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Creative Writing Share your fan fiction, stories, poems, essays, editorials, song lyrics, or any other related written work. All written must be your creation. Start a new thread, and keep replying to that thread as you add on more chapters. Anyone can join in at anytime.


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  #31  
Old 11-23-2008, 09:16 PM
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Default Re: Guardians of Eternity: The Planeswalker Chronicles

Chapter 3: Cinders

Christopher took a deep breath. The air smelled rusty, like a junkyard after a heavy rain. A moderately high wind whipped at his hair and clothing, but it was a warm wind, not cold. The entire place felt comfortably warm, not quite toasty, and the air was heavy, making Christopher feel like he was wrapped in blankets.

Strange. He couldn’t remember the transition at all. He remembered walking through the Gate, with its infinite swirling colors, but nothing after that. Just standing here suddenly. It was similar to planeswalker teleportation, yet at the same time, somehow completely different. Christopher felt a little dizzy, but no other side effects besides that.

His eyes had somehow closed during the transition. He opened them. A massively bright light pierced his eyes, and, almost blinded, he quickly closed them again, then raised his eyelids just a sliver.

As his eyes slowly adjusted, he saw he was standing in a landscape completely devoid of all vegetation. Just barren black, gray, and brown rocks as far as the eye could see. The terrain was relatively flat, but there was the odd small hill here and there, and large boulders and smaller rocks dotted the landscape. He took a step forward—the ground crunched beneath his feet, and he looked down to see himself standing on gray gravel the size of marbles.

The sky was red, and a few sparse orange cirrus clouds hung high in the sky. Beaming down solar radiation at him were two suns, sitting just above the horizon, one bloated and red, half the size of a beach ball, and the other a cyan blue, the size of the nail on Christopher’s pinky held out at arm’s length. Scanning the horizon, there were some distant snow-capped red mountains, and something else. A city, perhaps? Christopher squinted, and could barely make out what looked like silhouettes of towers and skyscrapers. The entire city seemed to be contained within some kind of bubble that made the structures blurry.

“Welcome to Stroten,” Baraka’s voice growled from behind him, causing Christopher to jump slightly, startled at the unexpected sound. Hovering in the air behind him was Aurora, craning her long neck to glance around at the new world where they were in.

“Now, I’m going to tell you a few basic rules about planeswalker teleportation that you’ll need to know sooner or later,” Baraka continued, twirling the scepter in one hand. “First off, is that when where you wish to teleport would bring you into other matter, is that your body will not allow you to teleport there unless the matter can be displaced. In general, light gases and a very few kinds of liquids can be displaced, and solid matter cannot be. So say, if you tried to teleport into a solid object, it couldn’t be done. When not teleporting by sight, you can only teleport to places where you have been to personally and can hold a clear cognitive image of in your mind’s eye. So if you can’t see the place, you can still teleport to it if you’ve been there before and remember it well.” He stopped twirling the scepter, grasped it in both hands, and tapped it on the ground. “Now. Momentum and velocity are conserved through teleports. So if you are traveling in a direction at 50 miles an hour, and you teleport, after your teleport you will still be traveling in the same direction at 50 miles an hour. So don’t try teleporting to save yourself from a deadly fall if you’re already falling at a high speed.” He picked up the scepter and started twirling it again, then used his free hand to reach into one of the pockets inside his jacket and pulled at a small PDA-like device. Christopher recognized it as the one Baraka had been using back in his apartment. He raised it up high in the air and waved it back and forth rapidly, then brought it back down and pointed a finger at the horizon. “Okay, so it appears the spatial disturbance is coming from that general direct-”

His speech was suddenly cut off by a loud whoosh overhead and a resounding sonic boom as two large aircraft zoomed a few hundred feet over their heads towards the city. They were moving too fast to see properly, and within seconds they had receded into dots in the sky.

Baraka’s mouth was open like a gash on his face. He exchanged glances with Aurora. “Did that look like Nodcron Venoms to you?”

Aurora, enormous yellow eyes even larger than usual, nodded twice.

Baraka rolled his eyes. “Great.”

“What, what’s going on?” Christopher asked, turning back around in the direction the “Venoms” had come from. There were many other black dots in the sky, trailing long strings of clouds behind them. An entire fleet of aircraft, some smaller, some larger, but none close enough to make out properly.

“We appear to have landed in the middle of battlefield, at least one of the sides being Nodcron. Looks like they’re laying siege to that city yonder,” Baraka informed Christopher, gesturing in the general direction of the shimmering city. Christopher figured the bubble to be kind of shield generator.

“Nodcron?” Christopher asked. Baraka had his hands outstretched, gesturing for Aurora and Christopher to walk over to him. Aurora gently floated over and stretched out a single paw, which Baraka clenched on to with his hand. Christopher did the same with his hand.

Baraka gazed ahead, and he brought them through a series of six teleportations, one right after the other, then let go of Christopher and Aurora. They had made it 2/3 of the way to the city already, and now Baraka was striding ahead across the graveled terrain, Aurora trailing behind. Christopher stood there for a while, feeling dazed and slightly nauseous; that was the first time he had gone through multiple teleportions in the space of a single second. But he quickly recovered and jogged up to Baraka.

“Nodcron,” Baraka was explaining, without taking his eyes off of the beeping PDA-like device in his hand, “is a highly religious human sect that focuses on spreading the Message of salvation by their Messiah, Prothoplastus. In most of the universes where they exist, they are the dominant human division and possess quite an extensive empire. They will assimilate alien cultures either religiously or militarily, the latter being what is happening here.”

Christopher was beginning to pant for breath; Baraka was speed-walking at an incredible pace, and Christopher was not exactly out of shape, he wasn’t exactly athletic either. “Why are we walking?” he asked.

“Because you need exercise,” Baraka answered, and finally looked at something besides his PDA: Christopher’s face. “Planeswalking won’t be enough in the future. Most planeswalkers have some other kind of power they’ve obtained in their travels to supplement their planeswalking. Since you don’t have one yet, you’ll just have to make it up with extra exercise.”

Christopher, slightly bent over and breathing hard, looked to Aurora pleadingly, whose eyes merely looked wistful, and put her paws out face-up in an approximate of a human “Well, what do you want me to do about it” expression. [He has a point,] Aurora said. [Even though it’s mostly because he just enjoys seeing you in pain, he is right about that.]

Christopher groaned. “So what do you have as an extra power?” he asked his teacher.

Baraka grinned. “You’ll find out eventually.”

Christopher looked back to Aurora questioningly, who gave a twitch of the wings which he assumed to be her equivalent of a shrug. Baraka apparently then decided Christopher still wasn’t getting enough exercise and started off at the pace of a quick jog, which they head for about half an hour, at the end of which Christopher’s legs felt like they were made of molten lead and his lungs about to shrivel up and fall to the bottoms of his feet like an autumn leaf. He collapsed on the ground, the rocky terrain diggings into the palms of his hands and knees even through the denim of his jeans.

