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Mythos
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PostSubject: Shadowed Threats   June 10th 2017, 9:33 pm

She never flinched when the needle bit into her skin. Her face was a perpetual mask of indifference that seemed to unnerve the young Healer that was drawing her blood, what precious little of there was left. It was a hard commidity to come by these days, especially after the Great Collapse. Blood was in short supply and for Mythos, that was a very bad thing. She was the last of her kind; Vampirius Sanguis, a very long line of Vampiric Sanguimancers. They had once been a proud people, but now they were nothing more than ashes. Perhaps that was why she constantly had that infernal "resting bitch face" plastered across her expression.

"Must you frighten my Apprentices, Mythos?" Came Syyra's breathy, hushed tone as the half mech Mage stepped gracefully into the room. The Healer had the Enchanters augment her body after the Great Collapse when nearly half of her face had been burned. They had implanted a new form of technological enchantment at her Third Eye Chakra that enabled the Archmage Healer to increase her abilities as well as provide her with the capability to see a patient internally without having to Astral Project herself into his or her body. A nifty little gift.

Mythos shifted her unnerving red gaze away from the young Apprentice and towards Syyra. She snorted faintly in lieu of laughter.

"I assure you, Syyra, it is not intentional."

"I know and I think that is what unnerves them the most. I would hate to think of your expressions when you are angry."

"Ask Myth. He knows."

The Healer scoffed, taking the needle full of the Sanguimancer's blood the moment the Apprentice handed it to her. Her silver, metallic skin shrouded faintly by the hood of her robes.

"I think he unnerves the Apprentices intentionally." The Archmage replied, lifting the vial up to the third eye. There was a subtle beep and hum as the advanced technology scanned the sample for any imperfections. "You are in the clear, Mythos. There are no foreign bodies and you seem to be producing a greater red blood cell count than the last time. Have you fed recently?"

"Yes." She did not elaborate further, nor did she offer the information that she had a willing donor. During the last mission, she had been badly wounded. Myth, who had surprisingly offered to accompany her had even made an even more surprising offer when he had told Mythos to take his blood. Neither of them had spoken further on the matter, but she could feel his thoughts, his emotions knocking at the corner of her mind. She knew that if she opened it further, she would be able to communicate with him telepathically. Feeding almost always created some kind of a bond. Mental, emotional, physical. Especially when a Sanguimancer was involved.

"Good. Whatever regimen you have placed yourself on, maintain it if possible. It seems to be working pleasantly."

The Vampire nearly squirmed. If only Syyra knew the extent of it. Turning her gaze down to her arm, Mythos rolled the sleeve back down. On her right middle finger was a trio of thick black bands tattooed on her skin. There was also the black tribal markings of her people along the back of her right hand that disappeared beneath the black and red leather coat she was seldom seen without. Along the front of her neck were the same tribal marks of her station, a reminder of her Kin.

"I was told to inform you that Myth has called an emergency Coven meeting tonight. If you could pass the word along to the others?"

The Healer nodded. "Of course. Take care of yourself, Mythos and come see me if there are any concerns."

She nodded once and turned on her heel without saying another word. The sound of her loosely laced and severely worn boots falling like whispers along the metal grating of the Clinic. Mythos adjusted the strap of the bag she carried on her right shoulder. Inside was Damask, nestled comftorably in a bed of black silk. The rare red and clear crystal acted as a foci and would enable her to harvest any blood she could from her enemies. It purified the blood, ensure that she would be able to absorb a pure source instead of a tainted one. As she decended the stairs, she pulled the hood of her coat up, shrouding her features if shadow and blocking out the harsh light from the flickering artifical bulbs over head. Umbra was a city of near perpetual Darkness and for those that did not have Night Vision, they had to use what they were able to salvage.

"Ah, Mythos. There you are." Almost instantly, she felt her body tense, but it had nothing to do with fear and nearly everything to do with anticipation and perhaps a shred of desire.
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PostSubject: Re: Shadowed Threats   June 11th 2017, 12:09 am

There was only darkness... Everything was in shambles, this truly was the end. The end of time. Myth hovered in that perpetual darkness, as he had time, and time again. Looking for clues to who had caused the eruption of time. Creating a temporal aberration that had frayed the cosmos like an old rope. This was not natural, he knew this. He had known this, and still the perpetrator remained elusive. Somewhere out there a transgressor had caused this; intentionally. The signs were everywhere, anomalies spanned across the flow of time, reaching far back into the past, and all leading to this, a tear in time, and space. The future was unknown, and at this time unreachable.

"I will find you..."

The notion was spoken with disdain, a stifled rage kissing at the back of his teeth, and tainting the words spoken out to the cataclysmic vision stretching out before him. This was his purpose, his mission, but for now the leads had dried up, and there was smaller transgressors who needed a reminder that the Time Guardian would not accept anyone making a mockery of time. The vision phased from view as the Chronomancer phased from that moment in time, slipping into a space between prime planes, to a place forbidden to all those but those who had been trained in the complex intricacies of time; The Temporal Plane. A place of unending mists, that swirled into giant storms that paved a trail back, and forward through time, always in a state of current motion, always in the same direction. Except for what resided behind the Chronomancer. That flowing mist had become a maelstrom, a storm that crackled, and sparked chaotically. It pulled everything to it, and sunk into nothingness. To a place Myth could not traverse.

Backwards Myth traveled, further into history, back a hundred years from that apocalyptic aberration áto the place where the chaos had begun, the epicenter for this Transgressor's plot to bring about the end to all. Umbra, one of the few oasis' of life that lasted after the remnants of a war that had left the world ravaged, inhospitable. Only pockets of life remained, thanks to those who mastered technology and magic. Umbra, had been Myth's, his staging point to create an army to battle the oncoming trials and tribulations. Myth didn't take pride in many things, he didn't like the possibility of being disappointed; It usually proved to be fatal. Though he was proud of Umbra, and of certain individuals who called it home. There were some who caused him distaste. Those who misused their talents, and went against the natural laws of magic, one set of laws in particular; those that dealt with time.

