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Excalibur: Sentinels

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This story is No. 3 in the series "Excalibur". You may wish to read the series introduction and the preceeding stories first.

Summary: The Champions continue to rise as now the Champions of Magic rise to take their place amongst the chosen defenders of the world. The magical users must now stand firm against the coming storm.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Multiple Crossings > General
Charmed > General
texaswookieFR18882,7451228,29615 Feb 132 Jul 14Yes

Magic The Gathering II

Another chapter for this one as usual I own none of the characters Charmed is CW, the characters from Sorcerers Apprentice are Disney, and the respective comic book characters are a mixture of Marvel and DC Comics. While the 7 Vices are a combination of an assortment of portrayals in various shows to produce a type of super demon group.



Dave Stuttle scowled a bit as he worked on some of his various magic projects that he had around the abandoned Subway Station. While he had learned a lot with his merger and acceptance of power from Merlin taking on the aspect of Strange. There were still things that he had to do and that didn’t always completely understand or he was using his old world knowledge mixed with his new world information. It made things interesting. That didn’t include the fact that he was still taking classes for his physics and engineering studies, the various magical beings that wanted to prove themselves against the Prime Merlinium, or his girlfriend.

Speaking of his homework, he had a pile of homework from his teachers, and a pile of it from Balthazar as well. The amount of work that he had was a lot more than he had ever thought was possible. He wasn’t sure just how he was going to make his way through it all. Particularly if he didn’t get the time to work instead of being continuously bothered by whatever problems it was that decided to rear their head up this time around. It seemed like his times of relative peace were becoming fewer and farther apart the more he learned about his place in the world. Like right now, he had felt several different attempts to locate him in some manner or other. He was used to beings trying to do that ever since his rather public battle with the Wicked Witch of the West. He was having to dodge all sorts of attempts to track him down for whatever reason it was that it seemed to be. There were the regular people playing at detective, policemen for various reasons, and various reporters or bloggers who were trying to get the scoop on who he was and how he did what he did. That didn’t even take into account the various magic beings that were also searching for him. Whitelighters, Darklighters, Demons, Wiccans, Wand users, Wandless and a handful of various magical creatures were always trying to find him. Either to kill him or make some sort of alliance or even tell him how he should behave. He was now having to constantly shield from locater spells, scrying, Whitelighter senses, tracking charms, and a few spells he wasn’t even completely sure as to what it was that they were called. He was just lucky that no one had managed to get any of his blood to use as a trace or the hunt would be over already. There were a few ways that might let someone or thing find him but they would have to be at least on Veronica’s level for any of that to work. It was also taxing on his powers as he was always having to keep a shield up. Fortunately the Inner Sanctum had specially designed wards that he had put up. But once he was outside these walls he was always having to work on keeping the trackers away from him.

Sure he could reveal himself to the magical communities that resided in the city, but he wasn’t really sure that he wanted to involve himself in the inner city politics that were always going with the wand wizards. The Whitelighters and the Elders were a part of the right side but they seemed to think that they could tell him who they could go after. Those were the good guys there were also all sorts of demons and dark magic users that were trying to make a name for themselves by taking him on, there were still Morganian magic users that wanted him crushed and Morganna’s memory exalted, Wolfram & Hart had also sent several probes out after him in an attempt to get at him. He also wasn’t too sure what would happen if the police or reporters were to get their hands on him. He knew that a number of museum people were calling for his head after using their pieces in a battle like he had. The police hadn’t given an official statement on what their stance on him was, and the reporters seemed to have mixed opinions on whether or not he was actually real. So they hadn’t given an opinion on what they thought of his motives or anything. Now there was this new and rather persistent person trying to find him. Whoever they were they were strong, maybe even as strong as he was. Something that he didn’t see that often. The scrying and locater spells were bouncing off of his shields for now, but he also knew that whoever this person was they at the very least had a general idea of his location. All one had to do was figure where the various spells were ignoring to figure that part out. If they could do that, then they could probably get closer than a lot of other people could.

He looked up as a silvery ethereal hawk like creature dove through the ceiling. The bird spiraled around the room for a moment before it came down in front of him and hovered in front of his face. “Hello, and what are you?” He asked, as he ran his hand looked the wispy looking creature over. It really was a beautiful piece of magic.

“It’s a patronous charm.” Balthazar explained to his student. “They’re an advanced form of wand wizard magic. For someone to get one this detailed is actually impressive.” He admitted, as he eyed the creation appreciatively. “They have two primary uses.” He continued turning the unexpected arrival into a lesson. “They can be used to ward off extremely powerful and dark creatures, and they can also be used as a type of messenger if you need something that is quick and can usually slip past most of the wards that most people have. Consider them like a recorder. You can have them deliver the message much faster than any of the known wizarding methods. Their range is somewhat dependent upon the strength of the person casting the spell as well. Unless their power is being enhanced by various magical artifacts.”

Dave nodded his head in understanding as he held his hand out to the patronous. “So, what’s the message?” He asked, as he tried to coax the creature to deliver its message to him.

The bird looked at him for a moment before a voice echoed back at them in response,“Strange, I am Fate, and I call you as a potential ally in the war of light and dark that besieges our world. As you are what I believe to be a fellow champion of magic, I find myself to be in need of your aide in a dangerous situation. Demons of power equal or even greater to that of some pagans have formed a coalition and it will take an entire force of powerful magic users to even stand a chance of doing battle with them. I request that you head to San Francisco and find a group of magic users known as the Charmed Ones. After you have gathered I will come to you if I can. If not follow my magical signature so that we may discuss this threat, as I will be gathering others that may be of help to us. I only ask this of you as you will be on the same continent as the others while I see to a potential resource here in England before I journey to your country. Until we meet in person Strange.”

“Hmm, that doesn’t sound all that good.” Balthazar returned to his apprentice. “I think it might be about time for you to prepare for incoming. If this is as bad as he is saying, then we could have just about anything coming to visit us either as an attempt to stay on the right side of the new powers in the demon world, someone that wants to get to you first, or even these empowered demons deciding that it would be easier to just take you out.”

