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Modern Mage Chapter 18
He stared into my eyes, grinding his teeth together. If the look he gave me before when I was sitting against the wall could have killed me, this new one would have don’t so and erased my entire ancestry from the world. He continued to sit there without speaking. I remained silent waiting for him to do the same. This particular battle of wills I had to win if we were going to get anywhere in this discussion beyond growling and threatening each other. He sat silent for an hour before finally saying anything.

“If you’re going to kill me get it over with. I’m not going to tell you anything you want to know.” The venom that filled his voice spoke volumes to me. He wasn’t angry at me, but at himself for the fact that he was alive. The only way for that kind of anger and hated to build in a person is survivor’s guilt. I may have been projecting from my past, but I had learned to trust my instincts and that’s what his anger felt like.

“If I wanted to kill you I could have accomplished that outside on the lawn while we fought. I offered to let you walk away before we fought and I intent to still do so once we’re done here unless you decide you want to stay.” Again I kept my tone even and friendly despite having a little anger at the fact that he tried to kill me. I simply stood and waited for him to respond when he was ready. While he sat quietly I walked across the room to the small fridge we kept down there and pulled out a couple of water bottles.

Sindee came back down the stairs while he was still sitting silently watching me. She smiled at seeing me up and moving until she saw that every inch of my exposed skin was a rapidly healing bruise. “Andrew, you need to sit and rest while you heal.”

“I’ll be fine, just need to chat with our friend here,” I smiled at her, hiding the pain I was feeling as best I could.

She walked over to a small closet we had down there and pulled out another chair and a small folding table. She placed them both right in front of our guest and turned to me. “Sit down before I sit you down,” she stated looking ready to do just that. She could do it and knew so as I wouldn’t raise a hand to her even if I had the energy to do so. So I complied with her wishes. After I sat down she continued, “Now if you will sit here and try to talk to our guest as you call him, I’ll take care of what needs to be done for now.” She stepped over behind him and untied his hands from behind him. She placed both of his hands on the table between us gently pulling up his sleeves. His hands and forearms halfway to his elbow were solid black. I shattered his bones when I hit them. Sindee made sure his legs and body were secured to the chair so he couldn’t move at attack before moving back to his wrists. I used what energy I had to connect with her she reached for her Avatar and started working with Life Magick. She carefully took one arm into each of her hands, focusing the Magick through them. I directed none of what she was doing, just lent the energy I had to her spell and watched as she brought the shattered boned back together as if they had never been damaged, reduced the swelling caused by the force of the impact, slowly and carefully repairing everything that was done so that when she completed the spell it would be as if he had never been injured in the first place. Once complete she stopped the flow of magick and took a deep breath. I had to do the same as I felt drained again. “Now, can you gentlemen talk without trying to kill each other or am I going to need to stay and intervene?”

Our guest whose name I still hadn’t gotten was just staring at his arms. I looked up to Sindee to see her smiling at the look on his face. “Thank you for taking care of me and our guest my love. I have more to tell you once he and I are done here.” She leaned down we kissed. Nothing in the world could have made me happier at that moment as it told me beyond a doubt that we were both still alive and I could still change the possible future.

I placed the two bottles of water on the table and opened one. I took a drink from it before looking at him and placing next to the other. “Help yourself to either one, there’s nothing wrong with them. No point in healing you just to poison you. As I said before, I have no intent to harm you.”

He looked to his arms and then to Sindee. He looked back and forth like this at least a dozen times before speaking up. “Thank you ma’am for taking care of my arms,” there was a hint of Irish in his voice but he either hadn’t lived there in a long time or never had a pronounced accent from growing up with family who had the same. He reached for the unopened bottle of water, took of the lid and gulped half of it down. Setting the bottle down, he looked back at both of us.

Sindee smiled at him and replied, “You’re welcome.”

He turned to me and his jaw tightened a little before speaking. “Thanks you for the water,” his tone was gruff and the muscles tightened in his jaw even more. “I was very thirsty and needed that.” He shoulders slumped and he hung his head like the statement cost him a lot to make.

