Somewhere else.
#1
elsewhere.

The study was an abysmal sight after the ritual. The air felt like a spark begging for a methane leak and there was a taste in the air; the taste of ozone made for a nice touch, too. It wasn’t the usual taste of a study- that taste of decaying books that people so mistakenly and lovingly assume is the smell of fine literature on the shelves. That smell, that taste that filled your tongue when the air came deep into your lungs, was decay. That smell was the loss of knowledge and secrets and lifetimes of knowing because we are impermanent. ( And? something says in the back of his mind. Always there, always aware, but perhaps missing the point.) The subtle reminder of decay had been overwritten by the more immediate scents mixing to bear witness.
 
Blood had its own smell when it was fresh. To call it vital was to be cliché- blood smelled like stripped electrical wiring, tasted like a piece of tin foil chewed too long on new fillings, felt like a warm bath with enough oils in it to make it slick. Fresh blood was almost pleasant; in truth, fresh blood was only unpleasant in the ways that sitting in a puddle after an uncomfortably warm rain would be. Southerners knew that particular joy; William rolled from his side to his stomach, taking his time before getting to his hands and knees. He paid attention to the sensation divorced from the implications that it had. Pain was obvious- he had enough concussions in his life to start to know what one probably feels like. His muscles were weak and the combination of disorientation and bruising made the task of getting into a seated position an arduous one.  
 
William swallowed, his saliva mixing with hot copper. He forced his eyes shut, “it is October thirty-first. I’m in the study. There are…” He couldn’t place them, couldn’t hold onto the images of what had happened clearly because of what he was attributing to a head injury. The Hermetic decided to survey his surroundings again in hopes that this would provide stability.
 
Lines were etched and drawn but beyond that, he saw… chaos. A lack of order and a mess of scribbles and what translated to his brain like sidewalk chalk drawings and finger paintings. Sacred symbols and Truth given form held no more meaning than the pictures a pile of string makes when you drop it on the floor and try to give it any meaning. Ritual was built in symbolism and parallels; he remembered when he had learned the more practical practices from Henry. Hermetics had a strange view of what was practical and what wasn’t. Calling forth through the names and orders and giving the most painstaking instructions written and spoken in True Words was practical. The hours spent perfecting every detail were considered practical. Of course, William had taken practicality a step further and perhaps out of bounds and-
 
“This isn’t right.”
 
He could muse about practicality and the nature of being an imperfect person trying to live up to the pursuit of dynamic perfection (ha), but what was in front of him was more important. William was prone to being stuck in his head (ha) but this was not the time. Warm blood, charred books, ozone, and meat. That was what struck him when he moved, just enough, just until he could see under the table. There were pieces of tee shirt stretched thin and ripped clean over what looked to be little more than a crash test dummy with jeans on. It close approximation of a human being save for the fact that the limbs were jointed in the wrong ways. Too many elbows and not enough spine. It made the body coil like a dog’s rope toy instead of crumple like a marionette. The young Hermetic pushed away from his perch and attempted to stand. His legs weren’t having it, but in that moment of struggle he caught a look at the wall.
 
Blood. Hot blood, boiling mulled wine blood and long pork stew meat and shoddy shrapnel napkins. Splattered across the back wall. There wasn’t enough blood, but whatever had been there boiled off in part to leave what looked like chili paste slapped thick onto the floor. When he followed the splatter to the ground there were those lines again. He followed the indications of what had taken place around the circle, keeping the spire of previously smoldering books in the center. Symbols. Meanings. Truth?
 
To say his stomach turned was, again, cliché. Stomachs don’t turn and guts don’t twist save for when you have your hands in a man’s innards and you move them yourself. William looked at his hands again, a familiar feeling in them that drew forth a ragged breath that wasn’t inspired by pain. The lines were obvious, the symbols were deliberate even if they had no discernable meaning. There were things man was not meant to know and William, darling boy, had a tendency to push. He knew his own work when he saw it, even if the symbols and the meaning of it all made no sense.
 
