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Brian and his Guardian :iconbigmand88:BigManD88 1 1 Isabelle and Brian - Back to Back :iconbigmand88:BigManD88 0 0
Literature
The Dead Girl
            It has become a bit of a routine.  She would return to this same spot, right next to the bed.  It still feels so recent for her.  She and her twin sister have arrived New York.  When they found a hotel room, she remembers how much her twin had such a hard time with her bag.  She remembers the two of them in the car, chatting and laughing it up before another car slammed into them. 
    Her sister was fine, but she wasn’t.  She required a heart transplant and she certainly lost more than her heart at the time.  She was supposed to be fine.  It was supposed to be all better, but there was a mistake.  The heart didn’t match.  She required more surgery, this time with a matching heart.  She temporarily died on the table at the time, but things turned out fine.  They were supposed to be fine.  She had instructions, among them being to not get t
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Literature
The Rival
            Pacing in his room, Isabelle is feeling a wave of emotions.  Brian isn’t in here, but lying in the hospital after a suicide attempt.  His family is with him and he’s yet to wake up.  She was there and couldn’t bear it anymore.  She felt panic because someone she loves is now fighting for his life, yet also anger that he tried to do it with his own hand.  Even more anger went to the cause.  She has a good ideal as to why.  He’s already been through too much in his young life and all it took was one more thing to break an already unstable dam. 
            Before she realized what she’s doing, she grabs his laptop, turning it on and pulling up his messengers.  She’s been around him enough to know how to access these things.   Bringing up one of his past chats, she already spots what she’s loo
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Literature
The Guardian
   Traversing these dark streets, they all walk in silence.  All the buildings were black, yet varied in size.  The sky is a dark purple with a full moon.  It was a dark reflection of the real world, a world created within Brian’s mind.  They were all here looking for something.  Rather, someone.
   Isabelle walked by his side, along with her twin sister, Laura, Brian’s best friend, Gambito, and their mentor, Maxine.  There was one more guest travelling with them, a mysterious man named Peter, who is a Viking warrior who has been dead for centuries.  His short black hair connected to his scraggly beard.  He wore a red, sleeveless overtunic, with a hood attached, and over a long sleeved light brown tunic.  Black bracers covered his wrists, yet they were decorated with a metallic symbol and had furry edges.  Dark brown gloves covered his hands; brown pants covered the lower half of his body along with dark
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Literature
An Ambitious Man
    From the audio recordings of Dr. Robert Chill.
    “What does it mean to be human?  My answer is “heavily flawed.”  We allow emotions and nostalgia to blind us to that which is truth.  We are fragile, both in body and mind.  Disease can wipe us out and with but a whisper our souls corrupted by someone meant to do us harm and in turn gain something beneficiary for themselves.  We put our lives on the line for vanity and admiration as we keep video evidence of our stunts and upload them to social media sites.  We do things that constantly call Darwinism into question and it is enough to almost make one such as myself weep.  We are a selfish people above all, full of so much pride in ourselves.  We consider ourselves to be so special and yet, individually are so selfish as to not consider others and how our actions affect them.  Such is the case with my own wife and daughter.&
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Literature
The Beast, The Witch, and The Dragon
  Part 1:  Monster Hunter
  Silence is broken by screams.
  Men and women are disturbed from their slumber.
  Surprised, they are, to find what is in their barracks.
  Through shadow he moves.
  Already, he has consumed victims.
  Gunfire explodes.
  He is not slowed.
  One by one they meet a violent end.
  The episode of violence is reported the next day.
  Brian, Gambito, Isabelle, and Laura were watching.
  Gambito, in particular, finds the news enraging.
  The men and women mentioned were familiar.
  Friends he had made in service.
  Unable to hear anymore, he turns the TV off.
  He states, “This has Bane written all over it!
  Only someone like him has the stones.
  He doesn’t give a shit about who he kills!
  We need to put him the fuck down and do it now!”
  Brian, sworn enemy to the monstrous Bane, chimes in:
  “He’s been dead before.
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Literature
The Sandwich Shop on Devil's Night
                                                                                     Camilla
           It’s the night before Halloween; we were hungry, and still missing a dear friend of ours.  We came across this Submarine Sandwich place, decked out with Halloween décor and still open even though it was pretty late.  There were 4 of us:  Me, Jaime, Adam, and Sara.  There were a couple other people in there too.
           Halloween is tomorrow, yet people were already dressed for the occasion.  I was wearing “Day of the Dead” makeup and a black, single dress with a skeleton on the front and back with a black top hat, fingerless cotton gloves, stockings, and black fla
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Literature
The Name
            “RrraaAARRRGGHHH!!!” cried an enraged Dr. Chill.
            The doctor drops to his knees, surrounded by wreckage while he too is showed the signs of battle.  His lab is ruined, machines smashed and short circuiting, research burned and destroyed.  His eyes fall upon his destroyed plans for his monstrous golem, a project he has been working on for so long.  He finally released the monster, only for her boy toy to destroy him!  The doctor himself is covered in burns, cuts, and bruises.  His clothes are torn, ragged, his coat almost falling off his shoulders.  Taking a finger, he presses it to his face, tracing it along the burn marks.  Energy is released and concentrated on said finger, creating a makeshift scapel, allowing him to cut as he begins to operate on himself. 
          
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Literature
The Detective and The Doctor
            His light shines through the darkness, spotlighting chairs, desks, and tables.  His police issued pistol in one hand while his flashlight is in the other.  He can tell he’s in a waiting room. His nerves are on edge, they have been since he stepped foot in the building.  Already he has lost track of time, no longer aware of how long he’s been here.  It is definitely pass midnight. 
            Something struck him as off.  It is quiet except for when he hears himself breathing or accidentally bumps into furniture.  He tries to step as light as possible to not alert anyone.  Once in a while he stops, trying to calm himself.  This place is getting to him.  Outside, it is not attractive.  It looks like a condemned, abandoned hospital, yet inside he swears the walls and floors appear to be clean.  No creatures haunt the
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Literature
The Prisoner
Anger, sadness, and loneliness
I want out
Drowning in the waters of rage
Let me out
I want out
I can’t breathe
Let me out
I need to breathe!
I can’t breathe
This anger burns through me
I need to breathe!
The air of sorrow suffocates me
This anger burns through me
I want out!
The air of sorrow suffocates me
Let me out!
I want out!
The waters of rage are rising
Let me out!
The chains of woe hold me under
The waters of rage are rising
Murder, death, rape
The chains of woe hold me under
I demand to be free!
Murder, death, rape
The taste of blood is quenching
I demand to be free!
I will destroy everything!
The taste of blood is quenching
The outside calls to me!
I will destroy everything!
Everyone will feel my wrath!
The outside calls to me!
I want out!
Everyone will feel my wrath!
Let me out!!
I want out!
No one is safe!
Let me out!
None shall escape!
No one is safe!
I want to feel life expelled from flesh
None shall escape!
I will relish in dark desires!
I want to feel life ex
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Literature
Mirror and Shadow
            Darkness.  Nothing but darkness.  No light to be found, yet the floor and prison bars were so visible that a light might as well be shining on this spot.  The row of bars seems to have no end, disappearing into the darkness.  The floor was grey, yet clean.  No walls.  No ceiling. No noise.  Complete utter silence.  Brian couldn’t help, but to feel a measure of panic at the scene.  This place, created from the depths of his soul and mind, was not what he expected.  He was not sure what he expected, but it was not this. 
            “Who are you?” spoke a voice from the dark.  It is deep with a bit of a growl, booming and almost echoing in throughout.  Brian nearly jumps out of his clothes.  He stares at the bars, wondering if the voice came beyond them.  He couldn’t hel
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Literature
Berserker
    Berserker - 1. A sect of Norse warriors who would fight with no armor and would continue fighting despite wounds or chance of victory.
    2. Used to say some one has flipped a shit and done something rash with no self-regard….
    3. Derived from berserkr, an Old Norse word. plural; Berserkir.
    The hut’s door flew open as Astrid hurriedly ran out.  She did not bother to check on her daughter and husband, who were in the middle of training, as she ran past them, hiking up her dress.  Unlike them, her hair was blonde.  Her hair is usually braided, but in this instance it wasn’t.  She headed straight for where the bears roamed while Helen and Ulfric watched her.
    The two held their staffs upright as Ulfric wiped the sweat from his brow.  Helen, then 13 years old, panted and mimicked her father’s action. 
  
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Literature
Cub
10 Years Ago in the Age of Vikings…
    She breathes heavily while down to one knee, holding her sword in hand and using it to get back to her feet.  Once again she’s been knocked down.  Looking across, she spots her father waiting patiently, his face betraying no worry or annoyance.  He’s a large, burly, bear of a man wearing a dark brown tunic, black bracers over his sleeves, light brown trousers and wooden brown high shoes.  His raven hair was tied into a tail with the sides shaven clean, matching his scraggly beard in color.  Though, not usually a style associated with young girls, she wore clothes that matched her father’s, which were more appropriate for training than a dress.  Her raven hair hung down to her shoulders.  A wooden shield fit for her size was attached to her left forearm.  Her name was Helen and she was 10 years of age at the time.
    She was still getting use
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Literature
The Bracelet
            It’s quiet.  That or the sounds outside his room and home are simply being drowned out.  His room is adorned with posters showcasing superheroes, video game characters, famous action heroes, even models.  A black, wooden shelf stood in front of a large window, already covered by curtains that he never opens.  There was a large space that allowed for a TV to be placed there, but he used all of it to place his books, varying from novels to comic books. 
            On his nightstand, he stares at the pill bottle which stood next to a bracelet.  Since she’s been gone, Brian regularly sat by the nightstand, staring at these two objects.  The pill bottle is for when he contemplates swallowing the whole thing and the bracelet is a painful reminder of what will never come.  Sometimes just staring at that damned thing almo
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Literature
Husk
    Through the woods she walks, whistling the tune to “Winnie the Pooh.”  Her hood comes down, exposing her brunette hair.  Her eyes were as green as jade and her skin revealed the signs of maturity.  Neither tall nor short, she stops and stares at this lifeless place.  Branches remained rigid and no creature scurried, yet, she felt it.  This is the place.  Her hood was connected to a long, formerly sleek, brown coat.  Her wrists were adorned with charm bracelets occupied by mini figures resembling caricatures of people.  Larger figures were attached to her belt, accompanied by a pouch, carving knife, and even vials.  The crimson shade of lipstick matched her shirt.  Black jeans matched her boots on her feet and the fingerless gloves on her hands.
      Onward, she continues, still whistling.  This time, there was more pep in her step, kicking up dirt and leafs as if taking a str
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Brian and his Guardian
Commissioned by akira-125.  Can find him on his tumblr as well, which is here.

This is Brian and his guardian, Helen.  Anyone who actually read my short stories may be familiar with her as she has been the subject of and appeared the following shorts: Cub, Berserker, The Guardian, and finally The Beast, The Witch, and The Dragon.   Now you may notice that she looks different from how she's described in the stories.  Well yea, I wanted her to have a modern look but combined with the Nordic style.  Also was playing around with her hair color instead of the usual blonde that Vikings are portrayed with.  Plus remember, the short stories are just concept stories, so they are subject to change or not even be used at all as I am currently writing the first book.  Depending on how things go (fingers crossed), Helen will not be introduced until the series reaches a certain point so until then, the character of Brian will not yet be aware of her.  As for Helen, aside from being his guardian, she is a Viking warrior, a shieldmaiden, a unique kind of berserker, and finally a Valkyrie.  I've read the cliffnotes version about Valkyries and they appear to be either celestial in nature or even human, but superhuman with supernatural connections and traits. Most earth born Valkyrie are said to be born of Kings.  Keyword is most.  Obviously as you could tell from my stories, she's not royalty, so she is that rare type.  She is a servant of Freyja, but also the mistress of King Bjorn (Brian in a past life and no not that Bjorn. Same first name, different people), and mother of one of his sons.  Also you may notice she's not one of the typical Vikings in the way that her primary weapon is not what you typically associate with them: her staff.  While she is well versed in other weapons, this is her favorite, taught by her father.  It is a powerful relic in itself, which she uses to channel her energy through and when she does, runic symbols would appear on it.  She can do more with it than simply smack the hell out of someone.  Some of which are things I'm keeping to myself for now.  Still she is very powerful, fierce, but loving, caring, and protective. 

