Thursday, July 22, 2010

time may change me

What was it that made me and the frozen urchin stand there slack-jawed like a Japanese tourist who stumbled into a Caledonian Burns Supper?

"'Oh hell no?' Is that any way to treat your Regent, Koen?"

Floating in the air. Gold and crimson robes. Red demon wings. The crest of House Bloodwing on the chest.

"Would you expect any less from me?"

An exquisitely decorated staff from an estate sale at the other side of the galaxy.

He descended as quiet as a thought in sleep.

"Yes, Koen. This is my doing."

A gold headdress of a bent circle perched on his shoulders and fanning out behind his head.

I cautiously padded forward. "When did you decide to become Regent?"

Gray fur with traces of black. Bags under his scarlet eyes. Slightly trembling paws with overgrown claws. I won't even think about the teeth.

He let me come close enough to scent him. I lurched back. He ignored my response as he ambled towards Wren. "I had no choice. A construct can't become Regent..." He lay his paw on her shoulder, and her flame danced again. She looked up at him with a quivering lip and frightened eyes.

"I'm sorry, Mr. Regent. He chased me..."

"It's alright, Wren. He's unharmed. That's what matters."

I scratched the back of my head, trying to wrap my head around what he was telling me. I couldn't even put together the words. I was afraid to.

"You understand now, don't you Koen? Why a reconsolidated version of your Qli-Nova just happened to be right under you when you arrived from a fifty-year jump?"

"That was you..."

"Yes. Yes it was."

He scratched the back of his head. Looks like he never quit that habit. Still a bit of red on those silver ears.

"In this timeline..." He leaned over on his staff. Was he exhausted from the giant Void bubble? Or was the headdress or his wings the heavier burden? "The Bloodwing's Revenge crashed before it got to Babbage. It didn't get to Qlippothic in time..."

"Yes, Koen. You saw how it ended. No one was there when the Vesprium broke through. No one to hold them back at the hellgate. No one to raise the alarm..."

Wren embraced him while he sank to his knees, leaning on his staff for support.

"I miss Father..." Wren whimpered.

"We didn't even have time to finish mourning and rebuild the Foundation before we realized the Steamlands were being overrun!"

I knelt down next to him, whispering as I shook my head. "Why? Why are you telling me all this? We're not supposed to change..."

"You already changed it when you watched this world through the Time Window! The first thing I did after becoming a Time Lord was to trace those energies back to your ship and devise a rescue! LISTEN TO ME BOY!"

He gripped my shoulder with his other paw.

"Don't end up like me! Trapped with a legacy on your shoulders and nobody left to pass it to!" He looked up at me, trembling with bitterness growing in his eyes. "Look at you, aging yourself in a timejump! You can get those years back with the turn of a dial! I'd give up my last moments just to spend a do-nothing day in Kittiswitch one last..."

"FOR THE LOVE OF BAST WILL YOU JUST STOP!" I broke his grip and leaped to my feet. The bunnies at the other side of the building snapped back into land-piranha mode, converging on the space where I had been cowering moments ago. Theirs ears perked and I saw a hundred pair of green beady eyes staring at us. I assume it was the sight of the Regent that made them leap down to the fire escape.

I felt my back arching and the fur on my neck standing on end. "What do you want me to do?", I snarled.

The old, sad, bitter, weary version of me rose and tilted his staff towards me. I looked down at Wren as she pulled a yellow and tattered old newspaper from under her jacket....

1 comment:

Wren Mornington said...

There's an old joke that if you ask the guy who plays the gravedigger in Hamlet what the story is about, he'll say "it's about this gravedigger who knows a prince and.."

I love your writing, but I have to admit, I can't help but look at this whole clever plot unfold and come away with it going "aww, poor Wren."