I did have my reasons, though. I was keeping my writing mostly to myself (except for a few people, but still) because I didn't know if I wanted to post it, because I kept editing small details to fix whatever bit I was working on, but I think I'll just get over it and agree that you'll all accept any changes made later on, etc.
So basically, I've had this writing for months. Sorry about that.
Chapter One: Ivy
Ivy Animosity whipped the knife at the sorcerer's head and he ducked down, the swipe mere centimetres from slicing into his face. She scowled. He was good, this guy. Very good. But not as good as her.
He aimed a kick to her knee and she shifted, ever so slightly out of the way, and the kick missed her. She sent an elbow shooting into his ribs and then to his nose, barely dodging the knee coming up at her. Ivy took a step back, giving herself a bit of distance, waiting for the sorcerer to attempt an attack. He raised his arm to shoot something at her and instead of dodging away she ducked under it and ran forward, the heel of her boot connecting with his sternum. He stumbled back and she seized the moment while she had it. In an instant she had her knife pressed against his neck and was slashing his throat.
He shouldn't take it personally, of course – Ivy was a killer, and she had been paid to kill him. That's just the way things worked. Not that his opinion on it really mattered He was dead, a corpse, a thing lying on the ground. He wasn't of importance any more, not really. Not to her. She did what she had to, so why should she care what other people did or didn't do after that?
She wiped the blood off the blade and onto the man's coat, then returned her knife to its sheath. She could have used magic to kill him, could've shot beams through his chest or set fire to him or made his head explode or something, but she'd require a bit of focusing for that, and focusing was annoying. Besides, it was more fun to fight a little. It wasn't like Ivy was going to lose or anything like that.
Trying hard not to trip over his dead body, Ivy stepped out into the moonlit night and away from the corpse. She pulled out her phone and texted the woman who had needed the sorcerer dead – a thoroughly dislikeable woman who managed to charm everyone but Ivy named Saturnine Morose – and informed her that the job had been a success. She waited for the response, and she read it, and then in a flash of blue light she teleported.
Reappearing in a secret building underneath the Seattle Space Needle, commonly referred to by sorcerers as the Ascendancy, she approached the door to a room labelled “INTERROGATION” - a room generally used for, well, interrogations, aside from right now. Not bothering to knock, Ivy walked in and, ignoring the chairs around the desk there, she leaned against the wall with her arms crossed and waited.
Saturnine Morose looked up from the stack of papers she was reading, smiling a big fake smile that her bright green eyes didn't meet. She was pretty enough, with straight auburn hair that went a few inches past her shoulders and fair skin. She was tall, and wore heels to emphasise her height, and Ivy had a niggling suspicion that she deliberately wore them whenever Ivy was around to make her feel even shorter than she was. Saturnine didn't like Ivy and Ivy didn't like Saturnine. Ivy didn't like her because she had the annoying habit of patronising her, and she brought out that tiny little petty side of herself that Ivy tried to hide. Saturnine didn't like Ivy for some reason that she wasn't sure of. They made no effort to hide their distaste for each other, but did their best to maintain their pettiness long enough to negotiate without strangling each other. Or at least they tried to.
“Are you going to sit?” Saturnine asked. “I'm sure it wouldn't make much of a difference to your height either way, but it might make you more comfortable than standing around in those dreadful combat boots.”
Ivy glared, her dislike for the woman causing her slight Irish accent to become noticeable. It always stood out when Ivy was frustrated. “I'd rather stand. It makes me feel like I'm being honest, you know? I don't like you and sitting near you might give you the false impression that I do. And that'd be lying.”
Her smile widened. “But of course, Ivy Animosity is all about honesty. Look, I even made a rhyme. Are you impressed?”
“I'd be impressed if you managed to make rhymes without a head. Want to give it a try? I happen to know someone who'd very much like to take your head off. She's in this room, actually.”
“I'm afraid I'll have to pass on that one. Besides, if you took my head off, you wouldn't get paid.” Saturnine tossed her an envelope. “See? Me living is a win for everyone. Although, really, I have no idea what the hell a twelve-year-old like you expects to do with any money she gets. Buy a stuffed animal? A lollipop?”
“Quite honestly,” Ivy replied, picking up the envelope and examining it, “we enjoy spending it more on our building blocks and teething toys. Also, I'm fourteen. Just for the record.”
