I’ve heard it said that the two worst noises in the world are that of a heart monitoring device beeping away, uncaring, and that of the same device only showing a flat line. I can agree with that second sound being among the worst.
However, the sound of one of those devices beeping away has become something of a hopeful sound to me. It means that despite however badly the battle outside went, somebody had managed to drag back a living person and not a corpse.
It’s been six months now, and the continuing stream of new pilots to replace killed ones still chills me. Not even a full seven days manages to pass between a death and a replacement starts training.
I wonder why they’ve not tried for more like me. I’ve managed to last for six months and not died yet. I’ve seen the setup they have. They can find a another person like me. It makes no sense to me to not get another person that can handle the stresses of their strange machines. Hell, get somebody that’s even a better fighter than I am or something, and you can have a great front line duo.
If somebody finds this and I’m dead, especially if you have pull in that part of the EDF bureaucracy, make sure to do that next time. If somebody finds this and I’m alive, do what I said, but work even more at getting it done. By the time I went back and put all these pages into my old journals, I’ve done more than enough for all of you that whoever finds this should owe me some kind of favor.
So go on, if that old man’s still in power, suck him off or something while you present the idea. Do it to his ego at least.
And apply everything I’ve written triply so if I’m staring at you, foot tapping in impatience.
-Journal of Alexis Greco, Dragged From Another World
I am unsure how to begin this new journal of mine. It has been some time since I was separated from my previous journals, and much of my first days here were spent in that infernal room, subject to the desperate magics of my summoners.
A desire to ignore those particular pains makes me wish to fill this first page with nothing but what small joys and pains I can remember from the two days leading up to my being pulled down the tower of worlds.
Unfortunately, desperation still grips too strongly. I can scarce focus enough to meaningfully put word to page. These few sentences were the results of some time spent pacing, arguing with myself, and struggling to write when I want to be free.
Free from the eye-searing whiteness of this room. Free from the stagnating air that they seem to be able to move at a whim. Free from the infernal disruptions of my dreams by their magics.
That bit of angry writing and pacing has given me an idea. An idea wholly based on hoping that they are as inexperienced in the ways of using dream magic, because it is being used as a teaching aid of all things right now, and I’ll be able to focus on some slight mundanity of the world to steal a greater peek into the mage’s mind.
My plan so far is to focus on these three ideas:
- My family and friends had always made a few, sometimes off color, jokes about what ends my dabbling in illusory and scotic magics might bring, given that we lived under a Baronet of our kind.
- The disdain of the status seeking incubi and succubi for illusions was already a thing of parody well beyond our culture, even if few knew that shadow magic was treated as a different kettle of horses.
- If I can manage a stable way between these worlds, try being a merchant.
No. I had something else, but that stuck. I’m not sure why.
Another dream in a kind of teaching room. They called upon me earlier than I had expected, and bade me sleep. The ease with which it was done, and that I did not notice it, suggests a far greater experience with mental magics than I’d been planning for. Perhaps they are merely poor ritualists?
I can not find out yet, so I can only hope and prepare two new mental canards for them.
One is this story: to some degree, being magically banished from my home and landing in another world was a thing that I’d had in mind as a thing possible but that would not happen for a number of reasons.
At the moment, I have decided to both try and treat everything as real (because a number of the contrivances of this world are patently absurd) and some kind of illusory punishment for much the same reason.
The other is an old joke. The secret of the first change. Of course, there is none, but at least I should get some enjoyment out of this if they haven’t been trying to learn Copian from my dreams.
Five? Five days into being Taught
Well, it seems that whate’er ends my summoners have for me, it does not involve knowing much about me. It also involves poor, poor attempts at being apologetic.
I don’t quite grasp the written languages enough to truly know what I am being presented with, other than additional cups of water, but I should be able to make a few more deductions about the experience of the various people that are behind this strange scenario.
I believe that whoever they have as a summoner was both utterly lacking in actual experience and ignorant. Sadly, they also seem to have been the only one with any knowledge of that art.
The summon arriving covered in blood and seemingly bleeding even more of it was, well, it was normal for all but the the most extravagant of summoning rituals.
The teacher’s obvious concern over how I felt, the lack of anything sharp or particularly heavy, and a discovery of mine in that dream realm all pointed to one thing. The summoner believed I was a threat to myself, at least initially.
I feel it will soon change to having been injured in a fight soon, or something like that.
Right now, I only care for how I can leverage this into something more.
Day the Sixth
I seem to have quite embarrassed my dream-tutor, and once more can lower my estimation of the actual magical knowledge of this group. Or perhaps they operate like a blinded cult, with as few members knowing anything but their commands as the leaders can manage.
Thus, the tutor was wholly unaware of me being anything but human. She was quite surprised by my demands to know what these feminine products were. The progression from ‘how is one to use them’ to my becoming female actually managed to drive her from the dream involuntarily.
I wonder if I shall have a new tutor, or will be able to enjoy her embarrassment a bit longer.
The lack of things to do other than exercise has cut into my memory of my waking hours. I almost forgot to write down that I was given a conversational partner today. It was done through magical means, so we were never actually in the same room, and the topics were mundanities at best, but actually having even the simplest of conversations while awake gladdened me greatly for a time.
I feel, though, that the gladness has faded by now, but I can recall it being quite the bright spot.
Two days prior, I was finally given introduction to the reason for my summoning, and it is exhausting. Golems of metal made into magical knight’s armor. I am to be one of the mortals inside these great works.
While I am not told much about their magics, I have been able to discover a few things. One is that despite the near-sexless uniformity of the golems, they use, either as animation or for some other reason, energies that are magically aligned to male or female.
