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Chaos is Bliss

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Bull

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« on: <09-24-10/0420:45> »
Note:  This is an old, unfinished short story I was working on years ago.  The file I'm copying from is dated January 2000, and I'm fairly certain that it dates back a year or two further than that.  It's not entirely complete, and I dunno if I'll ever get around to finishing it.

Chaos is Bliss

CHAPTER 1:  In the beginning...

   Stephen Williams laughed as he raised the beer can up with magical fingers, tilting it back so that the cold alcohol poured into his open mouth.  Behind him. he could hear the shouts of his friends and fraternity brothers cheering him on with cries of “Chug! Chug! Chug!”  As the last drop poured out, he used his magic to crush the can and send it flying across the room, landing squarely in the trash.  His “opponent”, a stocky young Ork, drained his a few seconds later, then toppled over, the alcohol finally overcoming him.
   Stephen raised his arms triumphantly and belched loudly, causing everyone else to laugh and cheer.  He grinned triumphantly again, and cast a minor spell sending off a small explosion of fireworks around him, startling a few of the less sober party members.  Despite his rather small stature, standing at three inches under six foot, and massing less than one hundred and fifty pounds, he was renown across the campus for being a hard core partier and for being able out-drink anyone on campus.  He had earned the nickname “Chaos” for his drinking and partying, as well as the fact that he would do almost anything on a dare.
   He turned and tumbled down onto a couch next to a beautiful red-headed girl.  “You, my wild Chaos, are going to kill yourself someday.”  She laughed as she leaned over to kiss him.  He just grinned back and reciprocated the caress, lingering over the kiss for several long minutes.
   The tenderness was broken up rather coldly and violently as a large mug of beer was dumped over their heads.  “C’mon, Chaos!  Break it up.  You two wanna make out, head upstairs like everyone else!”  Stephen’s best friend Allen Macon chuckled as he held the mug upside down, shaking out the
last few drops.
   Stephen smiled up at his friend.  “Actually, Beth and I are going for a walk, I believe.  We need to talk a little.  We’ll be back in a bit.  And have the next round of drinks ready!  I’m going to laugh when Rock drops from this round.”
   His friend laughed and nodded, calling out Chaos’ challenge to everyone, as the blond mage helped his fiancee up, and the two of them walked out into the cool night air, away from the noise, laughter, and abundant alcohol of the party.
   “I wish I didn’t have to leave.”  Beth said as they walked arm in arm
across the quiet college campus, lying her head on Stephen’s chest.  The mage silently stroked her hair, holding her beneath the cloudless night air, the dark of night made bright by a full moon.
   “I know hon.”  He sighed at last.  Beth graduated in two weeks, and was leaving the week after that to start a new job in Seattle.  “I don’t want you to go either.  But you have to.  This is your big chance.  Renraku wants you to help head up their research lab in magic studies.  That’s a hell of an accomplishment for someone your age.”
   “I know, Stephen.  I just wish it could be otherwise.”  His fiancee sighed .  The two had been dating ever since they met 3 years ago, when Stephen had first come to the MIT&T campus, a fresh young man just out of school.  The two had been inseparable, and had recently decided to marry after Stephen graduated next year.
   “Look, it’s only another year.  I’ll fly out to Seattle over the holidays to be with you.”  He smiled impishly at her, and grinned.  “And who knows, maybe when I graduate next year, Renraku will want me to be your boss?”
   With a laugh, she playfully slapped at him, then smiled and purred as Stephen’s arms enfolded her, and they stared silently up at the stars, content to spend what time they could together.


