Day One, 12:45 pm-
“We need to lower the Damp Fields. For whatever reason, they’ve been altered to allow magical use within them, but they still prevent magic from entering them. Right now, we’re giving the Soulless perfect bases of operation.”
Fin and the other Conduits were sitting in the large auditorium at command. It was a large briefing, where the higher ups were trying to decide how to handle what could quickly become all out war. This was an unusual meeting, beyond the reemergence of the Soulless. For the first time that anyone could remember members of the mundane police and military forces were present. And right now, they were arguing with the head of the Conduits, Magister Rochester.
Magister Rochester shook his head. “We don’t even know how the Damp Fields have been altered. I understand your concern, General, but we need to investigate.”
“Investigate? You want to investigate?” General Matthias slammed his fist on the giant, oval oak table the leaders were sitting at. “We’re on the brink of a war that few of us are equipped to fight! Your Conduits stand the best chance. The rest of us might as well be throwing rocks and sticks at the Soulless.”
“I can understand the desire to investigate, Magister. But I have to agree with the General.” Commissioner Wallace had been sitting quietly. “But, my officers were the first responders.” He glanced over at Fin. “Perhaps with one exception. And, I believe, that we should hear what that exception has to say.”
Fin glanced between Commissioner Wallace and Magister Rochester. He wasn’t sure that he’d be able to offer anything.
Commissioner Wallace pressed on. “One of my men, Officer Jordan, was there when you helped him, and a large group of civilians, escape, Fin. From what I understand, you actually engaged a Soulless.”
General Matthias directed his grey eyes at Fin. “Is that true, son?”
Fin could only muster a weak nod.
“It’s alright, Fin.” Magister Rochester motioned for Fin to stand.
Fin stood slowly, trying to compose what he would say. He felt a reassuring pat on his shoulder from Grace, who was sitting next to him. “I’m not really sure what I have to offer, sirs.”
Commissioner Wallace smiled at him. “In my experience, Fin, first responders often hold the most valuable information. You were there; we weren’t.”
General Matthias grunted, nodding in response. “You’ve got to trust your boots on the ground. We might make decisions, but they’re the ones that actually do all the heavy lifting.”
“Well,” Fin struggled with how to continue. Speaking in front of his people was something that had always terrified him. “I hadn’t noticed the Damp Field had been altered. It didn’t feel any different.”
“How do you mean?” Commissioner Wallace asked.
“The Damp Fields actually suppress the ability to use magic. It acts like interference, disrupting our ability to tap into our souls. I wasn’t aware that magic was usable within the Field until the Soulless attacked us.”
“And what of your engagement with the Soulless?” General Matthias was leaning on his elbows, hard eyes locked onto Fin.
“Non of my magical attacks seemed to do anything to it. It just kept walking towards me. I used beams of pure energy, and they pierced the Soulless, but its wounds jut regenerated instantly. Honestly, I’m not sure what would have happened if it hadn’t left.”
“But, before it left, it summoned a Thief. From Grace’s report, that’s what you called in, correct?” Magister Rochester was looking at papers and the computer screen in front of him.
“Yes, that’s right.”
“Wait a second. What’s a Thief?” Commissioner Wallace asked.
“I’m not sure that I’m the best on to try to answer that. But, there’s little we know of them. During the War of Souls, no one did much record keeping, and most of what was kept was lost in the rebuilding.”
“So, what little do you know of them?” General Matthias seemed annoyed.
Magister Rochester stepped in. “Essentially, they are disposable shock troops. They do possess the unique ability to steal souls, however.”
Everyone in the room was looking at Magister Rochester.
“That’s why the Soulless use them. To create more Soulless.” Magister Rochester looked at Fin. “It wasn’t able to steal your soul because you were grounded. It can’t sever the connection between soul and body because that connection is channeled through your sword and dispersed into the ground.”
“How much else do you know that you haven’t told us, Magister?” General Matthias was glowering, his hands pressed flat against the table.
Magister Rochester tapped his reports together neatly, and set them down. He leaned back in his chair, and looked around the room. “Much of what I know has been pieced together and passed down from the previous Magisters. The War of Souls destroyed New York, and not much was saved during the construction of New Brooklyn.” He leaned forward, resting his chin on his hands, elbows planted on the table. “The purpose of the Thieves was fairly easy to determine. As was the reason Conduits can resist them. Unfortunately, if there was ever any information on how to kill these abominations, that was lost.”
“Well, apart from how Fin killed the Thief.” Xander was leaning back in his chair, arms and legs crossed.
“Yes, and how was that accomplished?” General Matthias asked.
Fin looked at Magister Rochester, face blank. “I used ash.”
The three men at the table looked at Fin, confusion clear on their faces.
“Magister!” A man burst into the room, dressed in the black of a Conduit. “Magister, Harlem just went dark. The Damp Field fell.”