|Subject:||Chaos is Bliss (Part 1 of XX)|
|Date:||Fri, 16 Jul 1999 06:42:00 -0400 (EDT)|
(c) 1999 Steven "Bull" Ratkovich
CHAPTER 1: In the beginning...
Stephen Williams laughed as he raised the beer can up with magical
fingers, tilting it back so that the cold alcohol poured into his open
mouth. Behind him. he could hear the shouts of his friends and fraternity
brothers cheering him on with cries of "Chug! Chug! Chug!" As the last
drop poured out, he used his magic to crush the can and send it flying
across the room, landing squarely in the trash. His "opponent", a stocky
young Ork, drained his a few seconds later, then toppled over, the alcohol
finally overcoming him.
Stephen raised his arms triumphantly and belched loudly, causing
everyone else to laugh and cheer. He grinned triumphantly again, and cast
a minor spell sending off a small explosion of fireworks around him,
startling a few of the less sober party members. Despite his rather small
stature, standing at three inches under six foot, and massing less than one
hundred and fifty pounds, he was renown across the campus for being a hard
core partier and for being able out-drink anyone on campus. He had earned
the nickname "Chaos" for his drinking and partying, as well as the fact
that he would do almost anything on a dare.
He turned and tumbled down onto a couch next to a beautiful red-headed
girl. "You, my wild Chaos, are going to kill yourself someday." She
laughed as she leaned over to kiss him. He just grinned back and
reciprocated the caress, lingering over the kiss for several long minutes.
The tenderness was broken up rather coldly and violently as a large
mug of beer was dumped over their heads. "C'mon, Chaos! Break it up. You
two wanna make out, head upstairs like everyone else!" Stephen's best
friend Allen Macon chuckled as he held the mug upside down, shaking out the
last few drops.
Stephen smiled up at his friend. "Actually, Beth and I are going for
a walk, I believe. We need to talk a little. We'll be back in a bit. And
have the next round of drinks ready! I'm going to laugh when Rock drops
from this round."
His friend laughed and nodded, calling out Chaos' challenge to
everyone, as the blond mage helped his fiancee up, and the two of them
walked out into the cool night air, away from the noise, laughter, and
abundant alcohol of the party.
"I wish I didn't have to leave." Beth said as they walked arm in arm
across the quiet college campus, lying her head on Stephen's chest. The
mage silently stroked her hair, holding her beneath the cloudless night
air, the dark of night made bright by a full moon.
"I know hon." He sighed at last. Beth graduated in two weeks, and
was leaving the week after that to start a new job in Seattle. "I don't
want you to go either. But you have to. This is your big chance. Renraku
wants you to help head up their research lab in magic studies. That's a
hell of an accomplishment for someone your age."
"I know, Stephen. I just wish it could be otherwise." His fiancee
sighed . The two had been dating ever since they met 3 years ago, when
Stephen had first come to the MIT&T campus, a fresh young man just out of
school. The two had been inseparable, and had recently decided to marry
after Stephen graduated next year.
"Look, it's only another year. I'll fly out to Seattle over the
holidays to be with you." He smiled impishly at her, and grinned. "And
who knows, maybe when I graduate next year, Renraku will want me to be your
With a laugh, she playfully slapped at him, then smiled and purred as
Stephen's arms enfolded her, and they stared silently up at the stars,
content to spend what time they could together.
It was several hours later when Stephen finally stumbled back into his
dorm room, exhausted and more than a little bit drunk. He blindly groped
for the light switch and flipped it on. The light flared to life, and
Stephen winced slightly, then started going through the motions of
preparing for bed.
"Frag it!" he muttered to himself as he started to undress. "She
can't leave. I don't think I can handle it."
As he tossed his shirt into the corner, he felt tears welling up in
his eyes. He fought them back frantically. He never cried. He never let
himself cry, not since the death of his father the summer before he left
home for college.
"What's wrong Stephen?" A soft voice called from behind him. He
spun, startled since he hadn't heard anyone enter. Behind him stood a
tall, long legged red-head wearing a short skirt and green sweater that set
off her eyes. Her eyes had a mischievous glint and her mouth twitched into
a smile. Chaos had the distinct feeling that she enjoyed startling him
"Cindy," the young mage said to his bonded Fire Elemental with a
sigh. "What is it?"
"You forgot to dismiss me when you left for the party, so I hung
around." She said with a pout that bordered on a smile. "And I knew that
you'd be upset about Beth. I wanted to see how you were doing."
Stephen looked up, startled again. He had summoned Cindy his Freshman
year, and had kept rebonding her, despite the wishes of his professors and
the commonly held belief that by doing so, he would simply give the spirit
more power and more chances to become free. Instead, the mage had rebonded
her, and over time, she grew in personality, until she had become a friend
and someone he considered very real. However, lately she had started to
show an initiative outside that of his wishes, and an uncanny ability to
read his moods.
It frightened him, as this was something that was not really covered
in any of his classes, and at the same time intrigued him. He hadn't said
anything to his professors for fear that they would order him to banish
her, and had avoided telling even Allen much. The only one who knew
everything was Beth, and that was really only because she had walked into
his room one day and found her there, and he had to tell her to convince
her he wasn't cheating on her with another woman. Cindy had been highly
amused at the situation.
"Even going to see her on holidays and breaks, it's going to be
miserable without her." Stephen sighed. "We're engaged, but... Things
happen when two people are apart."
