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Cosmic Retcon

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"Oy," Jami said, then yelled at the top of his lungs, "SHAZMAR!"

"What?" The five-year-old elf boy appeared on cue.

Jami scratched the back of his head. "Nifty. Do people ever do that repeatedly to annoy you?"

"Not generally."

"Do you have something particularly against me?"

"You?" Shazmar said. "Of course not."

"Why'd you break your own bloody rules to kick me out of the timeline?"

"I did nothing of the sort," Shazmar said lightly. "You're here, aren't you?"

"Not me," Jami tried to clarify. "My rebirth. Or something. You know, Riven."

"But Riven isn't your rebirth."

"He pretty clearly is."

"Besides," Shazmar said. "At the time, everyone in the universe wanted him gone, and he wanted to rule a universe without being bothered by people, so everyone was happy."

"I really doubt he was," Jami said. "Since I'd know best."

"Well, he now rules that timeline," Shazmar said. "Who would be unhappy with that?"

"Mmm. Okay, maybe he is happy." Jami was pretty sure, now that he thought about it, that he'd kill a rebirth or prebirth or whatever of himself if he found one. He hated Time magic.

"But no, you aren't going to die anytime soon, and certainly won't get reborn as Riven."

The first bit was kind of heartening, from God. "I mean, down the road, at some point, I'll be."

"You are Jami's rebirth," Shazmar said. "Riven was Jami's rebirth. Riven is not your rebirth. What's hard to understand about this?"

"Plenty!" Jami protested.

Sedder just stared at Shazmar.

"Was this some sort of mistake with Time magic?" Jami asked.

"Of course not," Shazmar said. "Jami's soul was just too powerful to survive the rebirth process and split upon death."

"Oh, shit," Jami said. "Damn fucking Rhuan!"

"Riven apparently, got the larger part of Jami's soul magic. You've inherited his Mind and Catalysm."

Sedder wasn't sure what to say to this scene. A five year old and a twelve year old swearing and talking about upperworldly matters. My fucking gosh.

"At least I got the good part," Jami said. "Does this sort of thing happen to many people?"

"At least I don't think there's any other Jami-shards floating about, but you never know," Shazmar commented with a shrug.

"I fucking hope not too."

"Anyone over a certain power level. The higher it is, the more likely the soul is to split. Silver broke into no less than eight fragments when he died."

"...Eight?" Jami exclaimed in shock. "Ack. I don't want that many of him around."

Shazmar laughed. "Don't worry. Most of them likely won't remember much anyway."

Maybe this was why Sardill bitched that he'd never be reborn. He'd split up so much he effectively wouldn't be.

"One can only hope," Jami said. "Unless he pulled a stunt like I did." What with creating memory spheres and hiding them to be found again.

"I don't think he's smart enough for that," Shazmar said.

"Certainly not."

"Clever trick, though."

"Thank you," Jami said. "I must have thought so at the time."

"Yes, you did, all 42 times."

Jami blinked. "That many?"

"And then erased it and thought of it again..."

"I sort of knew that might happen," Jami said. "I suppose."

Shazmar snickered.

"I mean, otherwise I'd have made a lot at once, right? And probably put it off because I foresaw this. Maybe." Jami winced. "Sometimes I'm too smart for my own good."

Sedder said, "Mind magic is almost as annoying as Time."

"Mind magic is infinitely less annoying than Time," Jami countered.

"How?" Sedder said. "This conversation is giving me a headache."

"Mind magic and alcohol are the only things capable of relaxing a mind that's tormented by paradoxes."

Shazmar said, "Paradoxes are annoying. I wish people would stop messing up the universe and making me fix it."

"Yes, quite annoying of them," Jami said. "I promise I'll do my best to avoid doing anything so stupid."

"I've have a mind to just..." Shazmar said thoughtfully.


"Make a less annoying universe... hmm..."

"Yes, well, please don't abandon us now," Jami said.

"Oh, no, I'll just destroy the universe and make one out of its chaos-matter."

"Nah, that'd really suck for all living in the universe at the time."

"Alternatively, I could create a nice new plane with stuff..." Shazmar said.

"Yeah, that'd be plenty fun," Jami said. His argument to get Riven's wish was really reduced if he was already clear on the fact that they were not linear births.

"With like, different, less annoying rules."