One in particular needed to be dealt with expediently, before he proved to be a true thorn in Myth's side.

"Ronin"

Myth spoke, and the tech chest piece that spanned diagonally across his chest. seemed to hum to life, and immediately the man's form was covered in his armored robes. Cloth made from nanotech shrouded his form from view, giving him a faceless robed facade. The cloth seemed to shimmer at the right angle, giving hint that the tech was enchanted, and by Myth's very hand.

Hello Myth.

The armor's on board Artificial Intelligence came to life, displaying an augmented reality HUD for the Chronomancer. Displaying current dates, the suit's power level, and other mundane diagnostics that allowed Myth to be in full control of what his armor was doing.

"Access File X7 dash 13"

File Accessed. Target is Xan Rhames, placed on your list for a Class A infraction. Proof of unsanctioned time tampering. Mr. Rhames has also been discredited by the Nexus. What is your judgement?


"Do you really need to ask? Queue location in the Dead Zone, and coordinates in time."

Myth's right hand shifted, his will pouring into his hand, calling upon his innate ability to manipulate magic. His body once again phasing from one plane to another.

The Excalibur Unregulated Tavern in the Dead Zone

Most of the regulars, and customers had been chased off, a group of renegade mages sat around a table, holding the entire establishment hostage. On, and on they went. Causing a ruckus, much like a crew that had just pulled off some great heist, and that they had. The table was filled with an array of precious gems and minerals, most of which had been stolen from random points through time. Cups of home made rot gut was smashed together. Jovial statements of being the richest outlaws in the Dead Zone, and how they would be able to sell these off for the greatest augmentations, and enchantments. It was a cause for celebration indeed. Though in an instant it had all come to a screeching hault. Everyone was trapped in their last action, like time around them, had just ceased moving. The only movement came from the shadows in a low lit corner of the room, the robed form of Myth slipped from the shadows as if he had just walked through the door way. The Augmented Reality Heads Up Display(ARHUD) Took in the facial features of each of the men around the table, and the uncomfortable looking staff that ran the dive. Xan Rhames was identified as the man sitting at the head of the table. Myth stepped up, and glanced over the impressive haul. ARHUD began analyzing each item on open display, cataloging it by where it came from, and when it came from.

Myth's hand raised, and words of will and magic uttered in rhythmic fashion caused every piece of Xan's boon to take to the air, hovering around the table. One by one, and sometimes in clusters those items disappeared returned to the timelines that they had come from. That took care of the pilfered resources. In it's place, Myth put down a small circular device, and then nonchalantly walked away from the table. Time started again, cups smashed together, and the paint thinner-esque brew they were drink splashed down onto an empty table. Immediately all eyes fell to the bare re-purposed wood in disbelief. Eyes fell on the small circular object, the only thing that remained. The portable speaker crackled to life. The sound of an acoustic guitar played through.

I Can Hear What You're Thinking
All Your Doubts And Fears
And if you look in my eyes in
time you'll find the reason I'm here

The song came to a brief, and natural pause, only a second or two. The men were looking bewildered, but the staff had seen this before they knew what came next. Already the bar maid, and bar tender were scrambling behind the counter in complete, and utter fear. In that brief pause, there seemed to be a slight skip, like the world around them, had phased out of place for a moment. When it "snapped" back, two of Xan's men were gripping their throats, as blood sprayed from arterial wounds, splashing from beneath their fingers, and splattering the table, floor, and speaker in blood. Yet the song continued, even as those around the table burst into chaotic movement.

And in time all things shall pass away
In time you may come back some day
To live once more
Or die once more
But in time your time will be no more

Again the world seemed to skip off it's tracks before reshifting itself, and another body fell. This one a man was bent over the table, a blade impaling his head to the wood. In one temple, and out the other. A look of bewilderment, and fear still locked on his face, as blood began pooling on the table, and seeping through the cracks.

You know your days are numbered
Count them one by one
Like notches in the handle of an outlaws gun
You can out run the devil if you try
But you'll never outrun the hands of time

By now the would be Time Marauders knew they were under attack, battle spells prepped and now the bar became a shooting gallery, magical projectiles, fire balls, lightning bolts, and a myriad of other spells were hurled by the four that remained, at a target they did not know, and could not see. Though still the song rolled on.

And in time there surely come a day
And in time all things shall pass away
And in time you'll come back, some say
To live once more
Or die once more
But in time your time will be no more
I can hear what you're thinking


The speaker crackled once more as the song ended. The dust was starting to settle from the reckless spell slinging, that left the tavern in a tattered state. As the murk cleared, a silhouette could be seen on the other side of the table, that faceless robed visage of the Time Guardian. Xan's crew could be heard making exclamations as it had finally dawned on them who had come seeking retribution. They did not hesitate, spells once again were hurled in the silhouette's direction, the spells seemed to phase right through; it was an illusion. The true form came from the shadows behind him, hands poised, and words spoken with lethal precision, and force, the air around him crackled as ions began moving in rapid fashion. Twin lightning bolts shot from the Chronomancer's hands. Connecting with the two rogue mages on each side of Xan. For a mere second their bodies went rigid before turning to ash piles on either side of him. The last of Xan's crew was able to get a spell off. The fireball connected with Myth's chest, sending him flying back. As the spell came in contact with the chest plate of Ronin, it seemed to be absorbed. With the ARHUD showing that the spell had been rerouted, Myth wasted no time in redirecting the spell right back at him, before her flew into the shadows behind him.