Ulric- Dreadbringer, Caller of Storms- was gone.
 
He knew his own work when he saw it, and knows that rituals like these do not come from instinct alone. You do not make these sorts of gestures without knowing what you are doing and why you are doing them. He knew himself, knew that he understood the consequences of his actions because he had grown so much, had grown to remember and at least consider that the cosmic sweater didn’t like its threads pulled. He knew to tie off a knot before giving a solid tug and cutting off the excess.
 
Ned Gaites and Margot Travers were dead. (Knot tied. String cut.)
 
This house had belonged to Nephandic cultists before the cabal had it, Ned said this was something he probably should have told William before he’d moved in. This was their ritual, but William- darling boy- knew enough to keep it up. Knew enough and discerned enough that he led the other two in what it was they needed to do. He didn’t disclose what he knew of it, that its origins were dubious and its intentions laced with ill will and selfishness. They trusted him enough, trusted his judgment enough, to follow. Hermetics know ritual.
 
Ulric- Dreadbringer, Caller of Storms- was gone. (Circle drawn.)
Ned Gaites and Margot Travers were dead. (Gateway closed.)
 
Hermetics also know they should not consort with demons and their ilk. He spent the rest of the night looking over the signs and scrawlings on the floor and walls and books; nothing presented itself as Truth. William was left only to muse over what they had done- what he had led them to do. The ritual was a success. And he, with his bloody shirt and arms and everything, had done a splendid job of leading it.
 
”Oh, Fae,” said a disconnected voice. Male, young, and perpetually disinterested when not flecked with melancholy mournfulness, “I saw this happening.”
 
---
 
earthbound.
 
The ritual was complete, and the three mages in the study had survived it.

William laid motionless on the floor with arms cradled around his midsection. Blue eyes empty.
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#2
October 31st, 2017
retrospect

Earthbound, the repercussions of the events of Halloween night could have been felt for an impressive radius from the mostly-rural property just shy of Boulder, Colorado.  At the crescendo of Magick clashing and twining and tightening to a close, it was momentarily all but a beacon into the night.  Thankfully they lived out among the mundane and the nobodies (save for themselves)-- that was part of the original intent with this house even before they inhabited it.  A double-edged sword, there was nobody who would recognize the beacon to respond to it, and those left in its wake were left to fend for themselves.

Blood found its way onto almost every surface of the study, splashed gruesome across bookshelves and left in wide splatter arcs over the hardwood floor and overlapping rugs as well.  It was heaviest in two other Focus points-- a stack of books in the center of a table, bubbling and hissing and frothing and sizzling with visible little blue arcs of electricity.  Similarly doused was Margot Travers, on her knees and trembling with her eyes as two wide white spots in a form otherwise red red red.

Furniture was out of place, shoved across floors by a blasting force that had scattered books and papers alike, along with two other bodies in the room.  One blonde-haired and curled on his side with eyes staring wide and unresponsive to the other side of the room, the other with dark hair and torn clothing tossed in a rag-doll position and slid half underneath a study table.

Everything was still, save the occasional sizzle and bubble and the electric cling of the air in general.  The threat that had been present a minute before ws gone, trapped away for what would turn out to be another year (though Margot had no way of knowing that yet).  With foe vanquished and nothing left to fight, the Goddess of Victory had no purpose with which to possess Her little disciple's body any longer, and so She receded back to whatever realm from whence she came.  With the Goddess gone, only the girl-witch was left, and what was left of her was a shell.  Weak and shaking from the toll of channeling and connecting to such magick and forces, Margot had about one full minute to think to call for help and look around fruitlessly for a phone that wasn't in the room, and then the world went black for her as well.

