matapam (pamuphoff) wrote,


"So now that I've got that logjam _Last Merge_ published, I can relax and edit these four nearly done stories . . . "

I know better than to say things like that! Instant ideas popping up! This is the one that won't shut up. Having gotten a couple of chapters out of the way, I think I can safely ignore it until the backbrain comes up with a proper plot and tells me who the Bad Guys are.

“. . . crimes against the laws of the  . . . “

Xen rubbed his temples and sat up. Grabbed his chest. “Augh, what did I do to my chest and how did I get here?. Dammit. I can sort of remember . . . parts of it. Maybe tomorrow my head’ll stop hurting . . .  And whatever is trying to sneak up on me . . .”

He climbed stiffly to his feet. Twenty feet away a furry head and yellow eyes lifted brief above the tall meadow grasses. The wolf charged, leapt . . .

The simple push spell . . . didn’t.

Xen barely got his hands up in time to grab the wolf’s throat and hold his teeth inches away while the wolf brought up his hind legs and raked down Xen’s thigh as he twisted to get his more critical parts out of danger.

Xen got a good one handed grip and got the other hand around to grab the wolf by the scruff of his neck and turn him even further. Then he could be safely strangled.

As the wolf sagged, Xen tossed him to the side. Heard the faint gasps
“Don’t make me regret not finishing you off, Buster.” Xen looked around. Meadow. Trees a few hundred feet away, to the left. Dropping down to what might be a stream. There were hills visible in the distance beyond. All around, grasslands with trees, mountains or clouds very far . . . that way
Xen glanced at the sun, nearly over head.

“Give it a couple of hours, then I’ll know which way is which . . . “ He trailed off as he looked down at himself. Bright orange overalls. Long plain sleeves, a bit short, showing his wrists, tight in the crotch, legs a bit short. Barefoot.

He held out a hand . . . nothing. Swiped a hand down his neck, no Chain spell. “So, that’s the good news. But . . . is this a methelformaline effect that will wear off in a few hours? Genetic engineering to remove power genes? Or . . . something else?”

He glanced at the sun again, scanned . . . a pale halfmoon barely above the horizon . . .  “So waxing or waning? Either one or three weeks until my genetic repair spell kicks in at the full moon. Or not, of course, if whoever . . . “ A sharp stab of pain through his head. “knew about it and removed that as well.”

A thrashing in the grass. The wolf stood swaying, a big lanky animal, a bit thin, with hair matted with blood here and there.

“Oh, so I’m not the only . . . animal beating up on you, eh? Got in trouble with your pack did you?”

The wolf staggered, turned and ran.

“Good plan.”

And with no threat, pain washed back in.

A thumping bad headache, plus more. A lot more. Xen pulled open his overalls with a ripping sound. “I hate Velcro.” He squirmed out of the undersized garment and examined his flank and thigh. Plenty of raised, red welts. A few spots of blood, but the tough fabric had kept the wolf’s claws from penetrating.  And an odd . . . charred? Wiggly line . . . he tucked his chin to eye his chest

There was a small blackened circle just over his heart. Surrounded by red. He poked it carefully . . . “Blistering? Did a fireball get through my shields?”

A flash of memory. A shiny coppery floor, a throne, a short fat man in a fir-trimmed, velvet robe. “You destroyed a world.” The thump of his staff on the floor, angled toward him . . . “

“Copper floor? I think I got zapped with electricity.” He looked down at his chest. “I suspect I’m lucky to be alive. But I was probably wearing leather boots . . .”  he pulled the pants lower and followed the line of the burn down to just about where the top of his boot would be. “So it just arced to the copper floor.” He contemplated the burn uneasily. “So, how cooked am I, inside?”

And how infected is it going to get?

He looked around. “And then I wound up here. And they had better not have hurt my little sister. Or my kids, my friends, innocent bystanders. Because while at the moment I am so screwed, that is subject to change.”

He rubbed his temples. “I don’t actually remember destroying a world—Eldon gets credit for Helios—I haven’t forgotten years worth of anything, have I?”

He pulled the overalls up, but tied the arms around his waist rather than squeeze his shoulders back into them.

“Well. Let’s see about water. And if there are wolves, this must be a world with a fairly modern ecology. I’ll make sure I’m not going to die first, then I’ll think about what happened.

Laws of the . . . what?

Who sent me out here?

“And what the hell did I do?”


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