In The Shadow Of His Nemesis
Chapter Seventy Eight
By AL BRUNO III
Saturday, December 4th 1996
It was almost first light but for a time Piers Sauno simply stood and stared. Laurel House was just visible through the trees. The others were waiting but he just wanted to see for a while. Moments like this were to be savored. What was the point of life otherwise?
Laurel House was a magnificent thing, a scar in the surface of the world that had become a pearl. He could see it so clearly now, all the Monarchs could.
The identity of Piers Sauno was just an affectation, it wasn’t what he really was- he was beyond mortal form, beyond gender. The body he wore was nothing more than an elegantly designed apparatus. A biologic locus nested in the center of it, a species of life that had been twisted and tweaked until it was not quite cephalopod and not quite insect. A creature with blood of ammonia and a mind that was complex and empty. Through this locus the nameless Monarch that played at being Piers Sauno knew the world.
There were dozens of Monarchs waiting at the borderlands of Essence and with these tools they conspired together. They shared defeats and adventures, camaraderie and in some cases an echo of what mortal beings called love.
But when the walls came down all the Monarchs would fall to squabbling over the world. In their greed they would make war upon one another until only one remained. It would feed and feed until it died, sated and bloated with young. Those young would travel back across the Maelstrom to feast upon whatever new wonders might have grown there in their absence.
That was the cycle that had repeated itself through a thousand eternities and Piers Sauno felt a kind of reverence to know that he was a part of it.
He made a gesture and Ms. McGlade was beside him, her doll-like features eager and curious. Behind her the traitor waited patiently.
Miss. McGlade spoke first, “We are grateful.”
“Indeed,” Piers Sauno said, “indeed.”
“Where is she?” Bodivar asked. There was a of trail dried blood arcing its way down his clothes, “Were you able to do it?”
“We live,” Miss. McGlade favored him with a quiet smile, “in an age of wonders.”
“How much will she remember? How much will be what I remember about her?”
Piers Sauno pulled a motel key from his pocket, “Penelope is as good as new, better than that. She’s waiting for you in town, she’ll sleep until you wake her.”
“Go,” Miss. McGlade said, “you won’t want to see what happens next.”
They watched the last wizard of Woldercan retreat into the forest in search of his reward. Miss. McGlade asked, “You didn’t like him did you?”
“Immortality,” Piers Sauno observed, “is wasted on mortals.”
They began to walk towards Laurel House, their expensive suits wet with snow, their long coats hanging open. The Monarchs’ forces moved through the trees after them, filling the air with hissing and buzzing.