The Fall of Kruhl | Ch 9 Pt 1



Official Report
1328 Maryzell Ln
Tondzaosha, Idaho

Kruhl fell face first into the bed, her tears dripping upon the sheets. Another universe… The thought sent an icy chill down her spine. She assumed Reesha had sent her to another realm, a strange one to be sure, but if what the agent said was true, it changed everything. The realms all existed within the same universe, separate but not so separate they existed within different universes. 

What hope had she of returning to Erda, her home world, if Van den Broeke was right? The prospect of spending a lifetime trapped in her tiny new body was almost more than she could bear. She was Kruhl son of Wurdan, King of the Eridon, and the bearer of Waldere, she knew it with every fiber of her being, but it amounted to nothing. She had no kingdom to rule over, and no strength with which to fight her enemies. By the Nether Realm! Would she even be able to lift Waldere?

She squinted at the window and considered leaving. Perhaps, if she found Waldere, she would be able to make use of its magic. She knew nothing of this world, or how to transverse its many roads. Another, bigger problem was finding and retrieving the sword. If these police were indeed seeking her out, it would be an act of sheer insanity to walk into their base of operations to take it back.

A knock sounded from the door. Kruhl pushed herself up and turned to peer at it. She did not speak up, or move to answer, but remained frozen in place. Doors were commonplace on her own world, and a knock, unsurprising, carried the same meaning. Still, she didn’t feel much like company. She turned away, but caught movement out of the corner of her eyes.

Teressa stood in the now open doorway holding a long black object with a rope dangling from its end.

“Oh, I’m—” she stopped taking in Kruhl and frowned. “Were you crying?”

“Leave me be.” Kruhl growled under her breath, turning away from the intruder.

“Look I understand that things are looking rough, but—” She started toward Kruhl again, but stopped when the once-king turned his luminescent orbs on her.

“You know nothing about me.” She said between gritted teeth. “Don’t think your empty platitudes will offer me any solace.”

“Fair enough,” Teressa released a sigh and turned away, stopping inside the doorway and again held up the strange contraption. “I just thought you’d like a haircut.”

“Haircut?” Kruhl cocked her head, peering at Teressa with a frown.

“Maybe you haven’t noticed, but that mop of yours is a matted mess.” Teressa but a hand on her hip and stared across the room at the other.

“My mop?” Kruhl reached up to run a hand through her locks and yelped when one of her fingers caught. “You mean my hair?”

Teressa nodded, folding her arms across her chest. “I mean, unless you like it that way?”

Kruhl pressed her teeth into her lower lip and shook her head. “I’ve been pre-occupied.”

Kruhl had been so caught up in events she had taken little time to make note of her locks or worry about hygiene. Not that she’d had a lot of choice, she’d been tied down and locked in a room for most of her visit to this world and her captors hadn’t exactly taken the time to provide grooming implements.

She had been quite fastidious about grooming herself back on Erda and brushing her magnificent mane had been part of her daily routine. While hair atop her head was not foreign to her, the way her human locks dropped behind her shoulders and hung limp across her back was distracting. 

Teressa sauntered toward her and reached out, twisting one of Kruhl’s stray locks between two fingers. She crinkled her nose and pulled away. “First though, you’ll need of a shower. You’re smelling pretty ripe.”

“Shower?” Kruhl sneered. “Do I look like Rema swine to you?”

“Uh, oookay, what about a bath?” She frowned, eyes wide.

“That… would be acceptable,” Kruhl replied with a grimace and shake of her head. 

“Come on,” Teressa motioned at the other and Kruhl followed, heart thumping in her chest. As the other woman led her out of the room, all Kruhl could think about was the interesting way in which her hips swayed as she walked.

“Let me know if it’s too hot.” Teressa craned her neck around and peered up at the once-king. 

Kruhl kneeled down at the edge of the tub and peered inside, watching tendrils of steam snake up into the air and disappear. “It’s hot, how is this possible?”

“There’s a thing called a water heater that collects water and keeps it warm for later use,” Teressa replied.

The once-kings mind whirled, trying to imagine the mechanics that would make such a thing possible, but was unable to fathom it. On Erda, the only way to get a hot bath was to heat the water in a kettle or travel to a hot spring. Such a method was beyond anything she would have ever imagined.

