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Kruhl a No-Show

09/25/2020

Sorry folks, but I was unable to complete the serial part for this week due a rather fun migraine and several days of insomnia. I won’t make any promises for next week, but I’m optimistic I’ll be able to complete it in time.

Have a deliciously demented day,

The Fall of Kruhl | Ch 17 Pt 1

09/19/2020

AEGIS Seal

Official Report
Cherry Springs Nature Trail
Tondzaosha, Idaho

“Dammit, I didn’t mean now,” Amelia cursed, rushing after Alexandra as she moved through the opening.

Fredericks and Grimes came in on her heels and Harrison wasn’t far behind. Just before Van den Broeke made it through, the hole shimmered and retracted. Fredericks leapt through, barely clearing the much smaller opening.

Grimes wasn’t so lucky, the barrier closed around his leg, severing it just below the kneecap. The agent screamed, shrieking so loud that Amelia winced and grated her teeth. Blood splattered the ground on both sides and oozed down the wall which crackled and sizzled wherever the agent’s vital fluid touched.

He collapsed to the ground with a dull thud, moaning and clutching at his severed limb. Fredericks collapsed to his knees, hands grappling with his belt buckle.

“What are you doing?” Alexandra demanded, finger sliding under the nosepiece of her shades.

“I’m making a tourniquet. He’s going to bleed out and die if we don’t cut off the blood flow,” Fredericks answered between gritted teeth, sliding his belt from the loops with a single sweeping flourish of his arm.

Alexandra watched him work for several long minutes, her face an expressionless mask before she turned to Amy, a frown creasing her lips. “This is what Leoffa wanted, to isolate us and cut us off.”

“Why?” Amy asked, eyes never once leaving Fredericks and Grimes.

The tiny woman shook her head and frowned. “I don’t know, but if she’s confident enough to allow us in, it’s likely she doesn’t see us as a threat, or… she needs something from us.”

“I do not like the sound of that.” The agent winced and retrieved her gun from within her shoulder holster. She pulled the clip out, inspected it and slipped it back in place before peering back at the once-king.

To some carrying the weapon might seem pointless given the scope of her new abilities, but to the agent who was not yet confident with them, the familiarity of the weapon offered reassurance that she had yet to gain. At the very least, it could provide her with a backup should her powers fail her. She hadn’t toted it around all this time for nothing.

Fredericks glanced up at Amelia, Grime’s blood had stained his dress shirt and splattered his face, but with his suit coat acting as a bandage and his belt as a tourniquet the other agent stood a much better chance at surviving. “I can’t leave him like this. He’ll be an easy target to anyone who might come along.”

“Dammit,” Amelia cursed, slicking a hand through her mop of dark hair. “She wanted this and we walked right into her trap.”

“What’s our move?” Fredericks asked, craning his neck up to peer at her.

Amelia planted her hands on her hips and peered out through the barrier where the remaining AEGIS personnel and Ashley in her god-awful suit of armor had congregated.

“Ashley,” she spoke, but the suited figure remained motionless, peering into the glowing barrier.

“ASHLEY!” she repeated, cupping both hands around her mouth.

Ashley bit her lip and stepped forward, rapping her gauntleted fist against the sizzling wall. Nothing happened.

Amy clenched her jaw, threw her hands out, and extended her senses.

Before her the barrier was a shimmering luminescent wall of pulsating and thrumming power, but beyond it she sensed nothing. Brilliant explosions of energy exploded from her open palms, bursting with a brilliant flash of light each time one stuck the barrier, but her attacks only splashed against the surface.

Ashley opened fire from the other side, blasting the dome with a tiny canon that rose from the wrist of her gauntlet. A bright scarlet burst of light hit it, but that too proved futile. Several agents even pulled their weapons out and opened fire, but their bullets came ricocheting back toward them, forcing them to dive to the ground..

Well, shit.

Amy ground her teeth and fell to her knees at Fredericks side, glancing down at Grimes huddled on the ground taking short jagged breaths.

“I could heal him,” Amy said, pressing her lips together in a thin line. “I doubt his leg would grow back, but at least the wound could heal over.”

“Didn’t you say the last time you tried something like that, you passed out?” Fredericks said.

“No!” Grimes cried, grabbing Amelia by the arm. “You get that bitch.”

Amy nodded and rose to her feet, balling both fists at her side. It looked like it was going to be up to her. She looked around for the once-king and found her a short distance away, staring at the barrier with wide-eyes. “You know any way of getting through that thing?”

Alexandra threw her head back and forth. “Perhaps, with Waldere I could do it, but…” she trailed off biting her lips.

“Then we find Leoffa, and we make that little bitch take it down.” Amelia regarded her, fire smoldering in her eyes.

Alexandra nodded. “It won’t be easy.”

