This is a short story, set in the Rainbow's Web universe, by Aquarion, More information is at Aquarion's Fiction
I Kings Realm
It was Sixthday. Traditionally, every Sixthday the King would open court to any subject to ask his opinion on any matter deemed worthy enough by that subject to be heard by the King. The King hated it. Every week people came from tens of miles to ask, or to tell, or – more frequently - to whine.
The person who currently had about 25% of the royal attention was one of the 3rd option, with delusions of the second.
"There is no reason why we should not expel all ‘Magicians’" the last inverted comma’s slipping around the last word neatly, "from the court. They never bring anything but trouble. And is there really such a thing as this ‘magic’?" More inverted commas, the King thought, This is a man speaking to History.
"You, there" said the subject, pointing at the man waiting patiently behind him. "What do you think of magic?"
"There is no such thing as magic." Said the man neutrally. He was about average height, with mousy blonde hair, and the only thing strange about him was this: Wherever your looked, he seemed to catch you eye, as if he was somehow more real than the rest of the room. Part of the reason for this was the fact he was holding a five foot staff, The holding of which is registered internationally as an attention grabbing instrument. The petitioner went on however:
"You see? And this man, this…" he stopped, looked at the man and asked:
"What are you?"
"In this particular time and place" answered the blonde man in a light tenor voice, "I am merely a traveller"
The king suddenly looked up.
"This traveller obviously represents the views of the common man and…" the petitioner tried to continue. He didn’t, He was quickly waved into silence by the king. Who made an announcement.
"I’m deeply sorry, but I am afraid that court business will have to be delayed for another week. Would everybody except the traveller please leave" he commanded.
"You never did get the hang of the royal ‘we’s" said the traveller. "You!" he shouted to the now dejected petitioner for the abolition of magic. "Can you stay too?"
"Yes" said the petitioner "but why?"
"You don’t believe in magic," said the traveller
"No. It is illogical, it doesn’t exist."
"What do you believe in?"
"Myself, and what my ears hear and my eyes see. But you also said magic doesn’t exist"
The traveller spoke softly in a language neither of those also present knew, and a shimmering blue square appeared below the petitioner’s feet, slowly it rose until it was 6 feet up, taking the petitioner with it.
"I can’t move my feet," he said
"Good thing too" said the person who the reader may have guessed is not really a traveller at all "why would you want too?" he made a gesture and the square spun 180o so that the petitioner, who was exactly 5’ 11" tall, had his hair touching the floor.
"Eeek" said the inverted petitioner as the square started to move towards the door, "You said there isn’t any magic!"
"There isn’t" said the not-traveller as the petitioner left.
"What will happen when the magic runs out?" said the King
"Don’t worry, once it gets outside it will turn back round, lower back to the ground, and leave him standing." He paused.
"Shocked, but standing."
"So, Sapphire, I haven’t seen you for ages, How’s life in the Rainbow?"
"Not good. It’s gone. The Antibow has just taken it back."
"The Rainbow?" said the King
"No, The other thing"
"What’s gone then? Why aren’t you looking for it, whatever it is?"
"I drew one of the short straws"
"Let me explain"
And explain he did. He started with the beginning, how there were 2 gods who taught humans how to manipulate reality in different ways. How each person they trained was a master of the art, and how they eventually decided they had trained enough personally and instructed their students to go forth and teach a new generation.
He told of how the new generation learnt all they could, and when they knew all that the elders could teach them they went off to use their skills. And how the skills grew to be jealously guarded until there came a time when the generations did not pass on all of their wisdom to those below for fear of their loss of custom. And how it eventually came to be that there was a war, and all the magic users were ordered to assist, and on that day the leaders ordered the magic users to do there best spells.
Then he explained how thousands of bunches of flowers and doves appeared as if from nowhere.
And how the enemy killed every magic user because there was not a single useful spell known anymore.
The king learnt how the 2 gods came back and saw what had happened and decided a different strategy, to teach 7 people a couple of aspects of magic each, and make them immortal so they could increase their knowledge and use it to the greater good of the world. Then came the fight of the gods, and the cause was just: would the new order be for peace and diplomacy, or for war and force? Then the division, One god – known only by the colour he was represented by, White – took 7 of the trainees and moulded them into a team, Each type of magic being represented by a colour, the team was known as the Rainbow. The other god, Black, made a force of depths and shadows and group of individuals represented by shades of black. The Antibow.
