Friday, October 11, 2013

12/24/12 - Myron - Run Until You Drop - Pt. 3

There's silence from the trio of tall aliens, for a time, as they look intently upon them. Every so often, Myron gets the feeling like something's rooting around in his head -- moving mental furniture about to look at the carpet, perhaps -- and then nothing. 

"If you've got a plan, now's the !@#$ing time," the team leader whispers to him.

"I do have a plan, yes," Myron says, looking up at the one with the staff's face as he looks back at him: "But let's hold on for a second-"

"Very well, then," the One Who Stand Between says, looking at them: "Let us be clear. You, like those who have come here before you, have transgressed against us." 

"You have come to this place to take what is ours," the one with the torch hisses.

"We realize you did not know that we were here," the one with nothing in her hands explains.

"But that means nothing," the one with the torch cuts in: "The Lesson of the Lost Money."

"So you should reflect upon that, in your time here with us," the One Who Stands Between says: "That is what will decide how long you must be attended to."

"By attended to, you mean imprisoned," the team leader insists.

"No," the One Who Stands Between says, putting his head at a weird angle: "Your concept of prison is a cruel thing, meant to keep those who do wrong to others from doing more wrong to others. It does not teach that those things were wrong, except through punishment. It does not redeem, except by accident. You would be ill-served by prison."

"You will be taught," the one with nothing in its hands says, holding them up in a welcoming gesture: "Please come to us. Come to me. Let us begin your attending to."

"And then I will decide if you have learned enough to leave," the one with the torch states.

"How long will that take?" one of the other team members asks.

"Time is meaningless inside of the Attending," the one with nothing in its hands explains.

"But if you need to know how long you will be here, with us... that depends on how well you learn what the One Who Attends has to teach. It may be only five of your years. It may be fifty. Five Hundred."

"Um... we don't live to be 500 years old, sir," Myron points out.

"You will not age with us," the One Who Attends explains: "We will be patient. We will be kind."

"But you will learn," the one with the torch insists: "And until you do, here you must remain."

* * *

"I don't know you..." Doctor Power says. Holds spirit image of amulet up, between his face and hers. "Where is Niginaza of the Basalt Bed?"

(Figure of red light. Dark markings on eyes, eyebrows, cheek, chin, lips. Foulness.)

What will you give me to know? The voice mocking, hissing. Laughter just below it, like heavy coins dropping into a terrible, slimy pool.

(The feeling of being roped into a bad transaction. Evil salesmen. Dirty uncles.)

"You will tell me what I wish to know," the magician insists, his eyes crackling with energy: "I speak with the authority of the planes, and the angles, and the words which must not be ignored. Answer me!"

(Thoughts like fire. Images in the mind. Power and will and perfect authority...)

Very well, though you will not like it, the red-litten woman says. Leans forward, as if to kiss the amulet: The social structure has changed, O mortal man. Those who led now serve, and those who served now lead. 

(... which shatter like ice on the hard, frozen ground. A drop into the chasm. The abyss licks its lips)

"And where is she?" Doctor Power insists, seemingly not phased by this news: "When the structure changes back she won't forgive your rudeness towards me."

(One more step in this direction, then a jump to the right. Strategy change. Chess in Hell)

She is nowhere you will find on a map, and in no shape to answer your calls. A black grin hangs in space. You will deal with me, now. And I desire much from you.

(Four minds are as one, floating in Hell. "We're !@#$ed, aren't we?" "Yes, I think we are.")

* * *

"Myron," the team leader hisses as other members of his team starrt to panic: "A plan would be !@#$ing nice, right about now!"

"Wait," Myron says, talking a step forward and holding up his hand: "So let me get this straight. We're guilty of having trespassed against you by coming here, even if we didn't know you were here."

"Yes," the One Who Stands Between says, patiently: "The Lesson of the Lost Money."

"Alright then. Who are you, and how have you come to be here?"

The three beings look down at him: "Do you truly not know this?" the one with the torch asks.

"You were in our heads. You tell me."

There's the sensation of mental chairs being tossed around the room, again, and then nothing.
"You do not know," the one with the torch says: "Not fully. And we see this."

"But, again, the Lesson of the Lost Money," the One Who Stands Between insists.

"!@#$ the lost money," Myron says: "You owe all of us an explanation for this bull!@#$, and you are not going to pass any kind of judgment on us until we have it."

"The choice is not yours to make!" the one with the torch hisses.

"Don't you have a parable saying that a fool can't judge a wise person?" Myron asks

"Yes, but I do not think that you think we are fools," the One Who Stands Between says.

"Maybe not, but you haven't proven it to us. And until we know for sure that you aren't some vindictive !@#$ers who'd rather be angry at us for exploring your empty place, instead of being angry at yourselves for letting it get empty in the first place, your Attending isn't going to mean a !@#$ thing to us. And then we'll be upset and unwilling to learn, and this whole thing's going to take longer. Won't it?"

