Friday, 12 October 2012

Nix and Mist: The Remaining Book Cover

Another one.
But a better one, I think.

It makes me happy. Because the only things taken from the internet were the characters. Everything else was made in Photoshop. Also because it took over three hours to complete.


Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Stats After Ch. 14

Not sure if anyone actually cares about these things, but oh well.

There are approximately 86, 603 words in the first Skulduggery book, 371 pages and 30 chapters. So to be fair, we're doing pretty well.
I'd say we aren't too far off the halfway mark now.

Not sure when 15 will be here.

Monday, 1 October 2012

Nix and Mist - The Remaining Chapter 14: Or Something


Or Something

Slayn Redeem had been briefed with Zathract over the phone that morning. Apparently there was some war that was going to break out or something if they didn’t do something or something. She hadn’t really been paying much attention. She never really was. She had only come because she had been promised good fighting and lots of it. She had also been told there was a traitor and then something about it not being him, someone with a name she couldn’t be bothered to remember, another person with a weird name and then one last person with a strange name. Strange. Or something.
Slayn wasn’t really paying attention. She never really was, after all. She didn’t particularly care either. If the world came to an end, then she would probably care, she figured, but that also remained to be seen, for it had not come to a near-end yet and as such, Slayn could not make an accurate assumption on how she would act if it did.
Slayn could be pretty sophisticated when she wanted to be. It wasn’t often.
Of course, she wasn’t in favour of another war. She had heard the stories of The War from her father and her mother and her older brother and one of her older sisters and it certainly seemed like one of the most horrid things Slayn had ever heard about.
Either way, Slayn was there now. She had only really managed to remember two things Zathract had told her; the first being whatever war that would soon break out and the second being that he needed her to train some people in combat. That particular thing was what Slayn was looking forward to…

She strode into the Sanctuary in her usual cocky, carefree manner with her usual cocky, carefree smirk on her face. The Cleavers didn’t block her path, didn’t even give her a second glance. Her brother was one of the Elder Council. It was probably a criminal offense to block her way or something. Rounding the corner, she saw the group at once. Around ten or so people all standing, spread apart, but close enough to hold a discussion. And addressing them was Zathract. Catching sight of her, he said something to the group, gave her a nod and said “her”.
At his word, the rest of the group turned to face Slayn and she kept her smirk up as she approached them.
“Hey,” she said to Zathract casually. He nodded with a smile in reply but said nothing. “So, what’m I doin’ then?”
The vast majority of the group were staring at her. At first she thought they were all far too easy to impress with first impressions, but then a glaring teen dressed in a leather jacket with brown hair spoke up.
This is the person training us?” he asked incredulously.
“Yup,” Zathract said.
“Why do we even need to be trained anyway?” another person in black turned to Zathract again. “I’m an ex-Cleaver for god’s sakes. I think I can handle myself.”
“Ex-Cleaver?” Slayn asked Zathract as well. “He thinks he can hold his own because of that?”
“He does,” Zathract confirmed. “He’s better than an average Cleaver, though.”
“I’ve beaten seven fully trained Cleavers on one,” the person in black said, raising an eyebrow.
“Still failing to see why I’m meant to be impressed.”
 “In fact, a lot of the people here don’t think there’s much room for improvement in their fighting skills.” Zathract continued, ignoring the interruption.
“They’re in for a beating then,” she said.
The boy with the brown hair was half glaring and half raising an eyebrow.
“I doubt it,” he muttered.
“Who’s he?” Slayn asked.
“He’s Nixion Strange,” Zathract shrugged. “You’ll either get used to him or hate him forever. And knowing you it’s probably the former.”
“Nixion’s too long,” she said. “Imma just call you X.”
Nixion frowned.
“What?” he asked. “No. No, don’t call me that.”
“Hush, X,” Slayn said, her cocky tone taking charge again.
“Yeah, he’s going to hate you even more than you hate him if you keep calling him that,” Zathract said.
“Huh?” asked Slayn, her attention span waning again already.
Zathract rolled his eyes.
“Okay,” he said. “Cutting to the point here. Slayn, this is you, you’re training these guys to fight, much to their distaste.”
“Figured,” she grinned.
“There’s a room down there,” he pointed to the next corridor. “Large, built for fighting. If you don’t want to use that, take them to your house, I don’t care. You aren’t allowed to, and listen here, aren’t allowed to kill anyone or seriously injure them. Feel free to shout though.”
“Joy,” she grinned.
“Try to keep off their bad sides, if you would,” he said.
She stopped grinning.
“You’re working alongside us now, so it’s not going to end very well if people hate one another. Don’t call Nix ‘X’.”
“Can I call him ‘Nix’?” she asked.
“No,” Nixion growled.
Zathract shrugged and started walking. “Stavan, Neon, Kali, this is us.”
Three of the people detached themselves from the rest of the group and followed his lead to the exit of the Sanctuary.
Slayn smirked at the group in front of her.
They stared back, mostly blankly.
This was going to be fun.


