First Draft Excerpt from The Monad Trap (Work in Progress)

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"Greetings! I am Martinlo, and it is my duty to act as a greeter of the Forest kin. I do not believe we have met previously, but if you'll tell me what you're looking for, I'll direct you to someone who can provide. If you'll tell me what you have to trade, I'll likely know one of our people who's interested."

"Greetings Martinlo, I'm called Alexan and I'm Jarl of Ygg and King Edvard's Viceroy. I'm here on personal business investigating Ygg. Since it continues for some distance below ground, I'm wondering if you can direct me to any caves that might be deep enough to reach the buried portions?"

Martinlo's eyes narrowed in suspicion. "What is your interest in such caverns? Our Mountain kin inhabit those caverns; they will not thank us for casual visitors upsetting their dwellings."

"I'm a wizard, Martinlo. I believe I have discovered evidence of a particular brand of divinity which inhabits Ygg. I have seen evidence of its presence higher up, but no trace of a dwelling. I've hypothesized that such a being would be most at home among the roots. I wish to test my theory."

To be honest, I had no intention of allowing a refusal to stop me, not least because of the likelihood the monad - if one existed - was using its power to bend the minds of those it lived among. I didn't need to read Martinlo's mind, all I had to do was use one of the most basic effects of auros, the 'I'm not important, I belong here, ignore me' and follow them around for a while. Within a very short time I'd figure out where I needed to go. Even if someone noticed me, I could use matris to effectively vanish, I could teleport, and in the worst case scenario, there wasn't much that could out-fight an ultsi in undertime even without active wizardry and I was an Eternal now, as well. I might be in danger from the monad, but not from the Forest or Mountain kin.
"Why should we or our Mountain kin allow you into our villages? We've had thieves enough to last us forever."

"How many thieves have offered to pay, in advance if necessary? Gold, silver, any metal or pure substance. Food if that's what you want. The skilled labor of an ultsi wizard who knows many things of wizardry that even Kiltig had no conception of, or knowledge that can teach things your people might want to know. I can teach any of you who might be talented things nobody else in Migurd might think are even possible. I may look a youth, but I am ten thousand years old, and I'm from a place where more wizards than you'll even believe learn more about wizardry every year, and I can teach more of them than any of you are likely to learn in your lifetimes."

"What could a human teach us that we wish to know?"

"Perhaps healing? You are old. Perhaps you have some years left in you, but most of your life is behind you and you know it. I could make you a young man again. You'd still age normally, but I could make you young again, with another full life ahead of you."

"That would cause both my wife and I much anguish. Thus far, you haven't actually offered anything we want."

"What do you want? Trees that grow straight? Food to make the whole forest grow? More land upon which the forest grows?"

"What we want is for humans to leave us alone."

"Are you speaking for yourself, or for all your kin? I may not have spoken with any, but I've noticed any number of your kin, conducting business about Treemount. The increased traffic on Ygg has benefitted your people as much as it has ours."

"We grow dependent upon trade. The young are less interested in the ways of their ancestors."

So it was personal. "Not all the gods in the Connected Realms together can erase what the moving hand of time has written, Martinlo, and I wouldn't do it if I could. Your children, like our own, see a way to make their lives better. And as for being dependent upon trade, that not only makes war less likely, it makes all better off."

"The forest is neglected and your people grow prosperous!"

"If anyone forced your people to make trades you regret, tell me now. As I told you, I'm Edvard's Viceroy and I have the power to punish criminals and order restitution. But if others of your kin have made trades you are not happy with, that is between you and them, and it seems likely they believe they're made better off by the trade. If they did not steal from you or your community, no crime has been committed and the only offense is in your mind."

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This page contains a single entry by Dan Melson published on December 16, 2019 12:39 PM.

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