Able led me to the rear of Vickers and took me through a side door that blended almost seamlessly with the wood. Inside was Kade's office, a huge room magically expanded, it was packed full of books and spell casting supplies. The bright red aura of evocation magic surrounded the room, overpowering much of the magic sigils that protected the rest of Vickers. This was the most protected room in a very protected building.
Kade was dressed in his usual finery, high black books with gleaming silver buckles, dark green pants worked with gold lace that tapered over his boots. His shirt was matching in dark green and gold thread, open at the collar to show off the bronze pendant across his chest. He wore an assortment of rings on his fingers and gemstones in his ears. His short blond hair spiked in the front, seeming to explode from his scalp. Behind his desk rest a huge bronze staff with a silver headpiece. I knew that all of the items he wore served a purpose. Kade was Fell, an elf at that. His grasp of evocation magic (which focuses on the destructive side of magic) and in divination (which facilitated his ability to gather information) had cemented his position among the various factions. You didn't run Vickers without being powerful and tough, and despite our differences, Able Kade was powerful.
He sat down behind his oak desk and crossed his fingers looking at me. Time passed slowly as the tension built between us, neither saying anything. When Kade's goons let go of my arms finally, I adjusted my coat and reached for another smoke. Damn, I was burning through these things tonight. Striking the lighter against my hip, I lit the smoke and finally broke the silence.
"What seems ta be the problem Kade? I need to be gettin' home, almost past my bedtime you know."
Kade frowned as I blew a ring of smoke out. He hated smoking, and he knew I knew he hated it. I probably shouldn't have been pushing his buttons, but it had been a long night and I really didn't care at this point.
His lip curling, Kade finally spoke.
"Devlin, your antics earlier have really displeased the Were nation. You killed that Were without their sanction and crossed over several territories doing so. Your lucky that you weren't killed flat out when you got here."
I blew out another ring of smoke before I answered.
"Listen Able, you know as well as I do that it was my job. Part of the treaty states that I act above the factions when something gets out of control. I represent the interest of the Norms, and when Were's start killing Norms that aren't part of this world, it's my job to take them down. That thing was killing, and I don't give a damn who is pissed off."
I could see Able starting to get angry but before he could interrupt I spoke again.
" Look, I know your still pissed about the Uprising a few months ago and I'm sorry about that. But it is my job. I am the only one capable of doing it. Both Fell and Nightwalker agreed to my appointment, so that's what I am gonna do. If you want to stand here and bust my fucking balls about it for an hour that is fine, but your gonna have to give me a ride home."
I took another drag as Kade sized me up. A few months back some of the Nightwalkers had banded together to try to overthrow Norms. It's my job to protect those who aren't capable of protecting themselves, and in doing so I caused some damage to Vickers and to Kade, luring a few inside here to use the defensive magic of the place against them. It worked, but it really pissed Able off.
"Look Devlin, you need to try to work with me here, it's my job to run this Sanctuary and I can't have you coming in here pissing off my clients. It's bad for business every time you don't sanction your actions."
"Yeah, I'll work on that Able. We done here?"
He proceeded to ream off a few more warnings but I wasn't really listening. I hadn't done anything outside of my parameters and he knew it. He was just trying to ride my ass and make it look like he could control me. All for the sake of his clients. As his troll guards lead me out I dropped my cigarette on his floor and crushed it with my boot. Anything to ingratiate myself. Heh.
His goons gave me a shove out the front door. I adjusted my collar and squinted, my eyes pained by the tell tale lights of True Dawn. I reached in my pocket and pulled out my shades. I shoved one hand in my pocket and hailing a cab with the other. By the time I had hailed one my body was already shifting to adjust to the dawn. I quickly flipped the cabby a fifty and my address and told him to haul ass. It wouldn't do to change forms like this in front of the Norms.
Luckily the cab had decently tinted windows and by the time we reached my flat, the shades of my aura were just starting to show. I bolted from the car and made for the entrance, thumbing in my pass code quickly. Just those few seconds in the breaking dawn had my body in agony. The orange shades of ethereal magic radiating around me, my skin shifting to translucent. I got into the dark coolness of the hallway and took several deep breaths.
Concentrating, I turned inward, corralling the control of the magic in my blood and calming it. Turning it inward to control my form, directing my thoughts to maintain balance. After several minutes I had control, my skin back to its regular shade and the energies within contained. Running a hand through my hair, I knew I was tired. I walked down the hallway, my shoebox under my arm. Before I got to my door however, I knew that something was wrong.
The door to my apartment stood ajar, the magical wards around the frame had been unwound. It would take a serious User to undo those charms. I had woven some of them myself and the fact that they had been broken was bad. Maybe Kade was right. I really had pissed off some Nightwalkers. Fuck, this night just kept getting worse.
I eased my gun out of the holster and edged toward the door. Concentrating, I reharnessed my magic, the orange swirl augmenting my abilities, opening my sight and enhancing my strength and speed. I could feel the energies bursting through my veins, every detail drawn in sharp contrast. Time, slowing down as each sense reached beyond normal ability. Probing with my skills, I tried to get a reading from inside, but met only the tell tale shields of a User. Without looking and using my Second Sight, I had no idea what kind of magic was waiting for me.
" Ahh fuck it," I muttered, and kicked open the door.
End of Line.