One year and Counting...
I'll go ahead and pat myself on the back a bit, 'cause me and my lovely Wife Kristina just celebrated our first year of marriage! Maybe its not that big a deal, but somehow there's a notion in Society that alot of marriages don't last that long (and not just celebrity ones) We still love each other more than we annoy each other (most days haha) so I'm counting one year up as a win! We checked out Saskatoon's Shakespeare on The Saskatchewan's presentation of 'Midsummer Night's Dream. It was excellent.
Now since I said I would, I will upload the modified Prologue for 'Mirror, Mirror'. I'm having trouble figuring out how the first few chapters should go, to get Dawn into the other world. I usually don't have trouble with the fantasy stuff, its the real world writing that gives me grief. Anyway here it is, for what it is:
It was past midnight when the guards brought Abe forcibly through the door, roughly pushing the small shaking man to his knees before a low stone table. A rough hand hard as stone pulled a thick bag from his head, leaving Abe blinded by the sudden light. Abe tried to stand but a boot from behind pushed him down again, and this time he stayed still, shaking from pain and fear as much as from the cold. They had kicked down his door, stolen him in the night. Abe had thought himself safe, safe at last. Safe was the last thing that he felt now. He was terrified and cold. The sleeping gown Abe wore did not do much to keep out the chill that the room was emerged in.
"Where am I?" He asked after several minutes. There was no response. He didn't bother to ask who they were; he knew who they were. He had always known his enemy and what they were capable of. Somewhere in his mind he knew this day would come, but he had always thought it would be tomorrow. He supposed that it was after midnight, he had heard the great clock tower chime, the sound muffled through the sack that had been on his head. Today was tomorrow and here he was. The only thing Abe could not puzzle out was why he was not dead. There could only be one reason for that, Abe decided, and that was because they needed him. For some reason, unfathomable by Abe himself, he had become useful again. That gave the small man hope and he pursed his lips. Perhaps the date of his death would continue to be tomorrow after all. Slowly, painstakingly Abe eased his head up and looked around. The more he knew, the better equipped he would be to be useful.
Under Abe the floor was hard and stone, unforgiving and cold. The walls that he saw were the same cut, impenetrable and solid. Shelves lined the walls and books filled the shelves. Ancient tomes old and musty lay piled on top of newer volumes and shared residence with narrow tubes of tightly rolled scrolls and loose paper alike. Stone tablets lay leaning against walls, too heavy for the wood of the book cases and had, themselves, become tasked with holding still more books and papers. There was a stone table as well, thick slab and polished to a black mirror finish, piled high with writing tools; quills, ink pots with different coloured inks, paper weights sculpted into frightening creatures and sharp knives and course thread for binding pages. A small lamp hanging on a stand by the desk provided light to the entire room. It was a library and though every part of it screamed chaos and disorder, Abe could see that everything was exactly where it was supposed to be. He had a knack for seeing patterns.
Finally, there was a door at the opposite side of the library, behind the black polished desk, and now it opened to reveal a very distinguished looking man in the robes of a Librarian. Abe narrowed his eyes, he hadn't seen a Librarian for a very long time, but he remembered them vividly. The man's face was different, a squarish shape of grey almost bark-like texture with eyes like golden amber, but nothing else had changed. White robes slipping to the floor, layered hundreds of times and written all over with words in a thousand different languages had lost no detail over time. The cold demeanor remained along with a detached view of life as if they were above them, demi-gods in their own right. Pretentious. Abe remembered well the Librarians; he remembered that he hated them. Suddenly his need to be useful to this man seemed much less important than it had been a minute ago. Abe spat on the floor by the desk. The Librarian actively ignored the gesture.
The Librarian did not at first speak, but settled himself into a chair on the other side of the table and took some time to arrange several items in front of himself. A quill and parchment, the paper weighed down by a gargoyle and a leopard. His hands made a flourish of pulling a small package from his robes and place it on the desk to his right. Only when everything had found it's proper place in front of the man, did he raise his amber eyes and stare down at Abe, still kneeling and shivering in his bed clothes in front of the black desk.
"Abe Capus," The Librarian started, "for a time we had believed you dead like the rest of your threader brethern."
