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Lazulian Diaries- Deceit

Discussion in 'Creative Archive' started by Kerauno, Nov 30, 2011.

  1. It's possible that a lot of people here have forgotten who I am, so re-intro. I'm Kera, Lycan, writer, spriter, fabulous. Recently, I've been writing a book, and my total number of proofreads is, well, one.
    So, I decided to branch out to a wider audience, and you guys were the pick of the number.

    WARNING: This is a very long book. A novel. I'm going to post the first six chapters in three posts (very long posts) and I'd like a little feedback.
    This is going to be rather confusing, I can tell. Everything will be explained as the story and plot unfolds. Just bear with me 'till then.

    Without further adieu...

    The Lazulian Diaries- Deceit

    Prologue: Conscience of Glass​

    Tick. Tick. Tick. Tick.

    The sound of ticking had rung in the man’s mind since he entered the manor in the sky. How he had gotten there, he didn’t know. All he knew was that he was here to make right what he did. He stopped at a set of doubled doors, painted deep blue and detailed in pink. He gingerly grabbed the brass handle on the right door and turned it tentatively.

    A strong blast of cold air whipped the man’s hair, making him close his eyes from the sheer force of the wind. He opened them again and stuck his head into the room. It was a large sprawling room, but very under decorated. A bed in the far right corner, covered in blue sheets, a wardrobe on the parallel wall. A small desk at the back, lamps placed at random spaces in the room.

    Perhaps the most befuddling was the glass spheres floating above the room; there must have been hundreds, all filled with different colored smoke. Wispy clouds of greens, blues, yellows, reds, and every color in-between.

    The man stepped carefully into the room. His face was reflected on the white marble floor; his face was perspiring at an alarming rate, his eyes filled with an odd mixture of wonder, fear, and confusion. The far wall of great stained glass windows cast multicolored light into the great room, making it seem like the end of a rainbow, minus the pot of gold.

    “Excuse Klockwork,” said a deep voice behind the man. He whirled in fright, ready to fight the voice. There was a tall, pale man with dark brown hair dressed in a blue coat and pink scarf. In his hand he held a crystalline cane.

    “Excuse Klockwork,” the second man said again. “But what is this Terrie doing in Klockwork’s room?” He seemed to be talking to someone unseen, but was staring intently at the first man. “Y-You mean me?” he asked, and the man in blue-and-pink nodded.

    “I-I don’t know how I got h-here,” he stammered. “But I’m sorry if this is your room, I’ll leave-”

    The man in blue held up a hand. “No more. Klockwork knows why this Terrie is here.” The man shoved past the confused gentleman, who looked at him oddly. “Who are you?”

    “Klockwork,” the blue man replied. “The name of the person the Terrie is talking to is named Klockwork.” He stood in the center of the vast room and held is hand above him, as if feeling for drops of rain.

    Instead of rain, a long staff-like object appeared in his hand.

    The first man was bewildered, as this was nothing like anything he had ever seen. The staff was taller than the man called ‘Klockwork,’ and topped with what seemed to be with an elaborate face-clock. That wasn’t all; the clock seemed to be on fire.

    “Klockwork would like to know what happened to make this Terrie come to Klockwork,” Klockwork said, staring at the now trembling man. He shook his head in indication that he had no idea what he was talking about.

    “Let Klockwork put it this way,” he began and held his staff upright, then let go. Instead of toppling over, the staff remain motionless; even the flames ceased their dancing. “Has something terrible happened to the Terrie, causing the Terrie unimaginable grief, guilt, or depression?”

    The man began to shake his head, but stopped mid-shake. “Y-yes,” he started. “My wife died the other day, died in a house fire. I’ve lost interest in everything, and I’m considering committing suicide… My kids are the only reason I’m still alive.” He stopped, wondering whether it was really a good idea to tell all this to Klockwork.

    Klockwork smiled. “Klockwork will help. Klockwork will reverse time and help the Terrie get the Terrie’s wife back.” The man was struck with doubt. “That’s impossible,” he said immediately, turning his nose up at Klockwork.

    But Klockwork merely grabbed his staff and began fiddling with the clock face. “What time did the Terrie’s wife die?”

    The man replied it was two days prior. Klockwork adjusted the clock, and then slammed the staff on the ground. All movement seemed to stop; even the air felt still. Outside the stained glass windows, the sun began a eastward arc, as if time itself were reversing.

    The moon rose from the east, set, and the sun rose again. The sun set once more and the cycle happened twice more. Then the sun stopped in the same spot it had been before it began moving backwards. It was as if nothing had changed.

    “The day is now three days before the Terrie’s wife died,” Klockwork announced. The man stood stunned, not believing his incredible luck. He could save his wife from that fire! Klockwork seemed to sense his joy and chuckled.

    “There is a price for Klockwork’s services.” The man raised a brow quizzically. “What kind of price?” he inquired.

    “A secret,” Klockwork spoke. “A deep, personal secret from the Terrie. That is what Klockwork desires.”

    The man’s face went pale, forgetting that with every gift there was a price. He took a step back, hoping to make a run for it, but he was frozen in place. He could hardly breathe.

    “The Terrie cannot escape,” Klockwork said. “Klockwork demands Klockwork’s pay. If the Terrie does not pay, Klockwork will be forced to reverse the time reversal.”

    The man considered this. He desperately wanted his wife back. He finally tried to nod, but couldn’t, as he was frozen under Klockwork’s spell. Sensing his agreeance, Klockwork unfroze him. He snapped his fingers, and a clear, empty sphere descended from the tinkling mass of ones above him.

    “The Terrie must speak secret into the orb, and the Terrie may go home.” Klockwork gestured to the sphere, with its curious emptiness and restlessness to be filled. The man took the orb into his hands and hesitantly put his lips to the orb. He spoke slowly and surely into the orb, gray smoke filtering into the orb form his mouth.

    The orb was filled with wispy smoke. A cork stopper suddenly appeared in the top, preventing the smoke from escaping. The man smiled, holding the orb out to Klockwork, who took it and meticulously scrutinized the inside.

    Suddenly, Klockwork let go of the sphere altogether. The orb crashed onto the marble floor with a deafening shatter. The smoke that had been contained within turned a menacing shade of black. Klockwork regarded the dissipating with low interest. “Oops,” he said casually.
    “Oh gosh, sorry, I can-” the man started, but Klockwork held up a hand, his head bowed to the floor. He then looked up, metaphorical flames dancing in his deep fuchsia eyes.

    “The Terrie lied to Klockwork,” he snarled. “The Terrie’s secret was not true. Klockwork does not accept lies.” He slammed his staff down powerfully, and the sun froze again, this time heading west, fast-forwarding the few days that Klockwork had reversed.

    The man fell to his knees, stricken. “No! I’m sorry, please, give me another chance, I won’t lie this time!” he cried, but in vain.

    Klockwork regarded him like a mere parasite. “Leave,” he boomed. “And do not come to Klockwork again. The Terries’ filthy taint has poisoned his chances of ever seeing the Terrie’s wife again.”

    Klockwork pointed his staff at the man, the flames spiraling towards him in a vortex of fire and deafening crackling, consuming him, burning him, damning him where he knelt.

    The man woke at his office desk, scalding coffee pouring on his face and clothes. He sat up and shook his head, hoping his dream had only been just that.

    Chapter I: A Secret Shared​

    Klockwork stared at the glass shards on the marble floor of his room.

    He sighed and began to gather them up, slicing his finger in the process. He swore, dropping the shards, watching the thin red line of crimson across his forefinger grow to a trail. He wiped the blood on his fuchsia scarf and gathered the shards once more, except more carefully.

    “Aw, did Klockie hurt himself again?” said a high pitched voice from above. Klockwork looked up and scowled; he saw nothing and returned to his work. A slight jangle of his spheres rousted him again, and he saw what looked like a broom descending from his cloud of spheres.

    Klockwork growled. “Lucinda, come out. If Lucinda wants something, then Lucinda should tell Klockwork now,” he said, continuing again with the glass.

    “You’re such a stinge,” the voice said again, and the spheres clattered noisily. Klockwork looked up once again to see a young teenage girl in a shin-length black dress and platinum blonde hair in a bob cut balancing on a wooden broomstick, just beneath Klockwork’s spheres. The girl pawed a sphere aside, and regarded Klockwork suspiciously.

    “I’ve always wondered about your fascination with these little baubles,” she said, holding one filled with bright blue smoke. Klockwork glared at her. “Klockwork’s ‘baubles’ are Klockwork’s business, Lucinda.”

    Lucinda let go of the orb, which floated up with the others. “Whatever. Say, what day is it?”

    “Thursday,” Klockwork said, busying himself with the glass again. Lucinda huffed. “I could have sworn it was Monday twenty minutes ago.”
    Klockwork paused, but for a fraction of a second, but that hesitation was all Lucinda needed. “What did you do?” she asked softly. Her soft voice always indicated her prying nature.

    “Nothing,” Klockwork replied, carrying the glass shards to a small can in the corner of the room, dumping them. When he turned around again, Lucinda was standing where he had been a moment before, her broom suspended in the air next to her.

    “You messed with time again, didn’t you?” When Klockwork said nothing, she said, “You did, didn’t you! Why?”

    “Klockwork doesn’t have to tell Lucinda,” he said snidely, stalking across the room to his desk. Lucinda followed, her broom trailing behind. “Klockwork, tell me. Now.”

    “What would Lucinda do if Klockwork didn’t tell?” he countered venomously. Lucinda paused. Klockwork looked smug for a moment, and then Lucinda spoke.

    “I’ll tell Day and Night that you’ve been messing with their, well, days and nights.” Klockwork’s eyes widened a fraction of an inch, Lucinda had hit the nail. “Or, I’ll tell Mum and Dad.”

