules realized that he was looking for friends in the three: Vincent, Samael, and Tanner. They had helped him out of trouble, and he was grateful. But was he going to leave them all?
“No.” Jules made up his mind. “I’m going back. Back to Vincent, Ever, and Tanner!”
With that, Jules approached the large doors of the Church…
Meanwhile, during Jules’ pondering, Vincent and Tanner were still staring at the spot where Ever was swallowed into the earth in disbelief. Their focus on that spot left them unprepared for what came next.
“Don’t move!” Sasha ordered as she summoned up an earth blade and Gunter an ice one, directed at both of them.
“Crap!” Tanner exclaimed.
“You people really are cold-hearted.” said Vincent bitterly.
“Shut up!” Sasha snapped. “We still want the Tome, so…” she trailed off.
The whole group heard from very far off, the sounds of police sirens mingling with helicopters.
“Looks like they’re getting careless.” Vincent commented. “Before, they’d ambush us.”
Rain started to fall hard as the squad cars raced to the next siting of the magick caster disturbance, but they stopped prematurely due to a woman in yellow standing in the middle of the street. "This is the bronze divison, we have you surrounded, you are under arrest for disrupting an investigation and J walking, put your hands in the air."
Uncaring, Maria complied, water soaking her top and skirt. She watched the streets flood from the sudden deluge. The first cop to touch her was blown back by the sudden surge, startling the entire police, and before they could react, the electricity hit them from every direction: the pool at their feet, their damp clothes, the rain itself. Nothing, not even the choppers were high or dry enough to escape the immense voltage as their flight systems burned out, sending the pilots and crew into a spiral of death. All the while Maria laughed as the squad convulsed. After the screams had drained from the long arm of the law all the sirens had popped and lights had fried their fuses, she walked in the direction the police where intially headed, leaving the steaming bodies and squad cars still, silent and dead in the middle of the pouring rain.
Standing outside of the holy barrier, the four elementists had started to flee, but paused as the rain and the sound of explosions carried to their ears, followed by an abrupt silence. "What the Hel?" commented Tanner who looked back at the origin of the silenced sirens. Maybe someone just blew up the last doughnut shop!" Tanner and Vince started laughing.
"Vy are they lauving?" Gunter stares at the two and turns to Sasha. "You don't suppose that they have a new agent on their side do you?"
"Speaking of which, where is Maria? If it is, should we try to take them out and then the third together or regroup at base?"
The Collar walked in front of the door, blocking Jules from leaving. "Not planning on leaving are you? You are safe here, my child, the evils of the world cannot harm you." Jules started to back away from the door, seeing the reason in the father's voice. Unnoticingly he tripped over a step, falling backwards and knocking the wind out of him. As he felt the pain, it seemed like a fog cleared, and Jules remembered that he had to get to Vincent and Tanner. "Are you ok my lamb?" asked the collar as the fog moved back in maybe you should lie down. Jules thought it was a good idea, but something seemed to be unright. After situated, he tried to activate his healing powers again. The fog lifted and he remembered his duty, but as soon as the collar walked by, the fog would return, to strong to fight and forcing him to forget about his power problem all together. However he did still have the tome, which he figured it was finally the time to open.
** There is still more to this story.
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