A maze of sewers, traps, blind labyrinths, darkness, and dangerous beings protects a secret path from the sewer entry in the alleyway behind the Duck and Dagger to the entrance of the A massive stone city lays beneath the sewer system. Designed to look like a wheel, each of the four pie shaped districts points to the hub, where things are indeed centered. Carved above each gate is the phrase, "Abundans Cautela Non Nocet," (abundant caution does no harm) which is the motto of the city. The lighting of the cavern is provided by large, blue, bioluminescent mushrooms.
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A red streak coated Alasdair’s face again at the Nosferatu’s suggestion. Right. Goblins were quick, quiet, and needed to not set off their own traps. So even with their limited means of magic that meant the solutions to this maze should actually be fairly simple to bypass. ”Er… I can cast a sound dampening spell around us too,” he offered. Shyness and slight embarrassment had taken over his tone now that it was clear he had seriously over-complicated his solutions. Again. It was a bad habit that tended to happen when anything with transfiguration was brought to mind. Because it was one of the most complicated techniques a wizard could learn so the simple solutions often escaped Alasdair.

The wizard smiled at the vampire then, realizing that he must be still learning about the magical world he had joined. He didn’t know much about how the Nosferatu educated their potential turnings but he doubted it included eight years worth of wizarding school. ”A scissorbat is typically garden shears that have been half-transfigured into a bat. So the handle part is now a portion of a bat but the shears are still there. They can fly and have similar movements to a bat but no minds and are typically bewitched to attack anything that catches their attention,” he explained easily, ”They’re disgusting.”

But that brought the current matter to hand again of not drawing their attention at all. Looking at the instrument in his hand, Alasdair couldn’t help but smile a bit at its simplicity that transformed into complicated carved knotwork at the handle. Holding up his wand then, he gave his befanged companions a brighter smile. ”A noise dampening charm. Do either you mind?” he asked, wanting to make sure he had their permission before casting any spells on them.
“You better knock on wood right quick, tio, sayin’ shit like that,” Everett chuckled quietly.

In his experience, taunting fate by asking questions like ‘what could go wrong’ or giving statements like ‘if X can do it so can we’ was just bad news bears. That was a lesson he had learned early and learned the hard way in his Navy days, and there was a gunshot wound scar on his left calf to remind him of it every day now too. “Last time I said sumthin’ like that I ended up with a hole in my leg,” he chuckled again, shaking his head slightly. Maybe it was the thrill of being on-mission or maybe it was the interesting company he had, but Everett felt himself relaxing and couldn’t help the slight teasing or his overall good mood. It had been a good long time since he’d gotten to feel the slow burn of adrenaline from having a mission and damn if he wasn’t enjoying himself even despite the danger of magic and whatever else was down here to fuck up their day.

When Alasdair suggested a sound-dampening spell Ev perked up and paid attention again. A spell to prevent sound from carrying? Damn… that woulda made some of his missions ten times easier, he chuckled to himself. Alasdair’s explanation of the creatures up ahead had the vampire wrinkling his nose in disgust, however. Partial transformations? That sounded… painful, to say the least, and Ev agreed wholeheartedly with his companions’ assessment that they wanted no part of that bullshit at all. “They sound it,” he agreed with Alasdair’s statement of disgust. “And, nah, I don’t mind at all. Do whatcha gotta do, Mr Bennett,” he smiled back at the wizard.
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By Orion
Aventus listened to the explanation of the transfigured tunnel guardians. They were indeed unnatural and disgusting, but they were useful reshapings. Nobody needed to patrol these tunnels, no actual creatures were ensorceled or enslaved, and intruders were kept at a distance from the city. It was by no means elegant or palatable, but they had predated the Nosferatu's arrival to the City. In fact, according to the history of the refugee center that he'd managed to piece together, they predated the goblins or the werewolves, even. The bats were nasty, brute force solutions to a question of safety.

"I would much appreciate you spelling our sound away, Mister Bennett. I do not remember if they can smell or not, so I shall offer you a blood rune in return to erase your scent. Or, perhaps teach Everett to provide that covering for us."

He offered the opportunity for more magical training to his nephew. Not many of the vampires chose to follow their creators into learning magic. Many of them had come from nonmagical backgrounds in the first place, so the idea of magic was foreign and spooky...was that the right word?...to them. Instead, they took to artistic or creative pursuits. At least, the Starsong vampires did.
Alasdair smiled at the permission from both parties, ”I don’t mind the bloodweaving. It’s really dependent on who made them how they’re formed. But for defenses it makes sense to make for them to be able to scent,” he admitted thoughtfully. He approached the two men then. He set to smaller man, tracing Aventus from head to toe with his wand as he murmured the spell. He turned to Ev then with an almost shy smile.

His stupid brain was getting distracted again. In fairness, Everett was offensively attractive. Seriously, no one should be allowed to be that good looking. Especially not in a life-or-death situation like this. It was just inconvenient and wrong. Damn him. But really those crystal eyes, long soft-looking hair, that perfect mouth and… For fuck’s sake, brain knock it off. Focus. Had a spell to cast and preferably without fucking it up entirely. He swallowed down his thoughts then focused, leaning up a bit to reach the top of Ev’s head with his wand. He watched as the bubbles of light floated over him then settled on the vampire’s form. He stepped back then with a proud smile.

