Jump to content

Bull Session (IC)


Recommended Posts

Feb. 15, 2012

1:00 PM

Parkhurst Hotel, Lantern Hill District

Freedom City, New Jersey

If it was one thing the denizens of Parkhurst Hotel were inordinately proud of (at least in one opinion), it was the library that they had managed to assemble using their various resources. It was a marvel of arcane lore, containing information on anything from 'abracadabra' to 'zombies' (the latter topic being far more cutting-edge than most treatises on the subject, and far more entertaining to read; Dead Head was an excellent interviewee). Crow, for his part, had called in quite a few favors with the dwarf community Logan was in charge of, as well as a few minor fae who owed him one - he'd actually collected and compiled about half the books they currently had on artifice and geometric magic.

It was that collection that Morgan was staggering back from, at the moment; a truly ridiculous amount of books balanced in his arms as he walked down the steps from the upper level to one of the worktables. His training vacation had given him a fresh new outlook on some aspects of his coat and new gloves (for which he had made several mental notes to send Angusson something equally as awesome - probably have to consult Rene or Nick on that one); and hopefully that'd help his extracurricular studies on unlocking more portions of his coat. Half of the runes he still had no idea about, or could only access when severely pressed, which irritated him greatly.

Putting the books down with a relieved sigh, he flopped into one of the squashy armchairs by the table and took the first book off the stack - a fairly thick piece discussing the symbolism of certain shapes and designs to old pre-Roman Brittanic druidic rituals. Bit old-timey for his taste, and he preferred a more empirical (and experimental) approach to his work, but any help was better than none...

Link to comment

For once, Marcus Irons actually had a shortage on things to do.

Life was considerably more quiet now than it had been for months. The Cult of the Beast had settled into relative obscurity, and he had actually been able to focus a little bit more on training himself in the use of his powers. He wasn't entirely on his own, of course; Claremont was an excellent resource. It was mostly because of Claremont that he'd learned how to truly harness the runic magic inherent in his blood... even if it was a little different because of the Beast rune's influence. He'd had much more opportunity to read the book his mother left behind, much more in-depth than before. It was practically like taking an extra class. It was a little annoying at first, but it was definitely beginning to pay off.

He still wondered about the girl he'd met months before. Since then, he'd trained himself to sense magic, something he had no idea how to even perform before then. It was a difficult ability to throttle when in the presence of a lot of it--like in Parkhurst Hotel--but he quickly grew used to it. If nothing else, it helped him better understand his own channeling ability; he wondered if the wild girl he'd saved had a similar ability. Marcus wondered if there were others born with the Beast rune like him. He even found himself wondering if anyone else had its power forced upon them, and when thoughts of that turned to his father's unfortunate past, he quickly stopped wondering altogether. Marcus knew his father wasn't a bad person... But the Beast rune wasn't about morals. It responded to will and power, not good or evil.

He wasn't so worried about the runes he did and didn't know. Simply knowing of their existence was a major part of the battle, and he'd memorized nearly 30. Marcus, however, was concerned more about practical application. He wasn't very good with simply coming up with things on-the-fly--something he learned the hard way in Pennsylvania with Vigourie. The Beast rune was actually more attuned to guiding Marcus's natural instincts than he was. Instead, he was learning specific methods of channeling runic magic, starting with basic elemental principles and working his way up from there. It was through sheer luck and force of will that he'd figured out how to use the Time rune at his first real training session in Claremont, and while it could certainly be used to do things on a much grander scale than simply rusting a man's armor, he was disciplined enough not to try anything crazy.

Thus, the afternoon found the young shapeshifter sitting quietly in one of the armchairs, reading a rather ancient-looking book on the elements. Despite what he knew, Marcus felt like he had a distinct affinity for the basics, and the tendency of the Beast rune to draw out the most primal nature of other runes made him all the more cautious. He saw Crow come in but didn't immediately say anything, not wanting to distract him to the point of dropping anything. He started to ask if Morgan needed a hand, but by that time, Morgan had managed just fine without his intervention.

"...you're not gonna read ALL of those, are you?"

