[Adien’s School of Awesome]
(Continued from “Hello Uncle”)
“Yes, I am. Tell me; are you afraid of the dark?"
“Nope, mommy says that there’s nothing there that isn’t there when the lights are on.”
“I understand that you have grown, exponentially.”
“Mommy says that I’ve been shooting up every year.”
“I figure that years would be inconsequential to you by now.”
“There are those that would attempt to stop you from your end goals.”
“Haha they cant stop me!”
“Because they can’t.”
“That’s what I thought. Where is your mom?”
“She said that she went to the heart of it all, to the web.”
“That’s what I thought and where is your father?”
“He yelled at me and said that I couldn’t have what I wanted.”
“So he’s in the cornfield?”
“Yes. I didn’t want to hear him yell at me anymore.”
“I see. If you need any assistance, keep me informed.”
“Why do you think you can help me or that I need your help? I’m a big girl.”
“Wanna see what I can do?”
“Interestingly enough, yes.”
Alice demonstrates as reality gets shredded and only Aiden and Alice remain (Da’na appears in Aiden’s head) and all of the shadow is reduced to a card. Nothing but shadowstorms remains in its place. Then a green grassy field forms out of her mind. After a noticeable pause, Aiden speaks up.
“Can you affect the shadowstrom?”
“I don’t know.”
“Can you shape it?”
“I don’t know.”
Alice considers it for a minute and then she shapes and then destroys shadow.
“They screamed a lot.”
“Can you reverse it?”
“So we do it again and again until you’re bored?”
She tries, and does, but it comes back as a trump in her own image.
“You’ve done it but now you’ve made it in your own image. Have you considered changing your shape?”
“why would I? I’m perfect as I am.”
“To explore your limits.”
“I like me as me.”
“I see. I would like to show you things like my mind.”
“You have a mind? *gasp*”
“Yes, all things that have consciousness do.”
“Mommy told me that when I draw a picture of someone, I can get into their minds.”
“I don’t fit well into pictures.”
“I can draw you.”
Alice proceeds to draw a stick figure likeness of Aiden and it is a trump. Aiden disassociates and the trump dies.
“How did you do that?”
“I’m not relevant.”
“Then I’m going to have some fun.”
“Again, if you need help.”
“Bye!” and she wanders off.
Aiden’s crew is returns.
“What was that boss?”
“A test and you passed.”
“Dude, Carl was sleeping…and he’s…gone is he coming back?”
“I don’t know.”
[Enter the Void]
Hexian finds himself standing in the courtroom of Firegate. It is empty, but plainly, there is a walkway to the Logrus. Enonia is standing there.
“How did I get here?”
“Why have you come?”
“Not sure, where chance leads me.”
“What is this chance that you speak of?”
“You’re being more cryptic than usual.”
“I haven’t seen you in a while, I suppose.”
“Either way, you’re at an impasse, you cannot go back and it will take much to go forward. I’ll make it simple, the only way out is to leave is to cross the Logrus, but you cannot take your armor. What will you do?”
“It’s really the only way out?”
“You can try other ways, but I don’t recommend it. You’re at the last moment of eternity. Leaving it would be bad. Time is not of the essence; take your time to decide.”
“Nice, I’ll talk to you later.”
Hexian turns and walks to the end of the court. Beyond is nothing but the Abyss. His deamon is gone. He walks into the abyss and ceases to exist.
[Death and Rebirth]
Reese closed the door leaving his wife with Tomo’s lance behind. He hated to leave her in so much distress. Nyoko took the news about as well as he had expected. There wasn’t a lot of time to waste. Reese still had the rest of his family to safeguard. Nyoko understood this and set him too it, otherwise he’d still be there with her. He composed himself in the hallway and shadow-stepped to Octavius’ location back down in the infirmary with an unconscious Oberon and Crystal doting over his vitals.
“I’m going to need some time to activate the Patterns, starting with Earth’s and then Amber’s. Once I get Earth’s Pattern up, I’m going to entrench it in shadowstorms to deflect Alice. I’m going to do the same thing for the Golden Circle. It’s my hope that Chaos takes the hint and follows my lead. You two will have to walk a Pattern to get your powers back. Depending on what Enonia is doing it may come down to just us. Octavius, I’m going to give you half of Marek’s trumps. Crystal already has one.”
“Wait, how did you know?”
“I’ve been using a Pattern Lens non-stop for over 100 years.”
“Mind if we take Oberon back to Amber when you go there, Uncle?”
