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Welcome to the deep, dark & crazy world that is my imagination
The Gathering - Chapter Four 
28th-Feb-2009 12:02 am
Grave Lying
Title: The Gathering
Fandom (is so, include details) or Non Fandom?: Non Fandom (ie. Original bro!)
Chapter Number: Four
Word Count: 2,802 Words
Rating: M (due to language & adult content... not entirely sure where this thing is going)
Summary: In 1692 a group of witches sacrificed their powers to prevent death. Almost 3.5 centuries later, these powers have befallen new generations. Those that would be heroes are lost. It is up to those who are left behind to save themselves & the world they're in.
Author's Notes: This is WIP of my own doing which has like a zillion characters being introduced (and I'm still going) so you might need to hang on a bit for me to get into the meat of that summary *Crosses fingers she'll still be going with that*


Chapter Four


Danny hoisted the body on his shoulders as he followed Mercy up the hill. She seemed to be carving a perfect path for them, her eyes sharper than most and her positioning allowing her to be far more aware of the obstacles that lay ahead. She threw the pipe into the dirt as they neared an opening at the half-completed building’s side, disposing of the weapon. It would go unnoticed at this site.

Inside was still a mess – filled with dust and layers of granite which still needed to be hoisted into place. Thick, sturdy rope lay in coils on the floor, a thinner and more pliable version wound loosely around the lowered pulleys. Tire marks had tracked in dirt from outside and the odd hammer and spade had been left behind forgotten. What seemed most out of place, though, were the plush covered chairs stacked high in one sheltered corner. Obviously some miscalculation had occurred and they’d arrived early or, more typically, construction had run overtime. They were covered with a simple plastic sheet, likely the only thing those working onsite had been able to do to solve the problem.

Mercy stalked towards the pile and ripped the plastic off, pulling one of the chairs down and placing it in the centre of the room. Danny lowered the body from his shoulder onto it with an audible groan, his hands brushing against the velvet plush. He looked at the remaining pile of chairs with disgust.

“Don’t tell me they’re turning this into Monte Carlo?” he queried aloud. “That’s all we need in this town – more gamblers.”

“It’ll be good for business,” Mercy said. “Remember the number one reason for killing people…”

“Is money,” he finished.

“Or power,” she concurred, spinning on her heel. “Or both if you are truly lucky.”

“And live in New York.”

She flashed a smile over her shoulder at him.

Woodcroft was incomparable to the grandness of such places as New York. It was not a large city, but nor was it a small town either. It fell somewhere in the middle with roughly three hundred thousand people calling it home. And out of that perhaps one sixteenth of the population were magical – people who were hiding their powers among an unbelieving public; witches who made excuses about strange occurrences and were often fortunate enough to have the authorities turn a blind eye. The Phoenix, however, was not kind to those of their coven who were caught. Their close knit community did not stray into the centre of town and they did not socialize with outsiders unless it was in relation to a job. The misfortune of being unknown could in no way compare to the horror that could come from being known by your own.

Outside the secondary figure form the loading dock had managed to track them down. He stopped at the roadway, playing a foot cautiously against the ground. It had an unnatural rise, crumbling and fraying out at the edges, spilling dirt out onto the road. The building itself rose up high on the hill before him. It could have been a gallery, a museum, or even a church given the nature of the stonework around it. Two large angels stood guard at the entry, giant pillars supporting the roof above it. The entry, although rough in appearance and lacking some kind of polish, looked to be the only thing completed. Behind the dark granite of the authoritative angels the roof looked as though it had caved inside. The building could have been a pile of ruins save for the machinery which sat quietly to one side indicating that it was something being built up and not torn down.

Part of a free-standing tower sat to the left, an angel and a cherub enjoying a game of chess atop the pinnacle of this. An overgrown oak tree stood beside it, roots gnarled and twisted around the trunk like it was diseased and attempting to smother itself as it struggled to maintain a foreboding presence with its dark shadow crossing the ground to the street.

To the far right where the road ceased was another stone monument, this one at eye level and with strange unreadable symbols engraved upon it. Though this would have been easy to get to, it was the not the young man’s intended target. With only the light of the moon giving him any kind of guidance, he pulled aside part of the cloth surrounding the outside fence and managed to get a foothold inside the fencing. Because there was nothing considered worth stealing there, security was minimal. There was no barbed wire at the top, no German Shepherds ferociously stalking the interior, no guards blinking flashlights on and off. It was just him.

He hoisted himself up the chain-link fence and climbed to the top, his shoes crunching against dirt as he dropped down on the other side. Scanning the grounds, he carefully approached the building, trying to keep his presence undetected. Slipping through the entryway, he crossed the room quickly and pressed his back to the opaque wall fixture – one of few that had already been completed. Sliding to the side he peered out into the main open area. Three people – one of them hunched over in a chair – occupied the space. The prisoner’s ankles already bound to each chair leg, Mercy sliced through the length of thinner rope in her hand with a sharpened dagger, knotting the remaining piece around the wrists pulled together at the back of the chair. She rose, gripping the sheet and pulling it away with a flourish as if she were a magician performing a trick. Tongue pressed against teeth, she looked down at the blonde spikes and back up to Danny.