    Klockwork narrowed his eyes and grimaced. “Lucinda wouldn’t.”

    "Lucinda would,” she replied. They stared each other down for a few moments, Lucinda’s gaze cool and smug, Klockwork’s glare venomous enough to make a tree shrivel to ash.

    Klockwork broke the gaze, gritting his teeth. Lucinda uttered a triumphant “Ha!” as she leapt atop Klockwork’s desk. “Tell me,” she said, wrinkling her nose in a smug, victorious smile.

    For a moment, Klockwork was silent. Then, he looked into Lucinda’s eyes and spoke to her, “Klockwork’s baubles are really secrets.”
    Lucinda’s smile faded. She stared at him uncomprehendingly. “Excuse me? Did you just say what I think you just said?”

    Klockwork nodded. “Klockwork takes secrets from Terries. Klockwork reverses time so the Terries can fix something that the Terrie has messed up. And Klockwork takes secrets as pay.”

    Lucinda slid off of his desk. “You’re mad,” she said. “Corrupt.” Klockwork hung his head. “That’s so awesome!” Klockwork looked up in confusion.

    Lucinda was smiling broadly. “I don’t know why I never thought of that!” She sank into thought. “Then again, there’s not much you can do with space…”

    Klockwork snapped his fingers, breaking Lucinda out of her trance. “Is Lucinda going to tell Mother and Father now?” Lucinda shook her head. Klockwork relaxed. “Good.” Lucinda strode over to Klockwork’s bed and flopped down upon it. “Your bed is really soft, bro,” she said.

    Klockwork suddenly looked up. “Why is Lucinda in Klockwork’s room?” Lucinda sat up. “I don’t remember,” she said, putting a finger on her chin and wrinkling her nose; her thinking pose.

    “Aha!” she yelped, leaping off the bed. Klockwork, startled, etched a long, jagged line of ink on the paper he’d been writing on. He glared at Lucinda, who was touching her finger to her nose.

    “I was supposed to tell you the Council starts in… Er,” Lucinda checked her watch. She deciphered the numbers on the watch and shouted “Ten minutes!”

    Klockwork sighed. “Thanks, Lucinda. Now leave.” Lucinda wiggled her fingers at him in a wave, whistled, and jumped as her broomstick came beneath her. She came down, balanced precariously on the stick, and zoomed up to the ceiling, and through Klockwork’s cloud of secrets.

    Klockwork shook his head at his sister’s strangeness. He stood, taking his crystalline cane in one hand, and his time staff in one hand. He slammed the end of the staff onto the marbled floor, and the clock atop the staff burst into flames.

    The flames descended upon Klockwork, who seemed unharmed, or unfazed, by the flames’ heat. The flames swirled around him in a red-orange vortex, whipping his clothes to and fro.

    In less than a minute, he had disappeared from the spot, not a single charred stain upon the marble floor where had stood.

    (To clarify, no, Klockwork does not speak in third person. He just does not use pronouns. Just putting that out there.)
  2. (Change of plans, we have the prologue and chapter one first. This is chapters two and three. Enjoy.)

    Chapter II: A Cast of Characters​

    Tongues of flame danced upon the white marble floor in front of two oaken doors. The flames danced vigorously, rising until they were at the height of a man. They suddenly died, and standing in the place where they had been was Klockwork. He dusted off his coat, and slammed his staff upon the ground; the flames topping the crystal-faced clock died and the staff shrank; the wooden shaft shrank into the clock, and the clock itself shrank until it were no bigger than a pocket watch.

    Klockwork slipped the now watch into his pocket and pushed open the set of oak double doors. A flash of cool, fresh air hit him as the door opened into an expansive room, even larger than his own room. The room was shaped like a large semicircle, surrounded on the curved sides by tall windows, casting bars of golden afternoon light across the room. The ceiling was inexistent; there was no roof to the room. The golden sun hung overhead, drifting lazily through the sky.

    Situated in the center of the room was a long table stretching east to west. Five chairs lined the wide ends, and solitary chairs marked the ends. Klockwork crossed the room to the table, taking a seat in a chair facing away from the windows and closest to the west.

    “Early as always, Klockwork,” boomed a loud voice. Klockwork didn’t flinch, or even look surprised. He merely looked to his left. There was nothing in the chair at the end, but as he stared, a thin gray vapor began to materialize, growing, taking shape.

    Arms and legs formed, as well as a torso and a head. A face appeared in the mist, forming eyes, a nose, a mouth. The body from the neck down was fully formed; a lean man’s body, clad in a crisp white pinstriped suit. The skin of the man’s arm was a rich mocha. Klockwork examined his face; his skin was free of wrinkles, the same mocha color as his arms. The man’s eyes were a blank white, as if he was blind, but Klockwork knew better.

    The man’s hair was wispy and white, much like clouds. His beard was short, but just as wispy as his hair. Klockwork regarded the man warmly. “Hello, Father,” he said. “Father looks nice today.” The man nodded, accepting the compliment.

    “You as well look fine,” remarked his father. Klockwork nodded. He pulled his watch from his pocket and regarded the time; a quarter past noon. Father looked to the sky, squinting against the glaring sun. “Ah, here comes Lyla,” he said airily.

    Klockwork looked up at the blazing orb in the sky. It looked the same; a golden orb in the sky. As he watched, however, a smaller orb seemed to detach from it, like a star, or if the sun had a child. The orb hung in the air next to the sun, then sped off past the sun.

    The temperature in the room increased dramatically, coating Klockwork with a thin sheen of sweat. The orb that had parted from the sun was now heading for the table, charging at supersonic speeds. The orb, no larger than a human, rocketed into the room, and pounding into the chair across from Klockwork; a wave of heat emanated from the flaming chair.

    The flames dissipated, leaving the chair and table unscathed. A girl sat there, slightly dazed. She had flaming ginger hair that seemed to glow, which was covered by a bike helmet decorated with sun patterns. Her eyes were deep crimson red, with strange bright yellow irises.

    Klockwork couldn’t look her straight in the eye; it was like staring at the sun itself. Her skin was lightly tan, dotted with dark freckles.
    The girl was wearing a yellow sleeveless top, orange at the hem. The orange of her shirt continued getting darker as it traveled down her jeans; they were orange as well. Around her neck was an orange cape, which seemed to be composed entirely of flames. She was also wearing black knee and elbow pads, which she shed off as she took in the situation.

    “Dammit, off by a foot,” she muttered, sliding into the chair next to the one across from Klockwork. Father smiled and said “I would have assumed that after a thousand or so years of doing this, you’d have improved your aim, Lyla.”

    The girl looked at him, her red eyes making it seem as if she was angry, but her tone was cool. “Eh, say what you will, Roger. Win some, lose some.”

    “Or lose all,” Klockwork remarked. Lyla glared at him, taking off her helmet and shaking out her ginger locks. She sat back in her chair as the door opened; a pair of people walked in, and you couldn’t imagine a more contrasting pair.

    A man and a woman, they looked like they shouldn’t even be seen together; and yet, here they were, linked arm in arm. The man was wearing a black ankle length trench coat, with a red scarf dangling around his neck. He had unruly dark gray hair, and cold icy blue eyes.

    The woman, however, was opposite him every way. She was wearing a dress that resembled a hooker, but she certainly didn’t look the part. Her dress was bright, obnoxious pink, hitched up at her right hip. A fancy blue shawl hung loosely on her shoulder, and her dark blonde hair curled down her back in a cascade of waves and curls. Her bright, clear blue eyes spoke of innocence masking a darker force.

    The two took their seats across from each other at the opposite end of the table. A pair of men had entered, seeming to be deep in conversation. They both looked around eighteen. One of them, with short brown hair and clad in red, took a sip from the cup he was drinking from and took a seat next to the man in the trench coat. The second one, with black hair and wearing a tie-dye shirt and jeans sat next to him, saying something about the fabric of dreams.

    “What’s up with those two?” said a voice next to Klockwork’s ear. He turned, startled. Lucinda was floating next to his head, balanced and bending over on her broom. Klockwork scoffed. “Drake and Griffin are arguing again,” he replied and she nodded, as if that explained everything. Lucinda straightened and floated over the table and dropped to the floor, taking the seat across from Klockwork.

    Klockwork looked back down the table. A girl with long black hair covering her face had appeared across from the man in red, and a blond girl with butterflies in her hair sat next to her. Suddenly, the double doors slammed open. Every head turned to the doors, to see a figure step through.

    It was a male figure, shorter than Klockwork, but taller than Lucinda. He had golden-brown hair down to his jaw line, with two pointed gray ears poking out the top, reminiscently canine. He was wearing a dark colored jacket and dark jeans, as well as black boots. He had a striped silver and black scarf around his neck. With a long, loping stride, he made his way around the table, settling down in the seat next to Klockwork.

    The boy, somewhere in his teens by the looks of it, had a cool, but hard edge to his eyes, which were a deep midnight blue. His pupils were two colors, half silver, half black. He propped his head up on his hand and stared dully at the table; he looked tired.

    “Ohhh, it looks like everyone is here!” exclaimed a shrill voice. A few of the people looked around; Roger smiled. At the opposite end of the table, a black light had begun to flicker. The light grew, until it was apparent that the light was coming from the chair at the far end of the table. Black flames were growing there, covering the chair until it could not be seen through the fire.

    The flames grew, leaping higher and higher, until they were extinguished altogether. Sitting in the chair that had been engulfed in flames sat a very pudgy woman with a kind face. She was wearing a black gown that hugged her body. Her eyes, however, were black pits filled with even blacker flames, and her hair was an inferno of black flames, reaching towards the sky.

    The woman giggled, producing a gavel from the folds of her gown and rapping it on the table. “Now, shall the Council of the Lazulian Elders begin?”

