Life had gotten easier over the past few days. Four weeks out of Duncan's training and not a single magical disturbance had arisen. The school, known for its magical disturbances, was at a comforting peace. Percival hadn't felt much more than one of his friend passing by. Occasionally Miyuki's charm would ping like some tiny sonar, Ruarc would practice his runic art in class, Riley sometimes spied on him and the others, all very tame, and innocent. What sometimes caught Percy's attention was his english teacher, Miller.
Known for his rugged good looks and his serious dedication to the English language, Johnathan Miller was a sight. He wore clothes that most people had expected someone like Percival himself to wear. Neat, crisp white shirt, a hand-knitted sweatervest that had survived travel from Scotland and a black tie with a silver stripe pattern running diagonally through it. Simple, but practical stuff. Most teachers wore what was fashionable, they certainly could afford it, but Miller wore things that represented a certain symbolism. The man had an aura, Percival could feel it, Miller had no reservations about it seemed, but he resonated with spritual energy.
Percival knew spirits, his mother, Elizabeth Caxton, was a spirit mage, using the chains of death and the occasional poe to her whims. He knew the color and the feel that the dead gave when granting their strength. Not to mention his own experience with death when his sould was almost snatched away pre-maturely.
Still, for the few weeks after training with Duncan, Percival chose to keep it to himself. Occasionally he'd watch the tendrils of energy spill away into the air, but other than that he largely ignored its presence. Today, though, Percival was made to stay behind in the afternoon after school to clean up after an incident involving twenty hamsters and a gaggle of rodentphobic school-girls. The work had largely been done, thanks to the charismatic guidance of Miller-Sensei.
The desks had been neatly pushed back into place, the dropped papers and stationery were rounded up and respectively recycled if they couldn't be identified and put back on each student's desk, and the hamster droppings and wood shavings for their pens had been swept up and discarded thoughtfully. The work wasn't particularly hard for the teacher, just time consuming. The extra set of hands did shorten the work significantly though.
Time well spent. He thought, "How'd those cages get open anyway?" He asked Percival while searching through his drawer of the desk for a snack.
"Hnnngh!" Percival grunted, lifting one of the desks to get it into place. Unlike most of the boys in his class, the young Caxton was a thinly boy. Much lately he had appeared to be without much energy, more tired, though just enough stamina to do everything he needed to. Still, the desk, making him seem somewhat small, was pressed into place, and the seat adjusted. "They didn't find who did it, but the case is unusual."
The young welshman sighed, before looking at Miller, speaking in English instead of Japanese, "The gates, which aren't digitial with any modern non-mag technomancy, opened all on their own. I'm not sure if the group there was covering themselves and lying, or of there's something else at work."
"A wizard did it?" The teacher took a stab at the dark. He snickered to himself realising the previous silliness, but current truth in that statement. He produced a pair of apples and put them on the desk. One for him, one for Percival. Both generously donated by students.
"No," said Percival, his back to Miller, but the aura of seriouness no less apparent by his posture. "If it were a wizard, we would've felt something, or seen someone. Casting something to open doors takes a little time and concentration, and someone should've noticed someone speaking."
"I dunno. Look at someone like Adrienne." The Scot replied, recalling the French teacher. One of the other faculty foreigners. Fluent in French, Japanese, English and swordplay, "She barely moves or speaks when she casts to summon her armour. Is it because she knows the spell so well?"
"That's true, some wizards are so skilled that they can cast spells without using any somatic or verbal components," nodded Percival, before looking back at the teacher, noticing that this had been the first time they had spoken so directly in a while, "Adrienne is an extremely skilled mage, though, and she has the age to show it. We would've noticed a person like her, as causing chaos with your magic is considered a mystic disturbance of the peace."
"I'll say." The teacher sighed in reply, looking out the window, "A few weeks ago, I never would've thought that I'd wake up one day, leap several times my own height, punch a giant skeleton in the knees and bear witness to a magical enclave that's been concealed from the world at large for centuries. Why?" He wondered aloud, leaving the apples on the desk.
"Well, I have noticed you possess a strong spiritual presence, a presence that's not really your own," answered Percival dutifully, watching Miller closely, while also occasionally glancing about.
"Whatever it is, whatever it isn't, I never asked for it." He turned back around and strode to his desk, and passed one of the apples to Percival, "And it doesn't seem to want to be drawn out or answer to anything. I've tried with the others." But, whatever it was, it adamantly refused to be drawn out even for a word.
He looked at the apple on his desk. Adam and Eve and Apple of Wisdom had come to mind from his studies on the Bible. He didn't take the writings to heart since he knew that they were all interpretations of a long, alegorical story of Humanity. Did Mr. Jonathan Miller eat his apple?