“You always do manage to make these things seems a lot less scary than they really are.” Dave complained to his mentor. “We get word that an army of demons might be interested in taking me out and your acting like you just found out they changed the tv schedule.”

“Actually, I was rather a bit more disappointed to learn that Star Trek the Next Generation and the X-Men Cartoon had been canceled while I was otherwise occupied.” The Sorcerer returned to the young man in his usual dry manner.

“Why is it that I find that so easy to believe in?” Dave groaned as he ran his hand through his hair tiredly. “Fine, I’ll start getting the wards up, you just stand ready in case something else decides to break through the wards while I’m doing that.” He finally decided. He called his power to him and his clothes rippled and changed to those of Strange.

Balthazar nodded, even as Veronica walked into the room having heard the last of the conversation. She watched as the Prime Merlinium quickly set to work on trying to get the wards up. It would take more than the basic defenses if they were put under an intense assault like the message warned that they might.

“It looks like someone’s been passing notes when they shouldn’t be.” A voice called out from the shadows.

Dave ignored the voice as he focused on weaving the spellwork to keep the lab safe. Balthazar and Veronica moved forward to intercept the speaker. Veronica was wearing a dress with a fur cloak while Balthazar was dressed in his usual odd assortment of clothes with a leather duster. Each of them had their rings on one hand and a drawn sword in the other as they looked at a pair of demons that had managed to slip past the wards while they were distracted by the patronous message.

“Out of the way, my fight is not with you.” The shadowy figure snarled, as it turned to look at the red cloaked figure of Strange who was busy bringing the wards up. They all heard a snap as the first layer of the wards went up and a demon that had been stepping into the room squealed as it was sliced in half.

“Sorry, but I can’t let you do that.” Balthazar returned to the being. “If you want to get at him then first you’re going to have to go through me. You know how it goes the Master doesn’t want to endanger his student until the last moment possible.” He explained to the being hiding in the shadows.

“And then you must pass me.” Veronica told the demon as she raised her sword in a guard position. “It has been some time since I have had to destroy a demon.”

“Bold words Sorceress, we’ll just have to see if you remember all that you were taught by that old man after all of these years.” The figure returned as it made a gesture and two large Polgara demons strode forward. Those wards may have cut off most of my army but I was able to bring these two with me.” The figure gloated at them. The two Merlinium Sorcerers didn’t even blink as the creatures each released their giant skewer from each of their arms. In moves that showed experience and training they caught the skewers on the edge of their swords deflecting them and then spinning out of the way before the greater strength of the demons could compensate and then each of them finished their spin and launched a plasma ball at the surprised demons. The creatures could only roar in surprise before they were vaporized by the attacks.

“I don’t think that you ever gave us a name.” Balthazar noted to the figure that had yet to step out of the shadows. “Why don’t you come out and introduce yourself.” He offered the figure with a smile. In fact I’ll even go first I’m Balthazar Blake and this is my partner Veronica.”

“We are the former apprentices to the original Merlin.” Veronica explained to the figure.

“As you wish.” The figure returned as they stepped forward so that they could all see who it was. The figure was wearing loose pants, a tunic that reached down to the knees followed by a cape and a turban with a mask that left only the upper part of the face visible. Two glowing red eyes stared at the pair.

“A Djinn.” Balthazar identified the being before them. “I haven’t seen one of your kind in a long time.”

“Someone has used up their three wishes by wishing for the destruction of you three Sorcerers.” The Djinn explained to the group, as he bowed spreading his arms out as he did so. Sparks erupted from his hands and suddenly he was holding a pair of scimitar blades. The curved blades sparkled with power. “Now which of you will be the first to die?” he asked them curiously.

The two Sorcerers channeled their own magic into their weapons as they stared at the magical being. This Djinn looked as if it was one of the originals. The same type that the old stories were used to describe the creatures. This particular type of Djinn had just as much raw magic in their bodies as a Phoenix did. They were power incarnate, able to effect reality on the same level as the strongest of magic users or Wish Demons. They had powers and abilities that made them on nearly the same level as some of the more powerful Pagans. Even immortals such as Balthazar and Veronica could easily be taken down by powerful entities like this if they weren’t careful.

“I think I’ll fight the powerhouse before I waste my time on you lesser beings.” The Djinn explained as it looked past the pair of them and turned its attention to Dave who was still busy working away on the ward scheme that he had prepared in case something like this ever happened again.

“I don’t think so. You have to get past us in order to get at the Prime Merlinium.” Balthazar returned to the mystical being.

Veronica nodded her head in agreement as she took a well-practiced stance. “We were the students of the original Merlin, we were trained in the court of the one known as King Arthur. Our blades were honed under the eyes of Lancelot and Tristan. We were there during the creation of the Round Table, and we will be here when the Merlinium decides he is ready to move on.” She explained to him defiantly as if daring the being to try and challenge them.

The Djinn chuckled in amusement at the challenge that the Sorceress was issuing at him. “You think that impresses me little magic user?” It questioned her mockingly. “While your Merlin may have been the greatest of mortal magic users ever I was there when his birth was prophesied. I was there to teach your former possessor Morgana Le Fey, when she first turned her eyes towards the darker sides of magic.” The Djinn lectured to Veronica as if she was some school girl. I suppose you don’t have all of the memories that Morgana had. That or she hid certain things from you over the centuries. You may have trained under masters in the art of combat, but I created the very arts that they strove to teach you.” The being pointed out to her with contempt.

“Huh, he does have a better speech.” Balthazar noted to her. “I mean he really does have a lot more going for him when you think about it.” He told her.

“You always were hard to impress.” Veronica shot back to him in annoyance.

“Sorry.” The man returned with a casual shrug.

“Let us see how you rate against power.” The Djinn noted as it moved in at the pair its twin blades slicing through the air as he came down on them.

