Red diamond-shaped polygons built off of one another into three semitransparent wingshaped blades protruding from Tom’s bracelet like from a video game or an anime. The wings rotated on his cuff until finally firing three large energy chains off of the tips of the blades. Lee didn’t have time to react before the streams of flitting characters slammed into his chest violently. He howled in pain and rage, as he felt Tom forcibly rip his magic away from him. The former mage blacked out as energy rushed through the air.
“Sleep!” Leah kept yelling over and over again as she repeatedly cast the spell on the creatures as they continued to pursue her. She felt so stupid. Nick had ordered all civilians to the shelters, but there could have been stragglers stuck inside the buildings. That’s what she kept telling herself anyway. Now she found herself dodging fang and claw just to get back to the last shelter in time. At least, she hoped it was still there when she got there. So stupid!
The man-wolf watched from a distance as the blonde woman put several of his foolish younger siblings to sleep. Their transformation had only been recent so he could forgive their stupidity in attacking prey head on. They hadn’t learned how to hunt yet after all.
There was blood in the air. He could smell the tainted blood of hundreds of his kin that had been spilt, but their’s was not the only slain today. And he knew before the night was done. He would get to taste the substance at least a bit more tonight. He would kill at least this prey.
Parry, stab, dodge left, upward slash. Nick was feeling the rhythm of open battle as he defended the last shelter. He had learned the haste spell Alex had cast on him, and every time it ran out he had one of the returning Mage teams recast it. He could feel the world around him slow down as he sped up in thought and body. This must be what it felt like to have an adrenaline rush. That’s what he thought anyway.
Nick checked his list of mages still unaccounted for. Most of the surviving ones had returned at least. some better off than others, but still alive none the less. The only people not safely tucked away based on vitals were Zach, Chasity, Sandra, and… Dammit Leah. Time to hurry people along.
The beams from his data drain fractured into hundreds of strands, and went flying every which way absorbing the magical energy from everything they touched. It was overwhelming. Tom could feel the power of it all as his skin and organs felt like they were burning from it. He could see black oily bubbles start of exude from his pores like a bleeding effect from the excess magical energy building up in his body. They welled up and began to cover every inch of his being.
Then the pain got worse. His head felt like it was going to split open from a screeching sound. The Izzet mage eventually fell to his knees covering his ears as the sound got worse. Everything else began to feel distant as the bubbles encased him, and they continued to grow. He couldn’t even hope to stop the spell now.
First the ground beneath his feet gradually rose up his legs fusing with the bubbles, at his head and torso fire began to erupt from the substance around him. The heat was intense, but he felt none of it. Electricity crackled sporadically all over him, as water swirled around inside him boiling and flash freezing, and all the while his size increased to gigantic proportions. He was quickly becoming a monster. One who could feed off of the wild magic around them indefinitely, and one with no easy way to release the ever building amount already inside of him. He could feel the hunger within it, and knew this wasn’t going to end well.
Damn kid, you screwed the pooch on this one. Weaver chimed in pointing out the painfully obvious. He made him do it too. This had to be a trap. Something he had planned from the beginning, and he had walked right into it.
“Shut up Weaver, or I swear to gods I’m going to find Mr. Blueman Shoo, and I’m going to have him smite your ass.” His voice sounded garbled and alien. Like there were seven different people talking at the same time, each one with a different pitch and tone than his own. Another sign of his own transformation.
When he became bigger than the half destroyed buildings around him he then felt something new and equally horrifying. The monster he had created was built from and fed purely from wild magic and thus highly unstable. The shrieking grew louder until he just wanted to jab an ice pick into his brain to make it stop. And the creature simply exploded.
First on its left shoulder, red tendrils burst from it like pus from a boil. Each one shot out in a different direction and built off of one another in a horrifying network of vines that punctured and destroyed everything they touched. Buildings collapsed trees and pavement were torn away, and anything living was quickly skewered out of existence. Everything in its path simply died, and it was quickly spreading.
“Hurry up, we’re almost there!” Zach yelled to the two stragglers behind him as he bashed another shifter and sent a wave of pests to run interference while they escaped. They had only a couple minutes before they would be left behind, and by the looks of things there weren’t a lot of people to help them out. “I don’t know about you guys, but I have no intention of dying here!”