    Chapter III: A Lesson in History​

    The Council of Lazulian Elders was a rare event. It so rarely happened, for example, that when the Council is called into session, the Elders themselves are surprised, and not exactly happy to be rousted out of the routines they had had centuries, even millennia to cultivate.

    In actuality, a legitimate council was rare; the Elders saw each other mostly all day, and often organized in the council hall for meals and gatherings, but the council meetings themselves were just as oft happenings as the apocalypse.

    The pudgy woman rapped her gavel again, standing. Her plump, smiling face combined with those black swirling flame pits gave her the look of a demonic nanny. Over the years, Klockwork had learned to tolerate, nay, love that face. After all, the face belonged to his mother.

    “Now, I bet you’re all wondering why you were called here,” the woman chirped. She scanned the faces of each of the others. The boy next to Klockwork lifted his head from the table and replied in a smart tone, “Nah, we all knew, Cindy. I mean, you’re not the best at keeping secrets.”

    At the word ‘secrets’, Klockwork tensed, as if from instinct. He relaxed as quickly as he had tensed, hoping no one noticed. His mother, Cindy, pursed her lips in a hard line, her flaming eyes trained on the boy next to Klockwork. He had put his head down again.
    “As I was saying,” Cindy ground out. “You have all been called here to discuss a very important matter.” She slammed her gavel on the stone table. “The Twelve Days of Misfortune.”

    If no one had been paying attention when Cindy had slammed down her gavel, they were now. She smiled, pleased to have all the attention on her. She swept out in front of the glass pane windows, all eyes following her.

    “In case some of you had forgotten,” Cindy began, picking out several faces of the group. “The Twelve Days of Misfortune are our own personal Apocalypse. Eons ago, we all consented to set aside our collective powers for twelve days, in order to begin anew the cycle of Lazulian life.

    “But, why, you may ask yourself, is Cindy, our own Mother Hell, calling a meeting to discuss such an event at this time?” Cindy smiled, her fiery eyes dancing with a certain light that suggested a pleasing, secret thought. “Because, my dear family, the Twelve Days are upon us… And they are happening in three weeks.”

    A low murmur had fallen over the table. Certainly, the Elders had all lost track of time, wrapped in their own lives; eternity was not an easy thing to keep track of. Lucinda gave Klockwork wide eyes from across the table. Roger seemed shocked as well, shocked that his own wife had kept something this huge from him.

    “I’m hoping I don’t have to refresh anyone’s memory,” Cindy said in a low tone. Then she added in a bright, motherly tone, “But I’ll be happy to, if need be!”

    No one said anything. Not a breath was taken, nor an eye batted. Just then, the girl in the pink dress raised her hand. Her partner across from her groaned, as did Lyla. Cindy said nothing at first, but then smiled brightly.

    “Of course, Kaitlyn,” she said, and turned, sweeping her hand across the length of the windows behind her. Images suddenly spread across the glass, some Klockwork recognized, some he didn’t. He realized, with a flush, that they were memories of past council sessions.

    Klockwork’s neighbor nudged him. “When did we get that?” he whispered. Klockwork shrugged, while Lucinda hopped upon her broom to get a better look at some of the higher images. Cindy rapped her gavel on the thick glass windows, and a whole slew of different images sprang forth.

    Klockwork recognized a few; one of Lyla, looking rather young, and his neighbor, still asleep at the table. One showed Cindy as much thinner, with less of a plume of flames for hair, and more of curly black wisps.
    “I doubt most of you remember any of these pictures… But I do. They were taken on the day we had first all assembled here, all twelve of us, for the first time. My goodness, I was so thin…” Cindy slipped into her own world of reverence and retrospect.

    Roger snapped his fingers at Cindy. “My dear, get on with it.” Cindy leaped back to reality, blinking. “Mm, yes Roger,” she said, shaking her head. She hit the glass again to regain everyone’s attention.
    “As I was saying, they day we assembled here… I’m sure you all remember it. Does the name Agnus ring a bell?”

    Each head swiveled as one, each eye widened, every gasp taken synchronically. No one dared say a word; for fear that the world may tip out of balance at the slightest false move. Cindy grinned. “I thought so,” she mused.

    “In case you’ve forgotten- which, I hope you haven’t- I will recount the tale of the day Agnus climbed to the manor. Agnus was a man, living in the village of Molin, a village we blessed. We liked Molin, because they had the best gifts, the best sacrifices, and the absolute best smelling blood!” Cindy wrinkled her nose in pleasure, as did the rest of the Elders; their bloodlust had not faded over the years.

    “Eventually, Molin went to war with a neighboring village… SO they prayed to us for help. Evidently, they couldn’t spare a fresh, young man to have his blood spilled on our holy altar, because, nooo, he was needed for the army… Pah! What’s the life of one man to the blessing of the GODS?!”

    The other Elders nodded in agreement, except for Klockwork’s neighbor, who snored. Cindy stomped over and slammed the gavel down in his head, as he was in mid-snore. There was a sick crack. The sound of his snoring was cut off abruptly, and he slumped over farther, ultimately falling out of his chair.

    “As I was saying,” Cindy continued, stressing every syllable. “Since we didn’t get a proper sacrifice, we decided they didn’t need our blessing. SO, they went to war. Many lives were lost. Agnus lost his wife, and his three sons, one of which was in the war. SO, as you can guess, he was pretty pissed.

    “He kind of cursed us. Of course, normal Terries can’t curse GODS, so it was in vain. Once he realized that, he set out, only with the clothes on his back, to find us, and out home, our Lazurai.” She swept her arms around the room to indicate the expansive hall.

    “In its Olden Days, Lazurai was not quite as elaborate as it is today. Nevertheless, Agnus found us. He climbed day and night through the frigid mountains, risking death just to see his gods. Back then, we would have seen it as valiant, a show of loyalty. Then again, he wanted us dead, so…

    “We welcomed Agnus, wondering the cause of his visit. Ruefully, he accused us of not answering his prayer for good warfare. He was not pleased when we replied that we didn’t like his sacrifices.” Cindy closed her eyes, as if remembering; it was likely that the whole fiasco played out in the very room they were sitting in, and he wondered if Cindy were replaying the scene behind those closed eyes.

    “He grabbed the nearest weapon he could; my gavel. At a glance, it’s not much of a weapon. But all of you saw what I did to Drew over there,” her eyes glanced over the boy slumped on the floor. “It’s a terrible weapon, as deadly as Klockwork’s staff, or Kaitlyn’s bondage fairies.

    “He threatened to send us all to Hell. We all knew it was impossible. Although, there was something in his tone, in his determined, confident, rage filled tone that suggested that he could- and would- bend the rules of our reality and send us all down there.

    “We had no other choice. Agnus had to die, lest he actually destroyed us. A quick swipe of Roger’s sword, and the man was gone. Judging him was easy; Eternal Damnation until the end of time!” She said the last sentence with an air of pleasure, that it made Klockwork shiver a little.

    “So, that day, we decided. We couldn’t let this happen again. So we decided there was one way, one true way to prevent it from happening again.” She looked into the eyes of each and every person, giving a look that said something like ‘you’re never gonna believe what happens next,’ even though they all did.

    “SO we decided to purge the planet, when the time came. To wipe it clean of all human life, and to begin the human race anew. The Twelve Days of Misfortune were engineered specifically to show the Terrestrials that WE are the supreme ones, and that they are our pawns, our playthings, our children, to use and bend as we please. And we most certainly do please.

    “For twelve consecutive days, each of use shows of our unique powers, to prove what we’re capable of. By the end of the days, not a single Terrie is left alive. So we may begin the process again, so we may once again reign above all!”

    Cindy raised her fist into the air on her last word, making her look like an enigmatic figure. The problem was, she also still looked like a demented nanny in a dress three sizes too small. All was quiet in the council room, until the girl with dark raven locks stood, locking eyes with Cindy.

    “Such a lovely speech,” she said in a hoarse, but not unkind voice. Cindy smiled approvingly. “However,” the girl continued. “Such great an event must take immense power to create and utilize.”

    Cindy narrowed her eyes. “What are you getting at, Raven?” The girl blinked her beady black eyes once, twice, three times before answering.
    “Everything has a price, Cindy. What’s the price of our little game here?”

    No one spoke, yet again, upholding the tradition of dramatic silences in the council room. Throughout the many millennia of gathering and meeting, hardly anyone dared face down Cindy, not even Roger, her own husband. ‘Heaven help the man who can’t bring his wife off her pedestal,’ some might say, but being heaven himself renders the quote void.

    As said, no one faces down Cindy. No one, aside from Raven. Raven was a tough girl; being the patron and embodiment of Death did that to you. And being Death, with Cindy as Hell, Raven had a great bargaining chip, which she always threatened to use, on the off chance that Cindy rubbed her the wrong way.

    She could control the flow of souls leaving their lives on Lazuli.
    Cindy narrowed her eyes even more, so they became nothing more than dark slits emanating hellish heat. The two women stared down for several moments, until Cindy looked away, a sign of defeat.

    “Alright, you’re correct, there is a price,” Cindy relented. “The thing is, once the Twelve Days begin, we’re stripped of all our powers. The only thing we have is to be able to initiate our special power on our designated day. We become little more than Terrestrials; and, need I remind you, Terrestrials can die.”

    “I have a question!” Lucinda shrieked as she floated down from the heights of the room on her broom. Cindy regarded her coldly, but Lucinda paid no mind.

    “How are we gonna repopulate the planet when we wipe it clean?” She asked. A few other Elders muttered behind her, curious as well. Cindy pursed her lips and looked up at the bright sky, then down at a spot next to her foot, and then to her right. This gesture, seeming out of place, made perfect sense to Lucinda; it was Cindy’s way of saying ‘you don’t want to know.’

    “Why the hell wouldn’t we wanna-…” Realization dawned across her young, pale face. Her delicate features scrunched up into a look of disgust, her broom jerking backwards from Cindy in horror.

