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|Chapter 1 of an in-progress novel. Dax is a fovorite of mine and he pops up in many incarnations. This is one of his earliest.||
"Blaze of Glory, Dude! Blaze of Glory!" Dacory D'sarno heard himself shouting as he woke up. What a dream! I thought I was a goner. Dac, my boy, you've got to quit drinking Dwarven Whiskey, it's gonna kill you one day. He reached a hand up to wipe the sweat from his brow, moisture that had sprung up during his nightmare. He drug his fine-boned fingers through a silky forelock and then reached over to fondle his latest acquisition, Yodanla. His questing hand met empty bed, in fact, his hand met ground, not bed at all.
He patted around before opening his eyes. Must of been one heck of a night, I don't even remember falling off the bed. He sat up and stretched with the grace of a dancer, or fighter, and rubbed his eyes. Finally, he opened them to search for the bed and Yodanla.
"What the..?" Dacory said aloud as he looked around. This was not the converted bedroom on his tramp freighter, The Elf Hawk. It was certainly, no hotel either. Gray mist swirled around his naked body and as far as he could see. There were no forms or features, and nothing showed in the infrared scale his night vision allowed him. He rubbed his eyes again and then stood lithely to get a better view.
"Where in the thousand Galaxies have I gotten myself to this time?" Dacory wondered aloud. He had always had a tendency to talk to inanimate objects, or himself if no objects presented themselves. It was habit that had driven his stepfather crazy. Dac could still hear him saying, "Cory! You must not talk aloud on the job. Silence is the key to being a good thief." And then getting a good rap across the mouth as a reminder.
"Maybe, I did die and this is Heaven. Not quite what I expected upon becoming an angel."
"You look like an angel alright. Not what I expected either, you're a bit too masculine for my taste," a deep voice spoke from out of the mist, startling Dac. He spun around, impossibly fast, to face where he thought the voice had come from.
"Over here," the voice spoke again, this time accompanied by a hand rising from the mist that swirled crazily from the motion. Dacory saw a form rise up, which he quickly identified as human stock. The man was not quite as tall as Dacory, but easily out-massed him. The man, too, was naked and Dacory was struck by the other's hairiness. Not only did he have shoulder length auburn hair and bushy beard and mustache, something which Dac had been trying to grow for the last 20 years. But the man's arms, legs and chest were covered with the same dark reddish-brown hue, though sprinkled with black in those areas, as well. I always heard that humans evolved from apes and thought it was just a story until now. And the guy must weigh over 200 pounds! He's built like powered combat armor. Get aload of those muscles.
Timothy Mercer Greydon had been brooding about life and his fate until the cry rang out. He didn't understand the language, though it had a familiar lilt and sounded melodically pure, an operatic tenor, it also had a defiant tone. He watched the mist swirl around gently at first and then wildly as the voice's owner stood. Timothy hadn't even realized that there was someone else lying there. Of course he hadn't done any exploring since he had awoke in this dreary, gray fog, it matched his mood too perfectly. Why did I ever agree to this?
His curiosity had been slightly pricked at the sight of the naked body standing there. Now, a woman like that could almost make you forget your troubles. Timothy started as the woman stretched and turned, for in spite of feminine seeming beauty, it was a man. Well, I'll be. He's got the whitest hair, it almost seems to glow, though he can't be that old, not with a body as fit as that, in fact, he looks like a teenager. His skin is almost translucent pale too, perhaps he's an albino. Timothy listened as that beautiful tenor rang out again, though it didn't seem to be addressed at him, in fact, Pretty Boy didn't even seem to be aware of him. Timothy smiled to himself as the words sank in. The boy had switched to a different language than before, it had the same accented inflections as the first, but this was quite understandable. It sounds like an Australian accent, but without all the G'days and Mates. And it's not English, Timothy mentally noted to himself. But, I understand it anyway, I don't know how, but I understand it. He decided to answer the boy's obviously rhetorical question.
"You sure look like an angel alright, though not what I expected either. You're a bit too masculine for my taste." Timothy said with a trace of humor and then the black mood descended again as the quip prompted a remembrance of the last woman he was with. The boy spun around and dropped unconsciously into a fighting stance, almost too quick for the eye to see. Timothy was still expecting the pink eyes of an albino and was mildly surprised to see that his eyes were a bright blue-violet and seemed a little too large for his face. A face that was at once delicate and prominent of bone.
