Mors Funebris Chapter 1 Part 5
As before, a purple whirlwind formed, and within a few more seconds, another chocolate dildo appeared out of nowhere.
Andra was dumbfounded by the spectacle. She flinched when a subordinate reached out and placed a paw on her shoulder.
“What should we do, Dark-Sergeant?” implored a nearby Red Oni.
Andra thought for only a second, then replied.
“Contact Command, tell them we have a situation.”
So, after reorganizing his workshop following the execution of the minor curse that he had directed towards Tia’s vicious ex-lover, Arawn made himself ready for bed.
Primarily, this involved brushing his teeth. Even though Arawn could use magic to regrow his wornout teeth on a regular basis, it didn’t mean that he cared to deal with caries in the interim.
Afterwards, he settled down to meditate in the middle of the front room of his apartment. He felt the need to meditate more often as he was concerned with the Increasing number of instances he’d lost emotional control.
‘With great power, comes great responsibility.’ He recited, as he settled himself down into a meditative position. ‘It would ill behoove me to cause a tragedy, just because I had another childish temper tantrum.’
Long ago, he had learned that the best way to distract himself from his ancient anger, was to keep himself distracted with the joyfulness that arises from the mundane.
‘Bed clothes? Yes, or no?’ he pondered.
‘On one hand, it’s too warm in Cynosure to require them. Yet on the other hand, if a Mamono happened to ‘accidentally’ wander her way into my rooms; my nudity could be construed as enticement.’ He then stopped his musing, when he remembered something.
“Faex!” he said aloud in frustration.
‘I forgot to set the Guarding-Wards.’ he complained to himself silently.
Guarding-Ward spells, were the standard night-time protection for Magic Users in just about every realm. Often, they were the original impetus for Magical studies.
Moving himself up, Arawn then began to make the preparations for same. Swiftly, he cast his eyes around his rooms, searching for the important details, and ignoring his Shield. Which already had many wards built into it.
‘Sixty square meters for a married couple apartment.’ He judged. “Secundus, have you checked the local dweomers?” Arawn asked, aloud.
‘Uh, not yet.’ Secundus replied, ‘Checking the Aetherial Resonance now, standby! (2)’
Arawn didn’t have long to wait for his Majin-Dominant personality to complete his examinations.
‘Our barrack neighbors appear to be comprised mostly of Elementalists. The Elemental energy bleed-over from their individual love-making, has the potential to mask minute variations in the Eldritch-Unison background. I will endeavor a work around for same. Oh wait! I am getting some odd readings in the barrack’s Morphic-Field, but it should not be anything out of the ordinary. (2)’
‘Odd? How? (1)’ Arawn demanded.
‘I believe that it is due to an excessive amount of Exspiravit Sonitus in the barracks. (2)’
‘Do you know of any reason why this building has such a level of noisy ghosts? (1)’
‘No. But, it seems to be primarily animalistic in nature. Based upon my predecessor’s experience, I deem that it should be nothing to be concerned about, for now at least. (2)’
‘I concur. Your recommendations for Ward types? (1)’
‘Standard Guard-Wards should be sufficient for all means of egress: the entrance, windows, and air vents. Shall I check for secret doors? (2)’
‘You mean you have not already? Then do so now. (1)’ After a few seconds, Secundus replied.
‘No secret doors detected! Though there are signs there have been in the past. Shall I include stealth-wards for any Voyeuristic minded Mamono? (2)’
‘Negative. (1)’ Primus replied, trying to not roll his eyes.
‘Wards Ready. (2)’
‘Proceed! (1)’ Arawn/Primus ordered.
‘Tutor Eludo Tueor! (2)’ Secundus invoked from the Sanctuary space.
Arawn, looked around and observed that every window, and air vent, along with his front door, had an ornate Sigil gleam into existence in front of them. After a couple of seconds worth of flare, the Sigil-wards faded from eyesight. Arawn knew that they were still there, just not visible.
‘Or at least not visible until someone decides to blunder into them.’ He smiled to himself with satisfaction.
‘Of which, any intruder would soon regret. (2)’ Secundus added smugly.
‘Tutor-Eludo-Tueor? Baffling Guardian Wards?’ Primus echoed, ‘Why that particular version? (1)’ he asked.
‘They are a less-lethal form of ward. Such, would serve our reputation well, in case the intruder is a Mamono. (2)’ Secundus pointed out.
‘Good thinking. (1)’ Primus replied.
‘I am also contemplating the possibility of getting laid on one of my own field-trips. A reputation for murdering Mamono would make such an endeavor more difficult. (2)’
‘Fair enough. (1)’ Primus answered dryly. Then he sighed as he returned his mind to more prosaic matters.
‘I deem it safe enough to sleep in my small-clothes, then.’ Arawn decided after a short while. He began to disrobe down to such, as he ambled in the direction of his bed. Barely had his head touched the pillow, before he heard a knocking upon his apartment’s front door. He forced down an imprecation in response.
‘Such timing, does not bode well. (5)’ Quintus injected.
‘Indeed not! Who is it? (1)’ Arawn replied angrily.
‘According to the entrance ward it is our mentor, Tia. She is alone. (5)’
With a slight sense of disquiet, Arawn swiftly got up and donned his kilt. He then answered her persistent rapping.
“Yes, Tia.” He asked, as patiently as he could manage upon opening his door. “To what do I owe the pleasure?”. When he asked, he noticed that she was wearing her duty gorget.
“Arawn, I need you to come with me.” Tia stated quickly then, glancing furtively over her shoulder with one of her side eyes.
“What is wrong Mentor?” he asked with a growing sense of alarm.
“Arawn please, just get dressed and accompany me. There’s no time for questions.” Arawn hesitated. “NOW!” she added acerbically.
Leaving the door slightly ajar for Tia’s behalf, Arawn silently obeyed her and dressed himself quickly, including his duty gorget. Upon completion, he noted that at no time did Tia enter his apartment.