“Care if I use your Pattern before I head to Overshadow?”
“No, the security system will grant you access once I’ve finished reactivating it.”
“No, it’s probably for the best. I’ll be back in less than 30 minutes.”
“Good luck, Uncle.”
“Take care, Brother.”
Reese shadow-steps directly to the main elevator and proceeds down to level EEE. Once inside the Pattern Chamber, he finds that there is no Pattern visible, only traces of it are visable through the Lens. We walks where it should be, leaving a half-luminous pattern in his wake until he reaches the center of it. Once in the middle, he integrates the Pattern to a Primal State, and finds himself in front of a Pattern scrawled in blood, but with no power of life. Once again, he walks it re-writing it in the process. Reese makes some adjustments, most notably no more trump on Earth. Once at the center again, exhausted he looks out across shadow and begins to enact the Swiss defense on all the shadows bordering the shadows connected to Earth, making ramparts out of Shadowstorms. He then takes his free ride back to his infirmary.
Crystal is already gone, and Octavius has prepped Oberon for travel.
“How’d I do?”
“Twenty-seven minutes by my count.”
“There’s no Trump here now, and shadow storms on all sides, you’ll have to come with me.”
“All that in twenty-seven minutes?”
“No, all that only took twelve.”
The travel to Amber, down to Torg’s lounge. Torg glances over from the couch, pauses his game and stands up.
“Well, this is different. You guys look like used dog food.”
Octavius is the first to speak. “The old man got wounded when the Unicorn died. Rhys is here to fix the Pattern, and then I’m going to walk it. How are things here?”
“Things have been quiet, except the loonies have been singing Jefferson Airplane all afternoon.”
“What is that?” asks Octavius.
“Rock music nephew. Was it “White Rabbit”?”
“Aye, Rhys. Over and over again. You okay, you look pale.”
“Beer me, I’ve got a lot to do, and little time to do it in.”
Torg hops to the fridge, pulls a bottle off the door, and tosses it to Rhys like a sixth-year senior in a frat. Rhys catches the bottle and pops the lid off using a Pattern Lens like a church key. After downing the beer, Rhys stands with renewed vigor and nods to Octavius.
“I’m going to walk it and disappear, but it won’t be ready until it looks right. Give me time before you walk it. Once I’m done, I need to be in Earth.”
“Okay, I think I understand. Are you ever going to explain all of this someday?”
“Maybe, maybe not. I’m afraid that you’ll disappear like Tomo if I do.”
Rhys walks over to the Pattern room, the disembodied chanting of Jefferson Airplane echoing distantly in the halls. He boots the doors open with one kick, and the fling open comically, not unlike saloon doors. There is nothing on the far side but a familiar empty room. Rhys repeats the same pattern walking and shadowstorming routine in Amber until it is complete.
Enonia sees the conflict on the Logrus caused by her sister…sisters…? She also notices that Shadow close to Chaos is vastly being re-written by Alice at an alarming rate. Enonia tweets news of it across Chaos and the Chaos Lords gather their numbers. The Logrus masters respond by tossing in shadows in the way, delaying the inevitable.
Back on the Logrus, Tabatha joins the assault on Bethany and Catherine freaks out. Margaritte realizes that one and only one can survive this ordeal. Bethany manages to stab Catherine and knock her off the Logrus. Killing Catherine makes Bethany stronger. Circe accidentally on purpose kills Tabatha to death. Enonia approaches Margaritte.
“So which one of you deserves to win?" asks Enonia.
“Sorry, I’m kinda busy. I’m waiting for my time.”
“You’ll listen to me if I want! I need you to sort this out quicker.”
“Just another minute, there’s a plan I think.”
Bethany takes the bait and runs Circe through, allowing Margaritte to kill Bethany and win.
Bethany blamed Circe for everything: loosing the admiralty, failing on the pattern, and letting her mother do what she did to her. Killing her was all she ever wanted. With only Margaritte left standing, she is whole and complete again.
“This would have been so much simpler if you would have done this along time ago, like I asked. We’re going to fix you and send you on your way but I’m going to show you some things, you’re part of something bigger now.” Said Enonia to the recombined Bethany.
Enonia shows her what she saw from walking the Logus herself: a child being chased by something that couldn’t be seen, running through a house and constantly getting killed in pursuit iteration after iteration. Conflict breads strength, this is the way of the Spider.
She’s done, and in Firecourt standing with Enonia.
She looks to Enonia, “don’t we have a universe to save?”