"I always thought this universe worked rather well," Jami said. "I mean, yes, Time magic was just a big mistake on a whole, but other than that."

"Nah, nobody appreciates the value of a good wish," Shazmar said.


"Everyone can get anything I could give them from a wish on their own."

"It does take a lot of time," Jami said.

"Not really."

"If there's anything we can't possibly get on our own, would you want to give it to us?" Jami asked.

"Of course, if you want to risk soul-splitting..." Shazmar said.

"Soul-splitting?" Jami said. "So? What's life if you haven't the power to enjoy it? Let your rebirths worry about splits. You're the one enjoying it."

"Of course, just what we need. Twelve little Jamis running around." Shazmar grinned.

"There aren't that many of me, are there?"

"No, not at the moment," Shazmar said. "And then they'd likely kill each other."

"That, I don't doubt," Jami said. "Are there any more than just me?"

"If they are, they got a fragment too small to worry about anyway." Shazmar shrugged. "Between you and Riven, most of Jami's power is accounted for anyway."

"Alright," Jami said. "Was it an even split for power between us?"

"Not really. Riven got fewer memories and a good deal less Mind power, and almost no Catalysm at all."

"These contemporary Elkandu got it easy, didn't they," Jami said.

"They're a good deal more powerful than mages were a thousand years back," Shazmar said.

"But a good deal less than they got one million years ago."

"There's further to go than people are now?" Jami asked. "By the standards I remember, people seem to have come a long way..."

"They had a greater understanding of the Cruces then, and created huge planes and a great civilization."

"Cruces, eh?" Jami asked. "They? A lot of people could create Planes?"

"Did you ever wonder why nobody remembers prebirths from that era?"

"I have," Jami said. "People don't generally remember prebirths, period. I suppose this splitting is why?"

"They were too powerful," Shazmar said. "Their souls split, and memories faded."

"Is this sort of thing common knowledge?" Jami asked.

"Well, after I realized nobody knew that anymore, I tried to spread the word a little to the twits wishing for power."

"Do people still do it?" Jami wondered.


"You know, Riven did wish for power, I discovered," Jami said. "And, in the terms of this universe at least, that was pretty wasted."

Shazmar shrugged. "He got his wish, and he's still alive."

"Not here, he isn't," Jami said.

"Kind of."

"At least tell me he's alright, wherever he ended up?" Jami asked.

"But it isn't my business if some moron goes off and falls off a cliff and dies five minutes after wishing for power," Shazmar said.

"No, certainly not, I can see why not."

"He's perfectly fine."

"Good, I think," Jami said. "But really. In terms of this timeline, his wish got absolutely wasted. Almost unused. Hmm?"

"He's not here, so what does it matter?" Shazmar said. "I gave Lakisval her three wishes in the timeline I sent her to."

"Mmm. That little bitch, yes." Jami said. "You're right, Riven isn't here. He's elsewhere. And, as I said, effectively his wish wasn't used in this timeline."

"Yes it was."

"Its use isn't being continued."

"Wishes are a one-shot thing, not continuous," Shazmar pointed out.

"You've refunded some before." Such useful documents, Jami thought.

"I was bored," Shazmar said with a shrug.

"And aren't now?" Jami said, raising an eyebrow.

"Oh, no, you are highly entertaining."

"Glad to hear it, I think." He told girls they were 'entertaining' all the time to bug them. So he didn't let Shazmar bug him with it. It really did make people feel small. But he knew that. If he knew the purpose of life was to entertain Shazmar (and he already suspected that) he'd not let it show that it bugged him.

Shazmar giggled. "Besides. Not a damn thing I could give you you don't have access to already. Unless it involved timelines or some such."

"As you say, people always wish for things they can get anyway. So I'd have to be inventive."

"No, that wasn't what I meant," Shazmar said.


"I meant there's almost nothing they could wish for that they can't get anyway."

"Ah," Jami said. "So effectively, wishes encourage laziness."


"Why continue giving them out?" Jami asked.

"Even custom planes are doable once they attain immortality and sufficient power," Shazmar said. "Because I'm bored and it encourages them to try harder? Ironic, isn't it? They put great effort into their laziness."

"I know," Jami said. "I mean, Kirren tried hard enough, she made a Plane. And before it was the trendy thing to do."

