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New City, Same Enemy

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This story is No. 1 in the series "The Maelstrom Series". You may wish to read the series introduction first.

Summary: When Wolfram and Hart decide to set up a branch in Chicago, Johnny Marcone looks for someone with experience fighting them. Wesley, late of Angel Investigations, seems a perfect candidate. Post 'White Night' and Episode 4x02 of Ats

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Literature > Dresden Files, TheAlkeniFR152574,32437722,75525 Oct 1116 Sep 12Yes

All In

Disclaimer: Not mine. Move along now. Nothing to see here. Again I steal a demon description (This time of the Rutterkin) from D&D. Which is owned by Wizards of the Coast. If I owned that company...well, this is neither the time nor place to discuss that.

New City, Same Enemy

By Alkeni

Chapter 18: All In


The Beach, Isle of Demonreach
12:20 am


Shit! Motherfucking Shit!

Those were the first words to cross the mind of a momentarily stunned Mark Farrel. This entire mission had gone completely FUBAR – Odds are that it was a trap from the word go. I'm going to kill that Carlise Bastard. The cultists and their demonic minions were right behind them, and their only way to get off this damn island other than being stupid enough to try and swim the whole way back was now turned into so much scrap metal by means of a fiery explosion. As he stood there, Mark's mind raced for options, searching desperately for anything – anything – and he was drawing a complete and total blank. And that frightened him more than he cared to admit.

“Oh dear.” Wesley said softly, still bleeding from his side. “We're fucked.”

“Oh look, its British understatement at its best!” Abigail snarked. Murmuring some words, the kinetomancer threw out her hand, and sand from the beach in front of them rose up, flying at the onrushing enemy at high speeds, the experience resembling being pelted by hail for the cultists and demons, who were forced to draw up short momentarily, buying time.

“Go!” Wesley said, leaning over a bit. “I'll only slow you all down.”

“No! We're not leaving-”

“Yes you are, and that's an order.” Wesley cut Mark off, speaking quickly.

“They'll kill you!” Abigail insisted.

“Possibly.” Wesley conceded, “But not if I convince them its worth their while to keep me alive.” As he spoke, the hail of sand finally passed by, dissipating, and the cultists and demons were finally running towards them again. “You, on the other hand will die if you stay here!” Unnoticed to Mark, Wesley dropped something into the marine's pocket.

“Dammit, fine!” Mark said with a furious, frustrated sigh. He unclipped his last grenade, pulled the pin and tossed it at the enemy. During the explosion, David took advantage of the momentary distraction to throw up a small 'wall' of fire in their path.

“Let's go!” The pyromancer said, grabbing Abigail's hand and running down the beach. Wesley glared at Mark and the former marine grimaced, but didn't resist any longer, obeying and following the two casters.

With nothing between him and a mass of cultists entering firing range, Wesley dropped to the ground, falling underneath a hail of bullets. When they'd passed over him he rolled over and up onto his knees, holding up the hand that wasn't gripping his bleeding side in a gesture of surrender. “I surrender.” Wesley elaborated loudly and unnecessarily. “I have information that would be of use to your mistress.”

The leader of the cultists drew up short and raised a hand, causing the cultists behind him to draw up short and not fire again, and the demons behind him to just draw up short. He looked at Wesley, eyes narrowed. “Where are your friends, Mr.-” he saw them through the corner of his eye, down the beach, still running away. He hissed in anger and spun around, pointing to three of the cultists. “You, you, and you stay with me. The rest of you, GET THEM!” He pointed at Mark, David and Abigail. As the other cultists and demons ran off, the leader turned back to Wesley. “I have my doubts about your sincerity, Mr. Wyndam-Pryce. I suspect this is just a pathetic attempt on your part to save your worthless infidel hide. I do not think you have information that would be of use to Lady Drake.”

“I freely admit that I am trying to save my own life.” Wesley replied cooly. “And if circumstances were changed, I would of course have no interest in sharing information with Jacinta Drake. But the fact remains that if it may extend my life, I have every reason and ability to give a plethora or useful information. It will be quite worth Jacinta Drake's while to keep me alive. Fee free to disarm me.” He felt a momentary rush of lightheadedness. “Though if you'll allow me to bind this wound, I can be of use to Jacinta Drake for a good deal longer.” He chuckled darkly inwardly every time he saw the four of them twitch when he said the given name of their leader. Clearly some kind of taboo for cultists of their rank.

