Venatores mali fuoco, p.1
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       Venatores Mali: Fuoco, p.1

           Quintin Fortune
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Venatores Mali: Fuoco
: Fuoco

  Quintin Fortune

  Copyright 2015 Quintin Fortune

  Thank you for downloading this ebook. This book remains the copyrighted property of the author, and may not be redistributed to others for commercial or non-commercial purposes. If you enjoyed this book, please encourage your friends to obtain their own copy from their favorite authorized retailer. Thank you for your support.

  7th Oct-20:07

  Hell's Edge

  Julie and Oliver Chin cowered in a closet as the fire consumed the apartment. Julie held her little brother close, tears and smoke stinging her eyes. The flames started licking at the door.

  Faintly, she heard someone singing. It was hard to hear, but it sounded just like their mother. That was impossible. Their mother had been crushed by a beam when the fire had started. The singing grew louder. It was their mother!

  Oliver struggled out of Julie's grasp. He heard the song too. "Mama," he exclaimed. The children broke out of the closet into the blazing inferno. The fire coated the apartment in bold reds, yellows, and oranges. The singing continued, almost drowning out the crackling remains of their home.

  Julie did her best to maneuver Oliver through the burning chaos. They were both drawn to their mother's singing. The song led them to the fire escape. Outside, a Grecian woman with wet hair was perched on the railing. The song was coming from her. She was reaching out to them. Julie stopped, grabbing her brother.

  "Mama," he asked.

  "No Ge," she answered.

  Something huge smashed through the wall opposite them. It was a giant, blue bull demon. It ran straight for them. Julie was paralyzed with fear. Oliver started screaming for their mother. The demon scooped them up and smashed through the fire escape. Everything became a blur, but Julie knew she was falling. The landing rattled the teeth in her head. The demon let them go. His deep red eyes seemed to stare into her soul.

  He pointed down the alley, towards the street. "Police," he bellowed. "Go." The children stood there, trembling. "Run," he roared, smoke flying out of his snout.

  The children ran screaming out of the alley.

  "I hate kids," the minotaur huffed as he watched the children run away.

  The Grecian woman landed deftly behind him. "They don't seem very fond of you either," she remarked.

  "Just call it in," he grumbled.

  She touched her Mente Parlare. 'Megyn, reporting in,' she mentally stated.

  'Go ahead,' Genia's voice replied.

  'Another fire. Same as the rest. Any hint of supernatural energy is gone before we get here.'

  'Human,' Genia questioned.

  'No. Too quick for mortal work.' She looked over the remaining burning building. It didn't feel like a normal fire, but that wasn't her concern at the moment. 'But we did save a few children.'

  'Congratulations. You and Kothrec get back as soon as possible.' The line went dead. Megyn sighed.

  "Looks like we have some free time," she said to her companion.

  Kothrec the minotaur glared at her.

  "I'm hungry," she declared.

  "Starve," he replied.

  She looked at him. "Where's your coat?"

  The minotaur huffed his disapproval, then fished out a beat up brown tarp of a trench coat. He threw it on as they left the alley. A few people glanced over at them. Kothrec heard a few murmurs of 'a big guy' and 'built like a linebacker', but he ignored them.

  The coat was enchanted. It made any non-humanoid creature look human to everyone except other non-humans. Megyn, a siren, still saw him as a big blue minotaur.

  They made their way to a hole-in-the-wall Chinese restaurant. Megyn inhaled deeply. "I've always loved the smell of exotic food," she said.

  "I don't think you can call it 'exotic' if it's found on every street," Kothrec remarked.

  "It is to me," she remarked, looking over the paper menu that sat on the corner of the counter.

  8th Oct-09:32

  Kothrec's Quarters

  Megyn sat back on the couch that was the size of a compact car. She looked like a small child sitting on her father's furniture. Kothrec was laid back in the huge recliner made for him. Genia was looking over their paperwork.

  They could see the gears turning in her head. "A piece is missing," she noted. "But what?" She continued to look over the paperwork. "There should be some sort of pattern," she continued.

  "It's Hell's Edge," Kothrec complained. "Something's always on fire there."

  "Normally, yes," Genia agreed. "But this...this looks like someone's trying to hide something."

