Serialized Science Fiction.

Blast from the Past
Tom Haynes

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tidbit on the news."

"I want the council to see it anyway. It conjures up images best forgotten." said Koritigan as he tried to pull his eyes away from the rose bush. He could see imprisoned Paladins, their flesh impaled by thorns and he could still see new thorns popping out of their skin. "At least the poor bastards looked like they died quickly."

"Dead? Why do you think we've been trying so vehemently to fry that bush? They are still alive. The ones you see have passed out from the pain. When they wake, you can listen as they scream. Nothing shuts it out." Caraval impassionately told his father. He walked over to a circle drawn on the grassy floor of the forest and pulled his Manhunter out. He took careful aim and shot at one of his oldest friends. A thorny branch whipped over and the bullet ricocheted off of one of the thorns. Thorns then burst out of the closed eyes of his friend, who shrieked a mindless blast out of a throat raw from a night of such piercings. As the scream died out, a soft bleating could be heard from the captive. "See, the bush protects them."

A branch darted out towards Caraval and he ducked back a meter. "We don't know how, or on what, but it is getting bigger."

"The wiz also scragged Azureflame and then animated both it and one of the CAS warriors. I have seen and fought zombies, ghouls, and insect spirits, but none of them compared to the terror induced by these undead creatures. Finally, he bombarded us with waves of mana bolts. We thought he would eventually collapse from the strain, but he kept on throwing bolt after bolt." added Caraval.

"Azureflame dead? Who is going to tell his father?" ponders the older elf, ignoring the remaining comments from his son.

"Dead twice, you can see the smoldering remains about 100 meters into the forest." replied his son. "Listen, did you bring the memory crystal like I asked?"

"Yes, but tell me more about this mage. No-one should be able to call forth such magics for decades." stated the father. He made no effort to bring forth the crystal his son had just requested.

"Give me the damn crystal and I will show him to you. Or do you want the image to blur?" in his anger, Caraval failed to mention that he would never forget the stranger who incinerated his command.

The father fished in a belt pouch and handed over the blue-green crystal. Caraval stared into the murky depths, calling forth the image of the man he planned to throw into the living roses. Slowly the silver-haired wizard started to appear. At first the image was blurry and then it was double. He twisted his fingers over imaginary knobs, fine tuning the clarity.

The older elf sighed at the dependence of the youth of today on technology. He believed that once the mana levels started to peak, technology would wilter away under the glare. He wanted his son free of the taint of the machine, but it was hard to undo lessons learned early. His sister was much worse - at times he despaired of her ever turning away from the modern world.

As the image snapped into focus, Caraval was astonished to hear his father let out a quick gasp. He did not know if it was for the stranger or the white disk. During the battle, he did not recall seeing the disk, but his subconscious must have attached some significance to it being there. "What is it father?" he asked.

"Oh, nothing. I will meet you back in the city." was the reply he got.

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