    “You can’t possibly mean,” she spluttered, aghast. Cindy gave an innocent look to the sky again, but that was all the indication she needed.

    “EEEEWWWWW!!!” Lucinda shrieked. Klockwork stood and placed a comforting hand on his sister’s shoulder. “What is wrong, Lucinda? Lucinda can tell Klockwork.”

    She acted like she hadn’t even heard him, much less acknowledged his presence. She pointed a shaky finger at Cindy and muttered something inaudible beneath her breath.

    “What?” Klockwork inquired, leaning in close. Lucinda screamed right into his ear, “CINDY WANTS US TO MATE!”

    Klockwork stumbled back, shocked. Cindy had her eyes on the ground now, looking ashamed. Lucinda was now crouched on her broom, holding her shoulders and shaking. Sounds of horror and disgust were uttered from the other Elders, all directed at Cindy.

    Copulation with your other half was strictly taboo, unheard of. Roger and Cindy were exempt from the rule, being married, as were Kaitlyn and her other half, Zaron. Otherwise, it was not exactly looked upon among the Elders.

    “Alright, alright, ENOUGH!” Cindy boomed. The room slowly quieted, as they were fearful of what other atrocious notions poured forth from her mouth. Cindy rubbed her temples and sat back down in her seat. She rapped her gavel on the table one time, and a single rectangular box appeared before her, made of solid, dark wood.

    Cindy opened the box, and pulled out a small stack of papers. She stood and walked around the table, handing the various papers to the Elders. Each of them looked as perplexed as the next, wondering what it was all about. When Cindy came around to Klockwork, she handed him a paper, which really wasn’t even a paper at all; it was an envelope, sealed shut with a dark blue blob of wax, stamped with a clock symbol.

    “These envelopes contain the details of what will happen when it’s your turn for the Twelve days,” Cindy replied wearily, answering the unasked question in each of their minds. “You all chose what you’d do for your own day, and I leave it to your own devices to prepare for your day. You have three weeks. Best of luck to you all.”

    With those parting words, Cindy immediately erupted into a column of scalding black flames, the fire swirling around her until the large woman was gone.

    The room was quiet until Drew made an odd noise and climbed up from the floor. He slipped into his seat and regarded everyone else lazily.
    “So,” he said sleepily. “What did I miss?”

    (Jesus. Why so long...)
  3. (Chapters four, five, and six. Enjoy.)

    Chapter IV: A Very Important Date​

    Klockwork sat at his desk, staring down at the envelope in front of him. He did not want to open it just yet. Almost everyone else had ripped theirs open upon getting them, but Klockwork had abstained, courteously.

    The problem with the other Elders was that their temptation was too strong, to easy to give in to. But Klockwork was stronger than temptation; in fact his temptation wasn’t even that great. Yes, his pulse quickened upon sight or touch of the letter, but he could hold the monster back. For now, anyway.

    However, as time heals all wounds, and time wears down a mighty boulder, time had begun to gnaw at the wall of impenetrable patience holding Klockwork back from his letter. Ironic, he thought, to be caught in such a situation, where time, Klockwork’s ally, had become Klockwork’s adversary.

    He decided he needed to get out of the manor, out from under the oppressive pressure of wanting to open the letter. He needed some air, fresh, clean, light air. He stood, checking his pocket watch. Not even a quarter past one. He had enough time to go out for a while and be back by his appointed time.

    Not that he was bound to a curfew. He was his own man, independent and free of worry, letter aside. But Klockwork was a creature of habit, a creature of routine. And old habits die hard, they say. Time is of the essence with Klockwork, as it should be for the Time Guardian.

    He left his room and walked with purpose down the long corridors connecting the branches of the manor. All the private quarters were lined down this hall, so each person could be found easily. Klockwork passed a door decorated in frilly ribbons and sparkles. Obviously Lucinda’s room. Another room was bedecked with hearts and peace signs; Kaitlyn.

    Klockwork looked back at his own door, grimacing at how unimpressive it was. He made a note to redecorate later in the day. He walked out of the corridor and onto a wide staircase balcony, overlooking the foyer. He descended with ease and grace, down the gilded steps, striding across the marble floor to the front door.

    The front door was a lavishly gilded door, made of nothing but pure gold, silver, and precious gems. Ornate scenes of immortal triumph were etched into the metal, all splendor and wonder. Inlaid with colored gems were the symbols of the Elders; Klockwork’s eyes were drawn to the sapphire clock; his symbol.

    The symbols surrounded the great Seal of Lazuli; a web of interconnecting flowery lines within a circle, set to resemble immortality, eternity, and never-ending glory. The Seal of Lazuli was used in most modern government systems, although edited to fit the country.

    Klockwork smiled at the design, and then took hold of the silver doorknob, twisting it easily; the door was, along with everything else in the manor, was well oiled and tuned, to work at the peak of perfection. Before he pulled the door open, Klockwork envisioned where he wanted to go.

    He closed his eyes in thought. An image came to him, an image he recognized. A quaint, trendy little coffee shop, on the corner of a busy intersection. The image enlarged to show a store beside the shop, seemingly connected. Around the shops, people milled and walked aimlessly, as if they had not a care in the world. Soaring towers and buildings surrounded them, making the shops seem miniscule.

    Klockwork thrust the door open and stepped out. A blast of intense cold hit him, but then it subsided, replaced by a gentler cool. He opened his eyes. Klockwork was standing in the open threshold of the coffee shop he had imagined, the cool sensation coming from the street behind him.

    Klockwork stepped quickly inside the shop, as not to seem strange. Few of the shops residents gave him a second glance. The coffee shop housed small, round tables spread around a medium sized room, plush couches with low tables back against the walls. A flat screen television played a quirky sitcom in the corner. Against the back corner, the bar stood, where a small queue of people stood waiting to order their coffee.

    Klockwork sighed in contentment, all thoughts of the letter vanishing. But just as soon as he had forgotten it, the letter came rushing back at him. He grunted in frustration and went to join the line of Terries waiting for coffee.

    The wait was rather quick; the barista was exemplary at creating old and new blends at the customer’s request. Klockwork knew this Terrie, and favored him; his name was Vancent, he remembered. Soon, he was at the head of the line.

    Vancent smiled at Klockwork, apparently remembering him. “What’ll it be?” he asked casually, blowing away a flyaway black hair.

    Klockwork didn’t even miss a beat; “One mocha latte with basil and mint,” he rattled off. Vancent nodded and whipped a plastic cup from the stack by the register and set to work. He began by taking a coffee pot and pouring some of the steaming hot liquid into a blender, adding into some secret creams. He added a few leaves of basil and mint, then slapped on the cap, and blended the concoction. Vancent then poured the now thick, but still warm liquid into the cup, topping it off with a dollop of whipped cream.

    He set the cup on the counter and tapped a few keys on the register. There was a loud ding as the final total came up. “Ten Crells, and forty-two Vorrils,” he replied. Yowch, the coffee prices had gone up considerable since Klockwork had last stopped by.

    Klockwork suddenly realized he had forgotten money. Having been in Lazurai for so long, Klockwork had forgotten that Terries had such simple ways of dealing and bartering, such as currency. “Klockwork has no money,” he replied.

    Vancent raised a brow and took hold of the cup. “Well, if you’ve got no cash, then I’ll have to-”

    “I’ll pay for him!” said a shrill voice. Several people turned to the source of the sound; a dark haired female Terrie in a green sweater, sitting at alone at a nearby table. She blushed when the eyes landed upon her, but she didn’t go back on her offer. She stood and smoothed out her sweater, and then walked up to the counter, not without stumbling over a few chairs and legs in the process.

    “H-here you go, Van,” the girl said, handing Vancent a crisp twenty Crell note. Vancent took the note and rung it up, counting out the spare change. He handed the money back to the girl, announcing it as “Nine Crells and sixty-eight Vorrils.”

    The girl nodded and clumsily returned to her seat. Vancent held the drink out to Klockwork. “Today’s your lucky day, man,” he said.

    Klockwork took the drink with a word of thanks. He turned and stepped out of the line, looking for the girl. There she was, sitting in the exact same spot that he had glimpsed her from, writing in a notebook.

    He wove gracefully between the tables and chairs, over to the girl.
    “Klockwork never got to properly thank the Terrie,” he said bluntly, coming right up behind the girl. She made an odd noise in her throat, spraying coffee all over the notebook and the table. She jerked around, a wild look in her light hazel eyes.

    “O-oh,” she said, mopping up her face with the sleeve of her sweater.

    “It’s you. You’re welcome,” she said, turning around to tend to her messy table. Realizing she had no napkins, she pulled a long blue scarf from her bag by the table, using it as a towel.

    Klockwork regarded the chair across from the girl. “May Klockwork sit?” The girl waved her hand in a yes-like motion. Klockwork pulled out the chair and sat, watching the girl mop up her coffee.

    They sat in silence for a few moments as the girl finished mopping up. She carelessly discarded her scarf into the depths of the bag, and smoothed out her papers, stained with brown coffee marks. She looked up a Klockwork, who was watching her with mild interest.

    “Uhm, hi,” she said awkwardly. She held out her hand across the table. “I-I’m Emelia. Emelia Bowman. And you are?”

    Klockwork had not anticipated this. He should have, since he had made his way over to say hello to the Terrie, so of course she would want to know his name. He could one of four things; he could freeze time and walk out, then unfreeze, avoiding the name giving and to leave Emelia to sit in confusion. He could also bolt like a Terrestrial.

    Third, Klockwork could lie about his name. However, that would go against his morals; he didn’t like to lie. And then he could be honest and tell her his name.

    In a fraction of a second, Klockwork had made his decision. He reached out to grip Emilia’s hand in a firm grip. “Klockwork is pleased to make Emelia’s acquaintance,” he said with finality.

