"Stupid, thats gonna over work the cable." Shin sighed throwing aside another failed drawing in the general direction of the paper recycling.

Leaning back in the chair until it creaked, a sigh escaped his list. Looking over across the room he saw his other desk, the one meant for actual school work, it had a few things in the "in" box and were due within the week. Of course that work was also much more boring.

Rising to his feet and stretching he walked toward the other desk then paused, and turned leaving the room. Procrastination was a terrible habit, he would break it later.

Walking through his dorm room he shook his head. Only at Anduron high did a residential dorm have a kitchen, living room, and four bedrooms, but so few students that it was possible to get such a suite to a pair of students. Take that classical college housing.

Walking through the living room Shin opened the door, one that he never bothered locking, and stepped out onto the deck. Walking to the railing and leaning forward he took a deep breath of the cool night air.

"Must be late, but damn stars are sure bright." He mused looking at the sky.

Leaning forward onto the railing he enjoyed the cool air, although his rooms were kept cool, the breeze was something that a fan just couldn't replicate.

Looking down he grinned, the people below him could look up and see bottom of his deck, but he got to lean back and look right up, one of the few perks of living on the top floor. Of course a weak stomach couldn't look down easily; being up fifteen stories managed to do that to people.

Shaking his head clear of frustrations Shin stepped back in, the coolness of his apartment feeling pleasantly warm compared to the chill air outside. Reaching over and flicking on a lamp he looked around the room. Unlike some of the other dorm, the furniture was pretty bland. Most had nice leather couches and matching recliners, or three piece sectionals. If his roommate didn't insist on having one, there wouldn't be a couch at all.

Thinking on it before sitting down, Shin didn't really feel like flicking on the Tv since, nothing good would be on this late or, if he started playing a game he would get sucked into it and not sleep before class, and if he sat down to read he would sleep in his chair and sleep in.

"Bed it is."

Walking to bed Shin felt the twinge of being in his teenage years, the hope of change, the one age was slowly tempering into boredom.

"Damn hormones."

"Getting tired of this shit." Blake muttered wiping scarlet blood off his hands.

"Could be worse." Rumbled Bikov, rolling his shoulders and eyeing the bodies around them.

"You're a berserker, you enjoy fighting up close. I can't light a person on fire or set them exploding if they are so close they may as well be trying to get to second base with me. "

"Oh, the poor little man. Want me to find you a handkerchief? I'm sure one of these wimps had one."

"Screw off." Blake said waving his hand dismissively at his friend.

Bikov laughed, and checked for all his weapons, making sure each was in its sheath.

"You know if you wore some actual armor, not that wimpy cloth enchantment crap but some good old fashion steel or Everplate you may not be such a target. These low class fighters see you and think you can go down easy."

"I could wear that and be a walking scrap heap like you. Scratch that if I wore all that I couldn't walk, unlike you I don't pick fights with buildings, built like a human, not a titan."

"I don't pick fights with buildings."

"You did at Monica's wedding remember? I spent an hour with Reznik making fake memories convincing the normals it was an earthquake. I think Monica still has the pictures."

"Whatever. The conclave meets tomorrow, you need to fill the bastards in about what happened to Dan, and we both need to be there for the War council."

"Mage politics. Then the beer." Blake muttered.

"Hell yes then beer."

A Balverine that had been playing dead leapt up and began sprinting away, literally running for its life.

"Bloody werewolf…" Bikov growling reaching to his belt for a weapon.

"Let him go. Let it whine to its masters that two magi did this." Blake said dismissively.

"Fine fine. How many you get?"

"Creature or human?"

"Combined of course. There was nothing bigger than the two captain ranked magi and we each got one. Doubt you beat 400 old man."

"Losing your touch whippersnapper. I hit 650"

Bikov glared at the smaller man and drew a wickedly curved knife. It glowed momentarily then he flicked it away casually in the direction of the running Balverine.

"That won't kill it."

"No but it will make me sound scarier than some old grump when he whines to his masters."

"I still almost doubled your Kill count."

"Fuck off."

"Language young one."

Shin doodled in his notebook. The lecture was done, and his homework more or less done. Math was always sensible to him and the lecture had been easy enough and the class long enough to finish up his homework before leaving.

When the bell finally freed him from looking at his terrible drawings Shin dutifully shouldered his bag and went to gym class.

Ditching his stuff in a locker and changing into shorts and a T shirt he followed the herd of people into gym.

As much as he hated gym class, it was the last hurdle before doing other stuff for the day.

"Take five laps to warm up then meet here. Last 5 here get to do another lap."

Grumbling Shin took off at a jog. Some of the better athletes could run this warm up in a few minutes but Shin was normally in the middle.

Jogging along he finished in about five minutes, right in the middle of the class and he sat down. The class was a good size, about forty kids, all in the grade 10 year.

"Today is gunna be the start of floor hockey."

Cheers and groans arose from different sides of the room, again Shin was in neutral party. Floor hockey wasn't his worst sport but it was by no means one of his best.

The coach began splitting the class into teams, walking along a line on the floor counting off numbers one to ten. Shin got a 10.

"Even, pull on shirts."

Following his team to the Equipment room, Shin snatched up a plastic stick and colored mesh shirt.

Sitting on the bench Shin let the more eager players take the starting line.

Looking at the clock he saw he still had over an hour of this left. Gonna be a long day.

"That concludes my report." Blake said, bowing his head to the hooded figures in front of him.

"It is troubling to know that you have been Ambushed in an Ether trail. We shall re evaluate the security we use to maintain these trails. Against such a sizable force it is understandable the task force was unable to hold this trail."

"I would like to add to this report." Rumbled Bikov, standing.

"Berserker, Speak to the council."

"It is unlikely that this attack was a random encounter. Stationing so many of not only soldiers, but Balverines is not a tactic that would be able to work upon myself, and certainly not the Destroyer, even without his familiar. I suspect this was a recon mission to observe the efficiency of two of our senior combat members, should we engage in another pitched fight I believe they will have some semblance of a counter to our specific styles."

"This is a bold and distressing claim."

"Why else station so many with such a little chance to even wound one of us?"

"We shall review the magical energies expended upon the field, but that shall take time. Consider yourselves on shore leave so to speak until then. Take this time to train your apprentices."

"About that. My apprentice, Dan, has inadvertently terminated himself." Blake interjected.

"The enemy?"

"Only the enemy of knowledge. A poorly constructed idea, was his end."

"Find a new one. We must keep the talents of old alive, you've a week or else you shall be assigned one."

Blake frowned.

"That is all. Destroyer, Berserker, you are dismissed."

The council disappeared, Each taking a different Ether path.

"Better find one quick old man. One of my Apprentices were from the assigned pool, his old master was a seer. Poor little bastard can't learn much from me in mystic ways."

"I do hope you didn't hand him an axe and kick him through a wall."

"Nah I gave him an axe. "

Shin walked back from the school. The building itself was a huge structure and getting from the gym to the his residence took a solid fifteen minute walk.


"Nick, hey, how's it goin."

"Not to shabby, none too shabby my good sir, however you must realize something."

"Must I? I must be ignorant but please enlighten me."

"Tonight my man is Friday. Last week you hid away tinkering on that paint bomb for me. So now, I am going to make you face your utmost fear and speak to a lady. Not some girl, but a full blown, classy broad."

Shin couldn't help it. He laughed.

"Lemme ditch my stuff. I'll meet you at your dorm. That's where it's happening I'm assuming?"

"Where else my man?"