Too perfect,he thought to himself again. He watched as an expression of surprise and calculation, and then a touch of revulsion crossed the boy's mobile features as he viewed Timothy intimately. Up yours, Angel. I may not be as pretty as you, but I could kick your butt any day of the week and twice on Sunday.
"You certainly don't look like an angel; demon perhaps," Dacory observed. He noted the readiness to react in the man's stance. "You Hardur Stock? You're hairy enough."
"Kiss my ass," Timothy replied. He was rather proud of his beard and mat of chest hair, it was just like his father's.
Dacory stepped closer, hands loose at his sides, prepared in case the human tried to attack him. He stopped ten feet away. He could see the man's eyes were mossy green and his muscles were bunched in readiness to spring. Take it easy, dude. I could mop the floor with you, but I don't feel like it at present. I want to know where the women are? There are supposed to be lots of women in Heaven, Jack Flare always said so.
Timothy observed the boy as he came closer, his sheer good looks almost overwhelming. He moved with incredible grace and seemed to flow along like a cat or a ghost, an image aided by the swirling mist which hid his feet. Not a bit concerned about swinging to the four winds either, the cocky, son of a .. Timothy broke off with a mental grimace at his choice of words.
"Over here," Timothy spoke again, raising his hand as well, to show his location. Then rose as his body responded to the unspoken challenge of the boy's fighting stance. He reminds me of that surfer bum that Faith ran off with. This is obviously a dream, he's just a little too perfect. I wouldn't mind the chance to pound him good, though. Even if it wouldn't be as satisfying as beating up a real person. Timothy adjusted his stance subtlely to match. Suddenly, he noticed something strange as the boy shook his hair back away from his face.
"What's wrong with your ears?" Timothy asked. It just couldn't be what he thought.
"My ears?" Dac grabbed frantically for the sides of his head. Was I disfigured when I died? When they blew me away, did the damage remain? He gingerly touched his ears beneath the silky shag and traced around the delicate point. No, nothing wrong, he sighed to himself.
"If you think that's some kind of joke, it's not funny," Dac replied, outrage deepening his voice just a bit. Timothy watched the display and listened with incredulity as the... boy, denied that there was anything wrong.
"What, did you have plastic surgery to get those points?" Timothy asked. The vanity of some people.
"Plastic? Why would I want plastic on my ears? Are you from Far Reaches or something? You sure look like a Barbarian." Dacory was completely confused by the turn of conversation.
"Kiss my ass," Timothy replied. I should be able to control my dreams better than this. Now he's the surf bum from the planet Vulcan. Is this a Star Trek moment or what?
"I've never heard of Far Reachings or whatever you said. Who are you?" Timothy was ready for him to say Biff or something. Dacory straightened slightly and squared his shoulders. He suddenly seemed older somehow, more regal. Timothy had been slightly embarrassed at talking with a beautiful, male, stranger while in the buff. But this guy acts like he's been the naked jungle boy all his life. And now I could swear he couldn't be more regal if he was wearing a tux and crown.
"Dacory D'sarno at your service," Dac replied with a graceful bow. Timothy was almost jealous at the courtliness of that bow. "I was lately the pilot of the tramp freighter The Elven Hawk, and Commander in the Elven Confederacy Navy."
"What are you, Han Solo?" Timothy laughed. Dacory looked shocked.
"No way, dude. I get plenty of women, I don't have to do that kind of stuff."
What is he...? Oh, he thought I said 'hand solo',Timothy smiled at the thought. Then, something else penetrated.
"An ELF? I always wanted an elf in my service," Timothy nearly laughed. My dreams are REALLY getting out of hand. Next I'll be seeing pink elephants. "Elves are short people who live in trees and bake cookies."
"I think you're getting your xenology mixed up. Sounds like you're describing kobolds." Dac was affronted at the comparison.
"Nope, Keebler Elves. They live in a tree and bake cookies, it's in the commercial." Timothy had forgotten his black mood for the moment. The comedy of the situation taking precedence.
"What is a 'commercial'? I don't recognize the word," Dac was trying to be patient. He really liked humans on the average, more than most elves, in fact. They lived such frantic lives, throwing themselves from one situation to the next. Dac had tried to model himself after them, he especially liked the Franes and the Espanians. But this guy is really pushing it, he thought to himself.
