Book 2 Archive


2010-12-24

Book 2 - Text 37


Janis held up the edge of her cotton frock as she hurried along the trail. The loose, airy arrangement of wide-boled trees around the Hippiemancer Glade rapidly gave way to a dense and obscuring screen of thin, straight trunks. A solid canopy of sun-greedy leaves made the trail gloomy and the air still. She passed no-one along the way. From above, the calls of unseen birds rang out danger, rang out a warning.

It wasn't so much that she needed to give Marie the word. Bringing news to a Predictamancer was a laugh, usually.

It was that they'd need to decide what to do next. Parson Gotti was not only back in command, but back as chief warlord. This moment had been so long in coming that it had lost the buzz of anticipation. Marie had said this battle would be "a point of turning of all turns," which Janis couldn't quite dig. But a lot of what Marie said was like that.

So despite that heads-up, Janis had felt no real urgency this morning. The idea of the "perfect warlord" had become just a concept. It had started to seem almost crazy, right up to the very moment when Sizemore confirmed there'd been a change in command.

Now it was totally real. The bowstring had been drawn back, the arrow nocked, and the aim put upon the heart of the world.

So, like, what should they do now?

Marie would know. At the roots of it, this was her plan. "What Hippiemancy neeeeds, Jonnis my true friend, is da one thin it con't evah have. A warlord. A soujah!"

It must have taken thirty turns before Marie had wrapped Janis' head around the idea of a warlord who would fight against war itself, and another twenty before she could imagine one who might be good enough to win.

So they'd made it happen, without fuss, without hassles, and in secret. Janis had connections. She was listened to. Thanks to her, they pulled off the link-up without giving away the real aim. The Predictamancers all knew, of course. The Thinkamancers only sort of thought they knew. Hubble (the Lookamancer in the link-up) knew, but he was no trouble. And Janis knew.

And...Wanda knew.

After the spell was made, Marie called the shots from there. A lot of what she had said and done so far had troubled Janis. She was trying not to get uptight about the way this was all playing out, but the choice of Wanda had bugged her from the start.

"No she's really da one, I Predict it Jonnis," Marie told her whenever she had doubted. "It's Fate, my excellent friend. You don't fight Fate, you help it!"

Janis understood the Fate axis of magic, as she did the Erf and Numbers axes. But Hippiemancy is people magic, and Janis also had a heavy understanding about relationships. She could see Marie was hung up on Wanda in a big way. And for all her bubbly confidence and huge toothy smiles, Marie was hurting.

Because it's no shame to live in the Magic Kingdom, unless you are a Predictamancer.

Marie, of course, had told her many times that she had Predicted the fall of her side, the kingdom where she and Wanda had served. But when it came to explaining how the fall had happened, how she and Wanda both had escaped destruction in different ways, she wouldn't budge.

"It all got cloudy," was all she would really say. "It happens. I saw it would come and I wonned my Rulah. But when it came it all got cloudy, I don't know."

So she insisted on placing the spell with Wanda, a loveless woman from a hopeless side. There were "unfinished Predictions" hanging on her, Marie said. Janis thought it was Marie who had the unfinished business, had something to prove.

But Marie was right.

Janis didn't want to think how right, or about what Wanda's attunement to the Arkenpliers might mean in the big picture. And she really didn't want to think about what Wanda was out there doing with them. If there was an opposite to Hippiemancy, Wanda was--

Green up ahead, and not trees. "Jonnis!" Around the trail's bend, Marie in her green and yellow silks, open armed, rushing to take Janis' hands, kiss her cheeks. She looked...totally jazzed.

Janis looked at her urgently. "Marie! Parson Gotti is Chief again. Sizemore Rockwell told me--"

"I know, I know Jonnis! It's wondahful! But we have to hurray. Come on." Holding one of Janis' hands, she pulled her up the trail in the direction she had come from.

"I thought you might want to speak to Sizemore first," she said, letting go of Marie's hand and following along, "I left him waiting..."

"No, Sizemore has gone to Portal Park," said Marie definitively, and cheerfully. "And thot's where we will go too! And why?"

She turned her head around to flash Janis a grin, and stage-whispered, "He's coming back!"

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