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The Once and Future King

New York City


a part of The Once and Future King, by Kohananinja.


Kohananinja holds sovereignty over New York City, giving them the ability to make limited changes.

719 readers have been here.


Default Location for The Once and Future King
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New York City is a part of The Once and Future King.

8 Characters Here

Louis DuCharme [15] The most gallant zoo employee you will ever encounter
Myranda Emryssa Ambrosia [14] "Now it all makes sense..."
Arianna Trescott "Arey" [12] A London girl who is a far way from home.
Aiden Harper [10] You never know which day is going to be your last, so make sure each one counts
Kearny MacWade [9] Grouchiest security guard in the Big Apple
Timothy Matheson [3] Law Student
Deirdre Evering [3] The perfect girl who is sick of the consquences of being "perfect"
Wilhemina Ranthun [2] Harpist

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1 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Deirdre Evering
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Deirdre finished her bagel. She ignored the book, apprehensive about opening it again and reading more of the poem. She focused instead on other textbooks, lesson notes. She yawned.

Her phone beeped. Deirdre checked the text message. It was one of her roommates, Ally.

Going partying tonight? You in?

She smirked.

You have to ask? Hitting classes now, be back around 5. Grab some chinese and then get ready?

She waited for the response and began to plan her outfit in her head. She didn’t own much in the way of ‘club’ clothes but she didn’t care. Deirdre liked to dance and liked the crowd, the feeling of being lost in the push of people.

Sounds good to me. Rebel?

Deirdre stood and grabbed her coat.


She hit send and gathered her books into her bag. She began to head for her classes, thoughts of dancing, the thrum of the bass and the crowd filling her head.

Deirdre was barely able to concentrate as she sat through lecture after lecture, taking notes and highlighting things. She retained none of it but didn’t matter she would just read it again later.

In her last class she sat, her phone out and was busy flicking through media sites when she overheard two girls in the seats behind her.

“Did you hear about the girl they found? Her throat was like slit or something.”

“Eww...some real sickos out there. Let me guess boyfriend did it when he caught her cheating.”

Deirdre felt wave of guilt come over her. She shook it off, confused at to what caused it. She had never kissed a boy let alone had a boyfriend. She certainly had never cheated on anyone.

“There is nothing about a suspect but apparently she had been out with friends before they found her.”

“So like every other girl over 17 in this city. Nothing new, they will catch the guy and he will turn out to be some loner who wanted a girlfriend and she turned him down.”

Deirdre frowned. Her phone buzzed with a text. She thought it would be Ally again but instead sighed.

Hi sweetie! How’s our princess? Just wanted to say hello and to find out how you were doing.

Her mom had seen the news likely, heard about the girl and next would come the text about being safe, studying instead of going out, a good girl makes sure to keep her grades up....

Hi mom, in class. Can’t talk.

Deirdre waited for it.

Oh sorry honey! Just wanted to say hello and remind you to study hard, and stay safe. Daddy says hi to his little girl. Glad you aren’t doing like other kids and ditching classes to party. You are our princess. Love you!

She almost gagged. They would never stop, she knew it. They wanted her back in ballet, back under the careful watch of teachers and choreographers. Grueling hours that didn’t allow for her to have a life or friends.

Love you too.

She shoved her phone into her pocket and settled in as the professor arrived.

By 4:20 she was ready to go home. She hadn’t run into Tim again, despite detouring through the student union on her way to her classes. Hat on her head and coat done up, Deirdre slung her messenger bag over her body and headed out onto the campus. Her finger hit a button on her phone and music began playing in her ears. It drowned out the other sounds.

“'cause it was trapped
Trapped between two lungs
It was trapped between two lungs
It was trapped between two lungs

And my running feet could fly
Each breath screaming: "We are all too young to die!"

Between two lungs it was released
The breath that passed from you to me
It flew between us as we slept
That slipped from your mouth into mine
It crept between two lungs”

She hummed along as she headed home.

Ally was waiting for her, containers of rice and stir fry on the small table. “No one else is home yet.” The blonde handed Deirdre the bag with the egg rolls. She dropped her bag by the couch and undid her coat as she took the greasy bag.

“All good, not in a rush anyway right?” She sat cross legged on the couch opposite Ally. Deirdre bit into the egg roll. “Mmm, thank you for grabbing dinner.”

Ally nodded a spoonful of rice on its way to her mouth. They ate in silence for a time.

“Did you see the news?” Deirdre put a container down, her stomach full. Ally nodded, “That girl? Yeah I saw. That is why we go out in pairs.”

Deirdre nodded, “Guess you gotta be careful. She was blonde like you.” She smirked a little at her roommate.

Ally laughed, “Right cause us blonde girls we get all the attention from the crazies.”

By 7:00 everyone was home though only Ally and Deirdre were up for a night out. They showered and dressed. By 9:30 they were making their way to the subway. Deirdre couldn’t wait to get there.

They walked up to the club, the line was stretched out, though not as long as at other clubs. Ally dragged Deirdre to the front of the line. The bouncer looked both girls over and smiling let them in.