While I could have gloated, it would have been petty and counter-productive in this situation. I am not saying that I’m never petty, everyone can be from time to time, but I wasn’t going to make the situation worse. “You’re welcome.” I turned to look and Sindee, “Would you do me a favor and bring something to eat down. I know I’m hungry after all that’s happened and I’m sure he is as well. Maybe some food while we talk would be good for all of us. I’d also like you to join us for the conversation whenever you want to.”

Sindee smiled playfully at me then turned to look at him, “Do you believe this? The man marries a doctor and expects me to be Suzy Homemaker. The nerve of some men,” she held a straight face for all of ten seconds before laughing and heading for the stairs again.

I turned to look at him again with a huge grin on my face, “Got to love that woman. Now, if I may ask, what’s your name?”

He looked me in the eyes, evaluating me I’d assume, before answering. “My name is Gabriel Roarke, you may call me Roarke if you’d like.”

“Ok Roarke, tell me why you came here intending to kill me please.”

“As I said outside, because you exist. Your kind is the biggest bane on humanity of all the supernatural creatures that exist.” He stated flatly.

“You said that you were here because I exist outside. What kind of supernatural creature do you belive me to be?” I asked, genuinely curious as to the reply.

“You are a Mage, Witch, Wizard or whatever you prefer to be called.”

“I am a Mage,” I replied flatly. “Witches, Wizards and others such practitioners are mortals who have found access to powers through potions and such. Mages are naturally gifted with our abilities.”

He didn’t look any happier with the explanation. “So you’re a Mage. The fact that you can use magic and ignore the laws of reality still makes you the most dangerous kind of supernatural being to all of humanity.”

“How so? I’ve never murdered a human. I haven’t broken the laws of society. I have killed vampires and their followers in defense of myself and my chosen friends and family. I’m no boy scout, but nor am I evil incarnate as you seem to believe. Why come after me specifically when I know there are humans out there who have been a bigger bane on humanity than I ever could be?” I didn’t raise my voice, didn’t argue, just pointed out the facts as I knew them.

“You expect me to just accept your word on this?” Roarke asked with an incredulous look on his face.

“No. I expect you to hear me out and discuss things like a civilized person. First point in my favor is the fact that you’re alive and healed.” He gave me a look like he was about to complain about being strapped to a chair but I continued before he could speak. “Yes you are still tied to a chair in my basement, but that is for my protection and that of my wife.” I took another sip from my water bottle. “You may not believe this, but just because the supernatural exists doesn’t mean we’re all out to destroy humanity. There are vampires of several types; most of them do not need to kill to feed. Some of them choose to do so; they are not people I consider friends or allies. Some of us try to protect humanity from other supernatural creatures and threats.”

“Why do you hide your existence from Humanity then?” was Roarke’s reply.

The question made me a little hopeful that we may be able to resolve this at least somewhat peacefully. “Because humanity isn’t ready to accept the existence of what’s truly out in the world. Before you try to persuade me otherwise, let me ask you a few questions and see if you’ll understand my reasoning.” He nodded and waited for me to continue. I settled on my first question rather easily, “How did you first find out that there were things in this world that most people don’t believe in?”