The two Sorcerers each raised their own swords and caught the incoming weapons. They stood their ground as they faced off with the creature and then each formed and fired a bolt of plasma at the Djinn chest at point blank range. The creature turned to smoke before the blasts could hit it so that they passed through it. In its smokey form the creature moved past them and reformed behind them it made a blowing motion and suddenly the pair were thrown across the room as if a strong wind had appeared. The pair waved their hands and the wall they slammed into turned into a type of foam that they were able to bounce off of.

“Not bad.” The creature congratulated them as it sent a blast of magical energy of its own at the pair. The pair were able to raise their shields in time for the hits to miss them. They then used telekinesis to gather various ropes together and sent them racing towards the creature. They coiled around the being like a snake trying to catch its supper. The Djinn was now covered in several strands that were holding him down. Once that was done, they caused he ground around it to rise up around it building a wall to help cage the being. The creature heaved its arms and the bands holding it snapped it then began slicing with its swords. The mystical blades slashed through the bricks as if they were foam blocks. The cage and bonds now lay on the ground in pieces. The Djinn then caused bubbles to appear around the pair of older Sorcerers sealing them inside prisons of their own.

“You never even stood a chance.” The Djinn informed the pair. “Which is truly a shame as I had expected something a bit different than what the two of you are showing me. How is it that you are so weak?” it demanded of them in disgust. The two of you should be amongst the strongest there are instead of this. Never mind, I don’t have the time to learn the reasons why. I must now deal with the real prize of this fight.” It turned to look towards where the Prime Merlinium was standing. The young man was standing at the ready prepared to do battle with the powerful creature that had just torn through two of the most powerful and oldest magic users in the world.

Dave hadn’t been idle while his teachers and mentors had been holding the dark magical being off. Over the last few months he had worked on making sure that his lab was much stronger than it used to be. There weren’t going to be any more chances for dark beings to gain the upper hand while in his workplace. He had arranged for several statues to be brought to his underground sanctuary/lab. Using a combination of science and magic, he had managed to get the place secured in ways that he doubted that anyone would have originally thought that they would have been capable of. If what Fate’s message said was true though he wasn’t sure if it would be enough though. With a wave of his hands the various mid-sized statues began moving and launched themselves at the Djinn.

The Djinn didn’t even bother to magic them away as a statue of a wolf, bear, and panther lunged at him. HE ducked beneath the leaping panther and stabbed at the wolf destroying its head. A pulse of magic from the sword caused the rest of the statue to explode. He threw his other sword at the bear that was swiping at him with a claw. The sword dug deep into the statue and then caused the bear to melt. He turned to see the panther coming back in for another attack and as it leaped his own hand shot out and a blast of mystical energy disintegrated the statue. “So you are the boy that they have all been talking about.” The red eyed figured noted as it looked the college boy over with interest. He held his hand out and the weapon that he had thrown reappeared in his hand. Three warrior statues came to life began moving toward the intruder. The Djinn waved one of the swords and a blast of energy destroyed three incoming statues. “I must admit I thought that you would be something more. Do you even know what it is I am? While you were selected by the forces of magic I am a force of magic. I am Transfiguration, Charms, Alchemy, Warding, Potions, Chanting, Fire, Water, Earth, Wind, Wizard, Witch, Sorcerer, Wiccan, Wandless, Runes, Arithmancy, Divination, Scrying, Summoning, and Dark Magic.” As he spoke he traced a glowing pentagram in the air. Each of the five points lit up with power and then blasted towards Strange in a rainbow of light.

Strange made a gesture and the brooch on his jacket opened and a glowing circle appeared in front of him. The glowing shield took one of the energy balls, but the others ripped through the shield and sent Strange flying across the room. With a thought he managed to halt and right himself and land on the ground hard. His entire body was smoking from the blasts that had just hit him. Had they not been weakened by the shield it was likely that he would have been destroyed. Despite his less than complimentary words, the Djinn wasn’t taking any chances with him. He had a large gash on the side of his face that was now leaking blood. He rather unsteadily climbed to his feet and sent several plasma balls arcing towards the Djinn. The robed figure used his swords to bat the incoming attacks away.

“I told you that we should have trained him in the art of the blade.” Veronica noted to her companion.

“Like it would have helped against him.” Balthazar returned to her. “This guy would probably have made him eat his own sword or something like that.” He pointed out to her. Besides, it’s not my fault that I didn’t get to train him the way that we were.”

“Says the sorcerer that left an 11 year old in a shop full of dangerous magical things.” She shot back with a smirk.

“Is that going to be how you finish every conversation?” Balthazar wondered as he uselessly strained against the bonds that were holding him. I admit leaving a kid I a room filled with magical items probably wasn’t my smartest move. I was just excited is all.” He explained in his defense.

The Djinn laughed as it deflected one of the plasma balls back at the wizard. “This is enjoyable boy. I haven’t had the chance to play with an opponent like you in a long time.”

“Yeah well maybe you should have finished me when you had the chance.” Dave retuned, as he ducked under the blast and waved his arm send a table flying at the Djinn.

The Djinn slashed the table in half with ease. Strange had used the moment that it couldn’t see him though to activate his next defense. The Tesla coils which were situated around the room had finally become fully charged. With a wave of his magic Strange had turned them on. The two blades that the Djinn held seemed to attract the blasts of energy that were now flying across the room. After activating the coils Strange had teleported himself into the protective cage and the mystical bubble that the Djinn had placed the sorcerers in protected them. The blasts created a current that held the creature for a moment. When the blast stopped the Djinn was smoking even worse than Stange had been and its entire body was twitching from the large amount of power that had entered its body. Strange stepped out of the cage and began making several gestures. “You may be magic, but I was chosen to wield and control the very forces of magic.” The Eye of Agamotto blasted into the Djinn adding to the injuries that it was acquiring. The blast lifted the creature up and sent him sailing across the room into a heap.