“Ah, we’re never going to make it in time,” Baraka growled, and Christopher felt his teacher (for he refused to call him his master) grab a handful of his hair. They teleported, and suddenly instead of gravel, Christopher was kneeling hands and feet on a smooth surface made of some kind of material that was a cross between plastic and metal in texture and luster, and colored a dull blue.

Christopher stood up, wheezing. They were standing on a rooftop of one of the shorter buildings on the outskirts of the buildings. A few hundred feet away shimmered the bubbly silver of the shield protecting the city. Christopher looked up; red beams of light were raining down from the heavens, striking the shield, and where they struck, ripples traveling through the shield, like rocks thrown into a still pond.

Outside the city, large, headless, humanoid walkers were firing more red beams from their arms, which were tipped with a conical weapon, into a wall that extended all the way around the city. Christopher hadn’t noticed the wall at a distance because it was so small. Then he realized that it wasn’t the wall that was small, it was the city that was so huge. The buildings near the edge were square and rectangular, not unlike apartment back on Earth in the poorer regions of New York City. Closer to the center of the city, however, the buildings soared over a mile into the sky, silvery spires with organic textures and rounded shapes, beautiful geometric patterns of Euclidian shapes, triangles and circles and squares and diamonds, that reached thousands of feet into the sky. It was lovely, beautiful and earthly while at the same time graceful and alien.

The army that was laying siege to it, however, was just the opposite. A veritable ocean of battle walkers and tanks launched volleys of the red beams at the wall. They were clunky, fat, colored shades of black and grey, trimmed with red, complete opposites of the smooth, flowing shapes of the city they were assaulting.

An immense droning sound, decreasing in volume and pitch started up all around them, then began to fade away. Christopher glanced around for the source, but it didn’t seem to be coming from any particular location.

Crash!

A section of the wall crumbled, and the shield above the nonexistent section of wall flickered away, creating an upside-down V-shape in the shield where it didn’t exist, like if you stuck a finger onto a thin sheet of falling water. Walkers, tanks, and soldiers began to flood in.

Christopher felt a tap on his shoulder, which tore his attention away from the Nodcron army. Baraka had produced a pair of some high-tech looking binoculars from somewhere and had them out in his hand, offered to Christopher, saying only, “Watch.” Christopher took them, mumbled a “thanks”, and stuck them up to his eyes. Although the binoculars had looked high-tech, the image they produced wasn’t anything extraordinary.

Christopher saw big gray tanks, like what Satan would invent had he needed an army, as wide as a three or four lane street and about as long, roll into the city. The main part of the tanks were very small and low, and above the tank tracks was a huge, bulbous turret, with a pair of red cylinders sticking out the sides backwards and upwards, curving in towards the center slightly like a pair of demonic horns. The cylinders extended forwards as well, ending in two gaping black holes with a small blue flame flickering inside, looking horribly like eyes on a monster.

The tanks spat fire from the cylinders, which burned and consumed all they touched. It was no ordinary fire, for it burned everything in its path, metals, concrete, everything.

The citizens of the city were humanoid, but were shaped like yellow oil barrels that had stick-like arms and legs. They didn’t really have necks, and their heads seemed to meld onto their bodies with no real definition between the two, and their skin was a lumpy texture, kind of like a toad’s. They wore sparse clothing, generally around their midlines. Their odd and unlovable appearance, however, didn’t detract from the horror when Christopher saw them caught in a breath of fire from the flame tanks, running around screaming in queasy, high-pitched tone, the same way he would had he caught on fire.

Christopher took the binoculars away from his face, his expression like he was about to throw up. And he did feel very queasy. He looked at Baraka, and whispered, “Why are you making me watch this?”

Baraka took the binoculars and peered through at the broken wall. “Because you need to be rid of the delusion that the universes are a good place,” was all he offered up as an explanation. Christopher clenched his fists and looked at him with an expression of a boy presented with something completely beyond his understanding, tinged with fear and anger.

He stared back at the scenes of destruction and gritted through his teeth, “There are good things in this world too.”

Baraka looked at his pupil and shook his head. The child would learn the true nature of the multiverse soon enough. Baraka had learned it at a far younger age.

Many planeswalkers were cynics. Certainly none of them were idealists. The nature of their missions meant that they saw the worst of existence, of natures both alien and human, of nations and technology. It seemed that the older one got, the more pessimistic one became.

“Isn’t there anything you can do?” Christopher thrust out desperately from behind clenched teeth.

Baraka raised his eyebrows in an expression of “yeah, right”. “And what would you have me do? Even if I did destroy that army, there would just be another one after we leave. We can’t stay around here forever.” He brushed a hand on his jacket, as though to clean it of dust. “Planeswalkers can’t solve every problem in the multiverse. We only handle the big ones.”

Christopher looked up at Baraka. “And this isn’t big?” he asked, throwing out a hand towards the city in flames. One of buildings began to collapse, and it fell like a cut tree, toppling until it made contact with another building that supported its weight, like a version of the Leaning Tower of Pisa, only with another building keeping it from toppling completely.

Baraka shook his head. “No. Not at all.”

Christopher growled, then turned around. “I’m outta here.”

Aurora started forward towards him, her first real motion since they had begun the conversation. [Wait!]

Too late. Christopher disappeared, teleported away somewhere. Aurora turned and stared at Baraka through one eye. [You didn’t have to be so harsh.]

Baraka rolled his eyes. “He has to learn the way the worlds work sooner or later.” His nostrils flared. “He’s lucky. Compared to what I had to go through, this is nothing.”

Aurora closed her eyes and seemed to sigh. [Yes. And look how you turned out.] Before Baraka could shoot in a retort to that, she continued, opening her eyes, and letting the two great orbs roll in their sockets, scanning the area. [There’s no distortion here at all, is there? You just brought him here to torture him like this.]

Baraka brought a finger up and wagged it, as though scolding a misbehaving child. “This is hardly torture,” he said harshly, “And there is a space-time distortion. It just so happens that I already know what it is, and it’s harmless. Nodcron’s developing a weapon that will close spatial rifts. That’s all.” He looked down at the approaching flame tanks. A few of the six-story-tall walkers had penetrated the outer wall as well, and were marching through the city, giant shoulder-mounted flamethrowers spewing copious amounts of blue flames that engulfed everything they touched. “You better go find him,” he told Aurora. “By the time you do there probably won’t be much of this place. I’ll be over there,” he said, pointing a finger at the tallest building in the city, a spire over a mile high, part of a complex that looked like an enormous hand, reaching for the suns like one reaches for apples on a tree, and promptly vanished.

