The Descendants #103 – Hardcore Fans Chp 5

This entry is part 52 of 55 in the series Current

Renaissance crouched on the edge of their newest perch, watching as Zero joined the fight against the kukara clones. From her vantage point, she could also see that her slick pellets weren’t going to keep the oni down forever.

The one possessing Jada had figured out that her claws could anchor in the pitch on the roof and allow her to drag herself around on the low-fiction goo. Once she got to a space clear of the lubricant, she’d be free and the others would follow.

“Anything I can do to help?” She asked Kay.

The team’s professional sidekick was on her hands and knees drawing a magic circle with chalk and paused to shake her head. “Just keep me safe so I can concentrate. I have instant runes in may kit, but I need to change the runes to make what I need to undo the freeze on Warrick. Once he’s free, with Isp and Osp, the oni won’t be much of a problem.”

“How… high up in Faerie are these kurakas? A one-hit k… defeat must mean they’re pretty high up there.”

Kay continued to draw as she responded. “The thing is, that’s not an instant win on Faerie. There’s plenty of magic the other species know that can counter it and they’re not strong enough to shatter someone on their own. It’s a stalling tactic there, so these guys are mostly scouts and shock troopers.

“So a low-level member of their army… took one of our heaviest hitters off the board?” Renaissance asked, pursing her lips tightly.

“And then Cyn basically ignored it,” Kay pointed out, then added, “And Warrick will be okay. I promise.”

A moment of quiet passed before Renaissance replied, “Thanks. I know. You’re great at what you do.”

The two nodded to one another before Kay resumed her work. A few syllables in a tongue neither she nor anyone living understood, and the circle began to vibrate and blur. She then pulled out a wooden poker chip which had been deeply scored and pre-etched with runes. This, she placed in the center of the circle.

A faint, white glow appeared on the face of the chip, mirroring these markings drawn in the circle. Slowly, the runes etched on its face changed to match. Once the transformation was complete, the vibration of the circle sped up until the chalk finally blurred enough that all that was left was a white blotch around the reformatted chip.

Kay picked up the chip, folded a piece of torn cloth around it and then secured that with a length of copper wire around it. “Alright. Almost done with the prep.” From her satchel, she took out several dropper bottles and began to carefully measure liquid out onto the cloth. “ Now for the hard part. I need to be right next to Warrick to counter the ice curse on him. That means not only going down there, but also taking down the globe of force protecting him.”

“We’ll give you all the time you need.” Renaissance said, distracted. “But we have to move. Now.”

“What? Why?”

“Facsimile just called. The kuraka is trying to open some kind of gate. Sounds like it’s trying to take him to Faerie.”

Kay’s movements sped up as she added more liquid and dusted the now-soaked cloth with dust and herds from various baggies until it was caked with something like a thick clay.. once she had an even coating all over the bauble, she brought it close to her mouth and breathed out another ancient proto-word. The clay hardened, leaving her with a crudely square tile.

Closing it tightly in her fist, she spread the wings she still had from casting her flying spell earlier. “Done. Cover me?”

A red-striped magazine clicked into place in Renaissance’s right gauntlet. “Absolutely.” With that,s he got a running start and bounded off the side of the building. A grapnel line fired from her left gauntlet, anchoring into the first roof they’d fled to and allowing her to swing down toward the courtyard garden.

The kuraka—the original kuraka—was there with its back to the globe of force surrounding Warrick. Its hands were raised as it conjured. The energies crackled and swirled, and at the edges of it, matter coalesced into an arch of something that resembled glass, which in turn threw bizarre patterns of light all around.

Focus creased its features as it wove the spell, but pride swelled in its heart.

The Queen’s spies had returned to her with news of two great obstacles to Her final victory against the Blue World; champions who controlled deadly metal, the scourge of all whose blood flowed back to the Air and Darkness.

Now he, Kahmu of the Boiling Marsh, had captured one of them. When he brought his captive home, Maeve would reward him handsomely. Perhaps he would even be ensouled and thus elevated to the ranks of a true sidhe. Power beyond his wildest dreams would be his once he bridged the ever-narrowing chasm between the Green and the Blue.

One guardian vanquished, one soon to be. And then a trinity of worlds would be under the sway of Queen Maeve and the thorn acursed Hyrilius had placed in her side would be removed. All because of Kahmu.

Just as his future was becoming bright, the present became even brighter was explosions detonated all around him. His concentration shattered as the noise and heat hit him like a hammer, almost knocking him out of the air. The air screamed as the portal to Faerie twisted and was rent asunder.

Kahmun didn’t have time to mourn his spell because a metal-shod boot heel crashed into his side, sending him flying sideways into a trellis of green beans. His razor-edged wings and claws tore through the creeping vines as he threw himself into the air anew.

Renaissance lunged into view, grabbing his arms and holding fast. “Not this time, you little monster! No ice rays, no clones.”

Hideous spite marred Kahmu’s features. “What about havacuma?”

“What?” Before Renaissance could process what he was asking, her ears popped as the air pressure changed. That was her only warning that something had teleported into the area before two red arms closed around her, trying their level best to squeeze the life out of her.

The distraction was enough to let Kahmu to wriggle free of her grasp. “Your world’s time of rebellion is at an end, Mankind!” He gloated. “Bow down and when I reign over this land, you will sere in my army to honor your strength and tenacity!”

“Sorry, but this land banned the draft decades ago.” the oni controlling Kyle had Renaisance’s arms pinned to her sides and wasn’t being shy about trying to kill her, but her nanite-enhanced bones only groaned when those of a normal woman would have cracked.