“I wasn’t expecting it to be,” Amelia said, peering down the nature trail which sprawled through the trees behind them. “It doesn’t look like we have much choice though, does it?”


A low growl rumbled from Ashley’s throat and through the voice modulator in her helmet it came out sounding like the shriek of something straight out of every child’s nightmares. She clenched her fists and pounded them against the barrier, but other than a tingle which ran through the armor and across her arms, nothing happened.

“Fuck,” she cursed and spun away from the dome, staring back out toward the assembled AEGIS personnel. One man took a step back upon making eye contact with her, but she ignored him. As ineffective as her armor was against the shield, she doubted the others would be a lot of help.

She sighed, bowed her head and mumbled Nabu’s name. “Any ideas?”

“Indigo Knight once found success penetrating a force field by charging the exterior of his suit’s armor plating to match the energy signature of the shield. I can’t say whether it will work with a so-called magical barrier, but it might be worth a try.”

“What about bringing some of our friend’s through,” she asked, waving vaguely at the AEGIS strike team.

“That wouldn’t be advisable, unless you want to fry their flesh to a crisp,” the AI answered, his voice dull and dispassionate, but somehow was filled with sarcasm.

“All right,” Ashley replied, turned back to the shield and eyed it, both hands on either hip. “I don’t see that we have anything to lose. Let’s give it a shot.”

“Oh yes, very good,” Nabu replied. “Now you should feel a slight tingle…”

Ashley sucked air in, as stinging hot pin-pricks cascaded up and down her body. She gritted her teeth against the pain and shivered. The young woman reached a hand out and touched the shield, grunting as the sensation began rattling around inside her head. When she pushed, the barrier wouldn’t give. Forcing out short breaths, she tried to pull her hand back, but nothing happened.

“Fuck,” she repeated her earlier curse. “This is just great.”

,

New Site Design (updated)

09/13/2020

Well, some of you probably noticed I changed the site design again. I know, I know the site is on it’s fourth theme now, but I didn’t just change it for shits and giggles. I’d made some fairly major modifications to get the previous theme working with my custom post types and recent updates to the theme have been pretty drastic. Transferring those modifications to the newer version had just become too difficult and I have no hope of getting help without actually paying someone to make those changes.

In the end, it was cheaper and easier just to start over from scratch. I did lose the multi-colored posts, which I’m a little sad about, but I went with a much more feminine theme this time around which is amazing. The site does still need a little bit of polishing here or there, but pretty much everything is functional.

Bear with me as I work at ironing out all the kinks and put on the last few finishing touches.

Edit: I’ve completed all the changes on my list. I can’t shake the feeling that I missed something fairly obvious, but if there is anything it escapes me. If you spot any issues, please email me or drop a comment and I’ll do my best to resolve it.

As usual, please have a deliciously demented day,

The Fall of Kruhl | Ch 16 Pt 2

09/12/2020

AEGIS Seal

Official Report
An Empty Lot
Tondzaosha, Idaho Idaho

“Amelia?” Fredericks licked his lips, regarding the newcomer with narrowed eyes.

“Nathaniel.” Amelia lifted an open palm, fingers spread out in a warding gesture. “It’s been a while.”

Fredericks regarded the superior agent, training his weapon on her head as he spoke.

“The Amelia van den Broeke I knew couldn’t fly,” he said, pausing to take in her appearance and let loose a long breath of air. “Nor was she quite so… attractive.”

“Strange things sometimes happen in the field, you know that Fredericks. Put that thing away, that’s an order,” she countered, meeting his gaze with a scowl. She glanced at the other two agents, but didn’t speak another word.

“Oh, for hell sa—” Ashley moved to put herself between them, but Amelia waved her off.

“I’m going to need some kind of verification.” Frederick’s eyes never left Amelia.

“You’re a single father of three, you were married for almost ten years when your wife passed away from breast cancer. You’re an avid birdwatcher, you collect stamps and your favorite television show is Wormhole Xtreme.”

“All information that can be found online. I need something a little more concrete.” Fredericks lowered his weapon, but didn’t holster it and snaked his fingers up to adjust his tie.

Amy arched an eyebrow and folded her arms across her chest, a mischievous glint lighting her eyes. “You once told me in confidence that you suspected that someone had broken a stick off in Deputy Assistant Director Steenburg’s a—”

Fredericks cleared his throat, held a hand out and slipped his weapon back into its holster. “All right, all right I believe you.”

“God, Amelia, look at you. Can you blame me for being suspicious? How the hell did it happen?”

“That would be need to know, Fredericks.” She regarded him, an apologetic frown creasing her lips. “Let’s just say I crossed paths with someone who’s not exactly from our neck of the woods.”