Roarke looked thoughtful, his eyes going distant as his mind shifted to the past, “It was about twelve years ago, I just turned fourteen and was running late getting back to the house from out in the pasture. The sun had already set and my house came into sight. All the lights on the lower floor should normally have been on by then, but I only saw the light in the main room through the window. My mother would normally have been in the kitchen making dinner by that time of night. I was a little concerned but figured she just had visitors in the parlor.” He looked down and stared at his hands while telling this story. “I really did think there was anything wrong. When I got closer I could see that the front door was hanging open off the lower hinge as well. I started to rush toward the door and caught myself before just running inside to whatever danger was there. I rushed around to the side of the house where we kept the fire wood and grabbed the axe we used to split it. I moved to the back door and tried the handle. The door moved open quietly as I kept the hardware oiled for my parents as part of my chores. I moved through the kitchen as quietly and quickly as I could. When I entered the living room my pa was lying on the floor. From what I could see blood was flowing across the hard wood from his neck. I couldn’t see the wound as it must have been under him.” Tears started to flow from his eyes. He kept his face down trying to hide the pain he was feeling. He was silent for a few minutes before he was ready to continue. I didn’t speak or move as not to break the mood, I think he needed to get this out as much for himself as anything else. “I must have stood there for what felt like forever when I heard a whimper and cry from up the stairs. The lights were out and I didn’t want to turn them on and warn anyone I was there. I climbed the stairs careful to make as little noise as possible. When I got to the top of the stairs I could hear the low crying coming from my parent’s room. I moved down the hallway as quickly as I could to the door that was cracked open. The curtains were open and the moonlight shone across the bed. There was someone on the bed with my mother. Her clothes were torn, shreds of cloth hanging off of her and the man had his mouth on her neck. There was blood all over her, the sheets, and the man as well. I knew he was hurting her and wanted to stop him. I rushed into the room to the bedside raising the axe as I went. I swung the axe at his back trying to cut his spine in two. He spun and caught my hand before it was even half way to him. He used his other hand to grab me by my neck and threw me across the room into the wall. I fell to the floor there and crumpled into a ball, my whole body ached from the force I hit the wall with. I heard my mother scream again right before I passed out.” He took a deep breath and fell into silence once again. The tears continued to fall and his body shook. I could see how hard this story was to tell and knew that whatever was next was the hardest part of the story for him to tell. I heard breathing behind me and looked over my shoulder. Sindee was standing there behind me, tears in her eyes and her hand on her heart.

I reached back and pulled her to me into a hug. I felt a little dampness on my cheeks as her body pressed against me. I guess I was more affected by his story then I thought I was.

