This story begins with Topaz Bond – The Call (1). To access installments in narrative sequence, click on an entry title, then click on “Next” at the end of that installment.
“Listen, Yuki told me that somewhere in Aum there was a war once. A war of magic. The athletes fought the beasts. The athletes had talent but pride as individuals. The beasts had numbers, and they moved in packs and herds. It got ugly. The vortex brokered a truce. The athletes got the coast, which is where ambitious fuckheads usually show up, and the beasts got everything on the other side of the mountains, which is where nice people usually show up. You know, people like you. The vortex has been hanging around the coast ever since, keeping the athletes’ numbers low.”
Abelard seemed to speak to himself now. “So it’s not just an athlete’s swimming pool – it’s the swimming pool of an athlete who has broken the truce. Just bloody wonderful.”
“Abelard.” She touched his hippo haunch. “Nobody’s there.”
“Athletes can totally teleport, Opele. It’s no good; we’ll have to come back with numbers.”
“How can we find a way to any specific place in this desert if the regions get all jumbled, like you said they do? These dunes all look alike!”
“Don’t know,” he grunted, “but I do know Yuki can teleport. She’s really powerful for a half-and-half like me. She’s held her own against an athlete before. Or so she said. We leave something here, something to link to. We find her, we find her herd, we come back. We talk big. Maybe we fight. We can’t let this bastard get away with breaking the truce. No fuckin’ way. This is our space!”
“You sound like you’re convincing yourself.”
“Maybe… but it surely won’t help to stand by the pool waiting for the swimmer to come back. C’mon, let’s get moving.”
“You said we should leave something?”
“Yeah. Tricky, that. Anything big enough for Yuki to sense could be detected by the athlete – wait, what are you –“
She held up a green-brown, two-inch kola nut, relishing the feel of its wrinkled pod against her hand. Her Iyanifa had shown her dried seeds. She’d only seen fresh, unbroken pods like this one in Internet images, but felt confident that holding one would feel just like this.
Abelard’s deer eye looked suspicious as he examined the nut; then, he spoke with approval. “Nice choice. The cultural associations will swamp your personal resonance. If the athlete finds it, he might destroy it or relocate it, but he probably won’t trace it. You’re a natural, Opele. Let’s bury it.”
The chime voice and the cello voice together sang praise to Ọlọrun the Creator. Opele found the song beautiful, but wished for the voices to sing in a language older than English.
Thank you for reading! In my next installment, Abelard gets curious.
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