“Mucius.” The leader said to one of his men. “Check him.” The cultist nodded and lowered his weapon, approaching Wesley, who made no sudden moves during the approach, and stood still while he was being patted down for weapons. Predictably, the cultist found his pistol and his collapsible sword and took them back to the leader.

Deciding that they were likely to let hum live – at least for the moment – Wesley tore several long strips from his shirt and sleeves, wrapping them around himself, biding the wound on his side with the makeshift bandages. That'll have to do for now. “Well, do I get to live?”

The leader didn't reply for what felt like an age, but was probably just a minute or two at best, then, “Put your hands on your head and stay in front of me where I can see you.” He gestured with his firearm, and stepped aside. Wesley complied with the man's orders and walked where directed. “I trust you about as far as I can throw you, watcher.”

Wesley sighed, “I haven't been a Watcher for four years, thank you very much. And I'll note the entire council has been destroyed for the last month, so such a tittle is doubly unfitting-” A short burst of pullets passed by his other side from the leader. Wesley wisely shut up.

The Beach, Isle of Demonreach
12:24 am


Another hail of bullets came after them, clattering uselessly against the shield Abigail threw up behind them. The three Oracle Securities personnel were bunched close together as they ran, to give the kinetomancer the smallest amount of area she'd need to cover. Still, the nearly constant barrage of bullets from the cultists chasing after them was taking its toll on her.

“Can't...hold this up...much longer.” She said, gritting her teeth, a bead of sweat dripping down her brow. She had the power to keep it going for longer, if she needed too, but between the running and the bullets, and...she didn't have the focus and the power to keep it going for much longer, practically speaking.

“Can't you do anything, Cross?” Mark demanded, firing off several shots from his pistol, not looking back long enough to see if he actually hit or took down anyone.

“I can't just throw fireballs back at them, if that's what you're asking!” David replied as he continued to run, stringing more words together than he had in years. “Kind of got the 'First Law' to worry about.”

“Isn't there some kind of self-defense clause!?” Mark demanded. The more he learned about the so-called 'White Council' and its Laws of Magic, the more he found the whole thing completely absurd.

“Only when fighting someone using dark magic, and even then they put you on probation.” David replied. “Fucking hell, fine!” He pulled up short spinning around and raising another, larger wall of fire between themselves and the cultists. Technically, if some of them did decide to run through the fire, and died, they would've done it to themselves...he doubted that would hold up before the Council if they decided to get picky, but they were out of options at the moment. The cultists themselves didn't seem so eager to rush into the firewall, which was of the good, as they drew up short and for the moment, stopped chasing them. Very good. Abigail let out a sigh of relief, letting her arm fall to her side, as the shield dropped as well.

“We can't stay,” She said, between gasping breaths, “here for more than a minute. We'll need,” another breath, “to get into the cover of the forest.”

Mark nodded. “Let's go. While they're still distracted. We need to find somewhere where we can hold up for...somewhere defensible, anyway.”

The three hurried into the trees, fortunately evading the notice of the cultists, who were going the long way around the wall of fire, thus temporarily turning their gazes in the wrong direction. Once they were in, They stopped again.

We need to keep moving. Mark thought to himself. But they needed to be strategic about it. Running was eventually going to not work. They were stuck on this island, outnumbered by a factor he'd rather not think about, and eventually they'd run out of ammunition and Cross and Abigail wouldn't be able to cast more spells.

What they needed was a way off the island. Reinforcements. They couldn't do this...but they had no way of getting- there was a weight in his pocket that hadn't been there just minutes before. He didn't...he reached into his pocket and looked at what was in his hand when he took it back out. Satellite phone. I didn't bring... It dawned on him. Wesley must have brought it. And somehow slipped it to him, before he'd ordered them to run off. He couldn't make the call here. Still too exposed. He turned back to the two casters.

“We have to move. We're still too exposed here. Once we're somewhere safer, I can call for reinforcements. And way off this island. And we can get Wes.” He held up the satellite phone as he was talking. “Let's go.” The other two nodded, but David raised his uninjured hand, not talking, but indicating they needed to wait nonetheless.

The Pyromancer tore a strip off his sleeve and wrapped it around his hand. At least the bullet went right through. He mused, keeping on the brighter side of things. A rather dim bright side, perhaps, but brighter was brighter. When he was done, he nodded, and they hurried off.

