16 March, 2011

Reposting...Pale Spectre of Days Past

(I am returning this story to the blog after months of trying to get it published somewhere.  If you missed it before, here is your chance to see it.  If you read it before, here it is for your enjoyment again.)

     Watching the twin suns sink slowly toward the horizon, I smiled faintly. The light shaded into a deep hue, suiting my thoughts perfectly. My smile assumed a very sad cast as I looked to the sky.
      My name is unimportant, but it is Johaniz Marife. Only an elite few actually knew that name. I, however, was known by many other names on thousands of worlds. Countless cultures, living and dead, knew me by song, stories, you bloody well name it.
      Spending thousands of years chasing the Darkness across time and space provided me with several lifetimes of stories. Adventures beyond the Dreams of Avarice flashed through my mind in an instant. The successes far outweighed the failures of my journey. I smiled again as they flew by in my mind.
      The failures came to surface as well. My failure to save Acsehc of Adelborn IV from the clutches of the Cult of Polla. My inability to save the rule of Arian the Fair at the time of the Solar Concordia. The loss of the race known only as Q;idh.
      Sighing to scatter all the memories with the breeze rustling the trees, I returned to the here and now. Waiting, even now, managed to cause my blood to boil. I mused ruefully about all those philosophical lessons on patience. Good thing, I decided ultimately, I never bothered with attending those lessons.
      The sound of footsteps behind me summoned me from my memories. I played the drama out, letting the approaching figure stop and stare at my back. I smiled, knowing that the person behind me was doubtless attempting to summon his loyal guards. Sadly, facing me alone represented his sole choice.
      "I do not know how you got here, but my guard is on the way to remove you from this holy place."
      Smiling at the false bravado coming from my companion in this place, I remained in place. My patience tried, I returned the favor. My reward came quickly in the form of shouting.
      "I am Lord Voris! Answer me you shall! Who are you?"
      "I know very well who you are, "I said in an even tone. "I even know quite well what you have done."
      "WHO ARE YOU?"
      I laughed wickedly at the creeping hysterics in Voris' voice. By now he knew he was not receiving help from without. Knowledge and understanding was a wonderful weapon when used properly. Laughing again, I said mockingly, "Why Voris, where is the calm that charmed a planet?"
      A snarl issued from behind me.  Laughing again, I felt the strike of a plasma disruptor, and then again. Waiting for him to cease firing, I spoke evenly. "You know who I am Voris. Let your memory work back to those you threw as it where in thy headlong rush for glory."
      I continued smiling into the light of the twin suns. Behind me, I knew Voris' face would be twisted in the thoughts of memory. Knowing the dictatorial mind well, I furnished ample time for his memory to flow. A sudden gasp prompted another laugh.
      "I killed you..."
      Turning and smiling, I watched all the color drain from his face. Voris stared at me, then through me. Transforming my smile, I spoke evenly and sarcastically. "Oh yes Voris. Your eyes deceive you not, nor thy memory."
      Laughing, glaring with all my rage, I spoke. "I am as real as you remember. As real as when you thought you tossed me off this very cliff."
      Voris snarled again at me. I could see his hands flexing, eying me up to try again. Yelling again, he spat, "You powerless fool. Challenging me? You dare challenge me on this world you lost?"
      I yawned at his outburst. Voris leaped for me, but found himself frozen in air. I waved a hand, dropping him unceremoniously. Peering down at him, I let the rage carry through to my voice. "I told you I would come back Voris. I knew you would subjugate this priceless world, with your lies, your domination. I did nothing, this world having shown trust in you and themselves."
      Hissing and spitting, Voris rose before me. Shaking in total rage, he screamed, "Damn you Marife. You may have humiliated me in this moment, but the world is mine. Mine! There is nothing that you can tell these mindless sheep. Nothing! Their will is mine, I broke them and swooped when they were weak. They think as I wish them."
      Pausing, Voris continued at the smile on my face.  "Laugh Marife, LAUGH! Laugh while you can, my guards will come when I do not return. I'll turn your mind inside out! Serve me you shall, an example to these foolish people. I'll turn you, making you my puppet to dance, DANCE!"
      Letting Voris pant from screaming, my smile shaded malevolent. I tapped on my collar, saying pleasantly, "My Lord Voris, I thank you. That simply goes down in the books as one of the best abdication speeches ever."
      Ignoring his stunned screech, I transmitted the the recording to an uplink. Broadcasting around the entire planet, I knew the effect. Turning back to the matter at hand, I smiled at Voris. Waiting eons for this moment, I slowly pulled a small container from my right sleeve.
      "This, " I spoke calmly, "contains a particle of temporal energy. When released, you and I will disappear from time, in a most permanent fashion. No hope of recovery, nevermore a starfall, sunrise, or tea. Just gone."
      Voris snapped out, "You are a Time Tracer! You can not do this! I know the rules of InterTime Intervention. I demand my rights!"
     I smiled sadly for him. "Correct Voris. I am indeed a Time Tracer, and a founding member of InterTime Intervention for that matter. Under ordinary circumstances, I would be bound to accede." My smile fading to sadness, I continued. "Luck is with you not. Dying am I, and leave you for InterTime Intervention to save shall I not."
      I tossed the container up. In a moment, I watched the temporal energy swirl. Smiling, I watched time spiral, hearing Voris scream.

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