Neon Dark, Kali Nole and Stavan followed Zathract Mist up the pathway to Gabriel Cobalt’s house. They reached the door and Zathract knocked once. Once was enough. A moment later the same pale young woman that had greeted Zathract and Nixion a week or so previously opened the door, surveyed them for a few moments and then stepped aside to allow them entry once again.
The four stepped over the threshold and led themselves into the same room that they had spoken to Gabriel Cobalt in their previous visit. Dark and Kali sat on the couch while Zathract and Stavan remained standing, waiting. And then he walked in through a door in the back wall. Gabriel caught sight of them, sighed, and took his seat in front of the desk.
“You’re back,” he said bluntly, addressing Zathract.
“I am,” he replied, matching the flat tone.
“So? How did it go?” asked Cobalt. “Have you saved the world from the brink of war? Have you destroyed this organisation in their tracks and completed another investigation with success? Have to adopted the title of ‘Hero’ in the Sanctuary once again?”
“You sound annoyed,” Zathract smiled.
“Very observant,” Gabriel placed his hands on the desk and looked at him intently.
“You know why we’re here,” said Zathract after a lengthy pause in conversation. “We need help.”
“What makes you think I’ll give it to you?” asked Gabriel.
“It’s in your best interest,” Zathract said, controlled. “As I told you the last time I was here, Cobalt.”
Gabriel raised his eyebrows, amused.
“I don’t ‘play the hero’, as you know,” He said. “I don’t do what you do. I prefer to sit here and watch from the sidelines, as you also know. Which I have been content in doing so far and will continue doing so.”
“But you can’t escape the fact that you think we’ll fail without you, and at the moment, you need us to succeed.”
Gabriel didn’t speak for a moment.
“Fine,” he nodded. “Whatever. After I give you the information, will you promise not to bother me again?”
“For at least a day,” Zathract said, raising his hand in a mocking oath.
“I should have suspected as much,” Gabriel muttered again, then waited for Zathract to continue.
“We need some information on The Remaining, Gabriel,” Zathract said. “We need a lead.”
Cobalt nodded. “Of course you do,” he said, and picked up a pen. As he wrote on a small notepad, he continued. “As you know, very little is known about The Remaining. I myself know very little about the organisation. Surprising, yes?”
Zathract took the note from Gabriel as he passed it to him and looked at it, not bothering with a reply.
“Those are the coordinates for a supposed abandoned base of operations used by Charles Hammond back in The War,” Cobalt said, settling back into his seat.
Zathract examined the writing for a few extra moments, then nodded and placed the note carefully in his pocket.
“Anything else you can tell us about them?” Stavan asked.
“Nothing as of yet,” Cobalt replied. “Give it a few months and I may have something new, but by then your supposed war will probably have arisen.”
“Thank you for your time,” Zathract inclined his head slightly, then turned and walked away.
“That was a short visit…” he heard Kali mutter as they stepped over the threshold again and made their way back to the car.
“We got what we needed,” he said back to her, but did not get a response. He did not think Kali had expected him to have heard her.
Zathract climbed into the passenger seat of the car while Kali took the driver’s and Stavan and Neon settled into the back seats.
With that, they drove off back to the Sanctuary.


Nixion. Hated. Slayn.
There were multiple reasons for this, of course, even with the natural default attitude of dislike he had towards new people aside. This could be because Slayn Redeem seemed to insist on calling Nixion ‘X’, even after Mist had told her not to. It may also be due to the fact that she had an annoying habit of lecturing everyone, though mostly him, on how sloppy certain aspects of their fighting technique was. But to Nixion, all these things would have been almost ignorable. Because above all else, Nixion’s utter hatred towards Slayn Redeem would most likely be due to the fact that now his back was aching.
Nixion did not like most things, pain of which was high on that list. However, while he could deal with most pains he experienced, Nixion could not tolerate pain in his back. It hurt, sure, but back pain was also plain annoying. Back pain prevented him from doing a lot of things. Bending over, ducking, spinning, back kicking, side kicking and round kicking were a few of these preventions. And in a fight, having these limitations is not good.
And it was Slayn’s fault that he had this pain.
Yet, Slayn also hated it when these limitations Nixion now had due to what she had done became apparent in his fighting. Nixion assumed that this was why that, at that moment, he was the only one Slayn was now focusing on. She called it training. Nixion called it a punishment.

“It’s a good idea to block, you know?” Slayn Redeem said as she sent a careless back-fist his way, which Nixion ducked under. “Dodging uses too much energy.”
Nixion gritted his teeth, not bothering to reply, and came up with a punch to the gut, which Slayn pushed away. Nixion had expected this, however, and swung his other hand up and around, flying for Slayn’s temple. She twisted her body to avoid it, but his fist managed to clip the side of her head. She staggered sideways, but flipped and twirled through the air before letting her left leg swing out and Nixion did not have time to bring a guard up against it. He was pushed backwards, his chest aching as well now, and Nixion tried to breathe.
Slayn landed and surveyed Nixion, not bothering to raise a guard. Nixion stood his ground and scowled at her, really wanting to get out his machete that Slayn had taken and left outside along with all the other weapons people had on them. Lyra had been particularly annoyed at this. Seconds stretched by and no one made a sound, not even the others who were watching them, their own training battles abandoned.
Finally, Slayn simply straightened her shoulders and asked him, “What’s your magic discipline?”
“I break bones,” Nixion replied, his breath back.
“I’m happy for you,” nodded Slayn. “But what’s your magic discipline?”
I’m a bone breaker,” Nixion said, beginning to frown. “I break bones.”
Slayn didn’t even bother to answer this time and just gave him a look.
“Nixion uses his magic to influence the strength and stability of bones inside any portion of the human body with a tap,” Lyra spoke up from the audience.
“What?” asked Slayn.
“I break bones,” Nixion repeated.
“Oh,” she rolled her eyes. “Why didn’t you just say that?”
“But I-”
“Doesn’t matter. Doesn’t make a difference now,” Slayn said, and moved faster than Nixion could have expected. Within seconds, he was on the ground, wondering what the hell had just happened.
Grasping the fact that they were fighting once again, Nixion rolled quickly to avoid having his head crushed by Slayn’s descending boot and leapt back to his feet. At once, he was knocked back on to the ground again as Slayn lashed out with a back kick. Disorientated at how quickly he had gone from standing, to on the ground, to standing and then back down again, Nixon instinctively bought his arms up to protect his face at the sound of a running opponent. Slayn’s fist hit Nixion’s left arm and he gritted his teeth in pain.
He wanted to curse, and he wanted to yell, but he knew that that would accomplish nothing, so instead Nixion lashed out wildly with his uninjured arm and felt it make contact with flesh. The fist withdrew and Nixion got to his feet again as quickly as he could. Slayn came at him quickly again, a fist already blurring towards Nixion’s jaw, but he spun sideways, letting it miss, and rammed into Slayn hard which sent her staggering again.
She spun quickly, regaining balance, then stopped and observed him once more, frowning.
Not having a clue what was going on, but not exactly caring either, Nixion did not stop this time, and came forwards, fists and elbows flying at Slayn. She parried and blocked and dodged them all, but kept the frown on her face as if she was trying to work out the answer to a particularly hard question. Annoyed that she wasn’t even showing signs of worry that he was attacking her, Nixion quickened his pace, attacking viciously and with wild techniques. The more wild and more aggressive his attacks became, the clearer the look on Slayn’s face was. Until finally, when Nixion bought both his fists into the air and attempted to smash them down on her temple, Slayn let out a weird “Ooh,” of realisation. And she grabbed the descending fists with one hand, twisted them so Nixion lost his balance and bought the back of his head crashing down onto her rising knee.
Pain and white light exploded everywhere, and Nixion did not even realise he was on the ground again, face down. Time lost meaning, and he lay there, staring at the cold grey surface that was the floor, a frown on his face as he tried to work out what had happened.
The back of his head hurt. The back of his head hurt a lot. His arm hurt. His back hurt. His chest also hurt. The rest of his body seemed to be okay.
Slowly, very slowly, he rolled over onto his back, intending to look up at the ceiling, and was greeted with the mostly concerned faces of the people still in the room, save Slayn. At once, irritation and bitterness rose back up inside him and Nixion shot to his feet, ignoring the pain in his head that suddenly made him want to throw up.
“Get out of my face…” he muttered, pushing someone aside with a weak arm. He looked around for Slayn, not exactly eager to continue the battle, but too stubborn to refuse to either. She tapped his shoulder and he wheeled around to face her, feeling sick already.
“Your technique is wild and unpredictable,” she said, handing him his machete. “Which is good. Unfortuntely, it’s also rather clumsy at times, and rage can make you predictable.”
Nixion looked at his machete dully.
“Take a shower,” she said next. “You stink.”
Nixion frowned at her, then asked, “Where’s the bathroom, then?”
“Huh?” Slayn looked up at him, having already lost interest in the conversation.
Nixion rolled his eyes and stumbled from the room, the back of his head throbbing.

