The lights of the Research building lobby came on. Kyle looked around, and at first he thought they must just have been motion activated though that didn’t make much sense. The lobby was a two story affair with a mezzanine. The lights were a long way up.
Then Kyle’s eyes tracked up to the Mezzanine and he understood. Ivan was looking down at him. Ivan was the night time security guard for the PSL. Well, at least he was most nights. Kyle assumed he got some nights off. At any rate, he was the one that Charles had introduced Kyle to when they’d scripted this show.
Ivan was a big man. He was Russian, as his name suggested, and he had a fairly classic look. At least it was classic if 80s action movies were any guide. Perhaps he was a total aberration by the standards of the actual country. Either way, he had tight cropped hair, heavy features that hinted at strong bones under his face, and deep set heavily shadowed eyes. That and an incongruous brush of a mustache. Perhaps he’d grown that so he’d wouldn’t look like a Bond villain.
He was dressed in a security uniform, with one odd accent. There was a huge, heavy bearskin cloak thrown over his shoulder. It wasn’t fastened at the throat, but rather held around his neck with a thick gold chain.
He looked down at Kyle for a moment, then seemed to visibly remember his queue and called down, “Stop intruder!” His delivery was thick and unconvincing, but his accent mostly covered it. There probably wasn’t any sound to the security feed anyway.
“Just go and you won’t get hurt. I’m not here for you.” Kyle had to cringe a little at his own tone. He really hoped there wouldn’t be any way for the news crews to get sound.
“I’m not afraid of you!” Oh, wow, Kyle thought, this is not theatrical perfection.
Ivan drew his cloak together, fastened it with some sort of great stone broach, reached behind him and drew a hood over his head. The hood covered him so totally that it Kyle doubted he could see. Fortunately, that didn’t matter. Ivan threw back his head and let loose a rawr that started out sounding like a man doing a very good impression of a bear, and ended up sounding exactly like a bear as he began to shift.
Even Kyle had to watch in amazement as it happened. String theory holds there are something like 10 to the 512th different possible configurations for physics. Magic, at least a sufficient quantity of magic, can impose any one of these realities on our own world. But, that’s a number so astoundingly large it’s better to think of it as just “infinite”. If you assume there’s any limit to the possible realities out there, you might assume there isn’t one where a big Russian man can spontaneously grow heavier and broader, have his cloths melt away as his cloak swims along his body wrapping around him like a second skin until a 700lb grizzly bear stood at the top of the stairs roaring.
Ivan, now Ivan the Bear began to descend the spiral staircase that lead down from the second floor.
As it turned out, grizzlies climb down staircases rather slowly. Kyle stood looking at it for several seconds, before realized just standing still and waiting might look prearranged to the news channels they hoped would cover this. There was also an elevator to the other floors of the building. The stairs the bear was climbing down sort of wrapped around it, by coming out of the second floor and mezzanine overlook right in front of the elevator shaft (elevator riders walked under them to access the elevator), and descending through the lobby to the first floor. The bear would then have to walk behind the elevator shaft on the first floor, and descend another flight of stairs to the lobby area which was actually set slightly below the first floor. Since he had some time, Kyle ran over and punched the elevator up button. He didn’t even want to pretend to fight a bear on a set of stairs, but he was perfectly happy to ride past one in a little armored box.
Unfortunately, the elevator was not at the lobby as he had hoped and instead began to rumble up or down from some other floor. It was just as well, Kyle was meant to be putting on a show, not outsmarting an ursine.
Charles had leased more than just the recycling spells for the night’s event. He had also purchased a small suit of movie special effects spells. Most magical special effects used in movies were pure illusions. They were pre-rendered using 3d photo manipulation and then digitally cast as needed. Kyle’s own business had done a little work along those lines in the past few months. The practice gave good results, and could produce almost any visual effect. However, it was extraordinarily expensive in terms of time, and generally required a fair amount of magic due to the broad utility of illusion spells. As such, there was another class of magic used in special effects; spells that looked impressive but didn’t do much.
That was what Charles had licensed for the night. Thus Kyle had access to four spells: “Ice”, “Earth”, “Wind”, and “Fire.” Each one was triggered by spelling out the word in American Sign Language and then gesturing in the direction it should go. Knowing that the bear would be down in less than a minute, and he needed something to make their confrontation look good, Kyle forced magic out into his hands and began to sign “Ice”.