Friday, April 13, 2007

Episode 39

By the time I was 15 my life had taken a turn for the better. Following the future plotted out for us by the Department of Defense, I and about 300 other new Oragi were sent to training camps around the Black Moon. We were fed, given the choice of skills to learn and, most importantly, loved.

The first step of this new acceptance was the giving out of names. It is very hard to love a person called H, partly because there are so many other Hs out there, with different serial numbers to boot.

It was held at the lecturer's offices. Mine was a Dr Aubern Yi. He was a stout, kindly, Asian man - a big difference from the tutors at my former facility. Most of the lecturers at training camp were kindly - but in a very militaristic way. They knew what touch love was and did not hesitate to use it. I, for one, have done a fair share of punishment. The most memorable was one hanging me upside down from a tree, head a few inches above the roaring, spitting water. I had to finish 100 pull-ups or they'd cut me loose and thrashing in the rapids.

Back to the naming - I entered the office nervously, taking in the plush carpet, the dark drapes and the beautiful wood paneling. Dr Yi looked up at me from his desk and gestured for me to take a seat.

"A H, I suppose?" he asked, opening my folder. "And quite a history too."

I say, uncomfortable at all the comfort around me. My hands I kept to myself, palms down, for I still wasn't in full control of my gift - there was always the chance I could kill someone I was pointing at without meaning to.

"Very well," said Dr Yi, taking out a heavy book. "They say I should use a computer for this, but I prefer to keep to tradition. What say you?"

"I have no opinion on the matter." I told him.

Dr Yi stared at me with his black eyes, which seemed to speak of unfathomable depths. I felt something brush through me, and it struck me the doctor was an Oragi too.

"You want to right a horrible wrong." he murmured, and then he opened the old book and leafed through it. "And you are searching for redemption."

He turned the book towards me and smiled warmly. "How about this name?"


I took it and went on to study assassination. For awhile I thought how good my life was, how lovely the world could be.

We all knew happy times never last. It was my second year there when F visited me. I was walking back to my dorm when I made out a person in the shadows.


I paused. Nobody called me that any longer, and I recognized the voice.

"F." There was a note of anger in that word.

He stepped out from the darkness, dressed like a farmer. He was taller, his hair longer, but still at essence the same. His white face, reflected in the moonlight, was as gothic looking and expressionless as ever.

"I've been wanting to see you." he said.

I took a step back, palms loose and ready at my side. I would kill him, I told myself, then and there.


I bit back my anger for the moment. Perhaps I could get some information from him first. "Where have you been?" I ventured. "After you escaped the facility the Department has been hunting for you high and low."

He regarded me with that old, blank look of his. "The White Sun." he said, finally. "I've bee accepted into an academy, and it is great. The people are friendly, they love each -"

"Traitor." I spat. "Why did you come here? Isn't it enough that you killed my friends?"

He looked confused. "I - I thought you would want to follow me to - after all that has -"

I brought my hands up and blasted. F dodged quickly, and two palms prints appeared on the trees behind him. If you looked closely you'd realize the prints were made of blood, and that the trees were already dying.

"You have grown." said F. he shook his head - "What have I done to you?

"What have you done to me!?" I screamed. "You took away our friends! You killed without remorse! You did not suffer like I did, had nightmares like I did, hated like I did!"

Silence. F looked down at the moonlit ground.

"I do regret that." he said, finally.

I scoffed. "Regret? Is that the best you can say!? I know you can't regret - you don't even have emotion - I read the genetics report on you -"

"That is not true." he cut in. "You do not feel as I do."

"I certainly hope not, you disgusting monster!"

"Listen to me," he pleaded. The desperation in his voice pleased me. "You cannot fault how I was made. I have lived with a poor family in Bulrish - they have shown me emotion. I do have it! It is suppressed, but I do feel! I love! I feel guilt!"

I took all this without saying anything. When he finished, however, I was shaking even more.

"So you killed with love! Is that what you're saying?! You are a failed experiment! You are worthless, as a comrade, as a once close friend, and as a scientific product! You could feel love for your friends but you killed them?!"

He looked tortured. I felt even better. "It - it," he said, "It was necessary."

I raised my hands, gathering power. "You know what they do to failed experiments, don't you?" I said, "They get recycled."

The first blast I threw hit the camp wall, crumbling it to bits. The second killed a clump of trees. The third found its fast-moving target.

There was a whoosh as F parried it with his arms. I noticed they were covered with blood. He looked at me, his pale face still emotionless. I thought I saw, for the briefest of seconds, a flicker of sadness in his eyes.