Kruhl had seldom bothered with such a luxury, but Gylda, her betrothed, had insisted she take one every day. Kruhl scowled, remembering the long line of servants bringing pot after pot through Wurdanhom just to satiate the mercurial princess. Had he known she would betray him, he would have never indulged her, but it was less agonizing than contending with another of her tantrums.

“So, uh, you’re pretty petite, but the people who own this place have a daughter, I’ll see of I can find something for you to wear in her things. Why don’t you get started while I’m gone?” Teressa stopped jerking her head toward the tub, eyes seeming to linger on Kruhl’s chest. She coughed, licked her lips and turned her back to her companion. “I’ll check back in on you in a few minutes.”

Kruhl watched her depart, then peered down at the pair of lumps on her chest and swallowed. She glanced up at the window on the other end of the room. Though the opening was small, she thought she could squeeze through it and be gone before she got back. Again, reason won out and she put such thoughts ouf of her mind.

She  pulled her blouse over her head, grimacing when it caught on her breasts causing them to wobble as the fabric came away. She threw the shirt over her shoulder, not even watching it land before loosening the trousers about her waist and pulled them down to her feet.

Kruhl stopped standing over the bathtub and tested the water with a toe before at last easing herself into the hot water. She planted her posterior against the rear of the tub and leaned back, just letting the heat soak into her. Her breasts floated on the water and she averted her gaze, doing her best to ignore the strange sensation.

She could count on one paw the number of times she remembered taking a warm bath, all but one had been when she was still a cub. The once-king had forgotten just how relaxing it was.  She closed her eyes, just letting her thoughts drift away.

Several long moments passed and Kruhl’s eyes snapped open, reaching out to retrieve the strange bottle of soap Teressa had called body wash. The container was smooth to the touch and she clutched it in her hands, brows furrowed. She pressed into it, discovering that it was pliable, and turned it over. What sort of material was this?

The front identified the contents of the bottle as Swan Calming Lavender Field Scented Nourishing Body Wash. Kruhl tilted her head, biting her lips. Did that mean the body wash was made from Swans and Lavender? Why would anyone make soap from a swan?

She locked her fingers around the lid and attempted to yank it open, but it would not come loose. What a strange container, she thought, again turning the bottle over in her hand, this time from top to bottom. The top of the lid was a darker shade of violet from the rest of the container. Kruhl frowned and pressed her finger into it, gratified to discover that the top flipped open. 

“How strange,” Kruhl muttered, squeezing the bottle’s middle, watching thick light-purple fluid ooze out of the new opening. 

When she brought the bottle up to her nose, taking a big whiff. If it contained swan meat, she didn’t smell it. No, the only scent that she made out was lavender. 

Why then did the bottle say swan? Perhaps the artisan who made it was named Swan. 

She regarded the bottle for a little longer, then retrieved the wash towel left for her by Teressa, dunked it in the water and then wiped the soap off the side with the cloth.

Kruhl did not possess the same social biases as a person of this world. She did not regard flowery soaps and perfumes as girly, but she found them wasteful. The Angols, who considered themselves more civilized, were inclined to dabble in such frivolities, but her people made do with simpler soaps composed of animal fats and ashes.

With a long drawn-out sigh, she raised the cloth to her breasts and scrubbed the dirt away. She was not prepared for the sensations that arose from such a simple act and bit her bottom lip, barely stifling a moan and thoughts of Teressa doing interesting things sprang to mind. When the next wail escaped her lips, she did not muffle it.

The Fall of Kruhl | Ch 9 Pt 2



Official Report
1328 Maryzell Ln
Tondzaosha, Idaho

“All right so I got you—” The voice spoke out of nowhere and Kruhl started, jerking her hand out of her privates, and cheeks burning scarlet, as her eyes turned to meet Teressa’s gaze.

Teressa, a bundle of clothes in hand, mouth slack and eyes wide. “I, uh, I mean I didn’t mean to intrude, I just thought—”

“It’s fine!” Kruhl blurted out, hands snaking up her chest and cupped her breasts in a belayed attempt at modesty. “Just leave it I-I—”

Teressa dropped the clothes on the vanity and bolted out the door, slamming it shut behind her. Kruhl swallowed in a fruitless attempt to rid herself of the lump in her throat and glanced down at her soap covered breasts. She was so engrossed in pleasuring herself, she’d forgotten all about Teressa.

