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aditus last won the day on March 11

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About aditus

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    Canis lupus versicolor

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    In the middle of Europe.
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    Photography, cooking, science, research and the obvious: reading, writing, dogs, cats, my Cali

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  1. I forgot it again: Chapter 10 is up!
  2. Okay, I'm supposed to tell you that we did this super secret upload of chapter 6 of Diego' Dance with Death....AKA we botched the upload and the new chapter didn't appear on the story update list.  :unsure2::,(

    1. Puppilull


      I can hear Tim fretting in the background. Not acceptable! 😉


      I'll go read asap. 

  3. aditus

    Chapter 10

    I have the feeling the Order wants to become Serai themselves and are experimenting with blood transfusions or something. Ew. YES! To putting the Order down!
  4. aditus

    Chapter 10

    Holy shit. Get a sword and help!
  5. aditus

    Chapter 10

    His Excellency? (Yep WTF , right?) . Yay, Lionel!
  6. aditus

    Chapter 10

    Oh man, after receiving a haunting text message from my sister's ex-creep, I NEED something to distract me. Did it work? Nico, calm down. (LOL No way!) Well, tough shit. We're going in." - Darn straight! ( Nico))
  7. aditus

    Chapter 10

    Let's grab the batarangs!
  8. aditus

    Frozen Lake 3

    A beautiful photo! I like the blue tone
  9. aditus

    Chapter 10

    I'll see what I can do. Glad you approve of 'act first and ask forgiveness later'
  10. aditus

