Mace Black, Page 439-443 by Wolfenshire ()
Members remain the original copyright holder in all their materials here at Renderosity. Use of any of their material inconsistent with the terms and conditions set forth is prohibited and is considered an infringement of the copyrights of the respective holders unless specially stated otherwise.
Mace Black, Page 439-443
Koael shook his head. “Are you kidding me? This is proof Aestar is messing around with time, and we’re some kind of weird experiment. And what about the part where Gaevin was living in the north cabin.”
Roael picked another log up and laid it on the fire. “That section alone is enough to for me to doubt the book. You’ve never been north, and I’ve never mentioned a north cabin, because there has never been one there. What is there is an old foundation long covered in weeds.”
“Is this a map of the constellations?” asked Boae, holding up a map of dots on a page somewhere in the middle of the book.
“I saw that too,” said Jasai. “We know the constellations we see from a Crystal World are just a representation of the constellations beyond the Crystal Universe in real space. But I can’t match any of the constellations from the book with the ones in the sky. It could just be that Shade Mountain is so far from here that Koael was seeing different constellations. But, in my mind I see that map as proof the book is true. Koael was trying to show where he was, that’s pretty detailed information.”
Sern shook his head and sat down on the hearth. “I’m sorry, Roael, but we know time travel is as common as walking to the bathroom for the Jon Blacks. Master Aestar’s time travel abilities would probably make the Jon Blacks look like infants crawling around on the kitchen floor. I think its proof that we’ve been through a time-loop at least once.”
“It’s a smoking gun at best,” said Roael.
Jasai glanced at Zil and frowned, he was standing on the counter in the kitchen and looking in the top cupboard. Apparently he must have thought something good was hiding up there. She would have to explain the finer points of etiquette when visiting someone’s home.
“I don’t think what we’re seeing from that book is a time-loop, probably more like a time-reset. That book shouldn’t exist either way, and that’s further proof,” said Jasai. “The book could have only have remained in existence if it was outside time during the last time-reset. The Priestess must have been in that moment between life and death as her soul was crossing through the Gates of the Dead, or more scientifically, she was between the event horizons of the white hole at the moment of the reset.”
“Could Koael have been aware of the resets and not remember?” asked Boae.
“I’ll play hypothetical for a moment,” said Roael. “The book is only Koael’s observations and vague discoveries, and whole chapters of what we did to him. I don’t think he realized the implications of what was happening, so no, he wouldn’t have been aware, but that’s where I doubt the validity of the book. I can’t accept for a moment that we would have done all that to him.”
Jasai went to Koael and hugged him again for the twelfth time in the last half hour. “I’m so sorry, I can’t believe I betrayed you.”
Koael pushed Jasai gently away. “You didn’t, the Koael in that book wasn’t me.”
“Yeah, it was you,” said Sern. “If you’d brought me that book two months from now, I wouldn’t have come here. I almost didn’t come here now. That book is the different possibility of outcomes and actions we are capable of. We did it to you, we betrayed and abandoned you for our own personal gain.”
“Brother, you didn’t betray me in this possibility,” said Koael.
Sern dropped his head, he couldn’t look Koael in the eyes. “Yeah, I did. I’m the one that handed the Shade Rider the bribe to convince you to head to the Outlaw Bridge.”
“Okay, fine, all of you suck as brothers,” said Koael. “I forgive you for betraying me in a different reality this me never lived. And anyway, you’re the one that taught me to cheat at dice and run a con. The whole thing had the mark of one of your cons all over it, I’m not stupid. Remember, you taught me the best con is to have a patsy set the hook, that’s what you did with the fake letter from Roael.”
“What letter?” asked Roael.
Koael laughed. “Ha! Busted! And Roael wouldn’t have been stingy and only sent me seven thousand gold script.”
“Seven thousand?” Roael looked at Sern. “You only sent him seven thousand?”
Jasai frowned at Sern. “Seriously? What’s wrong with you? I only needed a silver piece to have Zil’s letter read and Roael sent me eight hundred thousand worth of gold bullion. What am I supposed to do with that much gold? Buy a Villa on the River Styx?”
Roael put a hand on Sern’s shoulder. “I’m still not convinced. But, if true, the book only tells us what we did to Koael, it doesn’t explain why Aestar is doing this to us, or why he keeps resetting time, and we don’t know how many times he’s done this, but obviously he hasn’t been getting the results he wants.”
“Okay, I suck as a brother,” said Sern.
Everyone looked at Sern and tried to suppress their laughter. “You’re lagging in the conversation, brother, we’re past all that, but okay, it’s all Sern’s fault and we can go home now,” said Boae.
Sern narrowed his eyes and stuck his tongue out at Boae.
“I think we should do what we should have done from the start,” said Roael. “We take the fight to Aestar.”
“I’m not so sure that’s the way to handle this,” said Jasai.
“I’m in,” said Boae.
“Me too,” said Koael.
“We should ask Saeber and Zil what they think,” said Jasai.
Roael looked at the white tiger. “What say you, Saeber?” asked Roael.
“I go where Sern goes,” she replied.
Jasai turned to Zil. He was no longer in the kitchen, but now standing over the incubator watching the egg and stuffing handfuls of sugar into his mouth from a jar he had found. “What do you think, Zil?”
Zil looked up and grinned. “She’s coming.”
