by Hydrargentium

Sean sat on the edge of his bed. He pulled at his boots, emerald green, as he watched the evening news. On the screen, the newscaster was talking about the Vortex over Bucharest. A city of more than 2 million had been saved that afternoon — 2 million Hungarians, with the entire planet next in line.

Sean worked his first boot off, and dropped it to the floor. He heard the thump of the reinforced toe on the floorboards, but barely noticed it. He was hoping to see some footage of Limerick in action.

The news cut to a shaky view of the sky above Bucharest, cellphone footage from someone on the ground. The air held a menacing swirl of purples and greys, with occasional flashes of hot pink, like lightning deep within a cloud. The twisting colours filled the screen, but it wasn’t until the camera jerked, showing a finger of concrete tower in one corner, that it became clear just how large the Vortex really was.

Sean had not expected to end up fighting extra-physical invaders in Eastern Europe when he woke up that morning. He didn’t know anyone in Hungary — well, not until this afternoon — and Dublin was far enough away to be beyond consideration for a hero with no long-range travel powers. It was definitely more than a hop, skip and a jump from the Emerald Isle to the Land of the Magyars.

But then a Hungarian divorcee, mother of three, had changed his day completely. Irena described herself as a nexus, a gathering point for heroes: not just any heroes, though, but the best heroes for the crisis, whatever the crisis might be. Even still, she admitted she’d never brought anyone from so far away. Once, she said, she’d “called” in a heroine from Belgrave, but that’s practically next door to Hungary. Ireland was clear across the continent.

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