Polychrome – Chapter 08

Polychrome – Chapter 08

Chapter 8.

He gazed tensely at the smoke and dust before him. The detonation had been even greater than he had expected, a blast that had cracked the nearest columns and left a choking cloud obscuring the area of impact entirely. Have I ended it even as it began? Or…

A figure was becoming visible. The smoke suddenly cleared, and his gaze was caught and held by ice-blue eyes, filled with anger and shock, staring furiously from a salt-white face. The glare from those eyes was of startling intensity, and Iris Mirabilis found himself momentarily seized by an impulse to step back, even as a great tide of relief washed through him. He remembered how he had brought down the lightnings; fear had galvanized the smaller figure, but instead of fleeing, this Erik Medon had merely thrown up one hand to protect his face, the rest of his body poised in stubborn, unyielding resistance. “Before destruction he will stand unbowed…”

“Well done,” he said as the last of the smoke dissipated. “Faced by danger, you do not turn your back upon it, showing that for you fear is weakness. You stand, you face that which would destroy you.”

The mortal was breathing hard, but the glare – while slightly lessened – was not withdrawn. “You hit me with a goddamned lightning ball just to find out if I run or not? This was just some stupid special-effect test?” The man’s voice, raised in anger, was surprisingly powerful; no match for the Rainbow Lord’s own, but nonetheless sending resonant echoes of outrage chasing themselves around the throne room.

Iris shook his head. “Vastly more than that, mortal man, and vastly more important, important enough that I had no choice but to risk ending our hope in the moment it arrived. Look you down.”

Now the anger in the face changed, yielding to astonishment and shock as the blond man realized that he stood on a narrow pinnacle of marble, barely wider than his own body, in the center of a still-smoldering crater sixty feet wide and reaching nearly ten feet in depth. “W… what the hell?”

The Rainbow Lord gestured; iridescent light coalesced in the hole, solidified to marble, leaving no trace of the devastation save the smell of scorched stone and the scarred columns on either side. “Come, Erik Medon. Sit with me, and I will explain. And in that explanation, I hope, you will come to understand that my actions were necessary.”

He caused a chair to appear near the throne, and seated himself on the throne as his guest – still clearly shaky from the sudden attack – lowered himself into the newly-formed seat.

“Okay,” Erik said finally, “Explain.”

“I have no doubt my daughter explained to you that it was our expectation that the hero she sought must be a mortal. But there is mortal, and then there is mortal.”

The blond head, with its somewhat receding hair, nodded. “Yes. She mentioned that most of the so-called mortals in Oz had at least some small amount of fairy blood, which was why they could end up finding their way here.”

Iris nodded. “Precisely. Moreover, those which appear mortal here in the realms of Faerie are themselves descended of such mixed blood. They are perhaps not possessed, for the most part, of any of the powers of the more pure of blood, but the key part is that the existence of that blood makes it possible for them to connect with the realms of faerie… and for the power of faerie to connect to them.”

The mortal’s understanding was swift; he saw the blue eyes flick back to the place where the crater had been, the brows draw close, then raise. “But one of truly pure mortal blood…” he began, slowly.

“I see you have the essence of it. Your mortal blood denies you any chance to have found Oz through the random events that brought others here. But it also denies faerie power any chance to affect you without your direct and willing cooperation.” Iris gazed outward as he continued. “Mortals live in the world of the physical, of the solid. The essence of your soul is there purely as the structure of life, the necessary spark that differentiates you from the base materials of which you are made. Contrariwise, the Faerie are beings of energy, of spirit, with a far slighter connection to the world of mundane matter.”

“So what you’re saying is that you faerie types can’t hurt me.”

He laughed. “Do not make that mistake, my would-be hero. We cannot hurt you with magic – we cannot impress the pure will of our souls and powers on you. But I assure you, a hard-driven blade wielded by my hand, or that of any warrior of Oz or other faerie realm, will kill you as surely as if it were wielded by mortal hands. You are not invulnerable, merely protected from certain forces in a way that no faerie can be.”

Erik Medon nodded. “I understand. Still, that’s a pretty big advantage.”

“A necessary one, in fact.”

“Necessary?”

The Rainbow Lord leaned forward. “Understand me well, Erik Medon. You have passed the tests of prophecy, and now we step beyond the point where another might be chosen. If you cannot do what must be done… we shall fail, or at least be forced into a long and bitter war whose effects shall recoil upon the mortal world as well.

