The Writers of the Universe
14. Fight The Universe
Tal-sen held out a mangled hand for Jeremy to grab onto and lift himself off of the ground with. He whispered an almost wordless thanks to the loyal monster. Gazing around at the rest of his group; he saw that Mai, Cis, Saesha, and Noal all had the same deep look of contemplation upon their faces. He was sure he had it too, that far off stare into nothing trying to decide the next course of action. His love for them all and their support threatened to overcome his emotions. If it weren’t for each one of them, he was sure they would all be dead at this point. He had no reason to care about any other universe, but if there was one thing he could accomplish it would be to keep this group of people alive for as long as possible. If he could achieve just that he would be happy, but he knew that without also freeing the many-verses his victory would be shallow and short lived.
“We need to find Fate, or use it, or have it use us…whatever the hell you do with it. This is the key weapon to Radfewx’s control,” Jeremy spoke.
“Are you sure, man?” Cis questioned.
“Yeah, why not. It saved my dad and my mom. I think it will save us also.”
Saesha shook her long hair. “I think Cis is right. We can’t rely on something this mysterious and it sounds like it is just another type of control. Sure it has a different name and it may be “good”, but I choose to live with no master.”
Jeremy couldn’t believe it, had they fallen asleep during the last hour or two. Fate had been fighting the writers for millenniums. If there was a single thing that could actually threaten this empire, it was Fate. “We have no other choice.”
“Then you don’t get what is all at stake here,” Mai led. “This isn’t just about you and your life. This is every universe, every family, everything that breathes needs to have the chance to have a say.”
“Then I’ll wait here while you go tally the votes,” Jeremy reacted rather jackassedly.
The room felt hot all of a sudden. “I think we should go back, get a moment of rest, and then figure this all out,” Jeremy said as he picked up the books and stormed towards the exit.
He felt his neck grow hotter as he imagined them making unspoken conversations about his outbursts and how he would never be able to lead them to any sort of victory. Though he was full of anger and spite, it did not distract him from thinking about Fate and the story Noal had told. Even if Fate was not the ultimate answer to their problems, it was still a giant piece of the missing puzzle that was his life and he would stop at nothing to find out and discover Fate.
The group made their way down the many levels and out into the twisting maze of the city-sized structure. Without waiting for the group to catch up, Jeremy crossed the street to their lodgings.
The shadow of a burst of sudden light illuminated Jeremy’s outline against the building. Jeremy turned in time as a ball of white light exploded into Noal’s chest, incinerating the six-armed giant on the spot.
Radfewx stepped between Jeremy and the rest of the group. The space where Noal had once occupied was now taken by the pure manifestation of all that Jeremy could call evil.
Jeremy felt numb, his body wanted to fight but his mind told him it was no use. The one person who had seemed to have some answers for Jeremy was now little more than dust particles. Surprised that in this moment he did not feel sadder, Jeremy met Radfewx’s glare and waited for his own flash of oncoming oblivion.
“I was tired of chasing you. Now put those books down so that they do not get your dust on them while I execute you. You know your crimes against the laws of the Writers and of the universes and the punishment must be just and equal.”
Jeremy watched, detached from the current situation as Noal’s quill floated towards the ground. It rocked back and forth on the air currents that moved between them as if there was no trouble at all in the world. Happily and peacefully it landed.
“Take me and destroy me,” Jeremy pleaded. “But allow my companions to go free. They will not be able to interfere with you from their respective universes. That is all I ask.”
Radfewx looked thoughtful for a moment, before taking a happy gulp of air. “Oh, so cliche. The sacrifice yourself so they don’t come to harm bit. You know my far back great-great-grandfather invented that.”
“You mean Grandmaster Kildaire?”
“Where did you hear that name!” Radfewx shouted suddenly furious. “No outsider should know such a name…unless…” A smile more cruel than Jeremy would have believed could exist crept over the enemy’s face.
The six-armed giant surveyed Jeremy’s friends. “Which one is it?”
Jeremy breathed not a word in response, neither did his friends. They all stood shocked, rooted in their sudden grief.
“You can tell me, my boy Jeremy. Which one is it? Which one do you love the most? Which one will bring Fate here and now.”
In two steps, the giant crossed the distance and picked Jeremy up by the scruff of his shirt and hauled him back towards the group. Radfewx shoved Jeremy’s face right close to Cis’s.
“Do you love loyal friendship the most?” Radfewx asked before pulling him down to the next person in line, Mai. “Or do you love the mysterious connection you share with her pain.” Again, Jeremy was ripped away, towards Tal-sen. “Do you value undying trustworthiness above all else….no, of course not.” With a final tug, Jeremy was wrenched in front of Saesha. “No, You love the free and wild, the one who pretends to be without a master.”
Jeremy looked into Saesha’s burning orange and blue eyes. It was true. They had shared a few moments along the journey, but at the time it had never felt more than a distant dream that love could be involved at all. Jeremy wasn’t sure what Radfewx was trying to prove, all that he knew was that in this giant universe a creature as beautiful and as smart as Saesha would have a hard time falling in love with a fairly typical human being. He saw something that might have been the answer to the question reflected in her eyes but was flung to the ground before he could understand.
