Adventure School, Episode Two:
Did somebody just call for a Holy War?
DISCLAIMER(S?) & AUTHOR'S NOTE:
This story contains graphic sexuality and will eventually come to include scenes of (non-sexual) violence as well. If such things offend you, feel free to direct your browser elsewhere.
Ok SO! Finally posted. Sorry for the delay, it's been a weird month. If you like the story, hate the story, or want to point out that I'm a naughty boy: find me at troublemonkee at gmail dot com OR at theeroticledger.blogspot.com. FRESH!
"You've been given a unique opportunity, Winchester... never been this close to the inside of their operation... positioning is crucial."
The voice crackled and wavered. The static made it hard to hear and Cliff squinted with the receiver pressed against his ear. He tapped out his reply on an inch long copper plate. A single electrical signal passed between the plate and a makeshift device underneath it which translated the radio signal into sound. Slowly and impatiently Cliff eked out a message to his superiors.
It took him almost ten minutes of careful rapping on the copper to write the missive. Every letter was a deliberation. He didn't have a margin of error either, he had to do it flawlessly on the first try. He'd made a little radio out of spare parts salvaged from dismantling his obityr in order to get a message out. Now Machina was fully briefed as to his position and to his horror it sounded like they intended to leave him there.
He wanted to return to Machina, to his purpose, to the advancement of the human race. He glanced at his watch, frozen in the moment he moved outside of Machina influence. Worse still there were the dreams to contend with. Their increased frequency was growing disturbing but worse still was the fact that he found himself enjoying them. The dreams kept him in bed for hours each day and he was powerless to stop them. He wasn't sure he wanted to half the time.
A few minutes passed with Cliff sitting cross-legged on the floor of his room. He started idly recalling his most recent dream. When his superiors returned to the line he shifted his erection, as if they could see him through the waves, as if they knew what was on his mind.
"...excited about the research potential of a living grimoire... retrieve it...have five days...extraction team...find means of contacting you."
As Cliff struggled to decipher the message there was a pop that startled him followed by the smell of something burning. A quick look was all he needed to tell that his radio was done for. It didn't matter. He had his orders. Now he had to figure out how to steal a grown man from his enemies.
Selim shifted in his seat. The fireplace crackling a few feet away sent a rivulet of sweat down the center of his back. Above the fire hung a large cauldron of water boiling moisture into the air. The weather-witches insured that the campus was warm enough without the need of a roaring fireplace but it wasn't his place to complain -- he was attending the Dean of Magicraft and his comfort was not currently an actionable concern.
The temperature and humidity in the room raised even further when the door to the Dean's office swung open. Selim stood as the Dean walked into the antechamber wrapped from throat to toe in a golden and red silk robe; a sign of his mastery of the arcane arts. From his left earlobe hung the slowly revolving emerald sigil of his office. It announced him as the foremost magus of Obsidian.
The Dean smiled as he crossed the room in quick strides and took Selim's hand. His skin was predictably warm. Selim shook it graciously.
"Dean Drago. An honor, as always."
Drago nodded curtly. His reptilian eye dilated curiously while his human eye remained impassive. The Dean of Magicraft was partially Salamander: a race of sentient reptiles known for their tendency toward complex magical formulations and their intensely secretive nature.
The Dean's eye was usually the first thing people noticed about him. His yellow left eye with its thin, vertical pupil stood in stark contrast to his blue, human eye. Upon further inspection one might notice the quality of the skin around the eye, scaly and moist. As a master-magus there were any number of concealments that he could use to hide his alien features, but he chose not to. Despite his reptilian features, the Dean was an attractive man just approaching his middle years. A single streak of gray lightened his mid-length brown hair drawn, as usual, back into a high ponytail. The Dean spent little time on his appearance.
"Sit, Selim. We have much to discuss."
Drago made his way to the cauldron above the fire and peered inside. He murmured a few words and pulled two pewter cups from the aether. He used a ladle already in the water to fill both cups and brought one over to Selim while taking one for himself.
"Vanilla-Peppermint Tea. I find it very calming," Drago took a sip and smiled, "best if you drink it hot."
Selim smelled the fragrant tea but refrained from taking a first sip. He didn't have a Salamander's tongue. The Dean occasionally forgot that boiling water would scaled most people.
"I suppose I should begin."
Drago set his cup down on a nearby workbench.
