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21 March 2017 @ 06:20 am
_Black Point Clan_ part 18  
 

Chapter Seventeen

Xiat recognized Ajha's Fiend as she stepped out of the Paris transit hub. She poked Izzo. "See the very good looking dark girl? That's . . . " She broke off as the usual batch of pervs spotted the unescorted woman.

Xiat trotted down closer to assist. She stopped dead as the pack surrounding Fean suddenly fell quiet and backed away. They all turned to the various sign and traffic and light poles and started licking them. Fean strode past them without a second look.

"Holy One." Izzo breathed. He had his shields shut solidly, and was glancing at a light pole nearby. Sweating.

Fean spotted Xiat.

"Good afternoon, Investigator. Or should I say, Subdirector?" Her eyes swept up and down Izzo. "And Acting Director. I was impressed that the two of you actually had the sense to not continue the attack on Nil." The fingers of her left hand twitched.

"Ajki stopping didn't surprise you?" Izzo abruptly relaxed. He edged away from the light pole.

"No. He's very much like Ajha, or perhaps that's the other way around. They both fight smart, and don't believe in noble sacrifice or saving face by also getting whupped. In fact they both see possibilities where most people see problems."

"Oh? I found it odd that he came along, but failed to warn us about that place. And our information on, for instance, the power of the witches there was faulty. Did he do that on purpose?"

She shook her head. "The data you have is correct. It is your understanding that is faulty. The tiers of witch power are not the equivalent of our Oner ratings. They are simply statements of the level of training they've received. There's no differentiation between weak and powerful, in their tiers."

"So that Eclipse was an extremely powerful witch, early in her training. One! She's going to be a bit scary, eventually, isn't she?"

"Indeed. Her mother is Topaz, Lady Rustle's sister. And if you didn't recognize Harry Murchison as one of the old gods, well, Ajki felt no need to point out what ought to have been obvious, if you were competent to step outside the Internal Directorate's ground. Nil would have taken me by surprise, but then I know better than to deliberately pick a fight with one of them."

Xiat eyed her, then changed the subject. "Is Ajha in town? I'm surprised to see you."

"Ajha and Ajki both ordered me to find Eldon and ask about those spells your director is victim to. I'm just here to pick up my kids before leaving."

Xiat frowned a bit. "Can you find him? That easily? And you're taking your kids?"

"Oh sure. Since he's such a hero, he doesn't have to hide. Do you want to come? Meeting another baby god might enable you to recognize the next one you meet. And since you two both saw the spells being cast that might help the reversal of them."

Izzo nodded. "Xiat, you go. Half the fight was over before I even turned around."

Xiat grit her teeth. "Well, it can't be any more disastrous than my first dimensional trip. What do you mean, the next one? What is a baby god?"

Fean grinned. "The Fallen have gotten inbred enough that they are producing children as powerful as their original gods. Their collective subconscious is warping them into archetypes. Xen is the God of Spies. How about meeting me here in four hours? I'll introduce you to the God of Bestiality. And Heroes."

Xiat didn't know much about children. Had avoided learning. She seen Pajamas as if in ultra slow strobe, a brief static flash once or twice a year. She guessed Fean's twins at four years of age. A boy and a girl. Wavy pale blonde hair matched with their mother's big brown eyes. There were subtle not-Oner angles to their round young faces. They eyed her silently and stuck to their mother like glue as they zigged through several corridors and decontamination areas designed to minimize the spread of pests from region to region. Hitchhiking insects were a constant problem.

"Did their father, err, do any genetic changes?"

"Hard to tell. Eldon doesn't think about it like a normal person. I think it's because the Fallen witches only have sex when they want a child. He just assumes that this is what any woman wants, who has sex with him. Newt and Eft—Newf and Efnw, officially—ranked as Withiones and Eft as a priest on the standard tests, but the One rejects them because they have Fallen genes and won't ever mesh well. Frankly, that's a relief to me."

