Saturday, November 18, 2017

Whither Goes the Wind--Part 66

"...All of them?" asked Polychrome.

YES, responded the Maker.

"Every single raindrop from now until the end of time?" continued the Sylph.

AGAIN, YES.

Polychrome glanced at the ground.  "But what if I don't want to..."

AGAIN, YOU WILL BE EXILED.  TO SOMEPLACE THAT IS NOT PLEASANT.


Polychrome considered things.  "I'm hearing an implication of a third unstated option in that..."  She smiled at the Maker hopefully.

YOU ARE MOST ASSUREDLY INCORRECT.  MAKE A CHOICE.

Lulea strolled away from Polychrome's attempts at negotiating with the Maker, glancing around.  She had a long, lonely job ahead of her, it seemed, and...

"I'm glad you decided not to get exiled," said Etain walking up to her.  Lulea was considering how to respond to that when the Salamander hugged her.  "

"Umm, thank you," said Lulea.  "But really, I thought I owed this..."

"Well of course you do, " said the Salamander.  "You're nice."  She smiled at Lulea.  "I'll... I'll try to visit you from time to time.  When my job lets me."

"Oh, you're getting a job too?" asked Lulea

"Yeah, it's something about making sure the Sun gets this place just warm enough, but not too warm," said Etain.  "She seems really, really worried about that for some reason."

Lulea shrugged.  "Well, Her ways are mysterious."

"Very true," agreed Etain with a nod.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Whither Goes the Wind--Part 65

The Maker was staring at the sky when Lulea reached Her.   Lulea stood before her for a long while in silence. LULEA OF THE SYLPHS, She said at last, I HAVE REACHED A JUDGEMENT ON YOU.

Lulea nodded at this, and did her best not to squirm in discomfort. 

The immense eyes fell upon the Sylph.  THIS LATEST... SERIES OF MISHAPS HAVE SHOWN THAT I CANNOT LEAVE THIS WORLD TO ITS OWN DEVICES.  AND SO YOU, LULEA, WILL BE MY EYES, WANDERING IT ENDLESSLY SO THAT I MAY KNOW WHAT TRANSPIRES HERE.  The Maker folded Her arms before her. INSTEAD OF GETTING IT IN SNATCHES BECAUSE THE PEOPLE I LEFT TO NOTIFY ME TRY TO AVOID THAT PART OF THEIR JOB.

Hyperion and Etain both gave nervous laughs at that.  "In our excuse, Maker, you are spooky!" said Etain.

"Oh, yes, exceedingly so," said Hyperion.

The Maker sighed.  WHAT SAY YOU TO THIS, LULEA OF THE SYLPHS?
Lulea blinked.  "What?  I... get to make a choice in this?  In my own punishment?"

The Maker nodded.  I WANT YOUR LOYAL SERVICE IN THIS. ACCEPT, AND YOU WILL GIVE ME IT.  REFUSE, AND I WILL ARRANGE A QUIET EXILE.  IT WILL NOT BE UNPLEASANT, BUT IT WILL NOT BE A REWARD, AND IT WILL NOT BE HERE.

"I see," said Lulea.  She shut her eyes.  "Very well.  I accept the duty.  I... hurt this place, even though I didn't mean to.  I should work to keep it safe.  It's only fair."

I WOULD NOT SAY THAT, said the Maker softly.  STILL IT IS WHAT MUST BE DONE.  AND YOU ARE THE ONE WHO WILL DO IT NOW.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Whither Goes the Wind--Part 64

It had been silent a long time in the little spot they were waiting at, when Lord Vulcan came to see them.  "Lulea," he said.  "The Maker has said she has reached a decision about you."

Polychrome turned to regard the Salamander.  "Has she reached a decision about me?"

"If she has, she wants to say the decision she's reached about Lulea first," stated Vulcan flatly.

Polychrome snorted and turned away.  Lulea stood up and then joined Vulcan as they walked back to see the Maker.  "So," said Lulea at last, "are you all... all right?"

"We've got dues to pay, but..." Vulcan sighed.  "Nothing to onerous.  Frankly, we're probably getting off with less than we deserve."  He turned to look at her again.  "I'm sorry you know.  For everything that's happened to you.  And my part in it."

