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Time Subclass Concept 2/3: The Tracerunner
After seeing the new Stasis Darkness subclasses in line for Beyond Light, I'm excited. Like, really, really excited. Stasis was not an element that I saw coming - I would have bet money on the next subclass being frost and ice based.
So, in that vein, I'm working hard to finish up my Temporal Subclasses before Beyond Light comes out. Season of Arrivals is really good so far, with a lot of lore implications and plenty of content. I hope that these fictional subclasses help sustain the excitement for the new real ones.
And hey, check out my other Vex-inspired Temporal subclasses, or the three based on the Decay Light of Hive magic, after this! In any case, enjoy. Links to the other subclasses just below.
(By the way, Temporal Light is yellow and fills the air with geometric shapes and strange angles)
|Temporal Light - Vex||Timekeeper||Tracerunner||Truthseeker|
|Decay Light - Hive||Darksmith||Chainbinder||Shadowscribe||Decay Exotics|
Hunter: The Tracerunner“Drop your gun. Sheath your knife. Breathe in the Light… and run.”
Relay Grenade: A grenade that moves back and forth, damaging enemies it touches.
- Hunter throws a metal baton charged with yellow Temporal Light
- When the baton hits the ground, it splits in two. The two halves writhe with energy and one raced forwards, damaging any enemy it touches.
- The forward baton stops 6 metres forward and a thin line of yellow light appears between the two batons
- A ball of whirling yellow shapes and geometry appears on the backward baton and races between the two batons every 0.75 seconds, damaging any enemy it touches
- This goes on for a total of 5 seconds.
- Standing in the grenade will kill a PvP Guardian after 4 pulses.
- Hunter throws a metal canister with yellow lights at the ends.
- On impact, the canister explodes into a small spinning vortex for one second, with a large targeting circle briefly materialising around it.
- The vortex then splits into three grounded waves of yellow whirling geometry.
- The three waves burrow along the ground and seek out any enemy within the targeting circle, dealing medium damage.
- Hunter throws a metal sphere with a yellow light at the top
- After a short delay, the grenade explodes, releasing an explosion of yellow energy the same size as a Vortex grenade or Solar grenade.
- The grenade deals light damage
- PvE enemies are staggered.
- PvP guardians have their aim jostled upwards.
Super: Accelerate. Hunter accelerates their own personal timeline, allowing them to travel to speeds far beyond any other Guardian. (Gives Hunter Super Speed.)
- Lasts for 10 seconds
- The Hunter sprints at twice the speed of a max mobility Hunter
- Press [shoot] to perform a burst attack.
- If on the ground, the Hunter crouches into a sprinter’s starting position.
- If in the air, Hunter leaps onto a spinning, horizontal platform of Temporal Light and squats into a deep crouch, but horizontally.
- The player has a 1.5 second window to rotate them to whichever direction they would like. On release, they will burst forwards at full speed.
- Any enemy in front of the Hunter when they burst attack takes heavy damage. Enough to kill a Guardian in PvP
- You continuously run forwards whilst in Accelerate. The only way to stop is to hold Shoot, remaining in the crouch position.
- When you jump, you leap forwards much further than normal.
- If you jump and land flush with a wall, you will run along it briefly before jumping off. This cannot be chained.
- If you jump directly at a wall, you will run directly upwards and then jump backwards off it. You cannot change direction mid jump.
- You leave behind a trail of flickering yellow afterimages, that dissipate once you’ve travelled a few metres.
- Your resilience is reduced to 10, no matter how high your armour stats are.
- Taking damage in a certain way will force you to stumble, slowing you to a flickering standstill for 1.5 seconds before returning to top speed.
- These include running into: Titan Barricade, Ward of Dawn, the Midnight Stronghold, a Darksmith Titan mid-super and using Obsidian Armour, a Wizard Cloud, Colossus Stasis Missiles, Fallen Stasis Mines, Vex Lasers, or the Arc Scorn Chieftan Totem.