Abe grunted, "good. I went to alot of trouble to give that ah... illusion. I trust you had a devil of a time finding me?" He chuckled but then grimaced, pain lancing up his side. One of the guards had struck him to stop Abe from running and the bruise was rising red and hot now, making movement painful.
"Hmm, indeed. Troublesome." The Librarian gestured and a rough hand brought Abe to his feet. "I am glad that your skill has not deserted you. It would be unfortunate for your life to be spared only to have lost your magic. Some might call that a sacrifice not worth making."
Abe's blue eyes burned with fury, "Sacrifice. Heh. What do you know of sacrifice? Were you there? Did you see the piles; burning. The flesh sacrifice your kind made of us made to your beautiful Queen? The ash rose to the ceiling, suffocating."
"I did not exist then, but I have read about it. I have committed every detail to memory. Every Librarian since has." The Librarian waved his hand again, dismissing the the topic with a finely boned hand. "I am more interested in the present, and how we can help each other now."
"That's the way it is. You're forgotten until someone decides that you're useful again." Abe glanced around warily, "might be I can help, though you've got a strange way of asking. Still, I most likely won't, you being who you are and me being who I am and all."
"There could be no room left for refusal." The Librarian said plainly, "your acceptance is not optional, you will help us."
"Heh. I think you might not have taken into account that I still remember how Librarian's helped kill my order. You books and Cloaks have alot of blood on your hands; blood I used to know. No amount of threats will change my mind about that." Abe said. "And I don't have much left to lose. Seems I'm already dead, it'd be aweful hard to threaten me with taking away something that I don't have anymore."
"Hmm. Yes, perceptive of you." A slight smile graced the Librarian's lips, a ghost on the pale face. "No I thought to offer you something that you'd lost. For what it is worth, I personally think the events at the end of the war were a waste, so much loss for so little gain. My ancestors thought it would bring eternal peace. Recent history has proved them wrong, very very wrong." There was almost a hint of sadness in the Librarian's voice, "I hope to remedy some of their past mistakes. Pay back some of what has been taken."
"Well let's hear your offer so I can refuse it." Abe said. Somewhere inside his head there was a voice telling him that he wasn't being careful, that this man in front of him could solve all the problems, fix all the wrongs. Another curious part of his brain was aching to see what this Librarian would offer him; Librarians were collectors and seekers of knowledge, it might be anything, depending on the task they would commission him for. There was, of course, the wary Abe Capus, the hand that had been burned, or so close to burned, that it was not likely to play with fire again. The memories of the burning piles stood out fresh in his mind, the smoke ever present.
"Do not be so quick to judge the son by the father," The Librarian reached into the his robes and withdrew an egg shaped device that glowed golden colors of fire. It was bound with silver chains and upon the chains hung seven locks each lock wrought from a different colored gem stone. The colors shone off Abe's face and his eyes opened wide in wonder, all thoughts of revenge and vengence slipping form his mind.
"A fate egg..." He shook his head, "it's a trick. They were destroyed in the Fire."
The Librarian smiled, not unkindly, "you of all people should know that a dragon's egg is not so easily consumed."
"The Queen slumbers. True, her angels always watch us but they are confined to their orders. THe eggs were destroyed, every one of them. Just the same as you died with all the threaders that day." The Librarian said, leaning forward and holding the egg out, the golden colors splashing across his pale hand. "One lock was opened when we claimed it, no doubt in service of your old master, one lock we require you to open for us. The other five are yours. So long as you use the egg to change one fate for us, I care not how you bind the others. That is the deal I offer you."
"A fate egg." Abe reached out with his hand and reverantly plucked the egg from the Librarian's hand. It was warm, as warm as the first time Abe had held one. His fingers still knew the way of them, the hidden patterns and secret lines. His mind raced back, before the War when there had been much peace. Master Oshi had led the youth through the labryths, them running and playing while he had walked crooked with age, cane in hand. At last they came to a door that only fate magic could open and he found the doors thread and pulled it so it would open. Into the vault he led the childern. Abe remembered stopping at his play, walking in reverence; even the childern could feel the power of this place. The eggs had been in the middle, on a wooden bench and Old Oshi had let them all touch it.
"One day," he had told them, "One day you will use one of these to great consequence." They had been warm that day too, the fate eggs.
Standing in the cold Library room, holding the egg, Abe felt suddenly warm.
"I'll do it."