    Chapter V: A Woman of Power​

    “Please, call me Emmy,” Emelia said as she let go of his hand. Klockwork smiled and sipped his coffee contentedly. The blend was still warm, but a cooling sensation filled him mouth as he sipped; a product of the mint and basil.

    “Clockwork. That’s an interesting name,” Emmy remarked. Klockwork watched as she took a drink of her drink. He sniffed the air- for he had an exemplary sense of smell- and realized her drink, which he had thought was coffee, was not coffee at all. It was tea, lemon green tea, to be exact.

    “Klockwork’s name is Klockwork’s own, and Klockwork is pleased with the name.” He said in rebuttal. Emmy shrugged in what he thought was agreement.

    “So,” Emmy said, stacking a few papers in a neat pile. “Do you come here often?” Klockwork considered his answers carefully; if he told her he did, she might come back, looking for him. But if he said he didn’t- which wasn’t true- well, he’d be lying and he didn’t like to lie.

    “Klockwork comes every now and then,” he replied. There; that wasn’t a lie, but it didn’t exactly say he came more often than he should, which he shouldn’t. Technically, he wasn’t supposed to cavort with Terrestrials, but Klockwork had broken a lot of rules in the past millennia; why stop now?

    Emmy nodded. “I come here every day,” she said, sending Klockwork’s hopes that she wouldn’t look for him again crashing down. “But I’ve never seen you before. I wonder why, because you’re certainly a… Interesting character.”

    Klockwork did not know whether to be offended or pleased. He decided to take the easy road and nod. “Klockwork comes at odd hours of the day, so Emmy might not see Klockwork much.”

    Emmy nodded, as if he’d just explained the meaning of life. Of, course he knew the meaning of life, but he wouldn’t so easily spill the eternal secret to a mere Terrie, now would he? Emmy looked down at her papers, and scribbled something in the margins. She caught Klockwork staring, and her face flamed red.

    “Oh, sorry,” she said. “I have some work to be done, and…” Klockwork could tell he was distracting her from her work, but she wasn’t rude enough to tell him that. He suddenly changed the subject. “What does Emmy do for a living?”

    Emmy looked up from her wet, scribbly notes. “Oh,” she said, taking a small case from her bag and opening it; a glasses case. “I work for a magazine.” She placed the glasses on the bridge of her nose; they were small, round, wire-rimmed spectacles, making her hazel eyes stand out, even in the dim lighting.

    “What is the name of the magazine Emmy works for?” Klockwork pushed, wanting to know more. Emmy blinked and pursed her lips. “Promise you won’t freak out, okay?” Klockwork nodded.

    Emmy took a deep breath. “I work for Velour Magazine,” she said all in one, rushed breath. Now it was Klockwork’s to blink in confusion. He tilted his head to the side, as if to ask ‘Beg pardon?’

    “Have you ever heard of Velour Magazine?” A memory surfaced in Klockwork’s mind; Kaitlyn, running down the main hall, a small booklet clutched in her hand. That day, Klockwork had forgotten it was mail day; their charmed forwarding mailbox had delivered their weekly supply of mail.

    “The new issue of Velour is heeeere!” she had been screaming, racing down the hall to her room. She hadn’t come out of her room for several days, and when she did, she was looking as if she’d found eternal bliss, aside from spending eternity with her lover.

    “Klockwork has heard of the magazine,” he said, not giving insight to it. “Klockwork’s friend, Kaitlyn, is subscribed.” He suddenly froze; why had he said that?! He was not allowed to delve out any information about himself or the other Elders, and he’d just revealed the Elder of Love’s modern name. Just lovely.

    He considered reversing time to cover up the mistake, but Emmy spoke first. “Really? That’s cool. But do you know anything about it, because I can tell you.” He stopped short, his curiosity piqued. He wondered what made the magazine so tantalizing to Kaitlyn. He nodded, encouraging Emmy to go on.

    “Well, it’s pretty much a fashion magazine.” Ah, so that was it. Klockwork began to zone out, but Emmy had once again caught his attention. “But it talks about history too. Like, all the way from the beginning of Lazuli.”

    Klockwork raised a dark brow. “Tell Klockwork more.” Emmy happily did; her shy façade had disappeared, replaced by a vigorous energy that drew Klockwork like Drew to a soft, warm bed. She explained about the various fashion articles, from the season’s hottest dresses, to easy ways to do a home mani-pedi.

    Then she got into the history. “It goes way back. Every issue, we do a segment on an important time in Lazulian history, from all around the world. It’s fascinating, really.” Klockwork nodded to show his interest.

    “What is Emmy’s job?” He asked. Emmy got quiet again. “Oh, uh, I’m the editor. Co-editor.” Klockwork sat back, having not realized he had leaned in very close to her. Co-editor. He let his mind digest the word, turning it over in his mind, finding the perfect definition. A co-editor was person working in partnership for a published text-based source. It was a position of almost absolute power. She was a woman whom he could love.

    Now, Klockwork was not really a man for romance. Over the millennia, he had had very few affairs, very few lovers. Unlike Lyla or Kaitlyn, who had had numerous affairs. Also unlike the two girls, Klockwork had a refined taste in his women, and did not go choosing willy-nilly who he would be doing the deed with.

    Klockwork liked women of power, whether she is a queen, a famous celebrity of entertainer, or even a diplomat. Any woman with any kind of paper of the populace or a group of people suited his likes. Emmy certainly fit his type; she held power over desperate women, hoping to spice up their sex lives, or to attract the man they fancied.

    Be sensible, Klockwork, said the voice in his head. Klockwork could never love a Terrie. Klockwork’s previous affairs had failed, and the one Klockwork has in mind could never work.

    Klockwork sighed, agreeing with the voice. He hadn’t noticed that Emmy had continued to talk; he didn’t even know what she was talking about anymore. She looked right at him and said something, and he was able to note that her voice had risen on the last word; a question.

    Klockwork nodded, hoping the answer of ‘yes’ was what she was hoping for. Emmy looked pleased. She continued to talk about her job as editor, while Klockwork half spaced out, thinking about his past lovers; Queen Isabel of Atala , the Traveling Luteress, and few others.

    “Are you from around here?” Emmy’s voice snapped voice back to reality. Her eyes were curious, and he didn’t know what to say. He hardly knew where ‘here’ was. He struggled to remember, and suddenly jerked his coffee, spilling the now cold liquid across his lap.

    “Oh my goodness!” Emmy cried, jumping up. She grabbed a few clean napkins from the empty table next to them, handing them to him. He took the napkins and thanked her, and proceeded to clean up his wet coat.

    Emmy settled back into her seat and repeated her question. “Why doe Emmy ask?” Klockwork asked back, still soaking up her spilled coffee.
    The question pulled Emmy up short. “Well, your accent isn’t from around here.” Klockwork looked up, regarding her puzzlingly.
    “Klockwork has an accent?”

    Emmy nodded. “It’s not the kind of accent you usually hear in downtown Klyn.” Klockwork struggled to remember where Klyn was. The memory came to him suddenly; Klyn was a city on the eastern coast of Lazuli’s largest and second most powerful country, the Federation of Lazuli. “You accent sounds Koric,” Emmy went on to say. “With that roll on the ‘r’ and the clipped vowels. "

    Klockwork’s accent was indeed Koric. He and the other Elders had originated in Kor, taken to be the most advanced country in all of Lazuli. Of course it was the most advanced, since the Elders had originally lived there. In fact, their manor of Lazurai still resided in the mountains there.

    “Klockwork’s accent is Koric,” he said. “Klockwork is from Kor.” Emmy nodded. “I thought it was,” she said. She smiled and pushed up the sleeve of her sweater, looking at her digital watch. Her eyes widened in shock, her mouth falling open.

    “Oh my goodness, is it that late?!” Klockwork regarded his pocket watch; it was hardly half past one. He wondered why Emmy was so worked up. She was haphazardly gathering her papers up and shoving them into her messenger bag.

    “I’m so, so sorry, Clockwork,” she said, taking a sloppy swig of her drink. “But I have to go. My boss is gonna KILL me if I’m late to the office!” She hefted her bag over her shoulder and turned to leave, but stopped, and turned back.

    “It was nice talking to you,” she said shyly, but warmly as well. “I hope I see you again!” She waved to Klockwork and sped off, out the door and into the crowded street. He watched her weave expertly between people and disappear around the corner.

    Klockwork, bewildered, just sat there, holding the remains of his coffee in his hand. He didn’t know what it was about Emmy, but he had a feeling he’d be seeing her again. The mere though excited him and scared him as his heart gave a tiny, unnoticed thump.

    Chapter VI: Nameless Nuisance​

    Klockwork sat in the coffee long after Emmy had left to go back to work. He didn’t know why, but something held him there, not allowing him to leave. The only reason he did was because a rowdy group of teens tromped in, ruining the atmosphere with their scream of an upcoming sporting event.

    Klockwork tied his scarf around his neck and got up, leaving his long-cold coffee on the table for some poor barista to clean up. He opened the door leading out into the street; the cold city wind bit him as he stepped onto the walk, bathed in late afternoon light.

    Klockwork took a few steps to his left and took a sharp turn into a narrow alley. He stopped about halfway down, closing his eyes and taking deep breaths. He thought of home, Lazurai, the ornate golden door, the gilt staircase, his unimpressive bedroom door.

    A fierce breeze whipped his hair, though he was in a tightly enclosed alley. He closed his hand around something round and cold. Klockwork turned the object and opened his eyes. He was no longer in the alley; he was standing atop a granite stoop in front of the great gilt door of Lazurai.

    He smiled, pulling the door open and stepping inside. A wave of warmth hit him as he slammed the door shut, causing the hanging crystal chandelier above him rattle and tinkle sweetly. Klockwork removed his coat and scarf, placing then on a peg be the door, labeled with his name.