Aurora sighed, her eyes closing again, her wings seeming to fall slightly and her head drooping on her long neck. It was true that there were harsh realities in the multiverse, but that didn’t mean Baraka had to go and force them on Christopher immediately. He was young, far too young. She could feel his shock when he had saw the inhabitants being burned alive. It had not been a pretty sight.

She recalled some of the own atrocities she had seen in her life, and sighed again. There was just so much bad out there. But there was also good, for if there wasn’t, life wasn’t worth living.

She thought about herself, and her role in this group. She had been assigned because Koron knew Baraka would treat Christopher brutally like this, showing him things he wasn’t ready for just because he could, sending him into fights and situations he wasn’t nearly prepared enough for, and just generally treating him like slime. Teachers weren’t supposed to treat their students like slaves, but Baraka had never cared about niceties like that. Aurora was supposed to help mediate that aspect of him and protect Christopher, but so far she hadn’t done anything of the sort. One of her biggest flaws, she knew, was that her personality simply wasn’t forceful enough to make someone like Baraka do anything.
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Dali: "I know what the picture should be ... We take a duck and put some dynamite in its derriere. When the duck explodes, I jump and you take the picture."
Halsman: "Don't forget that we are in America. We will be put in prison if we start exploding ducks."
Dali: "You're right. Let's take some cats and splash them with water."

Last edited by Lusankya; 12-06-2008 at 11:57 PM.
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  #32  
Old 11-23-2008, 09:16 PM
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Default Re: Guardians of Eternity: The Planeswalker Chronicles

She found Christopher a few hours later, squatting on a patch of dirt a few miles outside the city. He had somehow obtained a white plastic stick, about the width and length of a pencil. He had traced the image of cartoon-style flames into the gray, speckled sand.

Behind her, the city burned hues of purple and blue. The suns were setting now, thanks to the fact that this world rotated faster than Earth, and the flames blazed against the outlines of the twin suns. It was a beautiful sight, like something one might put on a postcard, but tempered by the knowledge that it was the destruction that was glorious.

Aurora glided in slowly, in near silence. She landed on the ground just besides Christopher, plopping her two duck-like feet on the ground and setting her bulbous body besides him. Christopher was squatted down, brown eyes staring intently at the picture of the fire he had drawn, right hand spinning the plastic stick, brows furrowed in concentration. Aurora was tempted to look into his mind and see what he was thinking about so fiercely, but politeness restrained her. Others generally didn’t like it when she poked around in their heads.

“Why does Nodcron use fire as a weapon?” Christopher asked. The question caught Aurora off guard. It wasn’t exactly what she had been expecting. Her left eye quirked a little as she stared down at Christopher, turning her head as to look at him with one eye, located on the side of her head. It made sense, because fire isn’t what one usually imagines when one thinks about high-tech weapons of a space-faring civilization. So why did Nodcron use fire as a weapon?

[The people of Nodcron believe fire is purity,] she explained, paraphrasing from an article she had read on the subject once, [the Prothoplastus supposedly passed through great fires unharmed. For them, burning a city of pagans is the fastest way to purify it as a holy place. And their flame weapons are a special kind that can burn just about anything… it reacts with most elements and doesn’t need oxygen…] Her psychic voice trailed off as she looked down at Christopher, who hadn’t moved a millimeter. Just what was he thinking about?

Christopher suddenly stood up and sighed, finally at eye level with Aurora (who, due to the lack of any legs, did not lose any height when she sat down). “We didn’t really have a mission here at all, did we?” he asked.

Aurora shook her triangular head from side to side sadly. [No, I’m afraid Baraka only brought you here to mess with you.]

Christopher clenched his fist and teeth, and punched the air in front of him with his right fist. “Why does he do stuff like this? Being a humongous jerk all the time, I mean.”

Aurora tilted her head to the side. [There are reasons he acts the way he does,] she explained softly, [not that they excuse his actions. But he does have his reasons… the things he’s been through…]

Christopher was silent for a long time. “Let’s go then.” He reached out and gently touched Aurora’s paw, causing her to flinch slightly. Aurora bowed her head, embarrassed, but Christopher didn’t seem to have noticed.

The scene changed. Suddenly they were standing on the circular roof of the tallest building in the unnamed, alien city. The fires hadn’t quite reached up here yet, but the flames flickered beneath, blazing in greens, blues, reds, yellows, purples, even a few blacks and whites. The special qualities of the flames, such as heat and color, were determined by what material they burned.

Baraka was standing not too far from them, situated on the very edge of the roof, facing outwards towards the city, jamming on a blue and gold electric guitar.

“Let the flames rise,” he called into the fading twilight, and struck the cords of the guitar. “Ashes will fall.” He struck the cords again. “The fuel hungers.” Again. “Leave them in ashes,” he called, dragging out the last word, and quickly fell back into whatever unidentifiable heavy metal song he was playing. It was almost unheard over the sounds of the burning buildings and crackling of the flames.

He turned around, apparently done with the song. The guitar was riddle with knobs, switches, and sliders everywhere, not just in one section on the sides. The strings were only near the heart of the guitar, very short, and glowed a bright golden color. On the neck of the guitar were keys, kinda like ones on a piano, only glowing gold, as though made of energy, same as the strings.

Baraka was chewing his tongue, rotating back and forth slightly. “You know who said those words?” he grunted.

Christopher raised his eyebrows and replied coolly, “You?”

Baraka rolled his eyes. “Ok, you know who first said those words?” When Christopher shook his head, he continued. “Qerenos the third, as he launched the Third Tritarian War, obliterating the entire species of the Socalts.”

He turned back around to face the city and scoffed. “It’s a civilization of crazy people. Zealots the lot of them. Who needs monsters, when people, ordinary people, can commit such atrocities?”

He suddenly turned back around and swung the guitar strap over his neck, taking it off. He opened up one side of his jacket and unzipped an inner pocket. He then proceeded to shove the entire guitar into that pocket.

Christopher’s jaw fell off his mouth and plummeted several hundred stories down to hit the sidewalk.

It was like something from Looney Toons. As the guitar reached the space above the pocket, it warped, distorted, and shrunk, easily fitting into the mouth of the pocket. The entire guitar, something that one probably couldn’t have fit into the average high-school locker, was shoved into a pocket no more than six centimeters by eight centimeters.

Baraka apparently noticed Christopher’s expression of absolute shock, because he explained as he shoved the guitar into his inner coat pocket, “Spatial compression technology. You’ll use it eventually. Now take us back, servant.”

Christopher stood there, still completely dazed, until Aurora elbowed him in the side. “Oh, uhh… me?”

Baraka rolled his eyes. “Yes, you. You need practice planeswalking to a location you only know in memory. Take us to your room.”