Xiat nodded. The priest gene, and she believed the Fallen wizard gene, were both curtailed by the hormonal influences on the late maturing male brain. Castration was the obvious answer, and not one she'd have wanted for a son of hers. Now, boys with the potential had to volunteer; up until a few years ago, the One had simply taken them.

"The Fallen, of course, have regeneration spells, even so, they developed some suppression and delay spells that apparently work as well as castration. The last couple of generations are doing that, and doing well, power-wise. Yet another reason to not attack them." The dark girl snickered. "I'm getting as bad as Ajha. Lecturing."

"There's a spell? Boys could have the power without . . . "

"Yep." Fean's Third Philosopher badge was sufficient to get them through the bureaucracy and out the Gate to Embassy. Fean led them off to another arch, stepped through . . . and turned to what was apparently a corridor . . .

"They call this the maze. It's a huge tangle of gates, corridors through Empty World. People get lost in here, exploring for the fun of it."

/// Update kids///

Xiat looked around in dismay. They appeared to have arrived at a school playground.

"One, look at the size of you lot!" Fean looked cheerful, she must have been expecting the herd of children galloping down a slight hill to surround them. "I mean, I know about fast bubbles and so forth, but this is ridiculous. You three are only twelve. I'm sure of it."

The three older boys had hair in red, blonde and blonder. The three oldest girls echoed the color scheme. The three middle girls broke the mold with two redheads and a single pale blonde. The gaggle of younger children, seven at a quick head count, ranged from toddler to six years old. Fean's own pair peeked shyly out from behind her legs.

"If you're interested in Oner and Fallen crosses, Roddie, the pale blonde boy and the littlest dark blonde boy are both Rior's, when she was female. Rior is also the father of the three oldest girls, Pike, Quarrel and Rampart."

"So the sex change spell is completely functional, and reversible."

"Oh yes."

Xiat focused on the woman walking out the door. Tall, medium tan skin, hair brown with sunstreaks of blonde all through it. And as she got closer, she could see that her eyes were blue. She had a faint glow, a bit less than what a Oner would allow to show in public.

"Incendiary, this is Xiat, she's a cop from my world, and she needs to talk to you and Eldon about some Fallen spells that have been used on some of her people." One of Fean's twins reached out and tagged a child about his own size. Who tagged him back and the whole quickly turned into a giggling hide and seek and tag around and around . . .

Incendiary laughed. "Careful! We may send you home with more than you arrived with." The witch was good looking, happy, confident and secure. Xiat wasn't sure about ages, the Fallen aged slowly, like a Withione, but this woman seemed genuinely young, possibly twenty.

Fean extricated herself from the children. "Looks like the honest life is suiting you well. Is Eldon still making movies?"

"Off and on. He's working with the government too, c'mon up to the porch, we can watch the tag match from there. Some children need to be thinking about whether they actually have done their homework that is due tomorrow. I just dinged Eldon to let him know he had company."

"So he doesn't show up with three blondes?"

"Nah, he's actually kind of stuck on one girl. It's cute, watching him try to figure out how to court a nice girl."

"No, really?"

"Yep. If you can stay long enough, we'll introduce you to her."

Fean looked back at the mob of children. "Aren't three of them his, and my two, of course. I guess if that isn't enough warning, nothing would be. Anyhow, the reason I'm here is my stupid politicians, and one bureaucrat in particular, got obnoxious in the middle of Harry's Tavern. 'I will kill the next person to walk through the door,' he says, to prove the One's superiority over the Fallen."

"At Harry's?" The deep male voice preceded Eldon out the door. Tall, broad shouldered, strong boned face, deep olive complexion. Glowing like a priest. Xiat closed up all her shields. Tight.

He grinned. "Can I hope Xen walked in?"

"Nil."

Eldon's mouth dropped open. After a long moment he cleared his throat. "Did he kill him, or merely turn him into a goat?"

Xiat eyed the man. Criminal and hero. His eyes held self doubt, caution and determination. And went deep, deep down. "I see you don't have to ask which side won. Goat. Nine of his twelve guards, also. He undid two of them so they could drive the cars away. But only the goat spells, none of the other spells. Do you know what the other spells might be, there's one that's magically null. I can't think how it could be safely handled. Oh, and a trap on the whole thing, that throws just the goat transform spell."