“Follow me.” She ordered him tersely, as she scuttled her way across the walkway to the stairs. He followed as best he could.
She stopped just before the barrack’s front entrance and looked over her shoulder to ensure that he was following. Once she had done so, she exited the building as soon as he came near her.
“Mentor!” he called out to her, but it was too late, she had left. Looking out the entrance, he saw that he could just barely make her out in the light of the crescent moon. She was standing in the middle of the street, with her arms folded.
Once he was outside and approaching her. She took note of him and raised a hand in a halting motion. Simultaneously a light flared overhead, flooding the street with illumination. Arawn found himself momentarily blinded.
‘Alert!’ Quintus warned. ‘We are being surrounded! (5)’
Blinking his eyes, Arawn was able to adjust to the sudden change in lighting. What he saw, angered him.
Both he and Tia were being surrounded by a band of Zipangese Ogres of various heights. Four stepped out from one end of the street, three more came from the other. Turning his head, he noticed three were stepping quietly from the barracks entrance he had just exited, and three more were coming from the building across the street. Each of them carried an oversized studded metallic club in one hand, and each was dressed in a raggedy array of leather and metal armor.
‘A baker’s dozen of Ogre are around us! The clubs they are brandishing? I believe that they are called: Kanabo. (5)’ Quintus reported.
‘Noted. (1)’ Arawn answered evenly, despite his anger flaring at such a deception.
“What is the meaning of this?!” Arawn shouted then. The tallest Ogre there, stepped forward with a sneer creasing her viridian face.
“You,” she began, “are under arrest.” She smiled. Arawn could see that she had the longest protruding canines out of the bunch. Her head horns held a color that matched her shock of white hair.
“Under whose authority!?” Arawn demanded, frowning. “Yours, Corporal Tia?” he snarled then at her.
“No. Arawn.” She frowned, shaking her head in negation. “Colonel Alenoth’s. She’s the officer in charge of Fort Eequor’s Mobility.” Arawn raised a questioning eyebrow. “Which includes the Teleportation Pavilion.” She added quietly.
“What am I,..” Arawn began but was interrupted by the lead Ogre.
“Silence!” she shouted. “You are under arrest Majin Arawn! Allow yourself to be placed under custody, or,…!” she began speaking with a sharp toothed grin, while raising her kanabo.
“Or what?” he growled warningly, lowering his chin and glowering at her through his eyebrows. The Ogres response was to swing her kanabo around her in a figure eight pattern.
The Ogre’s leader finished her demonstration with the kanabo poised over her head. Its point directed towards him. She then flowingly crouched into an attack ready position. Arawn’s already flaring anger jumped by leaps and bounds with her arrogant display.
“Or, I and my squad mates will have some fun pounding you into the street.” She replied with her eyes twinkling gleefully. Arawn raised his right fist, and readied a Blast-Punch, his hand began to glow from the inside with its stored eldritch energies in response.
The Ogre’s eyes lazily took in the sight of his fist, and her smile grew wide enough for Arawn to see that she had a double set of canines. Uncharacteristically, she lowered her kanabo and placed it in between Arawn and herself.
“Please proceed.” She said, “Show me what you can do.” Arawn wasted no time in banter.
‘Blast-punch, level-one.’ He thought, as he opened his fist. In a fraction of a second, Arawn’s magical energy gleamed from the palm of his right hand to the Green Ogre’s kanabo.
But, to Arawn’s dismay, instead of the kanabo being reduced to molten slag as he had expected. The blast-punch’s energy was seemingly absorbed by the kanabo, giving it a momentary shine and leaving it unharmed.
‘Quintus!’ Arawn demanded mentally, as his jaw dropped in surprise. ‘What in the Hades just happened!? (1)’
‘I am not sure Primus! I am endeavoring to find out, NOW! (5)’ he shouted mentally, while working on something unseen.
“Allow me to introduce myself Majin!” the lead Green Ogre laughed.
“My name is Sergeant Shuten. I am the leader of the Ryusei Tetsu Guard. We are the first to be called in, when dealing with Order Majin!”
‘Wait!’ Quintus announced then. ‘Ryusei Tetsu is Zipangese for Meteoric Iron! (5)’ he explained.
‘Undoubtedly, the type of Meteoric Iron that negates nearly all forms of Magic. (1)’ Primus stated rhetorically then.
‘Each club would be worth a Queen’s ransom! (2)’ Secundus injected, intrigued.
He felt Quintus nod in agreement then.
‘What kind of Magic can it not affect? (1)’ he demanded.
“Now Majin Arawn, you have a choice.” Sergeant Shuten stated. “You can either submit now, and be bound.” She spoke smilingly, as she held up what was plainly a chain of meteoric-iron.
‘QUINTUS! (1)’ Primus demanded fearfully, as memories of his Demonic confinement started flashing in his head.
“Or my sisters and I, will be forced to beat you into submission.” Shuten replied.
‘No one is forcing you! (2)’ Secundus snarked.
“Despite the fact that we all find you comely in appearance, Majin Arawn. We will not let our appreciation for your looks, allow us to be swayed from our mission.” Shuten smiled charmingly as she took a step forwards, and rattled the chain at him.
Arawn gave Tia a quick resent filled glare. In response, she raised her hands and shook her head as if to say that she’d not expected such an outcome.
‘One of the few magics that is unaffected by Meteoric Iron is Altering! (2) Secundus piped up in that moment.
‘Understood! Secundus, standby to Alter Reality. (1)’
‘What do you have in mind? (5)’ Quintus demanded.
‘Increase the magnetic coercivity of all iron within ten meters. (1)’ he stated, trying to not shake with the fear that threatened to overwhelm him.
‘I estimate that our doing so, will cost us an extraordinary amount of Mana! I cannot guarantee that we will have sufficient energy in which to do battle after. (5)’ Quintus warned.