Percival gripped his chin, rubbing his freshly garnered apple on his shirt.
"What if I told you there was a way to coax out your spirit, if just for a moment?" said the boy, taking a bite out of the red fruit. The teacher raised an eyebrow towards the mageling before giving him a cautious nod to go on.
"I... know a place where spirits a forced free of their corporeal form, where everything is spirit and everthing is a perception made by magic." Percival explained, between bites of his apple. After one more glance to the door of Miller's room, before calling forth unity to his hand. "If you want, I can take you to that place, and you'll be seperated from the spirit that rides in your body while you're there, and you can ask all you wish."
He took his apple and looked around the room, giving it one more check to ensure everything was in the right place. Can't leave a job half done anyway. Satisfied by what he saw he said: "As long as it doesn't undo all of the cleaning up. Some portals are noisy, loud things."
"I'm going to need you to sleep." answered Percival, quickly. He rolled his fingers over his staff, a tiny glow taking it over. He waited for Miller, first, though, following proper protocol for address other mages with supportive spells.
The teacher guessed that he had to sit down. He walked behind his desk and sat down on his chair, then put the apple aside. He gave Percival a nod to continue, having gotten comfortable if he was to go to sleep.
"Hal, O Doktom O Grot." hummed Percival through half-closed lips, causing vines of green energy to pour forth. Each tendril was guided carefully onto the desk, which formed the miniature construct body of Modeka, the silent healer. She stood on his desk for a moment, staring at him with those green eyes, before curtsying to the man in greeting.
"Hello again," Mr. Miller gave the avatar a nod. He remembered that moment when he had to give her a kiss. Awkward, but his conscience was clean about the whole affair.
Her little hand rose, beckoning the man a little closer. He leaned in. Her hands came to his cheeks, and she pulled his forehead to hers. For a few seconds, there was a pensive silence before he could feel her hand gently rubbing his face, as if petting a dog. Then. A sudden whisper.
And everything went dark.
He awoke on a windy platform, to the smell of freshly trimmed gardens, the surf of the ocean, crackling of a fire, and the sounds of night in the bright time of day. When he bothered to look about, he saw that the platform he had arisen to the center of was almost sixty feet in diameter, flying high over the clouds. Around him stood warriors and mages, each of them familiar, and one of them not.
Aurus, in the form he became when Ruarc had powered his body, his normal form.
Zulan, beaming a warm smile on a more proportionate body, the intricate designs of her armor much easier to make out.
Modeka, very recognizable to Miller, wearing her green, lucious attire with the white mask sealing her face.
Akanus, in gliterring white plate, his wings currently wrapping around his body.
A fifth god, shrouded in black wrappings, decorated in knives, with a hood pulled dark over his face.
Then there was Percival, wearing a flowing white robe with gold inlay, tailored perfectly to fit and flow to his form, with the ever present beret in white form. Miller himself was decorated in a more tightly garnered attire, his normal clothes replaced with fitting white and gold vestments. His sweatervest, usually ever-present, was replaced with a white-steel breastplate, honorable synonyms inscribed all over the surface of its metal. On his fists were gauntlets, staunch and heavy, but not too much to truly weigh his hands down.
The sun was bright, and the amount marble and white color surrounding was almost heavenly blinding. Yet there was another presence to be felt, not inside of him, but near him, near by. Something familiar that he had known to be assisting him in his battles, now seperate from his soul.
Standing close to the teacher's side, there was a taller, wider humanoid figure wearing heavy looking plate armour from head to toe. Blackened by fire, rusted with time, and hardened with every battle, one of the few details that could be clearly seen on the armour was the Maltese Cross across the breastplate, and spectral angelic wings sprouting from beneath the shoulderblades. The wings themselves looked just as battle-scarred as the armour.
It paid no heed to the other assembled Gods, and its expression was inscruitable beneath its helmet. There were only holes for the eyes, and two smaller ones little further down for breathing - if it had to breathe. The only bit of bare flesh one could see was in the neck, a small gap between the metal collar of the armour and the breastplate. In its hands was a shield and sword. The sword was at least five feet long, and almost four inches across, whilst the shield was big enough to keep him covered head to toe.
When the teacher's senses caught back up to him, he could feel the presence of what was behind him. He turned his head slowly, and met the gaze of the spirit. Miller's eyes widened in surprise.
Chank! Aurus stabbed his blade, Fury, into the ground, the screams of war escaping the hilt.