Lulea shrugged "Ehh, I don't blame you.  I don't blame anyone, but myself for what I did in this.  Well, possibly Polychrome, but still..."

"That's very noble of you, but it's not right," said Vulcan.  "After all, who put us where we are, and made us what we are.  Polychrome was unfit to hold power.  Who gave her power to begin with?"

Lulea blinked.  "Are... are you blaming the Maker?"

"Pretty much," said the Salamander.  "Told Her so when I argued my case."

"How'd she take it?" asked Lulea.

"Well, I'm talking to you, aren't I?" answered Vulcan with a smile.  He shrugged.  "I think She was a bit surprised, really.  But then, pressing my point has always been weakness of mine..."

Lulea nodded.  "How's Etain?" she asked.

"Sad and confused," replied Vulcan.  "That's why I'm here talking to you, and she isn't." 

Lulea sighed. "I feel kind of guilty how..."

"Listen, I know how Etain can be kind of flighty and feckless, for all that she has a good heart," said Vulcan.  "That you occasionally feel irritated with her isn't a flaw.  Nor does it outweigh the good you've done her."

"When you say things like that, I get the feeling things will turn out all right," said Lulea with a smile.

""Well, remember, I'm the guy who mouths off to our creator," said Vulcan.  "Best to be wary of my endorsement."

"True, true," said Lulea with a nod.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Whither Goes the Wind--Part 63

VERY WELL, LULEA. The Maker gestured, Her arm unwinding like a snake around a rock as it pointed out the way.  GO WAIT WITH POLYCHROME, AND I WILL GIVE YOU MY SENTENCE IN DUE TIME.

Lulea managed another bow.  "I... thank you... Maker..."  She shuffled off to where the former Chief Sylph was seated.  NOW THEN, VULCAN, I MUST SPEAK OF YOUR DECISIONS... 

Polychrome was seated on a rock when Lulea reached her, knees drawn to her face.  "Oh, it's you," muttered Polychrome.  "This is your fault, you know?"

"The Maker just said something similar," noted Lulea, sitting down beside her.

"Ha!  I knew it!" said Polychrome, standing up.  "The Maker may be misinformed about me, but she has you down..."  She snorted. "Disloyal little thing.  Should have had you down in the depths forever and always, cleaning things."

Lulea realized she felt rather calm.  "Well, you can't anymore," she noted.

"No, I can't," snapped Polychrome.  "And it's all your fault!  All of it!  I would have been a great Lady of the Sylphs, if you hadn't meddled."

"The Sylphs who were here say you abandoned them, when we came," said Lulea.

Polychrome glared at her briefly then turned away.  "Of course.  They failed me."

Lulea nodded.  "You deserve what you're going to get, Polychrome."  She shut her eyes.  "Of course, so do I.  So who am I to cast judgement?"

"Nobody, that's who!" declared Polychrome.

"And so are you now," said Lulea.  She took a deep breath.  "Please don't bother answering.  I don't think either of us really wants to hear anything from the other."

Friday, November 10, 2017

Whither Goes the Wind--Part 62

YOU PUT ME IN A QUANDARY, LULEA OF THE SYLPHS, stated the Maker.  AND I DO NOT LIKE BEING IN QUANDARIES.  IT IS DISCONCERTING FOR A BEING OF MY MAGNI...

Etain gave a slight cough.  "Ummm, Great Maker?," she asked quietly.

The Maker's immense form shifted, and She gazed intently on the Salamander.  YES, LADY ETAIN?

"Could... could you please be nice to Lulea?" continued Etain nervously.  "She's good.  And brave.  And kind."  The Salamander managed a shy smile.  "I really think she's one of  your better works, actually."

YOU AND YOURS HAVE YOUR OWN JUDGEMENTS TO FACE
, said the Maker quietly.  AND YET YOU WORRY ABOUT THIS SYLPH OVER THAT?

Etain considered matters.  "I guess I do, yes.  Is that all right?"

A slight smile touched the Maker's face.  IN A WAY, LADY ETAIN, IT IS VERY RIGHT INDEED.

