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A note from MnemosLogos

A chatterbox chapter.

 

Seeing that Sable and Grimalkin were resting, Wren inspected his middle realm. It had grown significantly since the last time his previous self had gave it any serious notice. The edges could no longer be seen from where he was and after Senega's assistance there was a good deal more greenery. A weather pattern had been established that kept temperature and rainfall similar to late spring/early summer in the North American heartlands.

The once small oasis pool had grown to the size of a small lake with an inlet and outlet tributary. In the distance, a mound was pushing itself out of the ground to resemble the beginning of a mountain with smaller mounds around it. Spreading his senses out, Wren noticed subtle signs of simple life signatures. Somehow, when Wren wasn't paying attention, Senega had smuggled several clumps of earthworms, butterflies and other nature positive insects. Wren didn't know how he felt about the small cluster of bees but upon approaching they didn't seem to mind him so he figured his connection to the realm must be sensed on some level.

Moving on, Wren inspected the herbs and a formation protected garden that held several rare and useful plants. To his surprise, in the center of the garden, was a clump of the strange mini fruit bearing wheat. It didn't have the same overwhelming presence as its parent plant yet but it was likely not going to be too far from it.

Wren said, “Buzz, are all things from the first iteration like that? Like they are more real than everything around them?”

BZ replied, “No. The phenomenon you are describing is a byproduct of being or becoming a prime existence. In the case of the plant, it could do so because its parent seeds were part of your sister's elevation ritual. My usage of the word prime, in this instance, may be misleading. Essentially, this plant is Origin-like. If you continue being the aberration that you are, eventually you will exhibit the same phenomenon.”

Wren felt a bit insulted as he said, “What do you mean when you call me an aberration and what does Origin-like actually mean?”

BZ replied, “There is much I could share that is conjecture and more that I do not have the capabilities or permissions to explain. What I can say is that you, as weakened as your state was, at the time and where it occurred, should not have had many iterations. Reincarnation as a fatally damaged soul that miraculously survived isn't exactly unique but manifesting as such a powerfully copied iteration is. More so, you are currently taking in the strength of existence from those expired copies which moves you closer to Origin-like.

“Origin-like is a jargon for possessing superior placement within reality. The more Origin-like something is, the more flexible the Great Pattern is to their influence. The only other information I can provide on the subject relates to singularities. Naturally occurring Origin-like existences frequently cast far reaching iterations. An iteration may become Origin-like by approaching singular existence through taking in the strength of existence their other iterations possess, something of considerable difficulty to accomplish and few successful examples exist within this arm. Your sister's actions with Satyrus being a good reference.

“The most prominent feature used to identify such existences, is a presence that supersedes their surroundings, giving a 'more real than real' sensation to the observer. Such an observer based measurement only determines if the observed is significantly superior in strength of existence compared to their surroundings, however. There currently exists no standard of measurement other than through observation you are capable of utilizing.”

Wren massaged his temples as he said, “That's good, Buzz. What are the benefits of being Origin-like that I should know?”

BZ was silent for a moment before replying, “Order of magnitude. Superior existences can more easily affect inferior ones while more resistant to being affected. The larger the gap, the greater the effect. For example, a Tier I human of the highest recorded magnitude would barely be able to register the presence of a Tier VI from the lowest magnitude and would completely be impervious to them. The very proximity of the prior to the former, however, would endanger them greatly.”

“Is there anything you can tell me about that 'berry wheat'?” Wren asked.

BZ responded, “Very little outside of what you have observed. There seems to be an innate strengthening of existence by consuming it's edible components. It's affects upon yourself would be negligible, at this point, but would be of significant value in pharmaceuticals or for others. It's most important feature is that it takes nourishment primarily from a connection to the maelstrom rather than it's environment, much like maelstrom born themselves do.”

Sensing the presence of another, Wren turned to see Sable approaching in a slow and respectful manner.

“Master, may I have permission to speak freely?” Sable said.

Wren smiled wryly as he said, “Sure, if you call me Wren instead of master. If it helps, view my name as a title I consider to be one of respect and difference.”

“Please excuse my impertinence, M-Wren. Would my son cease to be if he merged with this other?”

Wren shook his head, “He would become a part of the other Grimalkin. Nothing of himself would be lost, just added to the other. He would also be much safer as Earth is not as unstable a place to be and the version of reality he would move to is closer to the center but I can't make any promises beyond that. Without getting too far out there with the explanation, this reality we are in is going to collapse in about a hundred years. The reality he would become a part of will roughly be the last stand from both sides. How long until then is up for debate but the plane Earth resides on is one of the most massive and best isolated from the struggle of greater reality, regardless of which version of reality we're talking about.”