- These include taking damage from: Any attack high enough to break your shields, any PvP melee attack, a Shadowshot tether or a Suppression grenade (both of which will remove you from Super).
- Subclass tree specific disadvantages explained below.
Come on - I couldn’t create a Time-based subclass for the Hunter without giving them super-speed. Accelerate is designed for Hunters that value velocity over everything - even to the detriment of their own attack and defence. As a Hunter Super that doesn’t use a tool, it’s also quite unique, without compromising the theme of the class (looking at you, Dawnblade. You should have been a Titan super). However, the advantages of super speed have to come with a considerable drawback to prevent it being overpowered, and each perk tree has its own specific disadvantage too. If an enemy manages to heavily damage you, or you run through a specific defensive ability like Titan barricade or the Ward of Dawn, you’re going to stumble and become easy pickings for a special weapon. You’re also fairly vulnerable during your burst attack, and you can’t stop running forward the whole super. All in all, Accelerate should create the ultimate speed racer fantasy, whilst still being counterable.
Way of the Marathon
- Launch Kick: After sprinting, jump forwards and burst through enemies in a flurry of Temporal Light
- Activated the same way as Striker Titan’s Ballistic Slam. Reach top sprint speed, jump, and then press [melee]
- The Hunter jumps and briefly places their feet on a platform of Temporal Light behind them, becoming horizontal for a moment.
- They push off and launch horizontally through enemies, surrounded by Temporal Light.
- They travel forward a few metres and can return to a full speed sprint if the player continues to hold [sprint]
- Any enemies hit by the Hunter are damaged and knocked slightly aside.
- Damage is high enough to bring a Guardian to 1/4 total health.
- Fast Forward: Sprinting forwards temporarily increases the damage of your melee and grenade.
- The Hunter must sprint almost directly forwards to activate, with a very small range of motion to allow for some change in direction. About 20 degrees either side of the centre.
- After 4 seconds of sprinting, a buff appears called Fast Forward. Lasts for 2 seconds.
- If the Hunter rotates outside of the acceptable margins whilst sprinting, the buff is lost. It cannot be regained until after the Hunter has stopped sprinting for 3 seconds.
- During Fast Forward, melee and grenade damage is multiplied by 125%.
- Fast Forward also applies during Accelerate, granting an 125% damage boost to the Accelerate attack
- Hit and Run: Grenades can be thrown whilst sprinting. Killing enemies whilst sprinting returns grenade energy.
- Part 1: You can throw a grenade whilst sprinting and continue to sprint undeterred.
- You can only throw the grenade forwards.
- Part 2: Killing an enemy whilst sprinting (with any attack, including grenades, Launch Kick, Accelerate, or damage over time attacks thrown prior to sprinting) returns half your grenade energy.
- Hit and Run allows you to throw grenades during Accelerate.
- High Velocity: Accelerate drains your health, but Accelerating through enemies steals their temporal energy and heals you. Killing enemies with Accelerate extends its duration.
- Part 1: Whilst Accelerate is active, your health continuously drains.
- If you do not touch any enemy during Accelerate, you will be left with a tiny sliver of health when it ends - enough that any damage at all will kill you.
- Contact with an enemy during Accelerate will slow their movement for 3 seconds.
- Contact with an enemy during Accelerate will return 10% of your health and prevent health drain for 2 seconds.
- You can contact the same enemy multiple times for multiple health regens/slowings.
- Killing an enemy with the Accelerate burst attack counts as contacting them.
- Part 2: Kill an enemy with the Accelerate burst attack to add 1 second to its duration.
- You can add a maximum of 5 for a total of 15 seconds.