“Danny,” she said slowly, steadily. “Does he look Italian to you?”

The control in her voice showed a significant amount of restraint in her emotions with the slight rise of the question echoing repressed anger.

“I told you I couldn’t see him!” Danny argued. “I turned around and he was on the ground.”

“You didn’t think to check before you covered him?” she questioned again with a little less self-control.

“I’m sure leaving some kid unconscious in the back of their loading dock would have reflected real well on us.”

“Get the other rope,” she ordered, nodding towards the coil and flipping him her dagger. Danny expertly caught the handle with a sideways grip, pausing for the slightest moment to match her glare with his own. Stepping away and out of sight, Danny went to fetch the larger rope as Mercy rounded the young man in the chair and lowered her face to his. Swiftly she brought a hand up and slapped his cheek harshly, enough to rouse him from his slumber. Green eyes drowsily opened as he groggily lifted his head back to position, the sting still in his cheek.

“Not cool, man,” he said. His eyes closed and opened, allowing him to refocus and adjust to the lack of light. “Woman.”

“What do you know?” she demanded.

“Know?” he repeated.

She didn’t get a chance to answer him. Christian stepped from out behind the wall, making his presence known, two fingers waving to the side. His telekinesis responded, shifting Mercy away from Justin and into the wall. She cried out as her shoulder impacted, her feet losing ground beneath her and causing her to collapse to the floor. Christian raced over to Justin’s chair, his hands working fast to untie the knots around his best friend’s wrists.

“You are really lucky they didn’t kill you,” Christian said. “You were making so much noise back there…”

“Apart from tripping over the framework, I was silent as a mouse!” Justin declared. “I heard, like, this big heavy thing move and I went to see what it was and bam!”

He jumped in his chair, illustrating the violence and suddenness of the impact. The rope slipped from Christian’s hands and he waited for his friend and the chair to resettle before taking hold of it again, threading the last piece back through the last loop. Something wasn’t right about the explanation. He knew the girl had been near him, towards the door, and the guy who’d hit Justin had been in the centre of the room. The noise had come from further over. Someone else had to have been there. Or made it seem like someone else was there.

Pulling the rope away, he stepped back and instantly came into contact with another body. One who successfully managed to get an arm around his neck and place the other over his head, a hand plastered by his ear. If he made even the smallest movement the man behind him would readily break his neck.

“Where the hell did you come from?” Danny asked.

“Outside,” Christian answered honestly but with enough secrecy in his tone to reveal he was not telling the whole story.

Justin was quick to untie his legs and race around the chair as Danny dragged Christian back, the young man gripping onto his arm to prevent the taller man from restricting his airflow; but unfortunately for the sidekick Danny was not the only Phoenix in the room and Christian had not seriously harmed Mercy. From her position on the floor, she simply stretched her legs out to entwine with Justin’s, tripping him over so that he fell onto the ground beside her. Gathering her dagger from where Danny had dropped it, she crawled over to Justin as he rolled over and slid the dagger up beneath his chin, using her body to keep him pinned to the floor.

“Do you want to answer my question now?” she asked him.

“Could you, uh, repeat it for me?” Justin asked. “With all the running and throwing and beating me over the head, my mind is a little fuzzy.”

“Why were you at the club?” she asked.

“That’s none of your business,” Christian spat out. Danny tightened the arm around his throat.

“Wednesday night?” Justin replied, hoping to sound optimistic. She pressed the blade against his skin. “Okay, uh, well, there’s this demon, right? And he’s trying to do the nasty with my man’s brother over here…”

Christian yanked against Danny’s arm. “He’s babbling. Incoherently.”

“Maybe we should just kill them, Merc. Batman and Boy Wonder don’t seem to know anything but how to get themselves into a mountain of trouble.”

“No, no, no,” Justin protested, lifting his hands to Mercy’s arms. She glared at him and he lowered them again. “We do, but…”

“Justin, shutup!” Christian called.

Mercy pulled the blade away, her hand flashing red as she made the weapon disappear. Lifting herself to stand over him, she grabbed Justin by the shirt and hauled him to his feet.

“What’s your demon’s name?” she asked.

“Marcus. Marcus red-devil or something,” Justin said. Mercy looked towards Danny, her brows raising.

“It’s Ravelle,” Christian corrected. “And he’s a warlock, not a demon.”

Danny loosened his grip on Christian entirely, allowing him to free himself. “What a coincidence. We were looking for him too.”

“Why?” Christian questioned, rapidly stepping away from the Phoenix and rubbing his neck.

