Morning brings out the worst in people if you belong to the vast majority of sunrise haters. The few, the proud, the morning people, now that’s a despicable crew. And, thanks to flesh sorcery, I have unfortunately joined their ranks. It takes just a second to will my flesh sorcery to begin and rapidly process the entire mental exercise it takes to strangle the intense desire to stay in bed. To be clear, it was also greatly assisted by my prisoner’s screams, the piercing wail of unbelievable torture.
“MY LORD! LET ME OUT! PLEASE! I HAVE TO PEEEEE!”
“Fine, fine, I get it, sheesh. One second,” I said, only registering select pieces of that statement as I got dressed and called Gungnir to my hand, its form changing from orb to spear. In an attempt to keep some semblance of control of the situation, I quickly removed her pain nerve block and imperiously tapped the spear tip to her shackles then banished them even as I opened the door to the outside. Wasting no time, Reeanth sprinted out the front door.
“Hate to watch her go, but love to watch her leave!” Gungnir sang softly.
“Leaves work as toilet paper!” I yelled after her as I walked to the opening, oddly enjoying the very human reaction. For just that moment, I forgot that she had tried to kill me just a week or two ago. Her lithe form disappeared into the ungrowth. “And hopefully she doesn’t come back,” I muttered as I reconjured the stone vault door and turned away.
“Pleeeaaseee, don’t leave me! I always say how I don’t need you . . “
“I realize that there is a song for literally every situation a being can encounter,” I started, “But if you do not shut . . .”
“Baby come back!”
“Ok, that’s it. That’s fine. Plenty of things I can do with you.” I growled, stomping over to the crystal vat, using my will to change Gungnir back into a ball. I shoved the orb into its docking station. “You will sit there and decode all the information and organize it into cohesive subjects. Do not leave until it’s done.”
“Head like a hole, black as your soul, I’d rather die! Than give you control!”
“One more out of date lyric and you’re done. I will stick you inside the freaking World Tree and put you on guard duty until Sarah gets out, which by our last estimate, was four thousand years.”
All I heard was an audible gulp down our mental link, then blessed silence. It truly was a wondrous new day. The Centauri woman was gone, Gungnir was silent, and I had a whole bunch of new magical lego pieces to play with, but my main problems were that I needed the info locked away in that crystal vat before I played with them intelligently. Living through the last Ripple and then eventually surviving the invasion of the Hungry Ones were the two tasks weighing on my mind as they fought with my desire to experiment. It made me not want to craft anything due to the chances that Chaos might undo what I just did.
Refocusing on what mattered for the time being, I grabbed a can of soup and sat down in my comfy chair, pondering my options. Mindless eating helped grease the squeaky wheels in my brain. So far, the Ripples have changed the landscape of Earth, allowed other things and creatures to travel here and back, given me opportunities for supernatural power, and mutated the plants and animals. Also, it undid the various forms of domination Gungnir and I had put on the animals as well as allowing forgotten deities to make a comeback.
One of the weird things that I had noticed as the Ripples flooded our plane, is that the Ripples were getting weaker as the levels of magic were rising. Chaos seemed to have the greatest effect on the things that were untouched by magic, such as Earth before the Ripples, or me. I was a prime example of this, shoot, rocks were an example of this. Crystals seemed to have some kind of ability to inherently change their characteristics after coming into contact with the raw power of a dying deity. How many other worlds were experiencing this, or was it just us?
I stared at the collection of changed crystals off to the side that I hadn’t put away. The stone of fire couldn’t give me sorcery, but it could be used as a perfect weapon against the undead. The other one, the quartz, Gungnir mentioned something about it having sorcery related to light. I did have an idea for that, but not in the way I initially thought, but it will wait till later. Damn, everything hinges on information, which unfortunately, is what I lack. Well, I could experiment with things that probably won’t change when the Ripple hits, namely, myself. The entire concept of power that I was previously using, creating my own personal dominated army of mutated beasts, won’t work until the Ripples stop entirely. The summoner or necromancer builds just don’t work for me yet. Personal power inherent to myself is what I need to work on.
