Thursday, February 26, 2015

Lucas Donovan's Last Favor (Binding Universe)

This is an early draft of a short story, or possibly the prologue to a longer one. The author hopes to revisit and expand it at some point, to clarify a few details, but at the moment it's an attempt to write a scene clearly with dialogue alone.

“What did you do?

Ah. I see. That shouldn’t be possible.”
“At a baby’s level of development, their souls are still incomplete enough to add bits without breaking the Absolute Rule. Naturally, you can’t force it, but they will instinctively reach for simple ideas that shape their nature. It’s the creche principle. They won’t develop in quite the same way as a proper Nephilim, but they come remarkably close. The proper term  for them is Changeling, I believe.”
“I said that it shouldn’t be possible, not that I didn’t know how it worked. Turning a child into a Sleeper King is, if you’ll pardon the use of an idiom, sick.”
“It will protect him. It isn’t my prettiest work, but his safety is all I really need.”
“He’s hardly human anymore. He may well never develop language, if he sleeps for too long in between his waking periods. Is his safety really all that important if he isn’t capable of living a proper life?”
“You, of all people, should think before you condemn life outside of civilization.”
“I rejected the majority of it’s trappings because I knew enough to realize that they were wrong! He wouldn’t even have that much.”
“For a shaman, you’re quite hung up on human upbringings. He’ll have a nanny, and I can trust her. She should live as long as he does, if she’s careful, and she can raise him during his waking periods.”
“A lonely existence, to be sure.”
“She’s willing. If nothing else, she’s willing.”
“You offered her immortality. But no, it was another favor, immortality alone wouldn’t have been enough, not for you. You saved her life, perhaps?”
“Her mother’s. She knew the type of favor I would ask in return, and came to me of her own free will.”
“So may I meet this illustrious girl? Considering how she’ll be using my home for the next several centuries?”
“She’ll be here soon enough. I agreed to let her live out her mortal lifespan before I took her. It was her condition for agreeing.

And how did you know what I was going to ask you, by the way?”
“Don’t be stupid. I knew what you wanted as soon as I saw him.”
“Then your complaints earlier?”
“All true. Only slightly exacerbated by grumpiness.”
“This makes us even, then.”
“Even? I suppose it does. But with you, that’s tantamount to saying we’ll never meet again. Feeling your age?”
“You know I’d watch over my child rather than leave him to another’s care if I could. I made a promise, and It’s one I’m not willing to break.”
“I see. Even that you’d consider it speaks volumes. I presume it was one of the conditions of your deal with the demon lord?”
“Yes. I am not to make myself immortal, nor live longer than my natural lifespan, lest he return before his exile is complete. I harbor the hope that by the time he awakens, he will no longer be so great a threat.”
“A thousand years can be a long time.”
“And yet so short, as well.”
“Fare ye well, old friend.”
“God by ye.”

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