For what was at least a few minutes they made their way deeper into the interior of the island, hopefully losing their pursuers, or forcing them to break up into more manageable chunks. And sure enough, when they eventually heard pursuers coming, it was a small group. And even better, it was only two humans, and four demons, which meant Abigail and David could unload on the magics, leaving Mark deal with the humans.

“Hey!” One of the cultists shouted, seeing them. He reached for a talkie-talkie, or some kind of hand radio from his belt, but Mark fired a bullet through it and his hand, which passed in through his stomach. While not necessarily dead, the cultists fell over, and would be dead if left without help soon enough. The other one started to fire his weapon, but they clattered on Abigail's shield. Mark fired again, and this time hit him somewhere in the chest. Mark squeezed off three more shots, and the men fell over, dead. That just left the demons, which David was left to handle, though Mark did what he could with his pistol until they came in close enough for his shotgun.

The four demons were maybe...six feet tall? Or thereabouts. Hunched and misshapen, their hairless green and violet mottled skin was stretched over bones that made up asymmetrical and deformed forms. Their heads were elongated, and even slightly bent, the tiny red eyes swelling with hate for everything and anything. They looked like the result of someone trying and failing to build an accurate representation of a human being from clay. In their hands they carried large double-headed axes. David didn't recognize them, but it as a fair bet fire would at least hurt them.

Muttering in Ancient Greek, David called fire to his hands, the orb floating bare centimeters from his skin. He couldn't keep it there for long. Pulling back his hand, he threw it out in an arch and it landed among the charging demons. One fell back, beating out the fire on itself, the other three, two of them a little charred, but unfazed, kept charging in.

Another fireball in, as the demons drew closer, and another demon went down. Now, though, they were close enough to shoot with the shotgun. As David took a moment to refocus his mind, Mark fired, the lead pummeling into one of the demons, sending it staggering backwards, but it was still alive. Then the other was on him. It swung its axe at the marine, who ducked underneath the blow and hurriedly fired his gun again, getting the demon full in the face from below. It fell back to the ground as the other one swung. This time it connected, but Mark did evade the worst of the blow, and instead of it slicing off his hand like the original trajectory suggested was the goal, it carried on down and cut deep along the side of his leg. Mark bit his lip, drawing blood, but fired again, as David threw a third fireball, dipping into his own reserves. But it was enough. The last demon fell back, dying in whimpering pain.

Mark lifted up the Satellite Phone, and dialed Petrovich. When the Russian man answered, Mark barreled over him. “The boat's been blown up, and we're stuck here on the island outnumbered and outgunned. Wes has been either captured or killed, and I doubt the rest of us are going to be able to last long without backup. Get as many as you can on a boat – hell, get that Dresden guy if you get a hold of him – and get your ass over here, and pull ours out of the fire!”

The Lighthouse, Isle of Demonreach
12:31 am


Amy's casting had been going for nearly half an hour, moving through at least five languages. By now it had probably been more, but Jacinta had stopped listening after the fifth language – some obscure demonic tongue – anyway. The cult leader looked at her watch again, drumming the fingers of her other hand against her leg impatiently. As much as she wanted to complain to Amy about the slow pace of the spell, she knew she couldn't. These were powerful forces that the witch as working with, and they were equally delicate. The slightest distraction...

At the sound of people approaching from the trees, Jacinta turned away from watching – well, half-watching – the ritual. I grow tired of interruptions. This had better be news of those meddlers' deaths. The first to enter her presence was the obsequious member of her inner circle who had earlier informed her of Oracle Securities' arrival, and behind him, four lower-caste members of the cult, who also averted their gaze from her, keeping an eye on a sixth man in their-

Jacinta recognized him from photographs and descriptions. “What in the name of the Pestilent Gods are you doing bringing that man here?! I explicitly ordered that he and the rest of his team be killed! Not captured and brought before my presence!” Jacinta's voice was a low, angry hiss, doing her best to negotiate the conflicting goals of angrily berating her subordinates, and not interrupting Amy's ritual. “Did you at least kill the rest?”

“Ah...no, Mistress.” One of the lower-caste members said reverently. “They evaded us at the wreckage of the boat, but the rest of my men are in hot pursuit – they may already be dead by now.”

“And you didn't kill this one and follow after the rest of your men to confirm that fact why?!” Jacinta demanded. “Are you incapable of understanding 'kill' orders?”