    Chapter 10

    Diarmad felt oddly out of perspective. With no reference point to determine his position in the room, it felt as if he were floating. Was he lying down? Sitting? When his sense of smell came back, he recoiled. Moldy, musty, mixed with something more obnoxious. Sweetish...nauseous.... Rotten flesh! Saliva pooled in his mouth, and he gagged. No! Breathing in through his mouth slowly, out-in-out did the trick, and the nausea subsided. Turning his head back and forth, he was now desperate to see where he was. Anything to give him a hint: a window, a light, but there was nothing. His heart beat so fast he could feel it in his throat. He was blind. After he had calmed somewhat down, he concentrated on his other senses. There was noise in the distance, a humming. No, not humming—talking. Two people. He couldn't make out the single words yet, so he focused on the difference in the voices. There, almost.... Defeated, he let it go. This led to nowhere. It was as if he was hearing through a thick fog. Then the talking became louder; no, not louder... more distinctive. Finally, he could understand single words: hour —dose—information—most potent blood. "No! We won't wait until tomorrow! No way!" Nico stood up so fast his chair threatened to topple over. For the last thirty minutes, over an hour since the attack, they had hovered over Ronan's laptop, trying to find out where Diarmad—and probably Ivan too--were held captive. After the location had been determined as one of the many Order estates, Ronan and Landyn immediately made rescue plans. First, they needed to confirm Diarmad’s and Ivan's whereabouts. Therefore, they had suggested contacting Order members they thought they could still trust. "Nico, there are rules we have to follow. We can't march onto Order property and search the premises without reliable proof they are holding the king and his seer. This is a very delicate situation, and we have to handle it with utmost care." "We know where they are, Ronan! They are in danger, and we need to get them out of there quickly. If we step on someone’s esteemed toes in the meantime, so be it. We will apologize later." Nico fixed Ronan with narrowed eyes. “What other proof do you need than the Secretary of Elders and his entourage clearing out of here together with the men who shot our guards and tried to kill us? Only Seamus' shield prevented them from succeeding. Plus, I glimpsed into the Secretary’s mind. The Order is responsible for the king’s and Ivan’s abduction! Or are you working with them too!?" "Nico! How could you...." Simon glared at him angrily, but Nico only glared back. "What? How could I what? Keith betrayed us; the Order betrayed us; the fucking leader of the fucking council, Cieran fucking O'Connor betrayed us! I don't trust you! I don't trust any of you with the life of my mate, especially when you're spouting bullshit! We have to wait for fucking confirmation? They could kill Diarmad and Ivan! Do God knows what to them while you‘re confirming shit! Fuck you!" Nico stormed out of the room. With one last glance at the stunned men, Sho followed him wordlessly. "Nico! Come back! I didn't mean—" The slamming of the door cut off the last of Ronan’s words. Sho saw Nico climbing up the stairs, taking two steps at once, muttering to himself. He hurried to reach him, but Nico was too fast. "Wait! Nico, wait for me!" Nico looked over his shoulder, and when he saw who was calling him, he waited on the first landing. "We can't wait. I have a bad feeling. They will hurt them, if they haven't already. We have to get to them as fast as possible." "I agree with you. Did you memorize the GPS coordinates?" "Of course." "Good! Come on, let's go to our room and compare data. They'll probably leave us alone for a while to give you time to cool down after your tantrum. Enough to implement our own rescue plan." They were looking at a map when they heard a quiet knock at their door. Nico gestured to Sho to hide the laptop and then walked over to the door. "Yes?" "Nico, Sho, it's me, Seamus. Let me in please." Nico looked at Sho, who shrugged his shoulders. He turned the key and opened the door just enough that Seamus couldn't see into the room. "What?" "I gather you're planning a rescue mission of your own," Seamus stated matter-of-factly. "I can help." When Nico didn't move, he said, "Scan me." As he already had his shields down, Nico could read him easily. He was on their side. "Come in." Seamus looked from Sho to Nico. "I'll support you. I understand that seeing the manpower our attackers had, Ronan and Landyn want to be extra careful. The Order has connections among the Seraei; it is the cautious way to act." When Nico tried to speak, Seamus lifted his hand and stopped him. "Nevertheless, I believe your precog tells you to hurry, yes?" When Nico nodded, Seamus sighed. "Okay. I have people out there. We were only allowed to come here with three men, but my father never trusted the Smythes and the O'Gradys would abide by the king’s rules. We brought more men and had them stay outside, hiding. I'll contact them to provide you with a ride, weapons, and whatever else you need." "What if the house is being watched?" Sho inquired. "It's most definitely being watched, but I already thought of that. Do you know of the passage in the basement that leads to the waterfront? I heard Landyn telling Ronan about it." "Diarmad showed me the day before the guards arrived, but I didn't try it out. I don't know where it leads, exactly." "It leads directly to the beach. Do you think you could swim to a boat I have out there?" Suddenly suspicious again, Nico asked, "You have a boat out there?" "No, but I could have. This way we could get you away from here, up the coast, where we let you ashore. You'll go by foot until