Brian here, a lot of you who been following are more familiar with. He's the secondary protagonist of The Invincible World.  In the pic, he's wielding his new sword after his first one broke.  It is a gift from Freyja, who Helen has taken him and the group to see.  Also you may notice a necklace around his neck.  It is the fabled Brisingamen, another gift from Freyja, but she definitely expects it back.  She sympathized with him and could read what's in his heart.  She remembers his life as King Bjorn and how he fought for her and Odin in Ragnarok, sacrificing himself, which would lead to his rebirth centuries later.  His sword is often powered by Brisingamen and the famed necklace boosts Brian's power in other ways.  Also if you look closely, he's wearing the  friendship bracelet on his arm.  As for his sword, runic symbols will appear when activating his abilities.

Together the two are a formidable team. Helen is almost like a Stand (for you JoJo fans out there), protecting him but also possessing her own abilities and willing to kick some ass, but at times in which he has to fight his own personal battles, she will step aside and allow him to do so. 
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            It has become a bit of a routine.  She would return to this same spot, right next to the bed.  It still feels so recent for her.  She and her twin sister have arrived New York.  When they found a hotel room, she remembers how much her twin had such a hard time with her bag.  She remembers the two of them in the car, chatting and laughing it up before another car slammed into them. 

    Her sister was fine, but she wasn’t.  She required a heart transplant and she certainly lost more than her heart at the time.  She was supposed to be fine.  It was supposed to be all better, but there was a mistake.  The heart didn’t match.  She required more surgery, this time with a matching heart.  She temporarily died on the table at the time, but things turned out fine.  They were supposed to be fine.  She had instructions, among them being to not get too excited or upset for a short period.  From that point she learned that life has a cruel way of working.  All it took was being hit with bad news and it left her with low spirits.  She needed to take her mind off things.  She needed to forget all her troubles for just a moment.  So she went to bed.  She never woke up.

    That is incorrect, she did wake up.  When she did, she saw her body right in the spot she’s staring at currently.  After so much time has passed, there is just an empty spot.  Sometimes, she still sees her body there.  She would close her eyes for however long it took, so she can open them and no longer see it.  To learn that she had died is and how she felt is almost indescribable.  The intense wave of emotion, the heavy sense of dread, all of her life playing out before her, she temporarily went mad.  She fell into a deep depression.  It isn’t the fact that she died, it’s knowing that everyone she knew and loved are lost to her.  The regrets hit her almost instantly.  Guilt slammed into her.  There are things she will never be able to do nor say.  There are no more second chances.  She thinks of the fights she’s had, things she should’ve told people when she had the chance, the hearts she’s broken.  Included is one particular heart, someone she has hurt before and now, she can’t take it back.  All these things haunted her for so long.  They still do. 

    Overtime she has learned new things.  She learned that she can travel back and forth among everyone she loved with but a thought.  Sometimes she can feel a pull, something tugging at her and she’s there.  She learned that is what happens whenever someone is thinking of her.  She learned how enter dreams.  It was the one way she could interact with anyone.  Everyone could chalk it up to being just a dream, yet for her it meant so much more.  She learned that she can interact with physical objects, but at the time it wasn’t something she mastered.  She did it for the first time during a particularly rainy day; heavy rain and strong wind so powerful that umbrellas were useless.  She spotted a handmade bracelet meant for her.  It was around the wrist of a boy she loved, a boy she hurt.  Without thinking she grabbed his wrist, protecting the bracelet from being soaked in the rain.  The boy was completely soaked, but the bracelet was perfectly fine.  Brian is his name.  Brian Davidson.

    With even more time, her eyes have been open to a new world.  There are people out there capable of seeing her, touching her, and scariest of all, harming her.  There is an entire world occupying the same space as this one, where spirits rule.   Time and space can be bended, demons were real, and magic exists.  She has entered a supernatural world invisible to the eyes of normal people.  Through this world, she was even able to reunite with a long lost family member.  She no longer felt as alone from there.  Along with these new discoveries, she developed abilities of her own.  In particular her shield ability created from a deep desire to protect those she loves.  She can create a large bubble around her being or even construct shapes with her shield.  She learned telekinetic and psychic abilities along the way.  She has a very good teacher. 

    Those are not all she has learned.  As of now, as she stands next to her bed, there is a serious threat to someone she cares about.  A maniac is threatening them and she has the power to stop him.  All she has learned was meant to prepare her for such confrontations.  Why was she here then?  Back at the place in which she died?  She does it for meditation.  She does it to remind herself of her new role.  She is now a spirit.  She is dead.  She’s still reconciling that fact and reminding herself that all of this is not a dream.  She has to keep her emotions in check.  Remembering her death, her regrets, her guilt, and her shame can still get to her with ease.  She needs to be able to maintain her awakened powers or else it’s chaos.  She almost lost control in this room more than once.  One time, objects went flying just as someone came into the room.  Since then, an urban legend has been created regarding her old room and no one has really rented or entered it since. 

    She can’t put it off any longer.  She needs to act.  Her eyes are closed and her power is rising.  She can feel an object or two lifting off the ground.  She didn’t just need to focus; she needed to stop seeing herself on that bed.  She’s also scared.  All this is still new to her.  She knows what she has to do and yet, what if she fails?  She needs to get over that.  She’s made a lot of mistakes in her life.  She now has it in her power to correct them.  She no longer feels so hopeless.  A second chance is possible.  She knows it.  She feels it.  It all starts now.  She is a sister, a daughter, a fighter, and a spirit.  Where she has failed before, she will now succeed.  With everything she has, she will protect the ones she loves.  She has a new purpose.  Her power calms.  The objects are gently put down.  Silence fills the room.  She opens her eyes.  Her name is Isabelle Jamie Ziggler.  This is her story.

    Behold the wonders of the Invisible World.

     

The Dead Girl
So here it is. The big one.  What makes this so important is that this is more than a short story.  It is actually the prologue to the first book.  Chronologically, Isabelle is getting ready to face the book's villain.  Also the title of this story, will also be the title of the first book.  The Dead Girl.  This story is all Isabelle, showcasing a routine of her's while reflecting on her death, telling the reader how it feels on the other side while being exposed to a whole new, fantastic world.  This scene will be updated and extended in the actual book and you noticed how in some stories, I detail certain events that take place inbetween. Not gonna write them like that in the books, you are going to actually see these adventures play out in full detail.  So here it is, the start of Isabelle's story. I give you "The Dead Girl."
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            Pacing in his room, Isabelle is feeling a wave of emotions.  Brian isn’t in here, but lying in the hospital after a suicide attempt.  His family is with him and he’s yet to wake up.  She was there and couldn’t bear it anymore.  She felt panic because someone she loves is now fighting for his life, yet also anger that he tried to do it with his own hand.  Even more anger went to the cause.  She has a good ideal as to why.  He’s already been through too much in his young life and all it took was one more thing to break an already unstable dam. 

            Before she realized what she’s doing, she grabs his laptop, turning it on and pulling up his messengers.  She’s been around him enough to know how to access these things.   Bringing up one of his past chats, she already spots what she’s looking for.  There she is, AbsinthePhoenix.  From the chats, she knows her real name is Crystal.  She has been watching over all of her loved ones since her own passing, watching them move on or at least try to.  Brian was among those who suffered most and yet he was starting to move on.  This is someone who was supposed to be his friend, who encouraged him to be better.  Things evolved to love and them making plans for the future, but she all of a sudden seemed to disappear.  Months and months went by.  No answer on the phone, no sign of her logging in, nothing.  She became a ghost and it crushed him.  Isabelle never trusted this person to begin with, yet how was she to warn him?  He can’t see her.  She’s tried to get his attention on more than one occasion.  It was a wasted effort. 

            There were times where it seems that he can sense her presence.  It didn’t take Isabelle long to figure out that he can, yet it is something he waves off.   He doesn’t realize that he’s gifted, able to detect a spirit.  She discovered the ability to visit him in his dreams, but he thinks of them as just that, dreams.  Besides, she always finds herself falling into the dream world herself, finding serenity and peace, which somehow manages to bring calm to Brian as well.  There was no way to bring him calm this time.  She witnessed him become more broken than ever until he attempted to take his own life.  It was one of the hardest things she’s ever been through, seeing him in trouble and being unable to do a thing. 

            She sits before screen, watching it and at a pause.  She got this far, now what?   She barely registers the fact that she’s physically interacting with such an object.  She hasn’t done that since protecting the bracelet Brian wore from heavy rain.  It is a bracelet meant for her and even now, she looks at it, spotting the object on a dresser.  It is a painful reminder of what could’ve been as well as the broken man Brian has become.  This Crystal managed to break him and it was time for a chat, but how?   The same way she usually does?  All it took was for her to think of someone or them thinking of her and she was there.  Could it work the same way with this person?  She doesn’t really know what she looks like.  Sure, she’s seen a couple pictures, but they could be fake.  It’s a lot easier when it comes to people she knows.  The energy, the locations, they’re all familiar to her and take considerably less effort. 

            With a sigh, she touches the screen and closes her eyes.  She tries her best to focus, only able to go on the few memories she actually has of her.  All she knows, aside from that, is that she wants to go there.  She wants to meet this person.  She feels a brief rush, like a rapid surge of energy and wind blowing for but a second.  Opening her eyes, she finds herself in an unfamiliar room.  Where the hell was she?  The room was decorated with Flyleaf posters, Paramore, gothic dolls with big heads and alien like eyes.  Those things were really creeping her out.  Her eyes scan the room until falling on a young woman.  She’s a brunette, brown hair so dark, it could be mistaken for black.  Her hair came down pass her shoulders.  She wore a dark blue hoodie with the hood, itself, down.  Black Daisy Dukes and flip flops completed her outfit.  She’s a beautiful woman, just like her picture.  So she wasn’t a liar about that.  This was Crystal alright.  What disturbs Isabelle is what she sees the woman looking at.  She’s checking newsfeeds, looking for suicide attempts and recent deaths.  She has a chat up with Brian’s screen name on it, yet she has herself hidden so he can’t tell she’s online. 

            Always a smart young woman, it took Isabelle almost no time to figure out what was going on.

            “You did it on purpose…” she says, the shock and disgust evident.  “You led him on, only to break his heart.  You knew what he was going through.  You built him up, only to tear him down and for what, a sick joke?!  You want him kill himself?!!”

            The young woman didn’t respond.  She clearly didn’t know Isabelle was there.  That didn’t stop Isabelle from her rant.

            “I’ve been watching you fill him with so much hope,” she continued.  “It has been a long time since he’s been happy and this is what you do to him.  You say you loved him, only to rip his heart out!  You clearly need it because yours is gone!  No one is that damn cruel.  You are a damn murderer and you barely had to lift a fucking finger!  Do you feel good about it?  Is that how you get off, causing someone else pain, you sick bitch?!  Why did you do this?!  He’s done nothing to you and you’ve hurt him in the worst way!  Why?!”

