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A note from Andur

Author's Comment:

If you find mistakes, pls tell, thx. I don't like mistakes.

Author's Comment:

I was asked about reading my work on other sites. The answer is simple:

Currently, I am not active in any other networks than royalroadl.com. Only here, I correct mistakes and errors.

If you read it anywhere else and have to pay for it, or have to deal with an annoying amount of advertisement, You Are Being Betrayed. You would do good if you make other people in that network aware of it. This is a free project of mine for the purpose of having fun. And if people try to make money with it, you shouldn't bother visiting their website.

I have no problem with translation and reposting of the story, as long as the person in question isn't doing it for money or stealing my identity.

The only one whom I actually allowed to have my work on his website is Armaell who invested the time to compile them into pdf.

(http://armaell-library.net/author/andur)

Books:

Until Death? http://royalroadl.com/fiction/629

Transcendence? http://royalroadl.com/fiction/1587

Beyond? http://royalroadl.com/fiction/2850

Coeus? http://royalroadl.com/fiction/4745

Court of Souls? http://royalroadl.com/fiction/6545

Agent of the Realm? http://royalroadl.com/fiction/7707

Law of Shadows http://royalroadl.com/fiction/9766

 

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Some people simply don’t care about what others think of them.”

 

 

***Illum***

***Joyce***

 

 

“I find it very interesting that the orks destroyed one of the forts which secure the Sociocrathy's border to Westfall. Oh, and rumour has it that the Alliance crossed the border towards the Empire. They are marching a huge army towards Orwen’s remains. The only country which doesn't seem to be directly affected by this political mess is the Consortium.” Janice looks away from the projection of the world map. “We shouldn't forget that you didn't have the chance to sink your fingers into their affairs.”

“Who says that they aren't involved? They already sent an assassin after me, so I would hardly call them innocent.” I take a sip from my fruit juice. Janice gave me the time to clean myself before we met in my office. Surprisingly, she called up a world map and started to complain about the recent political unrest. “I fail to see your point. What does this have to do with the World Assembly?”

She huffs. “I just tried to sensitize you to the dangers of visiting the World Assembly. There will be many people who are enemies on the battlefield. Normally, this event is already a dangerous place to be as it is, but this year it's a powder keg which is just waiting for someone to light the fuse.”

I grin. “I guess that you will simply have to stop the kids from playing with fire.”

Janice raises an eyebrow and deactivates the hologram with a swipe of her hand. “I am afraid that you want to take part for the sole reason of creating havoc. It's clear that you are involved and steering the events towards a greater goal. What do you want to do to this world?”

“Want to do?” I consider her words for a long moment. “Personally, I would be fine with keeping to myself. Unfortunately, that doesn't seem to be an option. This world is full of powers which are roughly equal to each other. Yet, they struggle for superiority. As I see it, I am forced to join the game in order to reassure my independence. This isn't a world where someone like me is simply left in peace.”

Janice snorts. “So you want to make sure that nobody is in a state which makes it possible to oppose you. That's your final goal. Do you want to tell me what exactly you have in mind?”

I don't play for a draw like you and the others. “You will see.”

She crosses her arms in front of her chest, clearly miffed at my refusal to tell her what will happen. “It doesn't matter. Just make sure not to insult anyone at the World Assembly. You can refuse to talk to people of lesser social status, but to everyone else, you have to be as polite as possible.”

So, I just have to refuse to talk to anyone and that alone can be interpreted as a great insult against some monarch. It will be very easy to make even more enemies.

“The World Assembly is held on a small island, as you've surely noticed. There is no special nation which oversees the event. The island is considered neutral ground as long as you don't attack anyone. Should you do anything that can be misconstrued as an attack on one of the participants, you will find yourself as the target of all the other participants.”

Janice sighs and continues, “That might turn into a problem since you are visiting the event with your whole nation. If you want to call a population of two thousand a nation.”

I ignore the remark and raise a finger. “Will the others show up with a lot of military power?”

“You can expect everyone to send at least a fleet of airships. Nobody will send a simple diplomat to this event. We can expect high-ranking officials from every nation. Maybe not the Emperor himself, but he will send at least a son or a daughter who can act in his name.” Janice shrugs. “The huge amount of military power at the site is the only thing which keeps everyone in line. Nobody dares to start something because getting caught in the crossfire might be fatal.”

I hum and try to imagine the potential for chaos. “Do I have any responsibilities at the event? And... is there a possibility to challenge someone?”