His body seemed to melt into those shadows, disappearing from a moment, before he was falling from the shadows created by the rafters above Xan. The Chronomancer came down, feet landing on the shoulders of his intended target, and crumpling the man to the ground with an unceremonious thud. Another blade unsheathed and held to the man's throat.

"Xan Rhames..." He called out the man's name. His voice holding a certain sense of excitement. The blade slipping in closer to the Xan's neck.

"Did you truly think you could get away with this? That you would be able to out smart me? I commend your attempts, not taking too much from one source. Your strategem was not enough.

"Fuck Y-"

The rest of Xan's words were cut short, replaced by a gargling choked gasp, as Myth let the razor edge blade draw across the man's throat. Though he didn't stop there, they blade slid across his wrists, under his arms, before lastly being jammed into the man's gut; piercing the liver. The death would be slow, but there was too much damage for him to be able to heal himself from before he bled out. He had mere moments before he drained out onto the floor.

Myth stood, resheathing the bloody blade. He glanced around, before finally finishing his glance upon the counter where maid and tender hid.

"You are safe to venture out, I am not here for you, if they paid you at all in their pilfered goods, I would advise you return them to me." They both reassured them, that they had not yet received payment on the rather hefty tab. Myth sighed, reaching into a pocket and tossing a satchel onto the table.

"That should cover the cost of their tab, as for rebuilding... Perhaps you should move your business to Umbra, I will find you real estate, and will finance the remodelling... The Dead Zone is no place to run a business, it will attract... Degenerates."

Myth didn't wait for an answer before he was slipping from this place, and reappearing another. At that point he was right outside of the clinic, that Mythos often frequented when she needed a check up. With a tap to the chest piece. The robed armor, slinked away, revealing the black haired Myth adorned in his more formal, and less combat orientated Nexus robes. He leaned against the wall, just on the other side of the hall that he knew she would be walking down in exactly 26 seconds. In that brief moment, his mind shifted again to the aberration that awaited them in the near future. That was until he heard the clank of her boots against the metal stairs. His eyes snapped open just in time to watch her pass by.

"Ah, Mythos. There you are."

Spoken as if he had been waiting for her there the entire time.

"I assume Syyra gave you a clean bill of health?"

He spoke in an almost teasing tone.

"If you are not preoccupied with other matters, perhaps you would accompany back to the Nexus, I have something I wish to discuss with you, before the meeting this evening."

He didn't seem to wait for an answer, but instead began walking towards the catwalk that would lead them outside, and in the direction of his intended destination. Knowing either she would follow, or she would not.
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PostSubject: Re: Shadowed Threats   June 11th 2017, 1:26 pm

"Yes, Syyra informed me that I was a ray of sunshine in this dreary place." Mythos replied to her companion's inquiry about her recent check up. With her dry and often sarcastic humor, they both knew she was far from being any form of sunshine. Her eyes snapped over him quickly, a mere blink but she took in great detail in that short amount of time. The long black hair, the sharp features and sculpted brows. But there were bags under his eyes, dark circles that gave away the stress that constantly ate at him. Her sanguine hued eyes flicked away a heartbeat later and she followed directly beside him.

"You have not been sleeping." The Sanguimancer announced, though they both knew it was painfully obvious. She remained silent as they passed the desolate streets, broken and cracked a reminder of the atrocity that had occured in the past decade alone. She remembered well what the world had looked like before it's untimely end. Full of green, light, and life. Now it was dark, forboding, and barren. A few blocks north of the Clinic was a secured and secret entrance to the Nexus. It was concealed by a blend of optical illusion, technology, and good old fashioned construction. Without stopping, Mythos turned her right arm over and depressed a series of codes into the small HUD display that popped up from her very skin. The glowing red symbols were arcane runes, a code that only the Archmages were able to decifer. There was a small hiss and a pop as the mechnical seals and pistons opened the hatch. What had once been an operating stone fountain slid open with a faint expulsion of mist. Metal grated stairs led down into a dark passage that would illuminate only when the hatch resealed.

The Vampire let her hypersensitive gaze pierce the surrounding darkness, ensuring that they were both truly alone before descending down into the tunnel. The moment her head was clear, the hatch slid back into place and anyone passing by would be none the wiser to what truly lay beneath their feet.

Bright cyan hued lights flickered to life and for a moment, Mythos had to shield her eyes from the harsh glare as she dug out a pair of dark tinted glasses to slide over her sensitive orbs. Once the glasses were in place, she followed behind Myth as they made their way through the rather long passage that would lead them almost directly to the Nexus itself.

"What is it that you wished to discuss with me, Myth?" She finally inquired, both her curiousity and subtle impatience getting the better of her. She did not know if this was a private matter that needed to be discussed in his office, or if he was willing to speak of it here. She hoped he would speak of the matter now rather than have that mounting curiousity linger the long walk to his office.
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PostSubject: Re: Shadowed Threats   June 13th 2017, 11:43 am

Myth gave a soft hum, and a slight smirk at her sly remark. He had always known the woman to be rather cold. It reminded him of himself, and often a thought was given to that being the fact as to why they seemed to be so cohesive. Though he knew that there was more to it than that. Even if he was reluctant to give voice to it. Her observation caused his turquoise hued eyes to snap back to her. A brow even quirking in inquisitive fashion.

"I am fine Mythos." He stated in that usual stoic tone. Though she was right, he hadn't slept in weeks. Keeping himself going through magic alone. Though even then it caused strain, the body needed rest, and he was pushing himself to the limits. Though it seemed Mythos, and Ronin as well, found it pertinent to mention it. The Time Guardian remained silent, walking towards the entrance, and timing his motion that he was already descending down the stairs as they began to form. He continued down into the dark egress. Her impatience was met with silence, and Myth continued to walk, until they were inside the Nexus, and standing outside of the large ornate, and obviously enchanted door.