    He checked his pocket watch; half past two. Klockwork frowned; he had meant to be back by two. Where had the time gone? He dismissed the irony of his lost time and ascended the staircase, turning left to the corridor of bedrooms.

    Down the hall, a door opened; a pitch black door, with the only decorations being a silver crescent moon and a hanging sign that read ‘DO NOT DISTURB’ in bold black lettering. A tall figure slipped out; as Klockwork approached, he realized it was the boy he sat by at the Council, the boy who was asleep; Drew.

    “Hello, Drew,” Klockwork said courteously, startling the moon god. Drew turned his dark eyes on Klockwork, acknowledging and recognizing him. He grunted in reply, the two gray ears- canine ears- on top of his head twitching.

    “Hey Klock-o,” he said sleepily. “How’s life treating ya?” Klockwork smiled. “Lexica is a large pain,” he said. “But Klockwork has learned to deal with Lexica.”

    The old joke brought a smile to Drew’s face; he knew Klockwork was talking about Lexica, the Elder of Life. He chuckled, his chuckle soon turning into a prolonged yawn. His yawn then caused Klockwork to yawn, proving his famous yawn to be, indeed, infectious.

    “So, you open your letter yet?” Drew asked, locking the door to his room, and turning to walk down the way Klockwork had been headed. Klockwork shook his head. “Klockwork wishes to wait,” he said. Drew nodded.

    “I opened mine. Apparently, I decided, eons ago, that I wanted to unleash wolves upon the populace. Sure, I got enough of ‘em to spare, but maybe that’s a bit… Harsh, I guess. What do you think?”

    Klockwork shrugs. “Drew should follow Drew’s heart. Drew should also follow what the letter says, or else Cindy will be on Drew’s case.”

    Drew shuddered. “You’re right… She’ll surely kill me, since I fell asleep in council today…” He rubbed the back of his head, where Klockwork knew he has a goose-egg from Cindy’s gavel. “Well, I gotta scoot,” Drew said. “Switchin’ off with Lyla in a few hours.” He started off down the hall and paused, turning, and realized that he was to go in the other direction. He gave Klockwork a yawn-ridden word of farewell, and disappeared down the hall.

    Klockwork continued on, finally coming to his room near the end of the hall. He sighed at his drab, boring door, making a note to redecorate the next day. He paused, giving thought to his previous thought.

    Earlier, he had promised to redecorate later in the day, not the next day. Klockwork struggled to find the source of this uncharacteristic reschedule; he finally blamed it on the lethargy caused by Drew’s ability to instill the feeling in a person; even the other Elders were immune to it.

    Klockwork entered his room, the familiar jingling of his secret orbs soothing his mind. A thought struck him; the letter. He grimaced; even from across the room, he could see the white paper and the blue wax seal.

    Klockwork still didn’t want to open the letter. After talking with Drew and seeing his initial lack of emotion as he talked about his letter- come to think, he was usually stoic- upset Klockwork, leaving him to wonder whether he really wanted to read the letter after all.

    He decided he would read the letter after supper; he had things to do, more important than reading a silly letter that may or may not hold the fate of Terrestrial humanity within its carefully printed words. It did not concern Klockwork in the slightest.

    Klockwork strode to his desk with purpose. He slid a hand across the steel surface, his fingers coming to rest on the letter. His long, pale fingers itched to rip off the wax seal, to discover his choice to destroy the Terries. But he abstained, just taking the letter and placing it within one of the desk drawers, locking it.

    He scanned the desk for any other nuisances; his personal computer sat in the center, resting atop a blue cooling mat. A small metal cup of pens sat in the upper left corner, and a silver clock sat ticking away on the upper right corner. He observed no other distractions.

    He sat, taking out a fancy fountain pen from the holder in the corner of his desk. He clicked the pen, causing the ink-laden tip to spring forward. Klockwork placed the pen’s tip on the top of the personal computer sitting atop the desk. He hesitated a moment, and then inscribed a numeric password in Koric numerals atop of the computer.

    The numerals blazed blue, the computer humming to life. Klockwork lifted the lid of the machine, watching it go through its usual routine of booting up and retrieving files. Soon, its desktop appeared; a dark blue surface, pockmarked by various icons; folders, software, Web Service.

    Placing his fingers on the touchpad, Klockwork maneuvered the cursor over to a small file on the upper right corner, titled ‘Statistics.’ Klockwork double-clicked the file, highlighting it. The computer gave a small whir, indication that it was working. A moment later, a digital paper document appeared, covered by lines of text.

    Klockwork read the first line aloud. “’Collection Statistics.’” He scrolled down to the bottom of the long list of dates, names, secrets and other necessary information. He reached a blank expanse of the page, the bold line blinking to indicate the readiness to accept text onto the page.

    Klockwork poised his fingers carefully over the keys, and began to type, not taking his eyes from the screen. He typed the date; day, month, year. He pressed the return key, and typed a name beneath the date; the name of the Terrie that had visited him earlier in the day.

    Klockwork hit the return key again, typing the words ‘Secret: Invalid.’ He stopped typing. He picked up his pen again and realized he needed paper. He opened one of the drawers in the desk, revealing a filing drawer. He fingered through the files, searching for the correct one.

    He finally selected a bulging folder, marked ‘Statistics’ on the tab. Klockwork lay the file next to his computer, flipping it open. He stared down at the thick stack of papers, each one of them marked with neat lines of printed words.

    Klockwork selected the last slip of lined paper from the stack, examining it. Several lines were written upon; the text was comprised of several arithmetic problems. He took the final total of two parallel problems and wrote them parallel again. He quickly did some simple arithmetic, analyzing it after. He read the totals aloud.

    “Five thousand, eight-hundred fifty-three secrets collected, two hundred seven secrets invalid,” he read, making sense of the numbers. The first number was the number of total secrets he had collected; the second being the number of secrets that had turned out to be lies.

    Combined, Klockwork had bargained with six thousand sixty Terries.

    He placed the slip of paper back at the bottom of the file and closed it again, slipping it into its spot in the filing drawer. He slid the drawer shut, locking it. Klockwork exited the text file and shut of the computer, closing the lid. The computer whirred for a few seconds more, before going silent completely.

    Klockwork sat back in his chair, blowing a strand of his dark hair out of his face. “What should Klockwork do now,” he wondered aloud. His eyes wandered to the locked drawer containing the letter. His eyes lingered there for a moment, before he tore them away; he suddenly decided he was hungry.

    Klockwork made haste walking from his desk and out the door to his room, passing the oddly decorated doors in the corridor. He reached the first floor landing and the grand staircase, but he continued on, past the stairs and down the connecting hallway.

    The connecting hall was not as wide as the previous, and not as richly decorated; yes, the floor was thickly carpeted in rich red fabric, and the walls hewn from marble, but there were not elaborate doors, nor any photographs on the walls, just electric bulbs to light the way.

    Klockwork continued down the long corridor, turning when it forked to the left and right. He took the left passage, coming to a stop at a pair of white swinging doors with circular windows at eye level.

    Klockwork pushed his way into the kitchen, scanning the room.
    The walls were lined with counters and stovetops for cooking and preparing food. The center of the room had cooling racks mounted to the floor, and a dishwasher between them. The back wall was dominated by different storage rooms; the freezer, the refrigerator, the deep freeze, and the pantry.

    Klockwork heard a sound; the sound of a door opening and slamming into place, held by the suction of freshness. He stood still, waiting for the intruder to show themselves. Footsteps approached leisurely; they were obviously in no hurry to leave.

    A blond girl came around the corner of the row of cooling racks; her light blond hair reflected light, as did the butterfly pins in her hair and the sequins adorning her dress. The girl had a finger in her mouth, as if she were licking it, and she was holding a plate of what looked like lopsided pie.

    “Hi Klockwork,” she said, lowering her hand from her face. “Come to get something to eat? Well, of course you are, then why would you be in the kitchen? Haha, that’s a silly question, sorry I asked, it should have been obvious. Anyway, have you opened your letter yet? I did. I was kinda surprised at what I wrote all those years ago, I never knew I could be so morbid! Apparently I’m gonna raise the dead. Like, the dead loved one of every Terrie on the PLANET is gonna be raised. Creepy, huh? Anyway, I gotta get going. Try the pie, it’s REALLY good! Okay, bye-bye!”

    The girl giggled and walked right past him, licking her finger again. “Goodbye, Lexica,” Klockwork mumbled as she passed, confused from the word tornado that had been thrown at him. He shook his head, and headed to the back of the kitchen, where Lexica had come out of the refrigerator.

    He wrapped his hand around the handle of the refrigerator and tugged on it; the door did not budge. Klockwork tugged on it again, harder this time. The door still did not budge. Klockwork cursed the refrigerator and its uncanny ability to seal the door closed.

    Klockwork wrapped both hands around the door handle, and braced his left foot against the wall next to the machine. He counted to three slowly, and then yanked with all his collective might on the door; it sprang open with an audible pop and Klockwork was thrown against the floor.

    Klockwork cursed and got up, brushing off his shirt and the seat of his pants. He wandered into the cool refrigerator, letting the frozen steam rolling off the various items lower his temperature. He decided to take Lexica’s advice and ‘try the pie.’ Klockwork scanned the metal shelves, searching for the illustrious sweet.

    He spotted the pie on the back shelf; covered in a layer of plastic wrap, the pie had several cuts missing, blue fruits spilling out the sides. Klockwork lifted the pie off the shelf and carried it out of the refrigerator, placing it on the counter. He peeled the plastic wrap off.