Janice shifts her weight from one side to the other, clearly uncomfortable with the question. “The island on which the World Assembly takes place is a flat piece of rock in the northern ocean. Every major power will get a part of the available area to prepare. The Empire and the Consortium are always trying to outdo each other in terms of luxury and hospitality.”

She nods to herself. “It's seen as a sign of power to be able to entertain and feed guests who happen to wander into your area of the island.”

I interlace my fingers. “That's good to know. I'll charge Dorver with the creation of something presentable. He has the talent of turning his projects into gold.”

“There is something else I wanted to ask. How did your experiments with soul magic go? You never shared the results with me.” Janice tilts her head. “Your idea to turn the souls into ethereal energy constructs sounded interesting.”

I curl down the corners of my mouth, showing my displeasure. “The goal of the experiment was to create an energy weapon which automatically curses the target, separating the soul from the body. At least I succeeded in that. The soul's energy should then be turned into an ethereal energy construct like the ghost cat.”

Reaching up, I pet the kitten which was hanging from my shoulder since the conversation began. “The idea was to create an army of ghosts who keep fighting. Just like your epee turns its victims into undead. Unfortunately, the average soul doesn't hold enough energy to create much more than a faint illusion. They don't serve as much more than a distraction. A simple swipe of the hand is enough to dissolve them.”

I sigh. “It works, as long as the opponent doesn't know that the ghosts pose no threat. I abandoned the idea. The ghostmaker spell is fine for close combat, but overall it lacks the versatility of your original version. Killing someone, as well as creating a distraction can be achieved more easily through other means. Though, I have to admit that its demoralizing effect was worth the effort against the assassins.”

My grandmother nods slowly. “So you will continue your studies on soul magic?”

“Of course.”

She points at the kitten. “Then you should bond with your familiar. What's holding you back? It will never grow up if it has to feed on residual magic forever.”

“I still need a good name,” I reply.

Janice throws her hands up into the air as if she is surrendering to me. “Name it Scratchy for all I care. You need a working soulbond to take the next steps on your path. Having a familiar is the easiest way and much less dangerous than being bonded to a human.”

I immediately listen up. “Dangerous? Why didn't you tell me that it can be dangerous to bond with a familiar?”

She rolls her eyes. “You should really listen more carefully. I said that a soulbond with another human being can be dangerous. It would mean to bond with another soul. Bonding with a familiar like your kitten isn't really dangerous because it isn't human. The kitten is designed to pretend to have a soul. Bonding with it is nothing more than adding an extension to your soul. It will be lost once you or the kitten dies.”

Her voice turns grave. “Bonding with another soul, however, is a wholly different story. Never... ever... under no circumstances... bond your soul to another human. It's much too risky.”

I gesture for her to go on. “I am waiting. Why is it risky?”

“It depends on the strength of the bond, but in extreme cases, your memories would merge. You would essentially become one being. Worse, the nature of the bond makes it very likely that you would carry it with you through all your future reincarnations. If you are lucky, you retain your identity but are always reborn in close vicinity to each other. Depending on whether you like or hate the other party, that could end you in eternal heaven or damnation. I can't imagine that I would ever want to be linked forever to another person.”

I shudder. “There is no way to break the bond?”

“Sure there is, but it would be very dangerous. It would be necessary to completely drain both souls of all their energy. The least I expect from such a procedure is a complete memory wipe. It would be equal to committing permanent suicide.”

Janice snorts. “The funny thing about such a bond is that the two parties don't have to be aware of it. Yet, the bond would subtly influence your decisions until you meet each other and encounter whatever fate your personalities have in store for you. Once, I knew a guy who linked himself to the love of his life. The two of them found out halfway through their marriage that they can't stand each other. I have yet to meet them again, but it can't imagine that it's a good thing to be damned to fall in love with someone who you can only stand for a few years until the relationship explodes in your face.”

“I can hardly believe that a soulbond can hold such power over two thinking beings.”

“Why not? It links your souls, which contain all your memories. Is it that hard to believe that it can transfer something so simple as a few feelings, which in turn influence you? It will make you tend towards one decision or the other.”

It really sounds like a version of eternal damnation. “Okay. I understand. No soulbonds with something other than a familiar. Under no circumstances.”

“Good. Now that we have that out of the way, which name will you give it?”

I take the kitten from my shoulder and regard it. “It's so fluffy. I don't want it to grow up.”

“Please admit that you are kidding me!”

Not really. “Okay, I name thee... Lucifer!” I start giggling, remembering the old myth from a planet on which I lived so long ago.

“Finally! Now infuse power into your bond.”

I do as I was instructed and feel the mental connection to the kitten forming.

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Andur

  • Phantasm

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