---------------------------

It was a full four hours later when Margot suddenly regained consciousness and found herself laying bruised on the floor.  The room was still bright from the light overhead that had been left on, but the windows were still dark.  She had no idea if it was the same night or a different one, but didn't stop to contemplate Time too hard for the image of Will's still back came swimming into focus soon after waking, jarring a jolt of panic into her breast by recalling the memory of two still bodies on the ground before she'd passed out.  She jerked up into a sitting position and felt her skin pull as it left the sticky-drying impression of blood that her body had left on the floor where she'd been laying, groaned as she discovered bruising along her shoulders and chest and torso.

She went to both of the still forms of her cabalmates in turn, calling their names weakly to check for consciousness when she did.  Will's shoulder was jostled and she scrambled around to find his face just as she remembered-- eyes open and blankly staring, arms loosely looped about knees as he lay on his side in a fetal position.  Gone to the world, but his pulse and breathing seemed steady.  She checked Ned to find him unresponsive and bleeding and crumpled, unable to wake but for what appeared to be different reasons just feeling his shallow breathing and seeing the grimace of pain even through the blackness of unconsciousness.

Neither would wake, and it was just her, bruised and tender and dazed and dizzy, unable to shake the electric buzz on her skin and in her sinuses and making her brain feel tender and swollen (though maybe that was just the backlash of reality, punishing her for refusing it so vigorously just hours before).  Gingerly, Margot at last found her feet and staggered from the study to venture through the rest of the house.

First she went to the kitchen and washed the blood from her hands.  There she found her phone on the counter and tried dialing Doc.  It went to voicemail and recorded about five seconds of her still-stunned silence before realizing she couldn't yet explain what had happened and couldn't bring herself to ask a voicemail for help and ending the call-- no message recorded save a couple breaths and an obnoxious electric whine of back feed in the phone speaker.

Next she went to the bathroom downstairs and left her stripped bloodsoaked clothes in the sink, and rinsed-and-scrubbed herself as well she could in the several minutes she allowed herself for the task.  Her hair would take another two thorough washes before it stopped running red, and her arms and chest felt too weak for the immediate task anyways.  It was clipped up and dribbled red down her neck and between her shoulderblades to absorb in the towel she was wearing initially, and later into the black tee shirt that she'd changed into (along with gray sweats) before venturing back into the study.

Her breath caught for the smell of electric-burnt blood-and-flesh and copper conduit seemed stronger than ever.  She huffed it back out before taking to the task of making her cabalmates as comfortable as possible while recovering and awaiting what come next, be it assistance or stark aftermath alone.  She'd tucked a pillow under Will's head and covered him in a blanket, she couldn't help to move him much more than that.  Ned was rolled onto his back and his limbs straightened out before being granted the same pillow-and-blanket treatment.  She may have tried to move either of them if she were in prime shape and still failed, so much smaller was her frame than either of theirs, but at current she knew it would be a fruitless effort.  They would need to remain on the floor.


Unable to summon the strength to do much more, the little Blood Witch collapsed in an armchair that had miraculously avoided bloodsplatter, unwilling to let the two stay in that room by themselves, and passed out once more in a curled up ball on the cushion of the chair.
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#3
"Paint drying is no where near as boring as people made it out to be."

Ned's opening statement is offered like those words were all the energy he had in the world. He doesn't move or shift from his makeshift bed, wincing at the hardwood floor that pushes up intolerably into his aching muscles and back. There were fractures in a half dozen places, blood over bruising and no small amount of swelling climbing into Ned's framework. Whether Margot was still asleep or awoke with his statement, it would be all he says for a while. A brief check would reveal he barely finished the sentence before slipping back into unconsciousness again.

* * * *

Ned wakes again some hours later. His eyes flutter and finally surge open, as if the imagery of sleep was severe enough to push him into wakefulness despite the pain telling him it wasn't time yet. He sucks in lungfuls of painful air, working to untense his body from the prone position he was in. He shifts, gingerly, painfully on the flooring in search of a more comfortable position but only manages to find a slightly tilted angle that isn't as uncomfortable as the last but will probably demand he move again soon.

