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The Fall of Kruhl | Ch 12 Pt 1

05/30/2020

AEGIS Seal

Official Report
Tondzaosha Police Station
Tondzaosha, Idaho

Well, what a nice little reunion this is,” Daisy called, her lips settling into a malicious grin.

Leoffa swirled around, moving away from Kruhl’s bleeding form and came to face the elder sorceress.

Daisy regarded Leoffa. Her enemy wore a different face from the one she was sporting when last they met. She was leaner, taller and bore a distinct resemblance to Van den Broeke. The sorceress understood the significance at once, but she did not speak, instead readying herself for the attack which was sure to come.

When they first came to this world, it had been Daisy who had healed the other from the wounds inflicted by Kruhl. At first, terrified by the strange new realm which they’d come to inhabit, they banded together, an uneasy alliance, but one which benefited them both. As they came to trust one another, Daisy found, much to her surprise, that Leoffa also had a talent for sorcery and so she trained her in the ways of magics.

Back when they awoke on this Earth her apprentice wore the face of a rather handsome youth, but dissatisfied with her male form, she experimented with her powers, altering herself to appear more feminine, eventually ridding herself of any residual masculinity. Daisy shuddered. Such a pity he’d been so interesting to look at. It appeared she’d again altered her form, but this time Daisy suspected it had more to do with manipulating the agent.

Each sorceress had their own talents. Daisy was better able to hop bodies than to alter her form. Though manipulating minds was a breeze, recreating Leoffa’s illusions took far more effort. There was some overlap, but there existed a clear divide between what abilities came naturally and a skill for them to learn and hone. Daisy knew a much broader range of spell works because of her experience, but that was not to say the other sorceress didn’t represent a threat.

Now that Leoffa possessed the magical sword, she’d gained an edge that Daisy would not abide. It was fortunate that she possessed the staff. She wouldn’t have stood a chance against the sword otherwise.

Daisy’s staff acted as a focus, a medium to channel magical energies and better control them. Without it, she could only perform the most basic of magics. She’d destroyed Leoffa’s staff in their last major confrontation all those years ago. The only focus which the other possessed was that of a simple amethyst crystal hung about her neck. It was nowhere near as potent as Daisy’s staff.

Leoffa held Waldere, the great sword’s surface stained with the blood of its former master. Daisy cursed herself. She had taken the weapon, thinking, in her arrogance, that only Kruhl could wield it. In her current form, the barbarian didn’t present much of a danger no matter how much she pounded her chest. Not once had the sorceress considered that Leoffa would successfully manipulate the once-king into handing it over to her. What a fool she’d been.

Now Leoffa wielded the combined might of the sword and her own innate magics. Daisy did not hesitate, raising her staff to hurl a bolt of energy at the sorceress. Lightning quick, the other woman raised her weapon and the blast sizzled into nothingness.

“Odalrik.” Leoffa’s lips curled into a sneer. “I was wondering when you would show your face.”

Daisy winced at the other woman’s use of her old name, but didn’t speak. Leoffa knew her opponent hated it.

Instead, she raised the staff, targeted her opponent’s spell haze, and sent a burst of magic coursing into the air all around them. Green bursts of energy swirled about, sweeping away Leoffa’s illusions before slinking toward her and oozing back into the staff.

The scene that resolved before her was more or less what she expected, but that wasn’t why she’d cleared the mist. Chief Avery, and two other members of the police force, no longer hindered by the haze, came rushing up beside their mistress, weapon’s drawn on the rival sorceress.

“What exactly did you think you’d accomplish, Leoffa?” Daisy scowled her voice taking on a rough edge. “Surrender and tell me where the crystal is and you may yet live.”

Leoffa’s answer, at first, seemed predictable, and Daisy’s disappointment was palatable. Her former apprentice lurched forward, sword drawn, and rushed Daisy. Chief Avery stepped forward, intersecting the younger woman, gun blazing. When the bullet’s hit, they zoomed through the sorceress, her image wobbled and quaivered before shattering into a thousand pieces and dissolving away into nothingness.