It took him a while, but Nixion managed to find the bathroom of Slayn’s house. At least, he found one of them. Judging by the size of her house, there was likely to be at least half a dozen more scattered around the place. This would be because the term mansion better described the place Slayn accommodated. After he had showered and was successfully cooled down again, Nixion dried himself off and pulled his clothes back on, pleased to find that they weren’t too sweaty.
After this, Nixion left the bathroom and headed back to the Dojo. Or at least, he tried to. Because, as he had noticed, the house was painfully large. As such, Nixion became lost fairly quickly and found himself wandering through corridor after corridor, turning corner after corner and wondering all the while where the bloody hell he was. Eventually, Nixion came across something that he recognized vaguely as a kitchen of sorts. It would seem perfectly normal for a kitchen, if it were not as large as half of Nixion’s entire house.
“How big does a place need to be for someone to live in?” he muttered to himself incredulously, making his way to one of the five fridges that filled a small portion of the room and opened it. Peering inside, he saw that the fridge was filled with vegetables and vegetables alone. Nixion paused, then shut the fridge and moved on to its neighbour. Opening that one, Nixion was greeted with the sight of meats, meats and more meats. The next held sweets, chocolates and other junk foods, of which Nixion grabbed a handful of things from. The one after that had butter, cheese and other similar things. The last one held assorted drinks, mostly coke, and also ice.
Muttering again, Nixion tore the wrappings off a chocolate bar and proceeded to try and find his way back to the Dojo again. It took him an entire half an hour to do so, but he finally managed to get back to the training area, by which time his clothes were finally dry again. Nixion entered the Dojo just in time to see Lyra bat a fist away from Slayn and send a powerful kick aimed at her chest. Slayn parried it and spun, ducked under a second kick and came up with a fist that Lyra blocked.
As Nixion joined the rest of the group that had once again abandoned their own battles to watch, Slayn and Lyra exchanged fists and elbows and kicks, neither making a noise. Punches were knocked away, kicks were parried and blows were countered. Neither seemed able to hit the other and seemed, for the most part, evenly matched.
After a while, however, Lyra’s energy seemed to be draining and her posture begun to weaken. This continued until finally Slayn knocked away a punch and sent one of her own to meet Lyra’s stomach, and she stumbled away.
“Well done,” Slayn said to Lyra as she looked up again. “You’re actually managing to hold your own against-”
Lyra had used this time to launch herself towards Slayn again with a second fist which had caught the woman off-guard. Slayn, obviously not expecting this, managed to move her head to the right in time to dodge the punch, but did not have time to do anything about the powerful round kick that came crashing into her ribs following it. Slayn stumbled to the side, let herself fall to avoid the reverse round kick sent at her and came up with an elbow that collided with Lyra’s chin.
Lyra fell backwards onto the ground and when she looked back up again, Slayn was standing over her, laughing.
“Well done,” she laughed. “You’re actually very good. You probably would have had a chance of beating me if you hadn’t begun to tire when you did. That can be fixed with training, though.”
Slayn offered a hand to Lyra which she accepted and got to her feet. Lyra did not speak, but studied Slayn for a few seconds longer before returning to the bulk of the group.
“I can’t exactly say I’m disappointed,” Slayn said to the whole. “I expected about as much from this group, after all. So all this means is that there’s a lot of room for improvement.”
Nixion stopped listening around that point and started chewing on a second chocolate bar.  He was annoyed. Lately, he had been beaten far too often. Lyra had beaten him. Keeve had beaten him. Stavan had beaten him. Loader had beaten him. Now Slayn had beaten him too, or as good as.
He had been training his fighting skills ever since he was eleven, or there about. He wasn’t meant to be beaten in fights. He would admit – only to himself, of course – that there were people in the world stronger than he was. But he was not meant to be beaten by so many people in less than two weeks. It was humiliating.
Just as well no one in his new group of Sanctuary dogs particularly enjoyed mocking him. Well, save Stavan, presumably…
There was really only one obvious solution. Train. Get stronger. He trained every day, but evidently it was not enough. The only problem was that he was now spending most of his time on the investigation of The Remaining, and when he wasn’t, Mist would probably want him to spend most to all of his time training with Slayn. He could not see Slayn helping him anytime soon. She could fight, sure, but he had a just a slight suspicion that she was not a great teacher. And recently, Nixion had pretty much done whatever Mist had told him to.
But then again, maybe it was time for that to change.