"Did we win?" He says it to the air, trying to make it sound a lot more lighthearted then he genuinely felt right then.
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#4
Quote:First she went to the kitchen and washed the blood from her hands.  There she found her phone on the counter and tried dialing Doc.  It went to voicemail and recorded about five seconds of her still-stunned silence before realizing she couldn't yet explain what had happened and couldn't bring herself to ask a voicemail for help and ending the call-- no message recorded save a couple breaths and an obnoxious electric whine of back feed in the phone speaker.

On a typical evening, one or two o'clock in the morning wouldn't mean Doc was unreachable. It was considered late at night and most normal folks who worked for the county were in bed for hours by the time it rolled around on a weeknight. The kids can probably count on one hand the number of times they've caught their former mentor sleeping. It was always a result of backlash. Even the universe thought he was ridiculous.

But: Halloween. According to the filthy pagan he has been hanging around lately, it is called Samhain. It's a celebration. Since Kiara is involved in the equation, the celebration takes on a carnal element sometime around midnight. It may or may not have taken place outside, because any Forces initiate worth their salt cannot use 'it's too cold out' as an excuse not to engage in adult activities underneath a full moon or whatever the fuck the moon was doing that night.

It is some time before Doc realizes that he missed a call, listens to the garbled mess left behind, puts on his pants and his glasses, and says something to the effect of Can't leave those little idiots alone for ten minutes beh beh beh beh beh before either parting ways with the Verbena woman or enlisting her to return to civilization with him so he can use his long-distance surveillance device thingy to see what the fuck is going on at the house.

Sigh. The longest of sighs. He sighs for so long he almost passes out. That's the extent to which he pretends this is such a collossal waste of time that he ought to just leave the little shits to clean up their own mess, and gives far too many fucks to convince anyone that that is what he wants to do.

"Where did I park my damn car?" he asks, either his partner or his prototype.

---

About an hour after [hand-wave o'clock] the Jeep Whatever that Doc drives around when he isn't abusing his access to the coroner's office's vehicle pulls into the blood-enriched driveway at the old Boucher estate, the new Pain in the Ass-ienda. He hauls his black bag out of the back seat, takes a belt off of his flask, and tromps up to the front door.

"IF I COME IN AND YOU TELL ME YOU'RE FINE I'M GOING TO KILL ALL OF YOU," is how he announces himself as he enters the foyer and shuts the door behind him (and Kiara, if she's come along.)
Look. I have school. And RP. And all my other time is taken up by sheer, unreasoning panic. I don't have time for Reddit.
-- ixphaelaeon
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#5
He does (bring a guest this time).

The door closes on Doc's bellow of a greeting and the woman with him is not (entirely, but almost) a stranger here. Do the Cabal-members remember Kiara? Maybe, maybe not. It's irrelevant right now whether they recall this pagan with her essence like the thrum of blood in their veins and the rich flush of Spring [Life, growth, rebirth]; she smells this night like the potent mixture of old, ancient magicks and earth. A different kind to what has been [is] conjured here.

She's come on the basis that: a) he leaves the house again after setting foot within it and b) it is Samhain.

That being all the Verbena would offer, but her dark eyes are narrowed from the moment they set foot within the threshold. She moves in his wake like a restless shadow. I don't like this place, had been Kiara's own greeting as they'd pulled up to it; staring with her fingers wound around her pendant in the drive as he hauled his bag out of the back seat.

You never have, he might have mentioned. A look could have been exchanged between them (maybe it was).

She came, anyway.
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#6
Margot was asleep when Ned awoke, but his voice jostled her from a sleep shallow and on-edge and she jerked up from where she'd curled with her head propped up against the arm of the chair. This evoked a small gasp of discomfort before she shifted about into a sitting position and cupped a hand to her head. Her fingers felt wet and came back with tinges of blood still in the water.

