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Heart of Vengeance

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Johnothon sat at his desk grading the latest exam. Standing up he smiled as his pen continued to grade the papers. "It's always the same. These kids enter this class thinking that just because I seem to have lenient requirements that they can pass the class. So far there is only one student who even seems to be able to comprehend the material." He walked back to his desk and picked up one of the graded papers. "Hmm, Alanna Cassidy: 100%. I wonder," He walked over to his filing cabinet where he kept the other tests. "Cambridge...Campbell...Carr...Cassidy." He pulled out the folder and rifled through the tests and papers. "Well well, it seems that our little student has scored 100% on everything." He put the folder back and yawned. He always had his tests back the next day, the only problem was that he had over 100 students in a class and he had four classes. Lucky for him his magic always took care of the dirty work. He walked over to his bed and pulled off his sweatshirt. Lying down he took off his glasses and set his alarm. As he dozed off he could still hear the sounds of his pen correcting papers.

While Johnothon slept strange visions went through his mind. He found himself scouring the world looking for someone that he cared deeply for, found rejection, and strangely utter revulsion. He saw a symbol that looked vaguely familiar to him with a rune in the center. There was a tall imposing figure in a work suit standing over him, blacked out by the light behind her. Next to her there was a smaller figure in a trench coat who he seemed to recognize, yet she was also unfamiliar at the same time. In his last dream he saw forms of bears and cats moving around and a strong feeling of magical energy.

Right before his alarm went off he sat bolt upright in bed, covered in a cold sweat. The most vivid part was of the two women. What could that mean? Forgetting his sweatshirt he walked out into kitchen and grabbed a shot glass and a bottle of Jack Daniel's. He did not care if the student staying with him saw the markings going down his back. After all the kid was destined to become a mage. After he had downed three shots he walked into his room and pulled out his clothes for work. Walking into the bathroom he got in the shower and was grateful that the water heater was broken again for the cold water brought all of his senses into perfect alignment. Stepping out he toweled off and pulled on his clothes. With a smirk he saw the symbol for the Progenitors on his lapel with the Technocratic emblem surrounding it. But in seeing the symbols he suddenly remembered his dreams. A shudder ran down his spine at the memory as he grabbed the graded tests and, locking the house, snapped his fingers and disappeared.

 


 

Alanna sat down to enjoy a cup of coffee before class with her friend Aisu. It was always the same, have a cup of coffee right before class, and use correspondence to get to her spot on time. With a smile she looked down at her watch and looked back at her friend. "How much you wanna bet I am the only one who passed Dr. Myrenei's exam again?"

"Well seeing as how you are the highest scoring student and have never failed, I think that would be a sucker bet." Aisu sipped her coffee and set down her mug. "You know that he will think you are cheating."

"I think I can prove him wrong if he accuses me. Besides-I can always remove his memory or make him think otherwise."

"And you will find yourself underwater as a chicken again."

Alanna shrugged and laughed at her last bout of paradox. "Yes I know that I will be messing with reality but it can't be helped." She finished her coffee and looked around. It was unusually crowded this morning in the student lounge, which would make her disappearance all that more difficult. She looked over at the coffee machine and grinned as it flew up in the air and began to spin. The moment everyone was looking away she winked at Aisu and disappeared, leaving the money for her coffee on the table.

 


 

Johnothon stood by the door handing back tests to the students as the walked in. The rising intensity of groans made him shake his head. Why would the university let idiots take classes like this if it wanted to keep its reputation? This was an advanced class on theoretical and quantum physics, not some entry level English class after all. As the last student filed through the door he looked down to see that he had Alanna's test still in his hands. Looking around the lecture hall he noticed her sitting in her usual seat and was shocked that she could have slipped by him unnoticed. He walked up to her and handed her the test. "Well done Miss Cassidy. I would like to speak to you after class about your recent test. There are a few essays on here that pose interesting points."

Alanna knew that he was just saying that so that the other students would not tease her. In the back of her mind she laughed, certain that he was going to accuse her of cheating once they were alone. Adjusting her glasses she smiled politely and nodded to her professor. "Of course." She opened up her notebook and sat back as it began to take notes for her. She was grateful that she sat in the back of class where no one could see what she was doing. As class went on she began working out what she would tell him.

 


 

The students filed out of the room like a bunch of zombies. Alanna was forced to step over the chairs to make it down to the podium. She had her plan all made out as to what she would do. She would give a crappy explanation and while doing so force him to fall asleep. Then she would remake his memories to how she saw fit. As she approached him she noticed for the first time that he did not look much older than she did. The other thing that struck her as odd was the magical energy emanating off of him. She slowed her step and looked at him curiously. "You wanted to speak with me, Dr. Myrenei?"