"Besides," Shazmar said. "Some people like doing it for the title and never use the wishes."

"Mmm," Jami said. "Dante has what, like, twenty now?" Clearly an exaggeration because he didn't have exact figures. "Never knew a man less likely to need them."

"Its really most useful to a weaker mage that manages to win something," Shazmar said.

"So, what, they can wish for power?"

Shazmar shrugged. "So that it isn't quite as much a given that they wont need it anyway."

"Power gain's a lengthy procedure on its own," Jami said.

"You've gone well enough for yourself," Shazmar said.

"I was fairly good at it."

"What with those gems you won't need it anyway."

Jami glanced at his wrist. "Mmm."

"Trying to become the most powerful telepath in the universe again?" Shazmar asked.

"Just a small collection of what's in mensch stores on a mensch world," Jami replied. "And only in a small area, too. Others would have more. Aren't I already?" He grins.

"No, I'd say that's a fairly impressive collection," Shazmar said. "Though Theryn and Sannari have more. And I think Catalina would dispute that."

"Mmm," Jami said. "Such strange names, I have no idea who these people are. And I think Catalina -- female, I take it? -- is going to see that her claim is baseless."

"She beat Riven."

"Riven didn't inherit my telepathy."

"But he got your skill."

"Mmm," Jami said. "Sometimes, strength is what's required."

"And Catalina's skill is higher."

"Than mine?"



"She knows everything Jami knew about mind, everything Ishane knows, and then a good deal of ingenuity of her own."

"Why the hell would she know what I knew?" Jami asked. "Stupid fucking tactless rebirth..."

"Clearly because she got into Riven's mind at one point or another. She was, however, elected to the Lezarian Council because she's the strongest tepper on Lezaria."

"Teppers... mmm..."

"And she was even smart enough to wish for things she couldn't get on her own."

"Like?" Jami asked.

"Like being able to project and touch-amplify her Mind magic in any form."

"Like me!"


"Pssh, I didn't have to wish for that," Jami said. "You just have to, uhm, gamble." He wasn't his smartest that day he did that, he had to admit.

"Most people don't want to pester Sardill for that, seeing as they could end up worse off."

"Yeah," Jami agreed. "I still wonder how I survived that day."

"By the way, you should know Riven once pissed off Sardill and he said he might or might not do something about it eventually."

"Oh, shit."

Shazmar smiled innocently.

"Shit," Jami said. "Pissed off how badly?"

"By mind-controlling him."

"Oh shit!"

"Aren't you glad you aren't Riven?" Shazmar said lightly.

"Fairly," Jami said. "Except I am."

"You're Jami-Dan'roth."

"I suppose."

"Of course, who really knows with Sardill," Shazmar said. " "By the way, he's fucking Kirren."

"He's more likely to offer me tea," Jami said. "Though I doubt that's an impr--WHAT? That fucking bastard."

"She's been reborn, too, yeah."

"Kirren..." Jami said.

"Name's Lena now, as you may have seen on the competition records."

"Her... mmm. Doing pretty well," Jami said. "But fucking Sardill? That guy is one ugly bastard. Eww."

"Apparently she thought he was nicer than you."

Jami blinked. "She always did have a good sense of humor."

Shazmar smiled.

Jami sighed. "Him, of all people."

"And the mother of Riven's children is fucking a fuzzy kitty who is the rebirth of somebody he once killed."

"Riven had kids?" Jami said. "They still alive?"

"Well... some of them, yes."

"Where?" Jami wondered. "Who?"

Shazmar ticked them off on his fingers. "Rendalla is the oldest, and Celise and Lelise are around... somewhere... but two of them were killed."

"Killed?" Jami asked.

"Yeah, Sharina murdered them as infants."


"Under orders by Lakisval."

"That bitch," Jami said. "I want to find her and throttle her."

"Oh, that might be hard, she's in Timeline Linear-Pi now."

"Eh?" Jami said. "Messing with timelines? She's worse off, then."

"She wished herself out of the timeline after Sharina backstabbed her."

"Good for her." Jami was really hit hard by the Kirren thing. Though he never did a great job of showing it, he loved her.

"Rendalla, Celise, and Lelise are all demons, though," Shazmar said. "Actually, the twins are demon-celestials."

"Aww, my kids are demons," Jami said. "Celestials?"