The sound hit them hard as soon as they opened the door. Deirdre felt her heart pound with excitement, matching the vibrating of her ribs from the beat. They checked their coats and headed into the crowd.

She danced and danced, pausing only for a glass of water every once and awhile. Deirdre lost sight of Ally for a while but by 2:00 am the girls had found each other on the dance floor. An hour later they were leaving the club, cheeks flushed and smiles on their faces.

“Thanks for tonight.” Ally gave her a wink before tiptoeing into her room. Deirdre smiled and closed her bedroom door. She changed and collapsed into her bed. She wasn’t going to bother with classes today. Sleep called and she answered.


1 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Timothy Matheson
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Tim made it through anthropology. He headed back to the student union but was disappointed not to find Deirdre. He really wanted to ask her some questions and the nagging feeling he had earlier wasn’t gone.

Tim finished off his day, taking in two more lectures and then one more stop to look for Deirdre.

By dinner time he was on the subway and off to the office. He opened the door and was met by a group of people sitting in chairs in the waiting area. Always, there was always a wait. Tim smiled wanly and headed into the back.

“Hey Matthew. Quite the crowd this evening.” He dropped his bag on a chair in the small break room. The other man, a law student like himself was sitting, reading the paper and eating a sandwich.

“Hey Tim. Yeah well there is that housing case. You know the one where the apartments had mold and no heat? Well there are more statements to make. Pretty solid case all in all but lots of paperwork. After we eat we are supposed to start on the statements.”

Tim nodded. “Got it. Maybe I’ll just take my food to my desk, eat as I go.”

Matthew shrugged, ‘Suit yourself.” He shook the paper. “See this? Pretty girl eh? Gonna be quite the case when they catch the guy.”

Tim leaned down to get a good view of the paper. “Oh man, that’s terrible. Her poor family. Cops think it is someone she knew?”

Matthew bit is sandwich and shrugged. “No idea man, they are being sort of tight lipped about it.”

Tim sighed. “They either got something or they have nothing and don’t want to tip their hand.”

Turning he grabbed his bag. “See you out there.”

Matthew lifted his sandwich in acknowledgement though his eyes were on the paper.

Tim dropped his stuff at a desk and then moved to the front. “I can start taking statements.”

For the next hour and a half Tim took statement after statement. He barely touched his food that sat on the desk beside the papers.

He took a brief break to get some water and use the bathroom, talked to a couple of his co-workers about his ethics class before turning his attention back to the people at the front.

When he went home at 9:00 that night he had heard so many stories of damp and moldy walls, freezing apartments and other assortment of horrors that he had lost all faith in landlords who cared.

His key clicked in the lock and Tim stepped in. He wasn’t sure if his roommates were home or studying, hell they could be sleeping for all he knew. Quietly he entered and locked the door behind him.

He tossed his bag into his room and grabbed a glass of water before laying out on the couch one arm draped over his face. There was homework to do and notes to organize but Tim couldn't bring himself to do anything at the moment but lay there trying to forget the things he had heard.


5 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Aiden Harper Character Portrait: Myranda Emryssa Ambrosia Character Portrait: Arianna Trescott "Arey" Character Portrait: Louis DuCharme Character Portrait: Kearny MacWade
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“I see you’ve mastered your shape shifting abilities quite nicely Aiden. I’m glad to see our lessons haven’t been going to waste.” A voice replied that seemed to echo throughout the room, and a tall lean figure seemed to melt out of the shadows and into the room. He too wore a suit, though it was the kind a university professor might wear to class, not a party. His hair was dark and well groomed, and a pair of glasses seemed to magnify the intensity of his dark brown eyes. He appeared to be in his late thirties, though in impeccable shape, and he seemed to hold an air of nobility about him.

“Took him long enough to get here.” Another voice grouched when one of the doors to the side rooms opened, revealing a boy with sandy hair and grey eyes who held a rather prickly disposition.

“Now now Alan, Aiden made quite good time from the chemistry building. I’m very pleased with his progress thus far.” Aiden’s friend said with a light smile that didn’t reach his dark eyes.

“If we’re done with the kudos party here professor, can you get to the point of why you called us here? I have an exam tomorrow morning I’d actually like study for.” Alan returned, with a raised brow that managed to look both bored and annoyed.

“Yes, I suppose we do need to move this along.” The professor replied thoughtfully. “Things are about to get interesting boys, and you’ll both need to have your guard up.”

“What do you mean?” Alan asked, looking serious as ever.

“As you have both been made aware, New York City is currently within the thin zone of the Veil that separates our world from that of the Fae. That makes magical activity more potent here, and allows for the occasional lower class fae to slip through the veil unnoticed into our world, which is why we see so many of them here.” The professor began.

“Yeah, pretty basic stuff here.” Alan commented lightly.

“Well tonight, there’s been a tear in the veil. It’s repaired itself now, and it was only in the outer rings of the prison, but for twenty four minutes and fifty three seconds, there was a passage between the worlds that allowed Fae in freely.” That caught Alan’s attention, and he was suddenly much less grumpy at being called here.