The door seemed to react as Myth came closer, the sound of internal locks could be heard slipping open, and the door quietly opened to allow the two entrance, and closed the moment Mythos was through the door. The office was large, and relatively empty. A few magical artifacts were on display in a small alcove, a small table with two chairs, and a chess board on top was situated off to the side, and taking up the center of the circular room, was a large desk. Covered in tomes, books, tablets. Spanning from ancient to modern day electronics. Myth stopped at the desk, and turned to lean against the desk. Those turquoise irises burrowing deep into the Sanguimancer.

"I can sense you Mythos." The Chronomancer would finally say, breaking the silence that had surrounded them as they had made their way to his office. To accentuate his point, Myth's hand raised and tapped at the side of his temple. "It isn't strong, yet, but I can sense it coming to fruition, and if you feed from me again, it will only compound that fact. With that in mind, there are things you are going to learn. Things I will no longer be able to keep from you. Knowledge, that I have killed others for knowing." It wasn't spoken as a threat, which was quite odd for Myth. A mention of how forbidden such things were. "I am trusting that you will be tight lipped with anything you may learn, no matter what it is. Even if it is appalling, even if what you learn changes your opinion of me, understand that this knowledge is a burden, and would only cause chaos to reign in the last beacon of hope that remains."

Myth paused then, letting what he said to sink in. Tired eyes never left her, staring past her eyes, and seeming to try and burrow into her very thoughts.
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PostSubject: Re: Shadowed Threats   June 13th 2017, 7:04 pm

Mythos felt her tongue click against her teeth out of instinct. She reached up and removed the glasses shrouding her eyes and slid them back into a hidden pocket on the inside of her jacket. "I do know how such things work, Myth. Possibly better than you. You have no fear of me gaining knowledge without your consent. I will not delve into your thoughts unless you let me. Correction, I can not. No Vampire can. Words have power so unless you speak them, then I will not have access to your secrets." She took a moment to contemplate the chess board. She had never learned how to play, much to her late father Mathias' dismay. King Mathias Tenebris had been an arrogant, proud intellictual man. Tough on his children when it concerned their educations and yet still a doting father. Especially to her, his only daughter. The youngest of five children and all of them had been boys, but her. She could have done no wrong in her father's eyes but her brothers had never once hated her for it. They had loved her just as much, protected her until she had been old enough to hold her own, and that had not been too long.

By the tender age of nine, she had been able to out think, out smart, and out talk even the most savvy of nobles. The Sanguimancer felt her fingers move, mimicking her father's last play. They hoved over the chess pieces as sanguine colored tendrils of Magick snaked out and curled around the Bishop. It levitated up and off of the board, spinning several times before it suddenly shattered into a million pieces. Mythos' hand trembled before her fingers curled back in on themselves and her arm dropped back down to her side.

"My apologies, Myth. I did not mean what I said to sound as if I am cross with you. I am not. I am greatful to you for saving my life, both in the past and during this last mission. It has been...hard for me, having watched the world die. To see my family die and not have been able to help them. To save them. Do you know what it's like to be the last of your kind? To know that you have a lineage that must be carried on and yet there is no way to further it? There are no Sanguinmancers left. I am the last and feared for it."

The Vampire paused for a moment, taking a seat in one of the chairs stations by the chess board. It was almost as if she had flopped bonelessly into it, became a useless heap of bone, muscle and sinew. "My father's dying wish was for me to carry on the legacy of our kind. I do not even know how to begin such a task."
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PostSubject: Re: Shadowed Threats   June 15th 2017, 12:15 am

Myth took in her words, and even offered the slightest of nods. He remained silent even as she began to apologize and ask if he could imagine the pain of being the last of one's kind. It was a pain that he knew quite well. He wasn't sure if there were any more like him, but his search had been thorough, and to this day he had never met another.

You would be quite correct, Mythos. If I were human.

The Chronomancer paused for a brief moment, if only for effect, and to let it sink in. A fact that he had never told anyone else in Umbra. It was often speculated, his capacity to cast from the myriad of schools. Just the sheer output of magic that he was capable of.

"Tell me, do you remember the ancient races of the Fae? You were quite young when the wars started, when the immortal races were pitted against mortals. There were not many Elves left when you were an adolescent. Elves have a certain... Capacity when it comes to empathic bounds. It is what allowed us to craft the bonds with the ancient powers... Nature, Magic, What made us Dragon kin, and allowed for us to create a pact with the Vampire families. Such bonds have a tendency to take on a life of their own when it comes to Elvenkind. Perhaps that answers another of your questions... Yes, I know the pang of loneliness to be the very last. Elves are resourceful and I had hoped to find a pocket of resistance somewhere, but there have been none. I have lost hope in finding another, watching the world die was tragic, but it is only a footnote to what is still in store for this world.

He grew silent, as he seemed incapable, or unwilling to continue with that train of thought. Instead he turned and took the seat on the other side of the chess table.

"You are the last of your kind, the living progeny of a great line of powerful mages. But, there is still a way to carry on your father's legacy... It was why we had returned to your homeland, and why we must once again venture into the catacombs of your father's manor."

The catacombs had been well defended, by traps and constructs left by the sanguinmancers, as well as the denizens of the dead zone who had taken to calling the place home.

"Before he died, your father bestowed upon me the knowledge that the Tomes of Blood still existed. Locked away in the deepest reaches of the Catacombs, protected by powerful enchantments. I am not sure what these tomes will do, but your father did mention that word to me as well... Legacy. Fear not Mythos, it is but a queens gambit."

To accentuate his point, Myth removed the Queen from the board.

