Ah well gotta take my lumps I suppose. I"m no Jim Butcher but maybe I can suck a little less if I keep at it.
Now then I know the blog looks different. Felt the black background thing has run it's course and- You know actually I'm not going to lie like that. I changed it because I was tired of Google Plus constantly getting my blog's tagline instead of getting the first few paragraphs from the linked post. I goofed and changed things without having a real way to revert since I saved those changes thinking the colors were preserved. Used that goof as an excuse to do a little redecorating.
I suppose as a positive side to all this is I've actually been posting stuff on a regular basis, which is really important since a blog that only updates 'whenever' isn't going to get traffic. Oh fine I know I'm off the wall and there's no real set rhyme or reason to when I post what, but it's relaxing and I'm told I'm very opinionated so might's well put that to use.
"Hey buddy gotta get up." Someone shook me roughly til looked at him blearily and said something incoherent. Maybe I should have had the sort of paranoid reflexes to immediately try stabbing the guy but I neither had a knife on me nor did I have the temperament for paranoia.
While I was being helped to my feet I looked around. Shadow filled alleyway with a few other homeless types being shoo'd out of the way as people came to collect the trash. Wasn't rightly awake yet. Muttered something about my house having burnt down.
This got the man's attention. "Whoa seriously that was your place? Could see the fire clear 'cross town." Doubted it at first since fires are actually difficult to see in a city. I know because I've set a few. Then the man continued. "Matt said it went all the way up to the clouds but was real tiny. Like just one house. Didn't know how."
Sleeping outside in the cold and on hard stone does not make for pleasant night or any real rest. So I just mumbled something and slumped out of the alleyway to try finding somewhere to be. Rin wouldn't be around til after the sun went down since sunlight and spirits tend not to go together well. Wasn't sure where Sparks went, but I"m sure she'd find me. My main concern was the shop.
Fire destroys most enchantments. Don't know what the fire brigade uses to help contain building fires since Fire itself tends to burn through spell work like delicate lace. Someone with a proper education could give the why and how of it but Fire and Sunlight are cleansing forces with magic and only the most powerful or an exceedingly well crafted bit of work will survive, and even then all but a very very few would last more than one sunrise without either being built on a threshold as it's support like my wards were, or otherwise being maintained.
Sorry. My mind wanders while i walk and where I walked to first wasn't Will, or any of the dozen or so customers I might could rely on for help in a situation like this. My body smelled of a mix of unpleasant things along with unwashed sweat, soot, whatever called that alley home, and I wasn't going to see anyone til I had a bath and my clothes were clean. The bed and breakfast I stumbled into didn't seem to like me that much and I handed over too much just to avoid having to deal with people looking down their noses at me but By Gue at the time I just didn't care.
Picture it if You will. I'm enjoying a nice leisurely soak while my clothes are cleaned. I have no weapons, nothing save for a newspaper they left for me to read and a bath robe to make myself decent with til they got my things back. and a large man walked in. Dark skin, breath stank. He felt... wrong. Maybe the way he moved. Maybe the fact he was wearing heavy robes that could have held most anything.
He saw that I'd seen him and pointed at me. Instinct kicked in and energy that would have formed a web of paralysis around me wrapped around my counterspell. To anyone watching it would look like we were just pointing at each other while grunting and mumbling incoherently.
For anyone that could tell what was what I was trying to block a multi-pronged attack and I could tell this guy had been topped off on mana before being sent after me. Yes I was fighting a defensive battle which played to my strengths and defense tended to cost less than offense, but I'd eventually be worn down. I tried screaming at him, thinking maybe he'd run for it if we were interrupted.
"Scream all you like boy." The man actually had a cultured accent that seemed at odds with his hulking frame. "They're dead. All of them." Lazy confidence as he sent more prongs of Death at me. "I'm well rested and fed. You've been sleeping the streets and are running on dregs."
My counter held him off, but only just. Couldn't get physical with him, too much of my concentration was bound in simply keeping his magic off of me. Wait. If I was so bound by defending then he had to be at least as bad off since by rights he should have just distracted me with a few vollies then stabbed me. Small comfort and a surge of joy that helped counter the fact I was down to nothing.
Then I heard them. Newly dead ghosts screaming wordlessly as they rushed through the walls at my attacker. They did nothing to him physically but his lines of power. Ever get a cold chill for no reason? Ghosts that linger on feed off of Life much the same way a necromancer does. It's what sustains them on this plane, and while you have ones like Rin who seem to subsist on just whatever's laying around you have a few that are more... active.
The assassin tried to focus from me to them, but I pushed with the last bit of magic I had. Sure I couldn't could have fought him directly, but instead I focused on the threads he was forming to banish the spooks and diffused them while the ghosts started to feed.
Each could only take a little before their anger and rage subsided but there were a /lot/ of ghosts that were all mad enough to do something they wouldn't have considered in life so when they were done and sated about all that was left of my attacker was a still warm corps.
Then they turned their attention to me. Stumbling out of the tub I grabbed the bath robe while never taking my eyes off them. "I'm sorry." My words were gentle, couldn't be harsh when talking them down. Even then this was a gamble. Some of them were still angry and I couldn't fight them. Not all at once. "I'm sorry you're dead. I wish I could have kept that man from doing what he has done but-"
The lady from he front desk put a hand on my mouth. To me it felt solid and though lacking the warmth it would have had while living still had a quality to it I could only describe as 'alive'.
She shook her head at me and then motioned to the other ghosts and they started flickering out. The scales apparently had been balanced and they felt the pull of the hear-after.
Dammit why was I so dependant on everyone else to pull my bacon out of the fire? That was the overriding thought as I pulled the dead man's robe over me and walked through the building. I couldn't run since scrying magics would put me at the scene and the last thing I needed was the guard on top of my other problems.
So I got my clothes from last night, made sure they were hung out to dry, and sat on the front porch with my paper.