179 then pauses, and looks down at a rather detailed report as to just why these people (this takes only a second to read a report who's print is as small as individual atoms and conveys information many times the sum total of all human knowledge). He then smiles and nods, looking more kindly upon the strange group in front of human, demifox, and dragon. Small stuffed fox plushies appear in the little hands of the offspring of the infants (appropriate, considering their unusual heritage).
Now, according to the report, these were some of the few analogous demifox mages who'd been.....gutsy enough to ingest the Crystallic....making it's substance their own. The others were being taken care off by other.....emotionally enhanced Rules. Rules specifically chosen, endowed with emotion and initiative to handle strange situations that left the plain Rule in conniptions!
179 had been Endowed so as to better handled the casework of a rather unique elfin woman who'd had the nerve to upset the delicate egos of some rather annoying (in 179's opinion) deity Representatives (worthless rabble, in 179's opinion...especially the Greek/Roman Pantheon!) The elf, a woman born of a elfin father and a human mother (who'd been elfin at the time of the elf's conception), had always been a....touch too human for her elfin brethren....and a touch too elfin for her elfin piers. Something of a tomboy, the elf had matured and grown to be a rather independent and capable elfin warrior/thief by the name of Morgana. Through a series of strange events that was just the lot of this unusual elfin woman, Morgana had ended up in a time in a post nuclear holocaust Earth.....filled with mutants and devoid of her elfin race. Instead of folding up and mentally collapsing under the shock of it all, the elfin woman had instead taken....unusual steps to reintroduce her race to this blighted world. Morgana had then proceeded to be something of an eternal warrior.....bouncing from world to world....universe to universe improving the lot of elves to where THEY became the dominant force upon their world....instead of the more numerous Humans or such! That had angered a few godlings' plans......a kangaroo court was convened, and Morgana was put on trail. 179 had been Enhanced to knocked the silly buggers back into line. Currently, Morgana was residing on 179's version of Earth....along with a large contingent of her elven children (who'd matured at a fast rate through the technology she'd practically sold herself for use of it).....that was a long story and not important!
The humans and other mortals are just beginning to open their mouths slowly to ask what the meaning of all this is (mortals minds and reflexes were incredibly slow in the Realm that 179 worked) when 179 is about to tell them he's going to add their caseload to the pile of slipgates that need to be shut down when 179 hears a sound that chills his nonexistent heart!
The demifox mage just hiccuped.....four times....and with the powers he had inside him.....
One tone of hiccup causes....
A Star Fleet Admiral, along with the FOUR analogous people who all called themselves Kathryn Janeway....are sent (along with some of the office furniture) to a parallel world that....they had only left a few moments ago.....in a relative measure of time....
A different timbered hiccup calls forth and.....makes perfect copies of another set of a a fallen dark knight by the name of Frederigo D'Honaire (Thoabath to his demonic masters), a young girl/woman who should know better than to seek out adventure in such wild lands, and a young flame haired woman who was currently reveling under the sway of the moon (mushroom induced wolf curse coursing through her veins). A holy man pauses in consternation....knowing SOMETHING just happened nearby....but wasn't sure exactly just what happened....
Due to previous strictures set down by the Rules.....these duplicates would not be returning to the world that had spawned them. They were unaware that they were duplicates....but they all knew that....they weren't going home....ever.
Looks of shock....fear are slowly forming on their faces (even on the presently lupine Astra's face).....
Another hiccup....higher pitched....
Another duplication....another set of duplicates not going "home."
Another Fred D'Honaire, along with his sister Lady Rowena, and Lem (a dwarf), and Dokken (another dwarf), suddenly find themselves looking at a rather surprised looking caravan of dwarves who are gathered around a wagon who is holding the black skinned beauty known as Astra. Fred's brows start to draw together in shock....and surmise.
By now there should be signs of necrosis on the lovely woman's stately body.....but......
A twist of the magical ether and three incredibly tiny human infants appear nest to the silent Astra.....and suddenly shiver! Stillborn and dead though their counterparts are, the infants find themselves alive again....due to the unique nature of both a synergistic reaction between the Crystallic essence that marks up a small part of themselves.....the dragon gem that's still in Tarrin Gazin's pocket....and a demifox mage.
One last hiccup, and that takes care of what would have been delicate work for 179 as far as dealing with the demifox's group. Coming to 179 in such a manner was allowed by the Rules, so the demifox hadn't been risking anything by something here by teleportation. Indeed, it was REQUIRED that he come here....and take along the people around him (leaves less witnesses). See, though Synizn and friends could come to 179.....they weren't allowed to return home.....again....ever. Cruel, but that was the stricture handed down by the Higher Ups. But instead of leaving a mysterious disappearance, Synizn's hiccup had made one last set of duplicates. However, these duplicates are unlike the OTHER duplicates of analogous people. They are dead and stiff in rigor mortis. Much sorrow and grieving will happen throughout the lands of Allaria and Aqualaria. The originals know this (well....the grownups understand...the infants just are confused by the images that parades through their infant minds). They start to shout in protest.
The look of sadness that 179 gives them in way of apology stops it cold. The Rules silently wishes he could do something else....and also wishes that these poor people had come across his desk in the more convenient form of paper files. That way he'd be able to not have to look into their faces to break the news to them about what's up.
"Sorry," the Rules says softly. "I can't change it....not even a little bit. But, I won't leave you stranded here. I wouldn't wish that dull existence on my worst enemy! There's another world out there....similar to yours and where you'll find friends....for those who deserve them! I leave how you handle the Oathbreaker knows as Fred....also known as Thoabath to you fellows. As for Tarin and the other dwarves....when you meet Queen Astra and her Dwarven delegation.....I suggest running....FAST!"
"I'll be along....soon enough to take care of some loose ends," the Rules says, turning away back to work. The adventurers disappear into thin air....and reappear in an Ethiopian desert.....
2/19/2000 7:36:18 PM
The Never Ending Quest Home
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