Being bathed in the energies has the expected changes on me. This was only of note because the great brain trusts that run this setup are only partially aware of the energy’s alignment. They know it exists, but not which golem is aligned to male and which to female.
Of course, I was not just to be a living golem tester. I was to sit in one, command it to fight the foes they knew were coming, and in return be given a life and luxury in that life.
If I felt they had actual knowledge and skill, I’d ask for a way back home. But I’m afraid of the results of the mistakes they’re inevitably make. I’ll have to try and figure out an inter-world calling or the like.
Get my teacher in on this and pay off any debts more instruction would incur. Still, I can barely believe how my arm aches. It seems the golem transfers some degree of injury, or perhaps the last golem, whose name I think was Driv-veil, did not agree with my own magic.
Either way, I am very glad it was not my right that hurts.
The training continues to exhaust me. I write this only because I need to regain the habit before this is over, or I fear I will forget for several days after.
Unfortuantely, I can’t remember much of the days spenting triaing.
Unfortunately, I can’t remember much of the days spent training in the golems and I am forced to slow down, lest I write poorly.
It is from both learning two written styles in dreams, and fatigue that I must slow.
I have found out that a few compatriots will join me soon, and the first run of the knight armors will be done with the twentieth.
Given the scale of the golems, the sheer amounts of gold, steel, glass, and everything else that went into them, I can only imagine how many of the fearsome luminaries of the wandering world must be expected to come in at once to make twenty of these things seem insufficient.
I will have nightmares for the next few weeks at the revelation.
I am at once relieved and bewildered. I asked about the enemy and the numbers of the knight armors. The one I spoke with did not know much of the enemy, which worried me. But then I was told why the golems would not stop at twenty.
Several nation-states had some knowledge of this group and were unwilling to be wholly dependant on a shadowy group for defense.
So, many nations had effectively purchased a number of future knight armors and the less than greatest of this run. Apparently a few demons had already arrived, although the person I spoke to did not call them that. From his descriptions, they were a trio of lesser ones, capable of being dispatched with gunpowder and blood even by the poorer states in my world. For an honest mage, it’s not worth knowing their names despite the power.
Still, seeing these golems being made by some small private group told me that the states of this world would be more than rich enough to use gunpowder and blood to defeat those lesser ones even if they had all come together. It would merely have a ruinous cost in lives and property.
And that is what the golems, no, the knight armors are for. Numbers, strength. Both will increase and because the demons can not be killed, merely their presence in this world destroyed, they would win eventually.
Besides that, I know enough to banish them, if not easily. Perhaps I can inscribe that into my knight armor’s fists or the weapon it is eventually to be given.
Unfortunately, the several of the loose leafs of paper I had used for the temporary journals have been lost, so I will summarize here. Frustration at the world’s ignorance of the magic they use. Enjoyment of a grand first victory. Amusement at how my summoners seem to think me younger than I am. By age, yes. But their judgment of me by just that is to my advantage. Correction Fluid is such a grand thing. Back to copying.
I have recently learned the calendar system of this world. It is rational, and accounts for the imperfectness of its own length. It is far better than I expected for a world of magical-yet-not-called so knights somehow fighting monsters that somehow has been kept a secret despite the assurances I’ve had of the pervasiveness of the ability to communicate across the world with nothing more than a small brick of many materials.
Another thing I take issue with. Most of my fellow knights can somehow accept the clearly supernatural natures of our armors yet deny the magic inherent in them and see little else. The smallest and lightest of them is near twice the size of the tallest man to have ever lived and still heavy beyond belief, yet it moves with the agility of the one inside and doesn’t sink into the ground when walking on the pointiest points of its feet!
But call the enemies demons and they say it’s merely from another world! Well, they are right in that regard, I’ve even placed the one I defeated as coming from the heel of fangs, but it can not be a demon to them.
The enemy must be some kind of a (get that bit of terminology and write it in here later) and not a demon.
Or my transformation must be a side effect of being able to use both the masculine and feminine armors and not be-
Well, now that I’ve a calmer head after my failed search for that term they used so insistently, my fellow knights not understanding that I, as an incubus, become a succubus due to innate magic in my kind is because of how the superiors have fed the lie to them.
So I made my note into text, and decided to work on my calm. Stay calm, don’t complain aloud, and enjoy some tea.
I still hurt from the battle yesterday. It was apparently a near enough victory that I had to be carried back. I am unsure by what means, as I was the last to fall and the demon’s spittle kept things from being moved by even the mightiest of non-magical machines.
I was also more fatigued than I thought. I fell asleep after writing only a few short sentences. Unfortunately, much of my memory of the days before has slipped away in a drugged haze.
I am also quite stiff in the shoulder and hips. If this persists, I am told I should go to the physical therapist.
I wish I had managed to be awake for more of this day. But at least the soporific healing should be over. I merely need to return to proper sleeping patterns and the last few days shall be as a bad dream.
Well, no. A bad dream could give inspiration for illusions. These days and their pains are beyond what I can weave into existence even with the best of reagents. Tomorrow, I will collect the loose sheets I’ve been using, and copy them into my journal proper.
I will also get back into the habit of recording my day in my journal. Settling in has been about as difficult as has the way I’ve had to switch between an actually learned written language and a dream-taught one. Speaking, at least, is easy. Weaving spells requires you to switch languages often enough, after all.
Stil, none of the loose pages I’ve used has been taken from me, at least not of the ones I’ve written using a language from this world.
There’s still not enough for anyone to truly learn what I’m writing, and with their level of shown skill, not even magic will get them more than a few words at best. I am, at least, content. Perhaps it will even last into tomorrow.