“Wait, so you’re saying a bunch of unseelie took a Disney fast pass into New York?” He exclaimed incredulously. New York was already a hot spot for Fae activity, part of why there were so many crazy people in this city, but with an open channel between the worlds popping up here, there was no telling how many had gotten through.

“Not the term I would use, but yes. The number of dark Fae in New York has gone from a few dozen to several hundred this evening, and you will both need to be careful, as well as expedite our efforts in acquiring the sword. It is imperative then that we protect Arthur’s reincarnation from these Fae. He’s the only one who can retrieve the sword, and the Fae that have just been unleashed will be starved and looking for strong souls. The two of you, and every other reincarnated soul from Arthur’s court for that matter, will be a target, so you will also need to be cautious.” The professor explained sedately.

“Any questions?”


“You’ll know her when you see her.” Kat promised before turning to run after the red rock, hiding a smile of satisfaction. He had to be a knight she decided. The willingness to follower her to protect Arthur was instinctual, made even stronger by the residual memory stirring the part of his soul that remembered Camelot. She’d figure out exactly who later, but for now she was content to have one of the knights at her back. It was uber cool man!

The students who spotted them running after the rock gave them strange looks, but shrugged and dismissed them for the most part. It made Kat roll her eyes, but then she wasn’t surprised. It seemed like humans these days would go to great lengths and even delve into the absurd to explain away what they didn’t understand. A pathetic habit that had gotten more than one human killed by the supernatural. Ignorance most certainly was not bliss when dealing with creatures that thought of you as food in one way or another. Kat had been so wrapped up in those thoughts that she almost missed that at some point the students weren’t even looking at them anymore, and upon closer inspection, she realized why.

“The hell?” Kat thought out loud, grabbing the red rock and halting in her pursuit. Everything around them was unnaturally still, frozen as if time itself had been stopped. Saving blondie was high priority, but this wasn’t something she could ignore either. Where was Vivienne when she needed her, Kat thought desperately, suddenly looking very much like the lost overwhelmed fifteen year old that she was. She took a deep breath, and the overconfident smart alec mask was back in place. Was this a fae’s doing? It would take an incredible amount of magic power to pull something like this off, no fae she knew of in the city outside of maybe Vivienne had the juice for this as far as Kat knew, but one thing still nagged at her. Why were they not frozen now too? Was it because they entered the stopped time zone after the spell had been casted, or was it something else entirely? Kat didn’t know, but they needed to keep moving. She was also startled when she let go of the red rock and it began shooting off in the same direction as what Kat sensed was the center of the magic. Maybe if it was Fae, then that was what was threatening blondie. In that case, they had to hurry.

“Come on!” Kat called behind her as she took off to make sure the knight was following.


This couldn’t be real Arey kept telling herself numbly. Her mother, Irene Trescott, had been dead for years. There was no way her mother was in a campus pool in New York City with her right now. It was not possible. But there she was in front of Arey, with soft blue eyes and soft blonde hair looking healthy and almost too perfect. Unbidden, moisture began gathering in her eyes, and Arey began to outstretch a shaking hand toward her mother, afraid to believe it was true. Everything felt so cold and Arey felt disoriented. It was like a shift in the universe had just occurred, and the painful wound of losing her mother that she’d mostly healed from was suddenly ripped open and fresh once again. Tears were flowing freely down her cheeks now, and her fingers could almost touch her mother’s skin when she heard a mournful scream coming from the locker room. She knew that voice.

“Keily?” Arey breathed, turning her head toward the locker room in concern, and suddenly it was as if a spell had been broken. When Arey looked back at her mother, it was no longer the face of Irene Trescott she saw, but a decaying milky white one with soulless black pits where there should be eyes. Arey screamed, withdrawing her hand as if burned and began kicking back frantically toward the edge of he pool. The monster that had looked like her mother followed, but was much slower, and Arey had grabbed her towel and bolted as quickly as possible on the wet tile toward the locker room before the monster had even made it to the side of the pool.

“Keily!” Arey screamed out frantically for her friend, put on edge by her friend’s scream and the pursuit of the monster from the pool. She finally found her in the corner of the locker room, sobbing uncontrollably as a little boy in a stripped Blue’s Clues sweater sat next to her, holding her hand. With a start, Arey realized that was Keily’s dead brother. Keily had confided in Arey once that she’d always felt responsible for the car crash ten years ago that had killed her parents and little brother. She’d been fighting with her brother Thomas in the back seat when their father had taken his eyes off the road to tell them to stop and they’d been T-boned by a truck. Keily had been eight, and it was not her fault that souped up Dodge Ram had run a red light, but then grief did funny things like that.

Regardless, that thing holding Keily’s hand couldn’t be her brother anymore than the thing in the pool was Arey’s mother. Arey lunged at Keily, grabbing her shoulders and yanking her away from that thing wearing her brother’s face, and like the monster from the pool, it’s face began to shift into something monstrous, but this creature began to hiss like an angry snake as well.