            The woman, still, does not answer.  She may not be able to sense Isabelle and yet, the lack of an answer only further enrages the spirit.  He hands are balled into fists, trembling with rage.  Without thinking, Isabelle grabs the woman’s chair, spinning it around to make Crystal face her. 

            “I’M TALKING TO YOU!!” she yells.

            “And I heard you the first fucking time!!” Crystal says, standing from her chair.

            Isabelle, shocked, backs away from the young woman as she gets closer to her, in her personal space and almost touching. 

            “I’ve been sitting here,” Crystal said.  “Listening to your annoying country accent, talking so much trash to me about Brian.  You’re obviously Isabelle.  He said you’re Italian, yet have a southern accent, not to mention…well dead.” 

            Isabelle doesn’t say anything.  She’s still in shock that this woman could hear her the whole time.  In fact, she can see her!  She is clearly not happy.

            “That’s right,” Crystal continued.  “I know all about you.  He shared everything with me, his pain, his regrets, the same things he shared with you.  I’m guessing you… what?  Hover over his shoulder a lot?  Watch over him when you miss him? “-Chuckles with a brief pause-“That’s just hilarious.  You didn’t choose him and now you regret it don’t you?  You almost died before and what did you do?  You wanted to live your life!”

            Crystal shoves Isabelle then, further surprising the spirit.  Isabelle did not expect things to go this way.  She didn’t know what she intended, to scare her, to make her understand?  She simply acted without thinking and now, she’s nervous.  Add on top of being able to see and hear her, she’s touching her!

            “You started dating someone else did you not?” Crystal taunts with another shove.  “You pick someone else but now him?  You want to berate me and yet you did the same thing!  You said you loved him and abandoned him because you thought living life meant not being tied down!  You are so damn stupid!  You almost die and rather than go for it, you reject it!  But, wait, you did end up dying!”-Mock gasps-“You died and he was so crushed.  I mean, you crushed his spirit before, but the real blow was waking up and learning that you died in your sleep.  Why?  Because you were upset and what did the doctor tell you after heart surgery?  Avoid getting upset.  Clearly you can’t take care of your own heart and we know what you did to his.  Such a shame.”

            Crystal continued shoving her until Isabelle’s back was against the wall.  Crystal closes the distance, in her personal space again, uncomfortably close to touching her, eyes locked onto her’s. 

    “What made you so upset that night Isabelle,” she inquires.  “Brian wouldn’t tell me why, something about a promise to never reveal your secret.   He still loved you that much, to keep your secret from even me.  The real kicker is, it’s a secret you never even told him!! Your own best friend did!  So loyal to you, even till the end, and you couldn’t even tell him. What kind of woman does that?!  So you tell me, Judge, why did you do it?!”

    Her own anger returns then, pushing herself from the wall and forcing Crystal to back up.  She knows the secret in which she is referring.  Something she thought she’d be rejected for, but Brian accepted.  She has many regrets and keeping that from him is one.  Still, this woman was trying to turn things on her, playing the role of the high and mighty, bringing judgement down on her… and it was working unfortunately.  Though she felt anger, that anger is combined with guilt and hurt.  If only it was possible to turn back the clock. 

    “The difference between you and me,” Isabelle countered.  “Is that I didn’t go out of my way to hurt him!”

    “Let me get this straight,” Crystal replied.  “You didn’t try to hurt him, yet made conscious decisions that you knew ultimately would.  Talk about an oxymoron, emphasis on the moron.” 

    Without thinking, Isabelle clocks Crystal with a hard right.  She’s had enough of this, and what is even more maddening is the fact that she still has no answer as to why this woman wanted to push Brian to suicide.  She’s going to have to do it the old fashioned way.

    “Why do you want him to die?!” demands Isabelle.  “I’m done playing your fucking games!  Tell me now or so help me…”

    “What?!” Crystal says with a chuckle, wiping blood from her lip.  “You’ll do what?!”

    “Do you really need another example?!”

    “Oh you must be new,” Crystal says condescendingly before laughing. 

    Isabelle is confused now.  What did this woman mean “new?”

    “How long have you been dead sweetheart?” Crystal asks.  “A year? Longer?  Have you learned anything or did you spend your time watching over all your friends and family to see how much they missed you?”

    She has no answer, nor did she wish to dignify her question or taunts with one.  Still, she’s confused.  What is Crystal going on about?

    “Ohhh!” said Crystal, cracking her neck as the air seems to change.  “You are going to learn.”

    There’s pressure in the room, almost like a weight threatening to overwhelm her.  Her body trembles, the air becomes thicker, heat engulfs her body, flowing along her skin with intensity, yet it didn’t burn. 

    “You want to know why I want him to die?” Crystal asks.

    In the blink of an eye, she slams her palm into Isabelle, pushing her back and slamming her into the wall.  Her hand never comes off, keeping it pressed to Isabelle’s chest.  Isabelle gasps for air, feeling the wind knocked out of her.  She may be dead, but that sensation felt the same.  Crystal pushes her hand further against Isabelle, almost as if she’s trying to crush her chest, revealing strength that Isabelle is surprised she has. 

    “I did it for love dingus,” Crystal said.  “I did it because then, he can have peace.  I did it because if he dies, he’s mine forever!  I’m betting you’re confused now.  Little girl, there are forces in this world that you haven’t even begun to learn about.  One of said forces is a hell of a backer for people like me.  I can have who I want, what I want.  Perhaps I should prove it to you.”

    Isabelle has little time to let the words sink in before she feels more intense heat going through her and this time, it did burn!  Flames ignite, tearing through her form as she screams in pain.  As soon as they started, they stop.  Her vision is clear again as she sees Crystal smirking in front of her, hand still pressed to her chest.  Smoke is emitting from her body, yet she has no burn marks.  She can hear the sound of sizzling, knowing it was coming from her.

    “Hurts don’t it?”  Crystal taunts.  “That is the kind of power you will never understand.  You come in my home and judge me, yet you’ve done more than enough damage yourself!  Next time look in the mirror!”

    Isabelle needs to find a way out of this.  She was taken by surprise, but now was the time to act.  Words from her brother, Eric begin to play in her head, memories of him teaching her martial arts returning. 

    Remember, elbows and knees are perfect to use when someone is up close.  Not a lot of people expect you to throw one of those, too used to punches and kicks you know? He once told her.

    She knows.  Taking Eric’s advice, she drives a knee into Crystal’s gut, before grabbing her by the hair and following up with an elbow to her face.  Crystal is forced to release her hold, pain soaring through her.  She barely gets a chance to recover as Isabelle runs toward her, smashing her knee into her face.  A straight kick drives Crystal back while more lessons from Isabelle’s brothers kick in.  It wasn’t just Eric who taught her.  There’s also Lance, the second oldest.  Eric, the oldest, is a military man and taught her how to defend herself.  Lance knew some things too, but took on a different path.  Unfortunately, he took his own life years ago, all because of a woman.  This situation serves as a reminder, a pain in which she never recovered.  It was fuel to her raging fire. 

    Don’t give them room to breathe, Lance once told her.  Hit ‘em hard, hit ‘em fast, hit ‘em a lot! Make it count.

    Punch after punch, Isabelle lets her fist fly.  Her assault is stopped by a raw wave of energy from Crystal, launching her into the air and away from her.

    “Enough!!” Crystal yelled with a huff.  “So you know some things.  Big fucking deal!  What I got is power! You took me by surprise, bitch, but you won’t do it a second time!”

    The room feels hot, humid.  It is almost as if the oxygen left the room, making it hard to breathe.  The same feeling as before returns:  the heat around her skin, the invisible weight trying to overwhelm her.  A fiery aura appears over Crystal with the addition of fiery wings.  Her eyes no longer have pupils, now filled with energy matching the golden glow of the sun.

    “I bet you think you can’t die a second time,” Crystal said.  “You’d be wrong.  You know what happens when a Spirit dies?”

    What?!  Isabelle thought before a ball of fire slams into her.

    Knocked off her feet, she hits the wall again.  Crystal is in front of her in no time, grabbing her by the neck and tossing her across the room in another showing of impressive strength.  The grip itself stung with the flames, provoking a cough from Isabelle.  Before she could recover, she feels Crystal gripping her hair, lifting her before repeatedly punching her in the face.  Still holding Isabelle’s hair, she then throws her by it with tremendous force and sending her crashing into another wall.  The assault is leaving her disoriented, giving her little room to recover.  Isabelle shakes the cobwebs and tries to counter, but Crystal is too fast, unleashing more punches to the young woman.  Each punch carried an extra sting aided by the fire and it is becoming too much for her to handle. 

    Isabelle manages to catch Crystal with another punch, this time acting more on instinct.  Crystal answers her with a powerful backhand that launches her across the room again.  Isabelle knows her life is on the line now.  She can’t let this bitch win!  A ball of flame is hurled at her again.  Isabelle puts her hands up in front of her, eyes shut as she knows pain is coming.  Nothing happens.  Opening her eyes, Isabelle gasps.  Encasing her is a transparent dome of energy, pink and violet in color.  She is confused, not knowing how this happened.  She needed to protect herself and now this shield formed around her.  It was pure instinct, and perhaps luck.

    “Learned something new?” Crystal taunts.  “Give yourself one of those little star stickers.  Yay!  Now congratulate yourself for only prolonging what’s coming!”

    Another, even larger ball of fire crashes against the shield.  It doesn’t give.  Isabelle is already thinking of what else she could do.  This woman clearly has experience on her side and she’s still new to this.  She didn’t even know she had such an ability!  It happened purely thanks to her will and desire.  Another ball slams into the shield, creating a crack in it.  Isabella began to worry then.  She needs to figure out something and fast.  Her time is further limited with each fireball that assaults her shield.  It is going to break and she needs to be ready.  The shield finally shatters and Isabelle makes a run for it, charging at Crystal. A stream of fire greets her instead, pushing her into the wall and pinning her.  She screams loudly, the flames relentlessly pouring into her.  The crackle in addition to the pain was such that she could barely hear herself scream.  If not for being dead, she certainly would have perished in this fight long ago and yet, she felt a familiar feeling.  Her strength is leaving her.  She is fading and getting weaker as her body slumps to the ground.  She feels like she’s… dying.

    The roaring flames almost mask Crystal’s laughter as the steady stream of flames continues pouring out from her hands.  Isabelle can’t fight back.  She got lucky before, but lightning will not strike twice.  Crystal simply outdid her where power was concerned as well as experience.  How many spirits did she kill?  Can they really die?  What happens?  The ideal scared her as her thoughts focused on those questions while her body felt numb.  If she didn’t know any better, the color from her body is fading, turning her almost white as a sheet. 

    “BULLET SHARK!!!” yelled out a male voice.

    In front of Isabelle, a man appears, shielding her from the flames.  His arms are crossed in front of him, acting as a barrier.  The intense flame stream soon stops.  He is also a brunette, wearing blue jeans and a matching denim jacket.  The style was familiar for some reason.  Isabelle could barely think about it though.  She’s too weak and the flames seemed to have done their damage.  Looking at her hands, one of them was gone while the other transparent.  She was literally fading.  The man in front of her possessed an oddity about him.  His skin was black, gunmetal black.  Is it a type of armor?  She wasn’t sure. 

    “Let her go,” he said.  “I have no beef with you lady.  I don’t want to fight.  Just let us leave.”

    The gunmetal shade begins to change, revealing normal skin in its place.  His voice is almost familiar.  Her thoughts are scattered, yet she tries to focus and remember.  It hurt just to think.

    “L-Lance?” Isabelle says, her voice raspy.

    “It’s me Southern Belle,” he replies, his back still to her with his focus on Crystal. 