“The Watcher-” the same man answered, ignoring Wesley's muttered 'Ex-Watcher, if you please,' “surrendered. He claims to have useful information...that he knows things of value to you. I did not believe him, but only you can judge the truth of such claims.”

Jacinta resisted the urge to facepalm. Not for the first time, she wished she'd made more of an effort to instill at least a little initiative in her minions. Some did have it, regardless, but not enough of them. For all her arrogance and her desire to control everything around her, Jacinta wasn't an idiot. I can't be everywhere to issue orders to everyone. “Whatever information he might have is entirely irrelevant to our purpose here, and when I issue an order, I expect it followed. Kill-”

“I really wouldn't do that if I were you, Jacinta.” Wesley interrupted coolly, smirking at the reaction of the cultists. “Its true, I don't have any information of use to whatever it is you're doing here – or rather what that striking little witch of yours over there is doing, but I do have useful information. Think about it. The Watchers' Council and all the rare – in many cases one of a kind – tomes that it had access to are now gone. The vast majority of Watchers are gone as well. That means that those few Watchers that are left, but those few of us have read at least some of those rare and unique tomes, and know all or most of what we've read virtually by heart. And I'm the only Watcher you're ever likely to get your hands on who would for any reason – in this case to save my own life – give you some of that information.” Even as he almost lectured at the cult leader, Wesley was looking all over his surroundings, trying to figure out some way out of his predicament. Jacinta was not looking any more convinced as he continued to filibuster her order to kill him, and without any weapons, all he had was hand-to-hand combat and his third-rate fireball spells to work with – and likely violations of the First Law as well.

The high-ranking member of the cult who had lead his immediate captors to this area was unarmed, and from the way he was virtually prostrated before Jacinta Drake, Wesley doubted the man had the force of will required to be a magic user of any real talent. That left Jacinta, who he knew could use at least some magic – and no doubt better than he ever could – and the four men armed with AK-47s. If he used his own limited magic on any of them, he risked violating the First Law. He might be able to get around it with Jacinta if she used dark magic against him first, but that was a risky proposition at best to allow. And since they'd soulgaze him, he couldn't just lie either.

Then again, there's no reason for the White Council, stretched thin as it is, to hear about this at all, and I'd rather break the First Law now and risk execution later than die because I stuck to futile principle.

As Wesley finished talking, he knew full well it had been a lost cause. Jacinta shook her head and grinned cruelly. “An admirable attempt, perhaps, to save your own worthless infidel hide, but futile. Kill him.” Wesley heard the cock of the AK-47 behind him and responded immediately. Chanting, a fireball formed in his left hand as he spun around, hitting the barrel of the gun held by the man behind him with his right. It still fired, the man's finger having already started squeezing the trigger, but rather than hitting Wesley in the back as had been the intent, the bullets spewed out into nowhere. Not lucky enough for them to hit another cultist, Wesley mused. As he deflected the gun, and the other started to raise their own weapons, the fireball flew from Wesley's hand and hit a second cultists full in the chest, sending him flying backwards, dropping his gun as he did so. Wesley dove and rolled for it, avoiding the short bursts from the other two cultists, as the first one hurriedly reloaded.

Now...this is a turkey shoot. Without even getting back up from a crouching position, Wesley sprayed randomly into the other three, not killing any of them yet, unfortunately, but hitting them enough to throw off the aim of the first and stop the other two from managing to reload quickly. Which was something Wesley didn't bother to waste his time doing. In for a penny... He threw another fireball at one of the cultists, this on not just throwing him back, but actually immolating him, the aim having been better. In seconds the fire had covered his body and in his scream-filled flailing, he brushed against another cultist, who dropped his weapon so he could attempt to beat out the flames, dropping to the ground and rolling.

That left one. Wesley lunged at the man, getting another bullet buried in his left upper arm for his trouble, but knocking the man to the ground. He wrenched the gun from the man's hands and fired directly at the witch. Whatever that ritual was supposed to do, disrupting it seemed a good idea.

Amy was more than able to deflect the incoming bullets. Sensing their approach, she turned her head and raised an hand, bringing up a shield that easily protected her form any injury.

But it was just enough distraction, a diversion of focus to force Amy to lose her grip on the ritual. The backlash sent her flying back, as the lighthouse began to shake.
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