"Barely," she told him weakly and flatly alike. She lifted her eyes to look at him from partway across the room, but they flinched closed again when the sound of the door throwing open and the Doc shouting through the house filled the air. She turned her head toward the door and shouted back (though her shout was weak and quiet and wavered at the end): "We're in the study!"

Then, to Ned, in a quiet and watery voice: "Will's out of it. ...I'm so glad we didn't kill you..."
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#7
Ned is coughing. Doc kicks the door down, Margot responds and Ned swallows enough blood-tanged spit for his esophagus to begin heaving back at him in rapid fire sprints. He rolls to one side, squeezing his eyes shut against the pain this causes, so as not to allow the pain the coughing causes to be as bad as the pain everywhere else seems to be. The blanket shucks half off of his frame and the concussed tatters of his clothing lie across him like shitty drapes.

The air is...damaged is the best word for it. A tenuous mixture of electricity building on the skin, unhinged wildness climbing at the walls, all of which is consumed by the infinitesimal hovering over the study. One would be hard pressed to feel powerful around the books right now. Meek is a word, perhaps. Wounded, another.

Brittle, probably the best.

Ned drools on the ground, bruising collected along his lips, chin and left cheek. One eye is nearly swollen shut but the other, oddly clear and focused (Pain is familiar) settles on Margot in her chair. He breathes through his teeth, two of which clotted around the gums with blood. His arms fold shakily around his ribs and he simply lays on his side like that because it is the best things get right now.

"I'm pretty stoked about it myself, O'toole." Ned grunts, laying his head down on the cool floor, feeling the slight ridges of cinder marks and burns from the odd ritual stack's sparking. They have melted the floor, pock marks like wax curled up across dozens of small, corrupted spots. The wet pile of mulch that once was the Spire (the ritual's centre) is a hardened bit of gossamer and azure material. Not glass, not plastic but something that squeaks when touched. That feels like a thin layer of oysters over shark-skin. The destruction is not complete and utter. It is segregated to spots and sections. Some furniture is untouched, like the chair Margot had passed out in. Some is blasted to a new colour, shape and design. The books in the library are much the same condition, with five puddles of the same odd material situated on bookshelves around the table Ned lies near, with a single pile atop the table itself.

Ned keeps his eyes closed when the Doc and Kiara enter. He doesn't bother saying anything more than "Welcome back", voice cracking slightly but noticeably enough that he clears his throat. Winces and hums in utter discontentment.

The air is charged. Each breath is a battle. Will is utterly lost to the world.

Oorah.
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#8
'Dislike' isn't the term he would normally use for this place. Ambivalent is better. It was a secluded building with multiple stories that allowed for him to do work without anybody stumbling upon his lab, and for a time nothing happened to bring someone home bleeding and carrying on. This place has no negative association for him, in spite of the fact the place used to be an actual breeding ground for infernalist minions.

He doesn't make it more than four steps from the door before the hairs on the back of his neck stand up. An oppressive feeling of unbound electricity and animal ferocity both, Kiara can see the way he stops dead in his tracks, his eyes unblinking behind his glasses, as he digests the fact that whatever happened here tonight, even the energy in the place is repellent to him now.

This place feels more the Verbena's style than his. It's rare that she sees the Etherite uneasy, as it's rare that the Etherite believes himself to have no control over the situation. For the seconds that he stands collecting himself, his pulse increases and a thin sheen of sweat springs up on his palms. It will get worse the closer to the library they get.

"Come on," he said when he could speak again.

---

So: the library looks like a small skirmish took place there. Andrés was able to look back far enough to see what, exactly, happened. He had a vague idea of who needed medical treatment and who was just fucked, mentally, but then he would have said the latter about Will even on a good day. A Mindscape isn't anything to joke about.

"You know," he says in an audible aside to Kiara, "I'm getting real tired of seeing them covered in blood."