    Southern Belle, a nickname only two people refer to her by: Her brother and Brian.  It is Lance alright. Since she died, she has not seen him.  She looked, but never found him.  Now, here he is, saving her.

    “W-we can take her,” Isabelle says, struggling to get up only to slump back down.  Her words were noticeable slurred.

    “She wasn’t thinking,” Lance continues his pleas, ignoring his sister.  “Just let us go and we’ll be out of your hair.”

    “She comes to my house,” Crystal said.  “She attacks me and you want me to let her go?!”

    “Yes,” Lance replied.  “I do.  We don’t want any trouble, but if you want to keep making an issue of it, you should know I got more experience and have someone powerful backing me up if I’m in a bind.”

    Crystal says nothing, staring down Lance and still seething with anger.  She looks to Isabelle, then back to her brother.  The flame aura around her body disappears as she turns her back to both.

    “Get her the fuck out!” she warned.  “Before I change my mind.  She comes at me again; you or your friends won’t be able to do a damn thing to save her!”

    Lance nods, “Thank you.  This won’t happen again.”

    Crystal simply scoffs as Lance grabs his sister, lifting her over his shoulder.

    “Come on Southern Belle,” he said.  “We’re getting you out of here.”

    When Isabelle comes to, she’s on a green couch.  Startled, she shoots up, but falls back onto the couch, already dizzy from the action.  She’s still weak and feeling effects from the fight.  Looking around, she sees the walls are brown, decorations ranging from gothic to voodoo, two green chairs on either side of the couch, beaded curtains in front of a window, and a light brown coffee table with a skull on it.

    She’s awake.

    What was that?  The voice was deep, almost inhuman.  Her eyes fall on the skull.  Surely that wasn’t the source.  Was it?  While mulling over this, her thoughts are interrupted by the sound of a cup being set on the table in front of her.  She looks up to see a redhead woman, in a red robe and matching slippers with her own cup taking a seat in one of the chairs.  Her hair is straight, except for the bangs covering her forehead, her skin is pale but she wore red lipstick.  This is clearly her home, yet who is she? 

    “Go ahead and have a drink,” said the woman.  “Don’t believe everything you hear about ghosts, you can still eat or have a drink.  You just aren’t required to anymore.  Oh and don’t mind Acheron there, he doesn’t bite.” 

    Isabelle says nothing.  She’s lost again.  What was this woman on about?  She also noticed her motioning towards the skull on the table.  Is that Acheron?  He really did talk?!!  That only sparked more confusion for Isabelle.  Where is Lance?  Did he bring her here?  Is this a trap?

    “You can trust her,” Lance said, appearing behind the woman.  “She helped me when I… left.  She’ll help you too.”

    Isabelle caught the way he said “left,” knowing the truth of his passing.  That was simply the nicer way of saying it.  She so wants to hug him right now, fighting back tears, if she can even produce them.  Consequences be damned.  She rushes her brother, wrapping her arms around him in a tight hug, finding that tears were indeed falling.  She knew she’d more than likely have another dizzy spell from this, but didn’t care.  Her brother is here, in front of her.  The last time she saw him, it was before her actual death, when she was on the operating table.  She temporarily died at the time, being visiting by Lance. 

    It’s not your time yet Southern Belle, his words ringing in her head now.

    She feels his arms wrap around her, reciprocating the embrace.  The two stand there in silence.  Neither the woman nor skull, or Acheron as he’s apparently called, said nothing to interrupt the moment. 

    “I’m here Southern Belle,” Lance said. 

    “Where were you this whole time?” Isabelle asks, looking up at him.

    “I’ve been here,” he replied.  “When I left, I was not exactly in a good place and just a dark shadow of my former self.  I found myself here and Maxine restored me to who I am.  I owe a lot to her.”

    “Maxine?” Isabelle asked. “Who is Maxine?”

    “That would be me,” the redhead chimes; motioning towards the cup she placed down earlier.  “Go on, have a drink.”

    Isabelle looks to the woman, then the skull, and back to her brother.  Lance gives her a nod before she pulls herself away from him.  Taking her place on the couch, she takes the cup and brings it to her lips.  Her eyes never leave Maxine as she takes a sip.  The moment she does, it is as if a spark ignited.  Energy shoots through her.  Eyes wide, she’s surprised at what she felt.  She feels… stronger.  The pain she felt from the fight was already starting to fade.  She looks at Maxine, then takes another sip.  An even bigger jolt shoots through her, renewing more of her strength and healing her.

    “A special kind of tea,” Maxine said.  “It’ll bring you back to full health in no time.”

    Isabelle nods as she drinks up the whole thing.  It actually has a nice taste to it as well, not bitter as one would expect of tea like this.  Suddenly aware, she looks down, checking for stains on the couch.  She actually consumed it!  It didn’t go through her as she thought it would.  Maxine laughs, knowing exactly what Isabelle was checking for. 

    “Ummm thank you,” Isabelle said.  “I don’t know how you managed to make something like that but thank you.”

    “You’re welcome dear,” Maxine replied, setting down her cup.

    “My name’s Isabelle,” said Isabelle, offering her hand.  “Isabelle Ziggler.”

    “Hello Isabelle,” Maxine said, taking her hand.  “As you know, I’m Maxine.  Your brother has told me a lot about you.”

    “Did you really help him?”

    “Indeed I did.”

    “What about that... thing he did with his skin.  When he saved me, it looked like his skin changed.”

    “I helped him with master his abilities, otherwise, that is all him.  I can do the same for you.”

    Isabelle’s face must have betrayed her because Maxine chuckles and drinks from her cup again. 

    “I am sure you have a lot of questions,” Maxine said.  “I know a lot about Spirits like you and your brother.  I know about people like that woman you fought.  I know a lot of what is out there.  I don’t know the full story on why you picked a fight with someone like her, but I’m sure you can tell me.  Otherwise, you need to learn to protect yourself.  This world offers a lot of wonders and you haven’t even begun to scratch the surface.”

    Letting the words sink it, Isabelle’s mind goes back to the battle before.  She held her own as long as she could, but ultimately she was far inferior to Crystal.  She wanted answers, only for her motivation to change into wanting justice for someone she loves.   She will not forget Crystal and one day, they will meet again.  As for Brian, she still worries about him.  Seeing him in such pain is something she never wants to see again.  If someone like that is around the people she cares about, she’s going to need to be there to protect them and not get her butt kicked in the process.  She looks at Maxine, then Lance.  She managed to help her brother and helped him unlock abilities he no doubt knew he had.  If she can do the same for her as she said, can Isabelle really afford to pass that up?

    “When do we start?”

The Rival
This is going to take place in Book one of The Invisible World.  This is a key moment because Isabelle will have quite the learning experience as she discovers that though she's dead, there are still plenty dangers to her.  Up to this point, she has been simply watching over her friends, families, and loved ones.  Also this is where she meets two other key characters for the first time, in particular one of them her older brother Lance, who has been mentioned in the other stories.  Also the Crystal character, while important, she will not be back for a while, but trust me, her and Isabelle will have that rematch.  Also Crystal is also seen a bit in a piece of art centering on Brian and Isabelle, you might have noticed a flaming hand in a panel while Isabelle appears in peril.  That's Crystal and that is this story.  So there you have it.  Hope you enjoy this story. This is Isabelle's origin.  
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   Traversing these dark streets, they all walk in silence.  All the buildings were black, yet varied in size.  The sky is a dark purple with a full moon.  It was a dark reflection of the real world, a world created within Brian’s mind.  They were all here looking for something.  Rather, someone.

   Isabelle walked by his side, along with her twin sister, Laura, Brian’s best friend, Gambito, and their mentor, Maxine.  There was one more guest travelling with them, a mysterious man named Peter, who is a Viking warrior who has been dead for centuries.  His short black hair connected to his scraggly beard.  He wore a red, sleeveless overtunic, with a hood attached, and over a long sleeved light brown tunic.  Black bracers covered his wrists, yet they were decorated with a metallic symbol and had furry edges.  Dark brown gloves covered his hands; brown pants covered the lower half of his body along with dark brown boots.  A black belt is wrapped around his waist, and attached to his back a quiver full of arrows along with a wooden long bow.  He appeared to be in his mid-30s.  When the group ran into him prior, they didn’t know if he was friend or foe.  They are still unsure, yet he claims he can help with Brian’s current problem and he suspects that her knows who the someone is they are looking for.  He offered up no other detail aside from that the person is a “she.”

   The incidents that lead to this particular adventure began with a previous one, Bane’s return.  At the time, they all thought the Beast was dead.  Isabelle remembers vividly, witnessing Brian behead the monster in a particularly violent and emotional showdown between the two.  They all thought it was over, but they were wrong.  Bane returned, stronger than ever and when they confronted him, he was victorious.  Brian’s sword broke in the battle, now simply reduced to the hilt.  In this mental, astral plane they appear healthy; in the real world they still bore the signs of the confrontation.  Brian’s abdomen is wrapped in bandages; Gambito’s arm was in a sling, but not anymore.  His arm still noticeably bothered him though.  Laura suffered the least, but was still rattled, Isabelle as well for that matter.  She hasn’t made a full recovery, not mentally.    

   Seeing Brian near death is haunting for her.  Every confrontation between him and Bane increased in violence and brutality.  She thought she was going to lose him that time.  Still, since that time, something strange took place and that was the fact that Brian, waking out of a coma, hummed a two note tune.  This would occur randomly, often while he sleeps.  He claims that when he does it, a voice responds humming the same tune, although sometimes it turns into a 3 note tune with the third being longer.  He said it sounded like a woman’s voice.  None of them could hear it though, only him.  The stranger, this Peter, another Spirit, says he recognizes the tune.  He claims it as a lullaby.  Soon this same voice would call out to Brian, trying to get his attention.  He couldn’t ignore it.  This led them to seeking Maxine as she’s the proven expert on all supernatural things.  She revealed what they all suspected; it was another entity inside of Brian.  How did it get there, they weren’t sure.  Peter hasn’t revealed much, so they were virtually blind.  In the real world, they all are sitting in a circle around Brian, linking up with him mentally and here they are now.

   Isabelle’s eyes fall on the bracelet on Brian’s wrist, the very one he made for her but never got to deliver.  Almost on instinct, she reaches for his hand, before looking at her sister and regaining her sense.  It wasn’t that long ago that she discovered that Laura has feelings for Brian.  Isabelle isn’t angry, yet what can she do with that knowledge?  She’s not sure how Brian feels, often being the type to close himself off and not show what he’s thinking or feeling.  Things between them weren’t sunshine and rainbows.  Before her death, she hurt him, and there were unresolved feelings because of it, feelings they both carried.  She wanted to redeem herself, yet has no idea where to start.  They’ve fought by each other’s side, had moments of peace, even enjoyed each other’s company, yet never fully moved beyond past sins.