"Celestials are the third ascension."

"The second being?" Jami asked.

"Immortals, collectively. Demons, angels, avatars, and such, are different types of immortal."

"Demons like me."

"You're not a demon." Shazmar giggled.

"No. I am," and he dropped his voice dramatically, "THE DEVIL!"

Shazmar laughed lightly.

"What?" Jami demanded.

"Anyway, Those are the names they were given at birth, Their soul-names are Vanankyte, Suzcecoz, and Ayande."

"Suzy!" Jami said. "How's that for unlikely?"

"Yeah, after Ishane killed her, her soul split and she got reborn as Riven's twins.."

"Ishane killed her?" Jami said. "Ishane? What is he doing around, anyway?"

"Ruling the universe, mainly," Shazmar replied with a shrug.

"Oh, nice." If Jami couldn't kill Sardill for fucking Kirren, he could hardly hold a grudge with Ishane for hitting on her a few hundred years ago.

"It was really rather sad. He had some nice games of chess with Riven before the latter started being a jerk."

Jami laughed. "Did Riven win, at least?"

"Watching those two was always amusing," Shazmar said. "Occasionally."

"Wait, jerk? You wound me."

Shazmar winked.

"You're one hell of a God, you know."

"Well, yes," Shazmar said. "Suzcecoz fixed one of those knowledge orbs for him and restored his memories."

"Mmm," Jami said. "Y'know, those fake Gods, like Keolah and stuff, they'd hardly stand around in my kitchen talking about history."

"Fake?" Shazmar said. "No, they're not deities, they're just celestials."

"Yeah. Whatever. So what the hell am I?"

"You're an avatar."

"Nifty," Jami said. "Which is?"

"Okay, avatars are immortals that are dedicated to a specific virtue, and thus their power is enhanced in the area of that virtue."

"What virtue am I?" Jami asked.

"Torment," Shazmar replied.


"What did you think it was? Joy and Hope?" Shazmar giggled.

"You created a universe in which people like me gain power in their, erm, area of experience, if they're good at it?" Jami said. "You created a fucking universe where people who hurt others become better able to do their job?"

"Sure, why not?"

"Can I have a hug?" Jami thought that's absolutely stupid/terrific.

Shazmar giggled, and hugged him. Jami kept the hug pretty short, but was grinning. God was not a dipshit like most stories would make a God out to be. This God was, overall, pretty equal to the men of... alternate lifestyles, as well. Life would be boring if there were no evil people around. Oh, Jami knew people hated him.

"So I'm not the best nor post powerful telepath in the world. That's disappointing."

"Considering soul-splitting and all the practice Catalina has gotten the last few decades..." Shazmar said. "She's a demon, too, by the way."

Jami needed to get hooked up with some gems, some books, and a time field. "Mmm." She was a likely target for him. Once he was capable of taking her on.

"Bad enough there's two of her in this timeline," Shazmar said. "But no, Ishane insisted on bringing in his girlfriends... but the other-timeline one isn't as strong or skilled as her, by far."

"Mmm... really..." Something to use against her, if he could get the memories of her childhood.

"Yeah. Angelita can't even project, and lots her metamorphhood due to not using it."

"Metamorph?" Jami asked.

"Another type of immortal. The change-based one."

"Is there a mind-based one?" Jami wondered.


"What is it?"

"It doesn't have a name in this language yet," Shazmar replied. "Metamorphs are basically... oh, what you and Thorn were before you were reborn."

"Let us refer to it as a 'Sill', for lack of a better word," Jami said. "Oh, nifty. But... I lost it?"

"It doesn't carry over past rebirths," Shazmar said. "It's very volatile."

"I thought it was just a freak accident, impossibly to redo."

"Nah. It's the Change ascension, achieved through paradox," Shazmar said. "Damned annoying thing, too."

"Paradox?" Jami said. "I know."

"That's how the timelines ended up getting mixed up, too."

"Bloody hate Time magic," Jami said. "Can't you outlaw it or something? Your universe."

"So, there's been two instances of paradox in recent times. Azale became a metamorph, then Min did as well later, and she spread it to several others." Shazmar gave Min a sort of glare.

"You really don't like it, I take it," Jami said. "But what of this Mind ascension?"