you reach the main road, where my men will pick you up, give you a car, a phone with GPS, weapons, and everything else you need." "All we need in addition are our swords.” Sho nodded. “We can wrap them in oiled cloth and put them in sealed plastic bags, this way they shouldn't get wet.” Nico turned to Seamus. “I want a motorbike, not a car, if possible." "No problem, I can provide you with everything. You only have to make sure nobody sees you leaving the house." He looked at both of them, at once serious. "As soon as you can confirm the Order is behind this and they are holding them where we think, don't do anything risky if it isn't entirely necessary. Wait for reinforcements. If the king's mate dies, the king has no chance to return from death, remember this." Nico nodded. "I know." Seamus turned back to the door. "I'll tell the others you want to be left alone and have locked your room. Then I’ll recommend waiting until tomorrow to talk to you, as you might be more receptive to reasonable arguments by then." Diarmad could eventually discern vague shades and contours. After the first rush of relief, he almost wished he couldn't when he realized he was lying on a cot with his left hand chained to the wall. The cloister-cell-like room was damp and chilly. The cold was threatening to paralyze his whole body. The only light in the room came through a tiny grated window in the metal door to his right. The vaulted ceiling was low; the roughly plastered walls bare, with smudges of dirt that glittered strangely. Probably condensation. Must be some kind of a wine cellar. That was when he realized he wasn't alone in the room. On the opposite side of him was another cot. Somebody was on it, their breathing labored. Ivan! Diarmad jolted up, or he meant to jolt up. In reality, his body simply didn't follow the commands his brain fired at his limbs. He could barely lift his head. Call him! He opened his mouth, but nothing came out. He licked his lips, but he didn’t have enough moisture to spread; his mouth was parched, his tongue sticky. Concentrating, he finally produced a small amount of saliva, swallowed, and then croaked, "I-van." The man on the other side of the room didn't react, not even a little. Maybe he is still out? Even the tiny movements had been too much. Diarmad felt his consciousness slipping again, and there was nothing he could do about it but let go. Nico and Sho wrapped their swords in oiled cloth, then swaddled them in plastic, so the salt water couldn’t reach their precious blades and secured them on their backs. Sneaking down into the basement unnoticed was easier than they thought, and Sho suspected Seamus must somehow have his hands in that. This was confirmed when they found the man waiting for them at the hidden door in the basement. "Finally! I volunteered to take over the first watch. Hurry, Ronan will be here in about ten minutes to take over for me." He handed them a Mag-Lite. "Leave it at the end of the tunnel, and I'll get it back later." The walk was longer than expected. It took them over thirty minutes to reach the other end. From there it was only a short walk to the waterfront, where they could make out a small boat in the darkness. Clad only in thin, black pants and long-sleeved shirts, they hurried into the water and swam in powerful strokes. Halfway there Nico muttered, "I hope that's Seamus' boat out there and not some patrol of the Order." The two men who helped them into the boat were indeed Seamus' men; they passed them towels and blankets and a change of clothes before they rowed silently up the coast until they reached a sheltered bay. Ashore again, Nico and Sho quickly ducked behind bushes and shrubs, heeding Seamus' warning that even here the area might be watched by the enemy. Thirty minutes later, they hit a small country road where they found a black car, already idling, to take them to a parking lot. The requested motorbike, two helmets with an intercom, two guns, and enough ammunition to start a mini-war, were waiting for them. Seamus also provided them with a phone loaded with Ronan's computer program so they could track Diarmad's homing device. Diarmad shivered, whether from cold or from the aftereffects of the drugs, he didn't know. With his face pressed into some scratchy, old, wool blanket, he scrunched his nose in disgust. Musty, with traces of piss. Just when he was about to turn his head, he realized what had woken him. Even with his eyes closed, Diarmad noticed the room was much brighter now. Somebody was there; someone other than Ivan. "They're still out. What fucked up concoction did they give them?" A man came closer while he spoke and stopped beside Diarmad's cot. "If I only knew." The second person was a woman; she must have stood somewhere deeper into the room. "His Excellency is growing impatient. He wants them to be interrogated and then processed. We have to find a way to wake them up, and soon." The man nudged Diarmad's shoulder. "A bucket of cold water?" "I doubt that will help and think of the mess." The woman snorted. "Still, we have to come up with a way to wake them. The Elders believe their people will be coming after them, and they want them gone by then, just in case they learned of this place somehow." The man scoffed. "Nobody from the outside knows of this place. The house maybe, but there is no way they know about the underground facilities. There is no access through the mansion." "They could bring the psychic; he would find out." "No, he is not allowed to scan Order members, that's against the law." "And you think he'll give a shit? We have his mate. You know what this means to them." "Maybe... Anyhow, one more reason to hurry up." A dark shadow loomed over Diarmad, and he felt cool fingers press against his throat. He willed