The interruption left her feeling like a pit had formed inside of her and she saw no way to fill it. Before her transformation, such an interruption would have killed the mood. She couldn’t say if it was because she was female or human, but either way it made her squirm.

There was a genuine need for her to continue, but she stopped herself. Instead, she recovered the cloth from between her legs where she dropped it during her explorations and resumed washing herself.

When finished, she hung the cloth along the edge of the tub and cupped both hands together against her lips. She shivered, allowing herself to imagine Teressa kissing her breasts.

She drew in her breath and dipped below the water to wet her hair, gasping for breath as she emerged. She wiped the excess water from her face and gathered all the loose strands of hair dangling in front of her eyes and collected them behind her ears.

With shaking hands, she reached for the bottle of shampoo, Teressa explained the differences between body wash and shampoo, but the once-king considered the distinction strange. Soap was soap.

Still, as she recalled the others instructions, she imagined the other woman’s naked body heaving against her own, her lips moving their way up and down her neck. She swallowed hard, the bulge wedged in her gullet still refusing to go away, and again studied the bottle.

Like the body wash, it was labeled ‘Swan’, and was Lavender scented, but this time it purported to be both a Shampoo and Conditioner, whatever that meant, and claimed to be formulated for normal to dry hair. Kruhl sighed, dumping some into her hand and rubbed it into her scalp.

She worked her way through her tangled locks. A vain attempt at clearing one of the hair mats, only succeeded in producing a sharp jolt of pain and a yelp. Clenching her jaw shut, Kruhl gave up, instead focusing on cleaning. When she finished, she pulled the stopper from the drain and climbed out, retrieving the towel from the counter.

She unfolded the fabric and paused, fingering it, surprised that it would be so soft and light. Teressa led her to believe that these so-called towels were used for drying oneself off, and after at last examining the long piece of fabric she understood why. Back home, she had access to the finest materials and used any number of fabrics to dry herself, but this towel did the job much better. Then again, she now possessed less hair than before.

She tossed the towel aside and reecovered the clothes from atop the vanity.  She retrieved the shirt, a simple pink one-piece garment with an image of a strange character wearing a red dress with white dots and a tied-up bit of material upon its head. It bore rounded ears and had a short muzzle and exaggerated nose. Its features were rodent-like, but beyond that she could not guess what sort of creature it might be.

Even Kruhl, who’d never laid eyes on such attire, understood at once that it was intended for females. She crinkled her nose, before emitting a low growl, and pulled it up over her head and down over her breast. It fit snug in the chest, but not so tight as to constrict her breathing.

Next came the panties. Undergarments were not a new concept to her. Back at home she often wore a loincloth beneath her tunic or skirt, but the pink bit of fabric with heart-shapes on them were more feminine than her usual fair. Even the clothing they provided for her at the mental hospital had been less of an affront to her masculinity.

The skirt was the most tolerable part of the ensemble, at least in Kruhl’s eyes. Trousers were in their infancy among her people and used only by those who rode horseback. Loose-fitting skirts provided a flexibility of movement that slacks would never match, and as a battle-hardened warrior that was the most important factor of all.

Even so, she barely fit the skirt over her hips. It was designed for a child and Kruhl, while small, possessed the figure of a full-grown woman. Once she pulled it past her wide child-bearing hips, the garment fit her well enough, but as she looked upon her reflection, she saw nothing of herself looking back at her. It chilled her to the bone.

The mirror… she mused regarding the massive fixture which took up half of the wall. She’d never seen its like. Her people possessed mirrors, but their artisans crafted them of polished metals, and even the best only provided a muddy clarity.

She clenched her eyes shut and turned away with clenched teeth. Tears burned her eyes and she cursed the mirror’s creators before releasing a lengthy breath of air. She paused long enough to pull her water-logged hair from inside her shirt and slipped out of the bathroom where Teressa waited for her.

“I, uh, sorry, I didn’t think you would be well, you know…” Teressa kneaded one hand into the back of her neck, offering an apologetic smile and peered down at the former king.

“I would just as soon not discuss it.” Kruhl frowned, folding her arms over her chest.

Teressa nodded,  snaked a hand out and clasped her fingers around a lock of the other’s hair. “You want to get started?”

Kruhl grimaced, gaped at the other, and nodded. She doubted she would enjoy what followed, but understood that it was necessary. With a lengthy sigh, she followed the younger Van den Broeke down the corridor and toward what was certain to be a less than pleasant experience.

