Database of the Ageless Kings (Serial Story) Part 11

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 3.5 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9 | Part 10

Part 11: An Emu is Surprised by what is Found at the Database

The alarms were going crazy and Sophia had to climb over Phil to get out of the small bed. She didn’t want to leave him, but he was snoring peacefully and it seemed cruel to wake him until she knew if they were going to die quickly or slowly.

As the door opened, Hagrid stood up in one quick motion and as if nothing had happened, started to follow her. The bridge was closest and it wasn’t until she reached it that she realized she wasn’t wearing pants. She vaguely remembered being too warm and pushing the blankets and her pants off. Phil gave off a lot of body heat for a skinny guy.

“Pants or no pants, we need to shut off these alarms and save our lives. Right, Hagrid?” she said to the emu. Twisting his head to the side quizzically, he gave her a wark and started to nuzzle her shoulder. “You’re not so bad either, you over-grown turkey.”

Looking over the panels, she gave a deep sigh of relief and shut off the alarms. Nothing was going to kill them. The engines were damaged in the blast and shut themselves down before burning out.

For the first time since she butt dialed hyperspace, they were having some good luck. The ship had stopped in the vast expanses between solar systems. That meant there was little chance of meeting anyone or getting pulled into the atmosphere of a stray planet.

A shiver ran up her spine and she turned up the heat in the ship.

Before she started to fix the ship she needed breakfast. She still felt a little weak from last night and some food would help.

All the cereal from the kitchen was either gone or liberally sprinkled on the floor. She gave Hagrid a nasty look and searched the cupboards. She eventually found some frozen bread and peanut butter. She’d brought them on for the nights she spent in the ship fixing it.

Those days felt so long ago. She ate quickly and started repairs. She started with the external patches which were the easiest to fix but the hardest to get to. She was just stripping from the space suit when Phil stumbled into the engine room with a tray of food.

“Why are you fixing the ship in your underwear?” he asked, blushing as he put the tray of food down on a small table.

“I didn’t want to climb over you to get at my pants. I just turned up the heat. Am I making you uncomfortable?” she was trying to be flirty and she thought she might have succeeded based on his deepening blush.

She sat down across from him and looked at the food. There were fresh eggs, bacon, ham, orange juice, milk, and even rye bread. “How?”

“The replicator,” he said his brow furrowed. They looked at each other for a few moments and his eyes grew wide and he asked, “You didn’t know about the replicator?”

“Like a matter replicator? That can create any kind of food or clothing?”

Nodding he said, “Yes.” A note of awe came into his voice as he said, “You fixed this entire ship from a massive crash without using the replicator?”

“I used what we had on the farm and bought or created anything else I might need.”

“You’re amazing. Absolutely amazing!” It was her turn to blush. She distracted herself by eating a piece of bacon. It was salty and delicious.

“This is good…” She paused and added, “That’s why I could never find where you hid the cereal.”

They laughed and ate and laughed some more.

After they’d eaten, he showed her the replicator and she created a matching set of work clothes. He offered to help her fix the engines and install the gravity generator. He took orders well and it was nice to have him helping. She had loved working on the ship alone, but sharing it with Phil made it even better.

When they’d done all they could for the day she said, “I need a shower.” She headed for the showers and turned when Phil didn’t follow. She walked back to where he was standing and looked him in the eyes. His beautiful eyes looked down at her and she asked, “Can I kiss you?”

Breathlessly he whispered, “Yes.”

She kissed him then and it started out softly in the corridor and continued passionately in the showers.

It took a few days of repairs before the ship was in good enough shape to attempt the trip to the Database of Ageless Kings. During those days they worked, ate, and at the end of the day they fell asleep cuddling.

When the ship was fixed they still had a day to be together before they arrived at the centre of the galaxy and the Database of Ageless Kings. Like all days spent madly in love, it passed too quickly.

The centre of the galaxy is a super-cluster of black holes and super-giant suns; the gravity was incredible and even with the extra gravity generator it was difficult to navigate. They managed it and found a large spherical station positioned perfectly in the overlapping gravity fields.