"A commercial is a short video segment, advertising a product or a service that is available to the public," Timothy explained, feeling like he was about to be made a fool of. He's going to say "Surprise, you're on Candid Camera!" and then I'm going to put his lights out.
"Oh, like 'House Toshi, the place for personal weapons.'" Dac mimicked the Toshi accent very closely.
"I guess, though I don't know what House Toshi is," Timothy was impressed with his subconscious imagination. I could write a book from this dream.
"So, who are you?" Dac asked, noticing that the man hadn't given his name and noticing that he hesitated before replying this time. Alias, huh? No sweat, dude, Dac thought to himself.
"Tymon Grayhaven," Timothy replied. After all, this is just a dream, I can be whoever I want, right? This is really crazy, an ELF, Tymon thought to himself as Dac reached out his hand to shake with Tymon. His grip was firm and surprisingly strong despite its fragile appearance. Stronger than he looks, and I swear I felt sword calluses on his palms, Tymon thought to himself. Now, why would I give a surfer bum sword calluses?
Dac had returned to his usual good humor, now that "Tymon" was acting more human. Dac chuckled at the word play.
"So, how did you get here?" Dac asked, he was always curious, that was considered a particularly elven trait which he possessed in abundance. "Now me, I was blazing out of the Bandit Zone and I picked up two fighters from the Space Patrol. Now, The Elf Hawk, she'd been hopped up a little, so I wasn't too worried about outmaneuvering them eventually, so I kicked in the second warp engine and swung around an astroid, using the mass to sling me. Unfortunately, I think my last deal was a setup, for when I crested the horizon line there was a battleship waiting for me.
Is this guy for real?Tymon thought to himself. He looks and sounds like some movie star. Maybe that's it! There's a movie on the television and I'm incorporating it into my dream, that can happen, like hearing your alarm clock and thinking it's a doorbell in your dream. Tymon tuned back into Dacory's story, only missing a few words.
"...And so there I was, staring down the missile tube and I knew I was a goner. I mean, I could turn up on end and take the hit along the bottom, but that would still open me up to vacuum and well, I wasn't wearing my vac suit. I always found them so uncomfortable, didn't you?"
"Wait a minute, you're telling me you're a flyboy? A fighter jock? And you use fission, right?" Tymon was realizing there was more wrong with this picture than met the eye.
"Yeh, I was a fighter jockey in the Navy, squad Commander. And no, we use fusion not fission, that was hundreds of years ago. Where are you from?" Dac was taken aback again at Tymon's apparent ignorance.
"Where I'm from, we don't have fusion yet, that's just a theory. We only have orbital space travel and we've been to the Moon. We have cars and airplanes for general transportation," Tymon said.
"You mean hovercars?" Surely, they aren't more primitive than that, Dac thought to himself.
"No, combustion engine cars," Tymon was feeling sillier by the minute.
"That puts your world at Tech six or seven. The Elven Confederacy is at Tech ten with some eleven. Boy, you are a barbarian." Dac said with a touch of unconscious elven disdain. Tymon bristled at his tone.
"Anyway, then their Comms Op came up and said, 'Got you! You slime buggering elf.', so I thought, 'What the heck? You only live once.' and flew straight down the tube projectory yelling, 'Blaze of Glory, Dude! Blaze of Glory!'. Then, there was this purple light and next thing, I wake up here. I always thought dying would hurt more, you know? And I thought Heaven would be much more colorful somehow."
"That's because you are not dead, and this is not Heaven," a new voice came from the mist, causing both Dacory and Tymon to spin around in near identical moves to face the source. A form hopped out from the mist, fifteen feet tall and purple!
You know, that looks like a monkey,Tymon thought to himself. Things are getting really weird now, I should wake up soon.
"This is no dream," The purple monkey said in a monotone to Tymon, seeming to read his thoughts.
"Well, what are you then?" Dac asked.
"I am an Interdictor." It replied again in that carefully modulated tone, as though it wasn't used to speaking aloud.
The monkey seems to think that's something special,Tymon thought. Angel seems to think so too. He looks almost...humble. Nah, not possible.