Johnothon was completely taken aback by Alanna's attitude. Not to mention the fact that she was giving off enough energy to light up the room. "Yes, would you come with me to my office? There is going to be another class coming here in less than two minutes." He said as he picked up his stuff and turned off the lights.

"Uh, sure." Adjusting her bag she followed close behind him. 'What is with this guy? Could he be one like me?' She tried to peer into his mind but found it was like trying to see through a brick wall. Giving up she sighed and just about ran into him as he stopped at the door to his office.

"The reason I wanted to speak to you Miss Cassidy," Johnothon stated as he entered his office and closed the door behind Alanna, "is because you have scored no less than 100% on all of your tests and papers. And I am beginning to think that you may be cheating." He set his stuff down and walked behind his desk. "Though how you're cheating is beyond me, because I never use the same test twice."

Alanna smiled and waved her hand in a dismissive gesture. "I had a feeling that you would say that, sir. But in truth I am only taking this class to fill an extra class space. I already know all this shit." She looked straight into his eyes and began reciting a spell in her mind.

Johnothon smiled as he saw what Alanna was trying. "I wouldn't suggest that, child. You have no idea what you are getting yourself into." Adjusting his glasses he sent out his barrier, knocking Alanna back.

Alanna blinked and sat down in the chair behind her, taken back by the sudden force of energy. She quickly tried to act dumb. "Uh...what are you talking about?" She took off her glasses and began to clean them. "And why did you just call me child? You can't be much older than I am."

Leaning over the desk Johnothon smirked and removed his glasses. "Because compared to me, you ARE a child." He smirked again and waited for Alanna to put her glasses back on. In a dangerous voice he slipped his glasses into his pocket. "Tell me, how long have you had your powers?"

Gripping the arm of the chair Alanna tried to keep her voice calm as she looked into his eyes. "I have no idea what you are talking about. What powers?"

Johnothon walked around his desk and gripped her arm. "I know you are lying. You are a mage." Tightening his grip he lifted her from the chair. "Who do you belong to, Alanna?"

"I have no idea what you are talking about! LET ME GO!" Her entire body began to crackle with energy and in a flash of light she disappeared, leaving Johnothon nursing a burnt hand. She reappeared in her apartment next to Aisu. "My teacher is a nut! He has just accused me of being a mage! How could he have found out?" Sitting down in a chair she pulled he legs up against her chest and began to rock.

"Because I'm one as well."

Alanna's head jerked up just as a tear appeared in the living room and Johnothon stepped out. He had his glasses back on but he was not in his suit. Instead he was wearing a pair of black jeans, a white polo-shirt, and a charcoal trench coat. With a smile he waved his hand and the tear disappeared.

"How did you get here?" She looked over to see Aisu quickly disappearing, leaving her to deal with him on her own. "And who are you really?" She drew out her gun from its holster, hidden under her jacket. "If you don't tell me I will be forced to shoot you." Taking aim she held the gun poised and ready to shoot.

"It wouldn't do you any good to shoot me, Miss Cassidy. In fact, go ahead. If you're fast enough." He undid his jacket and stood with his arms out. The moment Alanna fired the bullet he winked and a blue circle appeared in front of him, the bullet disintegrated the moment it made contact. He grinned as the circle disappeared. "Care to try again?"

"How the Hell did you do that?" Alanna dropped her gun as he disappeared and reappeared right in front of her.

"I believe true introductions are in order first. I will go first to break the ice. My name as you know is Johnothon Myrenei. But what you did not know was that I was born over 200 years ago to a German family that had taken refuge in the American colonies. I learned of my powers when I was only 12 and was quickly cast out of my family. I lived on my own until I joined up with the Progenitors." He sat down on the arm of the couch, lazily swinging his left leg back and forth. "From there I began to learn what they taught and in the end became what you may know as an archmage. I can never ascend but I am now in a sense my own Avatar. That and the fact that I bear my avatar's primal marks. Which explains why I only look this old." He shrugged. "Plus the little rote of Serenity of Stone. I have been teaching at colleges because there I can find many of the mages known as Orphans. I take them in as a student intern and begin to train them as soon as they awaken. Because of your reaction back in the office I am guessing you are an Orphan. Well, unless you are part of one of the traditions, and I know you aren't a Marauder." He chuckled quietly and looked over his glasses at Alanna. "How about you?"

Alanna gave him a questioning look and shrugged her shoulders. "Well I was born in 1900 to an Irish family that was living in Japan, my father, a merchant, went there and met up with my mother...she was a young shrine maiden. They got together and had me. My mother was a mage from The Fenian. Sadly she was the last known member of her order and was killed by a Man in Black after an accusation by her father who was a Technocrat. I have never forgiven the Technocracy for that." She did not notice as Johnothon froze for a moment. "I later killed him and was forced to leave Japan. I was suddenly someone who made their hit list all because I killed someone. I was then forced to live in Ireland with my friend Aisu. She's also on the list...in fact she and I fled together to escape them. Around 2 years ago we moved here to New York. I was never taught and have only really dealt with paradox a few times, even though I use my magic almost every day. My mother gave me a potion that has stopped me from aging. It was made from a combination of vampire, faerie, and werewolf blood and essence. Is that enough?" She sat down in her chair and pulled her legs up to her chest again. "Or do you also want my blood type and my father's lineage?"