Speed. Speed, speed, and more speed. This is a tree built around forward momentum and is almost entirely reliant on sprinting. Launch Kick ensues the Hunter can keep their forward flow whilst still dealing damage, but will leave them vulnerable to being shot from behind in PvP. Hit and Run provides another, longer-range options during Sprint, rewarding direct attack and running headfirst into battle. Fast Forward ensures that the most optimal way to use the tree relies on running forwards, to prevent the Hunter from sprinting round corners and unfairly surprising enemies. As for the Super, High Velocity keeps the theme of forward movement and provides advanced enemy control, along with preserving that momentum through kills. However, it relies on skill and timing, as if you don’t kill or touch enough enemies during Accelerate, you’re going to be killed by everything but a stray ricochet round.
Way of the Acrobat
- Slide Kick: After sliding, sweep out with a powerful kick, staggering enemies.
- Activated the same way as Tempest Strike from middle tree Arcstrider, after sliding across the ground.
- The Hunter performs a forwards sliding sweep, their lower legs powered with Temporal Light.
- Low damage. Will strip Guardian shields.
- Any non-Major enemies damaged by the attack are staggered.
- In PvP Guardians have their aim jostled, not to the degree of Shadowshot but still significant.
- The area of effect is a small cone, and the slide has a very small amount of aim assist. Aim assist is higher for PvE enemies than for Guardians.
- Perfect Ten: Killing an enemy with Slide Kick returns class ability energy.
- One enemy killed will return your dodge ability.
- Mental Gymnastics: Dodging can be followed up with Slide Kick.
- Press [melee] after Dodging to activate a Slide Kick in the direction of the dodge.
- Safety Net: Rewind time at the end of Accelerate, retracing your steps and dealing damage to any enemy in your path. Reaching your point of origin unleashes a powerful explosion.
- A note: When using Way of the Acrobat, Accelerate leaves behind a permanent trail of afterimages that last the entire duration of the super.
- When Accelerate ends, the Hunter slows to a stop before beginning to run in reverse.
- They retrace their steps, passing back through their afterimages (and absorbing them) at twice the speed that they were created.
- Any enemy within 2m of the Hunter as they rewind through the afterimage trail takes heavy damage.
- The moment they reach their starting point, a Ward of Dawn/ Well of Radiance / Nova Bomb sized explosion occurs, dealing heavy damage.
- Press Super again to end Accelerate early, beginning the rewind. This still consumes all super energy.
- The player camera is fixed to follow whatever path it followed during Accelerate, except in reverse.
- The player can end Accelerate early to enter rewind. This still consumed all Super energy.
Acrobats are agile and mobile, and this tree is meant to represent accelerated agility over pure speed. Slide Kick allows the Hunter to quickly enter an engagement, and Mental Gymnastics combined with Gambler’s Dodge provides consistent close-range enemy management. Perfect Ten creates strong synergy between the two, dependent on kills to make it strong in PvE but balanced in PvP. Safety Net is somewhat separate to the rest of the tree, only really effecting the super but still bringing the tree a little more close-range viability. By forcing the player to rewind, it prevents Accelerate’s speed advantage from being used to unfairly. The Hunter can’t advance into enemy territory and establish a beachhead that hasn’t been earned, unless fellow players coordinate to take the area that the Hunter has just cleared. The extra damage dealt when reversing, both the afterimages and the explosion, means the rewind isn’t too demoralising, and the afterimages warn PvP enemies of the approaching danger. It can be used to save the Hunter from danger though; if they Accelerate off an edge, they can end Accelerate early to save themselves. Rewinding also looks awesome.
Way of the Dancer
- Temporal Cyclone: Accelerate instead fuels a flurry of kick and sweeps, unleashing waves of Temporal Light that decimate enemies.
- At the moment of Activation, the Hunter drops to the floor and begins performing rapid spins and kicks resembling flares and whirlwinds from breakdancing.
- A whirlwind of yellow Temporal Light cascades from the Hunter’s body, damaging all nearby enemies.
- Lasts for 3 seconds.
- The Hunter can slowly move around, continuing to spin, as the Super goes on.
