The Fall of Kruhl | Ch 10 Pt 1



Official Report
1328 Maryzell Ln
Tondzaosha, Idaho

“Shit, shit, shit,” Teressa cursed her face contorted in a mask of rage. “How could I have been so stupid?”

She growled under her breath, slid the car keys into the ignition and the car’s engine roared to life. Anger flashed in her eyes as they fell on Kruhl. The once-king shrank away, taken aback, but then she gazed forward, clasping one hand around her neck, the second on the steering wheel.

“Hang on,” she said between gritted teeth, inky mist rising out between her fingers. “This will be one bumpy ride.”

She pulled on the lever between the seats and the car careened, a high-pitched screech emanating from the wheels. It slammed through the garage door with a wail of protest and wood and metal exploded, fragments slamming into the windshield with several dull thwacks and Kruhl threw her arms up to shield her face.

The vehicle lurched into daylight, swerved sideways, and just avoided slamming into a vehicle Teressa told her, after their first meeting, was called a police car. She clutched at the handle on the door, gaze fixed on Teressa.

“Oh hell,” Teressa cursed again her eyes staring out the windshield growing wider by the second. She raised both hands, palms out and fingers up, misty ink fading into the daylight. Kruhl followed the other’s gaze. A tall man bearing one of the fire-sticks was standing before the car, weapon trained on the other woman.

Kruhl was not the type to surrender, if she could help it, but even a proud warrior such as her recognized a helpless situation when she saw one. She scowled, then mimed the other woman’s pose. She narrowed her eyes, watching as the man approached picturing herself snapping his neck, but remained motionless. The police clan had won for now.

Putrid emerald energy crackled against the azure dome that Amy had summoned. The agent gritted her teeth, panting against the effort of holding her shield. She’d had no opportunity to practice using her new powers, but they seemed to respond when she needed them, even if she didn’t quite understand how. It was a marked contrast to Sapphira’s struggle to control the same powerset, but one which she could live with… if she stayed conscious.

Amelia’s shield rippled and the sickly green illumination brightened, spreading out and sizzling with such intensity, Amy’s eyes ached. She averted her gaze, tears cascading down her cheek, and held on. Perhaps Sapphira who was more experienced might know how to retaliate with the shield still up, but it was taking all of her concentration just to hold it against the mysterious attacker.

Her strength ebbed and she fell to her knees, her shield wobbling and contorting. She moaned, clenching her eyes shut and focus all her will on holding the barrier. She only needed a little more time…

As if on queue, an explosive crash of shattering wood and shrieking metal sounded from nearby. That would be Teressa and Kruhl, she thought, a smile touching the corner of her lips.

The pressure on her shield vanished and instead of taking the time to gawk like her assailant and most of the police force, the agent straightened. She rounded on her attacker and sent her shield flying out. It burst into the cloaked figure with enough force to send it tumbling to the pavement and rounded on the nearest of their attackers. She threw a hand out a wave of telekinetic force, rippling out, and three officers soared away, landing in a tangled heap.

She took the briefest of seconds, soaking in every detail she could. Kruhl and Teressa had crashed through the house’s garage door in the Yomato Diadem the former had stolen during their escape from the mental hospital, but the vehicle had only just cleared the exit. A ring of police cars blocked their path out.

All eyes turned toward her and she grated her teeth, already erecting a wall of shimmering azure energy as a new barrage of bullets came hurtling across the lawn toward her.

Time was not on her side. Already her body had begun to weaken and her vision began to fade. She fought it, teeth gritted.

Not now.

She redirected her efforts, diving behind a flowerbed with a raised stone wall and dropped the shield. She may not be able to save herself, but she’d be damned if she was going to let them get ahold of Kruhl and Teressa. Instead of attacking, she reached out and pushed the first squad car blocking the Diadem’s path. The vehicle lurched back, bursting through a small white picket fence that separated the driveway from the neighbor’s property.

Her vision dimmed and she clenched her jaw, fighting back the darkness, gunfire spattering into the stones all around her. She hurtled the second squad car away, moving on to the third and final one. It lurched into the street and Amy found herself on her knees.