"Sorry, I didn't recognize you without a ship," Dacory replied. The purple monkey almost seemed to smile. Every space-going elf knew an Interdictor ship on sight even if they had never actually seen one in person. The elves often ran into Interdictors when they were 'helping and protecting' planets and systems that didn't seem to be helping themselves. Elves liked to think of themselves as the protectors of Creaturekind. Well, if Interdictors snatched us then we'll never see home again. Especially, since he's let us see him. Good bye Elf Hawk, good bye Yodanla. Hello, new life!
"You have been chosen for your skills. You will be champions for us. We cannot interfere directly with the affairs of the Galaxies, but we can choose Agents to help when it is necessary. You two have been chosen as compatible," the Interdictor informed them. Dacory and Tymon looked at each other and spoke nearly at the same time.
"No, uh uh, he's not my type." The Interdictor sighed, then spoke.
"Your skills are compatible for surviving in numerous situations, where one lacks, the other compensates. When Dacory goes overboard, you will reign him in. When you are subject to the black moods, he will lighten them. You two will perform each mission and then you will be pulled from that world to go on to another which needs help."
Well, not a pink elephant, but a purple monkey is more imaginative. So I'm a Special Agent now. That must have been some bump on my head.Tymon thought, shaking his head.
"You both were about to die when we pulled you out of your dimensions. You may return, but you will die. Dacory D'sarno, your ship was blown apart by the Space Patrol battleship. You're suicide run did cause major damage to their ship, killing half the personnel on board and rendering the ship nearly useless."
Dac folded his arms over his chest and looked smug. I'll bet you weren't expecting that, Space Patrol. My cargo hold was full of a legitimate load of explosives that I was taking to Merc World, as well as that bit of contraband that you were stopping me for!
"You Tymon," the Interdictor continued, slightly emphasizing the name. "Would have died when your motorcycle ran off the next curve on California Highway 1 due to your excessive speed."
"Well, I want to go back, I might make that turn." Tymon said with false bravado, since he really hadn't wanted to make that curve. It hadn't exactly been suicide, just an accident of misjudgement.
"You would die," the Interdictor said with finality. "Here you have a chance to help in the fight against wrong, to make a difference to worlds and star systems. Your pain will fade with time."
"Pain? You got some disease or something?" Dac queried, turning his bright eyes concernedly on Tymon. The guy don't look hurt. But if it's internal you never can tell, maybe he couldn't afford an autodoc. After all it looks like he couldn't even afford a decent shave or dillipitory
"No," Tymon said with finality and a touch of warning. I'm straight, but if I weren't, he would be one of my first choices. He looks like he really cares about me. This is really freaky, Tymon mentally shook himself at the thought.
"Well, it sounds like a dream come true to me, another chance at life. To do good for others, and to constantly see new places and people. Great!" Dac turned back to the Interdictor. Who said luck doesn't play a big part in the Cosmic Game? Hot dog! I'm going to be a hero! he thought to himself.
Great, now he thinks he's Robin Hood,Tymon thought with disgust. His mood had soured with the mention of his trip up the coast, bringing back thoughts of Faith's unfaithfulness and his plans of having a large family being shattered.
"Your missions would last from a few months, Galactic Standard Time, to no more than five years," the Interdictor continued explaining the missions.
"That's not enough time to meet a wife, much less raise a family," Tymon complained.
"Wife! What idiot would want to be tied down like that?" Dac burst in.
I would,Tymon thought to himself, his mood souring further, he could feel the black cloud hovering.
"Tymon had just lost his love to a rival," the Interdictor informed Dacory mildly.
"You mean, you were going to kill yourself over a WOMAN?" Dac was incredulous.
"Shut your trap, Pretty Boy. I don't want to hear another word about it," Tymon's voice held black menace.
"That's it, fine. Bring it on, man, bring it on," Dac said, motioning to Tymon as he dropped into fighting stance. I'll just pound him a little. I'm really tired of his insulting, superior ways. He reminds me of a Sellembianar.
Tymon saw the red haze cross his vision and he forgot where he was and what he was doing. I'll kill the pansy-assed bastard for taking Faith, he thought, before all coherent thought left him. Suddenly, there was a flaming sword of pure energy in his hand.
Dac backed down immediately. I like to fight, but I'm not stupid! He's a freakin' mage!