"She loves you, Stephen." Cindy said, giving him a cocky smile. "She
would never do anything to hurt you."
"I hope you're right, Cindy." Stephen replied, tossing himself onto
his bed. "I really hope you're right. I'm going to get some sleep. You
can leave whenever you want."
Stephen closed his eyes and was fast asleep, but the elemental sat
long into the night, watching her master toss and turn. Shortly before
daybreak, she stood quietly. She walked over to Stephen's desk and picked
a photograph, a picture showing Stephen and Beth at Beth's Senior Prom just
a couple weeks prior. Cindy looked up from the photo, and into a small
mirror mounted on the dorm wall. Cindy was somewhat startled to realize
that there was more than a passing resemblance between her and Beth. She
turned and replaced the photo, and with one last look at Chaos, she
vanished, travelling back into the metaplanes where her kind were from.
Cold, hard eyes squinted in intense concentration as Adam Manholm
controlled the flow of magic, creating a scene of intense and powerful
illusion, filling the room with several independant illusions at once. In
the corner, a large, blue-scaled dragon breathed flame upon several
delighted and marvelling classmates. Flying high above the class were two
World War 1 era bi-planes, one a bright red, and the other driven by what
appeared to be a cartoon dog. And roaring through the room, weaving around
desks and between the legs of students were several miniature rocket cars,
racing around an imaginary race track.
Adam had been sustaining this illlusion for several minutes, and the
strain was beginning to tell on the young magicians face. The illusions
were incredibly lifelike and had flawlessy superb detail, and when Adam
finally ended the spell, moments before fatigue forced him to lose control
of them, the classroom exploded into and cheering, and Adam drank it in,
basking in the admiration of his classmates.
"Very good, Mr. Manholm. Very nice job. I especially liked the
homage to Schultzes Peanuts Comic Strip, though I doubt many of your
classmates remember or have even heard of it." Professor Thoraeu said,
standing and clapping briefly with the rest of the class. "Most excellent
Adam beamed in the praise of his Professor and classmates as he moved
to take his seat. The Professor then called the next student to present
his final project, the culmination of the Advanced Illusions class. Adam
sat back and watched a class mate, an Amerind Elf, as he put on an well
done but somewhat unimaginative display. Arrogantly, Adam critiqued the
display, noting a lack of facial definition here, a lack of color in the
eyes there. All in all, Adam thought, a rather pathetic display.
The Amerind's display ended, and the class appluaded politely, and the
Professor congratulated him on a job well done, and the Final exams
continued. With each display, Adam grew more and more smug, his silent
criticism degrading from simple critiquing to downright derogatory in
nature. He nodded, smiled, and appluaded along with the class, but he felt
nothing but disdain for his classmates.
Almost all of the class had put forth their best efforts thus far, and
Professor Thoraeu called for the final student, Stephen WIlliams. Adam
frowned as his biggest rival stepped towards the front of the class,
wearing a ridiculously bright and garish outfit of yellow denim slacks and
a bright red and silver shirt. He bowed low to the class, his long hair
flopping loosely around his nack and shoulders.
Stephen smiled, cracked his knuckles, and quietly chacnted a latin
phrase as he spun his arms out and around him in a wide, flamboyant circle.
There was a momentary silence, as everyone in the room held their breath
and waited, then a riot of sound and color swept over the crowd with a
force that was almost physical. Hear and their students ducked or flinched
at the sudden onrush of colors and images.
The young mage smiled and sat down on a stool at the front of the
classroom, a smile perched rakishly on his face, his arms folded acrossed
his chest as he effortlessly guided and controlled the images that ran
through the room. In one corner of the room, several piles of books
transformed into skyscrapers that proceeded to burn. Several Jet Fighters
chased each other through the classroom, chasing phantom space ships. A
swarm of Bees buzzed their way through the room, chased by an old woman
with a flyswatter. Whirlwinds made up of pure color whirled their way
through the room, as a thunderstorm rolled in acrossed the ceiling, thunder
and lightning flashing and crashing forth.
The images continued to assault the classes senses, the colors and
tones of the images crisp and clear, the sounds perfect and at times almost
deafening. Adam watched this display in awe and anger, desperately
searching the display for any sign of error, of flaw. He considered
Stephen a rival, a bitter, almost hated rival, though the blond haired mage
never seemed to reciprocate or even acknowledge his classmate's occasional
barbs or veiled threats. Instead, Stephen continued on oblivious to it
all, partying, carousing, effortlessly walking through life while Adam
struggled to be his best. With a shudder of rage and an excercise of will,
Adam kept himself from unleashing one of the newer spells he had learned,
spells the college didn't teach. Offensive spells designed to harm and
kill, rather than the simple and rather pathetic illusion and defensive
spells that the school taught. Sure, they went over a few minor spells
like Powerbolt, though they never allowed the students to learn any of
those at a real power level.
Stephen's display lasted for a full 10 minutes before he finally ended
it witha flourish and a riotous display of color and sound. Had the large
room not been sound proofed, the end display would have been heard acrossed
the campus. The young mage smiled and bowed like an Orchestra Maestro
after finishing a number as the class and professor cheered and applauded
TO BE CONTINUED
Bull -- The Best Ork Decker You Never Met
bull@*******.net ===== bull22@***********.com
= Order is Illusion! Chaos is Bliss! Got any Fours? = =
"Animals have 2 jobs: To taste good and to fit well."
-- Greg Proops, "Vs."