"Well that's good," said Etain. 

"Ummm, Etain..."  Lulea looked at the Salamander, and then looked away.  "I... I really don't deserve that."

"Sure you do," said Etain with a smile.  "You were nice to me."

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Whither Goes the Wind--Part 61

Lulea chuckled to herself as she watched Polychrome shuffle away.  "Heh, yeah take that you meanie," she said.  "You had it coming.  And whatever else she does to you!"  Despite herself, the Sylph threw her head back and laughed.

LULEA OF THE SYLPHS, STEP FORWARD, said the Maker.

Lulea gulped and glanced around.  "Ummm, are you certain that...?"

The Maker gave a nod of epic proportions.  YES.

Lulea shut her eyes and stepped forwards. 

TELL ME, LULEA, ARE YOU PROUD OF YOUR ACTIONS? asked the Maker, Her voice somehow gentle even as it engulfed the Sylph.

"Well," said Lulea shifting nervously, "shouldn't I be?  I stopped Roquat from taking over and... oh..."  She held up the Sphere.  "Doing whatever he was going to do with this...  Could you take it, please?  It feels odd..."

The Maker shut her eyes and the Sphere vanished.  THERE.  I HAVE PLACED IT ELSEWHERE FOR THE MOMENT.

"Thank you, Maker," said Lulea with a bow.  "And I helped Etain, and I... did a lot of good."

The Maker waved her hand.  IS THIS GOOD IN YOUR EYES? She noted, gesturing to the ruined and blasted landscape, covered in the bodies of the dead Elementals.

"Ummmm...."  Lulea fidgeted.  "I... didn't do... most of this...?"

INDEED, YOU DID DO A FAIR PORTION OF IT DIRECTLY.  The Maker brougher Her hand to Her face.  AND WHAT YOU DIDN'T, YOU FREQUENTLY HAD A HAND IN, OR COULD BE TRACED BACK TO YOUR ACTIONS.  SO AGAIN I ASK YOU, LULEA OF THE SYLPHS, IS THIS GOOD?

Lulea glanced around and then looked at her feet and whimpered.  "I just wanted to help."

The Maker nodded.  I KNOW.  THAT IS PART OF THE PROBLEM.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Whither Goes the Wind--Part 60

The Maker considered things.  WELL THEN, AS YOU ACTED UNDER PROVOCATION I GRANT YOU A PARTIAL PARDON FOR YOUR ACTIONS, BUT REMEMBER THEY WERE HEEDLESS AND CAUSED MUCH WOE.

Amphitrite gave a respectful nod.  "I thank you, Great and Dear Maker, for your mercy."  She backed towards Glaucus and Phocys, and gave a quiet sigh of relief.  "Well, it looks like I'm not getting hurled to the Outer Realms tonight."

"Glad to hear, boss," noted Glaucus.

Phocys rolled his eyes.  "Suck-up."

POLYCHROME OF THE SYLPHS, COME FORWARD, came the Maker's voice.

Polychrome strode forward cheerfully.  "Right, so..."

I DO NOT RECALL ASKING YOU TO SPEAK, said the Maker.

"Oh."  Polychrome shifted and coughed.  "Well, don't you need to hear my..."

I AM ALREADY AWARE THAT AMPHITRITE HAS GIVEN ME AN ACCURATE TELLING OF WHAT HAS OCCURRED.
  The Maker eyed the Chief Sylph dispassionately.  THE FACTS DO NOT DO YOU MUCH FAVOR. 

Polychrome gave a hopeful look. "What..."

YOUR BEHAVIOR DOES NOT DO YOU  MUCH FAVOR AS WELL.
The Sylph gulped.  "Can I try throwing myself on your mercy?"

The Maker gave a truly epic sigh.  POLYCHROME, I DISMISS YOU FROM THE POST OF CHIEF SYLPH.  HOWEVER YOU WILL NOT BE BANISHED FROM THIS CREATION AS ROQUAT WAS.

"Well, that's nice...," began Polychrome.

I WILL FIND A USE FOR YOU, declared the Maker, leaning forward.

"That sounds less nice," muttered Polychrome.

The Maker nodded.  THAT WAS MY INTENT.