“Run!” Arey, cried, grabbing Keily’s hand and running for the exit. Keily at least was dressed, though Arey wasn’t nearly so fortunate. If she wasn’t so terrified at the moment, Arey might be embarrassed to be running about campus in nothing but her bathing suit and a towel, but she felt the chill night air either way. They had made it a short way to the edge of campus where their dorm was, when suddenly Keily was jerked to a stop, Arey turned back, expecting to see one of the monsters from the pool, but they weren’t on them yet.

“Keily come on!” Arey shouted frantically. Keily didn’t respond, in fact, she didn’t move at all. It was like she’d suddenly stopped in mid pose of running. A look of terror was still painted on her face, and shiver that had nothing to do with the chill air traveled down her spin. Arey grabbed her friend’s hand, trying to force her to move, but it was like she was a statue made of stone. When Arey began to hear the angry hissing, not far away, she renewed her effort anyway, frantic to get away but unwilling to leave her defenseless friend. “SOMEDOBY HELP US!”


1 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Wilhemina Ranthun
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Mina spent an hour and a half at the cafe. She was absorbed in watching everyone go by, losing herself in the other people without actually having to interact with them. She watched couples talking and imagined their conversations. Were they fighting or speaking of plans for that evening? Friends meeting up, hugging or passing notes.

She piled her music back into her bag, pocketed her phone and headed off back to the music building. Her steps were quick and she manoeuvred around people. Her head was down, her shoulders hunched. It was one thing to watch them from the other side of a window but completely different to be apart of them.

Mina opened the door to the music building and practically ran down the hall. She opened the door to the room where her harp was and pressed her back to it as she closed it. Her heart was pounding and she was breathing hard.

“I am studying here. Room is occupied.” The girl looked up from her books. She was sitting on the floor and Mina frowned.

“This is my room. See that is my harp. You have to leave now.” Mina’s words were halting as she struggled to control her breathing.

“Well I was told you weren’t coming back today. Sorry. I need to study though. Mind sharing?”

Sharing? Share? Mina’s eyes were wide. Was this girl crazy? “I can’t...I...share?”

She was on edge and her hands began to clench and unclench at her sides. The girl looked up at Mina with large brown eyes. “Hey, are you okay?” She started to stand and Mina pressed herself against the door.

A phone rang. The brown-eyed girl looked at Mina expectantly. Shaking hands pulled her phone from her pocket. Mina didn’t look at the number and the moment she said hello and heard the voice on the other end she regretted it.

“Wilhemina, would it kill you to answer a message from me? Am I really that horrible?”

Mina’s eyes were on the other girl. She had sat back down and was focused on her books again. “Hello mother. What can I do for you?”

She was trying hard to be calm but the whole thing threatened to overwhelm her.

“Well I had hoped to meet and have dinner to discuss a few things with you but as with the previous attempt I am sure you will have things that you need to do and will not meet me.” Her mother paused. “Wilhemina I am getting married next month. He is a wonderful man, very successful. I had hoped you would play at the wedding.”

Mina’s knees gave out and she slid to the floor. She couldn’t see, there were tears forming in her eyes. She was having trouble breathing. The other girl looked up and concern appeared on her face. She scrambled across the floor to sit beside Mina. Her arm went gently around her shoulders.

Mina didn’t shrink from the contact. She normally would but right now her mind was too overloaded.

Play at the wedding. Not love for you to attend, no want you to be stand with me. Just play Mina wanted to scream, wanted to ask her mother is she was invited to the reception, wanted to snidely ask what the pay would be. She could do none of these things.

“Wilhemina, did you hear me? Do you have anything to say? A yes would be appreciated so that I can cross that off the list. You would not believe how hard it is to find decent musicians.”

Mina dropped her phone and put her hands to her face. The other girl picked it up.

“Um, hello? Hi, yeah my name is Claire. Sorry but she just got called away. Yeah they were waiting for her and she was about to get in shit. She wasn’t supposed to have her phone. I am sure she will call you back when she isn’t in rehearsal.”

She hit a button and put the phone on the floor. Claire wrapped her arm tighter around Mina. “It’s okay....” She murmured calming things to Mina as the girl shook.

It took a great deal of time before she was calm enough to speak. Mina looked at the other girl. “I need to work. can’t be in here.”

Claire frowned. “Thank you for helping me Claire. Oh no problem. Nice to meet you by the way, sorry I stressed you out so much. That’s okay, I am just a bit high strung. Ah well, I’d be happy to find a new room but you seem pretty shaken up, you want to talk? Want a tea?”

Claire’s tone was sarcastic and Mina felt her shoulders hunch. “I...I...yes, thank you...I just.” Her voice caught in her throat. She realized Claire still had her arm around her. Mina looked up. “I get anxious and my mother...” She pointed to the phone. “She makes it worse.”

Claire scanned Mina’s face. “Parents suck. Anxious huh? We all got our issues right? Come on, you play or whatever and I will sit over there. We can keep each other company and if your mom calls again I’ll play interference.” Claire smiled.

Mina was so confused and all she could do was nod. She had never met someone like Claire. She stood and began to pull out her music.