Christopher put up a finger to his mouth in a very timid fashion. “Uhh… alright.” The impossible sight he had seen had just completely ruined his entire brooding mood. Overheard, sonic booms resounded as more Nodcron Venoms patrolled the skies. A low-pitched scream sounded in the distance.

Baraka walked over a placed a hand on Christopher’s shoulder. Aurora did the same to his other shoulder with a paw. Christopher closed his eyes and concentrated on the image of his dorm held in his mind’s eye. Teleporting more than just himself and his clothes was a challenge, but if Baraka thought he could do it…

The unsolved equation of 239582 divided by 1357 flitted into his head, and the scene changed. The crackles, booms, screams, rumbles, and whooshes of a city being razed to the ground vanished. When he opened his eyes again, they were pierced by the blinding white of his dorm at the Planeswalker Academy.
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Dali: "I know what the picture should be ... We take a duck and put some dynamite in its derriere. When the duck explodes, I jump and you take the picture."
Halsman: "Don't forget that we are in America. We will be put in prison if we start exploding ducks."
Dali: "You're right. Let's take some cats and splash them with water."
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  #33  
Old 11-23-2008, 09:34 PM
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Default Re: Guardians of Eternity: The Planeswalker Chronicles

Wonderfully done Lusy :)

*bangs table for more like a hungry/angry orphan*

You hould publish this :o Yus?????

(I am inlove with Aurora and Barack :p their characters rock)
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  #34  
Old 11-24-2008, 01:27 AM
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Default Re: Guardians of Eternity: The Planeswalker Chronicles (Chapter 3)

Wow, you keep getting better, don't you? ^^

Excellent, Lus. Your description is marvellous as always. I found more typos, so try to proof-read a couple of times. It does help.

By the way, I knew Aurora was a Latias by your description of her. You must have done it well for me to know, but I did read over it a second time just to make sure.

Well done! =]

(Oh, Alana? Aurora's mine! *hugs Latias*)
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  #35  
Old 11-24-2008, 01:35 AM
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Default Re: Guardians of Eternity: The Planeswalker Chronicles (Chapter 3)

Still? I even re-read it this time X_x Would've hoped for there to be less this time. Thanks for the compliment though. ^_^

I bet the airplane-like wings part was a huge tipoff =P
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Dali: "I know what the picture should be ... We take a duck and put some dynamite in its derriere. When the duck explodes, I jump and you take the picture."
Halsman: "Don't forget that we are in America. We will be put in prison if we start exploding ducks."
Dali: "You're right. Let's take some cats and splash them with water."
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  #36  
Old 11-24-2008, 02:06 AM
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Default Re: Guardians of Eternity: The Planeswalker Chronicles (Chapter 3)

Yes, still. Don't worry, it happened to me too. And I re-read mine twice! O_o

My pleasure for you.

They were, but I first noticed at the start when you said red and white and hovered. xD
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  #37  
Old 12-07-2008, 07:51 PM
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Default Re: Guardians of Eternity: The Planeswalker Chronicles (Chapter 3)

(Kay, I am now dividing the ficcie into parts based on sub-plot-arcs. Just a warning)

Part 2: Broken Angels

Chapter 4: The Book of Hearts

The night went by quickly
.
Baraka, after making sure that Christopher hadn’t brought the three of them into an alternate dimension in which they would all be torn apart by gravitational forces within minutes, teleported away to… wherever he normally spent his time. Aurora wondered aloud why Christopher seemed to like the color white so much.

“What do you mean?” Christopher had asked. “It was like this when I got here.”

Aurora, surprised, had gone and gestured Christopher over to a hidden panel by the door. It turns out the blinding standard whiteness was only the default form of a fully-customizable room. After Aurora had left to whatever airplane-bird-dragon-things did in their spare time, Christopher spent the next hour marveling at the myriad of possibilities the customizable room gave him.

He hit a button, and the walls flashed to purple. He hit another, and the couch transformed into thousands of tiny little cubes and rearranged itself into three comfy-looking arm chairs. Yet another, and the TV was swapped out for what was apparently a hologram projector. And yet another, and the bathroom switched places with the living room.

Eventually he chose one of the stock settings that reminded him most of his home, back when he had been a kid, living with his parents. Yellow wallpaper with cartoon airplanes, a furry purple couch that clashed horribly with the green carpet, and a wood table that was about as plain as one could get, which they had bought at a garage sale. The main difference between this room and Christopher’s old home was that instead of a puny little black television, an enormous silver flat-screen TV was mounted on the wall.

Christopher breathed in the nostalgia, feeling fairly content, given what had happened to him this day. He teleported down to the cafeteria, had a dinner of pizza and fries (despite the high caloric intake, he felt he deserved it after the day’s events), and decided to walk back up to his room instead of teleporting. The so-called “Academy” was surprisingly empty, the only soul besides himself he glimpsed the entire evening was a grumpy-looking man, appearing to be in his late forties, walking up the stairs. The man had been muttering quite loudly, and Christopher couldn’t help overhearing him. “Those astronomers have the creativity of Transvonian Nickleback beetles,” he had been grumbling. “‘Very Large Telescope’, ‘Extremely Large Telescope’, ‘Overwhelmingly Large Telescope’, hah!”

Briefly he wondered where Aurora slept (if she did at all, who knew what an alien like her needed?) and where her room was, if she even had one. He wondered where Baraka spent his time as well. Not that he was going to go visit his teacher. In his mind, he compared being around Baraka to eating spinach and only spinach (or some equally detestable cuisine) for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It wasn’t something he would ever do unless he had to. He didn’t much like spinach.


He awoke the next day, according to his watch, at 10:34 AM to a knock on his door. Mumbling out a “coming!”, he wondered how could he have slept in so late. It wasn’t like he had gone to bed extraordinarily late the last night. It must be that the day’s events had gotten him so tired. The mere memory made him irritated and angry, mostly at Baraka, a little bit of irrational annoyance at Aurora for not agreeing with him completely, and a teensy bit at himself for no particular reason he could identify. Whoever was knocking on the door did it again. Well, it wasn’t Baraka for sure, for he would never have either the patience or politeness to knock on the door. He’d probably just teleport in and whack him over the head with that scepter of his to wake him up.

Christopher yelled out another “coming!” and hurried over to the door, his footsteps thudding heavily in the otherwise silence of his dorm. He opened the door to find Aurora, sitting (or was it standing?) in the hallway, her two feet almost completely obscured by her body.
Aurora seemed to look surprised at something, and blinked several times, then appeared to be suppressing a snigger. “What’s so funny?” Christopher asked, annoyed and sleepy.