The razor buzzed along the side of Kruhl’s head and she closed her eyelids as the device ate her hair. It hummed against her scalp, vibrating so strongly it resonated in her eye sockets. She was not fond of the experience, but after seeing what the machine did, she understood its value at once.

Kruhl’s hair was such a mess, Teressa informed her, that she would have a much easier time if she cut it short. She’d given Kruhl the news as if she were a commander informing her she’d just lost an important battle. Kruhl didn’t see it as quite so devastating, but were it her glorious Assar mane being whittled away by the razor, she might have been singing a different tune.

Teressa knew her way around the razor, Kruhl could see that just by observing her, but the other seemed to think it necessary she explain that she once made a living as something called a hair dresser. Kruhl didn’t ask for specifics. She did not wish to get hair in her mouth again, but she pieced together that Teressa must have cut hair for a living. It seemed an odd vocation, but it didn’t surprise Kruhl. Little of this world made much sense.

As the other worked, Kruhl watched, lips pressed shut. She was going stir crazy, not just because she was stuck in place, but for other reasons.

Her nipples were hard and a glance down confirmed what she’d already suspected. They were showing through her shirt. She chomped down on her lower-lip, heart racing in her chest. She wanted, no needed, a release. Sex! The object of her desires was mere inches away, all she need do was lean forward and…

By Thun! Her face burned in shame. The once-mighty Kruhl, reduced to lusting after a human woman. Her father would have wept that she’d sunk so low, and the realization did her no good. She wanted nothing more than to leap from her seat and mount Teressa. Gods! When would it end?

And as if the gods had answered, the razor clicked off. Kruhl jerked her head, glancing over her shoulder. A tuft of hair fell over Kruhl’s left eye as she studied the hair stylist who stood, arms folded across her chest, razor in hand and her lips pressed in a thoughtful expression.

“I think that should do it.” Teressa planted both hands on her hip, then turned her back to Kruhl. The once-king swallowed, reaching a hand up to collect the stray hair and tuck it back into place.

“I thought we agreed you would cut my hair short.” Kruhl glowered, letting out a slight growl.

“I did,” Teressa replied, turning to Kruhl with a square-shaped object, perhaps two dorn long on each side, clutched in her hands. “Have a look.”

She held it out to Kruhl, and she hesitated only a few seconds before snatching it out of her outstretched hand, only realizing it was a hand mirror after she took it from the other woman.

Kruhl placed the mirror in her lap, handle out, and stared down to take a better look. The girl, whose face she despised, peered up at her. Teressa had shaved most of the left side down almost to nubs, and Kruhl traced her hand over it, the wound from her battle with Reesha and her minions was now visible, the black stitching sticking out from it. The cut had scabbed over, but it would be some time before it finished healing. She thought it a tribute to Teressa’s skill that Kruhl experienced almost no pain when the razor passed over it.

The rest of her hair wasn’t so short. Those locks were perhaps a dorn and a half, or about eight inches long. Teressa combed her bangs to the right, and Kruhl frowned, turning her head to get a better view. She expected something closer to the close-shorn cuts sported by the Angols, but this somehow looked more feminine. Still, she didn’t dislike it. Before she looked like a timid creature, the haircut made her countenance seem more… fierce.

“Well?” Teressa asked, leaning forward, her breasts pressing into Kruhl’s back.

This only reignited Kruhl’s arousal, and instead of answering, she at last launched herself toward the other, her lips locking around her mouth.

At first, Teressa resisted and pulled away, but then Kruhl pressed harder and the other woman melted into the former king’s arms, returning the kiss.

The next thing Kruhl knew, she was spread eagle atop the bed, Teressa’s lithe body mounted atop hers. Kruhl didn’t recall whether it had been she who had pulled the other atop her, or if Teressa had pushed her onto the soft fabric bedspread, but she didn’t care.

She closed her eyes, allowing the younger Van den Broeke sister to pull the fabric of the once-king’s shirt up and kiss her nipples. Kruhl shivered, hands reaching up to kneed the other’s breasts. She didn’t remember removing her skirt or panties, but soon a hard throbbing shaft thrust into her cunt. She trembled, knowing it at once for what it was. She didn’t understand why Teressa had one, but the once-king didn’t care. It felt too good. She shrieked in pleasure, not caring who heard. At last, she’d found her release.