Daisy’s eyes grew wide. She jerked sideways and swirled around, at once realizing her mistake. It had been one of Leoffa’s illusions. Waldere’s blade sliced through the empty air in the space her head just vacated and she swung her staff out, striking Leoffa in her side. The other woman grunted and backed away, sword held ready.

Daisy didn’t give her another chance to attack. She hurled out a sizzling bolt of power, and though the blade caught the strike before it could land home, the accompanying gust of wind sent her tumbling back. Avery and her subordinates opened fire again, but Leoffa vanished before the bullets hit.

She reappeared a moment later, blade slicing through the chest of one of Avery’s men, splattering blood all over Daisy and a second man named Briggs before disappearing. Bone was no obstacle to the sword, other weapons might have had difficulty slicing through, but Waldere was a weapon of magic. It could pass through it as easily as butter. Stone, too.

Daisy barely even glanced at the dead man, before she scowled, lifted her staff and hurled a barrage of putrid green fire scouring out in a wide swath.

The attack hit Briggs, and he howled in agony, before he burned up in a tower of flame and disintegrated into ash. Avery’s quick wits spared her. She dove behind the sorceress and stayed out of reach of the inferno.

Daisy sent two full rotations of green fire around the room, before cutting it off. She planted her staff in the ground and casted her eyes about wildly. Leoffa knelt just off to one side, Waldere held blade down before her, clothes and hair were licked by the flames. Even her shoulder was aflame, but she didn’t seem to notice.

Her apprentice lurched to her feet, hand clasped about her throat. Three more Leoffa’s each identical from the last, stepped out from inside her and three more from each of those and another three from each of the newest batch.

There would be no telling which was the true Leoffa and which were illusions, but it mattered little to the sorceress. She sent out more spell fire, this time in a wave. Each of the illusory forms shattered and dissolved away until none remained.

“Dammit!” She cursed, the other sorceress was as slippery as an eel. She swung about, sending out random bursts of fire into the empty room, but it was to no avail. None of her attacks seemed to land home.

“LEOFFA!” She screamed out, slamming the butt of her staff into the ground. “Show yourself.”

To no one’s surprise, Leoffa did not comply and Daisy gritted her teeth, shrieking at the top of her lungs. A rush of energy coalesced within the gem of the staff and she released it into the wall, blasting a hole about a foot wide.

Cold steel touched her neck and Daisy froze, vainly attempting to swallow the lump in her throat.

“Don’t move.” Leoffa was so close she felt droplets of her spit speckle the back of her neck.

Daisy suffered no illusions that, given the chance, Leoffa would end her life, she’d threatened to do so on more than one occasion. Even were she to surrender there would be no bargaining, or deal making, just an execution. Daisy was too dangerous of an enemy to leave alive.

So, rather than surrender, she took the one course she believed that might give her a chance at survival. She lurched forward and rolled to the ground, infusing her staff with magical energies, before spinning back around to face her old pupil, fire already spewing out. She did not bother forming a protective barrier, Waldere would cut through it.

Leoffa’s weapon came arching down toward her, blade reflecting the florescent light of the station. Waldere moved through the air so quickly, that sorceress didn’t even feel it glide through her scalp, down her eye-socket and into her neck. Few swords could have cut through flesh with such ease, but few were imbued with as much power as the great blade.

Daisy’s victory cry became a gurgle as her spell fire hit home, sending the other woman reeling away. Leoffa panted, clutching at the charred flesh on her side, and turned back toward the other sorceress in time to see her lifeless form collapse face-forward. The blade still imbedded in her flesh, Waldere’s pommel hit the tiled floor with a metallic thud.

Chief Avery let out a high-pitched screech and clutched at her head as if she were in excruciating pain. She stood there for several long minutes before collapsing to her knees and wept into her hands.

Leoffa sneered at the pitiful display and retrieved Daisy’s staff. The gem in the center, once a brilliant green, had faded to black, a sure sign her enemy was dead. At last, she would have a staff of her ow. It had been so long.