Nixion had to admit, he was feeling much better towards the Sanctuary. It may have been because this place had been where they had been healed each time they returned from a beating in the past few days. He didn’t necessarily like the people in the Sanctuary any more, but the Sanctuary itself was growing on him. However, Nixion had a feeling it was more because he had so many more people and so many more things to hate recently that he had no time to go around loathing the Sanctuary. He hoped it was that. The idea that the idiot healers were beginning to grow on him was-

 “You look like crap,” was Stavan’s greeting to him upon his arrival. The rest of the group filed past him and Nixion rolled his eyes at Stavan.
Fifteen minutes later, Mist had arrived at the Sanctuary again, by which time Nixion’s suspicions about him being a traitor had risen again. It was not like Mist to be late.
“Where were you?” Nixion asked Mist, not bothering to try and sound polite.
“The Grand Mage wanted a ‘report on current status’ as he put it,” Mist replied. “He’s anxious about the threat of war. Apparently Australia as a whole will be blamed if another war breaks out, but a lot of the accusations will be aimed at him. So really, we’ll be responsible for the hatred of this country for the rest of our lives if we fail.”
“No pressure, then,” muttered Nixion as they joined the larger group.
“Okay!” Mist said, raising his voice and addressing the rest of the group again. “Cobalt gave us an address for the head of operations Charles Hammond used in the war. That’s where we’re headed.”
He gave a quick look to Nixion, Stavan and Lyra as if reminding them to stick with their assignment partner, then nodded and started walking for the exit.
Nixion followed, the need to punch something becoming very strong again. 

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Sorry For The Delay

Yeah, it's been a while, huh?

We've each had some writing crisis's, and a lot of work.

But there's also been concerns that have arisen about certain characters and the way they work.

That took a while to sort out. Then there were more writing crisis's and suddenly we're half way through freaking September!

It was a lot longer than I thought, but then, we're usually occupied with work during Term.

Still unsure of when the next chapter will be up, but, y'know, soon hopefully.

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Nix and Mist Chapter 13: The Remaining History of The Remaining

The Remaining History of The Remaining

Charles Hammond missed the old days. The days of destruction, of free roam, of being able to kill without injuring himself, of being able to use magic. He missed the days of The War. He had never much liked Mevolent as such, but he had liked the Sanctuary even less, with their absurd laws they had in place to prevent anything and everything Hammond enjoyed doing even less. These things were mostly torturing and killing, but mainly the killing. As such, he had sided with Mevolent during The War. Siding with Mevolent meant that he could kill freely. Siding with Mevolent meant that he could hurt the people he wanted to hurt and kill the people he wanted to kill without consequences, for everyone around him was doing exactly the same thing.
Hammond did not believe in The Faceless Ones. He did not believe they existed. He was yet to see proof and such was not going to hold faith in what was currently seen to him as a myth. A legend. Hammond did not believe in legends. Hammond wanted to hurt people, torture his enemies, and then unceremoniously murder them in a thoroughly painful way. Painful for them, that is. Hammond did not like pain. Hammond had had enough pain in his days to last him for the rest of his life.
Hammond was a warlock, the only warlock he had known to ever take a side in The War. Hammond had heard the whispers of people guessing how the forces of Mevolent had managed to get him to join a side. He had never told anyone the real reason he had joined Mevolent, had never spoken of the fact that he had not taken a side in interest of the intended outcome. He had taken a side because of an outcome, but not the outcome that either side had been aiming for: Mevolent: a so-called ‘perfect world’ overruled by The Faceless Ones, the rebels; a world free of death, destruction and Mevolent and his lackey’s Gods. Hammond had joined a side because he could reach the near-destruction of the world’s population easier, quicker and more efficiently with Mevolent’s assistance.
So, Hammond joined Mevolent’s side and was accepted by his followers in Australia warmly after he had displayed his power against the rebellion. The times Hammond had after that was some of the best times he had ever had in his life. Hammond brought destruction everywhere he went and left death in his wake. He demolished battle-fields and he loved every moment of it. His powers were amazing and it wasn’t long before Hammond became a feared and powerful general among Mevolent’s ranks in Australia. Hammond’s reputation rose quickly in not just Australia, but other countries too. He didn’t bother with alliances or friendships with other fighters. It wasn’t necessary. He was powerful enough, Hammond didn’t need to worry about his own health. Or so he had thought.
He had been in the war for a few decades when he was captured. Hammond had become reckless, far too reckless, and with his recklessness came over-confidence and his over-confidence led to his misjudgement. He had become overwhelmed and abandoned and then he was captured and before he knew what was going on, Hammond had been thrown into a cell.

He had not self-destructed, as he had expected. Hammond did not exactly know what had happened. Warlocks were meant to self-destruct once their magic was bound. And yet he did not.