   It was several hours later when Stephen finally stumbled back into his dorm room, exhausted and more than a little bit drunk.  He blindly groped for the light switch and flipped it on.  The light flared to life, and Stephen winced slightly, then started going through the motions of preparing for bed.
   “Frag it!”  he muttered to himself as he started to undress.  “She can’t leave.  I don’t think I can handle it.”
   As he tossed his shirt into the corner, he felt tears welling up in his eyes.  He fought them back frantically.  He never cried.  He never let himself cry, not since the death of his father the summer before he left home for college.
   “What’s wrong Stephen?”  A soft voice called from behind him.  He spun, startled since he hadn’t heard anyone enter.  Behind him stood a tall, long legged red-head wearing a short skirt and green sweater that set off her eyes.  Her eyes had a mischievous glint and her mouth twitched into a smile.  Chaos had the distinct feeling that she enjoyed startling him like that.
   “Cindy,”  the young mage said to his bonded Fire Elemental with a sigh.  “What is it?”
   “You forgot to dismiss me when you left for the party, so I hung around.”  She said with a pout that bordered on a smile.  “And I knew that you’d be upset about Beth.  I wanted to see how you were doing.”
   Stephen looked up, startled again.  He had summoned Cindy his Freshman year, and had kept rebonding her, despite the wishes of his professors and the commonly held belief that by doing so, he would simply give the spirit more power and more chances to become free.  Instead, the mage had rebonded her, and over time, she grew in personality, until she had become a friend and someone he considered very real.  However, lately she had started to
show an initiative outside that of his wishes, and an uncanny ability to read his moods.  
   It frightened him, as this was something that was not really covered in any of his classes, and at the same time intrigued him.  He hadn’t said anything to his professors for fear that they would order him to banish her, and had avoided telling even Allen much.  The only one who knew everything was Beth, and that was really only because she had walked into his room one day and found her there, and he had to tell her to convince her he wasn’t cheating on her with another woman.  Cindy had been highly amused at the situation.
   “Even going to see her on holidays and breaks, it’s going to be miserable without her.”  Stephen sighed.  “We’re engaged, but...  Things happen when two people are apart.”
   “She loves you, Stephen.”  Cindy said, giving him a cocky smile.  “She
would never do anything to hurt you.”
   “I hope you’re right, Cindy.”  Stephen replied, tossing himself onto his bed.  “I really hope you’re right.  I’m going to get some sleep.  You can leave whenever you want.”
   Stephen closed his eyes and was fast asleep, but the elemental sat long into the night, watching her master toss and turn.  Shortly before daybreak, she stood quietly.  She walked over to Stephen’s desk and picked a photograph, a picture showing Stephen and Beth at Beth’s Senior Prom just a couple weeks prior.  Cindy looked up from the photo, and into a small mirror mounted on the dorm wall.  Cindy was somewhat startled to realize that there was more than a passing resemblance between her and Beth.   She turned and replaced the photo, and with one last look at Chaos, she vanished, travelling back into the metaplanes where her kind were from.
« Last Edit: <09-24-10/0428:36> by Bull »

Bull

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« Reply #1 on: <09-24-10/0422:13> »
CHAPTER 2:

   Cold, hard eyes squinted in intense concentration as Adam Manholm controlled the flow of magic, creating a scene of intense and powerful illusion, filling the room with several independent illusions at once.  In the corner, a large, blue-scaled dragon breathed flame upon several delighted and marveling classmates.  Flying high above the class were two World War 1 era bi-planes, one a bright red, and the other driven by what appeared to be a cartoon dog.  And roaring through the room, weaving around desks and between the legs of students were several miniature rocket cars, racing around an imaginary race track. 
   Adam had been sustaining this illusion for several minutes, and the strain was beginning to tell on the young magicians face.  The illusions were incredibly lifelike and had flawlessly superb detail, and when Adam finally ended the spell, moments before fatigue forced him to lose control of them, the classroom exploded into and cheering, and Adam drank it in, basking in the admiration of his classmates.
   “Very good, Mr. Manholm.  Very nice job.  I especially liked the homage to Schultz's Peanuts Comic Strip, though I doubt many of your classmates remember or have even heard of it.”  Professor Thoreau said, standing and clapping briefly with the rest of the class.  “Most excellent job.”
   Adam beamed in the praise of his Professor and classmates as he moved to take his seat.  The Professor then called the next student to present his final project, the culmination of the Advanced Illusions class.  Adam sat back and watched a class mate, an Amerind Elf, as he put on an well done but somewhat unimaginative display.  Arrogantly, Adam critiqued the display,  noting a lack of facial definition here, a lack of color in the eyes there.  All in all, Adam thought, a rather pathetic display.
   The Amerind’s display ended, and the class applauded politely, and the Professor congratulated him on a job well done, and the Final exams continued.  With each display, Adam grew more and more smug, his silent criticism degrading from simple critiquing to downright derogatory in nature.  He nodded, smiled, and applauded along with the class, but he felt nothing but disdain for his classmates.
   Almost all of the class had put forth their best efforts thus far, and Professor Thoreau called for the final student, Stephen Williams.  Adam frowned as his biggest rival stepped towards the front of the class, wearing a ridiculously bright and garish outfit of yellow denim slacks and a bright red and silver shirt.  He bowed low to the class, his long hair flopping loosely around his neck and shoulders.
   Stephen smiled, cracked his knuckles, and quietly chanted a Latin phrase as he spun his arms out and around him in a wide, flamboyant circle. There was a momentary silence, as everyone in the room held their breath and waited, then a riot of sound and color swept over the crowd with a force that was almost physical.  Here and their students ducked or flinched at the sudden onrush of colors and images.
   The young mage smiled and sat down on a stool at the front of the
classroom, a smile perched rakishly on his face, his arms folded across his chest as he effortlessly guided and controlled the images that ran through the room.  In one corner of the room, several piles of books transformed into skyscrapers that proceeded to burn.  Several Jet Fighters chased each other through the classroom, chasing phantom space ships.  A swarm of Bees buzzed their way through the room, chased by an old woman with a flyswatter.  Whirlwinds made up of pure color whirled their way through the room, as a thunderstorm rolled in across the ceiling, thunder and lightning flashing and crashing forth.
   The images continued to assault the classes senses, the colors and
tones of the images crisp and clear, the sounds perfect and at times almost deafening.  Adam watched this display in awe and anger, desperately searching the display for any sign of error, of flaw.  He considered Stephen a rival, a bitter, almost hated rival, though the blond haired mage never seemed to reciprocate or even acknowledge his classmate’s occasional barbs or veiled threats.  Instead, Stephen continued on oblivious to it all, partying, carousing, effortlessly walking through life while Adam struggled to be his best.  With a shudder of rage and an exercise of will, Adam kept himself from unleashing one of the newer spells he had learned, spells the college didn’t teach.  Offensive spells designed to harm and kill, rather than the simple and rather pathetic illusion and defensive spells that the school taught.  Sure, they went over a few minor spells like Powerbolt, though they never allowed the students to learn any of those at a real power level.
   Stephen’s display lasted for a full 10 minutes before he finally ended it with a flourish and a riotous display of color and sound.  Had the large room not been sound proofed, the end display would have been heard across the  campus.  The young mage smiled and bowed like an Orchestra Maestro after finishing a number as the class and professor cheered and applauded his efforts.
   Adam snarled to himself, snapped up his satchel of books, and stalked out of the room, knowing that the applause should have been his, and his alone.

