The intense warping of reality never gets old. Every living thing in that cavern, except for me, shuddered and changed as each wave of the Chaos coursed through the cavern. Seeing the strange energy getting eaten by Gungnir did not take away from the wonder of watching REALITY RIPPLE! I can’t even pretend to guess as what the first part of that message meant. What seed? Which tree? Gungnir’s thoughts consisted of insane ranting along the lines of ‘loving this,’ and, ‘gimme more!’ and ‘oooo baby!” Stupid orb, we’re all about to die on the razor’s edge of reality and it’s basically having an orgasm. What really made this intense was how I could still think of stupid questions when all the mutated creatures were CURRENTLY in the process of mutating AGAIN!
The first mini-Ripple lit up every runed crystal I had installed in the walls, making it look like a warehouse rave. The raging streaks of the rainbow put the Los Angeles nightclubs to shame. And while I really wanted to see the results of my experiments, the jewels’ reactions to Chaos, Kong’s and Norn’s screams were deafening, almost loud enough to shatter the stone floor. Sitting still was a real bad idea. Both creatures had tendrils of magic crackling through them, starting from their core or heart and writhing in and out of random parts, powerful enough that I could see flickers of their insides lighting up, like an x-ray.
[Stupid! Stupid! Stupid!] I thought, taking a few quick steps back towards my immature tree garden while snatching Gungnir out of the air. The rest of the otherworldly message was clear enough, even for me. I knew what “shatter your chains” meant, and it definitely not in my favor. The second mini-Ripple hit within a second after the first, stone chips flying off of Spot as cracks ran down his petrified back. The eight fox-wolves ran around Spot’s still prone form, howling and yelping while inhuman notes joined their symphony. I kept inching back towards the exit tunnel, gripping Gungnir and readying my sorcery for a fight.
The third mini-wave came right after the second, somehow more powerful in its meaning and strength. I felt every warped animal in that moment start to fight the mental bond I had constructed in their beings. That desire to be free, intrinsic to all lifeforms, fought that hold I had carved in the animals’ skulls and souls. Kong’s wide eyes narrowed at me, one furry hand gripping his axe, veins pulsing in rage as his other hand clawed at his head, as if ripping out the mental chains. He took a menacing step towards me. Norn’s three split bodies darted around the cavern screeching and chasing the lights while the chimera John began spraying web at the fox-wolves and Norn.
The chains of flesh sorcery induced servitude of every bonded shattered under the creatures will to be free as they were bolstered by the cry of a dead god realms away. The sound of the bond breaking was unnatural, shattering metal combined with breaking bone, but completely in my head. The third wave gave their will the strength to fight the weakened bonds. My frantic thoughts were knocked aside by the incoming pain of the disintegrated mental bonds which knocked me on my ass. “Get up!” Gungnir screamed at me, “Go, go, go, go!” Duh, no shit. As if staying in the cavern full of recently freed mutant magical creatures while was a good idea.
I tried to mentally respond through our link with my usual sarcasm, but the pain was too much for that function to work. Rolling over, I began to crawl through the dirt as Gungnir distracted the animals by blasting them with jets of water or balls of hardened dirt. Reaching the entrance to the tunnel, I shouted back over my shoulder, “Turn off the generator!”, winced at the pain, then used my sorcery to conjure water with dirt all around me to make mud and made it slide me across the tunnel. The impromptu magically assisted mud slide proved to be an effective getaway method as I slid all the way to the World Tree bolt hole. Gungnir flew right behind me and filled the tunnel with solid stone, sealing the underground entrance.
“Pain block you idiot,” Gungnir snapped at me, “Put one in, this ain’t the time to be weak.”
“Fuck you,” I snapped right back, even though it was right. Now was not the time to screw around. I used flesh sorcery to make it so and then my earth and water sorcery to instantly clean myself off. I looked around the Under-Tree bolthole for a moment, Kong’s roars were still audible, even from here.
“All my babies!” Gungnir whining interrupted what was the start of my regaining my bearings. “This shit is just gonna happen again in a week! Fuckin useless waste of a Chaos deity, screwing up my bindings and freeing my pets.”
“Yeah,” I muttered, “Maybe bonded beasts weren’t the way to go.”
“But, but, but, they’re mine, I mean, ours! Right?”
“Yes, you miserable floating orb,” I growled, “But obviously raw Chaos won’t sit still and let us control beasts. It may just keep breaking the bonds, which is too much work to do over and over. The beast army plan is just going to have to wait until after the Ripples are gone. We’ve hopefully only got one wave more to get through and then we can go full tilt down that path.”
Gungnir went silent. “What?” I asked.
“No more pets?” The whining tone was now way overdone.
“Not until the next wave is over! I’m not doing this again just to have it undone!” I yelled, “Didn’t you see Kong?! One second of freedom with that giant fucking axe and I’m meat paste and you’re a damn pinball!”
The orb sunk lower, conjuring small drops of water that fell like tears. “Knock it off,” I said, feeling a little bad, but just a tiny bit, “We’ll get them back when we can and you can name all the new ones.” I knew I was going to regret it, but I was too irritated to argue.
The response of joy was not verbal, but luminescent, blinding even. “Dude! Stop!” I yelled, turning my head to avoid the blinding joy, “Seriously, go away. You know what? Go ahead and let all of them out of the cavern, we don’t want them eating each other or fucking with Spot.”
Gungnir shot off like a rocket, screeching with happiness. I shouted down our mental link as it thinned with the rapidly increasing distance, [Make sure the main generator is off, the trees are fine, the gems are ok and that the cavern is sealed when they’re gone!]. Sometimes I feel like the crotchety dad yelling at a teenager. Today was definitely not going the way I had hoped it would. The suddenness of the Ripple wrecked my plan of having Gungnir shield me and the animals from the wave, but the nature of it didn’t surprise me one bit. Chaos seems to be all about breaking limits. If humanity wasn’t mostly gone from this planet, the Ripple really would have given us as a whole the boost to be far more than what we’ve been for thousands of years. The downside obviously is that the darker half of human nature would also have been set free, imagine Stalin or Mao with the ability to actually make their dreams a reality. Shuddering at the darker thoughts, I walked to the root of my World Tree Sapling and put my hand on it, sending my nature sorcery through its veins and heartwood and reaching up into the core of the upper trunk.
“Hey babe,” I said softly, the tendrils of my magic stopping just short of the seed orb that was Sarah, “Still don’t know how you’re doing in there, but damn I miss you.” My other hand wiped away a tear while my magic examined the feed of power connecting the Tree to the Under-Tree bolthole generator. “I’m here whenever you’re done doing whatever the hell it is you’re doing and this should keep your hopefully temporary home strong and healthy. Shit, it’s definitely more magic than I need, but I’m guessing a piece of Yggdrasil can handle it.” I stood there for ten minutes, examining everything and just wishing there was something I could do to help or even for a way to communicate with her. I could see her soul or her form, but it was encased in a shell of power that was simply beyond me, a condensed star’s worth of energy covered her like a second skin rebuffing all contact, but radiating a strange sense of calm potential and peace.
Music heralded the return of Gungnir, pulling me out of my sad trance. The stupid orb was audibly and mentally playing the soft melody of “Wait for You” and it made me want to kill it. “I swear to Chaos . . .” I said, whipping around.
“What?” Gungnir said, pulsing soft pink and purple light to show sadness. It hard stopped as it saw I had conjured a stone bat to knock it into next week, “I can’t believe you made me let them go, I mean, a whole week before we can get them back? What’s that about?”