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 Post subject: Sorcerer
 Post Posted: Tue Jul 04, 2017 5:56 pm 
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Sorcerer - Part I

“Behold!” cried King Cacame, swinging his warhammer with fearless abandon, “your doom is at hand! Fear me!” To his credit, the dwarves on the walls were fleeing on their stumpy legs like their lives depended on it – which was probably true.

Vanessa climbed up the siege ladder and moved onto the wall, next to her king. Silently, she cursed him for being so enthusiastic and bloodthirsty. At least he was good at what he did. He was certainly better than her. But she was Chief Warlady, and was therefore unwilling to bet her entire side on the King’s uncanny ability to not die.

“You!” she said, pointing at him with her sword. “There’s been an ambush on the western flank. Go deal with it!”

The King laughed boisterously. “They think an ambush can stop us! How positively entertaining!” Grinning from ear to ear, he put one foot up on the edge of the wall. “Tally-ho!” he shouted, before leaping over the side.

Vanessa tensed for a moment, but was relieved when she didn’t suddenly feel the absence of a Warlord on the battlefield. She looked around at the wall, now empty of dwarves, but slowly filling up with her elven swordsmen. Without having to say anything, they began stacking themselves in her standard groupings. Her personal guard arrived as well, a set of four level six Elite Swordsmen. Their swords had been enhanced by the White Mage to encase the blades in Shockmancy flames, making them particularly effective.

The stacks began hunting for dwarves to kill as Vanessa tried to nail down what was still bothering her. There was no ambush, and the western flank was far from any side of the battle, so King Cacame was safe now. Her swordsmen had infiltrated dwarven fortresses many times before and knew to watch for traps. Was it the White Mage?

He had been a gift from the Titans when he popped. He had a special called “Self-linked,” and was apparently skilled in the magic of Matter. He could technically do any kind of magic, and was skilled in a vast array, but the real benefit was in his specialties of Changemancy, Shockmancy, Hat Magic, and Date-a-mancy. Since he was Self-linked, he could perform combinations of those disciplines without needing a Thinkamancer and another caster to link with.

Closing her eyes, Vanessa tried to figure out what he was doing. Due to the King’s bloodlust, all the other casters had gradually been croaked in battle, and now the White Mage was going out to war with them. He was useful, of course. He was terrifyingly useful.

But if he ran out of juice, he was worse than a level 1 stabber.

She really hoped he hadn’t run out of juice.

Eyes shut tight, she finally got a sense of where he was. He had decided the siege engines were taking too long, and had just blasted in the gates himself. She could hear the thunderous sound of their annihilation from here. Dimly, she noticed units being lost and other units levelling as combat began.

“Is something wrong, Warlady?” asked Marcus, one of her Elite Swordsmen. He had held the position since before Vanessa had popped.

She opened her eyes. “No,” she grunted. “The White Mage just opened the gates.”

Marcus nodded, a grim smile on his face. “Why don’t we go meet him, then?”

That was when it hit her.

<><><><><><><><><><><><>

King Cacame, as he always was when not in battle, was extremely melancholy. Unlike usual, he now had a decent reason.

“What should we do?” Vanessa repeated.

King Cacame sighed. “Well… I suppose we should start trying to pop a caster.”

Vanessa tried very hard not to yell at him as she said, “We can’t. Due to being elves, and being ageless, you decided that we could just trust to stay alive and spread knowledge when we needed it. So nothing’s written down. So no one knows anything about magic anymore. So we can’t pop a caster, because we don’t even know what makes a caster a caster. As far as Erf is concerned, magic no longer exists for us.”

Cacame stared out the window. “Could we hire one?”

Vanessa barked out a short, humorless laugh. “With what money? We already spend it all on upkeep. And that’s another thing. Without magic, we won’t have specialized upkeep. So all your speeches about the inherent superiority of elves will be for nothing. We aren’t ageless anymore.”

Cacame didn’t look at her, but continued to watch the rain over the conquered city. His silver-and-blue armor was stained with mud from wrestling around in the dirt towards the end of the battle, after the storm had started. His long dark hair was wet, limp, and frazzled. He looked tired, though in a supremely regal way. Vanessa still didn’t understand how he could do that.

“How many stabbers can we pop on a turn?” Cacame asked.

Vanessa’s eyes widened as she realized what her King was getting at. “If we do nothing else?” she asked, trying to keep her voice level.

“Yes.”

“One hundred and sixty. Twenty stacks.”