"What position did your grandfather hold? If you do not mind me asking."

"He was a division head I believe. Why?"

Johnothon rubbed his ear and smiled. "That would be the reason you were hunted. A division head is right below a your version of a master. What you would call an Adept." He noticed Alanna's scrutinizing gaze and shrugged. "If you are wondering how I know all that, well...I had a friend in the Technocracy for a while."

Alanna nodded and narrowed her eyes slightly. 'What bullshit. Does he take me for a mere child?'

Johnothon ignored the thought from Alanna's head. "In answer to your question, that was plenty of information. Though...I would like to make a proposition for you, Miss Cassidy,"

"You can call me Alanna, sir."

"Very well, Alanna, only if you will call me Johnothon." At Alanna's nod he smiled. "How would you like me to be your mentor and teacher?"

"Sounds interesting. How about I get back to you on it? I need some time to think it over." Leaning forward she yelped slightly as her familiar Tweek jumped up onto her back. "I guess I should introduce you to my familiar, Tweek." Tweek lashed her tail and hissed at Johnothon. "She doesn't like strangers, or Technocrats. But as I said, I will let you know soon."

As she looked at him she felt as if she had known him before. For some strange reason she felt attracted to him. 'NO! He is a Technocrat, I'm sure of it! I cannot let him get to me!' Shaking away the feeling she moved Tweek out of the way and stood up. "If I agree, can you show me how you do all that stuff? Like the whole tear in reality thing?"

Johnothon smiled. "Of course." Blinking he sighed to himself. 'It will never work out. She is over 100 years younger than I am...but she is so beautiful. Plus she hates the Technocracy. Why did I give myself away so easily? Maybe...." He took off his glasses and pretended to clean them. While doing so he began to peer into Alanna's mind, to his surprise the most prominent thought on her mind was of him. 'Well that makes sense since she is speaking with me.' When the thought suddenly shifted Johnothon had to stifle a gasp. "Um, Alanna I have a request for you for the class. I will continue to give you 100s in my grade book but will you mind if to appease the class a bit that I give you lower grades on your tests and papers? They're starting to think I'm playing favorites."

"I think that would be all right. As I said I already know all of the material, it's a favorite subject of mine, and I'm always having Aisu find me the latest papers and articles so I can get ahead." She looked down as Tweek began to paw at her pants leg. "Yes I know! I'll be heading for work in two minutes." She smiled at Johnothon. "Tutoring job." Picking up her stuff she looked over at him. "I take it you can find your way out?"

With a grin Johnothon nodded. "Of course."

"Just one second, Johnothon, I have a question for you that I would like you to answer. Are you a Technocrat? And answer truthfully." Alanna crossed her arms and waited.

Pausing for a second Johnothon sighed and nodded. "Yes I am, though I am not like the others." his voice was thick with regret as he bowed and disappeared. Reappearing in his office he collapsed onto his couch. 'What is wrong with me? How can she get to me like this?'

A blue mechanical dragon flew over to him and landed on his shoulder. "Have you ever thought she might not be the one causing it but it is from your own feelings?" She showed her teeth in a silly grin. "Is my master in love?"

Johnothon brushed the dragon away and growled slightly. "Leave me alone Kari. I am in no mood to play games."

Leaning his head back he sighed and stood up. "How could this happen? I made a promise to my superior that I would never do this! After the last debacle I swore I wouldn't do this again, that I'd devote my life to science and teaching! Not only that, but I just gave away that I was a Technocrat to a student!" Pacing back and forth he looked up at his clock and was glad that Alanna's class was his last class of the day.

"Kari, would you do me a favor?" He opened up the palm of his hand and held out some of the vital energy that Kari required to survive. "I will let you gorge on quintessence for today if you do this favor." At the sight of Kari's eyes widening he smiled. "I want you to watch Alanna for me. Her image should be in your memory banks. You were there first day of class to see each of the students. If you have to I want you to go to the point of pretending to be a present to her from a stranger. Here," he created a gift tag and placed it in her mouth. "act like a mechanical dragon created by the VA. Got it?" At Kari's nod he opened up the door and let her fly out. Sitting down at his desk he began to twirl a pen. Moving his hands away he stopped the pen in mid spin and sent it shooting away into a black and white picture of a young woman. "This child is mine Dominique, I shall never forgive you for the last time....You will not get this one."