Wednesday, June 25, 2008


Being unable to speak is an extremely frustrating thing. If she had been born that way, it might not have been so bad, but as the situation stood, she had, for the greater part of her life, been fully capable of speech. So when she suddenly found herself completely unable to make any sound more complicated than a hiss, she was rather at a loss for a good many years. And with the complete loss of her powers, too, it's not surprising that she was a tad bit helpless.
Of course, that was the plan. We thought that through rather well, I think.
Allow me to explain. I am Murdoch. I am one of the rather... well, to be honest, I'm probably the least important wizard of all who participated. Still, to be powerful enough to be included in the fifty at all is an honor, and secures my place as the greatest wizard to ever walk this land! And I'm not just saying that because the others all fly. I am powerful. Really. Quit looking at me like that.
Anyway. She is the interdimensional moderator. At least, that's what I call her. Her proper title is considerably more impressive, and considerably harder to remember. I mean, it's not like I don't remember, but anyway. It's her job to keep people like me from jumping from universe to universe, wreaking havoc, building empires, burning buildings, stealing babies... You know, that sort of thing. And she was very, very good at it. You'd be almost through the dimensional barrier, just sacrificing the seventeenth goat, when bam! No more ritual. I don't know how many goats I've lost through those portals of hers, but seriously, she's gotta have several thousand of them somewhere. And with over a hundred major dimensions under her watch, to catch everyone who tries that every time is a major achievement. Not to mention going along helping people and improving the quality of life along the way. Really, she is impressive.
The previous moderator, Jarn, wasn't half as bad as her. He would let things go, where there's no way he didn't notice, armies going through large, unstable portals and the like. He was more interested in dramatic entrances and massive rituals where millions of people bowed down to him in awe. And for the right price, he would occasionally even do it for you! Ah, the good old days.
But when he finally kicked the bucket, she was for some reason chosen as his successor. And we all laughed at the girl when she fell out of a portal on her head the first try. After Jarn's overdone lightshow of an entrance, her simple portal-open-fall-out was rather amusing. But her willingness to actually do her job more than made up for it. In her first year, she stopped almost as much as Jarn had in his entire career. You could still get away with some, because she was still learning her powers, so it wasn't so bad at first. But she got better and better at an incredible rate. Before long, you couldn't get a dagger through the dimensional veil before she was on you. And a couple thousand years of that was far too much.
And that was precisely why she had to go.
The ritual wasn't my idea. It was Lui's. (Lui Sho Reed, for those of you who're interested.) Don't call him Luigi. He really hates that. And you do not want to make him mad. He's the best, the brightest, the most powerful, and definitely the most evil. He'll steal your soul without a second thought, or just kill you, if he's feeling nice. (Very seldom is he feeling nice.) He got along really well with Jarn, probably because Jarn was absolutely petrified of him. That's how powerful he is. Virtually immortal too. I mean, everybody's got the no-aging thing going, but most of us figured it out around seventy, eighty. Him? He's in his thirties.
Anyway, enough about him. He came up with the ritual. Great idea. Basic principal: get enough of us to make all of us together more powerful than her, set a trap, get rid of the IDM. (The acronym was my idea.) Sounds simple, right? Well, it wasn't. We had to get all of us, that's fifty known dimensional offenders to the same place at the same time without her noticing. Just communicating without her picking up on it was hard enough. And to get all of us there! That was a brilliant stroke of strategy.
How, you ask, did all of us get through the barrier at the same time? Well, we didn't. Two hundred tried.
And fifty... well, forty nine made it through. I had to try twice.
Really, I am a great and powerful wizard. Seriously! I'll turn you into a newt!
Anyway. By the time we were all together, we didn't have a ton of time to plan. I mean, she knew where we were, and as soon as she was done putting the dimensional barrier (which we damaged quite badly) back together, she was coming for us. And even with that many of us, she would still kick our collective rear ends if we weren't ready the first second she showed up. Even Lui was worried, I think. But don't tell him I said that! So, we had to get ready fast. Symbols painted, check. Everyone in position, check. And when she popped up (right where we needed her! I don't know how Lui planned that, but it was amazing) we almost instantly started the ritual.