“I see you come by your title for a reason boy.” The Djinn hissed in pain, as it managed to get its knees under it. “It will take more than all of that to stop me though.” It boasted to the boy. “Besides, unless you have forgotten I am immortal meaning that I can go at this all day while I only have to connect with you a few times.” As he spoke, they could all see the heavy burns were healing themselves. The Djinn rose to his feet with an ease no one else would have been able to after having three giant tesla coils rain their power into them.

“Your right, there really is only one way to stop you.” Strange shot back as he finished his hand signs. “I have to bind you.” White bands glowed around the Djinn who was busy testing its strength. As soon as the bands formed though, chains shot out of them and slammed into the ground. The Djinn strained as it tried to fight the mystical bands that were holding it. The chains began pulling the magical being back to the ground. The light from the Eye of Agamotto intensified as the Djinn was slammed down to its knees with its arms near its feet. They watched as they saw the swords it had been holding fall from its grasp only to disappear before they could hit the ground.

A shattering sound could be heard as the sorcerers were finally able to break their own bindings. The pair walked up behind their student to wait and see what he had planned now. The boy frowned as he seemed lost now that he had stopped the magical creature.

“Now what boy? You ignore me and I get free.” The Djinn noted in a strained voice as it tried to pull its arm up. Everyone noticed that the healing had slowed to a mere crawl of what it had been doing earlier. While still healing faster than most beings it was nowhere near as fast as it had been either.

“A Djinn belongs bound.” Balthazar told his student as he raised his hand and an old teakettle sprang into his hand. “I think this will work. Unless you’d rather we found an old boom box? He idly questioned Strange.

“Please, like I really needed to remember that movie.” Strange returned to his mentor, as he watched as the two older sorcerers added binding symbols to the old tea kettle. Once that was done he directed the chains to connect with the teakettle and watched calmly as the Djinn was forced towards it.

“You may have defeated me young Sorcerer, but this is just the beginning. The Seven Vices merely sent me while they dealt with others. They’ll turn their full attention to you and all other magic users that serve the light. When you are screaming in agony I’ll be free to continue on. The Djinn explained to the group as he was slowly but surely being forced towards the kettle.

“That’s if they don’t decide to make you a slave to them all over again.” Veronica reminded the Djinn. “They may even argue that since you didn’t destroy us that you still owe them some wishes.”

The Djinn’s face grew dark and angry as its eyes flared with power before it turned to mist and was dragged into the teakettle.

“Well that was bracing.” Balthazar declared as he set the now glowing kettle down. “I wouldn’t recommend you using that for tea anymore though.” He warned the other two.

“Yeah it was something.” Dave grumbled, as he turned to look at his mentor. “We need to go now though. We have to find others that could be under a threat. We were lucky that we were expecting this there’s no telling what will happen to those that aren’t.”

“And where are you going to find powerful magic users?” Veronica questioned. “It’s not like we have knowledge of that many magic users. Powerful magic users like the ones that we will need are rare and work hard to maintain their secrecy much like you do.” She explained to him.

“According to the message from Fate, there’s a group called the Charmed Ones somewhere in San Francisco. They might be of some help to us.” Dave returned to her. “If we find them then we might be able to figure out what else we can do. Besides, Fate told me how to find him as well so we team up with him if nothing else.”

“Sounds like a plan.” Balthazar agreed.

“So how do we find these Charmed Ones then? Even if it’s only some village called San Francisco, if it’s even half the size of this one we could be scrying for weeks.” Veronica pointed out to the two men.

“Actually I have a pretty good idea on just who it is that they were talking about.” Balthazar returned with a grimace. He was probably talking about Penny Halliwell. Maybe even her granddaughters. They should be about the right age for being in the business and I seem to remember that there was some sort of prophecy about the family a while ago.”

“And how long ago was this prophecy made?” Veronica questioned curiously.

“Some three hundred or so years ago.” Balthazar explained to the pair. “True it’s a rather young prophecy, but I’ve seen younger ones than that become activated and fulfilled, and Dave here is a living example of some of the older prophecies that take time before they become active and fulfilled.”

“Right age?” Dave asked curiously.

“Yeah, there’s a chance that her grandchildren might have been the prophesized group of powerful wandless witches.” Balthazar informed them. “Of course, no matter how powerful they are it will always be Penny that you need to be careful of.”

“Penny?” Veronica asked narrowing her eyes slightly at how familiar he seemed to be with this woman.

“Let’s just say that she’s something of a powerhouse in the Witch world.” Balthazar returned with an embarrassed shrug. “She’s also not someone that you want angry at you either.” He added in with a grimace as he remembered something. “She’s the guardian of a magical nexus in the area. She’d be a great addition to this group that it seems we’re forming. If her granddaughters have come into their powers then it will only be better.”

“Fine, how do we get there?” Dave questioned.

“You create a portal.” Balthazar explained. He sent a memory toward his student who nodded his understanding of the order. With an image in mind he opened a portal with the Eye of Agamotto. With the wards around the house it was easier for him to create a doorway than it would be for Balthazar to do so.

“Good.” Balthazar congratulated clapping his student on the back as he saw a familiar hallway. “You are becoming pretty skilled at those.” He complimented his student patting him on the back. He then pushed his student into the portal ignoring the yelp of surprise that sprang from the wizard.

“Was that really necessary?” Veronica asked with an arched eye even as she accepted his hand and allowed him to lead her through.

“Yes,” Balthazar returned with a knowing smile. “I may have forgotten to mention that Penny is a bit high strung and has trust issues. Particularly when it comes to male magic users or people that use different types of magic. She was a firm believer that the different styles were supposed to remain separated from each other. I figured the safest method was to send him through first. Besides, there’s also the fact that the two of us didn’t exactly part on the best of terms.” He admitted to the woman. “So she may not be exactly thrilled to see me again.”

“Oh?” a now curious Veronica asked wondering how much of Balthazar’s life she had missed while trapped. It was one thing to know it but to find out he had friends and people he knew made it all the more real.