Hammond did not know how long he had been sentenced to prison for. He had not been paying attention when they told him and he had not been bothered to ask once he had gotten there. He had thought, for a few decades, that he would count the years as they went by, but he had ended up losing count somewhere around the ninety-four mark.
For hundreds of years he had been locked away in his little cell, his magic robbed from him, no longer there, no longer serving. It was maddening. He had not needed food, nor water, nor needed to dispose of any waste. He had even begun to age after a while. Hammond did not like aging…
He liked killing. But that was not happening anymore.
Hammond had not expected to get out of prison. He actually begun to suspect that he had been given a life sentence, and he probably had. If he had indeed been given a life sentence, however, Hammond had not needed to see it through to the end, for he had been broken out of prison a mere three months previously.
The prison had been infiltrated, surrounded, and his cell was destroyed by the people who had come. They broke him out, and left the prison with him before anyone could work out what had happened. Hammond himself had not actually known what had happened, but he most certainly had not objected when they broke apart his cell and offered him the chance to leave with them. These people were the organisation known was The Remaining, the organisation that Hammond now ran.
He was briefed, once they had gotten back to their base. The Remaining wanted to restart The War. Some of them were devout Faceless Ones followers; others were just like Hammond and merely sought destruction. They had broken Hammond out of prison for one purpose only; to lead them to victory; to restart the spark of war.
Hammond, once powerful, recently free and utterly void of magic ability, agreed to lead their organisation for one reason. He needed to get his magic back and he had absolutely no idea how to do it. If there was any chance in getting his magic back, Hammond figured it rested in his abilities to restart The War and to lead The Remaining. He wasn’t sure if it was even possible, but if it was, he was going to do it.
Hammond later discovered that the people who wanted destruction alone simply wanted to restart The War simply because it was the most destructive thing they had ever witnessed, or, in some cases, heard of. The people who were Faceless Ones followers and wanted The War to restart for the original purposes that Mevolent had intended; to bring back their dark Gods. Hammond, changed though he might during his many years in prison, had not changed his views on the Faceless Ones. He still did not trust in their existence. He did not mind, however. They could believe what they wanted. He didn’t care. Hammond would not, however, waste his time as the leader of The Remaining in seeking out ways to bring back Gods who did not exist.
Of course, back then The Remaining did not have a name. They were simply there. Simply it, just a group. Hammond had soon decided that they needed a name. A name that was defining, but not something that was so dark as to be mistaken as a cliché of sorts. The Remaining’, he had finally decided; meant to give meaning to how few of them there were now compared to how many fighters that sought destruction and dominance in the days of war and battle, of wreck and bliss. And yet also to show how powerful they still were, within their current numbers of position, now.
Hammond liked that name. Hammond liked his new leadership. Hammond liked being free. Hammond burned for revenged. Hammond still burned for global destruction. Hammond was putting his current power over The Remaining to good use. He had then, and he still was now.
The current ‘good use’ happened to take the form of Phase Two. And Phase Two was now operational and set to go. If he was lucky, then it would also be put into effect fairly soon. The operative was currently positioned in the place as planned when Hammond had originally organised Phase Two and all was going according to plan in Australia. At least it was going to plan somewhere. Apparently the reports still were not any good from England and now their progress in America, their only other major country infiltration, had been delayed as well. But Hammond had decided he was not going to bother with them for now; they were finally getting a move on here in Australia and so he was going to focus on their work here before he worried about things happening elsewhere in the world.
However, while things were improving in terms of plans, Clousdina was most certainly not become any less annoying.
“I had another dream last night,” his niece said for the third time that day.
Did you, now?” Hammond asked in an irritable voice again, for the third time that day.
“I did,” Clousdina nodded, for the third time that day. “It was about-”
“No, please,” Hammond said in mock protest, cutting her off sharply, glaring down at his paperwork. “Let me guess, my dear niece. Was it, by any chance, about transforming donkeys that told you in Japanese that you had to buy a new bike?”
“It was actually,” Clousdina said, frowning at Hammond. “How did you know?”
And then, without waiting for an answer, Clousdina began talking about French fries, completely forgetting about Hammond and their previous conversation, looking as though she was either talking to herself or the desk.
Yes, Hammond reflected privately as he returned to the paperwork he was currently filling out on his desk, he definitely needed to kill someone soon…


Yeah, so...

Sorry about 13. I did say it was a short chapter, but everything I wrote basically contradicted with most of the history that we'd already laid out (I was pretty tired). So I've had to go back and edit through all of it again (with Nix's help) and it still hasn't been finished yet. Plus, school's back and there's work and Kingdom of the Wicked was just released so I'm pretty bent on getting through that and blady blah blah.

Most likely, it'll be out by the weekend, maybe before that if you're lucky.

As for the comments about getting this thing published, Nix and I have discussed this pretty thoroughly, believe me. Couple of complications have come up, but yes; we most definitely want to, but we may not be able to due to things that I won't go into detail here.

So yeah, that's it for now. Adios.

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Statistics After Ch. 12 + News On Ch. 13

And there's the word count for you.

As for 13, the first copy has been written already (it's a fairly short chapter) and is being edited now.

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Nix and Mist Chapter 12: Enter 'Le Blonde


Enter ‘Le Blonde

He was right. Nixion did not like the plan at all. In fact, if he was honestly upright about it, Nixion absolutely hated the plan. That is, if Mist’s idea was actually a plan at all. Which, in his opinion, wasn’t in the slightest. If it did count as a plan, though, it was not saying much to say that Nixion hated it. He hated just about everything, after all.
“No,” Nixion glared at Mist after he had explained. “Not that. I’m not going there.”
“Actually,” Mist said, scooping the files back into the bag and hoisting it over his shoulder once again. “You are. Take Mahogany with you too. You’re to keep an eye on her from now on.”
“I hate you…” Nixion muttered.
“You know, something tells me we’ve been here before,” Mist frowned. “Have we been through this before?”
“I hate you,” Nixion repeated, still glaring, as Mist made for the stairs out of the basement.
“Huh. This is happening again,” he said.
“Hate you,” Nixion said firmly, glaring at Mist.
“I know,” He said. “Stavan, you come with me. We need to get back to the Sanctuary.”
“’Kay.” Stavan said, hooking his thumbs into his pockets and flashing a smirk at Nixion as he passed him.
“Hate you both.”
“We know,” Mist and Stavan both said in unison.
“If it’s any consolation,” said Stavan, “We hate you too.” And they left Nixion in the basement to glower at the place they had just been.