Now, at this point, you're probably expecting me to tell you how it went wrong. Shows how much confidence you have. Just so you know, we succeeded. She was completely out of our hair for almost twenty years, which, considering she'd been stopping us for a couple thousand before that, wasn't honestly that good. (What? We had almost ten thousand years with Jarn in charge. I wasn't around for that whole thing, of course, but who was? Twenty years went by like nothing.) Completely powerless, just like an ordinary human. Also, completely unable to speak, which was a major plus. It kept her from breaking the curse, and it had her scrambling to make even the most intelligent of people understand what she was trying to say. She got chased by more than one angry mob, let me tell you!
That was after, of course, she escaped from Lui. He had her imprisoned for the first year or so, just to make sure the curse was holding. And he would have kept her there too, just to keep an eye on her. (Because regardless of the curse, she was a clever one.) But she had other ideas, and so did that nifty little machine she built.
Now, keep in mind that we have no idea what universe she's originally from, nor do we know what kind of education she had there. For that matter, we don't even know her real name. At this point, I doubt she remembers it either, she's been alone for so long. (Sad, really. If she wasn't my sworn enemy, I might feel kinda bad for her.) Anyway, whatever world she's from, if that's the level of technology they have there, I'm steering clear. Cut through the dimensional barrier like butter, and Lui had no idea where she went for about three years. Amazing. And it went up in smoke five seconds after she was through. Pity, though I couldn't have figured it out for the life of me. Would've been handy.
But I, unlike Lui, knew exactly where she went. That's just how amazing I am.
No, I didn't use a magical artifact I found by sheer chance. That would be silly.
...Ok, maybe I did. But still, I think it was clever.
Anyway. I developed a system by which I could see her every move, and I've been watching her, ever since I returned home from the ritual. It would have been handy to have before, just so I could know when to hide, but it's just something interesting now. When she escaped from Lui, it started getting really interesting. Her little machine took her to an almost completely dead world. The buildings were in ruins, without a sign of life for miles. Mostly ashes. Rivers were clean, though, and the plants were doing well, so whatever happened happened a long time ago. I think she went there to take stock of her situation, and that was probably a good place to do it. Not a lot of people to not be able to talk to and all.
Anyway. Lui was a little mad, to put it lightly. And of course he went shooting through the dimensions looking for her. Eventually someone implied that he was scared (and got fried for their trouble), and he gave up looking to save face. But while he was doing that, she was building another machine. Somewhere in there she must have decided that powers or no powers, she still had a job to do. I told you she was amazing.
Or, just speculation and not at all implying that I might know something that I really don't want Lui to find out from me because he'd kill me, something just might have gone wrong with the ritual. Just a little tiny something, maybe, just a few cracks in the curse caused by a lack of consistent motivation among those who participated. Maybe just a minuscule ability to use very specific parts of her powers under extremely unlikely circumstances. Just speculating, but it might be that she encountered one of those unlikely circumstances involving a specific shape of leaf falling into an unusual bend of a small stream causing three goats to fall out of a portal looking very startled. And it could be possible that she figured out that the curse was imperfect and started dropping oddly shaped leaves into the stream until she had a healthy flock of goats to look after. Of course, I'm just speculating. Not like I saw it happen or anything. Cause that would just be silly.
I mean, the curse could never have been cracked. Our motivation was perfect. It's not like me being there because she scared the pants off of me didn't completely coincide with Tusok's desire to exact revenge for his past humilations, or Ajah's planning to play pranks on respected authority figures once she was out of the way, or Ulioh's craving for ravioli at the time. All fifty of us were completely on the same page. Really.
Just out of speculation, if everything I just postulated were true—which would be absolutely absurd, and there's no way it could happen—but if it did, in some very unlikely scenario, I would be very scared. In fact, I'd be so scared that I wouldn't try to jump between dimensions anymore. I wouldn't try to build up empires or wreak havoc. I'd probably be too scared to come out of my basement. And I'd sit here, watching her every move, just waiting for her to find me so I could beg on my knees for mercy. And I'd probably be writing this.
Because when we completed the ritual, she recognized us. She knows every one of our names. And she has to know that if she manages to get every one of us to retract the curse before the seven thousand year mark when, for seven brief minutes, her powers will be completely up for grabs, the curse will be broken.
So she's got seven thousand years to find fifty of us.
Don't mind me saying so, but my money's on her.

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