“Arawn! Please stand down!” Tia pleaded, seeing his body language. “I had no idea that things would go this way!” Arawn ignored her.
‘Proceed. (1)’ he ordered.
‘Ready. (2)’ Secundus replied almost instantly.
Sergeant Shuten and Arawn’s eyes met and locked in that moment. It was that kind of moment in which both the attacker and the defender chooses to gauge the other’s resolve.
Arawn deemed that Shuten’s resolve was akin to a tsunami. Whereas Shuten became aware that Arawn’s resolve could be likened to a hurricane.
Neither blinked. Then, that moment ended.
Shuten allowed her binding chain to fall to the cobblestones at her feet in a snake-like clinking. Then, she latched onto her kanabo with both hands as she raised it over her head.
Every Ogre around Arawn and Tia, then copied her leader in preparation.
“SHINGEKI!’, Sergeant Shuten screamed her battle cry loud enough to spray spittle, as she began her charge towards Arawn. Tia cried out in fear as she tried to jump out of the way.
Arawn remained as still as a stone for only an instant. He then swiftly reached up with an open hand, almost as if he were reaching for an invisible ball in front of his face.
‘EXECUTE! (1)’ he shouted mentally as he seemingly grasped that invisible ball, and twisted it defiantly.
The look on every Ogre’s face, swiftly changed from one of sneering triumph to one of confusion, as every single kanabo in its wielder’s hands began to violently vibrate.
Every one of them there, slowed to a stop and peered at Arawn with a mixture of anger and fearful uncertainty. Arawn chose to remain standing and clutching at nothing. His eyes locked themselves with Sergeant Shuten’s.
Suddenly, there was a collective gasp of surprise from the Ogres, as every kanabo was ripped from her grasp by an indomitable invisible force, then they all converged.
In half a second, every kanabo collided near overhead Arawn’s clutching fist with a resounding staccato of ear-shattering clangs.
The collection of a dozen clubs, was held poised nearly over his head for several seconds. Arawn then released his ‘invisible ball’ and the collection of now heavily magnetized kanabo, fell to the street in one collective mass in front of him.
As they hit, a number of the street cobblestones underneath it, broke apart with a prolonged crunching, causing a small ring of dust and aggregate to expand from the impact point ruffling Arawn’s hair and clothing.
In the quiet aftermath, Arawn noted that Sergeant Shuten and every one of her fellow guard members, were now looking at him with trepidation. No one there dared to speak, as they had never encountered a Majin who was capable of defeating them before. In that humbling moment, all present could hear the sound of a pair of street cats fighting somewhere nearby.
“MANNERS!“, Arawn snarled suddenly, shooting up an arm and pointing a finger at Sergeant Shuten. She involuntarily flinched when he did.
“I am neither a hedge wizard,” he whispered through clenched teeth. “nor a garden-variety member of Order Majin.” He patiently explained.
“If you wish to take me into custody, you will find that I am much more accommodating to those who exercise proper manners.” He then took several calming breaths, and forced himself to relax. He then turned to face Shuten head on.
“I hereby submit to your authority Sergeant Shuten, and I allow myself to be placed under arrest.” He spoke quietly as he raised both of his hands up, held together at the wrist, and presented them forward to Shuten. Suddenly cautious, she looked uncertainly at his arms and then his face, plainly expecting him to go on the offensive instead.
Keeping one eye on Arawn, she slowly went and retrieved the binding chain that she’d allowed to fall to the ground only a few seconds ago. Returning, she wrapped several loops around his wrists and made sure that he was well secured. Arawn never resisted her during, but he kept his gaze firmly fixed upon her.
When she was done attaching the chain, she gave it a couple of tentative tugs. This caused Arawn to stumble forward off balance. Shuten somberly noticed it, and then looked around at her squad mates. All of whom were looking at her and Arawn, with a mixture of suspicion and respect.
One of the more muscular Green Ogres spontaneously moved forward, and attempted to pull one of the clubs from the pile. Grunting with all of her strength she was unable to so much as wiggle one. Shuten couldn’t help but notice her efforts, as did Arawn.
“It will be at least an hour before the effects of my Spell passes.” He explained quietly. “Try again then.” His reply caused Shuten’s eyes to flare angrily.
“Why not release the spell now?” she demanded hotly. Arawn stared up at her for several seconds before replying, trying not to wince at the scent of her breath.
“Because my mana reserves are far too depleted for me to do so.” He replied, still staring. This admission of his caught Shuten off-guard.
For several seconds she stood blinking in front of Arawn and chewed on her lip while she considered everything, looking between him, her squad, and the still magnetized kanabo clubs. Finally, she came to a decision.
Stepping forward, she took up Arawn’s end of the binding chain and unlatched it, allowing it to fall to the ground in a clanking pile. Wordlessly, Arawn began rubbing at his chafed wrists and gave Shuten a single respectful nod. Shuten, nodded once back, and turned away.
“Form Ranks!” she ordered. Every Ogre there surrounded Arawn and Tia. Then Shuten glanced back at Arawn.
“Proceed. Majin Arawn, you will accompany!” she ordered respectfully then, almost, but not quite making it sound like a question. Arawn nodded once more and kept pace, as Shuten and her squad-mates started marching down the street.
Tia remained a silent witness to all this, and chose to walk alongside Arawn. Glancing up occasionally along the way, she noticed that nearly every window of every building, was occupied by a Mamono watching the procession. She found that she couldn’t maintain eye contact with any of them.
‘I was just obeying orders.’ Tia thought to herself. ‘So why do I feel guilty about this?’
“Arawn.” Tia said after they’d passed several blocks. Looking ahead, she noticed that they were nearing the Fort’s inner guard wall entrance. Arawn said nothing in response, he kept his face blank and looked at her once impassively, then returned his attention forwards.
“Arawn.” Tia tried again. “Say something.” She said, biting her lip apprehensively. “Please.” Arawn glanced over at her again and replied.