“Yet the prophecies of the Bear give neither you, nor I, certain paths to victory. Today I will tell you what I may – and what I must. But it will be still up to you to make the right choices. Some actions are clear. Some are not.” He sighed, and for a moment he could not keep the worry from his face. “And the best of paths will still not be easy.”

He looked down, to see the blue eyes meeting his with a surprising understanding. The mortal’s mouth quirked upwards in a sad smile, and he spoke.

“I’m going to die, aren’t I?”

 

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10 Responses to Polychrome – Chapter 08

  1. Robert H. Woodman says:

    Okay, perhaps I misunderstand completely, but this looks to me as if the story is spinning out as a reverse messiah tale, where Man comes to heaven to rescue the gods instead of the gods (or God) coming to Earth to rescue Mankind.

    Yes? No? Close? Clueless?

    • Ryk Spoor says:

      It’s more an extension of the usual Oz mythology, in which a problem in Oz or the surrounding mythologies has to be addressed by or with the help of some mortal who has traveled there by some means. The original Oz books, being written for children, never had the problem be quite so EPIC, but the basic principle was there, starting with the first book.

      • Robert H. Woodman says:

        I guess that’s part of my problem. I haven’t read the Oz books since childhood, and childhood was, well, a long time ago in a land far, far away. :-)

  2. Bibliotheca Servare says:

    Well that’s a bite, isn’t it? I was betting on the difficulty involving transformation or something, maybe in order to allow him and Polychrome to properly court one another, which would have been another of the “difficulties” involved. Maybe I’m not totally wrong still though? He might have to die in order for the transformation to take place, I suppose. Now to sleep. /headdesk…

    • Ryk Spoor says:

      While it is obvious, reader-wise, that a relationship between Hero and Heroine is part of the plot, internally there’s no reason to believe that’s at all in the cards; Erik’s been brought here to do a job, he’s of no particular rank, and he’s likely to die. If Iris suspects anything of the sort, it’s unlikely he’d be happy about it.

      • Bibliotheca Servare says:

        Yeah I kind of figured that would be the case even in a supposedly “ideal of wise, etc etc etc ruler” from OZ. (Oz?) But I thought that might also be why he called it a “difficulty” and part of why he tested Erik’s humanity via lightning bolt, lol. Protective daddy, if you will. But I see your point, I was just being a typical reader brat and going “You mean there’s going to be SUSPENSE before they kiss! Grumblegrumblegrumblegrumble…” Heh. Not fun to receive I’m sure, but I am honored that you humored it with a response! In that vein, I have a question. If Faerie magic can’t affect him because he is Fully Mortal…how did Polychrome fly with him? How could he interact with her magic? (Dancing into the sky) I have some vague theories, but none of them make sense, since (;P) I don’t know enough about the world. End walloftext.
        Tldr: thanks for replying! How can Polychrome’s magic affect Eric if he’s immune to faerie magic?
        PS: Love what I’ve read of your work! Devouring more of it as fast as my reading speed allows!

        • Ryk Spoor says:

          From Iris’ speech: “…But it also denies faerie power any chance to affect you without your direct and willing cooperation.”

          Magic can affect him if he ALLOWS it, in short. And with respect to Polychrome, he was pretty much enthusiastically allowing anything she wanted. The only time he DIDN’T — when he was focused on getting them to his car rather than the direction they were running — Polychrome was dragged along without effort because her magic no longer applied.

          • Bibliotheca Servare says:

            Ah-ha! The curse of the inadequately observant reader strikes again! Gah. Pardonnez-moi, mea culpa, and so on, heh. Should’ve bloody reread the speech, no? Eidetic, my memory isn’t. (More’s the pity, that, IMO…the benefits far outweigh the drawbacks, I think) Anyhow, moving right along, etc, that explains it exactly correctly. Heck, it even explains why he fell! If the thunderhead thingamabob had faerie magic, then IT didn’t affect him unless he LET it. However, trying to escape/failing to cooperate with Poly’s spell/whateveritwas would have been MORE than enough to activate the whole “magic cannot affect you” bit, sending him plummeting to his untimely demise withOUT any input from our friendly neighborhood airhead! (Heh heh heh…you know you love the pun) Ouch! Am I right? Heh, persistent? Yes, yes I am. ;P :D On a side note, this whole controlled release of a dangerously addictive substance idea? Not. Cool. Lol. Withdrawal man! I’ve got the shakes! ;P You do great work.

  3. I do not even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post was great.
    I do not know who you are but definitely you’re going to a famous blogger if you are not already
    ;) Cheers!

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