Nixion Strange and Mahogany Reen were walking up the short pathway that led to the small, white house. Nixion’s movements were bitter, Mahogany’s solemn. His insides squirmed with discomfort and dreaded anticipation. Nixion’s jacket was zipped against the cold and the howling wind sent shivers down his spine, but Mahogany was dressed in her usual faded blood-red shirt and her usual faded white pants, contained in a bubble of pure calm. As his hair and clothes billowed wildly in the wind and his entire body excluding his protected hands froze, Nixion reflected longingly that he could manipulate the air around him as well…
All too soon they had reached the front door, painted a pale blue, and Mahogany had knocked on it firmly, three times with a fist. Nixion was hoping the wait may have been a bit longer, simply to delay what he couldn’t exactly escape from anymore. Unfortunately for him, the door opened almost at once, slowly, obediently, and a welcome wave of soft heat drifted over him. Nixion’s stomach dropped again, however, as he looked into the face of the balding man who had opened the door in response. It was not an altogether striking image of their fallen ally, but it was close all the same, and Nixion saw enough resemblance in his expression to make him feel horrible again. Silently, he cursed Mist for bringing this on him.
The aging man surveyed them for a few moments, and then stepped aside to allow them entry.
“I suppose you’d better come in then…” Thomas Iron’s father said grimly.
And Nixion stepped over the threshold after Mahogany feeling too awful to appreciate the warmth of his new surroundings. He vaguely heard the door close softly behind them and the man ushered them quietly into the next room, gesturing to the large couch in front of a rocking chair. Nixion and Mahogany took the couch while Thomas’s father sat in the rocking chair and the woman Nixion knew to be Thomas’s mother walked in with a grim expression to sit beside her husband.
“We’re here to talk about Thomas,” Mahogany begun softly. “Your son.”
Thomas’s mother nodded slowly and sombrely. Nixion suspected they knew already, despite the complete lack of information release from the Sanctuary. He and Mahogany weren’t exactly doing a very good job pretending otherwise either.
“I’m very sorry,” Nixion said abruptly, not entirely sure why the words were coming out of his mouth.
“No you aren’t,” a harsh voice came from behind them and Nixion craned his neck around to see someone who looked almost precisely like an older version of Thomas striding towards them and his parents. He looked to be in his late twenties and was an excellent copy of Thomas, though Nixion knew he was probably a lot older because of magic. The scar across his left eye and his wilder hair were the only things that differed from Nixion’s last memoires of Thomas. That and the fact that he was older and taller than Thomas had been.
Nixion frowned at the man as he joined his parents and received a fierce glare in return. Nixion looked away hastily. He couldn’t blame Thomas’s brother, but all the same…There was something about his eyes that seemed to drill holes into him.
Like Mist.
Nixion pushed the thoughts of Mist away from his mind. He didn’t want to think about him. He needed to concentrate. Concentrate on the horrible situation he was currently in.
“This is Loader,” the father said rather reluctantly as his eldest son stood beside him, arms folded.
“Don’t call me that,” Loader snapped at his father.
Thomas’s mother nodded, seemingly for no reason, and, looking rather lost, stood up abruptly and walked out of the room again. She returned moments later with a tray loaded with cookies and tea which she then set down on the polished table in front of them.
Mahogany took a cup of tea and took a sip.
Nixion frowned at the tray.
Thomas’s mother sniffed.
Thomas’s father sighed.
Thomas’s brother seethed with silent rage.
“I’m afraid we have some…unfortunate news…” Mahogany said softly, deciding to address the matter fairly quickly. Nixion didn’t think it was the best approach, but if it got him out of here faster, then he didn’t really care how it was done.
“Oh?” Loader asked, the darkness in his glare spearing through in his speech as well. Nixion caught sight of the black handle of something tucked away in his belt that was pulsing slightly. Thomas’s brother, Nixion now knew, was a Necromancer.
“Your son, Thomas,” Mahogany continued in her same, quiet tone, deciding to direct her speech to the parents only. “Has…passed.”
“We know that,” Loader snarled. “How?”
His eyes were daggers, filling with a darkness that was also beginning to writhe around the handle Nixion could see.
“Your brother was killed while working on a Top-Secret Operation for the Australian Sanctuary,” Mahogany said, now dropping the soft tone and redirecting her speech only to Loader. Nixion had never really known Mahogany to be one to talk much. Although, this was reasonable, seeing as Nixion barely knew Mahogany at all. She probably spoke heaps a lot of the time. And here she was, doing something he was refusing to.
He couldn’t face talking to Thomas’s parents, and Thomas’s brother looked as if he was ready to kill someone, most likely them.
Thomas’s mother let out a strangled noise that could have been a choked cry of misery or a groan of depression.
“So he died for a pathetic cause?” Loader growled menacingly.
Nixion looked at the father to see him shifting in his seat uncomfortably as his son spoke to them. He frowned as he watched, unsure of what was going on.
“He died doing a noble thing,” Mahogany countered. “Thomas was trying to make the world a better place.”
“Don’t say his name,” Thomas’s brother’s eyes were drilling holes into Mahogany. “Don’t say his name. You have no idea…” His sentence was left hanging and his knuckles were pure white as his fists clenched tightly.
Thomas’s mother was deathly pale and her lips had drained of colour, her eyes fearful and hands trembling. She was backed up against the far wall now, watching her son carefully and Nixion realized that she was observing him out of fear. Loader was ready to snap…
“Son…” the father started feebly, but was cut off at once.
“Shut up, old man,” Loader growled in something that was so beat-like that Nixion was taken by surprise and his hand automatically slipped towards the handle that was his machete, protruding from its holster. It was not a movement he had intended to happen, but he did not relinquish his grip as Loader and Mahogany continued exchanging barely controlled speech when.
The father shut up as he was told and slowly removed himself from the chair and paced slowly over to join his wife at the far wall. Loader did not seem to notice.
“Thomas Iron was trying to prevent a war.” Mahogany said firmly, still staring at Loader defiantly, having ignored his command to keep his deceased brother’s name absent from the conversation.