    Klockwork inhaled the sweet scent of the lightly chilled Elixir Cherries. Their sharp, sweet scent calmed Klockwork’s nerves; they were his favorite fruit. He quickly located a clean plate and knife, and cut straight into the pie. A large slice divided from the rest, and Klockwork took the piece in his hand, leaving the plate clean.

    He bit into the tip of the pie; flavor exploded in his mouth, sending tingly shivers up and down his spine. He sighed in bliss, and quickly returned the pie to the refrigerator without rewrapping it. Klockwork raced from the kitchen making sure to stay in the shadows, lest anyone see him indulging in his moment of ecstasy.

    As Klockwork was about to pass the grand staircase, he heard voices. He slid to a halt and hid in the shadow of a marble column. Two figures approached from the opposite corridor. One was a girl clad in bright orange and yellow colors, but the colors were muted; Lyla. Her cape fluttered idly behind her.

    The second figure was a man dressed in dark clothes, with a simple black and silver scarf around his neck, and two wolf ears sticking out of his hair; Drew. He looked much livelier now, his stride more confident, and his eyes brighter.

    The two chatted a little; about the council, their respective days- apparently Lyla was throwing fireballs and meteors- and random gossip about celebrities down below. The two stopped in front of the lavish front door, and turned to face each other, taking the others’ hands. The two began to speak simultaneously in a powerful tongue; Klockwork recognized it as ancient Koric.

    “The fading daylight turns to dusk; the sunlight mourns with a final breath; the moonlight rises in a frozen lust; the sun returns by the moon’s icy heat.”

    Two of the circular symbols on the Seal of Lazuli began to glow. Klockwork was too far away to see, but he could tell what the symbols; an orange sun and a silvery moon. The symbols glowed brighter and brighter until Klockwork had to finally look away. When he felt that the glow had subsided, he looked back, seeing Lyla looking more tired and muted than before, and Drew turning to open the door. Both of their backs were to him, so he made a mad dash for the hall, not even turning to see if they noticed him.

    Klockwork sped down the hall, not stopping until he was safely inside his room, the doors shut and bolted behind him. He breathed a deep sigh of relief, glad that no one had seen him. He finished his Elixir Cherry pie, sauntering over to his desk.

    Having the pie and seeing Lyla and Drew’s ritual of switching their tasks had put him in a substantially better mood. He took a glance out the window, seeing the half-moon starting to make its way across the inky sky. He turned back to his desk, sitting down in his leather chair.

    Klockwork took a small silver key out of his pocket, and fit it into the lock of one the drawers. He felt the tumbles rattle and click as the drawer unlocked. He pulled it open and peered inside. Sitting on top of random pens, pieces of paper, and other little desk materials, sat Klockwork’s letter.

    Not bothering to wipe the crumbs from his fingers, Klockwork lifted the letter from the drawer, and unceremoniously scraped the wax seal off. He drew the white piece of folded paper from within the recesses of the envelope, flicking the top flap up.

    Klockwork’s sweet cherry-laden breath caught in his throat as he read the words carefully scripted on the paper. His jaw, still caked with crumbs and cherry juice dropped open, staring at the paper. He read the words and reread them, not comprehending the words he had written so long ago. Klockwork dropped the letter, the paper dancing lazily to the floor, landing flap-up.

    “On Klockwork’s designated day- the fourth day of the Twelve days- Klockwork shall make every living Terrie on the planet of Lazuli relive every moment that has made the individual Terries cry, scream, or break down in the Terries entire lives.”

    (To clarify: Crells and Vorrils are a currency system that I will get into later. Crells are bills, Vorrils are coins. It's basically all half the value of an American dollar.)
  4. Chapter VII: Cerulean

    Klockwork didn’t know how he ended up in the small coffee house again three days later, but there he was, sitting at a lone table in the corner a basil-mint mocha blend in his hand. He scanned the shop; substantially less people then there had been the other day, and the television set was showing a cheesy old movie.

    Klockwork sipped his coffee as the door opened in from the blustery autumn day, letting in a wave of chilly air that caused the customers in the shop to shiver and zip their jackets up. Klockwork looked up to look at the incoming customers; he wasn’t ready to admit it, but he enjoyed people watching.

    The incoming customers weren’t much to look at; a bland looking blond girl dressed in shades of monochrome, hanging loosely to a wiry boy who did not look good with a beard. Another boy who was a little more interesting came in; he was wearing nothing but gym short and a sports jersey, such an odd ensemble for such weather.

    Klockwork looked down as the door drifted close with a soft fwush. Sitting on the table before him was a copy of Velour magazine, an old issue he had borrowed from Kaitlyn, since she never threw a copy away. Klockwork turned the page, scrutinizing the next article with exquisite perception. The article was something about pleasing men; the information was horribly wrong, at least to Klockwork’s standards. He was pleased to find out that the article was not written by Emmy.

    Klockwork skipped the article completely and flipped the page. The next article was more interesting; the name ‘Emilia Bowman’ under the title (‘Keeping your Hair Thick and Luscious’) caught his attention. He scanned the article, impressed to see that it was well organized and insightful, naming many Terrestrial terms that Klockwork was surprised he understood (he knew a scalp disorder only because a Terrie had once come to him to reverse time so she could fix it on herself) and it left him wondering if this was the reason that Kaitlyn’s hair was so shiny.

    “Hi!” chirped a voice. Klockwork jerked his head up in alarm; his coffee was slid against the wall, spilling a few drops across the glossy paper of the magazine. The owner of the voice was a blur of color; darkness framing a pale face, bright blue at the neck, greens down the chest and abdomen and darker at the legs.

    “Oh, I’m sorry, did I startle you? You probably don’t even remember me,” the voice said, losing the cheery timbre it had had before. Only then did Klockwork recognize the voice; Emmy. She came into focus as he recognized her voice; her dark hair around her face, her hazel eyes looking down at Klockwork mournfully, and a blue scarf tied around her neck, perfectly complimenting the cooler greens of her blouse.

    “Oh, no, Klockwork remembers Emmy,” Klockwork spilled out. Emmy’s fine features solidified from her mournful frown into a relieved smile. She sighed and asked if she could sit. Klockwork immediately replied that she could, with a little more face and speed than he had intended, but Emmy didn’t notice.

    Emmy sat, setting her thick shoulder bag beside her, taking a sip of her tea. She untied her scarf and pulled it off, dropping it into a pile on her bag and sighed again. “Well, never thought I’d see you again,” Emmy said, bending to dig in her bag.

    “Klockwork thought the same,” he replied, leaning over to see what she was doing. Emmy popped up a second later, holding a small brown bag. Klockwork looked on curiously as Emmy unrolled the bag and pulled several small containers out of the bag. Klockwork suddenly realized that this was Emmy’s lunch, and her lunch period.

    “You don’t mind if I have my lunch, do you? I skipped breakfast,” Emmy said sheepishly. Klockwork nodded in approval and Emmy smiled, popping the plastic top off of one of the containers. A sweet, nutty smell wafted out, and Emmy lifted a sandwich made of dark bread out of the container.

    She took a bite of the sandwich. “So, what brings you back to this little coffee shop, Clockwork?” She regarded him curiously, genuinely wondering. Klockwork shrugged. “Oh, Klockwork was in the neighborhood and Klockwork though that a trip was due.”

    Emmy nodded. “Okay, cool. I come here every day to eat, and do a little work before I return to the office. My boss is such a bi-” She stopped before the nasty word could cross her delicate, pink lips. Klockwork wondered why he was staring at her lips.

    “Why is Emmy’s boss a female canine?” An Elder must always be classy, even when using naughty words. Emmy sighed, taking another bite of her sandwich. “She overworks me. She’s technically my co-editor, but she created Velour magazine, so she gets to be head honcho. Anything she doesn’t do is pushed to me. I kind of hate her, and I don’t hate many people.” She took a sip from her silver thermos, decorated with little, girls symbols; flowers and kittens and smiley faces.

    “Emmy is in quite a bind, Klockwork must say,” he started, noticing her thermos contained something sweet and fruity, probably juice. “What is Emmy’s boss’s name?”

    “Marissa Lilora,” Emmy said, scrunching up her face as if the name left a wretched taste in her mouth. Klockwork flipped through the magazine to the first few pages, where the staff credits were listed. In the top most corner, ‘EDITOR: MARISSA LILORA’ was printed in bright red text. Beneath her name, ‘Co-Editor: Emilia Bowman’ was printed in a small font.

    Klockwork weighed Emmy’s worth versus Marissa’s worth. Marissa was more powerful than Emmy by a margin, but if the things Emmy said were true, she was less than pleasant. Following Klockwork’s fetish for powerful woman, he also required then to be just and kind. Emmy seemed to fit the bill-

    Wait. Klockwork’s mind was wandering again, back into the dark crevice of his mind where he had stored the silly Terrestrial emotion that Kaitlyn had given them- Love. It was creeping out again, urging him to take Emmy like he had taken others.

    But no. Klockwork smothered the thoughts with his cynical view on the matter. He directed his attention back to Emmy, who had been talking the entire time, with him oblivious. He just barely caught the tail end of her sentence.

    “-really an interesting speech pattern.” That made no sense to Klockwork. He just started at her blankly for a moment before saying, “Klockwork is sorry, Klockwork did not hear what Emmy was saying. Can Emmy please repeat?”

    Emmy looked slightly taken aback, but explained again. “You talk in a really strange way.” Taking Klockwork’s befuddled look into mind, she explained further. “I can’t explain it, you just… Don’t talk normally.” She suddenly snapped her fingers.

    “Third person! That’s what it’s called. You talk in the third person.” Emmy looked proud of herself, but that emotion was wasted, as Klockwork had no idea what she was even talking about. “Klockwork has no idea what Emmy is talking about. Third person?” he asked.

    Emmy tilted her head to the side, then to the other side. “You’re an odd case,” she mused. Klockwork decided to take it as a compliment.

