8FOLD: Mighty Medley # 14, February 2015, by Messrs. Brenton, Perron, Russell, and Stokes

Tom Russell joltcity at gmail.com
Sun Feb 1 04:16:51 PST 2015

-------------EIGHTFOLD PROUDLY PRESENTS-------------
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------------- ISSUE # 14 FEBRUARY 2015 -------------
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-------------SAXON BRENTON--ANDREW PERRON-----------
--------------TOM RUSSELL---COLIN STOKES------------
--------------- Editor, Tom Russell ----------------


"Fated Meeting", by Andrew Perron
On the effect of the god-flood on single subatomic particles, and the
danger there posed to reality and history; on efforts to repair said
damage, and the assistance proffered by a familiar collection of

"Empress of Pages" Part 2, by Colin Stokes
In which tables are turned, and then turned again. Why you should
never look a daemon in the eyes. Musings from Fn'ordh about the nature
of the human mind, though he admits has a small and peculiar sample to
work with.

"Seven 'Gainst Thebes" Part 13, by Tom Russell
A lonely little hut, and a remembrance, not unkind, of its occupant.
Freckles remain, as they ever do, both a source of delight and of

"Beyond the Fields" Part 14, by Saxon Brenton
In which, as the author confided to your editor, we finally find out
what the heck is going on. Projekt Memi, anarchitects, human wardrobe,
and the intentional derangement of the World.

"Kswaa and Sdraa", by Tom Russell
Monad observes the triple sunrise of Agaanos, and the ritual that
accompanies it. On the properties of the deadly sdraa and the
ceremonial kswaa. People are sadly the same the worlds over. Class

----------------- FATED MEETING --------------------
-----------Copyright 2015 Andrew Perron-------------

  The problem is, everything is linked to everything else.
  The sloshing of the God-flood was nibbling at the gates of reality;
single subatomic particles were being tugged into the undertow, their
entire four-dimensional existence as part of this continuum dragged
along with it, left to float aimlessly in the disconnected chaos. But
these particles were part of the whole tapestry of history - remove
one from the flow of cause and effect, and it affected others, which
affected still others, until the very events that lead to the particle
being removed were in jeopardy - a paradox most easily resolved by
having the entire universe tumble into the cosmic void of unbeingness.
  Which is why the fates stepped in.
  The three-in-one, or possibly the one-in-three, wove together the
past and the future and the present, pulling the threads of history
back together before the paradox could lift its head above the quantum
foam. The fingers of fate reached down below the planck length, and
they/she hummed as she/they worked.
  "What'cha doin'?" chirruped a voice that was not sound but the
intent to communicate. A presence was there, a spirit with a
shimmering halo of electrons in place of the usual flesh.
  [We/I] [fix(have fixed, am fixing, will fix)] [relative procession
of events in sequence/thermodynamic equation/quasi-historical
perspective], she/they explained.
  "Ohhh. That sounds important!"
  [Affirmation/agreement], they/she replied. She/they gently nudged
the being's observation to the side, and dipped their/her fingers back
into the foam.
  The being looked away, but waves rippled out from their position on
the Dirac sea. "...are you a god?"
  [Concept<multiplier>] [vocabulary term], she/they explained,
stitching moments together one by one. [Subjectivity/dependence on
viewpoint] [affirmation/agreement].
  "Neat! How do you become a god?" Their Dirac equation fluctuated
  "Is it nice?"
  "Can I help?"
  They/she paused. [Affirmation/agreement]. [Focus/localize/hold down]
[attention/interference pattern/finger] [HERE].
  The being *squinted*. The fates quickly wove the present around that
point, tightening time around the leak. [Gratitude].
  "No problem!" The being bounced.
  [We/I] [definite obligation] [depart(have departed, am departing,
will depart)]. [Future|past|present] [lightcone] [duty].
  "See you later, or maybe earlier! Let me know if I can help with
anything else!"
  [Gratitude]. [Fondness] [anticipation for an event whose possibility
is uncertain]. She/they moved along the timeline to the next rip...