himself to stay still and limp, hoping his accelerated pulse rate wouldn't clue the man in on his consciousness. "At least they didn't kill this one. He's the one they need, right? The one with the potent blood?" Potent Blood? "Their king, yes, but before we can bleed him, we need that shit out of his system. They want information too." "What information?" "He is supposed to have data about all their family trees. As only some of them are suitable donors, we need to know who. We hope if we learn who is related to whom, we can get more donors. What's with the other one?" "McLean. He’s still unconscious and drools on his blanket like a baby. I think we have to get doc's ass in here. Maybe he can come up with something to counteract the drug." The room went dark again, and Diarmad turned his head carefully, straining to hear if anyone was near. When he was sure he was alone, he edged himself slowly up until he was propped on his right elbow. Then he shifted his legs over the cot until his feet hit the floor and managed to pull himself into a sitting position by grabbing the chain with his left hand. Panting, he leaned against the cold wall behind him, not noticing the protruding stones that dug in his back. His head throbbed in sync with his heartbeat, and he had to continuously fight dizziness and nausea. The sheen of cold sweat drying on his body made him shiver. When his heartbeat was nearly normal again and the headache became bearable, he felt deep inside himself for his powers. From the conversation he'd overheard earlier, he knew he must have been here for a while, so he should have at least some of his powers restored, even with the depleted energy level he had after the fight. Only there was nothing, not so much as a blip. Maybe the drugs prevent regenerating. He had never felt like this before: helpless, powerless, desperate. Nico would be worried sick by now. He needed to pull himself together and get out. For Nico. The next thing on his list was to go over to Ivan and see what condition he was in; only then could he plan their escape. Moving his left hand, he saw the chain was fairly long and he could probably reach the other side of the room. He waited until he had recovered some more before he moved to the edge of the cot. With his hand braced against the wall behind him, he managed to stand up. His legs felt like rubber and, for a moment, he thought he would fall back on the cot, but through sheer force of will, he was able to stay on his feet. When Diarmad felt steady enough, he staggered over to Ivan. His body felt cold and clammy. When Diarmad touched his arm, it fell down and Ivan’s hand hit the floor with a dull thud. That must have hurt, but Ivan didn't move. For a moment, Diarmad feared he was dead, then the shallow rise and fall of his chest convinced him his friend was still alive. He realized he would have to carry Ivan, if he somehow managed to get them out of the cell. Diarmad examined the door next. No visible lock. He tried to push it open, but it didn't budge. It had to be locked it from the outside. He eyed the small grated window. Even if he would be able to take the grid out, the chain would prevent him from reaching whatever locking mechanism was on the outside of the door. This meant he had to wait for someone to come in, overpower him or her, and then try to escape. None of this mattered though, if he didn't get his powers back somehow. Lying down again, he tried to relax, the only way he could think of that might help him to restore his energy besides Nico’s presence and blood. Nico. While they drove along yet another quiet, slightly-neglected street, Sho pointed at a partially collapsed wall, completely covered with ivy. "Look! This is the third estate we passed that looks to be abandoned." "Yeah." Nico slowed the motorbike. "It’s really strange." He stopped and looked around. Where long driveways once led to impressive mansions hidden behind well-kept greenery, now, wrought iron gates locked with rusted chains and padlocks were hanging askew from their hinges, hardly preventing access to overgrown gardens and dilapidated buildings. Nico closed his eyes and expanded his senses. Forced to sit with his chest pressed against him and with his arms around Nico's waist, Sho could feel the growing tension in his friend’s body. "Something is very wrong here." Nico opened his eyes again. "What do you mean wrong? Do you think the Order had their hands in the condition of this area?" Nico clenched and unclenched his hands rapidly around the bike's handlebars. "Nico? Is everything okay?" "Dunno how they did it, but I bet those Order fuckers did this. It’s bad. We better hurry." He looked over his shoulder. "Where to?" Sho switched to the map on his phone. "We're almost there, just along the road about a couple of miles on the left." "Okay, hop down." He bent forward so Sho had more space to dismount from the bike. Sho swung his leg awkwardly over the bench and almost fell before his foot touched the ground. "Everything hurts." He groaned and walked slowly up and down beside the bike while he gingerly worked the kinks out of his body. He rolled his shoulders and shook his legs. "Shit, even my ass is numb." "Uh-huh, interesting, I really needed to know that one detail." Nico looked around. "Over there! We hide the bike behind that wall and continue on foot. I don't think anybody will visit the..." he squinted at the weathered marble plate on one of the pillars beside the rusted gate "…Villa Octavia anytime soon." After packing their swords, guns, and ammunition, they walked for fifteen minutes. Then Sho looked at the map and stopped. "We're here. According to this, the gate over there on the left must be the right place. Diarmad's signal is strong; he must be here." "We don't know