Published by Quintin Fortune at Shakespir
Copyright 2015 Quintin Fortune
Shakespir Edition, License Notes
Thank you for downloading this ebook. This book remains the copyrighted property of the author, and may not be redistributed to others for commercial or non-commercial purposes. If you enjoyed this book, please encourage your friends to obtain their own copy from their favorite authorized retailer. Thank you for your support.
Julie and Oliver Chin cowered in a closet as the fire consumed the apartment. Julie held her little brother close, tears and smoke stinging her eyes. The flames started licking at the door.
Faintly, she heard someone singing. It was hard to hear, but it sounded just like their mother. That was impossible. Their mother had been crushed by a beam when the fire had started. The singing grew louder. It was their mother!
Oliver struggled out of Julie’s grasp. He heard the song too. “Mama,” he exclaimed. The children broke out of the closet into the blazing inferno. The fire coated the apartment in bold reds, yellows, and oranges. The singing continued, almost drowning out the crackling remains of their home.
Julie did her best to maneuver Oliver through the burning chaos. They were both drawn to their mother’s singing. The song led them to the fire escape. Outside, a Grecian woman with wet hair was perched on the railing. The song was coming from her. She was reaching out to them. Julie stopped, grabbing her brother.
“Mama,” he asked.
“No Ge,” she answered.
Something huge smashed through the wall opposite them. It was a giant, blue bull demon. It ran straight for them. Julie was paralyzed with fear. Oliver started screaming for their mother. The demon scooped them up and smashed through the fire escape. Everything became a blur, but Julie knew she was falling. The landing rattled the teeth in her head. The demon let them go. His deep red eyes seemed to stare into her soul.
He pointed down the alley, towards the street. “Police,” he bellowed. “Go.” The children stood there, trembling. “Run,” he roared, smoke flying out of his snout.
The children ran screaming out of the alley.
“I hate kids,” the minotaur huffed as he watched the children run away.
The Grecian woman landed deftly behind him. “They don’t seem very fond of you either,” she remarked.
“Just call it in,” he grumbled.
She touched her Mente Parlare. ‘Megyn, reporting in,’ she mentally stated.
‘Go ahead,’ Genia’s voice replied.
‘Another fire. Same as the rest. Any hint of supernatural energy is gone before we get here.’
‘Human,’ Genia questioned.
‘No. Too quick for mortal work.’ She looked over the remaining burning building. It didn’t feel like a normal fire, but that wasn’t her concern at the moment. ‘But we did save a few children.’
‘Congratulations. You and Kothrec get back as soon as possible.’ The line went dead. Megyn sighed.
“Looks like we have some free time,” she said to her companion.
Kothrec the minotaur glared at her.
“I’m hungry,” she declared.
“Starve,” he replied.
She looked at him. “Where’s your coat?”
The minotaur huffed his disapproval, then fished out a beat up brown tarp of a trench coat. He threw it on as they left the alley. A few people glanced over at them. Kothrec heard a few murmurs of ‘a big guy’ and ‘built like a linebacker’, but he ignored them.
The coat was enchanted. It made any non-humanoid creature look human to everyone except other non-humans. Megyn, a siren, still saw him as a big blue minotaur.
They made their way to a hole-in-the-wall Chinese restaurant. Megyn inhaled deeply. “I’ve always loved the smell of exotic food,” she said.
“I don’t think you can call it ‘exotic’ if it’s found on every street,” Kothrec remarked.
“It is to me,” she remarked, looking over the paper menu that sat on the corner of the counter.
Megyn sat back on the couch that was the size of a compact car. She looked like a small child sitting on her father’s furniture. Kothrec was laid back in the huge recliner made for him. Genia was looking over their paperwork.
They could see the gears turning in her head. “A piece is missing,” she noted. “But what?” She continued to look over the paperwork. “There should be some sort of pattern,” she continued.
“It’s Hell’s Edge,” Kothrec complained. “Something’s always on fire there.”