---------------- EMPRESS OF PAGES ------------------
----------------------Part 2------------------------
-----------Copyright 2015 Colin Stokes--------------

"You summoned me," Fn'ordh the Lesser began, floating just slightly
closer to the Librarian. And you hit me with... something, he didn't
add. "So presumably there is something you want from me. Some
information, some material. Let us do business." And then I can be rid
of you, he once again didn't add.
   To her credit, the Librarian didn't back down even slightly,
tilting her head back to look up at the taller daemon. "I want what
all summoners want, I imagine," she returned evenly, with an
unflinching gaze. "I want the magic you have, the magic you control.
But I want it for myself," she added, stepping closer, almost toe to
toe - or more accurately, shin to toe - with the daemon. "Not
contracted with you, not with you as an intermediary between me and
whatever the source is. I /will/ have it for myself, as I once did
before-" She paused, and shook her head. "The past does not matter.
Only the present. Now, Fn'ordh the Lesser, will you cooperate and
answer /my/ questions, or do I have to summon another daemon?"
   Fn'ordh's eyes narrowed once again at the thinly veiled threat.
Summoning magic varied from region to region, but generally speaking,
the only way to call up something new - without making a second ritual
area - was to dispose of the old in some fashion. And Fn'ordh the
Lesser was not simply going to be /disposed of/ like so much refuse -
certainly not at the hands of this arrogant little harpy! "I am more
than sufficient to /handle/ the likes of you," he spat, the third eye
in the center of his forehead opening wide and glaring at the woman,
freezing her where she stood as the daemonic gaze paralyzed her limbs.
It was only a temporary measure, and easy enough to avoid; but this
'Librarian' had been foolish enough to not avert her eyes, and now she
would pay dearly for her poor judgment. "Time to end this little
charade and see what is /really/ inside your head."
   The Librarian managed one last breath as her vision began to lose
focus and color; and as she felt the daemon's presence bearing down on
her, with no small effort, she twisted her lips into a smirk. "B-be
careful what you... wish for..."
   Fn'ordh barely registered the remark as he dove inside her mind.

   The landscape of human thought and memory always seemed to tend
towards the colorfully bizarre, the unreal and fantastic; or at least
that was Fn'ordh's experience, over the many years of his visits to
such places.  Perhaps it had something to do with the general
characterization of people who put themselves in a situation to be
hosts to his visitation, or perhaps it was merely a reflection of the
chaotic nature of humans in general.
   In either case, he was surprised by the orderly and seemingly
lifeless environs he now found himself in. Black sky, no discernible
ground; a featureless expanse but for the pathways of dull gray that
stretched across his vision like... a spiderweb, perhaps, but with no
apparent center. A net?  "We shall see who is trapped," Fn'ordh
muttered darkly, moving forward along the seamless stone walkway -
presumably stone, at least, and cool to the touch of his bare feet.
  The moment he started walking, he felt the pathway shift and tremble
beneath him like a living thing; and so Fn'ordh braced himself,
standing ready for an assault that never came. Instead, the other
pathways darkened out of sight, and a broad circular platform of the
same stone spread out in front of him - and with a flash of light, the
Librarian appeared in its center.
   Bereft of her robe, the woman's body was - in places - an amalgam
of dull gray metal and something else of a darker carbon-black hue;
from her neck down to her elbows, and in smaller spots over her legs
and hips that marred her otherwise comely appearance. She stood with
her face downcast and her arms wrapped tightly around herself as if
cold; and behind her lay an impenetrable darkness, and in fact a
rather unnerving one, had Fn'ordh been prone to nervousness.
   "You shouldn't be here," the Librarian murmured softly, not looking
up, her demeanor quite removed from her earlier brashness. "This place
isn't meant for uninvited guests."
   Fn'ordh snorted quietly, the positions reversed. "I come and go as
I please, foolish woman-child. At this point you should know you
cannot deny me that."
   She nodded, slowly. "I cannot, no."
   The darkness behind her didn't move, per se, but it grew more
dense; not merely in the visual sense, but in a strange vaguely
metaphysical way as well, one that provoked a strange feeling of heat
in Fn'ordh's stomach. It was not a pleasant sort of strangeness,
either, particularly when the darkness started to make sounds - thin,
raspy whispers just barely at the daemon's threshold of hearing.
   "But," the Librarian continued in that same curiously gentle voice,
"you and I are not alone here, Fn'ordh the Lesser."

