Dear readers, tonight we publish the transcript of a recorded interview from another universe.
They are adventurers, magicians, and technomancers, and we have a unique opportunity to learn about their fascinating world.
“…ing on? …about now? Alright, Ori. Now it’s working. “
A majus would see the swirl of color as Rilan adjusted the audio and visual recording system. She’d forgotten she and Ori made this interview back when the recording Systems were introduced. The Council of course thought each maji should have one, to be able to communicate with each other in an emergency. Now, they mostly sat unused in maji’s apartments.
They’d done the little mock interview back when she and Ori were a thing, at the height of their adventures across the ten homeworlds. When they’d gone separate ways, she on the Council and him trudging about wherever, the crystal containing the recording sat in the back of one of her closets. But now that he was back in her life…
Rilan sat down in a chair to enjoy the old recording.
R – Tell us a little about where you grew up, Ori. What was it like there?
O – “I am to be from Asbheriton. It is a small village in the mountains of the Syra province of Kiria. But I would rather not be talking about touchy family matters such as this. Ever since my brother departed for the ancestors, I have had little reason to be going back. The ancestral house was given to my third cousin, you know. A dreadful bore. She would talk about anything and everything that was to be coming into her head.”
R – “Not like you at all.”
Rilan tempered her retort with a smile, but Ori’s crest still spiked in aggravation. Good she was here to prick his pride.
R – Just one more question about your family home and then we’ll move on. Did you have any favourite toys as a child? Any cherished memories?
O –“Toys? No. But, I was to be having a pet wingdrake. Delphorus and I begged our father for it for most of a cycle. Father was quoting the old fright-tale that it would steal the souls of your ancestors, but even he was not so entrenched in his religion that he really believed it. Eventually he relented and was letting us have it. Delphorus and I trained the drake to be taking grubs from our hands, and to be fishing for swimmer larvae in the nearby pond. Delphorus took over care of the beast when I was to be leaving for finishing school. Eventually we had to set it free to find a mate and complete its lifecycle before joining its ancestors. Wriglifon was a good pet.”
R – “I’ve never heard that before, Ori. That was a nice story.”
Rilan cleared her throat. She didn’t imagine this would really get Ori to talk about his past.
R – So, what do you do now?
O – “You are knowing this, Rilan.”
R – “Yes, Ori. It’s for the recording. Just play along.”
O – “Ah, I am seeing now. After retiring from my philosophy position at the university, I was able to be traveling across the ten homeworlds full time. I would not be alive if you were not saving me on many occasions, Rilan.”
Rilan saw her recording blush. It would only be a few cycles after this that she joined the Council of the Maji and she and Ori went separate ways.
R – Ori, what can you tell me about your latest adventure?
O – “Lately, things have been quiet. But if I were to be choosing my favorite, it would be my first outing with you, Rilan. Despite dealing with the death of my brother, our adventure in the jungles of Festuour is something I will be remembering for many cycles. Who knew that could be done with the Symphony?”
Rilan looked away. They were so young here. Ori hadn’t yet flown the first space shuttle, and they hadn’t met Sam—that strange man from a completely new homeworld. But her past self was still asking questions.
R – What did you first think when we encountered those Thrycovolars, Ori? I thought we were going to die.
O – “It was as close a fight as I had been encountering in many cycles. To control the great beasts like that still astounds me. I wish we could have been studying the notes we found more fully, but they had to be destroyed to keep those secrets away from the people of the ten homeworlds.”
R – And was that the scariest thing you’ve encountered?
O – “It was to be in the top five. Never before had I nearly been shredded by a wild beast that size. Though getting caught in the middle of a battlefield swarming with Pixies was to be worse. There I was, protecting the hive mother and her consort, when twenty Pixies flew at me from all angles. I had to be making changes to the Symphony I had never before even thought of…”
R – Sorry to cut you off Ori. Don’t give me that look. The recording only holds so much, and I want to ask: what is the best thing about being a majus?
O – “Hmpf. Well, this is to be another topic dear to me. It is amazing to think that non-maji cannot hear the Grand Symphony which underlies every aspect of the universe. Every action and object is having its own music. I cannot hear all of it, but belonging to both the Houses of Communication and Power means I am able to be appreciating one third of the music that makes up the universe. To hear that fractal Symphony is bliss. To change it is divine.”
R – so then what is the worst thing about it? Heh—I know what you’re going to answer. I can see your crest flaring out.
O – “Then you will know my relationship with the Council of the Maji has never been exemplary. Those blowhards are the cause of half of what goes wrong with the maji.”
R – Tell us a little about your friends.
O – “Delphorus was my best friend growing up. Once I was taking classes and being an apprentice majus in the Nether, there were other friendships, but nothing was to be concrete until you came along, Rilan.
R – Any, heh, any romantic involvement?
O – “Not since last night, but you were to be there, weren’t you, Rilan?”
Rilan blushed even just watching the recording. She remembered that night.
R – and who do you hate?
O – “Hate is to be a strong word. The Council of the Maji is getting in my way often, but they do have their rules for a reason.”
Rilan shook her head at the recording. They’d been so young. Back then, the Council was still strong, and The Life Coalition had not yet reared its ugly head. Who could have foreseen their attack on her hometown? So many were dead because of them.
R – Here’s an easy one: what’s your favorite drink, color, and pastime?
O – “Have you tried the drinks the Lobhl are making? They do not eat, but never have I tasted so flavorful a concoction. Like eating wind and stars.”
In the recording, Ori looked down at his colorful robe. Blue and magenta that day, with lines of silver and green criss-crossing it.
O – “And you should be knowing better than to ask a Kirian about a favorite color. As if there was a way to choose! But as for pastime, I would have to be saying studying the history of the Assembly. There are to be fascinating tidbits hidden within the cycles, even if we are missing much of what came before the Aridori war.”
R – There’s not much time left in the recording. What do you think the future holds for you?
O – “Did you know a Methiemum government was contacting me about the flight of an object through space? I believe it is still to be many cycles away, but I imagine they may be planning to build a projectile to fly away from their homeworld!”
Rilan sat back as the recording finished. They’d done so many more things since then. They’d explored the ten homeworlds, Rilan had joined the Council, they’d split, and now she and Ori were working together again.
The maji had not been taught of war in the last several hundred cycles. But with the Life Coalition’s attack and the weakened Council, change was coming. Without their guidance, Rilan knew she and Ori would have to train the others. One word had been coming up far too often. A time of change. A time of endings. Dissolution.
William C. Tracy writes tales of the Dissolutionverse: a science fantasy series about planets connected by music-based magic instead of spaceflight. This series currently has six books, including a coming of age story, tales of political intrigue, a Sherlock Holmes-like mystery, a Jules Verne style adventure, and the first book of an epic space opera, titled THE SEEDS OF DISSOLUTION. Several books include LGBT-friendly elements as well. He’s a North Carolina native and a lifelong fan of science fiction and fantasy. He has a master’s in mechanical engineering, and has both designed and operated heavy construction machinery. He has also trained in Wado-Ryu karate, and a cosplayer together with his wife.
You can find Origon and Rilan on the pages of Tales of the Dissolutionverse.
Watch out for mid-week special SPFBO interviews! Join us next week to meet an ancient goddess, because ancient myths are true and the gods are getting ready for war. Please follow the site by email (bottom-right) to be notified when the next interview is posted.