“We heard you! Just shut up and keep fighting already!” Sandra yelled back at him as some strange plant thing kept firing thorns at these weremonsters knocking them out. Once or twice a shifter would get to close and a second maneater plant-insect thing would jump out of no where and take a bite out of whatever got to close. That thing seriously scared him, almost as much as she did. They rounded the last corner and could see the unguarded entrance to shelter 23. They began the homestretch as the ground beneath them began to rumble, and red tendrils burst from everywhere around them.
Leah was so close it hurt. Well that and her calves from all of the running she had been doing. The werewolves and rats finally had backed off and other than a few shifters she felt home free. Although there had been a growing number of bodies lying around and not all of them weren’t human. She checked the timer on her watch. It read that she had less than four minutes to get there.
She began to panic again as she ran faster to her destination. She was focused on her goal and she was going to get there or die trying. This new found focus also came with a cost of awareness as a hidden werewolf pounced from the shadows at her. Its teeth went straight for her throat, and it would have hit its mark had she not slipped on loose debris. Instead of an instant kill it quickly adjusted thinking she had seen him coming. It swiped at her with a clawed hand that knocked her further off balance onto the ground.
Leah let out a scream of pain as she impacted with the sidewalk. Her arm hurt and was bloody, possibly even broken. Her glasses had fallen off and she could barely see the giant furry assailant looming over her, like death himself. She froze from pain and fear as the beast began to lunge again.
The attack was cut short as a figure kicked it in the jaw sending its momentum upward. Then in a fluid follow up motion, it looked like it punched the wolfperson in the chest with both fists, but then their arms slid sideways in opposite directions like a backwards scissor. And before she knew it, the severed halves of her attacker was lying of the ground in front of her.
“Here, you dropped your glasses” A familiar voice spoke to her as he handed her the lost eye wear She accepted them wordlessly and put them on to see the face of her savior.
“Thanks.” She muttered to Nick as he helped her up. He was a sight for sore eyes, but he looked horrifying covered in blood like some kind of murderer from a slasher movie.
“We need to hurry the shelters are still on a timer.”
“Okay… Ow!” As Leah tried to put weight on her left side pain flared up. The fall must have done more damage than she thought. She wouldn’t be able to walk on it, let alone run.
“No choice.” Nick grabbed her by her left arm, swung it over his shoulder, placed his other arm around her waist to support her weight, and helped her walk as fast as she could. It was helpful even if his manhandling hurt a couple of her cracked ribs.
Tom’s consciousnesses was fading. The noise had stopped, and he was feeling contently numb. He just wanted to sleep again. Wakey wakey, Wisel.
“Go away.” The chaos mage mumbled amongst explosions and flames. He was done with this mind-muppet prancing around in his brain. Fine, I guess I’ll just let your little friends get killed while you wander woods lovely, dark, and deep. I’m sure they understand. “What?” It’s a Robert Frost quote- look, I pulled it from your brain. Say it with me, Tommy, GOOD MORNING VIET-
Tom’s eyes jerked open. He could see three people quickly become surrounded by the red vascular-trails that were piercing everywhere. One of the group was lagging behind the others as she barely kept up. Soon he saw her trip on a patch of uneven pavement, sprawled out on the ground. She didn’t stop long from the fall, but it was enough as one of the red tendrils stabbed her through her back and exited through her chest lifting her into the air. One of the other party members had paused to help her but kept running after he witnessed her shishkababing. The two remaining survivors soon found their path blocked off by a sea of red. They were surrounded and there was nothing they could do to get away. One of the tendrils reared up and struck.
“No!” Tom yelled. The pointed end stopped mere inches from the male’s face, and redirected into a nearby tree. Wanting nothing more than to save them Tom poured his remaining strength into the monster. Fighting for control. It was exhausting, but soon a path opened up for them as they ran away into a nearby building. The exhaustion was kicking in again. He had nothing left to fight the creature with, as it wreaked havoc on the campus. Then he felt his mind being forced back into its recesses as something else took his steering wheel.
“Sorry Tommy, but you can’t die yet. You still have things to do, and by the looks of Razzmatazz’s escape, people to kill,” Tom’s voice spoke in a calm tone. Tom didn’t have anything left to fight him for control, but he beat his fists against the bars of his copilot’s chair. Fuck you Weaver and whatever infinite void spawned you! His voice let out a chilly laugh. “I’m sure you’ll thank me later.”