"I'm telling you this because you're a promising student. Your work on your most recent mission was admirable. The Dean of Tasks has spoken well of you and cleared you for some work with my office. You're becoming a capable, skilled magus and we've certainly noticed. That's why I've enlisted your aid.
"I've noticed some disturbances in and around the Signatori. Of course we have the golems as well as countless other enchantments that would recognize any attempts to infiltrate our academy, however I'm becoming concerned that we're dealing with a body who is working to subvert our security measures.
"Obviously we don't know their motivations, nor will we until we find out who is doing this and how. Unfortunately we don't have any senior staff capable of using the farsight. We need you to use your seeing and report anything you might find."
Selim's mouth was dry. The tea barely helped. What the Dean of Magicraft was asking of him was faculty-level reconnaissance. It was more than an honor.
"Of course, Dean. I will begin immediately."
"There's more," Drago's look was serious, "we need you to look backward as well and forward if you can. Isolating where our security broke down and what the infiltrators were doing here will help solve this thing quickly. As for seeing forward, if we have a glimmer of what to expect we might be able to go on the offensive."
Looking into the past was within Selim's capability. He had done it a few times to varied effect, but to cross that threshold meant introducing a new element. A regular use of the farsight was rooted in the present and required only pleasure. Advancing to the past-seeing demanded pain as well. Selim hadn't ever attempted the fore-seeing. To break into the future meant pushing one's body to the limit for only a fragment of the knowledge. What Drago was suggesting, seeking a specific moment in the future, could be potentially life threatening.
Selim looked at Drago's earring. The diamond shaped chunk of clarified emerald revolved clockwise slowly on a silver chain independent of the Dean's physical motions. Circling the emerald a flat, dark metallic hoop suspended by the integrity of the enchanted gemstone spun counterclockwise. The hoop and the gem never touched but always remained balanced with each other. The earring was a mark of a master magus because the floating hoop and the revolving emerald represented a complex micro-system of magic. It was incredibly difficult to enchant an emerald, the atomic shape resisted manipulation, furthermore to enchant it indefinitely using a single magical impetus required a touch so precise and powerful that even a slight mistake would shatter the precious gem. Once the gem was spinning another equally powerful, yet complimentary force was required to set the metal hoop spinning. The metal must rely on the emerald for balance and so incorporate the first spell without halting or damaging it. There were perhaps seven or eight living magi who wore the symbolic green gems. To even be invited to attempt creating one required a record of exemplary magical study and service. It required sacrifice and risk.
"I'll do it," Selim heard himself say aloud.
Against his better judgment Skip knocked on the door of Zophir's atelier. As ateliers went it was one of the nicer ones: A pure white stone building with delicate curves and whorls engraved on almost every surface. It was flush with windows specially tinted to disallow any peaking eyes from seeing inside. Overall it was Zophir's taste: elaborate, intricate and ridiculous.
Several moments passed and Skip was ready to walk away. Asking Zophir's opinion about the strange visitation he'd received wasn't worth the indignity of standing outside of the atelier unanswered. It had already taken him a few days to work up the nerve to visit and now he was flushed with embarrassment. It was a bad idea, he told himself, I should have just left him alone.
He took a step away from the door and it opened behind him. He looked and there was no one standing there. The door was just slightly ajar. Was it an invitation or a coincidence? Skip thought about it for a moment and decided it was the former. Zophir was too careful to just go opening doors to strangers. He pushed the door open and stepped inside.
The inside of the atelier was less splendid than the outside. A few wooden benches lined the sides of the room and there was table with a bowl of fruit. The fruit was spoiling and fruit flies circled them diligently. Skip kept moving forward through the first room and then came upon a second larger entryway with a one door leading off to a backyard and another leading to what Skip assumed was Zophir's private room.
Skip approached the room and felt a queer feeling in his stomach. It reminded him of the feeling that overtook him the first time he had ever sailed on a ship. It was years ago before he first came to the Signatori. The rocking and rolling of the waves made him feeling nauseous and out of his element. That was almost how he felt now. As he continued toward the room the feeling grew stronger. He reached for the door handle and felt a sharp pinching feeling between his eyes, just above the bridge of his nose. He opened it anyway.
Zophir was sitting on a little wooden stool. Alistair was sitting on a raised marble dais. They both looked over at the same time. Alistair looked ready to speak then opened his mouth and must have thought better of it because no sound came out.
Zophir looked terrible. There were deep bags under his eyes. His hair was brown and greasy, clearly it hadn't been washed in some time. He was wearing a heavy leather work apron over a plain black shirt and pants. Skip had never seen him dressed so mundanely. Zophir had told him some years ago that brown was his natural hair color, but Skip had never seen it because Zophir hated it.