“What is it you wish for me to say Mentor?”
“Are you angry with me?”
“Angry? Yes. Yes, I am. I am very angry.” He replied with a hint of fire. Tia noticed that he blinked slowly then. She looked away for several seconds.
“But, I am not angry with you.” He continued quietly. She looked back at him sharply. “You did what you were ordered to do, I can see that. There will be no recriminations from me.”
“Then what are you angry about?”
“I am angry with myself. This is not the first time, I have had the local constabulary come to pay me an unannounced visit in the middle of the night.”
“Arawn, I don’t understand the connection. What has that got to do with your being angry?”
“That display of mine with the Kanabo, is uncharacteristic of me. What I should have done instead, is to have submitted to Sergeant Shuten without a hint of protest. I am at a loss for an explanation for my behavior.” Arawn explained, hanging his head guiltily.
“Arawn? How did you do that? I’ve seen the Ryusei Tetsu guard go up against several dozen Order Majin and win every time! But you. What did you do to stymie them? How did you do it?” Arawn didn’t reply, and Tia couldn’t think of anything else to say or ask. So, they continued on with the rest of their journey in silence.
After a long interval, they arrived at their destination after passing unopposed through the Fort’s entrance gate, and took the path on up the hill towards the Teleportation Pavilion. As they drew closer, Tia’s ears perked up at the sound of a near constant set of teleportations in progress.
‘That’s odd, the Pavilion is normally not operating this late at night. WAIT!’ she realized in alarm. ‘Those aren’t the sounds of normal teleportations! What’s going on?!’.
But before they could get close enough for her to see what was happening, the Ogre security surrounding them, stopped a goodly distance away from the Pavilion.
The entire squad remained impassive, while standing at full attention where they had stopped. Then, before she thought to start peering in between the Ogres for a better view, Tia heard the sound of hooves clopping smartly towards them. As one, the Ogre Guard side-marched apart, revealing to Tia and Arawn who it was that was approaching.
It was a Centaur, an amalgation of horse and human. She, like the others of her kind was dressed in dented, yet still serviceable, plate armor that covered her from her helmeted shoulders to her dock. Peering down below the Centaur’s helmet, Tia automatically looked to the gorget to see what her rank was, and gave out an involuntary gasp.
“What is wrong, Mentor?” Arawn asked her in a whisper. Tia swallowed nervously.
“That’s Dark Colonel Alenoth, Arawn. She’s third in command here at Fort Eequor.”
Arawn lifted his head for a thorough viewing of this officer. He had encountered the Centaur race many times in his travels. They seemed to be a constant everywhere in the Multiverse.
Like humans, they varied in size and form. Some were as petite as the Dwarfs: such as the Falabella Centaur race. Others, were almost giant-like in stature: like the Shire Centaurs.
‘This one is closer in form to the heavily muscled Destrier Centaur.’ Arawn judged, noting that her fetlocks were unusually hairy. Col. Alenoth stopped a short distance away and barked an unintelligible order to Sergeant Shuten. A conversation ensued between them.
Arawn noticed that even though there appeared to be no salutes offered between the two, there was a natural deference evident in Shuten’s body language. He had Quintus augment his hearing then.
“… the future you will insure that all arrestees will remain under restraint!” he heard the grating voice of Colonel Alenoth then. “Do I make myself clear enough this time, Sergeant Shuten?”
“Yes, Colonel, you do.” Shuten nodded warily.
“Very well. You and your squad will return and retrieve your clubs, then report back here.” Sergeant Shuten barked out an order in Zipangese. Then as one, the Green Ogre guard marched off back in the direction of whence they came, leaving Tia and Arawn alone.
“Corporal Helvetia!” Alenoth’s voice shot out then. “Report!” In response Tia gave Alenoth the Maou’s Army salute: she raised her right hand and clenched it into a fist as she placed it momentarily over her left breast.
“As per the orders that were given to me an hour ago.” She began hesitantly, finding herself unable to look at Arawn, “Yokai Basic Annwyfn Arawn, has been placed under arrest.” With a swift movement, Colonel Alenoth chose to pull her steel helmet up from her head then.
When she did, both of her ears popped out. Arawn noted that her left ear was almost long enough to be prehensile. However, he noticed that her right ear had been cut off halfway, as if in battle. She then handed her helmet for Tia to hold.
Automatically, he took in more details. Her pale face was round, with a widow’s peak at her hairline. He also noted that her ebony hair was cut efficiently short in a bob. She had one scar that ran from her hairline, down over her right cheek just missing her eye.
She also possessed a pair of cold calculating dark blue eyes that held Arawn’s gaze and judged him harshly. Frowning she spoke.
“Majin Arawn.” She spoke the words with obvious distaste, as she clopped forward a couple of paces towards him, then stopped.
“Colonel Alenoth.” He replied, moving his right arm to imitate his Mentor in her salute. When he did, he caught sight of Alenoth grimacing with contempt. He paused for only a moment, then completed it. Her eyes blazed in fury when he did. She spoke angrily.
“I do not want you here Annwyfn Arawn! I do not know what blandishments you used upon the Great Maou, in order for you to gain access to my Fort! Nor do I care!” she snarled at him vehemently. She continued to clop slowly around him, keeping one arm placed upon the hilt of a sword that was fastened at her side.
“Colonel,..” he began.
“SILENCE!” she shouted. “I did not grant you leave to speak!” she glared at him. With an obvious effort, he forced himself to calm down. Alenoth noticed it and for the first time smiled, cruelly.
She continued walking, until she had placed herself squarely behind him, where he couldn’t see her. Arawn looked over at Tia with just his eyes. She seemed steady, yet nervous.
“Majin Arawn, you wish to become a member of the Maou’s Army, do you not?” she asked in a seemingly pleasant voice then. Arawn didn’t answer.
“I give you leave now, Arawn. Speak.”
“Yes.” He replied.
“What?” she asked. “I cannot hear you.”