Claire went back to her books. Mina played and Claire occasionally stopped to listen. Around dinner time, Claire closed up her books. “Come on, you and me, some dinner and you can tell me all about yourself.”

Mina wanted to say no but she couldn’t find the words. She stood, packed her things and followed Claire. The two women found a small quiet restaurant just off campus and eventually, Claire managed to get some words out of Mina.

By the end of the meal, Mina had relaxed just a little and Claire made her promise to meet up for lunch the next day.

Mina laid in bed that night, eyes on the ceiling and her mind on Claire.


1 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Aiden Harper
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Aiden Harper

"Bite me" Aiden shot at the cranky Alan. "Or, better yet.." he replied, warping his mouth into a monstrous jaw, with thousands of needle sharp teeth. "How about I bite you?" he said, snapping his jaws together.

He warped his face back to normal, and listened intently to what the professor had to say.

"Yea, the thin zone in the veil... that's called Avalon isn't it?" Aiden wasn't quite sure where he'd seen that particular name before, but it seemed right. Must've read it in one of the professors books, the kinds he wasn't supposed to be reading. Oops. Maybe he shouldn't have said that. Oh well, moving on...

He wasn't particularly scared at the idea of some low-class unseelie running around. It'd be interesting to test out his abilities on them. What did worry him was what they might do to all the defenseless people without magic... he'd have to keep an eye out for any. Any one that ran into one would need help. The professor finished off, and though Aiden was keen to leave, he did have a couple of questions.

"Yea, I have a few. How the hell are we supposed to find Arthurs sword? Or his reincarnation? And how do we hunt down these unseelie that got through?"


5 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Aiden Harper Character Portrait: Myranda Emryssa Ambrosia Character Portrait: Arianna Trescott "Arey" Character Portrait: Louis DuCharme Character Portrait: Kearny MacWade
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The professor’s eyes flicked over to appraise Aiden thoughtfully, but made no comment on the curious matter of his unexpected knowledge. “Yes, Avalon is a name given to this zone, though few have ever realized that Avalon is a weak point in the veil that moves over time, and not a physical place. At least not in our world.“ The professor elaborated for Alan’s benefit who, as a non-magic user himself, was looking rather uninterested by the brief history lesson being given.

“We don’t, or rather there isn’t any point.” The professor began, answering Aiden’s questions in order. “We already know where the sword is, but without Arthur that information is useless.”

“As for finding Arthur, we’ve narrowed the field considerably, but I’m afraid we don’t have quite the raw resources in that field that some of our competition enjoys.” He said dryly in a voice that held a touch of annoyance as he walked over to the innately carved wooden desk and pulled out a large file from the locked middle drawer. He ushered the two boys over to the desk before opening the file to reveal a series of profiles that included picture ID’s.

“Reincarnated souls are always attracted to Avalon, whether it is on a conscious or subconscious level is debatable, but we know for sure our Arthur is in the city. While our tacking techniques are not quite as…accurate as others, I’m confident it is one of these young people.” The professor explained as he began flipping through the pages, showing them the pictures and names.

“Joseph Mendez…Deidre Evering … Camille Jones…Kyle Andrews… Louis DuCharme who was a particularly strong match, and…Arey Trescott. Each are students at the university and their souls held the closest thing to a match we can measure with our magic. All of their souls are very strong, and they are almost certain to be targets for the dark fae.”

“As you are already aware, the fae, any fae, are immortal. Without the sword we have no way to actually kill them. That being said iron, the purer the better, is painful to the touch for them. It won’t kill them, but it can repel them well enough.” He informed his students before grabbing two neatly scrolled books off his shelf and handed a copy to each of them. “Certain fae have their own quirks that can be used to repel them as well. Read up.”

Having the world around her frozen in mid-motion ranked as uber creepy on Kat’s weirdness scale. There weren’t a lot of things she knew of that had the juice for this sort of spell, and none of them were particularly friendly. Perhaps it was this tense expectation that left Kat feeling so flabbergasted when she felt the source of the magic and spotted both Louis and Myranda just ahead. Sweet baby Jesus, how had she managed to pull that off.

“I-I think this may be my fault.” Myranda said shakily to Louis. It was obvious he was trying to explain this away, but this was simply too crazy. These people weren’t just staying still, there was a complete absence of motion that wasn’t natural. A little ways away in one of the trees by the sidewalk, there was a pigeon frozen in mid-flight. God, why was this happening to her? Myranda felt on the verge of a panic attack when the strange young girl from earlier came rushing up with the campus security man at her back.

“Please-I don’t know how to make it stop.” Myranda said shakily, hoping somehow that this strange girl who seemed to know so much would know how to fix this. Kat however, was at a loss. Despite living with a fae, who occasionally had the documentation proclaiming herself as Kat’s legal guardian, magic wasn’t really Kat’s thing. She could talk to computers, and knew enough about magic to get about in that world, but a great practitioner she was not. They needed Vivienne to fix something like this…

“You’ve gotta relax. If you summoned this magic to begin with, you can make it stop. Keep telling yourself you’re in control and stay calm.” Kat tried, parroting advice she’d heard Vivienne give hundreds of times. She might have said more if not for the scream.

