15 May 2009

"I Can See for Miles"

By Curtis C. Chen

"Please forgive me, Madam."

"You are forgiven," she said.

She clutched his face with both hands and pulled him into a kiss. He did not resist. The sound of a door opening pulled them apart.

"Soon," Lonea whispered.

Gerdan turned away and took the odor bottle from his belt. He didn't like to think what was in the foul mixture, but he closed his eyes and sprayed his face, twice, to mask Lonea's scent.

"Milord," Lonea said. Gerdan turned back and saw Lord Martilid waving a jeweled hand as he left the classroom. Martilid's son, Arton, sat inside with his arms folded.

The lesson began as it always did, with Lonea leading Arton in the seer's chant. She enunciated each syllable carefully, and he mumbled his way through the litany.

"Do you remember what we covered last week?" Lonea asked.

"Pin-pointing and focusing," Arton said.

"Good. Select a location you visited recently."

Arton smiled. "The docks."

Lonea frowned. "Very well. Show me."

She folded her hands and closed her eyes. Arton followed suit. Gerdan put one hand on his dagger and prepared to do his part.

"A stack of wooden crates," Lonea said.

"Markings on the crates," Arton said.

They began speaking as one. "A man rides a serpent."

Watching Lonea use her abilities always unnerved Gerdan. He disliked knowing that some noble blood flowed through her veins, and he disliked even more the likely cause for its being there.

"Emblem," teacher and student said in unison. "Great Ocean Trading Guild. Manifests. Prices."

Gerdan's dagger was nearly at Arton's throat when the boy and his teacher both jumped in their seats. Gerdan jerked back instinctively.

"What was that?" Arton and Lonea turned their heads from side to side, eerily synchronized. Arton's eyes snapped open. Lonea gasped and stood up.

"You saw it!" Arton cried.

"Yes, milord," Lonea said, looking past Arton and straight at Gerdan. "But we must continue."

"No!" Arton pointed at Gerdan. "You! Guard! Sound the alarm!"

"What did you see?" Gerdan asked Lonea.

"We must continue," Lonea said.

"An explosion!" Arton said. "One of our warships aflame, and alien troops emerging from the water! You must—"

Arton noticed Gerdan sheathing his dagger and scrambled to his feet.

"What is going on here?" Arton demanded.

"Yes," Lonea said, "I would ask you the same question, guard."

Gerdan stepped around the table. "I go to sound the alarm. As my duty demands."


"I have chosen."

"You made your choice in my bedchambers," Lonea said.

"I have chosen," Gerdan repeated.

"And so have I."

Lonea moved faster than Gerdan anticipated, pulling the dagger from his belt and throwing the blade into Arton's throat. The boy gagged and fell. His blood dripped onto the floor.

Lonea smiled. "And what do you choose now?"

Gerdan took a step toward the door.

Lonea shouted his name.

Gerdan turned his head but did not look at her. "I choose to let you clean up this mess by yourself."

She screamed as he left, but he was no longer listening.


Audio: "I Can See for Miles"

PRO TIP: Anagrams of common English words can often make quite serviceable fantasy-world names.

Music: 'Burbles' and 'Pad' stems from "I Crush Everything" by Jonathan Coulton, licensed under Creative Commons.


The Who

'nuff said.