  "Or get someone's attention," Megyn stated.

  Genia's brow furrowed. "I didn't think about that." She thumbed through the papers again. "Question is, how many fire entities would answer?"

  Between Megyn and Kothrec, they rattled off more than two dozen possible entities.

  Genia looked a bit dumbstruck. "Okay. Let's make a shorter list then. What entities that would be close by would answer?"

  "None," both of them answered.

  "In that case; Megyn, I'll need you to head back to the crime scene and see if you can find out anything unusual," Genia ordered. "Kothrec, I need you to see if you can pinpoint any leads."

  The minotaur lean up from his chair. "I'm stuck with researching again," he complained.

  Megyn jumped up off the couch. "You need to work on this muscle," she tapped on her head. "Just as much as you work on your other muscles. Besides, I'm sneakier than you are."

  8th Oct-14:47

  Hell's Edge

  Megyn slipped past the police as they were conducting their investigation. An invisibility spell didn't hurt. The police in this district hardly did much when it came to the fires. Assess damage. File paperwork. Be down at the bar by five.

  But as part of Venatores Mali, she knew what she was looking for. All but a few forms of magic need a physical anchor of some sort. Runes. Sigils. Spell components. Fluids of questionable origin.

  Magic also needed a place to channel from. An alter. A circle. A jar. A spot in the room that pulls the energy in.

  She found it in the farthest corner of the basement. There was still a faint magical residue. The light smell of sulfur. The lingering feeling of rage. The splotches of energy unseen by normal eyes. The siren activated an app on her phone to take a special picture to send back to Headquarters.

  "Hey," a voice behind her called out.

  'Shit,' she thought. She must have dropped the spell when she started investigating the scene. The siren slowly turned to see a police officer no older than 25. He looked as if he had just joined the force yesterday.

  "Hands where I can see them," he commanded.

  She obliged. Mortals with guns can be jumpy. A song started to form in her mind. A song that a mother would sing to a child. She began to sing, and the police officer's whole demeanor changed.

  "My mom use to sing that to me when I was a kid," he stated. "Put me to sleep every time." He collapsed, snoring softly.

  "Good night, sweet prince," Megyn mused as she threw the spell back up to leave before anyone else arrived.

  8th Oct-16:45

  Training Room

  'VM008 - KOTHREC' the computer announced as the minotaur entered the expansive training room. The empty room appeared to be carved out of granite. Runes of several different crafts shimmered across the surface. This enchanted area was created to help hone the physical and magical abilities of all Venatores.

  Kothrec didn't care how it worked, all he cared about was that he could hit things without repercussions. He cracked his neck and swung his huge two-handed ax a few times to warm up. "Beast Mode," he called out.

  'BEAST MODE ACTIVATED' the computer replied. The air in front of him wavered like heat fr
om off a hot road, then several creatures began to take shape. Nightmarish things. Werewolves. Golems. Wendigoes. Hellbeasts. All things that tormented humanity, ready to tear Kothrec apart.

  The minotaur tightened his grip on his two-handed ax, a sadistic grin across his snout. He charged at the herd of monsters just as they charged at him. The werewolves were on him first, snarling and snapping. He grabbed the snout of the first attacker and flung it off like a rag doll. The creature went crashing into a few of its pack members

  The Wendigoes charged at him, roaring in anger. They slashed at him, trying to rip him to shreds. He batted away the claws with his ax. The beasts howled in anger as he sliced off their hands.

  A right hook to the jaw from a golem spun Kothrec out of they fury and into another battle. The golems came down hard on him, savagely beating him with their fists. Blood started to fling from his mouth before he retaliated with inhuman strength. He beat back the golems just as the Hellhounds charged into the fray.

  As he did battle with the forces of darkness, he began to think about Megyn. He worried about her sometimes, like a father worries about his daughter. His mind retraced the events that led up to finding her.

  Venatores Mali had gotten word of someone selling Siren's Songs, little stone nodes that released a hypnotic song when blown on. The process of making them was akin to torture on the best of days, and their leader sent him and Lady Grey to investigate.

  What they found still haunts his mind. Rows of sirens locked inside small wooden cages. Many were chained to the floor, their muscles weakened
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