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Flashback 2: Sid Joins the House of Torment

Posted by on Mar 16, 2015 in Vidar's Boot: Chapter 02.5 (Sid Joins the House of Torment) | 0 comments

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Posted by on Mar 16, 2015 in Vidar's Boot: Chapter 02.5 (Sid Joins the House of Torment) | 0 comments

See Sid.

Sid is staggering out of an underground secondary school fighting tournament arena.

Stagger, Sid, stagger!

Sid’s hands are covered in burns.

Sid has been trying to summon FIREBALL. Sid does not fireball well.

Sid goes to the private summoners’ buffet table. He finds the butter. He slathers it all over his hands.

Butter your burned hands, Sid, butter!

. . . wait.

That isn’t actually a good way to treat burns. If you looked it up on some sort of marvelous interconnected data network, you would discover this. You would laugh at the folly of Sid!

But Sid, he just butters his hands.

He leans back against the wall.

He sags.

He has been through a lot.

In addition to butter Sid is slathered in INTIMATION. This is the best summon that he is currently capable of. It’s an intimation that one day he’ll be able to summon something better. That he’ll be something really good one day. Something awesome. He’ll show you all what for.

He’s probably going to rule the world one day, or at least the arena.

That’s the implication of the INTIMATION Sid wears.

That’s what he looks like when Tom finds him. That’s what he seems like when Tom offers him his hat.

He’d still lost his battle, though.

Against Eugenie’s summon, TERRIFYING FOUR-ARMED APE . . . hints and intimations had not sufficed.

“You look like you’re going to be something,” says Tom.

Sid looks at him. He looks at the hat. He looks back at Tom. He doesn’t take the hat. Not yet. He holds up his buttered hands instead, in explanation.

He raises an eyebrow at Tom.

It’s been three years since Tom’s mother vanished. It’s been two and a half years since Tom lost his future to Jeremiah Clean. Two and a half years, and the space behind Tom’s ears is still pristine and dirt under his nails won’t stay.

“I mean, really something,” Tom Friedman explains.

Sid attempts to snap his fingers and point at Tom. He fails. After a moment he says, “I was going to think of something clever to say.”

“Oh,” says Tom.

“Oh!” says Sid, thinking of something to say just a second too late. “What are you doing here? How did you get in here? It’s supposed to be summoners only back here.”

“I command a swarm of robot bees,” says Tom.

“That’s not a summon,” Sid says. “If it were a summon it would be —”

He flings his arms to the sides dramatically. He stomps the ground: ROBOT BEES.

Tom shrugs.

“And also you’d need a summoning circle,” Sid says, embarrassedly, what with no robot bees actually appearing. It isn’t a summon at all! Sid rubs at his nose. He gets butter on it. He wishes suddenly that his nose had been chapped. Or a detachable but slightly dry food product. That would have been so efficient!

“Free-summoning them,” Sid says — “That’s way too hard!”

Tom tries again.

“If you are torn,” Tom explains. “If you are at war within yourself, or unfocused; if you are given to two destinies, or to no destiny at all —”

He pulls the hat back towards him. Then he holds it out again. He makes little micro-shoving, prompting gestures as if Sid should take it and put it on.

“Huh,” says Sid. He squints at the hat. He tilts his head to one side. “It’s talking to me,” he says.

“Is it?”

“I think? I can hear it. Is it alive?” asks Sid. “Hats aren’t supposed to be alive.”

“Put it on,” says Tom, ignoring the questions.

Sid looks uncertain.

“Put it on,” Tom says. “And you will ascend. You will become one thing, one good thing, perfection. Join me, my miscellaneous buttered boy, in the night-house; in the house of inspiration and science: in the House of Dreams!”

Sid takes the hat.

He lifts it up. He gets butter on the edges. Then he puts it on. He closes his eyes.

The room is still. The sun doesn’t move, or wouldn’t have done, if it had been in the room and moving anyway.

Sid shivers once, head to toe, as the hat transforms him.

Then he opens his eyes and he takes the hat off. He holds it out and gives it back to Tom.

Tom attempts to brush the butter off the edge of the hat before he puts it back on. He can’t do it. He rubs it, but it just greases the hat and the thumbs and the fingers of his hands!

He puts it back on.

“You’ll need a black hat,” says Tom, “of course —”

Sid shakes his head.

“That’s all right,” he says.

“But you have to wear a hat of your House’s color,” says Tom, uneasily. “It’s a . . . feature.”

Sid brushes at his hair uneasily with his hand a few times. He gets a couple strands of hair in his buttered burns. Then he gives Tom a little smile.

“Don’t worry about it,” he says. “Thank you. That was excellent.”

Tom frowns at him.

“I’ve got a purpose now,” says Sid. He grins. He looks up at the ceiling. His eyes flicker a bit. For a moment Tom almost sees the color that they become. Then he looks down. He gives Tom a wider grin. “I,” he says. “Isn’t that great? I finally have something I’m for.”


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Posted by on Mar 16, 2015 in Vidar's Boot: Chapter 02.5 (Sid Joins the House of Torment) | 0 comments

Congratulations, Sid!

Now you are Torment’s head boy!

Posted by on Mar 16, 2015 in Vidar's Boot: Chapter 02.5 (Sid Joins the House of Torment) | 0 comments