“Yeah, she was considering making a potion that would strip her granddaughters of their powers permanently when we last spoke.” Balthazar explained with a troubled look. “She was worried that if they became witches anytime soon, then all that they would be doing was rushing forward into a grave. She didn’t think that the sisters had the unity to be strong. She figured if they had no powers then the prophecy would skip them and go to another generation of magic users that fit her ideal of a team. Which is somewhat ironic when you consider the fact that Penny is one of the strongest witches in California, but she refuses to do anything like join a coven or even trust people to work with her in the battle between light and dark. I might have actually have pointed that out actually. Anyways, both of us said some rather harsh things, and that doesn’t even bring in the amount of magic that we were throwing at each other near the end.” He added in with a grimace as he recalled the various spells that the two of them had been using on each other near the end. “I figure it might be safer for me if she lets her annoyance at us entering her home out on him as we may not have the time it would take to stop the two of us from fighting once we got started.”

“You realize that is very wrong to make your apprentice smooth the way for you like that.” Veronica scolded him, her mouth twitched with a struggling smile though despite her words.

“Hey Merlin did the same to us, I figure since he’s Merlin’s reincarnation it’s only fair that I do the same to him.” Balthazar returned in his defense for his actions as he recalled the number of less than pleased magic users that they had to smooth the way for back in the days when they were the apprentices.

“Good you’re here.” Strange noted as the pair finally exited the portal. “Come on, it sounds like there’s something going on down the hall.” He added in.

“Good plan.” Balthazar told his apprentice. They were interrupted as a loud explosion could be heard. “Sounds like we might have gotten here just in time.” He added, as he began running towards the sound of the explosion.



Haliwell Manor 15 Minutes Earlier.

The Haliwell Sisters were all gathered around in the kitchen. Piper was busy fixing coffee and various breakfast foods, Prue was on the phone getting an assignment for her photography job, Phoebe was going over her course book, and Paige was going over a potion primer that Piper had created when the other sisters were first getting started in witchcraft. It wasn’t quiet chemistry or cooking, but it was similar enough that Piper had been able to easily figure how to do things.

The sisters were taking in some much needed return to their regular lives as they had been somewhat busy with the influx of demons that had risen up to try and take the place of the Source. Those that weren’t trying to take his place were trying to get it free so that it could resume its lordship over the underworld, and its war between the forces of Light and Dark. That usually meant that someone was either trying to capture them or blackmail them until they freed the Source. Cole was currently upstairs having taken several hard hits the night before. Cole being part demon, meant that Leo’s Whitelighter Healing abilities only had limited effect on him. The various injuries that he received in the fights took a longer time as Leo was limited in just how he could help because of the vast difference in the Source of their powers and they only even worked as well as they did when he was in human form. Healing potions and rest were just as much help to him as the Whitelighter healing powers. It was a shame, since Cole was proving to be one of their stronger fighters.

“So, what do we have today anyways?” Piper asked as she saw Prue finally get off of the phone.

“I have a photo shoot for a handful of people around town.” Prue answered, as she snagged a cup of coffee out of reach of the others.

“I have a class later on today.” Phoebe explained.

“I have to some case files at work that I have to go over.” Paige told the others referring to her job at Child Protective Services.

“Meanwhile Leo and I have to check the stage over at P3, a couple of the performers have been complaining about a lot of creaking.” Piper noted somewhat absently as she made a list of where everyone was going to be that day.

“Sounds like we have a rather full day then.” Leo observed, as he wandered in and grabbed some toast and a kiss from Piper. “I’ll be sure to grab my tools after I check on Cole that is.” He then took off to take care of those things.

“Which means we better hurry up and get them done before something decides we should pay attention to them.” Paige joked. She winced a bit at the dark looks that the others sent her way. What? She demanded.

“Don’t tempt fate that way.” Piper ordered getting agreeing nods from the others.

“Fine.” Paige returned with a shrug, thinking that the older sisters were a bit to superstitious. Then again they had been witches a lot longer than she had. Maybe they knew something she didn’t.

“Should we check the Book of Shadows?” Phoebe questioned tiredly. I mean I’d rather not find out that she accidently summoned something by accident because she was merely trying to understand.”

Before anyone could answer the back doors blew inward. The sisters all spun around to see four figures step through the doorway. “Knock, knock.” The apparent leader called out in amusement. “The new masters of the house have come.”

The sisters all glowed for a moment as their clothes shifted to their combat clothes that Hekate had provided for them. “You really want some of this?” Prue demanded, as she pulled a wand out of thin air while Phoebe pulled a sword out of a stepping disc. “Taking us on is a lot more dangerous than you might think.”

“Trust me Chosen Daughters of Hekate, I know what it is that I’m doing.” The figure returned, as it formed an energy ball and flung it towards the sisters. Each of the others formed their own attacks and hurled them towards the group of witches.

Phoebe created a giant stepping disc that intercepted the attack and swallowed the attack up. Her armor seemed to glow from the various magic’s that were flying around the room. Prue, Piper, and Paige had fired offensive spells as soon as the shield had dropped. Circles of flames, explosive bolts, and mystic energy sailed back at the attackers. The sisters could only stare as the demons batted the attacks to the side as easily as they themselves had dealt with the demons attacks.

“Okay, not what I was expecting.” Phoebe admitted, as she eyed the intruders over warily. Beings that could knock their attacks away were usually on the same level as themselves or the Source add in the fact that there was four of them made this all the more dangerous.

“So who are you?” Prue demanded as she looked the intruders over.

“Ah yes, the former bearer of my stone.” One of them noted as it walked forward as it looked Prue over with interest. “Once one has been touched by one of our stones they always leave a bit of a taint on the person.” He declared knowingly getting agreeing nods from the other demons as they each stared at one of the original three sisters over with interest.

“Uh, what is he talking about?” Paige questioned them.

“You weren’t there little witch, so be silent allow the grownups to talk.” The figure shot back in annoyance.