- Perfect Kick: An energetic kick that sends enemies flying.
- The Hunter hops into the air using the momentum of one leg, and then snaps out the other one for a forward, boot-first kick.
- Perfect kick takes slightly longer than a regular Hunter melee.
- Perfect Kick has higher range than a regular Hunter melee.
- The enemy hit by Perfect Kick is pushed backwards, and will knock other enemies out of the way.
- Showstopper: Kills with Perfect Kick increase the damage of your next grenade or Temporal Cyclone. Stacks up to three times.
- Each Perfect Kick kill creates a buff called Showstopper.
- Whenever you throw a grenade or activate Temporal Cyclone, all available Showstopper stacks are used up.
- 1 Stack multiplies grenade damage by 125%, 2 stacks does 150%, 3 stacks does 175%
- 1 stack multiplies Temporal Cyclone damage by 125%, 2 stacks does 150%, 3 stacks does 200%
- Personal Flair: Each enemy killed by Temporal Cyclone extends its duration and range.
- Each enemy killed adds 0.5 seconds to Temporal Cyclone, for a maximum of 6 seconds.
Temporal Cyclone is the middle-tree, Forsaken-style alternate version of Accelerate. Accelerate’s constant sprint makes it difficult to attack large groups of enemies without wasting time running back and forth, and isn’t viable for single targets. But Temporal Cyclone switches that up completely, allowing for high single-target damage and brief area denial. Personal Flair isn’t flashy, but rewards good Super timing. The melee attack, Perfect Kick, is designed to be simple but powerful. It comes into it’s role more as a fuel for grenades and Temporal Cyclone, when combined with Showstopper. As a whole the tree is designed to be opportunistic, building up power with melee attacks until the perfect moment. Then, you can use a powerful grenade for small problems or Temporal Cyclone for bigger ones, having being rewarded for patience and timing.
Phew. This one was fun, really fun, but difficult to balance. I’m sure there will be discussion about how over or under powered some stuff is and I welcome it - feedback is fantastic!
I like the idea of a Hunter getting lost in the Vex Network, possibly related to Panahin, and slowly losing all their tools. Their guns, their supplies, and eventually, their trusted knife. Cornered and surrounded by Vex, they reach into the energies of Time around them and just... run.
As an aside, all Hunter melees are unique. Solar Knives, Arc punches, Void smokes, Decay chains, and now Temporal kicks. It’s surprisingly difficult to think of 3 different ways to kick someone, but the results are interesting.
Inspirations for this subclass included Volt and Gauss from Warframe, Tracer from Overwatch, Sonic the Hedgehog, olympic athletes, Formula 1, and that moment before a trip where everything moves in slow motion.
Next up, and the final Temporal Subclass, is the Titan: the Timekeeper. Take a guess as to what shape of Light they wield.
Excalibur [Part 12]
Galahad crouched behind a car and watched as the two men strode confidently up to the front door, the now light rain spitting down softly on them as they did. One was tall and slim, with a goatee framing a chiselled face, the other short but burly, like a bull, with a face to match. Both had short cropped dark hair and otherwise unremarkable appearances. Their aura however, was unmistakable; Galahad could almost smell their evil intentions.
Ever since magic had began to grow inside him centuries ago, Galahad had been able to sense these kind of things, things he couldn’t quite explain. He had always been a good judge of character, and the magic had seemed to enhance that ability, nurturing it beyond simple human intuition.
The doorbell rang with a slow chime as the taller of the two reached it, and after a few moments and the flickering on of a soft light within, the door opened. A weary, tear stained face peered out from the narrow gap across the chain. It was Jesse’s Father, his face old and tired, a decade etched into it in the space of a day.
The tall man smiled and presented something, a badge perhaps, Galahad couldn’t clearly see, and without a word or even a change in expression, Jesse’s Father unfastened the chain and opened the door wide, motioning for them to come in. The men thankfully entered, wiping off their clothes and gesturing at the weather above. The heavy wooden door closed with a clunk behind them.