“None of your business,” Danny replied, mimicking Christian’s response earlier.

Mercy sighed. “If you both keep this up, we won’t get anywhere.”

“If we’re all here, does this mean…” Justin looked to his friend. His expression admitting to failure, Christian lowered his gaze. “We can’t… what’s going to happen?”

The bafflement that crossed Danny’s face was not the same kind that was displayed on Justin’s – for Justin and Christian seemed to be the only two people in the room who understood exactly what the young man was saying between the segmented words of half-finished sentences. Mercy’s fingers brushed against his arm and, startled, he jumped back with a panicked glance towards her hand to see if a weapon had reappeared. If he had learnt anything through this experience, it was that the Phoenix were masterful conjurers and whatever they wanted could appear in their hands at any moment from absolutely nothing.

“Justin,” she said softly, quick to catch onto his name from Christian’s earlier cries. “Where is Marcus?”

“We don’t know,” Justin admitted. He gave an uncertain quick glance towards his friend to certify he was supplying the correct information. “He might be at the club. And we might have screwed up stopping something big.”

“We can’t blame ourselves,” Christian spoke up. “I think we were played.”

“Played? Played how?” Justin questioned.

“That sound you heard wasn’t you, me or anyone else.”

“Okay… so what’s it belong to?”

“Did you see anything?”

“No.”

“But you heard it.”

“Well, yeah. That’s why I was going that way!” Justin said sweeping his hands forward, his tone suggesting his actions should be blatantly obvious.

“You were kind of out-thrust,” Danny acknowledged. “I was expecting you to come from a different angle.”

“So what are you saying happened?” Mercy queried.

“Marcus Ravelle has been a warlock for a good forty years. He’s not new to this.”

“Neither’s your information,” Danny interrupted. “This was all in his file.”

“Think about it,” Christian said. “He’s been playing with sound through four different decades, he’d have mastered the basics – shutting it down, turning it up…”

“Making it so loud that your eardrums will burst and bleed everywhere… and your head explodes!” Justin added. Everybody immediately looked to him with a hard stare. “Not really. I saw it in a movie once.”

“My brother was supposed to be organizing some deal with him tonight,” Christian explained further. “I don’t know the details, but if Marcus was there and knew we were there, he’d only have to shift the sound around to make us turn on each other.”

“So… he threw the sound,” Mercy said, assembling the story in her mind.

“Like a ventriloquist,” Danny followed acceptably. Realizing they’d been had, he angrily turned away and cursed, knowing from all those in attendance he was the one who had failed the most. “Damn.”

“Which means he got everyone out of the loading dock just in time for his meeting,” Mercy finished. Hands on hips, more annoyed with herself than anyone else, her eyes fastened on Christian. “So why your brother? What’s so special about him?”

“Have you heard about the golden-haired child? The witch with all the powers in the known universe?”

“Not all,” Justin interrupted, waving his hands.

“Okay, most,” Christian conceded. “The first born child between a witch and an angel; the moment supernatural forces ceased to exist as heaven and earth came together as one.”

“Dude, you do realize you’re talking about your parents?” Justin said. Christian cocked an eyebrow. “That’s disgusting.”

“He’s reciting the legend,” Danny said, his gaze crossing to Mercy. “Plateau.”

Her eyes widened, recognizing the prophet who had written the book Danny had been reading earlier in the day. Along with the memory there reemerged the disturbing images, some of which had yet to happen. The two boys before her, barely a few years younger than her, were living remnants of the possibility that those images could come true.

“He’s dangerous,” Mercy said.

“Yeah,” Christian agreed.

“No,” Justin argued at the same time. “He’s just kind of… high strung.”

“I’m not just talking about his powers,” Christian amended. “He practically lives in the attic when he’s home. He’s got a mix of potentially lethal potion ingredients up there, documents, books on black magic, books on white magic, books on demons and the occult… and the oldest spell book known to man. He’s lucky it hasn’t fallen apart. It’s very powerful, and very protected.”

Mercy and Danny exchanged glances. If they did not go after him simply for the sake of preventing a prophecy, the very mention of such an ancient tome instantly alerted them both to the fact it could be a good item to thieve and would obviously sell quite highly on the black market. Not to mention the prestige it would give them within their covenant for claiming such a unique and valuable item.

“Do you want him stopped?” Danny asked.

“Don’t… kill him,” Justin said.

“I’ll just take him down,” Danny returned. His lips twisted into a wry smile. “Like you.”

“I don’t know how he can be stopped,” Christian said. “He’s too powerful, even for me. All I can do is prevent him from falling in with bad people and hope he straightens his life out.”

Mercy walked over to him, taking his chin between thumb and forefinger and angling his head so she could see straight into his eyes. One quick inspection of brown on hazel had her convinced he was telling them the truth. She lowered her hand and shifted her gaze to Danny.

“I guess we have a new target.”

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