Sable looked like he wanted to say more but kept it to himself. Wren understood the feeling. There was a lot more he'd like to say too but none of it would lower the tension.

After a couple minutes of awkward silence, Wren added, “I'm assuming you asked because that was the path Grimalkin decided to walk. His future will be more certain than ours, Sable. That's the best I can guarantee. He's lived there over a decade so far. Our iterations rarely survive more than a couple of months beyond the beginning of this scenario.”

Sable's expression softened a degree as he said, “It's merely the concerns of a father.”

Wren looked at Sable grimly and said, “A concern I share and more.”

An hour and some preparations later, Grimalkin gave a small nod of acceptance as Wren wrapped him up in ethereal ribbons and chains while making modifications to a mostly completed singularity ark. With BZ's help, Wren activated a simplified dimensional locksmith array around Grimalkin and empowered with the singularity ark. To increase the strength of connection and enforcing of purpose, Wren emptied his EE pool to the greatest degree of safety he could while utilizing the principles of contagion and sympathy.

For a sickening moment, Wren thought it wasn't going to work before the singularity ark lit up and expanded into a oval. As the oval cleared, on the other side was a more mature and human looking Grimalkin, in the process of doctoring up some cuts and scrapes on Trauart's back. Grimalkin paled as he looked towards the oval to be greeted by a younger version of himself that grew translucent before transforming into a sphere of spiritual energy and slamming into his chest, knocking him across the room before the oval closed.

So my boy took a spill off, something, a bike maybe?

Wren held back a wash of sorrow as he continued to stare at the spot where, a moment ago, he took a glimpse of a life he desperately wished he could be a part of as Sable said, “You spoke truth. I could clearly see the mark of my son within yours. My so- that Grimalkin, was using the shadow illusion technique that had confounded him so when I first taught it to...”

An indeterminate amount of time went by before Sable finally broke the silence with, “There is little more purpose to dwelling on possibilities that will not be, Mas-Wren. There is much work to do, is there not? Losing ourselves within it would be a more productive use of time than this passive pining.”

Yup, the hard-ass mode is on full swing. Not complaining though. Sable's a rock. Well worth the investment, material, emotional and otherwise.

Shifting around through the equipment pile, Wren found the other box that was like the one his caster suit was in and stuffed it with a lot of hidden weapons and nasty surprises before handing it to Sable. Wren explained it's uses and the list of equipment and supplies he'd loaded it with. As Sable stripped to put it on, Wren stopped him.

Inspecting the man long enough to be uncomfortable for both of them, Wren said, “You're in a bit better shape than most of your iterations but you still have a good deal of internal injuries. No need to get dressed yet. Follow me back to the cabin...and stop looking at me like that. Oh, I didn't give you the needful touching healer sign thingy. Come on man, you think I'd go for a tough old piece of leather like you? I mean you got nothing to be ashamed of but... All right, so maybe I might but not when you obviously don't... Let's just leave it at, you're safe from me jumping you and no offense meant.”

A bit of amusement made it through Sable's mask of stony indifference at Wren's flustered state as he said, “None taken.” Unconsciously, Sable stepped a little more lively. Obviously pleased he still had 'it'.

Just wait till I'm done with you, old peacock. You'd fuck a cow dipped in cat piss and be grateful it'd have you.

Wren was itching to put all the newly combined and improved knowledge that he'd gleaned from Healer and his own accumulated experience to use. After laying Sable out on the spare cot, remembering to use the healer's hand gesture that earned a faint smirk from Sable, Wren placed his hands on Sable's first and sixth chakra points. The smirking face quickly changed to one of shocked surprise followed by a heavy and ragged intake of breath as Wren dragged lines of essence, that were slightly thicker than they strictly needed to be, through Sable.

After driving out a large accumulation of toxins and waste, quickly removed by void power, Wren delved into Sable's potential. He started by fully fishing up the celerity and shadow walking/minor manipulation powers. Feeding unrelated and opposing potentials to Sable's muddy depths, Wren strengthened the shadow abilities until they started taking on an Abyss tainted void flavor. He used the spare wiggle room to improve celerity to conceivable safe limits while strengthening and expanding Sable's essence pool enough to open an initial EE pool.