“And how many stabbers do we currently have of level 1, 2, or 3?”

“One thousand, four hundred and twenty-two.”

There was silence as Cacame pondered the math, nodding gently to himself. “How stable are we defensively?”

“Do you mean, if we didn’t have any stabbers below level four?” Vanessa asked.

“Yes.”

“We’d live. We might lose Second Base, but we’d live.”

“I hereby disband all stabbers of levels 1, 2, and 3,” King Cacame proclaimed. “Go get me a caster.”

<><><><><><><><><><><><>

Vanessa glared at the tapestry in her chambers. She had found it hundredturns ago, when she had broken into an old tomb in the hopes of finding just enough naturally uncroaked units to get to the next level. There hadn’t been any, but there had been this tapestry, and since it was so obviously magic, she had taken it.

Now, she was trying to decide what to ask it.

Softly, it rustled in a nonexistent breeze, the different threads unraveling and reweaving themselves constantly. As far as Vanessa could see, there were only two types of threads: glossy black, and matte black. But when she asked the tapestry for answers, the threads would realign and form letters.

And it was always correct.

“Hey,” she finally managed.

I told you the tapestry wrote. My name is the Dark Tapestry.

“Yeah, you. I need help.”

Indeed.

“I’m supposed to get a caster. I don’t know how. I can’t contact the Thinkamancers in the Magic Kingdom to ask them. I don’t know what to do.”

The Dark Tapestry seemed indecisive about this. Finally, it began to write. Go to the tower, and place a smooth stone from a dry riverbed in a wooden bowl filled with honey. Three turns after you do so, the city will pop a caster.

“That’s it?” she asked, disbelievingly.

No. He will be unable to cast properly unless three things happen on that first turn.

“What must happen?”

King Cacame must hit him.

Vanessa laughed. “And here I thought you couldn’t tell a joke! That’ll kill him!”

No it won’t.

Vanessa sobered at that. “Oh,” she managed. “What else?”

You will have to welcome him. And he will have to drink a glass of wine.

“We don’t have wine. None of our cities make wine.”

You are correct.

Vanessa stared at the Dark Tapestry for a long moment. Then she bowed her head and surrendered to the inevitable. “Where are we conquering?”

You need not conquer anything. Indeed, I would advise you not to.

<><><><><><><><><><><><>

Jason was not happy.

He had popped in a tower room, which was well enough. He had a good sense of self. He was a human, and he was meant to be a caster. He also knew, instinctively, that he could not do magic, and was the only human in an elven kingdom. Those were not good things to know.

About a half-second after all of this occurred to him, some regal-looking elf dude in silver and blue armor with hair like midnight and eyes like green fire lunged forward and slammed a fist into Jason’s face, sending him hurtling into the far wall and incapacitating him instantly.

This was followed with some chick – he couldn’t see her because of how he had fallen – saying “Welcome to Boatmurdered.”

After this, things improved significantly, aside from his mood. The dude who had hit him had walked across the room and picked Jason up and laid him down on the bed. From this position, Jason could at least see the room he was in, and the blonde chick with the sarcasm.

They explained, and then things made a lot more sense, from a purely logical definition of sense. Not in terms of the thinking-things-through-and-deciding-if-they-should-happen definition. The dude was King Cacame. He was a level 10 warlord, and loved fighting more than anything else. The chick was Chief Warlady Vanessa, and she had been put in charge of getting a new caster so that the side – which was idiotically named Boatmurdered – didn’t have to go on without magic. To that end, she had consulted a glorified rug.

Which had told them to have the level 10 Royal Warlord with maxed out stats hit the level 1 freshly popped caster.

To make things better, Jason still couldn’t cast, so he wasn’t the Chief Caster, so he couldn’t do anything about this. And, since there were no other casters on the side, Jason was reasonably certain that this meant there would be no Healomancy, and he was going to croak.

“Would you like a glass of water?” King Cacame finally offered.

Jason levelled a withering stare at him. “No, thank you,” he replied, with as much acid in his voice as he could muster.

“Are you sure? How about wine?”

“No,” Jason repeated. “Thank you.”

“You’re supposed to have a glass of wine, too.”

“We don’t have any wine,” Vanessa cut in, in her typically emotionless voice.

“Yeah,” the King mused. “You know where we can get some?” he asked Jason.

“I don’t even know where to get a towel! Why would I know where there’s wine?”