As soon as it did, Galahad skipped across the sidewalk, avoiding the many tributes and signs laid there, and darted over the wet lawn of the house, heading for the side fence. It was hard to suppress the urge to run straight through the front door, but something about the men intrigued him, and he wanted to see what he could learn before he inevitably crashed their party. They were playing a game, trying to win the parent’s trust, and Galahad wanted to see where it went.
With a simple jump he glided over the white fence, landing softly and silently to the grass on the other side, the magic he pooled into his feet dampening the sound. Settling it back at his centre, he began moving again, avoiding the various garden ornaments that littered the grass and flower beds around him. He soundlessly made his way through the side yard and into the main garden, looking for a way to listen in on the conversation inside.
Crossing the decked veranda that sheltered a large table and an oversized BBQ, he headed to the half-open French doors, a curtain blowing gently from them in the breeze. He heard voices and stopped.
“I know you are tired Mr and Mrs Harbinger, and I apologise for our late call, but we at the bureau have a few more questions we would like to ask” a man’s voice said, smooth and calm.
“You said you had an update for us! I’ve bloody well told everyone and their uncle about what happened today a million times or more, I do not see the point in saying it again. Don’t you people talk to each other? It’s past midnight for god’s sake! If you don’t have anything new to tell us, then piss off!” Jesse’s Father roared, his voice trembling with anger and pain.
“Honey, please. It’s for Jesse, stay calm. It’s not like we can sleep anyway…” a sweet and measured voice cooed gently to him, the mother.
“What else do you need to know, Agent…?” she continued.
“Fredericks, and my fellow agent Stones” the smooth voice answered. Galahad positioned himself so he could peer through the doors without being seen. They led onto a kitchen complete with table and bar that opened out to a sizeable lounge area, the shiny deep-brown wooden floor connecting both spaces in a cosy alpine theme.
A huge TV hung on the wall overlooking two large black leather sofas titled to face it, a small coffee table between them on a shaggy white rug. He could see the taller agent near an old piano towards the front entrance, and Jesse’s parent’s heads popping over the top of the couch to the right. The big family portrait between the lounge and kitchen area had 4 faces, not 3 as he had expected. A much younger Jesse joined by a girl who could be no more than five years old. A sister, perhaps?
“We appreciate how hard today has been for you, but know that we are on the same side. Everything we do is because we want to help you find Jesse as soon as possible, safe and sound. Now, this may seem like a strange question, but is there anything that would make Jesse, how do I say, unique, or special?” the tall man said. Fredericks.
“No, she's just an ordinary girl” the mother replied quickly, “like everyone else”
“…and has anything strange happened recently? Any new friends, any strange trips or unexplained occurrences?”
“No, nothing. She was just finishing school, looking forward to College. She was happy, happier than she had been in a long time”
“Can you explain what you mean by that please?”
“No” said her Father, sighing heavily, “Like I said, I’ve told you lot all of this already, and it won’t help find Jesse to sit here talking about it again, now, at this unholy hour. Unless you have anything new to tell us that isn’t some bullshit fantasy, I think you should both leave!”
Jesse’s father stood to his full height. He was a large man that would be intimidating to most despite his rather rotund body and balding head. He towered over Fredericks easily, who, unlike most men, didn’t seem one bit bothered.
“I’m afraid we can’t do that” he said flatly.
“Excuse me?” Jesse’s Father spat out whilst taking a heavy step towards him.
Fredericks’ hand shot out and clasped Jesse’s Father on the shoulder, stopping him in his tracks.
“Sit” he commanded, as a red vapour-like glow spilled forth, the light dancing up towards Jesse’s Father’s head and flickering in his eyes.
Jesse’s mother screamed, trying to move away, but in a swift movement the other agent blocked and subdued her with the same technique.