--------------SEVEN 'GAINST THEBES------------------
---------------------Part 13------------------------
------------Copyright 2015 Tom Russell--------------

   Presently, Silke and his posse reached their destination. It were a
pile of rotted, warping red-brown wood, nailed together with
pretensions of one day being a shed. No windows, probably for fear
that carving a place out for one would compromise the structure
irreparably. In lieu of a door there hung some kind of skinny little
animal skin, nailed between two walls.
   "Not the most savory of places to hang your hat," said Strife.
   "It's a place," said Adams. "Out here, that's all that really
matters to a man."
   "Still," said Strife. The words what followed bunched up in his
throat, so he cleared it before giving them speech. "Unusual place for
someone as, uh, well-kempt as Jack Peake." The implication, of course,
is that Silke might have the wrong place. If Silke noticed the
implication, he didn't show it none.
   "I don't reckon it's his," said Adams. "Reckon he's just borrowing
it for a spell. Squatting."
   "Adams is right," said Gulliver, his eyes burning soft and orange
like coals. "I've been here before, Silke. This is Hattie's place,
ain't it?"
   Silke twisted the thing inside him, then gave a curt little nod.
   "Hattie's a girl used to be sweet on me," said Gulliver quiet-like.
"I gave her the brush though. She was a little touched in the head."
   "Would have to be, if she were sweet on you, Gulliver," said Adams
with a sly grin. "Wait, Hattie-- Mad Hattie?"
   Gulliver grimaced. "Some folks call her that, yeah."
   "Information!" demanded Three-Nine with a hiss of steam and the
whirl of a motor. "What is the significance of the appellation?"
   "Has a temper, that one," said Gulliver. "Violent-like, passionate.
Must be her blood. Her mother was a savage, uh, an injun; begging your
pardon, injun. And her pa was an Irishman, like myself. All Irishmen
are a little crazy, and all injuns, too. Her pa had a claim on a
stretch of land, this stretch of land. Found a little gold here once,
and found a squaw crazy enough to marry him, and then nothing else. He
despaired of that, and also of ever marrying off his daughter. For
there's not a husband that'd last a day and a night with Hattie and
her temper. I sure weren't gonna try it, even if she were comely. Skin
white as snow, but afflicted with a thousand little freckles.
   "Pa died, and left this worthless stretch of land to her. Rather
than sell it off, she lives here-- looking for gold where there ain't
none. Anytime anyone comes with a mile of her, she drives them off
with a shotgun and a smile. Haven't seen her for years. Only reason we
still have heads is that she must have starved out here, poor thing."
   "Gulliver," barked Silke sudden-like.
   "Yes, John?"
   "I need you to stay with Mr. Strife and the horses," said Silke.
   Then, Adams saw it too. "Frankly speaking, Gulliver, you weren't
much use the first time around."
   "Now hold on," said Gulliver.
   "Gulliver," said Silke, and Gulliver knew what that meant, and he
shut his mouth. "Skin of Snake," said Silke, and he knew what that
meant, too. The injun shed his own skin, and out stepped a
fine-looking man with a long, waxed moustache and a fine suit. "Mr.
Strife, does he resemble your brother?"
   "Just like the photograph," said Strife. "And just like the man."
   Skin of Snake took that as his cue, and began to approach the
shack. Silke and the others followed quietly a little ways behind,
excepting Gulliver and Strife. Skin of Snake took a breath as he came
to the flap of animal skin that served as the door. Even after it had
been tanned, you could count the thousand little red dots bleeding