A slow smile crept across her face as she leaned over to retrieve Waldere, yanking it from the other’s corpse with a violent jerk. Blood splattered her face, but it was not the first time, nor did she believe it would be the last. Daisy was at last dead, and she glanced over in Kruhl’s direction, the once-king soon would be too.

She glanced at Avery, who’d collapsed into a fetal position, and pressed her lips together in a thin line. Sooner or later the woman would either go mad, or she would come to her senses and return to she’d been in before Daisy had enthralled her. She rather liked the thought of the Chief reduced to a blithering madwoman, but if she recovered, she would be a threat.

Better to end her before that happened. She raised Waldere, intent on doing just that, but stopped when a voice spoke from the other side of the room.

“I wouldn’t do that if I were you.”

Leoffa spun around, blade and staff in hand, to find a figure standing in an open doorway, both fists balled at its side.

The Fall of Kruhl | Ch 12 Pt 2

06/13/2020

 

Official Report
Tondzaosha Police Station
Tondzaosha, Idaho

Amelia’s eyes cracked open. She attempted to sit up, but only managed to pull herself up about an inch before she struck an invisible wall and settled back into place. She turned her head,  peering about, sucking air in through her teeth.

She recoiled as she caught the gaze of a creature slouched over a shelf. It gurgled, long tentacles writhing and gyrating in the air as a trio of blood-red eyes fixed on her. A strangled moan sounded from the reverse wall and she shuddered and looked away. She peered straight into the eye of what most resembled a lime Jello mold, the second monster gazed at her with its one great unblinking eye, quivering there on its shelf.
She gazed back at the first creature, and then a third one roosted upon a shelf along the eastern wall which resembled an enormous round bird with big black eyebrows. It cooed, emitting a dozen loud warbles before taking a nosedive off its shelf and landing in a stack of crates.

Neither of the other two monsters moved, and she bit her bottom lip, eying a row of implements stacked around the blob creature.  There was a box of glass bottles, each filled with a different-colored liquid, most look innocuous, but one of them hissed. Next to the box were arrayed a dog’s skull, a playground ball which glowed purple and a mannequin head which had the most ghastly grin on its face, and whose eyes kept blinking.

There were dozens more, some on the stranger side, but most tended toward the more gruesome, like the statue which was exuding something that looked like blood from its mouth.

She did not understand where she was or how she’d come to be there, but she had a good idea who’d brought her.

Amy thought back to her very brief encounter with Ashtar, and the warning which the alien consciousness had passed on to her.  She’d needed time for her enhanced healing factor to work through the tranquilizers and time was up. With Ashtar’s help the agent created a partitioned construct within her own mind to trick Odalrik into attacking it instead of her actual consciousness and, failing some convoluted means of deception on her enemy’s part, the ploy had worked.

She set her jaw and moved to sit up, but again hit an invisible obstruction. When she lifted her arm, it would only move up a few inches. The agent pushed out with all the strength she could muster, and nothing happened. If there was some way she might break through, it would not be with physical force.

She let her eyelids slip shut,  released a long breath and extended her senses. She felt nothing save for the hammer of her heart, and the blood coursing through her veins. It was almost as if someone had encapsulated her within a dome of transparent GUNQ.

Shit.

Her eyes snapped back open as the sound of gunfire rang out. The walls and doorway stifled it, but it was still discernable. Shrieks of rage, followed by brief bouts of silence and more gunfire.

“LEOFFA!” A voice screamed from somewhere outside the room, again muffled, but still audible and clear. “Show yourself!”

Amelia froze, her heart pounding in her ears, as her mind raced. She had no idea who was fighting on the other side of that wall, but she didn’t think it boded well for her at all. The agent gritted her teeth,  and furrowed her brows.

A wave of power rippled out from her palms and she grunted as it rebounded on her and into her chest. She panted and clamped her jaw shut against the pain. In retrospect that hadn’t been the brightest idea, but she had to try something.

She took several deep breaths, attempting to steady herself and reached deep within herself ensuring that she’d done no damage to the child before releasing her breath and opened her eyes again.

What chance did she have at making an escape, if she couldn’t breach the invisible field around herself?