"The trap is new. Must have been too many of us managing to escape. I hope you realize that your best bet is to apologize, and ask humbly for the hole in the Chain spell? Otherwise, you'll need to do a brute force snap. Deflowering a virgin is my personal favorite. I wonder how that would work with the trap spell. Could be . . . interesting."

Xiat hesitated, uncertain how to respond to such an outrageous concept.

Fean shook her head. "I need to come visit more often. I keep forgetting what a horrible pervert you are."

"Hey, every virgin has to start somewhere. They might as well start with the best."

Indy snagged a kid's toy and threw it at him.

Xiat cleared her throat. "Well, in any case, my own boss was there, and this Nil, when he realize that Efge was the man who'd ordered Nighthawk kidnapped . . ."

"Oh, shit."

"He threw a second spell, which my boss tried to deflect. Male-to-female sex change. Now they're both turning."

Eldon winced. "I just might be feeling a tiny bit of compassion. I'm not sure, because it's a very unfamiliar sensation."

"And Ajha thought you had something to reverse it."

"Oh sure, no problem. I'll load you up with goodies. The trap and the Chain spell are the bad ones. The goat spell, because it's working against the genes which are backing up the physiological memory, is easy. Just unravel it and the body will restore itself." He pulled out an intricate dance of mental power. "This is the goat spell, in isolation. These two spots are the weakest."

It was one of the most complex spell webs she'd ever seen. Layers and parallel changes and cascades of effects. She pulled herself back from contemplation the details, and looked where he indicated.

"Yeah, I see what to do. That'll knock the foundations out of the whole, but things won't revert in proper order, will they?"

"Nope. It'll look even uglier than putting it on, it'll take more time, and it'll hurt like hell."

Fean frowned. "What if I applied that closing part of the pony and cat spells you taught me?"

"It would speed up the return to normal, organize it a bit, but you'll need to take out the personalized part of it. Now, the Chain spell . . . there will be a phrase, some mental twist, that makes a hole in the loop, so it can be safely handled. Without the phrase, you're back to brute force. Were either of you actually there, when he hit them?"

Xiat nodded. "Oh yeah, he threw one at me. I think I impressed him, managing to duck it."

He grinned and pulled a chair around to face her. Rugged to the point of almost being ugly, with his shields at about half, he was bright enough to take her breath away. He cupped her head in his hands. Warm, tingling. She swallowed. I will not drool.

"Think back and remember. Show me."

She remembered the director looking at the old man and throwing his spell. The old man's fingers twitched, and a net so fine it was nearly a fog whipped back at the director.

That part is the goat spell. It goes in first, because almost no one shields against something like that. It disrupts the ability to concentrate, so all the other spells have less resistance to overcome. Fear, horror, self-hatred, a reversal of morality . . . huh, that explains a few things. Obedience, vulnerability to manipulation, impatience, impulsiveness, addiction. And anchoring the end of the web, the Chain. Slow down, look at it, see the tiny trail of darkness . . . Tall? Some thing like that. Now the next one, well there's three in the air and one just striking, but you weren't looking at it. Ah, look at that one. Is it the same thing? Goat, a tangle, Chain. Look at the Chain . . . Essence? No that's not right. All right, here's the one headed straight for you. Down and roll, your mind blank. Ha! You didn't even try to block it. I'll bet it couldn't track you.

The warm hands left her face. "That'll teach him to be so shocking to a poor little Oner Agent. You've got a good memory. Treat the Chain like a puzzle to solve. The key is something like tall or essence or essential. Just keep slugging along, tossing words and phrases at it. Or virgins. That trap spell was tiny, it'll probably evaporate quickly. It rebooted the goat spell, and that should be settled into maintenance and not be bootable within a couple days. Maybe give it a week to be sure."