Fredericks eyebrows shot up, but he only nodded and glanced back over his shoulder and jerked his head at each of his companions. “This is Harrison and Grimes.”

“Harrison, Grimes, this is Special Agent in Charge Amelia van den Broeke, we served together in New Hebron.”

Amelia nodded, regarding both men before returning her attention to Fredericks. “Three agents? We have a foothold situation and AEGIS only sends three agents?”

“There are more, the strike team is securing the local police station.” Fredericks replied.

“Right.” Amelia nodded. “In that case we should get moving.”

“Why, what’s going on?” Fredericks asked, stepping toward the agent.

“There’s an energy field surrounding a pocket of trees near the Cherry Springs Nature Trail, and it’s expanding.”

“Energy field? What kind of energy field?” Ashley asked, lurching back into sight.

“No idea, but whatever it is, it can’t be good. Whatever Leoffa’s up to, I think it’s clear we need to put a stop to it.”

“Well.” Fredericks eyes flicked between the duo of agents at his side. “When do we get under way?”

Alexandra snatched her hand up, again adjusting the strange dark spectacles which Agent van den Broeke had instructed her to wear. She crinkled her nose and slipped a finger under the bridge, joining the two lenses together, rubbing the flesh on the crest of her nose and gritted her teeth. Curse be to whatever madman had created such a strange contrivance!

She growled and dropped her hands, sensing that the two men, seated on either of her sides, had tensed. She peered up and found herself gazingf into a set of eyes. Her cheeks burned hot, but the former king only met the stranger’s gaze and clenched her jaw in challenge.

“Van den Broeke.” Fredericks furrowed his brows and glared at her between pursed lips before turning back to eye Amelia seated in the passenger seat beside him. “Are you sure about this girl?”

“Fredericks,” Amelia said, glancing at Alexandra before meeting the man’s gaze. “I don’t think you understand just how dire this situation is, we need her.”

Fredericks eyed her, lips pressed together in a thin line before again peering back at Alexandra. “If you say so.”

The once-king curled her lips and emitted a low rumbling growl, but did not speak. Amy twisted her neck around and issued a warning glance. The tiny woman sank her teeth into her lower lip, drawing blood, and silenced herself. She did not like the way the tall man looked at her, eyes cool and disinterested, as if he were looking right through her.

The car came to a stop and the pair of agents beside her exited the vehicle. Alexandra set her jaw, peered through the open door and released a long sigh. Her hands went to the seat belt, another irritating contrivance, and released it by pushing down on the orange indent. Another time or place, she might have marveled at the ingenuity of the device, all the while grumbling at having her movement constricted, but she paid it almost no mind.

As she climbed out of the car three more vehicles came screeching to a halt a short distance away. She only paid them a cursory glance, even as men and women, resplendent in full AEGIS tactical gear came pouring out from within each of the vans. Instead, she kept her eyes peeled on the pulsating dome of amethyst energy which sizzled and cackled in the open air before her. Only when Ashley arrived, slamming into the ground and producing a slight tremor did she pause, but even then it only held her attention for the barest of seconds.

She swallowed hard, and craned her neck back, peering up at the wall of power which stretched into the sky for thousands of feet. It circled a section of wilderness twice again as wide.

If she had any doubts that Leoffa possessed the crystal, they evaporated as she gazed upon the monolithic shield. No sorcerer or sorceress could conjure such a thing without joining forces with other magic users… or by making use of a powerful relic.

“Well shit,” Fredericks voice wafted in from somewhere behind her, but she did not turn to meet his gaze.

There came a scuffle of movement just off to her side, and Alexandra watched Amelia approach out of the corner of her eye. The Special Agent in Charge didn’t speak, she merely peered up at the dome, both hands planted on her hips, lips creased in a thoughtful frown.

“Now,” she spoke after several long moments of silence. “How the hell do we get inside?”

“We don’t,” the once-king answered, sinking down to her knees, hot tears burning the corners of her eyes as they streaked down her cheeks.

“No, it wouldn’t be that—” Amelia stopped mid-sentence.

A portion of the barrier flickered and flashed, and Alexandra brought a hand up to shield her eyes. A segment of energy about six feet wide by eight feet tall, crackled and retracted into the surrounding portion of the energy field.

“Oh hell,” Amelia cursed. “I have a bad feeling about this.”

Heart hammering in her ears, Alexandra rose to her feet. She glanced at Van den Broeke before striding toward the new opening.

“Wait!” Fredericks called after her. “You’re not going in there, are you?”

The little woman peered over her shoulder at him and shook her head. “What other choice do we have?”

“Van den Broeke?” Fredericks asked.

“It’s gotta be a trap, but Alex is right, we don’t have any other choice.”

Alexandra peered back at Amelia, frowned, and stepped into the opening.