“This will be my coup d’etat. In one fell swoop, I will destroy you and Fate. I can feel its presence gathering around us. This is the moment we prevail,” Radfewx praised himself as he pulled out his own grey quill and pulled down the sleeve of his middle left arm. Staring down at Jeremy, Radfewx cut into his arm with the quill forming letters and symbols in his own flesh. Blood trickled out of the freshly made incisions. Unable to understand what it all meant, the only word that Jeremy could make out was his own name being formed upon Radfewx’s skin.
As the giant was finishing his barbaric inscriptions, a great horn sounded ringing through the large city, causing everyone to jump. Another horn far off answered the first, as a dark cloud filled the sky above them. The cloud became deeper and darker as it drew closer, blocking out the sun. It was soon apparent that the cloud was, in fact, a massive spaceship.
The spacecraft settled directly over them as an opening on the bottom of the black metal began forming.
While all of this was happening above them, Jeremy couldn’t be sure but he felt like he heard the clopping of horse hooves on stone.
The door on the bottom of the spacecraft opened to its fullest and a beam of icy blue spilled out and touched the ground beside them. In the midst of the eerie light formed the Dog-crab creature that had first found Jeremy on the Fifth world and beside the Dog-crab an alien of unknown name and origin formed. The new alien looked to be at most five feet tall with an extra appendage for everything on the right side of its body. One extra finger on the right hand, an extra ear right below the right ear and an extra leg on the right side that seemed to be slightly too short to touch the ground. Aliens are weird, thought Jeremy.
The sound of hooves came closer to Jeremy, as the shape of a proud horse broke through the shaft of light on the other side. Jeremy recognized the man atop the horse as King Prikard of the Kingdom beneath the Moon. Beside him rode the wizard Lucky, atop his own war horse.
The king pulled his horse to a stop in front of the giant Radfewx. They were at eye level. “By way of a red feather, it was foretold that there would be a war soon. My aid and those of the many legions I command I hereby grant to Jeremy son of the Earth. I will follow you into this war.” The king growled as he pulled a bright red feather that matched the same reddish-orange shade of Jeremy’s quill.
Crab-dog waddled forward and barked a similar phrase, “Fluff of red and not quite down sun in sky came me this answer to. To, your not good. Let us punch him. Freedom.”
“I am commander Morksle,” said the right-sided alien. “I hail from a planet called Morksle. We also received a red feather. This fight is our fight as well. We will aid you in this battle.”
“I am the Wizard, Lucky. I bring the aid of my magici brethren to aid in the defeat of our greatest enemy,” Lucky added, swaying excitedly in his bitter green robes.
“Enough!” Radfewx erupted the proceedings. “I’ll take all of you on and I will prevail. For what little army you were able to scramble together here Jeremy, I will bring the universe down upon you and every person you ever loved. I swear it this instant, the war is the end.” Radfewx thrust one of his fists into the air, as the same sort of white blast erupted from the end of his knife. The beam of light hit the ship and exploded, sending streaks of lightning crawling over the surface of the spaceship. All the lights onboard the enormous vessel flickered and shut off. There was a distinct lack of noise as the engines shut down and the ship started to tilt toward the far horizon as it fell out of the sky.
Jeremy took the moment of awe and confusion to strike, attempting to sweep the legs out from under Radfewx, but the giant had quicker reflexes than Jeremy had anticipated as he easily skipped over Jeremy’s attack. Jeremy would have been next to be obliterated if it had not been for the great sword of King Prikard. The king’s attack was thwarted by the many swords that appeared in the other free hands of Radfewx. All the while, Radfewx’s free writing hand flew across his own body, carving incantations to conjure swords and destruction all around. It was clear that Radfewx was no longer making jokes and waiting, he was deadly serious and willing to spill every drop of blood in every universe if that meant victory.
The king jumped off his stead and lunged to protect Jeremy. One of Radfewx’s swords glanced off of his shield where a split second ago, Jeremy’s neck had been. “You must go and find a real way to stop them. We can keep them busy until you do so.”
Jeremy nodded, finally able to regain control of both of his feet. His remaining group of companions was waiting for him. A soft quill on the ground caught Jeremy’s attention. It was Noal’s steel-blue quill. Jeremy dove for the quill and came up rolling, narrowly escaping another large sweep of Radfewx’s slicing and dicing style of fighting. Smoke started to fill the wide street as the surrounding buildings began to crumble from the constant explosions and eruptions of power.
With Noal’s quill in hand, Jeremy ran around the melee and met his friends. “Come on, we have to get out of here!”
He led the way deeper into the twisting city-building. Somehow, the explosions seemed to grow louder the further away from the skirmish they ran.
“Stop!” Saesha commanded as the group rounded another corner. The group followed suit as they huffed and puffed from their sprint away from the fighting.
“We need to think and plan something,” she stated. Her rust-colored wings fluttering with agitation. “We can’t just blindly run and hope to find some miracle.”
Cis nodded in agreement as Mai spoke. “What options do we have. We either find this Fate or we try to escape and hope we can live to fight another day.”
