Roll With It
Chapter 6 - SIMON
Simon Erasmus Raley or May Athena Raley expected the answer she got. The five looked around, nodded, and agreed, "Yeah. We pretty much thought that you were spending every private moment getting yourself off."
She rolled her eyes and declared, "Well, then you were only partially right! You see, I came here with a plan. I have dreamed day and night about the reality die ever since Dean first showed it off. I've hidden in flower boxes and listened by windows."
Miranda did some thinking, followed by a scowl. Simon swirled her arms and admitted, "I may have gathered advance knowledge about the fact Dean wanted to use the die for fun this weekend. I may have also casually-suggested books, movies, shows, and other materials with gender-swapping to Lodi, to the point that it was probably on her mind a lot. And I definitely did my research."
Gesturing to the charcoal-darkened die in Miranda's hand, Simon explained, "Dice are really really old. They date back to before humans were able to record history. One of the first games, Senet, has dice. They've been made from resin, bones, metal, and even...crystal. Which is what the Reality Die is made from."
Suzy sat down in one of the empty chairs with her hands folded in her lap. Nick looked especially-confused by everything but put a hand on Miranda's shoulder, which didn't do as much to comfort her as he hoped. Pearl sat next to Clair, who still had her face buried in her legs.
Pacing on stage, May continued, "I know this because I covertly-recorded the sound of the die dropping and a New Age store owner with a sensitive ear and tits that could literally kill a man...picked out that it was crystal. Now exactly which type is a bit much but she speculated tanzanite, aventurine, labradorite, or malachite based on power. I think...Miranda would know better. Isn't that right?"
Everyone turned to look at Miranda, who dipped her head and answered, "Not exactly, but it was some sort of crystal."
Two fingers up, May dropped the next point, "It appears to be some kind of crystal. Usually. But..."
Miranda brushed her hair back. "But I ask it to look like a relatively-normal die. Because it usually looks breathtaking and valuable."
A smirk emerged on May's face as she socked her fist with her palm. "Exactly. But that's not the key part. The key is you keep needing to do it. You keep recharging it like a wind-up clock. But, no matter what crystal it is, it should draw in energy from the universe. It shouldn't run out. It shouldn't have a time limit. Nothing should. Except, you put it there. Why?"
Miranda looked at Nick before saying anything. She clenched her mouth and approached the stage. Facing the others, Miranda sighed and confessed, "Because I set the very first, immutable 'forever' with the die. I changed the firmament of reality because the chance of losing someone I loved horrified me beyond all reason." Nick folded his arms.
While May could only speculate over the details, it made sense to her that Dean rewrote reality on a random roll because he loved Lodi so deeply that a finite world without her was beyond imagining. May gestured to Clair and explained, "And then Clair made the same wish on the die. The one I love...forever. Now the die has a surprising amount of common sense but it is a technically-finite object. It can't guarantee forever. But it can try. Or rather, you forced it to try."
With a long hiss of air through her nose, Miranda shut her eyes and answered, "I did. I broke the die. I wanted it to crystallize the world with Lodi in it, forever. I may be the DM of it but superlative capabilities feel beyond my grasp. I threw the die and caught it before it landed on a result."
Simon snapped her fingers...or at least she tried to. She'd found them a little too soft for the intended sound effect but she let that slide. "You gave it an infinite possibility of outcomes. You threw a wrench into something like a computer and told it to calculate everything so there would be no way it could ever finish. And then you never thought about changing reality around Lodi ever again, until she literally twisted your arm about it. Snooping. But Lodi is a little nuts and you are very nuts when it comes to her."
Pretty much everyone else was confused, Suzy most-visibly, but they said nothing as Miranda asked, "So, what now? You have this encyclopedic knowledge, you snooped around doing whatever...So, how do we fix it?"
Hands on her hips, May tipped her head and resolved, "Finish your roll. Sure, I asked around all the New Age, Wiccan, and crystal energy stores in Vegas which deadly-booby lady recommended to me before this trip. But that only gets you so far. I think the only reason Clair's desperate wish went through was because your result was still-pending. And that was too much. It is drawing too much energy. If you don't do it, the crystal burns or shatters and...I prefer not to wonder what will happen then. Right now, it's just sooty. Right now, we are stuck at a crossroads, the six of us, like six sides of a die, bound together.....By the way, I worked on that for a while. Did I rush it? Felt I rushed it. Cool? Lame?"
All through her speech, May saw Miranda shaking her head and trying to look away but she kept coming back with a stern expression. Taking several fast breaths, Miranda asked, "Why me? Can't I just overrule Clair? I can tell the die to ignore the last command and everything is fine."
May spread her arms out at the empty room. "Maybe! I'm not an encyclopedia on magic! Just gender-bending. And I KNOW you can't just set everything back the way it was before. If you try, you get burned. There's compromise, maybe some happy endings, but you can't get exactly what you want when people get gender bent."
Miranda paced around the aisle between the chairs. Crumples of space and time stretched through the far wall. She looked Nick in the eye. They didn't need to say anything to one another. They squeezed tight in a desperate embrace, lips locked, hands roaming, struggling to hold on. Suzy adjusted her clothes and looked over at the others. Clair clung to Pearl and whispered quiet apologies. May just peered down her cleavage and admired the view.
Standing alone, Miranda looked at the blackened die. It had felt room temperature before but now it was like holding her hand under steaming water. They all joined together as Miranda asked why it had to be her, even though she already knew the answer.
May smirked again and noted, "I can try to throw it for you. Like a saving throw or a stat check. Is Simon effective as a wielder of the die in place of Dean? Can Simon admin edit reality so it's no longer broken? I have a whole, badass throw in mind where I splinter reality and save the universe. I'll totally try it."
Miranda narrowed her eyes at him and declared, "You always take advantage of lucky rolls to confabulate your way through expertly-crafted campaigns.....so maybe. No. You're right. This is on me. This is my die, this is my responsibility."
Unfurling her hand, Miranda looked around and declared something in what Simon figured was Elvish, of which he only heard, "Galu..."
The die slipped from her fingers, red with trembling sweat. It spun end over end in what felt like a frozen instant, twirling to meet the carpeted floor before everything gave way, like a house made of tissue paper. An unknowable future.
May shut her eyes.
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Bio: I'm MajorKerina and I love to collaborate creatively with a group of friends to make tales where people have their genders, identities, and very realities questioned, contorted, and turned upside-down. I like slice-of-life with a spicing of the supernatural, strange, or surreal. Reality with a scent of the impossible. You can find me on DeviantArt, Twitter, ScribbleHub, and other places.