The Fall of Kruhl | Ch 16 Pt 1

09/05/2020

AEGIS Seal

Official Report
An Empty Lot
Tondzaosha, Idaho Idaho

Amelia clenched her jaw, released a long breath through her teeth and forced her eyelids back open. She hovered amongst the clouds, dangling so far up in the open air that if she were to fall, she would die on impact. God, it was unsettling. How did Sapphira do it?

She peered around, taking in Tondzaosha arrayed below her in miniature. Tiny vehicles roved the streets and figures, each appearing no taller than a centimeter, moved about the sidewalk.  

Amelia sank her teeth into her lower lip and felt her whole body tremble. A shiver that had nothing to do with the temperature wriggled down her spine and she pushed herself to continue her search. Instead of looking with her eyes, she clenched them shut and reached out with her mind. Dozens of sights, sounds, and impressions assaulted her senses.

‘God, why couldn’t I have a body like that?’ The thought came to her mind unbidden, and the agent furrowed her brows before realizing that it hadn’t  come from her.

It had come from a girl, perhaps fourteen or fifteen, seething with envy and a raw burning hatred, her attention focused on another young woman, the same age, who was receiving a fair amount of attention from a rather rakish young man. Amy shook her head, forcing the girl’s tide of emotions out of her mind and swept her senses out.

A choir of voices rang through her consciousness and she gritted her teeth, forcing herself to wade through them rather than focus on any one of them. Despite her best efforts, she caught snippets of thoughts, here or there. Most were mundane, a file clerk reviewing her workload for the day, a delivery driver scanning his route for a place to stop and eat, and even a young boy struggling to decide which type of candy bar he would purchase at a local grocery store. All those voices swept through her and around her, and she continued her search.

Then one rang out louder than the rest. “Oh god!” It came out as a cry of pain so bright, so intense it was almost palatable. “How am I supposed to tell mom and dad I’m trans?”

Amy stopped, a sob escaping her lips as years of remembered dysphoria came rushing back upon her. An image of a teen’s face reflected in a mirror, hand sliding over stubble as a plaintive sign escaped the kid’s lips.

Hair, oh God, the hair.  

Though the child’s face looked calm, the mass of disgust and revulsion mirrored in her eyes and boiling just under the surface told another story.

Amy’s hands cupped her own face as if to reassure herself that she was not looking upon her own reflection. She forced herself to concentrate. She couldn’t afford to get distracted, but she stopped long enough to reach out to the child.

“You’re not alone,” she whispered, watching the kid’s reflected eyes grow wide.

Amy’s lips trembled, and she let out sob before turning away and breaking her connection with the young trans girl. She swallowed hard and pressed her lips together before again extending her mind out. This time, she narrowed her focus and avoided touching any minds. Instead, she brushed passed them, only getting a cursory impression before moving on.

At last she found it, her face stretched out in a frown, released half a dozen of her most choice curses and burst forward, zooming through the air at breakneck speed.


Supervisory Special Agent Nathaniel Fredericks climbed out of the Durant Lucerna, only casting the vehicle a cursory glance before slamming the driver’s side door shut. Two more dull thuds sounded after, but he paid them no mind. Instead, his eyes surveilled his surroundings, scanning the buildings with a dull, dispassionate gaze.

Cheap, synthetic-leather shoes crunched on the gravel of the empty lot as his subordinates approached from either side.

“Fucking nowheresville. What the hell do you think we’re doing here, Grimes?” 

Fredericks turned to eye the speaker, Special Agent Frank Harrelson, a young man with a name that evoked images of a hardened veteran on the cusp of retirement, but who was a rookie in every sense of the word. Frederick’s hand snaked up to adjust his tie, but he remained silent, cool gaze regarding the second man, Robert Grimes, a seasoned agent, with a thoughtful expression marking his face.

“Hell if I know Harrison. We’ll get our orders soon enough.” Grimes muttered, eyes darting toward Fredericks with an inquisitive expression.

Fredericks at last opened his mouth to speak, but you uttered even one syllable. A bright scarlet blur slammed into the Earth less than four feet away. He brought one arm up to shield his face and slipped the other inside his suit jacket to retrieve his firearm, but the cloud of dirt that arose burned his eyes. He peered out through the haze of dust, tears slipping down his cheeks.

Gunfire rang out, but it had not been Fredericks who’d opened fire.

“Oh hell,” a gravelly baritone voice said. “Would you cut that out?”

A clank of steel sounded from nearby and a single gunshot rang out, followed by a shriek of pain from Harrison. Nate blinked and swirled around, at last getting a clear picture of their assailant. He took a step as the armored figure’s head swiveled around to match his gaze.