"The loss has been great, and there will still be more lost in the coming years, but it's the end game that we prepare for, the Queen's sacrifice is necessary. So that other pieces can be moved into position, and the game can be one in 5 turns.

Myth returned the queen to it's place, eyes traversing up her form before locking upon the woman's sanguine stare.

"This bond will continue to go stronger, my mind will open to you, and my memories will become your memories, and yours, mine. This bond needs to be kept between you and I. The other Archmages already suspect that I favor you over the rest of them. The hate to see themselves as mere pawns in my grand design. They forget, that even a pawn can trap a king."
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PostSubject: Re: Shadowed Threats   June 15th 2017, 3:09 pm

If he were Human? Already her mind was kicked into overdrive. Memories and stories her father had told her as a young girl about the Elven people. On how some of them had delved into the unknown art of Blood Magick, drinking the blood of their enemies in order to increase their power. Somehow it had changed them, turning them into the creatures now known as Vampires. It had created the first Vampire Sanguimancer, Al'reyear Tenebris of whom which she was supposedly decended. She did not know how far back, but she carried his last name so she more than likely wasn't too far removed. Perhaps there were more answers at the mansion than she had initially thought.

Bloody hell. The Catacombs. The very place in which she had almost always dreaded going. Not to mention it was the place they had gone to on their last mission together and it hadn't ended ápeacefully. One of the Battlemage Apprentices had tripped one of the traps. In her haste to protect the young lad, Mythos had taken a large metal spike to the chest. Thankfully it had narrowly missed her heart. A blow like that would have undoubtedly killed her instantly. Being a Vampire, she could survive most wounds that would kill ordinary people. However being impaled through the heart was a sure fire way to destroy her. When Myth had mentioned those damned Catacombs, she reached up and rubbed between her eyes with the tip of her index finger.

"Not a place I am looking forward to returning to." But that wan't just it. She didn't want to return for the memories they stored for her, of holding her father's hand, watching in marvel as he unraveled each intricate trap guarding the entrance to his Archives. It was a place in which he had housed his most prized artifacts and tomes. As far as anyone knew, they were all still there. There were a few trinkets she had wanted to acquire in the upper floors of the run down mansion. Her mother's necklace which was a thin silver chain that contained a smaller version of her foci crystal. Her father's staff, the fabled Bloodwalker. There was also a set of daggers her older brother Myrak had favored and she wondered if they would have been spared, if any of it would have been spared. What else of her family had survived? There was a part of her that longed to return the ancestral mansion to it's former glory but it would never be the same.

"The Coven will be none the wiser. It is not something they need to know, unless you feel it is of importance." Mythos stated, referring to the Bond that he had mentioned. He was right, they already considered her the favorite, that they were secretly having some kind of affair on their missions when they went off to places that none of the other Mages had been asked to join in on going. The phantom pain in her chest returned and so the Sanguimancer reached into the pocket of her jacket and removed a small silve flask. Inside was a mixture of restorative potion that Syyra had given her, as well as some of the purified blood she had removed from the foci. She quickly took a swing of it, grimacing faintly at it's lack of taste before sliding the flash back into the same pocket she had taken it from. She pressed the heel of her palm against the spot in her chest that ached and applied a steady amount of pressure. It nearly took her breath away. The Healer had told her that her muscles were healing rapidly and would undoubtedly cause charlie horses for the next few days until they were fully healed.

------

Serabas shook the ice from his long dark hair. The Water/Ice Mage Apprentice; Jerika had proven to be growing into his powers and was becoming a great addition to the uprising Mage army. The Archmage was pleased with the growing progress of his students.

"Very good, Jerika. You have done well today and earned your rest. The rest of the day is yours." His cultured voice spoke of his intelligence and his devistating good looks seemed almost feminine, but his lean frame was muscular one of the only signs besides his deep voice that gave away the fact that he was indeed all male. He adjusted the long dark blue trench coat, brushing away any remaining water before tucking away the glowing orange crystal foci necklace he was seldom seen without.

"But, Master, there is still another hour left." The eager Apprentice pointed out, though there was no need for it, Serabas was quite well aware of the time, though perhaps not as much as Myth usually was.

"I know. It is not good to train until you are fully drained, Jerika. You must always have a reserve of your mana. If you run out of potions, and are out of your mana, you would be in trouble had this been a real battle. Resting will not only restore what you have used, but will train your body to increase your mana and therefore allow you to cast spells longer."

The young Apprentice nodded once to the Archmage before hurrying from the Elemental Gardens. These Gardens were the center of the Elemental Mage's training area. An essential part of the focus and restoring the world to it's former glory. Beautiful green ferns and colored blossoms. Streams and waterfalls bubbled and talked even among man made rocks and steel. It was a serene place and one the Archmage had found drew even the most hardened of their brethren. Lately he had found Mythos coming here, even if she simply sat and watched the water, meditating on her own thoughts. The few times he had seen her, Serabas had simply watched her. Though some of the others feared her for her Vampiric nature, the Elemental Archmage found her beautiful, alluring. Captivating even. Her long, rich black hair. Her pale skin seemed to shimmer like diamonds. Her sharp nails glittering like glass beneath the aritfical light. Her glowing and eerie red gaze frightening and yet enthralling, even without the use of her Blood Magick. He was, without a doubt, growing smitten. The more he got to know her, the more he realized just how deep her intellect went. Just how generous her heart really was despite her icy, sad demeanor.

Serabas was quickly growing fond of the Shadow Archmage, the last Sanguimancer. He knew there was a part of her that was fond of Myth. She had not spoken directly of it, but he had caught the hints of it in their hours long conversations. To the others it seemed as if Myth favored her. Did he return the Sanguimancer's affections? Or was he squandering them, using them for his own means to gain what he wanted? Would he cast her aside when there was no longer a use for her? It angered him to think the Chronomancer was using the Vampire. But why? There was no emotional attachment between him and Mythos, was there? Was he growing to care for her more than just a friend? It was possible. He was one of the only people, the only one of two men she let in that closely. He felt honored and touched, but strangely jealous of Myth.