Some things I found were rather interesting, for instance, one of the things that I did pick up accidentally from Reeanth’s mind flow is that it is standard practice in the Centauri Empire to undergo a kind of genetic cleansing, and not the 1930s sense of the word. Part of that cleansing, is a sort of basic restructuring of the body’s internal system from bones to nerves. One of the reasons that their bodies tend to be so much taller than ours, Reeanth, as an example, is short for their kind. The Centauri need a larger frame to house a sturdier product. The average height for the females of the Centauri Empire is around eight feet tall weighing in around three hundred and fifty pounds, and the men are proportionally bigger, but not by too much. Using strands of biologically compatible crystal, they fundamentally changed the basic standard of human durability. They also seem to have shortened the genetic gap of strength and speed between men and women as well.
One of the ways that their combat-centered empire adapted to meet the need of matching supernatural creatures in terms of power is two-fold, enhance the body internally, and enhance it externally. The external side focuses on the many years their wizard scientists took to perfect combat suits that are covered in runes enhancing everything from cardiovascular health to miniature mana shields to soak up damage. Basic grunts get a pain-blocker with clotting potions as well as the common life-support system. As one goes up the ranks in their military, the suits get fancier as well, to mana storage containers and embedded spell-runes that fire various kinds of elemental damage.
Boom, boom, boom.
“My lord Sorcerer! Please let me in!”
“And now she’s back, from outer space!”
Great. Gungnir alone is bad enough. Reeanth, polite Reeanth? She actually came back. Now that’s just cruel. How the hell am I supposed to handle this? At least when she’s being a dick I can be one right back, but this? Fuck man.
“Go away!” I yelled at the stone door while setting down the empty can. I glared at the two foot thick, solid stone portal, imagining her outside, fearfully looking around for Kong who just might be hoping for round two. “A badass Centauri captain with thousands of years of magical learning behind her education doesn’t need little ole me.”
“I swore a binding oath of loyalty my lord!” she stated firmly, “Doesn’t that mean anything to you?”
Groaning audibly, I stood and walked to the door and made another peephole. “This is gettin real old lady. You have nothing I want now. Also, I fixed you up back to normal and don’t want to deal with you. And no, it doesn’t mean anything to me. How could it? I don’t know how magical oaths work, or if they’re even a thing?”
Her face made her opinion clear. Apparently, they’re definitely a thing. “A magical oath sworn by a soul capable of magic binds that person’s life to the oath,” she said, her grey eyes losing their sense of arrogance for the second time. “I am sworn to you and your cause until released by your will. You should be honored that one such as I am championing your pursuits.”
“Right, I figured that, but that doesn’t mean I trust it. I mean, I don’t trust you. At all,” I said flippantly. “Besides, my main goal is to survive the next four thousand years. I got wedding plans on hold thanks to some magical apocalypse fuckery, but that ain’t stopping me. You my dear, are a hindrance to that. Besides, how did you get back here anyways? I plugged up the gate y’all used? And where are your goons?”
I feel that the uncaring tones and disrespectful manner of Earthly communication aren’t really having the same effect on her that they would with any other human. Usually, a person’s eyes would have narrowed from the realization that I was clearly talking down to her, belittling her in the pursuit testing her patience, to purposefully get a rise out of her. Nothing. She answered respectfully as if I were a corporate CEO making a minion clarify something on their bad presentation.
“The sorcerers of old were mighty nobles in our empire. Power is treasured and respected while weakness is ruthlessly weeded out. If you were back in our cluster, then many would be seeking your hand in marriage for the hopes that your children would have a seed of sorcery. Here, you could be king!”
“No, seriously,” I deadpanned, “How do I know for sure that you are not fucking with me? Trying to take advantage of my lack of magical education. You know that I’ve had magic for just over a month while your civilization and every other one out there has had it since time immemorial. I have too much to do and figure out before I start taking on even more risks, because I’ve already taken too many of those. I’m surrounded by a forest by beasts that I’ve enslaved. They managed to escape by the way. Also, goblin-esque creatures that hunt down giant alligators and have attacked me already roam the area, and some freaky things at night come knocking even though I can’t even see them. And it just gets worse and weirder every time the death throes of some unnamed dead god of Chaos hit my planet.”
Felt good to get that off my chest.