"Skip," Zophir said, "what brings you by?"
"Zophir, are you alright? You look... fucked up." Skip said honestly.
Zophir waved a hand.
"I'm just tired. I've been working on a removal spell, but it's not coming together just yet," he smiled weakly, "I'll figure it out soon."
"When was the last time you slept? Hell, when was the last time you left this room?"
"I have a lot of work to do and I'm the only one who can do it. I don't have time to screw around. This has to get done and soon."
"Don't you have a few months to do this? You shouldn't be running yourself down like this. I wish I'd known you were in here like this. I would have --"
Zophir cut him off. "You would have what, Skip? What would you have done? Shot an arrow in it? This is magic we're talking about. It takes real work to master and I'm the only one who can do it."
Zophir had never snapped at him like that.
"Zophir, you're going to burn out. It looks like you're already burning out. Take a break or something."
"This is none of your business, Skip. I appreciate your concern, but I don't need your help or your mothering. Please let me get back to my work."
"Zo, I'm just trying to look out for you --"
"I'm not going to repeat myself." Zophir said as he turned back to his table full of notes.
"Zo, I don't like this. This isn't you." Skip insisted.
Zophir snapped his finger without looking and Skip found himself staring at the front door of the atelier. He'd been forcibly removed by a teleportation spell. Skip knew that they were notoriously difficult to cast and Zophir had done it with a snap of a finger. Whatever level Zophir was operating on, he was far out of Skip's depth. Something cold passed through him as he turned away from the door and walked away: He was wrong to have come. He would have to deal with things on his own from now on.
Kyla, the Dean of Tasks, sat with her legs crossed on the end of her desk. A black and red bustier sat under a tailored black shawl that hung off her shoulders. Her feet dangled, corseted in seven inch heels with lace work running up her ankles. She was provocative as usual.
Straightening her glasses, she began.
"Drago, where are you on recon?"
"Selim has agreed to do a thorough seeing for us. Hopefully he can manage it. If not I have some ideas about a contingency plan. All the preparations should be complete by tonight."
Kyla nodded and turned to another guest at her meeting.
The Signatori's security specialist was hard to look at. At any given time he only partially inhabited the human existential spectrum. He was little more than a shadow. His outline phased and shifted against a bookcase in the corner of the room. He was more...whole in dim light. He had no voice, instead he spoke directly into the minds of those he intended to communicate with. It was a distinctly unsettling experience.
"We have confirmed that the golems are functioning at optimal and their command paradigm has been set to lethal parameters. Senior faculty are patrolling the perimeter of the campus in a 5/4 rotation. We have locked down the campus until the headmaster declares the threat is past."
"Good. Thank you, Ru."
"We have a question, Ky-la."
"Of course. What is it?"
"The Machina operative. Will you deliver him into our custody until the threat is over?"
Kyla stroked her chin. Ru's "custody" consisted of a space outside of physical space. It was impenetrable as far as she knew, but objects and people who were stored there tended to come back...changed.
"No. I don't think so. Our technologists intercepted a radio transmission to Machina informing them of the situation here and requesting an extraction. We already dispatched a team that has successful apprehended the agents sent to free him. He shouldn't be a further problem, but should they send another group, at least we have a few hostages to bargain with. For now we'll assign two or three upperclassmen to watch him. That should be sufficient."
Ru did not answer to that so she considered the matter closed. She turned to the last dean present: Tazarak-Useth Moon, the Dean of Student Affairs.
"Taza, what is the state of the student body?"
His eyes shifted gently between blues, greens and purples. The effect was calming, like watching the ocean.
"The students are curious. The increased security makes them anxious, but I have done what I can to alleviate their worries. The breaking point is quite a ways off. I would say that the situation as of this moment is stable."
The Moon family was legendary for their empathic abilities. Even so Taza was a particularly skilled mover of emotions. His emotional net lay over the campus like a blanket, suppressing anxiety and increasing calm without anyone noticing. Kyla sometimes wondered if she couldn't feel his fingers in her feelings. The thought made her shiver.
"Alright then. Until the headmaster tells us differently this campus is on high alert. He was not specific in his warnings, but he's assured me that he senses some kind of rupture approaching the Signatori. As long as I've been a Dean here I've never known him to be wrong, so let's be careful."