[Oh, nothing,] Aurora stated in that cool female mental voice of hers, and looked down at the ground. [You had been sleeping so long, I was a bit worried…]

Christopher grunted apologetically and yawned. “Yeah, sorry, I don’t know what happened.” He yawned again.

Aurora looked back up at Christopher’s face. Due to the positioning of her eyes on the sides of her head, Christopher looked back at them at an angle, and wondered idly would it would be like to be cross-eyed all the time, with eyes pointing off in two separate directions. What was it his old biology teacher had said? “Eyes being located on the sides of the head is a signature that this creature was hunted by predators.” Although now that he thought about it, there were exceptions to the rule. Didn’t sharks, the top predators of the ocean, have their eyes on the sides of their head?

[Well, you probably want to get ready quickly, we have another mission today… It’s a real one, this time,] she assured, then started staring down at the ground again, something Christopher thought very strange. He didn’t recall her acting so shy yesterday. Had something happened?

“Uhh… okay,” Christopher replied, and leaned a hand against the doorway.

[See you in the cafeteria, then,] Aurora said, and vanished into thin air. Christopher sighed, shut the door, and prepared to get ready for the day.


When he teleported down to the cafeteria, he decided that at the next possible opportunity, he would buy some new clothes. Wearing the same shirt and pants day after day would get old pretty quickly. Maybe he should ask Aurora about it.

“About time,” sounded a gruff voice behind him. Christopher instantly lost any semblance of a good mood he might have had, turned around, and saw Baraka sitting in a chair, twirling that golden scepter in one hand. “You sure take a while to tidy up, kid.”

Christopher said nothing in reply, instead simply taking a seat two chairs down from Baraka. “Where’s Aurora?” he asked.

“Grooming her feathers. Lifting weights. Murdering small children. How should I know?” Baraka answered absentmindedly. He spotted a man walking on the other side of the cafeteria; Christopher recognized it as the man he had saw muttering about Overwhelmingly Large Telescopes last night, and called out, “Oi! Qwory! How’s daddy?”

Qwory looked back over to Baraka with an expression of absolute disdain. Although the two men looked rather alike (Baraka appearing to be considerably younger, however), their personalities didn’t seem to share the resemblance, if the way Qwory looked at Baraka was any indication. Christopher didn’t know what Baraka was doing with that self-satisfied smile; if Qwory had looked at him with that glare, he would have been running as fast as possible in the opposite direction.

“Just. Fine,” Qwory growled out, and disappeared.

Christopher looked at Baraka, who was still smiling. “What’s wrong with his dad?”

Baraka’s smile grew. “He is his daddy,” he answered. Before Christopher could let out a “Wha?” of surprise and incomprehension, his smile suddenly dropped away, and his face turned deadly serious. “Don’t mess with time, kid. It’s banned in most countries for a reason.”

And with that, he got up from his chair and walked out into the teleporter, which Christopher had thought was an elevator before. Christopher followed, but the teleporter barely had enough room for them both, and Christopher really didn’t want to be stuck in a confined space with his teacher.

Baraka, who knew Christopher well enough to deduce this, leaned forward on his scepter on and whispered, “Observatory.”

The teleporter doors closed, then opened again seconds later, with no sign of anyone inside. Christopher stepped inside and told the teleporter “Observatory” as well.

Suddenly, he was standing in the middle of a large, circular room, dotted with telescopes and tables covered with charts and maps and tables, as well as many other devices whose purposes Christopher could only make the most uninformed guesses of.

But the most dominating feature of the room was up. The sky was set ablaze with the fire of billions of stars, glittering yellows, reds, oranges, blues, and whites. Trails and tails stretched across the heavens like scattered diamonds, clusters of stars, nebulas, and other heavenly phenomena which Christopher could only guess at. The Milky Way and the sky as seen from Earth paled like a piece of glass against the Hope Diamond. The night sky was so bright, that one could have read from the light of the stars.

“Amazing, isn’t it?”

The voice called Christopher’s mind back to the world. He looked around for the source. Standing behind him was a girl, appearing to be about his age, stunningly beautiful, also looking up at the stars. Her face was illuminated into a golden color by the light of the heavens, and her reams of curly red hair fell gracefully over her shoulders. She was wearing a green blouse with baggy pants of the same color that clashed horribly despite them being the same color.

“Uhh…” was all Christopher had to say.

The girl smiled. “My name’s Arin.”

“Christopher,” Christopher introduced himself. A few seconds later it occurred to him to hold out his hand to be shook. So he did.

But before Arin had a chance to shake it, Christopher was suddenly struck in the back by something hurtling at high speed. He collapsed towards Arin, who suddenly vanished, teleported out of the way.

Christopher threw out his hands to break his fall, and ended up on his hands and knees, looking down at the stone floor, with something that felt suspiciously like a foot on his back. “Twenty push-ups, maggot!” growled the harsh animalistic voice of Baraka.

Christopher did the twenty push-ups as ordered. By the end his arms were burning and his breath came in wheezes. When Baraka took his foot off his back, Christopher got back up to his feet. Arin had vanished. Strangely, the fact greatly increased Christopher’s annoyance at Baraka more than a simple kick in the back and twenty push-ups should have. Although that should have annoyed him a lot.

Aurora suddenly appeared in his field of vision, floating two feet in the air, looking back and forth between Christopher and Baraka. Christopher blinked, his eyes adjusting to the sudden new object taking up his view. He still wasn’t quite used to seeing things change this instantly.

“Don’t dance with love, kid. It does nothing but mess with you.” And with that, Baraka stalked off towards the edge of the room.

Christopher blinked. Love? What was he talking about? That… that’s ridiculous, he thought to himself. I’m not…

“What was that about?” he queried Aurora. When the alien dragon didn’t reply, Christopher suddenly realized something. He had seen enough movies and read enough books to spot the pattern. A sly expression crawled across his face. “Oh, he had his heart broken before, didn’t he?”

Aurora shook her beautiful triangular head slowly from side to side, and Christopher’s expression fell. [No,] she said. [He broke someone else’s heart.]

“Oh.” Christopher didn’t really get it, but whatever. Baraka chose that moment to stalk back over, this time trailed by a tall man. His hair was a light blue-green color that just came down to partially obscure his eyes, which were a vivid emerald green, and he was wearing an archaically styled robe, like those of a priest of a religion from the ancient past, white and trimmed with gold, green, and silver.

“This is Tagiolomu,” Baraka introduced with a curt nod.

“Tagi for short,” Tagiolomu added. His English had a peculiar accent, sort of British with a little bit of an Old English flavor and something else Christopher wasn’t familiar with.

“Tagi hails from a world of magic.” Baraka proceeded to make ghost noises. “Wooooo…

“You’re going to be accompanying me on my next journey,” Tagi explained. “There’s trouble brewing on my homeworld. War is imminent.”