Bull

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« Reply #2 on: <09-24-10/0423:27> »
Chapter 3:

<This Space Reserved...  I skipped a chapter or two>

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« Reply #3 on: <09-24-10/0424:35> »
Chapter 4:

   Stephen smiled as he stepped off the plane, the tension of the last few
weeks draining from him as he contemplated his new life here in Seattle, and his future wife, Beth, whom he hadn't seen since his father's funeral several weeks before.  But now that was behind him, and while he loved his father dearly, he knew that his mother was going to continue on, with another son to raise.  It would be rough, and Stephen planned to do what he could to make her life easier.
   The young man walked into Hopkins National Airport, passing quickly
through the security sensors and went to collect his baggage.  Beth and a couple of people from Renraku were supposed to be meeting him here, and Stephen looked forward to it.  He was nervous, though.  This wasn’t college anymore.  He couldn’t goof off and have fun.  Granted, there would be plenty of that too, but for now, he was being hired and paid what he thought was a ridiculous amount of Nuyen to do a job he would enjoy.  But he knew also that he needed to do well, to impress his new employers.
   Renraku had been generous with him so far.  He hadn’t even started for
them officially yet, but already they had helped take care of his Father's funeral and the hospital bills that had piled up following his stroke and the several long weeks that had followed as he lie dying in a hospital bed.  Plus Beth really  seemed to be enjoying her job, and Stephen really looked forward to working with her as well.  They would make quite a team.
   As Stephen entered the entrance area to the airport, he began scanning the crowd for the familiar fiery red hair that made Beth easy to pick out of a crowd.  He failed to spot her, but did see a limo driver holding up a plain white cardboard sign with his name on it.  Mentally he shrugged, figuring that she must be waiting in the limousine, and headed toward it.
   "Ummm, hi there."  He said to the driver, a tall, stern faced man that
appeared to have a rigger jack in the back of his neck.  Stephen had never really known anyone personally that had one, but he'd seen enough trid shows to recognize one.  "I'm Stephen Williams."
   The driver nodded wordlessly and opened the rear door.  From within the darkness of the limo a friendly male voice called out "Come in, my boy. Come in."
   The driver took Stephen's suitcases and carried them toward the back of the car.  The young mage smiled and entered the car, sitting on the comfortable and expensive leather seats.  It took a moment for his eyes to adjust to the comparatively dim interior of the vehicle, the tinted windows blocking out a lot of the light.  As he looked around, he noticed that there were two men inside the limo, one a slightly aging man in what appeared to be a very expensive suit and the other a younger man with an odd and rather stern look on his face.  Something about the man made Stephen fairly nervous.
One person he did not see though was the one person that he had been expecting to meet him.  He sighed to himself as the older man began speaking.
   "Mr. Williams.  My name is Antonio Rennard.  I am the assistant Vice
President in charge of Renraku Thaumaturgical Studies and Research.  I believe we spoke once on the phone a couple weeks ago.  Once again, let me extend my condolences to your recent loss."  The man was smooth and his speech was flawless and friendly, but it had a rehearsed quality to it, as if the man had said much the same thing many times.
   "A pleasure to meet you, sir."  Stephen said, shaking Rennard's hand as it was offered.  he settled back in the leather seat as the man began fixing a drink, and declined when Rennard offered him one as well.  "Umm, sir?  if I can ask...  Where's Beth?  I thought she was going to be meeting me at the airport?"
   The man paused as he was placing an ice cube in his glass.  "Oh my."  He finally muttered after several long second.  "You haven’t been informed."
   Stephen froze, fear ripping into his gut.  "Told about what?"
   "Oh dear, this is most unfortunate.  You must have left for the airport
before they called."  Rennard said, looking decidedly uncomfortable. "Dear boy, I'm sorry, but Elizabeth Thompson was killed yesterday in a very unfortunate accident at the lab.  She was working on a new spell formula she and another new researcher..."