The computer flicked and the screen fizzed out, smoke rising out of the base, and Amelia leaned back, running both hands through her hair. She wasn’t the paranoid type, but this was her third attempt at getting in touch with AEGIS since coming to the house, and each time something had gone wrong.

When she tried to make a call using the house’s landline, the phone went dead after the first ring and repeated efforts to make additional calls had turned out the same. The first time she attempted to access the AEGIS secure servers,  the computer had shut down without warning and now this…

Someone was trying very hard to keep her from getting in contact with her superiors. Which could only mean one thing…

She jerked to her feet and took off running for the bedrooms. If she was right, she needed to warn the others before it was too late…

The Fall of Kruhl | Ch 9 Pt 3



Official Report
1328 Maryzell Ln
Tondzaosha, Idaho

Kruhl lay on her side, bedsheets draped over her bare form, hand clasped over her privates. After they finished their lovemaking, a sense of contentment flooded over her and she lay awash in the sensation.

Back home, she’d taken the virginity of many females, but experiencing it from the other end was something different altogether. Sex as a male was more of a throbbing, pulsating pleasure centered in one place. As a woman those elements were there, but a simple touch in the right place would send ripples of tingling ecstasy rippling through her body. She never imagined it would be so… all encompassing.

Her lady parts were aflame, throbbing with a dull ache, but also an emptiness. She was incomplete after the experience, as if she would never be whole until she again allowed Teressa to penetrate her. She trembled, an icy shiver racking her body.

Her hand slipped free of her privates and she held it in front of her eye, rubbing the blood between the flats of her fingers. Though their lovemaking had painful, it was not at all unpleasant. Teressa had deflowered her, or, as the other girl put it, she’d popped her cherry. It was a euphanism, she’d understood without explanation. 

Kruhl found herself thinking of the other woman’s unique anatomy. She’d long heard tales of individuals who were both male and female, possessing the form of a woman, but the private parts of a man. At the time, such stories seemed far-fetched and the once-king discounted them. Now, it seemed, her thinking might need some revision. She possessed no understanding of hormones and had never heard the term transgender. Other than the whisperings of fellow Assar, Kruhl possessed no frame of reference for such an anomaly.

She rolled over, regarding Teressa between cracked eyelids. The other woman bore a sleepy smile and her eyes had drooped closed. Kruhl leaned forward, pecking her on the lips and a broad smile stretched across her mouth as she studied Teressa.

She was slender and tall and bore small pert breasts and shoulders that seemed just a little too wide for her frame, but that wasn’t so unusual even for human females. Kruhl detected no outward signs that Teressa possessed so unusual of a form. 

“What?” Teressa asked with a loud yawn, a smile of her own cracking her lips.

Kruhl eyed her a moment longer before speaking. “How?”

Though the question was simple, it carried a depth of meaning that the younger Van Den Broeke understood at once. Teressa cupped her face and closed her eyelids. 

“I’m transgender,” she said, hands sliding away. Kruhl blinked, but did not respond and Teressa released a lengthy breath, pressing her lips together.

“I used to be a boy, but I always felt like I should have been a girl. About three years ago, I stopped living in denial and admitted the truth to myself. A while after that, I began my transition. Er…  that is to say, I started living as a girl full time and began taking a medicine of a sort that helped me develop a more feminine figure.” 

Teressa’s explanation was simplistic, and didn’t convey as much meaning as she would have preferred, but it was a subject the former Assar knew nothing about. Terms like ‘assigned male’ were likely a little beyond the other’s grasp. It seemed easier, for the time being, to keep it simple. 

Kruhl nodded, her mind reeling at the implications of what the other said. If such a medicine existed to make men more feminine, might there not be one to produce the opposite effect for women? Before she had a chance to inquire further, the door burst open and the other Van den Broeke hurtled into the room, a wild, wide-eyed expression marking her features.

Amelia’s eyes took in the lovers, and she quickly averted her gaze. 

“We, uh, need to get out of here. I think we may be in danger.” She licked her lips, a slight, almost undetectable tremor in her voice revealing her discomfort.

“What, why?” Teressa asked, sitting bolt upright, careful to keep the blanket pressed over her naked breasts.

“This may sound a bit paranoid, but I haven’t been able to contact AEGIS since we came here. At first I thought there was something wrong with the phone line, but a laptop just burnt up on me. I can’t shake the feeling that someone or something is trying to prevent me from getting help.”