The agent gasped, willing a shield to form around her, but it quivered and dissolved into the air with a soft sizzle. She felt a sharp prick on her neck, and snapped a hand up, finger clasping a short metallic tube with a fuzzy tip. She pulled it free, holding the tranquilizer dart in front of her face before peering back at her assailant. Chief Avery stood in the distance, tranquilizer gun clasped in her hands, scowling.

The agent fell the rest of the way to the ground, face-planting into the soil, fingers clawing at the ground in a futile escape attempt. She peered up, eyes focused on a cloud of inky haze that had oozed its way over the yard, the last thing she heard as her awareness faded into unconsciousness was the sound of screeching tires.

The girl stood back, pulling several strands of blonde hair away from her soft delicate features, her eyes wide as a pair of officers lifted the inert form of a tall dark-haired woman into the back of a squad car. She turned away, sinking her teeth into her lower lip.

“Amy,” she whispered the name, as a cold quiver shot down her back.

The agent was bound… and odder gagged. How and why had Amelia run afoul of the police? She was working with them. They were the ones who’d requested help from AEGIS. The mission files were very clear on that point. Why then had they detained her? It made no sense.

It all had something to do with the woman in black, the girl glanced at her, another shiver running down her spine. When the girl first laid eyes on her, she’d done a double take. The woman looked like she’d walked out of the set of some sword and sorcery movie. She wore a long cloak and its cowl was pulled back to reveal a youthful face framed by a shock of lengthy black hair. An emerald-topped staff was clenched in her arms, and, if the energy readings from the RPR module were any sign, she was packing a lot of astral energy. The girl didn’t quite understand what that meant, but she knew enough to be wary.

Though the cloaked woman seemed out of place amidst all the officers, she moved through the throng with an air of authority. She stopped a few yards from the car where they’d imprisoned Amelia and planted her staff in the ground. An older middle-aged woman in a police uniform rushed up to her and curtsied, like some peasant maiden supplicating themselves to their liege lord.

The girl frowned. Things were getting stranger by the moment.

She considered making a rescue attempt, but shut down such a fleeting ludicrous notion with a firm set of her jaw and a violent shake of her head. Even with the full RPR, she didn’t like her chances. Whatever power the robed woman had at her command, she was not one with whom the girl wanted to cross on her own. Making her first test run with the new gear, while tempting, would be stupid beyond belief.

Amelia was being help captive, but at least she was still alive. With the agent in police custody, finding her would be an easy enough effort. It would be a better course of action to bide her time, gather information, perhaps find a few allies and form a plan.

She stroked her chin, studying the home around which the police cars were clustered. She regarded the fragments of the garage door and pursed her lips. The hole was more or less car-sized. Given that, and the tire marks on the lawn, she guessed someone had left in quite the hurry. A potential ally, perhaps? If so, why had they left Amelia behind?

Bullet holes peppered portions of a white picket fence dividing the home from the neighboring house and portions of the exterior wall of the first. She didn’t know much about firearms, but the RPR had identified the weapons carried by the police as AR-90 Automatic Rifles. Military hardware of the sort far too sophisticated for any street cop, least of all for a backwater town like Tondzaosha. It was… concerning.

She dropped her hand and considered her options. Whoever had fled the scene probably had the answers she needed, but she didn’t have the foggiest idea how to track them down. She needed help, and with the information Director Malcolm had provided, she thought she might know where to find it.

With slow, careful movements, Ashley Harris turned away from the crime scene, and slipped the RPR module from her pocket, calling up the information she needed. With quick, yet furtive steps she moved away, heart hammering in her chest. God, this would be a pain in the ass, but it was the least she could do for Amy.

The Fall of Kruhl | Ch 10 Pt 2



Official Report
1328 Maryzell Ln
Tondzaosha, Idaho

Kruhl took in air, with short jagged breaths, and eyes clenched shut. Her entire body trembled, awash with a flood of emotions, mixed revulsion and frustration most predominant among them.