Christopher shrugged. Alright. Not like he had any clue what was going on. So he would just go along with anything they told him to do. Well, Tagi anyways, who, on first impression, appeared far more trustworthy than Baraka. Not that that would be very hard.

“Alright then,” Tagi said, and held out his hands. Baraka put a finger on his shoulder. Aurora floated over and did the same with a paw on his other shoulder. Tagi looked slightly amused, and let his left hand fall, his right outstretched towards Christopher. Imitating the other two, Christopher put one finger on the wrist. This needed no explanation. Obviously, Tagi had been to his homeworld before. So they wouldn’t need to use the Gate of Infinity if Tagi could take them there.

Abruptly the scene changed, as was normal with Planeswalker teleportation. They were standing (or in Aurora’s case, floating) in a fairly spacious living room. The windows had curtains drawn over them, so the room was dark, lit only by the sunlight streaming through a slit on the curtains and a crackling fire in the fireplace on the wall next to what appeared to be the front door. The furniture was fairly frugal; several simple wooden chairs with thin cushions on the flat surface and backing embroidered with gray and gold flower patterns that were set up around the fireplace, a small dark brown wooden table in front of the same fireplace placed on top of a circular rug, and on the opposite corner of the room, four simple wooden chairs set around a Spartan wooden table, obviously for dining. Stairs on the edge of the room led up to a higher story, and a single open door led to what appeared to be a kitchen. Sounds of busy humming, the clatter of pots, and the sizzle of something being put onto a frying pan drifted through the door.

“Hey, Tagi! You’re back!” said an enthusiastic voice.

Christopher looked around for the source of the voice, which was kind of airy, but couldn’t find the source. It was coming from around the fireplace—maybe there was someone sitting in the chairs, hidden from view?

Then Christopher noticed that a little tongue of flame had shot up from the fire in the fireplace, and was waving back and forth like a person waving a hand for attention. He blinked, and to his astonishment, saw a pair of circular eyes and a large disembodied mouth on the fire.

“Hey, Calkimor. Long time no see,” Tagi said, as he walked over to the fireplace and bent down to talk to the fire.

Christopher’s eyes were wide. The realization suddenly came that Baraka wasn’t kidding when he said Tagi hailed from a land of magic.

He looked at his compatriots. Aurora was looking around the room, her head turning and her eyes scanning, with a curious expression. Or at least, Christopher thought it was curiosity, for how did one tell with an alien? Baraka yawning widely.

A woman walked through the doorway leading to the kitchen, and placed a hand on the doorframe. She was fairly pretty, with an old look in her sparkling blue eyes, as if she had seen an entire life pass before her, and black hair that flowed past her shoulders like water. She was wearing a blue-and-white maid outfit. “Welcome back, Tagi.”

“Good to be back, Tritie, although I don’t think I’ll be staying for long,” Tagi replied, standing back up and facing the maid. “Tritie, Calkimor, this is Aurora and Christopher,” he introduced, gesturing to each with his staff in turn. “Christopher’s new to the fold,” he added, unnecessarily, in Christopher’s opinion. “You know Baraka, of course.”

The fire, Calkimor, and Tritie in turn said hello, and Christopher and Aurora responded in kind. The two natives to this world said hi to Baraka as well, who merely grunted an affirmative, his hands in the pockets of his black leather jacket.

“Well, we better get going,” Tagi said, to both the members of his household and his Planeswalker companions. “We’ll be back in time for dinner.”

Dinner? Christopher wondered. He had just woken up on an hour and a half ago! His stomach rumbled when he remembered he hadn’t had breakfast yet, but he didn’t feel ready to go to bed anytime in the next 6 hours. Tagi made for the door.

“Ahem,” Tritie coughed. Everyone turned towards her. She was pointing with her eyes towards Aurora, then shyly started staring at the ground.

Tagi looked from Tritie to Aurora then back again. Something seemed to hit him. “Oh, right.” He scratched the back of his head uneasily. “Well, Aurora… I…” He suddenly vanished. Half a minute later he stomped down the stairs, carrying a large blue ring attached to a length of rope, with something like a cross between a handle and a remote on the end. “Sorry, but… you’re going to have to put this on, Aurora.”

Aurora seemed to withdraw. Her paws suddenly came up closer to her body, and she backed off a little bit. [Why?]

Christopher suddenly recognized what Tagi was holding. It was a collar and a leash.

“Dragons are considered Class-A Dangerous Creatures, and they must be restrained when taken out into public. It’s the law, sorry…”

Aurora made a soft, high-pitched whimpering sound. Christopher didn’t blame her. Finally she seemed to sag, and said dejectedly, [Oh well. Who needs dignity?] She offered her neck forward, and Tagi walked forward and snapped on the collar. He then handed to the leash to Christopher.

Christopher blinked. “Me?”

“Yeah, you.” Tagi shook the staff in his left hand. “I only have one free hand, you know.”

Christopher paused, then tentatively took the end of the leash in his hand. He glanced at Aurora, who was sitting on the ground with a sad look.

“Don’t worry,” Tagi said, “we’ll get you an Animus Masquer.”

Baraka of course, found this all very funny.
__________________

Art Gallery
Dali: "I know what the picture should be ... We take a duck and put some dynamite in its derriere. When the duck explodes, I jump and you take the picture."
Halsman: "Don't forget that we are in America. We will be put in prison if we start exploding ducks."
Dali: "You're right. Let's take some cats and splash them with water."

Last edited by Lusankya; 12-07-2008 at 07:59 PM.
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Old 12-07-2008, 07:55 PM
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Default Re: Guardians of Eternity: The Planeswalker Chronicles (Chapter 3)

Outside was spectacular. Christopher had been expecting something fairly similar to scenes from movies of 18th century London or something, thanks to his impressions of Tagi’s home. He had been expecting something like Diagon Alley from Harry Potter. Instead, they stepped out onto a massive bridge between two towering skyscrapers. Christopher looked around—they were situated hundreds of feet in the air. This was certainly no Harry Potter magical London. They were but mere specks in an enormous city that rivaled New York. The skyscrapers were generally windowless and were colored like desert sand, and they soared thousands of feet into the sky. Everything was round; there didn’t seem to be any right angles anywhere!

Overhead, massive airships, looking like flying whales that had their fins elongated into wings, soared across the skies. Closer to Earth, smaller flying craft of various shapes and sizes darted through the air. Aurora looked longingly at them.

Christopher carefully peeked over the edge of the bridge. There was no guard rail or anything that would have prevented a gust of wind from blowing him off, but the wind was low, blowing slower than he could have ran. Below him walked tiny ant-like specks. Even the streets were circular, the round buildings were built on circular platforms, and tiny little walkways extended from circle to circle. Where there wasn’t walkway, there was green. He suddenly felt very dizzy.