“Normally, yes,” Genia agreed. “But this…this looks like someone’s trying to hide something.”
“Or get someone’s attention,” Megyn stated.
Genia’s brow furrowed. “I didn’t think about that.” She thumbed through the papers again. “Question is, how many fire entities would answer?”
Between Megyn and Kothrec, they rattled off more than two dozen possible entities.
Genia looked a bit dumbstruck. “Okay. Let’s make a shorter list then. What entities that would be close by would answer?”
“None,” both of them answered.
“In that case; Megyn, I’ll need you to head back to the crime scene and see if you can find out anything unusual,” Genia ordered. “Kothrec, I need you to see if you can pinpoint any leads.”
The minotaur lean up from his chair. “I’m stuck with researching again,” he complained.
Megyn jumped up off the couch. “You need to work on this muscle,” she tapped on her head. “Just as much as you work on your other muscles. Besides, I’m sneakier than you are.”
Megyn slipped past the police as they were conducting their investigation. An invisibility spell didn’t hurt. The police in this district hardly did much when it came to the fires. Assess damage. File paperwork. Be down at the bar by five.
But as part of Venatores Mali, she knew what she was looking for. All but a few forms of magic need a physical anchor of some sort. Runes. Sigils. Spell components. Fluids of questionable origin.
Magic also needed a place to channel from. An alter. A circle. A jar. A spot in the room that pulls the energy in.
She found it in the farthest corner of the basement. There was still a faint magical residue. The light smell of sulfur. The lingering feeling of rage. The splotches of energy unseen by normal eyes. The siren activated an app on her phone to take a special picture to send back to Headquarters.
“Hey,” a voice behind her called out.
‘Shit,’ she thought. She must have dropped the spell when she started investigating the scene. The siren slowly turned to see a police officer no older than 25. He looked as if he had just joined the force yesterday.
“Hands where I can see them,” he commanded.
She obliged. Mortals with guns can be jumpy. A song started to form in her mind. A song that a mother would sing to a child. She began to sing, and the police officer’s whole demeanor changed.
“My mom use to sing that to me when I was a kid,” he stated. “Put me to sleep every
“Good night, sweet prince,” Megyn mused as she threw the spell back up to leave before anyone else arrived.
‘VM008 – KOTHREC’ the computer announced as the minotaur entered the expansive training room. The empty room appeared to be carved out of granite. Runes of several different crafts shimmered across the surface. This enchanted area was created to help hone the physical and magical abilities of all Venatores.
Kothrec didn’t care how it worked, all he cared about was that he could hit things without repercussions. He cracked his neck and swung his huge two-handed ax a few times to warm up. “Beast Mode,” he called out.
‘BEAST MODE ACTIVATED’ the computer replied. The air in front of him wavered like heat from off a hot road, then several creatures began to take shape. Nightmarish things. Werewolves. Golems. Wendigoes. Hellbeasts. All things that tormented humanity, ready to tear Kothrec apart.
The minotaur tightened his grip on his two-handed ax, a sadistic grin across his snout. He charged at the herd of monsters just as they charged at him. The werewolves were on him first, snarling and snapping. He grabbed the snout of the first attacker and flung it off like a rag doll. The creature went crashing into a few of its pack members
The Wendigoes charged at him, roaring in anger. They slashed at him, trying to rip him to shreds. He batted away the claws with his ax. The beasts howled in anger as he sliced off their hands.
A right hook to the jaw from a golem spun Kothrec out of they fury and into another battle. The golems came down hard on him, savagely beating him with their fists. Blood started to fling from his mouth before he retaliated with inhuman strength. He beat back the golems just as the Hellhounds charged into the fray.
As he did battle with the forces of darkness, he began to think about Megyn. He worried about her sometimes, like a father worries about his daughter. His mind retraced the events that led up to finding her.
Venatores Mali had gotten word of someone selling Siren’s Songs, little stone nodes that released a hypnotic song when blown on. The process of making them was akin to torture on the best of days, and their leader sent him and Lady Grey to investigate.
