Dawnfire

The year is 1885, and New York is about to get a serious shock in the form of Magnus Bane. Coming straight from London, he makes a dramatic first impression - but as he settles in, he discovers a secret about the High Warlock of Brooklyn - a secret haunting him from his past. One of my entries for the Battle of the Fandoms.
Cover by ATarnishedSoul

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1. An Impromptu Swim

Magnus clutched at the handrail, the rough, stormy waves churning his stomach. The passage from London had been rough, but today was the roughest yet, enormous stone grey waves smashing mercilessly into the hull. The giant ship burst through the waves, its momentum holding it up in the cold, wet air before it dropped back down in an enormous burst of sea spray.

 

Magnus wore a sharply tailored suit, and with his slim, lean, slightly muscled physique, he could only be described as handsome. Ruffled, sea-blown black hair fell in waves above yellow-green cat's eyes. His lightly tanned hands had turned white from holding the boat's handrail, and he shuddered, almost vomiting over the side of the ship.

 

The deck pitching violently, Magnus stared straight ahead, the horizon bleak and grey. Then, suddenly, a golden fire erupted from the skyline, the golden ball of the sun turning the waves gold. New York was silhouetted against the yellow-streaked sky, its high rise buildings making stark black stripes against the sun.

 

Magnus reached out, his palm pitching and shuddering with the ship, but as the beautiful, golden fire burst forth from the horizon, Magnus' hand glowed. He traced the glow with his finger, drawing a complex symbol - a rune.

"Dawnfire," Magnus breathed, and the rune shone ever more brightly, and then was gone.

 

Church stretched and yawned on Magnus' shoulders, thick fur tickling his neck. The persian blue meowed softly into Magnus' ear, and recieved a scratch under the chin in return. Magnus had stood at the railing of the ship all night, waiting for the rise of dawn. The deck was bare but for crew members running across, preparing to put down anchor once in harbour.

 

Magnus would have to go soon - they often checked for tickets on leaving, and whilst they wouldn't be able to stop him departing, it would cause an unnecessary disturbance. He waited until the great ship pulled into the slightly calmer waters of the bay, where gentle waves lapped on the piers and stone walls of New York harbour. Then, when the ship had stopped moving, he acted - he wasn't a fan of water as it messed with his magic, and did't want to spend more time swimming than he had to.

 

Magnus turned up his collar, making sure Church was firmly lodged in, and stood up on the railing, his cat-like balance perfect. The denizens of the boat continued with their business, all bustling round the gangplank trying to disembark. If only they could see him. He tensed, crouched down, and jumped, flipping in midair. He landed with an elegant splash in the water, and disappeared into the murky depths.

 

Though he had been glamoured, the water washed off his magic, so when he emerged, he was greeted by a terrified old woman. He stepped from the water, eyes flashing, droplets of water sparkling spectacularly as he stepped into the shadows of Brooklyn.

 

The rune on his hand shone brighter than ever in the darkness of the shadows, giving off a strange buzzing energy - almost humming happily to itself. Dawnfire, it burbled, Dawnfire. Magnus screwed his hand into a fist, suppressing a white-hot wave of roiling fury. Dawnfire.

 

Standing on a rooftop, Tyre smiled faintly, watching the proceedings from afar. As the old woman ran screaming through the streets, insisting she had seen the devil himself rise from the harbour, he chuckled softly to himself.

“Yes.” He called to his companions, “He’s the one.”

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