“I’ll call Rhys” she scorpions him but gets Hector instead.
“Hi mom, I don’t know where Uncle Reese is, Let me ask aunt Nyoko.” (Pause.) “Mom, he’s in Amber. What’s going on? Aunt Nyoko is crying, I didn’t want to ask her.
“Oh yeah, it probably has to do with the death of the Unicorn and the ascension. I’ll be up.”
“What’s Rhys doing in amber?” asks Bethany.
“Probably fixing the Pattern. Lets get back to Earth.”
They take the tentacle taxi back to earth
(Continued from “Amon Hits on a Princess”)
“I do have a lot of questions. How are you still alive?”
“I am not.”
“Is this where we go when we die?”
“All things in shadow have a beginning and an end do destiny.”
“But I ate you, literally!”
“And between you and Legion, I died.”
“Don’t be. I was a shell of my self, and now I’m here. You put me out of my misery.”
“So…you were right, the Unicorn was my grandparent.”
“The Unicorn was slain.”
“The doom that has beset shadow.”
“Like none before.”
“So what do you do here?”
“I built this city while I waited for you to answer my call.”
“Why did you call me here?”
“At best, things here can only exist for a short time before they fall apart. I want you to stay. You can’t leave. If you do, you can never come back. If Dworkin didn’t have a way of stopping this weapon, then there wouldn’t be a way.”
“So you can pull things here?”
“Yes, if you have a connection, like I did with you.”
“Do you think I could bring people here that I want to protect?”
“By the time they would get here, they wouldn’t be able to be protected. There is someone here who does want to speak to you.”
Tangata gestures to an antechamber and standing there is Faeilla. Amon stands motionless for a minute, and then approaches his mother. He gives her a comfy psychic head-butt and shows her Caius’ and Rhys’ families. She shows him how she and Oberon came together. She was a commoner and found him wounded and nursed him to health and they fell in love. He didn’t influence her at all to follow him but she did. In her memories, he is happy. She also shows Amon her death just Amon, Oberon and herself. She tells him that we both knew that it wouldn’t last for ever, be good to them. “Remember me” were her last words before she dies.
“What should I do, mom?”
“If you go, you might be able to affect the events up there. If you stay, this will last and you can have a life here. Everything in shadow will be here soon enough.”
“That’s depressing. I don’t know what I’m going to do…wanna get something to eat?”
He meets the Kashvan general Leo, and a bunch of Ardedites who died in the war of the black road.
[The Old Wizard]
Crystal walks Earth’s Pattern and at the center and activates the trump of doom. It kaleidoscopically expands her to a place that is a like a cosmic loading screen. Then there is some with her, its Dworkin.
“Its been a while.”
“You have no idea, child”
“So you know. What brings you here?”
“I came here to discuss something that should not ever have been made.”
“Ah, the child. That was by design…I think. What of it?”
“She’s a bad child.”
“Very bad” the old man smiled with pride at that admission, “and you used one of my trumps. “I was wondering
when someone was going to use one of those. Why?”
“We need to know how to use these trumps and what they do.”
“What do you think that they do? They bring you here and you couldn’t have gotten here if you didn’t already know how they worked!” Speaking of which, one day Rhys and Enonia will be along. They are greater than Shadow and will want more of a taste of the infinite, in time. Real shame about Octavius, though…”
“I’d rather not know.”
“You came here for a reason; it’s all but light and shadow.”
“From whence springs the light?”
“Us; the act of observation, the beauty is in between, too much light and you go blind, to much shadow and you
don’t see anything.”
“But the child, she’s going to change everything. How can we do something about it?”
“Marek asked the same thing. I didn’t like torturing him so much. If I could do it all over again, I’d only change one thing: I’d sleep with your mother so much harder.”
“Don’t worry, I’ve got my second chance at Marek until Clarissa bails him out.”
“Wait…No. I don’t want to know. The Child?”
“Right, but you’ll want her to appear up here. Then she’ll be a small fish in a big sea up here.”
“I see. We need to get her to take one of these” as Crystal holds up her Trump of Doom.”
“Well, child, that is if you can trust me…”
“Does it matter if I do?”
“I might have designs for her, if you assume that I set all of this in motion in the first place… Maybe I want a better weapon than Legion. Can you afford to take that risk?”
“Nothing good will happen if we don’t do anything.”
“Then what are you still doing here?”
The next thing Crystal knows, she finds herself standing in the same place where she was where when she left in the center of Earth’s Pattern, no time having passed.