Broken Horizons – Vol 10, Ch 12


It took two of the library’s chairs to support his weight, the reading table was too small by about foot, the light could have been better, and for a library it was far louder than he was used to. 

And none of that mattered.

“Should we bother him?” Illuthiz asked, whispering loudly enough that Balegritz could hear her clearly.

“I don’t think so,” Hermeziz said. “He looks so happy. Really sets off his features nicely.”

“I agree, we need a sculptor to capture the moment properly,” Illuthiz sad.

“But then someone else would see him like this and we’d have to fight them off with burning sticks,” Hermeziz said.

“There are several other people here,” Illuthiz said.

“Eh, none of them are [Gothmorn], so they don’t count,” Hermeziz said with his usual sneer, but then, uncharacteristically, added, “for this anyways.”

Balegritz knew they knew he could hear them.

Or he thought he knew that.

He hadn’t heard them creep up, and he didn’t think they were trying to ambush him.

And he had gotten lost enough in his reading on prior occasions to miss a house fire. 

More than once. 

So, perhaps they didn’t think he could hear them?

It wasn’t hard to stay focused on the book, it was a deliciously enjoyable puzzle to unravel, but he couldn’t help but spare some attention for eavesdropping too.

“You raise a valid point,” Illuthiz said. “Though, I’m not entirely certain it applies to all of the [Adventurers]. He was drawing quite a few interested looks from them at dinner last night.”

“Which is why we’re not letting him dine alone,” Hermeziz said. “I’m not sharing him.”

“You share him with me though?” Illuthiz said.

“No, we share him with each other,” Hermeziz said. “I don’t need more than you two.”

“And we don’t need more than you,” Illuthiz said. “You know that right?”

“I do,” Hermeziz said. “Most of the time. But it’s nice to hear you both say it still.”

“You know he’d great you with proof of his affections every morning if you wished it,” Illuthiz said.

“I’d rather see him happy like this,” Hermeziz said. “I know I can’t make him that happy, but if something else can, that’s good enough.”

“I don’t think any of us can make each other happy,” Illuthiz said. “I think our happiness comes from within us. It’s not something another can force on us. The most we can do is create spaces where that happiness can flourish, and share the happiness we feel to help call out the happiness in those we love.”

“I suppose I could get more books for him?” Hermeziz said.

“I doubt that’s necessary,” Illuthiz said. “That one looks rather gripping. From how long he’s spent on it I would bet that he’s not doing a surface translation of it skimming for clues.”

“You think the pile of books on his left are the ones he already went through?” Hermeziz asked.

“Probably. Unless his luck was phenomenal, I don’t think he would have chanced on a book of lore related to local variations of the [Gothmorn] in his first pick.”

“This all seems incredible to you too right?” Hermeziz asked. “We’ve gone from graduate students, to dimensional explorers, to crash survivors, to dungeon dwellers, to refugees, to whatever it is we are now? [Adventurers]? [Monsters]? Something else entirely?”

“We don’t have the immortality of the [Adventurers] yet, but if we wanted to define ourselves as one of them, we could probably make a good showing of it,” Illuthiz said.

“But you don’t think that fits us?” Hermeziz said.

“I think even if we unlock the secret of how they can get the [Heart Fires] to respond to them, we’ll still be something different,” Illuthiz said. “But that’s not a bad thing. If we what we are is something new, then can you imagine the research we can do on ourselves?”

“It seems like we’ve already started with that,” Hermeziz said. “Bal was so good with the [Overcharging] test. I think it took a lot out of him though. He seemed worn afterwards.”

“Did he?” Illuthiz asked. “I should have been paying better attention.”

“I don’t think he wanted us to notice,” Hermeziz said. “I think he was trying to make that space you talked about. Where we could be happy.”

Illuthiz sighed.

“As if we could be happy for long without him.”

“He knows that too. I think.”

“Perhaps we can show it to him,” Iluthiz said. “Once he’s translated the book, he will have a lot to tell us.”

“We should be ready then,” Hermeziz said. “What answers do you think he’ll be searching for?”

“Relevance of ancient tales to the modern day perhaps?” Illuthiz said. “Or perhaps somewhere we can go to see either the fossils or ruins of the local variation of our people?”

“Then we’re going to get him that,” Hermeziz said. “You’re better with people, do you want to handle collecting the impressions the scholars here have of the old tales? I can check the archaeological books for a sense of locations to ask Tessa about.”

“Tessa? You’re going to consult with a [Human]? You?”

“For Bal? Sure. Also she’s not…she’s easier to deal with than the others. And she has a great deal of knowledge about this world. She’s an excellent secondary reference.”

“I think that’s the first time I’ve heard you say that about any non-[Gothmorn],” Illuthiz said.

“She saved you two back up in the [High Beyond]. I’m grateful. That’s all.”

“I don’t know, should I be the one who’s jealous now?” Illuthiz teased.

“Eww, no. They look like emaciated, warped children. It’s like walking around in a horror story seeing what passes for people here,” Hermeziz said. “But, I know that’s just appearances. The ones we’ve dealt with have all proven themselves to be capable and considerate people.”