What they found still haunts his mind. Rows of sirens locked inside small wooden cages. Many were chained to the floor, their muscles weakened from atrophy and malnutrition. Those that could pleaded for aid.
Lady Grey, a woman that keeps her emotions hidden, had a look in her eyes of burning rage. “Kothrec, free the sirens,” she ordered as she readied her rifle.
Kothrec began to smash the cages open and break the chains with his bare hands. The sirens stumbled, trying to stand on their own. A few of the fitter ones helped carry the less able. Somewhere beyond the cages, the sounds of gunfire echoed.
At the last cage, he found a young siren that looked like a fifteen year old girl. Her arms had begun to outgrow the cuffs, causing them to cut into her wrists, blood crusting over the sides. Her eyes were wide with fear as he shattered the cage bars.
The sudden feeling of flames on his back brought him back to the present.
He turned to his assailant. The being was different. A barrel-chested man with flaming hair and goatee. He wore only a pair of large pants and pointed shoes. The man gave Kothrec and evil grin.
Something went off in the minotaur’s mind. This wasn’t part of the spell’s program. He readied his ax. “I don’t know who you are,” he growled. “but you interrupted my work out.”
The being laughed, then charged at him. The minotaur snorted as he charged forth, bellowing a mighty battle cry. The man lobed off a few fireballs that Kothrec deflected with his ax. The minotaur swung his weapon in a wide arc that the attacker narrowly moved away from. The two were quickly within striking range and started trading punches.
The man summoned a huge fireball and slammed it into Kothrec’s chest. The minotaur tried to pat off the flames, but that only caused his hand to catch on fire. The man disappeared just as the warning alarms went off. The monsters he was fighting faded away and he was suddenly flooded with flame retardant dust that put the flames out. He collapsed onto the floor, his chest and arm in searing pain as someone started banging on the doors of the Training Room.
The doors were forced open. Megyn rushed in with a fire containment unit in tow. She was by his side before the unit could throw up a ward. “What happened,” she gasped.
“Played with fire,” he replied, slowly starting to stand.
She was under his arm, helping as best she could. “Silly old man,” she remarked.
Megyn sat next to the bandaged Kothrec. She was trying her best not to laugh.
“What,” he grunted.
“Guess this means you’ll be going as The Mummy for Halloween,” she said between stifled giggles.
Kothrec snorted through his nose.
Doctor Sita walked into the small recovery room, looking over a tablet. “It appears that you had major third degree burns,” she noted. “which is impossible.”
“Oh, it’s possible,” Kothrec replied. “And painful.”
“No, it’s impossible because the Training Room has fail-safes in place to prevent this kind of thing,” the doctor explained. She looked over the tablet again. “Anyway, let the balm and cloth hold for a few hours and you should be back to normal.” She looked up from her tablet. “The question remains: what did this to you?”
Kothrec described the attacker.
“Hm. Sounds like a djinn,” she remarked.
Megyn and Kothrec looked at each other in confusion. “I thought that was a type of alcohol,” Megyn questioned.
“Not gin, djinn,” the doctor corrected. “It is a mythological creature, much like you two, that comes from Middle Eastern lore. It is said to be a malicious being comprised of fire.”
“How did it get in the Training Room,” Kothrec asked.
Dr. Sita sighed. “Not a clue. Best I can guess is, legend stats that they live in the realm beyond ours. They might be able to bypass any earthly wards.” She began to leave. “Like I said, keep the bandages on for a few hours, let the magic and salves do the rest.”
The two were sitting on the huge couch, watching strange horror movies and eating popcorn. Megyn looked up at the big blue minotaur and smiled. She worried about him sometimes. Ever since he rescued her from that nightmarish place, she’s made it her mission to take care of him. She always felt like he was the father she never had, and she wasn’t ready to lose him just yet.
