I have the memories of five warriors, but this would be my first battle on home territory under my own power. Preparing for it had been by spinal reactions, but inside, there was a small corner of my brain looking for a place to hide. Waiting for the go signal, that small piece of me wanted to run, but I knew this was something that needed to be done.
Suddenly there was too much going on, keeping track of the patrol made up of Jaegers who had learned to swim and Qli taking Beck out of harm’s way - that which was called Steel Head by the urchins was cornered, even if it did not know. As soon as it realized it was cut off, we would need to banish it quickly.
Zaide’s notes said the key to the thing would be something small, easily carried by the primary life form of the plane. Finding it visually in this morass of flotsam was difficult, especially while dodging the large bodies in battle. The boxcar was huge if you were searching for something that fit in the hand, but far too small for a patrol of Jaegers to duke it out with something making a bid for demigod. At Father’s shout, I risked flying by wireframe in Sight.
THERE! It glowed feebly with Beck’s soul trapped in the web, and I was horrified to find the web was made up of the wisps of the souls caught before him! The thing was making the prison stronger with each soul it caught to anchor! Smashing it would do no good, Beck would die, and the others would not go on to the planes of their beliefs.
Papa picked up on my distress, and growled, “Do vat hyu must, Hy will coffer.” With his bulk between me and that thing that did not belong here, I had to move fast. Unmaking something made by a mind this twisted was hard, like trying to explain land physics to a fish, but I had a little help from Beck, as he roiled about in the center, and oddly enough, from Chi Yun. He had been tapped as a herald, but had been killed before the call had pulled him in completely. He writhed in impatience as we unwove the prison holding them.
Beck’s sluggish reactions meant he would need help finding his way, but we had that already. As Chi Yun joyfully folded into the space between planes for his reincarnation, and what was left of Polish Bob was gathered to Purgatory for reformation, I gathered Beck up and pitched him to the catcher on the pier, mentally shouting **Lady Fairycat! Heads up!** Even as she winced at the horrid (and really unintentional, honest!) pun, Softpaw pulled his soul and body back together.
Then Ya Yiwama got angry.
Thrashing about, it reached for the tooth, throwing the patrol around as if they were children's toys. The last bit of the tooth was still holding him here, and I frantically incinerated it, the last of the ash disintegrating to nothing just before the thing reached Papa. When it was gone, so was Steal Head, then something shifted under the boxcar, and it began to slide into the harbor. Papa shouted, “Shift out, Hy get out onder!” and he dove for the opening on the underside of the boxcar, following Decebalus and Radu.
Qli was wedged up against the wall, not moving. I was able to reach her as the water reached half-way up the tilting boxcar floor. At my touch, she initiated a galvanic transmission, [SELF-DIAGNOSIS: TESSERACTOR DESTROYED. SPINAL COLUMN DESTROYED. LIMBS DESTROYED. SAVE YOURSELVES. COLLECT ME AFTER. POWERING DOWN.] I kissed her forehead and promised, “I will be back for you after I get the diving gear.” Then I slipped between planes to the place Father had designated as the medical triage area.
Back in the swing
10 months ago