“YES!” he half shouted.
“Yes what, Bachelor?” she asked again with distaste coloring her voice.
“YES I wish to become a member of the Maou’s Army!” he stated woodenly, forcing himself to not rise to her baiting. He couldn’t see, but instead felt Colonel Alenoth smile coldly behind him then.
“And why, in the Maou’s name, should I allow you to do so?”
“Because I bring to your table a number of abilities that are without parallel.” His reply made Alenoth giggle. It wasn’t a pleasant one.
“Oh yes! A number of abilities without parallel, supposedly unseen in any Mamono!” she said slowly, as she started clopping back to where he could see her. When she finally came into view, he saw that she was holding her hands together at the fingertips, rhythmically tapping them together from her pinkies to her thumbs.
“According to the reports I’ve read, you are indeed supposed to be able to do, that which no one else under my command can possibly do.” She smiled a cold smile at him as she passed, and then turned herself completely around to face him square on.
“Is such true, Yokai Basic Arawn?”
“Yes.” He replied warily, as she began to grin.
“Excellent!” she cried. “Because I am having a problem Yokai Basic Arawn. My Teleportation platforms aren’t working properly anymore.” She waved a hand at the Pavilion a few tens of meters away.
“In fact, they’ve not been working properly ever since you arrived earlier this morning, oh wait!” she exclaimed, closing one eye in thought.
“Excuse me! Ever since- Yesterday morning, it is now.” She breathed in deeply for a second, and then released it through her mouth. She continued speaking.
“What an amazing coincidence, Majin Arawn! You show up, and my Teleportation Platforms start misbehaving. And they all started misbehaving, with the very platform that you ported in on.” Arawn licked his lips when he realized where this ‘conversation’ was headed.
Colonel Alenoth then clopped her way forward till her breast plate was pressing against Arawn’s face. He refused to back off, and was slowly forced to move his head back in response as she leaned forward purposely.
After a few seconds, he found himself arching his back into a painful position. Looking up, he noticed that Alenoth was staring down at him disdainfully.
“All of the normal porting that would have occurred since, has been placed on hold due to this unique malfunction.” She hissed silently.
“Which includes a delayed relief mission to the state of Alizharr. The Trolls there are in need of help. Help I cannot give them, Arawn.”
“None under my command, are able to do anything to fix this malfunction. Since you claim to be able to ‘bring to the table abilities that no others can possibly do’, I hereby order you to repair said malfunction.”
“I do not have any training in teleportation Magi-tech, Colonel.” Arawn replied, as he started to shake uncontrollably from his uncomfortable posture. Alenoth took notice of his pain and backed away from him then, then turned her head to Tia.
“Corporal Helvetia, are you not a Teleportation Technician?” she asked.
“Yes, Colonel, I am!” she replied sharply.
“You will now assist Majin Arawn in his endeavor. After all, you are his mentor are you not?” she asked with a tilt to her head.
“Yes Colonel, I am.”
“Good!” Alenoth replied, clapping her hands together once, and made to move off, then stopped. She then turned her human torso around and faced Arawn and Tia once more.
“You now have a choice, Majin Arawn.” Alenoth smiled widely. “You can choose to either fix the teleportation platforms, or you can walk away.”
“Why would I wish to walk away?” Arawn asked, confused.
“Why indeed Arawn?” she replied, moving the rest of her body around to face him.
“Because, I see one of two things here. One!” she lifted up a finger. “You are either a colossal fool of a Majin, who inadvertently caused my platforms to malfunction unknowingly,… supposedly.” She then raised a second finger.
“Or Two, you are an Order saboteur.” She dropped her hand and frowned. “If you are in fact an Order saboteur, then it would behoove me to root you out with extreme prejudice.” She grimaced fiercely with a shudder. She then breathed in several times to calm herself.
“Thus I am willing to accept the fact that you managed to achieve your objective.” She frowned. “Congratulations.” Arawn began to protest. Alenoth held up a hand to forestall him.
“I say again, Congratulations. I will allow you your one lone success, and give you the chance to walk away never to be seen again. If you do return, then I will do everything in my power to destroy you.” Her eyes narrowed into cruel slits.
“Make your decision, and make it now! Are you truly capable of extraordinary feats Majin Arawn? Or are you nothing more than a pawn of fate?” she glowered at him. But, before he could reply, she continued once more.
“Oh yes, I almost forgot.” She breathed in. “You both have until sunrise to fix the problem. If you do not, then I will hand both of you over to Colonel Herhes. Good Luck!” she spoke then, retrieving her helmet from Tia and moving off in the direction of the pavilion.
“Who is Colonel Her,…” Arawn began asking Tia, then stopped when he saw her shrinking into herself. “Mentor! What is wrong?!” he asked concernedly.
“Colonel Herhes!” she began, her voice quavering. “She’s a monster! No, not like us! Not just a monster girl!”
“All right Helvetia, try to calm yourself down.” Arawn spoke then, waving his hands at her to get her settle. “What do you mean?”
“She’s a Dragon!” Tia replied with her eyes closed, her whole body shaking.
“And how is a Dragon a problem? I know that they’re high-minded and arrogant, but I fail to see,…” he continued, but was interrupted.
“She’s a sadist!” Tia cried. “Let me explain.” She continued as she began to talk. Arawn listened attentively.
Apparently, Fort Eequor’s ‘Ace-in-the-hole’ was Colonel Herhes. She, was a member of a rare order of Platinum Dragon that had a number of unusual abilities.
Her assigned task was to fly patrol daily, looking for any invading Order, Pirate, or Slaver ships, and eliminate them. It was a task she eagerly took to heart.
“I still fail to see how this is a problem.” Arawn stated.
“Six months ago, there was a report of a fleet of Order ships coming in from the North. There were over a hundred of them. She, single-handedly shredded the fleet to nothing. According to the few survivors, she enjoyed playing with her kills!” That information made Arawn stand up straight in consternation.
