This week's 3ww words: Veil, Modify, Obedient were a challenge. I went in a odd direct. I hope you enjoy the piece.
Along the rolling hills of Scotland, mid-August, the snow was knee high to the gray horse Jamie rode. Jamie McCimmon, a highlander, was dressed in thick leathers, white furs, cold metal plates and a silver skull cap. Strapped to his back was a large circular shield. A silver axe banged against the horse’s midsection in rhythm with the ride.
Not far behind him, was a stout man wearing a thick, oversized, dark-fur coat, a matching fur hat, collared shirt and plaid trousers held up by red suspenders. As a time traveler, John Smith never seemed to get the period dress quite right.
Jamie pulled his horse to a halt to allow John to catch up. He could see his breathe and felt the cold biting his lips.
“Aye… John. Not too much further.”
"I know, I know,” John retorted, struggling with his horse.
Jamie grabbed John’s reins.
“Just a moment.” John reached into his coat and pulled out a golden baton, etched in silver, covered in multicolored wires and dotted with tiny, out-of-sync blinking lights. He waved it over his head and then read a tiny display screen on its side.
“Hmm. Yes, I believe you're right.”
“So the Formoraig’s tower. We can end this blight on the lands.”
“Formoraig? More likely an escaped servant of the Eternals. A Void walker seeking death in our universe.”
Jamie grabbed his axe and held it high. “Then that’s what the monster will get!”
“Not with your axe. I’ve told you. Use your sling and the ball I made you.”
Jamie reached into his satchel and pulled out a palm-sized ball coated in calcium with swirls of black.
“Ah the brain-ball from its twisted attack hound.”
John gave Jamie a sour look. “I modified the nano-probes in its bionic synapses to break down technologies it recognizes.”
They crested the last ridge. In the concave circular valley loomed a short stout tower of liquid copper. Jamie looked away feeling repulsed by the thing. John did the same.
“It feels… wrong.”
“The valley is veiled in radiation from the Void. Completely abhorrent to our universe.”
The horses whinnied, struggling to stay away from the ridge. John swung off his horse.
“They're useless now.”
Jamie swung off his horse wondering what kind of creatures dwelt between the dimensions as John had described. Creatures seeking an end to their existence at the cost of whole worlds, as far as he was concerned--they were Formaraigs.
They slid to the valley floor and struggled through the thick snow. The closer they came to the tower, the more their bodies twitched.
“I was afraid of this,” stated John. He reached into his other inner pocket and pulled out a small silver ball. To Jamie it looked like John was tracing runes on its surface and speaking in a magical language. Probably the high speech of the Time Lords, he thought.
The ball floated above them and emitted a low, gentle hum. The twitching stopped.
“Better?” smiled John.
“Aye. Now where is the door to this place?”
John studied the structure. “Ah. Easy enough.”
John placed his hand on the liquid copper and forced his hand into it.
“Come on, the door is open. Who could get this close after all?”
John disappeared into the tower, rippling its surface. Jamie pulled free his axe and plunged into the tower followed by the silver ball.
“Welcome Mr. Smith,” boomed a great voice. “Even those within the Void know of your exploits.”
John and Jamie stood on a metal floor within a single soaring chamber. The walls where covered in crystals, wires and great machines humming with unimaginable power. In the center, on a great mechanical throne slouched a malformed giant. He bristled with wires and needles through his naked form. One great unfocused eye dominated his head and a tiny eye focused on the intruders.
John looked up and said slowly, “You can’t stay here.”
“I want to die.”
Jamie stepped forward and threw his axe. “Then die, Monster!”
The axe faded into nothing before it made it half the distance.
“I can’t allow you to die here on Earth. Millions of people will die with you. Is that what you want?” John called out and then whispered to Jamie, “The Nano probes... the brain-ball.”
Through his crooked lips, the giant said, “You don’t know the pains the Eternals inflict. Beings bored with their own existence struggle to find new ways to amuse themselves, turning on their obedient servants, forcing us to be pawns in their games of life and death.”
Jamie pulled the lime ball from his satchel and loaded his sling.
“They created you.”
Jamie started to swing the ball behind him.
“I will not play their sick games anymore!” roared the Giant.
Jamie let the brain-ball fly. It decelerated until it almost hovered, contemplating forward motion or giving up the trajectory. Then, it flew, a lightening crack to the Giant's head. Black ant-like lines swarmed over the Giant, creating sparks and smoke.
Mr. Smith whistled and the silver ball dropped into his hand. He handed it to Jamie.
“Can you hit the purple crystal? It’s the main anchoring stabilizer.”
Jamie swung the silver ball in three great arches and then launched the ball. The shattered crystal rained fragments to the floor. Powerful engines rumbled, their sound growing to a grind.
“The Tower's de-materializing! Jump through the wall!”
Mr. Smith and Jamie stood in the snow and watched the Tower fade from existence. Where the tower stood, a perfect bald humanoid hovered for a moment with a sad look.
“A game within a game Mr. Smith,” called the being before it too faded away.
“A game within a game,” whispered Mr. Smith. “Well played.”