He had no claim, no place by her side but he had also not told Mythos how he felt. Perhaps he would catch her before the meeting. Perhaps afterward would be more suitable. Providing, of course, she wasn't leaving directly afterward for a mission. The last one had nearly been his undoing. He had not been there, but the whispers he heard from the others on how awful she had looked when they carried her uncouncious body back to the Clinic. A large metal impliment sticking out of her chest.

Serabas shuddered. He had ran to the Clinic, only to be barred at the door by one of Syyra's Apprentices. They had told him she was stable, but little else except that Myth had provided he with his blood before he had left the Clinic and the Vampire in the Healers capable hands. He had offered his own blood, but been turned down politely. Apparently she was already healing and would not need the additional blood. He was both pleased and jealous that Myth had gotten to her first. Had he not offered, she more than likely would have met her end. The Archmage had visited her often afterwards, though. Made conversation and watched over her until she had been capable of doing things for herself. It had taken a couple of days at most, her Vampiric regenerative Healing and Syyra's own potions had managed to speed the process and what would have taken the Sanguimancer normally a week to Heal that paricular damage, it had lasted only 48 hours.

He had to admit it to himself, he was looking forward to seeing her at the Coven gathering tonight.


------

She had dreamed of him again. This man of pale masculinity and power. She had dreamed of him as far back as she dared to remember. They always seemed to last forever and yet not long enough. The only cryptic message he gave her was:

"Soon."

His deep, husky voice never failing to awaken her in a state of chaotic desire and arousal. One that seemed to sear every nerve ending into a frayed mass of hyper-sensitive senses. Mythos felt a connection to this stranger that she could not fathom, nor explain. It ran deeper than any Binding she had ever experienced from any feeding, stronger than any force of Magick. Tonight, however, it seemed to be much different. His presence was stronger, more powerful than she had ever felt it in any dream that came before. She felt him long before he even showed himself from the shadows behind her. A strong, powerful arm snaked out and wrapped around her waist, pulling her lithe frame back against the lean line of his. His áopposite arm slid around the other side of her, brushing along the side of her left breast before extending out in front of her so she could see what he held in his grasp. An ornate hourglass filled with a glowing red liquid; that she knew almost immediately was blood, hung suspended above his palm, levitating by his sheer will alone. She could tell that the time was indeed running very low in that hourglass, the glowing red at the top nearly gone entirely.

"The hour is upon us." His voice sent a visible shiver down her spine, one that he felt burn through his blood and straight to his loins. A low feral growl vibrated against her ear and his right hand trailed from around her waist and down over the flat of her stomach to cup the heat of her burning through the leather pants she wore. "You test my patience, Amarande. I have waited centuries to claim you. I am so close now that I can almost taste you on my tongue. I will have you before the next Blood Moon." The sheer confidence in those husky words triggered something in her, some kind of hidden switch that made her press back against him, hips shifting in slow lazy circles that had both of his strong hands grip her hips firmly, nails digging into her flesh even through the leather.

"Then come get me." Mythos teased, wanting nothing more to turn around to see his face, but the firm grip of his hands prevented her from doing so. Instead he moved them forward, pressing her none-to-gently against the stone pillar that stood erect in the middle of the room in her dream. His left hand shifted, moving upwards along the front of her body to grip her throat, fingers pressing oh so gently as he turned her face to the side. She felt his breath at her ear again, lips brushing along the lobe as he spoke.

"If I could, rest assured I would have had you the instant I laid eyes on you. Sadly a curse prevents me from doing so. I can only touch you here in your dreams, your thoughts. The instant this blasted curse is lifted, I do not care if there is a room full of people. I will claim you, Amarande."


It was at that moment, the dream shattered. Mythos awoke instantly, sitting nearly bolt upright in bed. Strangely, she still felt his touch scorching her skin. It was something that had never happened before. Slowly, she ran the palms of her hands over her face and sighed deeply. This was proving to be too much of a distraction. Who was this man? She had never had the opportunity to acquire his name, nor his purpose raiding her dreams. All that she knew was that she felt. A feeling so intense it eclisped all else in the waking world. The sheet pooled around her waist as she sat up more fully, running both hands through her sleep tangled mass of black hair and pulled it to one side so it all fell across her right shoulder. There was no sun by which to tell the time of day, there was only the red illumination of the digital numbers that hovered above the table beside the bed. It was just past seven. If there had been a sun, there was no doubt it would be just setting along the horizon. Mythos reached into the drawer of the bedside table and removed a single pack of black paper rolled cigarettes. They were not filled with regular tobacco as that was now very scarce to come by. Instead, they had been filled with a synthetic blend of herbs provided by Syyra and mixed with blood to form a near paste like quality. Once dried, it could be crushed and rolled just like any cigarette. She placed it between her lips, fumbling for her lighter but a sudden flicker of flame from the shadows had her nearly rolling from the bed and onto the floor.

"Christ, Serabas! You scared the shit out of me."

The dark haired, severely handsome Elemental Archmage bowed, a simple inclination of his head that hopefully hid the smirk that was forming on those sinful lips of his.

"My apologies, Mythos. I did not intend to frighten you. I had knocked but I do not think you heard me."

Her brow frowned as he came closer to the bed, a small flame dancing in the palm of his hands. She leaned forward, managing to clutch the sheet to her otherwise naked self and hiding it from view as she took a drag from the cigarette when the flame touched it's tip. Had he knocked? With the haze of sleep and the fever of the state of her dream still clinging to her, she couldn't rememeber if she had heard any kind of knocking sound.