Turning, he looked over at the Pavilion and began to wonder what he had managed to get himself into.
“Well,” he sighed, “it appears that we had best get started on repairs immediately. First, let us find out what the problem is.” He stated as he began walking towards the Pavilion.
‘Such confidence!’ Tia thought quietly, as he walked towards the Pavilion. After several seconds, she hurried to catch up.
Arawn and Tia walked in under the Pavilion roof’s edge together, and stepped into Pandemonium. Well, not the Fallen God’s version at least. But something akin to it, as there were quite a number of bodies evident.
But instead of making love, most of the Porter personnel there were engaged in one repair attempt or another. All that were capable were sweaty, most had chosen to half-undress herself to work, a good portion of them had gotten dirty, and no few of them were openly curious about the unattached human (like) male in their midst.
Corporal Tia was aghast at the sight that lay before her, where before on a duty shift she’d seen an orderly number of monitored teleportations, both incoming and outgoing. But now, she saw that every one of the platforms were porting on their own in the same way: At first a purple whirlwind formed around a platform, and then a familiar looking cylindrical object flashed into existence. Then it fell to the floor. Whereupon it was swiftly retrieved by one of her fellow Porters, to be disposed of on the other side of the pavilion.
Sniffing, Tia noticed that there was the tang of ozone in the air, along with the deliciously sweet aroma of chocolate which made her mouth water.
For his part, Arawn noticed the display going on as well. The nearest platform to them, sprung into life on its own, and duplicated the efforts of its sister platforms. This time, Arawn telekinetically retrieved the object that appeared without a second thought. This action of his surprised the hell out of the platform’s attendants.
Tia was also surprised to see the cylinder smack into his hand, and even more so to see that he did it as a matter of fact.
‘I will need to ask him about that.’ She thought.
“What is it?” she asked out loud, as she saw him begin to inspect it.
“It appears to be a form of sex toy.” He said holding it up. Tia noticed then that it was a dildo, of a penis that looked vaguely familiar. She also noticed that the smell of chocolate had increased tenfold.
Instinctively, she reached out and took ahold of it, and placed it under her nose. Arawn didn’t resist. But he was surprised at what she did next.
She took a bite out of it.
“Mentor!” he half-shouted, aghast. “We have no idea if that is even edible!” he protested.
“Don’t worry about it Arawn, it’s edible.” She replied around her mouthful. “In fact it’s quite delicious!” she said as she continued her chewing.
“There you are!” shouted a voice then. Both Arawn and Tia turned their heads to the source.
Tia recognized her immediately, and Arawn did as well. It was Dark Sergeant Andra, the Salamander in charge of the Platform during the day shift. She looked harried, and her body scales looked considerably worse for wear. As she’d not had a chance to wash them in some time.
“Returning to the scene of the crime, I see!” the red-haired Salamander almost screamed at Arawn, as she stepped up to their platform control panel.
“We’ve been ordered to attempt a repair, Sergeant Andra.” Corporal Tia tried to explain. But Andra remained skeptical.
“And how do you propose to do that Corporal? Eat your way out of this problem?!” Andra growled, looking pointedly at Tia’s hand. Tia looked nervously at the chocolate dildo in her hand, then hid it behind her back.
“Well, we cannot make things worse.” Arawn said, interposing himself between Andra and Tia.
“That remains to be seen!” Andra jeered, glaring at him with her slitted eyes.
“Sergeant, patience please! Colonel Alenoth ordered that we be allowed to make an attempt!” Tia inserted tightly. Andra sneered, but after a second, she stepped back and crossed her arms.
“I will go and check your story. You’d better not be lying!” she replied snidely as she moved off.
“We are not.” Arawn replied as coolly as he dared. Andra ignored him as she turned her back on him.
“It’s bad enough that I can’t get find Winnie anywhere! Now that I need her the most!” Andra muttered under her breath as she left.
Tia stepped to the console that Arawn was standing next to, and studied the symbols that flashed across its surface. Arawn noticed her intent stare as she did, and chose to not interrupt her.
‘Quintus, are you following? (1)’ Arawn demanded then.
‘Affirmative, I have all of us studying the readouts. I shall report whatever information that we discover. (5)’ Quintus replied.
‘Good. I will endeavor to do my part. (1)’
Just then, Arawn noticed that Tia had leaned back from her perusal of the console. He was chilled when he saw that she was shaking her head in consternation.
“What is the matter?” he asked.
“It makes no sense!” she replied, clutching her fists.
“What does not make sense?” he pressed.
“These sigils!” she pointed at the console as she shouted in frustration. “I’ve not seen half of them before, ever!” she explained, “The ones that I have seen, are combined in ways that they’re not supposed to!”
“I do not follow you Mentor. I will need you to explain.” Arawn asked. Tia seemingly ignored him.
“This is hopeless Arawn!” she sighed, exasperated. “It took me years to learn Magi-tech Sigils and how they interact with the teleporter. There is no way for me to teach them all to you in the time we have left!” she grimaced, hitting a fist onto the console in frustration.
“There may be an alternate way for me to learn.” Arawn replied simply, quietly. Tia snapped her head around and glared at him.
“WHAT ALTERNATIVE?!” she demanded acidly.
“You asked me earlier, how I was able to stymie the Ryusei Tetsu, yes?” She nodded with her lips in a line.
“The answer is, that I have studied many forms of power beyond magic.”
“What other kinds of power?” she asked.
“Psionics for one.” he replied quietly.
“WHAT!” she demanded shrilly. “You mean to tell me that you’re a Thought-Thief as well!?” she shouted indignantly, pushing herself to stand up fully on the ends of her Tarsi, then facing him with her teeth bared.
“No!” he shouted back vehemently. “I am not a ‘stealer of thoughts’!” he frowned back at her, standing eye to eye.
“Then what would you call it?!” she hissed, her eyes turning red.
