DIVA/WISP: Time Enough For Tea #4

deucexm deucexm at gmail.com
Mon Jun 5 22:42:42 PDT 2017

Teatime is nearing its end, but there will be more of these characters, that 
much is certain.  I like them both far too much to just let them go by the 

Anyway, here's some more stuff that's a reflection of my own deeply personal 
matters, as most of my present writing seems to be.  Hmmm.

TIME ENOUGH FOR TEA: A DiVerse Alpha Chronicle 
by Colin Stokes 


"Pureheart, you say," Critical Eye murmured softly, staring at her tea - her eyes 
open now.  "I don't think I deserve a name like that."

"Don't you?" Laurel returned with a smile.  "Everyone is thankful for what you do 
here, how you've devoted yourself to defending this world from the terrors of the 
Void and the trespasses of the Empire.  Is it not that knowledge that sustains 
you, even without other support?"

The lady let out a quiet sigh.  "Maybe.  But it's not /enough/.  I'm really just 
taking up space until there's a crisis for me to handle.  I don't even deserve the 
thanks I get; the words always feel so... hollow."

"What if I told you," Laurel began - ever so delicately - "that you can, in fact, 
take action in a very significant way?  And more, that you are the only person who 
can do anything in this situation?"

Critical Eye raised an eyebrow.  "'Only'?"

Laurel smiled brightly.  "In a practical sense.  The nearest... 'representative', 
I suppose, is far beyond my reach for the moment, and will likely remain so for 
quite some time.  Still, your personal choice is what matters most."  They 
clasped their hands together.  "I won't force it upon you, but I do think it will 
be more fulfilling than what you're doing now."

"Tell me about it, then."  Critical Eye lifted the teacup and drank it to the last 
drop, then leaned forward, listening intently.

Laurel's eyes sparkled.  "The creatures of chaos-space that you battle.  Where do 
you suppose they come from?  A single source, perhaps, one that you might be able 
to cut off if you only knew where it was?  If /that/ was true, why, you could let 
Viverde's people focus entirely on their... relations with the Empire, instead of 
fighting a constant battle on two fronts."

The lady maintained a neutral expression through all of this, except for the way 
her mouth tightened just slightly at the corners.  "Supposing that's true - then 
what?  What happens when I have no reason to be here?  Because I don't need to 
fight the Imperials, and I certainly don't /want/ to, either."

Resting a fingertip on their chin, Laurel smiled.  "I suppose you'd be... free."

There was a long silent moment as Critical Eye pondered this, staring down at her 
empty teacup.  She looked back up at Laurel's still-smiling face.  "Free..."

"I'd love to introduce you to my friends," Laurel continued brightly.  "If you've 
no idea what to do next, perhaps we could offer you some suggestions - or simply 
point you in a favorable direction.  If nothing else, you're more than welcome to
just stay with us for a while until you find what it is you want to do."

Critical Eye took a deep breath and let it out slowly, her satellites rotating 
this way and that as she glanced around the chamber.  She hadn't considered it a 
prison, exactly, but she was starting to realize how attractive 'freedom' sounded; 
how much the situation had weighed her down with the chains of obligation.  "I'll 
have to do a lot of explaining," she began, cautiously, "but... Laurel, I-"  She 
took another deep breath.  "I want my staff back."

Laurel fairly beamed.  "I was hoping you'd say that!"

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