The Sanguimancer exhaled a plume of aromatic smoke towards the ceiling before addressing the other Mage's presence in her private quarters.

"Was there something you needed?" She inquired, albeit somewhat coldly. Anyone who knew Mythos knew that not only was it hard to sneak up on her, she did not like it when anyone succeeded.

Serabas closed his fingers, extinguishing the flame and shrouding himself in the shadows once again. He dared not smirk, for he knew she could see better than anyone else through the darkness.

"I had wanted to speak with you privately, if I may."

Mythos quirked a brow, but did not answer for a moment, letting the silence stretch between them.

"Give me a moment." She mumbled around the cigarette at the corner of her lips as she stood from the bed and wrapped the blanket around her. She secured it beneath her arms and made her way towards the small bathroom, grabbing a few articles of clothing on her way. The door slid shut behind her with a small hiss.

Serabas took that moment of solitude to let his facade drop. The image of the Elemental mage flickered and faded, revealing the visage of the true man beneath.

(Image by Mavrosh on Deviantart)

The same man who had haunted her dreams just minutes ago. He moved towards the bed, though it was more of a predatory saunter as he reached out and let his fingertips trace over the still warm indentation her body had made in the bed. He groaned inwardly as her scent drifted up to him. Al'reyear Tenebris was not a man to be denied. There were secrets he kept from her, from everyone. Secrets that could and would damn everything that they had built here. Secrets that would come to light soon enough. They were on the cusp of breaking the curse that held him in check, the very curse placed on him the night of the Great Collapse by his own brother Mathias. As far as he knew, the bastard was dead, having been killed during the final battle. Al'reyear had stormed the estate searching for his beloved but she had already disappeared, moved to a location that he had not known of until Crono had cornered him. Thinking quickly, he took on the guise, the Glamour of Serabas Virna whom had been killed moments before by Mathias. It was something none had known of yet and by absorbing the young man's essence and Magick, Tenebris was able to assume the Elemental's visage at any time as well as tap into the abilities he had acquired during his lifetime. Something that not many Sanguimancers could do. He was the first of them afterall and quite capable of much more than any of them had realized. Except breaking that damned curse! His research had proved fruitful, however, and he had been, thus far, able to wait out the time frame it took to wear off. Though being in close proximity with Mythos and not being able to touch her except through her dreams was utter torment.

His attention wavered when he heard the water running in the bathroom. Oh how easy would it be to simply sneak in there and join her. Al'reyear bit his lower lip, sharp upper canines nearly breaking the skin with the effort to reign in his control. If it snapped now, all that waiting would have been for nothing. He could wait a bit longer...maybe. He moved towards the bathroom and placed his palm against the cool metal of the door that separated them. He knew he teased himself, poked at his own self control. He was at war with his limitations.

"Not too long now, Amarande. Three days. Three days and you will finally be mine, mine so completely that you will wonder how you ever survived without my touch." His deep, jusky voice sounded nothing like the one he used as Serabas. His true voice rasped and rumbled, becoming every woman's fantasy in an instant though to him there was only one woman he wanted to affect that way.

Hearing the water turn off, Al'reyear drifted silently back across the room and shrugged back on the facade of Serabas. It had become as easy to him as breathing. Once Mythos acquired his Bloodwalker staff from the Catacombs of the Tenebris estate, all would be revealed. He just needed to get her there, hopefully without any mishaps this time. That last mistake had nearly cost him her life. Something he was most certainly not willing to lose.

When she emerged from the bathroom, freshly clean and smelling of some musky soap, it took all of his will not to take her then and there. Black locks damp from the shower and draped along the right half of her face, a single sanguine hued eye peeking out from a thick fringe of black lashes. Full lips still set in a partial frown that nearly had him craving to bite that lower lip until it bled against his tongue.

"I know that you are not a woman of patience, Mythos, so I will get to the point. Since I met you, there have been secrets kept in the dark. Secrets that I can not divulge in speaking. Secrets that could very well break this Coven. All of us have them, especially me. Once they come to light, all I ask is that you seek me out. Speak with me about your concerns. I have grown very fond of you, of your presence, your comanionship and you as a person, a woman. I would hate to think that you would despise me after you learn the truth."

She was silent for a moment, contemplating his words as she sat down on the edge of her bed. Her lithe form swathed only in hip hugging black cotton pants and a tank top. Her feet were still bare, but she tucked them beneath her, sitting indian style on the covers she had replaced upon the bed.

"Are these secrets something I may kill you for?" She inquired softly. Her dry sense of humor returning after the minor shock of his sudden appearance in her room.

"Let us hope not. Just keep in the back of your mind the reason why I kept them from you. I did it to ensure you were safe, to protect you. Your best interests are always at the forefront of my mind."

"Well, there's no real promise but I will try my best not to kill you."

He gave a soft snort of laughter, secretly pleased that she would be willing to kill without hesitation should the need arise. Though he hated Mathias, he had to admit, his brother trained her well.

------


Amarande Tenebris stood regal with both of her hands curled around the banister of the balconey that overlooked the courtyard of House Tenebris. Illuminated gardens were filled with night blooming plants and man-made waterfalls and ponds provided by the Elemental Mages had given the courtyard a serene atmosphere. Her lean, but curvacious figure was clad in a simple black dress that hugged each contour of her body. The long sleeves were pushed up, revealing forearms that were shackled in silver bangled braclets, each set with a single sanguine hued stone. Her jet black hair was cut short, styled almost asymertically and showcased the left half of her face while shrouding the right half in both shadow and mystery.