To finish up, Wren raised his awareness to the physical level. Since he hadn't spared any potential on Sable's natural longevity, he gave a nearly wasteful dose of LE directly to Sable's corporeal form and cleared out the obstructions in the connection to Sable's astral body. Ignoring the cable wire tautness running through Sable's muscles, Wren began large scale micro repairs, moving outward from the marrow. With a mental flourish, Wren jarred the older man's frame into improved symmetry and stimulated the skin to rejuvenate, shedding a thick and impurity saturated layer.

Wren focused back into normal vision and with a void assisted yank to remove the layer of dead skin, he surveyed his handiwork. As proud as he wanted to be with himself, Wren had to admit that he had great materials to work with. The air of fatherly dependability was lost in the mostly restored youthfulness, only to be replaced with panther-like grace and dangerous sensuality. The man's whole body glowed under the soft light like fresh black silk lightly dusted with powdered ash. The powerful aura and lithe frame gave the impression of being as equally adept at bringing pleasure or swift death.

Wren lost himself in blatant admiration until a displeased demon's low growl snapped him out of it as Sable said in a strained and broken voice, “If I said I was regretting my earlier aversion to your mistakenly perceived interest, what would you say?”

Wren pointedly looked away as he blushed and said, “I'd say the third bottle to the right, in the bathroom, is lotion. Help yourself.”

Walking away quickly before my bullshit is called... and what the hell, demon half!? That didn't sound like a helpful reminder.

As Wren speed walked out of the cabin in near panic, he could hear a self depreciating chuckle coming from within. Reminded, once again, how easily his body could be led around by the nose when his hormones kicked him in the resolve, Wren kicked a second pile of only mildly interesting goods into his devouring void and busied himself with work projects until Sable walked out of the cabin, suited up, looking refreshed and fully back in control.

Sable bantered, “I would ask what you've done to me but that would sound ungrateful and lacking approval, which couldn't be farther from the truth.”

Wren looked up from the magical gadget in his hand and said, “You should probably take a couple laps around the perimeter to accustom yourself with the advanced power and physical capabilities you have. I'd hate to find myself scraping you off or from the inside of a wall.”

As Sable took off, throwing a few clumps of grass and dirt behind him, Wren shouted, “Away from the greenery!”

A few minutes later Wren heard a faint shout of, “There's no shadows out here!”

He loudly responded, “You don't need them anymore!”

Crap, I dropped a formation disk... Damn thing's smaller than a frigging pin head... Oh, there it is. Thanks for the assist, Buzz.

About an hour later, Sable returned only lightly winded and grinning like a madman as he said, “You think I could go get my personal belongings from my bunk locker?”

Wren chewed on the request for a moment before he said, “If doing so was roughly three times more dangerous than you expect it to be, how confident are you of success?”

Sable wet his lips with his tongue as he said, “Fifty-fifty without using anything you've given me, Wren, but I already expect a mission to be three times harder than it usually is. I need a real challenge to work the kinks out. I'll be extra cautious. Believe me when I say that's a difficult proposition.”

Wren nodded, “I do and I trust you. Just keep the execution of old grudges to a minimum.”

Sable frowned slightly as he said, “Define minimum.”

Wren said, “Top three minus the Grimshadow Eldest. He's Glaucous' prey.”

Sable looked slightly disappointed as he replied, “It will serve, Wren.”

Wren sighed, “If it makes a difference, you can add two more if they're on the way. Just don't waste too much time on it.”

Sable perked up a little as he nodded before Wren returned them world-side. Sable disappeared in a quickly dissipating wisp of black smoke before Wren was even fully oriented, staring at the tip of a blade that was a little too close for comfort. It helped that one of Sable's was lightly resting in the hollow under Assassin's ear.

Wren nervously said, “Alright, false alarm. Let's stop pointing sharp objects at each other.”

It seemed like the stale-mate was going to continue until Wren realized that he had received the call mark notification from Hiidan and said, “I'm about to call my father out. Do you still want to be pointing something at me when I do, Assassin?”

Assassin quickly dropped his arm as he muttered, “No one likes a snitch.”

“I'm good, Sable. You've got something you wanted to do?” Wren said.

Sable nodded and melted away into the darkness as Wren summoned the call mark. Hiidan's call mark appearance looked a great deal more impressive to Wren when seen with 3.5 mind. One black and one multi-colored galaxy arm of essence and power drew into a dense pin-hole before pushing it's way into existence, forming the man shaped cut-out of reality.