He choked up a little as he opened his mouth to continue, “When I came to again I was tied to a chair at the dining room table. My sisters were all tied to chairs as well. I was the youngest and the only boy in my family. I had five older sisters, the youngest was sixteen and the oldest was twenty-four. The three oldest were visiting from college for the spring holiday. Since they weren’t there when I came if, I had hoped that they were out somewhere safe for the night. It was still dark outside the windows, so it was either that same night or the next. I started pulling at the ropes that held me to the chair when I saw them. The man stepped out of the living room into the dining room where I could see him. He wasn’t a man, and he was still covered in blood. He told me that I shouldn’t have interrupted his entertainment and because I did he wasn’t going to kill me, he had a special punishment in mind for me. He revealed his fangs to me right before plunging them into my oldest sister’s neck. I had read the stories, seen the movies, and heard the legends. I knew what he was; Vampire. He drank from her neck for a few minutes and I was sure he was going to kill each of my sisters in from of me as punishment for interrupting him. I only wish it had been that simple. He pulled away just as she seemed to be on the verge of dying. He licked the bit in her neck which closed the wounds before my eyes. He then bit into his own wrist and shoved it to her mouth tilting her head back. I was forced to watch as he did this to all of my sisters in turn. When he was done he turned to me, ‘There are several ways to kill vampires young man but only a few that I guarantee will do the job. Forget about the stake to the heart; that will only slow us down until it’s removed. Silver and Garlic are old wives tales. A cross or other holy symbols are useless without the faith of a true believer. Cut off the head, cut out the heart or better yet do both. Trap us in sunlight, but make sure there is nowhere for use to stay out of the direct light as even shadows can protect us. Those will work, there are some others that may work, but I’ll leave those for you to find for yourself if you live.’ He simply smiled at me; like this was the most fun he’d ever had before he continued. ‘Your sisters here will rise at dark tonight and they will be ravenous like wild animals as I gave then no more blood that was needed to make the turning. You have until then to escape your bonds and stop them if you want to live and not see them turn into killers.’ That monster then walked over to me, leaned over and bit me, taking blood until I passed out. I came to around late afternoon still lightheaded and sore from the previous night. I started struggling even harder, rubbing my wrists raw until they started to bleed. I finally managed to get the ropes to break an hour or so before sunset. I moved back to the living room, my father’s body was still there. I rolled him over to his back to see that his throat had been ripped out. I forced myself to climb the stairs up to my parent’s room to find my mother with bites, scratches and cuts all over her body. He left her on the bed with her clothing torn completely off, the remnants lying in tatters on the bloody sheets and floor. He legs spread open as if he just used her and left her there like she was garbage. There was blood on her face as well. I found the axe I had brought on the floor near where I landed when he threw me across the room. I picked it up and walked over to my mother’s body. I wanted to feel nothing, to just be numb, cold and unfeeling about it. I wasn’t able to. I used the axe to sever her head from her body and shoved it off the bed to the floor. I carried the axe down the stairs and severed the head from my father’s body as well. I did this because his face was covered in blood as well. I couldn’t tell if it was his or the creatures because he was face down in the pool of blood all night. While the sun was still up I went out to the barn and filled the gas can from the fuel tank we kept for the farm machinery. I took it inside and upstairs, spreading it in to all of the bedrooms and over my mother’s remains. I poured a trail down into the hall and down the stairs. I continued to spread it around the downstairs and over my father’s remains as well. By the time I completed all of this dusk was coming quickly and I could hear movement in the dining room. I walked in to see my oldest sister struggling to free herself from the chair, a look of hunger on her face as she stared at me, fang’s already showing. I grabbed the axe again and walked up behind her chair. I couldn’t look into her face, no matter what she had become, while I did what I had to do next. I swung the axe with all the force I could muster. The axe went into her neck and stopped about halfway through. She let out a howl like a wounded animal. Instead of just dying like anyone else would she kept screaming and fought harder to escape her bonds. I took another swing at her neck, aiming to the spine instead of the side. The axe bit into her flesh like trying to split a log. Once the spine was severed it slid through more easily separating her head from her shoulders. As my other sisters were starting to stir and move, I quickly went about taking their heads off as well.” He took another breath and slowly let it out before continuing, “After I finished doing that I grabbed the gas can and went to refill it. I brought it back in and used all of it in the dining room and kitchen pouring a trail out the door. I went back into the kitchen and blew out the pilots in the range and oven before turning the gas on full. I went back around to my father’s truck and pulled out a road flare. I took it around to the back of the house where trail of gas I poured led to. I lit the road flare and threw it into the gas through the kitchen door. The fire started and spread quickly as I walked around to the front of the house to watch it burn. I was standing in the yard in front of the house when the gas from the stove and range lit up. The resulting fireball blew out all of the windows covering me with scratches and cuts as the glass cut into and past me. Still I stood there and watched the house burn. I couldn’t move away and couldn’t just walk inside and let myself die with the rest of my family; it would have been a sin to do so. So I just stood there and watched. I don’t know how long I was standing there watching but I couldn’t move. At some point the Natural Gas main leading into the house was overheated and ruptured. The resulting explosion destroyed the house and sent me flying across the lawn where I landed hard and rolled into the street fronting the property. I passed out right there, unable to move, unable to think.” He just fell into silence at the end there.

I stood up and moved around the table, grabbing a knife from the cabinet behind him. I reached down and cut the ropes tying him to the chair. I know he tried to kill me, but after hearing what happened I couldn’t leave him in the chair. I know you’re thinking that the story could have been made up it isn’t easy to lie to a Mage as there is a simple beginning level spell that allows us to know if people are telling the truth. As soon as his ropes were removed Sindee stepped up and pulled him into a motherly hug. God should be blessed and honored for making women with hearts like Sindee’s. I may be younger than him but I stepped up and wrapped him into a hug, treating his as I would Marcus or any other person I’ve chosen to bring into my family.

After a few minutes we stepped back away from Roarke. “Roarke, you’re free to go if you want. I don’t want to have to fight you again so please leave the Las Vegas area if you choose to go now. I’d like however to continue our discussion when you’re ready. Either way I won’t stop you.” I held out my hand to him leaving the choice to him.