"I don't mind it," Shazmar said. "It's there for a reason. It gives me an excuse to rewrite the continuity of the universe without anyone being able to complain about it."

"That's quite the reason," Jami said.

"And thus it allows me to randomly change history and call it paradox."

"Nifty," Jami said. "Do you do that often?"

"Not anymore, no," Shazmar said. "I did it during the Planar Wars, though, to make Rhuan less stupid and annoying."

"Couldn't you just have offed him at the beginning and saved everyone some trouble?" Jami asked.

"Nah, he'd gotten himself tangled in so far that I'd have had to rewrite everything majorly to do it."

"I don't mean fix everything starting at where it began to go wrong," Jami said. "I mean go up to him and destroy his body."

"So I just took out the stupider things that he and his co-souls had done and left in anything that was required for the universe to end up the way I wanted it."

"Or that." Aww. Now Jami thought, hey, maybe I was co-born by design because Shazzy wanted me to be.

Shazmar smiled.

"Really," Jami said. "About that mind ascension. Whatever you arbitrarily choose to call it. What's it like?"

"I haven't decided yet."

"So it doesn't exist?" Jami raised an eyebrow.

"Oh, it exists..."

"Yet you haven't decided what it's like."

"Right," Shazmar said. "After I decide what it's like, I'll arbitrarily go back in time and add it back there."


"This is a process known as 'retroactive continuity', or retcon for short."

"Do I get to give input and help test?" Jami asked.

"Then after that, I'll pretend it was there the whole time," Shazmar said.

"It makes perfect sense, for those of us capable of messing with Time without spontaneously combusting," Jami said. "The rest of us just smile and nod."

Shazmar smiles.

Jami nodded.

"I think Sylphs are a type of faerie, though," Shazmar said.

"A what?"

"You know," Shazmar said. "Like pixies and stuff."

"And what does that have to do with this?" Jami asked. "Retcon-naming your thing?"

"Well, most of the names of the current ascensions are those of ancient mythologies," Shazmar explained. "Like the Phoenix is a legendary bird, and thus I created the Fire-ascension based on that legend."

"Really ancient, it seems," Jami said. "Nifty."

"Yeah, the Terrans came up with all sorts of fun things."

"So you let them invent something, steal the idea, make something based off it, and make it look like they based it off your creation?" Jami asked.

"They see some old dead bones of dinosaurs and think it's a flying fire-breathing lizard," Shazmar said. "Who said humans have no imagination?"

"Humans are better than, say, elves. By far."

"Hehe." Shazmar giggled. "Elves are just humans with pointy ears."

"The ears must take away from the brain mass."

"Though they were all once human at one point anyway," Shazmar said. "Until Harmony and Sardill and Amanda started messing with things."

Jami thought this had by far set the record for longest known conversation anyone had had with Shazmar. "Mmm. Sardill. Bastard."

"He did create the teppers after all."

"He did it wrong," Jami said. "Clearly, if you're going to create a race, give them an advantage, don't balance them with everyone else."

"They didn't have mind at all before."

"Still... to limit it like that?" Jami asked.

"Well, originally, he hadn't intended it as a limit."

"When it became one, he could have altered accordingly."

"If you could never change before, and then were granted the ability to turn into a dragon, and only a dragon, would you consider it a limit?" Shazmar asked.

"But the further generations, who always had that power?" Jami said. "Of course they'd yearn for more."

"Though I must say his habit of enchanting the entire universe to do things irritates me a little," Shazmar said. "It's all these weaves all over, rather like all the random signals flying all over Terra in the early twenty-first century..."

"If you want to stop him, go ahead."

"Of course, it'd most likely mean most teppers wouldn't be able to use Mind at all, then," Shazmar said.

"Too many fucking telepaths as it is."

"Seems the popular thing to be these days, yes," Shazmar said. "Talents go through phases, you know. At one point, it was Dream. Everyone wanted to be a dreamwalker." Shazmar blinked.

"Then evvvvveryone wanted to be able to create matter because only three people could do it, or something."

"The Void phase was the worst," Shazmar said. "Thankfully, I put a damned stop to it."

"Mmph," Jami said. "Void. Hate the stuff. It's like Time, but... yeah."

"Silly name, really," Shazmar said. "Most magic termed Void Magic had nothing to do with it."