A smooth, velvety voice tickled Wren's eardrums as he heard, “I notice you left my observation privileges on, son. You've turned into quite the industrious and meddlesome fellow haven't you?”

Wren startled as he said, “Is there like a 'soft off' for that? It's nice to know someone can see when I'm in trouble but, well, there's a lot of times when a guy doesn't want his dad... Oh, thanks Buzz.”

Hiidan laughed softly and thought at Wren, “You call your beta interface, Buzz? I'm stealing that.”

Wren smiled as he thought back, “Feel free but the rest of my nicknames are trademarked!”

A wave of pleasant vibes emanated from Hiidan as Wren heard mentally, “It does my heart good to see you like this, so much like you were when a child. It tore me to pieces inside when you...I'm happy. Enough said.” Hiidan switched to his voice and continued, “Here's your kid's meal, only partially eaten as requested. Not gonna lie. It tasted kind of rotten and not very filling.”

A thoroughly trussed, Tier V Aaron plopped out of Hiidan, onto the floor in an awkward sprawl. The effect that Wren was hoping for was achieved as Wren could see real emotion in Aaron's eyes. That it was gibbering terror, was only icing on the cake.

Wren smiled cheerily at Aaron and said, “Welcome back! I know you didn't much enjoy your first long distant trip I booked so I scheduled another for you that will more than make up for it... I just need one little thing from you first. I want you to swear a subordination oath to me...You know, the one that can't be coerced.”

Aaron's fear crazed eyes turned to Wren and said, “You... Why would I? After what you've done to me, even if I wanted to, how could I?”

Wren laughed heartily and said, “To you? Shouldn't that be for you? I knocked you out of your dead end path. I got my father to eat off your associate's parasitic augmentation... If you don't believe me, look inside... But most importantly, if you oath to me-” Wren leaned down and whispered softly into Aaron's ear, “ I'll give you all that you need to become a prince of the Infernal Host.”

Aaron looked at Wren with crazed and fevered eyes as he said, “Why would you do such a thing for me? Don't bother answering because even if I believed you, I couldn't trust you.”

Wren said, “There are few I hate worse than you but it's not all hate... There's a saying from Earth about choosing the devil you know over the one you don't. The fact is, I need someone to take that spot and I don't have many choices for those who are there, going or actually want to carve out a certain piece of the Infernal Realm for their own.

“You were going at this alone, screwed up your progression and fell prey to the first devil that was willing to give you the time of day. I offer you connections, resources and a throne. More importantly, I carry a small inheritance of knowledge from a handful of other iterations that will allow you to claim your 'end of all days' life boat without giving up your ability to waltz to your gloaming home any time you desire. Besides, no matter what oath I have you swear, it's not like reality has a lot of days left. What comes after that, who knows?”

Aaron remained silent for a moment before he said, “Assuming I want to, how am I supposed to convince myself to take such an oath willingly?”

Wren said, “As long as you speak the words, as sincerely as you are able, I will take it at value given.”

Aaron parried, “I want an oath that you will provide all you have promised me in return.”

Wren replied, “I oath upon the Eternal Circle that the words I have spoken to you today are truth, to the extent of my knowledge and belief, and that I will match you in sincerity.”

Aaron let out a tense breath and said, “Half of the reason I'm willing to do this is because I don't believe it will bind me all that much. The other half is because I believe I'm dead if I don't... I oath to the Eternal Circle to be loyal and dutiful, in both spirit and letter until the-”

As ethereal ribbons and chains bound up Aaron, the iteration remains of him that was part of Wren's manifestation completed for him, “Till our souls return to dust,” as they joined and augmented the gloaming fae.

From within the ethereal cocoon, Aaron screamed, “Trickery!”

Wren smiled wryly and said, “Nope. I clearly said that I would match you in sincerity. Since you possess little, I am obliged by oath to return in kind. Currently, the portion of you that means the oath are roughly, what, three parts to your one?” After Wren directed his manifestation to push Aaron through Tier VI, with all of Aaron he had, save Wren's return obligations, and top him off with 'the dirty stuff', he continued, “You'll get a bit more information on your personal goals and even most of our history that I held on to in addition to a great deal more power. Power that will guarantee your fall to the Infernal Realms and change the balance of you that meant the oath to roughly ninety something to one.