   Isabelle was in her usual form of dress, the denim jacket over a black, short sleeved shirt with the text “I heart monsters”, blue jeans, black and white Chucks, and her brunette hair down to her shoulders with side swept bangs.  Being dead, having to change clothes was no longer a factor, though she can change to any form of dress she desires if she wills it.  Brian usually wore a white hoodie with a faux tie printed on the front, now that was no longer the case.  He wore an actual white collared shirt with a tie, a black bomber jacket over it, black gloves, matching black jeans and tennis shoes. Black horn rimmed glasses adorned his face, his head shaven into a flat Mohawk, with a goatee for facial hair.  Laura sported the same hairstyle as Isabelle; except her bands were swept to the opposite side and she too wore glasses. A black, partially zipped hoodie was worn over her own short sleeve shirt with a black tie.  A book bag hung off her shoulders, the strap aligned diagonally while the bag contained her grimoire.  She wore a matching black skirt along with fingerless gloves and black combat boots.  She too used to wear a white hoodie with the faux tie.  It was a “uniform” look they used when hunting.  This was clearly their new look.  Gambito was a standout, having used to worn actual shirt and tie, or clothes fit for combat.  Now he wore a black, short sleeved shirt with a collar and tie, but all covered by a tactical vest with multiple pockets.  Each pocket held a deck of cards inside.  An automatic rifle was strapped to his back, a pistol holstered at his waist, with a combat knife sheathed to his thigh. His outfit was complete with black camo pants, boots, and gloves.  He’s a Columbian male with a buzz cut, having been in the military.  He’s Brian’s friend since childhood.  Of the group, he’s the one with little to no filter.  Their pale skinned, redhead mentor, Maxine, sported her favored short bob hairstyle and crimson lipstick.  She wore her black coat over a dark red shirt, blue jeans, and long black boots.  An e-cig dangled from her lips as she followed the group.  Though being their mentor, she worked closer with Laura than any of them, taking her as an apprentice.  She recognized Laura’s potential for witchcraft and hoped to help her master it.

   “So tell me something,” Gambito said, finally breaking the silence.  “Your name is Peter.  Doesn’t that sound a little… modern since you’re supposed to be a Viking?”

   “It’s spelled differently from what it is today,” Peter replied.  “Besides, it’s not that modern.  Wasn’t Peter also the name of one of your Bible characters?  Also I’m not supposed to be anything. I am a Viking.”

   “In that case,” continued Gambito.  “Tell me how to spell your name.”

   “Purisaz, ehwaz, teiwaz raipo,“ answered Peter.

   “Forget I asked.”

   “Gladly.”

   “Probably looked it up anyway,” Gambito grumbled before continuing to prod Peter.  “Tell me something else, Peter.  Why do you talk like the rest of us?  Shouldn’t you be using the old timey talk?  Thou, thee, tally ho, and all that?”

   “Is he really this stupid?” Peter asked Brian.

   “Unfortunately,” Brian replied.

   “I don’t see how you have the patience,” Peter said before finally addressing Gambito’s question.  “Listen, one, all that “thou” crap was from a comic book. Thor or any Viking doesn’t talk like that.  Two, yes we have our so-called “old timey” lingo, but it definitely didn’t sound like that.  Three, I may come from a different age, but that doesn’t mean I can’t adapt to the times.  I’ve been around for centuries.  I’ve picked up things and educated myself.  Besides, it’s easier to communicate with some of you that way.”

   “If you say so,” dismissed Gambito.

   “How are we supposed to find who we’re looking for?” Isabelle asked, wanting to end the previous discussion.  She could tell Peter had little patience.  Then again Gambito could test the will of a monk.

   “I…” Brian began, but paused, clearly contemplating her question.  “I have no clue actually.  I thought that once we were in, we’d be right where we need to be.”

   “What if we are?” Laura chimed in.  “Maybe she’s here, but we’re not looking hard enough like… what if she’s underground or in one of the buildings?”

   “Sounds about right,” Brian said.  “Now we just have to figure out where to start.”

   “You can start with the obvious,” Maxine finally spoke.  “You said that she responds to a tune.  Hum it, she hums back, and you can track her down.”

   “Talk about the obvious not registering with you,” Brian sighed.

   Silence falls between them.  Brian closes his eyes, listening out for a response and blocking out everything else.  He then hums the simple, two note tune, “Hm-mmm.”

   “Hm-mmm.  Hmmmmmm.”

   His eyes snap open.  There it was!

   “Everyone else heard it?”

   “Yea,” replied a surprised Isabelle.  “I heard it.  In fact, it was really close!”

   “Almost as if it’s behind us,” Laura said.

   They stood in silence then, Laura’s words now a haunting suspicion.

   “Brian,” Peter said.  “Hum it again.”

   With a nod, Brian does as told, humming the tune without a second thought.

   “Hm-mmm.  Hmmmmmm.”

   They all turn around, spotting a cage.  Inside, a black bear cub sat staring at them all.  The cage itself had no door, no lock.  No possible way for the cub to squeeze her way out, let alone escape.

   “That was not there before,” Laura said.  “We’ve been walking through this street, passed that very spot and that wasn’t there before!”

   “She was drawn to the humming,” Maxine said.  “Just as I said.  Somehow you were able to summon her, but she’s still trapped as you can see.”

   While everyone watched the cub, noticeably, Gambito had his rifle drawn and aimed at the creature.

   “What the hell are you doing?” Maxine asked.

   “None of you are bothered that this little beady eyed future furry tank was able to sneak up on us?!” Gambito replied.

   “She’s in a cage,” Isabelle pointed out.  “What could she do from there?”

   “She was able to pop up behind us in a cage.  You think I want to find out what else she can do?”

   Brian brushes pass him, walking towards the cage and grabbing the bars.

   “Don’t worry,” he said to the cub.  “I gotcha.”

   “Hey!” Gambito called.  “The fuck are you doing?!”

   Brian ignores him, pulling on the bars with his hands.  In little time, he rips them from the cage before grabbing more to do the same, creating more space for the cub to get out.

   “Come on,” Brian said, holding out his arms. “I won’t hurt you.”

   The cub begins to take a step when darkness sweeps over them all.  When the scene returns, Brian, the cage, and the cub are all gone.

   “You see?” Gambito said.  “If you let me shoot the damn bear, this wouldn’t have happened!”

   “Shut up,” Isabelle warned before directing her attention to Maxine.  “What happened?!”

   Maxine doesn’t answer, instead walking to the spot Brian and the cub were.  Crouching down, her hand hovers over the ground.  Her eyes closed, she’s focused, trying to locate their energies.  Opening her eyes, she stands and turns, spotting the now free cub on all fours with her body low to the ground with ears flattened against her head.

   “Don’t do anything,” Maxine warned.  “No threatening moves”-she looks at Gambito-“And definitely not anything stupid.

   Peter, mysteriously silent through the proceedings, steps in front of the bear, hands up as a sign of peace.

   “Mom…” he began.  “It’s me.  It’s Peter.  I felt you were in trouble and came as soon as possible.  I had a feeling you were with him, but never-“

   “What a damn minute!” Gambito interrupted.  “Mom?! Him?!  You mean to tell me you were in on this?!”

   “Do you remember me?” Peter asked, ignoring Gambito.  “Do you recognize your son?”

   Mom.  Son.  What was going on?  Isabelle still stood surprised.  She looks at her sister, who is every bit as confused.  Like Gambito, she wanted answers.  If the “him” is Brian, then there’s a reason she’s here.

   “Peter,” she began, voice low as a ball of energy appears in the palm of her hand.  “I think we all deserve answers.  Starting with what happened to Brian.”

   Peter doesn’t taking his eyes off the cub, but still answers, “You will get your answers, bu-“

   “How about now?!” Gambito snapped, gun pointed at Peter now.  “I’m sick of your cryptic bullshit!  Start coming forward or I start blasting.”

   “Put the gun down you idiot,” Maxine warned.

   “Why?!” Gambito challenged.  “Brian isn’t here, we got the creepy bear here and apparently, this guy’s dad is in the habit of bestiality!”

   Isabella once again found herself agreeing with Gambito.  So much was happening right now and she can only believe in what she’s seeing and what she’s seeing was not good.

   “Insult my parents again,” Peter began, finally turning to face Gambito.  “And I will show decimate you to nothingness.  I’ve fought monsters, demons, undead warriors, Jotunn, and Gods.  You think I’m going to have any trouble with an annoying brat with a gun?!”

   “You forget the fact that this gun is pointed right at you,” Gambito countered.  “So as far as I’m concerned, your sick ass father can go to hell and your mom… well I been looking to see what having a bear skinned rug is like.”

   Then it happened, the air seemed to grow thick, almost heavy.  The ground shook and rumbled.  Laura opens her book bag, removing her grimoire from it.  Isabelle generates another energy sphere in her other hand.

   “Everyone,” Maxine said.  “Listen to me.  This is not necessary.  She is not a threat to you.  For once, listen to me and talk it out with her. Convince her that you’re not a threat.”

   Isabelle didn’t lower her guard, neither did Laura or Gambito.  She’s sure Maxine is right and yet, she doesn’t know this… bear.  Peter only recently came into the picture and was a mystery before this.  There only concern was for Brian and if they had to beat answer out of these strangers, they will.  Isabelle looks at the cub, which then turns her head and returns a look.  Something about this gave Isabelle a start.  Something felt… strange.  It’s almost as if she knew the cub.  The cub begins taking slow steps towards Isabelle.  The spheres in Isabelle’s hands increase to the size of soccer balls as she raises her hands.  The pink-violet spheres begin hovering above her palms, ready to be launched.

   “Not a threat my ass!” Gambito said as he turns his gun on the cub and pulls the trigger.

   A light blue aura engulfs the cub as she disappears in the blink of an eye.  Before he could react, Gambito feels four little paws slam into his chest and knock him off his feet.  In a blur, the cub bounces off of him and into Laura, then Isabelle in ricocheting motion before landing on the ground.  All three were in mid-air simultaneously before hitting the ground.

   “Fucking morons…” Maxine said under her breathe at the display.  She steps back, deciding to let the scene play out from this point on.

   “I didn’t…” Laura coughed while getting back to her feet and rubbing her chest.  “Think bear cubs were so strong”

   “Well I bet you also didn’t think they attract bullets,” Gambito said, getting to his feet and aiming his gun again.  As he’s about to pull the trigger, an arrow is lodged into the barrel.

   “The hell?”

   Gambito spots Peter, hood over his head and bow drawn with a smirk on his face.  Gambito tosses his rifle aside before opening one of the pouches to pull out a deck of cards.

   “Oh I was hoping I get to kick your ass!” he gloated.

   He tosses a card at Peter, the flat object cutting through the air at rapid pace, but it is met with an arrow, cutting off its course halfway.

   “Not with such pathetic skill,” Peter mocked.

   As the two begin an exchange of cards vs arrow, Laura joined her sister’s side, grimoire hovering in the air next to her.  The two stare at the cub, which lowers her body to the ground again.

   “You help Gambito sis,” Isabelle said.

   “But-“ started Laura.

   “I can handle a bear cub, Laura,” assured Isabelle.

   Nodding, Laura heads towards the current battle between Gambito and Peter.  The whole deck of cards floated around Gambito as he would grab two at a time, tossing them at his enemy, who counters with more arrows, his defense having yet to be penetrated.  Thrusting her palm forward, the grimoire flies to the front of her hand, spreading open as a bolt of energy is fired from it.  Peter tucks and rolls out of the way of the bolt and spins out of the way of another playing card upon getting to his feet.  Checking his hood, he finds the fabric is cut.

   “You know,” he said, taking another arrow out of his quiver.  “Just because I’m dead doesn’t mean you can just damage my clothes willy nilly.  I really like this hood.”

   Peter shoots the arrow at Laura, who manages to cover herself with a force field.  The projectile breaks in half upon impact.  Gambito seizes the opportunity to throw another barrage of cards at Peter, who is quick enough to dodge them and return shots of his own.

   As the trio battle, Isabelle and the bear continue their standoff, circling each other, both on guard and keeping their eyes on the other.

   Do you really think you can… handle me as you say Eira?

   That voice… did it come from the cub?  Who is Eira?  Isabelle stops pacing, staring at the cub.

   You don’t remember me?

   “Why should I?” Isabelle inquired.

   You and I have crossed paths many times.  Perhaps, showing you my true face will light the spark of memory, yes?