Christopher felt a tug on the leash, and looked back towards Aurora. She had both paws on the leash, tugging at it to get him away from the edge. Baraka and Tagi had continued walking while Christopher had been looking over the side. He ran to catch up, and found Baraka and Tagi standing in a chamber where other walkways lead in and out, talking about what they were going to do. A lot of gibberish and words that Christopher didn’t know, and didn’t really want to.

It was around this time Christopher discovered a hidden panel on the leash’s handle. Underneath it was two buttons, one blue, one red. Curious, he pressed the blue button.

Aurora suddenly shot up as though electrocuted and screeched. Christopher felt a sharp shock run up his spine; that was Aurora’s psychic ability at work. Tagi and Baraka whirled around. “Don’t press the buttons!” Tagi shouted. “The blue one shocks her, the red one knocks her out!”

Christopher winced and ran over to Aurora. “Sorry,” he grimaced.

Aurora was rocking back and forth slightly. [It’s… it’s okay.] But if her psychic voice was any indicator of her mental state, it wasn’t.

“Sorry,” Christopher said again.

Again, Baraka found this all very funny.

“We’re going to the Grand Library,” Tagi informed them. “I’ve got some research to do. The three of you can just wander around inside. Don’t be too bratty though,” he added, eyeing Baraka, who suddenly became engrossed in the back of his hand.

The Grand Library was a magnificent mushroom-shaped structure, a cut of a circle placed on top of a cylinder. And it was enormous; despite being less than half the height of the surrounding scrapers, it had a diameter as long as most of the skyscrapers were tall.

All this for a library? Christopher thought. These magic people really cared about their knowledge.

They walked out onto a platform that led to nowhere. Several flying craft, shaped like elongated, symmetrical yellow eggs, the top half of which was transparent, were waiting. Evidently they were taxis of some sort, because Tagi told the driver of one to take them to the library.

The inside was just like any bus Christopher had encountered back on Earth. The taxi cruised down through the lines of air traffic and entered through a hole at the top of the library building. They descended onto a landing pad in a cylindrical room with several other pads and got off; Tagi took out a few brilliant azure blue coins from his robe and flipped them at the driver. They proceeded through a round double-door.

Christopher gasped. Bookshelves at least three stories tall wrapped around the insides of the building as far as the eye could see. They were bent instead of straight, and formed concentric circles, with paths and gaps that allowed people to pass through. Sliding along the lengths of the bookshelves were enormous spindly ladders. It was all so surreal. Christopher didn’t think that any of it could have been held up by physics alone; some kind of magic was probably involved.

Aurora tugged on her leash, notifying Christopher to stop staring. Tagi and Baraka had stepped onto a wheeled platform big enough for a dozen people. Christopher followed suit, and Aurora landed behind him. Tagi tapped the platform with his staff twice, and they sped off. The platform defied the laws of inertia, for Christopher could feel no force on his body as it accelerate, or even made several right angle turns as it sped through the book shelves. Or even when a hole opened in the ground and it dropped through to a lower floor.

After several minutes of zipping this way, they stopped off on a floor that must have been near the base of the library. Here the books were aging and faded, with fabric-based covers, and gave off a musky smell. The book covers were inscribed with strange characters that Christopher didn’t recognize. Certainly they weren’t English or any language he had ever seen.

“Well, this is my stop,” Tagi said. “You three have fun. And be careful with the books. Some of them are enchanted.” He walked off. Christopher started to wonder why they didn’t teleport at every opportunity. Old time’s sake?

Christopher approached a bookshelf and randomly picked a book. Opening it, it was filled with lines of glowing red characters that he couldn’t read. Aurora looked very bored, picking at her collar.

“You might want to pick one that has a title you can read,” Baraka said, taking a book off a shelf. It was white, and without a title at all. The only adornment it had was a red heart on the front.

Christopher snapped his book shut and replaced it on the shelf. Aurora was trying to take another one off, but found it rather difficult due to her lack of fingers. Baraka glanced at Aurora and snorted, “Moron.”

Christopher glared at Baraka. “She is not a moron,” he stated, trying to be as matter-of-fact as possible.

“Oh sure, she’s brilliant. Brilliant like a star. And by star, I mean a giant ball of hot gas.” Christopher couldn’t think of a retort to that. Baraka let out a ‘heh’. “Book’s blank,” he commented, and tossed it at Christopher, who barely managed to catch it by the tips of his fingers. He then proceeded to walk off further down the aisle.

Christopher opened the book. Indeed, its pages were blank. He flipped through it. Strange. All the pages were empty. What was the point of writing a blank book?

He was just about to close the book when the corner of his eye caught movement on the right-hand corner of a page. Astonished, he watched as words and images wrote themselves across the page. Wait, no. They weren’t words. They were… hieroglyphs?

Suddenly the pages of the book erupted in a fountain of light. Aurora looked back in alarm. A picture that had appeared on the book, a picture of a hallway of what might have been a palace, appeared to grow, and grow, and grow.

The pages of the Book of Hearts grew around him.


When he woke up again, he didn’t recognize where he was or how he had got there. Blinking uncertainly, he looked around. He was in a hallway, and judging by the lavish decorations, beautiful paintings, and lovingly-made architecture, it was a hallway in a mansion or palace of some sort.

Then he remembered how he had got here. The book had swallowed him.

Momentarily, he felt despair. How was he going to get out? Damn Baraka for taking him away from his Kansas City home!

His self-pity was interrupted by the sound of footsteps. He ducked behind a pillar as two children, who couldn’t have been any older than seven at most, walked around the corner. One was an adorable little girl who came up to about Christopher’s waist, with blond hair and blue eyes, smiling widely at her companion, a little boy about her height with brown hair and black eyes dressed in a dark green sleeveless shirt and pants, along with some kind of cape. The boy’s clothing looked really odd, and he was wearing a serious, almost sullen expression on his face that looked completely out of place on a child.

“Wow, so we have the same birthdays?” the girl was saying. Christopher blinked. The language she was speaking was very obviously not English, yet… he could understand it?

“I suppose, Princess,” the boy replied in the same language. He seemed to be deep in thought.

“We can have our parties together!” the girl exclaimed. She was really quite bubbly. Even though Christopher had never really liked little kids, the girl, touched his heart in a way he couldn’t explain.

As they passed by him, he stepped out from behind the pillar in front of the two. “Excuse me,” he began, but the two walked right past him, still engaged in their conversation. “Hey!” he shouted, and ran to keep up. “Hello!” he shouted again, whirling around and facing the two.

The two children passed right through him.

Christopher gaped, eyes wide. He poked his legs, which the two children had walked right through, then looked back at the two, still walking down the hallway. Was he a ghost?