“Watch your mouth there pal.” Prue returned, while sending a glare towards the group leader. “She’s one of us. That means anyone that tries to insult her or anything else and they answer to all of us.” She explained while waving her hands to show all of the sisters were united in this matter.

“Come on Prudence, this is me you’re talking to. You know that I have been in your head Prudence Haliwell. I know everything that there is to what makes you like you are.” The demon pointed out with a smirk.

“What makes you such an expert on me?” Prue questioned, looking unimpressed with the figure.

“That’s simple really. I was a part of you once.” The figure explained as he revealed a brooch that was holding his cloak in place. “Surely you remember this.” He demanded of her.

“The Pride Stone.” Prue returned to him darkly as she identified the item that figure was displaying. “It figures that you would want to confront me since you have that.” She noted with disgust. “You have to prove that you’re better than me or something like that.”

“Oh, it’s more than that.” The figure explained with a smirk as their eyes changed into complete blackness. You see its more than just me holding the Pride Stone for I am the demon known as Pride, this stone was merely a piece of my power. I have more power than you could ever imagine though. After all the Seven Sins are strongest when we are united.” He bragged nodding towards the other members of the group. “I brought along the rest of my group and some comrades as well.”

The witches eyes scanned around the area, and noticed that along with the four powerhouses there was a handful of various demons some of them were already conjuring up various attacks in preparation for the fight. All of the sisters were quickly coming to the same conclusion, even with their various power ups this was going to be a dangerous encounter. In a one on one battle they might have been able to pull this off, but with this many demons it was doubtful.

“Looks like we're going to need a bit more room for this.” Paige pointed out to the others. They nodded their heads and their eyes glowed for a moment and the room that they were all in got larger.

“Well done.” Pride congratulated the sisters. “It would appear that you are finally becoming aware of just what it is that you're capable of. It only took you two years.” He pointed out to them.

“What can we say, we got tired of falling all over each other during fights and don't even get me started about the grandfather clock that is always getting a piece blasted out of it.” Piper returned rather waspishly while glaring at the demons.

“Scarlet Witch your on defense, Magik I want you to try and send those attacks back at them, Daytripper I want you to get as close as possible and see how many of them you can deal with. I’ll try and keep those four busy. Zatanna ordered the others as she eyed the four figures that had come in first.

“Try your best witches, we’ll see if you have the power that you like to think that you do. Pride told the sisters. If you impress us enough we may decide to only keep you as pets.” The various demons then launched a variety of attacks at the witches.

Scarlet Witch responded with a shield spell that caused spells to either be deflected or stopped. The ones that managed to get through the shield were gathered up by Daytripper, who orbed them back towards the demons. Magik moved into one of her stepping discs and vanished only to appear on another one of the glowing circles of light behind the lower level demons. She swung with her sword managing take the head off of one demon while punching another one in the side of the head. Zatanna on the other hand had summoned her top hat, and while twirling it she turned to the mouth of the hat at the four members of the Seven Vices. With a few muttered words a blast of energy tore out of the hat and at the group.

Pride sneered as he set himself and knocked the spell off to the side. Zatanna was already moving though and had fired off a series of others spells at the group. A fireball, a blast of water, and various other items were telekinetically launched at the foursome. None of them seemed to be bothered as they caught or blocked the incoming attacks.

Scarlet Witch grunted as she felt the various demons that had returned fire against her shield. It seemed that the various demons were rather upset with them for daring to fight back and were trying to do their best to make them aware of how unhappy it was that they were. She now understood why Zatanna had wanted her and Daytripper on defense. With the more vicious sisters focusing their attention on offense they were going to hopefully manage to get through this. With a wave of her hand she caused the floor to rise up as a type of barrier that took a hail of blasts. Being ordinary wood, it wasn't really much of a defense but it did give her a moment to refocus. A fireball blew through the wooden wall and impacted against her shield. With a burst of power she held her shield for a moment longer before it began to flicker as she was forced to hold her defenses.

Daytripper redirected several of the incoming attacks wishing that she was better at this. Even with the powers and skills that Hekate had given them they were barely holding their own against these beings. They had obviously come prepared to deal with them. She focused on a pair of demons and teleported them out of the house. If she had done it right she had just sent them to over the San Francisco Bay. That should keep them busy for the time being. She hoped. She used another portal to intercept several incoming attack before she sent them pelting back through another portal.

Magik grinned as she sliced and hacked her way through the various demons that had come after them. She did enjoy the part about being a witch that allowed her to kick ass. It was like she had finally found her true calling. She held her armored arm up and allowed an energy ball bounce off it uselessly. She was far from being some sort of skilled duelist with her sword, but she was showing herself to be more than capable of using her weapon in basic combat. Besides, she had her magic when she needed to change things up. In a matter of minutes the sisters had managed to clear the room of the more annoying demons leaving just the four that Zatanna was trying to hold back. The other looked to see a silvery mist flowing from the dark haired witches hands and surrounding the four demons. It seemed that she was attempting some sort of sealing or banishing spell on the demons. They were interrupted as a loud explosion ripped the cloud apart and sent Zatanna flying towards a wall.

“Cushions.” Daytripper yelled, as several cushions from around the room were orbed behind Zatanna breaking her fall. The witch grunted as she was slammed into the wall, but was not hurt either.

“Now what?” Scarlet Witch asked as she helped her sister back to her feet.

“Now you die witches.” Pride told the group.

“You can kill yours if you want Pride, but I want the Sister of Foresight.” A young looking girl broke in. “I have plans for her.”

“Careful who you are ordering about Lust.” Pride growled in annoyance at the figure that had interrupted it.

“I merely want the one that denied me just as you want the one that escaped you. Lust pointed out.

“She’s is right brother, just as I want the middle sister.” Another of the figures returned. “You wouldn't be trying to deny Greed what is his now would you?” The demon questioned angrily as if daring the other demon to admit that they were trying to get in their way.