“Well, we should go speak with the horror-children,” Illuthiz said. “With how focused he is, I would guess Bal will be ready bring us in on his research quite soon.”

Balegritz heard them depart, and lingered on the sound for a long moment, his attention completely drawn from book. Where sadness had settled like a stone in his chest at the thought of them finding other joys in his life, a warm joy spread out instead.

He had a book, he had his mates, and he had a problem that was going to fall before them all.

And in solving it, they were going to change the world.


The whirlwind of excitement over Claire’s semi-discovery had flown outwards, carried on the wings of telepathic thoughts and quick conversations.

“Everyone is happy,” Wrath Raven said. “Happier than I thought they’d be.”

“I think you underestimated how close a connection your [Inspiration] feels with you,” Lady Midnight said. “How close they all feel to all of us.”

“It’s that and more,” Claire said. “Tessa saw it too. What Wrath did proves that there are so many more [Adventurers] out there than we thought, but that pales in the face of how she did it.”

“I believed in you,” Wrath said. “It’s not so hard.”

“As far as I know, you’re the only person on the planet who’s managed to connect with their [Inspiration] like that,” Claire said. “Now that we know it’s possible though I am sure you’ll be far from the last. The real key though is going to be if we, the Earthlings, your [Inspirations], can reach our other characters.”

“You mean if you can find people like I did?” Wrath asked.

“Yes, but not just people on this world,” Claire said.

“You left the [High Beyond] though,” Wrath said.

“We’re thinking about people even farther away than that,” Claire said. “The Consortium has established that this realm, this reality, isn’t a closed system. Our arrival here confirms that too. Somehow, things can move from other world to this one.”

“Worlds and worlds of people? All parts of you?” Wrath Raven asked.

“Yes. Worlds beyond imagining,” Claire said. “For us, this world reflects a period of time in our past, but with things we never had, like magic and monsters and the [Heart Fires]. The other worlds though, the other games we played? They reflect very different things. Visions of our modern day. Visions of the future. Visions of…oh wow, what if we could reach out to Gods of Olympus?”

“You played with the gods?” Wrath asked.

“We played as the gods,” Claire said. “And super heroes! And…a light saber! Oh yes, I have got to reach Halo Vex!”

“Who’s she?” Wrath asked.

“She’s my main character in another game, one where we played as knights with swords of light who kept the peace across an entire galaxy. You’d like her. She’s someone who’ll always have your back.”

“How will you track her if she is so far away?” Wrath asked.

“I don’t know,” Claire said. “Maybe it won’t be possible. Maybe the divide between the worlds is too far. Maybe light sabers wouldn’t work here. But I don’t care. You taught me better than to worry about that. All I need to do is believe. Halo’s out there. Of all my characters, I know if she can hear my call, she’ll come for me.”


The course of events was neither random nor preordained by Vixali’s measure. It was malicious. Random events couldn’t so consistently thwart her desires after all, and if a preordained destiny was controlling events, then, occasionally, she expected she was escape its clutches through sheer random chance if nothing else.

“She’s not available?” Lost Alice’s twin said. “Did you explain who wanted to meet her?”

“No. I did not,” Vixali said. “I did not speak to her directly but to one of the members of her group. I chose to omit your professed identity from the request so as to be able to gauge her reaction to the news more directly.”

But, of course, Vixali wasn’t allowed to have nice things. No fun second hand drama. No sudden bursts of exciting combat.

Unless perhaps the twin would react poorly to the news?

“That was probably for the best,” the twin said. “Did your contact say when she might be available next?”

“I gather she is engaged in some endeavor with the [Gothmorn] clan,” Vixali said. “So it will likely be whenever that business has wrapped up.”

“Perhaps I should seek her out directly then after all.” The twin bit her lip, her gaze going distant as she considered the possibilities before her.

Vixali had little interest in allowing her to do that though.

If there were going to be fireworks, she wanted to front row seats to observe them.

Either than or she’d just go back to bed.

Which was a tempting option.

But, there was a game to played here, and it would be a shame to miss out on the opportunity.

“Patience is rarely a virtue for creatures such as we,” Vixali said. “But even the youngest of our kinds understands that sometimes one must wait and plan one’s strike with care and precision, lest the quarry turn on you, or escape.”

“Lost Alice won’t turn on me,” the twin said. “Not once she know who I am.”

“And if she kills you as a reflex? Will that impact your relationship with her perhaps a bit?” Vixali tried to lead the question, but with [Adventurers] she wasn’t sure if murder was necessarily a significant trespass. It wasn’t like death stuck to them after all.

“I guess it would,” the twin said. “And you’re not wrong about the value of patience. But in this case, there may be something even more valuable at stake.”

“More valuable than reuniting with a lost relative?” Vixali asked. “I know many [Vampires] who would make a choice like that easily, cutting away family from their heart in the pursuit of power, or wisdom, or glory. I have never met any who did so and didn’t regret their actions later however.”

“Oh, I don’t want to cutting her away,” the twin said. “I want to take her with me.”

“Take her where?” Vixali asked.


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