Saturnine shrugged, trying to hide the irritation creeping in her voice for having to be stuck in the same room as Ivy for so long. “Makes no difference to me. You're still a child and I'm still an adult. Go along and play with your kiddie dolls now.” She waved her hand in an obvious motion to shoo Ivy away. “Go or you'll be late for your daycare.”
Seething with frustration, Ivy turned and left the room, perfectly aware of Saturnine's smug smirk and the fact that Ivy could've smacked that smirk, along with her entire head, right off. But she chose not to, she kept walking, simply for the fact that if she was going to kill her it really should be because of something far less petty. She just needed the right reason at the right time...
Either way, Saturnine would die at some point, preferably soon, so Ivy tried to look at the bright side and not to let it bother her too much. If any of the sorcerers who worked for the Ascendancy actually knew that Ivy was there, they'd probably tear her apart on the spot. Or at least they'd try. She was one of the most wanted criminals on their list, and she took pride in the fact that not a single one of them even knew where she was or even how to find her.
And then an alarm sounded.
Ivy froze. If she really was going to get caught, she was going to curse herself everyday for the rest of her life for the irony of the situation. She glanced around slowly, and suddenly her entire body felt as if she had gone dull. She frowned, and then she realised what was happening.
They had bound the magic in the building.
She walked quietly, trying not to panic, and turned around a corner. If a single sorcerer in this building saw her she was pretty sure it wouldn't take long for anyone who knew what she looked like to recognise who she was. While she could blend in when it was dark, she still wasn't inconspicuous in the white-tiled corridors. And then the power went out.
As far as Ivy's luck was going today, she was really confused.
Taking the opportunity before something weird happened to contradict it, she walked as fast as she could, trying to stay quiet, and was probably getting further from the exit rather than closer, considering she had never actually left through the door before, and not in the dark. She heard running footsteps nearby and she doubled back, pressing herself against the wall. She was really hoping that her black clothes were blending in. Hopefully her hair would make her pale face stand out less...
She tried to avoid the impulse to peek around the corner. It was a bad idea. It was a really bad idea. If anyone recognised her they'd try to attack her, and while she could hold them off, she wasn't sure she could hold off back up of twenty people without her magic, so taking a risk was a really dumb idea. And yet she did it anyway.
Ivy stumbled back as someone ran into her. Of course that was going to happen. Ivy looked up at her, trying to see clearly in the gloom, trying to observe the other girl in an attempt to hopefully be the one to attack first. She was a bit taller than average, with bright green eyes, freckles, and dark blonde hair cut short at the neck. She must've been in her early twenties. She looked behind her, and Ivy heard running footsteps. Just as Ivy was attempting to register what was happening, the girl grabbed her arm and pulled her down as daggers made of an inky black substance flew over their heads. Ivy whirled around to see a group of people in uniforms of long black coats with their hoods up running, getting closer, preparing to throw more.
Ivy was yanked up and she stumbled as she was pulled forward, now sprinting with whoever the hell this girl was. She was running so quickly that Ivy almost tripped over her own feet. They turned a few corridors, ran into a room and the girl locked the door, staying away from the window in there. Ivy finally came to her senses and pulled her arm free.
The other girl skidded to a stop and spun to face Ivy. “What are you doing?” she exclaimed in shock. “We can't stop! They'll catch up with us!”
“Who?” Ivy snapped, sounding almost frantic, her Irish accent more prominent. “Who are they? Why are they chasing you? Why did you drag me along? Who the hell are you?”
“Look, I really don't have time to explain this right now, so just--”
“I'm not going anywhere with you until you give me answers.”
She glanced around, checked that there wasn't anyone approaching yet, and turned back to Ivy. “I'm Anomaly Despair. Those guys are Guardians, which are basically really scary guards who have no problem with using hostile force. And if I hadn't dragged you along you'd be dead by now, so I strongly suggest we get moving again, okay?” She paused. “What are you looking at?”
Anomaly looked around, facing the window, and Ivy shouted a warning, shoving Anomaly back as the glass shattered on them and a black dagger flew centimetres past her face. They glanced at each other, then slowly looked up as a Guardian dropped in through the demolished window and held out a hand, a new dagger growing in it, but by that time they had yanked open the door and were already running again.