"I smell weakness." growled Aurus through his helmet, resonating loudly, and shaking the platform they were on. The teacher was momentarily off balance, while the spirit beside him did not budge.
"Aurus." A docile voice came from Zulan's mouth, gently slapping the larger warrior's arm. Though, likely gentle by the standards of a warrior, what Miller saw was a woman hitting a man with enough force to knock anyone but an inhuman monster off their feet. The Water Goddess stepped forth, giving Aurus a nasty look before approaching the pair, standing next to Percival, who watched the display with a sigh.
"Hello, and welcome," Zulan plucked the plates of her armored skirt and bent her knees in a curtsy, she spoke in a comforting, yet somehow judging way. As if she were some kind lawful Judge that weilded power lawfully, "I am Zulan, Goddess of the Waters and Justice, welcome to the Elementalia Magica."
The armoured knight standing beside Miller looked at Zulan, before turning its sword point down and impaling it into the platform everyone stood on. Using its freed hand, a heavy gauntlet passed over its helmet, grabbed onto it with a clatter and removed it. The head underneath it was blonde, and scarred by many battles. Two golden eyes regarded Zulan with indifference before giving her a nod. He still hadn't said a word, nor had he acknowledged Aurus' insult.
"Man of few words, it seems," Miller tried to break the tension.
Percival cleared his throat, as Zulan stood up straight, the divided shields mounted of her arms clanked against her ocean plates.
"Could you introduce yourself?" asked Percival, stepping forward, with his staff clacking against the inscribed, limestone floor of the platform. He looked up at the warrior with mild hesitation, but did not appear too afraid of the being.
"I am," The blackened warrior started to say. His voice was clear and deep, "A fragment of Michael, Archangel." And that was all he said. It seemed as though he was either very selective with his words, or very certain of them.
"You mean a fragment of -the- Michael, Archangel, banished your brother Lucifer to hell, slayer of dragons?" Mr. Miller's biblical knowledge was finally being put to use, but the armoured angel did not gratify him with a response.
"A fragment?" began Akanus, his wings unfolding for a moment, as his curiosity was piqued by that sudden explanation. "How is one a fragment of an arch-angel?"
"A feather lost, a sword chipped, armour ruined. Former parts of my greater whole that fell to Earth. We take it upon ourselves to ensure Justice is done."
"That may be the case, but even heavenly bodies still follow the rules of magic," said Percival with a certain academic confidence. The boy seemed to come out in full form in this place, not restricted or stifle by his nature in the real world. "Tell me, spirit, what is your contract with Johnathan Miller, and just how did it come to be?"
"Your Great Grandfather was my previous host, Jonathan Miller." He looked down to the Teacher, who was simply in awe of what was taking place, having been unfamiliar with rubbing shoulders with Gods and fragmented Archangels, "It was his parting wish that I search for a new host in his bloodline rather than simply passing on for any host."
"What did you and he do together?" His Great Grandfather would've been active during the early 1900's or late 1930's.
The archangel rubbed his chin. He'd existed for thousands of years, and remembering a scant few out of thousands was a chore, "We were operating during what you humans called the Great War." He snorted at the mention of great, "We hunted down Necromancers and Wizards who were using the dying and dead souls of war to fuel terrible experiments. Used whatever came to hand. Sword, Shield, Miracle, Rifle. It mattered not the means."
"Ah!" Percival's eyes lit up considerably, before looking at the teacher with a certain amazement. "Your great grandfather was that Miller?" The teacher blinked in response, drawing a blank.
"Sir Arthur Kendrick Miller! We read about him in World Historiaum, he's the Inquisitor that traveled throughout Europe in World War I, quelling necromatic uprisings and putting down soul-thiefs. He lead the Reclamation of Somme and assisted the Druids in the French Circles fend off demons after the Battle of Verdun! No one knows if he was trully working as an inquisitor, but it was known that he did so much in his career that he was given major clearance to do almost anything he wished!"
The young boy energetically exchanged glances between the Fragment and Johnathan, "You've got the Spirit that your great grandfather used to help the magic world stabilize France!"
"I... have big shoes to fill." The teacher frowned after processing all of Percival's historical recount of his great grandfather, who he only knew as Arthur Miller. All he was for the past twenty-seven years of his life was an English Teacher, and academic.
But life had changed. The world had a whole new underbelly of both brilliant sights and horrible visions where nothing was concrete, with billions of people blissfully unaware. He looked towards Michael and asked, without a flicker of doubt, "What's our plan now?"
"Seek Armour and Armaments. You know I cannot fight your battles for you as I am constrained to your body. All I can lend you is some of your Grandfather's knowledge of battle, my strength and miracles from God, but you will still need to learn how to use them effectively."