Link to comment

Morgan looked up, slightly startled. Noticing the familiar broad shoulders of Marcus, he relaxed slightly and shrugged, thumping the pile with his hand. He hadn't really seen Marcus that much, though he knew his fellow Claremonter also was fairly clued as to rune magic. Only difference being that so far as he knew, Marcus seemed to lean more to runes for physical augmentation (the whole giant bear thing, which, to Morgan's mind, was unbelieveably cool), while Crow tended to work with more "swiss-army-knife" magics. It actually was rather odd he'd never had a sit-down with the guy before, come to think of it...

Huh. Well, no time like the present.

"You know it. Finally making my own runes, man; gotta catch up on lost time."

Link to comment

"Making your own, huh? Mm."

Marcus was vaguely aware that it was possible. It was something that he wasn't apt to try, however; it was a little more than he was mentally prepared for, and it required precision and forethought. Those were two things that Marcus definitely lacked in the middle of a real fight. There was also the fact that any runic magic he used would be forever 'touched' by the Beast rune, and there really was no concrete way to predict how that would turn out in every scenario. Just by itself, the Beast rune often covered his bases when it came to needing to overcome the odds. It reminded him that the last time he'd used the Beast and Water runes, he'd ended up a gigantic gator. Despite the sewer water and being deathly afraid he was going to change back and drown, he hadn't minded it so much.

"Lost time, huh? What've you been up to?"

Link to comment

Morgan checked his page and shoved a bookmark into the treatise, dropping it on top of the pile before stretching in the chair. Where he'd been was on a two-month trip that knocked some serious sense into him, for one. Also taught him a few things, and let him catch up on stuff he'd let slide. Still, spilling all of that was likely to have Arc think he was nuts (like most of the Irregulars when he went into detail on his training regimen itself, come to think of it...). Yeah. Best be a bit oblique there. But there was that new toy he had...

"Training trip from hell, Marc. Like you wouldn't believe. Picked up a few new tricks and made a new friend...and I got these."

He held up one hand; Marcus's keen eyes could pick up on the backplates of his usual armored gloves a trio of runes, side by side.

"Check it out; what do you see?"

Link to comment


Marcus hated guessing games. Still, he didn't look nearly as annoyed as he could have, deciding it would be more amusing to play along. The three runes looked vaguely familiar; the lightning-based one was, in fact, one he used regularly. The second and third, though, were almost entirely lost on him. The third looked a lot like something wind-based--remotely similar to the Sky rune from his mother's book but clearly different. The second was even more unrecognizable.

Part of his pride didn't want to admit that he wasn't sure what he was looking at, but whatever it was, it looked like it packed one hell of a punch.

"...yeah, I got nothin'." He smirked and shrugged. "That first one does look kinda familiar though." He raised his right hand, the back turned towards Morgan. There was a faint trace of magical energy pulsing through his arm and into a violet rune glowing on the back of his hand; moments later, there was a very visible field of electrical energy moving between his fingers.

"That IS interesting though... what's it actually do?"

Link to comment

Crow's eyes widened at the lightning coursing across Marcus's fingers, impressed. Despite the fact that he knew full well Marcus specialized in physically using runes, it was always sobering to see it in action - the werebear (for lack of a better term) could do this kinda stuff without foci. That wasn't a trick Morgan was likely to pick up for a long time, a long time indeed...

Still, then Marcus asked the most salient question, and Crow grinned. He held both his arms up (Marcus could note his other hand had a matching glove), and elaborately held them outstretched for a moment, quoting the classic magician's saw.

"Nothing up my sleeves, nothing in my hands...whoops, what's this?"

One second he was rolling his fingers like a coin was between them, the next a small throwing knife was rolling between them quite expertly. No flash, no excitement, just one second not-there, the next second there. Matte-black, razor-sharp, and Marcus's keen eyes could definitley see a rune on the side of the knife that matched with one of the more unrecognizeable ones on the back of the glove; not the sky or lightning one, however. "Modified the rune I use for wind-walks, sympathetic steel runes on the glove and on the knives, and a huge stockpile of these secreted all over the place. Still a bit of a parlor trick, though...how'd you get the lightning straight to the fingers? Have to use a conduit for it, or I get a nasty shock."

Link to comment

Marcus blinked a few times. NOW it made sense. "Well, damn, that's... huh. I never would've thought of anything like that. I can't really string runes together like that yet. Haven't really tried... not sure if I want to risk getting something THAT wrong."