“Don’t get uppity with me, human,” Cacame growled back. “Or I will croak you and find a caster some other way.”

“I think you mean that you’ll disband me.”

Cacame shook his head. “Nope. I’ll put my warhammer through your croaking skull.”

Fortunately, they were interrupted by the soft ringing of a bell, and then a weird, shimmery image of a dude in robes appeared in the room with them.

“Who are you and what do you want?” Cacame demanded.

“Good morning,” the mystery man intoned. “My name is Anthony. I am a Weirdomancer. You cannot see, but with me now is Jeanette, the Thinkamancer sending this call, as well as Sylvia, a Healomancer, and Frederick, a Predictamancer. We were hoping we could meet with you, regarding your new… unit.”

King Cacame looked at Vanessa, and then they both looked at Jason.

“Sure,” Cacame grunted. “You wanna come now, or what?”

“We’ll be among you shortly,” Anthony replied.

<><><><><><><><><><><><>

The room was crowded, but at least Jason had been healed, so he could stand awkwardly in a corner while Frederick and King Cacame shouted loudly at each other about the inevitability of Fate. Anthony had somehow managed to conjure up some tea and was peacefully sipping at it, while Sylvia stared out the window. Jeanette and Vanessa were watching the debate, and occasionally adding snide or useful comments.

Jason was trying to get a grip.

He was not succeeding.

Anthony wandered over after a little while and stood next to him. “So,” he murmured, “you’re the Sorcerer?”

“Sure?” offered Jason. “I’m supposed to be a caster of some sort, but I don’t know what kind. To be totally honest, I don’t entirely understand magic. And some sort of tapestry gave the elves instructions about what to do with me to get me to be able to do magic.”

“What instructions?” Anthony asked calmly.

“The King had to hit me, which he did. The Warlady had to welcome me, which she did. And I’m supposed to have a glass of wine.”

Anthony turned this over in his head, contemplating it from a few different directions. “You want to know a Weirdomancy secret?” he finally offered.

“Oh, why not.”

“There’s more than one way to do magic. The way we do it is all based on these different components fitting together and being powered by juice. But that’s not going to help you, because you are incapable of doing magic our way.”

Jason smiled bitterly. “So I am a failure. I am the antithesis of what I am supposed to be.”

“Not what I said,” Anthony replied. Jason stared at him. Anthony sipped at his tea. “I said, you are incapable of doing magic our way. Not incapable of doing magic.”

“I don’t get it,” Jason managed, after trying to understand.

Anthony smiled. “That’s because you’re looking at it wrong. For example. Cacame hit you, in the literal sense of the words. But that might not have been what was needed. Moreover, I suspect that the requirements you were given are more like signs that the actions that are actually needed have been met.”

Jason made a blank face of confusion. Anthony ignored it.

“I guess the simplest way to explain how it’s all going to work out for you is that you cast magic backwards,” Anthony murmured between sips of tea. “Anyway, good luck.”

“What?” Jason asked, and then realized what was going on in the rest of the room.

“If you’re only here to disrespect my side, and my elves, and my croaking self, then you can just leave!” shouted Cacame, quivering with rage.

“Fine!” Frederick yelled back. “It’s not like some stuck-up murderhobo cannibal would understand the intricacies of the cosmos itself, anyway!”

“That’s only because I’ve got the decency to keep my boots on the ground instead of having my head in the clouds!”

“Well screw you!” Frederick finished with. To the other casters, he growled, “Come on! We’re leaving.”

The four of them started out towards the door, led by the swordsmen who had brought them. As Frederick was about to step out of the room, he turned towards Jason, one finger pointing accusingly. “You,” he spat with undertones of meaning, “you can go to Shutamen.”

The casters left. Cacame was still twitching with wrath, even as Vanessa let out a sigh of relief. She looked over at Jason, then down at his hand. “Where did you get that?” she asked.

Glancing down, Jason noticed he was holding a glass of wine. He didn’t know where it had come from, either, but he had a guess.

<><><><><><><><><><><><>

Jason contemplated the map table, and all of the drama unfolding upon it. One of the casters in Boatmurdered had gone insane three thousandturns ago and made it before croaking themselves. People claimed the table had simply needed too much juice, and sucked the rest out by killing the caster. No one knew for sure, but the map table was magic, and it showed all activity within three hundred hexes.