As they approached, a docking bay opened. “I’m not sure I like this,” Sophia said.

“Me neither. I expected some sort of lock or code would be needed,” Phil said in agreement.

“Wark!” agreed Hagrid.

They entered the docking bay and waited for something to happen. When nothing did, they decided to go out of the ship and explore.

As they exited the ship, a deep voice said, “Welcome to the Database of Ageless Kings. Took you long enough.”

Standing at a door not too far away from their ship was an emu in a tiny top hat and bowtie. “My name is Hagrid and you have no idea how difficult it was to get you here.”


If you’re enjoying this year’s serial story why not check out those from past years?

Battlemage Taika – Part 5 Conclusion

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

“Captain MacDonell stand down,” the other man yelled, obviously used to having his orders obeyed. He pulled out his sword.

“No. I’ve done terrible things for the Empire but not anymore. General Lanthier, we were friends once. Don’t do this.” The handsome man brandished his sword.

The rest of the guards seemed to symbolically move to one side or the other. All the ones in armour followed the General and all the ones in the comfortable looking uniforms followed the Captain.

“You’re a fool Mac, these animals don’t deserve your pity. You know I’m a better fighter than you are, you’ll die for nothing.”

The handsome man turned and looked directly at her and winked. He shouldn’t be able to see through her illusion but somehow he did. “I won’t die here.” He pulled a strange curved cylinder from a holster in his hip and something shot out of it, knocking the other man down.

Taika took her opportunity and dropped the invisibility. “Go and protect the children,” she ordered four legion. “The rest of you. Let’s help this man out.”

Two of the armoured men dragged the General into the gate. The remaining and some of the unarmoured soldiers attacked Taika and her group. With the help of the turncoats, the ensuing battle was over quickly. When they’d caught their breaths the handsome man called Mac said, “Thank you and I’m sorry for all this.”

“A blessing on you and your family,” Taika said as she bowed at the man.

“Thanks. I guess.” He turned to the surviving soldiers. “Alright. Let’s get the hell out of here before these people close the gate.”

“I’m going with you,” Aleenia said. The man only responded by nodding. They grouped together and at the last moment before walking into the gate they turned and waved.

“Good luck,” whispered Taika before she shouted, “Ok Julien, get those people and yourself to the outskirts.” She pointed at the children and Legion.

The group huddled up and Julien motioned to her. When she was close enough he asked, “You sure you remember how to shut this thing down?”

“Of course I do-” she didn’t get a chance to reply before he teleported her and the others away from the gate.

Still connected with the communication spell she said, “Damnit Julien. I’m teleporting back.”

“No you’re not. You’re twenty three years old and one of the brightest battlemages I’ve ever met. I’m a hundred years older than you. If anyone is going to foolishly martyr themselves, it’s me.”

“But I’m in command…” she said lamely. She and the others were now inside the battlemage headquarters. Stepping outside into the training field where she’d spent so much time with Julien and the others she forced back the tears. The sun was setting on the giant wall in front of her.

“Yes, you are and that’s where you’ll stay. I’ve shut the gate down and I’m activating the volcano. On my mark.” The quiet seemed to stretch forever and Taika wanted to say something but couldn’t think of the words. What felt like years but was only seconds ended with Julien saying, “Now!”

“Thank you!” she said as she activated her side of the shield. The entirety of the inside of the wall started to glow a peaceful blue.

The shield held in the ash and magma but force shook the entire continent; no one was immune to the devastation. When everything was done there was a giant dome of volcanic stone where there was once a wall.

Taika had to spend time in the hospital; even with the excess of ambient magical energy in the capital, she almost killed herself keeping the shield up. When she heard that the remaining battlemages had not only saved the army and Panos warband, but helped evacuate the rest of the Panos and nomads from inside the wall, she was extra proud of her people.

She was lying in a hospital bed, trying to decide the best way to escape when her brother, the King, walked in. “You saved a lot of people.”