"There you are, Amarande." King Mathias Tenebris; Head Archmage of Sanguimancers for House Tenebris stood in the open doorway of the balconey. His tall frame illuminated by the dancing candle light from the large sitting room behind him.




Though he looked to be the same age as Amarande, Mathias was in fact several centuries older. He had stopped aging when his brother Al'reyear Tenebris; former Elven Mage, had begun his descent into the mysterious arts of Blood Magick and created the first Vampire within himself and founded the class of Sanguimancy.

She turned her head, glancing over her shoulder towards the man she called her father. "What is it, Papa?" The urgency in his voice had her turning nearly fully to face him. House Tenebris had been approached recently by the other Houses of Mages, petitioning them for aid. A recent chain of events had unfolded, creating the possibility of an approaching war with a large faction of rogue Mages that sought the power and influence of the Houses themselves.

He moved to join her at the balconey, remaining silent as he placed his own hands on the banister and peered out into the courtyard below which was now just starting to bustle with life. Armored Battlemages and Sanguimancers moving with haste.

"We must move you to the Winter Estate, my love." He admitted.

"For what purpose, father?" She inquired, folding her arms across her chest with a jangle of bracelets. If there was to be a War coming, she wanted to be front and center, fighting along side her people, her family. She did not want to be coddled.

"The other Houses are gathering for War, Amarande. These Rogue Mages must be stopped."

"Absolutely not. I belong fighting, father. I am quite capable of handling myself in battle."

Mathias reached up and placed the palm of his hand against the side of her face, fingers delving into the dark wealth of her hair. "I know, Amarande, better than anyone just how capable you are. You are the most powerful of us all, myself included. And that is why you must flee. You must live to fight another day, to carry on the Legacy of House Tenebris."

She placed her hands against his, holding it to her. "Please, do not ask this of me, father."

"I am sorry, my dear, but I must. There is no one else I trust enough to do this. There is no one powerful enough." When she moved her eyes away from him, he took her face in both of his hands and forced her to look at him. "When the time comes, you must return to the estate and lay claim to what is rightfully yours. It will be in the Catacombs, protected by wards that only you can break through. Whatever is in the Vaults is yours. You will carry on living should we fail."

"Father-"

"Do you understand, Amarande?" He interrupted her with a stern voice, more stern than he had ever used on her in her entire life.

Her red gaze searched his. The depth of emotion and sincerity that was held within his eyes gave her no room to refuse. With her throat constricting and her eyes filling with bloody tears, she nodded once. "I understand, father. I will do as you command."

There had been no other time for goodbyes. Her brothers Myikal, Reiko, Amerid, and Laslio were already issuing commands to the Apprentices in their charge. Her mother had joined the Elven Mages, fulfilling some kind of treaty that had been proclaimed centuries before Amarande had been born. She had collected a few things from her rooms, personal belongings that she would need for the long trek to their Winter estate in the mountains. Beside her was Serabas Virna; heir to House Virna and the Elemental Mages. Like her, he had proved to be more powerful in his abilities than his father. It was apparent that they would both be secluded away in order to carry on their families should the worst come to pass. With them was one of King Mathias' Battlemage guard, Crono. The War hardened veteran barely spoke more than a few words, but she couldn't deny that he was one of the very best of them and undoubtedly the best choice to join them on this venture.

"You have gathered what you require, Ms Tenebris?" The Battlemage asked with his gruff and husky voice.

"Yes, Crono." She replied, adjusting the near floor length hooded trench coat of dark red leather. It was such a dark red that it was nearly black. The inside lining, however, was a rich blood red and provided custom holders for vials of potions and poltices. Amarande reached into one of the hidden inside pockets and removed fingerless leather gloves that matched the coat. She tugged them onto her hands as the unique trio crossed the courtyard. She took one last glance up at the balconey at her father. He stood with his hands on the rail, watching them. He gave her a nearly imperceptable nod of which she returned before turning on her heel. She had never looked back and that was the last time she had ever seen King Mathias Tenebris alive.



Mythos closed her eyes briefly and leaned against a ruined stoned pillar. Her fingerless gloved hand touching the rough stone. It was as if that contact with the mineral had lifted a flood gate to her memories and enabled her to see what had happened the very night before the Great Collapse. It was that night when Amarande had died. She had dropped her name and had taken on Mythos, shrouding her lineage in mystery and shadow. There were only three people who knew exactly who she was. Crono, Serabas and Myth and thankfully none of them had spoken a word of it.

"Are you alright, Mythos?" Serabas' soothing, cultured voice floated towards her. The warmpth of his breath nearly tickled her ear as he spoke. She felt the shudder of movement in the air around her a second before his hand touched her shoulder. Unlike with anyone else, she did not shrug away his touch. She almost welcomed it. She had met him only a handful of times in the past before the Collapse and had spent nearly a months time with him afterward before the formation of the Archmage Coven nearly five years prior, but that had been the extend of their comrade. She had only recently reacquanted herself with the Elemental Archmage when she had begun visiting the Gardens for some much needed reflection. She found his presence soothing. There was something about him that seemed to coax serenity and calmness in her otherwise chaotic nature. When Myth had called the emergency meeting of the Coven and had told them they would be venturing back to the Catacombs of the Tenebris mansion, Serabas had immediately voulteered himself to come along.

"I was remembering."

"Of the night you left?"

She glanced up at him and nodded once, secretly pleased that she did not need to elaborate it out loud. "Yes." She replied simply, her red gaze sweeping around the chamber of the Catacombs they were currently in. Though it was in ruin, badly damaged from battle, she knew exactly where they were.

"We must keep moving." Came Crono's familiar gruff tone.

Serabas brushed aside a lock of dark hair from her face, offering the Vampire a gentle half smile. "I am here with you, Mythos." Though he stated the obvious, he hoped it would comfort her.
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