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Wayward Warlock

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“Do you know that for sure?” Lisa asked. Declan sat down on the edge of the bed. “I have something called the Sight. It allows me to see auras, or ‘quantum particle emissions’ if you listen to some of my more technical friends. It’s one of the few abilities I still have at the moment,” he said, slight frustration on his face. Tiny blue electric sparks briefly walked along his fingers.

“So you looked at the waitress and immediately saw that she was a witch? Wait,” she had a sudden thought “all those times you were staring at something off in the distance, that wasn’t you moping around was it? That was you using your, uh, Sight?” Declan looked mildly embarassed, probably at the way she’d worded it. “Yes…?” he offered.

“How does it work?” she asked.

“Well, everything gives off certain energies or particle emissions. Witches are trained at a young age to sense these sort of things. However, not everyone has the Sight. For witches, as far as we know, it’s passed down through families. Other supernatural critters are more likely to have this the older or stronger they get,” he continued. “Me and Chris can See things the same way.” Chris, the vampire-werewolf hybrid who’s also apparently angelic. Lisa still didn’t know how to feel about the last one. “So, for us, normal humans have a blue aura. Witches have blue with spots or patches of flat black.”

The implications hit. “I wonder, can you tell if a someone has parahuman abilities?” Declan frowned thoughtfully. “Probably, I don’t know.”

“That’s… a really dangerous ability to have, Declan,” Lisa said slowly, “You should keep that secret.” Declan looked puzzled. “Why?”

“There’s something called the Unwritten Rules.” Lisa started, Declan listening intently. “As I understand it, it’s a set of informally agreed upon guidelines that both heroic- and villainous-inclined capes follow. Don’t use lethal force, avoid civilian casualties, that sort of thing. One of the most important ones is avoiding learning about someone’s secret identity.” She breathed in.

“With your Sight, you can basically identify a cape’s identity at will.” Declan looked worried. “What happens if I break the rules?” he asked. Lisa answered, “The other parahumans enact punishment. Worst-case, you either get sent to the Birdcage, or you get a kill order on your head.” Declan’s eyes widened in alarm.

“I could just not use my Sight when I’m out—,” Declan started, but Lisa interrupted, “No, actually, you should use it.” He blinked. “It’s an incredibly useful advantage to have, Declan. Besides, these kinds of rules only apply to capes.” He looked at her suspiciously, “You seem surprisingly okay with this. I thought you were the law and order type?” Lisa scoffed, “The PRT sure didn’t bother when I asked for help with the case. Plus, I’m sure you can handle yourself. The way you describe it, the supernatural seems to operate on its own set of laws.” He nodded. “Well, it mostly revolved around ‘keep the masses unaware on pain of death’, but yeah, some.”

“Okay, you saw that the waitress had a blue aura mixed with black, right?” Lisa asked. Declan shook his head, “Actually, the bracelet was the one that caught my attention,” he said. At my expression, he continued, “It had magic in it. I also saw bracelets like that on a lot of witches in my school.” School… right, the one where all the werewolf and witch children went to learn about their powers and the supernatural. Still odd to think about, though it probably made more sense than putting kids in spandex and thrusting them into law enforcement without even a taser for backup. Declan continued. “I used my Sight to confirm that, yes, she was a witch.”

Lisa frowned, thinking hard. “That girl was hired only a few months ago. I remember being curious why the previous person no longer worked there, but I never asked. She’s even the right age to be a daughter of one of Finnegan’s followers. Why hadn’t I ever…” Declan nodded.

“Witches can make charms that can redirect someone’s attention,” he explained. “It’s one of the reasons we were so good at hiding from the rest of the world. Witchhunts and the Salem witch trials were a strong motivator for us to keep ourselves and the supernatural hidden.”

Powers that can affect perception. Lisa froze. “Can witches do mind control?” His eyes widened and he shook his head. “No, that kind of thing is iffy as hell and dangerous to the witch as well as the victim. People who do that a lot in the supernatural world don’t tend to live long. That does remind me though…” Declan reached for the messenger bag that he always carried with him. He rummaged inside for a few moments, then pulled out a silk pouch with a flourish.

“What’s that?” Lisa asked. He pulled out a small disk of wood. Elaborate shapes and symbols were carved on its surface. “Protection amulets, with a slight bit of luck thrown in. These can ward off direct magical attacks, including mental ones. I figured it’s a good idea for you to have one.” He tossed it to her and Lisa caught it. “Really? Huh. Wait, did you make this recently?” Declan shook his head. “No, no magic remember? I always carry a couple of spare amulets for my team.”

“So this will protect me from any kind of damage Finnegan or her witches can do?” Lisa asked dubiously. Declan was rummaging inside his bag, “Well, no not all damage. It can block a fireball, for example, but the heat will still affect you, although not as much as it would’ve without the amulet. Or they can make stuff fall on you or something,” he mumbled. She felt the markings on the surface for a moment, then reached over her head to put it on. “These look really nice. Professionally made even. How much do you think are these worth back in your world?” she wondered. He answered, distracted,“Thanks. Dunno, I heard they can sell for five, ten-grand each.” She almost dropped the amulet. “What?!”

Declan glanced up and shrugged, “Lydia was probably pulling my leg with that one. Stacia seemed to agree though.” Lisa coughed, making him wince. “Right. Bit weird having me talk about your daughter that I’ve never met.”

Apparently, the Stacia he knew was currently part of the pseudo-superhero group that Declan’s in. She was his… mate? He didn’t really elaborate on it much and Lisa didn’t ask, not entirely sure what to do with any kind of information regarding alternate versions of herself and her family.

Declan finally found the thing he was looking for, a sigh of relief escaping him. A bracelet with a black glass-like rock affixed to it. “That another one of your magic items?” He nodded. “Best to be prepared for everything.”

Lisa’s phone buzzed in her pocket. She pulled it out, scowling at the caller ID displayed on the screen. “My captain.” she said to Declan’s questioning look.

“Detective Reynolds, BCI.”


The detective did not seem happy. The conversation went on for a long while and she’d stood up and left the motel room earlier.

Me? I was still trying to access my magic. The amulets helped, being that they were made with my Craft, but actually moving magic from one place to another was still beyond me. The warlock runes could draw power from myself, but the fact that I couldn’t replenish my core with outside energy made that very risky to use. I could also produce small sparks from my hands, which was something I guess. Maybe I could tingle spooky child-abducting witches to death.

I heard the door open and looked up. Reynolds had a scowl on her face. “What’s the news?” I prompted.

“Captain’s pulling me off the force in two days,” she said simply.

“What?!” I jumped up. “How could he do that?”

“He made a case for insubordination. Apparently, me calling the PRT really pissed a couple of people off in the command chain.” She glanced at my open messenger bag. “Pack up your things. We’re going.”

Confused, I picked up my bag. “Where?”

“The diner. We’ll scout out the place and follow the waitress.”