Then Black used his group to attempt to kill the Rainbow, and so White. This went on for many years until White forfeited his own incarnation to take Black with him. Black agreed on the condition that provision was aloud for a return if there was ever peace or great need, so each god created a statue made out of 7 separate pieces which, if placed back together, would bring that god back here.
The king finally learnt how the pieces were distributed around the "7 peoples" and how each bow was given a piece of the others statue so that only if there was peace could the statues be rejoined.
"Bloody hell" said the king, some time later. "Right, first I need some identification, I mean, you did the magic bit in the hall, and you said the pass-phrase"
"I couldn’t believe you lot would actually remember that "Time & Place" stuff, I only mentioned it in passing, and that was a couple of hundred years ago" said Sapphire Kael the Blue of the Rainbow
"Dad mentioned it, and I think you might have reminded me last time you were here"
"I did? I don’t remember."
"All the more reason for me to ask for the identification"
"Fine." From the lapel of the old cloak he was wearing he produced a broach, It was heptagon shaped, silver, each of it’s 7 sides a different colour, and had a sapphire shaped like a rain drop in the centre, over the top of which arched a rainbow. The king took it and held it in his hands.
"Do it" said the king. Sapphire held his right hand palm up, there was a flash of blue light and the badge was back in his hand, except while it was there the rainbow was… real? The king shook his head. From around his neck he produced a silver necklace, on the end of that was a device similar to the badge, without the sapphire, which had on its reverse a heptagon shaped hole. Sapphire took off the only ring he wore and placed the heptagon shaped sapphire in the hole. The necklace went golden for a couple of seconds, then back.
"Happy now?" said Sapphire
"Does that mean I can have my statue piece"
"When you said, what was it now? 30 years? That you would come and collect it I didn’t believe you, after all, it’s just a piece of broken statue"
"Yes, and you were about to though it out"
"Why didn’t you just take it then?"
"Because then I would have 2 pieces lost to the Antibow now. And they would be another step closer to winning"
"How do you know they haven’t got all the pieces?"
"I’m still alive. Black as a personal score to settle with me"
Sapphire paused slightly too long before his reply
"I really don’t know."
Leaving a very confused king and pleading an alternative appointment Sapphire left. As he passed though the Great hall’s gates he waved his staff ahead of him. Another shimmering blue shape appeared, about two metres tall and one wide, no more than the thickness of a shadow, and as he passed though it his clothing changed to an electric blue robe – the staff became the same colour- the shape disappearing once he was though. One of the odd things about this was that nobody else seemed to notice except a small girl in a green smock who looked about 6.
"Showy" She said with disdain "Vewy Showy" She said as he strode down the street
"You have no sense of theatre." Said Sapphire
"No. And a good thing too. You do wealise that if you had just walked in there and intwoduced yourself you could have done this in less than an hour." Replied the 6-year-old.
"Look. I see no point in disrupting the normal order of things by Waltzing in there and demanding to see the man in charge" Said the man in blue, "Why are you here anyway?"
"Wed sent me, he’s wun…" Began the girl
"But first" Said Sapphire "Change back. You have no idea how irritating that is"
"All wight." And a soft green light emanated from her.
Within 10 seconds she had grown almost 3 feet, and was standing only a couple of inches short of Sapphire’s 6 foot frame, her features had softened, her teeth straightened, her shapeless green smock turned into a silk dress that was anything but shapeless, Her hair tumbled behind her.
Sapphire shuddered. "You enjoy doing that to people don’t you"
"Since you mention it, yes." Replied Emerald the Green
"Okay, why are you all the way down here? The original plan was that I would try to find our statue, Orange and Sunshine would try to get the other piece back, and you three would stay at home and make sure they didn’t attack the university."
"Firstly, Sir Red is perfectly capable of maintaining your precious defences on his own. And secondly, it was decided that at some point Orange and Sunshine were going to need either a doctor or a cleric, so Indigo was sent to them."
"And you and Violet?"
"We decided that you couldn’t possibly do this all on your own, even with your skills"
"So you came to see me. How nice."