“Did this guy always play a vampire,” Kothrec asked just before shoving a hand full of popcorn in his mouth.
“No, later on he played a wizard,” she answered.
“Hmpf. Wizards,” he grumbled through the mouthful of popcorn. “Now there’s something that humans would make up.”
‘Kothrec. Megyn.’ a voice boomed in their heads. ‘The energy signature from the Training Room has been detected. Coordinates have already been set.’
“You healed up enough,” Megyn asked.
Kothrec unraveled the bandages. The burnt skin was gone and there was no pain. “Ready for Round Two,” he declared.
Kothrec and Megyn teleported into an inferno. Buildings, vehicles, plant life. All ablaze. The burnt remains of human victims littered the street and windows of buildings. The heat pressed into them, even through their uniforms and protection runes.
Megyn almost threw up from the overwhelming stench of burning bodies.
Kothrec surveyed the scene, searching for their target. The searing heat and smoke made it hard to see. The smells of everything burning made it hard to breathe. Within the raging chaos, there was someone laughing.
“How is anyone still alive in all this,” Megyn asked.
“Our target,” Kothrec The two raced off towards the sounds of laughter, finding the man that attacked Kothrec earlier standing in the middle of a ring of fire. He stopped laughing once he saw them.
“You were the ones to take my sacrifice,” the djinn growled. “You will take their places.”
“I am Kothrec,” the minotaur announced. “I am a force to be reckoned with. I have killed countless creatures in this world and the next.”
The djinn laughed. Fire leapt from his mouth. “I am a creature from beyond any world of your comprehension. I am Ifrit, Lord of the Djinn and Ruler of the 11th Dimension..” He began to rise on a pillar of flames. “I am a god compared to you. You simple-minded fools have no chance against me.”
“Never fought a god before,” Megyn stated, concerned.
Kothrec hefted his ax. “First time for everything.” He charged at Ifrit, and the djinn responded in kind. The two started to fight, but Ifrit began to lose focus as Megyn started singing a tune lost to mortals. Kothrec knocked him down the street. A blaze flew up from thee spot he landed, and the djinn rocketed out. He slammed into the minotaur, sending both of them barreling back towards Megyn.
Ifrit stood over Kothrec, ready to strike a killing blow, when the sound of a shotgun rang out. The djinn turned, enraged. “Who dares-”
Kothrec took the opening and slammed his ax into Ifrit’s back. He staggered away. The minotaur took another swing, knocking the djinn down.
Megyn was standing over Ifrit before he could stand. She let out an ear-piercing scream directly at his head.
Ifrit shot out a stream of fire from his hands, knocking Megyn away.
Kothrec was beating him back as he was trying to recover. Djinn blood flew out and melted the concrete like lava. Ifrit launched a fireball at the minotaur’s chest. He staggered back just as a blast of water sent the djinn flying off his feet.
Megyn sang at a frequency that tightened the bolt on top of the fire hydrant.
“No, leave it open,” Kothrec ordered. “Open all of them.”
“Okay,” the siren agreed reluctantly. “Why?”
“Use your voice to channel the water at him,” the minotaur directed.
Megyn started opening the hydrants as Kothrec went back into battle with Ifrit. Within moment, she had all of them opened and draining into the street. She began to sing at a level that would damage the ears of any human listening, but the waters began to swirl. It flew up and all came crashing down on the two combatants.
Kothrec, noticing the water had seriously weakened the djinn, slammed his ax into his enemy’s chest.
Ifrit staggered back, burst into flames, then disappeared as the first helicopter full of water dumped the load south of their battle.
“Make the call,” he ordered.
Megyn pushed a button on her phone, and both were instantly teleported out.
Before the next tank of water could be dumped, a rotund figure emerged with a crystal in hand. He sat down at one of the spots Ifrit’s blood fell and tapped the crystal three times on it. The blood became absorbed into the crystal, and the figure walked into one of the burning buildings.
“Master will be pleased,” he said gleefully.