“Easy there.” The figure let out a low growl, its eye sockets blazing scarlet-red as its gaze tilted down to peer at the gun in his hands. “I’m not your enemy. I’m your contact, dude.”

Fredericks raised an eyebrow, sinking his teeth into his lower lip. Dude?

“Ashley Harris?” He asked, lowering his gun. He knew of her armor, but hadn’t expected something that looked like it had crawled its way out of the deepest infernos of hell.
A series of mechanical whirs and snap hisses sounded from the suit as the face plate, chest and groin areas all retracted. A girl, shorter than the towering form of the suit which she wore, emerged climbing out from within the contraption and landed with a soft grunt and a crunch of gravel. Though the Agent had read her file, the photo hadn’t done her justice. When Fredericks laid eyes on her, he sucked his breath in and swallowed hard. She pursed a set of pouty lips and ran a hand through her shock of blond hair.

He cleared his throat, reminding himself he was a married man, and regarded the girl with what he hoped was a close approximation of cool disinterest.

“Sorry, if I startled you.” She sucked air in threw a thumb over her shoulder. “Still getting used to that thing.”

“Nabu,” she craned her head over her should. “Why don’t you—”

She never finished her sentence, instead her eyes fixed on a black and gray streak that came tearing down from the sky above. It impacted the ground, about ten feet away. Fredericks and his companions had their weapons out and trained on the spot, but when the dust cleared, Amelia stood eyes wild, and jaw set in a scowl. The agents exchanged glances, but didn’t lower their weapons.

“We have a problem.” Amy stood, both fists at her side, panting for breath.

, ,

Two Months In

08/27/2020

Wow, has it really been two months since my revelatory little blog? Geesh my how the time flies! I just wanted to again thank all the ladies who’ve reached out to me and offered their support, it really has helped me pull through what has been some really challenging times.

It’s been a strange experience for me to say the least. Recognizing that I have these feelings and at last coming to accept it has been a very surreal experience. I’m still very much in the closet, but I’ve been seeing a counselor and this weekend I’ll be moving some place where I’ll be a little more free to begin exploring. My new roommates are very open-minded and seem like very lovely human-beings.

I’m learning a lot about myself and have allowed myself to express thoughts and feelings I never would have entertained before. As soon as I posted that blog, it was as if someone had flicked a switch in my head. I never really felt particularly inclined toward wearing feminine apparel or cosmetics and now the idea is very appealing.

On other positive note, I’ve lost over sixty pounds in the last eight or nine months and my momentum doesn’t seem to be slowing down. I’m more conscious of my health and now that I’ve accepted that I’m trans, my weight-loss has become all that much more important.

Some of you who follow me on Twitter or Facebook may know that I’m working at getting some of my stories up for sale on Amazon with the help from the lovely ladies at DopplerPress. As such, those that I do end up publishing will be pulled from here or other sites. If you wish to save a copy of my stories now, I have no qualms with that, but I do hope that you will chose to support me when my stories show up on Amazon. Do know that whatever goes up for sale, will be much more polished than what I share here.

I’m still debating whether I will continue to serialize my stories, or if I’ll publish them directly to Amazon. At the bare minimum, I will finish sharing The Fall of Kruhl here. I don’t believe it’s fair to go this far without letting you read the rest.

On one final note, there will be no Kruhl this weekend. I do have a story part almost completed, but with the move I won’t be able to finish it off, least of all edit it.

I hope you all are having a delightfully demented night,

The Fall of Kruhl | Ch 15 pt 2

08/08/2020

AEGIS Seal

Official Report
Tondzaosha Police Station
Tondzaosha, Idaho

Kruhl glanced down at herself and swallowed. For the first time since her transformation, she wore clothes that fit, but she wouldn’t say she liked them. They displayed her body in ways that made her cheeks feel as if they were aflame.

She tugged at the thick fabric which hugged her breasts and sank her teeth into her lower lip. The short sleeveless tunic, Serena had called a vest, was a soft shade of pink, and made of a material that might have been some kind of leather.

Six metal-lined holes, called grommets, adorned the front, and a string made of the same fabric as the tunic was woven through them. It ended about two-thirds of the way down the front of the garment, leaving a fair bit of her abdomen exposed. The bottom of the vest ended just above her navel.

Her black belt, thicker but of the same material as the vest, sported an over-sized metal buckle, fastened through a double set of metal eyelets. Though the former warrior king could not fathom why, the grommets ringed the entire length of the belt.

The tight-fitting ‘jeans’ were almost as bad as the vest. Overall, Kruhl did not find them too cumbersome for day to day use, but they would limit her range of motion in combat. Gaping tears exposed the flesh around both of her knees and portions of her upper legs. She had supposed the garment was damaged when Serena had first handed it over to her, but much to her consternation, the Van den Broeke matriarch revealed that it was, in fact, intended to be that way.