They both sat back down on the couch, utterly still and staring forward.
Galahad’s heart raced. Magic. Just who in the hell were these guys? To see magic used with such casual skill…it was surprising to say the least. He knew these guys were bad, but magically bad? Interesting... and dangerous.
The thought that maybe he should have contacted the 1st Sons crossed his mind again.
One of the agents lifted his phone to his face, and after a moment, spoke.
“We have the parents under our control, returning with them now” he said curtly, returning the phone to his pocket.
No, you won’t, thought Galahad as he thrust open the doors fully and strolled in.
As the doors flew open, the two men spun to face him. Jesse’s parents didn’t move an inch.
“Good evening Gentleman!” boomed Galahad, “I couldn’t help but notice that little Magic trick there, and well, I would love to learn how you did that! Perhaps we can exchange tricks? You know, I’ll show you mine if you show me yours?” he said with a wink as he drew closer.
The two men looked at each other, confused, but unphased. Professionals.
“OK, OK, that came out weird, but c’mon guys, what’s a bit of magic between friends?” he continued, smiling wide and cheekily as the two men just continued to stare.
With a surprising burst of speed the smaller bullish agent Stones came flying towards him, his hand outstretched with the same red glow as before. Galahad hardly had time to blink.
Many things like this in the past had been thrown at Galahad, and although some had worked, they had done so in decreasing frequency as his own magic force had developed, until they never did. Out of sheer curiosity he let Stones’ hand touch his shoulder. Being immortal didn’t come without a certain sense of recklessness, after all.
A hot fuzzy feeling enveloped his shoulder, stinging ever so slightly before he felt his own magic wrapping around it, containing it and subduing the effect. Before it completely dispelled, he pulled back, curious to see what it would do if it remained there.
“Sit” said Stones, his firm grip releasing from Galahad’s shoulder.
Galahad played along, taking a seat on the empty couch opposite the parents and making sure to stare forward and still.
“Who is he?” Fredericks asked to the parents.
“We don’t know” they replied in unison, only their mouths moving.
Galahad probed the red magic in his shoulder with his own as the two men wondered what to do with him. Slowly, he began to feel something; a connection to the men in front and to Jesse’s parents. More than that, he could feel what seemed like a distant string linking the two men to something…else. He pulled on it with his mind.
He almost flinched as a beautiful female face appeared before him in his mind's eye. Her eye’s deep red colour matched the lipstick she wore on her thick and sumptuous lips, which were made even more imposing by the contrast with her porcelain white skin. Flowing dark hair fell in smooth and soft curls around her face. She was so familiar, the visage stirring memories deep inside Galahad that failed to materialise. Who was she? Why was Galahad seeing her?
He tried to push forward more, concentrating on her, trying to remember. He began to feel her aura as it washed over him with a sense of terror. Pure evil; death. He had never felt something so terrifying. In his shock, he pushed too far.
Her eyes stretched open wide as she became aware of his presence, the look of instant shock slowly turning into a relaxed but venomous smile.
“Galahad” she whispered seductively as she began to laugh, sending Galahad’s mind reeling back against a crashing wave of pure red energy.
Galahad returned to himself, the magic in his shoulder burning. He focused his own energy there and crushed it before it could do any real damage, almost losing control against its renewed strength.
“Galahad” the two agents said in unison, their voices vibrating with a strange thrum, “how interesting! And you’ve learnt some magic, very cute. A gift from the grail, perhaps? Hahaha”
Galahad’s eyes narrowed as he turned to face them. They were like puppets, controlled by the woman in his vision through the thread like connection. An evil and powerful woman, but that wasn't the worst of it. More than that, she knew who he was and of the grail. Remember, Galahad! Who in the hell was she? Only Arthur knew of the grail, he was sure.
“Oh, the look of confusion on your face is so beautiful…but why are you here, sweet Galahad? To protect the girl’s parents? To try and find her? The false queen? How misguided you are!”