“Who cares?” Loader roared, letting his arms unfold and leap to his sides, fists still clenched tightly. Nixion’s grip on the handle of his machete tightened a fraction. “He still died, didn’t he?” Thomas’s mother muffled her gasp with her sleeve, but still Loader ignored his parent’s obvious petrification.
“He died trying to protect the country,” Mahogany said calmly. “Your anger is understandable, but I must ask you calm down.”
Loader let out a strangled cry of rage and begun yelling, even louder than before.
This is all your fault!” he bellowed at Nixion and Mahogany and Nixion saw the mother quickly slip into the kitchen and out the door of the house, closely followed by her husband.
“Calm down…” Nixion muttered, half a glare of his own rising to his face.
I’ll kill you!” Thomas’s brother roared and he grabbed the hilt of the weapon that was now swirling with dark, black energy and he pulled the pulsing machete from its holster.
“Hell…” Nixion cursed and leaped to his feet, pulling his own gleaming machete from his holster as Mahogany begun grinning madly at all the yelling, abandoning all composure and sensibility. Nixion made a mental note to yell at her later and ducked under a slice of shadow darkness that was send spitting from the black machete before darting forwards, ducking low to avoid another which tore a huge slit in the wall behind him.
He came up with a powerful fist which Loader pushed aside and brought his knee flying to meet Nixion’s ribs which hit with a sickening crack. Nixion staggered sideways, biting his tongue against the pain, something that he already knew was a stupid idea, but attempted to ignore it. He spun and sent a kick in his opponent’s general direction. But Loader had already ducked and he grabbed Nixion’s leg and spun him around through the air. Nixion cursed again, much louder this time, as he was released and was sent flying into Mahogany who was still sitting on the couch and still grinning uncontrollably despite the brutal fight that had just broken out in front of her.
Groaning and rolling his eyes, Nixion rolled off her lap and leaped to his feet, only to be sent tumbling back to the ground again as a wave of shadows was sent crashing into him. He rolled sideways to avoid a second wave of darkness flying his way and leaped to his feet again.
“You’re under arrest for unprovoked assault on a, uh, temporary Sanctuary official,” Nixion said loudly, surprising himself with how professional he sounded. “Come quietly now or we’ll be left with no choice but to use-” a fist of darkness took all the breath out of Nixion’s lungs but he clung onto the attack as it withdrew towards Loader. Nixion saw the Necromancer’s eyes widen as he realised what Nixion was doing but it was too late.
Nixion released the fist a split second later and was propelled into the brother, his kick meeting his chest in the centre and Loader was knocked backwards and Nixion saw him release his dagger as he did so. Nixion lowered his guard when he saw this, expecting a few seconds of pause in the battle, expecting Loader to hit the ground, expecting a few moments to anticipate further attacks. But Loader had hit the wall and had rebounded forwards instead and Nixion’s opponent remained, infuriatingly, on his feet.
Though his expectations had not gone to plan, Nixion saw that Loader was slightly disorientated at being knocked around as such and Nixion used these few seconds he had been provided with to attack. He dived, aiming for a low tackle from the side and he took Loader off his feet and crashing back onto the ground.
The small room that had been cosy and warm only a few moments ago had turned into a battlefield littered with fragments of furniture.
Not risking a moment of hesitation, Nixion bought a ready fist up and sent it crashing down on the Loader’s head. He heard the satisfying smack of his recently gloved fist against flesh and bone, and Nixion bought it back up for another strike. But this time Loader lashed out an attack, whether planned or out of panic or desperation, Nixion could not tell. Loader’s knee smacked against the back of Nixion’s head and stars burst in front of him as pain exploded from behind and Nixion was thrown off, disorientated. Nixion vaguely registered the hazy image of Loader’s hand gripping a leg of the small wooden drawer behind him, but was too disorientated to do anything about it. Thomas’s brother half threw, half forced the drawer upwards and it splintered into pieces upon contact with his head.
Pain exploded from all over Nixion as three consecutive attacks made contact with his stomach as well and he did not know where he was anymore, blinded by agony and thrown off balance by disorientation. He could feel the powerful objects that were Loader’s fists raining down all over his body and the long surface against his back and head that was the floor as he was thrown back onto it. His vision slowly faded back into view as the attacks ceased for a moment and Nixion caught sight of Mahogany who had now stopped grinning and laughing. He shot her a look of disbelief and she hesitated, then raised her arm once and splayed her hand and he felt Loader’s attacks cease entirely and heard his body hit the wall behind him. Head spinning wildly, Nixion staggered to his feet and turned to face Loader who was already standing again.
Instinctively, Nixion let his fist fly towards his opponent as he moved in and it made contact with the side of Loader’s face. Thomas’s brother’s head jerked sideways as it made contact and Nixion hit him again. And again. Once more. Loader was sent crashing into the wall again with a final sickening attack to the face and slid to the ground.
Nixion staggered backwards a few steps before sinking to the ground himself, releasing his machete and panting heavily. He was sweating and aching all over. It was times like these that he wished he had the money to pay for protective clothing… Nixion doubled over, his hand rising to his head where the drawer had smashed against it and saw some dark liquid against the black of his gloves. Blood.
He raised his eyesight to look at Loader.
His hair was messy and untamed and eyes were bloodshot, unfocused. He had a dark patch under his scarred eye and his clothes were battered. But it was not any of this that made Nixion swear.
 It was the dagger that was pointed at him again, and the spear of darkness speeding towards his heart.
Before he knew what was happening, the spear had flickered and then dissipated from his view and Loader was engulfed in flame and screaming. Nixion turned to see Mahogany’s arms both raised, one directed at Loader, the other at the place the spear had just been.+
Nixion passed out a moment later, Mist’s voice ringing in his head with the accompanying inquiries as to why Mahogany had not intervened sooner.