They stayed for the rather chaotic dinner that was inevitable when the kids outnumbered the adults, eighteen to six. Their hired cook and nanny joined them both to eat and to attempt to establish order. The kids were actually pretty well behaved. Nice kids, not a mean nasty one here. Fean's two fit right in, with possibly better table manners, but not by much. Then the kids headed for the TV room, and quiet settled again.

"C'mon, let's check the potions I've got on hand. I know I've got a female-to-male potion. I really didn't like being female, and halted it in mid change which was worse. Don't let your boss do that."

In mid change? Xiat tried to not think about what that might entail.

"No kidding. Think my face with boobs and hips. Ugg. Lee."

Fean snickered. "Was that when you had black hair, too? I thought the Joy Juice would speed everything up. Get it all over with inside of a week."

"Yep. Drink enough and it'll happen over night. Wait a day to make sure it's done, then take this potion right here, wait a day to let it get started, then start hitting the joy juice. Anyone desperate enough for two of those hangovers in a row is a truly desperate man."

He browsed through a collection of wine splits, a few with obvious additions, milky and pinkish. "The joy juice will cancel the addiction spell. This'll take out the fear and this for the panic. The rest can be force broken, or probably just wear off in a year or two." He found a bag and set the three splits in it, then added a whole bottle of wine. He bent over and kissed Fean. Drew back a bit. "You be careful, fooling with Nil's spells. He grew up in a poisonous backstabbing society that makes yours look like an over civilized kid's tea party. Since he walked away from it, he's had eight hundred years to add subtlety and details to his work." He circled a finger of his left hand and held out a dull silver circle. "Let's practice with the chain spell a bit."

It was late, when they drove back through the Gate from Embassy to One World. The combination of her Interior Directorate ID and Fean's double Exterior Directorate and Third Philosopher of the One ID intimidated the customs people into just waving them on. They didn't have far to go. The goats were still in isolation. Even the two who'd managed to break their goat spells.

The doctor on duty there frowned at them.

Xiat raised her eyebrows. "I've gotten some information on the spells, and advice. And potions. Now, where's the doctor who was transformed?"

The goat doctor was easy. No further traps were detectable; she cast spells aimed at the two weak spots in the goat spell. He started reverting immediately.

More people crowded into the area. Theoretical magicians, wanting to study the spells.

Fean brought out the goat spell for their delectation. And wound up demonstrating the pony and cat transformation spells, and the spell that hurried the return transformation along.

Xiat stopped and watched the demonstration. Scary as hell. No wonder they call her Fiend.

Fean's deep brown eyes glinted. :: No, I picked that up by verbally beating up everyone I've ever met, until I met Ajha.:: She turned back to the magicians. "This retransformation spell is personalized to me. I'd need to pick it apart a bit to use on these guys. Just as well they take their time. Now, I need a volunteer to check for traps. They ought to be pretty well evaporated by now." Fean looked around at the collection of . . . men staring at her chest. One! A couple of the women were staring too. She shook her head and dressed.

Xiat kept her face straight with difficulty. The Fiend may have dropped out of Princess School, but she had absorbed the basics. She could cover her skin, but she wasn't going to close down her glow until she'd finished all the magical manipulations she needed to show them.

Xiat stepped in and took over. "Ahem. Now. A volunteer?"

One man stepped out. Bracing his shoulders. She pulled out the goat spell, and showed him the weak spots. How to make a spell that would hit those spots, specifically.

"I don't actually need lessons . . . " He looked over the spell and blushed. "Well, maybe in this I do. I'm Wflo. Call me Fowl." his eyes drifted back and forth between the Princesses, and settled on Fean. "Where do you teach?"

"I don't. I just put my PhD dissertation on hold in order to work for the Third Philosopher. You will find me on the west coast of Noram, should you have further questions. Now zap the nearest damn goat, please."

"Yes, Princess." He wafted the spell at the nearest goat. It flopped and started transforming. Emboldened, he walked through the room, changing all of them. "I hope to One they don't keep acting like, well, male goats. They all got out and had quite a nasty little orgy last night. Humping each other, and half the nurses and guards who showed up to, well, split them back up into their pens."