She wore black boots which came up to her mid-calf. They sported several buckles with no discernible purpose. She scowled and peered down her shirt, though her chest was now enshrouded in what she now knew was called a brassiere, the undergarment was visible even from her vantage point and she could see the crack between her breasts protruding beneath the vest.

She felt ridiculous, but as she peered down at her form, she realized that there was a certain visual appeal to her ensemble. She swallowed and turned away, shaking her head and growling under her breath. You are Kruhl, Son of Wurdan, she reminded herself, you will not succumb to the allure of this flesh. You are not some simpering doe-eyed human girl, you are a warrior of great renown.

Though she moved towards the door with quick steps, both fists clenched at her side, she experienced an unexpected pang of regret just before slipping out of the room.


Agent van den Broeke found her in the hallway just a moment later. The taller woman flattened her lips and folded her arms over her breasts. “We need to talk.”

Kruhl nodded, regarding Amy with gleaming cat’s eyes. “Yes, we do.”

Amelia held her hand out, directing the shorter woman toward the room she’d just vacated. Kruhl released a weary sigh and spun around on the balls of her feet, before popping the door back open and stepping inside. The agent followed her in and closed it behind her.

Kruhl studied the eldest Van den Broeke sibling for several long moments, before slipping atop a bed. When she was seated, she turned her eyes on Amelia once more. The agent did not take a seat, instead she kept her arms tucked over her chest and regarded the once-king between narrowed eyes.

“Listen Kruhl, I don’t know exactly how to say this, but while I realize you have a bigger stake than any of us in this, I think maybe it would be best if you sat this one out.”

Kruhl blinked, but did not speak. Instead, she rocked her head back and forth, a scowl creasing her delicate features. When at last she spoke, it was in a quiet, halting tone. “That would seem the wisest course of action.”

Her stomach lurched and the tiny woman cupped her face with both hands, tears streaking her face. She was pathetic, a sad shell of her former self. She was weak and entirely useless on the battlefield. Her father would weep to see his son in such a state. Still, despite everything, she had assumed she would fight alongside the agent when they at last faced off against Leoffa. It seemed… wrong.

She glanced up at the agent, eyes burning with fire even as tears soaked her cheeks. “No! I must be there, I must see this through to the end. I would never be able to live with myself, if I did not.”

“Look, I understand, but—”

“But Nothing!” Kruhl howled, leaping to her feet. “You do not understand! With Leoffa at her full might, she may very well be as powerful as Odalrik and even were she not, she has both the power of the crystal and Waldere at her disposal. With them she is far more dangerous.”

Amy regarded the other woman, hands on her hips in a severe, almost chastising posture. “I don’t really understand what you think you can—”

“There is still a chance that I can win back the loyalty of the sword.” Kruhl locked gazes with her. “It has the power to dispel most forms of magic, it may mean the difference between victory and defeat.”

“Okay,” Amelia said, leaning back against the wall. “There’s nothing to stop anyone else from trying, is there?”

“No,” Kruhl admitted. “But the sword knows me, I may still hold some sway over it. It gives me a better chance than most.”

“You speak about that thing as if it were a conscious, reasoning being,” Amy said, her voice taking on a musing, almost sing-song quality.

“It does not think.” Kruhl shook her head. “Not in any way I have ever been able to determine. It’s magic resonates with those who wield it. It’s capable of distinguishing the traits for which its creator’s sought for those who would come to wield it, nothing more.”

“You realize what you’re asking me, right? If you fail, you will become a liability. We can’t afford for Leoffa to take advantage of that.”

“I know,” Kruhl spoke, her words intersected by a sob. “But you cannot ask me to sit idly by. Leoffa, is a monster, at least, partially of my making, I cannot allow her to wreak havoc upon this world without at least trying to stop her.”

Amy nodded and released a long sigh. “Okay, good enough. Be ready, the team from Salt Lake will be here soon.”

The agent turned to leave and Kruhl threw a hand out, rushing after her. “Wait!”

Amy spun back around and pressed her lips together, but Kruhl spoke before she could say anything.

“I asked you a few days ago, if you would give me a new name. Have you pondered upon it?”

Amy sighed and licked her lips. “With everything that has happened, I haven’t really given it a lot of thought, but one stuck out. Alexandra, it’s the feminine form of Alexander, one of our history’s greatest conquerors.”

“Alexandra,” the tiny blond repeated the moniker. “It sounds like the name of a warrior. Thank you, it will suffice.”

Amy placed a hand on either of the second woman’s slender shoulders. “If we come out of this alive, we’ll see about assigning you a transition specialist. I won’t lie to you, adapting to life here, will not be a walk in the park, but AEGIS has some experience helping people adapt to transformed bodies. We’ll help you in whatever way we can.”

