Frederick was within fifteen feet of the destroyed coach when someone tackled him out of his peripheral vision. His grip was strong, pinning Frederick's arms to his sides as he struggled.

"Kah'eteh!" The stranger hollered, refusing to let go of Frederick.

Both fell on the wet asphalt, Frederick hitting his head while the stranger smacked his hip. The world exploded into stars in Frederick's vision, still keeping his wits as he felt the stranger grip him from behind. He rolled onto his back and struggled to sit up, trying to shake the man's grip loose. When that didn't work, he hurled his back into the stranger's, smashing him into the pavement and causing his spectacles to fly off into the grass. It was enough to stun the man and let go of Frederick, scrambling to his feet as he tried to focus.

"Kah'eteh!" The stranger commanded again, stumbling as he tried standing up.

"{Speak Elbanish!}" Frederick squalled, rain dripping off his nose.

"Don't go, Frederico!"

"Kelstrin!?! What in Lord's name do you think you're doing!?" he bellowed, half tempted to beat the Mystic into a bloody pulp.

Kelstrin had been the cabbie driver before, his scarf gone now and his paperboy's cap on the ground to reveal a long ponytail. His hand-me-down lounge jacket was three shades darker and soaked with rain, making his arms sag slightly as he caught his breath.

"Don't go near it!" He quickly grabbed Frederick's arm, preventing him from running towards the thrashing coach.

"Dammit, there's a boy inside!"

"It's not a boy, Frederico! Not anymore."

Frederick opened his mouth to ask if Kelstrin was on a type of drug when the coach lining tore open, the EMS screaming for help as a large, dark hand grabbed the specialist and brought him back inside the swelling mass. Both stood horrified as his screams persisted only for a few seconds before a sickening crack was heard.

The coach was split in half as two monstrously sized hands emerged from tear, the skin made of woven black smoke. Broad, hulking shoulders bled from the tear in the coach fabric, narrow hips completely the bulking chest that grew. It hunched over on all fours, towering at thirty feet. The place where its head would be located was a mass of dwindling black vapor, two hollow sockets of light acting at its eyes.

"Kelstrin, what is this?"


A few officers left their posts by the gate, water capes flapping as they charged through the rain. They stopped at the sight of this monster, their bodies paralyzed with fear.

The creature bellowed, rising up on its short hind legs as the hideous moan it made echoed across the academy green.

"Get back!" An officer grabbed Frederick while another tried to pull Kelstrin away, the creature slamming his palm down on the ground and catching the officer by his cape.

Kelstrin fell back, scuttling to his feet as he backed away. The officer screamed and fell into the dent the creature made, struggling helplessly. He choked on the band around his neck that kept his cape on as the creature lifted him to its eye level. It tilted its shadowy head, the tendrils morphing and changing as if underwater.

Without warning, it swung the officer into the ground multiple times, his screams cut off as soon as his body made contact with the hard ground. Kelstrin cringed as he saw the body become nothing more than a sack of blood and broken bones, the creature's arm extending and smothering the remains in its smoking exterior.

"You, Mystic! Step away!"

"Frederico, I can stop this thing, but you have to convince the officer to release me!" Kelstrin wheeled around, his eyes wide.

"I said get away from that man!" The officer barked, his voice faltering.

Kelstrin complied, hands raised above his head as he began to shout.

"You don't know what you are facing, officer! I can help you-!"

"We need no assistance from a Mystic!"

"Bullets won't stop this thing!"

"Is this a creature of your own making?!"

"No, sir! But I can stop it! You need to release me!" Kelstrin offered his right wrist to the officer, revealing the bronze wristband.

"Out of the question! I will not risk protocol to satisfy your desires, Mystic!" snarled the officer, shoving him towards the beast.

"You've lost one officer already, how more are you willing to lose!?" he shouted back, feeling the tremors beneath his feet as the creature began to approach.

"How do I know you won't run off?!"

"You'll just have to take that chance!"

"Officer, do as he asks!" Frederick shouted, seeing the monster gaining speed.

"Are you siding with the Mystic?!"


The officer whipped out a pair of iron pliers from his tool belt, the same strange runes etched near the blades. He forced them between the bronze band on Kelstrin's arm and clipped it off, the metal exploding into a puff of bright sparks before Kelstrin wheeled around.

He drew out a pocketknife as he turned, slicing his right palm open as he let his blood spray out around him. His voice rang out in the tongue of Ur'Kan, the blood exploding with a violent green light as they formed into the ancient runes of his race in front of his feet.