"Oh, and the lightning thing? Honestly, I think it's partly the other rune. Y'know, the permanent one. ...wait." He blinked for a moment, suddenly realizing that Morgan had never actually seen the Beast Rune. Shaking out his right hand, there were a few sparks as the magic faded; he put his book aside and stood up, turning around and pulling the back of his shirt up to the back of his neck, showing Morgan the Beast rune. "That's not a tattoo, either. Any magic I use is affected by the Beast rune, so it all comes off as being just... natural, I guess. Kinda like how electric eels don't shock themselves. Or somethin' like that."

It really was a ridiculous explanation, but the comparison worked.

He put his shirt back down and turned back around, shrugging. "Only way I know of avoidin' that is with runestones. Just a little piece of rock, about the size of a scrabble tile. I used to carry 'em around all the time before I got the whole Beast rune thing under control."

Link to comment

Morgan nodded, and the knife pulled a disappearing act just as abrupt.

"Secret trick in the stringing's the materials; I'm not much on sympathetic magic or thaumaturgy, but I know a dwarf up near Detroit. Knives were made from the same metal ingots as the backplates; it's not required, but it makes the rune combination a helluva lot more effective, and less likely to backfire. That, and technically it's only two runes linked together, the lightning rune's...separate. Heh, if I tried linking that to these two, I'd probably blow up my hand."

He raised an eyebrow as Marcus pulled up his shirt, and his eyes went as wide as saucers when he saw the Beast Rune. He'd heard Marcus talking about it before, but seeing that thing in the flesh...damn. That thing was practically screaming raw power; the lines, the circuits, the marks, everything about it was raw, feral, natural, power. And Marcus had that on his back 24/7? His respect for the other student shot up dramatically.

"Mháthair na trócaire, Marc...how the...what the..."

He leaned forward, memorizing the layout of the Rune before Arcturus pulled his shirt back down. Man...compared to that thing, his coat was a piker. A bit more well-rounded and versatile piker, but still.

"Yeah. Mate, you've got magical dynamite on your back right there...eh, runestones?" He cocked his head to the side, speaking absently as he considered his statement about Marcus's runes being affected by the Big Shiny One. "Yeah, I've been musing on those myself...smoke or gas bomb types, maybe a mass taser. It's been an idea on the back burner." He shook his head, trying to get his thoughts in order. "Sorry, this is going to drive me batty, I gotta ask; that thing would make Logan feel more than a bit inferior - how the heck do you control it?"

Link to comment

"A dwarf?" Marcus blinked. Did he mean a dwarf... or a dwarf? He wasn't even sure the former was an appropriate thing to say, and he wasn't sure why he was even surprised that the latter existed. They did, after all, exist on War-Earth... or so he'd heard.

"Heck if I know how to control it. I just... do. Mostly. I was born with it, after all. According to my dad, there was this... group." More like a cult. "They created it, experimented on people with it, up until a few years ago when one of their projects got loose and wiped out a town somewhere."

He paused, realizing he was coming dangerously close to telling Morgan everything. That his dad was this 'project' and his mother defected from the cult to stop him... On paper, the story didn't seem all that bad, but he'd had nearly three years to come to terms with it. And he still hadn't told anyone else.

"But anyway... It sometimes has a mind of its own. Instinct takes over and stuff happens. I'm still me, of course, just a little more... aggressive. And fuzzy. Or scaly. Depends on the situation." That was something of an understatement, but Marcus understood by now that the Beast rune only amplified that particular part of his personality. The only thing that made him different from the typical victim of the Beast rune was that it was never forced on him, save by fate.

"Who's Logan?"

Link to comment

Crow rubbed his chin, mulling over Marcus's statement. He just...did. Controlled it intuitively? And by the talk of the cult, that implied something Morgan really didn't want to go near. Considering how fast the other teen had ceased the subject, he decided that letting it pass was the far better option.

Man, magicians and secrets...

"It's definitley a useful tool, Marc. But...take a bit of advice from someone probably a lot more inexperienced than you." He smiled wryly. "Magic that powerful always has a price. Whether you got it by accident or on purpose, universe'll still make you pay through the furry nose."

