Late But Not Missed! – Chapter Six in Notes From the Abyss, Part Two
May 11, 2012
Had a really good day yesterday at Disneyland, but the end of it reminded me of a problem I need to find a solution for – I need to figure out how the hell I’m going to publish this stuff. This is over the halfway mark of the first draft of Part Two of Notes From the Abyss, and part one has yet to be read by another set of eyes and commented on. I lack cover images.
Also realized I need to push the people who’ve promised to help me with some of my other ideas ’cause I’m bored with sleeping in the place I sleep in. It’s not, well, where I’d like to be.
Enough of this maudlin complaining though, you came here for a story!
And, well, here’s part of one!
I stood in the twilight listened to the rain. It was soft and powerful. Insistent. It fed the baked earth and steaming plants. I had a circle laid out in salt in front of me. It sank softly into the mud as the rains refreshed the thirsty dirt, the only raised elements were the designs within the center of the circle. Crisscrossing lines forming a large pentagram and the swarming, smaller lines of the Arcane Alphabet. A modular language of sounds embodied in letters that, themselves, represented forces throughout the universe. Science, one could say, turned into a singular set of symbols. I watched and concentrated to ensure that the beautiful and intricate circle of salt that I drew twenty minutes ago, before the rains started, wasn’t washed away.
Jennifer was sitting behind me with Hunter, both had been watching me draw the circle with some curiosity (hers, occupational and his, professional) but now I could feel the impending wave of laughter pushing against my back. Unfocused psychokineses is difficult, to say the least. Maintaining such a complex shape in my mind was, beyond just good practice, somewhat impressive I think. The problem rested in the fact that in order to maintain this focus and to keep the energy I needed flowing into the shape of the design, I had to stop moving. I have been standing with my mouth agape and moaning in disappointment for fifteen minutes now. For me it was a single, continuous flash of effort, all of my power focused on a singular image, a singular structure, then shifting that structure through mud to the space under the tarp we had set up after disembarking so that it was protected from the rain. I did not consider, though, the shock this would deliver to my body and how long this might take. Now I’m locked in a sort of stasus where my spell is taking effect and I can hear, see, feel, taste, and smell everything but I cannot do anything about any of it.
Jennifer’s giggle started it. The cracks in the dam started showing. Sprays of laughter filtering through slowly but sharply in the rain-soaked quiet. It struck me with the force and intensity of the precision slice of a fencer’s sword. As my ego began to bleed, the dam cracked enough more – hairline and spider-like creaking of Hunter chortling softly before it burst entirely, my moan becoming the counterpoint to both of my companions boiling and rolling in laughter. Sweet tinkling giggles, loud and raucous guffaws, have-spoken sentences of incredulity, and even the soft gasps of the over-amused. My ego was blasted, torn to shreds. All that was left were strands floating in the wind.
I cried a single tear and moaned in disappointment.
All in all, it took an hour to move the well protected and perfectly preserved arcane circle through the mud to where I was standing. Fortunately for my patience, standing up another awning was less time consuming and less exhausting. Once that was done, I laid out a mat to sit on, loosened my shirt, and started the rolling chant to seek a spirit from the aether. I threw a sizable chunk of thaums into it and called out for Morikatrix.
Wind, water, and salt spun in a tight vortex within the circle. Slowly it congealed into a cocoon of light, pulsing with a soft blue heartbeat. After a few moments, it cracked and split to reveal Mori hanging in the air in front of me. It inclined its head in greeting and smiled. “It has been far too long between our conversations, Sir Jarvis Mac Callister.” I smiled ruefully and sighed.
“It took a lot of work to get you out here. Are you able to materialize or are you projecting?” I stretched slowly, letting my back relax from the position I had to hold it in while casting.
The small blue spirit set its feet down on the now-churned mud and salt mixture within the circle. “I have Manifest, Jarvis.When I heard your Call through the Aether, I summoned together the arcane energy that I had available and sent Myself to your Summons as fast as was possible.”
“Well, we’re on our way to where the thief cast their infiltration spell from. We had to stop to refuel, since the kind of power the ship needs is far too rich for me and it doesn’t need to be processed thaums.”
Mori nodded and looked around at the plants we were camped around. “I do not think your people have stretched their civilization out far enough to interact with these worlds. Their spirits are unfamiliar to me, savage and foreign. Noble, though. They talk slowly, they speak of long days and long nights, rain and thunder, constant life and death.”
Jarvis nodded and looked around as well. “Yeah, this sector’s unmapped. A lot of people don’t like to follow the Earth’s standard lines, because of the energy thrown off by the planet still. Gaia Cries and all that. However, that’s not why I Called for you. I’ve got some questions about the vase and what’s in it that I think may be important. Specifically, what the weapon’s capable of and what I need to look out for. As well, I need to know if there’s any way to tap into it while it’s still locked up in that vase. Oh! As well, does the spirit itself have any agency? I need to know if it could be operating its own escape through someone.”
Mori nodded as I rattled the questions off, as if noting them down somewhere. “All answers will come, then, though it may take some time for the information to be located and sent to me over this distance. Perhaps, though, it is best if you rest. I can feel that your body has grown weak through the rituals you have performed today.”
I nodded slowly and sighed. “Tomorrow then.”
Mori smiled warmly, comfortingly. “Tomorrow, Sir Jarvis.”