“She is the true heir to Excalibur, and I have pledged my allegiance to her” Galahad replied.
“How little you know; how much you have forgotten!”
“Who are you? How do you know of myself and the Grail?”
“Oh, so many questions, Galahad. You’ve been wandering alone for too long, sweet Knight. Come to me. Bring the parents and I will explain everything you so desire to know. Don’t you want to know what really happened all those years ago? I can tell you everything”
A deep pain rose in Galahad. He did desperately want to know, but this woman possessed a power he had not before seen and would undoubtedly put the girl’s parents in danger, maybe even Galahad himself. He knew a trap when he saw one. He needed to have a different approach, but one thing was certain; he had found another lead in the mystery. Not bad for the first day on the job. Not bad at all.
“Excuse me, vile mistress of darkest magic, I will have to decline. I can sense your wicked and rotten spirit leaking through these men. Your intentions, whatever they may be, are evil. You are an enemy of the girl, of the sword, and thus, an enemy of mine. I will find you and destroy you. I’m actually quite looking forward to doing so”
A slight pause hung in the air before she replied, but when it came, it was a deep and threatening hiss.
“Even you can die, Galahad. Remember that…”
The voice faded away as the oppressive air in the room sucked back towards the men, one last command barely audible as it did.
“Kill them all”
Stone’s hand moved in a blur as his eyes flashed red, an explosion erupting from the gun he whipped out in his hand.
Fire burned in Galahad’s chest as the shots hit him, driving him backwards and toppling the sofa onto the wooden floor.
He lifted his head from the floor and stared at his chest, two heavy slugs jutting horribly half-way out of the skin. It hurt like hell, and it felt like all the wind had been kicked out of him, but he was OK. It would take more than just a few shots to really hurt him.
Stones closed in and Galahad saw Fredericks approaching the parents. Galahad raised his legs from the floor and kicked the fallen couch hard. It flew up, colliding heavily with Stones and slamming him against the wall with a crunch. Fredericks managed to avoid it at the last moment, turning his attention away from the parents and towards Galahad. A pillow hit Jesse’s father in the face, but he didn’t even flinch.
Galahad sprung to his feet, one of the bullets popping out of his chest and falling to the floor.
Fredericks face went to the shells, and then back to Galahad. Stones remained crumpled under the couch.
“What the hell are you?” he said in his own voice, his eyes betraying the first sign of emotion Galahad had seen in him; fear. In his hand was a small dagger, glowing red and vibrating as it moved through the air. That would be more dangerous than the gun, Galahad knew. He couldn’t take any chances with it.
He drew on his pool of magic and forced the energy into his legs. With a swift spring to close the gap between them in an instant, his large boot slammed into the agent’s stomach, sending him hurtling and crashing straight through the wall and into the side yard.
He waited for a moment, and then, satisfied that the threat posed by the men was for the time being, under control, he turned his attention to the parents.
The magic controlled them still, their expressions blank and unchanged. Jesse’s mother looked old and tired, but he could see she had once been beautiful. She was blonde with large blue eyes that had been stained red with tears, framed by thick glasses. Her face was soft and caring.
Galahad wasn’t sure what to do, but he could still feel the evil magic swelling inside of them. Maybe he could quell it in the same fashion he had his own? He placed his hand on the mother’s head and tried to feel within her. The red magic seemed to instantly push against him, and as it did, he pulled. He felt it trying to hold back, but within moments he had it in his hand, and with a clenching of his fist, destroyed it.
Jesse’s mother collapsed on to the couch in a heap.
No time to waste, he turned to the Father and repeated the motion. Instead of collapsing however, he blinked his eyes slowly, and rubbed his temples, groaning. He saw and focused on Galahad, the effort obvious and great.
He went to speak, but before he could, a jarring shout came from the door.
