You clumsily duck away from Gina’s knife, but fortunately the arch of the knife’s throw was wide. You hear the knife bounce off of the caravan wagon behind you. As your mind struggles to figure out what to do, Edita cries, “Wait! Don’t attack the kid. He’s just a little boy!”
The two remaining guards hesitate and look at each other in bewilderment at Edita’s command. That is when you notice the condition of the caravan members. Edita is pale and holding her arm as if it is broken and Gina’s forehead has a bloody slash and is starting to show a bad bruise. Bodies litter the ground around the caravan camp. The blood apes have reduced the caravan’s numbers down to four.
You notice a dim white and yellow light in the distance. Akachi and the demon summoner are still fighting. You need to buy some time. You try to stand up and face both Edita and Gina, but fall back down. You have never been in so much pain in your life. Your insides feel like they have been torn open..
“It’s me! Sv…Wakoto! I traveled with you from Vanchow. I might be a bit greener, but I am still me!” you say in desperation.
The guards are doubtful and tense ready to attack in spite of Edita’s earlier words. “I have never seen you before in my life, kid. “ Gina declares.
You are baffled. “But… I helped you feed the horses carrots. You were going to teach me how to ride.” The light of the Earth Aspect Anima is still lit. You just need more time. You realize if the truth doesn’t work, then you can tell a really big lie. Tell them you are anathema and then they can see how absurd the idea is.
“You are right to fear me,” you begin, as you stand up painfully. “That is because I am a….Ninja Wizard.” You try to show off a few martial arts moves to intimidate them, but almost fall over. You stop because of how painful it is to move. Wincing in pain would ruin the image you are trying to project. “I sneak around in the darkness searching for …. Umm…. Innocent children to possession! I am the night…“
“Wow, Edita, are you hearing this horse shit? “ Gina interrupts, laughing. “That demon must have thumped my head harder than I thought!” Edita and the rest of the caravan are at a loss for words at your speech. The light of the yellow and white anima suddenly snuffs out.
“But it is the truth!”
“The truth? Why would an anathema possess some kid? “ one of the guards asks. You see Akachi walk towards the caravan camp. His dreadlocks are tied back by a piece of cloth covering his forehead. A faint blue light shines through the cloth.
“Umm….because I like to sneak around in air ducts? Kids fit better in Air Ducts.” you finish lamely.
Akachi finally reaches the camp and looks you over and seems relieved that you are still alive. He addresses Edita. “What is going on here?”
Gina answers for her. “This kid claims to be Anathema. Or a ‘Ninja Wizard’ “ she imitates. “I’ve heard many stories from Stowaways, but this has to be the best!”
“I didn’t stow away! I was working off my fare as a caravan guard! And I think I did a good job getting rid of all of the blood apes. “
Akachi grins, “You did a magnificent job taking care of all of the blood apes, Svante. Now let’s get you home.” He turns to the rest of the caravan. “Svante is my sister’s son. He is always getting into trouble. I appreciate you keeping an eye on him. “
“I’m not going anywhere with you. You said you were going to drag me though the Wyld!” Akachi looks utterly confused at this statement. And then he bursts out laughing. “Oh, Maidens. You must have missed the first part of my conversation with Keeper.”
“The first part……So, you weren’t going to drag me though the Wyld?”
“The last thing I would do is to take you to the Wyld. Or do anything else that would hurt you,” Akachi explains. “Now, let’s help Edita get her caravan back in order shall we? And maybe go home?”
Akachi convinces Gina to sell him one of the caravan horses and the two of you head back to Vanchow. On the ride back, you ask, “Why did they act like they didn’t remember me?”
Akachi is quiet for a moment. “Because they didn’t remember you. When you are chosen by the Maidens of Fate, evidence of your existence is erased from creation. Mortals will not remember you. The members of the caravan will not even remember me after a while. “
“What about gods? Will the Owl and Nanny remember me?”
“Keeper? He works for the Bureau of Destiny, so he will remember you. Nanny….” He doesn’t continue.
You are silent as you consider the implications of this. “You knew! That is why you came to get me at school! Why didn’t you tell me?! Why didn’t you warn me this was going to happen?!” You are so angry that you don’t really know what to do with yourself at first. You want to hit Akachi. You try to jump off the horse and run away. But Akachi stops the horse and holds you tight.
“Svante, I didn’t know until this afternoon you were going to exalt! Usually, we tell future Sidereals when the turn sixteen. By the time they exalt in their early twenties, they are prepared. You are twelve for gods’ sake! We have never had someone exalt so young.”
“You mean I am the youngest?” You stop struggling.
“Yes. Well, there was one Lunar who exalted at your age just before the Usurpation. She was dragged though the Wyld by her mentor to escape the Solar’s madness. “
“What happens now?” you ask. Nanny…. You never got to say good bye. But then, she wouldn’t remember you saying good bye anyways.
“We go home. You learn to control your new powers. I write up some nice destinies for Edita and her sister in gratitude for watching over you. And get back to the ever increasing pile of paperwork on my desk. “
“Paperwork?” Akachi must be kidding. Why would an exalt worry about paperwork? “Why Edita?”
“Why did you choose Edita? Gina is prettier.” Akachi chuckles at your comment about Gina.
“Edita was the one that was against you coming on the caravan. She was the one who hired the guards. If you were going to exalt, being on a caravan was better than being in a city. If I wasn’t there to watch over you, then she was the only one who could keep the guards from attacking you. Also… “ Akachi smiles, “well, when you are older you will understand why I’d prefer someone who works with paper and ink than someone who works with horses.” You snort at this. Horses are way more interesting than bookkeeping.
“Can you promise me something, Svante?”
“Umm… What is it?”
“Can you not tell anyone that Keeper locked me in the bathroom?”
OCC – End of Chapter one! I considered giving you guys the choice of Svante going ronin, but I really want to write about him driving the Five Score Fellowship nuts. I hope you guys would like the various ways he does so!
In celebration of finishing chapter one, I started a website to keep track of this game. All the discussions and decision making will happen here, but for my own sanity I want an easy reference for the posts and characters.
Give me a day or two to get the first post of chapter two up. I got a couple of ideas I need to choose from.