“We can use him”
Overnight Ulfridda had a change of heart. At dinner she had quietly but clearly expressed that they would travel to the Durmand Priory without Korr, but as they left she had stopped dead in the tent opening and stood for many minutes in silence.
“We can use him”
“How?” Koda’s Breath asked.
“He is immune to magics, and can’t use them.”
“So, he will be immune to Jormag too?”
“Probably. I’ll tell Skode we will accept her Dark gift”
“I think it’s best you stay away from her, elder.” Ulfridda smiled, and Koda’s Breath grinned.
“Go ahead, apprentice. I’ll get the rest of your things packed”
Koda’s Breath made his way from their small tent to the edge of the jotun group. He identified himself, and the guard grunted his approval for entry. Skoda was longing on a divan of twigs, and wearing a shift that was a hair’s breath away from completely transparent.
“Ulfridda has decided to allow Korr to accompany us.” Koda’s Breath turned his eyes away, and Skode rose from the bed to brush the wind chimes again.
“She is not your leader kodan. You are destined to lead. She holds too much sway over you. I am not happy about my child going with her, but I am only a watcher of destiny, not its’ maker.” Korr entered from the back of the tent, dragging a small wagon behind him. It was laden with food, barrels of water, and heavy skins for tents.
“She will pose no threat to Korr. I think she harbours no ill will towards giants, just the jotun.”
“Considering her past, I do not blame her ill will. But I’ll not forget her actions in carrying out those feelings. She is too hot-headed kodan, although she hides it well. The jotnarbane will betray you.”
“Thank you for your counsel, regent, but we must be going. I must find a way to save my Claw.”
“Good luck, Koda’s Breath. I hope we do not meet again.”
Korr bent down and touched his face to Skode’s.
“Goodbye mother. I will make you proud.”
“Goodbye my sweet. You already do.”
After their moment, Korr and Koda’s Breath made their way out into the cold of the dawn. The sun had begun to make its slow trek towards the sky, and the hoar caused the ground to sparkle like diamonds. It reminded Koda’s Breath of The Spear, and he walked a little faster.
Ulfridda waited for them at Brandalf’s steading, and when they arrived hauled her and Koda’s Breath’s packs onto the wagon. She then turned to them both and issued a warning.
“Neither of you are prepared for the dangers we will face on the road to the Priory. Koda’s Breath, you are not experienced enough to face many of the dangers here, and Korr, you’re barely a teenager, let alone a competent fighter. I will keep you safe, but you must both do exactly as I say, whenever I say it.
“Yes Elder” Koda’s Breath nodded.
“Yes Ulfridda” Korr bowed, and picked up the wagon.
“Good. Let’s go. The road is far and dangerous, and we need to make fast time. We head for Toran Hollow.” With that she marched into the snow, following the road southwest.
“Rata Sum is humming with activity today”
“Rata Sum is always humming, bookah. Its part of the charm”
“You know what I meant Oilli. I have been dreading this day”
“Oh come on, it’s not every day you get to present an invention to the college masters! This project was your design Alepe! You’re going to smash them out of the water. Testing was favourable, mostly” Oilli poked his shoulder, and he rubbed the mark that she made with a sour face.
“And what will happen if the golem goes haywire? You know we should not have messed with the sedition inhibition crystal.”
“We just tweaked it a little.”
Alepe gave his krewe member a sharp look as the college masters filed into the presentation area. “Councillor Yahk isn’t here. We asked him to attend.”
“Dolyaks balls’ on him then. He is gonna miss a pretty cool show.” Oilli winked, and took her place behind the backup control interface for their new prototype golem, the M35-M3R.
The krewe had been working on this prototype for over a year. Oilli had provided the golemancing knowledge, and Forra had designed the new control crystals. Alepe, the leader, had created the new Elixir M, and working together the protoype had come to fruition. Today, they presented their combined work to the college masters.
“Next up, Al-eeps krewe presents their M35-M3R prototype” The herald bellowed, his little asuran lungs barely carrying his voice across the space.
“Umm, its Aleyp” Alepe shouted, and giggles erupted around the hall. The master of the college of syngergetics clapped her hands and the giggles stopped.
“Show us what you have, krewe leader, and make it snappy. I have places to be.”
“Ok, just…ok” Alepe nodded to Oilli, who powered up the golem.
“May I present our golem prototype, the M35-M3R, the first golem to be able to create clones!”
A ripple of excitement ran through the crowd. Alepe found his courage and nodded at Forra. The old asura whacked the large crate sitting in the middle of the hall, and it fell open to reveal a small golem. Cogs whirred, and the injectors pumped Elixir M across the golem’s structure, and the small golem stood. It was not taller than three feet, as a prototype would not be required to carry out any important functions.
The college of statics’ master spoke up. “So, it replicates itself?”
Alepe smiled. “In a way. I have developed this elixir, patent pending, that allows the golem to replicate the mind powers of a mesmer. It can, without possessing a brain of its own, create realistic clones in the minds of those around it. Oilli, release the test subject please.”
A small, white rabbit was released from a cage near Oilli’s feet. It padded its’ way across the hall to the plate of carrots near the golem’s feet.
“Since we are not sure of the effects of creating clones from sentient beings’ minds, we have elected to use this rabbit as a test subject. In a moment, the golem will lock onto the rabbit and begin creating clones. We have set the limit to two for the purposes of testing.”
Alepe stood back and let the golem go to work. The headpiece turned towards the rabbit and began to glow pink and purple. In a moment, a duplicate appeared to the side of the golem with a fain pop. After a few more moments, another appeared. The crowed gasped, and burst into applause. Asura rushed across the hall to congratulate the krewe, and in the loudness, no one heard another pop, and then another.
It was not until there were nine golem clones that one of the audience began screaming. The crowd dispersed, and the peacekeepers rushed in, and began attacking the clones. With every clone destroyed, two more seemed to take its place. The hall became filled with golem clones.
“Can’t you do something?” one of the members of Dynamics screamed at Alepe.
“We have to find that rabbit! If we kill it we sever the connection of the elixir.”
Alepe scanned the ground, as the room filled with more and more golems. Finally, he saw a small trail of carrot and paw prints on the floor. Opening his toolbelt, he took a swig of Elixir S, and immediately shrunk down to smaller than a foot tall. He raced across the floor, dodging the ever growing pile of golems, which now threatened to reach the ceiling. He found the rabbit quivering in the corner, and with a quick action, its neck snapped. The room instantly cleared.
Alepe and his krewe were marched in front of High Councillor Flax.
“Do you three know what you’ve done?” The High Councillor was furious.
“We may have slightly overstepped—“
“Rata Sum is now THREE UNITS LOWER! THREE UNITS! The weight of your golems made our city SINK!” Flax spat.
“But we successfully proved that the elixir works” Alepe said.
“You proved you three are dangerous and complete BOOKAHS! That being said, yes, you were successful. But dangerous. I don’t want you three testing here. I’m ordering this program to be taken under the supervision of Gixx. I want you ready to travel to the Durmand Priory immediately. His facilities can better contain these types of experiments. Leave.” Flax sat down and swivelled his chair around. Alepe, Oilli and Forra made their way to their lab and began packing. Oilli broke the silence.
“Reckon we will be able to come back soon?”
Forra answered. “If we do, I’ll be glad. I hate the cold of Lornar’s Pass.”
Alepe didn’t know what to say. In one day, he had lost his home, his lab, and his credibility.