"You don’t mind do you?"
"Do I have a choice?"
"Not really, but I would prefer it if I didn’t have to follow you secretly"
"Fine. What happened to Violet?" asked Sapphire Kael da’Blue, a defeated man.
"She’s at camp. He was always better at Tea then me."
Tea making isn’t interesting, It is the same to universe over. The only difference here was where they got the leaves from and how they got the water to boil. As they sat drinking tea around the camp fire, not being able to be bothered to summon the spells to go home yet, they sat back and wondered where the red tinge in the sky was from, and how it would please the shepherds.
That’s what the reddish tinge was, Flames.
They were getting quite high now, licking the branches of the trees like they were looking for a night to remember.
Normally there would be fire-engines or something, except in the forests of a land where Magic was prized over science any day of the week (except possibly Thursday) Fire-engines were not so much late as "I suppose it might have been a good idea to invent them" type thing.
Plus this was a forest. An old, dry forest. Even if there had been a local fire station, the chances of any of the forest being recoverable were slim.
Watching the fire were two men. The first was the leader of the village. The second was a man who we will come to shortly. Suffice to say at this point that he is the instigator of this conflagration, which is to say that he started the fire. In fact, stuff shortly, let us look at him right now.
When this person looks into his bedroom mirror at night, which he does every night, it is obvious that he sees a God of Men. Tall, Sleekly muscled, with the hair that would go on TV declaiming that they were "worth it". The problem was that to the rest of the world he wasn’t. Admittedly he was tall, but his hair did not look cut so much as mown. And as for "sleekly muscled", it would apply only if you could also pin that label on Shaggy from Scooby Doo.
At this point the writer could leave it, point at him and laugh and call him Mr Stereotype. This is s type of person who doesn’t really need a name. And even if he had one you would instantly forget it. But, for narrative simplicity we shall give him a name. We shall call him Roger.
"I didn’t mean for this to happen" said Roger, unnecessarily, "I was only…"
"I’d save the excuses son." Said the Leader who, for the record, was not Rogers father. Nor wanted to be.
"What do you mean?" Ask the bespectacled one (did we mention the glasses? No? He wears glasses.)
The Leader said nothing, but pointed at a button. The button was blue, and behind a slim pane of glass. Which someone, in defiance of all probability, had set into a tree and written upon it some words. Those words were:
In case of emergency, break glass.
"I think," said the Leader, looking at the ashen remains of the village, "this counts." He broke the glass.
There was a blue flash.
A couple of seconds a blue shimmering area appeared and a man stepped of it.
"Who the Hell are you?" asked Roger.
"My name is Sapphire Kael Da Blue" Said Sapphire Kael Da Blue "But call me Sapphire."
"And what have you got to do with this village?"
"Easy" Said Sapphire with a hard edge that hadn’t been there before "I was born here."
"Oh" Said Roger.
"Bugger" He added.
"So" Said the tall Magician in the blue robe "How exactly did you burn down my village?"
Roger paused. There were two options here. One, he could attempt to fob Sapphire off with a lie, or Two, he could tell the truth.
Of the 7 members of the Rainbow, who comprised the 7 most powerful magicians in the world, Roger happened to know that Blue and Green had cornered the mind reading side of things. That was Sapphire and his girlfriend Emerald. Lying was not, then, a good idea.
On the other hand the truth was out of the question
"It started when my mum told me to go and collect firewood…" he began.
"Try again" said Sapphire
"Joe stole a tinderbox from his…"
"It was a dark and stormy night"
"and again. This isn’t helping." Said Sapphire
Roger gave up
"There is this girl, Her birthday is coming, and I wanted to give her a necklace with her name on it, and I had to heat the metal to bend it and…" he said
"And you managed to set fire to the trees. Well done." Said Sapphire without sincerity.
"But it was so romantic" said a voice.
"I thought I left you behind" said Sapphire to the empty air. "And come out where I can see you"
Another swirling zone, a green one this time, appeared and out of it stepped Emerald. She looked around.
"Again?" she said
"Again, By accident" Sapphire glanced at Roger "this time. Only now I can fix it."
Sapphire closed his eyes, a blue glow surrounded him now
"Worry not" he said "I can do this" and he began to murmur under his breath.