Sindee spoke up while he was thinking it over, “I’d like you to at least stay and eat before you go. You’ve had a very rough day and should replenish your energy before you go.”

We stood there for a few minutes while he thought things through. Roarke reached out and took my hand, “I’d like to finish the conversation before I go as I think I might not have all the information that I need to make that choice.” He released my hand and turned to face Sindee, “I would be delighted to share a meal with you ma’am.”

“Please call me Sindee; ma’am makes me feel older than I am. I’m already six years older than my husband so I don’t need to feel older,” Sindee replied with a smile.

“Yes ma… I mean Sindee. The meal would be much appreciated. Thank you again.”

We headed upstairs to the dining room as the food she had brought down had gotten cold during the telling of his story. We ordered pizza instead of cooking and sat in the living room to talk. “Well Roarke, since you told me your story I should tell you mine before we continue.” I took a breath and Sindee moved to sit closer to me while I recounted the night my family died and the night where I went back in time and had to allow it to happen. “Now that you’ve heard my tale or at least the portions that brought me into the world of the supernatural, are you willing to continue the discussion?” I asked just as the doorbell rang. I got up to answer it while he was thinking about his answer. The pizza had arrived so I paid the driver and grabbed a few beers out of the fridge before returning to the living room.

Roarke grabbed a slice, took a large bite and opened his beer. “You were saying something about not all supernatural beings working to destroy humanity,” He stated in a questioning tone.

I started by telling him the rest of my history, glossing over Arthur and his people as their secret was not mine to tell. I told about my visions and fights in the future and the deals I’d made with some of the local supernatural creatures to keep what I’ve seen coming from happening. I explained about hedge wizards and witches and how even though they are mortal that they could access powers beyond normal human ability. By the time I finished explaining what I could the pizzas were gone and we were on out second beers. I still hadn’t told either of them about the latest vision and the resulting bruises because there was a lot more to discuss before that would happen. So I asked a question I needed the answer to before we went further, “Would you please tell me how you found not only my home but the way you discovered that I was a Mage Roarke?”

“It’s another long story, but if you’re willing to listen I’ll condense it down as much as possible and explain.”

“I’ll grab us some waters and such if this is going to be a long night.” I went and got a several bottles of water and set them on the coffee table. “Ready when you are.”

Roarke took another deep breath then started, “I guess I should start where I left off downstairs. I woke up in the hospital with the cops guarding my room. When I first saw them, I figured that they knew I’d destroyed the house and was going to be arrested for killing my family. Sadly that prospect didn’t frighten me as I thought it was nothing more than a deserved since they were all dead and I wanted to join them. After a few hours of worry as the doctors and nurses came in and checked on me, ran blood tests and made me eat a little to get my color back they said. I didn’t eat much because I had no apatite after what happened to my family and the nerves of waiting to be arrested for murder. I noticed that I wasn’t handcuffed or in restraints but didn’t think much of it because of how weak I felt. A little later that same day a couple of Detectives showed up wanting to talk to me. They explained that I’d been in the hospital for about two weeks in a coma and were sorry to inform me about my family and home. They explained that I was found on the side of the road with bruising and cuts all over my body when the fire department had arrived at the house. While everyone was dead and the house was destroyed there were enough portions of the bodies to get ID from DNA. They asked if I knew anything about what happened that night. I knew telling them that a vampire had killed my family and I burned the house down would get me locked away in either jail or a mental ward. I simply said that I didn’t remember anything from that night which was true as it was the previous night that I dealt with a vampire. I spent a few weeks in the hospital before being moved to a hospice for the rest of my recovery. I had no other family as my parents were both only children from parents who had them late in life. I’d never known my grandparents as both sets had passed away before I was three. The insurance from their deaths and from the farm was placed into a trust for my eighteenth birthday. While I was in the hospice going through the physical therapy a legal guardian was arranged. I intended to leave there and start hunting the monster that killed my family as soon as I was released. My recovery was nothing short of amazing to the staff, but was slow as far as I was concerned. I worked to repair and then strengthen my body beyond the shape I was in from working the family farm. When I wasn’t working on my physical therapy I had my nose in the books trying to finish school as my mother drilled it into all of us kids that no matter what job you choose to do, you won’t get ahead without a proper education. I wasn’t going to disappoint her since she was watching over me from heaven now. After six months in the hospice I was ready to be released to my new guardian. I figured I was going to end up in some home for children and wasn’t willing to live that way. I was quite surprised when a young couple around thirty or so came to pick me up at the hospice. They helped me pack up the few things I had in the hospice and took me out to the car. We drove out into the country for a couple of hours until we came to an iron gate. We turned in as the gate opened and drove for about fifteen minutes before we reached the house. I didn’t understand what was going on but kept my mind and my eyes open. After we pulled up, we got out as a butler came down to the care and grabbed my bags from the trunk. The couple let me into the house giving me a quick tour. They showed me to a room that would be mine and explained that she would be my tutor until I finished my school studies. After that, they left me to settle into my room. They sent lunch up to me with a cook and a note was on the tray. The note explained that they wanted me to get settled in but would like me to come down at six for dinner where they would tell me how I came to live here in their care.