“You can have the witches, just leave the Whitelighter to me.” The last member returned. “I want to get my hands on that little minor angel do gooder.”

“I'm right here.” Leo called out, as he and Cole orbed and shimmered into the room. Cole was holding an energy orb while Leo was holding a mini sledge hammer in his hand. “I'd be more than happy to force feed this down your throat.” The Whitelighter informed the demon of Sloth. Leo had taken the effects that the demon's power had forced upon him very seriously when they had happened. Part of being a Whitelighter meant that you had to be ready at a moment’s notice to orb out to help your charges. The power of Sloth had made it nearly impossible for him to do that.

“Looks like we have the numbers on our side now as well.” Daytripper cockily informed the demons.

“Hardly.” Pride returned as he raised his arms and three more demons shimmered into the room. “Wrath.” He greeted one that looked a lot like himself.

“Pride.” The leader of the new arrivals returned.

“Crap, we were barely holding our own when it was numbers on our side. Scarlet Witch complained, as she looked around for a way to get them all out of this. Preferably in one piece.

“Not like we have a whole lot of choice.” Magik pointed out to her sister. “Unless you want to try and make a new plan.”

“Right now is not the time for that.” A voice called out. Everyone turned to see a man wearing a red trench coat come around the corner from the hallway. Behind him was a scraggly looking man and a dark haired woman each of them was holding a sword in their hands as they took up positions on either side of him. “You can call me Strange, but this fight is over. We need to go now.”

“Sorry, but this is our house, and we don't run.” Zatanna returned as she waved her hand and a series of playing cards flew from her sleeves and went flying at the demons. “Kcirt Drac.” She called out.

Pride smirked as he held his hand out and the cards changed their direction and landed in his hand. “Exploding cards?” He mocked her. “I expected something better of you than this old trick.” He waved his hand over the card before blowing on the deck sending a single card back at the witch. Zatanna raised a shield only for the card to pass through it. The card whizzed by her face. Zatanna winced as she felt her explosive card turned into a razor card. She now had a thin slice on her cheek which was now dripping blood. More of the cards came flying at her and passed through her shield. Several of them sliced through her hair chopping clumps of it off while others sliced all around her. When the cards had finished her jacket basically fell off of her, and they could all see that her sleeves had as well and the rest of her was covered in the paper thin cuts.

“Are you alright Zatanna?”

“Fine.” The witch with the power of Zatanna grunted out.

Magik moved in next swinging her sword in a downward arc only for her arm to be caught by Lust. “Ah, ah, ah.” The girl sing-songed at the witch. She then tossed Magik across the room like she didn't weigh anything. “Someone needs to teach you a few lessons.” Lust scolded down at her.

“Alright, I think it’s time to go before we get our butts kicked any more than they already are.” Scarlet Witch told the others as she felt the shield that she was holding was being bombarded by various magics. One of the demons raised its hands and the various bits of furniture rose up in the air and joined in on battering her shield.

“Alright that's enough.” Strange declared from where he was battling with one of the other Vices while his companions were busy exchanging spell fire with another pair. Even though the numbers were slightly in favor of the light, it was obvious that the demons had more power on their side that was slowly but surely overwhelming the other magic users. He blasted his opponent away and then with the Eye he created a portal behind them. “We need to go now.” He informed the sisters. “You can come with us, or you can try and fight it out here.” He explained to them.

The witches nodded in agreement even if Zatanna seemed somewhat reluctant. The fact that she was bleeding heavily though seemed to be enough to convince her that it was time to pull back. “Daytripper, can you get the Book?” She questioned her sister, as she watched the demons try and push their advantage.

“On it.” Daytripper returned as she disappeared in a sparkle of light.

“We don't have time for this.” Strange growled as he and Zatanna forced several spells away from them and fired their counter blasts at them. “No spell book can be important enough to risk your lives over.”

“Trust us on this one kid, you don’t want this spell book to fall into demon hands.” Scarlet Witch returned.

“They’re right, it’s the one magical text that may be the most powerful and dangerous of all.” Balthazar told Strange, gaining surprised looks from both of his companions. “If that book were to fall into the hands of the demons, then there’s no telling what they might do with the knowledge that it contains. It’s easily worth more than half of our library, when you consider all of the things written in it. That doesn’t even deal with its own personal power. It’s their personal book.”

“Fine, we’ll wait.” Strange conceded, even if he didn’t seem overly happy with the idea that they were going to have to wait even longer now to make their escape from the manor.

Daytripper reappeared in the attic where the Book of Shadows was resting. There were already several demons around the pedestal trying to touch the powerful book. There were also several demons that were acting as guards to stop the sisters from getting at the book as well. The demons trying to force themselves onto the book were jerking their hands away as the book blasted or burned them. Daytripper grimaced as she realized that there wasn't any way that she was going to retrieve the Book of Shadows. Not with all of the demons around it. Still, she had to try. “Book!” She called, holding her hands out. The book flickered for a moment but it stayed on the pedestal. It seemed that the demons were somehow disrupting her ability to summon the book to her side. That made her one chance of retrieving the book pretty much impossible. She didn't have the time to come up with a plan on getting by all of the demons though. With a few flick of her wrists and muttering a few incantations she sent a reinforcing blast of power towards the book. A glowing dome like shield ward appear around the book. The demons looked up and snarled in anger at the actions that the young witch had just taken. “That should hopefully hold.” Daytripper muttered before she closed her eyes and disappeared and reappeared a moment later at the side of their sisters and the other magic users.

“There are too many guards around it right now. I did manage to put another field of magic around it though.” She assured Zatanna.

That'll have to do. Dleihs.” The witch grunted, as she created a mystical barrier of her own to hold the demons back. “I think that means we should go now before these guys decide to really up their game though.” She explained to the group. The group then began to slowly back away from the demons and fall into the portal that their rescuers had created. When they came out they on top of the Golden Bridge.