“All the while, my sincerity remains matched as the more you get from me, the more sincere your oath becomes as you transform to devil... And don't worry. No one's going to have the ability to snatch you up and make you answer for past crimes before transporting you, because there wouldn't be anything left to transport... Do you have the ability to open a way to Dis, Pops?”

Hiidan mulled it over and said, “I can but where in Dis, I couldn't guarantee.”

Wren said, “That'll have to do... Listen up, Aaron. Hedon and Dolor's planned merge in roughly three months will end in fatal failure, leaving the throne in Dis empty. Get yourself mixed in with the petitioners and soul slaves slotted for sacrifice on their third day of merge. I've put a few things together for you. Feel free to go nuts with the soul eating till you're full then start slamming back the knock-off soma in here til you get the soul eating impulse under control.

“As you well know, The ruler of the second circle wants the throne of Dis. Successfully negotiate the exchange and not only will you have the piece of land you want, you'll have control of the circle. Make a deal for the land with the throne if you can't handle the pressure. Once you've gotten what you want, keep slamming the supplements back till you've purged enough to drop your devil status and aim for Tier VII... One more thing. Give me a contact call mark with an option to summon a devil shell. It doesn't have to have any capabilities, just a strong devil presence emission.”

Wren waited until the cocoon began unraveling, handing a masked storage ring to the overwhelmed Aaron then said, “I'd say good luck but I think you'll be like a fish in water once you're in hell. Pity it takes too long to become an Arch Devil. Guess you'll have to settle on being a Gloom King.”

As Hiidan opened a portal to Dis, Aaron said, “Despite this being the most generous anyone's ever been to me, I won't thank you since anything I achieve or possess is yours for the asking whether I will or not.”

Wren replied in mock Aaron voiced severity, “What!? You should be thanking me for even gracing you with my presence, insect! You should be grateful to be my tool, to be worthy of being used by me!... Seriously though, I think you'll not be chaffing at my collar after you get used to the idea. I hate that I have to resort to this but you just simply can't be trusted. Even in the two iterations where your other selves actually fell in love with me, they still betrayed me in the end. Understanding the reason why doesn't remove all the sting. Knowing all the back-stabbing still saw you falling on your face does though. Be smarter this time. The things you want to accomplish can't be done alone.”

After Aaron vanished through the portal, Wren looked around to realize that he had an audience. Glaucous and Malkanthor were standing side by side, if a little awkwardly. As for the rest, most were not interested in what transpired beyond curiosity but Assassin was gazing at Wren with a stomach dropping amount of admiration as Senega and Knight stared on with matching scowls of disapproval.

Wren said flippantly, “It's my party. I can make a devil if I want to.”

Hiidan laughed manically as he unsummoned himself.

Senega drawled in mild disgust, “There's consequences for meddling so highhandedly with natural order.”

Wren nodded and said, “I'm aware but this is survival. Nature discards those who do not adapt to necessity. Damn the consequences. Minding the consequences sees all of us dying with reality, Druid.”

Senega looked furtive as he said, “There are better ways.”

Wren spat, “Save that argument for those who have access to them.”

Senega bowed out as Knight took the lead, “You created evil, and for what!?”

Wren sighed wearily and said, “I didn't create it, I stepped on it's throat and turned it to my own ends. I owe you no explanations but for the sake of expanding your narrow mind...” Wren continued in projected thought that Glaucous grudgingly facilitated, “There is an ancient artifact created by one of the first Infernal Engineers. It's another version of a reality ark, capable of traversing the Outside. I sent Aaron to fetch it. Or do you think that everyone we'll want to save will fit cozily on Satyrus?... Yes, I figured out what she made here. Admittedly, I struggled with it for a bit but why else would a person create an illusionary world and spread it out through the iterations to be nurtured into something real before collapsing it back down, taking quintillions of lives with them, and not set you off... Lastly, some things we want to survive can't mix with others, even if we could.”

Knight was silent long enough for Wren to ask after the progress of Lilly and Troy before he exclaimed suddenly, “They are not truly gone, Wren. A part of them went to strengthen the planet and our mistress but some will join with their counterpoints here. With it, we can save them. That is not the same as what you have done. What that monster destroys will not serve to strengthen or save them, even if it serves others.”

Wren pulled out a glass ball with precious metal filigree and said, “A man who doesn't know how to face his own demons and devils has no moral high ground with which to pass judgment on the demons and devils of another. It may take courage to slay them but only the mighty possess enough strength of will to accept them and only the greatest of us all have enough love and forbearance to transform them... carving out your perceived imperfections will only leave you weakened and just as flawed.” Wren handed the orb back to the man and finished, “Rethink your path before it leads you to a dead end.”