That evening at dinner they told me that they know that my family was attacked by a Vampire. I just looked at them like they were insane as I still didn’t think that anyone would believe me even if they said it first. It just didn’t make sense. They went on to explain that their family had been hunters for centuries and from the reports of the fire they were able to determine that some of my family had been turned and others just killed. They didn’t have the details of the accident, but they figured out the basics. I finally told them that they were right about the vampire attack. I didn’t explain everything. You two are the first people I have ever told about the vampire’s ‘punishment’ for my interrupting him. From that day forward I spent most of my time training to hunt the vampire that attacked my family and all the other creatures that were a danger to human beings. I guess we can say that while they knew a lot about those things that existed in the world, they didn’t take the time to speak to any of them. They were more the shoot first, shoot second and then start cutting off heads type. By the time I turned eighteen I had already hunted a killed several vampires with them. Shortly after I turned eighteen I had another run in with that creature. He attacked us while we were out shopping for me to head off to college. We had left the book store and were headed back towards the car when he came out of the shadows and bit into my foster father’s neck tearing his throat open at the carotid artery and dug his claws into the juggler vein. He was dead in seconds. The vampire turned onto my new mother and teacher and pulled her into the alley beside the store. I pulled a short sword and pistol from under my coat and followed them into the shadows. It took me seconds to cover the length of the alley, but when dealing with monsters like him seconds were an eternity. When I caught up to him her was just draining the last of her blood from her neck. He shifted her over to one side and brought his wrist to his mouth. I was not going to let this happen a second time and leveled the pistol aiming for his head. He released her to fall to the ground, tearing her throat with the hand he held her with as she fell. The shot missed as he spun aside. I fired again at him as he started closing in on me. The bullet didn’t really slow him down much, just seemed to piss him off some more. I put my back to the wall making him come at me head on. He stared me down laughing as he closed the distance. ‘That’s the second time I’ve taken your family from you’ he stated in a dark growling tone. I fired a couple of more shots a little wide of the body but keeping him directly in front of me with them. When he finally decided to stop playing games and attack I was ready for him. As soon as he got close I shot him in both knees. He dropped to the ground and as he did I brought up the short sword and swung for his neck. I put every ounce of anger and hatred I had for that creature and for myself at the failures of protecting either of my families from his depravities into my swing. The sword passed through his neck like a hot knife through butter. I grabbed my knife from my pocket and ran the blade in my guardian’s blood before placing it in the vampire’s hand. I ran out of the alley to the car tossing the gun in the trunk and grabbed the mobile phone of the charger. I called the cops to report the attack. I know someone else must have as well but it would have looked bad if I didn’t call them as well. When the cops did show up I was able to give them a statement about the attack and showed them my father’s body before leading them to the back alley to show them the body of my mother and the vampire. Fortunately, unlike in mythology, vampires don’t decompose instantly or turn to dust so the evidence was still there. I also told the officer that he told me that he was the one that killed my family four years before and that after hearing that I remembered seeing his face near the house that evening before the explosion. I was now eighteen, without any family again and the home and fortune was left to me by them. I decided not to go to school but to continue with my new family’s legacy. Since then I have been hunting down and killing every dangerous supernatural creature I could find. Mostly Vampires as well as a few of what you would call hedge-wizards. I found and recruited a few other survivors like myself, training them at the estate and continuing my hunting from there. I came across some information online that led me to websites and message boards that showed me there were more Hunters and more types of supernatural creatures then I had ever imagined possible. This site was a gold mine of information that led me to nest of vampires, several witches and wizards as well as others. As time passed I the creatures I was hunting would run instead of staying to fight me. I had been incapacitated a few times by some of the beings I was after. I’d come to later in the care of the others who I had been training and bringing with me. I always assumed the backup was scaring off the creatures that knocked me down before they could kill me.