Xiat snorted. "The behavior is part of the spell. Analyze it, it's quite seriously nasty. That explains how those two broke the spell. Deflowering a virgin releases a burst of power. Brute force and lacking direction, but it does work." She rummaged in her bag and pulled out the two potions to counteract the fear and panic spells, the Joy Juice to stop the addiction spells. She poured a bit into ten paper cups, and started handing them out, starting with the four already retransformed guards. "Everything left except the Chain spell will wear off in a year or two, or we can work on force breaking them." She turned over delivering the potions to some nurses, who were being very very watchful around the goats. Male and female alike, the nurses weren't turning their backs on the bespelled goats, even as they starting looking more human. I wonder how many people the goats managed to rape over the last week? I was rather hoping those two deflowered each other, but most likely not.

Xiat formed the unmaking of the Chain in her mind. :: Tall Essence.:: she stooped and touched the chain around the Director's neck. Felt the faint shock of null.

"One. That didn't work. Sorry, sir. It's going to take a bit more work." She shook her fingers and shuddered at the thought of wearing that for a week.

Director Efge flailed a hand around and growled what was probably a curse. He took a cup from a nurse and swallowed it, a goatish tongue swiping out the cup before it whipped back into a shrinking muzzle.

Xiat stepped back and faced the Brains, letting the nurses deal with preserving the modesty of creatures that weren't quiet human yet. "Now the Chain spell. This is an example of one. It has a gap in it, patterned according to a phrase. The phrase for this one is 'One Rules.' See how using the phrase lets you grasp it and place it?" Eldon had showed her all about them, and now she showed it off to all of the Brains. She got them working with it, freed a couple of them from it . . .

Fowl looked over at the guards. "So, what is the phrase for those Chains, eh?"

"Now that is the problem. I caught a glimpse when the spells were flying around, which Eldon tried to interpret. The phrase is something like tall and essence or essential. You are going to have to experiment, using phrases around those words or similar words. Because I haven't gotten them exactly right. So . . . have fun working away at it." The goats were all mostly human now. A few still had horns, or hooves. Or oversized and oozing penises.

Xiat hunched her shoulders. "That is such a disgusting spell. I'm going to report in to my boss. This is my number if you need to reach me before I return." She nodded politely at the men still playing with the Chain spells and walked out. She suppressed a gleeful smile. Managed to get out without talking about Director Efge's male-to-female spell. He can damn well ask nicely, once he can talk again.

The smirk almost broke through. With that little bit of joy juice, he should be female by next week. If that doesn't take him down a few pegs, I don't know my Withiones.

 
 
 
ekuah on March 21st, 2017 09:18 pm (UTC)
Would love to...
... know what the actual chain spell phrase was.
To my knowledge you have not yet mentioned it.

Also the timeline for Eldon is pretty short.

It was how long since the last merge? 1-2 Years?
In this time he had his healing sleep while drifting thought the multiverse. His Santa gig. His movie career with several movies.
All in all it seems pretty rushed.


Edited at 2017-03-21 09:19 pm (UTC)
matapampamuphoff on March 22nd, 2017 01:19 am (UTC)
Re: Would love to...
_Surveillance Camp_ And _Fort Dinosaur_ both end in the April/May of 1405yp.

I posted Rescue mission here, it'll be about a third of _The Last Merge_, so the action all takes place inside of a few weeks. Eldon's part and Xen and Q's part start well before that, so it'll all be done and Eldon drifting off by the middle of 1405. So he can do Xmas at the Mall, then get back to drifting and hit LA in the spring 1406 yp.

_Black Point Clan_ starts in Februaryish of 1407. Probably less than a year later. I originally wrote it two years later, with Jay 12 years old. I don't remember why I moved it up, probably the long gap of time between the planned _Embassy_ and BPC. Which Ebsa and company have filled up quite thoroughly now. Might be useful to move it forward a year or two. I'll have to think about how it meshes with _External Affairs_, _Project Dystopia_, and _Fractured Loyalties_, then getting Ebsa and Paer married in 1410 (election year) and then Izzo will have enough experience to run for President in 1415 . . .