((The Serpine bit will be set after Serpine leaves Death Rose's company next...it was a bit I was planning before he came back into her storyline, and I kind of reached that bit now, so I'll just use careful time setting here and leave Esra alone until the rest of the story catches up to their story...which should be the next time I have ideas anyway...Enjoy.))
Now that she had friends, Cadence was very eager to get started fighting to avoid whatever blackmail this was, but Sam was working up his own blackmail case against her. He hated using his magic like this. He wasn't above hurting people, he was just not into making moves against the Sanctuary. He had once broken someone's wrist over a disagreement on music, after all. Then again, it had been a very heated argument and that other guy was getting really over-excited. He spared a glance to Lilia, then followed the faint line from her chest to her Gist. She loved a good scrap. It was a little scary how happily she would jump into any fight. As was the way she would either use her magic or her stilettos, either one liable to cause nasty damage.
Finally the Gist was pulled back and Lilia stumbled back, tired, and fell back. Stupid heels. Sam was a bit caught up. He was no longer sure which way he was facing. All the whirling around to fight was making him dizzy and he wasn't sure if there were loads of sorcerers or the ones beaten down were just getting back up again, and right now he wished he had ignored the call or blocked the number. Someone's arm came down towards him and he whirled around once more, catching the wrist in his hand...
He found himself face-to-face with the Grand Mage. The rest of the fighting seemed to have stopped, but that could have been his imagination. His fingertips brushed against the other man's smooth skin, feeling the workings of the bones beneath. If he willed it, they would splinter, maybe explode out, snap beyond repair. Instead, he let go of the hand and stumbled back. "No! No, I don't care what kind of blackmail you're under, how much trouble, I am not, under any circumstances, fighting the Grand Mage!" He hung his head and crossed his arms. "I shouldn't have paid attention. I should have left you to your fate. All the things you always get people into..."
"Fine!" Lilia snapped, slowly and shakily raising herself back to her feet, "Screw you then!"
Ravel rubbed his wrist. Two of them were backing off, but the girl in the fur coat still seemed very eager.
Cadence raised her hand to stop Lilia. "You know what? Sorry about this. I wanted this to be smooth, quick and something I could forget quickly." She was playing the 'poor me, please help' card again. "They have my family...they'll kill them...I don't know what else to do..."
"...Uh...aren't you that girl from the French Sanctuary we have spying on Mevolent with...one of our agents?"
She cursed herself internally. Multiple Sanctuaries had set up her placement in that spy team. "Does...does that mean you'll help me?"
Ravel sighed and shook his head. "It means get out, or that you're going down to the holding cells. Maybe your friends too."
Awesome glared at Cadence. The Necromancer sighed.
"Everyone always lets their guard down around me." She mumbled as a shadow stabbed through Ravel's leg.
"Cadence!" Sam yelled as Lilia shrieked with laughter. The Necromancer stepped forward, raising her remaining shoe above her head, but the Grand Mage snapped his palm against the air, sending her flying backwards and knocking the shoe from her grip...
As Awesome turned to run, he was pretty sure the shoe was going to hit Ravel's head anyway, just as Cadence had wanted.
Esra walked a little ahead of Vengeous. Darren was gone now and the other man found himself afraid of Vengeous. Why did he ever think it was a good idea to bring him back? He brought him carefully through the castle, not wanting anyone else to know he was back until he was ready. "Okay, exactly what we need to talk about is the Grotesquery. What I need to know is how easy it is to control it once it's raised, and also how easy to destroy it is..."
They reached his office and he removed the cover from his little project. "If it fails at its job, I have a genetically modified spider in the covered cage up there."
"And how will that help?"
"Well, it won't bring back the Faceless Ones or anything, but it'll amuse me."
Vengeous grabbed Esra's hair close to his scalp and yanked the head back. "Then it has no use to my cause. Where did you get this?" He gestured to the Grotesquery. The other mage took a moment to get over the fear of his neck snapping and answered.
"I didn't. It was presented to me." Vengeous let go of him and he scurried off to find his father.
Just his luck to be looking over his shoulder when he walked right into Serpine. "Esra, please watch where you're going just once."
"S-sorry..." He heard heavy footfalls and hid behind his father as Vengeous rounded the corner.
"Baron...I certainly did not expect to see you around. You seem to have made an impression on the boy."
"He tried to snap my neck!" Esra snapped.
"I most certainly did not. It was simply a warning."
Serpine sighed and turned to his son. "I thought I told you to drop the resurrection research."
"I did drop it, but then I picked it up again because, you know, it looked messy on the floor...and how do you know I didn't just find him like I found Darren? The difference there is that Darren followed me and wouldn't go away and I asked Mr Vengeous to follow me..."
"I hope the project is coming along nicely. Some of the others grow impatient."
"I don't care. I work at my own pace."
"Good." He turned to Vengeous. "We may need to talk."
Too late did Gale figure out he didn't have a weapon. Jerry swung one of his knives towards him and he could only dodge back. He felt stupid. It was stupid to engage in combat willingly with someone you know has weapons quite capable of killing you. Last time they had both carried weapons. Gale missed the feel of a cutlass at his hip. He dodged again and pushed at the air, but Vehemence knew how to avoid a wall of air. The assassin was an elemental himself. He came again, slashing up, but Gale propelled himself up with a shot of air. He landed behind Vehemence, who turned and snarled. "Stop being a coward, Blaze!"
The red-headed elemental shook his head and tutted. The tutting was mainly to hide the noise of his clicking fingers. "Stop being so impatient, Jeremy"
"My name isn't Jeremy!"
"Whatever. A good fighter has to get a feel for his opponent's fighting style before deciding on the best way to attack!" He shouted the last word as he threw the fireball he had concealed behind his back, grinning as it hurdled towards Vehemence. The grin slipped off as the man stepped to the side, twisting his torso round so that the fireball skipped past him harmlessly.
"Oh come on, Blaze. That was obvious. The fire gave off light, it's very dark down here!"
"...I hate everything..."