“Julien saved them. I just helped. We also lost a lot.” She wasn’t sure if she should add your majesty but decided not to.

“The other nations are agreeing to a new treaty. We’re going to make sure this doesn’t happen again.”

“But the gate-”

The king cut her off, “Is still under there. Our magical scholars say there’s no way to destroy it.”

“Then I need to get out of here and start re-building the battlemages.” She started to get up and fell back into bed.

“There’s time for that, sister. Right now you need to rest. In a weeks’ time you can go back to re-building the battlemages. General Taika.” He turned to leave. “When you get better I need you to help Addison create wards and a rotating battlemage guard unit for the catacombs.”

“What happened?”

“The invaders sent a small force and managed to steal Father, Mother, and two other Crystals.” His mouth was tight and he was obviously angry. “I spoke to a seer with the Panos and he said that the crystals are no longer here but through the gate.”

“If the gate isn’t destroyed I can go after them.” She knew she couldn’t. They didn’t know how to target the gate. It could go to any other world attached to the great tree.

“We’ll get them back. I’ll make sure if it.” There was a darkness in the king’s words, but she was too tired to ask him anything further.


If you liked this, why not read more stories set in The Tree of Worlds:

Nagoya, Japan

Aichi Perfecture Memorial Park in Nagoya, Japan is going to be the location of a very special project, set to be completed in 2020. Studio Ghibli Park!

This is a concept sketch of what the park might look like. Image from sobadsogood.com

The park already has Sutsuki and Mei’s house, a water park, a swimming pool, a skating rink, a ferris wheel, and lots of green space. The verbal plan seems to be to leave the green space alone as much as possible, but the concept sketch doesn’t look like it agrees with that idea – it looks a lot more like a Disney park. There hasn’t been any more information released since early June 2017, so hopefully they’ll release a tidbit soon.

You can read more here.


Are you interested in travelling to Nagoya, Japan? You can contact me Jennifer Desmarais through AJ Travel. jenniferd@ajtravel.ca

Battlemage Taika – Part 4

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

The enemy just kept coming. Wave after wave of oddly armoured soldiers carrying crossbows that fired some sort of magical energy. Taika had never seen anything like them but she didn’t have time to analyse their armour or weapons.

The soldiers, unlike her own, were disciplined and efficient. They worked in formation and cut down the legion.

“Their armour is absorbing any spells we cast!” Yelled Julien.

“They’re coming through the gate. We need to shut that down!” shouted Pat.

The one advantage they had was the spells that let them give commands directly with voice while the enemy relied on horns and runners. It wasn’t enough of an advantage. They were down to two thousand in the legion, less than half, and only one hundred of the five hundred battlemages when Taika started to consider retreat through teleportation.

“Knight Commander,” one of the knights from the legion yelled, “The Panos are breaking through behind us.” She had never heard that the Panos were capable of fighting on this scale.

“Put the communication spell on their leader and move your men to the front, we need to get to the gate.”

A woman’s voice, speaking perfect common, replied, “I couldn’t agree more. I am Aleenia, temporary War Alpha of the Western packs. I bring you two hundred hunters and twelve Shamans. I need to get through that gate.”

“Welcome! Move your people to the eastern front, they seem to be weakening on that side.”

“No. They are preparing an ambush there. I’m a seer and I say we move forward.”

Seers were unheard of in the Maneean mages but the Panos seemed to have one or two in each pack. Most couldn’t tell what time they were currently in, or who they were talking to. It was shocking to have one not only be coherent but leading a war party.

“You heard the War Alpha!” Taika yelled at her commanders.

The battle did turn and they started pushing the enemy back but they just kept coming out of the gate and Taika’s forces were starting to tire and dwindle.

“We need to shut that gate down,” Pat yelled again.

“He’s right, but I need to get through it first,” Aleenia replied.

“Ok, we’re fighting like battlemages and Hunters. I think we need to start fighting like spies. Julien and I are going to take Aleenia and ten soldiers under an invisibility spell and shut down that gate.”