“Not the most ideal of places, but it will work.” Leo told the powerful Sorcerer as he moved over to Zatanna who had fallen to the ground and he began to run his hands over her limbs with his Whitelighter powers

The witch closed her eyes for a moment as his healing power was slowly but surely causing the various cuts and burns that she had received to close up. “Thanks Leo.” She told him with an appreciative smile as the various pains and aches in her body faded away leaving her back in battle ready condition. The Whitelighter nodded as he moved on to the other sister who all had variety of burns and cuts on them. None of them had managed to get out without some form of injury. She opened her eyes to look at the group that had managed to rescue them. The three of them appeared to have a series of burns already and two of them appeared to have some strange substance that was caked onto their clothes.

“Okay, so I'll ask. Who are you guys?” Daytripper finally questioned, as her sisters were too busy getting their injuries checked over by Cole.

“This is the Prime Merlinium, one of the Champions of Magic.” The man with scraggly hair explained, while waving towards the young man that had just saved them all with his portal. “I'm Balthazar Blake, and this is Veronica. We're his instructors.”

“And what's a Prime Merlinium?” Magik questioned, as she eyed the group suspiciously.

“Magical Heir to the Sorcerer Merlin.” Balthazar explained. “I'm surprised that your Grandmother never explained about Sorcerers and their magic to you.”

“There's a lot that she forgot to tell us about when it comes to magic.” Zatanna returned to him. “I take it as Sorcerers that you're different than Witches?”

“Indeed we are.” Veronica agreed. “Strange, are you ready for the next part of the journey? We need to gather our power together if we are to stop these beings. It’s the only way we might have any a chance of success.”

“Yeah, I’ve traced Fate's magical signature.” Strange returned.

“Whoa, we have to get back to the Manor and deal with the demons that are there before we can go off on some mission into the unknown. Magik argued.

“Yeah, our shields will only protect the book for about a day before it probably fail.” Scarlet Witch agreed.

“Their right we have to get that book before someone or something manages to get control of it. Cole agreed. “That book has the potential to turn anyone into a force of magic that could turn anyone into the new Source at the least.”

“And how are you going to take on the Seven Vices?” Balthazar questioned the group idly. “While I have no doubt that you’re all powerful beings, the Vices wouldn’t have come after you like that if you weren’t nor would Hekate offer up some of her power to. Now let’s be reasonable about this. I know that Penny didn't raise stupid people.”

“Well I wasn't raised by her.” Daytripper pointed out in her defense.

“And what do you suggest?” Magilk demanded.

“We go and meet with the person who warned us about these demons that decided to use us as targets. Once we find them, we find out what happened and how to fight them.”

“He's right.” Scarlet Witch pointed out to the others. “We wouldn't have survived if they hadn't come to help us out in the first place. If there’s someone out there that knows more about this then we should talk to them. Besides, you all know that there’s no way that we can take those guys on our own. It’s going to take all of us to stop these things.”

“Do any of you at least know what's going on?”

“Not really. We got a warning and were attacked by a Djinn. We're pretty sure that it was just the spear point, and if we hadn't gotten the wards up that we would have been overrun as well. Once we were secured we came to help you guys as soon as we could.”

“Fine, let’s go.” A disgruntled Zattanna finally agreed.

“What about Penny?” Balthazar asked the witches hopefully. “She would be useful to have in this fight.”

“Grams is dead.” Was the cool answer that Scarlet Witch stated at the Sorcerer. “Can we get going now?” Balthazar blinked in surprise but nodded his acceptance.

“Right, one portal to the location of another powerful wizard.” Strange returned as he created another portal.

“Feels like L.A.” Daytripper told them after a moment of studying the portal.

As they stared at the portal they could hear voices coming across at them. “Why me?” an uncertain woman’s voice asked. “You saw what they did to me just now. Surely there are others that can do the job better than I can. Me, I’m not half of what some beings thought that I was.” The unknown voice spoke.

“I disagree, you managed to hold off zhree members of zhe Vices on your own.” Another voice with a very pronounced French accent returned. “That in itself proves zhat you have what it takes to be counted amongst the Magical Champions. I don’t know who you vere before zhis, but I azzure you zhat you have shown more zhan enough zkill in zhis. We need zomeone like you on our side.”

“Good, now we are almost ready to take the fight to them. There are just a few other witches and wizards that we need to contact and soon we will be ready to launch our counterattack on them.” Another voice with a decidedly British accent added in the voice had an odd type of echoing metallic quality to it as if spoke through a speakerphone or something similar. “There is Strange the Merlinium Wizard in New York, and a group of demon hunting Natural Born Witches in San Francisco. If we are going to continue, and have a chance of winning against foes as powerful as the Vices, we’ll need their aide as well. I imagine only our combined power will be enough."

"I suggest we split up and find them as quickly as possible." The unknown British voice continued. “With the Darker spectrum of Magic having already chosen its Champions, we are unfortunately going to be rushed to find a counter for the group that has gathered against us. I knew some of these demons human hosts, and they were skilled fighters before they were possessed and knew the best way to instill fear into those that they preyed upon. If the demons are even half as skilled as they in these tactics, then the will begin taking out any other allies that we might think that we could get. I doubt that the only other magic using allies that I personally know would even be able to join us in this fight. While Fire or Gryffindor would be valuable allies I doubt we could get to them in time before something else went wrong. My wife and I will head to San Francisco to retrieve the Witches, while I open a portal that will send the two of you to New York. I have already sent him a message so hopefully he will already be waiting for you.”

“Well good luck then.” A light male voice told them.

“I’m in." A young sounding British girl’s voice agreed with the others. “I may need a bit of help getting there though.” They admitted. I can’t make portals I might be able to figure out how to fly if I worked on it though.” They admitted.

“Sounds safe.” Zattana finally agreed.

“Fine, lets go, In fact, I’ll go first.” Strange told them. He then turned to look at the portal. “Don't waste your time Fate.” He ordered as he dove through the portal. Balthazar and Veronica went next while Leo and Cole followed with the sisters bringing up the rear of the group.
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