No one spoke for several long minutes, and then almost as if on cue, the sound of car tires screeching and a long succession of car doors slamming shut broke the silence.

Any pretense of modesty flew out the window as Teressa flung the bedding off her unclothed form and collected her stray bits of discarded clothing scattered about. 

Kruhl looked around, eyes gleaming with confusion. She did not understand what the sounds signified, but she was no fool and picked up on the sense of urgency from the other women. She sprang from the bed on all-fours and scurried around in search of her own clothing.

Under ordinary circumstances, Amelia would have retreated from the scene, but when faced with danger, things like modesty were a luxury with which she could not afford to adhere.

Amelia reached for her gun, but remembered that she’d used up all her ammunition and dropped her hand. She moved along the outside of the room, avoiding making eye contact with either woman, and pulled the corner of the drapes open, careful to do so with slow, smooth movements so those without would be less likely to catch sight of her.

Police cars ringed the house, and dozens of officers knelt behind their vehicles, weapons in hand.

She sucked air in through her teeth, cursed under her breath, and slipped the drapes closed before returning her attention to the other two women who were in various states of dress.

As an investigator, she did not believe in coincidence. It seemed unlikely that the police’s arrival was unrelated to her latest attempt at contacting AEGIS. If their enemy disconnected the phones and destroyed the laptop, why wait to attack? They could have struck at any time. 

She was unable to shake the feeling of wrongness encompassing this entire situation and try as she might, there didn’t seem to be a reasonable explanation for any of it. Something more was happening than met the eye and it made the hairs on the back of her neck stand on end. What was she missing?

She balled both fists. The agent would not stand by and let their enemies control the situation. Something needed to be done. She turned to face her younger sibling, mind already made up. “Once you finished getting dressed, get to the car, I’ll keep them occupied. 

She slipped out through the door before either woman could issue an objection. Teressa and Kruhl met each other’s gazes, then rushed to the doorway at the same moment, but the elder Van den Broeke had already disappeared down the hallway. The creak of the front door sounded in the distance, dispelling whatever thoughts they had of chasing after Amelia. 

Teressa turned her wide-eyes on Kruhl and gulped. They were running out of time.

Amy stood, hands clenched at her side, staring down at the sea of squad cars, police officers, and the automatic weapons which they bore. Though a shiver of fear worked its way down her spine, anger soon supplanted it. She grated her teeth and fought back the fire burning deep inside of her. 

Carter Rathdrum, a father, a husband, and, above all, a good man had died by their hands. Worse, even if Amelia survived this mess, it was unlikely she would be able to tell his family how he’d died. She would not let his selfless act be for nothing.

These were police officers, men and womaen who had taken oaths to uphold the law and defend the innocent. They had already gunned down the mental hospital and the roadside along their escape path. She doubted they’d have any reservations about shooting up the neighborhood.

How many more people had they harmed with their blatant disregard of the laws they’d sworn to uphold? 

The revelation that they may be under the influence of Odalrik, did little to temper her rage. How could they have let it get so bad? None drew Amy’s more ire than their leader. The Avery she had known was a person of integrity with a rigid, unbending sense of duty and responsibility. What had changed? How had Odalrik compromised her? 

Gunfire rang out. Amelia threw her arm up to shield her face, but it was just a reflex. She was ready for what followed. Bullets whizzed through the air, and stopped motionless, suspended as if on wires. Amy gritted her teeth, waving her arm, sending the projectiles slamming into the ground with a series of soft thuds.

“Gwyneth Avery!” She called out the Chief’s name at the top of her lungs, but if the other woman was present, she did not show herself.

Instead, a tall figure in a flowing black robe stepped forward to meet her challenge. Its cowl concealed its face, but Amelia just made out the tip of a thin delicate chin. It walked hunched over in a lurching gait, pulling a long wooden staff, its tip grating across the pavement. Atop it was affixed an emerald gem that pulsated with fetid green light. 

The figure stood upright, planting its staff into the soil and turned its shrouded head upon Amy. She strained her eyes, hoping to glimpse the face that lurked beneath the cloth, but she could see nothing of its features save for a glint of noxious illumination glimmering in its eyes. The stranger tilted the staff forward, and a beam of putrid green light shot out, straight toward the agent. She had only seconds to prepare herself before the attack landing home.