Mr. Miller then looked to Percival, "Any ideas on the easy one?" Referring to armaments and armour.
"Ha ha! He asks as if the answer is not in front of him." Aurus bellowed in laughter, as he ripped Fury from the limestone and brought forth Wrath from the flames and screams. The devil of a warrior exhumed flames from his mouth-piece.
"He meant phys-"
The teacher was cut off by Michael ripping his own sword from the ground. As heavy as it looked, he held it with one hand forward, and kept his shield in contact with the floor, "If you have quarrel with me, then let us settle it."
More flames, exhuming loudly as if from the mouth of a steam whistle, if the steam whistle had been some distorted beast. Aurus wielded both of his blades high, as if read to rip and tear Michael apart. "I was to suggest training the man under my tutelage of weaponry, but tearing the wings from an angel sounds much more appealing."
"MICHAEL!" The teacher yelled. The angel's head snapped back around to him, as though bound by the man's word, "Stop." The Archangel's fragment looked at the Teacher, then settled back into a neutral position. His greatsword rested on his shoulders and his shield was beside him, but he was watching Aurus carefully to see if he'd lash out.
Aurus didn't seem to offer the same courtesy, as he leaned forward to charge, only to be stopped by Percival. The seemingly small boy raised his staff, and shook it once. The warrior grunted, letting out a puff of smoke, before willing away Fury and Wrath in a gout of flames.
"Your weakling requires training of technique. I am the God of War and Rage, and if anyone is to teach him the harsh realities of combat, it should be me," Aurus gave Michael an over-confident tilt of his head, "Lest you wish for him to die because of your angelic short-comings."
"Was World War One not a great enough conflict for your tastes?" The angel answered back.
"You experienced a war, and you fought in the shadows, combating around the battles. I epitomize war. I am war. Should Miller survive in my presence, you can consider him ready to believe he is trully related to a true warrior such as Sir Arthur." cackled Aurus in response, flames billowing off in mild excitement.
The teacher grabbed a side-sword on Michael's waist and drew it. It wasn't nearly as big the Archangel Fragment's weapon, but it was able to be comfortably wielded by the man with two hands. "Then we shall see!" The teacher said. Michael, having to follow his host's orders, backed away to make room for the two combatants.
"Ha ha ha! I like your spirit!" roared Aurus, summoning his sword, Fury and weilding it in both of his hands. The other gods quickly backed away from the fire god, and Zulan backed away, Percival carefully shielded by her magic. The black-armored god slammed his foot on the ground, his claws gripping into the mystic stone.
"PREPARE YOURSELF, MORTAL, THE GOD OF FIRE AND WAR COMES FOR YOU!"
Mr. Miller simply took his glasses off and pushed them under his breastplate, holding his sword in a ready position to the God of Fire and War, and anticipating that he'd make a charge for the him immediately.
A wave of heat hit Miller's face as the fires of the God of War hit him with the cleaving blade. Whatever guard he had put up and had been smashed under the monstrous full-strength of the angry god. The blade had fallen and cleaved him, and just for a moment, he saw the molten fires arise, and witnessed the truth of war. It was indeed hell.
Blackness consumed Miller's vision, and he awoke to his head resting gently in the lap of the miniature Modeka, her hands carefully cradling him. Percival sat a meter away, apparently having fallen asleep to address Miller in the Magicus. The boy gently rose from his seat, rubbing his head.
The teacher extricated himself from Modeka's grasp with a mumble, raised his head and put his glasses back on, and they were under his sweater vest. He didn't leave them there before. "What was that supposed to accomplish?" He inquired, "Smashed flat isn't exactly a good way to teach."
"Sorry, Mr. Miller," apologized Percy, leaning his head forward in forgiveness, "Aurus got carried away, and simply swung to kill."
"You don't say." The teacher replied flatly, and he felt a headache come on, perhaps from being separated so suddenly from the Magica, "So Michael can teach me the miracles and lends me strength, Aurus teaches me to fight, Duncan teaches me how to..." He snapped his fingers, "Fight other things?"
"Perhaps," said Percival thoughtfully, before holding out his hands, and scooping up Modeka in his arms.
"This is just like University all over again." The teacher rested his fist against his face with a sigh, "Except this is nothing like it."
Modeka leaned foward from Percival's cradling arms, and placed a singular hand on Miller's head, speaking a single word of encouragement, hoping to help him through this tough time.
The teacher smiled in reply. Despite all of the new hardships, there were some rays of light in the otherwise cloudy future.
1 post • Page 1 of 1