-----------------BEYOND THE FIELDS------------------
---------------------Part 14------------------------
-----------Copyright 2015 Saxon Brenton-------------

Obergruppenfuhrer Dane, the Man With The Green Gloves, stood staring
out the window of the Shultzstaffel office in the town of Rotwald. All
the evidence in his possession was things were coming to a crunch
point. The World was being infiltrated by other-dimensional agents,
and the magical infrastructure that had been built up to implement
Projekt Memi had been destroyed.
   He had known something like this would happened. In fact, the very
nature of Projekt Memi meant that it had been almost inevitable.
Nevertheless he was surprised and a bit concerned at how this
situation upset him, even made him feel afraid.  It wasn't supposed to
be like this.  Being afraid was supposed to be for lesser beings.  For
humans, that is.
   He pushed the thought away.  He had work to do, and the situation
was not without its ironic up side.
   Most worrying was that within the space of a few days the three
death camps that made up Projekt Memi had been destroyed. First Vytmir
in Russia, then Haibal in Northern Africa, and now Nindenheim here in
Rotwert. There were other camps, of course, but only those three had
been especially set up to torture and kill millions of people in such
a way as to wring magical energy from their souls and broadcast it out
across the world, deliberately contaminating the aetherical flux.
   Counterpointing this was the arrival of the outworlder, Lee Ardock.
The Man With The Green Gloves allowed himself to smile. That, at
least, was good news of sorts. Since the whole point of Projekt Memi
was to create an intangible world of horror that would insinuate
itself into other realities, then the arrival of natives from those
other realities indicated that inter-dimensional contact was starting.
The cancerous cyst that was The World was beginning to metastasise. Of
course that in turn meant The World was starting to attract attention
to itself, and Dane was not convinced that it was incoherent enough to
successfully survive a counterattack from its potential victims.
   Which led back to the destruction of the camps.  Obviously that was
an attempt to deprive The World in general, and the Reich in
particular, of magical power. Well, congratulations in achieving that
end, but raw magical power hadn't been the point of the death camps;
that was merely a useful fringe benefit that could be used as a tool.
The point had been to turn the psychic atmosphere septic, and that had
been achieved almost a hundred years ago. Destroying the camps so long
after the fact would make no difference to that.
   Nevertheless, the mimetic cancer that was The World still had a
physical base. Until it was completely divorced from its material
limitations it was vulnerable. Its enemies would inevitably keep
hammering away at it until they came up with some form of attack that
would cripple it. And those enemies were definitely active. The Man
With The Green Gloves had made a quite brutal telepathic interrogation
of Herr Ardock, and while he was satisfied that the man had simply
been someone who had fallen through to The World by accident, he had
been able to identify at least two female agents who were working
against it. Moreover, the time frame of their arrival had not matched
up with the dates of destruction of Vytmir and Haibal. There had to be
at least one
more group of infiltrators that he had yet to identify.
   There was no help for it. The Man With The Green Gloves and his
fellows would need to speed up Projekt Memi. And in a ironic way that
lead to the third salient fact: the stupid and pointless death of
Sturmbannfuhrer Marcus Oustler.
   When it became clear that the camps were being targeted, Oustler's
death had been quickly re-investigated for signs of foul play. There
hadn't been any. There was no indication of assassination. It had been
simple human carelessness. But that carelessness had removed one of
the promising members of the next generation of potential
anarchitects. There were others of course, but anarchitects were
always few in number. And if Projekt Memi needed to be speeded up,
then the Reichsmages could ill afford the loss of even one of them.
   So that was the plan. Firstly, in the immediate term, capture and
destroy the off-world agents and buy some time. In the medium term,
identify any sorcerers who were potential anarchitects, and boost the
local level of magical energy for long enough for them to finish
deranging The World. The Man With The Green Gloves just hoped his own
human wardrobe would last long enough before needing to be replaced.

