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Flashback 3: Summoning Circle

Posted by on Jun 20, 2015 in Vidar's Boot: Chapter 05.66 (Summoning Circle) | 0 comments

– 1 –

Posted by on Jun 20, 2015 in Vidar's Boot: Chapter 05.66 (Summoning Circle) | 0 comments

The snake is coiled around the world. It has its tail hooked in its mouth — well, more than that. It has its tail hooked all the way through it, tail to head and to tail again.

It breathes and its breath catches on that hook; expands and pulls; scrapes and lathes the tailtip through brain, lungs, heart, stomach, and tailtip again. It inhales and its brain is drawn to where its tail has been; its lungs fill with the food that had been in its stomach and its stomach fills with air. It exhales and it is restored.

The snake had folded itself into being. It had crafted itself from the sea and from the snake-wroth that was the dream of it, but it had folded itself into being poorly — somewhere along the path of its assembly, it had gotten itself twisted, it had gone all Möbius and Ouroboros. You could even say, I think, if you were being cruel, that it was bad at origami

But then again, you try folding a world-circling snake out of random things you find drifting in the sea, when all you have to use as manipulator appendages are the innards of the snake itself, and see if you can do any better than that.

And even then —

It wasn’t its fault. Not really. It was Hans’. He’d caught it forming; he’d helped to twist it. He’d led it down a bad-origami garden path. It was like a garden path that leads to Hell, only, it was folded paper.

He was the kind of guy who did things like that to giant paper snakes.

It hurt. It hurt quite a lot, to be the giant paper snake. It hurt worse than to be the nithrid, when Hans had lined the cage of her bones with knives. It hurt worse than the wolf is hurt, cut fourteen hundred years by a svart-elf cord.

Even if the three wolves were still one creature in some sense —

Even if you could lump Skoll’s fiery death and Fenris’ suppurating, bone-deep cord wounds onto the same scale, add them together —

It still wouldn’t compare to the suffering of the snake.

That’s why it had come to Cheryl, when she was young. She was a girl. She was quite good at origami. I mean, really good. For a human.

So it had begged her.

Help me die.

– 2 –

Posted by on Jun 20, 2015 in Vidar's Boot: Chapter 05.66 (Summoning Circle) | 0 comments

Sid is swaying. Sid is pale. Sid is wearing an awful hat.

It’s an underground fighting tournament, though, so Max doesn’t let that distract him.

He’s there to fight!

Max swirls his longcoat. He steps back. He intones: SNOWSTORM.

Clouds start gathering over Max’s head.

Sid clenches a hand. He finishes drawing his summoning circle. His arms are all-over scratches and his eyes are bright from lack of sleep.

He rasps: FIREBALL.

“Way to go,” says Max, impressed. He grins. He watches Sid’s hand closely as Sid brings up the fireball. Sid winds it up. He throws it.

Max dodges to the side.

Max’s snow fairy manifests. Snowflakes begin to fall all around Max. Max pushes at the air and the snowstorm flows over and begins dumping snow down on Sid.

Sid growls: FIREBALL.

Max flicks his eyes to the fairy. He cautions: “Don’t let it —”

Sid hurls the fireball at the snow fairy. The snow fairy’s hair singes. Her eyes turn into Xs. She falls back onto her cloud.

“— hit you,” Max sighs.

Then he shrugs. He snaps his fingers. WHOMPING STICK, he summons.

A whomping stick appears in his hand. He whomps Sid. Sid staggers. Sid falls.

Sid rasps: FIREBALL.

It is too much for Sid. Sid is beginning to bleed from the nose.

“Um,” says Max.

Sid throws it. FIREBALL, he whispers. FIREBALL.

“Um,” says Max again.

Sid pulls himself to his feet. His hands are burning.

“I’m going to beat you,” he whispers. “It’s OK. I’m totally fine.”

Sid’s hat drools slime along his forehead. He wobbles. He hurls, both fireballs and the contents of his stomach, at almost but not exactly the same time.

FIREBALL, whispers Sid.

“You’re going to hurt yourself,” says Max. He is appalled, but Sid doesn’t seem to care.


Flames whip up. They rage through the circle. They howl around Max and he repels them with a swirl of his longcoat and a NEGATE.

Sid’s eyes are bleeding. His nose is pouring blood. He sniffles and accidentally chokes on it. He leans over, gasps for breath. He is pale and gaunt.


But Max has wrapped his arms around Sid now. He is holding him up.


Max isn’t fighting him but holding him. He is whispering, fiercely, in Sid’s ear, “Geez, kid, stop.”





Max holds him until Sid is exhausted. Until he can no longer summon. Until he is crying on Max’s shoulder and he has nothing left.

“I have to win,” whispers Sid, and sobbing wracks him.

Max holds him there, but he does not fight.

– 3 –

Posted by on Jun 20, 2015 in Vidar's Boot: Chapter 05.66 (Summoning Circle) | 0 comments

Help me die, it had begged her. But she can’t kill it.

Not even in her night-hat. Not even with the inspiration burning in her mind from Dreams.

The mites she sends to devour it are integrated instead into its form.

The blades she uses to skewer it have no effect.

She is a girl who is quite good at origami. I would say that the proviso “for a human” no longer applies. She is now quite good at origami, abstractly. I think if she’d ever met Death, Cheryl would have folded him; and if she’d folded against the Devil, well, I wouldn’t have wanted to bet on either one.

She can take the air and she can fold it into a flower. She can fold a paper army into life.

But she can’t kill the paper serpent.

It’s got too much of Hans’ work in it. To make his twist endure — to ensure that the serpent never got out from under him — he’d had to use an immortal and unlimited trick. The mechanism of its torment sustains it: it cannot die for to die is to escape Hans’ prison.

She tries to kill it. She can’t kill it.

It is too well-woven. Too cleverly twisted. Too vast.

Posted by on Jun 20, 2015 in Vidar's Boot: Chapter 05.66 (Summoning Circle) | 0 comments