   “Who are you?!” Isabelle demanded.

   A light blue aura engulfs the cub again, turning brighter and brighter until she is no longer visible.  The light is almost blinding, enough to cause the other battle to come to a pause as they all watch.  Where the bear cub once stood was a woman, lean and toned, raven haired.  Her hair is partially braided, a braided strand lining along both sides of her head as well as one on top.  They all unite into one singular braid that reaches her shoulders like the rest of her hair.  She wore a dark brown, sleeveless tunic, over that a dark brown armor corset, a dark blue dress that went to her knees and were split in four corners, dark brown bracers with the symbol of Freyja marking them as well as brown fur decorating the edges, dark brown gloves on her hands, and black boots.  In her hand, she held a wooden staff that glowed with light blue runic symbols.  She spun the weapon with expert technique before getting into a stance, pointing a blunt end at Isabelle.

   “My name is Helen,” said the now revealed true form of the cub.

   “Not ringing any bells,” Isabelle said.  “And right now, I could give a damn!”

   Isabelle launches the spheres at Helen, who bats them away and begins her counter, spinning her staff and heading towards Isabelle.  Isabelle throws more energy spheres at her opponent, who is proving unstoppable as she continues batting away with the projectiles, getting closer to her.  She swings her staff, missing Isabelle’s head as she ducks, but changes her course as she aimed to strike at her feet.  Isabelle hops over the sweeping weapon and generates a force field to block another blow, narrowly avoiding being hit.  Helen slams the staff against the field to no effect.  Then, the runic symbols appear on her staff again.  With a roar, Helen smashes her staff against Isabelle’s shield, shattering it.  Such force is created that it knocks Isabelle off her feet and to the ground.

   “H-how?!” Isabelle stammered.

   “Same old tricks, Eira,” Helen said, driving her staff downward, but hitting the ground as Isabelle logrolls to safety.

   “Stop calling me Eira!” Isabelle snapped, spheres encasing her hands.

   She launches her next attack against Helen, throwing punch after punch, but each blocked by Helen’s staff.  Helen ducks a roundhouse and spins around to Isabelle’s back, her staff striking her there.  A hunched over Isabelle blocks the next strike, parrying with a cross.  Helen narrowly avoids it, almost side swiped by the attack, but counters by striking a hard blow to Isabelle’s sternum, dropping her to her knees.  Though a Spirit, Isabelle still felt the sensation of the wind being knocked out of her.

   “Surely you can do better than that Eira,” Helen mocked.

   “Who the hell is Eira?” Gambito asked.

   “How the fuck should I know?!” Laura replied, still blasting energy bolts at Peter.  Though not one to swear much, she was caught up in the heat of battle at the moment.

   An arrow slams into her grimoire, knocking it out of the air.

   “My grimoire!!” Laura shouted.  “Maxine’s going to kill me!”

   She rushes to her book, seeing the arrow sticking through it.  Maxine warned her in the past to take special care of her grimoire.  Now there’s an arrow penetrating it.  Gambito pulls out another deck of cards as all of them shoot out into the air.  They all come down, sprawled all over the field, all of them face down.

   “Let’s play a special mine edition of 52 Pick Up!” Gambito says, digging a quarter out of his pocket.  “Usually, the point is to not step on a card.  If you do… boom!”-begins flipping the coin and catching it before repeating the process-“Greater the card, greater the blast, but this is my game.  I make the rules you smug son of a bitch!  And I don’t play fair!  I’m going to flip this coin.  Heads, all of them go off.  Tails, only half.  Feeling lucky?”

   Peter retrieves another arrow from his quiver, knowing he can hit the coin, yet thinks better of it.  For all he knew, hitting the gain would make no difference.  It needs to land and as Gambito pointed out, he doesn’t play fair.  Gambito flips the coin while Laura is chanting, repairing her grimoire.  The coin hits the ground, spinning briefly before revealing heads.

   “Well shit,” Peter said as the cards begin exploding similar to a domino effect.

   Peter makes a break for it, trying to leave the faux mind field of cards.  He shoots an arrow into the side of one of the buildings before retrieving another arrow.  The head of the arrow began glowing, revealing a runic symbol on it.  He drives the arrow into the ground, just as it appeared that the exploding mine field claimed him.

   Helen leaps over an attempted leg sweep from Isabelle, who quickly gets back to her feet.  She creates new spheres over her hands, this time with added electricity flowing off of them.  She attacks Helen, trying her best to land a hit but to no avail.  The experienced shieldmaiden is able to dodge and block her blows.  In the furious exchange, Helen parries with a powerful palm strike, launching Isabelle into the air and back down.  Isabelle felt her frustration growing.  All the battles she’s had, the triumphs and failures, and she’s being beaten like she’s new at this.   Standing to her feet, she launches a flurry of spheres as Helen.  Instead of moving out of the way, Helen spins her staff in front of her rapidly.  Every sphere collided and shattered against the wooden weapon, yet did not cause Helen to falter in the slightest.  Her defense is impenetrable.  Helen finds the opening she needs, ceasing her defensive position and gripping her staff with both hands.  She strikes a sphere, launching it back at Isabelle as it slams into her chest, knocked her back down again.  Isabelle was getting real tired of that.

   As the dust settles, Gambito and Laura both are shocked to see that Peter isn’t there.  Instead, he’s hanging from the building in which he shot the arrow earlier.  The arrow holds up well with his weight and grip.  Plucking the arrow out, he drops to the ground before standing upright and dusting himself off.

    “Bull,” Gambito said, amazed. “Shit.”

   “No,” Peter said.  “Magic.  A special teleporting technique.  Helps when I’m in a bind.  Now we play my game!”

   Reaching into his quiver, he seems almost surprised to find that he ran out of arrows.  He doesn’t seem worried as he draws back his bow anyway, a row of runic symbols appearing along the curve, then energy converging and shaping into an arrow.  He aims at the sky, shooting the arrow.  It disperses, multiplying into many arrows, all dropping towards and embedding into the ground.  Gambito knew what was coming. Payback.

   “Oh.  Fuck.”

   With a snap of his finger, the arrows begin glowing before erupting into explosions.  Gambito begins running through the arrow mine field, trying to outrun the explosion.  He sees his path cut off as an explosion goes off in the direction he’s heading.

   “Shit.”

   He changes direction, only to be halted by an arrow flying by him.  He spots a smirking Peter, loading up another arrow and taking aim at him.

   “Shit!”

   He changes direction again, trying to escape, but if it’s not an explosion in his path, it’s Peter’s arrows threatening to tear into him.  All the while, he continues to repeat the same swear.  In almost no time, he finds himself trapped, the explosions converging on him.  All of a sudden, a pink-violet force field appears over him, protecting him from the destruction and perhaps his death.  Looking up, he sees Isabelle, arm outstretched, palm facing his direction.  She saved him, but the distraction would cost her as she takes a hard blow from Helen’s staff to her face.

   “Isabelle!!” Laura called out.

   This fight is not going in their favor at all.  Their enemies are proving to be their betters and they still don’t know what happened to Brian.  All the while, Maxine is hanging back, not lending a hand.  That only frustrated Laura.

   “Why won’t you help us?!!!” she shouted.

   Turning towards Peter, she finds a target to take it out on.  Bringing her hands together, they are placed in front of her stomach.  She slowly brings them up, starting a chant of her own making, her eyes closed.

   “Internal energy you and only you have control over,” she recited.  “Magic made for battle.  Gather the elements.  Wind.  Oversoul.  Pick your target.  Find the wicked one.”

   While her words seem random, it is her way to focus, her own chant.  She learned from Maxine that rhyming, incantations, even drawing symbols are all bullshit.  The purpose of such things usually helped spell casters focus on a particular type of spell.  All one needs is focus and intent.  They can come up with any gibberish they want or say nothing at all. It all is according to the will of the user.  He joined hands rise to her chest, to which she then opens her yes and separates her hands slowly.  A ball of swirling energy appears between them, growing more and more before she finally pushes the energy towards Peter.  He shoots an arrow at the ball of energy, his arrow glowing and transforming into energy itself.  The two powers collide, created a powerful gust of wind.

   New plan.  Gambito draws his combat knife, launching his own assault against Peter.  Slashing and cutting at the Viking warrior, Peter grips his bow like a staff, blocking the deadly blade in the exchange.  He slams the bow against Gambito’s jaw, and then follows up by sweeping his leg with it.  The moment Gambito is on the ground, he reaches for his pistol and aims at Peter, who already proving to be a quick thinker, manages to shoot an arrow into the barrel.  The arrow glows and explodes, destroying the gun.  Gambito yells in pain, clutching his hand.  He hurriedly scoots away from Peter, getting back to his feet, combat knife at the ready again.  Peter shoots the weapon out of his hand.  Gambito, desperate grabs cards out of one of his available pouches.  His right hand still stinging from his gun exploding in it, he’s forcing himself to fight through the pain.  Instead of launching the cards, he rushes Peter, using them as melee weapons rather than projectiles.  He hacks and slashes at Peter, who once again is blocking with his bow as well as dodging.  He parries and counters with blows of his own, driving his fist into Gambito’s jaw, aiming palm strikes at his chest and face, striking him with his bow and driving him back.  The odds remained in Peter’s favor.  While this happened, Laura continued her current spell.

   “Power,” Laura says, left hand covering her right wrist while her right arm folded upward.  She slides her hand up and down her forearm in the motion of cocking a gun.  Her right hand is open as she gathers energy.

   “Destruction,” she continues.  “Wind.  Oversoul.  Destroy.  Harm.  Oxygen.  Hydrogen.  Energy.  More power.”-unfolds her arm, now having it outstretched as her palm is open and aimed at Peter, left hand still covering her wrist-“Battle magic. Hand Cannon.”

   A ball of destructive energy launches from her hand, flying through the air.  Gambito is pushed off with a kick as Peter leaps and rolls out of the way.  The energy cannon ball slams into the building, creating a large explosion and chaotic force.

   “She’s gotta teach me how to do that,” Gambito said, feelings the effects of his beating as he steps back, not wanting to get caught by the assault.

   Helen’s attention is grabbed by the explosion, observing the other battle as concern for her son grew.  Isabelle tries to take advantage and deliver a punch to Helen’s face, but her fist is caught in her palm.

   “Good,” Helen said.  “You know to attack when your enemy is distracted.  Unfortunately for you, I am all too familiar with that tactic.”

   Helen backhands Isabelle, the blow powerful enough to force Isabelle to give up her back.  Helen strikes Isabelle’s back with her staff, provoking a painful yelp from her, before slamming her foot into Isabelle’s rear, pushing her to the ground.

   “Give up,” Helen said.  “You’ve all lost.”

   “Fuck you!” Isabelle spat.  Getting to her feet, she tosses another energy sphere at Helen, who bats it away, but is caught off guard by a powerful punch from Isabelle.

   Helen actually looks impressed, but her expression turned serious in an instant, gripping her staff with both hands, ready for Isabelle’s next attack.  The spirit moves quick, faster than before, hands covered in spheres again.  Her blows are blocked and countered as Helen smashes her staff into her, aiming for her stomach, then her back, before striking her face with an uppercut from her weapon.  As Isabelle rises back to her feet, she creates a force field, seeing Helen coming in for an attack.  Like before, it is not effective as Helen’s staff shatter’s her shield.  Isabelle doesn’t give up, backing up and creating distance between them, launching her spheres at her enemy.  Isabelle switches tactics, creating more spheres but flattening them into discs.  The discs cut through the air at rapid pace, forcing Helen to dodge and leap over some when she couldn’t afford to block them.  One manages to cut her arm.  She can’t deflect them as she did the spheres.  She can’t bat as many since they came faster than the spheres.  Isabelle creates a row of platforms in front of her, creating a faux set of stairs as she quickly runs up them.  Above her head a large sphere is created, energy crackling from it.  When she reaches the top, she leaps off.  Helen doesn’t move, instead preparing herself.  The runic symbols appear on her staff again.  Isabelle drives the large sphere down as it collides with Helen’s staff.  Helen feels the pressure from the large ball of energy, the texture different as she noticed all of Isabelle’s attacks were actually shield constructs, meaning the young woman’s power revolves around the aegis.  Along with the large aegis sphere, it began to feel as if gravity was also working against her, trying to force her down, adding more weight onto the sphere.  With a final, bear like roar, Helen presses her counter, finally able to bounce the sphere off her staff and send it flying into the night sky.