Right now, Jason was looking at a region off the western coast. “The Zogron,” Vanessa began explaining. “They are amphibious giants who have their capital here at Xolkuuv, under the ocean. This makes them basically impossible to attack, except by other Zogron. Thus, they put great effort into maintaining a unified nation. There is one notable exception.”

Vanessa pointed at a different piece of the ocean. This was off to the south of the continent, a little east of the region Boatmurdered controlled. “This is Zolsoh. This is where Shutamen went after he defected.”

Jason contemplated Zolsoh. It was the only city on its side, called The Deep. Moreover, Shutamen was the only intelligent unit recorded in The Deep. He was Overlord, Chief Caster, and Chief Warlord.

“Why did he defect?” Jason asked.

Vanessa looked at Cacame, unsure of the answer herself. The King had gone back to staring at the rain. “No one knows for sure,” he began, “or those who do have kept it quiet. The rumor mill says that Shutamen stole something from the Zogron. If that was true, then I expect he defected because he thought it was the moral thing to do.”

“What did he steal?”

“Something called the Principia Alchemica. I don’t know what it is,” Cacame replied flatly.

Jason frowned in thought. That sounded eerily familiar. It took him a moment, but he chased down the errant thought easily enough. He was thinking of the Principia Mathematica, also known as the Principles of Mathematics. It was a tome that explained how Mathamancy worked. Most people thought it was something the Rhyme-o-Mancers had made up, because it sounded good and implausible.

Connecting one dot to another, Jason interpreted what Shutamen had stolen, and silently agreed with Frederick that he needed to get there.

Vanessa watched Jason carefully, and recognized that he had fit the pieces together. “What is it?” she asked, her voice underlain with an order to explain.

“The Principia Alchemica is another way of saying the Principles of Alchemy. It’s a book that explains how alchemy works. And alchemy is magic. So if I get that book, I can learn how to do magic.”

“Alchemy?” Cacame asked, showing a bit more interest. “Alchemy isn’t exactly magic.”

Jason and Vanessa pulled perplexed faces. “What do you know about alchemy?” Vanessa asked, shocked the King knew anything besides how to kill his foes.

“The White Mage told me about it occasionally when he told me what I could and could not eat. He said it was based on alchemy. Different things interacted with the energy inside of me and changed some of my natural magic. So eating the berries of a yew tree, or elves or something could help me live forever. But eating undead or humans is bad for me. Has to do with the energy inside of those things.”

Vanessa was suddenly faced with a strange mixture of emotions. Betrayal at not having been told, curiosity at the new knowledge, and worry about its implications all crossed her mind, but she only displayed calm understanding. Jason, however, had skipped masking his emotions and went straight to horror. “You’ve eaten elves?” he asked.

“I mean… yeah,” Cacame said, blinking in confusion at the human’s response.

“You’re a cannibal!”

“Yes. We all are. Don’t you know the nicknames people have for elves?”

Jason looked at him in horror. He was very curious, and hated himself for his curiosity, because whatever this was, he wasn’t going to like it.

“We’re the Soul Cannibals.”

Immediately, Jason began working on forgetting that fact. Vanessa, however, looked like she had had a thought. “Jason, you said that Anthony told you that you would cast magic backwards?” she asked.

Jason nodded.

“Then we can figure out some of your magic without having to go all the way to Shutamen. We just need something that reacts to the internal energies of other units in reverse – you’ll do magic in the same way it does.”

The King shook his head. “It doesn’t work like that,” he said. “If you can do it, you have Positive energy. That’s what the White Mage said. It doesn’t run backwards. It doesn’t happen any other way.”

“Well…” Jason said, feeling his Duty compel him to share the next logical step. “If you ate a piece of me, that would still give us information.”

The two of them looked at him, Vanessa shocked he would even suggest that, and Cacame pleased at Jason’s solution. In fact, he had his “I get to hit things” smile back on.

“Not that I support this plan,” Jason added futilely.

“Hold still,” Cacame grinned. “This is going to hurt. A lot.”

The force of the order bound Jason completely still. He swallowed nervously.

“I’m a-gonna perform a called shot on the second joint of the smallest toe on your left foot,” Cacame announced, before stepping back and performing a perfect side kick directly into the little soft spot below Jason’s sternum.

Jason screamed with pain as the second joint on the smallest toe on his left foot shattered from the force of the kick.

“Good job, kid,” Cacame laughed. “Now take off your boot and give me your toe.”

At least the King had had the decency to make it an order. Jason pulled off his boot, shook the piece of toe out of it, and handed it to the King, who happily munched away on it. Jason tried not to retch.