She sighed, as she reached out with her mind, probing the surrounding space attempting to find a hole in the barrier, but found none. The agent slumped back and growled under her breath. It didn’t look as if she’d be going anywhere soon.

“Ashtar,” she said clenching her eyes shut and emitted a soft moan. “I don’t suppose you have any ideas, do you?”

No answer came and she sank her teeth into her lower teeth, letting out several choice curses. “Of course.”

A high-pitched wail sounded through the air and Amy’s eye’s snapped open. She sat bolt-upright, only realizing that the barrier holding her in place was gone, a few seconds later. Amy peered around the room, eyes locking on the door, before she leapt from her resting place and bolted through it.

She stopped, holding her breath in her throat. Kruhl lay off to one side in a pool of her own blood, three more bodies lay scattered about the room, either dead or unconscious. A figure stood, a familiar gem-topped staff clutched in one hand and Waldere stained with blood, raised over another figure curled up in a fetal position.

She narrowed her eyes, centering them on the figure which she presumed to be Odalrik.

She squared her jaw and balled both fists at her side. “I wouldn’t do that if I were you.”

The figure spun around, and she felt her eyse grow wide. No, not Odalrik, it was Teressa. All at once, the second part of Ashtar’s warning rattled about in her mind. You are being influenced, not all is as it appears. The shadow of the goddess’s words rang through her mind and at last the last puzzle piece fell into place.

So little about their predicament had made sense until now.  The phone line cutting out, the computer burning up and the dark cloaked apparition were all her doing. At last, her true enemy stood before her.

Teressa must have seen something on her face or else decided to end the ruse. She charged toward her would be sister. Amy, however, was ready for it. She threw her hand out and  sent her attacker slamming into the opposite wall.

“Who are you?” Amy moved toward her, both hands clenched, eyes burning with anger. Whatever doubts she had evaporated when her opponent attacked.

Teressa did not answer, instead scowled and eye hder captor like a predator ready to pounce on its prey. Amy was not intimidated, least of all because the other woman was pinned to the wall, but she’d faced down gods and giants. Though her opponent had shown she could be dangerous, she was no Chemosh.

“Who are you?” the agent repeated her question between clenched teeth.

“You know I would have thought an AEGIS agent wouldn’t have been so easy to fool. I barely even had to try, all the effort I put into imprisoning poor Brian, and I could have just—”

Amelia jerked her hand back, motioning at the wall behind her, her face now a mask of rage as Teressa went soaring across the room and slammed into the reverse wall face first.

“You played me.” She launched herself at the other woman, hand gripping the hair on the back of her scalp. Teressa, whose face was red from obvious pain, attempted to kick out at her, but Amy slid aside and sent another wave of force to pin her legs against the wall along with the rest of her body.

A light whimper rang through the air, and Amelia glanced back, eyes searching for the source. It was Kruhl. Good lord, the once-king was still alive, but from the looks of things she wouldn’t be for long. She snaked her tongue over her lips and returned her attention to her captive.

“I will only say this once.” Amy growled. “Tell me who you are and what you’ve done with my brother.”

In answer the faux-Van den Broeke emitted a loud, guffawing, almost manic laugh. “And why should I do that? Go ahead waste your time with me, while poor little Kruhl bleeds to death. It’s the least of what he deserves.”

Amy froze, another puzzle piece falling into place as realization dawned on her. For the other woman, this was personal and knowing what she did of Kruhl’s past that could mean only one thing.

“Leoffa,” the agent uttered the name, knowing at once her suspicions were true. Kruhl had presumed her former lover dead. While getting impaled through the gut was often fatal, especially in less advanced societies, like Kruhl’s, it was not unheard of for someone to recover.

The agent glanced over her shoulder for a second time, heart hammering in her chest. Kruhl didn’t have much time and she couldn’t afford to waste what little she had left on the imposter. She licked her lips, already settled on a course of action.

Leoffa was not going to cooperate.  The agent clenched her eyes closed, placed both hands on either of the woman’s cheeks and reached out to touch her mind.