   “No…” Isabelle said, looking in disbelief.

   By this point, both women were heaving, feeling exhaustion begin to set in, especially after that exchange.  Both stared at each other, once again at a standoff, but neither willing to admit defeat.  Isabelle makes a fist, she’s still ready to fight and so is Helen.  The two women run at each other, colliding halfway in a series of exchanges, this time Isabelle able to dodge strikes from Helen’s staff, yet still unable to land a proper blow on her.  The tide simply shifted into an even one now.

   The destructive cannonballs had Peter on the defensive, forcing him to flee and dodge the assault. He needed to find a good opening.  Drawing back his bow, four arrows appear.  Turning his bow sideways, he shoots the arrows into the ground in front of him.  A wall of energy is evoked as the next cannonball collides against the magical barrier.  Another ball hits, but it’s not enough to break the wall.  Still, Peter began noticing the cracks appear. It was not going to hold.  The next ball shatters the wall.  It was now or never.  Peter draws back his bow and shoots an arrow in the general direction of the cannonballs.  He couldn’t see through the thick cloud of smoke that clouded the field, but hearing a yelp of pain told him he hit his target. As vision returned, he sees an arrow sticking out of Laura’s shoulder as Gambito is kneeling over her.  Peter actually sighed in relief.  This fight has become too heated and he didn’t want anyone to die as a result.  Perhaps it was time to bring this all to an end.  He thinks he proven his point by now.

   With a cry of pain, the arrow is pulled out of Laura’s shoulder.  Even unleashing an attack like that didn’t help.  Peter’s telling them about his experience was no joke.  They may be out of their league this time.  Still, Brian was in danger and he needed their help.  If they can’t help him, they will surely die trying.  Getting to her feet, she shoves Gambito away with her good arm as he tried to help her up.  Palm facing Peter, Laura unleashes an anguished yell as she fires another cannonball at him.  It appeared Peter was not going to avoid or survive this one.  All of a sudden, a figure appears in front of him, holding up a large, circular shield as the cannonball collides with it.

   Amazingly, the force is not enough to destroy the figure, but did slide him back.  Helen and Isabelle’s battle is interrupted as Helen rushes to the scene, worry for her son fully overtaking her.  Isabelle pursues her.

   “We’re not done!” she called.

   Isabelle spots Gambito and Laura, noticing the blood on her sister’s shoulder.  She abandon’s her pursuit of Helen, choosing to rejoin her sister’s side.

   “Are you ok?” she asked.

   “I’m fine,” Laura said icily through gritted teeth while gripping her shoulder.

   Isabelle looks up at Maxine, who is watching them all, shaking her head in disapproval at the events.

   “Lot of help you were,” Isabelle said.

   Maxine seemed unaffected by the statement, locking eyes with Isabelle, e-cig resting on her lips, arms folded.

   “If you all listened to me in the first place,” she said, taking the e-cig out her mouth and exhaling vapors.  “This wouldn’t have happened.  You are all too thick headed.  Speaking of, your concern shouldn’t be for me, you got bigger problems now.  I suggest this time; you actually try and diffuse the situation before it gets worst.”

   Isabelle’s anger rose.  This was not like Maxine.  She’s not this cold hearted.  Brian is missing, they all got their asses handed to them and she’s blaming them?!  Before she could responds, she felt the air thicken again.  It felt like the gravity bowed to this force as she almost felt like dropping to her knees under its weight.  She looks at the source, a new face that entered the battle.  A lean man, a dirty blonde with his hair in a ponytail, beard sporting two strands of braids from his chin, decorated with beads.  He was shirtless, a shield strapped to his left forearm, a sword in the other.  His tunic was wrapped around his waist.  He wore black pants and boots that also matched his gloves.  He was the fresh one and he was clearly one not to be trifled with.  Helen and Peter stood by, both staring at him as if seeing a ghost.  The irony of that situation.

   “You…” said the man, voice deep and threatening in tone as he points his sword as Isabelle and company.  “You will not bring further harm to my son or my love!”

   “Bring him harm?!” Gambito replied.  “Bro, are you blind?  We’re the ones got harmed!”

   “As well you should be,” spat the man.  “But now I am here and for your actions towards my son and mistress, I shall spare you no mercy!”

   The mysterious Viking warrior took a step forward and that was all it took, the overwhelming power that sprung from him, this world seemed to respond to him even, rumbling with every step.  They were not prepared for this.  Isabelle creates a force field around them, knowing this was not boding well for them.

   “Bjorn wait!” Helen called, which actually surprised Isabelle.

   The Viking, revealed to be named Bjorn, paused, turning to face Helen.  “They have attacked you, I can’t let that stand!”

   “And I am grateful to still see the passion for my wellbeing as well as our son’s,” Helen said.  “But my king, my love, please spare them.”

   King?!  Did Isabelle hear that right?  Is this man a king?  That more than explains the commanding presence his energy created.  Still, Isabelle is surprised at seeing Helen, the woman she fought earlier, now pleading with him to spare them. Seconds ago, they were enemies and now… she doesn’t know what is going on.

   “Why should I Helen?” Bjorn asked.

   “Because, Bjorn,” Helen began, now pointing her staff at Isabelle.  “Look, do you not recognize your queen, your wife, Eira?”

   Wife!!  Queen!  That answers the question about Eira, but Isabelle is still thrown off by everything.  This Helen clearly has her mistaken for someone else.  She’s not this Eira.  She’s never even been married.

   “Congratulations?” Gambito whispered to Isabelle.

   “Shut up!!” Isabelle replied with annoyance.

   Bjorn is silent, staring at Helen, then at Isabelle.  Walking towards the trio, he gets a closer look.  He touches Isabelle’s shield, quickly withdrawing his hand as the energy stung it.

   “Still using your aegis Eira,” he said.  “And still in conflict with Helen I see.  I thought you two settled your differences.  Nonetheless”-he drops to one knee, bowing his head-“forgive me, I did not realize it is you.”

   Isabella is lost on what to say and how to response.  Laura gives her a nudge as Bjorn continued kneeling before them.

   “You’re uhhh,” Isabelle started.  “You’re... forgiven?

   Bjorn rises to his feet as he replies, “Thank you.  Please, lower your shield Eira, I do not intend to do you harm.”

   Isabelle hesitates, but ultimately honors his request.

   “Are you crazy?!” Gambito said.  “This guy is one step away from going full on Conan on us!”

   “Zip. It,” Isabelle warned.

   “What is this place?” Bjorn asked.  “I do not remember how I got here.  I remember Ragnarok, fighting for Odin and Freya, battling Surtr and giving my life… I awaken to find you and Petr under attack.”

   “It…” Helen began.  “It is a misunderstanding.  This place, this is a new time, a new age and while I have missed seeing you”-she cups his face with her hands-“I am afraid that you have to return to slumber my love.”

   “What are you on about Helen?” Bjorn said, confused. “I am not tired.”

   “It will make sense soon,” Helen said, a tear falling down her face.  Isabelle actually felt one of her own, yet couldn’t explain why.

   “You have awakened already,” Helen said.  “You just do not know it.  You are simply, finally, remembering your life, your kingdom, your family.”

   “Remembering...” Bjorn repeated.  “Remembering. Of course I remember. I am…. I am…”

   He pauses.  He looks to Helen, then Peter, then the trio.  He looks lost, confused as he looks around.  It appeared as if he’s come to a realization.

   “I-I could never forget you…” he continued, his voice changing as it sounded like two people were talking and one of those voices belonged to Brian.

   Isabelle’s eyes widened.  She heard it.  That was Brian’s voice.  What did this mean?  The more things unfold, the more she’s questioning.  Eira, Helen, Peter, a family, a queen, a mistress, and king.  No, no more questions.  It was finally coming together.  She finally sees it.

   “Brian…” Isabelle called, to which Bjorn actually looks at her.  “It’s ok.”

   Bjorn closes his eyes, becoming transparent before disappearing; in his place was Brian with his eyes closed.  Opening them, he looks around, noticing the state of things and confused.

   “I…” he began.  “What… what happened? Who am I?  I have... I have a son?  My…”-looks at Peter-“My son… I don’t, I just…”

   Still absorbing everything that just happened, he walks over to Peter, embracing him in a hug.  His face still revealing confusion, yet also revealed love, a love that Brian doesn’t understand fully, yet felt that love compel him.

   In the real world, they all gathered around, Brian still mulling over the events that happened.  Isabelle was as well.  Gambito actually stayed quiet, so did Laura.  Back and forth, Brian paced, mumbling to himself before finally sitting down.

   “I guess I should start,” Maxine said, finally done with her e-cig and breaking the silence.  “As I was trying to explain to you all earlier, Helen here did not intend to do Brian any harm.  You on the other hand, she didn’t know you”-looks at Isabelle-“not all of you at least.  She had to be sure you can be trusted.  She is his guardian, his protector.”

   “Also his side chick,” Gambito chimed in.

   An arrow embeds itself into the wall next to Gambito’s head.  A warning shot from Peter.

   “Ok, ok I get it,” Gambito said. “Respect your mom.”

   Peter says nothing, folding his arms and leaning against the wall as Maxine stopped shooting daggers at Gambito and continued, “People have guardian spirits, some can have really strong ones, completely devoted to them.  Their job is to protect their hosts from any evil spirit or anyone who intends to do them harm.  Also their life is connected to those they protect.  Basically, if their host dies, so do they.”

   “Why weren’t you able to protect me from Bane?” Brian asked Helen.

   “At the time,” Helen began.  “He was still part of you and he took me by surprise.  Also, he had your face and I wasn’t sure if harming him would also harm you.  It’s how I ended up in my cage.”

   “And this… King Bjorn?” he said.  “What is that about?”

   “There’s a simple explanation for that,” Maxine said.  “Bjorn is who you were in a past life.  You are his reincarnation Brian.  I assume the same thing about Isabelle and Eira.  Eira was your wife and queen, Helen was your mistress and the mother of your son, Peter.”

   Gambito is getting ready to comment when he looks at Peter, thinking better of it.

   “Perhaps this will help,” Helen offered as she stepped towards Brian and Isabelle.  “Give me your hands.”

   Brian and Isabelle look at each other before each took a hand.  Helen closes her eyes as they felt a rush of energy go through them.  With that energy, followed a rush of memories, some from Helen and like a domino effect, unlocking their past memories.  Helen, her father, Ulfric, and mother, Astrid, a pet bear named Hertha, Hertha’s cubs, the tragic day in which her parents and Hertha were murdered, her quest for vengeance, becoming a shieldmaiden and later one of the King’s guards and best warriors.  The day she met Bjorn, protecting him from bandits and assassins, Helen teaching him how to fight, the two falling in love and giving to their passion. Eira’s jealousy, a battle between Eira and Helen in the dining hall, Eira using her shield abilities, similar to Isabelle, the birth of Peter, Helen humming that two note tune to baby Peter while holding him in her arms, Eira giving Bjorn children as well, a son who would become a mad king, his sweet daughter who would rule after his downfall, Peter and the prince, growing up as friends and brothers but becoming bitter enemies, Bjorn falling in battle, Bjorn’s funeral, Helen and Eira finally coming together as allies and friends, Peter starting a family of his own, the death of his first wife, Helen’s passing, Peter’s first meeting with Thrud, daughter of Thor, and later giving birth to his other son, making Bjorn a grandfather to a demigod, gods, monsters, undead warriors, the collapse of Yggdrasil, Ragnarak, Surtr, and Jormungand, the memories became more rapid, revealing an entire history in the span of seconds.