He leaned back in the chair, bringing up some of the more salient details regarding one Logan Angusson; dwarf, artificer, engineer, architect, and interior designer (seriously; guy was really good with carpeting).

"Logan? He's the dwarf I mentioned; and yeah, I mean literally dwarf. As in Norse dwarves, Tolkien dwarves, short, bald, and with a magnificent beard. Doesn't do that whole Scottish accent like you'd see in movies, tho', he's actually New England through and through. Guy's a friend of my dad's from way back, like -way- back. Knows more about runes than...well, anyone I know; 'bout a quarter of the pieces I brought in on that kinda magic were actually penned by him." He thumbed backwards at one of the shelves. "Taught me a lot of what I know now, ins and outs of artifice and runery. Though if he saw that Beast Rune, his face'd probably turn all kindsa purple holding in the questions."

Link to comment

Marcus couldn't deny that even now, he was paying a price for using the Beast rune. His canines and incisors were a little bigger than they probably should have been., and he was a whole lot stronger than the average human. His father, though stripped of the majority of the Beast rune's influence, was in a similar boat, but Marcus could tell that things were only beginning. He was needing to shave a little more often--was that the Beast rune or just him getting older? It was hard to say. Every now and again, his voice sounded distorted, as if the Beast rune was dragging it down a couple of octaves.

It was practically puberty all over again.

"Well, I don't know if I'd have any answers. My mom might; she wrote the book I've been using to study. No idea where she is though... she just kind of vanished a few months before my dad and I were... ah... separated." By the law. $@!@@#... Marcus looked off into space, his thoughts running away from him as his eyes shifted from brown to red. It only lasted a few seconds, but he closed his eyes and shook his head vigorously.

"It's funny though... I never considered that the Beast Rune might be something constructed... y'know, more than one. I mean... it makes sense..." Marcus paused. An idea popped into his mind, but he wasn't so sure he should ask... and then he asked anyway. "I wonder what he'd say if he had a look at it? If I knew more about it, maybe I could avoid... you know. Rampaging across the city like Godzilla."

Link to comment

Morgan shrugged, using his foot to pull a handy ottoman over and kicking his feet up onto it. Logan was a pretty amiable guy, but he hated being interrupted at work - he'd need to lay some groundwork before just descending on the guy.

"Dunno, man. I can talk to him if y'like, see if he's game either to come down here or if we'd have to take a road trip up to Detroit. Guy's a mechanic, architect, interior designer...dwarves like work. Like, really like work. Bash-you-over-the-head-with-a-hammer-if-you-interrupt-them like work. Kinda weird."

He made a face, then shrugged, musing over the rest of Marcus's words. Remembering the mention of his mother made Crow wince slightly, and he gave a communing look to the lycanthropic hero. Sounded like he'd had some parental issues too...he could relate to that. Big-time.

"Hey, at least you knew your mom, mate. Didn't meet mine 'till I was sixteen, and first impressions...not kind. Seriously." And the understatement of the year award goes to... He shook his head, then tilted his head slightly. "Hope your parents were good sorts, though; half the reason I'm here's 'cause of my dad."

Link to comment

"Detroit, huh? Hm... well, if we ever get a chance..." He hadn't been back up north since moving out of Chicago with his parents, and even that was a vague memory. He could definitely relate to working with one's hands; he had half a dozen unfinished art projects strewn about his room, and four or five sketchbooks filled with random art. There was also the business of his senior project--a definite work in progress.

"Yeah, my parents were pretty great. Mom was always out on business trips and stuff, so it was a lot of me and my dad doing stuff." His mother was an 'art appraiser'--or at least, that's what he thought up until he was 15. He knew now that was mostly a cover for her to go around stealing and reselling magical artifacts. The thought of her doing it made his expression darken a little bit, but he knew that she was in Freedom City only a month or two ago...

"I thought I saw her a while back, but... I was in a situation. Couldn't really catch up to her." He would have liked to, but he was pretty banged up at the time. He'd spent days in the hospital and nearly gotten his magic and identity exposed. It was a dumb mistake, and it was the first time he'd really let his subconscious anger run away with him. He couldn't even blame that entirely on the magic.

"So... where exactly are you from?" He realized that he didn't really know, and it seemed like an innocent enough question to ask.

