Predilection for False Predictions
The dream was too vivid to be anything but a prediction. I stood confidently in the penthouse of Ivory Tower, ready to unleash its stored spell defenses against a massive aerial assault. The enemy fliers grew from tiny specks on the horizon into full sized dwagons as they approached the city of Twoy’s airspace. In the immense silence before the battle, King Prius of the Twoyota Empire joined me at the rampart. Although I had no real concern for the man’s safety, I found it impossible to stay silent.
“Stand back please, sire. It’s not safe.”
The king ignored my comment and stared out for a moment, no doubt estimating the enemy’s strength.
“The archers are in position; once they’ve fired off two volleys I want you to start unleashing the tower’s power.”
He then turned to Lord Axiom, the side’s second most powerful warlord. Although no words were exchanged, I didn’t’ need to be a Thinkamancer to figure out what the King had ordered. Axiom would croak me where I stood if I tried to abandon my post. The King’s concern was understandable but unnecessary; there was no love lost between me and my former side.
Without further exchange of words, King Prius disappeared down the tower steps, followed by his royal escort. I ignored the clomp of boots on the stone stairs and sized up the enemy forces myself. The armada of dwagons would enter our hex momentarily, assuming they didn’t stop to parley (although I couldn’t imagine my old chief warlord, Odysseus, bothering to do so).
As the first of the dwagons breached the hex wall began to advance towards the tower, I began to cast on myself. “Tiresias, Cayce, Lovecraft, Ezekiel!” In the distance, each enemy unit faded until only a few remained fully visible. These were the ones that I could land a critical hit on if I attacked at that moment. Concentrating on any one target yielded additional information, including what attack was needed to score the crit.
I scanned the available targets as I waited for Lady Honda, Prius’ chief warlady, to loose the first volley. At first there wasn’t much variety: two red dwagons, a purple, and a yellow. Then Odysseus himself entered the battlespace on a plated purple. The dwagon faded to near invisibility, but the warlord himself remained unchanged. I gasped and immediately began concentrating on the spell – I had to know which attack would knock that pompous oaf down a peg, hopefully right off the dwagon. “Ohh, this is too good.” I thought to myself as the information came in. Orders be blasted, I was going to take the shot.
The brilliant ball of crackling energy flew from my outstretched palms and swiftly shrank to a tiny glowing dot as it homed in on Odysseus.
The point of a sword materialized a few inches from my neck. “What in the Titan’s name are you doing, Predictamancer?”
“King Prius gave me no orders regarding utilization of my own Juice. Their Chief Warlord was vulnerable so I took the shot. Odysseus should fall any moment now.”
“You sure about that? I fought Odysseus once when he was boosted by Athena – worst turn of my life.”
Just then I heard a cry of “Set, Serve!” from the garrison. A hundred arrows arced up lazily to greet the inbound dwagon force. A piker mounted on a low level pink moved forward and down to screen Odysseus from the barrage but ran afoul of the Hoboken instead. The dwagon took the blast straight to the face, croaked, and fell out of the sky.
“Disband it!” I vented. “There’s no chance a stray arrow will take Oddyseus out; he wields the Aegis.”
“That’s his shield, right?”
“Yeah, it’s got more enchantments on it than a Dirtamancer’s outhouse.”
A second volley of arrows rose to greet the invading force. This time, the archers aim was better – three dwagons crumpled up and dropped like stones. It was time to start firing off the tower’s stored spells. I carefully unraveled the first spell and examined the available targets; King Prius hadn’t given me any orders regarding what colors to target, but I knew from experience that red and purple dwagons were the most dangerous to cities. Reds could set fires with their breath that if left unchecked would engulf the entire hex and Purples had a sonic breath weapon that could topple buildings, such as the Ivory Tower that I was in. That made me choice a little easier.
Bolt after bolt of raw Shockamancy flew from my hands as I cast, and every shot was a crit. Odysseus ignored the other ground defenses and, protected from attack by circling dwagons, pulled out his bow, nocked an arrow, and loosed it.
“There’s no way he can hit you from here!” sneered Lord Axiom. “Even boosted that’s a one in a million shot.”
“Nevertheless, we must take cover. If either one of us croaks, the enemy might very well win.”
I stepped away from the window and counted. “One, two, three, fo…” Odysseus’s arrow sped right through the air I had recently occupied and buried itself into the far wall of the tower.
“Woah!” exclaimed Lord Axiom. He ran over to the embedded projectile, pulled it from the wall, and took a look.
“It’s wider than I expect….”
A thunderous explosion filled the tower’s penthouse, blinding me and hurling me backwards. At first, I thought that the blast had somehow numbed my limbs, but then realized the truth – I had been knocked out of the tower’s window.
My sight returned just in time to see the ground rushing up to greet me. Just before I hit the ground, I woke up.
King Agamemnon of Gweece typically broke his fast early and began holding court at sun-up. As a caster, it was my prerogative to enter the court without first obtaining permission, so I quickly dressed and descended the three floors to find the king. I burst through the door in a huff before long-standing orders for decorum enforced themselves, so I slunk over to Prince Menelaus, the king’s brother and whispered in his ear.
“I have received a vision from the Titans that I must share with his majesty at once.”
Menelaus nodded silently and resumed listening to the proceedings. When the current business, which was a routine discussion about what ratio of ships to infantry should be popped at the capital, ended Menelaus relayed my message to King Agamemnon. The pair exchanged whispers for a few moments.
“The King will see you in his chambers at noon.”
Perfect, I thought. Agamemnon would be more willing to listen to me once I’d pleasured him.
It was three hours past noon when the king awoke with a jerk, startling the both of us.
“What are you still doing here?” he demanded.
“My lord, I need to speak with you regarding a vision I had last night but earlier you were…otherwise occupied.”
The king sat up in bed and rubbed his eyes. “Tell me quickly, then.”
“I know that you are considering trading me to Twoy in order to ransom Odysseus. I predict that doing so will lead to our side’s destruction.”
Agamemnon looked at me with distrust in his eyes. Even though I had been naked before, it was only now that I felt exposed. A few intense moments passed and then the king rendered his judgment.
“I’m sorry, Cassandwa, but I’ve already made up my mind.”
(User was awarded 25 Shmuckers for this post. -Rob)