Since Jason wasn’t paying attention, he didn’t see, but Vanessa watched as Cacame’s statistics suddenly changed, dropping alarmingly. His armor began to tarnish, its bright highlights dulling, dark burn marks appearing at its seams. Cacame became thinner, more haggard, older. His face distorted into an emotion she had never seen there before: fear.

Vanessa did the first thing that came to mind. She whacked him on the back as hard as she could.

Cacame coughed painfully, and the toe came up and splattered back onto the floor. He remained doubled up, trying to catch his breath after the sudden changes. Slowly, his statistics began to climb again, though they did not return to their maxed-out status.

“What happened?” Vanessa asked, her concern evident.

“You,” Cacame wheezed, pointing at Jason, who was just now starting to pay attention again. “You are no ordinary human.”

“I’m not?”

“Humans are imbued with death. They’re the opposite of elves. It’s why they live such short lives. But you are not imbued with Negative energy. You have a void. The energy within you is the absence of energy. You are a Shadow that can destroy the light and the darkness at the same time.”

<><><><><><><><><><><><>

Vanessa tried her best to ignore the shouts coming from the war room. When the argument had started, she had tried to calm them down, but Cacame was too bullheaded. He ordered her out of the room. Not that that stopped her from lingering at the door and hoping everything would be okay.

Because now Jason and Cacame could both kill each other. And now that there was imminent danger, of course Cacame would decide to get offended and start a fight. Jason had made a perfectly reasonable suggestion about offering peace to the Psionic Kingdom, just across the mountain range to the south, and seeing if their mysterious Weaver King could help him get to Shutamen safely. In terms of planning ahead, this was an excellent plan.

Cacame, however, disapproved. He didn’t believe in paying for things. And while the Weaver King was outside Cacame’s ability to control, a navy was not. Boatmurdered, ironically enough, did not have any ports, but it could get to one easily enough, and Cacame wanted to go get a navy to sail out to Shutamen with.

Jason had pointed out the obvious flaw – Shutamen was under the water. In truth, he was in an ocean trench, so being able to get underwater might not even be enough. Cacame would hear none of this. He was sure a solution would present itself, and if not, he would find a solution at that point in time.

“When all you have is a hammer…” Vanessa sighed to herself.

Truth be told, this was the exact opposite of what she wanted. Cacame might be incredibly strong in combat, but she needed him to be more of a Ruler and less of a Warlord. As Jason’s first turn, this was going to leave a really bad impression. And hey, Jason was kind of cute. It would be nice if his life wasn’t a constant quest to keep up with Cacame’s warmongering.

“Is something wrong, Vanessa?” a familiar voice asked.

Looking up, Vanessa saw Marcus standing there. He had never looked older, she thought, and had never looked more like the comforting, grandfatherly figure he was. A grandfather that was one of the better swordsmen Boatmurdered had ever seen.

“Cacame and Jason are fighting, and that’s not likely to end well,” she reported.

Marcus listened for a moment as the debate continued to devolve towards criticisms of Cacame’s job as Ruler, plainly and painfully evident in the haphazard distribution of troops and cities on the map table.

“Do you want me to try and stop it?” he offered.

“He’ll just order you out. Like he did to me.”

Marcus looked at his Chief Warlady, assessing the situation, before kneeling beside her. Gently, he turned her face towards his. “King Cacame values you more than you know. You may not be able to fight armies single-handedly like him, but he knows that he cannot lead armies single-handedly like you. He can demand, but not negotiate. He can inspire fear, but not hope. He may be Ruler, but without you, he wouldn’t have very much to Rule.”

Vanessa smiled despite herself. “That’s not what this is about,” she chided him softly.

“That is always what it’s about when he pushes you aside like this,” he countered confidently. “You’re still trying to prove yourself to him. Like you have been for a long time. Right now, the way to do that is to do your job.”

“What can I do? This isn’t a military matter. They’re just fighting. I have to obey his order.”

“You are Chief Warlady. You are in charge of fighting. Our deplorably fearless leader is not.”

<><><><><><><><><><><><>

The doors of the war room slammed open as Vanessa forced them aside.

“Hey,” she said. “Stop it.”

Jason and Cacame both paused and turned towards her. Jason’s face reminded her of a dog that knew it had done something bad. Cacame was just surprised she had managed to find a reason to disobey his order.