"Hey, buddy! It ain't that important! I'm mean if you want to saddle yourself with a broad, that's your business," Dac was backing up out of range even while he spoke, his hands out and placating. This only seemed to enrage Tymon the more.
"I suggest you apologize to him," The Interdictor was floating along with them as they crossed the misty area. Hearing a new voice, Tymon swung his Power Sword sightlessly at the Interdictor. The Interdictor hopped backwards in shock. Tymon continued advancing on the hazy figure that had inspired his current anger, his only thoughts were of swirling blood and anger.
"Okay, okay! Look, I'm sorry, I won't bring it up again!" Dac paused and bowed. When he paused, Tymon flew at him in a rage, Dac took off running, it was something he had done all of his life. It was something he was very good at.
"You'll never catch him," the Interdictor informed Tymon, keeping a safe distance this time. "He is much faster than you."
Tymon continued to chase the fleeing figure until exhaustion caused him to stop and the berserk haze slowly faded from his vision. I shouldn't have taken off after the kid - elf, like that. What is this? Tymon looked at the still glowing sword in his hand and watched, amazed as it faded with his rage.
Dac meanwhile, hadn't stopped running until he could no longer see the glow of the sword in the distance. This is Elven purgatory, I'm trapped here with a madman and not a women in sight, for Eternity. Jack Flare always said I'd come to a bad end. He finally sat down and let the mist cover him like a blanket of misery. He wiped a bit of moisture from his cheek and told himself it was sweat from running, even though he wasn't even winded.
Dacory couldn't tell the passage of time in this place, for the mist and its accompanying light, never changed. So, he had no idea how long he had sat there, pitying himself, when the Interdictor showed up.
"You and the Adept must come together again, so that we may finish informing you of your mission."
"I don't think he wants to see me right now, and I sure as hell don't want to see him again." Dac stated with conviction. He hadn't been that afraid in a long time, it was quite shaming.
"His anger is gone for the nonce. Stand, Ace." The Interdictor commanded in Brianar Elven, Dac's home language. Training took effect, for it was also the Battle Language of the Elven Navy, and he stood. Suddenly, he was standing about ten feet away from Tymon. Dac watched him gaurdedly until he decided that the human wasn't going to run him through. The Interdictor spoke.
"You must each be trained in your skills and powers. Adept," he said, turning to Tymon, "these new mental powers you have, must be controlled by you, not your emotions. We have opened them in you, we will train you." He turned to face Dacory.
"Ace, you will be given weapons and you must train with them as well. While you are the Eternal Champions, you cannot die from age or infirmity of the body, but if you die from violence, you will be dead in truth. We will not rescue you again, we will just find others."
Fine,Tymon said mentally, I'll just wait for an honorable situation and throw myself into it, if I die, all the better.
"You, mean I'm going to look the same age forever?" Dac was not pleased with this thought. The Interdictors words of doom being shrugged off in the face of this more serious concern. I'm going to be a barely-over-the-age-of-majority adolescent for Eternity with a crazy man and no women. This gets worse all the time.
"We can take care of that," the Interdictor said. Dac felt an itching all over, even into his bones. His hair grew down over his face and he felt it graze his thighs. Flipping it out of his face with one hand, he looked down at himself, seeing no change other than hair length. The Interdictor created a mirror in front of Dac and he cautiously peered into it.
Hot dog! They aged me fifty years, at least. Now, I'll have more respect.Dacory thought with glee.
They only aged him two or three years, but he seems happy enough. Not much change, his chest filled out a little and his face is a little older. And his hair grew, elve's hair must grow incredibly fast, to have grown that much in three years.Tymon examined the elf critically. He's just as gorgeous, maybe even more so now that he's lost the gangly look of a teenager.
Another Interdictor appeared next to the first. This one was pink, she, for female it was, motioned to Tymon.
"You will go with her, Adept, and she will train you in the Mental Arts. Ace, you will come with me." The purple Interdictor turned to head off into the mist.
"Hey, why do you get the female?" Dac questioned, half jokingly, since he would never make a pass at an Interdictor. Well, probably not.
"Maybe she heard how you feel about women," Tymon replied over his shoulder as the pink monkey headed off.
"Kiss my ass," Dacory replied. You know, he may not be so bad after all. He heard Tymon laughing in the distance.
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