And then he swung over the walls and was swallowed by the darkness that was the night.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Episode 38

The sound of Calypso's voice brought the fight to a stop. "The magisters are there!" One of the Nobu yelled, pointing.

The assassins fighting Anukh melted away instantly - illusions conjured to take up her time. From above them the Nobu pounced - one sword impaling itself upon the ground exactly at the spot where, only moments before, Warren had been standing.

Both Callie and Warren found themselves behind Anukh, who had taken the form of a girl again.

"Wiry little foxes, aren't they?" she said, lips pursed. "Their abilities are about the same level as mine."

Warren paled. Anukh was the most powerful creature he had ever summoned. "What are our odds of winning?" he asked, eyeing the approaching five warily.

"Not good."

Calypso released Vera and he sprouted claws. "Take those helmets off." she commanded. "Long distance."

Vera nodded and carved a symbol on the floor with a single claw. Calypso took a look at it and pulled out a card from a pocket.

"Together?" Vera asked.

Warren turned in time to see Vera thrusting his right fist into the stone, smashing it and the sign; and Callie tearing the card with deliberate slowness.

A wind picked up in the hall, thrumming with the force of magic. The five assassins stopped their approach as a polar bear materialized before them - closing one eye it waved a paw in their vague direction. Five bolts of light streaked out and smashed into their helmets.

Silence as the helmets cracked and fell from the assassins. The bear gave a cheery wave and vanished.

"Those were supposedly magic-proof." the leader - a girl - spoke. She raised her hand and a scythe was suddenly in it. "That wasn't a bad show of magic at all. Pity, pity."

Warren studied them for a moment. The girl was the one who seemed to lead - indeed, there were dark green stripes over her suit to announce rank of some sort.

"What are you after? This place is nothing but a school." Calypso asked, biding time. The summoning of Ursa Minor had taken a considerable amount of mana on her part, and Warren knew from personal experience that she was feeling slightly light-headed at the moment.

The Nobu girl took pleasure in answering: "Oh, you don't know? - she twirled the scythe absent-mindedly, "Your resident seal. The Janus."

"What is she talking about?" Warren whispered.

"No idea," Anukh replied, and then a little louder: "What are you talking about?"

The girl looked genuinely surprised. "You mean you don't know?"

Warren shrugged. "We Magisters have never heard of a seal here at the Academy before." He paused, staring straight ahead as he flipped through his summoning cards, looking for an Ursa Major he had filched some time ago. "I thought the nearest one was in the Mokt shrine?"

"How naive - you people who live in this sch-"

Warren never heard her finish the sentence, for at that precise moment Wayne Rye and his patrol group burst into the hall. This arrival was made more pronounced by the amount of spells and familiars thrown at the Nobu.

"NO!" Warren shouted, but it was already too late: with a flash illusions of the assassins appeared; a boy was killing off familiars with lightning blasts and the girl was spinning the scythe.

Anukh turned to Warren and noticed the Ursa Major card he was holding. Their eyes met for the briefest of instances; both immediately knowing what had to be done.

She drew a sign in the air, and it hovered there for a moment - a sickly burning rune. One of the Nobu leapt at her with teeth drawn but Vera quickly killed him, tossing him aside.

"When will you magisters ever stop?" The girl snarled. Wayne Rye fell, a katana through his chest. Warren nearly lost his focus as he saw the pool of blood forming around his former colleague.

He dragged his thoughts back, ripping the card into two as Anukh called out the summons.

The effect was immediate - the temperature of the room plummeted and a cold picked up.

Down and down it plunged, stopping the Nobu from continuing their attacks. Not that it mattered now - most of the patrol were dead or dying, with a few frail groans puncturing the howling of the wind.

"What - ?" it was the girl, confusion and anger in her voice. The boy raised his hands and an arc of lightning raced through the air towards them -

It hit a barrier Vera threw up.

"You will never succeed!" Warren yelled. "Seal or no seal!"

The drama was interrupted for a moment when the main courtyard doors were thrown open and Yuki dashed through. Everyone followed his progress as he ran to another door, opened it and vanished from view.

"Where were you again?" asked the Nobu girl sweetly.

This time Warren didn't have to reply. The stone slabs in front of him cracked and rose, being thrown apart by a huge bear the size of a small car. It growled, rattling the windows and shaking the pillars.

"Ooh." said the girl. The scythe in her hand doubled in size.