There is silence amongst the three tall beings, and after a few seconds Myron repeats his question: "Won't it?"

"There is wisdom in what you say," the One Who Attends says.

"He's playing for time," the one with the torch insists.

"But we have already told him that time is meaningless, here," the One Who Stands Between admits, holding his head at a different, but also strange angle: "Very well. We will prove ourselves to you. We will tell you our story."

And so they do.

* * *

Doctor Power nods, doing his best to not show his fear. The others are not fooled, though. They know this is not what he was expecting.

(School friend's house full of unfriendly strangers. Grandma after a month in the rest home. End of security. One less possibility.)

As he prepares to speak, their minds all touch. They see him as a young man, ambitious and driven. They see his willingness to do anything to command the powers of the past.

(Late nights in dark, hidden libraries. Forbidden books read by the light of ill-made candles. Each one a step on the stairway to Heaven, or Hell.)

They see him as a hero, starting out. He makes a name for himself, with what little power he has. Power attracts power like moths to the torch, and soon he gets offers.

(Questionable suitors and strange deals. One bad idea leads to another, each one paying for the last. Digging a hole.)

In the end, too many hands ask for too many things. He cannot be a hero and do what they ask of him. He pours over his books, looking for a solution.

(One final deal, superseding all others. One entity to belong to for all time. Scanning the want ads, stomach sour and falling.)

And then, he finds her. Old book of forgotten names and misunderstood beings. Niginaza of the Basalt Bed, queen of all sorcerers. 

(!@#$-queen of magic, known to the proto-Sumerians. Buried all traces of her out of fear. Best left alone.)

He gathers noxious and mewling components. He learns a dead and blasphemous language. And at the black of the moon on the last of the year he brings her forth to make one final deal.

(Terrible deeds done in secret. Too much blood to wash away. Almost a relief when he thinks it doesn't work.)

Of course she listens to her story. Of course she agrees to what he wants. Of course he agrees to hers, terrible as they are.

(And now he is !@#$ed, completely and irrevocably. His soul bound to hers by magic. A chain on the heart.)

And so he has served man for decades while secretly serving her. Dark deeds, here and there, where no one saw. Sacrificed supervillains, cast live into the abyss. 

(No one would miss them, anyway. Better treatment than in prison. Had it coming, all of them.)

And SPYGOD? He knew. All along, he knew. He let this happen because he needed that power. 

But made it clear that it was to be kept under control, or else.

(And now, here in this moment, a chance to show him. To thank him. To prove himself.)

And it's all gone terribly wrong.

* * *

The story takes some time to relate, given its length and intricacy. Each one of the three beings tells it in equal measure, picking up in the middle of a sentence from the previous speaker, in wave after wave of tranquil, beautiful prose. 

They tell of how they lived, and the things their civilization had done, and observed, and endured. They tell of how the Imago came as conquerors, not understanding how poorly-outmatched they were. They tell of what happened, then, and the steps they took to ensure that their Attending would be safe for all parties involved. 

They explain how the Imago were to be observed, over the ages, and eventually considered rehabilitated. They admit that their charges were able to break one of their number free, after a time, and that this one eventually came back to free the others. They acknowledge that, once this happened, they were powerless to do anything but sit here, in the dark, as their former charges used their facilities powers (and external guards) for their own uses.

And they explain that theirs is the last outpost of their kind, now that their own civilization has ended. Only the three of them remain, and their duty -- a sacred thing in their culture -- is all they have left.

Not long after that is said, the story is done. The three are silent for a time, as if meditating on the weight and gravity of what they have said. 

And then, the One Who Stands Between strikes the ground with his staff. Once, twice, three times. 

"Our tale is told," the One Who Attends says.

"Our truth is proclaimed," the one with the torch declares.

"You have heard our ways, our past, and our reasoning," the One Who Stands Between says.

"Thank you for that," Myron says, nodding: "I speak for all of us when I say that we appreciate knowing this."

"It is what the situation demanded," the One Who Stands Between says, holding his head at the first weird angle: "We could do no less if we desired to be open and honest. But now, you must also be open and honest. Tell us, can you honestly wonder if we are fit to decide what happens next?"

"No," Myron says, standing up: "I think you are fit-"

"Myron!" the team leader shouts, getting in the man's face.

"But I don't think you have a legitimate claim to Attend to us," Myron continues, staring the man down and then looking up at the tall beings: "If anything, I think we should be Attending to you."

"What do you mean?" the one with the torch says, stepping back as if gravely offended. 

"Do you have a lesson for leaving an exploded bomb in a field?" Myron asks.

And, before the One Who Stands Between can respond, Myron steps forward and saves everyone.

(SPYGOD is listening to Parabol/Parabola (Tool) and having a Final Absolution)

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