I recently got information about you from the same source telling me that you were a wizard who had been killing people to gain more power. The information stated that you were a danger to not just Las Vegas but the rest of the world. It was passed to me anonymously just as most of the other tips I’d been getting recently were. Sitting here talking to you makes me think that my source was more interested in removing threats to themselves than to stopping the monsters in this world.” He finished his story and downed another half bottle of water.

Once he finished speaking I came to the conclusion that the vision I had to tell Sindee about also needed to be shared with Roarke as it involved him more than I even realized before. I cleared my throat and took a drink of water before starting, “Sindee the news I had to speak with you about concerns Roarke as well so I am going to just lay it out for both of you now if that’s ok with you?”

“Do what you think is best Andrew, I’ll trust your judgment here,” she replied.

Roarke looked at me expectantly so I started to explain, “I mention earlier when I explained about my past and the visions that I had had a fight in a dream or vision that I came out of with injuries. I had another vision today after being stabbed outside. After which I assume Sindee healed my existing injuries or I’d be dead instead of speaking with you both right now.” I looked over to Sindee to see a nod confirming that was the order of things. “While I was out from the injuries and blood loss received during our encounter I was back in the future Las Vegas. There were some changes from the last time. Most of them seemed to be for the better but the city was still in ruins and the Nephandi who I have still been unable to identify was ruling over the city. There were pockets of life and resistance that weren’t in the desolate wasteland from the first vision. I walked the city unnoticed by anyone or anything that was out there. There were creatures in the streets attacking humans that here and now would have been wiped out of reality by a backlash that their simply being visible to human minds would cause. I continued to explore the city and saw a stronghold against the darkness that I hoped would be there even though I was unable to enter it. I then traveled out to the house here and it was no longer intact. There was a pit leading to the basement area and a gateway so dark that light seemed to be getting sucked into it. Thinking back onto it reminds me of the time I spent in Todash Space. After leaving there I tracked Sindee down through a connection we share. I ended up at the top of the Stratosphere Tower in a throne room of sorts. Sitting at the top of the steps was my Nephandi Nemesis. On either side of him were the two of you. Sindee, you had been turned and starved to the point of going feral however while you lost the ability to use Magick, your Avatar was still anchored to you because of our connection.” I turned to face Roarke, “You were chained to a wall, made immortal by Magick being tortured continuously and healing just as fast so you existed in a state of constant pain. On top of that he stood gloating about the fact that you made everything possible by clearing away his enemies. Once I head enough I went over to Sindee and used every bit of power I could gather and forced the Magick into her heart and our connection to Avatars. There was a blast like that of a violent awakening and I hit the wall across the room. I woke up in the basement bruised over every inch of my body.” They both looked horrified at the information. “You know that we changed the first vision, and because I’m not dead now either we can still change that possible future as well.” Sindee looked a little more relieved, but Roarke looked even more disturbed about what could have happened to the world.

Roarke sat in silence for a few minutes gathering his thoughts. “Are you positive that you can change the future you saw?”

“I’m pretty sure, as we’ve already done it once. I will never tell you that it’s easy or that everything will work out just as we want to. I will tell you that I am doing and will continue to do everything within my abilities to change those possibilities and protect my family, friends and allies along with the rest of humanity whenever possible.”