“SOMEBODY HELP US!” The scream wasn’t very far away, and the stone in her hand began glowing in a frantic way that put Kat of edge. “Crap.” Kat growled before releasing the stone to follow it as it zoomed up the path. “Come on!” She called back at the small group, expecting at least rent-a-cop to follow.


Arey was beginning to panic. In the course of an hour, her world had been turned upside down, and she suspected it was a potent combination of shock and adrenaline that had gotten her through so far. Kylie was frozen. Everything around her was frozen Arey noted with a sinking feeling of dread. Everything except for herself and the hissing monster who seemed to enjoy stealing the faces of dead loved ones and was presently advancing toward them as she stood there like a right scared ninny. She didn’t know what she was supposed to do, and it was a terrifying feeling. Arey was a compulsive planner, she had objectives and game plans constructed to reach them. This sense of helplessness and being out of her depth left her feeling more exposed than the lack of dress she was currently in. She watched like a deer in headlights as the monster approached, and was almost upon them, and suddenly all she could feel was a nipping cold.

Her world was snow, and the once sparse trees around her grew denser and bare. A forest she thought distantly before her conciseness faded to the background. A young man and a boy were walking in the woodland, picking up felled branches as they went. The man held a serious and almost sour expression while the boy was all youthful enthusiasm and bright smiles.

“Please Kay please! I’m eleven now, plenty old enough to learn!” The boy pleaded to the young man who gazed back disapprovingly.

“Hardly so Arthur, you haven’t even been trained with a sword yet. It would be inappropriate for you to be my squire.” Kay replied, though seemed to soften somewhat at the dejected look the young Arthur wore. “Besides, you know father disapproves of you fighting.” Kay added in his defense. The young boy’s face chanced to something almost defiant then, that fact being an obvious point of contention within the family.

“If father had his way I’d be shut up in a tower somewhere with only some dusty books and a window to keep me company.” Arthur said almost bitterly. He could never understand why Sir Ector had always treated him as if he was somehow fragile. Even the most minor of boyhood scrapes and scuffs seemed to send their father into a fussing mess. “But what if the Saxons come Kay? You’ll be off serving whomever is crowned the new king as his knight, and father is getting older. Someone will have to fight them off!”

“Yes yes, and a fierce warrior I’m sure you’ll be.” Kay said indulgently, though internally he did concede Arthur’s point. It was better the boy know how to fight and hopefully never need to do so, than to be forced into one and not know how to defend himself. “Very well pick up your weapon.” Kay said calmly as he laid his pile of sticks on the ground before picking up a nice sturdy long one for his weapon. The boy did the same, but with a whoop for joy and with much more haste.

The two brothers squared off, Kay first showing Arthur how to approach and strike before allowing him to try against his older more experienced brother. Kay was somewhat surprised by how quickly Arthur seemed to pick up the basics of footwork and technique, but he was still easily misled by Kay’s feigned movements. “Watch my hips, not my feet Wart.” Kay said almost affectionately, though in his gruff sort of way.

The pair continued like that a while, parrying and striking until Kay finally managed to knock the stick from Arthur’s hand. Then Kay lunged forward, and Arthur put his arms up defensively and closed his eyes to brace for the impact. A light tap on the head was all that came, and Arthur slowly opened his eyes.

“Never take your eyes off your opponent Wart. You always have a weapon in your fists. If you lose your sword, use them. If you are unarmed, don’t lunge forward. Wait until the last possible moment and move to the side. Use their own strength and movement to get them off balance. Then you can crack them a good one to the head.” Kay lectured, forcing Arthur to make eye contact. “Now you try. Then perhaps we’ll discuss you being my squire in London.”

“Ahhhhhh!” Cried the boy Arthur, practicing against a fake opponent. Arey watched as he made the movement to the side and then struck out with his fist to strike his imaginary enemy, and suddenly the scene began to fade away.

She heard the same battle cry as from the boy ringing in her eyes, but it was coming from her own throat, and she came to herself just in time to watch her own fist connecting with the side of the monster’s face, sending it back a few steps. What had just happened? Arey felt so confused and disoriented, and it showed on her face. Then out of nowhere there was a glowing red rock in her face, and she had a sneaking suspicion that this should disturb her more than it was. Maybe she really was in shock.

“Nice hit blondie!” Shouted out a young girl, wearing seemingly the epitome of geek chic, who came jogging up behind her. “We got it from here.” She assured as a small group of people followed behind her. The girl quickly rummaged through her bag, pulling out two pieces of twisted black metal that looked more at home with a rod iron fence or Renaissance fair than in anyone’s backpack. She kept one for herself and tossed the other to the younger man in the group.