   Rennard's voice continued, but the young mage couldn’t hear him any
longer, the words just a drone in the background as anger, fear, and pain welled up inside him.  His vision seemed to go red and a loud roar seemed to fill his ears and his brain.
   Antonio Rennard stopped talking suddenly as the mage's eyes suddenly
glowed brightly.  The man next to him was a blur of motion as a gun seemed to appear in his hand out of nowhere and he dove across the limousine toward the mage.  But he never made it as fire coalesced into a raging blast of fire that seared through the interior of the limo.  The fuel tank caught fire and exploded, sending shrapnel and pieces of fiery rubble flying in all directions.

Bull

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« Reply #4 on: <09-24-10/0426:44> »
Chapter 5:

   Pain was the first sensation the man was aware of.  Pain, followed by
intense warmth.  With a groan, he sat up and slowly opened his eyes.  He stared in shock at his surroundings.
   He seemed to be in an alley way, but the walls and ground all seemed to be scorched flat.  His skin was blistered and red all over, like he'd been caught in a fire.  Then he remembered what had happened, what the man from Renraku had said.  And what he had done.
   Stephen Williams threw back his head and screamed, his rage and pain and anguish billowing out of him.  A dozen meters away, several street squatters who had built up enough courage to venture forth to see what had happened to their alley scattered before the sound.  The young mage screamed for several long minutes before his voice cracked and failed, and then he dropped his head to his knees and cried.  He didn't know what to do, where to go.  The men in that car were surely dead.  His father was dead.  Beth, his love, his light, was dead, killed in some stupid magic experiment.  If only he'd left home a week, a day sooner!  He could have been there.  Could have helped her.  The young mage sat back against the wall, eyes clenched shut, fists balled up tight enough to feel the nails slowly cutting into his skin.  Warmth from the baked wall basked his back, and he slammed the heel of his fist against the ground.
   He looked up at the sky, slowly turning to twilight above him, and hoarsely tried to scream.  "I'm should be dead!  Let me die!"
   "If you want to die, surely we can help ya."  A calm, cold voice came from the mouth of the alley way.  Stephen lifted his eyes to see several ragged
looking toughs coming up the alleyway.  The leader, and the speaker, was a human.  He was dirty, wore tattered clothing, but had that tough, defiant "king of the streets" look.  He flexed his hand and a pair of long, gleaming spurs popped from the back of his wrist.  Behind the ganger, the others grinned and laughed menacingly, each of them holding a  weapon of some kind.  A chain, a baseball bat, an old piece of pipe. 
   Stephen slowly rose to his feet, his muscles shaky and his vision blurring slightly.  He knew he was a dead man.  He died in that car.  or should have.  Part of him died when his father passed away.  A larger part of him died when Beth did.  He was a dead man.  The world just didn’t know it yet.
   "You bastards want a piece of me?"  The mage said, a slight giggle
escaping his lips.  His body quivered, and his blood felt like it was aflame.  "You bastards want to kill me?"  His voice rose to a shriek, his raw throat cracking as he screamed.  "I'm already dead, you silly little people.  I'm a dead man."
   Suddenly his hands lit up and his body was surrounded by flame.  The flame lit up the darkening alleyway and the gangers all took a step back.  "You...  can't...  kill...  what's... already... DEAD!" 
   The mage took a step forward with each word, the growing conflagration around him glowing larger and brighter with each syllable.  The Gangers could feel the heat of the flames washing over them as the mage stood in the alleyway staring at them, head cocked as he stared at them, his clothes more ashes than fabric, and radiating more heat than a furnace.  They stood as if entranced,
staring, then one by one, broke and ran.
   The mage cackled as he watched the fleeing figures.  "Tell your friends, boys."  He shrieked after them, flames dancing around him, scorching the stone and cement around him.  "Tell everyone!  Chaos has come to town!"
        Abruptly the flames died out, and with a slightly startled look, the mage collapsed to the ground and gave way to unconsciousness for the second time today.