“Who’s coming?” asked Roael.
“Her shell is cracked,” said Zil.
Roael’s eyes widened and he rushed to the incubator. The door of the cabin burst open and Gaevin, Rieka, Tarabeth, and Maseth tumbled into the room.
“The shell’s cracked!” shouted Gaevin, pulling himself out from under Rieka and crawling across the floor to the incubator.
Boae grinned. “I think a few someone’s were listening to us at the door.”
“Yeah, real Temple Ravens we are if we don’t even know when we’re being spied on,” replied Sern.
Roael unfastened the top and sides of the incubator and removed them. “Someone go get the Tarlock, quickly.”
“I’ll go,” said Tarabeth, and shot out the door.
“Move everything out of the way,” ordered Roael. “He’ll need room. If he’s anything like Gaevin he’ll come out like a bull.”
“She’s a girl,” said Zil.
Roael looked up at Jasai. “Could you get Zil to stand back, I’m worried about his tail.”
“Zil, come on over here and stand next to me,” said Jasai.
Zil obeyed and came to stand next to Jasai. “She’s a girl, not a boy,” repeated Zil.
Jasai put her hand up to stop Zil from shoving another handful of sugar in his mouth. “That’s not good for you, and the Tarlock already told us the egg is a boy.”
Zil didn’t want to give up the jar of sugar and Jasai had to pry it out of his claws. “Give me the sugar.”
He finally released the sugar after a tug-a-war and sugar spilled all over the floor. Zil crouched down and pouted.
Jasai shifted to her Mathor form and pushed her tail against him. “Boy not other boys big baby,” Jasai spoke to him in his own language of passing protein strings between them. “Sweet sand bad when too much eaten.”
“Boy not other boys likes the sweet sand,” said Zil.
Jasai ignored his pouting and asked, “Why boy not other boys think egg is girl not this girl?”
“Boy not other boys checked,” replied Zil.
“When others not us making sounds, boy not other boys touched the shell?” asked Jasai.
Zil nodded and Jasai shifted back to her Darai form. “Roael, the hatchling is a girl.”
“Jasai, the Tarlock already…” began Roael.
“The Mathor’s are better at knowing this stuff then even the Tarlocks,” interrupted Jasai. “Trust me, she’s a girl.”
“Roael, this isn’t the time to argue,” said Sern. “The shell is breaking, if it’s a girl we only have a few minutes to get ready.”
“I agree, we can’t take the chance,” said Boae.
“Either take the egg outside, or bring some outside in here,” ordered a voice from the door.
Everyone turned to see Moeth standing in the doorway. “I thought you were up at the rock quarry?” said Roael.
“We saw a train flying through the air and landed down here somewhere,” said Moeth. “We came as fast as we could.”
Raen, holding a handful of dirt, pushed past Moeth in the doorway. “Make way, make way.” Raen went to the egg and put the first handful of dirt next to the egg. “What are you waiting for, everyone go get a handful of dirt.”
In a few minutes a patch of dirt surrounded the egg, and just in time as the first piece of shell broke away. The Tarlock entered the cabin just then and went to the egg and knelt beside it.
“Why is there dirt around the egg?” asked the Tarlock. “I told you it’s a boy.”
“Our Mathor friend says it’s a girl,” explained Roael
The Tarlock sighed. “If she is a girl and something is wrong with her, it will be because of the frost damage, not an ancient Darai superstition.” The Tarlock shook his head, nobody here would argue with him, but they weren’t going to change their minds. The Darai were deeply superstitious. “Very well, the eldest female is responsible for the blessing.”
Moeth came to the egg and knelt, and waited. The pieces of the shell broke apart slowly, Gaevin’s twin wasn’t in as much of a hurry to hatch as Gaevin had been when he broke his shell. The hatchling took its time and pieces of shell fell away until she was at last free. The Tarlock bent over her and inspected the small Kaestral Falcon hatchling.
“She’s a girl,” he declared. “I suppose I was wrong.”
“It’s not your fault,” said Roael. “How many Kaestral Falcons have you delivered?”
“She is my first,” admitted the Tarlock.
The hatchling rolled out of its shell and onto the patch of dirt surrounding the egg. Her little hands clutched at the dirt while Moeth lifted her own hands over the hatchling.
Moeth spoke the blessing given to every Darai girl since Kasi the Great led the Darai people to the River of Consciousness. “This world has given you life, and in your turn you will give it life. Stand now on the soil of your world and hear the voice of your people, come now to the River of Consciousness that is Darai.”
All the Darai in the room united their minds and spoke. “We are Darai.”
The infant saw in her mind the River of Consciousness and all the love pouring from it. She gurgled happily. Moeth lowered her hands and the Tarlock picked the hatchling up and cleaned her off. He inspected her carefully, counting toes and fingers, checking her heartbeat and breathing. It always took a few minutes for a Darai to open their eyes for the first time, so that was the last thing to check on the Tarlock’s list. Her eyelids fluttered and opened. The Tarlock looked closely at her eyes and his tail dropped flat to the ground; a sign of the deepest sadness a Daiami could show.
Roael reached out for the hatchling. “What is it? What’s wrong?”
Roael took the hatchling in his arms and looked at the little girl’s eyes, they were covered with a blue film, the translucent blue one might see if you looked deep into a frozen glacier.
“She’s blind,” the Tarlock said softly.