Since he already knows what the hell happened, he doesn't ask. He doesn't say he's glad to see they're still alive, either, but there are a lot of things he hasn't said to them over the last two years. To Kiara, too. He shares a last look with her, like to make sure they're on the same page, then heads over to assess Ned while she tends to Margot.

Will is going to have to wait. Sorry, buddy.
Look. I have school. And RP. And all my other time is taken up by sheer, unreasoning panic. I don't have time for Reddit.
-- ixphaelaeon
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#9
It's rare she sees him uneasy. It has been, of recent months, Kiara's adopted position. The after-burn of Seeking. When she closes her eyes at night, there are occasions while she retains the prickling unease of it - the need to open them again just to make sure she is tethered to this reality. That what feels real beneath her fingers is just that - and not the terror of her mind. 

Andrés stands, collecting himself. The slight brunette beside him waits wordlessly; then touches his arm before they move on.

--

The study looks every inch the scene of what it clearly is. An epicenter of upheaval. Air that feels heavy with the aftermath; there would be few that didn't balk at the sensation of it; that didn't feel the roll of thick, suffocating otherness. It cloys in the air; muffled olfactory memory that lingers like stale cigar smoke absorbed into the upholstery.

A space that breathes like a wound and the Verbena adjusts the bag under her arm.

William is out cold. Ned needs medical attention. Margot is slumped on a chair. You know, the Etherite begins, and Kiara directs him a brief, amused smile as he goes on to comment he's tired of seeing his students covered in blood. "You say this as if you don't see me in the same state voluntarily on some nights." Her voice is as light as her steps, as she picks a path around William (who gets the benefit of a complicated, complex twist of her features) before setting a bag down beside Margot.

She drops to her haunches; sweeps a hand over the other witch's brow. Bracelets rattle. Items are plucked from an endless sort of bag; the stitched and restitched worn sort; the woven fabric with patches sort; it smells like sandalwood (or was that the pagan, herself), the flood of rejuvenation that threatens to temporarily overcome the heavier presence of the study.

"Hey, big night?" Kiara's eyes find Margot's, she sets items out. She leans into the other witch's space briefly. "Let's take care of you." Being healed the Verbena's way is crude, it feels, in its own way, as primal as what has been done here. Warmth that trickles outward from the press of Kiara's palms; the low pulsing of life.

[Healed for 5 Suxx!]

--

Dice What Jacqui Rolled

[Life 1. Gonna scan some injuries. (-1 Focus).]
Roll: 3 d10 TN3 (1, 1, 7) ( success x 1 )
Kiara @ 10:20PM

[Oh come on. Extending a little. (+1 diff).]
Roll: 3 d10 TN4 (1, 3, 8) ( success x 1 )
Kiara @ 10:21PM

[This is a terrible start, dice. Once more.]
Roll: 3 d10 TN5 (9, 9, 10) ( success x 3 )
Kiara @ 10:22PM

[Int + Med can we possibly lower a roll to heal with Life, I think we need at least 3 to drop it a diff.]
Roll: 6 d10 TN6 (3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 8) ( success x 3 )
Kiara @ 10:26PM

[HEAL MARGOT like a badass Verbena mofo. Base diff 7 (I think? Vulgar? Whatever I've forgotten how you dice), -1 focus, -1 going slow, -1 practiced rote, -1 Medicine roll]
Roll: 3 d10 TN3 (5, 6, 6) ( success x 3 )
Kiara @ 10:28PM

[MOAR HEAL.]
Roll: 3 d10 TN4 (2, 8, 8) ( success x 2 )

You get to be my witnesses
Kiara @ 10:33PM

[Paradox says ... ]
Roll: 3 d10 TN6 (2, 5, 5) ( fail )
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#10
Elsewhere
Kalen Holliday was a tall, willowy creature cast in pale contrasts. Once upon a time, before his world came crashing apart, he had been more solid. More built for speed and war and The Good Fight (whatever that happened to be), but things had changed. William had never known him when he had a limp, when his gait was impeded and served as a reminder of when his sense of stability, both literal and figurative, had disappeared. Perhaps he had that stability in Denver once, but he wasn’t in Denver anymore, was he?
 