Knight looked at the orb as if it were a poisonous animal as he teetered dangerously close to destroying it, saying, “You can not love and tolerate evil into submission.”

Wren replied sadly, “You see it as something to conquer or kill... to hate or suffocate with indifference but what does hate and indifference give rise to if not evil? That which knows and engenders love and forbearance is not evil, though they may still be capable of it. That which knows and engenders hate and indifference is not good, though they may still be capable of it.

“I'm not asking you to be a saint or even stronger than what you are. I'm asking if you are strong enough to love and show forbearance to yourself only. If you are that weak then I'll take that orb back and attempt to do what you cannot. Sleep on it... or whatever it is that you do during your rest time.”

Red faced, Knight stomped away as Assassin said, “I've never seen someone make him look like that and leave in the same amount of pieces. Lilly's came close a few times. Does the place you come from practice murdering people with unwinnable arguments?”

Wren wryly said, “Yes. We call it philosophy. It's supposed to sharpen critical thinking skills but more often than not, those that practice it, approach subjects as if their point of view is the only right one. I'd consider that intellectual homicide, murdering other's ideas, thoughts and feelings, en masse genocide.”

Assassin chuckled as he said, “Maybe you could teach me. That way if I find myself against a target I can't take down, maybe I could talk them to death.”

Wren said, “If that's your goal...” Wren pointedly looked at Lilly who was explaining to Mage the difference between ice cream and frozen yogurt. Though Lilly hadn't caught on yet, Mage bated her by asking which shaved ice was considered.

Assassin said ruefully, “To think a master of the art was so close all along.”

As Assassin sauntered over to join in, Glaucous asked, “Who will be the next victim of your impassioned words?”

Malkanthor cut in, “How can you talk to this one so calmly after causing you such pain and discomfort?”

Glaucous' face grew pinched as Wren said, “Lancing a boil is painful but afterwards, there is relief. If I've inconvenienced you, however, I apologize for not realizing you were aware of his feelings and simply refused to answer them so he could move on.”

Malkanthor drew himself up and said, “What do you know of me, outsider? If I've turned a blind eye, it was to preserve our relationship. I dare you to accuse me of aught else!”

Wren didn't mean to but he yawned before he said, “I dare but there would be no point. That's probably why you did it.”

Ready to interrupt Wren with vitriol at any moment, Malkanthor's mental gears ground while he said, “Well, at least you know when you're in the wrong.”

Wren said sleepily, “When did I say that? You're motives were selfish, being as they only served you and your comfort at your brother's expense.”

On the verge of violent rage, Malkanthor said, “You know nothing. I did it for his sake. Who would he have then, if he could not bear my rejection.”

Glaucous was on the verge of walking away when Wren said, “I swear on the Eternal Circle that all I have said to you is what I believe to be the truth without deceit. Do you dare?”

Malkanthor's mounting rage spluttered as he scrambled to reply, “Only the ignorant and the foolish call so casually upon the power of oaths.”

Sleepiness momentarily evaporated under Wren's growing irritation as he said, “The well being of those I care for is not a casual pursuit to me. Neither is the removal of detriments from their path, whether they be emotional or physical ones. I strove to bring you back from the dead, pretty much just to answer his unasked question. That may prove to be ignorant or foolish. We'll see. Once again, do you dare oath the same?”

For one tense moment, Wren thought Malkanthor would attack him before turning around and walking away.

Taking a wild chance, Wren said, “Addictive body fluid.”

Malkanthor turned into a statue for a moment, all tense and frozen in place before he turned around and headed back to Wren and said, “If you want to continue, we shall do so in private. Utter another word in this place with others and I will end you even if it costs me my own life again.”

Wren said, “That's fine. I want a meal and a restorative from my domain. Feel free to join me but I insist that Glaucous be there as well.”

Malkanthor deflated like a balloon before wearily nodding. Wren ushered the two into his space and stepped into his cabin. After conjuring up a spread of drinking friendly food, Wren sat himself on the minibar side of the long table, cracking some beers and pouring a quick line of whiskey shots. As the two other men took a seat, Wren burned a little LE to bolster his flagging stamina.

“Help yourself. I know it's custom not to talk while eating so lets get that out of the way, along with a little liquid courage, and lets tackle this shit.”

 

 

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A note from MnemosLogos

Wren, the life coach, will retire soon.


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