Alexandra quivered, craning her neck down to peer at one of the agent’s hands, before peering back up to meet the agent’s gaze. “Is it not your people’s custom to have multiple names?”

Amy nodded. “There’s an entire process involved in creating a new identity. There are a whole slew of records that AEGIS will have to fabricate across a number of government agencies. Not to mention all the paperwork involved. It’s a complicated process. Let’s just focus on what’s ahead of us and we’ll figure everything out later.”

“Very well,” Alexandra nodded and bit her lip.

The once-king believed her when she claimed it was complicated, if for no other reason than she’d understood almost nothing of what she said. The agent smiled, released the other woman’s shoulders and shuffled toward the door. “I know it’s been difficult, but I understand what it’s like living life in the wrong body, I’m always happy to talk if you want a sympathetic shoulder to cry on.”

She exited the room and Alexandra cocked her head and wondered, how could a shoulder be sympathetic?

The Fall of Kruhl | Ch 15 Pt 1

08/01/2020

AEGIS Seal

Official Report
3412 Abby Ln
Tondzaosha, Idaho

“God, just look at you, Andy!” Brian stared at his elder sibling, eyes wide with apparent shock, his cheeks still glistening with tears and a slight quiver in his voice. “You’re so…. feminine.”

Amy batted a stray bit of hair away from her face, regarded her brother between pursed lips. “Please don’t call me that, it’s Amelia now.”

“Right,” he said, rubbing the back of his neck. “I’m sorry, I always figured you must have transitioned, but I mean seeing you like this is another thing entirely.”

Amelia bit her lip and forced a smile on her face. “Just stick with the right name and pronouns and we’ll be fine.”

“Of course.” Brian nodded, and pulled away, eyes taking in his surroundings for the first time, eyes somehow growing wider when he took in Serena still standing nearby. “Wh-where are we?”

“Somewhere safe,” Amy answered, rising to her feet.

Serena rushed forward, enfolding her eldest son in her arms. Brian stiffened, but soon returned the gesture. When mother and son broke away, Brian slipped from the side of the bed. He wobbled on his feet, but braced himself on the nightstand to the right of the bedside.

Serena wrapped her hands around his shoulder to provide support. “Your muscles may have atrophied, maybe you should lay back down.”

Brian clenched his jaw and shook his head. His eyelids slid closed and he took a deep breath. It was almost as if someone flicked a switch. His back straightened and he stood, frame rigid. When his eyes opened again, he released the air from his lungs and stepped forward. He moved with no sign of frailty or the least bit of trouble.

“What? You don’t think Amelia’s the only exemplar in the family, do you?” He asked, gazing about the room, taking in the shocked expressions of his sibling and mother. His eyes briefly scanned over the sleeping form of Kruhl, but he only pressed his lips together and sighed.

Amelia furrowed her brows and folded her arms over her chest. “Ashley, the person who found you, said she tracked you down through the AEGIS database. If I had to guess, I’d say it’s Psionic Strength?”

“Yeah,” he confirmed. “That’s what the representative from AEGIS figured too.”

“Psionic strength?” Serena arched an eyebrow. “That’s not an ability I’ve ever heard of.”

“You’ve heard of telekinesis, right?” Amelia asked. “That’s more or less what it is, Brian’s just using it to strengthen himself.”

“Except, that seems to be all I can do,” he pursed his lips and frowned. “I mean I tried the other stuff, but it just doesn’t come.”

“What about you? Last time I checked your retrocognizance doesn’t let you enter people’s minds.” His gaze fixed on the agent, a frown creasing his mouth.

“I was exposed to something,” she said, meeting her brother’s gaze. “It happens sometimes to AEGIS personnel.”

“So you’ve got freaky mind powers now and you work for AEGIS?” He asked eyebrows disappearing into his bangs.

“Yes, to both, but it’s not just mind reading. I’m faster, stronger, I can levitate things, and before Ashley found me I’d just gotten done healing a gaping stab wound in our friend’s abdomen.” She nodded toward Kruhl without actually looking at her.

“Holy shit,” Brian blinked. “Sounds like you—”

Brian jumped, craning his neck around to glance across the room. Amelia followed his gaze and locked gazes with Kruhl. The once-king was sitting up and had slipped her feet over the bedside. Her sleepy gaze took in her surroundings with a dull, dispassionate stare. She glanced down at her abdomen, then back up at the agent and pressed her lips together in a tight frown.

“How?” She asked, peering back down at her uninjured belly, fingers tracing over the fabric of her oversized nightgown.

“It’s a long story,“ Amy glanced around and shook her head. “I think it’s time we all sat down and had a long chat.”