The Librarian smiled, but there was no warmth in it, "I knew you would. How would you like to proceed?"
"With haste," a grin broke out on Abe Capus's face. The egg glowed warmer in his hands and seemed to drink all the other light in the room. Golden rays glinted off Abe's wide smile, his teeth gleaming wild. "You wanted a threader, you got him! Let's put this world on its ear!"
Abe lifted the egg above his head and the egg shone all the brighter. Shadows were cast, shadows that squirmed and wriggled like worms in a fire, snaking all through the room and trying to hide from the light. As the light increased, so did the depth of the shadows until it could be plainly seen by everyone in the room that the shadows were threads, some thick some thin.
"Blackest sorcery!" Muttered a guard behind Abe, but the Librarian said nothing, taking it all in with his amber eyes, a smile playing across his lips.
"No, its a magic that hasn't been seen for a hundred years... Fate magic." the Librarian breathed.
Carefully Abe carressed the egg and the one of the locks popped open with an audible 'BOOM' much too loud for such a small device. The sound echoed through stone and bones, reverbrating time itself. The fate threads twisted away from it. From the open lock out hissed a red thread, firey and thick. It's head twitched and snapped back and forth as it spooled out from the egg. Abe looked at it wild passion in his eyes.
"A neutral fate thread. Haven't seen one of those before eh? Its powerful enough to change any fate, any destiny. Now we have to be quick... it'll consume other threads if we let it, trying to find it's place in the world. What fate do you need changing?"
The Librarian passed his hand over the document that he had laid out on his desk. There was a fat solid looking thread attached to it and it ran out off and through the ceiling above them. "This prophesy. I need it to happen sooner than it is meant to."
Abe gritted his teeth. Prophesies were dangereous to meddle with. "How much sooner?"
"As soon as possible."
"You'll get it..." Abe reached out with his hand and gestured, the thread coming out of the scroll stiffened and then pulled itself closer to Abe. THe firey thread from the egg, looked at it hungrily and Abe muttered words under his breath. The two threads melded, twining together with a flash of light brighter than the glow from the egg. When the flash had subsided the scroll's thread was flecked with red, like dying embers. THere had been a moment of struggle, but the red thread was the stronger and overwealmed it's victim. Abe let his hands fall, still clutching the egg fiercly in his right.
"There, it's done. Whatever prophesy you wanted, it's going to happen sooner than later. Now, if its all right with you, sir, the sight of you sickens me. I'll be taking my leave." Abe started to turn, waiting for the command he knew would come. He held tight to the fate egg with it's two opened locks.
The Librarian consulted the prophesy on the table and smiled, noting the changed phrases, the accelerated dates of the occurrence. He nodded his head quietly and proceeded to roll the scroll back up and tuck it away into his sleeve.
"You know why your side lost, Abe Capus?" The Librarian said mildly, "Trust. To think you thought we would let a master of Fate magic keep one of the most powerful Fate artifacts ever created. You must be a fool!"
"No," Abe said grimly, "I'm not."
His fingers worked fast on the surface of the egg and of a sudden the threads were back, one to bind everything. The guards loomed forward, rough hands grasping but Abe's fingers were quicker, he plucked at their fate strings and sent them sprawling off balance. The Librarian roared, an unearthly sound coming from someone who looked so mild and fragile, and leapt from the floor onto the top of his desk in a flurry of white silk. Abe grabbed hold of the Librarian's thread and his face split in a wicked grin.
"Careful, that locked opened up alot of energy, seems I can do a few more things than when your men kicked down my door." Abe backed towards the exit and everyone in the room was powerless to stop him.
"Fate is a funny thing, it hates to be lied to. You said I'd be given this egg and my freedom. That was a lie, apparently, but I'm going to make it true. fate likes that, likes when things happen that are supposed to happen. Even though I changed your prophesy, Fate likes for what was supposed to have happened, to have happened. Remember that Librarian." Abe made a stiff little bow and vanished through the door.
the guards made to pursue, but the Librarian halted them with a wave of his hand.
"It's useless. He was won that game." The Librarian pulled out the scroll from his sleeve and tapped it against the desk, "or perhaps we've won after all." The Librarian smiled his thin pleasant smile again and retreated through the door he had entered through. The guards blew out the candle and the room was dark.