 

Amelia jerked away, sharp stabs of pain shooting through her skull as she took air in, in short jagged breaths. She’d sensed Brian, his presence was as discernible as if he were standing opposite her, looking his sister in the eyes. She caught sight of pulsating green lights and a figure resting in a bed. When she reached for his mind, everything went black and she staggered back gasping for air.

“Brian.” She spoke the name and peered up at Leoffa, already preparing herself for attack, but the other looked about as bad as the agent felt. She was hunched over, both hands braced on the wall, her face pallid and the sword and staff had fallen to her feet. Only her eyes revealed the anger which burned within.

Amy ground her teeth, raised her hands and hurled a blast of telekinetic force toward her opponent, but the other woman sank to the ground and grasped hold of the sword. When the blast hit, nothing happened, and Leoffa glared back at her, scooped up the fallen staff and rose to her feet.

“I have no desire to end your life, agent,” the sorceress said planting the staff on the floor, the tip erupting with brilliant violet light. “Nevertheless, I am prepared to defend myself.”

“Yeah,” Amy replied, narrowing her gaze and holding both hands ready. “That’s why you attacked me.”

“Forgive me, I was caught up in the excitement of battle. I believed you a threat, but you are a reasonable enough person. I think perhaps we could come to an arrangement. Even if my life doesn’t matter to you, you might feel differently about Kruhl. Even now her life slips away, allow me to walk and you may yet save her.”

Amy glanced to her side, where Kruhl was resting. She saw the diminutive woman’s chest rise and fall, but she was as pail as a ghost and the pool of blood around her was getting wider. Time was running short. Sapphira had once healed Amelia with her abilities, the agent might be able to do the same for Kruhl, but only if the little woman were still alive.

The agent pressed her lips into a thin line, suspicious by the abrupt turn around but willing to listen. The woman had lied to her from the very beginning and that didn’t generate a lot of trust.

“I know you have no reason to trust me, but if you let me leave with the sword, I will not lift a finger to harm you for twenty-four hours. You have my word.”

A slow nod of her head followed a long release of air. She didn’t like it much, but if the sorceress was on the level, she’d take the risk. “Very well, we’re agreed.” She said, forcing a quiver out of her voice.

Leoffa nodded, gave Amelia a warning glance then turned away taking several ginger steps before peering back at Amy. “Leave this place, and I will allow you safe passage, but should you stay, I will destroy you. You have a day to decide.”

She turned away, moving through the wreckage of the police station before stepping out into the open air and disappearing into the shadows. Amy only hesitated a moment before spinning around, rushing toward Kruhl and lunged to her knees at the other woman’s side. Blood seeped into the fabric of her slacks, but she paid it any mind.

Hands whipped out, hovering over Kruhl’s wounded abdomen, and the agent closed her eyes, stretching her senses. Kruhl’s presence was faint, save for her wound which burned scarlet bright in the agent’s mind. It throbbed, reverberating through Amy’s awareness as if the pain were her own. She pulled her hands away to clutch at her stomach, but stopped herself, instead willing her senses deeper. The flesh was jagged and raw about the edges, like torn fabric. Her insides weren’t any better, the attack had left them shredded to a pulp, and blood and stomach acid were gushing out.

Amy bit her lip as her fingers tingled. She concentrated on the injured flesh, willing it to mend, and, to her surprise, it began to knit together. Her stomach exploded in burning and throbbing with each pulse of healing energy. Her insides burned with searing hot pain which radiated from her body and into Kruhl’s wounds. She doubled over, keeping herself from collapsing atop the injured woman.

Sapphira had once described the healing process to her, how by mending the flesh of another you took their injuries upon yourself, or at least the pain from them. She hadn’t imagined that it would be so intense, but it was the most agonizing experience of her life.

As the last of Kruhl’s tissue knitted together, the edges of her consciousness were tugged toward the darkness. She blinked and shook her head, attempting to shake it away, but she soon found herself laying upon the cold floor. The last thing the agent heard before drifting into unconsciousness was the steady cadence of metal clanking on ceramic tiles.