Except, he was in Colorado.
 
“Why are you here?” he asked, voice uneasy.
“I saw this happening,” Kalen replied, “I saw you slip and I thought… if I could… But of course, I didn’t. I couldn’t stop it. Like with Melody… like Marcellus…”
“No! No no,” William put a hand up, shook his head and tried to offer something like a reassuring smile that seemed more like a week old helium balloon. “This-this isn’t like that, not at all. There is nothing you could have done- this isn’t you. This is me.”
 
His once-and-barely mentor sighed, closed his green eyes and shook his head, “oh Fae… I didn’t want that to be true. I should have seen it when we first met-”
“Seen what?” William’s posture squared, jaw set.
“What everyone else in Baton Rouge saw.”
 
He knew he had a concussion, but there was no explanation for what left like a stab in his lungs, something that dared take his breath for a moment and leave him grasping for a lifeline. Teeth grit, eyes closed. Did we win? he hears. Ned’s voice, but faint. Something that sounded almost like Ned, but couldn’t be more than some lingering effects from the dead. Maybe some indication of needing answers before he’d past on. Barely, Margot’s voice replied.
 
The Hermetic pulled himself into a standing position, and it was a feat of willpower and sheer fuck you to the universe that he was standing. Kalen made no attempts to approach or assist when the younger man brought himself into a position built for moving. He put a bloodied hand on the nearest wall and started his approach to leave the study.
 
“I’m parked outside,” Kalen told him.
“We can’t leave yet, help me bury them.”
“I can’t,” nonchalant. Detached. Off in his own world and thoughts cast out to the ever-expanding cosmos.
“Why?” Will’s voice was sharp.
“I can’t contaminate the scene, and I won’t be implicated in assisting with a High Crime.”
 
William stopped, motion halted and again the phantom injury to his lungs acted up. His breathing grew shallow.
 
“… what do you mean?”
“Look at what you did- the signs, the sigils, the entire makeup. You were consorting with demons, devils, the forces that eat our souls and you… are the only one who walked away.”
“It wasn’t like that-“
“Look. At. It.-“ Kalen snapped “-what your intent was doesn’t matter. Look what happened.”
 
Silence, then the older man with the youthful face grew almost sympathetic, almost reached forward to offer at least offer some kind of support for his former student before pulling back, letting his hands pull close into his own body.
 
“You always mean well, Elijah. You always do what you think is right… but this always happens. Once can be forgiven, but…” he sighs, looks away as though this entire act was something that pained him.
“This isn’t your fault,” William insisted, pleaded, didn’t catch the hitch in his voice that insisted the same kind of I’m sorry that punctuated almost the whole of their dynamic, “I can fix this.”
“We need to leave, I’m sorry but I have to tell the Order. You owe that to Henry and Richard and all the other people who vouched for you.”
 
Kalen had to tell the Order. Telling the Order meant a Tribunal and high crimes weren’t exactly things that left the mage in question walking away. This meant… this meant that, in a best case scenario justice would pull through. Someone would believe William, someone would know what happened, right?
 
Mr. Holliday remained impassive, and waited patiently as William quietly breathed, quietly tried to piece things together and calm himself (”It’s October thirty-first, there was a ritual and my friends are dead. There is blood on the floor but everything is going to be okay. The Order can sort this out and everything will be okay.”) The two started out to leave the house.
 
Hey, big night? a familiar voice says. Kiara?
 
… that’s not right. Something...
 
He shook his head and continued down the stairs.
 
 --------------------

Earthbound.
 
The world around him continued as it normally would. At one point he seemed as though he was holding his breath, though after that it grew shallow and quick, straddling that line between hyperventilating and not. There was no real change, though. For his part at least he was manageable, and patient. 
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