   Awakening to pain and heat was not a pleasant sensation, and doing it
twice in a row made matters worse.  The mage opened his eyes again, and saw
a vision of beauty standing above him, red, curly hair flowing around him, bright green eyes sparkling as she looked down at him, worry evident in her eyes.
   "B- Beth?"  The mage muttered, his voice dry and his throat raw.
   "No, Stephen, I'm sorry.  It's Cindy."  Cindy, his elemental, his friend.
Bonded, rebonded, time and effort placed into her creation, care taken to bring her back, patience and true love gone into making her more than a servant, but a friend.  Cindy, who remarkably looked a like Beth.  Tears welled up in the mage's eyes.
   "Cindy, Stephen is dead.  Gone.  Call me Chaos from now on."  Chaos held his head bowed for several minutes as the elemental stood staring down at
him.  She was not your typical elemental.  Really, she never had been.  She had seen the crude constructs that other mages at the school had summoned, and knew that she was different somehow.  She was still bound by her summoner, by the mage that lay broken and wounded before her.  But somehow, she seemed to be more.
   "Stephe...  Chaos.  You have to be careful.  You expended a lot of energy today, First in the car, and then in the alleyway."  She held a cold washcloth over his face, and the cool water helped sooth the burns a
little.  "You almost killed yourself when you destroyed the car.  I...  I've never seen you like this before.  It worried me."
   Chaos smiled slightly.  "I should have died.  I did die.  I don't know,
Cindy.  What am I going to do?"
   The elemental shrugged slightly.  "I did what I could.  After the explosion, I moved you to an alley while the police were looking around.  I think they thought you died in the explosion, along with those men."
   The mage sighed.  "I should have figured they were dead.  Dead, like
Beth.  Dead, like I'm not lucky enough to be.  I don't suppose..."
   "No!"  Cindy replied hastily.  "No, I can't kill you.  And I can't allow
you to kill yourself."
   "Then what do I do, Cindy?  There's nothing left for me now.  Mom will
think I'm dead.  At least this means Renraku won't be coming after me.  that's good, I suppose."  The mage lay back in the bed, then looked around to see they were in a hotel room.  "Where are we?"
   "I'm sorry, but I stole some money and got us a hotel room.  It's not
great, but...  It was the best I could do on short notice."  The red-head shrugged again as she looked down at him.
   Chaos laughed, and pain lanced his side again.  Everything on him felt
bruised or blistered.  "What are you, my dear Cindy,  You're more than you seem.  You always were."  But sleep took him before he could hear her answer.


Bull

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« Reply #5 on: <09-24-10/0427:27> »
And yes, before anyone points it out, I realize just how cheesy and this is.  And the writing is...  Ick.  It's pretty rough. :)

Deepeyes

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« Reply #6 on: <04-26-11/1000:36> »
That was very nice! Reminded me of a character of mine from waaaaaaay back. Awesome writing! Hope hear back from those two ;)

Xzylvador

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« Reply #7 on: <05-07-11/1721:48> »
I love it... and might steal it as concept for one of my future characters, with some modifications.
Torn between applaud for the story, or smite for a missing chapter. That's just cruel!

Bio ex Machina

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« Reply #8 on: <05-11-11/1841:51> »
Chapter 3:

<This Space Reserved...  I skipped a chapter or two>
how dare you! other than that awesome story. can't wait for next chapter