“No,” Jeremy shook his head. “We can’t run any longer. Saesha is right. The war has already started. This is our one chance to fix everything. We can’t run. Noal would have died for nothing if we do that.” He finished holding up Noal’s steel-blue quill for them to see.
“Don’t say it,” Saesha urged already knowing what Jeremy’s plans were.
“I don’t like it any more than you all do. It feels like a trap to me too, but we have to seek out and find Fate. Whatever it is. But it is our only lead at this point. You saw the way Radfewx reacted when I mentioned his grandfather. If there is one thing he hates more than us, it is this Fate. So we have to find a way to use it whether it’s a weapon, a person, a god, a force of nature, or what-have-you. It’s our only somewhat plausible plan.”
“Let’s do it then,” Cis agreed. “For Noal, that poor smart bastard.”
Mai agreed. “You in Saesha? We can’t do this without you.”
“Begrudgingly, but let it be known that if we are captured and put to death I blame all of you,” she answered with the slightest of smiles.
“So what now? Where do we go?” Cis questioned the group. “All we know is that the writers never could find it.”
“Right, but they’ve been laying traps in their writings to ensnare it,” Mai took up the thought process. “What kind of traps though? How do you write a trap?”
“By creating contrived scenarios of extreme emotion, designed to force feelings of love or anger. The more emotion the better,” Jeremy answered.
When the group did not respond and frowned at his line of thinking, he went on to explain. “Look, what did Radfewx do as soon as he thought this might involve Fate?”
“Well, he dragged you across the courtyard and made you choose one of us. And he said that you loved Saesha,” Cis recalled.
“Yes, he did,” Saesha said as she studied the ground with a renewed interest. “He also had that quip about his great great grandfather inventing the sacrifice yourself trope that’s used pervasively throughout literature and entertainment.”
“Okay, so him and his guild have been making these highly emotional traps in order to capture Fate. Does anybody know if they have ever worked?” Jeremy questioned. “I mean they’ve done this for centuries on centuries and they’ve still never been able to find or discover Fate. It doesn’t make sense.”
“What about your father, he has to be a missing element in all of this,” Mai pointed her finger at Jeremy. “You told us, your father’s book was basically vacant which means he was never under their control to begin with.”
“Lucky man,” Saesha quipped.
Mai continued. “Fate was able to place your father at the time and date your mother was supposed to die, multiple times.”
The group fell silent as none of them had an answer to Mai’s last statement.
Tal-sen raised a finger, breaking the deep thoughts. “We make not real story.”
“Tal-sen you’re a genius!” Jeremy shouted with sudden excitement as a rush of ideas came to his head.
“What? I don’t understand. What did he mean?” Cis complained.
“We are going to write our own story. A story so full of emotions that it will draw Fate out of hiding. That’s how they got my dad to show up so many times. My mother was a huge emotional wreck, everything in her life was falling apart around her, and the writers made it all happen just so they could try and lay a trap for Fate.” Jeremy said as the words left a bitter taste of hatred in his mouth. He wanted nothing more than to get revenge for the way they had manipulated his mother’s life to the point she had nothing left.
A meteor flew from far off in the city and exploded over them, raining fiery rocks over them as they ran and ducked for cover.
Knocked flat on his back, Jeremy looked up into the starry sky as the noises of war faded away and became nothing more than background. It appeared that where there should have been an unbroken canvas of black bespeckled by pearly sprinkles of light, was now a gash torn clear through from horizon to the other side. Behind the hole in the sky was a plain white background of nothing. Calm and empty it looked to be the most peaceful place in any universe, devoid of fear and pain, a paradise of serene calm.
The universe was breaking and Jeremy had a sudden inspiration on how to accelerate that action and at the same time find Fate. Jumping to his feet, he rushed to find Saesha amidst the rubble.
He found her pressed flat against the back of a closed alleyway, trying her best to avoid the falling flame rocks. Jeremy pushed up against the wall, sucking his gut in as a meteor the size of his head crashed in the spot his long shadow occupied.
“I figured it out. How we can beat them and also get to Fate,” he confided.
“How?” She asked watching the sky for any signs of falling rocks coming their way.
“Well at first I thought it would be best to write a new story and make a bunch of really tragic situations in order to get to Fate. But I realized that would be too much work and we don’t have that much time.”
“Go on,” she was intrigued as she studied Jeremy trying to guess what he was up to before he said it.
“Well, what story do we know best?” He asked her rhetorically.
Saesha shook her head, “I’m not sure. If I would have to guess, I would say I know my own story the best.”
“Yes!” Jeremy fist pumped. “We both have had a super lousy background, one that is filled with opportunity for Fate to come along. What I am saying is going to sound ludicrous but I think it’s the only way. We have to go into as many stories as we can find, from all around these libraries, and change events. Make little cracks in their perfect system. Eventually, all of these cracks will cause things to break down and stop working. But first, before we can get to that, we gotta fuck the system.”
Saesha smiled, perhaps the first genuine smile Jeremy had ever seen on her face. “Now you sound like the Lord of Chaos I always knew you were.”
Next Chapter – The Writers of the Universe – 15. Red Feathers
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2014 © Stew Stunes