“I cannot ‘read’ anyone’s mind without their permission.” He shot back. That comment of his caused her to lose some of her anger.
“How is that ability supposed to help in the here and now?” she demanded, folding her arms unhappily.
“If you allow me to access your mind, I can create a temporary mental bridge. This would allow me to duplicate your knowledge of Teleportation. Thus, I can gain the experiences that you have, and interpret your memories and experiences in different ways.” She blinked her eyes several times as she thought about it.
“Are there any dangers?” she asked, staring at him in his eyes.
“Honestly? Yes, there are.” He stared back. “The most significant one is that there is the danger of creating a permanent telepathic bond.”
“What would that mean?” she asked. Despite her fear, she found herself curious about the notion.
“That, would mean that either you, or I, could hear the thoughts or feel the emotions of the other.”
“That doesn’t sound so bad.” She decided.
“Involuntarily that is. It can be particularly onerous when you consider that such bonds are usually formed between married couples.” He pointed out.
“Oh!” she exclaimed, surprised and a little embarrassed. “Ummm, all right. So, we’d be like a married couple?”
“Without going too heavily in details, yes. But if I do the mental bridge carefully, there should be only a miniscule chance at best. I mention it, because you asked concerning the dangers.”
“Wait, married couples of what people?” she asked.
“My own, the Annwyfn did this. It allowed us to communicate more effectively in all things. Particularly in matters of coitus.”
“Ummmmm,” she replied, suddenly nervous about the procedure.
“You are of course, free to refuse Tia. But if I may point out, we are rather pressed for time, and I do not know of any other way for me to garner such knowledge rapidly.” Tia didn’t know why, but Arawn’s mentioning that she was free to refuse, decided it for her.
“Go ahead Arawn. Do it.” She replied instantly, afraid. “I’ll do anything to avoid becoming Colonel Herhes plaything.” Arawn nodded once and raised his hands to her head. Her eyes widened in alarm when he did.
“What are you doing?” she demanded, pulling back to evade his hands.
“I will need to make a physical connection, in order to facilitate the mental bridge.” He explained.
“Can’t you do it without?” she asked, swallowing.
“Yes, I can. However, it would make the process more difficult, and thus would require more psychic force to make it occur. More force, would raise the possibility of creating that permanent bond that we both wish to avoid.”
“I understand Arawn, but still…” she began, but stopped talking and cast her eyes to the ground. Arawn lowered his hands, and stepped back.
“What is wrong?” he asked, concerned. After a few seconds, she began to explain, nervously.
“It’s just that with my people, the Spider-Mamono, we only allow physical touching between family,…or,…” she bit her lip and looked away momentarily. Arawn waited patiently for her to continue. She sighed and looked back up at him.
“Or lovers.” She finished. “Touching someone’s head is considered to be intimate, as being touched there requires one to be vulnerable.” Tia, paused and tried to calm her breathing.
“Spiders don’t care to be vulnerable, Arawn.” She said quietly.
‘Few people do.’ He thought. “It is not my desire to become your lover, Mentor.” Arawn replied verbally. He noticed that she didn’t seem reassured.
“Try to think of me instead, as a brother.” He suggested. After a second Tia’s eyes brightened considerably at the thought. Then she smiled abashedly.
‘A brother? What an interesting notion.’ She thought to herself, remembering her childhood desire for one.
“What?” Arawn asked, curious. She looked away.
“It’s nothing.” She replied with a slight smirk. Then she got a serious expression on her face.
“Raise your hands.” She ordered, Arawn obeyed, getting her point by lifting them to her head level, but keeping them near himself. She hesitated for only a second, then she slowly began to lean her head in between his outstretched fingers. Arawn made sure to not flinch or make any sudden moves.
A few seconds later, he nodded to let her know that her head was in the proper position. But still, he didn’t make contact. Keeping his eyes locked with hers, he spoke.
“I will make contact,…now?” He whispered, patiently. She hesitated, then nodded slightly. Slowly, he brought his fingers up to the appropriate spots on her head, and deftly avoided poking her in any of her side eyes. At the first faintest touch of her head fur, he stopped.
‘Her fur is softer than I expected.’ Arawn judged. He felt Secundus formulate a snarky remark in that moment.
‘Silence! (1)’ Arawn ordered crisply. Secundus obeyed. Once he had the proper contact points set, Arawn closed his eyes.
Tia, still unsure of everything that had transpired, managed to soothe the rapid beating of both her hearts after a few seconds of concentration. She then closed her eyes after a short while. They remained like that for the better part of a minute.
“Wait! I forgot to ask, will this hurt?” she asked suddenly, alarmed at the thought.
‘If I do it correctly, you will not even be aware of the first meshing.’ He replied. She settled once more.
Another minute passed, and Tia started to become uncomfortable standing so long without some prey to stalk.
“Well, how long WILL it take to begin? I’m starting to think that you’re not doing anything!” she replied, vexed.
‘In actuality, we have already begun first contact, Mentor. Open your eyes.’ Tia did and stared back at him, his face centimeters from hers. ‘Now, tell me what you see.’
“Your face looks silly all naked.” She replied honestly, after a moment’s search of his face.
‘Why? Because I don’t have any fur like you do?’
“Yes!” she giggled. “You remind me of my Fa,…Wait!” she gasped then at the oddity she noticed. “When you talk, your lips aren’t moving!”
‘That is because I am not ‘talking’, Tia. What you are hearing, are my thoughts.’ She gasped once more in realization.
“Oh Lolth!” she exclaimed, astounded, “You’re right! I had no idea!”
‘Now, I need you to stop talking physically, and instead start thinking mentally.’ He instructed.
“Why?” she demanded.
‘Because if I can get you to do that, then you will be able to teach me your memories at the ‘speed of thought’, he replied. ‘Or, to be more precise, at the speed of your thoughts.’ He finished.
Within a few minutes of patient instruction and practice, Arawn managed to get Tia to do as he wished.
