What Comes Around Ch 19 bit – Vessels

Fingers touching an oval of steel, Callimachus winced.

Shays broke off his hurried discussion with his thugs. “I have a potential instability in the local field office and my most reliable agent hasn’t reported in. Whatever you’ve found had better be worth it.”

“Worth is always a relative thing,” Callimachus reflected. “It is, at least, interesting.” He lifted his hand from Seal-marked steel. “Kill Ryans, and this becomes nothing more than a very odd paperweight. Or, possibly, vanishes into the ether. I’m not entirely sure which.”

“Make sense.” Shays’ eyes narrowed. “Kill the young idiot, and modern steel vanishes? It’s a Tool.”

“No, it’s not,” Callimachus said soberly. “Not as you and I know them. The steel may be modern, but the curse on it is unthinkably ancient. It’s keyed to one specific, living magoi. Without that power….” The alchemist eyed the Seal, looking past the physical world. “I doubt the elemental would perish. But it would go dormant, never to wake again unless someone just happened to fulfill all of the curse’s specific conditions. The ones I’ve been able to pin down so far include life-threatening peril and some kind of… loyalty clause?” Callimachus shook his head. “Whatever else might be required, I would venture to guess that it is very, very rare. You’d have a better chance of being struck by lightning than finding another compatible host.”

“Curse?” Shays and Smith said as one. The business-mage was frowning; the thug’s face had the faintest flicker of unease.

Laughing, Phaenomena knew, would completely ruin the effect. She kept her face straight and solemn, as if she were at a funeral.

“The boy is bound to something inhuman for the rest of his life,” Callimachus shrugged. “People watch that silly film of the mermaid, and forget that in the original tale, every dainty step she took felt like walking on knives.” He never glanced at the monitor. “To be bound to this… object… is to take every breath edged in fire. If you really mean to torture him, you might consider giving it back.”

For a long moment, Shays was silent.

Eep. Magister, you may have overplayed your hand – we’re going to have to move fast-

A thin smile engraved itself on Shays’ face. “The rumors never said you had a sense of humor.”


15 thoughts on “What Comes Around Ch 19 bit – Vessels

  1. So is Callimachus (in his own small way) trying to make amends? He does have experience with Alan in full equip. Very cool.


  2. Why do I think the bad guys still aren’t taking this seriously enough. Then again, I LIKE that they don’t realize just how deep of a hole they have dug and lined with explosives and flammable stuff and are now just sitting with no concern for sparks. It makes the inevitable “oh ****” moment when they do realize just how screwed they are even more enjoyable.

    Through maybe I should be nicer to the bad guys for not noticing – after all Alan doesn’t have the warning coloration displaying that here is a Hero With A Heart of Gold. Of course, these people don’t believe in heroes, only in the strong eating the weak.

    Off topic, I wonder what Simon’s hair warns people of . . . .symbolic meaning for purple is royalty and pomp, power, wealth, and majesty. Which in many ways fits.


      1. Of course not. Where’s the fun in that? Besides our Kings, Generals, Fanalis, and Magi would stop them either way but if the bad guys aren’t challenging enough, beating the stuffings out of them would feel like bullying. Or bringing out thermo-nuclear device to kill ants.

        Plus if they were weak opponents, at least part of their brains would be going “Boring! Dull! I thought this jerks would be more interesting to fight. This is just pathetic. Anyone this pathetic needs to be taken out of the game before they hurt themselves and others from their sheer ineptitude. Why does no one trying to be an Evil Overlord read the darned list . . .”


    1. I rather think it means what Phae’s contact said it meant, “Dangerous to your life and sanity.” The fact that purple is the color of royalty is just a bonus. 😉


  3. I think Shay’s chances of being struck by lighting are above average and climbing. That is if the fire doesn’t get him first… Callimachus and Phaenomena might be wanting to think of “fastest ways out” along with their pointedly ignoring the monitors and manupulating a case of The Enemy of My Enemy Will Burn This Place to the Ground.


      1. Callimachus needs to work on his subtle stats.

        Simon shakes his head, tsking. People assume Simon Cavins is one big arrogant actor-turn-school principle who bulldozes his way past any objection and has all the subtly of a chain-saw. And this is true. To a degree. But you know what they say about assumptions . . .


      2. I suppose giving someone a concussion so that they miss the explosive planted in front of them ~technically~ counts as subtle…


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