An elegant woman with flowing blonde hair and dressed in a prim white gown and wielding a wooden staff with a blue jewel at the tip appeared at the end of the hallway. “Saki, it’s time for the purification. Baraka, do you want to go down to the library again?”

What? Christopher thought. Baraka? Now that he thought about it, the boy did resemble Baraka…

The little Baraka nodded and bowed. “Yes, Your Highness.” The Baraka Christopher knew certainly wouldn't have shown respect, even to a queen.

Little Saki gave a simpering look. “See you later, Baraka,” she said, and was led away by her mother. The child Baraka sighed, and walked off in a different direction.

Abruptly, the scene dissolved as though a sudden mist had descended upon it. Then it reformed. Baraka was sitting on a luxurious-looking bed decorated with floral patterns, holding a sword in his hands. Although Christopher was no expert on swords, it wasn’t a kind he had ever seen before. Some kind of pseudo-European/Chinese mixture sword design, maybe.

A memory? Christopher wondered. Was he in Baraka’s memory? He seemed to be following him around, anyways, although two transfers wasn’t exactly a lot of data.

The door opened. A tall teenager, probably about sixteen, with blond hair, blue eyes, and looked a lot like that little girl, Saki, walked in. “Hey, brat. You’ve got a lot of nerve carrying that around inside the palace. That’s like asking to be attacked.”

Baraka looked up. “Oh, sorry, I didn’t know.” Christopher could not connect this polite little boy with the vulgar, boorish adult he knew. He took a sheath lying on the bed and sheathed the sword.

Another man walked in, this one with black hair and eyes, wearing formal white robes, which really looked more like a tiara. He looked down at the little boy with a kindly face. “It’s alright, you did not know,” he said softly.

Baraka got off the bed and bowed. “If this is the rule of the place where I am staying, then I will follow it. My apologies, Your Majesty.”
How did he go from this to that? Christopher wondered.

Your Majesty smiled. “You are a good child. You will learn to use your powers well,” he said, and left the room.

“A brat’s still a brat,” the teenager muttered. He and Baraka exchanged glares. Now there was the Baraka Christopher knew.

“A voice drifted through the open door. “Baraka!” In bounded the princess, who took one look at the two glaring at each other, and accused, “Big brother, are you bullying Baraka again?”

The brother smiled deviously. “I was just calling a brat a brat,” he stated.

Saki pointed a finger at her brother and glared. “You’re underage too! And you may be bigger than him on the outside, but you’re the one who’s still a brat!” The brother took a step back as though he had been physically struck. “Come on, Baraka!” Saki ran back out the door. Baraka let out an “uhh”, and quickly bounded after her.

The scene dissolved again. Now Christopher was standing in the middle of an underground lake. The thought of standing on water didn’t bother him much—if his suspicions were right, then this was just a memory, and he could neither harm nor be harmed.

The cave was amazing—although the light was dim, with only a single hole in the ceiling providing light, the cave was filled with enormous crystals of all colors and pillars of beautiful limestone and marble. The roar of a waterfall sounded in the distance, and a thin mist covered the entire lake. On the far shore Baraka and the woman from the first memory, who Christopher guessed was the Queen, and Saki’s mother, was standing near an entranceway, through which Christopher could see a stone staircase. He was watching the Princess, who was dressed in a very formal gown, her head and shoulders covered by a piece of fabric, wading in the water. Christopher walked towards them. The girl seemed to be undergoing some kind of ritual; Christopher recalled the Queen’s earlier comment about purification. Both the Queen and the Princess were chanting something, and from the Queen’s staff shone a blue light that helped to illuminate the cavern, although Christopher was sure that wasn’t its primary purpose. So this is a world of magic too, Christopher thought. It might have even been the same world he had been in, before entering this memory.

The Princess began to glow white, and rose up into the air. Baraka started walking forward, but stopped at the water’s edge. Christopher wondered what Baraka was doing here anyways; was this his homeworld? Christopher couldn’t quite make sense of it.

Suddenly, a large sucking sound, like an enormous vacuum cleaner, started. Christopher looked around the cave—a rift had opened up in the space above Saki, no wider that Christopher’s waist, and looked as though somebody had took a sword and slashed space itself diagonally.

Streams of liquid were pouring out from the rift, black and gold. They swarmed around the little girl. The Queen, on the shore, suddenly gasped and began chanting something different, something much faster and more energetic. A glowing green translucent sphere formed around Saki.

Meanwhile, Baraka was running across the lake, jumping from rock to rock that protruded above the calm surface. Twice he almost slipped and fell, but he managed to regain his balance. The child showed amazing athletic ability for his age.

Meanwhile, the black and gold liquid streams were attacking the barrier, dashing themselves upon it. Cracks began to form in the barrier, which grew, and grew…

Until the barrier shattered. The Queen suddenly collapsed. The black and gold liquid was grabbing at the Princess’s arms and legs and were dragging her into the rift, which had formed into a spherical hole in space and time. That rift… it leads to a different universe, Christopher thought.

The Queen stood back up, using her staff to support her weight, and began chanting again. Baraka’s body began to glow, and he suddenly jumped, kicked off a stalagmite, and launched his body at the rift and Saki in an impossibly high arc. He held out an outstretched hand, reaching for the little girl. “Open your eyes, Saki!” he shouted.

Christopher ran to get a better look. Enwrapped in the black and gold liquid, Saki’s face was still visible, but from the tiny look Christopher caught of her, she appeared to be asleep. Time seemed to slow down. A tiny white hand reached out from the black and gold liquid towards Baraka’s. The hands came within grasping distance—they were going to make it!

Baraka’s mouth opened, forming a tiny little o. His eyes widened from something that Christopher couldn’t see. The hands failed to meet. The liquid withdrew into the rift.

Baraka fell, down into the water, with a tremendous splash. He came back up coughing and spluttering, and swam to a nearby rock. A voice was speaking from the rift, a dark, insidious voice that made Christopher’s blood freeze.

“That hesitation… that confusion… you have sealed your fate from here on out.”

The liquid suddenly came back out of the rift. Like tentacles, they were holding Saki, wrapped around her arms and legs. But there was a glowing purple circle on Saki’s chest, a symbol which Christopher did not recognize. Three prongs, arranged around a center circle, curving around each other.

“Yes,” the voice said. “You understand. You cannot win.”

The underground lake dissolved.
__________________

Art Gallery
Dali: "I know what the picture should be ... We take a duck and put some dynamite in its derriere. When the duck explodes, I jump and you take the picture."
Halsman: "Don't forget that we are in America. We will be put in prison if we start exploding ducks."
Dali: "You're right. Let's take some cats and splash them with water."

Last edited by Lusankya; 12-07-2008 at 08:01 PM.
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