"You should create Universal Elementalist Week, or something. No one ever seems to jump at the idea of being a Water mage."

"They do now at the competition is going."

"When's the next one of those?" Jami asked. "Two years?"

"Yup. Though in that case it usually means an easy wish. Elemental events tend to be easier, since there's few really good ones that come up, except in Plant."

"Mmm," Jami said. "If I get someone to put up a good time field, and get good books and some gems, I might actually be able to win something. Elements are mostly power, unfortunately, and my elemental power is severely lacking."

"There's a fast time field on the plane of Azcii. 1 week there to one hour here."

"That's a bit steep."

"Of course, it's also mana-dead, so I doubt you'd want to use that." Shazmar smiled.

"That's what, about half of the insane time field Silver usually lived in? Bloody terrific suggestion," Jami muttered.

"You're a catalyst, though, no?" Shazmar said lightly.

"By the meaning of I-can-enchant-stuff, yes."

"True catalysts can draw mana from the Ethereal Plane to use on mana-dead worlds."

"I never felt like going to a mana-dead world to check, as it's rather hard to get off if you're wrong."

"Well, let's find out, then." They ended up in a place with some pyramids.

"Oh, great."

Shazmar smiled.

"This isn't the sort of thing you can just divine by looking at me?" Jami asked.

"I could, but I'm lazy."

"You're lazy, so you just teleported us here instead," Jami said. "You remind me of me. Unfortunately."

"We take great effort in our laziness."

Jami grinned and tried to draw mana from his surroundings. Of course, he got nothing. The feeling was actually quite annoying, the emptiness. Clearly, he shouldn't try to draw from his surroundings, since there wasn't any there.

"Okay," Jami said. "Definitely a mana-dead world. Definitely rather annoying to be here. Therefore, I need to try to access this 'Ethereal Plane' and get the hell off. Correct?"

"Of course, you can draw mana from the ethereal plane and use it however you want whilst on here anyway."

"True," Jami said. "And the Elkandu aren't likely to bother me, here. No chance of discovery."

"Nobody in their right mind would come here if they didn't know they could channel here, yes."

Too bad Shazmar always talked strangely, or Jami would be suspicious at the phrasing.

"Fortunately I'm in my left mind today. So let's try this." Jami closed his eyes and tried to figure this out. "Getting nothing... nothing..."

The ethereal plane is accessed rather like how you'd travel or scry to another location."

"I see," Jami said. "But lacking the ability to scry or travel right now, trying to extend like that is like trying to breathe with a pillow over your damned mouth."

"Just reach down and take the pillow off, then," Shazmar suggested helpfully.

"Yes, this hardly works," Jami said dryly.

"Just start as if you're going to travel."

"See, to think of things by way of scrying, you have to be able to scry to compare. But you can't scry unless you have mana. Which you don't have unless... Okay. Visualize far-away place and target. Right? I have no idea where the hell this Plane is."

"Mind-reading, perhaps?" Shazmar suggested.

"Eh?" Jami said. "What the hell do I probe? The universe?"

"It doesn't matter where the plane is anyway, since the Ethereal doesn't care about normal space."

"How about those funky yellow guys with machetes coming this way?" Shazmar suggested, pointing off at a group of gnomes approaching them.

Jami's eyes opened. "Ah. Them. You said earlier that I wouldn't die anytime soon, and I'd hate to make a liar out of you."

Shazmar chuckled.

"Okay," Jami said. "I am extend-visualizing something far away yet fundamentally probably pretty close. A place full of energy. And I need to sort of tap it, preferably without suffering terrific mana-burn, because I need to incinerate some rowdy natives."

"Pretty much," Shazmar said.

"And somehow there are people who know how to do this without anyone telling them how, therefore I'm very likely thinking too hard, as it's one of those instinctive things." Yes, thirty word sentences about thinking too much help the situation.

"Usually," Shazmar said lightly.

"Therefore, I just need to find some mana without getting it from somewhere physically within arm's reach." He tapped into some mana, and even managed to not overestimate and burn himself with it. "Great. Okay. At what, twenty meters, I should just make a nice big wall of fire? Fire is impressive."

Shazmar shrugged.

Jami watched the natives approach. Bloody fuckers. They started shouting at him in some odd language. He rather easily managed to just probe a few and get a good grasp of the language.