   The moment it’s over, Brian and Isabelle jerk their hands back.  Everyone stares at them, waiting on a response.

   “Wow…” Isabelle mustered.  “Just… wow.”

   “I don’t even know what to say,” Brian said. “That was... intense… it’s like watching a fantasy novel take place.”

   “Well I’m still getting over the fact that you turned into a white guy and use to be one,” Gambito said.

   “Forgive my racist friend here,” Brian sighed.  “He has no filter.”

   “Is he always like this?” Peter asked.

   “Unfortunately,” Brian replied.  “So what do we do now?”

   “First,” Helen said.  “I will take you to see Freyja.”

   “Freyja?!” Isabelle said.  “So gods are real?!”

   “Why yes,” Helen said.  “In your memories, it should’ve revealed to you the fact that we have met them face to face, including-“

   “The fact that I’m a grandfather to the son of Thor’s daughter,” Brian finished.  “He couldn’t have taken that well.”

   “He… didn’t,” Peter admitted.

   “As I’ve come to understand,” Helen continued, getting back on point.  “You’ve lost a sword.  I can help build you a new one, but with Freyja’s touch.”

   “Why Freyja?” Brian asked.  “I know your family worshipped her and all, but is there something I’m missing?”

   Helen steps in front of Brian then, looking him in the eye.  Her face displayed worry and regret.

   “I am your protector,” she began.  “I’ve devoted myself to seeing that you stay safe, but I unfortunately cannot protect you from everything, not from heartbreak, not from the pain you feel in your heart.  I am hoping that Freyja can help you finally discover what it feels like to love again, to embrace the strength of it, and not its pain.”

   Brian nods; he didn’t have anything to say to that.

   “We can see her as soon as you are ready to,” she said.  “It is clear that you are all in need of getting stronger.  There are forces out there that will make past enemies seem weak.  You also need a way to defeat Bane once and for all.  Freyja has trained me and Bjorn to fight.  We’ve fought and defeated gods. You need that same knowledge.”

   “So you mean I can finally kick a god’s ass?!” Gambito said, excited, already lost in his fantasy.  “Oooo here I come, Cupid you trolling asshole!”

   “In a manner of speaking,” Helen replied.  “Yes, but that doesn’t mean you should just pick a fight with one either.  For now, I recommend rest.  It has been an… interesting experience.  Give me your answer when you’re ready.”

   In a flash of light, Helen disappears, the trail of light flowing into Brian.

   “And that would be my cue,” Peter said.

   “Wait” Brian said. “Y-you’re going?  But, I… we…”

   “You’ll be fine,” Peter said, placing comforting hands on Brian’s shoulders.  “Unlike mom, I didn’t make an oath to be your guardian, but I will always be around if you need me.  Besides, there are some descendants I have to look after.”

   “Descendants?!” Brian repeated.

   Peter could only laugh before embracing Brian in a hug.

   “I love you dad,” he said.

   The two stood there, locked in a hug, not even Gambito dared try to ruin this moment.

   “I’ll see you around,” Peter said, switching to a jesting tone. “Old man.”

   “Hey, you’re never too old to get a spanking!” Brian chuckled.

   “It’s been nice meeting,” Peter began before his eyes fell on Gambito. “Most of you.”

   Similar to Helen, he disappears in a flash of light, leaving the rest of them to reflect on the day’s events.

   “Wait,” Laura said. “I didn’t even get to ask!  What about me?  We’re twins.  Did Eira have a twin?  What’s up with that?!”

   “What if you’re both Eira,” Brian theorized. “Like… two halves made from one person.”

   Laura is set to respond and refute but then pauses.  She looks at Maxine.

   “Yes,” she revealed. “It is entirely possible.”

   “That might explain why my ex was so nuts,” Gambito said.  “Two women in one… you’d think a guy would be into that. But nope, it’s not fun. At all.  You know what... I wonder who I was.  Maybe Alexander the Great?”

   “Or Napoleon,” Brian added.

   “Come on bro,” Gambito replied.  “That’s not funny.”

   “It’s a little funny.”

   “I was going to suggest Hitler,” Maxine threw in.

   “Ok, now that is just wrong!” Gambito snapped.

   “Richard Nixon,” Laura said.

   “I was born before he died,” Gambito whined. “That’s not even possible!”

   “Not unless you’re one half of the same person,” Isabelle said.

   That caused an eruption of laughter from everyone in the room, much to Gambito’s dismay.
The Guardian
This is definitely among my longest stories.  It brings together my two concepts and showcases again, what I want to do and where I wish to go.  You might have noticed and recognized Helen in the epic poem I uploaded.  You weren't mistaken.  How is she in the modern world? What's her connection to Brian exactly?  Well aside from the obvious, you will know it here.  Also you may have noticed other things, like with Brian.  Notice how in some stories he's overweight and less sure of himself? Depressed?  Yet in others he lost the weight, kicking more ass?  There's a reason for that too. I plan to do.. sagas and phases with my stories.  So yea, any developments that seem out of nowhere, it's just me showcasing the phases and where I wish to take my stories.  Do you believe in reincarnation?  Do you believe that you lived in a past life?  Do you believe in spirits?  For that matter, do you believe in having a guardian watching over you?  Honestly, this is among the ones where I'll be updating it and editing later as I have noticed some grammar mistakes as well as we all know how awkward DA can be with writing. lol  Until then, I hope you enjoy it.
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So before we begin, you can read my original pitch here.  Make sure you open in a separate window because it is pretty long and you might forget to come back here. lol  So here is an update.  I turned in Act One for my script.  Got an "A" and positive feedback but it wasn't without notes and criticisms either.  These things I have taken into account and also I have thought of additional ideals for the project.

The Invisible World: Genesis

Discover the world of Isabelle prior to and after her passing.  How did she discover her potential?  What about her family and loved ones?  How have they moved on?  How have they become involved?  How did they end up where they are now?  All these questions will be answered.

Concept

So after some feedback from classmates and fellow aspiring writers, I realized it would be a good idea to come up with something to further showcase the characters' background.  The script I'm working on now is more of a pitch movie.  Again, something I'm doing due to feedback from my professor.  I realized that to do a show, you have to get noticed.  So I got to work on writing the script for a pitch movie, sorta similar to the likes of Mortal Kombat: Rebirth among other movies and short films you'll find on youtube.  Admittedly the challenge was balancing all the characters and still making sure that Isabelle remains the hero.  Also my approach was pretty much in the middle.  By that I mean the characters had their journeys up to the point in my plot.  Understandably people will be confused and a fellow student gave me an idea to do an anthology series that gives the characters origins, how they met, and even key moments tied to the "movie."  Don't worry, I'll finish the script first and then get to work on Genesis, but thought you should know.  Overall, what I'm going for is to present a "blue print" of my vision if that makes sense.  So if I can get it down, some things won't happen the same, maybe they happen later, or maybe something else entirely happens.  Hell maybe I will keep it all intact.  I don't know.  Never done this before and this is something really ambitious on my part.  I can only hope I succeed somehow.

The Belletrist

Nathaniel Hawthorne.  Edgar Allan Poe.  Ralph Waldo Emerson.  Henry David Thoreau.  Together they form the Belletrist, the men of letters.  All men are intellectuals, yet discovered that which is invisible to the rest of the world.  Discover the secret brotherhood and the lives they lived as they make new discovers, face difficult challenges, and preserve a legacy that would remain for decades.

Concept

For this one, I decided this would definitely be a web series prequel to Hawthorne and Brown, with Nathaniel being the POV character, having left notes and letters to his family and future generations within the Custom House, his personal "Fortress of Solitude."  Daniel Hawthorne would have found and read from them.  The series will have action, but it will be mostly about exploration and discovery.  I mentioned before I had wanted to do fictional versions of real life figures and this is it.


The Invisible World: Alpha

Same world.  New time.  New Hero.  For years people believed in their existence.  Conspiracy theorists were written off as mad.  Skeptics were in mass, yet the truth remains: Lizard People are real.  They have existed before us and now are on the rise.  Most do not even realize who they are.  Perhaps they are us!  Witness the story of a young woman discovering her lineage and a whole new world hidden from our eyes.

Concept

Ok this one I've been thinking about.  I've considered adding sci-fi to the Invisible World, but considering the series is Supernatural, I don't want to alienate the concept.   I got some inspiration from Doctor Who after seeing the Silurians..  It is also based on the popular conspiracy theory about Lizard People walking among us.  This one would be both supernatural and sci-fi, providing the question if extraterrestrials exist and how.  Also reptilian figures have always played a huge role in mythology.  In Christianity, we have the serpent, in Greek, we have the Hydra, Norse, the World Serpent, and in EVERYTHING a dragon.  The reptiles are presented as these creatures that can challenge gods and are high powers within themselves.  They are in a whole other league and I think it's worth exploring.  Also this series is meant to take place after the first Invisible World, so this would take a while.  Who knows if it'll even survive.  I'm a beginning, middle, and end type.  I can look ahead to see the vision of the end. The challenge is getting there and being satisfied.

Mythology

World of Light – Heaven.  Asgard.  Olympus.  These and other pantheons create this world.  Gods, angels, beings of light inhabit this place.

World of Darkness – Home to dark creatures, vampires, werewolves, demons, and the Nightmare Man.  It is believed that before creation, there was just complete darkness.  This is where darkness reigns and some seek to set things back to how they originally were.

Dream World – Home to the things born of imagination.  The wonderful world of fantasy.  This where people go to dream, yet there are forces that live here that seek to do others harm and some who protect them.

Blue World – World of the ocean and water based beings.  Atlantis is home to this place as well as R'lyeh.

Limbo – The Invisible World and the "center of the World Tree."  It is also referred to as the "Ground Zero of Worlds" as other worlds are created through this.  Going through Limbo is also the way to travel to other worlds.  Through this world, it is also possible to create additional worlds, which means that there are other ones not known.

Earth – Physical world and home to humans, mostly made up of skeptics and those blind to that which is hidden from them.

Red World – Home to Hell, Hades, and Lake of Fire.  Demons, beings of fire, and other dark forces proclaim this as home.

Sky World – Home to the wind Element and beings of wind, including the God, North Wind.

North World – Home to the element of Ice and ice beings.  It is also home to the North Pole, where a certain jolly fat man lives.

Concept:

Again, doing something different here.  I know there are the 9 worlds in Norse Mythology and some others do have a world tree, but it is comprised of only 3 worlds.  I went the route of the former and did my own thing with it.  Something that makes sense to me and hopefully to others.  It's not final of course as I may change it, but for now, starting with 9 worlds and see what spawns.
  • Listening to: Powerless - Linkin Park

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BigManD88
Donovon Davis
United States
Just more of a lurker who enjoys the art. If I submit anything, it will be my writing as that is the career I wish to have.
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OneCallGat Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks for the random favorite :thumbsup:
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Sorry for the delay, thank you for the fav.
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Thanks for the random favorite :thumbsup:
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Wowowow! Thank you very much for the favs and watch. I really appreciate that :D
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