Link to comment

Morgan cocked his head, watching the emotions play across Marcus's face, then winced himself. He was remarkably good at cold reading (one-on-one training with Archer and his own dad on that score), and he realized he'd hit right on that awkward subject again. Damnit, he should've known better. But then, Marcus was offering him a graceful way to disengage, which he took with a grateful mean.

"Boston, man. Beantown born and bred. Lived there until I hit sixteen, then some shenanigans happened and I ended up being sent to Claremont." He looked somewhat abashed at that. "Got a little in over my head trying the solo hero gig, ended up limping home one night. Won the fight, but lost more than a couple of teeth. And a couple of broken ribs...yeah."

In hindsight, that wasn't that much damage. He'd suffered worse during his solo training in the Doom Room (price of admission, in his eyes), not to mention before -that-...

Link to comment

"I was born in Chicago though. Moved here when I was 11 or 12... transferred from FDR to Claremont after my magic started getting active... Injured a federal agent. Not on purpose, mind you, but... yeah." Of course, the agent shoved him first, and the situation made him panic. The Beast rune responded in its usual manner, and the rest was history. He was just glad no one was severely injured in that little incident.

"Yeah, I tried that solo thing for a while too. Even just one partner makes a huge difference... I'm just lucky that I heal a little quicker than most people." Marcus smiled faintly as he considered his history with the Beast Rune. In hindsight, it really wasn't all bad up to now. "Three days in the hospital, man. I never want to see the inside of a hospital room again."

"First time I even used the rune on purpose was in the park. Rene and I saved a little girl from the Boogeyman." He laughed at saying it out loud. "Man, that still sounds crazy. Still... I try not to go all beasty if I can help it. That's why I've been training a little differently than usual. Tryin' to tap the Beast rune without changing, y'know? I don't know why, but lately it's been... acting weird. Takes a little more effort to turn it off, especially if I get all worked up."

Link to comment

"Chicago? Seriously? Heck, man; my girlfriend's from Chicago! Victoria Knight, remember her - teleporter, white hair, red eyes, smartalec like me, killer figure?"

Morgan grinned, making a mental note to introduce Vicky to Marcus - she'd probably be overjoyed to meet another teen from the Windy City. And a happy Vicky was a wonderful thing indeed.

It was at that point the federal agent comment hit him, and he raised an eyebrow. Still skipped over it, though - if Marcus wanted to expand on it, that was his choice. But it certainly implied his colleague across from him had had a...colorful time learning how to use that magic dynamite on his back...he shook his head. Instead, he cast about for other topics, the Boogeyman comment making the second eyebrow shoot up.

"Boogeyman? Okay, I gotta hear that story, man; I thought those guys usually hid under beds." Slight chuckle; then he turned more serious when Marcus mentioned a rune acting 'weird'. "Wait...weird? Bit more effort to turn it off...can you define worked up? Are we talking minor aggression, real anger, berserker fury?" Morgan tilted his head thoughtfully.

Link to comment

"Don't think I've met her yet... I mean, not officially. Seen her around though." She was, in fact, quite attractive; he wasn't entirely sure if he was supposed to say so. She WAS someone else's significant other, after all.

"It was trying to possess this little girl named Mary through this amulet... Rene's still got it; I'm sure he'd show it to you if you asked him. But it was manipulating her nightmares, trying to scare her into saying 'yes' to being taken over. Usually they just feed off peoples' bad dreams, but this one decided it had ambition." Marcus shuddered a little at the memory. The acidic blob, the spiders, the water... He shook his head, moving on to Morgan's next question.

"It always starts minor, and it just escalates from there. I mean, I haven't gone hurting anybody permanently yet, but..." It's just a matter of time... Marcus frowned a little at the notion, but it was the truth. The Beast rune often ran away with him; it shared his motivations, but none of his restraint or reason. Ever since that fight with Gauntlet in the woods outside Parkhurst, it was getting progressively worse. "Just a few says ago, it got REALLY out of control in the Doom Room. I wasn't even using my bear form, but I could feel it coming... I don't even remember what happened after that. Everything's kind of hazy. Woke up covered in sweat, lying down, and suddenly, this." Marcus showed Morgan his 'new and improved' dental work--canines and incisors that were clearly larger than normal.

Link to comment

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...