“Well,” Ashley said, slipping into the living room with a lengthy sigh. “I have contacted AEGIS, they’re mobilizing a unit out of Salt Lake and they should be here within five hours.”

Amy nodded, but didn’t say a word. Instead, she clasped both hands and closed her eyes. Salt Lake was a good two and half hour drive from Tondzaosha, five hours was more than reasonable considering the preparations they would need to make. In fact, it was much sooner than she’d expected.

“Thank God,” Amy said and leaned back into the sofa before glancing back at her younger sibling. Brian, though he pretended otherwise, was still very weak, he’d scarfed down the turkey sandwich and tater bites their mother had prepared for them and kept sneaking cursory glances at Amy’s half-finished sandwich.

Both Amelia and Serena attempted to usher him back to bed, but he’d outright refused. With his abilities, there wasn’t much they could do to keep him in bed without calling upon her own considerable powers.

Amelia sighed and grabbed the plate and set it down on the coffee table between them. “Here, have at it.”

Brian barely blinked before snatching up the sandwich and crammed half of it into his mouth.

“I would have made you another sandwich, Brian.” Serena swooped in to retrieve the now empty plate.

Brian shrugged, a sheepish grin spreading across his features. “Eh, why waste good food?”

Serena rolled her eyes and slipped out of the room, only to return a moment later standing in the doorway.

“Ugh, so,” Brian asked. “AEGIS, huh? I guess they pay pretty good money.”

Amy smiled and nodded. “I do all right for myself. It helps to be the youngest Special Agent in Charge in AEGIS history.”

He met her gaze, but didn’t answer. His mouth parted as if to speak, but he soon clenched his mouth shut again.

Amy pursed her lips, but didn’t press him. She knew her brother was having a hard time knowing what to say. Hell, she was pretty much in the same boat. After they’d had their little powwow about Leoffa things had gotten a fair bit more awkward.

“I’m sorry,” she said at last.

“For what?” He blinked.

“Leoffa went after you because of me, if I hadn’t—”

“Hey, no, no, no,” he rose to his feet, nearly tipping over before he lurched forward and slipped onto the couch beside her. “People do nasty shit all the time, what Leoffa did to me is on her and only her. Don’t go blaming yourself.”

Amy ground her teeth. “I should have been there, Brian. I always assumed it was better if I put my past behind me, but if I’d kept in contact, she wouldn’t have been able to pull one over on me or at the very least I would have gotten to you sooner.”

“It’s possible,” he agreed. “But you had no way of knowing what would happen.”

“Don’t you think you’re being hard on yourself, Amy?” Ashley asked, seating herself on the opposite her friend. “What that woman did to your brother was terrible, but you can’t blame yourself.

“We need to figure out our next move. She gave you twenty-four hours to get out of town. She must have something big planned.”

Amy glanced at her brother, brows furrowed in concentration. She worried for him. She wasn’t sure they had expelled the shadow of Leoffa from his mind, and he had no recollection of ever being captured by the sorceress. Even his memories of what she did to him, while within his mind, were fuzzy.

“I have a theory,” the agent said after several long moments of reflection. “I think Odalrik wanted me for a reason. It’s possible she was after my retrocognizance. I had the sense that she was looking for something and if Leoffa has it…”

“Okay, say you’re right. What would she have been looking for that would be so important?” Ashley asked, arching an eyebrow.

“I could think of one thing,” Kruhl said from the corner, her yellow cat’s eyes gleaming in the darkness. “It would explain almost everything.”

“Before Reesha banished Odalrik, he was rumored to possess a gemstone imbued with incredible power, called the Crystal of Ban-Sher’i. I ordered his keep searched after we defeated him, but none of my people could ever find it. If he had it on his person when he came to this world, it’s possible Leoffa stole it from him. Only a magic-wielder with a powerful foci like a staff could make use of it. If Leoffa possessed it, and she had no staff with which to wield it…”

“Perhaps she could not use it,” Amelia nodded, a few more puzzle pieces clicking into place. The staff Leoffa had wielded within Brian’s mind had been no more real than the sorceress herself. The only time Amelia had seen her with an actual staff was after she had defeated Odalrik. It was very possible she had not possessed one until then.

“Is there any reason you didn’t mention this until now?”

Kruhl shrugged. “I never believed it existed.”

“And if it exists?” Serena asked from the doorway. “How dangerous is it?”

Kruhl’s lips curled into a sneer. “All I know is that Odalrik was said to fear its power.”

“Oh, hell, I do not like the sound of that at all,” Ashley said with a drawn-out groan. “So Leoffa may or may not have this magical crystal, and nobody knows what the goddamned thing can do. How does this help us?” Ashley eyed the siblings and then Kruhl.

Amelia leaned back in her seat, hands running through her long locks. “It doesn’t… at least not yet.”