”Alright Aventus, all set then for you,” he said, casting the spell on himself.
Teach him to do the blood rune? Hell yes!

Of course Max had shown him some of the basics about bloodweaving before setting him loose on the world, so to speak, but for someone who had thought magic was just a fairy tale not even 18 months ago the idea that he could actually learn how to do magic himself was exciting and definitely not a chance Everett was going to pass up. He hadn’t been stellar with the magic that he had been taught but he was still eager to learn and maybe if he kept learning he’d improve at it. After all, magic couldn’t be that much different from learning any other skill right? Practice at anything and you’re bound to get better at it.

The SEAL grinned excitedly at his uncle and nodded. “Yeah! Dad taught me some but not a whole lot and I’m all for learnin’ some more!” Ev cringed a little at the excited puppy tone of his answer but shrugged it off quickly as Alasdair stood in front of him to cast his spell. Damn. Well, that wasn’t distracting at all… Those chocolate brown, well maybe they were more mahogany… whatever, the man’s eyes were goddamn gorgeous and whatever the hell he was saying was completely lost as Ev’s brain focused entirely on the younger man and how attractive he was up close. And those cheekbones and those lips... Shit. He couldn’t be real. There was no way anybody should be allowed to be that fucking attractive. It had to be illegal. Written in some fine-ass print that apparently Alasdair’s parents missed somewhere when they made their son. That had to be it. Cuz damn…

The slight tingly, pins-and-needles feeling of Alasdair’s spell settled over the vampire and snapped his brain back to the present task like a rubber band snapping. His cheeks turned pink in embarrassment at his own train of thought but he tried to pay attention and mumbled a thank you to the wizard before turning toward Aventus for the lesson in bloodweaving.
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By Orion
While the young infatuation was adorable on one hand, it could prove a distraction later down the line. Everett’s faint blush, scent of sexual interest, and giddy behavior were all tells that the young vampire had an attraction to their wizard companion. Of course, it wasn’t helped by the young human casting sidelong glances, the shy smiles, and the scent of attraction coming off of him either. Thankfully, both of the younglings seemed to be keeping themselves well behaved, so Aventus didn’t feel the need to reprimand or remind them of their purpose.

To the wizard, he nodded a consent for the spell, stepping forward and presenting himself for the charm. He then turned to Everett and held his left hand out, palm up, in a gesture to demonstrate what he was about to talk about.

”Your father no doubt taught you the basics of will, as you have indicated. Such things I will ignore for now to focus on what you think you already know. There are the five basic senses, sight, hearing, smell, touch, and taste.”

He touched each digit of his hand with his forefinger in order from thumb to pinky, assigning a finger to each sense in order.

”Use your fingers to remember the order I taught you…it is the order of importance for this rune. It is able to be used in variation to enhance or destroy any creature’s sense for a time. Used in one way, you will see better, or you will blind a foe. You may deafen an enemy, or expand an ally’s ability to hear. The rune itself is thus.”

Aventus drew a small curved dagger. The blade itself was enchanted silver. The metal shimmered like a rainbow. The multi-hued talon was set into a carbon weave grip with a ring at the hilt. Aventus traced the razor tip on his forearm to produce a smal amount of blood, then used the fluid like ink, tracing a looping line that zigzagged back and forth like a Z with too many bends.

”Of course, you need not use our blood, but your own…but will, focus, and intent are supreme. Here. Take my talon, draw your blood, and begin.”

Aventus turned the blade towards himself and offered his nephew the hilt.
Alasdair stepped back from the pair as he watched the lesson. Bloodweaving was a curiosity to him but nothing more than that. Because if he was honest with himself, the wizard sucked at runes. Just genuinely sucked at them. Learning a whole new alphabet to do the same thing he could with a simple spell was a waste of time to him. He would stick with his transfiguration thank everyone very much. But at least the impromptu lesson was giving him a reason to stare at the vampire.

Honestly, Alasdair felt a little of a hypocrite for it. Vampires and Nos had always given him attention in the Syndicate but he avoided them because, well, they were creepy. They didn’t breathe, they hovered, they were cold and too still. Perhaps it was because Ev seemed to be a young vampire that he still held some human tendencies that put Alasdair more at ease. Or maybe it was Alasdair was just genuinely attracted to him instead of the vampire being attracted to him. Or maybe it was the fact that Ev wasn’t aggressively hitting on him, flirting with him, or making weird comments about getting his blood. Who knew? Either way, Alasdair couldn’t help watching the delight on Ev’s expression and the concentration as he worked through the bloodweaving.

Perhaps it was his intelligence more than his looks, the wizard thought suddenly. The other vampires and Nos he had dealt with had seemed shallow and dim. But the man in front of him had not only shown a desire to learn but enthusiasm with everything new. But either way, right now was not the time or place to figure it out. Once Ev was done with his lesson they would be venturing deeper and into more danger and Alasdair needed to focus on that. Not the puzzle of a vampire in front of him.

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