She’d become weak. She curled her lips in a sneer and opened her eyelids. One hand enveloping a breast and kneading the flesh. She moaned and bit her lower lip, glancing over her shoulder to ensure Teressa did not wake. It had been the better part of a day since they’d fled their enemies and the pair had barely spoken to one another since.

The once-king wanted nothing more than to battle their enemies, but she possessed neither the means nor the strength necessary. This body was soft.

She peered down at her free hand, flexing it before her face. Kruhl had allowed herself to succumb to the desires of her body, to allow a human to dominate her in bed… yet again.

She rose to her feet, turning her back on the other woman, arms folded across her naked chest. Curse Reesha for sending her to this world!

She clenched her teeth and balled her fists at her side. She had been among the greatest of her people’s warriors and she’d been reduced to this simpering doe-eyed slip of a human girl. If she weren’t so useless she would have taken on the police clan and saved Agent Amelia. She would have made those fools rue the day they’d ever crossed Kruhl!

Instead, she’d fled like a coward, and now she was frittering her time away instead of taking action. Her gaze again darted to Teressa, who had spent the time since their escape brooding, a slow simmering anger bubbling just under the surface. She’d spoken little more than two words to the former king, instead she spent her time whittling away at a hunk of wood with a strange folding knife she’d retrieved from one of the unusual pouches built into her trousers.

Kruhl looked about the little rolling home, which Teressa called a camp trailer, and crinkled her nose. It was dirty and smelled of rotted wood. They’d come to this place after their escape and had been there ever since. She tucked her arms over her breasts, peering through the little window beside the door.

Though she was far from an expert on this world, she recognized farm country when she saw it, even if it was a fair bit dustier than Eirdon’s fields. Beyond that, there was little else to see, branches, from the large copse of trees which surrounded the camper, obscured much of her view, but a large aging red building with wide double doors and white trim could just be made out through the tangle of evergreens.

Her mind wandered a million miles away, grasping for some solution to the mess she’d dug for herself. Were it not for her, Reesha would have never stood a chance of banishing Odalrik to this place. True, it had been the Sorceress who’d invoked the spell, but her old master was far too powerful and wily to be taken alone. Without Kruhl’s aid, she never could’ve gained the upper hand.

Teressa emitted a soft moan and Kruhl craned her neck back to gaze on the woman.The younger Van den Broeke sister jerked to a sitting position, small pert breast jiggling a little from the sudden movement. Her eyes were just as intense as the previous night, and, as she watched, the other’s countenance creased into a frown.

She thought back to their previous night of lovemaking, the intensity, the pure wild rage the other exhibited produced a stab of remembered pain in her loins. Kruhl hadn’t experienced the like since before Leoffa’s passing. His betrothed possessed a turbulent personality and sometimes her volatility translated into the bed chamber. It made for some of the most passionate lovemaking of the former Assar’s life. Though the sensations of her tiny new body differed, the intensity had been on the same scale.

Kruhl padded over to the bed, positioned herself beside the other woman, kissing her on the cheek before pulling away. Teressa regarded her, jaw clenched, rage burning with such intensity Kruhl thought perhaps she’d angered her, but then her lover’s features softened and she pulled the once-king close, wrapping both arms about her waist. Lips brushing her neck.

It unnerved Kruhl, that the other could so easily overpower her, but a part of her liked it. She would never have admitted it aloud, but when they were abed, she found that if she allowed the other to take control that the pleasures could be indescribable. She trembled, preparing herself for another round of sex, but when the other’s hands reached between her legs Kruhl, surprised even herself, and fastened her fingers around the other’s wrists.

“We should talk,” Kruhl said. “I realize this thing with your sister has–”

Teressa pushed Kruhl with such force that she lurched across the bed and almost took a nosedive over the edge before grasping ahold of the adjacent counter. She peered at the other, eyes wide, panting for breath.