Drago and Taza nodded in agreement. Ru, however, was already gone. It was difficult to tell when he'd disappeared, but then again, one rarely could.
"It's a bad idea, you know."
"Going after the book. It's a bad idea."
"How do you know about that?"
"I know about everything you know about. And I know that it's a bad idea to go after it."
"How do you --?"
"It doesn't matter. Just listen to me."
"No. You listen to me. This is a direct order. Machina brass wants the grimoire and it's my job to get it. I've already been here too long and this is how I get out."
"Do you know who I am? What I am? What I was?"
Cliff opened his eyes and the brightness was blinding only for a moment. When his eyes adjusted to the sunlight he found himself in the large soft bed. White sheets over and under his bare skin. The place was familiar. He was dreaming again. This time it was clearer though. He looked around and saw long marble columns on every side of the room supporting a large dome above. On every side of the large alcove was blue sky but he could smell the ocean.
When he felt the touch he turned toward it. The blond from his dreams was there frowning at him.
"My name is Baal Shiron," he grimaced, "was Baal Shiron."
"The legendary magus? You're dead!"
The blond shook his head. "Not dead, just...indisposed."
"What does that even mean?" Cliff asked, backing up a few inches. Suddenly all the hot dream sex seemed tainted.
The blond sighed.
"The grimoire wasn't mine. Not originally. I found it, or I should say it found me. At first it was the greatest. I discovered spells and sigils that I never would have mastered on my own. Eventually though I noticed the presence in the consciousness in the book. It's subtle and malicious. I managed to seal it, but not before it ate me."
"The grimoire tore my body apart in a last ditch effort to stop me. Thankfully by then I'd already picked up a few of it's tricks. I managed to keep my consciousness whole."
Cliff felt sick.
"Why me? What does this have to do with me?"
"You're clearly a medium of some sort. You've been suppressing your abilities with the pills, but you're so incredibly attuned that I was able to reach through the noise and touch you. At first it was only physical, the pills made it too difficult to reach you mentally, coherently, but once you were off the pills -- you let me in."
"I didn't 'let' you in. You barged in! And what do you mean I'm attuned? That doesn't make sense. I'm a Machina officer, abusing magic is a capital offense."
"And you don't think they know what you're capable of? How naive. Do you think they started you on the pills for no reason? The headaches are a side-effect of trying to control your abilities using drugs. They've stopped haven't they? Maybe Machina just wants you pacified until the right moment, until they can use you most efficiently."
Cliff flashed a hand out in anger and found a long thin golden sword in his grasp. The blade pressed up against the blond's neck. He didn't know where it came from, but it felt right in his hands.
"Shut up. You don't know anything about Machina and whatever you know about me is stolen information. You have no proof to support any of your claims."
The blond's blue eyes are calm, defiant.
"You don't need to believe me. You're a medium, an incredibly sensitive one. That's how I found you. It works both ways. You should be able to easily read my intentions. I'm a spectre."
"I've heard enough."
"I said I've heard enough!" Cliff yelled and flicked his wrist.
A thin red line opened at the blond's throat but no blood came forth. A sad, ponderous look came across his face as he reached up to feel the wound Cliff had inflicted.
A crack of thunder caught Cliff's attention and he looked out. The blue sky had turned gray and the sky flashed with lightning. Another monstrous crack of thunder screamed and the sky went white a moment after. A rumbling came from underfoot and abruptly the ground shifted. Cliff was thrown across the bed. He looked up at the blond who was sitting still in the bed, unmoved by the quaking underneath him, he was holding his throat.
"I created this place in your mind to house us, but this cut is a form of banishment. I'm being forced out..."
Another peal of thunder drowned out the last of his words. A column collapsed. Then another. The dome above began tilting dangerously above them.
Another column collapsed and the sky was torn away by three consecutive cracks of lightning. Cliff was terrified, watching as yet another column collapsed. He would be crushed when the dome came down, but he couldn't imagine throwing himself out of the alcove. He didn't know what was beyond it.
"This is your mind, Cliff. No matter what you'll wake up before you're harmed. But I need you to listen."
The horrible creaking of the dome pressing down on the remaining columns captured Cliff's full attention. It was only the blond's hand pulling painfully on his arm that drew his attention. Only the pain turned his focus away from the terrible storm and the dome above pitching dangerously. Cliff turned to him.
"Baal?" He asked, confused.
"Yes. Cliff. Listen. The book has called them. They're coming for it."
"What book?" Cliff couldn't get his mind clear. He was so scared.