“Fighting each other accomplishes nothing,” she continued, trying to hold on to the reason for her disobedience. “What we need to do now is focus on getting to Shutamen. We’ll commit to one plan or the other when we know which will work. So I’m going to send a runner to the Psionic Kingdom, and we’ll move to attack Magic Carp. When one bears fruit, we’ll abandon the other. Any questions?”

“No ma’am,” Jason managed. Cacame was still in shock.

<><><><><><><><><><><><>

Their turn had ended, as had the day. The next turn wouldn’t be for several hours. Night had settled in like an old friend, bringing a peaceful calm to the world outside. Vanessa did not feel so calm.

She was still awake, staring at the Dark Tapestry, trying to figure out why she wanted to talk to it again. Fortunately, it didn’t feel like waiting for her.

You haven’t finished yet.

“What do you mean?”

You haven’t finished popping Jason yet. You didn’t do everything.

“Cacame hit him, I welcomed him, and he drank a glass of wine. That was what you said we needed to do.”

Words can be deceiving.

“Then stop being deceitful, rug.”

The tapestry rustled indignantly. My name is the Dark Tapestry.

“What still needs to happen?”

You need to answer the door.

There was a knocking at her door.

Even as she got up and walked over to it, Vanessa was quietly cursing the Dark Tapestry. Predictamancy was all well and good, but all it really seemed to do was either spoil the surprise, or make you feel like you should have seen it coming.

Vanessa pulled open the door to see Jason standing there, fidgeting. “Um, hi,” he mumbled. “Sorry if I woke you.”

“You didn’t. Is something wrong?”

“Not exactly. I was wondering if we could talk?”

By way of response, Vanessa pulled the door open a little wider and moved out of the way. Jason nodded and smiled gratefully and stepped into the room.

Vanessa sat on the narrow bed, Jason at the desk. He had taken a quick glance around the room, but apparently the Dark Tapestry had the decency to just look like a tapestry for once. He hadn’t reacted to it. Vanessa tried to look less intimidating.

“So…” Jason started. “the feeling of not being… right. Like when you’re in the wrong place at the wrong time, except the place and time are just you being you… does that feeling ever go away?”

Vanessa bowed her head, trying to decide how to answer. What Jason had just described was exactly how she felt around Cacame most of the time. But now she needed an answer, so she could give it to Jason.

Eventually, her silence stretched into an answer all by itself. “Sorry,” Jason mumbled. “I… I’ll just be going.”

He stood up to leave, but Vanessa interrupted. “Wait.”

Jason paused. For a moment, Vanessa wondered if it had accidentally come out as an order.

“I don’t know. People don’t really talk about it. My soldiers certainly don’t, if they’re feeling it. And no offense to him, but I’m not sure Cacame is even self-aware enough to feel that way.”

They both chuckled a little.

“But yeah. That’s a feeling you’ll have. And the downside of someone like Cacame for Ruler is that you might have it a lot.”

“You feel that way around him?” Jason asked.

Vanessa nodded cautiously. A movement out of the corner of her eye drew her attention to the Dark Tapestry. It was writing a message.

“Oh,” Jason said, answering her nod. “I didn’t know. I’m sorry for bringing this up, then. I can understand if you don’t want to talk about it.”

Vanessa wasn’t entirely listening, because she was too busy being inwardly furious with the tapestry. She understood what it wanted her to do, but that didn’t mean she liked it. “No, it’s okay,” she said, and then stood up as well. “Having Cacame for a Ruler is hard. We just do the best we can. And now there are two of us to deal with him.”

Cautiously, awkwardly, she stepped forward.

Right on the lips, the Dark Tapestry added.

Vanessa kissed Jason gently on the cheek instead. “Don’t worry too much,” she said, smiling awkwardly. “You’ll fit here.”

Jason gave her an awkward “I wish I knew what I was doing, but I don’t,” smile. He placed a hand on her shoulder, clearly expressing his thanks for her reassurance, and then turned and left.

Sighing, Vanessa turned towards the tapestry.

:(

“I swear, one of the days, I’m going to cut you in two,” she said vehemently.

<><><><><><><><><><><><>

Jason stood looking out the window of his tower room, contemplating the moon and the stars and the night sky in general.

He was also contemplating himself, and Cacame, and Vanessa, and his fights with Cacame, and his conversation with Vanessa.

He was broken, he knew that. He had a void inside of him where he should have had something – maybe something as terrible and awful as death, but at least something. But then again, maybe this was exactly as he was meant to be.

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