Saturday, September 23, 2017

Whither Goes the Wind--Part 42

"So this will work...?" asked Lulea. 

"Oh, certainly," said the image of Vulcan looming over her as she stepped between the mirrors.  "Why it works when I do it with the lenses, and these recent events show us that the mirrors work on the same principle."

Lulea took a relieved breath, as Etain adjusted the mirror she was holding.  "Ahh, so you have done this before..."

"Oh, yes, and the rocks wound up exactly where I sent them," said Vulcan cheerily.  "Well, except that one time..."

Lulea's eyes spread in shock.  "Rocks?" she said.  "You've only done this with rocks?"  And then her eyes went wider.  "Wait--what do you mean 'that one time'?"

Vulcan had turned, his arms waving about in the chamber in a way that suggested he was doing something... wherever it was he was.  "All right, that should do it!"

Lulea turned to look at Etain and Hyperion.  "I am really, really uncertain about th--"  There was a sudden flash and she had vanished, the image in between the mirrors gone as well.  The two Salamanders were silent for a moment.

"Yay!" declared Etain at last.  "Something happened!  That can only be good!"

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Whither Goes the Wind--Part 41

"So... this will work?" said one nervous Sylph.

"Absolutely," answered Ariel, quelling any and all doubts he was feeling.  "Before, they've been attacking us while weren't expecting it, with weapons they had prepared.  Now, we are attacking them, in a place where we have an advantage."  He gave a positive nod as he repeated what Polychrome had told him.  "The Undines are about to learn a painful lesson."

"What advantage?" asked the Sylph, puzzled.

Ariel blinked.  "We--we're on land."

"There's water right over there," said another Sylph, gesturing at the river.

"And also clouds!" said a Sylph.  "Those have water in them!"

"They do not!" snapped Ariel.

"Yes, they do," said that Sylph.  "I've checked."

"Listen, the clouds and the river don't have enough water to let the Undines do the things they've done to the Silver Palace!" declared Ariel.  "Now, we can fight the Undines here, and beat them, or we can go back and clean the Silver Palace!  Anyone want to do that?  No?  Good!  Now, let's get ready to charge those Undines over there!"

As the Sylphs fell into formation, Ariel congratulated himself for showing talent as a commander, and avoiding having to clean the Lower Levels again.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Whither Goes the Wind--Part 40

The Sylphs were gathering on the plain, sharp spears and clubs in their hands.  Glaucus frowned.  "There are more of them then I thought."

Old Phocys snorted.  "What did you think?  The Sylphs cover this whole sphere, while we must lurk in the murky depths."  The Undine sighed.  "That is what happens when you send a boy to do a man's work.  Still, the lady has her favorites..."

Glaucus frowned.  Phocys was old by the nature of his people, created from the old primordial waters, something he never ceased to remind others of.  He bristled at being under Amphitrite's command, and quite frequently insisted on giving her advice.

Which is why Glaucus was the commander of the Undine forces.  "We've done far better than they," noted Glaucus.  "The Silver Palace has been battered and smashed, while we are safe and secure.  It is sheer desperation that they face us like this anyway."

"Hmmph," grunted Phocys.  "And it was from the Gnomes we learned of this plan?"

"They have been trying very hard to gain Roquat's trust,"answered Glaucus. 

"The more fools them," replied Phocys.  He spat.  "And the more fools us, if we believe him."  He gestured at the Sylphs.  "Tell me, Commander, do you think those Sylphs might also have been given information by Roquat?"

Glaucus gave a weary nod.  As annoying and ambitious as Phocys was, there was a reason they kept him around.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Whither Goes the Wind--Part 39

Lulea stared at the strange twisting lights in the center of the room forming between the two mirrors.  For a moment, it seemed to be something like a woman--then it shifted and it was a plain on which tiny figures moved in formation, and then it shifted again, and the great glowing form of a Salamander appeared.  The Salamander shifted about, as if trying to line up something.

"Vulcan?" whispered Etain.

The image of the Salamander froze.  "Etain?" came a voice far lighter than Lulea imagined coming from the figure.  "What are you... How are you appearing in my lenses?"