Galahad spun around to see a police officer aiming at him with his gun. His eyes flicked between the hole in the wall, Jesse’s Mother, and the crumpled man lying beneath the heavy leather couch.
He quickly motioned behind him and yelled into his radio.
“In need of backup at the Harbinger residence, now!”
Galahad heard a car door slam as he raised his hands and stood still.
“On the floor, now!” the officer yelled, edging closer.
Galahad obeyed, knowing how trigger happy some ‘cops’ tended to be. He didn’t want a stray bullet hitting one of the parents. Jesse’s Father was still rubbing his temples and slowly looking around, confused. Jesse's mother snored, soundly asleep.
A series of bangs echoed out as the officer lurched forward, blood spurting from his mouth as he shuddered in time with each noise. He stumbled the last few steps over as Galahad rose from the floor and caught him. The officer’s eyes seemed to plead with Galahad, searching. He muttered something incomprehensible before sliding down, leaving a trail of blood down Galahad’s clothes.
As the lifeless man slumped to the floor, Galahad saw Agent Stones, painfully twisted and protruding from behind the couch. His glowing red eyes stretched wide as he continued to pull the trigger, only an empty click meeting his frantic movements. A red mist slowly began to wrap around him, his body shaking violently as it took hold.
“No, no, no…I…I can still…I can…” he muttered in a panicked voice. His eyes rolled into his head as the red mist reached them. With a forceful pull, it ripped away and disappeared into the air, stealing Stones' last breath with it. His body began to shrivel and burn from the inside out in an intense glow that didn’t spread beyond him.
The police officer’s partner arrived in the doorway just in time to see the horror, his young eyes wide in shock. His partner lay dead in front of a bloody Galahad with another man squashed up against the wall, the life sucked out of him as he shrivelled and burnt into a charred mess.
“Officer down! I repeat, Officer down! Multiple casualties! We need that backup now!” he screamed into his chest radio. One hand trembled on his gun, barely able to keep it aimed at Galahad.
The moment’s hesitation gave Galahad his chance and he quickly jumped out of the way, leaping back towards the kitchen area, out of the officer’s line of sight.
“Do not engage, backup en route” a voice echoed through the radio.
Galahad doubted the young officer would have anyway, he knew that look of fear and shock.
“G…Galahad?” Jesse’s father breathed out heavily, his head covered in sweat, the mere effort to speak exhausting him.
Galahad turned to him, the man shuddering as he did. Galahad had assumed Jesse’s Father would not remember anything while under the control of the magic.
“It’s…. it’s true?” he said. A look of shock rippled across his face as he began to shake.
Galahad nodded, still very much aware of the officer just around the corner of the door. He didn’t want to get shot again, or risk the young man panicking any further.
“All of it” he said simply. He looked Jesse’s Father dead in the eye, holding his gaze.
Through the hole in the wall which Fredericks had crashed, Galahad noticed a red glow, and heard the same grim sucking sound, the same forced exhalation of a final breath as he no doubt shrivelled and burned like Stones before him. No loose ends would be left. She was ruthless.
Time had come to leave. The police backup would soon arrive and the parents would be safe, taken away to be properly protected. He still had much he wanted to ask the Father, but that would have to wait. He had more than enough to follow up on, but he had to be free to do so, and couldn’t risk a full-on confrontation with the law. He had to find out who this woman, no, this evil sorceress, was.
He turned to exit toward the back of the house, but as he did, Jesse’s Father spoke once more in a pleading voice drawn between desperate breaths.
“Galahad…find her…. please, promise me” he stumbled across and took his hand, his eyes desperately searching Galahad’s.
“You find her and bring her back to me, you hear? You bring my girl back to me!”
“You have my word” Galahad said, firmly grasping his hand before letting go and heading toward the back door.
“She’s strong Galahad!” Jesse’s Father’s voice trailed off as he began to sob, "...she's strong..."
“I expect nothing less” Galahad replied as he swiftly exited into the night.
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