“I’ve got a feeling you’ll know what to do with it.” The girl said with a grin towards the boy before turning to the older man who looked like a campus security officer. “Bullets will sting them, but iron’s better. Just try and keep them away from her.” The girl said gesturing back to Arey. “She can’t defend herself yet.” The remark left Arey feeling oddly indignant, despite the numbing shock she was feeling. She almost wanted to call the kid out on it too, but there was no time. The second monster that had been wearing her mother’s face had arrived, and both were now advancing on the group. The young girl wasted no time jumping into the fray to whack one of the monsters with her iron rod. There was an odd noise when the rod connected with the monster's flesh that reminded her of sizzling bacon, and the creature howled after the impact.

“Ha! You little girls coming or what?!” The girl shouted with a manic grin as she took another swing at the hissing faceless monsters. Arey was passing positive that she was going mad.


4 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Myranda Emryssa Ambrosia Character Portrait: Arianna Trescott "Arey" Character Portrait: Louis DuCharme Character Portrait: Kearny MacWade
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Officer MacWade tried not to think too hard about what he was doing... why he was following this girl with the floating rocks, instead of marching her to the public safety office and calling her parents. She was driving a wedge in his brain. One half of him totally rejected her antics, and the other believed that she was telling the truth about a person being in trouble.

He exited the hall and gave a muffled cry, which he turned to a cough to save face. What they encountered was a sea of frozen students. It was more startling than if there had been a riot instead. Students could do all sorts of moving, but they should never be completely still.

“Alright, you got me. Cute prank,” he announced to the statues, his hands on his hips in a disapproving posture. They won’t get the better of me, he thought. Though they can stay remarkably still...

But his explanation fell to pieces when his eye caught one of his coworkers, one Officer Cindy Jersen. There was no reason whatsoever for her to be suspended in such a manner, holding her considerable bulk on a pivot, about to bust a student that was smoking less than twenty feet from the building entrance. Even the guy’s cigarette smoke wasn’t moving.

Officer MacWade’s brain converted to fully believing the girl, the only other person he could see moving. Remarkably, he felt that he had seen people in a condition like this before. He actually had deja vu... but he couldn’t place just where he had seen a group of frozen people before.

“I’m following,” he assured the girl in a tight voice. Although he had no idea who their damsel in distress was, he began to feel anxious, like it was his sister that was in trouble.


Louis felt calmer when he focused on Myranda’s distress rather than his own. He began to try to wrap his mind around what Myranda meant when she said that total lack of motion was her fault. He looked at her and not the eerie statues. “It’s not your fault,” he insisted. “Unless you’ve got crazy psychic powers or something. Like you can paralyze people with your mind. But that can be true... right?” He felt a little too much like he was talking about a comic book.

At that point, Kat and the security officer happened upon them, and Louis didn’t know what to think. He began to think of reasons why they all happened to be the only people who were moving. The rocks... maybe they have some sort of protective ability, because we all have one... again, more of those comic book explanations.

Then Kat used the M-word... Magic. Louis looked again at the frozen people, and then met eyes with the security officer. They shared a look of embarrassed commiseration, like the only sober people at a drunken orgy. Neither wanted to act like they actually believed what was happening, like they would actually participate in it. They silently dared each other to be the first normal person to play along.

Then there was a female scream, and they both jolted forward. They both followed Kat and the rock, and now were almost racing to be the first on the scene. Kearny jostled his way ahead of Louis, bearing the self-important authority of a security officer.

They came upon another frozen person, but the focus was on a girl in a bathing suit, who had just punched some creep in a costume with really good make-up that made his face white and his eyes like black pools. Plus, he could hiss like a snake... and just had a plain ethereal sense of creepiness about him, which was way more profound than any person in a costume could ever achieve.

Once faced with this eminent danger, Louis found himself accepting the situation. He allowed that there might be something paranormal going on... that maybe indeed his life was starting to resemble a comic book. Having the iron rod thrown into his hands just cemented his willingness to go with it.

“Hold it, let me handle this. I’m campus security, this is my job!” Kearny MacWade insisted, pushing Louis aside and drawing his pepper spray. He was especially indignant because Kat had referred to him as a ‘little girl.’ He didn’t listen to Kat about the bullets. He was still half-convinced that the attackers might be people in costumes, and he wasn’t about to just shoot and kill them.

Kearny hustled toward the second monster and shot a stream of pepper spray at the black eye sockets. This fairly did nothing to the creature, besides elicit more hissing. Kearny kept spraying, convinced that it must have an effect, and then the creature reached out and grabbed his throat. Kearny went limp and cold.

Louis leapt forward, wielding his iron rod. He brought the rod down on the creature’s arm that held Kearny. There was more sizzling and even some popping sounds, and the monster retracted his arm with a yowl of a hiss. Kearny collapsed on the ground, his mind retreating into memories.

Meanwhile, Louis goaded the monster away from the girl in the bathing suit, alternately striking it with his rod, and ducking away from its lashing arms. Louis began to salivate, like he found this sort of battling delicious. A few times he noticed that the creature’s face was morphing, trying to change. He had flickers of recognizing these half-way faces, and also noticed that when the creature did this, it lost some of its attention to their parrying. He brought his rod up and smacked it to the creature’s face. This was a blow so bad as to mangle the creature’s ghoulish face. Louis delivered another blow and the creature took a fall.