‘How is this?’ she asked.
‘Excellent Tia, you are a quick learner.’ He complimented her honestly. The strange part was, that she could tell that it was an honest compliment.
‘Now, we must build up a rapport, that way we can conclude the process all the quicker.’
‘Why the hurry? I wish this would take longer!’ Tia replied, deciding that she rather enjoyed this curious set of sensations.
‘Unfortunately, the longer we take to do this, the more likely we would become ‘psychically bonded’, I can sense that such is not something you desire.’ That thought, brought her mind back to focus!
‘What must I do?’ she asked.
‘Allow yourself to remember your Teleportation training.’
‘Like this?’ she asked, concentrating on remembering her first set of instructional classes.
‘Yes, please continue. But, do not try to force yourself to remember, allow yourself to instead.’ Arawn requested.
Shortly, she found that she was remembering every single detail from all of her classes, the mentoring she received from every instructor over her, and every moment that she spent working on the equipment along with the mockups! It was like experiencing a dream, but one in which she knew how things would go!
Deep down, she could also ‘sense’ that Arawn was reliving all of her experiences as well. For some reason it made her feel good that she was, in a way, teaching someone else.
Unfortunately, both she and Arawn were so deeply immersed in their Mental-Bridge, that neither of them noticed Sergeant Andra’s return.
Dark Sergeant Andra, was not in a good mood when she did. This was mostly due to her lack of sleep, but also because of her concern for the Teleportation Pavilion. She guarded the care and upkeep of it, with an iron grip. Woe betide anyone who didn’t treat it with the respect she felt it deserved.
Corporal Tia, she respected. But that newcomer, that Arawn person, was someone that grated on her nerves. She blamed him, rightly or wrongly, for the Platform’s current ‘Chocolate-Dildo’ problem.
A few minutes ago, she had received confirmation that she was supposed to allow that Arawn person full access to the Pavilion. But, even worse, she’d been ordered to assist him!
‘Assist?!’ she thought fiercely, indignantly, ‘ASSIST! Who in the hell is he supposed to be?!’ she fumed, as she walked back to where she’d left the two of them.
Turning a corner, she stopped and gaped when she came across Tia and Arawn. To her, it looked like Tia and Arawn were about to kiss, what with him holding her head in his hands!
“Corporal Tia! What is of the meaning of this?!” she yelled demandingly, as her face turned red with her ire. Andra’s tail flame popped into existence and flared up in response to her rage.
But, even with that display of hers, neither Arawn nor Tia seemed to be focused solely on each other. Andra stomped her foot claws a couple of times with frustration as she got closer to them, then tried again.
“Corporal Tia! NOW is not the time for a seduction!” she remonstrated.
“TIA! Are you paying attention?!” she shouted into Tia’s face, but still she got no response. “Stop ignoring me Corporal!”
Normally, in such a situation Quintus would have been on guard to warn of any potential interference, such as the imminent threat from Sergeant Andra.
Unfortunately, he along with the rest of Arawn’s not-brothers, were collectively parsing through Tia’s technical memories in an effort to get up to speed with the Teleportation Magi-tech. Thus, Arawn was left vulnerable, as was Tia.
Sergeant Andra then did something that would have repercussions for years to come.
“You!” She screamed, turning her attention to Arawn. “Whatever it is you’re doing,…STOP!” she continued, but it was as if he was ignoring her too. This, made her even more angry as a result.
Peeling her lips back in preparation for a ‘Drill-Sergeant moment’, she placed a hand onto Arawn’s shoulder and shook him vigorously.
This caused all hell to break loose.
“AAAHHH!” Tia and Arawn screamed painfully in unison, as their Mental Bridge was shattered.
Tia, jumped backwards in a natural fear reaction. All eight of her legs ended up underneath, and left her in a quivering pile upon the stone floor.
This action spared her much of the resulting backlash from the suddenly broken link. Even with such luck, she began crying with its breaking, as her head felt as if someone had stuck a knife into her forehead, repeatedly
“Tia!” Andra shouted then over the noise of the Platform, concerned. Ignoring Arawn, she crouched down and attempted to render aid.
Tia, panting furiously, was clutching her hands to her head with all of her eyes closed, moaning with the pain of the interruption.
“Tia! What’s wrong?” Andra demanded softly, trying to get a handle on the situation. “What happened? What were you two doing?” Tia’s first response was to grunt. Shortly, Tia spoke.
“We were in a mental bridge!” Tia whined.
“What?” Andra demanded.
“To give Arawn a chance to help.”
“Help?” Andra exclaimed, confused. “How?”
“By sharing my memories!” Tia answered opening her eyes and shedding tears, as her tears fled, so too her mind was rapidly clearing of pain.
“I don’t understand!” Andra replied.
“It’s complicated!” Tia half-shouted. “But Arawn should be able to,…wait!” she stopped worried. “Where’s Arawn?” she asked, looking about. Then, her eyes caught sight of him, and she froze. She was horrified by what she saw.
Arawn, in the scant milliseconds available, chose to accept the bulk of the Psychic backlash from Andra’s interruption. The result of which meant, that he was now in the midst of a Grand Mal seizure.
Currently, he was more or less on his back, as his arms and legs were convulsing up and down repeatedly, while the rest of him was shaking violently.
“Arawn!” Tia yelled finally, slowly getting to her tarsi. Somehow, she managed to stumble her way over to him. But she didn’t know what to do to assist him. She saw then, that he was foaming at his mouth with his eyes rolled up.
‘It’s like he’s been injected with Spider-Wasp venom!’ she thought to herself.
“Tia! Stay here and attend to him!” Andra ordered, as she got to her feet. MEDIC!” Andra shouted loudly, trying to get the attention of one.
“What can I do?” Tia yelled out as she crouched herself as close to Arawn as she dared. “I don’t know what to do!” she cried helplessly. Below her, Arawn continued to convulse mindlessly, rapidly approaching the point of no return.