    “Third person is like… Like if I was talking in third person, I’d be saying stuff like ‘Emmy works at Velour, Emmy wants some of that, Emmy think you are funny.’”

    Klockwork caught her drift. “Klockwork does not speak in third person.” Emmy looked baffled. “Klockwork simply does not use pronouns.”
    This tiny revelation melted Emmy’s confused face into one of understanding. “Oh,” she said. “I knew that. Why don’t you?”

    “Klockwork does not see the use for pronouns. Klockwork believes that words and ideas should be said for what words and ideas are, rather than to be masked by words like ‘they’ and ‘them.’ The concept is rather logical, if Klockwork does say. Sharpens the mind to detect how to construct a proper pronoun-less sentence.” Klockwork folded his hands and turned his fuchsia eyes to Emmy’s hazel ones.

    “That makes total sense,” she said. “It’s a bit confusing, but I understand. Was it hard to learn to keep doing it?”

    Klockwork switched gears. “It was hard, yes, but I pulled through. Sometimes, it is a bit forced, and a pronoun may slip in unnoticed, but oh well, win some lose some.” He smiled at Emmy’s genuine giggle at his complete change in literary style. Even gods had to have senses of humor.

    “Wow, Clockwork,” Emmy said between giggles. “I’ve never met a guy quite like you. And I mean that in a good way! You’re a cool guy.”

    Klockwork smiled, sipping his coffee. He noticed it had grown cold, and suddenly concentrated on making it warmer. In an instant, the coffee’s temperature rose to the perfect setting, hot enough to keep warm, yet cool enough to drink. The joys of having fire in your godly arsenal.

    A tiny beep sounded. Klockwork, slightly startled, looked around, until he realized the beep had come from Emmy’s wrist. She pushed up the sleeve of her pine green sweater and her eyed bugged behind her glasses. “Emmy has to go- I-I mean, I have to go! My break is over, and Marissa will be so pissed if I show up late again!”

    Emmy made a mad rush of shoving the contents of her half-eaten lunch into her bag and frantically searching for her cerulean scarf before noticing it was still tied around her neck. She grabbed her folders off the table- and, by accident, Klockwork’s copy of Velour- and stood erect.

    “It was wonderful seeing you here today, Klockwork. If you stop by again tomorrow, same time, we can meet again. Bye!” Emmy stumbled across the quaint shop, tripping over chairs and bags, and finally fell out the door.

    Slightly fazed by the display, Klockwork could only sit and finish off his coffee. Once it was gone, he deposited it into an empty garbage can nearby, and wove between the tables and chairs to the door. He placed a hand on the knob, but stopped, spying something caught in the tightly shut door.

    A trail of soft, deep blue fabric trailed from a point below the knob. Klockwork tugged at it, finding it stuck and then opened the door to free it. Emmy’s scarf came away in his hand, the soft cerulean fabric soft in his large, pale hand. It must have been yanked off her neck when in her mad dash to leave. She must have been missing it.

    Without hesitation, Klockwork stepped out into the clear, cool midday, trying to remember where the Velour headquarters was.

    (8luh, I need to update this more. Someone bully me into writing more.)
  5. Oh, Keraaaa!

    I would absolutely love to read this story, but the spacing for the chapters up to this one is so close together I am incredibly dissuaded!

    Um, that's all I have to say for now! XD

    If it gets fixed, though, I wouldn't mind leaving a comment of use!
  6. Chapter VIII: Time in the Park

    Klyn is a terrible place to get lost.

    That is, unless you have a sort of fetish for getting lost in large urban areas, which is just odd. But if it so happens that you did, Attan would be like the greatest of sensual pleasures. For Klockwork, however, being in such a place would be equivalent to pushing through crowds of enormous, smelly, rude bipedal rats.

    Also known as common Terrestrials.

    Klockwork pushed through the seemingly ever-growing crowd of Terries, attempting to find the Velour Headquarters. Within a few steps, he had already lost the location of the coffee shop. He twisted and turned within the crowd, trying to get his bearings. He was jostled into an alcove between two buildings, allowing him temporary solace to gather his thoughts.

    If only Klockwork were Lucinda, he thought. Being the Elder of Space, all she would have to do to abscond from this hellhole was to snap her fingers or something and she’d immediately be at the headquarters, regardless of if she’s been there before. Something about bending the fabric of space around her and teleportation. Klockwork doesn’t attempt to understand when she explains.

    A lull in the pedestrian traffic came about, and Klockwork took the chance to step out and try to find a sort of kiosk telling him his location and the locations of various establishments. He walked quickly, with long strides to put distance behind him and destination closer. He inexpertly wove between Terries, politely uttering words of apology and excuse for his blunders.

    Finally, as if Roger were looking down upon his pathetic display- which, of course, he was obviously not- Klockwork spied a large multi-faced structure, surrounded by various Terries, undoubtedly tourists. Klockwork circled around to find the least crowded portion and skimmed over the map of the large city.

    His present location was somewhere near a social park named ‘Mobius Park.’ Marked to the side of the map was a legend of many key establishments, such as restaurants, hotels and tourist shops and attractions. Nothing caught his eye until it roved to the far side of the park, where a large rectangle read ‘VELOUR HEADQUARTERS.’

    Not too far, Klockwork thought, constructing a mental path from the kiosk to the headquarters. He turned on his heel, narrowly dodging out of the way of a Terrie couple dressed in gaudy clothes, marking them as stereotypical tourists.

    Klockwork set across the park, weaving in between street carts, meandering people, and people on rollerblades. The park was fairly crowded, for a weekday, mainly with teens and kids. Normally, they’d be in school, unless it was a holiday that has slipped Klockwork’s mind, which was unusual. He remembered all holidays and events.

    Klockwork shook his head to clear it, blaming his lapse temporal memory on sleep. But then he got to wondering why he would do such a thing, since he had never had trouble sleeping before, and just confused himself into a corner. In his confused state, he ran smack into a large oak tree.

    Klockwork fell backwards, his balance temporarily knocked off kilter. His head hit a protruding root, sending pain shooting all through his head. A few nearby teens burst into uproarious laughter, and one yelled for him to ‘put his glasses on, old man.’

    Not taking this lying down- both figuratively and literally- Klockwork stood and took out his pocket watch and adjusted the time from the exact current time, to twenty minutes in the future. He muttered a few words in Koric and snapped the watch shut. He decided not to tell the small group of teens not to look both ways before crossing the street. Malevolence is rewarding in its own way. He’d just deal with the consequences of messing with the time stream later.

    Besides, it’s not like Klockwork could be sent to Hell anyway; even Roger did things like that, except he called it ‘divine justice.’ It sort of made the entire situation seem rather redundant. Even so, it’s not like he would go telling all the Elders that he’d messed with time again, even if he was going to anyway, according to the alpha timeline.

    According to Klockwork, being the god of time, there was the alpha timeline; the timeline that was set in stone and couldn’t be changed, no-how or contrariwise. Any infraction causing the alpha timeline to veer off would split into a beta timeline. The beta timeline could veer back into the alpha, under the right circumstances, but otherwise became a doomed timeline.

    Even then, something in the beta timeline could veer off into a sub-beta timeline, and then into a sub-sub-beta timeline and so on and so forth until the end of time, assuming it ever came. But in this particular case, Klockwork was already going to set an incident to occur in the future, so the alpha timeline would be fine. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have done it. Simple.

    Of course, his meddling with the secrets of Terries in past, present and future were a different story entirely. Most would argue that going back in time to, say, prevent someone from being killed would throw off the alpha, making it as if the event would never have to come to fruition in the future, thus making the entire ordeal irrelevant. The simple backlashes of preventing or instigating an even could be so major that it could throw the entire alpha off balance, shifting it to a beta. The simple answer to such a situation in the alpha timeline; the backlashes never happened, unless the alpha dictated so. Even simpler.

    Clearing his thoughts from contemplating the gravity of his time shenanigans, Klockwork continued his trek through the park, using the map he’d memorized to find his way. The park was nice in its own way; it was certainly pretty, with the trees sporting bright hues of reds, yellows and oranges, evidence of the impending autumn.

    Even the Terrestrials looked well; the women clad in bright reds and oranges to match the trees, chic scarves billowing as they walked, making Klockwork think of the scarf in his hand. Not that he could forget it was there; holding something usually made you realize you were holding it.

    Klockwork shook his head to clear his muddled thoughts, surprised to be standing at the edge of the park. He looked left, then right, to make sure that no cars were coming so he could- who was he kidding, it was Klyn; there was a perpetual, almost unmoving stream of cars coming from either direction at any given time in the business districts.

    A sudden commotion from far behind Klockwork stopped him from stepping between a bright orange taxi and a sleek black convertible. Screams and crunches pierced the air, and Klockwork knew why. He smiled, slithering between the several lanes of heavy traffic to make it to the other side of the street.

    Klockwork could hear sirens already; the accident must have been bad. Maybe a life or two lost; just a single taunt could earn your death certificate. Makes life seem cheap to any normal mortal, if they knew the real circumstances. But no one ever did; the Elders kept their secrets well.

    Klockwork strolled down the busy sidewalk, not as disturbed by the sheer amount of Terries as he was before. He wondered why he’d never been to the business district before; it was much cleaner than anywhere else in the city, with bigger, better shops than his special coffee house, though he still adored the place.

    He was just examining a sign in a shop window, advertising a special pastry deal for only two Crells when he nearly tripped ad smacked his face into a sign jutting out from the establishment next door.

    Klockwork rubbed his already sore nose, scowling, and looked up at the sign. He stopped rubbing, staring at the sign, trying to make sense of the words. It finally clicked in his cloudy head, and he smiled, gripping the cerulean scarf in his hand tighter.


    (Three mental breakdowns and a hell of a lot of confusing time-boggling, I got it to work. In context.)

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