The comms blared voices into his ear. “Broce. Broce, do you copy.”
“I’m here. Going in, H.” Being an accomplished Dwarfoturgist wasn’t a light feat, but Jaber took it in stride. From atop the seventy storey building, in the rising peaks of the Spires, Cathedra Ward of Throne, he fell. His suit and tie getup flapped wildly in the wind.
As the agent fell down the side of the tower, he gestured with his right hand, pinky and middle finger outstretched. He pointed at the rapidly approaching glass window, and willed power to surge. Lodemancers manipulated dwarfyn shifted — at least, dwarfyn for him. The world turned as if on a gyroscope, and he ceased to fall down. Instead, he fell to the window.
The glass shattered, cacophonous. He released his will, and the finger gesture with it. Dwarfyn reverted, and he fell onto the carpeted, corporate floor with a roll. “In,” he reported, straightening his tie and fixing his hair with one hand.
“Right,” H replied. “You’re in the sixty-fifth floor. Walk down the corridor and turn right. It should lead you into the security rooms of the floor.” Jaber nodded. He turned, raising an eyebrow, at the upside down semi-sphere whirling around. The security camera turned, looking for the source of the break in.
He waved his hand, performing an intricate finger gesture pattern, calling upon Dwarfic forces to manipulate the mechanisms within with his will. The security camera fizzed, and stopped moving about, as he manipulated the dwarfen within the camera to smash against each other. Jaber shrugged and followed the directions to the security room.
The door was locked. Jaber frowned. “H, the door’s locked. Is it connected to the mainframe?”
“It’s got two locks,” H replied. “One physical and one datal. A minute… there. Datal lock breached. You’ve got to deal with the physical lock.”
Jaber furrowed his eyebrows, going through his mind palace for rotes that would help with the lock, but most of them involved intricate katas. He shook his head. He’d have to use his augments. He didn’t want to use up his Limit on the most trivial of things anyway.
He took a step back and raised his foot. “H, activate leg-pistons.”
“You mean your Kinetic Amplifier Dynamos?”
Jaber sighed. “Dammit, H. I don’t need eccentric naming for leg-pistons.”
“Yeesh,” H said, a tinge of hurt behind his words. “Fine. Activated.”
A rush filled Jaber’s leg. He grit his teeth and his foot struck out. The Kinetic Amplifier Dynamo augmented into his legs pumped , driving pistons of magical blacksteel forward and exploding force through his kick. A cracking sound. The lock broke, the door crumpled, and then it burst inward, crashing noisily against the steel wall within.
The whirring of dynamos died down; Jaber walked into the room. He found a multitude of monitors showing images of the sixty-fifth floor. Eventually, he found the room where the purported ritual would take place. It wasn’t hard to find, what with the incandescent magenta light reflecting off of crimson-stained walls.
Jaber turned and raised his hands. On the other side of the room, across the monitors, were several perfect circles with magickal algorithms ticking within, performing complex rituals automatically. Jaber raised his eyebrows. They seemed to be… Kifetic in origin, and not Collegiate.
Kifetic Sorcery always had a weakness: complicated Workings were easy to dismantle. They were sort of like a house of cards — remove one thing, and the whole comes crumbling down.
He performed another intricate finger kata, ending with an outstretched pointer, thumb and pinky at one of the perfect circles. With a low hum, the perfect circle slowly sizzled out of existence, as if Jaber had lit one end of it on fire. As the circle vanished, so did the rest.
As he turned around, he saw something black blur across the multitude of screens. It blurred faster than his augmented eyes could detect. “Agent! They’ve found you. You’ve got to get out, now!”
“How?” Jaber said, cursing under his breath. He ran out of the room. No black blurs anywhere. “No. I’ve got to end the ritual.”
“It’s coming in fast Agent Broce!” Jaber grit his teeth, his eyes flicking from side to side. He went through the map that had been uploaded into his brain, scanning the datal mind palace embedded into his Soul. The ritual room was just a hallway down, double doors to the right.
“I’m ending it,” Jaber said, turning. “Activate Kinetic Acceleration Drives.”
“Activating,” H said. “You’re down to three essence charges, Agent. Use them wisely.”
“Should’ve waited for the upgrade, huh?” But he didn’t stop. Jaber’s legs emitted a low, whirring sound. He felt his augmentations activate, the drives activating and sending him a few inches from the ground; hot air billowed underneath him. He leaned forward and ran as if moving through a frictionless surface, almost skating through the air.
He leaned to the side, turning into another hallway, just as something black flashed behind him. Jaber didn’t turn. He leaned forward and burst through the double doors, into a large auditorium, where the ritual was being held.
Six red robed men stood with rune-etched, gnarled wood staves on each hand, sitting in an equidistant pattern. They chanted in low, screeching tongues. In the middle of the circle they had made, a small sphere with a smaller sphere within it — making it look like an eyeball of some squid — shook violently. Jaber pointed at it as he dashed across the bloodied auditorium, and performed an intricate finger kata, ending with his thumb, middle finger, and pinky finger outstretched at the eyeball.
The dwarfyn around it intensified. It crumbled under its own density, and the six robed men around it crumpled, fell forward, and fell toward the eyeball with its new mass.
Jaber prepared another intricate kata to destroy the relic, when the a dense truck of force smashed against his back.
Cursing, he turned sideways as dwarfyn shifted. Everything fell towards the eye.
That was my biggest spell, thought Agent Broce. Dissonance come get me.
The black thing resembled a humanoid black cloud that moved in the form of a hunched beast. It barreled toward Jaber.
He ducked below a swipe, wove, shouting for H to activate his Kinetic Amplifier Dynamos.
The activation was instant. His leg cracked at a breakneck speed, slamming into the black thing’s gut, sending it hurtling through the air, falling into the crumbling eye. It screamed in agony and pain as it smashed into the grotesque lump of flesh and substance.
Jaber cringed, finding a ledge to hold on to as the auditorium slowly bent vertically. He looked up, finding a window. Past the window, he saw a corvuet rotorship zoom past, carried by four high-velocity rotors generating lift. Probably to find out what in the hell was happening in the Venture Tower, Jaber presumed.
He pointed at the helicopter. “Dissonance be damned,” he muttered, as he outstretched his middle finger and pinky, focusing on the helicopter. He Willed power to heed him, one last time, as Dissonance began to fray his soul. It manifested physically as cracked skin and bent bones.
He screamed as he let go of the ledge, and his dwarfyn shifted. The dwarfyn of the relic tugged at him, but Jaber’s Will won the battle. He plunged downward — downward for him being in the direction of the helicopter. He crashed through the glass windows, and the fragments fell opposite of him, falling up to the eye.
Jaber shot through the sky, hurtling through the gloom. His skin sizzled, revealing a black exoskeleton underneath. He grit his teeth as he slammed into the side of the helicopter. What kind of chopper can sustain that much impact?
He let go of the Dwarfomantic Spell, and his dwarfyn was righted. Down for him was the same down as everyone else’s. The door of the corvuet rotorship slid open, and H, with his curly hair and strange oval glasses, grabbed the augmented agent from the side of the corvuet and hauled him into the craft.