Saturday, August 31, 2013

Sudden Short Story 52

Laviten wound his way through the winding gap at the top of the mountain.  There had yet to be any branch in it, so there was no issue of getting lost.  He just wondered how long it would be until he finally encountered the horned man.  He rounded a corner, and there he was. 
The horned man stood on a narrow plateau in the center of a great depression in the rocks.  The plateau brought him to the same height as Laviten, who was dumbstruck, not having known what to expect.  The horned man stood on the toes of one foot, his other tucked against his thigh, with his hands in an odd gesture at his hips.  He did indeed have horns, and his eyes were closed. 
The horned man spoke suddenly:  "You seek to change who you are, Lesser of Leotan."
It was more a statement than a question, but Laviten felt compelled to speak.  "I came to seek your wisdom."
"You sought wisdom from the shamasal; from me, you seek direction." 
The horned man's directness befuddled Laviten, though only for a moment.  "Y-Yes.  I do not know what I should do next.  Where am I needed?  What shall I do?  What if shapeshifting is not the only magic to --"
"Go across the high mountains," interrupted the horned man, pointing behind him to his own right with his right arm, "There you will find your star."
"But... of all the stars in the sky, none are mine," he protested.  "The Oracle of Oras saw none for me."
The horned man opened his eyes, and fixed Laviten with his gaze.  Laviten stood transfixed, staring at those implacable eyes.  He began to notice what was so disquieting about them:  Were they moving left and right too rapidly to be noticed?  Or were the pupils actually wider?  Laviten realized that the horned man had raised his left arm skyward.  He followed it with his eyes to its hand curled into an upward-pointing finger, and then upward into the bluish sky. 
Laviten fell backwards and scrambled backwards instinctively, for that what he saw was so terrifying.  He had only just noticed it, but in that moment realized that he had seen it ever since he emerged from the gap.  Had he seen it even before then?  Perhaps even before he entered the gap, when the mountain was no longer climbable?  How could he not notice it before now?  Neither cloud nor moon nor star was to be seen above.  Though the sky was clear, the moon and stars that forever bathed Ogo in nocturnal light were not to be seen. 
"That is the power of the star that awaits you," spoke the horned man.  "Its light is enough to banish the other stars, and more.  Now go, across the high mountains.  When you reach the other side, your journey will have begun." 
Uneasily, Laviten collected himself and stood up.  Promising himself to remain undaunted, he thanked the horned man, and then proceeded around the crater, toward the awaiting mountains, where the horned man's right arm still pointed. 

Being Sick Sucks

Being sick sucks!  :(
I had a cold or something this week.  It kind of slowly built up and slowly died down.  I'm fending off the last of it now, but it was so bad Thursday that I had to take the day. 
At first, the symptoms were so mild that I hoped that I could just sleep it off a night or two.  Either the sleeping or the sick-feeling, though, already interfered with my plans to put a somewhat-longer short story here this month.  I'll just write it next month:  I have the overall idea and plot, but I want to give this one more detail and give the reader a broader exposure to the time over which it occurs, as opposed to my usual condensed vignette form. 

On the up side, I did finally play some Thaumcraft for the first time in a few months.  Go read about it on my Minecraft blog:

Oh, also, since I didn't have enough time to take off for being sick, I had to make up hours at work today.  Boo. 

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Sudden Short Story 51

"Daniel," he said into the microphone.  "Daniel, get out of there.  The hatches have unlocked, and we can't re-engage them.  We're shutting down the rift due to the contamination risk, but that'll take time."
"I know," came the reply.  "That's why I have to hurry."  Daniel walked toward the sheathe that surrounded the rift.  It was vertical because the incoming streams had to be perpendicular to the particle accelerators that generated them. 
"Daniel, stop.  You're solid:  Most of your information will pass through the Maxwell filters."
"'Have you ever been in love?'  That's what they asked when I joined."
Carl paused.  "What?"
"Didn't they ask you?  'Have you ever been in love?'  They asked me."
"Yes.  They asked me with whom, and I named my wife.  They want people without regrets:  No dead lovers or loves lost, no lives lost at my own hands, nothing, no regrets.  I get to be married to the woman that I love:  To me, getting to work at the most groundbreaking facility yet made is just icing on the cake." 
Daniel opened a hatch. 
"Stop!  You could cause a paradox," Carl said, knowing that a paradox would be almost certain, though they'd never know it.  "How?  They monitor brain activity during the interviews.  How could you have lied?" 
"I didn't," answered Daniel, stepping into the rift.  "I answered 'no'."