Using Tom’s body, Weaver began casting one last spell and slipped away into the time stream, taking away the burning monster’s core in his wake.
[Critical breach detected in shelters 6, 17, and, 29. No survivors detected.]
The warning repeated in Nick’s head as he ran as fast as the injured Leah would allow them, but it was getting harder and harder to find a safe path as the things destroyed everything around him. He could sense the magic of the area also disappearing. As everything they touched just lost all the magic inside of it. This place was quickly becoming a magical dead zone, and he did not want to know how it would affect him here.
“Where next?” Leah asked him not knowing the full extent of the damage and casualties yet. Nick pointed into a new direction.
“That way.” He began leading her in that direction, when a flash if an attacking tendril caught his attention. “Look out!”
Nick threw his apprentice out of the way as it tore straight through him. His previously extended right arm flailed on the ground as red fluid gushed from both his body and the removed limb. If he could feel pain he was sure that would hurt.
Having missed its target the tendril kept moving forward stabbing another tendril. Their movements were more sporadic than they used to be.
“Oh god Nick.”
“I’m okay. I have a regeneration spell active. Just grab my limb I’ll be okay in a few hours. See the blood has already stopped.”
“This is bad.” Leah was crawling towards Nick and his severed arm that laid a few feet away from him. She was also very right. There’s no way they could make it to the shelter like this. He had no choice.
“We’re going to go to shelter 14 it’s closer.”
“Isn’t it sealed?”
“No, just unstable. Meaning when we evacuate it may explode on us, but it’s that or die crawling to the last shelter that will seal in two minutes.”
“Okay where is it?” Nick with his left hand pointed to a nearby building with what looked like a cellar door.
“Over there. Let’s hurry.”
Nick struggled, eventually managed to stand back up, and helped the also injured Leah stand. With his good arm he guided her to the shelter while she held the missing one. It had taken a lot of energy to just reach the door. He hoped he could still open it.
Nick smacked the console next to the door, and while pressing the only button on it, spoke into the voice reader.
“Override authorization code Two-Two-One-Seven-Five, Board member Nicholas Huth. Confirm” seconds that felt like hours ticked by till he finally got a response.
“[Verifying.]” A synthesized female voice finally replied. Another eternity passed them by if they didn’t get inside soon they weren’t going to leave this place alive. “[Authenticated. Access granted. Welcome.]”
The door slid open to reveal a half-formed passage way below. It didn’t look safe by any means, but the growing number of murdering tendrils approaching made the decision a lot easier for them.
They made their first step inside when the monster across campus that sprouted these things wailed. And finally, what might have been its chest cavity exploded with tremendous force. Sending the last two survivors flying inside the shelter.
The timer that Nick had set for all shelters counted down its final seconds, and as zero hit they all teleported away from the battlegrounds. The explosion caused by the unstable pent up magical energy unleashed on the remnants of the campus destroying and killing anything left. Everything was immolated in the fireball that followed.
“Well that was… more exciting than expected.” The Rat finally said after reviewing the last few minutes of the video. The Rat looked over at Fallor who sat next to him. “Did you see that coming?”
“I can see the future, but that normally means sifting through the possibilities. I actually make it look a lot simpler than it really is. This was one possible outcome, but not the one I thought would happen.”
“Why not?” Was The Rat’s next question, genuinely interested in the subject at hand.
“Because Tom wasn’t likely to wake up during this. His sudden awakening changed events quite heavily. If he had stayed asleep a lot of deaths would have likely been prevented.”
“What if he had woken up before tonight, or never fallen asleep?”
“Likely he would have died in the fighting. If he never fell asleep his magical abilities would have been sorely underpowered and zazamazoo would have killed him. If he woke up just before tonight he would have tried to protect everything at one time instead of hunting Z Z Top out of rage, and again he would have died fighting him.”
“If you can only see possibilities then what’s the point of seeing the future?”
“It’s true; the future is an ever changing thing, based on seemingly random events and the choices of the people in it. But knowing the possibilities means I can guide things to the future I want. Which brings us back to the results of our little game.”
“Alright, tell me who won based off of kills and infection rate.”
“Well according to this…