Anacrusis

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Of The Fiery Horizons

Of The Fiery Horizons



In the Overworld, scientists have for decades been attempting to explain a mysterious happening known as the UMMM phenomenon.

The UMMM (Universal Monopolised Magnetic Malfunction) is a baffling event that occurs about once every half-century. It has been referred to as “The singular exception to the law of total energy conservation.” This, however, may not be true, as the event has been linked to the breaking of digital and atomic clocks and other timepieces. This, it is theorised, is because the UMMM phenomenon feeds off the energy that forms the matter in a single instant in the universe. Here is a means of picturing such a thing:

First, to clarify, the universe has four dimensions - three spatial dimensions and time.

If you pass a 3-dimentional object - lets say, a double-helix for example - directly through a 2-D plane, a hypothetical 2-D being living on that plane will see 2-D objects move seemingly on their own. In the case of the double-helix, they would see two circles orbiting each other.

Now, think of time as a fourth spatial dimention, turning the universe into an unchanging four-dimension shape passing through a 3-D plane.

What the UMMM phenomenon does is cut a single 3-D plane from the shape of the 4-D universe, a slice of matter that is infinitesimally thin on the fourth dimension - time - a single instant of the universe. The UMMM then dissipates the total energy of that single instant back into the universe in the form of magnetism, as all north faces on all magnets everywhere suddenly produce slightly more force for a short time for some reason. Why magnets? I don’t know. Nobody knows. It’s a bit silly, really.

[On a boat, Somewhere Wet, Ahbon.]

The strange ship left Pier without much grace - it was scratched, and its nose was rather more crumpled that a ship’s nose ought to be. Behind it’s crew and their Lieutenant lay a rickety old boathouse with a metal retractable door left dented and bent out of shape where its recent visitors had forgotten to open the damn thing before riding out into the eternal night.

But now Tripphire was making progress, so it seemed. They were cruising t’wards the ever - brightening purple star, and were settling in for the voyage. ’Zurei sat and stared blindly into the distance atop the cockpit, where McKraken fiddled with the controls, trying to figure out how to steer the damn thing. He didn’t know how he had even got the thing to go forward.

Irig was down below deck in a bad-smelling room looking for loot and weapons. Once she had found some loot and fashioned weapons from various items of fishing equipment, she stood up straight and puffed out her chest, guarding her find very well.

Adrien sat by the stern of the vessel, weighing the back end down, and watched Pier disappear.

Everyone was acting under the orders of their Lieutenant - who was curled up atop the fishing net, using a plastic tarpaulin that she had found as a blanket. In the thirty seconds that her eyes were shut, she dreamt about home. The barracks. Then, she dreamt about Home. Her home before the barracks of Criochan, her tribe. Her family. Then, she spent her final twn seconds of peace dreaming about Aui, and all the things she still had to say to her. Aui, daughter of Drar - Drar, the locksmith with a daughter that Tripphire thought was at least adequate. In fact, Tripphire had come to realise that she was very much more than simply adequate, but quite - in every way - absolutely perfect.

“Uhh… G-Guys! GUYS!” Said Adrien frantically.

And thus Tripphire’s thirt seconds of rest were over. “Blast it! What!?”

“Viking funeral! VIKING FUNERAL!!”

The Lieutenant rolled out of her shoddy bed and down the sloping deck. Upon inspection, the horizon had become a mean, flaming gash. Far behind, thick stacks of red smoke rose into the sky like great big sheep from hell, and what once was a great pier that cut through the water was now a flaming mass of chalky charcoal, and ferris wheel flopped into the sea.

“I don’t think that’s a viking funeral.” Said the Lieutenant.

McKraken had come hobbling over from the cockpit, and squinted into the distance. “Whuzzat o’er there?” He pointed to the blazing Pier, “that aviking funeral?”

“No, you fool! I just said -”

’Zurei had gotten down from the cockpit now, and was blindly feeling her way towards the commotion. “Did someone say viking funeral?” She asked, and stumbled into the others.

“Well, yes…” Began Tripphire, cracking her knuckles, “But that’s not what it is!!”

Under the deck, below their feet something was-a-rumbling. And as most dwarves do, Irig made the ground tremble before she emerged from the planks, and stood rigid beside her Lieutenant. “LIEUTENANT MA’AM, I HAVE FOUND SOME LOOT, AND CRAFTED WEAPONS TO USE AGAINST THE INTRUDING VIKINGS, MA’AM!”

“No! For the last time, you idiots It’s not a viking funeral!”

