This is a serial, the first part is here: Part 1
Chapter 14: A Price of Complacency Paid in Full
There is such a thing as being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
“The way the ritual is, it takes the sacrifices, renders them into a form of essence, and using leftovers, brings the cultists and their harvest back to Sunder. Normally, this ritual targets sacrifices inside the ritual grounds, but I think we can make it so that it just draws in energy, doesn’t bother with the conversion and just shunts us back to Sunder” Picky explained.
“Perfect, what do we need to do?” Gaddy asked.
On the surface, the people who went the concert were at the wrong place at the wrong time. Had anything resulted in them avoiding the concert, such a simple magic resistant common cold, they would have avoided the fate of being dragged into the Alterworld.
It could also be said that Gaddy and his friends were in the right place at the right time. After all, had they not been around… wouldn’t the World-Will cult have gained a few more sacrifices?
“Not much. Just get need everyone to alter the circuit the cultists laid out here, I’ll do the rest”
Everything was pretty much over and done. Picky was quite confident as he gave Gaddy directions which he gave to the Flambirdge girls who then got the concert attendees going. Apart from being at the wrong place at the wrong time, it tends not to be a good idea to consider oneself too far removed and detached from events.
Do you still remember the Spirit that Gaddy encountered? The one that watched. She too thought that everything was over. Her interest was waning somewhat, and so, she wasn’t paying too much attention to what was happening with the tower. She was right above it you know, looking down and through the walls.
Had she been to the side…
It happened in a moment. Picky ignited the changed circuit, the petrified creatures on the outside of the tower practically dancing. She was fascinated by this change, and unfortunately for her, being so dominant in her territory, her sense of danger had withered.
The nature of the circuit was to conduct a harvest, turning beings into magic that would be used for the nebulous World-Will ritual that the cultists yearned for. Picky had reversed part of the ritual so that it drew power from without. He wasn’t even aware that the spirit was around and watching.
His only thought was how thick with magic the air in the Alterworld was. He was just thinking of using that. A beam shot out from the tower and pierced through the watching spirit. Perhaps she could have done something, but it was completely unexpected to her.
Before the spirit could react, her power, her very being was boiled down, robbed by the circuit. She did not even have time to cry out. The sculptures of the tower began to leap off and run through the Alterworld, but their departure did not expose the innards of the building.
Instead, the building and the people within were gone, returned to Sunder, the sleeping world.
Yet each person had a snow white swan-like feather, and everyone who had hair found that it had turned silvery white… just as the spirit’s was.
So then, ultimately one could claim they were in the right place in the right time, since through surviving tragedy they gained power. The existence of heroes can be a bit like that though.
People that bring about a complete reversal of tragedy.
Epilogue: Clan of the White Featherscale
Some time later, perhaps months, perhaps years.
On the ethernet, in a deep recess where people are willingly shorn of their avatars, becoming invisible ghosts each with a voice that sounds the same as the next ghost…
Many of these anonymous lurkers gathered before a sphere, their minds connecting to it, connecting in turn to another part of the ethernet where a show was being held.
A room filled with heavy smoke. A man wearing a neat red suit, with a mirror floating in the place of his head. The man was slumped, as if a corpse in a throne-like chair. The mirror was blank, not even reflecting the smoke of the room.
The man in the chair was inside something like a cross between an office desk and a judge’s pit.
A twitch came from the body, and a green mask with four eyeholes appeared on the mirror. The mask’s lips moved.
“Welcome one and all, to the Fugitive Judgement, I’m your host, the Four of Eyes! We’ve interviewed everyone from monsters to saints all who are chased by the law and unlawful, and I’m sure you’ll all have no problems deciding what kind of person our next guest is! Please welcome, O faceless watchers, his Highness of the White Featherscale Clan, Prince Gahda!”
Some of the smoke cleared, revealing a masked lizardman. This man was in white suit half-way between business and war. His mask was a simple sliver beak with a white feather sticking out of the side. His scales were red, and his eyes were golden.
Gadha smiled towards the screen.
“He and his people have been hunted by all kinds of groups, but they’re our kind of people, and so have evaded capture so far, We’re sure there’s plenty of your Clansmen watch right now, any words for them Sir Gadha?” Four of Eyes asked.
“I want to thank my clansmen, without them we would not escape the claws of those who wish to exploit the Alterworld again and again. Together, we’ll continue protecting Sunder and the Alterworld both!”
“Typical, Typical. Now, we are without doubt that they’re many people quite upset that we’ve brought you in and not any of the five Divas of White Featherscale, any words for these frustrated netizens?”
“If you like our divas and their songs so much, then please, by all means, keep causing trouble for our enemies!”
“Haha, We don’t think we’ve had such promotion of self-interest since we had the Goddess of Scams in… so we’ve gotten bits and pieces of your story, there’s be a lot of rumours, and conflicting reports, how about you clear things up for us?”
“Where do you want me to start!”
The Four of Eyes laughed.
“Well I was going to say where-ever you wanted, but I’ve a flood of messages coming in asking for the first incident”
“Well then…” Gahda ‘Gaddy Mimassh began the tale.