"{Back!}" Kelstrin commanded, his eyes burning with amber and green as the golden rims shone, "{You will not touch them, and you will not touch me, Shadowbrood!}"

The creature seemed taken aback, raising one of its large hands as if to guard itself. It hesitated only for a moment before it charged, bringing both hands down upon Kelstrin. He tensed his hand, forcing blood out of the cut in his palm as he swung his hand overhead. Crimson turned to green, the liquid weaving itself into a solid whip of light as he slashed the monster's hands away. It hollered and stumbled back, Kelstrin narrowing his eyes as he held the whip of light at the ready.

"{Speak your terms, Shadowbrood!}"

It loomed once again, approaching Kelstrin as its wide, lifeless white eyes came close to the Mystic's.

"YOUR....WARMTH..." It moaned, its shadowy outline increasing.

"{You shall seek it in the shadows of the ground, but you will not find it here! Give me the charge you've taken and I will spare you!}"

The creature decided to end negotiations, revving its hand back. It swung hard at Kelstrin, the force causing a strong gust to knock the officers and Frederick back.


Kelstrin cracked his whip, the light searing into the creature's flesh and making it bleed purple ooze. It screeched and reared up, spraying the plum colored liquid all around as it stomped in place. The shadowy tendrils grew outwards and slammed into Kelstrin, some managing to get past his defenses as they gripped his neck. He gasped and fell to his knees, his free hand cleaving to the shadow as he tried to break it off. Another shadow knocked the pocketknife out of his hand. It landed near Frederick, clattering against the wet ground.

Frederick struggled to his feet, swallowing hard. He spotted the knife lying on the ground, the shadows increasing around Kelstrin's head as they began to consume his face. He took one last glance at the officers, each trying to get their bearings and devise a contingency plan before he darted out towards the monster. Frederick snatched up the knife, cutting into his own palm as rushed alongside to Kelstrin's head.

"Sir, what are you doing?! Get back!"

Frederick ignored the cries of the officer, tensing his palm as his blood spilled out.

"Cael'ell nath baugh!" he bellowed, the copper rims of his eyes glowing violently.

His blood shone a blazing blue, light spiraling around the changing liquid as it severed the shadows around Kelstrin's head like paper. The Shadowbrood reeled back, romping and galloping in circles as it bled copious amounts of purple upon the ground. Kelstrin was dazed, but still alive, Frederick helping him to his feet.

"{Hold him as I try to finish him!}"

"{What of the boy?!}"

"{There is no one!}"

The Shadowbrood grew a new hand, the tendrils on its back extending and becoming more violent. Frederick let his blood flow into both palms and spat into them, shouting in Ur'Kan as he flung the mixture towards the creature. Bright blue lines attached themselves to the monster's arms, holding them down. It screamed and writhed, trying to break free as Kelstrin swung his whip around the Shadowbrood's neck.

"{I gave you a chance! Return to Que'Vallah!}"

It gave one last scream before Kelstrin yanked with both hands, his whip slicing the monster's head clean off. It felt to the ground in an explosion of purple goo, the body slumping forward before melting into the same viscous matter.

Frederick and Kelstrin stood beside each other, gasping for breath as their right hands dripped blood.

"{What's going on, Kelstrin?}" Frederick asked weakly, looking to him.

Kelstrin turned to him, shaking.

"{I can't tell you.}" He whimpered, "{I don't even know if it's true.}"

The officers now recovered from their stun, pulling themselves together as they approached both of them.

"Stay where you are, Mystic. You're under arrest."

"He just saved your lives!" Frederick argued, wheeling around to face them.

Kelstrin's eyes widened, looking around. He grabbed Frederick and pinned his arm behind his back, knife held at Frederick's throat as he backed away from the officers.

"{What are you doing?!}"

"Stay back!" He shouted at the officers, leaning into Frederick's ear and hissing, "{I told you I'd find you again, and you cannot run away from this anymore. Find me where the seaman searches for his boat!}"

He shoved Frederick into the arms of the officers, flipping his knife shut as he found a clear space to the right of the creature.

Frederick stumbled forward, knocking them back as Kelstrin squeezed his palm, letting fresh blood flow out. He spun his right hand high above his head, forming a ring of blood droplets.

"{Find me!}" Kelstrin yelled, snapping his bloodied fingers.

His blood flared green, weaving into symbols. Within a second, he popped out of sight.

The End

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