“I’m sorry.” Teressa said, voice tense, almost confrontational. She shook her head and her features and voice softening. “I didn’t mean to—”

Kruhl righted herself and swallowed, glancing at her companion. She’d known that the strength disparity between them was significant, but hadn’t realized the full extent until that moment. How weak must she be in this form that the other could throw her about with so little effort?

“Forget about it,” Kruhl said, her voice trembling though she fought hard to keep it even. When she again glanced at her lover, tears were sliding down the other’s cheeks.

Kruhl pulled her close, wrapping her arms about Teressa’s larger frame. “I know this is difficult, but I understand how you feel.”

“Do you?” Teressa replied, her body stiffening in Kruhl’s arms. She pushed the other away, this time with only enough force for her to keep the other at bay. “I don’t even know if Amy’s alive. She’s my sister… and I just drove off and let them take her, God, what kind of person does that?” She gawked at Kruhl, eyes wide, voice devoid of any emotion, as if she were still trying to process what happened.

Kruhl peered back, her expression a near match to Teressa’s. When at last she spoke, she did so in a halting quivering tone. “Do not blame yourself. Respect her sacrifice. Agent Amelia knew what she was doing. She would want us to carry on.”

“Easy for you to say, you’re not the one who abandoned her own sister.”

“No,” Kruhl agreed. “But I impaled the love of my life in the abandoned her to die.”

Teressa looked as if Kruhl had slapped her. She stared at the tiny woman, then emitted a lengthy breath of air. She folded her arms across her chest, fire smoldering in her eyes, turning away from Kruhl eyes studying the wall just to her left. “We don’t stand a chance without Amy. My illusions will not get us very far. My sister was the only one of us with any actual power. Without her we might as well crawl into a hole and die.”

Kruhl did not speak, instead she looked out at the aging barn, a thoughtful expression on her face. Several long moments later, she met the other woman’s gaze, golden globes gleaming. “There may be a chance, but we need Waldere.”

“You talk about that sword as if it will solve all our problems. Just what can that thing do?”

Teressa swallowed and met the once-king’s gaze. There was an odd gleam in Kruhl’s eyes as she spoke.

Ashley stopped, staring down at the RPR module, before glancing back up to studying her surroundings. The guidance system had led her to an older area of town, populated by houses identified by the suit’s AI system as Cape Cod style cottages. Basically they were cute, neatly decorated, World War II era homes, all painted in pastel colors and off-whites.

To her though, they were just houses, albeit small old ones, and the only interest she had was in one home in particular or, more specifically, its occupant. She might now identify as the girl whose body she’d come to possess, but her mindset was still of a masculine sort. The minor details only mattered if they contributed to the greater whole. Pretty flowers and pastel colors weren’t relevant information and thus she only regarded them as a row of houses.

She stopped in front of a home, peering down at the module, eying the small red rectangular device to ensure she was in the right place. Satisfied, she nodded and slipped it back into her jeans pocket. The girl took a moment to study the building, frowning as she regarded the mailbox, which was so overstuffed, the front hung ajar. That was not encouraging.

Ashley had traveled all the way to Grove City, hoping to find the owner of this home, and now it seemed like he’d been away for days if not weeks. She cursed between clenched teeth and jerked the RPR module back out of her pocket. She’d wasted valuable time on this lead and it had been for nothing. Maybe it wa—

The young woman stopped. An alert had popped up on the RPR’s display, noting that there was a lot of ambient astral energy. She peered up at the house again, lips pressed together in a thin line, studying the readings. The signature was close enough to the one emanating from staff girl she doubted it was unrelated. Perhaps her trip hadn’t been a dead end after all.

She switched to thermal view and held the unit up. The southwest corner of the home, viewed through the display, was lit up like a Christmas tree.

“Goddammit,” she cursed.

Ashley did not understand what it meant, but she didn’t believe it could mean anything good. She jabbed the screen, toggling the thermal view off and paused only a moment, before activating the ASM Algorithm. She’d had enough with this incognito bullshit. A fresh approach was needed.

As she waited, Ashley frowned and peered out across the horizon. A black speck appeared, growing larger by the moment. A grin spread across her soft features. It was time to bust some heads.