As they prepared for the stealth offensive, their army tightened their formation and moved as if they were preparing to either retreat or regroup.

Adeleine recognized the War Alpha immediately, she walked with confidence and radiated power. “Aleenia War Alpha, I presume?” There was something else in the way she held herself, an impatience that was more than battle anxiety.

“Please, Aleenia is fine.”

“Who’s on the other side of the gate?” Taika was being blunt to the point of rudeness but she needed to know that the other woman understood this was a one way trip.

“My betrothed tried to stop all this and failed, but he managed to get the alarm out.” She gestured around.

Nodding, Taika went back to preparing the invisibility spell. When she was almost done, Julien walked towards her and said, “What are we going to do with them when we shut down the gate?”

“When the gate shuts down, Pat has orders to teleport everyone out. I’ll activate the volcano.”

“But that’ll destroy everything and everyone inside the wall, millions will die.”

“Not if we can create a big enough shield to contain the army and the blast.”

Julien’s eyes grew wide and he looked like he was going to argue, instead he stood straighter and said, “We need someone on both sides to create a powerful enough shield…”

“No. It’s my plan and I’m going to be the one inside. That’s an order.”

There was no more argument, they formed a tight line, and she cast the invisibility spell. They spent the next hour dancing around the enemy troops trying not to be noticed. The spell hid them but didn’t make them intangible.

As they finally reached the gate, it was guarded. They’d expected the guards but something else was going on here. Half the guards wore comfortable looking uniforms. She assumed they were battlemages but she hadn’t seen any one the field. The others wore the regular armour.

A handsome man who wore no armour and carried a sword was yelling at another man. Taika directed a full stop and quickly cast a translation spell. The yelling man stopped and looked at them before going back to yelling, “Is this what the glorious Empire is about? Torturing children?” He gestured at a small enclosure, there were four Panos youths, no more than five. They were tied to stakes with steal wire.

Read Conclusion


If you liked this, why not read more stories set in The Tree of Worlds:

Blush: Seniors

If you think having “the Talk” with your children is weird (try the card game Blush to help with the conversation!), how would you feel about having that same conversation with your newly divorced or widowed parent?

This article from Arti Patel on Boom 99.7’s website has a bunch of statistics, including that both chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis cases have all increased between the years 1980 and 2015 (the most recent national data). And while seniors aren’t experiencing all that many STIs, the fact that there are still reports of any cases is worrying.

Joan Price, sex advocate and author of The Ultimate Guide to Sex After 50: How to Maintain – or Regain! – a Spicy, Satisfying Sex Life, says the reason why the community has high STI rates is simple: they’re not using condoms.”

Patel, 2017

So I did some calculations. If a person is 60 today, they were born in 1957. Add 14 (the approximate age for sex education), and you get 1971. What was sexual education in Canada like in 1971?

A depiction of a classroom in stereotypical Canada, circa 1970. Image from www.macleans.ca

This was actually an interesting topic to research. I found a pretty great resource here (page 387), but here’s the most important part:

“During the 1960s and 1970s, most students in Canadian schools received little, if any, sexual health education. During this period, information about sexuality was often provided in programs called “Family Life Education” (FLE), which focused on human reproduction, puberty, and, in some cases, birth control.”

Pearson, p 387

Note that there is no mention of STIs. Why not?

Because the AIDS and HIV scares didn’t happen until the 1980s!

So the senior population would not have learned about using protection against diseases. No matter the sexual orientation, a senior couple wouldn’t consider using a condom, because there wouldn’t be a chance of getting pregnant!

In conclusion, have a talk with your parents, and make sure they are aware of the consequences of not using a condom!


References

Why STI rates are steadily going up in Canada

Sexual Health Education in the Schools: A Brief History – Chapter 15 (PDF: 1MB)


If you’re enjoying the Blush blogs, consider learning more with Blush: The Card Game from Renaissance Press.