All was black and silent for a second, like a television screen is in the process of turning on, before Irig said in a tone nobody had ever heard from her before, “do you want it to be?” She held a poised marlin spike.

“Alright look,” Began the Lieutenant, “That’s no viking funeral, that’s a burning village. The village we just came out of, don’t you see, you two-eyed freaks?”

They all squinted, ’Zurei rather pointlessly.

“Oh yeash, I see Lieutentanat!” Said Adrien, and scratched his helmet.

“Should we be worried?” Asked ’Zurei.

“Nah! What’s it t’ us?” McKraken waved his hand at the village, “It ain’t our problem! We got bigger problems, like how we’re head’n into thick fog, or like how this ship don’t have a steerin’ wheel, or for some, hemorrhoids!" he hobbled grumpily back to the cockpit.

“Oh, well unless we were going back there, it should be alright then.” Said ’Zurei, “That’s quite a lucky escape actually!” She smiled and tried to feel her way back to where Tripphire had stationed her, and nearly fell over the deck’s waist-high wall, stumbling like a lanky, seasick drunkwoman.

“Yeah…” Said the Lieutenant, staring with anxious eyes at the fiery horizon. Perhaps it was just some freakish coincidence, but again, she couldn’t escape the feeling of impending doom - for the General’s word still rattled in her head, making a damn frightful racket. She couldn’t escape the feeling that some other beastly lieutenant was on her tail, ever searching and fastly approach, and she must reach the target first! Though, of course she hadn’t told her team about this dreadful danger. How could she? She was determined to beat this new squad to the target, to hopefully prevail and prove herself worthy of returning to Otum, or use the target’s soul to bribe her way back home - for that was all she really wanted. She must continue to command the crew as a frightful and strict leader, strong and powerful! Logic would suggest that this was the end for her, and she knew this, though chose to ignore it - it was a morbid reality.

Though the possibility of the fire being completely unrelated to their mission couldn’t be ruled out - perhaps it was due to somebody in a hotel cafeteria trying to toast a slice of bread twice, causing the toaster to panic and catch fire, who really knew?

Besides, the waves lapped peacefully upon the body of the ship and broke like soft whispers of wise old souls that spoke the only possible truth - that in the end, no matter what, all would join them in their serene dance that would last for all eternity.

The waters of Ahbon are even older than the world itself, and have seen it rise and take shape, and through uncounted years of Anarchy, until peace was invented. Evaporation caused them to rise into the sky, and fall onto the land and leak through into the underground, out the other side, and drip down the mountains into the lowest points of the realm, where they met with the rest of themselves and waited for the next revolution. See, the ocean has witnessed everything, collectively one and forever moving. The blood of millions has been spilt into said water, though those days are forgotten, forgiven, and ultimately, past.

“LIEUTENANT MA’AM, I WEAPONIZED AN OLD TUNA I FOUND.” Said Irig.

The Lieutenant had completely forgotten about the dwarf with the copper crown that stood upright below her. “Ah, that’s… good. Yes, did you locate this vessel’s armoury?”

“I CAN’T FIND ONE MA’AM. THIS SHIP DOES NOT SEEM FIT FOR BATTLE, MA’AM!”

Tripphire was losing her patience, “Well in that case make some weapons! We can’t carry out any phase of this mission unarmed! You’re a dwarf aren’t you?? I thought you underlings were supposed to be inventive!”

“YES MA’AM.” Replied the Dwarf, “I WEAPONIZED AN OLD TUNA FISH.”

The crew parted ways, each going back to their own assigned tasks. Irig scoured the rest of the boat for loot, and found a few nails,a couple of crabs, some pennies on the floor, some rope, some waterproof clothing, a little room with a circular little window and a small origami heart in a veneered drawer.

And into a foggy patch did the boat carry them, its cabin lights illuminating the immediate area in front of it. The fog was a shade of purple, due to the violet star that was far bogger and brighter than the others, and started to take shape on the horizon had one looked from a viewpoint just above the fog. Above the fog, one might have also seen something else stand out in that night’s sky - a small oil lamp on the front end of a soaring broomstick, but the crew were oblivious to this.

’Zurei was completely oblivious to the fog, and Adrien was attempting to blow it all away with great puffs of air - and surprisingly, he wasn’t entirely failing.

Tripphire curled back up into her makeshift bedding and closed her eyes again, just praying that they’d be where they needed to be next time she opened them.

Somewhere, a foghorn sounded.

Though the fog didn’t make much difference at all in terms of the ship’s path, as McKraken still had absolutely no idea what he was doing.

Still, they progressed. Farther and farther into that dark, eternal night.

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