------------------KSWAA AND SDRAA-------------------
------------Copyright 2015 Tom Russell--------------

Monad has found that for all the various cultural differences, people
are largely the same all the worlds over. Most have some kind of
religion, many beginning from the premise that their tiny spinning
ball of gas and rock is the most important, and sometimes the only,
tiny spinning ball of gas and rock in the cosmos.
   Most have war, and the weapons are pretty much the same. Here on
Agaanos, a knife is called a sdraa, and is "blessed" with poison. A
single prick is instant, painless death. A recent innovation, the
sdraa. The closest thing to a sword is the ancient kswaa, though it is
a hollow cylinder that cannot stab or cut, and is too fragile to work
as a bludgeon. It is used to parry, but is mostly a ceremonial weapon,
vestigial in this age of the sdraa. In a thousand years, or a hundred,
or ten, they will have guns, and bombs, and worse, and then even the
dread sdraa will become ornamental. War and weapons and the evolution
of both are much the same no matter how many eyes a species may have,
or where those eyes may be located.
   Most worlds also have honor, and when there is both honor and war,
then, of course, there are duels. Sacred, holy duels fought only at
the triple sunrise, kswaa to kswaa, sdraa to sdraa, to the first
blood, and the last.
   It is the triple sunrise of Agaanos that Monad came to see, not the
duels. Each of the three sister-suns are fickle and jealous, circling
viciously around her rivals, so that each will rise and set at
different times. Only rarely do these align, and irregularly; the last
time was eight of our months ago, and the next won't be for sixty
years. As such, the children of Agaanos have been quicker to anger
these last few months, taking offense at the slightest of slights,
willfully misconstruing the most innocent of gestures. It is called
the sunsrise sickness.
   In the gray before the morning, Monad tries to find a place where
no duel is to be fought, so as to concentrate on the triple glories of
the dawn. Failing in that, she settles on a place with only one duel.
If she thinks this will make it easier to ignore, she is wrong, for
time and again she is drawn to the combatants. One is a minor princess
of the Third House, haughty and beautiful, eyes red as rubies, with a
magnificent kswaa awash in finely-etched waves of gold. Her opponent
is a beggar boy, with a beggar's borrowed kswaa. Both are nude, for it
is honorable to leave the flesh exposed for the bite of the sdraa, and
this world has never known the hot red blush of shame.
   The princess's kswaa clangs hollowly against the boy's. As it
swirls through the morning, air passes through it like a flute,
musical and charming. The princess is swift, and elegant, having
trained with a kswaa since she was a child; the boy is clumsy. It is
clearly the first time he's ever held a kswaa.  He is said to have
insulted her, but Monad thinks the princess was looking to be
insulted. She was eager to kill someone, and carefully chose someone
that could not kill her back. The rich are much the same all the
worlds over.
   The beggar boy will never get past her kswaa, never get close
enough to prick her with his sdraa. Monad gets the feeling he doesn't
really want to. He tried to get out of this more than once, and even
now pleads with the princess. But each entreaty only heightens her
disdain, and soon she will be close enough to strike. He backpedals
frantically, dropping his kswaa in his haste to put several yards of
distance between them.
   The princess forgets her elegance and rushes in wantonly for
consummation. That's when the beggar throws his sdraa like a dart,
striking her gently between her ruby eyes. She stares at him, puzzling
at the sadness in his eyes. A single drop of blood trickles down one
side of her nose like a tear, and then she falls, stone dead.
   Many will want to avenge her, and some will challenge the beggar
boy to meet them, kswaa to kswaa, sdraa to sdraa, when next the three
terrible stars of Agaanos align, in sixty years.

-----------------SEE YOU NEXT MONTH-----------------

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