Leading the way again, Anomaly grabbed Ivy's wrist to make sure she didn't trip or get left behind, sprinting down corridor after corridor after corridor, trying to outrun the Guardian whilst at the same time looking for somewhere else to hide. She found an empty room, kicked the door open, shoved Ivy inside along with herself and slammed it shut again, clicking the lock into place. Ivy sincerely hoped that locked was reinforced by something. Anomaly turned to her, ignoring the fact that Ivy had tripped when she came in and was getting back to her feet, glaring.
Anomaly tried a smile, ignoring the pounding on the door. “So that was fun, wasn't it?”
Ivy continued to glare.
“Well hey, it's not my fault you were hiding in a corridor I ran down, now is it?” She stopped talking for a moment and frowned, observing Ivy. “Are you okay? You're looking pretty pale.”
“I always look like this,” Ivy said, not having to gesture. She tilted her head at the door, which was taking a pounding. “How come that isn't, y'know, breaking?”
“We're in a building full of magical people. They've figured out ways the keep the doors sturdy enough to keep other magical people out, even when the whole place is bound.” Answering the next question before it was even asked, she added, “And the Guardians can't have their magic bound. They need to fight off the enemy, don't they?”
“How are we getting out?” Ivy asked, getting steadily more and more irritated. “Why am I even in this situation? Why are they chasing you, Anomaly Despair?”
Anomaly looked at her for a moment, her eyes starting to narrow. “Wait, do I know you from somewhere, or—”
The door cracked. Ivy and Anomaly spun to look at it as it began to break.
“Okay, explaining later. Let's get the hell out of here.”
Anomaly shoved her hand in her pocket and pulled out a clear orb that was swirling with grey smoke inside it.
“What is that?”
“It's a teleporty-orb-thing. You think of where to go and it takes you there.”
“The building is bound.”
“It doesn't apply to magical objects.”
“You guys have really stupid rules.”
A dagger's tip pierced the door, and Anomaly threw the orb on the ground, shattering and a puddle of light formed. She shoved Ivy in it and Anomaly leaped in after her, just as the door burst open.
In an instant they were out of the Ascendancy building and in a grassy field that was being drenched in the rain. Ivy whirled to Anomaly and pressed her knife into her throat.
“What's going on?” Ivy asked coldly. She was irritated and confused and didn't know where she was and it took away any sense of humour she had.
Anomaly looked at her, unblinking, unmoving, waiting until Ivy had calmed down a bit. She knew if Ivy was given an answer she didn't like she'd slash her throat in an instant. However, Ivy didn't seem to be lowering her guard at all, so Anomaly decided it best to answer.
“Basically, we teleported.”
“No shit, Sherlock. I can do that too when I'm able to use magic.”
“You're a bit young to be swearing so much,” Anomaly replied, hiding her surprise. Hardly anyone could teleport on their own.
“And you're obviously a bit dim to be scolding me. Where are we?”
“Edmonds,” she answered, ignoring the insult. “Somewhere near City Park.”
“Why were you being chased? What did you do?”
“I didn't do anything. I was framed for a murder I didn't commit.”
“So the alarm was set off because of you?”
“Which murder were you framed for?”
“Never heard of him. Why'd you take me along?”
“Because you were near me. They'd have killed you if I hadn't.”
“And why the hell do you even care?”
Anomaly looked at her, studying her features. She was pale. Really pale. Her veins were visible underneath her skin, and her long black hair that hung in loose messy waves made her look even paler, and her indigo eyes stood out as they gleamed. She was young, though. She couldn't have possibly been more than sixteen, if even. And she was frowning now – not with anger, but with both confusion and curiosity.
“I couldn't just let them kill an innocent kid,” Anomaly answered, as Ivy's knife slowly lowered. “You'd have been blamed for something you didn't do.”
Ivy glanced up at her for a second, then laughed. “That's where you're wrong.” She sheathed her knife. “I'm not innocent in the slightest.”
Turning, she walked away, ending the conversation abruptly. Anomaly didn't move from the spot. After a moment's hesitation, she called after her.
“I do know you from somewhere, don't I?”
She didn't answer.
“At least answer me this: what makes you so bad that you were surprised I had helped you?”
She kept walking, not turning back. “I'm Ivy Animosity,” she responded. “And I think you know what that means.”