Hyperion stepped forward.  "Lenses?  What is this, Vulcan?  More trouble?"

Vulcan seemed to frown.  "Ahh.  Hyperion.  You're there too, eh?  I'm not coming back. I thought I made that perfectly clear to Etain..."

Etain coughed politely and forced a grin on her face as Hyperion glanced at her.  "She didn't exactly..." began Hyperion.  He shook his head. "We've been preoccupied.  Look, we should probably try to catch up with each other instead of talking past each other."

"Well, make it quick," snapped Lulea.  "This is very unpleasant on my arms."

Vulcan glanced around.  "Who's that?"

"Another thing to explain," said Hyperion with a sigh.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Whither Goes the Wind--Part 38

"I believe we may move soon, sir," declared General Guph positively.

Roquat nodded.  "Excellent.  The Undines and Sylphs will not know what hit them."

The Chief Steward sighed.  "I suspect they will, sir.  We are a rather distinct bunch."

"It's a metaphor, Kalliko!" snapped the Chief Gnome.  "Goodness me, it is so tiresome to have to deal with you sometimes."

Kalliko gave a dull nod.  "Your Lordship speaks for our mutual situation well."

Roquat grimaced at the Steward and turned towards his General, who it should be mentioned had previously been his gardener.  He disliked Kalliko immensely, and only kept him around because he'd been Steward for so long as to make himself indispensable.  He greatly preferred Guph, a Gnome who knew where his future lay. 

"I agree with the Steward," said Guph.  "His Lordship always summarizes things well."

Roquat sighed.  True, he wasn't that bright, but then that kept him from getting bothersome ideas.

One really couldn't get everything in a subordinate, after all.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Whither Goes the Wind--Part 37

"I have to admit," said Hyperion as he took them into the tiny alcove, "I'm not exactly certain this will work. Vulcan thought it would, but he never really got a chance to test it..."

"So, we're just going on the theories of your crazy brother that everybody is spooked by came up with, that he never bothered to check," said Lulea.

"Oh, yes," agreed Hyperion.  "But thing about Vulcan is, he's brilliant."

Etain nodded.  "I mean, we frequently can't follow what he's saying.  He's that smart."

Lulea stared at the Salamanders for a moment, then sighed.  "So what's the plan?"

"Well," began Hyperion, opening the cabinet in which his mirror was kept, "he always maintained that if he got his hand on another mirror, if we used in conjunction with another mirror...  If you would just stand here, miss..." Lulea stepped before it as he indicated.  "Well, it could produce all sort of effects... Now please, raise the mirror." 

Lulea slowly did so. "How far?"

"Until it catches my mirror in itself," said Hyperion.

"How will I know if...?" began Lulea, only for the mirror to begin to glow.

"Ooh, I think it's working!" said Etain.  "This is just like the last time it did that!  Remember?"

"Yes," whispered Lulea through gritted teeth, as the mirror vibrated in her hands.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Whither Goes the Wind--Part 36

"I first heard about it from Lord Roquat of the Gnomes," explained Hyperion.  "He was attempting to get my support for his own plans, which were in fact quite intriguing." He gave a frustrated shrug.  "But sadly, my concerns about Vulcan's activities kept me from signing on."

Lulea winced at that. "I hope you didn't tell him that."

"Of course not," said the Salamander.  "I think."

"What is he doing?" asked the Sylph.

"We can't tell you," said Hyperion.

"Right.  It would make Vulcan mad," noted Etain.

Lulea blinked in puzzlement.  "Why does that worry you?"

The pair merely stared at her for awhile.  "You've never met our brother, and it shows," said Hyperion at last.  Etain nodded in agreement.

"So, back to the war..." noted Lulea.

"Well, apparently the Sylphs tried to steal the Undines' mirror, which set the whole thing off," began Hyperion.

"Ohh, that's because you took the mirror!" said Etain, pointing at Lulea.  "That you still have."

Lulea shifted awkwardly. "Uhh, yeah."  She looked at Hyperion.  "I'm guessing this is important."

"A bit," agreed Hyperion.