Not only that, but she was still able to maneuver a hand to her kilt’s pockets and grab a magazine. Her thumb manipulated a control surface as she flexed against the oni’s hold. “But I might be interested in the weapon’s trade!”

With a powerful move, she forced herself free and tossed the magazine just as the entire clip of pellets detonated into a massive cloud of iron-impregnated dust.

Kahmu screamed and with her goggles allowing her to see just fine, Renaissance grabbed the oni’s arm and flipped him over her shoulder, slamming him on the concrete. Through the swirling dust, another oni came down ready to strike her with mean force.

That is until Chords came flying in, drop-kicking him in the gut. She landed in a crouch while playing a power guitar solo.

“Yes!”She crowed. “A real life Ogre Battle!”

The ground shook as a hulking green brute with a hairy body, bald head and heavy brows landed nearby. “I can get behind that,” said Facsimile, cracking her huge knuckles. And with that, she charged in, clothes-lining Jada and another oni.

Far above, psychokinetic constructs and beams tore through clones in droves.

All this gave Kay cover to quietly land next to the globe of force. A word dismissed her summoned wings, allowing them to drop away in an instantaneous molt that dissolved as it hit the ground. She paused to look through the protective bubble at her frozen friend. Seeing him like up close sent a chill through her body.

Faeries inspire terror indeed. Terrific.

“Good thing you’re not the kind of guy to be embarrassed by being rescued by a bunch of girls, War. Bad thing that I’m not going to shut up about it ever.” Nerves successfully soothed, she placed a hand on the globe of force and said, “Cease.”

The orb rippled briefly before disappearing, thus leaving the way clear to her temporarily-fragile friend.

With the way clear, Kay stepped up in front of Warrick, holding the clay tile she’d so recently created. “Here goes nothing.” She placed the tile on his brow and murmured a minor spell to make it stick there. Another activated the instant rune chip embedded inside the tile, causing a orange glowing magic circle complete with precise runes to flare into being above her head, centered on Warrick’s.

“Oh that’s gonna get everyone’s attention,” she muttered, pulling her palmtop containing all the Books the Descendants had thus far captured and scanned from a pocket and opening it to the spell she’d found earlier.

She licked her lips, then started to recite. “Herein is my becoming…”

Just as she’d predicted, the remaining kuraka clones took notice of the conjured circle and flew down, launching ice bolts at her. These were intercepted as Zero also dropped down, hands raised to lower a dome over Kay and Warrick. The bolts burst against it, leaving layers of ice.

“I am the thief impossible,” Kay continued, forcing herself to ignore everything going on around her.

By this time, Kahmu also realized what was going on. “No! Stop them! Destroy the mage! Do not allow them to take my prize!”

On his orders, the oni broke off their fight with the Descendants’ heavy hitters plus Chords and charged the psychokinetic dome, pounding it and the ice coating it with bare fists.

Chords vaulted over the head of one of them, kicked off the dome and landed a flying kick to his breadbasket. As he bent double, she brought her guitar up to clip him in the chin, sending him sprawling backward. “Hold on there, bud. I’ve got to believe I’m never going to get another chance to unleash these puns again, so you’re fighting me whether you like it or not—and I’m shifting into ogre-drive!”

With that, she pirouetted, smashing her guitar into the back of Jada.

Facsimile, in her ogre form, laughed boisterously. “Yeah. And you guys are seriously puny compared to my power ogre-whelming.”

“Nice!” Chords grinned and gave a thumb’s up—which gave Kyle an opening to grab her up by the hair and throw her across the garden to crash into the chain-link fence.

Under the dome, Kay was still chanting, “…I reach beyond my world into the potentia, the might be and never was. My grip rests upon the deep cold. My guild holds it fast. My strength wrests it from this captive soul…”

Jada and another oni charged Facsimile as one and bum-rushed her backward into the dome. Ice cracked and shattered and the dome itself rippled and flared with sky blue light under her sudden weight before flashing to nothing.

Ice crashed down all around and oni howled victoriously.

Kay choked down her fears as she reached the final words.

“I call the ice! Eternal cold, into my hand! In return for life’s red flame!” She placed her palm against the tile on Warrick’s forehead and it immediately caught fire. The flame spread out into a circle around his head from which spread a patina of orange, glimmering light all across his body.

Ice groaned and dripped before giving out with a crack. Plates of the stuff fell from Warrick’s body and shattered on the ground. Isp and Osp flexed, breaking themselves free of their bondage as well. Then Warrick immediately dropped to his knees, ripping off his helmet so he could throw up.

“No!” shrieked Kahmu. “You will not take this from me! If I cannot capture the iron guardian, I’ll be the one to slay it!” He brought his hands together to call forth another ice bolt.

Renaissance matched his shout with her own. With only explosive and grapnel rounds locked into her gauntlets, she choose the one she thought was best and fired a grapnel, using it to snare the fey’s hands together, trapping the forming ice bolt there.

Following the ruinous line to its source, Kahmu fixed Renaissance with a hateful glare.

“You will gain nothing from me, Mankind. For the Queen of Air and Darkness!” He kept eye contact as he relased the ice bolt into his own fingers. The blue flare immediately became creeping ice that frosted over said fingers and began to extend up his arms to his body.

When it finally reached his wings, he fell from the air, plummeting to the solid earth that would shatter him as surely as he intended for the heroes.

To Be Continued…

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About Vaal

Landon Porter is the author of The Descendants and Rune Breaker. Follow him on Twitter @ParadoxOmni or sign up for his newsletter. You can also purchase his books from all major platforms from the bookstore
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