Short Story: The Magus and the Vampire

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"That would be amazing." Vic looked down at his muddy body and frowned. "I don't want to track dirt in your house though."

"You won't."

"Huh?"

Gladus lifted her hand over his head, drawing in the extra water still surrounding them. A giant orb formed above him. Vic squawked in protest, but too late. Gladus dropped her hand, and the water crashed down onto him. She made it wash around him twice for good measure, rinsing him clean of the mud.

Vic gasped for breath once she freed him and trembled like a wet dog. "That was mean."

"I told you not to get cocky."

***

As Vic grumbled and headed upstairs to take a shower, Gladus made her way into the receiving room to light the fireplace. With each step, she drew the water out of her clothing, hair, and skin, wrapping it in an orb behind her. She crouched in front of the dying embers still popping on charred wood. She slid in a few more pieces and added paper between them. Striking a match, she lit the fire and held her hands over it to warm herself before glancing around.

Her house looked like it had been trapped in the Victorian age. A deep, rich red couch with curled armrests sat against one side of the room near the fireplace, a thick quilt pulled over it. Similar plush red chairs stood on opposite ends of a circular table covered in lace and topped with a purple teapot and cups. The walls were painted a dark color to contrast the light wooden floor partially covered by a beige rug decorated with black designs.

She looked at the pictures dotting the walls, a mix of framed dried herbs and portraits of her relatives. The house had been in her family for generations in some shape or form. Even the Chicago fire that had claimed so much of the city had left the home unscathed; they'd been lucky to have a fire magus in the family at the time.

The house held history, not only of her family, but of the many parahumans that had walked its halls and stairs. Gladus had instituted it as a safe house long before she was made Violet Marshall because, frankly, parahumans needed a place to go where they could feel safe and protected.

It was also big enough to fit her ward when they had meetings. The Oakfield Ward consisted of nearly fifteen magi ranging in different powers, and it grew each year. Gladus had reluctantly taken on the title of Priestess after their former leader had been stricken with cancer.

There were some illnesses even a magus couldn't heal.

Gladus had grown to enjoy the role, though that was due, in part, to the incredible ward she had beneath her. It was filled with a very talented group of magi who were eager to learn, even Lenore.

She pushed herself to her feet and headed to the kitchen to get the tea kettle on the stove. As she filled it, she heard a loud bang outside, like someone had thrown her trash can. Gladus looked out the window.

A man scrambled to his feet and darted towards the space between Gladus' home and her neighbor's. She watched him and just barely glimpsed a shadow racing after him faster than any human could possibly move and with malicious intent. His strangled cry of pain and surprise sent her running to the door. She opened her mind mentally to Vic as she bolted down the front stairs.

"Vic, someone's getting attacked outside. I think it might be a vampire. Stay inside."

"Are you crazy? You can't take on a rogue vampire! What if it bites you?"

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