Roarke looked me in the eyes before standing up, “I have to walk and think for a while, do you mind if I head out?”

“I told you before you were free to go when you wanted. Are you planning to leave the city now or just walk and think?” I asked.

“For the time being just walk and think. I’m staying at the Rio and here’s the cell number I’m using while in the States if you need me,” he said as he wrote a quick note with a room and phone number.

“Take your time, think about whatever you need. Walk some near your hotel and let yourself just go where you need. Sometimes life will surprise you with the answers you need instead of those you’re looking for.” I smiled and Sindee looked at me funny. “When did you get so philosophical Andrew?” Sindee asked still giving me a strange look.

I smiled and replied, “Just inspired by the moment.

Roarke get ready to go and I walked him out and down to the street to his vehicle. We said our quick goodbyes as he jumped in and drove off. If nothing else, he wasn’t trying to kill me for the time being. I walked back up to the house and went inside. Sindee was still giving me a strange look when I picked up my phone off of the table. I called Arthur as Sindee looked like she was about ready to speak.

“Andrew, what’s up?” Arthur’s even tone came over the phone.

“Not much now, however someone tried to kill me this morning.” I replied deadpan.

“You’re still alive at least. What happened?” he asked. So I gave him the short and dirty version of the day’s events. I looked over to Sindee eyeing me patiently. After I finished the story I continued to the reason for my call. “He said he needed to get out and walk and think. Since he is staying at the Rio I told his to head back there and walk around near the hotel and focus on what he needs. I don’t know if it will work, or even if he’ll need to find your place, but I planted the idea and wanted to give you a heads up before a Hunter shows up in place unannounced.” Sindee gave me a shocked look when she heard what I did and then just continued to stare at me.

“So you sent a Hunter my way, one who almost managed to kill you just today.” His voice was loaded with sarcasm as he replied to me. “What should I do with him if he shows?”

“Treat him well and help him the way you do others. His world just got yanked out from under him and I figure he’s looking for solid ground before he continues to move on with life. I like him as an ally if possible, but not an enemy in any case. He’s had a rough life since he was fourteen and I feel for him. In related news after I passed out I had another vision of the Nephandi and it was nasty. We’ll need to talk later.”

“Will do what I can for the Hunter if he shows up and we’ll need to get together for drinks or something as well as the story about the vision,” Arthur replied in his friendly manner.

“Before I hang up I wanted to ask you, how are things going with you and Jaq?” I asked, thinking of the beautiful Marshall I inadvertently introduced him to.

“We’re doing well and would like to see you and Sindee both for those drinks or a night out. We don’t get to do that often with all of our schedules as well as what we need to do with our lives.” You could hear the light and emotion is his voice when he spoke of Jacqueline making me even happier that they met.

“Ok, shall we try for Friday evening around six? You make the plans and the evening is on me,” I suggested to him.

He didn’t answer me right away, but I could hear whispers in the background before he came back onto the line with an answer, “Friday at six it as. Jaq says we’ll pick the two of you up as she has an Idea of what to do.”

“See you both then. Tell Jaq that Sindee says hello to both of you.”

“Will do, good night to both of you,” Arthur answered before ending the call.

I turned, wrapped Sindee in my arms, leaned down and kissed her. Whenever we did this, the world seemed a better place as if everything that was wrong was right again. “Are you ready to go to bed Sin? This has been the longest day I have ever had and we’ve barely gotten back from our honeymoon.”

Sindee kissed me again and when we broke apart replied, “I’ll agree with the longest day ever with the exception of the first day I met you and you just wouldn’t wake up.”

I couldn’t reply because of the emotions I was feeling cut off my voice. I picked Sindee up like she was a feather and carried her up to our room. We changed for bed and lay down for the night. We slept on our sides with her back and small frame pressed against my larger body. I put my arm over her and pulled her tight, taking her left hand in mine wrapping our finger together letting the wedding band touch. It felt like a perfect moment in time as we drifted off to sleep together.

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