TS51: Animus Initiate
There are moments when time seems to stand still. His statement, “Unleash”, hung in the air for a moment as his magic searched the area for active spells. Merlin had no spells that Jove could sense. Edward was using a shapeshifting spell to appear normal. Elsa was still in atavist form. Aden was subconsciously calling Fire Instinct. Chris’ magic declared itself to be truth. Duane was sensing what poison would have the strongest effect on Merlin. Pieces fit together into motion.
“Fury.” The spells blended naturally, merging form and function. Bones extended and muscle flowed onto Jove’s frame. Claws extended and a toothy smile reminded him of the bliss of letting go.
Merlin shrugged. “Not bad.”
Jove rushed forward, sharpened claws driven by desire for blood. Casually, Merlin grasped one of the offending wrists and pulled Jove into a painful joint-lock.
“Spontaneous new magic,” Merlin’s voice was flat, almost bored, “but during an outburst.”
There was a snap as Jove forced himself backwards out of the hold, sacrificing his joint for a chance to swipe at Merlin. Merlin caught the hand and pushed it to the side. As Jove slid past, Merlin caught his neck.
“The spell is flawed though.” With a twist, Merlin snapped Jove’s neck and kicked him away.
Bones popped back into place as Jove’s body focussed on healing. He tried to stand up, but the nerves in his neck had not reconnected. Numbly, he flopped in impotent rage.
Merlin stumbled and he looked at his hand in disbelief. “Contact poison?” He looked to Duane. “Designed specifically to incapacitate me.” He made a few gestures. “You’ve forced me to use magic. I’ll give you that.”
A final pop inside Jove’s neck restored feeling. On the outside, he calmly stood. His form returned to normal as he dismissed the spell. On the inside, his magic was frantically grasping at any idea that might give him an edge. The element that bound him to Merlin rose in his thoughts, but what would he call it? He needed to punish gross violations of magic. Despite the rage he felt inside, he spoke calmly. “Revoker’s Justice.”
Edward immediately reverted to his mythic form, dropping whatever spell kept him looking normal. He ordered, “Everyone, drop your spells! All of them.”
Jove could still sense one spell. His own Form Lock that held Elsa in atavist form. He looked over to her and smiled, then turned back to Merlin. Merlin was shielding his magic from detection, but there was an issue. Jove listened. In the quiet of the room, Jove could sense the shield.
This time Jove’s fighting instincts were a match for Merlin. Fists, kicks and blocks flew between them in a blur. Merlin did not let any blows land, but found himself unable to grasp Jove’s limbs.
“You could have passed,” he said, “but outbursts are not allowed.” Merlin looked to Aden, “Want to see the real version of that knockoff spell you use?” He pushed Jove away long enough to shout, “Vorax Hunger.”
To Jove’s heightened sense of magic, Merlin lit up like a beacon of danger. Thin red lines of potential danger telegraphed Jove’s weakest points to the older fox. Yet, Jove could see them as well. Jove’s overconfidence lasted one punch.
Merlin’s blows started to strike Jove. The older fox was ignored his spell’s recommendations and let it feint for him in a way only Jove could sense. Jove’s magic sustained him physically, but it started to weaken.
Both foxes shouted, “Stop!” at each other. Merlin stopped Jove’s attempt to disrupt Merlin’s spell. They stood facing each other, paused and ready to react to the next move.
Merlin had miscalculated. In order to use Jove’s spell, their magics had touched. For a moment, Jove understood dozens of spells that Merlin could cast. There was one, the one Merlin knew backwards and forwards. The one he thought of as his spell. The one no one else could use because it was based on the fifth element only Merlin and Jove could tap. “Fire Thief.”
The temperature in the room dropped a dozen degrees. All heat flowed into Jove. All fire magic flowed into him. The massive potential that Aden and Mug had mixed with the incredible knowledge of Edward. Jove’s eyes lit with cold, glowing fire. Both of his hands were covered in a cold blue flame that felt both alive and ready to burn not only body, but magic.
Merlin’s face finally looked worried. “You can’t use that.” He jumped into the abyss.
Jove followed, chasing his counterpart. The gym shifted around him as Merlin rapidly shifted between the Abyss and Atlantis in a desperate effort to get away from Jove. Jove could hear snippets of shouts as the other students faded in and out. “Help him,” was said, as well as, “I can’t.”
Jove felt help was not needed. The younger fox drew closer with each jump, until Jove’s fire sheathed hands were reaching for the Vorax’s throat. Smiling, Merlin turned around. “Checkmate.” He jumped back into Atlantis.
Jove followed, only to find Jenna between himself and Merlin. Jove felt his own rage refuse to stop. His magic could not understand the sense of friendship. It only recognized the dangerous magic user in front of him. Jove struggled to stop himself and his spell before he hit Jenna with a fire that would sear her soul.
Time seemed to crash back to a normal speed. Jove hadn’t realized how slow everything seemed to go when he was outburst until that stopped and he collided with Jenna. Fox and frog went sprawling on the ground, but Jove was back in control. The spell was gone. He asked, “Jenna, are you okay?”
She screamed, not realizing she wasn’t on fire for a moment.
Merlin didn’t wait for Jove to recover. He drew a silver rapier out of nowhere and lunged.
Edward’s axe stopped Merlin. It swung in, over the rapier and connected with Merlin’s neck. There was a crack and the axe shattered against the older fox’s neck, but the force knocked Merlin back a few feet.
“That’s enough Dominus!” The voice was Raphael Azarias. Jove had not noticed him enter. “You’ve run your test. Acknowledge Jove as an Initiate and begone. You are disrupting class.”
Merlin laughed. “Raph, you know so little about your precious student.” The sword vanished. “He created a custom spell to specifically deal with a situation.” Merlin took a step towards Jove. “He used a spell of power and complexity of Magus level, while in the Abyss. Most important though, he entered and exited an outburst at his own desire. He did not pass the test for Initiate.” Merlin knelt on one knee, one fist to the ground. “I, Animus Merlin, Head Vorax, do acknowledge Jove, Animus.”
With that, Merlin turned towards the Abyss and fled.<< TS50: Venator Offense || TS52: Animus Evasion >>