that yet. They could have detected the device and thrown it somewhere into that garden to lead us the wrong way. We need iron-clad confirmation before we alert the others." "And how do we do that?" "I don't know, but my feeling is getting worse. We really need to hurry. Dammit!" Nico tilted his head to the side. "Do you hear that?" "No, what?" "I think someone is coming! A car. Come on, quick! We need to hide!" He grabbed Sho's arm and dragged him behind some overhanging ivy vines, where they pressed their backs against a crumbling brick wall. "I bet tons of spiders live here." "Don't tell me you're afraid of spiders." Nico grinned. "Of course not. I just don't like them crawling all over me, that's all." "Uh-huh, right." "Shut up! I can see the car." It slowed down and then stopped right in front of them, the passenger door opened, and a man with a doctor's bag got out. "You remember the exact way to the entrance? One wrong step and your little woman gets you back in a jar. You don't want that, right? It's not healthy for their kind to be without their mate, especially when they're pregnant, so you better be very careful doc." "I-I remember," the man stuttered. "Will I see Kelly when I'm there?" "I don't know. They said you messed up the dosage. Now hurry, his Excellency hates waitin'." "What's he talking about?" Sho whispered to Nico. "Shh, I’m trying to read them." When he dipped into the doc's mind, Nico flinched and almost hit his head on the brick wall behind him. "Damn." The man was on the brink of a panic attack. Nico saw images of a woman with wavy brown hair and honey-colored eyes, then he saw strangely ornamented tiles, barely visible under weeds and dirt, followed by, for the lack of a better word, 'dungeons'. Pale men lay on stretchers, belts around their arms, legs, and midriff. Then the strange tiles flickered back into his mind, a near-derelict tool shed, countless damp tunnels, rooms partially interconnected, and a slippery stairway. Nico concentrated more, and then he found what he was looking for: images of Diarmad being carried away unconscious, Ivan waking up and fighting several men, then being jabbed with a syringe again. They were here. The doc disappeared through a small, unobtrusive door in the brick wall surrounding the estate, which, according to their map, was called 'The Orange Garden'. "It's like a fucking fox's den. There are tunnels probably under the whole complex. I saw Diarmad and Ivan in his mind. They brought them here. You have to call Landyn. What I gleaned from the doc’s mind has to be enough proof.” While Nico tried to process the information and come up with a plan, Sho made the phone call. Slipping the phone back in his pants pocket Sho said, "He's livid. Landyn says they probably need another hour before they get here. He ordered us to stay put, quote: ‘not to move our asses before they are here’, unquote." "Well, tough shit. We're going in." “Your highness.” “Lionel? What are you doing here?” In the blink of an eye, Sho had a sword tip pressed against Lionel’s throat. “Who is this?” “I’m not one of them, your highness, I swear.” “That’s Lionel, Keith’s mate.” “The betrayer?” “Keith wasn’t—” “There is an easy way to determine your loyalty, Lionel.” “Of course, your highness. Scan me.” “Keith sent you here?” “Not exactly here. In his last moments, he managed to show me pictures of people in his mind he’d gleaned from Misa. At first I didn’t know what to do with them, what he wanted me to do, why he showed them to me. Now I know; he wanted me to find out their names and who they were working for. I made the promise to him and myself, I only would ask the king to set my soul free to meet Keith again in another life after I helped him uncover his enemies.” “Why didn’t you come to us with this information? To Ronan, Landyn, or me?” “I didn’t know who to trust.” “Do you realize how many they killed when they attacked the summer house? That could have been prevented!” “I learned of their plans only a day ago! I started working at a bar they frequent to spy on them, but they have the means to detect Seraei if we come too close.” Nico inhaled deeply. “Okay. What do you know?” “I saw them carrying the king and Ivan inside.” “And you didn’t think to inform us?” “I didn’t know—” “Who to trust. You were right to be careful, Lionel. It’s just my precog is going haywire. Tell us all you know.” “The Order has an underground facility there. They chose this place because it prevents Seraei from recharging their energy. Once depleted, we’re helpless.” “What?! Ivan and Diarmad used great amounts of energy during the fight. They must have been exhausted when they were abducted. If they can’t re-charge, those fuckers can do whatever they want with them.” Nico put his hand on Lionel’s shoulder. “What else?” “The whole place is booby-trapped. There is only one entrance into the tunnel system. It’s an old t—” “Tool shed. I saw it in the doc’s mind. I think I can lead us to the shed without triggering the traps.” “There is a guard room at the entrance of the basement. You might need a password. Don’t waste your energy. Use your powers as sparsely as you can, then you might have some left to transfer to the king when you meet him.” “Good advice. Landyn is on the way. You wait here and tell him everything you told us. Be careful. Right now, you’re the only one who can testify they abducted the king. We’re going in.”
  11. aditus

    Two Brothers at the Office

    Why do I feel I just received a reprimand?
  12. Spring!!!!


    1. Valkyrie
    2. Timothy M.

      Timothy M.

      um, not quite... :no:  but maybe after the weekend.

  13. the chapter itself was amazing Thank you!
  14. aditus

    Chapter 9

    I caaan't say!

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