Lemma the Librarian: The Choosing One, Part 8

I walked into a clearing to find
Brea waiting for me at the far end, flanked by Iola and Iason. “I noticed
you were following us,” she said. “Come to surrender?”

“I figured out why you’re doing
this,” I answered. “I’m a Choosing One, aren’t I?”

She arched an eyebrow, impressed.
“I’m surprised one such as you knows of such things.”

“I’ve heard speculations.”
The wild magic equivalent–opposite, really–of a Chosen One. Someone who, by
random chance, might be in the right place at the right time to make a
choice that might alter the course of history. But the whole point of
them was choice–being under someone’s thrall would the defeat the purpose,
unless I’d chosen to be controlled. “The theory suggests those
powerful enough in wild magic might even be able to sense a Choosing One before
they appear.”

“Indeed,” said Brea.
“That is why I infiltrated Lord Brinksmoor’s manor long before you
arrived. I knew you would very likely come.”

“Well… If the choice you
wanted me to make was learning the Rite of Uncreation, it’s done. Let them
go.” That was why the three days, I realized. She’d probably overheard me
saying I wasn’t ready to cast it, so she wanted to make sure I had both plenty
of time and a strong incentive to learn it. Three days had to have been a guess
on her part–not that far off, all told.

“I’m afraid not.” She
looked serious, almost grave, for a moment. “Something is coming,
something terrible, and with it comes a possibility that you will have a choice
to make. Choose rightly, and we remain free. Choose wrongly, and an age of iron
order shall descend upon the world, crushing us all in its implacable grip.
Learning the Rite has shifted the likelihood of you being in a position to make
that choice from a possibility to a probability.”


“We are on the same side in
this, Lemma. You wish to surrender the world to a tyrant no more than I do.
Make your choice to serve me now, and I will ensure that you make the right
choice when the time comes.”

“Hmm, yeah, lemme consider
that… I’m gonna have to go with no, and also fuck you.”

“Your friends will die.”

“You promised not to kill them
until nightfall!” I began drawing on power–not just fire this time, but
air and earth as well. 

Brea smirked. “Indeed. I
promised I wouldn’t kill them until nightfall. You, on the other hand,
made no such promise–and I never promised I wouldn’t command them to fight you
to the death.”

Fuck! “Wait!” I said. “Before you do… I have a
counteroffer.” I reached down to my belt and unhooked a pouch. 

“A what?” Brea seemed
genuinely puzzled and surprised. 

“Catch!” I shouted, and
tossed her the pouch. Power thrummed through me, a living conduit for the
immense flow of energy from sky down to earth and then, very soon, in just a

She had to sense the build up of
power. She knew I was attacking. Instinctively, just as she’d done with every
attack she saw coming, she caught the pouch, a reflex trained over millennia
until it happened without thought quicker than thought.

…back up from the earth again.
Lightning leaped from my outstretched hand, struck the pouch, disintegrated it
instantly. The rock inside pulsed with light, once, and then shattered in
Brea’s hand. 

The rock Hragulf had used to
mesmerize me–twice! The rock full of immense high-magical power, broken-off
piece of who knew what ancient artifact. Probably something that had been made
for a Chosen One, discarded once they, and it, were no longer needed. Point is:
I destroyed it. 

Leaving the magic inside with
nowhere to go, nowhere except exploding outward in its purest form.
Specifically, immense quantities of light magic in its purest form: an
eye-searing burst of brilliant, white, high-magical, maybe even holy, light,
bright enough to–just for a moment–outshine the sun.

Brea screamed as the light engulfed
her. “Suck on that, bitch!” I crowed, or tried to. It’s hard
to sound triumphant when you’re shielding your eyes from the brightest fucking
light in the world.

My vision returned, and my jaw
dropped. She was still. Fucking. ALIVE!?

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