"Evil child of sun!" the gnomes were yelling. "Come from heavens to do the Dark Lord's bidding!"

Jami snickered.

"He shall belch at our feasts and exchange unholy saliva like a pig, we must slay him!"

"You know," he said without speaking -- effectively, mass-tepped to them -- "if I'm from the heavens, I can probably burn you all to a crisp where you stand."

They stopped for moment and blinked, looking at one another. It was quiet enough that they could clearly know he didn't shout it at them. Apparently seeing the others heard it too, they were a little unnerved. Jami was chuckling to himself. Mensch-heckling. He did want to know what this Dark Lord was, initially because it was fun to imitate such evil religious figures.

Worse mensch than usual. At least most mensch knew what magic was. They all, of course, knew the mysterious Dark Lord Sardill, who brought down the Children of the Moon to belch at their feast several years back.

"You know Shazmar," Jami muttered, "bringing me to some world Sardill apparently owns isn't terrifically polite of you."

None of them had ever actually seen him, though. Even knowing the name was pretty bad, so far as Jami was concerned.

Shazmar said, "Oh, he abandoned this place several years back."

"Joy. Any chance he's returning anytime soon?"

"They still recognize the name?" Shazmar said. "It would have been centuries for them."

"Amazing," Jami said. "He must have made quite an impression." It had, apparently, grown into a legend. "Of course, even parlor tricks impress mensch who don't know magic at all."

"Indeed," Shazmar agreed.

"So I'm a Child of the Sun," Jami said. "Fun."

"And I'm an emu."

A large enough localized Illusion passed over the sun's light slowly, blocking it out for about fifteen seconds. The natives gasped and babbled in shock.

"Question," Jami asked. "Do magical gems lose magicalness or not function on mana-dead worlds?"

"They contain mana, just like your soul does."

"Okay," Jami said. "One moment, I just have to deal with these folk a second."

Shazmar nodded.

"To keep me from being angry and laying waste to you all, take from your village the prettiest woman, the oldest woman, and the youngest woman. The first, all men must urinate upon, to purify her, then she must be cast into the river. The old woman must be married to the most handsome man. The young girl must be sacrificed upon an altar. Do these things and you will be spared."

This, he wide-area-tepped again. Such a stupid set of ideas. They babbled and looked around to one another in confusion.

A great ball of fire ignites in the sky. Illusion, because it was far easier. "Do it!" he tepped.

They squealed and scrambled around frantically.

"Sorry," Jami said to Shazmar, "that had to be dealt with."

Shazmar giggled.

"A pretty place, but I can't stay here," Jami said. "Yet. I still have to deal with Kim, and gather resources."

Shazmar nodded.

"Thank you for teaching me how to tap like that, though."

Shazmar grinned.

"When you retcon up a mind ascension you'll tell me, right?" Jami asked.


"I mean, theoretically, it exists now, but it'll cause far less headaches if we don't dwell on it.

Shazmar snickered.

"... does Daresa still have the time field? Hell, does it even still exist?" Jami asked.

"No time field, but it exists."

"Okay," Jami said. "Hell. Hmm. I need to go back to Hell..."

"The field got destroyed in the Planar Wars."

"Planar Wars," Jami said. "Nasty times?"

"Chaos and paradox, yes," Shazmar said.

"Mmm," Jami said. "Glad I missed it."

"It was a good time to miss, yes."

So a pretty girl will get pissed on, a baby will get sacrificed, and a cute guy will get married to an old hag. Alternatively, they'll stand around arguing over who is the prettiest. And the girls will be like, "Oh! Me! Pick me!"

"Perhaps we should get back," Jami said. "They'll be wondering where we went... for all of the five seconds we've been gone for, there."

Shazmar chuckled, and nodded. He teleported them back.

Jami grinned at Sedder. "Don't mind us. Having manly, big-boy, universal-ruler talk."

Sedder snickered. It'll be a miracle, if he didn't get bored and start fucking or something in the time they'd been talking.

Jami didn't get his wish out of it. But he thought he got something far better. He felt a lot better prepared to... well... take over the universe. And a plane he could sit around on where no one would pester him, too. Even if they got past the time-field issue, there'd still be the lack of mana and the fact that there was nothing useful there anyway. It was the lack of mana, mostly, that meant people wouldn't bug him.