“From now on we’re going to need to know what everyone is doing. Every move…”

It could only have been a few moments before he awoke again, however. His body ached and head throbbed. Loader was unconscious and drenched in water and Mahogany was a few feet in front of him, pulling out a pair of shackles.
“Force,” Mahogany said, finishing Nixion’s sentence that had been cut short when the battle had first started. Nixion rolled his eyes and let his head loll backwards.
“Let’s just get back to the Sanctuary…” he muttered. Before he started killing something.


Zathract and Stavan strode through the dark, abandoned school, clothing zipped up tight against the cold and their hands firmly fixed in pockets, trying and failing to keep them warm. Not Zathract’s gloves, nor jacket, nor shirt, nor pants ever kept him warm when approaching the Sanctuary. There were times when he hated the precautions set up against the place, but at least it did what it was meant to do; keep mortals away.
The sky above was grey. They sky above the school was always grey, but today the rest of the surrounding sky was grey and full of black clouds as well. A storm was coming… They passed a crumbling building and stepped into the decaying remains of the canteen. Zathract knelt beside the cracked tile and summoned flame to his hand with a click of his fingers. The magically enhanced tile detected the magic offered to it, then the entrance to the Sanctuary opened up in the form of a descending staircase which Zathract and Stavan walked down. The ceiling reformed above them and they paced through the long hallway that led to the larger parts of the Sanctuary.
Zathract had called the team, excluding Nix and Mahogany, and told them to meet up in the Sanctuary at two in the afternoon. He had called Lyra and told her to be there and a quarter to two. This would, hopefully, leave Zathact and Stavan enough time to explain everything to her and, if needed, convince her of the importance of her contribution to their plan of action against the traitor.
However, it appeared that Lyra was unwilling to wait the ten extra minutes that made the gap in-between the time Zathract and Stavan would arrive and the time set for their meet, for they had only travelled halfway down the corridor when the sounds of the ceiling behind them being forced apart again came drifting towards their ears. They turned to see Lyra Blue striding down the staircase and entering the dimly-lit corridor by firelight and nodding to them in greeting. The two nodded back and continued their way towards the wooden door at the end of the path.
By the time Zathract and Stavan had reached the large wooden door that opened to the rest of the Sanctuary, Lyra had already joined their side and entered alongside them.
“Ah,” the administrator said briskly, hurrying forwards to meet them. “Mr Mist,”
Zathract mumbled something darkly, glad that Nixion was not there to hear the administrator address him as such.
“Miss Blue,”
“Whatever…” Lyra muttered quietly.
“And…” the administrator said, turning to Stavan. “Uh…What’s your last name?”
Stavan merely offered a grunt before striding forwards past the administrator and Zathract and Lyra followed, giving him a shrug in return. They made their way across to the large room full of couches and chairs that they had spent their time in the previous few days and, at a nod from Zathract, Stavan quickly preformed a quick circuit of the room and checked to make sure no one was hiding anywhere, trying to listen to their conversation while Zathract close the doors.
There were no cameras in the room. Stavan returned from the far end, confirming with a quick nod to Zathract that they were indeed alone in there, and they all sat down.
“So,” Lyra said, taking an entire lounge to herself and leaving the two males to settle with separate singular seats facing her. “What’s all this about then? Why’s no one else here?”
“Because,” Stavan said, getting straight to the point. “We need to talk to you privately.”
Lyra raised an eyebrow.
“And you chose to carry out a private conversation at the Sanctuary?”
“We’re a bit tight on time,” Zathract said.
“We are,” Stavan nodded. “Quite tight.”
“Tight enough to risk a secret conversation that doesn’t seem to concern the rest of our little rebellious group in the open and thoroughly un-private refuge of the Sanctuary?” Lyra asked.
“Of course,” Stavan continued and Zathract decided to sit back and let him speak.
“Why’s that?”
“Because we’re tight on time, we’ve just said that.”
You’ve just said that.”
“Zath said it too.”
Zathract sat up. “Call me that again and I’ll hurt you,” he said sharply.
Stavan rolled his eyes and Lyra smirked.
“So how tight are we on time then?” Lyra continued.
“We have about ten minutes until the others get here,” Zathract said, letting himself fall back into the chair again. “That should be enough time for Stavan to explain everything that’s going on.”
“What?” Stavan asked, turning his head to look at Zathract with an incredulous expression. “Why do-?”
“Go on,” Zathract nodded with a small grin and watched as Stavan grumbled a bit before launching into a mimic explanation that had been offered to him before.

Lyra had remained silent during the time Stavan talked. So had Zathract, speaking up only to interject small detail his companion may have missed. When Stavan had finished, Lyra simply frowned at the two for a few moments as if trying to decide whether or not to believe them.
“And why do you think you can trust me?” she asked.
“Everyone asks that…” Stavan muttered.
“Because we can,” Zathract replied simply. “We’ve discussed this.”
“Not really,” Stavan said. “More like ‘briefly and un-thoroughly skated over’.”
“So you’re just hoping?” Lyra asked them.
“Indeed we are,” Zathract nodded. “You in or not?”
There was a pause, but only a short one before Lyra nodded.
“Okay,” she said. “And Redeem person; how do you know she can be trusted?”
“There’s no point in discussing Slayn,” Zathract said with a grin. “You’ll see why when you’ll meet her.”
“Alright then,” Lyra said and stood up, walking towards the doors while Zathract and Stavan followed.
She unlocked them and they walked out of the room as a very battered, very tired looking Nixion Strange staggered in with Mahogany Reen dragging an unconscious man drenched in water by the leg behind her.
“Any trouble?” Stavan asked, flashing a smirk at Nixion again.
“Some…” he muttered in reply and staggered off, probably to find some healers.
“Don’t go too far,” Zathract called after him. “The others will be here soon.”
Nixion did not reply and Mahogany walked after him, dragging the unconscious man behind him.
“Thomas’s brother,” she said to the three of them as she walked off. “He didn’t exactly take the news very well.”
As Mahogany Reen disappeared around the corner Hunter and Kali walked into the room.
“Where’s Dark?” Stavan asked Hunter.
“Coming,” was all that the Vampire offered in return.
“Right…” Stavan frowned.
But a fully-healed Nixion Strange and an empty handed Mahogany Reen had already returned to their midst by the time Neon Dark walked himself into the Sanctuary.
“Sorry,” he said at ten past two. “I was held up,”
“Okay,” Zathract said, taking charge again. “Now that we’re all here, I’m going to tell you what we’re all going to do. Neon, Lyra and Kali are all going to go and see Gabriel Cobalt for any information he can give us about The Remaining.”
“He tried to kill me once before,” Dark said in an undertone.
“He’s tried to kill me twice in the past year alone,” Lyra muttered.
“He’s tried to kill me three times now,” Stavan sighed.
“He’s tried to kill me seven times,” Mist offered.
“And he’s tried to kill me fourteen times as well as offered me hospitality for a single night and also hired me once to murder someone,” Nixion said roughly, rolling his eyes. “Yeah, great, he’s probably tried to kill us all sometime.”
“He’s never tried to kill me,” Mahogany said cheerfully.
“Then maybe we should send you there and see what happens,” Nixion snapped. “Get it out of the way.”
There was an awkward silence after that which was interrupted by Zathract a few moments later.
“Anyway…” he continued. “We’re going to go see him and the rest of you are going to have your fighting skills sharpened up here by a friend of mine.”
Nixion frowned. Hunter frowned. Mahogany looked blank.
“My fighting skills are better than most,” Stavan said, mildly annoyed and Nixion nodded in agreement.
“Who’s doing it?” Nixion asked him.
“Her,” Zathract said, nodding to the entrance to the Sanctuary behind them and they all turned to see Slayn Redeem striding into the Sanctuary, her usual cocky grin fixed on her face.