As he stood over the scrambling monster, the scene suddenly changed before him. He was standing in a sun-filled room. From a open window with sumptuous curtains there wafted the scent of roses. But there was wailing in the room, and there was blood. He was standing over a prone man, who had a gnarled gash across his stomach, his insides seeping out. There were other bodies on the floor, all dead and cut across with swords. A woman was crying, but her voice was muffled beneath the blood pounding in his ears. He looked down at the face of the young man he was standing over. Recognition... tragedy. He knew this man. He was his friend, though he couldn’t recollect his name. He couldn’t think straight, he was awash with adrenaline and sorrow.

Forgive me, G...” He spoke, and then plunged his sword down into the man’s chest. It was a merciful stroke.

Louis was relieved when he broke out of that foreign memory, and found himself still standing over his opponent. He looked down and saw that he had plunged the iron rod into the creature’s chest, and was sticking halfway out. But the creature’s face had also changed... it was the same face of the man he had killed in his reverie. G.

Louis felt the same wash of sorrow, and he scrambled away, truly spooked by the face.


4 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Myranda Emryssa Ambrosia Character Portrait: Arianna Trescott "Arey" Character Portrait: Louis DuCharme Character Portrait: Kearny MacWade
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Arey watched with a sense of dread as the pepper spray the security officer used against the monster had no effect, though she honestly hadn’t expected it to either. That thing had touched her, and it left a lasting impression of inhuman she couldn’t shake that she could feel in her bones. Sure enough, she watched as the monster grabbed hold of the man’s throat, and was startled by the sudden protective urge she felt. And seemingly out of nowhere, another man appeared, boy really she realized as he looked to be about her age, and Arey wondered how she could have missed him. He wasn’t handsome in the strictest of senses, but there was something about him that was undeniably attractive. Possibly it was the fact he was beating back a scary monster with an iron rod she thought dryly as she knelt next to the fallen officer to check his vitals. Her attention though, was all for Louis. It wasn’t just that she found him attractive, it was something else, a sense of familiarity she couldn’t place. Arey tried staring intently at his face, and suddenly it was like a flood gate had opened. A wave of emotion too complex to name washed over her, but she recognized anger and betrayal quite easily. It was more complicated than that though, there was also comradery, and a kind of love that one felt towards an important friend, one you’d been through hell with. And trust, once shining and bright and seemingly unbreakable, and that’s what startled Arey the most. She had never been able to trust someone like that, she’ been let down too many times in her life to allow herself to do so. People always left, or died, or disappointed you, and though she knew it wasn’t a healthy outlook on life, she couldn’t bring herself to let those walls down.

It passed after a moment, but the faint sense of familiarity lingered, making her feel shaky. When Arey looked back up at the boy, he was scrambling away from the monster, who had taken on a new face as it convulsed on the ground, making inhuman noises as its hands scrambled to grab unsuccessfully at the rod shoved through its chest that had it pinned to the ground. One look at the boy’s face told Arey that the monster had once again taken the face of a dead loved one, and she vaguely noticed that there was a pattern here. She felt a swell of sympathy for him, remembering the recent experience she’d had with the monster when it had taken on her mother’s face, and she felt compelled to try and take away some of his pain.

“It’s not real.” Arey said shakily, trying to reassure him with a gentle hand on his shoulder. “It looked like my mum when it grabbed me earlier. I think it just shows you faces of the people you’ve lost.” And feel guilty about she thought absently, but was wise enough to not voice that particular thought. “Are you alright?” Arey asked for lack of anything better to say, her accent coming out a bit thicker than normal from pure mental exhaustion at this point. Better to focus on someone else, otherwise she might begin to think about everything that had happened in the last half-hour and Arey didn't think she could handle that.

Kat too had managed to subdue the shade she’d been fighting, the rod sticking out of its back pining it to the ground. The shade was still taking the physical form of a child, though it’s eyes had melted into soulless black pools, for once giving Kat a distinct height advantage. She looked over to glance at Myranda, who stood by looking particularly spooked as she stared numbly at the monster staked to the ground. “I’ve never seen a kind like this before…” She said softly in a kind of voice people suffering from shock used, way too calm and cryptic for the situation at hand. The comment made Kat pause slightly, but she decided not to push for the moment. Her attention was much more focused on the sleek silver Mercedes that came speeding around the curb, purring like a kitten as it came to a quick stop by the sidewalk next to them. Kat let her shoulders relax in relief as she watched a familiar curvaceous red head in a gray power suit gracefully exit the car and walk their way.

“Jesus Christ Viv, what took you so long? I’ve been calling for like twenty minutes!” Kat called out in a mock grumpy voice. Vivienne merely raised a brow at her young ward, not dignifying the question with an answer. She'd been in Brooklyn, twenty minutes was making good time. Teenagers, honestly, she’d never liked them at this age.

“You seem to have everything in hand.” She said instead, sweeping the scene with her eyes, which linger a moment longer than necessary on Louis, a look in her eyes that was undecipherable, but it was quickly gone and she turned back towards Katrina.

“What happened?”