Baal pressed his arm harder.
"Destroy the book, Cliff. Don't make my mistake. Destroy the book."
The last column gave way and the dome came falling. Cliff heartbeat slowed and he screamed. But the ceiling was still intact. He was looking up at the cracked, poorly repaired ceiling of his dorm room. He was safe and covered in sweat. It had been a nightmare. Cliff tried to control his breathing. It was just a dream. Cliff rolled over onto his left side to begin to climb out of bed but pain shot up his arm. He removed the sheet and saw the bruise: It was the perfect imprint of a hand pressed into his arm.
Drago was overseeing Selim's seeing when Tazarak arrived. The empath was wearing a white cloak up over his messy white locks. Only the soft undulations of color in his irises brought life to his pale face.
"Tazarak, I'm glad to see you've arrived almost promptly." Drago sniffed.
Taza ignored the comment.
"There was an emotion spike somewhere on the campus. It was unplanned and I had to work quickly to suppress it. Apologies."
Drago waved away the apology. "I need you to monitor Selim's emotional state. If he grows too fragile we'll have to stop this."
The pale empath approached the chamber and his eyes settled on a fixed , iridescent green.
"Are you sure he can handle this?" Taza asked.
Drago looked out at the scene before him.
Selim was splayed out on a mattress hastily arranged in the center of Drago's large antechamber. Two men, hand-selected for their efficacy, held the young man between them like two lions feasting on a deer. The man on top savaged Selim's throat, chest and shoulders with bites and whispered sharp threats into his ear while the one underneath worked a pair of metal grips across his nipples. They took turns thrusting in and out of his ass. They fucked him deeply and savagely, pushing in to the hilt with every thrust. Selim moaned and shivered, pushing back against them as they entered him and leaned into the bites of the man on top of him. His cock was swollen and red, it bounced back and forth of its own accord. Neither man touched it.
Eventually Drago shrugged.
"I have no idea if he can handle it. That's why you're here." Drago answered, "We've been at it for an hour or so and already he's identified most of the security breaches. The Templars have been sniffing around the campus it seems. I've waited for the final push until you arrived. His sight is capable, but soon we'll see if he's exceptional."
Taza's eyes became a milky white. It gave a ghostly effect to his already pale features.
"His emotions are clouded. Is he drugged?"
"Pangloss root. To sharpen the pain."
"I see. How terrible this must be for him."
"The Pangloss will also heighten the pleasure," Drago said impatiently, "beside, this is a necessary step in his evolution as a magus. Half measures lead nowhere."
"I'm not here to debate pedagogy, Drago. I'm ready."
Drago clapped twice and the men took their cue.
They pressed their cocks together and began forcing them into Selim's hole. The men groaned, but the magus was quiet, his eyes pressed shut and his face contorted into a grimace. Together they pressed deeper into him and dragged his body down on top of their erections. The man underneath Selim twisted hard on the nipple clamps and the one above pressed his mouth to Selim's for a deep kiss. Slowly they began fucking into him together. Their well oiled dicks moved in sync within him. It only took a few strokes before Selim stiffened and his cock began spurting cum wildly into the air. The man on top of him took his mouth away from Selim's as the magus started shouting.
"Look, brother." Majnun cried and shoved his brother with his foot.
He pointed at the city flickering in the dark across the sand. It was bright. It was the brightest thing his eyes had seen in a long time. Brighter than the stars even. But it didn't matter. If he had to extinguish it then he would. There was something waiting for him in the midst of the lights.
Majnun shoved his brother again. A single eye peaked out of the mess of black cloth lying in the sand.
"Touch me again and I'll kill you." A voice rumbled.
"You have to wake, Junun," Majnun said, "don't you remember?"
The cloth rippled and drew form. After a few moments the pieces of tattered cloth drew into a somewhat cohesive form. As the desert breeze blew through the cloth, the form shook and shivered.
"I remember now." It said. "We have to find Janin. That stupid fuck got himself lost again, didn't he?"
"Again? No. He's been lost all this time. He's been gone for..." Majnun counted his fingers, but the number was too high to count that way, "he's been gone for a long time. It's time for him to come home."
"So where is he?" Junun asked.
Majnun pointed at the light-up city.
"So we just need to find Janin, right?" Junun asked.
"Yep." Majnun answered.
"So we can kill everyone else?"
The cloth form pointed its hands toward the twinkling desert city and shot twelve long bolts of cloth across the sky.